When we got back to the pool Evie was sitting down with a towel on.
"Hey girl." I waved at her.
She smiled back, "hey. You boys enjoy your lunch?"
"Yeah." We answered.
I sat down in front of her while Indra sat beside her.
Evie continued to dry herself off as we talked.
"That little girl really likes the water." She said.
We looked over to Alexandria. She had a floatie around her waist and was splashing the water with glee.
We looked back to each other.
"And I thought you both liked swimming?" Evie asked.
"I do but I don't care for it anymore." Indra said.
"Ditto." I said.
"Mmhmm." Evie said skeptically.
"You scared." She teased.
"Pfft." I stood up. "Watch me closely bitches!" I ran and jumped into the nine feet end with everything on. Did I have my phone on me?
I swam up to the surface and clung to the cement ledge, shivering. That water was cold as hell.
I wiped water from my eye and spit out water.
"There see? Not afraid." I said. "Hey, I just swam for the first time in forever!" I cheered.
Now I remember why I liked to swim; being surround by something that can kill you, but not letting it.
"Your turn Indra!" I called.
He sighed and stood up. Kicked off his flip flops and put his phone on the chair.
He ran and jumped over me and splashed me upon landing.
He swam up. "Happy?"
"Very." I grinned.
How is it possible for someone to look sexier when wet?
Evie came over and stooped down in front of me.
"Move or I'll pull you in." I said.
"No you won't." She said.
She moved to the side and climbed in.
"Hooray," I said sarcastically. "We're all swimming."
"I'm getting out." I said as I began to swim to the stairs.
"Why?" Evie called as she swam beside me.
"It's too deep." I replied.
Evie blew air.
I sat on the steps. Evie joined me, followed by Indra soon after.
"I can't believe in one more month you and Jason will be graduating." I said. "You'll be leaving us!" I sobbed dramatically.
"Maybe. Maybe not." Indra said.
"You can't leave us," Evie hugged onto him. "You'll get sucked up into life and forget all about us!"
"I won't get sucked up in life." Indra said dryly.
Evie looked comfortable on Indra's arm, so I grabbed on to his other arm and leaned against him. I closed my eye and dozed off.
"You guys look bored to death." I heard Brian's voice after a while. I sat up and let go of Indra.
"Luc come on, we're leaving." Jeanette said.
They all were standing on the cement. Alexandria was in Jeanette's arms, laying on her shoulder. The child was all tuckered out.
"Okay." I stood up.
"See you two later." I said.
"Bye." Indra and Evie said.
I'm taking a shower and going to sleep. Brian handed me a towel. I wrapped it around my shoulders. Jason went out the gate. I followed him.
I had to wash my hair while I was in the shower. I hate the way chlorine smells on skin, so I was ecstatic to watch it all wash away.
When I got out of the shower I looked in the mirror. I looked at my damaged eye, the burns on my face.
I can never walk without anything covering it. People will stare and look at me funny. I'll never be normal again. When I realized I had started crying I turned and sat down on the floor.
I thought I was done with the uncontrollable crying.
"Indra didn't look away or give a weird look, remember?" I thought. "He'd never judge you."
"And Evie?" I thought.
"You haven't shown her."
There was a knock on the door.
"Luc?" Brian's voice called. "Are you okay?"
He came in after I didn't answer. I pressed my back against the cabinet.
"I heard you crying. What's wrong?" He asked. He kneeled down beside me.
"I'm a freak; my face is so messed up." I complained.
"You aren't a freak." Brian stated.
"I can't walk with this out. I can't show my skin without the risk of showing a scar or two." I said.
"Everybody has scars Luc. It's okay if people see them. Scars are part of life, if you ask me." He said.
"Can I tell you a story?" He asked.
I nodded and wiped my tears.
"During my intern year, a patient came in. She was in a lot of pain and thrashing." He said.
"Being an intern, I was tasked with holding her down and trying to calm her down. Didn't work out so well."
"She hit me in the nose and knocked me out."
I bit the inside of my mouth trying not to laugh.
"When I woke up they told me she had broken my nose. So I walked around around the hospital with an ugly bandage and a fine layer of humiliation for being knocked out by a woman." He finished.
I looked at him. "Did it ever go away?"
"Yeah...eventually." He answered.
"Why don't you start having your eye out around us again? It might help." He said.
"-will get used to it." He finished my sentence.
I nodded, "okay."
I reached back and grabbed the counter and pulled myself up. I faced Brian and he stood up. Surprisingly, I didn't hide my side from him.
"Right, I'll just leave you to it." Brian said.
"Good talk." He nodded and left.
I grabbed my pajamas from the counter and put my shirt on first, then my pants.
When I went to my room I sat on my bed and dried my hair as best as I could. I don't want my pillow getting wet.
"Guess I'd better sit up for a while." I thought.
A small knock on the door sounded. With a small grunt, the door opened and Alexandria came in.
"Hey." I said.
She climbed onto my bed beside me and stood up. She leaned against me and wrapped her arms around my head.
"Don't cry. Alexandria's here." She said in her small voice. She rubbed my head.
"I wasn't crying..." I said.
I hugged her and smiled. "I'm fine now. Thank you Alexandria."
Alexandria let go of me and began to pull my hand. "Mommy says lunch."
Alexandria tugged. "Okay, okay." I said.
We walked downstairs together. There were sandwich plates on the table and glasses of tea. My stomach grumbled.
I sat down with Alexandria and Jeanette. Jason and Brian eventually came down and joined us.
I ate in silence. The others talked to each other. I didn't have much to say, and I didn't have my eye showing.
At that exact moment I randomly decided I needed flirting tips.
"Brian how did you woo Jeanette?" I asked eagerly.
"I uh, oh...well this is unexpected." He stammered.
Jeanette chuckled. "He gave me a heart tumor."
"Of course to little intern me, that was like sex. I guess."
I reached over and covered Alexandria's ears. Jason snickered.
"I sometimes forget she can talk." Jeanette covered her mouth.
Brian smiled and shook is head.
"So what else?" I delved. "What did you say to her?"
"Uh..." Brian said. "What?"
"Think he's asking you to teach him how to flirt, Dad." Jason said.
Alexandria pushed at my hands.
"Really?" Brian asked eagerly, his eyes were almost gleaming.
"But why?" He asked.
I stammered a bit.
"Well you know, just something to have in my repertoire." I grinned.
"Indra." Jason stated.
"Shut up." I said.
"But it's true." He said.
"I said shut up!"
"It's okay if you have a crush on him, Luc. He's a kind guy." Jeanette stated.
I uncovered Alexandria's ears. "I know how he is. We just have an odd...relationship."
"Odd?" Brian asked. "So you guys aren't dating?"
"We're not- I just want to be prepared?" I said. "I mean, I left before we could ever explore it and define it. So I don't know what we are." I said.
"Why bother asking him to help you flirt? You've been doing it all on your own." Jason said.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"You let him see you at a low point. You always stare at each other." He said.
"I'm not sure that's flirting." I said.
"Well you're easier on him than anybody else." Jason said.
"True." I nodded.
Jeanette and Brian looked puzzled.
"So what happened between you two? Can I ask that?" She asked.
"You can. And nothing really happened. It was just a little thank you kiss." I said.
"Why did I say that?!" I thought.
"Ooh." Jason whooped.
"Define "little thank you kiss." Jeanette said with a skeptical nod.
Flustered, I snatched up my sandwich and packed it into my mouth and rose from the chair.
"Rhanks fur runch." I said and scurried upstairs.
Whew. My first "awkward who's my crush and what's the scoop" conversation with my family.
I chewed the sandwich
Maybe I should be upfront with Indra. Tell him how I feel, but then again, how well do I know him?
"That's it!" I said after swallowing the sandwich.
I pulled out my phone and texted him. (I found out I left it here when we went to the pool.) "Can I come over tomorrow? We're having an interview."
"Yes...but an interview?" He responded.
"Yes." I responded.
"Regarding what?" He asked.
"You'll see when I see you tomorrow!" I snapped.
I threw my phone on the nightstand and dropped under the covers and went to sleep.
"Luc." A tiny and cute voice called. I was being poked.
I opened my eye.
Alexandria was face to face with me. She had on something white.
"What?" I asked.
"You sleep funny." She pointed out.
I had one arm wrapped around me and the other wrapped on top of my head.
I moved my arms and sat up.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"Play with me!" She said.
She dropped a black bag on my bed. It was open. I saw a bag of surgical equipment and syringes.
"Is that Brian's bag?"
"Come on!" Alexandria pulled on my arm.
I wanted to sleep but I couldn't refuse her.
I got out of bed and she pulled me over to my window and sat me down on the floor. She giggled and put Brian's bag on the floor.
She had on Jeanette's lab coat. It dragged behind her and the sleeves covered her hands.
"Here," I said and began to roll up the sleeves.
"Okay, sir! What is your hurt?" She asked.
"Do I correct her or just go along with it?" I thought. I decided to just play along.
"I don't- I don't think I need my neck anymore." I touched it.
"Very interesting." She said with a sophisticated nod.
I flinched when she grabbed my hair and moved it out the way.
She grabbed at my face, touching the right side. Something I never let anyone do. She pinched and pulled at it.
"How did this happen?" She asked.
"I was playing with fire." I answered.
Alexandria tugged open my mouth and looked in it.
I pulled away and she dug in Brian's bag and pulled out bandages and band-aids.
"She took it to Luc to play doctor." I placed my bet.
Brian said Jason.
I went upstairs and opened the door to Luc's room.
He sat on the floor by the window with his hair out of his face and bandages around his neck. He held his hands on his knees stiffly as he had a band-aid over his right eye vertically. I get the feeling it'll be a pain to take off.
I walked around his bed and stood behind Alexandria. She was wearing my old lab coat and digging through Brian's bag. She took out the things she wasn't interested in and put them on the floor.
"Alexandria." I called sweetly.
She turned around and looked up at me. She had a band-aid on her cheek.
I chuckled and picked her up. "I thought Daddy and I told you not to play with our bags?"
"I'm sorry, Mommy." Alexandria said.
"How did she get so cute?" I thought while grinning happily.
"Luc sit tight." I said. He nodded stiffly.
I bent down and put the tools back in Brian's bag and picked it up.
I walked out and headed down to Brian.
"With Luc." I said.
I handed Alexandria and the bag to him.
"She put a band-aid on his eye." I said gesturing to the right side of my face.
"Ooh. Hopefully it doesn't end badly." He said.
I went back upstairs to Luc. He had unwrapped the bandages from his neck and rolled them up.
I sat down in front of him.
"Should we try to take the band-aid off?" I asked.
"If you're worried about it hurting don't. I don't feel anything on that side." Luc said.
"Since when?" I asked.
"Since it happened." He responded.
I started to reach out. "Can I?"
I wedged my nail under the corner piece and started to pull.
"Don't pull the skin off." I thought.
I put it in between my fingers as it lifted more.
The skin lifted, but didn't tear. I pressed on the side of his face and pulled the band-aid off.
"There. Painless right?" I said.
"Sure." Luc said.
I stood up. "Thanks for humoring Alexandria."
"Sure." He said again.
I left and discarded the band-aid. Brian was waiting for me by the stairs.
"How'd it go?" He asked.
"He doesn't feel any pain on his right side." I answered.
"Significant nerve damage." Brian started. "Maybe I can ask Newton to take a look at him."
"If Luc's open to it, that is." He finished.
I nodded. "If Luc is open to it." I agreed.
I rubbed my eye. Alexandria didn't freak out, she just kept going. My scars didn't scare or deter her. In a way, it seemed like she just wanted to fix me.
I ran my fingers over the scars on my neck. I was all healed, but the scarring was permanent. They were wide in some areas and narrow in the others, smooth and unnatural.
"Did I really do that to myself?" I thought.
I hung and shook my head slowly in shame.
It's in the past now.
I took out my phone and texted Mrs. Carte the most morbid thing ever.
"Do you know if Chet was ever raped? Or shanked? Or shived?" In my mind I think he deserves it.
"Not that I know of. Why?" She responded.
"Just wondering." I replied.
"This isn't a healthy way to spend your time." That was the end of the conversation.
Furiously, I shot up and aggressively grabbed my backpack. I ripped it open and yanked out an old notebook. I threw the bag down, tore open the notebook and ripped out pages that had been used.
I sat on my knees by my bed and placed the notebook on top of it and started writing like a madman.
Eight hours later I held up the notebook. It looked like chicken-scratch, but I could read it. Anyone else would be like "what the fuck?"
"Could use some revisions." I said.
I shut the notebook and hid it under my bed.
It was far past 12 A.M.
I slid into my bed and peacefully, drifting off to sleep. It's been a long time since I've had a peaceful sleep.
I twitched when I heard a creak outside. I slowly rolled over and looked at the window. My eye widened when it saw a hand.
"Someone's trying to break in!" I thought, panicking.
What do I do? What do I do?
A head slowly rose and the window began to open.
I sucked in frantically and sat up. I threw myself from the bed and snatched my shoe. I stood in wait by the window.
The window opened and with a grunt a torso and arm slid through and slumped over my ledge.
I drew my arm back and hit the burglar in the middle of his face with the foot of my shoe.
He jerked, "ow!"
"What the?" I recognized his voice.
I tossed my shoe to the side. "Indra?"
"Present." He groaned.
He crawled all the way into my room and closed the window.
I waited for him to stand up. Once he did I started slapping and punching his arm and shoulder.
"What are you doing here?! I thought you were a burglar!" I yelled quietly.
"Ow," he rubbed his arm. "Jason told me you were crying again."
"Jason gives him reports on me now?" I thought.
"You're about six hours late." I stated.
"I know." He said sadly.
I crossed my arms, perplexed. "How did you get up here?"
"I'm a vampire. I climbed." He answered, slightly cocky.
"Okay really. What are you doing here?" I asked.
He reached under his shirt and, not even kidding, pulled out a cat. He held it out to me.
"To cheer your night."
I recognized the orange coat. "Delilah!"
I took her from Indra. "Hello again, miss thing! You're so cute!"
I sat down in the bed with her on my lap. She was soft and smooth.
Indra took off his shoes and sat on the foot of my bed with his legs crossed.
I rubbed Delilah up and down, "hey sweetie pie, I missed you! Yes I did, yes I did!"
Delilah licked my fingers.
"Luc," Indra called with a soft voice. I love it when he calls my name like that. I just - mhm! "You wanted to talk." He said.
"Guess I should since he's already here." I thought.
"Your name came up in a conversation about relationships." I said.
"Relationships?" Indra tilted his head curiously. I could just barely make out his childish grin.
"Well, you and I- had an odd relationship." I said.
"I just wanted to define it. I guess." I finished.
"If you weren't taken away I probably would have asked you to go out with me," He started.
"But it's easy to say you'd do something." He said.
"We've kissed, I've kissed you, but what does it mean for us?" I asked.
I cut to the chase. "I don't have time to run around in circles with you; if you want to be more than friends you have to tell me."
"Yes." Indra said. "I do want to be more than friends."
"Ok," I got serious, "let's start with our interview."
"Huh?" He said.
"I know you Indra Alehanson, but I don't know all of you or much about you. And you don't know much about me other than my past." I said.
"Ah, I see. Yes, let's do that." He said.
He sat up straight and looked me in the eye.
"Views on Trump?" I asked.
"Can he die any sooner?" Indra replied.
"Good." I get the feeling we'll get on just fine.
"Movies or TV series?" He asked.
"Series." I answered.
"Shouldn't we be learning this stuff as we go along?" Indra asked.
"Traditionally, yes. But I'm a bit too impatient." I said.
Indra hunched his shoulders. "Okay."
"Well we have been seeing each other more frequently. Two times in one day, I think." He said.
I nodded in agreement, "yup."
"That's nice, isn't it?" I asked. I like it; seeing him more often.
"Yes." Indra said.
By 5 A.M. we were still talking. I learned that Indra has a fear of knives, and that his parents died when he was young. He learned that I can tie a cherry stem in a knot using my tongue. Delilah was sleeping soundly in my lap.
I was staring at Indra, admiring his features. His small thick lips, his beautiful eyes, his strong jawline, especially his messy sexy-ass hair. Haha. Ahhh, I tickle myself.
Not much to admire when it comes to me; I only have half a face.
We heard a door open and footsteps.
"I think you should get going." I whispered.
"I second that." Indra said as he got off the bed.
I handed him Delilah. He stuck her under his shirt and zipped up his jacket to keep her in place.
We headed over to the window. I slid it open. Indra's car wasn't in the driveway. Did he walk all the way here?
"See you later, Luc Benson." Indra said as he stuck his leg out the window. "That has a nice ring to it." He said.
I smiled and chuckled softly.
He slid out the window and dropped to the ground.
"To cheer your night." His voice said in my head.
I closed the window and lied on my bed.
Selfless? Check. Trustworthy? Check. Meticulous? Check. Kind? Check. A little damaged? Check. Fine as hell? Double check.
I wonder what's in store for us.