Youth

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Chapter 27

Bo

Lukas knows more about me which is something I didn’t want happening but it’s just the way he makes me feel. I always like that I can confide in him about everything that’s wrong in my life.

I can’t help but feel the betrayal coming. There’s no way I can tell him everything and then there would be no consequences. He can call the cops and turn me in, he can tell everyone at school, there’s so much he can do to ruin me in an instant.

Now, I’m helping Mrs. Carson make dinner.

“So, do you have any plans for Christmas?” She asks while chopping up some onions.

“Uh, no, I don’t really do much for the holidays since I live alone,” I take a knife from the block and start on some red, yellow, and green bell peppers.

“You should spend it with us! All of Lukas’ friends come over late at night and they spend time watching Christmas movies and I don’t know, doing teenager things.”

My heart swells and I smile, “That sounds like fun, thank you,” Even though Christmas is almost three weeks away, I’m extremely excited. My entire life, Christmas was just another day of the year. In the foster homes I lived in, we didn’t get presents or put up a tree, we just spent the day doing chores.

“What about Thanksgiving? What’d you do then?”

I have fond memories of my first Thanksgiving, “Uh, the restaurant I work at is open Thanksgiving and when we closed, we stayed after and prepared dinner for all the staff. It was a really fun time.”

“That sounds like a night to remember,” She says, scraping her onions into a pan, “We’re making a gigantic bowl of ground turkey with bell peppers, onions, garlic, zucchini, and green beans.”

“Sounds delicious,” Lukas joins us in the kitchen and sits down at the island. He’s changed into red checkered pajama pants and a long-sleeved gray t-shirt.

“Mom, would it be okay if I get my phone back? I’m having withdrawals,” Mrs. Carson rolls her eyes and shakes her head, “But Mom! I have friends who like to do things, please!”

“Not on a school night Lukas, both you and Bo have school tomorrow and I’m not letting either of you go out tonight.” I raise my eyebrows and smile, I’ve never had someone be so nice but strict at the same time.

“I’m not going anywhere tonight, I have school and then work right after so I need as much sleep as I can.”

“See? Bo takes care of herself like an independent woman should,” Mrs. Carson pats my back and gives me a soft smile. Lukas though, he’s upset that he doesn’t get his phone back.

“Uhm, is it alright if I drive Bo home tonight then?”

“Fine, right after dinner you can take Bo home but you have to be back by ten o’clock, any later and I’ll take your phone away until you can pay for it yourself,” I try to keep from laughing at the face Lukas is making. I see every word he wants to say to his mother in his throat but he’s obviously choking them down.

“Thanks for the offer,” I say, sliding the board of chopped up vegetables over to Mrs. Carson. She takes it and adds them to the pan of everything else. I wash my hands in the sink and then dry my hands on my pants. Lukas beckons me over to the island and pushes out the chair with his leg, “You’re gonna take me home in your pajamas?”

Lukas nods, “Of course, I’m not ashamed of my PJs Bo.”

“I’m going upstairs to take care of a couple things, Bo can you make sure to watch the time? If the vegetables overcook they’ll become soggy,” I nod and Mrs. Carson leaves us alone in the kitchen.

Lukas starts talking in a hushed tone, “So, while I was in the shower, I was thinking about what you told me. You said you changed your name?”

“Uh, yeah, my real name isn’t Bo Lockett,” My fingers get caught in a loose thread and I keep myself from pulling on it. This dress isn’t mine, just like my name, “My real name is Gianna Bassett.”

“Gianna? It suits you,” Hearing my real name roll off his tongue feels unfamiliar, nobody has called me Gianna in a long time. David always called me Gia, but that was the closest to my real name I’ve gotten in a while. “Have you seen David since he framed you?”

I don’t think Lukas needs to know about that.

“No, I haven’t,” My response is vague or at least to me it’s vague. The delicious smell of dinner turns into a disgusting aroma that hits me all of a sudden.

“Do you smell that?” Lukas asks me as I hop off the stool.

“Oh shit!” I take the cover off the pan and everything is a charred black.

Mrs. Carson walks into the kitchen and her brunette hair is now up in a bun.

“What happened Bo?” She asks, looking at the pan of nothing now.

“I-I guess I lost track of time, I’m so sorry Mrs. Carson.”

“No, no, it’s okay. I didn’t really want this for dinner tonight anyway. I was kind of just throwing things together from what we had left in the refrigerator,” I sigh in relief and look at Lukas who’s head is tilted. His eyes study me as he nods his head towards the walkway.

“If it’s cool, Bo and I are gonna pick up some fast food on the way to hers,” Lukas takes the car keys off the wall and takes my hand.

“Yeah, that’s fine. Remember, home by ten,” He pulls me out of the kitchen and leads me to his room.

I take my torn dress from the chair in the corner and the both of us leave the house.

“You can keep the dress, my sister probably won’t need it anymore,” Lukas gets into the car and I follow.

“I don’t feel good keeping this, I’ll get it back to you tomorrow,” We drive down the street and go through a McDonald’s drive-thru, “I want a cheeseburger, no onions.”

“You don’t like onions? You weren’t gonna say anything about the dinner tonight?”

“No, I wasn’t gonna rule over your dinner,” I laugh, taking out my phone. A sign I want to end this conversation but he doesn’t let it go.

“If you don’t like something let me know, I don’t want you torturing yourself so you can please my Mom.”

“She’s just, the first person, first adult who’s genuinely cared. She’s like my first Mom figure and I don’t want to make her upset or something,” Lukas hands me our food bag and then we take off towards my apartment. This is honestly the first time in a long time that I’ve felt secure. At this moment, in this car with Lukas, I feel safe.

“I get that Bo, you haven’t had a Mom figure in your life like you should’ve but my mom shouldn’t be the one you’re trying to impress,” Lukas sighs as he parks the car in one of the guest parking spots, “Have you ever thought of searching for your real mom?”

I roll my eyes at the question, “Of course I have! But it takes time and money that I don’t have to find her, trust me,” I open the car door and get out. I walk to my apartment and when I go to open the door with my keys I remember I don’t have my fucking keys!

“Change of plans, I don’t have my keys anymore,” Lukas looks at me wide-eyed and laughs, but his was an ‘I give up’ laugh rather than a genuine one.

“Is the window still unlocked?” I shake my head, I locked the window the other day because of your ‘Adrian and I snuck into your house’ extravaganza.”

“Where did you put your keys?” He asks me, I rock back and forth on my heels.

“I may or may not have left them in Adam’s car,” Lukas groans and I grab his shirt, “I can get them from him, just give me five minutes,” I knock on Adam’s door and he answers it in seconds, “Hey Adam, I need to get my stuff that I left with you last night.”

“Jesus Christ Bo, why do you always do this to me!” Adam engulfs me in a tight hug and doesn’t let go until Lukas clears his throat.

“The food’s gonna get cold,” He says awkwardly, scratching the back of his neck.

“Right, uh, my things?” I fiddle with my fingers and Adam nods, he leaves me in the doorway and comes back with my clothes, phone, and keys.

“Thank you so much,” I give him another hug and both Lukas and I walk across the corridor, “So, do you want something to drink?”

Lukas doesn’t come in and hands me the McDonald’s bag once I set everything down.

“No, I have to get home before my Mom has a bitch-fit,” My eyes search for the time and I see it’s close to nine-thirty. I furrow my brows but I don’t question him.

“Alright, I’ll see you at school tomorrow then,” I close the door as he turns to walk away and I feel my heart begin to beat unsteadily. It’s begging me to open the door and call him back but my brain tells me not to, that it’s a bad idea.

I go with my brain and open up the McDonald’s bag. My hands unwrap the burger but before I can take a bite, a knock sounds at my front door.

I feel relief wash over me and when I open it, I’m not greeted by the someone I’d hoped for. I’m face-to-face with six policemen, all of their guns are pointed directly at my face. I’ve been through this before but this time I think it’s gonna be different.

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