Time moved faster, waiting for no one.
Alexa and Lucian were now thirteen. Lucian did not remember his birthday, so Alexa offered to share her birthday with him when they were smaller, now they both celebrate their birthdays on fifth of May every year.
Victor was working hard and was now the Marketing unit head with an attractive pay and allowances. He had to travel a lot these days and Amanda had stopped working to take care of the children.
According to her, at least one parent should be there for the children. Abram and Nate were now seven and eight years old respectively and the naughtiest of the bunch, Amanda and Raelyn ended up in the principal’s office every week for something the boys pulled out.
Alexa, Lucian, Nate and Abram were a gang and did everything together. Though they loved pranking, they were well behaved. They are a force to reckon with if you dare get into their bad side.
Lucian was the calmest and reasonable of all, while Alexa thought everything with her heart. As long as you don’t mess with Alexa you are fine, but once you did then you will have to face the wrath of Lucian.
Though Amanda had a slim frame Alexa was the opposite. She was a bit chubby as she grew up and as for Lucian no matter how much he ate he was always skinny. If he removed his shirt you could easily count his protruding ribs.
Alexa faced lot of fat shaming in the school, but Lucian was always there for her. Alexa was very conscious about her body, she tried to exercise and maintain a diet though nothing worked.
Amanda hoped at least the new year in school, worked well for her daughter and Lucian. Alexa and Lucian were considered an odd nerdy pair in the school and did not have many friends.
Both did well in their studies thought they were not a part of any sport. Alexa mostly because of her clumsiness and Lucian was unfit as per their standards due to his skinny body.
However, Amanda knew better Lucian was way too stronger and his looks could deceive anyone.
Alexa and Lucian were doing well in their school. Though they excelled in their studies they did not succeed in making more friends. They did have a few friends, but their friendship did not carry past the school premises.
Their pair was constantly made fun of and Alexa did not like the teen queen bees in the making.
The bees were a group of four; first one with a blonde hair and cruel green eyes was Delilah Mckinley, second one was a brunette with matching brown eyes and her name was Delaney Raegan, Third one was Mikayla Maddison who had curly blonde hair which ended in her shoulders and had blue eyes, Fourth one was Scarlett Audrina who had light brown hair with blue eyes.
Though four of them were a gang Delilah and Delaney had upper hand being the daughters of the rich business men in that area.
Worst of all, their fathers were the bosses for Victor and Arthur.
Alexa and Lucian first met them at one of Victor’s office parties and instantly disliked the girls. Delilah and Delaney were spoiled brats who would do anything to get what they want. Delilah’s father, Dalton and Delaney’s father, Lance were not only business partners, but also Lance was married to Dalton’s sister Miranda making them one rich family.
Each had younger brothers Bentley Mckinley and Devin Raegon who are two years younger than them. They were no better than their sisters either.
When they first met at a party they made fun of Alexa’s dress and poured drinks on her. Lucian couldn’t do anything as he did not want Victor to lose his job. At school most of the students were friendly, though most of the times it stopped only with a smile. At least they were not hostile.
It was only this gang who created trouble and made their lives hell at school. Luckily Lucian and Alexa had most of the classes together. However, there were places where Lucian could not be with her every time, like washrooms.
The girls made Alexa cry and Lucian hated seeing tears in her eyes. He wished Alexa started believing in herself more, she was a natural beauty and she wouldn’t believe no matter how many times he tells her.
It was a Sunday and Alexa was in her mother’s room trying to curl her hair like the queen bees.
“Alexa, what are you doing?” Lucian asked, eying the cosmetics that have been spread on the bed.
“Trying to learn how to curl my hair, Delilah always makes fun of my straight hair. Or should I cut it like Maddison?” Alexa mumbled, not getting the curler right. Amanda has gone out with Victor leaving Abram with Raelyn.
“Your hair looks just fine, why would you want to look like someone else?” Lucian exclaimed.
He liked Alexa the way she was.
She had a great personality, why she would want to change it for someone else?
“I don’t know what is wrong with me. Lucian, only you and our family says I am beautiful. But others just make fun of me and my clothes,” Alexa had unshed tears in her eyes which made Lucian’s heart ache.
He has also faced so many rude comments for being skinny, he was considered unattractive by the girls. They named the pair Potato stick, well Alexa was the potato and Lucian the stick.
It did not bother him much, he had a family who loved and cared for him. He had Alexa for whom he cared more.
“You know what? I think you are far better than them,” Lucian declared.
“You say that every time,” she sniffled and rubbed her tears in her sleeves.
“Because it’s true, you have a beautiful heart Alexa,” Alexa sighed at his words, Lucian said this all the time that she had a beautiful heart, but she couldn’t see it.
Every time she thought about it, she remembered the hurtful words spoken to her at school and Delilah’s mean words really hurt.
“You don’t believe me? Well, let’s put it this way. Is Delilah better than you in studies?” Lucian asked.
“Can she read a passage in our English textbook without stammering?”
“Is her handwriting neat like yours?”
Alexa laughed at that, “No.” Delilah’s handwriting looked like a messed up morning hair.
“See... all she is good at is putting all that fake stuff on her face, dressing up like a Barbie and walking like a fancy doll,” Lucian exclaimed and Alexa laughed harder at that.
“You are right. I am better than her,” Alexa beamed and Lucian knew there would be a repeat of the same another time.
Alexa was soft and Delilah’s gang easily got under her skin.
“Do you want to go for a walk? I was thinking we could visit that bird nest we found last week,” Lucian changed the subject which excited Alexa.
Lucian loved to be in the woods, he felt as if he belonged there. At first Amanda was worried, later on she let him be.
These days the kids, including Abram and Nate seemed to tag along and as for Amanda she did not bother as long as they were with Lucian. She trusted him with the kid’s safety.
Nate and Abram absolutely loved Lucian, they admired him.
They trekked inside the forest and a few kilometers towards north stood a giant oak tree. Lucian climbed the tree with ease, Alexa held him tighter as she cling to his back. She was not good in climbing and ended up falling twice when she tried.
Lucian was stronger and he easily picked her up as if her weight does not matter.
They reached the nest slowly and Alexa squealed at the sight of three baby birds. While most of the people thought the birds looked ugly in their little featherless body, Alexa thought they were cute. The forest was managed by the town municipally and even had a swamp. Though Lucian liked the area, Alexa was bit scared of the swamp.
Lucian watched happily as she smiled and cooed at the birds. They wandered a bit more before returning home.
The Steller’s sat at the dinner table that evening as one big happy family.
Alexa usually loved Chicken enchiladas, but the girl’s taunting comments made her hesitate. She didn’t want to put on weight. Amanda watched as Lucian encouraged Alexa to eat to her heart’s content and her heart warmed at the sight. Lucian always supported Alexa and made her see the positive side of life.
Amanda thought about her life back in Tennessee. Back there the money earned by Victor was only enough for them to take care of their needs. They never got to enjoy their life or buy the best things for their daughter.
Now their life has changed, she felt happy that they took the offer when they did. Victor took them on holiday trips, during their school break and the family finally had a happy life.
Having grown up Alexa had a separate bedroom and Lucian shared a room with Abram. Though they had separate rooms they often ended up sleeping in the same room under a self-built tent in the name of sleepovers.
Sometimes Victor and Amanda joined the children in their little tent made of blankets. There life was filled with only joy these days.
Unknown to them there were eyes searching for Lucian which only meant harm.