The Lighter Side

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The Box

The door swung open as soon as I got to the porch. A flustered Jyro froze when he saw me. He opened his mouth to say something, but I pushed past him, not even wanting to hear his excuses. I heard noises coming from the living room and quickly made my way there. The people who ever made noise in this house was the three little ones and it was only from their rooms. Sitting on the couch was a woman in her mere sixties, playing a game of Just Dance with the little kids and a man a bit older on the couch playing cards with Blake, Julia, and Lani. Jyro came up behind me, grabbing my arm and pulling me into the kitchen.

“It’s not what it looks like,” he rushed out.

“You ditched me at school to have a game night with your grandparents,” I deadpanned.

“There’s a valid reason, I swear,” he argued, his voice raising at the end.

I know I don’t know a lot about families. I came from a pretty crappy one. Nonetheless, I’m not blind and I’m definitely not stupid. Usually, when people have a family night, all of the family is invited. They could have at least warned me that they didn’t want me to come. I could have locked myself in my room all night.

“Gran and Gramps are from my mom’s side, okay. They don’t know you’re here and we would sort of like to keep it that way,” he explained, continuously looking behind me like they were going to appear out of nowhere.

“Why?” I challenged. To be completely honest, I wasn’t so sure if I wanted to meet the parents of the woman who didn’t particularly like me.

He admitted,” They never really liked you.”

“They never even met me.”

“Actually, yes, they did.” He chuckled uneasily,” June 3rd, 2002. Holding their three-month grandaughter, Alani Siere.”

Who could instantly hate a baby? I know. The man already had two kids with your daughter–one of them just being born–and you probably had very big dreams of him being apart of your big, happy family. But, he pops out another child with someone else. I’m not the one to blame. I wasn’t the one who couldn’t keep it in his pants. Besides, it’s not like he had me during the marriage....I think.

This is ending nowhere.

Jyro’s eyes widen and before I could even react, I was being stuffed in this cabinet that was so tight, my knees were smashed into my forehead. All this just for a pair of the elderly not to see me. Not to mention, the wood was painfully hard. I could’ve just stood in the pantry. That would be more comfortable than this.

“Jy, what are you doing in here all by yourself?” The sweet voice of the woman sounded harmless. I was sure that if she got to know me, there was a smidge chance she would actually like me.

Then I heard this.

“Can you believe your father mentioned bringing the little spawn of a rat here? With my little ones?” she seethed, appalled.

She could be talking about someone else.

“Coming from that abhorrent dump of her’s.”

Many people live in dumps. That could be anybody.

“How can your father even claim her as his own, that bastard child.”

Yep. Definitely me. For such enchanting, delightful women grandmothers tended to be, she was not reaching my expectations at all. I’m a little disappointed. All of a sudden, there was an itch on my right arm. One that wasn’t very normal. Then I heard the hissing. My breathing began to accelerate as I reached my left hand over and touched the place that was itching. It wasn’t my skin.

“Jy! I can’t find my cockroach!”

I immediately wanted to panic. I hated bugs. I hated them so much, I refused to sleep in my room once because I saw a single ant crawling on my floor once. This could not be happening. I held back my scream, as I listened outside for any noise. Nash was going through all the cabinants and drawers, shouting the horrendous beasts name.

“Cotter!” he swung the door to mine open. When he saw me, he exclaimed,” Blaine. What ya doing in here?”

Their grandma was quick to respond,” What did you just say, Child?”

I put a finger to my lips and with much difficulty, handed him his stupid bug off my arm. I had to shift in an even more uncomfortable position if that was possible.

“Cotter! I found Cotter!” he cradled it in his small hands and smiled at me before shutting the door.

Great. I was stuck in the dark after having a traumatic experience with a creepy bug. This day was certainly going well for me. Can there be anything worse?

By the time Jy and Lani let me out, my whole body had fallen asleep, resulting in me sprawled across the floor. My head ached and I just wanted to go to sleep. I realized that I may have left hell, but I sure wasn’t in heaven.

I didn’t know what to expect when I met my dad. I never really thought of it. Mom use to tell me stories about him. About their life in high school and how he was growing up. She explained to me how they just weren’t right for eachother and went down very different paths. She told me she was glad she kept me because I was the best thing that happened to her. I gave her something to live for.

I didn’t have that here. I was just a burden that they couldn’t get rid of. I wasn’t anything to them.

“I want to go home.” I declared.

Lani rolled her eyes,” Get off the floor.”

“I want to go home.”

“To your drugged, criminal family. Be my guest,” Lani mocked.


“Nothing you say will suddenly excuse the fact your ‘parents’ are in jail,” Jyro snorted.

I stayed quiet.

“Well,” Jyro said.

I sighed in defeat,” I can’t feel my legs.”

I tried lifting myself off the ground, but my legs were too far gone. It was the aftermath of being cooped up for so long.

Jy reached down and scooped me up in his arms, ignoring me when I began to protest. He marched up the dark stairs in silence while Lani branched off into her room when we got the top. Entering into my room, he balanced me in his arms then flipped on the light.

“Blaine, I’m sorry,” Jyro apologized softly, setting me down on my bed.

I laughed flatly,” What for?”

I must have really been tired because he actually looked guilty. He pulled the blanket of me and sat down on my bed, deep in thought.

“At least they loved me,” I whispered.


It was hard for me to wake up for school the next morning. My whole body was sore from the hardwood in the stupid cabinet and I could barely peel my eyes open. I wasn’t hungry at all, so I completely avoided the kitchen and waited by the car for Jy and Lani.

By the time I got through my first few classes, I was already done for. It was only my second day of school. Not even Oliver’s cheerful mood could improve the depressing state I was in. Thankfully, no one questioned it, but Gail did give me a funny look and mentioned how uncuddley I was today.

Then there was lunch when one of Lani’s friends ‘donated’ some cash to me. Said it was to buy a new outfit since mine was bothering her. On the outside I just politely gave it back to her, thanking her for the...consideration. On the inside, I was ripping her hair out.

Bitch, if it bothers you so much, don’t look at me. Ignore me.

Today was definitely not my day.

When I got home, I was shocked to see Blake waiting for me in the foyer. He held a brown box in his hands with an envelope taped to the top. I hesitantly followed him to his office located down one of the longer halls.

His office was clean, just as I expected. Cream colored walls with black picture frames of his children mostly. He led me to his organized desk, gesturing to one of the black chairs in front.

“I ordered this for you.” His voice was stiff, the way it was when we first met, as he handed me the cardboard box.

I looked to him, rubbing a finger over the clear tape. He gave me a stiff nod. I pulled the tape off and set the envelope to the side before taking the other set of tape off and opening the flaps. Reaching inside, I found another box, but it was white and tinier with an apple on the top.

“Is this an iPhone?” My eyebrow rose.

He quickly became uncomfortable, running a hand through his hair,” You need a phone, Blaine.”

“And what’s this?” I picked up the envelope. Opening it, I pulled out a sheet of paper that had a silver card inside,” A credit card.”

“Actually a debit card.”

“What’s the difference?”

“Google it in your new phone.”

I didn’t care what it was. It wasn’t necessary.

“Yeah,” I placed it all back on his desk,” You can keep it.”

He was absolutely appalled at my answer,” The card has your monthly allowance and the phone is so we can all contact you.”

I crossed my arms,” I would rather get a job and earn my own money. Not to mention, why would I want to contact you guys of all people? None of you like me.”

“That’s absolutely absurd,” he objected.

“Is it,” I leaned forward, my elbows resting on his desk,” Is it really?”

He answered by opening a drawer and taking out a light purple picture frame. He handed it to me, carefully watching my expression. It was a picture of him holding a baby wrapped in a white blanket. He was staring down at the baby like it was the most special thing in the world. How I wish my father would with me.

The frame shook in my trembling hands. I croaked,” Is this Lani?”

He silently shook his head. His face was emotionless, stoic. He was watching me take it all in.

“Jy? Nash? One of the twins?”

He didn’t have to reply. I already knew the answer. I slammed it on his desk, abruptly standing.

“I want to go home,” I demanded, my hands shaking as I glared at the ground.


“Please,” I begged, my voice cracking.

He sighed,” I can’t take you home. There’s no one there.”

“To my mom then. Let me visit her. I need to see her.” I lost all the strength I had when I first came here. I was tired of people talking about my mom and where I come from.

The drive there was silent. We had nothing to talk about. The atmospheres was different than it was in the kitchen when I first arrived. He wasn’t the man I thought of him to be. I barely even saw him, for goodness sake. He didn’t even acknowledge me when he did. In the back of mind, I hoped that this all would get better. That it wasn’t always going to be like this. I had just got here and they weren’t use to me yet.

But, I wasn’t that gullible. The chances I would ever fit in with this family was almost impossible and I couldn’t wait just to be disappointed over and over again. Blake escorted me inside, but he wouldn’t come and see my mom and Griffy. He figured they wouldn’t want to see him.

I was taken to a plain room filled of tables with many other people occupying them. There were people of every age all seeing their family.

I wasn’t allowed to see both of them at the same time, first Mom then Griffey. Blake thought it was crazy that I wanted to see him too, but I had my reasons. Mom looked different than normal. It was a look I hadn’t seen in such a long time. She was clean. Clean from drugs, alcohol, all of those things that were holding her back before. That was one thing about jail. It was for the people who needed to be fixed of their mistakes, not just hopeless criminals.

“Hey, Mommy,” I greeted, a large smile taking over my face. I missed her so much, I couldn’t even describe it.

“Hey, Scotch,” she beamed, truly happy to see me.

I grew excited thinking of all the things I would tell her. About Oliver and Gail. Everyone at home. I even wanted to tell her about how many pairs of shoes I now own.

“Hey, Blaine, honey,” she began, looking me straight in the eyes,” I’m gonna get better for you, okay?”

The smile fell off my face and I nodded.

“I’m sorry, Blaine. For everything,” she apologized, tears pooling in her eyes.

“Don’t be, Mom. It’s okay,” I pleaded, not wanting to see her cry.

She smiled, wiping under her eye,” How’s it been? How’s your father.”

Nothing I’d hope it to be.

“It’s good, Mom.” I went in telling her everything that happened, leaving out the way they all felt about me. It should be the least of her worries how they treat me. I had food, clothes, and a roof over my head.

She asked me a lot of questions about school. What did it look like? How were the teachers? If there was anyone being mean to me? She also asked if I’ve fainted yet. Luckily, I was starting to feel better than I did before. I no longer felt like a walking disease.

“Have they come to visit you yet?” I wondered, knowing they should have found out by now. They were far, but they weren’t that far.

“They asked about you,” she nodded. “Wanted to see how they’re little Scotch teddy bear has grown.”

I lit up,” Really?”

She answered earnestly,” They care a lot about you.”

When it was time for her to leave, she placed a light kiss on my forehead and wrapped me in a hug. She kept telling me she loved me than left with the officers.

I didn’t realize how much I relied on my mom till now. She was always there for me, even when she was in no condition.

“Scotch!” The same old gruffy voice exclaimed. I stood up from the table and wrapped him in a hug. He didn’t really change much. Same smirk, tattoos littering his skin, muscles that always seemed to big. It was Griffy’s style.

“You talk to your mom?” He asked when we both sat down.

“Yeah, she’s doing fine,” I nodded.

“What about you?” He had that same playful look in his eyes. He could be in a gun war and still look like he’s having the party of his life.

“Good. You know me. I own boring.” I said, sheepishly.

He stared off into space for a minute, then looked down at the table.

“Your mother and I are gonna change things when we get out. She’s uh, gonna have another baby.” He tapped on the table, something he did when he was stressed.

“No!” I blurted.

“What’s that supposed to mean, Scotch.”

“We don’t have the money, the room.”

He frowned, tiredly,” We have to figure something out. Reed and Bri are with your Granny. If we have to-”

“You’ll send me there too, won’t you?” I cut in.

He scowled,” Will you stop interrupting everyone. I swear, no one can get anything out with you.”

“Get to the point then,” I retorted.

Rolling his eyes, he continued,” There’s a slight chance we’ll set him up for adoption.”

I didn’t know how I felt about that. This baby would be born before Moms got out of jail. Where else would it go? Granny already had a lot going on with her and the others.


“It’s a boy?”

“It’s a boy. She’s about six months along.”

Six months? How have I never noticed. She was taking so many drugs and so much alcohol. That couldn’t be good for the baby. Hopefully, it would all work out in the end.

Blake was waiting patiently in the car, drumming on the steering wheel, when I came out. This was one of the very few moments where I saw him without a phone. When he was completely uninvolved with work. I opened the car door, capturing his attention, and buckling my seatbelt, looking straight out the window.

“So,” he mumbled awkwardly,” how did it go?”

“Fine,” I said.

“How was...” he trailed off. Would it hurt that much to say her name?

“She’s fine.” I wasn’t a fighter or up to petty arguments, so I just complied without mentioning how I feel about his thoughts of my mother. There was a reason they didn’t stick together, right?

He silently started the car, not even bothering to reply. I wasn’t up for any conversation anyways. Eventually, I drifted off to sleep due to the soft piano he played through the car. I would sometimes borrow my mom’s phone and play it when I had nightmares or just trouble falling asleep. Now, I almost instantly got tired listening to it. My mom use to play it for me when she didn’t want me to know what she was doing. I never minded, though. It was better if I didn’t know.

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