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The Grays

By Sara Rollins

Romance / Drama

Chapter 1

Clydell woke up in his wrecked up bed, looking across the room to see his sleeping brother. Beer bottles were all over the floor.

 “Not again.” Clydell mumbled as he went to get dressed in the only bathroom in the whole house. No one was up but him. But Clydell was used to that. His parents died four years ago. As the oldest, Clydell has to take care of his younger siblings. Someone was knocking on the bathroom door.

 “Good morning, Clydell~!” Sung Darlie. Darlie was a middle child, at age 14. She spent her time at dance clubs if she was bored and she is always optimistic.

 “Hang on Darlie, I’m almost done.” Clydell’s shirt went over his head as he grabbed a comb and combed his black hair with a blue highlight. Clydell’s orginal hair is blonde, but he chose to dye his whole head. When Clydell opened the bathroom door, he looked down at his younger sister. Her long blonde hair was a mess, brown highlight in her eyes, and she was still wearing yesterday's clothes.

 “Didn’t you sleep in your pajamas last night?”

 “Nope! I came home at one in the morning!” Clydell moved out of his sister’s way as he headed towards the kitchen, wanting to make breakfast. The cramped kitchen only had a fridge and an oven. A little table with four chairs was in the middle. Clydell opened the fridge, nothing inside.

 “Great. DARLIE! YOU’RE GOING SHOPPING TODAY!!”

 “Alright!” Darlie shouted, but it sounded faint to Clydell across the building. The four siblings live in one little apartment together. It was the only place they could afford after being kicked out of their parent’s home. When Clydell closed the fridge, he noticed a small figure come up to him. Hawke. The youngest out of the Grays at age nine. She was in her big purple coat as usual. No one knows who got her that coat, but she wears the large coat all the time(even if it’s way too big for her).

 “Sorry, Hawke. We don’t have any food. But Darlie’s going shopping today.”

 “Figures.” Hawke mumbled as she sat herself down at the little table. Her brown hair was covering her eyes, as usual, except Clydell noticed her hair was dirty.

 “Did you go out last night too?”

 “...Yeah. But I came at midnight, right at my bedtime.”

 “Did you see Frederic?” Frederic was the second oldest at the age of 17. Frederic was the brother sleeping across from Clydell with beer bottles everywhere. He goes to clubs and bars every night.

 “No. He probably went to a bar like usual. Probably didn’t come back until three in the morning or something. I heard Darlie come in at one, though. She said she went dancing.” Hawke answered. Clydell looked at the time and noticed it was 8:30.

 “You ready to go to school? I’ll have to drive you seeing Frederic isn’t up and Darlie is still getting ready.”

 “Fine.” Hawke was the only one who still went to school. Darlie, Clydell, and Frederic are all drop-outs, trying to take care of each other and the small apartment. So, Hawke grabbed her backpack as Clydell walked Hawke to their only run down car. The whole car trip, neither of them talked. Clydell really wanted to learn more about his little sister. Since their parents died, she hadn’t shown any emotion. At least she talked. The run down car stopped in front of Hawke’s school which was kindergarten to highschool. Kids and teenagers of different ages walking and talking around everywhere. Hawke ran out of the car without closing the door to her school. Clydell closed the car door as he noticed Hawke running up to someone. A girl way taller than Hawke, maybe around the age of Clydell, so she wasn’t a teacher. The girl had long orange hair with bright blue eyes as she smiled at Hawke. They were talking together and Clydell couldn’t hear. All he knew was the girl looked beautiful and she was in highschool probably. Clydell finally decided to drive away from the school, back home. When he got home, one of the tires was flat. Clydell sighed as the front door to the apartment swung open. Darlie was there, her long blonde hair all straighten.

 “Thanks for going shopping, Darlie. Is Frederic up yet?”

 “No, I didn’t see him around the house. Or Hawke.”

 “I drove Hawke to school, it’s okay. Do you have money for shopping?”

 “I only have $20. That’s all my money.”

 “Okay, well just get some food. And I can’t drive you. We have a flat.”

 “Maybe Rocco could fix it.” Rocco was Clydell, Frederic, and Darlie’s friend. Hawke never liked Rocco for some reason. Rocco is 16 and visits the Grays when he feels unwanted. His parents hate him, which is about as worse as your parents being dead, so whenever they’re fighting, Rocco comes and visits. He’s a real great help around the apartment too.

 “Yeah, Rocco could probably fix it.” Darlie then left with a smile and a happy

 “BYE CLYDELL~!” Clydell waved and went back inside the apartment, up to his room. His brother was still sleeping. Clydell picked up a beer bottle and threw it at Frederic, glass shattering everywhere.

 “Wake up, stone head.” Clydell’s brother slowly got up, his hand on his head. No blood, but he did say

 “Ugh, I’m so dizzy.”

 “Look on the floor, genius.” Frederic then understood as he got out of bed and rushed to the bathroom. Clydell rolled his eyes and called

 “Hawke and Darlie are gone and we have a flat tire.” Clydell then walked down to the kitchen table. There was no living room in the apartment, so Clydell just sat down in the kitchen, noticing the newspaper on the table. Darlie must’ve picked up the paper. Clydell read the paper until his brother came over, dressed and clean...ish. His blonde hair was...spiky.

 “What’s up with the spikes?” Clydell asked, looking up.

 “There was a girl at the club last night who likes spiky hair.”

 “And how do you remember that?”

 “It’s the only thing I remember-ah, there’s no food!” Frederic was walking over to the fridge as they were talking.

 “Didn’t you hear me? I said Darlie went out.” Clydell said, looking at the paper again.

 “Ugh, I’m starving...when did I get home?”

 “I don’t know, five in the morning? Hawke came home at midnight and Darlie came home at one, their bedtimes, and you came home way later. You gotta stop going out every night, Frederic.”

 “Then I have nothing to live for. You don’t either if we leave.” Frederic said as he started lighting a cigarette,

 “Four years ago. You became so different since then. You’re a bad influence. What happened to the boy with good grades, perfect blonde hair, going to college? Just because our parents died it doesn’t mean you can’t do your dream. But instead you wanted to dye your hair, drop out of school, and change all of our names. What is wrong with you?”

 “What’s wrong with you?! You came home drunk last night! What kind of influence is that to our sisters?! Hawke doesn’t even talk to you anymore!” And with that, a fight started. Frederic jumped on Clydell, strangling him. They pulled each others hair, punched, kicked, even if they are young adults, they still fought. Until, they heard a loud knock at the front door. Clydell got out of Frederic’s grip and rushed to the door. It was Rocco.

 “Hey guys. My parents are fighting and I didn’t feel like going to school. Is Darlie home?”

 “No, she went shopping. You came just in time, Rocco. We have a flat tire.”

 “No problem.” Clydell and Rocco went outside to the run down car, leaving Frederic lighting a new cigarette.

 “Man, you guys were fighting as much as my parents. What happened?” Rocco asked as he looked at the flat tire.

 “We were...debating on who is worse.”

 “You’re both equally bad. You lost it when you became in charge and Frederic didn’t help, he encouraged.” Clydell knew Rocco was right.

 ‘What happened to us?’  He thought. Clydell shook his head as he watched Rocco fix his car.

 “I forgot to ask, are you the only who can drive?”

 “No, Frederic is old enough to drive, but he only wants to drive at night to clubs and bars. So, I don’t let him. But apparently Frederic doesn’t need a car to get to his destination. Neither does Darlie or Hawke.”

 “I can imagine Frederic and Darlie, but Hawke sneaks out at night? By herself in the dark and cold?”

 “Yeah. No one stops her. No one knows where she goes. I’m not the only one who changed when mom and dad died.” Even if Rocco isn’t Hawke’s friend, he cares for the whole Gray family. The Gray family is lucky to have him. Rocco fixed the tire right when Darlie came home with plastic bags. When she saw Rocco, she dropped the plastic bags, running to Rocco and hugging him, Rocco blushing. Clydell knew Rocco had a crush on Darlie and he was okay with that even if they were two years apart. Anyway, Clydell picked up the plastic bags Darlie dropped and brought them back inside. Frederic put his cigarette out of his mouth and smashed it with his foot on the ground.

 ‘At least our talk and fight put some sense into him.’ Clydell thought as Darlie and Rocco came inside the tiny place. Darlie gave Frederic a hug once she saw him.

 “So, how was the dance last night?” He asked, trying to act like a true brother.

 “It was fun, my friends were there, lots of dubsteps were playing, fun as usual~! By the way, you might want to take a shower. You still smell like beer.” Frederic smelled his shirt and then went to the bathroom.

 “Don’t waste too much water!” Clydell called out as Frederic left. Even if the Grays live in a rundown apartment, they still have taxes which is not fun for Clydell. He made Darlie get a job, which was at a fastfood restaurant. Darlie gave the silent treatment to Clydell for a week because of the horrible job, but she eventually understood why. Though, she went shopping this morning and probably gonna do more chores to not work today. Frederic doesn’t have a job because he keeps getting fired. And Clydell watches the house, cooks, cleans, pays the taxes, basically acts like a stay-at-home-mom.

 “Hey, I’ve never noticed that painting before.” Rocco said, Darlie and Clydell looking to where he was looking. It was a picture of the whole Gray family, including the parents. Clydell remembers that day well. He was Darlie’s age, Frederic was 11, Darlie was eight, and Hawke was only three. The parents were looking happy and healthy...look at them now. Plus, everyone in the picture looked so different since today. Clydell had his perfect blonde hair with no death in his eyes, Frederic had straight blonde hair, not looking like a Greaser, Darlie actually looks the same but now she’s older and more responsible, and Hawke was, well, a three year old. Today nobody even knows what she’s like except quiet.

 “...We’ve changed so much…” Darlie said sadly. Rocco looked at both Darlie and Clydell and then looked back at the painting.

 “You look the same to me.”

 “Yeah, right.” Clydell said. He knew Rocco was just trying to make them feel better, it’s his job to do that. The kitchen was awkward until Frederic came back.

 “What happened? Did I miss something?”

 “No...Frederic, you didn’t dry your hair enough. It’s still wet.”

 “We ran out of towels.”

 “Ugh-”

 “I got it, Clydell. I learned how to do the laundry at a dance club.”

 “Why at a dance club?” But Darlie didn’t answer. She took Rocco’s hand as they went to the laundry machine which was near the bathroom. Turning back to Frederic, Clydell said

 “Thanks for being a brother by not smoking.” Frederic smiled as he lit a cigarette,

 “Go look for a job.” Clydell threw the newspaper at his brother as he went to put the groceries away in the fridge. Darlie got lots of fruit, vegetables, a few sodas, and a pizza.

 “Wise choices.” Clydell mumbled a little sarcastically.
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