When Luc returned, it was like seeing a ghost. He came back with a rough exterior. His hair had grown out just to his shoulders, he covered the right side of his face with it, and he wore somewhat baggy clothing. I barely recognized him, even when he got in front of the class and said he'd just moved here.
There was this new boy he was hanging around with, or the boy was hanging around him. Whoever he was, they seemed close.
"I keep thinking I should sit on top of him and beat the truth out of him." I thought to myself after the theatre arts mishap.
I didn't care about my actions. I didn't care about what I did.
When I decided to go to classes, everything blew up in my face.
I tried to sneak into class, but the teacher caught me.
"Nice of you to finally join us." I looked around. Everyone was sitting at their desks all focused. Evie said Indra were there too.
"You have fifteen minutes to complete your midterm." She said.
My eye widened.
"Midterm?" I whimpered.
People began to turn and look at me.
"But I didn't study..." I stated lowly.
"I studied," A voice said. "And I don't even go to this school." Dex said as he turned his head to me.
The teacher scoffed. I looked at her.
"Think you're normal?" She questioned.
"Your face looks like it got shredded by a tire." Evie said.
I looked at her with embarrassment as I scrambled to cover my face.
"How could I ever love someone with a face like yours?" Indra asked. Don't say that!
"But..." My voice cracked.
My eyebrow twitched. I opened my eye.
"Hey Luc." A voice called.
"I was gonna study, I swear!" I gasped.
"O...kay." The voice said.
I looked around. Oh right, I fell asleep behind the trailers.
A day later and they're already hunting me down. I chuckled condescendingly.
"What's so funny?" Evie asked harshly.
"You guys hunting me down again."
"We didn't have to come here." She stated.
I tilted my head. "Why did you come here?"
They both paused. "You punched Indra."
"Why?" She asked. Indra wasn't speaking. He hadn't really spoken to me at all.
"I already told you." I stood up and shook my legs out.
"A new leaf." Evie repeated. "That doesn't make any sense."
"It would if you had been paying attention." I replied.
You were always so wrong Evie. Just so wrong. You assume too much about people.
"You..." Evie seethed.
She shook off her anger with one shake of the head.
"Why do you look like that?" She asked, pointing at me.
"I barely recognized you." She stated.
I held up my hands. "Guess I let myself go." I hid myself away, became too protective.
"What happened to you, Luc?"
I shook my head. I didn't know what to say.
"Say," I started, "what block are we in?"
"Lunch." Indra answered.
I turned to the side. "I'll go to theatre arts today. Perhaps you'll learn something there." Since Ms. Stal makes us talk about ourselves. That's if she's doing that today.
Oh, I'm going to tell them everything. Just on my own time and how I want to.
When I got to the auditorium doors, there was a sign on it. "Theatre Arts class go to dance room." There's a dance room? Where?
"Aw man," A voice groaned.
I looked to the side. He's in the class too, I just vaguely remember him.
"Where's the dance room?" I asked.
"Down this way." He responded.
I can not believe where he took me. My old theatre arts room.
"Hold on, if this is the dance room where's Mr. D?" I asked as we entered. Yes, we were late, but Ms. Stal didn't care much for sending people to get a late pass.
"I don't know. I didn't have him." The guy said. He walked off.
There were tables lined up in rows. Oh good, actual seats. I saw Jason sitting near the back. I sat down beside him.
"Finally deciding to come to class?" He said.
I shrugged him off.
"Why are we in here?" I asked after looking around.
"Think it's because the dance class needed extra space. Or something like that." Jason answered.
Ok. But why is the dance room in Mr. D's room?
"...continue where we left off from last class." Ms. Stal's voice said from the front of the room. I was kind of hoping I'd drop back in when they were starting a new assignment, but nope.
I pulled out my phone and started texting Jason.
"What happened last class?"
Jason pulled out his phone and strarted to type. "A whole ordeal."
"Before that class everyone was on edge, because they more or less scared of everyone else and eventually flipped out. Ms. Stal thinks we'd all work better together if everyone knew each other better, so she has us all telling our background really."
"You aren't going to be forced into saying anything you don't want to, you can tell them your likes and dislikes, or that you "traveled."
I groaned lowly and put my phone down.
"Anyone want to go first?" Ms. Stal asked.
"I'll go." A girl said lowly as she raised her hand slowly.
I'm not about to put everybody's business in the streets, but I can tell you some people went deep. Deep deep. From impactful deaths in a family to assaults. Guess some people are more comfortable here than others. Some were longer than the others.
I sat with my chin to my knee as I held it to my chest and my arm wrapped around it. Wish I could be as bold as the ones who revealed they'd been assaulted.
Evie walked up to the front of the class after she volunteered herself.
"Um well, I guess I'll start with where I was born, since people have asked." She started. When we were still talking, Evie never spoke about where she came from exactly.
"I was born in Asyut, Egypt and moved to New York when I was seven, then to North Carolina a year later. Been here ever since."
"Baba died due to sickness back in Asyut when I was three, so it's just been me and my mum." She finished.
"Baba?" Jason questioned.
I looked at him like it was the most obvious thing ever.
"My father. Dad." Evie answered.
"Anything else?" Evie asked Ms. Stal.
"You can sit down if you're finished." She replied.
Evie began to walk.
"Wait, so you speak..." A girl started hesitantly.
"Uh, Egyptian?" She made a face.
"What?" I questioned. Jason chuckled.
"Baltbe." Evie said throwing up her arms as she went to sit down.
The class laughed.
When Indra went up, he didn't say much about his past, just his likes and dislikes really. Cats were involved, of course.
Jason went after a couple people.
"I'm an open book, I was born in Montanna. My mother left me and my dad sometime after I was born." I knew him, but I didn't really know him. I heard a couple people say "aw," in pity.
"Three new people came into my life, whom I love dearly. One of the three almost got suspended with me in Kansas, arrested too."
"Uh, let's see..." He was trailing off.
A guy raised his hand. "Yeah?" Jason asked unsure.
"How did you almost get suspended?" He asked.
"I was framed for a fight." He answered.
I cleared my throat loudly, earning me looks from a few people.
"Yeah no, I was in it too." He corrected.
That day, was crazy. Jason came back to the table and stopped when another guy started talking.
"Almost?" He asked.
Jason just stood at the end of the table, blocking my view.
"Well the guy was bullying...someone." He answered.
"What?" A few people questioned.
"So he was the only one to get suspended." Jason explained.
"No freakin' way." A girl said.
Jason looked back at me, then to the class. "You guys don't have that here?"
I leaned forward and grabbed his clothes, moving him out of the way.
"No, we don't. Anyone involved in a fight gets suspended. Everyone." I said.
"Oh jeez." Jason said as he sat down.
"Lucky." A guy grumbled.
I chuckled lowly and rubbed my chin. Yeah, we did get lucky.
"Let me see if I can find the video." My face dropped.
"I know somebody posted it." He pulled out his phone and started poking at it.
"Ooh!" A few people came to our table.
"Let's do that later!" Ms. Stal cut in. "We still have a few people left."
Guess who went dead last? Yep.
"Luc, there was a written portion for a grade to go first. Need you to write it so you know what you want to say." Ms. Stal told me.
"So a script?" I tilted my head at her.
"Yeah." She answered.
I blew air flippantly and stood. "I don't need a script. I'll do it in reverse."
I walked in on straight bullshit. Straight bullshit.
"Kay listen up cuz I'm only gonna go through this shit once." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Ms. Stal silently scolded me by putting her hands on her hips while the classmates laughed.
"Sorry." I said.
"The name's Luc, no "k." So a couple years ago I used to go to this school, used to live in that neighborhood in front of the school." I wringed my fingers.
"And I had a serious drinking problem." I stole a glance at Evie and Indra. They had contorted faces. I watched Jason put his head down on the table.
"So I eventually ran up to Seattle. Lived in a halfway house for sometime, moved around more, then I ended up in Kansas, where I got arrested for aggravated assault. Almost got arrested again after passing out drunk in someone's yard."
"Then a baby came along." I said that without really thinking about it, so you can imagine things got lost in translation.
At the point where the whole class was looking stunned, I decided to milk it.
"And the sex was very very boring, but that's a whole different story."
Indra nervously bit his fingers, Evie stared past me blankly. I nodded at the class definitively. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
"After Kansas we-" I started up again.
"Why don't you tell us some of your likes and dislikes." Ms. Stal interjected.
I hunched my shoulders. Why not?
"I like music, David Bowie will always be a favorite. Writing is a favorite of mine too."
"Believe it or not, I really don't like people. Assholes especially." I finished.
The class was silent. I chuckled mischievously.
"Okay....thank you Luc." Ms. Stal drawled.
There were slow and scattered claps.
Jason raised his hand. Why would he have a question?
"Jason?" Ms. Stal said.
"I have a statement; you're insane." He said.
No skin off my back. "Thank you." I said with dry confidence before blowing hair from my lip. A few people chuckled nervously and from humor.
Well, the truth was somewhere in that big lie. Fifty percent lie, fifty percent truth. Like I said, bullshit.
"Hang on, are you mixed?" A girl asked.
"Yes." I don't know why people are so interested in that/mixed people.
After all that Ms. Stal, of course, gave us free time.
"Hey! I found the video!" Jason announced.
He snickered as he watched it. "Look at Dex!"
I turned to him, "What?"
He started it over when curious people came around. I got in his face.
"You show them that phone I'll shove it so far up your ass you're gonna taste the skanks in your DMs." I hissed.
Jason sank in his seat, using the phone to hide his face, "I don't have anybody in my DMs. Honest." He squeaked innocently. Everyone else just slowly backed away from us -- me.
I don't know about everyone else, but I feel like I won today.
Jason grabbed on to me as we were leaving for the day.
"What?" I asked as I tugged frantically on the arm he was holding.
"You are getting on the bus with me and you're walking into the house at the same time as me."
I rolled my eye, complying of course.
Since I had nothing to do, I decided to clean my room. With Alexandria in tow.
"Jump magic jump! Jump magic jump! Put that magic jump on me!" I sang to Alexandria.
"Slap that baby make him free!" She trilled as I pushed her in the air. I laughed a bit. Alexadria beamed up at me. She had the prettiest eyes. Singing is actually fun. My pocket vibrated.
"Is that Mommy? Asking about dinner?" I spoke in a baby voice.
I moved Alexandria to one arm and propped up on my waist.
"Nope." I popped the p. It was Evie; a text message. She still has my number?
"Meet me." The text was followed by an address.
Sure, I'll go.
After putting my phone away, I held Alexandria in front of me. "Let's hope I don't panic again."
When Alexandria was safe and sound in her room, I slipped out of the house.
I didn't know where I was being sent, I just let the navigator do the talking.
I hate parks. There's bugs, wildlife, and germs everywhere. Not to mention it being filled with screaming children. I say this because a park is where the navigator brought me. I turned the navigator off and began to follow the sidewalk.
I moved my head left and right looking for them. So far nothing and I'm getting dizzy.
Maybe I'm being set up. What if I am? No, they wouldn't do that. Well, how well do I know the them of today?
I stopped walking and tilted my head back. The trees were so close together that the sun was just shining through tiny holes.
Maybe I shouldn't have started following the sidewalk, maybe I should have let them find me. I looked down and straight ahead. A couple dark green benches were a few feet ahead. No one was sitting there. There was a playset across the walkway -- children screaming with delight.
Once I sat down I folded my hands and hung my head close to my thighs. What am I doing here?
I brought my hands to my face. My hand flinched when it touched the right side of my face. Two years later and I'm still not used to that ugly, rigid, and rough feeling.
God. I want to scream out the horrors, but then I'd be looked at with pity, and maybe even judgement, scorn. I could go crazy just sitting here debating.
I uncovered my face and sat up straight. I began to wonder: are they waiting on me or am I waiting on them?
Should I just go home? No. I need to see this through, tell them what I can.
Ugh! I just need to calm down!
Where are they?! Where am I? I looked around frantically.
Kids. Kids, everywhere! Stop screaming! I clenched my heart.
"Luc." I shrieked loudly. I panted heavily as my heart raced.
"You are so jumpy!" Evie's voice scolded. "And cold-hearted, you have no sense of direction, and don't even get me started on your actions lately."
She sat down beside me on my right side. Of course she sat on my right.
"But, I wouldn't be here if I wasn't ready to listen." She stated.
I turned to her, then looked around. "Where's Indra?"
"Don't worry about him."
Ok. The kids kept screaming.
For once my thoughts were in perfect order.
Evie sat in silence, as did I. I was waiting for her to ask a question, but she didn't. With that, I didn't know where to start.
"I punched Indra so he'd know it's not okay to walk all over me." I stated.
"I don't care about that right now." Evie responded.
"I want to know what happened to you." She said once again. I turned away from her.
"Nothing I wanted." I mumbled.
"Couldn't Indra tell you?" I asked.
"I don't want to hear it from him. Besides, he refuses to do so."
"Where did you go?" She asked.
"Seattle." I answered.
"Why did you go to Seattle?" I didn't know what to say or how to say it, and I didn't exactly want to flat out say "I'm a foster kid, so I had to go back to my original home because my family wasn't treating me right and someone got shot." But in a way, I kind of did.
"You may or may not know, there was a shooting at my house." And after that, I lost my will. Lost my eye. Everyone was still screaming.
"Yes. We know." Evie spoke. "That's why we first thought you had died."
"I'm sorry about that."
"About that..." I started, "or why I left..." Maybe showing will say more than my mouth could. I slowly began to reach up.
You're going to show her? She'll have that look on her face.
But she'll start to understand won't she?
I could feel Evie staring at the side of my face. I pinched the front of my hair and began to move it. I shouldn't be so scared of her.
A loud noise pierced my ears and I flinched, leaning over to the side. I moved my hand away and turned my head.
"Hm?" Evie said. I flinched away from her -- I was practically leaning on her shoulder.
I shot up. I looked around quickly. Stop screaming! I have to get out of here!
My phone rang. I pulled it out of my pocket and saw Jeanette's name on the screen, she was calling me home. I ignored the call and shoved my phone into my back pocket.
"Listen Evie..." She was staring at me with confusion and impatience.
"Whatever happens...whatever you may think -- please try to understand I didn't have a choice in the matter."
Evie turned her head a little, she showed a little concern in her eyes.
"I have to get home." I backed up.
She protested. "Wait, no."
"Luc, I need to know! Don't shut down on me!"
"You already know Evie. You just need to accept it." I stated. I saw it back then. She had her suspicions, but she hesitated. I left and ran back home.