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Chapter 17


"Why not just call them?" Hunter asked.

The day after...everything, he was all over me.

"At least let them know you're okay." He said.

"I can't. I'll get caught up in a conversation. It's been too long. They've probably moved on." I replied.

Hunter sighed after giving up on saying something.

A few days later, Hunter damn near kicked down the door.

"What now?" I questioned.

"I'm getting adopted!" He screamed.

"Huh?!" I hopped off my bed.

"Really?" I asked.

"Yeah!" He was grinning ear to ear.

He jumped on me and hugged me.

"I'm getting adopted!" He sobbed.

First time for him.

Hunter fixed himself up and tugged on my arms.

"Come meet them!"

He pulled me downstairs and into Mrs. Carte's office.

There were two new people there. A man and woman.

They looked nice enough, but I know looks can be deceiving.

So..... I went over to the man. I looked him in the eyes. Leaned forward, and sniffed him.

"Luc!" Mrs. Carte shouted.

He doesn't smell like alcohol. Or cigarettes. Or any other drug. These can go past an untrained nose.

I turned to Hunter with a large smile and thumbs up.

Then I went towards the woman and sniffed her too.

"Hey!" The guy yelled and grabbed me. He threw me back to Hunter.

"Luc! What has gotten into you?" Mrs. Carte fussed.

The woman smelled like perfume and strawberries. They're clean.

"Nothing. Just making sure they're cool." I answered.

"What does that mean?" The man asked with a warning tone.

"This," I showed a little part of my eye, just enough for them to see.

The two gasped a little.

"I just want to make sure my friend isn't going to a home where he'll be hurt." I said as I moved my hair back into place.

"Oh no, we'd never lay a hand on him." The woman said.

"Listen, kid-" The man started.

"Luc." Mrs. Carte interjected.

"Luc," he corrected himself.

"I promise that we won't hurt him in any way." He swore.

I nodded my head.

"Okay." Hunter drawled.

I chuckled nervously and pat his shoulders.

"Hunter, you should get ready." Mrs. Carte said.

He nodded and walked out.

"Go help him Luc." She said.

I followed Hunter into the room and helped him pack.

"It's strange," he pondered after we finished.

"I've lived in this home my entire life. It almost hurts to leave you all."

Where is everyone?

"Everyone is kind of sulking. I don't blame them." He said. Almost as if he read my mind.

"They're losing their ring leader." I stated.

Hunter hunched his shoulders.

"Rachel's most upset. Will you check on her?" He asked.

I nodded.

"Hunter!" We heard Mrs. Carte call.

We stood up.

Hunter smacked my arm. "Don't worry. You can always text me."

I nodded.

And so he was gone. My first friend in this place.

This room is going to get lonely quickly.

A couple days after Hunter left, I went to Rachel.

I knocked on her door. She hadn't come out since.

"Rachel? Can I come in?" I asked.

There was no answer, so I went in anyway.

She was sitting on her window sill looking out.

"Hey." I called.

I sat against the wall beside her.

"He was my best friend." Was all she said.

I reached up and rubbed her leg. I got up and left the room.

Wesley was sitting on the stairs.

"You okay?" I asked.

"I'll be fine." He answered.

Everything carried on. We went to school, came home. Repeat.

Thankfully, time and time again I never came home to a freakfest.

I miss my friends.

Courage. I need the courage to call Evie. I held my phone tightly and shook furiously as I tried to move myself.

A thought popped in my head: "Call Hunter!"

So I did.

We talked about how everyone was doing, how he was doing in the new family, and he swore left and right his family wasn't hurting him.

After we hung up I threw my phone on the bed.

"I procrastinated on Evie!" I said maniacally.

Now I have to work up my courage again.

At dinner, I sat at the counter with Jenny. The others were in the living room, Wesley was flipping through channels.

"Slow down Wesley! You can barely see what's on!" Rachel complained.

"Fine." He said.

He started going mercilessly slow. I snickered mentally.

"...escaped from Buckingham Correctional Center..." A news reporter said.

My lungs gave out. Chet.

"Ooh, a prison break." Wesley said.

"I wonder if he did it like Dufresne." He chuckled.

Rachel scoffed.

"The prisoner has not been named...guards estimate a twenty-four hour headstart on the prisoner..."

My breath hitched, "Turn it off..." I gasped. It was so quiet, no one heard me.

I couldn't stop staring at my plate.

The story kept going on, I kept panicking.

"Luc? Are you okay?" Cindy asked once she noticed me.

I coughed and threw up.

Cindy exclaimed. Oh god.

I hopped out of my seat just as Mrs. Carte walked in.

"What's going on?" She asked.

Without thinking about it I answered, paranoid.

"He broke out!" I screeched at her.

I ran past her and upstairs.

When I got to my room, I tripped and hit my head on the foot of the bed. I knocked myself out on the footboard.

A couple weeks after I left Charlotte, we had to go back once Chet recovered. A few days before the court case, Winn found me and we got to talking.

"You know, you can tell them what I did or not." He said.

"Either way, I'm still dead."

He had a point. I had a decision to make: send him to his death as an imprisoned man or a free one.

"I remember..." I said to him.

"I remember the boy who used to rock me to sleep during storms because his parents were too high to do anything."

"I don't know what happened to him. When did he become so warped?"

My forehead is freezing.

"Luc?" I heard faintly.

When I opened my eye, it was faded black at first. Eventually it cleared up.

Mrs. Carte and Cindy were leaning over me. I was on the couch downstairs. Mrs. Carte held an ice-pack on my head.

"Are you okay?" She asked.

I looked around. It was only the three of us.

"I guess." I sighed.

"He had a panic attack when he heard about a prison break."

I threw up too. I covered my face in embarrassment.

"Well, given his reaction, I can only assume it was Buckingham." Mrs. Carte stated.

"That's the one!" Cindy confirmed.

"Oh Luc, I'm so sorry." Mrs. Carte said quietly.

"I'll make some calls. See if I can figure out who it was for certain." She said.

I nodded my head and she walked out.

"Luc, why don't you go lie down?" Cindy suggested.

"I have to clean up my mess." I said.

"I did that a few minutes ago." Cindy replied.

"I'm sorry." I muttered. I hate when I do something wrong and someone else mends it.

"Don't worry about it." She said.

She helped me to my feet and walked me upstairs.

"That head injury wasn't too serious, thankfully. But take it easy." Cindy said once I sat on my bed.

I nodded. "Thank you."

This time, I contemplated calling Indra. Again, I didn't.

I miss them, but I'm not doing anything to remedy it. What's wrong with me?

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