"Don't you think you guys will drive each other crazy?" Jeanette asked when Jason told her he wanted to switch into theatre arts.
"Nah!" Jason wrapped his arm around my neck and pulled me into him. "I love him too much!"
I chuckled and slipped out of his grasp.
I heard the front door open and someone walked in.
"Dad's home!" Jason announced before running off to greet him.
I followed Jason. Feels like we haven't seen Brian in forever. He's been working a lot, so his appearances at home were scarce.
When I saw him, Jason had captured him in a bear hug. I smiled a bit.
"Hey guys." Brian greeted us.
"How's your first couple days of school been?" He asked as Jason let go of him.
Jason looked back at me, I looked at Brian.
"Cool." I answered with a hunch of my shoulders.
"Just cool?" Brian questioned. He walked over to me and gave me a "greeting" pat on the shoulder.
Brian walked past me and to the kitchen.
I could see him and Jeanette hug and kiss a little.
"Where's Alexandria?" Brian asked when they broke their hug.
"Nursery." Jeanette answered.
Brian nodded and headed upstairs.
The next day as we transitioned to third block, I had to take a leak, like all of the sudden. I couldn't wait, so I just went in and did my business. When I came out the bell rang. I tilted my head back and sighed heavily.
I went to the lockout table and got my pass. I wonder what they'll do when they find out I was late. The last time I was late, I got deformed ribs and a beatdown as punishment.
Well, the crazy guy really did it. Jason switched into fourth block theatre arts.
Of course we sat and chat up a storm. Ms. Stal gave us the period to practice our songs. I know my song by heart.
Jason and I sat at the back of the auditorium; we could see the whole class.
"You know," Jason started all confident.
I turned my head to him.
"I'm not blind. I know those are the two from that picture of yours." He said.
"Your friends." He finished.
I turned forward closed my eye for a second.
"Why are they so angry with you?" Jason asked. I opened my eye. They're angry because my life put a wedge in between us.
"I left them." I tersed.
"Don't you think you should go talk to them?" Jason asked.
I wonder if I should. Would they hear me out?
By the end of class I had worked up my courage to talk to Evie.
I walked down the steps to reach the main level of the auditorium slowly. I didn't want Evie to know that I was looking at her, so I looked from my peripheral vision. She was leaning against the wall by the stage with her bag on her shoulder. She was looking down at her phone. She was all alone. Indra was no where to be seen.
I gulped and went over to her, wringing my hands as I did.
As I walked, I could only think about how she must've felt. I was right; they really did think I was dead or in trouble. Maybe I really should've called them. You can always make several calls at different times.
"Evie." I called lowly. Surprisingly, she heard me; the other students were kind of loud.
She raised her head and her eyes met mine. I saw her eyebrow twitch slightly.
"Can we talk?" I asked.
Evie got off the wall. Her jaw clenched.
"No. I have nothing more to say to you." She said harshly.
The bell rang and everyone began to leave.
"You won't stay around even if I wanted to speak to you." Evie spat before leaving.
I just stood there. Staring at bleakly at the bleak wall.
"That go as you planned?" Jason's voice asked from behind.
I leaned forward and put my forehead against the wall. Face palming was not enough.
"I'm a failure, Alexandria." Once again, I was in the nursery sitting in the rocking chair and holding her whilst talking -- complaining.
"I need to be more assertive." I stated.
I'll make them listen.
"Hey Luc." Brian called. I jumped up from my bed, I had put Alexandria down for a nap and stayed in my room for the next few hours.
"Hi." I said.
"I got a call; why were you late to class?" Brian asked. I tensed up.
"Oh uh, I had to use the bathroom." I answered.
"Really? They count you late for that?" He questioned. I nodded.
"Well, manage your time wisely next time. Or go when your next class starts." Brian suggested.
I caught him before he left, "Wait, you're not mad?" I held my breath.
He looked back at me. "No...why?"
I chuckled nervously. "Oh no reason." Good. No raged reaction. Brian left and closed the door behind him.
I sank to the floor and exhaled. They don't get mad about that?
As we sat down in theatre arts goosebumps popped up. Everyone was so nervous, you could feel their's plus your own.
"So!" Jason started, as happy as ever. "What song did you choose?"
I let out a curt laugh. "You'll see." I doubt he'd know the song, that anybody would know the song, but we'll see. Actually, I don't care who knows it, I just need them to hear the words.
"Alright!" Ms. Stal's voice echoed as she walked down to the front of the auditorium.
"Let's get started. Hope you're ready!" She said.
"Remember, everyone can sing, it doesn't matter if you feel like you can't do well. Feel free to let loose! Show us your singing talent!"
"Who wants to go first?" She asked. I always pitied the poor bastard who had to go first
A girl's hand shot up. "I will!"
"Good luck." Ms. Stal said as she went to sit down. The girl got up and happily stepped onto the stage. I feel like I'm going to cringe a few good times.
After a couple people volunteered after the first girl, no one else volunteered, which prompted Ms. Stal to choose. Only a matter of time.
Ms. Stal was looking at her laptop, deciding on who to pick.
I made quiet crying-like noises. Jason reached over and ruffled my hair. "There, there."
I calmed down just a little bit.
"Jason Benson!" Ms. Stal called loudly. We jumped a little.
"Okay." Jason said as he got up. I leaned forward and grabbed his wrist.
"Hey! Don't scream." I said, hushed.
Jason slipped out of my grip. "Not lil' old me!" He said innocently as he walked towards the stage.
I whimpered to myself.
Jason climbed his happy-go-lucky self onto the stage. He sang, didn't scream, thank god. When he was done he excused himself to the bathroom.
Ms. Stal asked if anyone wanted to volunteer before she picked someone.
I gritted my teeth.
My hand flew up, "I will!"
"Alright Luc. Get up there." Ms. Stal said.
I got up and eased on up there.
While I walked, I kept thinking "why did I do that?" But I knew why. I had a message to convey. I just didn't know why.
I stepped onto the stage. I looked to the side and saw a chair.
I pointed, "Can I grab that chair?" I felt like I'd collapse if I didn't sit down.
"Sure." Ms. Stal answered.
I walked off and picked up the chair and put it at the center of the stage. I sat down stiffly.
I was silent. The auditorium was silent.
Come on, Jason could do this you can too.
"Whenever you're ready dude." A guy said. Shut up.
I could puke. I gulped and cleared my throat.
"...you don't know me, you don't know who I am. Don't count me out so fast."
While I sang, my mind flashed to some of the attacks. I remember the smell of burning skin, the singe of words being burned into my back. I remember, the sound of my ribs being pushed in. I remember being torn apart, being taken. Losing all confidence. Chet. Always wanted to bring me down, keep me under his boot. But look at me now. I survived him. I got out!
Now it's time for me to be heard. I got too into it and made a few movements.
A few people were nodding in support as they clapped. "Nice octave range." Ms. Stal said. I bowed a quick thank you.
I stood up and calmly stepped off the stage. When I got to the back, I ran out.
When I turned the corner Jason was there standing by the wall. He held out his arm and caught me by my waist.
"Nope! No more running!" He stated. He practically carried me back into the auditorium.
I swatted his back as he put me down in a seat. He sat down. I pouted slightly.
Eventually everyone -- Indra and Evie included -- went up and sang. Some put in effort, some didn't. Jason was praising me left and right.
"You are such a good singer. I didn't know that." He stated.
"What else are you hiding?" He joked. I laughed.
"But damn, that was a good song choice! It seems like you got everything off your chest without saying anything about your past."
"Maybe. But it's for nothing if I can't make them listen." I mumbled under my breath.
"For some of you, all I'm going to say is; I hope it gets better." Ms. Stal said.
"Ms. Stal, we should do this every now and again!" A girl blurted out.
Ms. Stal turned to the girl, interest piqued. "Really?"
"Yeah. You were right, it's a way for people to get something off their chest subtly. People don't really check up on others these days, so it'd be good to use this as a way of checking up on the others without intruding." The girl said.
Majority of the class agreed.
"Well, okay." Ms. Stal gave in.
The girl cheered a little while I rolled my eye. You're telling me I have to do this shit over and over? Shit.
Jason grabbed onto my shoulders and shook me a little.
"Haha! I get to see you singing once again!" He said so only the two of us could hear it. I rubbed my face and chuckled.
When Ms. Stal gave us free time I skee-weed off to the bathroom. I exhaled with relief as I relieved myself. When I was done and washed my hands I walked out.
"You were right," Indra's voice said from behind. I stopped but didn't turn to face him.
"We don't know who you are." I nodded in agreement and went back to class.
By the end of class, Jason and I were standing in the back wrestling. Not wrestling, but just messing around.
"Payback!" I shouted.
I grabbed him by the neck and pulled him down into a headlock. I laughed in triumph as Jason tapped out. I let go of him.
"Haha! I win!" I cackled.
"What did I win?" I questioned lowly.
Jason rolled his eyes sarcastically. "Moron."
He walked in front of me and gave me a quick jab to the stomach then walked away like nothing happened.
All the air left me as I doubled over and my stomach was burning. I've had the wind knocked out of me many times before, but it's still uncomfortable.
"Bastard." I choked out.
Jason turned his head to me and laughed cockily.
"Hey!" Ms. Stal's voice called.
"Did he just punch you?" She questioned.
"There is no fighting allowed." She said to Jason.
I glared at her. "Butt out."
Ms. Stal, along with a few other students, including Indra and Evie, snapped their heads to me.
"What did you say?" Ms. Stal questioned.
I opened my mouth to speak, but Jason jumped on me.
"He's just having a bad day!" He lied for me with a big smile.
He grabbed my hand, I cried out when he began to run.
We burst through the auditorium doors and ran out the school and stood by the front.
I was bent down with my hands on my knees, out of breath.
"Why did you do that?" I panted.
"Me? What was that?!" Jason questioned as he pointed behind him.
"Since when do you talk to teachers like that?" He fussed.
I hunched my shoulders and stood up after catching my breath.
"What do you mean you don't know?" He asked.
"Wait..." He cut himself off.
"Luc, are you a misogynist?" Jason asked with a nearly-scolding look.
"Wha- No!" I answered. Seriously man? That hurt.
The bell rang and the afternoon announcement started.
"Why did you ask me that?!"
"Because I've never seen you talk to a woman like that. Let alone a teacher." Jason responded.
I crossed my arms defensively. "And that makes me a misogynist?"
Students piled out of the doors and sat down on benches, talking to their friends.
"I just didn't like her getting in our business." I explained.
Jason stayed silent for a second.
"Fine. Sorry." He said.
I shook my head at him. Over his right shoulder I saw Evie and Indra exit the doors.
Indra glanced at me quickly. I could go insane with the desire to tell them how wrong they are.
Once we got home, mom tasked me with unloading the dishwasher. She and Alexandria went out. Luc sat at the counter writing something in his notebook.
We weren't talking. I kind of felt bad for what I asked him. To me, Luc didn't seem to care anymore, but I guess he has a good poker face. He seemed focused on what he was doing.
I was putting up silverware and dishes at the same time. Just wanted to speed up the process. I grabbed a stack of plates and held them in my hands. Jeez, why do they have to be so heavy?
I backed up, trying to get to the cabinet. My lower back hit the corner of the drawer that I had left open. "Ow." All I heard was multiple clatters and shatters.
I looked down. Porcelain all over the floor. Shit. I turned to Luc. "Hehe...you wanna help me?"
"What's wrong?" I asked him.
He was looking up from his notebook, just staring ahead with a fixed expression. His eye became dark as his pupil dilated.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
Luc got up and over cautiously walked out of the kitchen.
"What the hell was that?"
After that, Luc stopped showing up to class. Not like him at all. I was kind of worried. He had been scarce at home too, and acting weird. I think I should talk to him.