Semblance

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Chapter Two - Reflection

Elias was woken by the sound of his bedroom curtains being thrown open and the sharp sting from the light of the outside world glaring in at him. “Wake up Elias, remember you have school today,” said his Grandma in her gentle and falsely easy-going tone. Really what she meant was "get up now or I’m going to rip the duvet off of the bed leaving you starkers on the mattress.” Elias knew when to push his luck and now... wasn’t the time.

“Yes, Grandma,” Elias replied using his “I’m awake” voice but his Grandma knew him too well. She yanked the duvet off of him and onto the floor and threw his clothes across his undressed body to cover the slender nudity that his duvet once hid.

“Grandma” Elias yelled, feeling the cold indignity of the situation.

“Oh it’s nothing I haven’t seen before Elias” she replied as if that would make the situation any less awkward. “now get in that shower and get dressed. I’ll have breakfast ready for you at the table,” then she left him to get ready.

Elias let out a moan that could only be interpreted as sheer frustration at his Grandma’s actions. As he stepped from his room to the hallway he could hear Sarah scrambling around the living room downstairs looking for something and when he entered the bathroom he realised what. Her “new” doll was sitting on top of the toilet seat staring at him with those eyes that somehow created a massive amount of unease in him. He bent to pick it up.

“Hi, I’m Miss Holly. will you be my bestest friend?”

Elias Jumped back from the doll and in doing so landed on his back in the bathtub. He pushed himself up from the tub and felt a sharp pain go up the side of his ribs. “FUUUUUUU-” he started to say then realised his sister had suddenly appeared at the door to see what the commotion was, “-UUUDDGE” he finished trying not to use expletives in front of his younger sister.

“Did you fall in the bath again?” came his sister’s sarcastic tone.

“No I did- what do you mean again? Never mind. Get out of the bathroom and take your creepy doll with you!” She grabbed her doll and left. As she was leaving he could see the water start to gather in the corner of her eyes. He didn’t mean to shout at her but he was in pain and it was all her and that monstrosity of a plaything’s fault. He spent a good five or six minutes just sitting on the edge of the tub before checking himself for marks or bruises in the mirror. A purple line had started to appear along the side of his abdomen just below his ribs, he must have hit it on the tub on the way down. Elias looked at himself in the mirror and realised that there were small changes, but changes none the less, to his body. The way that his hips jutted out of his slender frame had before made him look almost ill but now looking at himself he saw that his hips still stood out, but in a way that was complimented by the growing muscles of his upper thigh and lower abdomen. He was starting to fill out into the body that he feared would never arrive. His hair was still shaggy and long, he had been told from the day he was born that he would grow out of the sandy colour he had always had and would eventually be a mousy brunette but that day had yet to come. And he was okay with that. He liked his blonde waves and was dreading the day they abandon him.

After a long shower, Elias slowly drew on his clothes and pushed on his glasses before daring to approach the kitchen and meet the wrath of his Grandma for upsetting his sister for the second time within twenty-four hours. He opened the door with his shoulders hunched apologetically to his ears and his hands held out in front of him but to his disbelief, his Grandma wasn’t there... Neither was Sarah. He made himself some breakfast - Bran flakes and fruit, it seemed that Grandma was too angry with him to make him the breakfast she had mentioned - and put his boots and coat on before heading off to school.

He’d been so distracted by guilt that when Jay jumped him from behind like he always does, his brain erupted with genuine fright and he moved in a way that caused them both to fall. “Jay!” Elias yelled, “first I fall in the street yesterday because I slipped on ice, then I fall in the bath this morning because of my sister and her creepy ass doll and now I end up on the ground, yet again, because of your stupidity!”

“wow wow wow, calm down man, your skinny jeans are so far up your ass right now that I’m surprised you can’t taste the denim. Untwist those panties.” Jay, uncaring as always. “Plus, shouldn’t you be used to pain in the-” He was cut off in his tracks by a swift nudge to the ribs from Elias.

“Hey Noah,” Elias said a little too enthusiastically. “Heard you were having a party last night? Thursdays must be where it’s at these days”

“Uh yeah, must be.” Noah’s reply was short and cocky but Elias didn’t mind. Any sort of reply he could get from Noah was time spent talking to him. Even as he walked away Elias couldn’t help staring after him. He was shorter than Elias was but at five foot, ten inches at fifteen years old most people were shorter than Elias. He had a similar style and a similar taste in music but when it came down to it Elias didn’t know Noah that well, just that he wanted him and would eventually pluck up the courage to tell him.

“Please stop pining over the pretty boy and come back down to earth, pwetty pwease” Jay said mockingly.

“Yeah, sure.”

**********

After school Jay walked home with Elias, Elias had decided not to stop in at his Mom’s house this afternoon after the state she was in yesterday. Jay had backed him up in his decision by saying no one should have to see their Mother in a state like that. It was true but Elias still felt that he was letting her down by not going.

Elias saw the reflection of himself and Jay in a store window as they passed and couldn’t help thinking about how strange they must look standing next to each other. Jay was short and muscular with cropped dark hair and bright blue eyes to die for and Elias was tall and lanky with wavy blonde hair and spectacles that drew attention to his chocolate brown eyes in a way that, he supposed, eyeliner would. Elias never saw himself as good looking nor did he think he was horrible. He often wondered how other people saw him but any time he asked Jay, he would reply with a sarcastic comment about how he didn’t play for Elias’ team.

As the unlikely pair walked up the steps to Elias’ Grandmother’s house they could hear laughing. But it wasn’t coming from the house. It was coming from Mr Creeper’s. “Hey is that smooth jazz?” Jay asked.

“Eww Jay, don’t even go there. That is my Grandma.” Elias cringed at the thought of what Jay was implying. “They’re probably just reminiscing about the day the radio was invented.”

They entered the house and slammed down onto the couch. Jay kicked his feet up and plugged in his earphones, soon he started bobbing his head to the music and was lost to the world. Elias was used to this, it was kind of their “thing”. They’d hang out and do their own thing at the same time but it worked for them so while Jay was lost in the modern symphonies of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry Elias sat staring at the wall and couldn’t help but think of his Mother with the nicotine-addicted walls.

It was a long time ago now, about eight or nine years he reckoned but Elias could still remember the full incident like it had only just happened. The incident that led to his Father’s disappearance and his Mother’s life-shortening habit.

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