I sat on my bed with the contents of the box laid out neatly. The pictures were wholesome.
One was the normal close up of Lucy looking at newborn me with a smile.
"I was a pale baby." I stated. I looked like a clump of dough. A cute clump of dough.
I looked at another picture. It was of me and Ezra. He was asleep and I was asleep on his chest. The next picture was of me and Lucy on a blanket on the floor. She was propped up on her elbow, watching me play with toys. Her hair fell past her shoulder and laid on the blanket.
I looked at the background. The furniture was brown and gold. There was a large window behind a long couch, showing vibrant green leaves from a tree.
From that picture alone I decided the house was beautiful.
Another picture was of me and Amber laying in a crib together, both asleep.
My door opened and Mom and Brian walked in.
"Hey Luc." Mom said. I laughed.
"You guys feeling threatened?" I asked.
"Well, no." Brian answered. "Yes." Mom said.
I laughed again. "You don't have to worry about anything." I said.
My phone rang. It was Indra. I hit decline.
"Was that Indra?" Mom asked.
"Yeah, but I ain't fuckin with him right now." I answered.
"What did he do?" Mom came and sat down on the bed behind me.
I turned around and unloaded.
"This motherfucker gon be like "eh whatever" when I tell him everything that had just happened. That I met my Mom and was told I have a Dad and a sister!"
"Like, my home-skillet-pahncake. Get happy."
Mom looked at me, confused.
"What did that last part mean?" Brian asked.
I turned around to look back at my pictures. God, I've never seen myself so young before.
"Were you speaking really fast when you told him?" Mom asked. I thought about it.
"So maybe he didn't understand you. You did say he has a hard time understanding some things." She said.
"No he understood. He just kept a straight face and didn't say much." I remember what he said! So of course he understood!
"Alright." Mom said.
"Finals are coming up right, Luc?" Brian asked. Oh right.
"Yes." I answered.
"You should study, and not get distracted." He said.
"I'm fine." I groaned.
"So you think." Mom said as she got off the bed. "Study."
I frowned as the two left.
The door opened once again and Jason, Mari, and Nick walked in. Alexandria was on Jason's back.
"What?" I asked. They were staring at me all scared.
"Is it true?" Jason asked. I nodded slowly.
Alexandria let go of Jason and dropped to the floor. She came over to me and climbed the bed to hug me.
She then pointed at a picture, "you?"
"Yeah. That's me." I answered.
"What are you going to do, Luc?" Jason asked.
I looked up at him. "What are you talking about?"
"Will you decide if you go with your Mom?" He asked, holding his hands nervously. "To find you father and sister?"
"Would you stay with them if you did?" He finished.
It's a lot to think about. "I don't know."
Alexandria poked out her bottom lip and pouted.
"What is it?" I asked.
She wouldn't tell me.
"Okay." I mumbled.
Alexandria hopped off of me and ran over to Jason and hugged his leg.
"Do you think she's legit?" Mari asked, rubbing the back of her neck.
"Who?" I asked.
"Your Mom." She replied.
"I think so." I said.
The teenagers shifted uneasily.
"I'd have to talk with her more, to be 100% certain." I told them.
At night I laid on my back holding the rattle above my face.
"It's still so unbelievable. I have a real Mom and family." I thought.
I put the rattle on my nightstand and clutched my blankets. I closed my eye and went to sleep.
"What took you so long to find me?" I asked Lucy when I saw her a few days later.
"I had to get myself together first." She answered.
We went to a restaurant to get a late lunch. Mom wouldn't let me stay with her alone, but at the same time didn't want to intrude so she sat at another table nearby.
"Oh." I said. "I understand."
This time we talked more in depth about what we were doing over the years. I only told her about my time with my family now. She told me she's just been working and hoping she'd see the family again.
She asked me about Indra. She'd seen him with me once again. I didn't answer her straight, once again.
Although, I haven't really seen him around that much. I wonder where he's disappeared to now.
I enjoy hanging out with Lucy. A lot.
At night I was asleep. In some odd way I could feel Indra. His presence, at least. Guess he's feeling lonely again. I woke up to lips on mine.
I opened my eye.
"Don't." His voice whispered once his lips left mine. He leaned over me with his hands beside my shoulders.
He pressed his lips on mine. "Don't."
I pressed my head further into the pillow. "Indra."
He kissed me again and whispered again.
I let him kiss me for a little longer before stopping him. I pushed him to the other side of the bed.
"What is going on with you?" I asked and rolled onto my side.
Indra sat up with a look of disdain. He was about to leave.
"Hey. Don't leave." I said.
He laid back down.
"Tell me." I said.
He turned his head.
"You're leaving me." He mumbled, upset. Is that why he's been so scarce?
"I'm not leaving." I responded.
"Your mother found you and you want to go with her to find the rest of your family."
"Yes... But I'd come back. I'll always come back." I said.
I held his hand. He stared at me deeply.
"I'm not going anywhere." I assured him. At least for right now. But like I said, I'd come back. And besides, it's not like he can't come with me. Although, I'm still not ready to introduce him to Lucy.
The next time I saw Lucy, Mom and Brian loosened the reigns on us. Just a little bit. We sat on a fallen tree in the woods by my house. Turns out Lucy likes the woods too.
"Hey..." I called sheepishly. Lucy looked at me with a small, curious head tilt. I wiggled my toes nervously. "Would it be okay...if I...called you mama?"
Lucy looked at me, touched and shocked. "Of course."
She smiled. I returned her smile.
"Also," I started. "You're leaving to find Ezra and Amber soon, right?"
Mama Lucy nodded. "What is it? Did you want me to stay longer?"
"Actually, I was gonna ask to come with you." I said.
Mama Lucy leaned back, "oh Luc, I couldn't possibly- that'd be a long trip. Besides, your parents don't trust me one hundred percent."
"They trust me." I said. "So they'll trust my trust in you."
"I want to be there when you find them, Mama." I muttered.
She sighed quietly. "I know."
"We'll talk to your parents. Just to see what they say."
"Most importantly," she said as she stood, "you still have school."
I pouted. Mama Lucy laughed. "It'll be okay. Once I find Ezra I'll call you. Or we'll come to you. If he decides to come."
Mama Lucy then put her hand on her chin.
"What is it?" I stood up.
She looked at me. "Oh nothing." She then stared.
"You're...really short." She stated.
Mama Lucy laughed. "Sorry. I was messing with you."
I laughed sarcastically. She pat the back of my shoulder, "let's get you back home."
When we go back to the house I saw Alexandria sitting on the floor playing with her toys.
"Hey, Luc!" She greeted me.
"Hello." I said.
"Hello Baby." Mama Lucy said cheerfully. (She doesn't know her name.)
"Her name's Alexandria." I whispered.
"Alexandria." She corrected herself.
"Where's Mom and Brian?" I asked.
"Call him Dad!" Alexandria ordered.
"Okay." Damn. "Where's Mom and Dad?"
"In the dining room." Alexandria smiled innocently.
We went into the dining room and sat down with Mom and Brian.
"Well I know that look." Mom said.
I folded my hands nervously.
"Can I go with Lucy to find my father and sister?" I asked. "When I finish school, of course."
The two looked at me like I had five heads. I smiled awkwardly.
Mom looked at Mama.
"I'm fine with it as long as he finishes school and you guys are okay with it." Mama said.
"I'm not okay with it." Mom said bluntly. Brian just silently agreed with her.
I nodded. Yeah, I thought that's where we'd start.
"Where are you going to go? Do you know where your ex and child are?" Mom asked.
"I do now." Mama answered.
"I'd talk to the two first before introducing Luc to them." She said.
"Where are they?"
"Well, I know where they are, just not where... If that makes sense."
"It doesn't." The three of us said after a short pause.
She clarified, "one is in Chicago, the other is in Louisiana. I just don't know who is where."
"And you and Luc would just, go?" Brian asked skeptically.
"Yes." Mama answered.
"And you'd make sure he takes his medication?" Mom asked.
"And that he contacts us regularly?" Brian asked.
Alexandria ran in. "Noooo!" She screamed and hugged my leg tightly.
"What is it?" I asked.
"You can't!" She sobbed. Tears were running down her face.
"Can't what, baby?" Brian asked her.
"He can't leave to find his sister!" She screamed.
"Why not?" I asked.
"That means he's gonna forget about me! You can't forget about me!"
"What are you talking about? I'm not going to forget about you." I told her.
"Yes you are! You have a real sister! So that means you don't need me anymore! So you're gonna forget about me!"
I picked her up and sat her on my lap. "I'm not gonna forget you." I said again.
"I can have more than one sister." I said. "Doesn't mean I'll forget you."
"You'll always be my baby sister."
Alexandria wiped her eyes.
"Tell you what, when I get back I'll take you to get ice cream. I promise. So that will always be on my mind, I'll definitely remember that." I told her.
"Really?" She asked in her cute innocent voice.
"Yeperoony." I said.
"Okay," she hopped off me. "I'll call you too! So you remember for sure!"
She ran out of the room.
Mama looked at me proudly. I smiled.
"So can I go?" I asked.
I looked at Mom and Brian. They looked at each other.
"It really means that much to you, Luc?" Brian asked.
"More than anything." I answered honestly.
The two shared another look.
"We suppose. As long as you promise to call and be safe." Mom said.
I nodded. "Promise."
After finals I saw a girl in class crying her face off. Being nosy, and very slightly concerned, I spoke to her.
"You okay?" I asked.
She looked at me.
"I can't take another minute at my house." She sobbed.
"Oh." I said.
I sat down beside her.
"Are your parents hurting you?" I asked.
She looked at me, with her tormented soul. "Yeah." She whispered
She quickly covered her mouth.
"It's alright. Talking to a stranger helps." I said.
"Here." I took out Mrs. Carte's card. "This is the number of a social worker slash foster mother. She'll take you in. Doesn't matter if you're eighteen."
"Give her a call and tell her it's bad. Also tell her Luc gave you the card."
"The people there are really nice."
The girl wiped her eyes. "Okay. I'll try it."
I left. Call me the Angel of Fostering. I don't know. But, that little interaction helped put things in perspective.
"Let me take another picture!" My Moms said.
We graduated. Hallelujah. We're finally done. Class of we-fucking-made-it!
We were in our caps and gowns lined up against a brick wall having our picture taken by our proud parents. Indra grumbled at all the pictures being taken.
I latched on to his arm when they were done. "It's alright."
"Mm." He grunted. Yeah, he's kind of salty because I'm leaving after this.
"I love you." I kissed his cheek.
He didn't react.
"I love you." I kissed him again. The corner of his mouth turned up.
"I love you thisssssssssssss much!" I said all cute. He blushed and smiled.
"There's my boyfriend!"
I snuggled against him. Lucy came up to us.
"Hey you two. How you feeling?"
She and Indra met a couple days ago. They got along pretty well. Once I told her he was my boyfriend she was super cool about it.
I hugged Evie. She's going straight to college. I ain't jealous. I want my summer break. Hell, I'm using it to find my sister and father.
"Come give me a hug." I said with my arms out. Alexandria ran and hugged me.
"Remember; you have to come back to get ice cream with me." She said.
I hugged Mom and Brian.
"Wear sunscreen." She said.
I chuckled. "Okay."
"We love you." Brian said.
"I love you guys too." I said.
I was sad to leave them. But I'd be back in a few weeks or so.
We said the rest of our goodbyes, I took off my cap and gown and handed them to Mom.
Mama and I got in her car. Our bags were in the back.
We watched Luc and Lucy get in the car. It almost killed me seeing him go. I'm happy he's going to find his family, but we don't know how long he'll be gone.
I looked at his cap and gown. He's a lot different now. A lot different than the Luc we met two years ago; the Luc that would tremble and hide from everyone.
Now he's a normal teenager who jumps at an opportunity. He's better, healed.
I watched. It seems I always just...watched. I watched the broken boy inch his way into our hearts, I watched him suffer horribly once or twice, I watched him grow into a healthy young man.
I don't want to say goodbye to my son. In all honesty, I thought he'd be with us forever.
I looked at Lucy.
Did I make a mistake?
"I'd thought we'd fly?" I asked even though I hate flying.
"I don't like flying." Jesus fuck- she is my mom.
"Okay. To Chicago."
One last life tip for the road: when someone tells you you can't get better, they don't know what the hell they're talking about.
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