I was tired. Too tired to pay attention to Mr. Walt in the front of the class. I tried to listen to what he was saying, but it all came in as this one big blurb that I couldn’t interpret. So, I just stared back at him and hoped that I would be able to gather something for the upcoming test next week. There was no way I could fail. Not if I wanted a full ride to college. I had to get there somehow.
“Blaine.” I blinked a couple of times. Mr. Walt was staring expectantly at me, the eyes of the whole class looking back at me.
“What was the result of WWII?”
I racked my brain for the answer, but nothing was coming up. I could think of only how my head was starting to pound and my hands were beginning to shake. Mr. Walt stepped towards me, his eyebrows scrunched in concern.
“Blaine, are you okay?”
I nodded my head, but that was that. Nothing but black. My body felt light like it was floating. I could feel my breath go even, no longer fighting against my lungs. Then, in all but what felt like only a few seconds, my vision returned, slightly blurry as I gathered my surroundings. It was a place I had visited often nowadays, yet nothing else seemed to change.
The lights brightened as my vision cleared and I could now vividly see the small figure in front of me. It was my mother, the only sign of her current situation was the slight twitching of her hand. She knew how to hide it. She had been through this so many times.
I could see her talking with the school nurse, but not once did they ask how I felt. How I suddenly felt weak yet strong all at the same time. It felt as if I was taking the same drug my mother was this morning. I wouldn’t tell them anything even if they asked, so I guess it was no use. I could feel my chest ache, but it wouldn’t bother me later. I would be fine. My mom finally looked at me before heading out the door. I knew that was my signal to get up and leave so I slid from off the cushioned cot and let my feet slowly sit on the ground. I followed my mom out the doorway, but before I could fully exit there was a hand on my shoulder.
“It’s okay if you’re not okay,” the nurse said, earnestly.
I pretended to be asleep, not really in the mood to conversate with my mom when she was basically high. I watched all the empty and boarded up houses as we neared our house. There were many people out; not the type you would want to encounter. I could recognize a few that hang out with my stepdad, Griffy. They were nice to me but pretty ruthless on the streets.
When we got home, my mom asked me to make her a sandwich while she took a shower. I made how she asked me to everytime since, even though they may be little things, she really does a lot for me. My mom wasn’t a bad person. She just was dealing with substance abuse right now and trying to get back on her feet.
I ran outside to get the mail, shuffling through it as I came back inside. Setting it down on the table, I fixed myself a glass of juice and waited for her to come down. When she did, she let out a series of coughs before starting on her lunch. I looked away when she lit a cigarette.
“The electric bill will be shut off tomorrow if it’s not paid,” I said, breaking the silence.
She didn’t look up at me,” I’m working on it.”
I took in a breath,” And the water bill is due next week. $400. The rent is the day afterward. $560"
“You don’t need to remind me, Blaine. Trust me, I know.”
I held my breath as she blew a puff out in the air. Sometimes I wished she wouldn’t do that stuff around me. I deserved at least that.
“Have you gotten anything from the interview?”
“I’m trying!” She yelled, causing me to flinch back. Her voice grew quieter,” I’m trying as hard as I can.”
I nodded my head, looking down. I said softly,” I know.”
I went upstairs and got some sleep. I didn’t realize how tired I was until I woke up in an uneasy haze. I tightened my grip on my blanket as gunshots were heard directly outside. It was so close, I could hear sounds of the bullets hitting flesh.
“Mom,” I peered outside my door at the dark, empty highway. Just as I was about to step inside, Griffey jumped in front of me. He pushed me inside and then pulled my blinds down and turned off any sign of light. He instructed me to lock my door before patting my head and rushing out.
“Don’t leave your room.”
He had said.
I wished he didn’t leave either.
There were knocks on the door. Loud, hard knocks that woke me up from my circled position on the floor I fell asleep in.
“Blaine. It’s the police, open up. We’re here to help you.”
I rubbed my eyes, pushing myself off the floor and stepping towards the door. My heart thumped in my chest, ready to jump out my chest as I put my hand on the door. Twisting it, I jerked it open, my gaze rising to the men in uniform. One stood out to me. He was slightly in front, his brown eyes gentle, kind, unlike the others who looked ice cold.
“I’m Officer Sloy. I need you to come to me,” he held out a hand. I looked between his hand and his eyes before taking my trembling hand and placing it inside of his.
He smiled and led me out of the house, which was now destroyed,” Someone is waiting to see you at the station.”
Anticipation put me on edge. Was it my mother? My brother? My sister? Griffey? Who could possibly be waiting for me at the police station?
When we arrived, I got out the car hesitantly, not wanting to be disappointed when I don’t find what I expect. It’s times like this I wish I could look into the future. See the fire before I got burned. Officer Sloy lead me inside, holding the door open for me. The station looked busy with countless people running around and phones constantly ringing. Something big must have been going on for all the chaos. Officer Sloy talked on his walkie-talkie before looking at me with guilty eyes.
“Kid, I’m sorry but there’s been something really big and I got to handle it. Head into that door over there,” he instructed, walking off towards a big office.
Following the path he sent me, I felt my stomach clawing at me as I got closer and closer. Reaching out to touch the knob, I jumped back when the door was pulled open and out came a man talking on his phone with an angry expression on his face.
“I can’t come. I told you. I’m picking up-” he stopped in paused when I came into view. I gulped and took a step back, hugging my arms to my chest.
He cleared his throat awkwardly,” Hi.”
I smiled shyly, waving.
“I’m Blake. You’re uh Blaine.”
I nod holding out my hand. He stared at it as if it’s the most unfamiliar thing before placing his hand in mine and giving him a firm shake. He nods and placed his hand stiffly on my shoulder, pulling me out the police station.
“You’re staying with me now, kid,” he said as he leads me to the car. I stopped.
“What’s wrong?” He turned when he noticed I wasn’t following. I blushed looking down. He cursed,” Sorry, Blaine. I’m Blake Siere. Your father.”
It was very awkward in the car. We sat in silence with an occasional call that he would answer, saying the same thing that he was busy. Finally, I drifted off to sleep, hoping it would pass the time by.
When I woke up, I was on a soft bed. Softer than I’d ever slept on. I laid down on it for a while before getting up and examining the room. The bed was a pretty seafoam color, matching the swirls and unique patterns on the walls. There was a chair that matched with a white desk and a soft, fluffy rug in the center of the floor. Sitting right in front of the bed was a flat screen tv mounted on the wall. This was definitely not Jade St. back at home. My shoes were placed next to the door, a pair of new white socks on my feet. Getting out of bed, I walked out the door and into the hallway where the stairs were, following the noise of the deep voice down below. I hoped this house was easy to navigate.
Blake was sitting at the kitchen table, a laptop in front of him and a phone to his ear. He seemed like a very busy man. I was scared to interrupt him, but luckily I didn’t have to because he turned just as I walked to the doorway.
“You fell asleep in the car, so I brought you inside,” he spoke before I could even question,” Your socks were...worn. In fact, your clothes and any other necessities will be delivered tomorrow.”
I frowned, confused on how he knew my size. I didn’t tell-
As if reading my mind, he muttered,” You’re a pretty heavy sleeper.”
It dawned on me that I slept through my own measuring. I wasn’t that tired, was I?
He gestured to the seat next to him, before returning his attention to his laptop. I sat down, looking at the orange sitting in the middle of the table untouched.
“May I?” I asked, politely.
His head snapped towards me as if in shock,” So she speaks.”
I laughed, lacing my fingers together and placing them on my lap. He grabbed the orange and tossed it to me, but me being me, it slipped right through my fingers. I blushed, jumping off the stool and picking it off the floor. His eyes followed me, amused.
“We’re gonna have to teach you how to use those hands, huh?”
“I can land a punch pretty well,” I blurted, covering my mouth as soon as I said it.
He chuckled,” I bet you can.”
We talked for what seemed for hours as he asked questions about me and what I liked to do and I asked the same.
“I’m a very boring person,” he told me.
Even though he felt his life was uninteresting, I felt it was the most fascinating thing in the world. He had shut his laptop and had his full attention on me. It felt pretty nice since the closest thing I had to a father figure was Griffey and he wasn’t even mine. Our conversation drifted negatively to what happen to my mom and Griffey. I knew deep inside I didn’t want to find out anything, but I couldn’t help to ask.
“Blaine, they were sentenced to prison. They were involved in drug dealing, illegal selling of weapons, and many other things-”
I shook my head, not believing what I was hearing,” My moms innocent. I know she does drugs, but she’s getting better.”
“Blaine. I shouldn’t have told you.”
I looked at him, noticing he was running a hand through his hair.
I smiled, softly,” I wanted you to. I just need to...digest it is all.”
I took in a deep breath, nervous about what I was about to say next.
“Besides, I have you now, right? So, it’s okay.”
I didn’t wait for his response. Heading straight back to the direction of my room.
Turning around, I looked expectantly at him.
“How do you feel of your room?” He asked. He looks a bit nervous like he actually cared about what I thought.
I grinned,” I love it.”
Running up to my room, I collapsed on my bed. Boy, have things changed for me. If only they could see it. If they just stayed.
I knew others had arrived when there was an increase of noise in the house. The only sound Blake made was when he was talked on the phone and even then, I barely heard him. Not wanting to meet any more people, I stayed in my room, not even curious about who had arrived.
It was always difficult when I first met people. I couldn’t speak; it felt like I had no space to breathe. I didn’t gather the outgoing trait from my mom. I had planned to avoid them for the whole day, that was until Blake came knocking at my door at six o’clock sharp.
“Blaine, it’s uh time for dinner,” he informed me quietly through the door. Sighing, I frowned as my stomach growled, completely agreeing with the idea.
My stomach tossed and turned as I approached the slightly noisy dining room, my palms sweating and shaken. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t do this. Except, I stepped inside despite the persistent opposition of my mind. I wouldn’t die...I think.
There were two boys, three girls, all with the same golden blond hair and sparkling green eyes. The whole family had that. I was the odd one out with brown hair and blue eyes. Great, just another thing to make me different than the rest. When I was noticed, the conversation seemed to end as everyone looked at me. I suddenly wanted to crawl into my own invisible shell. Blake cleared his throat, looking quite uncomfortable.
“Blaine, why don’t you have a seat next to Jyro and Lani.” He gestured to the two oldest of the kids.
I heard the snickering which made me uneasy. I had a feeling this wasn’t going to end well for me. I walked to the seat and went to sit down when suddenly, my chair was pulled right from under me as laughter erupted from above. I should have seen that coming. Taking a deep breath, I got up from the ground and sat down in my chair. It’s fine Blaine, I told myself, just breathe. Blake didn’t seem to notice the action of the two because he was engrossed in his laptop. All of sudden he didn’t seem so great as he used to. Everyone began digging into the food that was placed in front of them by the servant that had gone by and back to their conversation. I picked up a fork and stabbed it into the broccoli first because I hate it but I had to eat. That’s what my mom always told me anyway.
“Blake, get off that and join us, please,” Blake’s wife, Julia, scolded her husband. He didn’t listen, in fact, I think he completely ignored her.
She went back to eating her food, obviously frustrated. Then suddenly, she looked up at me, her face not giving away anything that she was about to say.
“So, Blaine. What do you like to do?” she stared intently at me, almost like she was looking for a certain answer.
I shrugged, answering quietly,” Nothing really interesting.”
Her voice suddenly hardened,” I’ll have you know, drugs are not permitted in my house.”
I shook my head,” I don’t do that-”
“Yeah right. Like mother like daughter,” the girl next to me, Lani, smiled sarcastically.
“Don’t talk about my mother,” I suddenly snapped. I wouldn’t just let them walk over me and my mother like that.
Blake suddenly looked up,” That’s enough.”
“What. We’re just letting the freak know-”
I pushed my unfinished plate away, standing up and quickly heading back up to my room.
“Blaine! Sit back down.” I ignored him and quickly shut the door to my room, locking it. I thought things would be different here.