LIE

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Chapter 18

"So if you had an itch, you couldn't feel it?" Rachel asked. She was talking about my eye.

Apparently after I knocked myself out, Wesley found me and carried me downstairs. I guess the way he carried me my eye showed.

And of course people had questions. Mrs. Carte told them to leave the topic alone, but I said it was fine. I knew it'd come out eventually, so why drag it out?

We sat on the floor in Rachel's room.

"I can't feel the entire right side of my face." I answered.

"Oh." Wesley and Rachel said.

I pushed my hair over my eye.

"You don't have to hide it anymore." Rachel stated.

"I know. I just don't want to scare the younger ones."

"Then you can just have it out around us." She said.

I shrugged. Good point.

"Hey Luc? Can I ask how that happened?" Wesley asked.

"I got into a fight with an iron." I answered.

Wesley snorted.

"Oh. You're serious." He realized.

Rachel swatted his arm. He swatted her back.

I chuckled, "You don't have to walk on eggshells around me. I don't mind comments."

"Just saying, you don't have to worry about the little ones. I think they've seen a lot worse." Wesley added.

"They've seen movies." Rachel chided.

"Alright fine." Wesley crossed his arms.

I chuckled again and pinned my hair behind my ear.

"This doesn't weird you guys out?" I asked.

"No." They said in unison.

"I think it's cool." Rachel said.

"Don't get me wrong; it sucks that that happened to you, but it's cool." She corrected.

Her saying that made me realize something for the first time.

A part of me is gone. And it's never coming back.

For once, I went to lunch. I sat with Rachel and Wesley.

With time, I eventually began to see the two -- and even though I'd never admit it, Hunter too -- as the older siblings I'd always wanted.

They treat me well, include me, help me. Care.

Rachel was tossing grapes in the air and Wesley would catch them in his mouth.

"Luc! Your turn!" She called suddenly.

I turned, "huh?"

A grape hit the bridge of my nose.

"Whoops. Sorry." She said as Wesley laughed.

"It's fine." I chuckled.

Then I laughed, and then I was crying.

"What's wrong?" Wesley asked.

"I just...used to do this kind of stuff with my friends!" I sobbed.

I reminisced throwing up in a restaurant because of a game. It was stupid, but fun.

Wesley pat my shoulder. "I think Hunter was right. You really should call them. Even if it's to tell them you're okay." He said.

"When did you last speak to them?" Rachel asked.

I wiped my tears, "Before I left Charlotte the first time."

"Shit...that's a whole 7 months at this point." Wesley said.

"I know."

"That's it! I can't stand to see you like this anymore!" Rachel slammed her hands on the table.

"After school, you are calling your friends! You're going to tell them that you're okay!" She chastised.

I nodded. Get pumped, Luc. This is happening.

I groaned loudly as my finger hovered over the call button. We sat in my room, Wesley and Rachel watched me.

"I can't!" I exclaimed and dropped my hand.

Wesley and Rachel groaned, for the third time.

"I'm scared!" I whined.

"Jeez! You're like a kid taking cough medicine!" Rachel berated.

I hung my head, "Maybe it really is too late."

I hope Evie is happy. Indra too.

"That's it! I'm doing it!" Wesley shouted.

He dove for me and my phone. We wrestled.

"Stop!" I yelled and threw my phone.

Threw it right out the window, that I forgot was open. Oops.

"Nice work, genius." Rachel scoffed.

"Yep. Broke and dead." I said after recovering my phone. It must've hit a tree.

Oh well.

"Well shit." Rachel said.

When we got back inside Mrs. Carte approached and made the others leave.

"Luc, I made some calls. Chet is accounted for." She said.

I exhaled with relief.

"Thank you." I breathed.

"You can rest easy Luc. You're safe." She assured me.

"What's up with you?" Rachel asked when she entered my room.

I sat up. She sat on Hunter's bed. I watched her run her hand over the bedding.

"Will you tell me about the other night?" She asked abruptly.

"It-" I didn't really want to.

"I don't want to talk about it."

Even though I didn't want to, I still told her something. A snippet.

"I was only a baby when I was adopted from this place. Charlotte and Narson was all I knew." I thought out loud.

Rachel just nodded.

"Ok. You don't have to talk about it. But, if something is ever bothering you or you just want to talk, I'm here." She said.

Rachel got up and left the room after I nodded.

Her saying that reminded me of Indra; always ready to help out at a moments notice.

Anyway, later on today there was a man in the living room. He was tall and young.

He stood there prim, I guess, like he was waiting for someone.

To avoid confrontation, I crawled into the kitchen. I silently opened the pantry and pulled out bread and peanut butter.

I crawled to the refrigerator and grabbed the jelly.

The plates were in a cabinet, I'd have to stand up to get it and I don't think that man left.

Instead I grabbed a paper towel and knife from the drawer.

I finally sat against the counter and started to make the sandwich.

Very quietly, I ate. You see, the problem with peanut butter is you get it stuck, and it makes that smacking sound. I was afraid I was the loudest thing in the world right then.

"Hi Brian, Jeanette wants you in there." I heard Mrs. Carte's voice.

"Ok." A deep voice sounded.

I heard them leave. As they did, I peeked over the counter.

"I guess he's adopting someone." I muttered as I finished the last corner of my sandwich.

I cleaned up my mess and scurried upstairs to my room.

Whoever they are, I hope they adopt Rachel. Or Wesley. Or any of them. They deserve a nice family.

I should go grab them.

I ran into Wesley's room and dragged him up to Rachel's room. He shouted loudly as I did. I don't blame him.

When we got to her room I almost kicked the door down.

I went in and dropped Wesley and plopped down.

Lexa and Rachel looked at us.

"What?" Lexa asked.

"Nothing!" I said with a smile and swayed slowly. Wesley groaned slowly and rolled over.

"Hey, Lexa why don't you go hang out with Jenny?" Rachel suggested as she crawled onto the floor.

"Okay." Lexa hopped off the bed and ran out.

"What's up you two?"

"Oh nothing! I just wanted to hang with my buds!" I grinned.

I wanted to be there when Mrs. Carte came.

"Okay..." Rachel drawled.

We heard footsteps approaching.

She entered the threshold of the room. Her eyes landed on me.

"Luc, can you go to your room please?" She asked.

I nodded and headed downstairs. I closed my door after entering.

My foot hit something and I heard it roll. I looked down in time to see my pen roll under the bed.

Shit.

I dropped to the floor and looked under the bed. It was so dark. If only I had my phone's flashlight.

I felt around for it. Nothing but wood.

I groaned and reached as far as my arm could go.

Rachel screamed. Not bloody murder, but a happy scream.

I smirked and felt my pen in between my fingers.

I grabbed it and pulled it out.

Rachel got adopted and I got my pen back. I like those odds.

"Excuse me?" There was a knock on my door.

A long haired brunette poked her head in before coming in. She was fairly young.

"Rachel's up there." I pointed up.

"Rachel? We're adopting a boy." She spoke sweetly and with a smile.

"Oh." I deadpanned.

"Then why did Rachel scream?" I questioned.

Then it hit me; she really is getting murdered up there!

I went ballistic, "Hang on Rachel! Luc is on the way!"

I waved my pen around like a knife and charged forward.

"Whoa!" The woman grabbed me by my shoulders and stopped me. Damn she's strong.

"Rachel is okay." She enunciated.

The man from before appeared behind the woman. "What's going on?" He asked.

"Brian!" The woman squealed excitedly. She threw her arms around him and squeezed him tightly. He smiled.

"Oh," she hopped off him.

"Did you say your name was Luc?" She asked.

"Emily did say he was the only teenaged boy with black hair, hon." Brian, I think his name was, informed her.

"Huh?" I grunted.

"Ah! Well then," she leaned forward and extended her hand out to me, "Hello Luc, my name is Jeanette Benson. This is my husband Brian! Nice to meet you!"

Confused. "Maybe I wasn't clear before, I'll say it again: huh?"

Jeanette chuckled.

"Well...we are adopting you."

And with that, I sniffed her. Brian too. Brian smelled sterile, like a hospital or doctor's office.

Jeanette smelled nice. No underlying drugs or alcohol.

"What was that for?" Brian asked as Jeanette just smiled.

"Um...uh...I-" How do I make an excuse for that?

Mrs. Carte entered the fray.

"Jeanette! Brian!" They turned to her, startled.

"Sorry, there are some things we still need to discuss." Mrs. Carte said before leaving. Brian left.

"Sorry Luc. I ran up here eager to meet you before we could finish." Jeanette chuckled nervously.

She backed out and closed the door.

A few minutes later, I heard a muffled wail. A few seconds after that, I heard someone running.

I sat down in my corner and held myself protectively.

The door flung open and Jeanette flew in and practically dove for me. She sat on my bed.

She was crying. Like, actually tears crying.

"What happened?" I asked.

Brian entered the room and sat beside Jeanette. She stared at me wide-eyed.

"Emily told us about you." Brian said. He seemed down.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I figured if I told them everything they'd understand you better." Mrs. Carte said.

She entered the room.

"I wish you'd waited, but I understand." I stated.

"Luc," Jeanette called.

I turned to her.

"If you decide to go with us, I promise here and now to never lay a hand on you or touch you unwantedly. Or touch alcohol, cause I literally hate it."

"But I'll always keep you safe." She promised.

Brian leaned forward and made eye contact with me.

"I promise as well." He said.

"And...I saw you crawling on the floor." He added.

I stood up slowly. "Uh, I'll be back."

I ran out of the room and upstairs to Rachel and Wesley.

Rachel was sitting on her bed dancing a happy jig. Wesley sat on the floor still.

"They want to adopt me." I whispered.

"I know!" Rachel hummed.

"Oh..." I trailed off.

"Didn't you hear me scream?" She asked.

"I think the entirety of Seattle heard you." I said dryly.

Wesley stood up and grabbed me.

"If you don't go with them you're stupid."

"If you know they're good then go. Trust your gut. An opportunity like this may not appear." He said.

Rachel hopped off her bed and joined us.

"He's right Luc. You should go." She agreed.

"But, they should take you." I mumbled.

"They asked for a dark haired teenaged boy," she gestured to me, "and there they have him.

"I don't want to leave you guys." I put my head on her shoulder. She wrapped her arms around me.

"You have our numbers." Wesley said as he joined the hug.

"I threw my phone out the window." I reminded them.

"I'll write our numbers down. So you can call us when you get a new one." She said.

When we broke our hug, Rachel wrote down three numbers on a piece of paper.

"Hunter's is here too." She handed it to me.

"Thanks." I smiled.

There was a knock on the door, "Luc. They need a decision." Cindy's voice said.

"Ah. Right. I'll just..." I trailed off as I backed out of the room.

I do want to give this a shot. I have to realize everyone is not bad like my family.

"Okay," I called lightly when I entered the room, "I'll go with you."

Jeanette cheered. Brian smiled and got up.

"That's great." He hugged me.

I shrieked and he let go.

"Sorry. Is that a no?" He asked.

I nodded stiffly.

"Well this is great." Jeanette said as she came over to me.

"Now I have two things to tell you: we live in Montana currently, but we're looking to move East soon. Secondly, Brian has a son. He's a little bit older than you. We didn't bring him today because he had school." She said.

"Is that okay?" She asked.

"How much older?" I asked.

"He's sixteen." Brian answered.

Oh. Not that much older at all.

I nodded my head and walked around the two.

"Can I get my things together?" I asked as I glanced at them.

"Sure." Brian said. The three of them left.

Again, I grabbed the red box, my clothes, and picture.

We stood at the door. I had already said my goodbyes to everyone.

"Luc, I've know Jeanette and Brian for a very long time. You can trust them as I do." Mrs. Carte said to me.

I nodded my head.

"If you ever need anything, call." She pulled me into a hug.

"Luc? You ready?" Jeanette called as she came onto the proch.

"It's a nine hour drive." She said and held out her hand.

Oof.

I assumed she wanted to carry my bag. Don't know why. Either way, I started to hand it to her.

"Oh?" She said.

"Huh?"

She laughed, "I was reaching for your hand! But I can carry that instead if you want."

"No it's fine!" I said and rushed to grab her hand.

She pulled me along to the car. Don't know why, but I liked holding her hand.

Jeanette opened the backdoor for me.

"Thank you." I said. I hate to admit it, but I was buzzing with energy.

"I'll put your bag in the trunk." Brian said as he walked around the car.

"O-okay." I stammered.

He took it in his hand and put it in the trunk.

"Go on, hop in." Jeanette said.

I sat down and put the box in my lap with the picture on top of it. Jeanette climbed into the car.

I looked back at the house. In a way, I hoped I'd never see this house again. Who knows what the future holds. This may just be the start of something beautiful.

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