Early Sunday morning there was a knock on my bedroom door.
"Luc, are you up?" Jeanette's voice asked.
"Up?" I thought. I rolled over and sat up.
The door opened and Jeanette stepped in. She was dressed and ready to go.
"You have your appointment with Dr. Hunt, remember?" She said.
"Come on. Get dressed and meet me in the car." Jeanette left and closed the door.
I listened to music while we rode to the hospital.
Dr. Hunt and I made progress with each other and I refused to see anyone other than him, so they made arrangements for me to keep seeing him.
"When I went home for the first time I had a realization," I started when Dr. Hunt and I got to talking. "None of it was my fault and I didn't deserve what the Narsons did to me." Dr. Hunt nodded in agreement.
"But that's when things got...weird. I started crying. Like hysterical, non-stop crying."
"Well, I did stop, but it felt like I never would." I said.
"And then, after that, I'd start crying over the littlest things. My baby sister said my name as she recognized me. Started crying. I hung out with my friend. Started crying." I explained.
Dr. Hunt shifted in his seat. "Well, the pills make you a little emotional. I guess you're the type of person who feels intensely." He said.
"Well I don't wanna feel intensely." I pouted. Dr. Hunt laughed.
"Don't worry, it'll pass."
"There's something else," I started. "I could talk, but I couldn't talk at will. Now I can practically give a monologue."
"Did something happen?" Dr. Hunt asked.
I nodded. "I told my friends what happened to me, we're on the same page and starting to talk again." And then some.
"It seems you suffer from traumatic mutism." Dr. Hunt stated.
I tilted my head in confusion.
"You told me you went silent after being taken from your former home, now this. It stems from trauma." He clarified.
"Oh." Makes sense.
"And another thing, I want to pinpoint why I had a breakdown, why I got PTSD." I said. "I was fine before, but then we moved here."
"Could that have done it?" I asked.
Dr. Hunt nodded.
"Well, now that I think about it, I did go back to my old house."
"That would do it." Dr. Hunt said lowly and with a small nod. I sighed.
"So I really did do this to myself." I said lowly.
"That wasn't your fault. You couldn't have known."
There was more talking, then I left and joined Jeanette in the car.
"How'd it go?" She asked.
"Fine. Can we go back home please?" I said.
"Yes." Jeanette turned the car on.
"You don't want to get something to eat first?" She asked as she pulled out of the hospital driveway. I nodded.
Later on in the day, around noon, I went to Jeanette and Brian in the kitchen.
"You guysss." I called. They stopped what they were doing and turned to me.
"What's up, Luc?" Brian said.
"Can I get a cat?" It's time to bring Burke home!
They looked at me like I had five heads.
"Don't you think we have enough people in the house?" Jeanette asked.
"Is that a no?" I asked.
"Yes. Sorry Luc. A cat is too much to handle right now. Maybe later." Brian said.
I hung my head and left, "yeah, no it's okay. I see we're busy." I squeaked.
I'm going to go to Paloma's and get Burke, then I'm going to take him to Indra's. Hopefully he'll take him in.
"I'm going to Paloma's." I stuck my head into their room a few hours later. "I just need to get something." Burke.
"We aren't getting a cat, Luc." Brian scolded. They knew about Burke, and Paloma keeping him for me.
"I know. I'm not bringing him here. I'm taking him to Indra." I said.
Brian put down his book. "How do plan on getting there?"
I froze. "Good question."
He sighed and grabbed his keys, "come on, let's hurry."
When we got to Paloma's house we both got out.
"I'm sad to see him go." Paloma pat Burke's head before putting him in his carrier. He wore a teal collar with the word "Burke" written on it.
"Thanks for keeping him, Paloma." I grinned.
"No problem. I'm glad to see you're speaking." She nodded.
She handed Brian and I Burke's supplies; toys, food, food bowls, bed.
Not even five minutes and Brian looks so done. Guess he's not a cat person.
I held Burke's carrier in my lap during the car ride. Burke stretched out his little black paw from the door. I touched it and he grabbed me, pulling my finger into the carrier door. I grinned.
"You sure Indra doesn't mind a cat?" Brian asked.
"I'm telling you, he won't mind." I laughed. He'd be pleased to have a new addition. That much I know.
"And how many cats does he have?" Brian asked timidly.
"You'll see!" I laughed again. He was so wound up.
I knocked on Indra's door. Brian stood against the wall. It opened a second later and I heard all the cats meow. Indra wore a dark hoodie and pajama pants.
"Aloha cowboy!" I said. Indra snickered. "Got somethin' for ya!" I held up Burke's carrier.
"Ooh." He took the carrier and opened it after stooping down. He took Burke out.
"Hello little guy." He said while smiling.
I went in and sat against the wall. This is the first time I've been over to his place in a long time.
One of Indra's cats jumped up on his back and looked over his shoulder. He examined Burke closely.
Brian poked his head in. "So, how many cats?"
He started counting. Yeah, good luck with that. They were all over the place.
"Aw Luc," Indra held Burke up and showed him to me. "He looks like you."
"I know." I chuckled.
I rubbed Burke. Delilah came running. She swat at Burke then jumped on my lap yowling at me.
"Hey, don't be mean to Burke. I still love you." I said. Indra laughed. I kissed Delilah on her nose as she licked my chin.
"Luc." Brian called. I looked up at him.
"Oh, are you ready to go?" I asked.
"Jeanette wants us to meet her and the others for dinner." He said.
"Indra." Brian called.
He shot up. "Yes, Dr. Benson?" When it came to him and Brian, he was strangely obedient.
"You sure you don't mind another cat?" Brian asked.
"Oh no. The more the merrier." Indra smiled. Brian nodded.
He pushed in Burke's stuff.
"Luc, I'm going to the car. Meet me there when you're ready." Brian said and left.
"I think he's afraid of cats." I smiled at Indra.
"No I'm not!" Brian called back.
Indra and I chuckled. He handed Burke to me. I rubbed him.
"Thanks for looking after him for me." I said. "Now remember he's my cat and I'm getting him back. At some point in time." I pointed at Indra.
"Yes, yes. He's your cat." Indra said.
He nudged my arm. "Alright. You should get going before you're late to dinner."
"Have you eaten? You could come with us." I said.
I handed Burke to him, "I have food here. I'm good. And you should spend time with your family."
"Okay. See ya!" I walked out the door closed it behind me.
When I got in the car Brian looked at me funny.
"What does "aloha cowboy" mean?" He asked.
"Um...uhhh..." I stalled.
We (Jeanette) decided on Outback. The bread was always good.
"I thought he was joking about the cats but he wasn't." Brian stated at dinner.
"How many were there?" Jeanette asked. I was snickering.
Brian opened his mouth, but didn't say anything for a second. "I lost count."
Alexandria stood up in the seat between me and Jason. She playfully pat my head as she held a piece of bread in her other hand.
"Don't get crumbs in my hair, Alexandria." I warned. She giggled. "Or butter." I said.
"Sit down baby." Brian said.
"I want a cat! Kitty, kitty!" Alexandria said as she flopped down in the seat.
"We're not getting a cat." Jeanette and Brian said simultaneously.
"Aw." Alexandria whined.
I looked at her, "don't worry. I'll take you to see some of Indra's cats one day." I said.
"Really?" She beamed up at me.
"Yep!" Although, I'm not sure if I wanna bring her over to his condo....
"Yay! You sir can have the rest of drink!" She said and handed me her kiddie cup.
I took it and chuckled. Jeanette smiled at us a little.
During dinner I was a bit lost in thought.
"So he really came all the way with a cat to cheer me up." I thought. "Am I really worth all that to him?"
"I feel like I should talk to him again." I thought.
Again, I was brought back to why he told me what he did at the pool. And what caused him to feel like that?
Brian called my name. I snapped out of my thoughts and looked at him.
"You're a million miles away. You okay?" He asked.
"Yep. Just thinking." I responded.
"About?" Jason goaded.
"Mind your own business." I retorted.
"Oh I know what you were thinking about. Or who, at least." He nodded teasingly.
My face heated up.
"See? You're turning red! I knew it." He laughed. I growled at him.
"Geez. Normally I'd say just bang him already, but I won't." He said. I took a sip from my drink and caught an ice cube.
"Jason, leave him alone." Brian said.
Nah, I got this.
I spit the ice cube out at him and it hit him in the eye.
"Ow!" He ducked down. "What the?"
Jeanette and Brian looked at us with their jaws dropped. They didn't know what to say. Alexandria, on the other hand, cracked up.
I got strong tongue game, but we're not gonna talk about that.
"Did you just spit an ice cube at me?!" Jason snapped as he held his eye.
"Yass queen." I said. I then snapped my fingers.
"That's enough you two." Jeanette scolded. "Stop teasing Luc about that Jason. There's nothing wrong with him having a crush." She said.
"Thank you." I said.
"And you!" She turned to me. "Keep your...stuff...in your mouth." I laughed mischievously. We finished dinner without anymore...issues.
The next day during school I sat down beside Indra. Normally Evie sits with him, but we're just gonna have a switch it up day.
"Hey." I said.
He looked at me. "Hey."
"How's Burke doing?" I asked.
For a second, he looked disappointed, but that quickly went away.
"He's good. He plays well with the other cats. Delilah ignores him though, but she'll warm up." Indra answered.
I looked away from Indra, but from the corner of my eye, I saw him frown.
For the rest of class he was a bit distant. Of course now I'm determined to figure out why.
When class ended he left quickly. I huffed. "How's he so fast?" I thought.
I had to run to catch up to him.
"Indra!" I caught him in an almost empty hallway.
He stopped and turned around.
"What?" He sighed.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
He sighed again and shook his head.
"What is it?" I asked.
"I just thought you would talk about us." He said. I looked at him with confusion.
"Us?" I repeated.
"Yes. We both agreed we wanted to be more than friends. I just finally want to put a label on it." Indra stated.
"Well, yes..." I said.
"I just need to know; are you even ready for a relationship?" He asked.
I shifted nervously and stammered a little.
"Right." Indra said lowly.
He drew his foot back and turned away. "Oh no." I thought.
"Indra! Wait!" I ran after him and touched his arm. "Indra!" He stopped and turned around as the bell rang.
"You're right, I'm not ready for a relationship." I admitted. "But I do know that I don't just want to stay as we are."
Footsteps echoed. We both jumped and Indra grabbed my wrist and we ran into the bathroom.
I don't know if that was security or not and I don't want to find out!
Indra locked us into a stall.
"I know you don't want to stay as we are. But I don't want to force a relationship on you if you aren't ready."
"You won't just be handing over your heart to me, you'll be handing over your trust too." He said. I blinked, shocked.
"I don't want to break that by making you uncomfortable." He then said.
I bit my lip.
"You won't." I started. "I already trust you." Indra raised an eyebrow.
"And I know I said I wasn't ready for a relationship, but I am ready and willing to give it a try."
Indra tilted his head. He spoke, but it was in Romanian. What is up with that? He then smiled.
I narrowed my eye, "so what does this all mean?"
"Oh my god." Indra scoffed and rolled his eyes. He yanked me by the shirt and kissed me.
"Ah." I sighed when he pulled away from me. Holy shit. I was red and hot.
Indra unlocked the stall door and walked out.
I followed him out. He walked as if he was heading to class.
I stopped when he turned into a hallway. "You know we still have to go to lock-out." I called. Indra froze, tilted his head back, and let out a deep sigh.
I chuckled. "He's so cute." I thought.
After we got our tardies we walked to class.
"Hold on a sec," I held my arm out in front of Indra and stopped. "We can't walk in together."
"What? Why?" Indra asked. Poor baby.
"Jason and Evie are in there. We'll never hear the end of it if we walk in together." I said.
"What's the big deal? They'll find out about us eventually." He said.
"I know, Indra. I'd just like to keep us under wraps for now." I groaned.
"Okay." Indra said blankly.
"Thank you." I muttered.
I went in, handed the pass to my teacher, sat down at my desk. Indra came in ten seconds later and did the same thing. I smiled to myself.
At the end of the day Indra and I were hanging out. He was walking me to my bus. Jeanette couldn't pick us up today. I wanted to, but I didn't hold his hand. I wonder if that would be allowed in our relationship.
We were talking about him sneaking into my window the other night.
"Look, I don't mind you climbing through my window, but I'd like a little warning next time." I said. Indra chuckled.
"Then can I come see you tonight?" He asked with a smile.
"You can." I replied.
"I won't bring Delilah this time." He told me.
We stopped in front of my bus.
"See you tonight." I said.
"Goodbye." Indra said.
I hopped up the stairs of the bus and sat in the seat behind the bus driver. Jason wasn't on the bus yet. I saw Indra walking back to the school from the window.
I was smiling at him again.
When we got home I went to take my pills but when I got there they were gone. I looked under the counters frantically.
"Find them fast! I don't want to go insane again!" I thought.
They weren't on the floor. I rummaged through the drawers and cabinets. Not there either.
I whimpered. Jason had gone upstairs, so I couldn't ask him for help.
There was a rattling noise from the living room. I slowly walked in to it and peered over the couch. I sighed heavily.
"Alexandria." She was sitting on the floor with her toys around her and was shaking my pill bottle in her hand. She gnawed at the cap too. I groaned.
I walked over to her and stooped down, putting my hand on the bottle.
"Don't take my pill bottle." I scolded. "It's not a toy."
I started to pull, but she tightened her grip. "Give it back!" I snapped.
"Mine!" She exclaimed and pulled back. Where's Jeanette when you need her?
"I am not letting her mine phase interfere with my sanity!" I thought furiously.
I yanked the bottle from her hand and rubbed the saliva on the rug.
"It's not a toy!" I repeated as I stood up. "How did you even get to it?!"
Alexandria started crying. Screaming loudly.
"No, no!" I panicked. "Stop it!" I put my hands to my head and groaned. Footsteps sounded as they came down the stairs.
"What happened?" Jeanette asked as she came into the room.
"She took my pills! I took them back!" I snapped.
Jeanette picked up Alexandria.
"Luc you don't need to get so angry." She said. She tried to get Alexandria to calm down and stop crying.
"I'm not going to have my sanity go down again because of some stupid kid!" I shouted and stormed up to my room.
"Luc-" I heard Jeanette call.
I slammed the door and locked it. I opened the pill bottle and took a pill.
"Come on! Calm, calm!" I thought.
I put the pill bottle on my nightstand and dropped my bag beside the nightstand and jumped into bed. I kicked off my shoes and kicked them out of the bed. I squeezed my pillow over my head and closed my eye -- I could still hear Alexandria crying.
A few minutes later a knock sounded, then the door rattled.
"Luc, open the door! You know you're not allowed to lock it!" Jeanette's voice called.
"Oh right. I'm not allowed to do anything remotely similar to having privacy." I groaned mentally.
I rolled out of bed, unlocked the door, then rolled back in.
Jeanette walked in and closed the door.
The bed shifted as she sat down.
"I'm sorry Alexandria took your pills; she climbed the counter. I told her not to take your pills again." Jeanette said.
"But you don't need to get so angry at her." She said.
I didn't say anything.
"Let's put your pills up in the glass cabinet. So she won't be able to get them again." She said. I nodded.
"I'll get going now." Jeanette said. She kissed the side of my face and left.
I rubbed my face into the pillow.
"I am so glad I'm seeing Indra tonight." I thought. If anyone could make me feel better, it's him.
Several hours later and Indra was climbing through my window. I sat up.
"Hello." He greeted me. I smiled. I watched him close the window, take off his shoes and sit on the foot if my bed.
"You're quiet." He stated.
"Yeah." I sighed. I wasn't angry anymore. Just tired, I guess.
"Did something happen?" He asked. So perceptive, honestly.
I waved my hand nonchalant, "it's nothing. Over and done with."
Indra smiled, "okay."
He's a bit too far away for my liking and maybe I'm just being bold.
"You know, you can come up here." I said.
"Can I?" He asked.
"Yes." I laughed.
He crawled up beside me and propped the pillow up behind him.
I stared at the side of his face. He turned his head and met my eye.
"I was wonderin', if you're Romanian, do you have an accent?" I asked.
"Yes." Indra answered.
He always spoke with an American accent, and now I was curious to hear his real voice.
"Will you use it?" I asked.
"No." Indra said simply.
I didn't press. "Okay."
He tilted his head and looked at the right side of my face.
"Does Evie know about your face and your eye?" He asked.
"No." I said. "Does she have to?" I asked.
"No." Indra answered, "I was just curious."
"I'll tell her one day." I rested my head against the headboard.
"How's your senior exit going?" He asked.
"Good. Really good. I'm almost done." I said.
"That's good to hear. You'll do great."
Aw stop, I'm blushing.
We stayed up all night again talking. Mainly about random shit and whatnot. To me it was the best thing ever.
I shot up when my alarm went off. I looked down.
"Oh no." I blurted out.
"Wait, our clothes are still on." I thought.
Indra was still in my bed. Asleep. His head was under the pillow. He soon woke up and dragged himself to sit up.
He opened his eyes and dragged his hand up and down his face groggily.
It finally registered in his mind that I was staring right at him and that we were still in my bedroom. He jumped up. I did too.
"I'm sorry!" He stammered. "I didn't mean to fall asleep!"
"You better-" I said and dove forward, covering his mouth.
"I don't mind it." I whispered. "But my parents are still here."
I uncovered his mouth.
"Right." He whispered.
He ran his fingers through his hair. "I forgot about Evie!"
I laughed quietly. "She's gonna kill you."
"I should head out." He said.
He raced over to the window and opened it. He looked back at me once I joined him. Now that I can really see him in the light, I notice he has blue eyes with a bit of green.
"Pot sa te sarut?" He said.
He lowered his head in embarrassment for a second before raising it again.
"Can I kiss you goodbye?" He asked.
"God please yes." I thought. Keep it classy, Luc.
He leaned forward and gave me a quick kiss on the lips, then climbed out the window and dropped down.
"Mm!" I grunted when he was gone.
"I got me a boyfriend."