Part 1: Pre-Gang (3/7)
April 11th, 2007
New York, Arlington High
Wednesday was the day a particular event happened.
A group of boys was called to the office as there were multiple police cars stationed in the school’s parking lot. The rest of the students were in classes, talking about what was going on in the office.
“What do you think they did?” asked a female student.
“No clue. Those boys were out there, repping this dumb gang called The Angels.” replied a male student.
“I heard that they had guns hidden on them!” added another.
Murmuring between students increased. “Who the hell are The Angels?” asked Lucy.
“W-Well. I think I heard someone say that they are a new, recent gang,” answered Percy.
“And it seems that they’re growing rather quickly. Although... I’m pretty worried. As if this city didn’t already have enough of a gang problem.” added Percy, shifting in his seat. Percy appeared to be nervous about the topic.
“Awh, chill out, Percy. It’s just some dumb gang that people will join to seem cool.” Juliet added, turning around in her seat to face the two. “Besides. See what happens when you join some dumb gang? The cops get involved, and you’re as good as going to jail.” Juliet finished, both Percy and Lucy looking at one another.
Before either of them could say anything else, they heard yelling from the hallway.” LET US GO!! YOU 𝑭𝑼𝑪𝑲𝑰𝑵𝑮 𝑷𝑰𝑮𝑺!!!”
Everyone fell quiet from shock. Due to the commotion, everyone ran out of the classrooms to see what was going on. Multiple police officers walked a group of older, bigger boys yelling and ranting to the uniformed men. Light-blue eyes widen slightly, staring at the group of boys being escorted out of the building. She remembered who these boys were. Just six months ago, she had a run-in with these boys. They were the ones picking on Percy!
“ANGELS FOR LIFE!!! THE ANGELS WILL BE THE TOP GANG!!!” Yelled one of the boys before being silenced and pushed by the police officer. Distant rants and yells before the front doors of the school slammed closed. Silence fell upon those watching what just happened. After a few moments, friend groups started to talk to one another about what just happened. The speaker system soon activated.
“Teachers and Staff. Please have your students return to class and resume the daily routine. I repeat, return to your classrooms and resume class.” said the Principal’s voice through the intercom.
Ushered back into the classroom, the students were all seated at their desks. Against the teacher’s wishes, the students began to talk amongst themselves about what just happened.
Lucy and Juliet talked to one another about who the boys were, but Lucy had noticed that Percy seemed distressed in the corner of her eye. There was visible anxiety on Percy’s features, him staring down to his desk, breathing irregular, and shaking slightly. Percy was always someone who was easily shaken up.
"Percy?” broke the internal panic, a hand suddenly placed on top of his.
Darting his eyes to the one that placed their hands on his...it was Lucy.
“Are you okay, Percy? You should probably visit the nurse’s office if you feel ill.” Lucy said, a soft smile on her face as a way to comfort the young man.
A soft blush on Percy’s face before he swiped his hand away, stuttering for his first few words. “H-Huh? N-No! I’m f-fine. Perfectly fine.” He cleared his throat before looking at the two. “I’ll be fine. Thanks, Lucy,” replied Percy.
Bell ringing, it was the end of class. As usual, Juliet, Percy, and Lucy all walked out of the school together, and at the front of the school, Lucy waved at her two friends as she decided that she would walk home. Living many blocks away, she enjoyed the exercise. After fifteen minutes of walking, arriving on her street, she noticed someone sitting on the road’s curb.
Squinting her eyes to get a better image of who it was. She heard sobbing. “Oh, no.” Grabbing onto the straps of her backpack, she ran over to the young boy. “Matthew!!” Lucy took off her bag, placing it on the side as she knelt to tend to the crying young boy.
“What’s wrong?! Are you hurt? Did someone hurt you?” She said, patting his body and looking up and down her body for any possible cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
“L-Lucy...” whined the young boy, causing her to stop her assessment of him. “T-The kids on the bus...w-were saying that I’m d-d-...dumb... and t-t-that no one likes me...” he rubbed the palm of his hand against his cheek, still sobbing. “A-And they always push me around during recess...” Matthew finished, looking down to the ground, his feelings hurt.
The once worried and worked up expression soon calmed down to a soft one. Lucy got off of her knees, and she sat down next to him. Wrapping an arm around him, she pulled him into a hug. Patting his back, a soft:” Shhh...” was let out.
“It’s okay, Matt. Hey. Hey.” she said, placing a hand on his cheek before lifting it so that he would look at her. “Who cares what those kids say. You’re one of the smartest kids I know. And you know what? So what if you don’t have many friends. I don’t have many friends. All I need is two. Because having few very close friends is better than hundreds of friends you barely talk to.” she smiled down to him, taking her thumb up to his cheek and wiping away any stray tears.
“And hey. When those bullies push you around, get up, and push back. And when they get mean. Come to me.” Lucy winked down to him. “I’ll make sure they don’t mess with my Lil’ bro again. Okay?” she asked. Silence came from the young boy, sobbing. But, they became fewer before he nodded and smiled up to Lucy.
“O-Okay big sis...” wrapping his arms around her, as they both shared a heartwarming embrace.
"When I’m around. I won’t let anyone hurt you.” Lucy said to her younger brother.
“Come on now. Let’s go home. We don’t belong on the curb." Lucy said, getting up to her feet and helping Matthew up to his feet, where they both walked home.
Nighttime fell onto the city, and Lucy was up in her room, attempting to sleep. But finding great difficulty in doing so. Twisting and turning in her bed, she couldn’t get comfortable, and her mouth was parched. Deciding that a glass of milk would help her fall asleep, she got up from her bed and walked out of her room.
Heading down the staircase and getting to the bottom...she heard something that caught her attention to her right, the entrance of the living room, where her parents were. And on the left was the door to the dining room and kitchen. Sneaking over to the living room entrance, hiding just behind the wall, she began to eavesdrop.
“I don’t know what the fuck we’re going to do, Toby.” said the woman’s voice.” We’re over three months of rent behind, and I’m getting tired of having to go to the food center even to get a meal every day.” she continued.
And for a moment, everything fell silent. Lucy covered her mouth not to let anything slip out, but...she was not aware of the family’s financial problems. It’s just like her parents to hide such a thing from her and Matthew. Parents only want the best for their kids, right?
“It doesn’t help that you’re using precious money to buy your booze, Harley.” added the man’s voice. ”We could be using that money to help pay off our debts and--” suddenly, he was interrupted by his wife.
“How the fuck else am I supposed to deal with our issues, Toby?! We’re on shit creek with no paddle. Our kids are going to starve because we’re falling behind! I can’t cope any other way than numb my fucking body.” the woman ranted on, silence once more.
“... It’s getting late, Harley. For now, we should sleep on it. We’ll figure something out soon.” said the male voice.
“Tsk... that’s what you always say...” and with that. Lucy heard rustling.
“Crap.” Lucy thought to herself, before sneaking over to the dining room and into the kitchen. Both Toby and Harley went up the stairs, and their bedroom door closed behind them.
“...Are we really in that much trouble..?”
Lucy whispered to herself. “...And mom’s been drinking. That explains why she’s been acting more aggressive as of late...” she sighed, looking over to the fridge. “...” she shook her head and got a glass of water instead. “I’d rather make sure Matthew can eat his cereal in the morning,” she said, before heading back up to her room, and closing the door.