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Chapter 24


I sat down beside Jason on his bed. I waited until the school day was over to go talk to him.

"I'm sorry I yelled at you. And said mean stuff." I said.

"I forgive you. were right. I should've told someone about Mike. I just thought I could take it." Jason said.

I shook my head. "If someone is hurting you you shouldn't just "take" it. That's how you end up getting walked all over."

I kind of rocked back and forth. "So, that's that."

"Hey Luc," Jason called. "Are you okay?"

"You said you hated that; fighting. And what you just said, I can't help but feel you were speaking from experience." He claimed.

I nodded my head a little. Of course, I only knew "how to fight" because of Chet. I just mimicked some of the things he did to me.

"What did you mean by that?"

I got off the bed and turned to him.

"Jason, I-" I cut myself off.

I tucked my hands under my arms and rocked back and forth. I just couldn't get the words out.

"I...I came from an abusive household." I blurted out. No taking that back.

Jason's face contorted to shock.

"Um..." I stammered. "I was beaten almost daily."

I was shaking a lot. More than normal.

"So, that's why I...hate violence...fighting..." I explained.

I put my hand over my right eye. "It's how I lost my eye."

Jason stared at me intently. I hope to god I didn't scare him.

Please say something!

I covered my mouth and squeezed my cheeks slightly. His silence was killing me.

"Luc, sit down." He finally spoke.

I moved and sat beside him.

"I'm glad you told me. It helps me understand you a little better. And I want you to know that you're safe here." Jason said.

I looked away from him.

"I'm going to my room."

I sat in the middle of my bed. I broke down crying. I covered my face. I was guilty.

I keep messing up. They give me their everything and all I can do is crap on them! They're going to throw me away!

At this point I was paranoid. What's going to happen to us? What's going to happen to me?

I wonder if we'll get in trouble with Jeanette and Brian again.

I got hungry after a while. I went downstairs and into the kitchen. I froze when I saw Jeanette and Brian come in through the door.

Jeanette didn't look the happiest.

"Hi." I greeted them.

Jeanette sighed and smiled a little when she saw me. "Hi Luc."

"I am so sorry." I said to both of them. I was kind of being a dick to Brian. He didn't deserve that.

"You're fine, Luc." Brian said.

"I'm going to check on Jason. You okay?" He asked me.

I nodded.

Brian left the room.

"Will you tell me what happened?" Jeanette asked. She gave me a pleading look.

I sat at the counter. Jeanette stood at the opposite end.

"Well...I guess you could say it really did start in the classroom," I admitted.

I lowered my head. My hands were shaking a bit. Would she believe me? Was it justified? Or did I go overboard? I looked up at Jeanette.

"This guy, Mike, was messing with Jason in class. Saying mean stuff,"

"Eventually I jumped in to Jason's defense, but I got kicked out for it and sent to the office." I explained. Jeanette just listened carefully.

"When I came out I went to Jason. I saw him and Mike by the lockers. Mike punched Jason and grabbed onto him."

"Once it became clear he was going to do it again, I acted. I punched him."

"Mike charged at me and the fight escalated from there." I finished.

Jeanette nodded her head.

"I'm glad you defended Jason," I feel a 'but' coming.

"I have to agree with Brian. There were plenty of other ways to take care of the issue." She spoke. I nodded my head and held it low.

I thought about Dex. Then Jason. Then Evie and Indra. I felt guilty for making new friends while my old friends are back home probably thinking I'm dead. I have to...

"Luc? Are you okay?" I heard Jeanette ask.

"I'm so sorry..." My voice shook, I wasn't in the right frame of mind. I clenched the sides of my head.

The plan!

"I have to go..."

"Luc." Jeanette called. She put her hand on my shoulder, snapping me back to reality. I looked up at her.

"What?" I breathed.

"Go where? You have to go where?" She questioned.

" where." I lied.

"Um, do you mind if I go lay down?" I asked.

Jeanette raised up. "Sure. Go ahead."

I left the kitchen and rushed upstairs. I sat on my bed and curled up against the headboard.

The fight kept playing in my head over and over. I became paranoid again.

I'd do it again, to defend one of them, but I hate it. Does this push me into becoming more like Chet? Will I become him?

I hit myself on the head. No. No. I won't become him. What he did was different. What I did today was justified. And it's never going to happen again.

I looked at the nightstand, at the headband. Now that I think about it, Chet was a big coward. Rather than taking the time to listen, he'd attack.

Well, I'm not a coward!

When morning came around my alarm went off. I forgot to turn it off last night. I groaned and dismissed it, then pulled my covers over my head. I can not believe we have to stay home for the rest of the week. This some bullshit.


Can't believe I forgot to turn off my alarm. Guess I should take this opportunity to catch up on some sleep. This sucks though. We have to stay out of school just for a fight? Where's the logic?

When I walked into the kitchen Mom and Dad were there fixing their lunch. They were about to leave for work.

"Morning Jason." Mom said.

I was curious, but I was afraid of the answer. I heard Luc coming down the stairs.

"Are you guys mad at me? Us?" I asked.

"We're only mad at the fact you didn't tell anyone about that boy bullying you sooner." Mom said. I told them what was going on between me and Mike last night.

Dad hadn't spoken yet. I wanted to know what he was thinking.

"Why didn't you say anything?" Mom asked.

I hunched my shoulders. "I thought I could handle it on my own."

"You can't let people treat you any kind of way. They'll just walk all over you." Mom responded.

"That's what I told him." Luc's voice said. He sounded far away. I heard him enter the kitchen. Mom and Dad looked at him.

"But, I guess if it came from you guys he'd take it seriously."

I took what he said seriously too.

"I took what you said seriously!" I turned around to him. We both jumped a little and my stomach churned.

Luc had his hair tied up and his bangs pinned behind his ear. I couldn't help but stare at his eye for a second.

It was a large and rigid burn scar covering the right side of his face, his eye was sealed shut.

I wonder how that happened.

"I came from an abusive household." His voice rang in my head.

"Oh," I accidentally said out loud.

I turned around.

Mom sighed.

"We have to go." Dad finally spoke.

I looked at him. "Dad?" I wanted him to say something to me. I know we spoke last night, but still.

"Jason, Luc," he called. "Stay out of trouble and don't leave the house." He ordered.

"So I can't go see Dex?" Luc asked, disappointed.

"We can discuss that later, just stay here." Dad responded.

Why won't he let him see Dex?

Mom came over to me and kissed the side of my head. She went over to Luc and pat his shoulder.

"Bye boys." She said. They left.

"This isn't your fault." Luc stated.

I turned to him. "Why do you say that?"

"Because I blamed you yesterday. And just in case you started to feel like it was your fault." He answered.

"But we practically jumped the guy." I countered.

"We each made our choice."

I raised an eyebrow. What is that supposed to mean?

Luc walked around me and headed over to the pantry, taking a cereal box out.

"You want some?" He asked.

I hunched my shoulders. "Sure."

He grabbed two bowls, set them on the counter and poured the cereal in. I grabbed spoons while he grabbed the milk. I watched Luc. He was very coordinated for a guy with one eye. I wanted to pick his brain.

When we sat down to eat, I stared at Luc.

"Hey Luc? Can ask how you lost your eye again?" I asked.


I nodded.

"I'm bored." I stated after I finished eating.

Luc ignored me. He cleaned his space and left the kitchen.


I leaned out the window and rested my chin in my hand.

"This reminds me of the balcony scene." I stated.

"Romeo and Juliet?" Dex questioned.

"Yes." I responded.

Since I couldn't go to him, he came to me. His mother didn't mind what he did.

"Guess this makes you Juliet." Dex joked and sat on the grass.

I snickered. "Non! I am...Julio!" I announced.

Dex laughed.

"So, were you guys able to fix Jason's window?" He asked.

"Eventually." I answered. When I was hanging out the window my eye showed and Dex saw it. So I didn't hide my eye while he was here. It was kind of like an unspoken thing between us.


"So what's going on with you?" I asked.


"You seem more relaxed."

"Oh. Eh." He held up his hands, "It's only morning."


Dex snickered. "What?"

"Shallow cunt!" He burst out laughing.

I rolled my eye. Not my proudest moment, but eh. I held back a laugh.

"I'm going home. I wanna go to sleep." Dex stated.

"Forgot to turn off your alarm?" I asked.

He nodded and yawned.

I chuckled. "Same."

"See ya!" Dex waved and left.

"Bye." I said quietly.

I closed the window. I need sleep. I dove for my bed and slipped under the covers.


Darkness. So peaceful. Sleep without dreams.

Eventually there was an image. A bloody gun. It dropped into water and sank slowly. What's it mean?

Stay away from me gun.

Later in the day I sat in the living room watching TV. I just left the channel on the news. I wasn't entirely paying attention.

I looked up when it mentioned a video going viral. Hm. Something happened in Charlotte. Consider my interest piqued.

They warned that the video was graphic.


It showed a bridge. Someone was recording from their car.

A man ran across the bridge to the other side. He climbed over the side and held on for a second.

He looked back.


He let go and dropped. I screamed loudly and covered my face.

I heard someone running. I scrambled for the remote and turned off the TV.

Brian slid into the room. "What's wrong?!"

"I-I-" I stuttered. I was shaking like crazy! Winn killed himself! He's dead!

Everything felt still. This can't be happening. It's not real. He can't be dead...

"Luc." Brian called. I put my hand on my chest and tried to calm my breathing. My heart was beating a million times at once.

"My foster brother killed himself!" I screeched.

Brian eyes widened in shock before he sat down beside me. "You're okay. Breathe." He tried to calm me down.

It helped a little. My breathing returned to normal and my heart slowed down. The shaking didn't stop. I exhaled slowly.

"What happened?" He asked, visibly concerned.

I need more information. I got up and left before he could say anything.

I ran upstairs and went into my room and snatched my phone.

I looked up Winn. I sat against my bed. He's really gone.

Information was available; date of the funeral, where, what time.

It's in a couple days at two. I'm going.

At night I went to Jeanette when she was alone.

"I need to ask a favor..." I stated lowly.

Jeanette sat up and looked at me.

"What is it?" She asked sweetly. I always enjoyed her sweet tone; always sounded silky.

"Um...can we go to Charlotte?" I asked, fidgeting.

Jeanette cringed slightly.

"Why?" She drawled. She chuckled a little.

" former brother...passed away."

I had an ulterior motive for going, but we won't talk about that.

"Oh god..." Jeanette muttered.

"I'm so sorry." She said.

I shook my head slightly, "I just want to go to be courteous."

"Okay. We can go." Jeanette said.

"Really?" Just like that? It's a seventeen hour drive.

"Yes. How do you feel about flying?"

I practically screamed when we landed. Jeanette rubbed the back off my hand to calm me down. I. Do. Not. Like. Flying.

We had left early this morning. Jeanette was all for being early, even though the funeral was tomorrow.

"Back home... I should drop by the school." I suggested to myself.

"You say something, Luc?" Jeanette questioned.

"No." I lied.

Someone from a car rental place dropped off a car for us. New car smell!

"You hungry? Or would you like to go to the hotel first?" Jeanette asked as she turned the car on and held the steering wheel.

I looked at Jeanette, her stomach. Does being pregnant make you tired all the time?

"Well, which works best for you?" I responded with a smile.

Jeanette paused.

"Well, since we're already out we might as well grab a quick bite." Good thinking.

I nodded in agreement.

We stopped at a small restaurant. We sat at a small table and ate.

"Hey Luc?" Jeanette called.

I quickly swallowed my drink and spoke quickly. "Yes?"

"Why did you ask me to take you to the funeral instead of Brian? Don't get me wrong; I'm happy you asked me, but I can't help but feel you're holding something back." She spoke.

Yes. I was holding something back. Two things, I think.

"I didn't ask Brian because I wagered my former father would be there. You know, with his son dying and all." I started.

"I know Brian is a bit passionate, so I didn't know how he'd react if he saw my former father." I explained.

I had a plan in mind. We wouldn't see any of them, and they won't see us.


"Move it!" I yelled as I ran through the packed hallway.

"Pardon me!" I pushed through the people.

People either moved or faced the wrath a running girl -- with a body slam.

"Indra!" I called as he came into sight.

He saw me and panicked slightly. I stopped abruptly in front of him.

"You forget something?" He asked.

"Look!" I held up my phone to him.

He examined the article I had pulled up. It was an article about Luc's older brother -- he died suddenly.

After all this time, we still don't know what happened to the family. All we know is this; Mr. Narson was hurt, and Luc and the rest disappeared.

"Okay..." Indra drawled. I lowered my phone. It was clear he wasn't catching the point.

"The funeral. We should go." I stated.


"To pay our respects! We knew him!"

"Yes. But you just want to see if Luc will be there." Indra stated.

"Of course! I want answers! And I know you do too!" I argued.


"It said the funeral is tomorrow, we have school."

I scoffed. "School will always be here, Luc won't."

"That's if he comes."

"We won't know unless we go." I countered.

Indra nodded in agreement. "Ok."


Why are news vans here? Was Winn's death that big?

I looked towards the funeral. There was a medium sized group of people dressed in black surrounding a long brown casket.

Out of the group I could pick out Monique and Izzy. Chet was there, but he was on the other side of the casket.

The family's all here.

Jeanette and I stood way back. We were almost in the trees surrounding the cemetery.

For a second I contemplated going up there and be like "I lived bitch," but this isn't about me.

I looked to the side and saw two people walking up to the group. Evie and Indra. My friends.

"Hm..." I pondered.

Once the funeral was over, people began to walk away. Not Monique and Izzy. Izzy ran a gloved hand over the casket lid. I almost forgot, I'm not the only one with an unsightly scar.

You know, I really don't care that he's dead. In fact, I'd be jumping for joy if I was alone. I think the world will be a lot better. How morbid is that?

I glanced at Chet as he was taken away. The world would be better without him too. I can't help but feel that I've won. I smiled in triumph.

I looked back at the casket. I saw Monique and Izzy hug, and then part ways.

Evie and Indra were still standing there. I saw Evie hang her head. Indra put his hand on her shoulder.

I started walking, but then stopped.

This isn't right. I can't just drop back into their lives like this and then leave again.

I shook my head and went back to Jeanette.

"You know, Charlotte is a nice place." Jeanette stated as we drove to the hotel.

I nodded, "I know a nice place we could move to."

I chuckled. Like that'll happen.

"Maybe." Jeanette said.

"Luc, who were those people you were walking towards?" Jeanette asked suddenly.

"A boy and a girl." She clarified.

"No one." I lied and looked away from her.

"I saw how you were looking at them Luc. Were they your friends?"

I decided not to lie, I don't want to be that person with her. Or any of them.

"My bestest." I answered.

"So why didn't you go to them?" Jeanette asked.

I groaned lowly.

"I-" I cut myself off.

"I left so long ago. I was so messed up I couldn't call them or anything." I said.

"I only came back just now. I'd drop into their lives so suddenly and then have to leave almost immediately."

"And I know they'd have questions I couldn't answer. To be honest with you I'm scared. I don't know how they'll look at me."

I looked at Jeanette. She looked a little puzzled.

"I know it doesn't make sense." I started rambling.

Jeanette raised her hand to calm me down.

"No, it does. A little."

"So, you never saw your friends?" She asked.

"I didn't even get to say goodbye." I sighed.

"Wow." Jeanette gasped.

"Okay. We're moving to Charlotte." She said suddenly.


"We're moving to Charlotte." She repeated.

"Don't tell Brian, but..." She cringed. "I really hate Kansas."

I snickered.

"If we move I guess I'll be forcing you to leave Dex." Jeanette muttered.

"We can always text." I said.

Sure, I'd be sad to leave him, but I know he'll be fine.

I shouldn't have come. I only hurt myself today.

When we got home, I didn't tell Jason about the plan to move to Charlotte. Jeanette was dead set on it. She wanted to talk to Brian before saying anything to Jason.

Jason asked me why I went to Charlotte. I didn't tell him anything.

Within the next few days, the school confirmed that Mike was bullying Jason. So the three musketeers got off scott-free!

I snickered to myself as we sat outside the school's office.

"What?" Jason asked.

As soon as I opened my mouth I started laughing.

Jason and Dex questioned me as I did.

"Guys," I wheezed. "We beat a guy up and got away with it!" I cackled and held my stomach.

I saw Jason shake his head and smile as he tried to hide his laugh.

Dex joined me with his laughter. People passing by gave us strange looks. Could you really blame them though? To them it just looks like three guys laughing for no reason.

Mike and his dad came out of the office, we immediately stopped laughing. Mike looked upset, and his dad looked furious.

"Stay here. I'm going to get the car." Mike's dad ordered.

Dex had a grin on his face. He got up and started walking over to Mike.

"What are you doing?" I whispered.

He ignored me and stood in front of Mike.

"You gon' pick that up?" Dex pointed at the floor.

Mike looked down and then back at Dex. "Pick what up?"

"Your bottom jaw." He laughed. Jason burst out laughing.

"Dex." I called as I ran up and grabbed him. We walked away and Jason followed us.

After a while of being home, Jeanette made an announcement.

"It's settled! We're going to Mom's for Thanksgiving." She said.

"Yes!" Jason cheered.

There is just one thing I did not think about; their family.

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