LIE

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Chapter 16

Luc:

With the one eye, it wasn't too hard to function; write, throw, type, etc. I just had to have people on my left side or turn to them. The turning did make my neck hurt, and really it was a nuisance of sorts. It's the way I'm forced to live now.

I wondered if I'd be put in a special class, like for handicapped people. Do I even count has handicapped? I think so...but I'll only be put in there if someone found out about my eye.

And goddamn I'm getting tired of not seeing people from the right!

I turned to my partner -- we'd all been paired up with someone -- we had to work on a tiny science project.

Seeing this, I thought about how I never got to work on something with Evie or Indra. Shit sucks; makes me depressed.

God I miss them.

What if I just ran away to Charlotte? No, it's too far, it'll take forever.

"Welcome back!" I heard Mrs. Carte say.

I peeked at her from behind the couch. A woman had entered the house, she had bags with her.

"How was the meeting?" Mrs. Carte asked.

"Boring, but eh." The woman replied with a smile.

"Then what about London?" Mrs. Carte then asked.

"Beautiful." The woman said.

Who is she? I shouldn't be eavesdropping.

I sat back down.

"Luc!" Mrs. Carte called. I slowly peeked over the couch. Did she see me?

She and the other lady were coming toward me hand in hand.

"I have someone I'd like you to meet!" She said.

They stopped in front of me, "This is my wife, Cindy!"

Wife?

"It's nice to finally meet you, Luc. I'm glad to see you up and around." Cindy said with a smile.

"Uh...hello." I said robotically.

"I gotta go...scream at Hunter." I excused myself.

I hopped off the couch and ran upstairs to my room.

"Mrs. Carte has a wife." I stated to Hunter when I closed the door.

Hunter looked up from his phone, "Yeah, I didn't tell you?" He asked.

"And you guys are all...okay...with that?" Just gotta know if it's safe here.

"Well yeah." Hunter answered, "You're acting weird."

I chuckled nervously and got on my bed.

Well good. If I ever decide to come out I know I'll be okay. Maybe.

"Luc?" Hunter called.

I looked up at him.

"Will you go on a walk with me?"

Hunter and I walked around the neighborhood.

"Can I ask you about your back?" He asked.

I looked down at my feet, "I'd prefer you didn't."

"I'm sure you do, but I'm just worried." He stated.

"Why worry?" I hunched my shoulders, "you said it yourself, I'm safe here."

Hunter muttered something under his breath.

"Fine." He eventually sighed.

As we walked I started a conversation with Hunter. "So I saw you are failing English,"

"Yep." Hunter responded.

"What are you working on?" I asked.

"The Crucible." He said.

"It's hard to understand; there are so many factors to follow." He groaned.

I nodded my head, "I can help. I'm good with these kinds of things."

"Really? Thanks."

Once we got home, I caught a glimpse of Mrs. Carte and Cindy in the kitchen. They hugged and talked amongst themselves, smiled. I wanted to hug and talk and smile with my friends again.

"Hey, why don't you grab your stuff and I'll be right back?" I suggested to Hunter as I hustled up the stairs.

When I got to the room I went to the nightstand and picked up my phone. I scrolled down the contact list and hovered my thumb over Evie's name.

What could I possibly say to her? Will she be angry?

I closed my eye and pressed on her name. I could hear the phone dialing. It dialed and dialed. I got her voicemail. I hung up the phone and never tried to contact her again. I considered calling Indra, but I couldn't bring myself to.

Instead I went back downstairs and sat by Hunter. I helped him work on his Crucible homework.

"That bitch!" Hunter roared once I explained to him the needle situation. I chuckled nervously. I chuckled because his outburst was funny in a way, and nervously because his outburst scared me.

"Language! And Volume!" Mrs. Carte called from the kitchen.

"Bitch!" Too late. Old words are circling my head.

"I think...I'm going to go lie down." I said as I got up.

"Luc..." I heard Hunter call.

"I'm fine." I responded.

I trudged up the stairs.

"He's gone," I mumbled to myself, "he shouldn't be able to get to me like this."

Am I worse than I thought?

When I got into my room I grabbed my phone and earbuds and sat on my bed.

"Alright David, let's dance." I said as I plugged them in.

It's been a long time since I listened to music and relaxed. Hopefully I can still do it. I put my head back and closed my eye as the music played.

Why is someone poking me? I opened my eye. It was Layla.

I pulled out my earbuds. Be nice, Luc. "What's up?" I asked.

"We're all going outside to play! Come with us!" She lightly tugged on my head.

"Okay, okay." I put my things down and let her pull me outside.

Once we got out of the door I saw all the other kids standing in a circle.

"Good, we're all here." Wesley said once Layla and I joined them.

"What's going on?" I asked him.

"We're trying to decide on what to play." Rachel answered.

I nodded my head.

"Dodge-ball?" Wesley suggested.

"No!" The others yelled.

Wesley chuckled.

"Hide and seek?" Layla suggested.

"We always play that." Jenny said.

Layla pouted.

Rachel laughed sarcastically, "Wanna go skinny-dipping?"

This prompted me to laugh like a crazy person. I slapped my hand over my mouth and looked down.

I heard Hunter let out a small laugh.

"What's skinny-dipping?" Layla asked. That poor innocent child.

"It is..." Rachel drawled. She looked at us for help. Hunter turned his head and whistled, Wesley backed away, and I just stood there silent.

"A skin sandwich!" I shouted out.

"What?" Everyone questioned.

"Yeah," I nodded my head confidently, "it's when you take someone's skin and dip it in ranch or something and eat it." I said.

"It's disgusting so no one talks about it." I grinned.

Rachel snickered. The boys laughed too.

Eventually we came up with a crazy idea. Dangerous, even. Most definitely dangerous.

Hunter and I had Jackson's feet in our hands. Rachel and the others were gathered a few feet away. We were gonna throw him over to them to catch.

"1..." Rachel counted.

"2..."

"3!" We threw him and he flew straight. He landed in their arms and we all cheered.

We heard a loud bang. We looked at the house. The door was wide open and Mrs. Carte and Cindy were standing there fuming.

"Oh..." I sighed.

"Hey!" Mrs. Carte yelled. I looked at the others. They looked ready to run.

"What do you guys think you're doing?! Do you realize how dangerous that was?!" Cindy fussed.

She came at us with a broom. I silently panicked. She's gonna kill us.

I felt Hunter grab my wrist and run. The others were running too.

"Where are we going?" I asked as we ran.

"The woods! They won't follow us in there!" Hunter answered.

He let go of me once we got into the woods. I ended up in front of him.

"I don't know where I'm going!" I called.

My foot caught a branch hidden on the ground and I was sent flying down a hill plummeted into a stream. The weight of one of the others landed on my back and sent my face into the mud.

I quickly raised my face. "Bleh!" I spit out mud and wiped my face.

I heard Hunter laugh. I turned around and he helped me up. Great, I'm all wet.

"Sorry." He said. He was barely wet.

"You crazy kids okay?" Wesley called as he and the others appeared from the hill.

Hunter laughed again, "Come on, help us up."

Wesley and Jackson reached their hand down. Hunter grabbed onto them first. They pulled him up and he replaced Jackson. I stepped up and grabbed their hands, they pulled me up.

"Thanks guys."

"You have mud all in your hair." Rachel pointed out.

She started rubbing at the hair over my eye. I was afraid she'd knock it out of the way.

"Okay, stop!" I caught her hand and pushed her away.

"Sorry." She said.

I kind of wonder how they'll react to my eye. It's stupid. At the same time, I don't want them to take pity on me, or look at me differently.

"Can we go home now? I want to get cleaned up." I said lowly.

"Sure." Hunter answered.

On the walk back, Rachel and one of the younger boys started laughing.

"What is it?" Wesley questioned.

"Sorry," Rachel giggled, "we just couldn't stop thinking about Luc going flying." They laughed more.

"Oh yes," I rolled my eye, "laugh at my pain." Nice to know my sarcasm hasn't gone away.

Two months passed and in a way, I was better. Well, getting there.

Layla, the six year old, was adopted by a nice family. A mom and a dad.

Layla was thrilled. Everyone was sad to see her go, but happy nevertheless.

I, for one, don't want to be adopted. Who's to say my next family isn't as bad as Chet and the others? Or worse?

"Bet I can beat you home!" Hunter said.

"Bet you you can't." I responded.

"You two," Rachel scolded.

Hunter counted to three. "Go!"

We took off running, elbowing each other to get in front, and laughing like little kids.

"Ha!" I yelled when I jumped on the porch.

"I win!" I cheered.

"I let you win." Hunter rolled his eyes.

I realize we'd left Rachel behind, so I made Hunter go with me to get her.

"Aren't you chivalrous, Luc?" Rachel joked. She playfully kissed my cheek.

"Ew, Rachel germs." I teased her.

She stuck her tongue out at me.

"Come on," Hunter pushed us, "let's get inside. It's cold."

At lunch the next day, we caught some girls making something; a list. It had our names on it.

We peeked at it.

"Hunter x Jenna." I read. It had three hearts beside it.

Hunter grimaced. I laughed at him.

Nothing wrong with Jenna, she was just a bit full of herself. And ditzy.

"You're laughing, but look." Hunter poked me.

"What?!" I roared.

Why would my name be on it?

"Luc x Chloe." Hunter read.

He pat my shoulder.

"What's wrong Luc? Have other thoughts?" One of the girls asked me.

"No, I'm gay." I stated.

"Oh?" Hunter questioned. Everyone around us heard me.

Shit, did I just say that?

My anxiety shot through the roof.

The girl started erasing the girl's name from my pairing.

She added another guy's name.

"Nope! No! We're not doing this anymore! Take my name off." I fussed.

In the hallway two guys started messing with me.

"I heard a rumor you were gay. That true?" One guy asked.

"Yes?" I answered.

"The girls were making a shipping chart...it slipped out..." I muttered.

"Dunno who could love something like you. You're weird looking and a fag." The guy said as he rested his hands on the back of his head.

Guys like him are just afraid, right?

"Shut up or I'll suck your dick!" I grinned. I didn't think that would come out, but it did.

People around us covered their mouths to hide their laughs and smiles.

The guy was obviously thrown off. Once out of his stupor, he pushed me.

I lost my footing and fell.

Then I heard a yell.

"Get your hands off my buddy!!" Hunter.

I stood up. Hunter and Rachel were running at the two guys.

She jumped on a guy's back, he jumped on the other.

"Oh god." I muttered.

The guys tried to shake them off, but couldn't.

I snickered at the sight. Ah, these guys.

Then, everybody started running.

"What's it?" I asked.

"Administrator and officer!" Rachel yelled as she ran past me.

Hunter hopped off the guy's back and ran after grabbing me. (I'm a bit slow on the uptake.)

He, Rachel, and I hid under a stairwell.

Hunter poked his head from behind the stairwell.

"Okay, the coast is clear."

We came out from behind the stairwell.

"Well, that was fun." Rachel panted.

I covered my mouth and laughed.

Hunter and Rachel looked at me.

"Sorry...ha...you guys just jumping onto a guy's back without hesitation is hilarious." I giggled.

Hunter blew air and Rachel left, probably on her way to class.

On the walk home Wesley put his hand on my shoulder, "I heard Tony was messing with you after lunch. Want me to teach him a lesson?"

"No thank you, Wesley. Let's leave that to the teachers." I said politely.

Wesley snorted and booped my nose, "Fine. If you change your mind let me know."

If Wesley punched someone, I don't think they'd be okay. He's kind of muscular, but also small.

Initially -- when I first got back into the swing -- I thought Wesley was kind of a jerk. Dunno why, he just came across as hasty and blunt. He is blunt, but in a kind way.

Hunter threw his pillow at me when I entered our room.

He does that now whenever I enter. Just a way of saying hello.

I caught it and tossed it back to him.

"Hey, come help me with this." He called.

"English?" I asked.

"Yes."

"What's a better word for small?" He asked.

"Minute. Miniscule. Microscopic." I answered.

"Thanks."

Sure.

I sat on my bed.

After Hunter finished his homework, he reached under my pillow and pulled out the picture of me and my friends.

He sat beside me.

"Who're these two?" He asked curiously.

"My friends." I stated.

"Tell me about them." Hunter goaded.

I pointed, "This is Evie; Egyptian Goddess-like hyperactive beauty,"

"She actually bothered to speak to me, even though I tried to abandon her multiple times in the beginning."

"She's my best friend." I finished.

I pointed to Indra, "Indra. We met under..." I flashedback to him popping out of the water naked.

"...unexpected circumstances." I finished my thought.

"Anyway, he was like, my crush. I'd always geek out around him in the beginning. He always wore black leather and a scarf. He has a bunch of cats. And he hates to show it, but he's actually a genius."

After Hunter realized I was finished talking, he started asking questions.

"Two things: One, why did you try to abandon Evie?" He asked.

"Well...back then I was really cynical and maybe even arrogant. I didn't really want friends; didn't need them." I said.

"Then Evie came along...the rest is history." I finished.

Hunter nodded and then pointed at me.

"You're smiling," He stated.

"I can see your face. The rest of it, at least."

I shrugged.

Hunter moved and sat in front of me. "Your hair isn't a fashion statement. Is it?"

I lightly shook my head.

"So what is it?" Hunter asked.

"It's nothing." I lied.

"I mean...I'm used to it." That slipped out.

"Used to what?" He enunciated.

I sighed and shook my head. Might as well. He's a persistent son of a bitch.

I moved my hair away from my face.

Hunter's mouth opened a little. He seemed to freeze with shock. His lip quivered.

If I stared into his eyes hard enough, I could see him fitting the pieces together.

I gave a small smile.

On the inside, I kind of felt violated. A tingle of uncomfortablility. Maybe showing him was a mistake.

I nodded in acceptance and left Hunter to sort things out on his own.

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