Tapping my pen against the papers in my binder, I squinted at the words on the slides that the teacher was reading out for the introduction to tomorrow’s unit. I was seemingly paying attention, but my head was miles away.
In the seat next to me Jessa was as always doing her own thing on her phone or drawing in the back of her books. The class’ desks were formed in a discussion circle, one of my least favorite parts of every unit. Couldn’t even escape it in summer school.
My eyes fell on the clock; three minutes until dismissal.
My shoulders drooped and I sat back in my seat restlessly. Jessa looked over to me with a brow raised.
“You okay?” She mouthed.
I shrugged, truly not knowing if I was. I didn’t sleep the night before, mostly because I stayed up focusing on my final online assignments when I usually would put them off. I just needed a distraction, and writing was one of my escapes.
Finally, the bell rung, and I was the first to jump out of my seat. I waited for Jess to gather her things in her usual slow manner, which always annoyed me.
“We still going to the mall?” Jessa reminded me.
I groaned in frustration. “Can we go tomorrow? I really just want to lay down for the rest of the day and only get up to pee and get food.”
She flashed me a look of “Seriously?” but shrugged and said, “Sure. Hopefully I won’t spend everything on Chinese takeout.”
We went our separate ways and soon started craving something sweet. I made my way to my work place to fulfill my appetite; despite being in another town, the café was a short distance from our area.
Once I got a coffee cake and a small latte I made myself comfortable in a booth with a seat in front of me. As I ate I caught a glimpse of a familiar stature, but couldn’t see the person’s face. When they turned around I was horrified to see Cade’s father, a cigarette hanging from his mouth.
I lowered my head and kept eyes on my phone as to not catch his eye despite him being outside.
After a few minutes of roaming around doing nothing in particular, I spotted Cade guiding his father to turn left and begin walking in what I assumed was the right direction of their destination. His dad kept protesting by wriggling out of his tiny grasp, but Cade somehow managed to get him back into his grip.
I felt almost hypnotized watching the two of them struggle with each other. Cade’s dad was all too noticeably drunk out of his wits, and although I felt sympathy for the boy, I was mildly entertained.
Soon they were out of my sight, and I decided to follow close behind, shoving the bag my coffee cake was in into my bag and grabbing my coffee quickly.
Reaching the left turn they took, I located their whereabouts to what looked to be a... shelter?
With curiousity eating away at me I continued to pursue them even with the nagging thoughts in my head to quit being a creep.
The pair made their way inside via keycard, and that’s when I abandoned my mission.
Thoughts raced across my mind about Cade even more than usual. How long has he been residing there? How many people did he live with? Was he safe? Was he okay?
Whatever the case may be, my spirit of inquiry over Cade and his life kept me on my toes. I have to—no, need to—help him. In anyway possible.