Foster Parent

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Chapter 1/ Part two

“This sucks!” Anderson yelled and stormed off down the stairs.

Isidore sighed as he followed his son around the house. “Andy.”

“No! I fucking refuse. I will literally stay with anyone else but her.”

“Think of it as a chance to spend some time with your brothers.”

“That’s even worse,” he complains. “This whole situation sucks! Why can’t I just stay with Ryan?”

“I told you, I don’t know where she is. I tried calling her all day yesterday and today, but she hasn’t picked up. She could be anywhere, in any timezone.”

“Why do I have to leave at all? I don’t want to. I want to stay here.”

“You can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Andy, please.”

“I can’t just pack up leave after—”

Isidore held Anderson by his shoulders. Both of their faces pale— eyes begging the other to listen and comply. “I’m going to the hospital, okay?” Isidore said. “They can help me there. For now, I just need you taken care of, alright?”

“I can just stay here. I’m fifteen. I can stay home by myself for awhile.”

“I’m going to be gone for months, Andy. I can’t just leave you here by yourself for months.”

“I-I’d rather be here! I could visit you. I can’t visit you if I’m hours away.”

Isidore sighed and shook his head as his eyes went to the floor.

“I don’t get why you’re pushing me out like this! I’ve always stayed with you no matter where you were going, now you just—!”

“Look, I know this is sudden,” Isidore interrupted, “I know you’re really confused and scared right now.” He chuckled a little under his breath. “I am too, honestly.” Isidore lifted his head and smiled to his son. “I’m going to be alright, though. I know six months sounds really long, but I’m coming back. I promise, I’m coming back to get you when I get better.”

Anderson sniffed up his emotions and avoided his dad’s eyes. The teen crossed his arms and huffed. “…I’m not talking to her while I’m there.”

Isidore laughed a bit. “You can’t not talk to her for six months.”

“Yes, I can, and yes, I will.”

After getting home from work, Kristen made her way to the kitchen. There, she poured herself a generous shot of Cognac then chugged it. She shook her head as the burn of alcohol ran through her. As it subsided, she poured herself another shot. She closed her eyes and sighed.

“Boys,” she called as she walked to the living room.

Two doors opened.

“I didn’t do it,” Chauncey said as he looked around for her after leaving his room.

“What’s wrong?” Parker asked Kristen. He looked to his brother. “What happened?”

“Don’t worry. You’re not in trouble,” she said. “Yet. I’m gonna find out whatever it is you did, but that’s not the topic right now.”

She threw back her shot of dark liquor and after a long exhale, “Your brother is going to be staying with us for awhile.”

Both boys stayed silent for awhile.

“…Anderson?” Parked asked.

“We don’t have any other brother,” Chauncey said. “That we know of, at least. That’s actually a good question. Is it Andy? Or is everybody’s favorite rock star paying child support elsewhere too.”

Kristen gave him a stern glance. “Stop it.”

“That would make more sense,” Chauncey reasoned and shrugged his shoulders. “Why would he have to stay here anyway?”

“Your dad’s going to be gone for awhile,” Kristen said.

“Touring?” Chauncey asked. “Can’t he just take Andy with him?”

“No. That’s not where he’s going.”

Parker asked in a quiet voice, “Where would he be going to that he couldn’t take Anderson with him?”

“He’s sick,” Kristen said. “He has to stay at the hospital. He’s going to be fine, but they’re going to have to watch after him for awhile.”

“He literally has no one else he can ask to take him?” Chauncey asked. “How long is he going to be gone?”

“Don’t be like that. You get to see your brother for awhile,” Kristen said.

“That’s the worst part.”

“I-is dad really going to be okay?” Parker asked with his head tilted down a little.

“Your dad’s going to be fine.” Kristen reached over to give Parker a quick hug. “I promise. It’s nothing too serious. They just have to keep an eye on him for a little bit.”

“What’s wrong with him?” Chauncey asked.

“Ask him when he gets back,” Kristen said.

“When is he coming back then?”

“I don’t know.”

Chauncey sucked his teeth. “So, Andy’s just going to be living here indefinitely?”

“Just until Ryan gets back,” Kristen assured.

“And where’s she?”

Kristen sighed and shook her head. “Who ever really knows where Ryan is half the time?”

Chauncey nodded. “So, he’s living here. Is he just gonna be crashing on the couch the whole time, because my room isn’t up for debate.”

“He can stay in my room,” Parker offered. “I-I…I think it’s nice that we get to see Anderson. When is he coming?”

“A little later tonight,” Kristen said. “I know everything seems a little sudden.”

“That leaves me no time to mourn,” Chauncey said. “Is he going to be in school with us too? We’re going to have to be in the same grade.”

“It’ll be fine,” she said.

“I should go clean up my room a bit…,” Parker said.

Kristen nodded. “Okay, baby.”

Parker reached for a hug from his mom, and she kissed his forehead before he headed off.

“I’m going to escape from reality through video games,” Chauncey said.

“Have fun, baby,” Kristen said as she waved and blew a lovingly sarcastic kiss to the teen.

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