I panted heavily after I reached the school, the trailers. I leaned over the railing and caught my breath.
A few minutes later I saw Indra's car pull up to the curb.
The passenger door flew open and Evie ran out.
She stopped in front of me and went ballistic. "What's wrong?! Are you okay?"
"What's wrong? You don't normally text us." She said.
I nodded again.
Indra came over after he closed the passenger door.
I can't believe they actually came. I stood up straight.
"Did something else happen?" Indra asked.
"What?" They asked.
I was worried I'd be taken back to Seattle. What do I do?
Mrs. Carte said it herself, it's not looking good. It's a possibility.
"Luc." Indra called.
I looked up.
"Oh right. I spaced off." I thought.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out Mrs. Carte's business card. I always kept one on me if I ever needed to call her.
I handed it to Evie. She took it and looked at it.
"A social worker?" She asked.
"What about her?" She then asked.
I pointed to a small house on the bottom of the card.
"The house?" Indra asked.
I didn't do anything.
"This person came to your house?" Evie asked.
"Does she want to take you back to Seattle?" Evie asked.
I had nothing to show "maybe/possibly."
"Luc!" Evie stepped closer to me.
I put my fingers close together.
Evie looked at them.
"A little- A little?" She questioned. I nodded. Indra looked down.
I clutched my arms then pointed to Indra's car. The two looked back, then at me.
"Oh, would you like me to take you home?"
Oh I had a plan. I'm staying right here.
I'm suddenly wondering why it didn't occur to me to use my phone.
When we got there, I dragged the two into the house.
Jeanette, Brian, and Mrs. Carte were in the dining room sitting at the table.
Brian looked troubled while Jeanette looked upset.
The three of us sat at the table, I sat at the head of the table.
"Luc, I don't think you want to be here." Jeanette said.
I eyed her to let her know I was staying right where I was.
"I'll just continue where we left off," Mrs. Carte started. "As Luc's social worker, and secondary caretaker I don't like the idea of Luc staying here. In a neglectful household."
"Neglectful?" I thought. "What happened?"
I looked at Jeanette for answers, but she didn't tell me anything.
I folded my hands above my lips.
"I can't have him in a house where he won't be looked after." Mrs. Carte said.
"I think you have your hands full. With everything that happened I can't leave him in your care." I got angry; I'd had enough of people trying to get me to do something I didn't want to do.
"I think I should take him with me."
I slammed my hands down on the table, "no!" Everyone at the table jumped in surprise. They even looked shocked.
"If you think I will let you take me from here again, you are sorely mistaken." I growled.
Evie looked at me nervously.
"These are my friends," I gestured to Evie and Indra, "I'm not leaving them again."
"Luc," Mrs. Carte said, "you're a minor. You don't get that choice."
I dragged my finger nails across the table and sat back. Jason slipped in and sat down with us.
"There has to be something-"
Mrs. Carte cut Brian off.
"I've made my decision. He leaves with me in the morning." Mrs. Carte said.
"I'll adopt him." We snapped our heads to Indra.
The adults looked in between each other like it was the craziest thing they'd ever heard.
"Oh gee. That's perfectly fine. Guess that means I won't ever be able to get into a relationship with him!" I thought.
"Shut up, Luc!" Self responded.
"What?" Indra waved his hands slightly, "I'm nineteen. It's perfectly legal for me to do it, so long as Luc consents."
"Well..." Mrs. Carte stammered.
"I'd have to do a lot of checks and inspections first." She said.
"Cats. No alcohol, firearms, or drugs. Cats." I said. I'm assuming that's still true.
Jason turned to me, "so you're talking now?"
"For now." I answered.
"You can't just say that Luc, I have to check." Mrs. Carte said.
"So while you do that, leave me here." I said while crossing my arms.
"I can't." She said.
"Mrs. Carte, did you know that a cat's penis is sharply barbed along its shaft?" Jason asked.
Embarrassment. The only thing written on Brian and Jeanette's faces right now. But it got worse, Jason kept talking, and talking, and talking, and talking.
We had all grown weary of him at this point.
"And the daddy clownfish can change its sex and reproduce with its child!"
Brian groaned and stopped him, "Jesus Jason; shut up."
"Well Mrs. Carte." Jason called.
She sighed heavily.
"If a cricket don't chirp-"
Mrs. Carte shot up as we all groaned. "That is it! I'm done."
"Keep him! If something like this happens again, I will take him. I'm out of here." She said. She stormed out.
We all sighed with relief.
"You're welcome." Jason said.
We all got up and scattered.
Some of the things he said I would never even think to say.
Jason touched my shoulder, "hey, it all worked out in the end."
"Glad it did, cause I did not want to be Indra's "child." I said.
"Yeah me too cause I had no idea where I was going with that cricket thing." Jason walked off.
I went outside to Indra and Evie. She sat on the hood of Indra's car and massaged her temples.
"That was so intense. I think I lost a few braincells when Jason kept talking." She said. Indra and I nodded in agreement.
I looked at Evie.
"You." I said.
"Yes?" She answered.
"You are a goddess." I held her arms. "I can see the whole adoption thing playing out now. You'd be a great mom."
"Oh my god." Evie rolled her eyes and smiled.
I hugged her and she hugged me back. "Thanks for coming." I said to her.
I let go of her and turned to Indra. "And you,"
Evie slipped away into the car, giving us privacy. I stood in front of him.
"You're always ready to go at a moment's notice." I said.
"I don't know why, but you drop everything for me. Even throwing away your life to take care of me or even adopt me." I grinned a little.
"I really would have adopted you. As weird as that sounds. But I don't think it as throwing my life away." Indra said.
"Well let's be honest, do you really want me as your legal son?" I asked with my hands on my hips.
"I know I don't want you as my dad." I stated while giving him a little nod.
"Guess not." Indra said, catching on to my drift.
I smiled. He smiled too, but hid it by lowering his head and talking, "alright. I've got to get Evie home."
He walked around to the driver's side.
"Hey," I called. "The next time you see me, I probably won't be speaking." Best to tell him now. He nodded and got in the car.
I turned and went back into the house.
The next day was Saturday, so we spent time together as a family. We "celebrated" me being able to stay with them. I was happy to be with them.
Jeanette had the best idea to celebrate.
I texted Indra.
"Do you like swimming?"
"Me neither, come to the pool with us."
I invited him [and Evie] cause I sure as hell wasn't going to swim.
"Well, I was just hoping for family, but it's okay." Jeanette said when I told her I had invited my friends.
"You sure? I can tell them not to come." I said.
"It's okay. I think hanging out with your friends too will do you some good." Jeanette said.
I got dressed in shorts and a long shirt and flip flops.
I heard Alexandria's little feet smacking the wood floors. I heard her giggle.
"She's right behind me, isn't she?" I thought.
I turned around.
Alexandria looked up at me grinning, with her big brown eyes. She wore a red-pink two piece with frills on the bottom piece and a small white sun hat.
I stooped down. "Don't you look cute?" I stated. Alexandria giggled again.
"What are you doing in here though?" I asked.
She touched my knee and walked in between my legs and wrapped her arms around my waist. I hugged her back.
"Can you swim?" I asked when she let go of me.
"Yes. Mommy teach." She answered.
We jumped when Jeanette shouted.
"Alexandria! You need sunblock! Come back here!"
Alexandria ran out, "nope! I hate!"
I chuckled and stood up.
"Come on boys!" Jeanette called.
I hustled out of my room. Brian was carrying the towels.
I touched his arm, wanting to talk to him, but I quickly decided it wasn't the time.
"What is it, Luc? You okay?"
"Nevermind." I said.
Jeanette walked in with Alexandria in her arms, she got caught.
"Luc, did you put on sunblock?" She asked.
"No." I answered.
"You need it. Put it on and take your pills."
I threw my hands up. Brian handed me the sunblock as I walked by.
I took my pill first, then sat down and put on the sunblock.
"Going on a date?" Jason asked. He sat at the table ready to go.
"No?" I said.
"But you invited your boyfriend, to see your hot body and so you can look at his." He teased. I frowned.
I kicked off my flip flop and threw it at him. He screamed as it his his chest with a satisfying thud.
We heard Jeanette clear her throat. She stood at the table.
Alexandria laughed and took off her shoe and threw it at Jason. It hit him in the face. I threw my head back and laughed.
"Alexandria!" Jeanette scolded. "No throwing!"
"Swim! Swim!" Alexandria cheered.
Jeanette huffed. "We're going, baby."
Brian came down the stairs and left to put the towels in the car.
We all got in the car.
Alexandria was kicking her feet in her car seat, cheering. She was eager to get to the pool.
Jason chuckled. He had a small red mark on his forehead above his eyebrow.
I laughed, "she got you sucka." I teased.
Jason reached over and slapped my arm.
When we got to the pool I unbuckled Alexandria from her seat.
"Can we go ahead?" I asked.
"Yes. Make sure Alexandria doesn't run." Brian answered.
We got out. I held Alexandria's hand as we walked to the gate.
There were people in the pool, it looked big with a lot of things to do.
I looked at the gate, I had no idea how to get it open after pulling on it.
"Top!" Alexandria said.
"Top!" She pointed.
I looked up and saw something that looked like I needed to pull it. I did and Alexandria pulled on one of the bars. The gate opened.
"Oh cool." I said.
We walked in.
Alexandria pulled me to seats by the deep end, nine feet. Big nope.
"Let's sit and wait for the others." I said.
Alexandria quickly protested, "no! Water!"
"Alexandria, just wait for your parents."
I picked her up and sat her down on the chair.
"Just enjoy the Sun for now." I said.
I curled up to the backside of the chair. Thank god it's hot. I might catch a few winks.
Jeanette and the others came over.
"You really won't swim, Luc?" Jeanette asked when she sat down beside Alexandria.
She wore a sweatshirt over her blue swimsuit and had sunglasses on her face.
"Nope." I said.
"Okay." She said.
She took off her sweatshirt and picked up Alexandria. "Into the water we go." She said.
"Yay!" I heard Alexandria say as they left.
I closed my eye and leaned my head back. It got dark.
"You're in my Sun." I stated.
"You sure it's a good idea to go to sleep? You did invite your friends you know." Jason said.
"And I'm sure they'll be here before I can even get any sleep." I responded.
"Whatever." Jason sighed and left.
"Is everything alright with you, Luc?" Brian asked.
"Of course. My friends and I are on the same page, I'm back in the real world. Everything is all sunshine and gay unicorns over here." I answered.
"Well, if anything is ever bothering you, let me know." He soon left to join the others in the pool.
I wish I had my earbuds.
"Boop!" A voice said as hair tickled my face. Laughing soon followed.
I opened my eye. Evie whipped her hair back.
"Wakey, wakey!" She said.
I blew air.
"Why are you not dressed for swimming?" She asked.
"I don't swim." I answered. Can I even swim? I can only see halves.
"Since when?" Evie questioned.
Indra walked up behind her and grabbed her shoulders, "Luc's just a bit scared of the water."
I sat up quickly. "Hey, I'm not afraid!"
Indra sat down beside my legs. Instead of a scarf he wore a dark ribbon choker.
"Well, I'm going swimming." Evie threw off her dress, revealing a black swimsuit with the sides cut out. "No flirting you two."
She sped-walk to the stairs and got in the water.
"It's almost weird, we've been seeing each other a lot more frequently." I said. "I'm happy, of course."
Indra turned his head to me. He didn't say anything.
"So how've you been?" I asked.
"Huh?" He looked visibly confused.
"How have you been?" I repeated. "You've been dealing with me and I never asked."
He hesitated, then looked away from me.
"What? Is everything okay?" I asked. "You can tell me."
Is it wrong for me to be prying?
"It feels like all the will to live has been thrown back into me." He said.
"I don't like that feeling currently, but I'll adjust." He finished.
I shook my head in confusion. "What are you saying?"
"I'm saying I don't want to die anymore." Indra answered.
"Anymore?" I thought. "Did he want to kill himself?"
"Indra?" I called.
"Yes, I wanted to kill myself." He said, as if reading my mind. "I lost all sense of purpose."
Why does this make my heart hurt?
"But as luck would have it, Evie talked me down." He said.
Indra did seem on edge, but he was also nonchalant about it.
I reached out and put my hand on his shoulder. I looked at him sympathetically.
"Just thought you should know. I don't want to talk about it anymore." He said.
"Okay." I took my hand off his shoulder.
I looked at the water and then Indra. Of course, my mind went to him naked and standing in the lake.
"Have you ever tried swimming, since you know," he gestured to my eye.
"No. I haven't." I replied. "I don't think I want to try either."
"Ok." Indra said.
He moved and sat beside me in the other chair.
"How did I not know any of that? How did miss it?" I thought.
Indra suddenly sat up. "You hungry?"
"Kind of." I answered.
"Let's go to McDonald's." He said. He hopped up and walked towards the gate.
I got up after him and went to edge.
"Brian, Indra and I are going to get food. Y'all want anything?"
"No thanks." He said.
I nodded and ran after Indra.
He was standing on the sidewalk waiting.
He pointed when I joined him, "my car's down there."
We started walking. I walked a bit ahead of Indra.
A family came out of their van and opened their trunk. A big brown Great Dane jumped out.
It saw me and barked.
I screamed and turned around and ran behind Indra. I held onto the back of his shirt.
"A- Shut up!" I snapped.
He started walking.
"Stay away from the dog." I ordered while tightening my grip. I used him as a shield, moving him in the direction of the dog.
Indra walked by the dog and family. The dog growled at us, like he was going to attack.
His owner yanked on his leash.
"Sorry." She said. Indra just smiled at them.
I came out from behind Indra when we got to his car.
I chuckled nervously, "sorry about that."
"It's fine." He smiled.
He unlocked the doors and we got in.
I've only ridden with him once, but that time I wasn't focused on his driving. I'm assuming he doesn't drive wildly.
He only drove three over the speed limit. He was a hella smooth driver.
We decided to go inside and eat since no one else wanted any food.
I just ordered fries and a soda. Indra ordered a burger and fries. He must've been hungry.
"Hey Luc, can I asked about your hospitalization?" Indra asked suddenly.
"Depends..." I said.
"I'll decide if I want to answer." I mended.
"What happened to you in there?" He asked.
"They medicated me." I stated.
"I know but, wouldn't you have gotten out sooner? Not a whole six months?" He asked.
"Like I said, there were complications." I almost growled.
Indra leaned back. "Right. Sorry."
I looked down at the golden fries. I find that I savor taste a lot more than I used to. I appreciated the heat, the gritty potatoes, and salt. Guess that's the effect of eating hospital food for months.
"I will tell you this; I wasn't exactly open to the people and medicines at first." I stated.
"I want to talk about you now." I said.
"I said I didn't want to talk about that." Indra said.
"We won't." I started. "Why do you like cats so much?"
"They're friendly." He answered.
"Okay...what's your zodiac sign?" I asked.
"Aries." Indra then chuckled.
"What?" I asked.
"You're cute." He said boldly.
"You're sexy." I said equally bold.
He laughed. Then I joined him in his laughter.
"Oh hell, where is this all going?" I thought.