It was late in the afternoon as Alex lay in the nurse’s office’s bed staring up at the ceiling with her arms folded behind her head. After what had happened two days ago she couldn’t bring herself another day of being in a classroom where she couldn’t at least talk things over with Charla. What’s more people kept asking her if there were any news of Charla, many just seemed worried but some seemed more interested in spreading rumors for a laugh. Those who did would soon be found out by Ms. Clark, and it never ended well for people like that.
But seeing how empty Charla’s expression was two days ago lingered in Alex’s mind, hollow, empty eyes devoid of life, it was like before when Charla explained what the doctors told her, how she would be fine when in reality Charla knew that she wasn’t.
Alex rolled on her side, she didn’t want to keep thinking on it, thinking on how powerless she was in being unable to help someone she cared for, just like her mother. What sucked even more was that the plan she had to go see Charla wish Sarah, and Sam but unavoidable circumstances came with each family, and Alex wasn’t prepared to go to Charla’s home by herself, at least not in the way Charla seemed now, she couldn’t help but feel like she might make it worse if she did.
Faintly Alex heard the door open, and Jack speaking to someone in a soft voice to someone, not that it really mattered since it was just some other student.
“I’ll be fine, at least for now.” Alex stilled, her eyes opening, it was a voice she recognized. “Though I just spoke with Ms. Clark and told me to just take it easy for today that I could just study in the library. I don’t intend to bother anyone but I thought to at least inform you that I’m here.”
“I’m just glad to see you back,” Jack said with a sigh of relief. “Just don’t push yourself too much.”
“It’s not my intention, though I need to go and speak to Mr. Rockwell as well, Ms. Clark said I should give him notice too since she said she would deal with my homeroom teacher since he’s so… difficult as Ms. Clark says.”
“That doesn’t surprise me,” He said before adding. “Alright then, but if you’re feeling unwell again come back here okay?”
“I will, thank you.” then the door to the nurses office was opened and closed again, instantly Alex pushed herself off the bed and rushed to the door and called out down the hallway.
Charla turned but didn’t look at all surprised by Alex’s sudden outburst as the girl ran to her. “I thought you were in class.” She said as Alex went to catch her breath.
“And I thought you were at home!” Alex said thought panted breath as she looked at Charla with slight narrow eyes. “What the hell? I thought you weren’t coming to school today.”
“Didn’t you get my text?”
“Text?” Alex repeated then realized that since this morning she had been ditching class and turned off her cell so no one could bother her. “No… my phone was off, sorry…”
“It’s okay; I sent a text to Jason to tell him if he sees you to let you know I’ll be at school just not in class. At least for today, I told Sam, Sarah and Mordecai too, though I have to go speak to someone beforehand.”
“You have to speak to the gym teacher right?” when Charla gave a questioning look Alex responded. “I overheard you talking to Jack about it.”
“I see…” was all she said before looking to her phone, scrolling through what only Alex could assume was messages from people. Alex looked at Charla; she seemed back to normal, at least for the most part, like she was when they first met, only a little livelier then that time, but just a little.
“Are you…” Alex spoke drawing Charla’s attention. “Feeling any better than before? I mean after what happened…”
“I’m okay, at least now I am. I’m sorry that I worried you, and that I pushed you away like that, in my head I kept fearing a relapse like what happened at my old school so I pushed you away from me. I didn’t want to drag you into something that could hurt you.”
“No it’s fine.” She said as she pushed some of her hair out of her eyes. “If anything I feel kind of like shit that I just… left you alone, I know you said you wanted that but, I kept getting the feeling I should have ignored it and just stayed with you.”
“You weren’t the only one,” Charla told her. “Mordecai thought that too, although he seemed to have another reason behind it.”
He did? Alex thought with a slight frown.
“But anyway, like you know I’m heading to the teacher’s office to speak with Mr. Rockwell, do you… want to come with me?” then she quickly added as her back was facing Alex. “Though I get it if you can’t come with, you have your own thing.”
Alex smiled she could tell that Charla was trying to hide her embarrassment by keeping her back to her. “Sure, I was doing jack-all anyway. Just wait a moment for me to grab my bag; I kind of left it in Jack’s office.”
To Alex’s slight surprise Charla gave a slight smile. “All right then,”
Once they reached the office where Mr. Rockwell was the teacher was more than slightly surprised to see Charla, while Alex remained waiting in the hall for Charla so not to interfere with their talk.
“I’m really sorry about before in how I acted with the slight fire incident. I shouldn’t have done that but… there were things from my old school I just couldn’t seem to let go of. And when that happened I just… went blank. I apologize if I caused any damage to the school’s property because of my actions.”
Mr. Rockwell shook his head. “You have nothing to apologize for Liebert, if anything I think being upset after having something so personal stolen from you. It’s inexcusable that someone took advantage of you after what you did to help another student. I and the other teachers are still keeping an open ear out in case we hear anything about the incident. And I hope if you hear anything you’ll let me or Ms. Clark know.”
“I will thank you Mr. Rockwell.”
“No need for thanks, although I have to ask, do you plan on joining any of the school’s clubs any time soon? A number of other students are hoping you might after the events of that indecent two days ago.”
“At the moment I’m not, but I’ll think on it. For today though I’m not going to class, as I’m sure Ms. Clark has already informed you. But I’ll be back to regular classes tomorrow, I hope that’s okay.”
“It’s fine, and you know if there’s anyone bugging you or your having any problems you can come and talk to me or any of the teachers here.”
Charla gave a slight smile, and with a nod of thanks she left the room with one last good bye before closing the door.
“Mr. Rockwell is pretty awesome isn’t he?” Alex said when they began to walk down the hallway. “A ton of students like him, he can be super strict when it comes to classes but when something’s wrong he’s the kind of person to get involved. He’s kind of like everyone’s favorite uncle, you know?”
“Well I already have an uncle, and I’m more content with that, but you are right he is a good teacher, I can see why so many people like him.”
“So,” Alex folded her arms behind her head. “With all that done, are you going to head to the library now?”
“Not yet, there’s someone else I need to go and talk too, I told him where I wanted to meet, I don’t mind if your there ether.”
Alex gave a questioning look, but didn’t ask who Charla was going to meet she figured that if she went she would find out soon enough. “That’s fine with me, lead the way.”
It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Alex when Charla led them to the same spot where she had taken Charla when they first met, what did surprise her was seeing Mordecai sitting atop the old air-conditioner with a sketch pad as he silently drew.
What’s going on here? Alex thought with a slight frown as Mordecai stopped drawing and placed his sketch book down.
“Thanks for meeting up with me,” Charla said to him. “You didn’t have class right?”
The young man shook his head. “No I was on brake, besides even if I did I’d still meet with you.”
“So you know why I asked you here.”
He looked at her before nodding. “I do, but I think you should say what it is to give some notion to your friend as to why I’m here.”
Charla glanced at Alex before letting out a breath as her hand reached up to the headphones that rested on her shoulders. “I want you to tell me how you know my brother.”
Mordecai didn’t want to be here, the concert hall in the city was far too massive, even though he understood why he didn’t feel comfortable with it.
He sat in the waiting area with others who waited to play, it wasn’t just the piano but many children of varying ages had an assortment of instruments. A number of kids had talent, others forced to do so by their parents, living out some type of dream that their parents could not. It was something Mordecai never agreed with, in fact he found it rather disgusting but then at times he felt like he was one of them. Even though his parents encouraged him to try his best, all the while merely seeing it as some type of hobby, since his older brother Claude was currently being groomed to take over the company, even though he had no interest yet still played along.
It was stupid, claiming they know the best for their future without so much as even consulting on their child to see if it was something that they even wanted to do. Many kids couldn’t care less since it was something mapped out for them, others hated it and wanted to break free to live their own lives.
But Mordecai didn’t really know what he wanted to do. He was only seven years old, how could he know? Letting out a sigh he looked to his older brother who seemed to be wrapped up in a book he was reading. And as if knowing his younger brother was watching he said.
“You’ll be okay Mordecai, tension gets to us all. Just breathe.”
“I’m not nervous,” the boy muttered. “I just don’t like crowds.”
“I know you don’t,” he said when the door opened and in came a tall blonde man with not one child but two. A boy and girl, they looked to be close to his age but what struck Mordecai the most was how closely similar they were, then it dawned on him, the two were twins, with slight difference in hair and eye colour, the girl having darker shade of blonde then that of the boy. What’s more the two and even their father looked somewhat familiar to him but he couldn’t think as of where off the top of his head. “Looks like the last has shown up, so it should be starting soon…” Claude said as the father of the twins went to go speak to the person in charge.
“Them?” Mordecai said. “They’re both playing?”
Claude readjusted his glasses before speaking. “There had been talk of twins but, I didn’t hear anything about them both competing, maybe it’s just one of them.”
Mordecai continued to stare as the two in question came walking past holding hands as they did so before the girl jerked the boy to a stop.
“I don’t like this Carlin, do you really have too?”
The boy named Carlin gave the girl a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry Charla, once I do this then Mom can finally be off our backs. No need to worry.” But the girl didn’t look too sure about that.
Mordecai continued to look at them, and Carlin noticed him staring and merely gave a smile and a slight nod.
“You’re from Sharlton,” Carlin asked. “Am I right?”
“Yes,” Mordecai said as he walked over to the twins and offered a hand to the boy. “Mordecai Winchester.”
“From the Winchester family,” Carlin said before taking his hand. “I didn’t think we’d meet one of the other members of Sharlton’s founders here of all places, I’m Carlin Liebert and this is my sister Charla.” He said indicating to the blonde girl who looked at Mordecai with a rather nervous glance. “You’re here for the competition right?”
“I am, and you both are too?”
Charla shook her head quickly and Carlin smiled. “She’s not big on crowds, gets too nervous. I never really cared but I think this will be my only performance; at last that’s what I hope for. Never been one drawing attention.”
“I can relate, well I hope you do your best in this competition.”
“Same to you,” then the organizer of the competition began to call over people with their last names and registered number. “Looks like they’re about to start, nice meeting you Mordecai.”
“That was the first time I met both you and your brother, since then we had been rivals of a sort, and you were almost always with Carlin during those times.”
Charla frowned and looked away. “I can’t remember any of that…”
“It’s possible that it was due to your head trauma, you said that there are parts of your memory you can’t remember, so I think that might be the cause.”
Charla shook her head. “But if that’s the case why not say something about it when we first met? Why not tell me that we’ve met before?”
Mordecai was quite for a moment. “I thought about it, but seeing how you were I felt that it might have done more harm than good. Besides we had only known each other for short periods of time, it was Carlin who I interacted with mostly. And on the rare occasion with you, but you always seemed rather shy and would rather stick close to Carlin.”
Charla didn’t speak, her gaze to the ground as she slowly reached to grasp the headphones resting on her shoulders, her thumb running over the rose emblem that had been imprinted on it as she let out a slow steady breath. “It doesn’t excuse it though,” she said before making eye contact with him. “I’m sorry, for not remembering you. And, for how I must have seemed when the incident happened. I shouldn’t have let it get to me.”
Mordecai got up and merely rested a hand on her shoulder. “You’re only human Charla, there’s only so much you can do, and besides you were a child. You shouldn’t feel like you have to keep the whole world on your shoulders. You can rely on others.”
Charla looked to Alex and gave a faint smile. “I know…”
The bell then rang as Mordecai moved away. “I have to go and head back to class, you know where I’ll be if you want to talk some more.”
“Sure,” when Mordecai left Charla looked to Alex. “Thanks for coming with me. Even if it was for something that doesn’t make much sense, I’m glad you were here.”
Alex placed her hands on her hips. “Part of me figured you guys had more of a connection, though it didn’t really click that he knew your brother. I mean, I knew he used to play music, but it should have accrued to me there was some other connection…” she then looked to Charla. “So what now? Want to head to the library or ditch school like before?”
“Hey!” a young man’s voice snapped drawing the girl’s attention to look to a fellow student, and it was a student that Charla recognized. It was the same person she had a run in yesterday; he looked at Charla with the same angry expression and glared with blue eyes. He made his way over and stared her right in the eye. “We need to talk…”