"Take it slow." Evie said as she held my arm and waist, walking with me into the house.
"I can't. I'm finally home." I said. After a week and a half I was finally discharged. I couldn't be happier. Of course more voicemails were left and my heart ached more.
I told Mom about what happened. She comforted me and told me to just focus on other things.
So, I'm dedicating my new healthy life to destroying Nick.
Evie dropped me on the couch. She plopped down beside me.
"I am so glad the stitches are gone. No more risk of bleeding out." I said. Evie chuckled.
Yes, I eventually spoke to the police and gave them my statement. I doubt they'll find the guys though. Or Brian's wallet.
Alexandria ran up to me with her arms out. I scooped her up.
"You're home!" She said.
"Yep! And I can pick you up now!" I smiled.
She giggled and I pushed her up in the air a little. I chuckled and put her down on my lap.
"I'd like to go to my room. Have some privacy at last." I said as I stood up and let Alexandria down.
"I'll head home." Evie said to me.
"Let me help you up the stairs." Brian said.
We headed for the stairs. He held on to me as we went up. I can walk, I just need a little extra support.
"Oof!" I grunted as I dropped onto my bed. I wrapped myself into my blanket and laughed happily. Brian chuckled. "Happy?"
"Yes very." I answered.
"Okay. I'll leave you to it." He said before leaving. I smiled into my pillow.
My happiness was short-lived. Something, was missing. Why was my boyfriend not here with me? I know I wasn't supposed to be focusing on it, but it seems like everything is going back to normal and he's not here.
I sniffled. "Why are you not here? Was all this just too much for you?" No. It doesn't make sense. He was always there for me. What changed? Maybe I put too much on him. After all I am just a drama magnet.
The next day the door was pounded on.
"Shit! Pigs! Hide the drugs!" I shouted and stood up.
"Shut up, Luc!" Jason retorted.
Brian went over to the door. I hid behind Jason and peeked around his arm.
When Brian opened the door a large group of people was revealed. And their ringleader? Jane Todd.
"Grandma?" Jason questioned.
She practically ran in and squished us to death.
"Oh my grandchildren! I'm so glad you're okay!" She cried. I groaned lowly.
Jane let us go and the other people came in. It was Mom's brother and his family, and a family I didn't know.
"What are you guys doing here?" Jason asked.
Jane put her hands on her hips.
"My daughter and grandson were put in the hospital with severe injuries and no one thought to call me until after the fact!"
I looked over at Brian. His eyes were wide and his lips stretched. That expression there says "shit I forgot to call her."
I looked back to Jane when she started speaking again. "So I grabbed the family and we came down here to help you guys."
"Now, where's my daughter?" Jason and I pointed upstairs. Jane walked up there quickly.
"Can't believe you forgot to call us." Mom's brother said to Brian.
"Well there was a lot going on." Brian responded.
"Who are they?" I asked Jason.
There was a man and a small woman standing by the front door.
"My aunt and uncle. Nick's parents." Jason answered.
"Ah." I said. Good, he can finally go the fuck home.
I looked around. Nick had completely vanished.
"Hi Brian." The timid woman said.
"Hey Abby. How are you?" Brian responded.
They got to talking. The man came over to me and Jason.
"So you're Luc?" He asked.
I brought my arm to my nose. Guess what? This guy smells like alcohol. Like he bathes in it.
"Who's Luc?" I played dumb.
Jason nudged me. The man stared blankly.
"No sorry...I'm uh, leaving." Needless to say I backed up and awkwardly ran up the stairs.
I froze on the middle step. Nick was in my face, staring sternly and coming down the stairs. I backed down the stairs as he scared me.
"So Nick. What're you up to?" His Dad asked sarcastically.
Nick chuckled nervously, "oh you know...just hanging out with the cousins."
He put his hand on my shoulder, all buddy-buddy. I slapped his hand away.
"Listen Luc, you can go upstairs if you need to." Brian said.
I mouthed a thank you and left. I closed myself in my room and pat my hair. A whole bunch of new people are here and now I have to hide my face. I groaned, annoyed.
"Nope!" I said loudly. I then quieted down, "I'm not going to hide in my own house."
I'll show my face and they'll just have to deal with it. So what if it's fucked up and out of the norm?
I sat down on the bed.
So there's another alcoholic in the family -- and another alcoholic in my life. Terrific.
My door was knocked on. I turned and brushed my hair behind my ear.
The door opened and Jason walked in.
"I wanted to talk to you." He closed the door.
I sat down in the middle of my bed. Jason sat down in front of me.
"About what?" I asked.
"You. Your past." He said. I tilted my head.
"The only reason we had a falling out is because I didn't understand you. And then you almost died." He stated.
He pointed, "I don't want you dying when we are on somewhat bad terms. Or dying period. And I do want to understand you."
I crossed my legs. "Okay."
"Okay?" He asked.
"Okay." I repeated.
"Wait, wait," Jason shifted and crossed his legs. "You're okay to talk about this?" I nodded.
"Okay so...what happened?" He asked.
"Be more specific." I stated.
"Did someone in your old foster home drink a lot?"
"Yes all the time. It was my former foster father. He'd attack us all."
"Ah, I get it. You hate Nick because he reminds you of your foster father." Jason put it together.
"Former foster father. And yes. I don't need that kind of person around me."
"So what about..." He trailed off and pointed to my eye.
"It was on the day I was forced out. He was on a rampage. I was going to kill him. But he had an iron and stopped me with it." I answered.
"Oh..." Jason said.
"And what about the..." He shuddered a little and broke eye contact with me. "The...the-"
"The rape?" I asked for him.
He nodded sheepishly.
"He got drunk. His wife wouldn't give him anything so he went to the non-family member." I answered.
"Um...Mom thinks...it may have been more than once...."
"What?!" I flinched.
"Is it true?" He asked.
That's an issue. But I'll be honest.
"Yeah. It is." I answered. I can't exactly tell people about Winn and Izzy, now can I?
Jason leaned away slightly with a scared expression.
"But let's keep that to ourselves." I put my finger over my lips.
"Why would he do that to you?" He asked.
"I don't know."
Jason sat up straight and looked at me.
"How did you deal with all of that?" He questioned.
"I don't know."
"Well..." Jason stammered
"I wanted to die each and every day. I don't know how I pulled through." I said honestly.
"It's probably because I had Indra and Evie. Maybe. I don't know." I said.
"I mean back then they didn't know anything. Well, Indra did...but I barely told him anything." I started.
"He only knew that I had been assaulted. The rest he kind of put together on his own, but by that time, I had already left." I finished.
I tilted my head to the side. I brought him up without even thinking about it.
"Haha!" I ran my fingers through my hair. "It's like I had it coming!"
"What?" Jason asked.
"He left!" I laughed.
"Luc...you were forced to leave. You don't have anything coming. What Indra chose to do was his own problem." Jason said. I hunched my shoulders.
My eyes teared up. The tears fell as I sniffled.
"Whoa...that eye can still cry?" Jason asked.
"I just...kinda thought he loved me."
A while later I stood at the top of the stairs, contemplating going down and joining the others.
I sat down and hugged my knees. Alexandria walked past the staircase holding a sippy cup.
She backed up and looked up at me. Must've seen me from the corner of her eye. She grinned happily.
Alexandria ran up the stairs. She stood at my side and wrapped her arms around me.
"Hi Alexandria." I wrapped my arms around her.
"Come downstairs. Play with me!" She said. She's so loud I don't have a choice.
"Okay." I picked her up as I stood. I went down the steps and saw Jane in the kitchen cooking. She was at the stove, her back to me.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"I'm cooking dinner. Give it fifteen minutes." She answered.
I turned and walked into the living room, to Alexandria's corner.
I put her down and sat down. She ran over to her little tea set and grabbed a tea cup and saucer. She pushed the teapot to the middle and sat down.
She gently took the teapot handle in her tiny fingers and poured me imaginary tea.
"Thank you." I said politely.
"You're welcome." Alexandria answered as she poured herself tea.
She held up her tea cup. I clinked mine against her's and downed the tea.
"Luc! You're supposed to go slow!" She complained.
"Oops." I said. "I'm sure we can get some real tea." I said.
"Really?" Alexandria asked.
"Yes. Because every little girl should have a real tea party at least once in her life." I stood up. "I'll be back."
I went into the kitchen and raided the pantry. I took crackers, cookies, grape juice, and I took blackberries from the refrigerator.
"Don't eat too much." Jane warned.
"We won't." I said.
As I passed by the foyer I heard Brian talking quietly.
"Don't you dare drink around my kids. Especially Luc." I closed my eye and walked away.
I sat down in front of Alexandria.
"What's wrong?" She asked.
I shook my head. "Nothing."
I held up my spoils. "Got grape juice."
Once dinner was ready and everyone was setting up in the dining room, I hid behind the wall, peeking into the dining room. It was very lively in here.
"What is it?" Brian's voice asked from behind.
"Jesus fuck!" I exclaimed as I whipped around. Brian raised an eyebrow.
"Why are you hiding?" He asked.
"Well...I've got my eye out. I've decided I'm not going to hide in my own house. I don't know how the others will react." I said.
"Don't worry about them. They're your family; they'll have to accept you no matter what." Brian said.
He winked and grinned, "come on. I know you are hungry." He right about that.
Brian turned me around and pushed me into the dining room and put me in a seat. Alexandria climbed up into the seat to the right of me and sat on her knees. Mom eased down into the chair across from me.
I grinned at her.
Currently Jane was the HBIC of the house; so she made Mom and the others agree to let her cook and have a family dinner. This should be fun. I solemnly swear to not cause anything.
The meal consisted of mashed potatoes, broccoli, sliced chicken, green beans, and steak. Damn Jane.
I was happy to get my fingers on that steak.
I put food onto Alexandria's plate. She began to eat.
"Wait for everyone else to sit down." Mom called. Alexandria pouted and did as she was told.
I tensed up as the rest of the family came in.
"Relax Luc." Mom whispered.
Jane sat on one side of Mom, Brian sat on the other.
"Can we eat now?" I asked Mom after my stomach grumbled.
"Luc." She scolded.
I held my hands up.
"Come on the rest of you!" Jane called loudly.
"Alright Jane, calm down." The man from earlier said as he came in with his family. They sat down. Mom's brother sat beside me and the rest filled in the empty spaces.
"Luc this is my brother. Kenneth. His wife Abigail." Brian said slightly tilting his head to the man and woman.
"Ken." Kenneth-- Ken corrected.
I nodded quickly. I took a small glob of potatoes and put them in my mouth, chewing on the fork nervously.
I turned to Mom's brother, "you know, I don't know your name."
He turned to me. "Oh?" He flinched slightly.
"Walter Todd. That's my wife, Tanya. Our kids Dylan and Toby." He told me. Tanya had long and straight pale hair. The kids had the same color of hair.
"Ah..." I said lowly.
He turned back to his plate. My eye flicked to other people's plates. I began to eat.
Things were actually going normal for once.
I dangled a piece of chicken above Alexandria's face, teasing her as she tried to grab it. I let it go and it dropped into her mouth. I chuckled. She giggled after swallowing the chicken. I couldn't help but smile. She's still as cute as I remember.
Since I was full I just dropped food into her mouth because I knew she'd take it eventually. I wouldn't give her the steak though. That's mine.
"Luc, don't give her too much. You don't want to see that food again do you?" Mom said.
My eye widened for a second.
"Alright. That's enough Alexandria." I said.
"Aw." She pouted.
"I swear Jeanette, she is growing so fast." Jane stated.
Mom nodded in agreement, "I know."
Alexandria's going to be smart. I know it.
Since dinner was drawing to a close, people started talking.
"So Luc," Ken called. He opened his mouth and it became clear to me his glass wasn't filled with tea. I looked up at him. "What'd you do to your face?"
I chuckled. Don't worry; this was to be expected.
"Got hit." I answered.
"With...what?" Ken asked.
"An iron." I touched my lip.
"Oh..." He said.
Jane glanced at me, then Walter, who looked at Mom.
I grinned and hunched my shoulders.
I'm not sure how the sleeping thing went down later that night, but I surely dove for my bed quickly.
For most of the night I stayed awake thinking. Alcohol was in my dreams. So was screaming.
In the morning I went downstairs and saw Jane and Mom in the kitchen cooking. Alexandria was sitting at the counter watching. The others were up and sitting in the living room. Blankets and pillows were on the floor and couches.
"Morning Luc." Mom said. "Did you sleep okay?"
"Yes." Was all I said.
"Good morning Luc! I hope you like pancakes!" Jane said as she turned around with a plate of stacked pancakes. I hunched my shoulders.
I looked at Alexandria.
"Indra's pancakes!" She shouted again.
Put "pancakes" on the list of ruined memories.
"Stop it, Alexandria." I said sternly. Before people ask questions.
"Indra's pancakes!" She whined.
"He didn't give Luc the recipe." Mom said.
Alexandria whined lowly.
"Who's Indra?" Jane asked as she put the plate of pancakes on the counter. Mom put the eggs and bacon down beside the pancake plate.
She looked at me to answer. What do I say? My ex? Are we exes?
Jane looked at me expectantly.
"Nobody." I said, walking away with my head hung.
"Hold on," Jane called to me.
"Leave it alone, Mom." Mom cut her off.
"I'm not all that hungry, Mom...I'll just head back upstairs." I said lowly.
I slowly went up the stairs. Brian was coming down. I went to the side.
"Hey Luc, you okay?" He asked. I just waved him off and went into my room.
I closed the door and sat down against my bed and hugged my knee.
"Why did you do this to us?" I thought.
A few days later I went to the therapist office with Mom and Jason. For whatever reason. I sat in the lobby with Mom, we'd been there for a while now. I think it was almost over.
Mom groaned lowly and stood up. "I'm going to the bathroom. Be right back."
As she left a girl walked in and Jason came out. The girl was "cute" I guess. She had brown hair cut in a bob and was kind of short.
"Mom just went to the bathroom. Should we stay here or wait by the bathroom?" I asked.
"Wait here." He said.
The girl saw Jason and her face lit up. "Hey Jason! How've you been?"
Jason jumped a little. "Hey- Hey, Mari!"
He totally wigged out. "I gotta go to the bathroom too!" He ran out.
I held my hand up and my face crinkled in confusion.
The girl groaned, "what's with him? He's always acting weird!"
"Is it because he asked me out?" She asked.
"Oh. That's the girl he likes." I thought.
"I'd assume so. You did laugh at him." I said as I stood up.
"What? He was joking with me!" Mari exclaimed.
I chuckled, "why would he joke about that?"
Mari's eyes widened. "Oh wow."
I opened the door leading out of the lobby, "you'd better tell him how you feel or don't feel. He'll be going to college soon." I advised.
The summer breezed by. Evie helped me through the painful parts.
I was able to avoid Nick and his father. The family stayed until Mom and I were 100% healed up.
We stood by the front door, saying our goodbyes to the family.
"Thank you for coming you guys." Mom said as she hugged Jane.
"Of course. We'll see you around." Jane said.
Ken and Abigail had already left, but it was arranged that Nick would stay with Jane from now on. I could kind of put together why, but I didn't say anything.
I said my goodbyes then left to go put my bag together.
I sighed heavily put new notebooks and binders in my bag. I just want to get this day over with and start school already. It's like, okay school is here, get on with it.
Jason won't be with me. He's starting college. Going to another state in fact. He and Brian are leaving soon.
I'm sad. Who am I going to talk to now? I'll miss him though.
Evie and I pretty much had the same schedule so we decided that she'd take me home at the end of the day. For the mornings I'd still ride with Mom on her way to work.
The next day at school in first block, Evie and I sat together. First block was English. Second is next level theatre arts. Third is History. Fourth is Math. Next semester we both have early release. What fun.
I outstretched my arm on top of my desk and laid my head on it. I exhaled quietly.
"Welcome back from your summer back." A female voice said.
"I'll start with attendance then we can talk more."
"Luc Benson?" She called. I didn't bother to raise my hand. Evie grabbed my wrist and raised my hand for me.
"Thank you." The teacher said.
I sighed with relief.
"He's not here." I thought reassuringly.
The teacher laid out our first unit: vocab, old medieval literature, Beowulf.
Later, I felt Evie's hair on my ear.
"You feeling okay?" She asked. "Is your stomach bothering you?"
I pressed my lips together briefly. "It's all healed. Got a big scar to show for it."
"Then what's wrong?" Evie asked, obliviously. "Are you tired?"
I chuckled. Her hair left my ear. She giggled.
"You know what I think?" She suddenly said with an optimistic tone.
I raised my head and turned to her, "what?" She was smiling.
"We're going to have a great year. We're seniors now." She said.
I hunched my shoulders indifferently.
"Just another year of school." I said.
"Come on Luc," Evie groaned as she shook me a little, "be positive!"
"Trying to." I mumbled. She stopped shaking me.
My inner thoughts slipped out, "I miss my boyfriend."
What happens when I try to hide my feelings? They come out anyway.
Evie sighed, joining me in my mood.
I tried to just accept it, but that didn't work too well. I sometimes can't tell if this is the same thing I did or something entirely different.
"Maybe he'll come back. He said he'd stay this year." I don't know if she was trying to convince herself or me, but it didn't work.
"Whatever. We don't need him." I said.
I turned to the board. I felt stiff and bad.
"I want to go home." So I can feel bad and not feel bad about it. Evie rubbed my back silently.
I walked hunched over in the hallway. Evie was dragging me to our next class.
I had this bad feeling, that I was depressed and that something bad was going to happen.
"Luc!" Evie groaned as she pulled. "You're heavy! Walk normally."
"No." I groaned. Evie huffed loudly.
I decided to help her out and walk normally the rest of the way.
I can't figure out why I'm so depressed right now. I keep leaning on Evie for support, but it's not helping. I want to cry.
When second block started I noticed people from last year's class were here. Along with new people. Guess I don't have to freak out too much about new people.
I lugged myself into the bathroom and leaned against the wall, closing my eye.
"I should just stay here for the rest of the day. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea." I thought. I felt better now that I was alone, but far from 100%.
Footsteps echoed in my ear. Honestly, I could sleep to that.
"Could that be an administrator?" I opened my eye. Me and my anxious thoughts.
I got off the wall and went over to the urinal, pretending that I was about to use it.
The footsteps were gone. I returned to the wall. I sighed heavily, the bad feeling looming over me.
Eventually I got bored just standing in the bathroom, which was around 12:30, so I just had to go to fourth block and I'd be home soon.
Evie found me in the stairwell on our way out to the trailers.
"Luc this isn't good. You skipped majority of second block and third block. All on the first day!" Evie exclaimed.
"I know. I'm just trying to get through the day the best way I can!" I replied.
Evie huffed and rolled her eyes.
"All that aside, I need to tell you something." She said. She pulled me over to the side railing by the window.
She didn't hesitate. "Indra's here."
All I could do was stare at her. She had to be joking, right? I mean, I never saw him.
But speak of the devil, coming down the stairs along with the crowd of students was Indra himself.
My chest emptied as I inhaled quietly.
"Oh god. He's seen us. He's coming over here!" I thought. I should run. My feet were stuck to the floor.
I clenched my jaw and shook. I couldn't stop staring at him. Evie turned around and backed up against the railing.
"Indra!" She called.
In a fit of rage I stretched my arm and I slapped him across that stupid, stupid, stupid beautiful fucking face of his. Indra cringed. I finally exhaled.
People commuting whooped as they were expecting a fight.
"Why did I do that?" I thought.
Indra stood up straight and held his cheek. "Alright."
"Guess I deserved that."
I huffed angrily. Bastard. Asshole! Apathetic shithead!
"Why are you here?" I growled.
Indra grinned and held up his hands, "this is my home."
He then put his hand on his hip. "Okay no. Your life is in peril and I'm here to fix it."