We all except Donny whom went to go meet with someone, climbed into the red truck Conner was waiting in. We drove all the way to their house to patch up before dropping off us at home. Proserpina was sitting in the back with me trying not to let the pain to show on her face. Silently she gritted her teeth together and clenched her hands into fists so hard I was pretty sure, her palms were going to start bleeding too. I wanted to reach over and make her pain disappear but I knew I couldn't especially when she rather deal with it by herself.
John was quiet up front with Conner humming along to the radio looking like his usual self ignoring the fact Proserpina was wounded. I hated the silence more than ever but I didn't want to break it or else I would end up talking about her wound that she was desperately trying to forget about.
When we arrived at their house, Richard their father sat on the couch waiting for them. He was silent when he took in our appearances, staring at Proserpina the longest, specifically the bullet wound. Richard sighed, walked towards the kitchen and waved his hand to follow him into the kitchen.
I was sitting atop of the kitchen table where Richard told me to sit. He went to get tweezers and a bottle filled with a bubbly liquid that made me realize this was going to hurt a lot more than when the bullet entered my leg.
Richard ripped open my pant leg a little more to reveal a bloody mess around the wound. He soaked a paper towel in the bubbly liquid and pressed it directly to the wound. Refusing to show him how much it hurt I bit my lip hard quenching the need to cry out. Richard wiped away most of the blood with the towel before throwing the paper towel into the trash. He grabbed the tweezers and dug them into the hole in my leg. Ever so slowly with a steady hand, he lifted out a small bullet.
To finish up I dressed my leg then hopped off the table to walk back into the living room. In their house they had beige colored carpet and egg shell white walls. Their living room was simple with their flat screen 50 inch tv standing on a table with their couch across from it.
"Let's go Nathan, I'm taking you two home," Richard walked past me towards the front door with his keys jingling in his pocket. John winked at me then walked down the hall that was to the right of their couch. Conner hugged me mumbling that he was glad I was okay then followed John down the hall.
"Come on, we have school in the morning," Nathan laid his arm over my shoulders pulling me up beside him. Letting out a sigh of despair making us both laugh while I laid my arm around his shoulders as well. Together we jumped into the red truck with both of us in the front next to Richard.
"So what happened?" he asked pulling out of his driveway.
"The J.W crew was at the airport with John, me and Ismail. Kaden had a gun and shot at her," Nathan spoke up not even considering if he was supposed to tell him. Richard nodded his head considering the information instead of asking who they were or why we were at the airport.
"Those kids need guidance badly," Richard combed his fingers through his hair. Finally after a while he turned his radio up blasting the truck with a pop station. I sat there glaring at the radio while it played a song I hated without a doubt until it ended and Bruno Mars, Would You Catch a Grenade for Me played.
"This is an awesome song, turn it up Rich," Nathan sang aloud hooking his arm in mine, he swayed. I soon joined him singing and swaying when he didn't stop urging me to. Richard sang with us, forgetting all that happened tonight and just drove.
The next morning I walked with Proserpina to class like I would normally did and sat next in the empty desk next to hers. We worked until lunch came around. Proserpina limped on her leg the whole time hiding any sign of pain and snapped at anyone who she didn't like. Now I was laughing as she snapped at people in the crowd surrounding her.
"Did you break it?"
"Can I help you with anything?" Everyone was being kind but for some reason she didn't care.
"Ask that question one more time and I'll snap your leg. No I don't want your help, I want nothing from you so you can cut the charm and leave me alone before I help you get a black eye."
"Try to be polite and maybe you will actually have friends," a girl snapped back her finally giving up on being kind.
"Like I would actually want snobby, blonde, stuck up girls like you around me!" Proserpina didn't falter in her reply, "But do remind me if in the future I do become friends with you or your kind to shoot myself!"
"As if we would ever accept you into our group!"
"Why would you? I don't dress like a slut!" The girl stormed away having lost the argument when Proserpina finished with her insult. Proserpina's insults made the crowd disperse from her and allowing me to take up my place by her right side.
"What the hell was that? Why were you being so mean?"
"I know how this popularity game is played; I have observed it for years. I won't just lose my head because they have finally decided I'm worth their time."
"The popularity game?"
"Everyone is competing to be popular with everyone else to be the one teachers both love and get annoyed with. They also try to get adored by other people so they stay in their top ranks. They only came over here to actually acknowledge me because I done something that was cool to them and worth their time to listen to. See if their friends with someone who did a stunt and got shot then I'm cool and they get higher in their ranks but soon enough I'll be forgotten again so it won't matter. I'm not going to sell my friendship for a few days of being cool only to be left behind in the dark. By being mean to them and discarding their invitation to be cool for a few days I'm going to be shunned by them then forgotten in the dark."
"You have been in that game for a long time and you're still in it. I on the other hand made sure that I wasn't part of the drama long before they acknowledged who was cool and isn't."
"Isn't it better to be in the light for a little bit before going back to the shadows?"
"Not to me, if I get attached to them then it's going to hurt more than I would want it too when I'm forgotten. Plus why, when everything you do next has to be cool to them and if I do something embarrassing it'll be remembered for a lot longer than if I do it right. I hate watching and playing the game that's why I prefer the shadows."
"Doesn't it get lonely?"
"At least you can go home to people who do take the time to remember you," I said trying to look on the bright side for her but she didn't agree with me. I glanced at her to see the sad gleam in her eyes telling me more than I needed to know. I retreated into my thoughts.
I'm remembered both at school and my home. Why is she not? How can she say she prefers the shadows when she is sad about it? How can they forget her, their second child?
I could walk normally but my leg still hasn't healed completely. It has been about two months since the incident at the airport and through it all Kaden did leave us alone but only because they caught their flight out of town. I didn't ask if Donny went with them for he never came around and he was never home. Through the months I raced with Nathan and John, I was faster than John by now since he doesn't run as much. I'm a little bit faster than Nathan but he is catching up to me and soon we'll be the fastest people in the school.
They were part of my normal everyday life; I spent my days with them then went home to a house full of people who haven't realized I was born. That was how everything went, each day blended with the other and everyday it was similar to the last. We were in a never ending day that lasted months until now.
It hit me before I could look to see what was going on. I was thrown to the ground then someone was atop of me. I swung blindly trying to at least get one shot before it was too late then everything went black.
I was attacked from behind just when I was about to go meet up with John after I left Proserpina at her house. They jumped from above with skill onto my back driving me down with their weight. I cocked my elbow back to hit them but someone caught my wrist and I was completely at their mercy. They bashed my temple into the asphalt and darkness took over not even giving me a chance to fight back.
"Did you need something?" I asked Corbin's friend not even looking up from my homework.
"No, I just like watching you work."
"You know that's a creepy answer right?"
"No apology or anything? Fine nothing, but I'm younger than you and my brother and if you start hitting me now, I'll cut you limb for limb."
"Why? I have been nothing but kind to you and I know you're younger than me. By the way I'm only here because I'm waiting for your brother plus the only thing that's interesting is your homework sadly."
"Limb for limb," was my only reply back to his explanation. I rolled my eyes at his smirk and continued my work. For once he left the room going out the front door to go climb my tree.
Everything was going wrong, I didn't want to leave my home for months at a time but it was the only way. The months have been nothing but scaring groups of kids who thought highly of themselves and now we were heading back home. I longed to be home with my family during the months but I also didn't want to see Proserpina and our friends become Kaden's next target.
My mom picked me up from the airport when we landed. Her face was grim while we drove home, deep in thought. She wore her red wool sweater and slacks with her black slippers.
"How could you not tell me, this trip was months long?" She gritted out with her thoughts finally put together enough to speak.
"Sorry mom," I started.
"No don't you dare mom me! I'm not done; I was worried you didn't come home for weeks. Your friend came over and asked where you were. I had to tell her my son had gone away. My days were filled with worry that you could be dead! I couldn't work or think!! What do you have to say for yourself?!" I let her vent for awhile knowing she didn't want an answer to any of her questions, she was my mother she knew exactly who put me on that plane and why.
It wasn't long until I gained back my consciousness to see I was tied up like a hog in a rodeo and on the floor of a basement. I couldn't help, think this was probably a movie I would see if I wasn't the one tied up with no escape. Someone groaned in pain and the sound of straining against restrains came when a thud hit one of the hollow walls.
"Ooo this could be bad."
"Who's there? I swear to god I will cut you open and feed you to wild beasts!" A familiar threatening growl came in my direction.
"John? I had hoped they only gotten me."
"Nathan! I'm not sorry about threatening you by the way but are we the only ones here?!"
"Yeah I mean I don't hear anyone else talking to me."
"Don't be a smart aleck with me right now!" He commanded me with seriousness that came within his tone. Like a punch to the stomach I knew why he was in no mood for joking, we couldn't watch Proserpina's back from inside a basement.
I was kind of glad when morning came and John and Nathan didn't come looking for me. I wanted to be alone like it used to be. I liked having friends but sometimes they just got in the way. I was walking the field in silence, I watched everyone play and laugh with me as the spectator. Peace settled in my bones, time slowed and I cherished the silence and memories around me. Things didn't have to feel right, pain didn't have to exist, and I had nowhere to be.
The problems of my past, future or my present didn't matter. The sting of pain of being forgotten didn't come and for once I didn't mind it. The empty spaces by my sides where John and Nathan stood didn't bother me because I knew they weren't gone forever. I didn't envy others, or pity myself. I didn't feel alone and I didn't feel left in the shadows, I felt like I could do anything. Nothing held me back and nothing was forcing me forward, I was where I wanted to be, who I wanted to be and without burden of anything.
My restraints burned against the irritated skin on my wrists as I thrashed and tugged against them. Everything was wrong I didn't know where or what time it was. I wanted to know, I needed to plan, but most of all I wanted to be able to protect my family. The desperate, helpless feeling crept in as I tussled around with the restraints; I bucked like a wild bull wanting to be free.
Nathan and John still haven't shown up when I began our normal stroll to my house alone. Worry nipped at me in the back of my mind but I wasn't going to let it take me over until I found out what was wrong. Alarms of danger were going off in my head making it hard to ignore it, forcing me to look around every bend into the sidewalk to see what was on the other side.
My house had the normal silent aura around it with its dead lawn and tire swing. No one was going to be home a while so I dropped my bag into my backyard over the fence and jogged around the neighborhood. Everything was so much simpler when time was too slow to cause me trouble and nothing was blocking my path to my destination. Problems were gone, my worries at a pause until time caught up to my speed; I was in control.
I had been running for more than an hour when suddenly time caught up to me. The ground met my shoulder head on, embers of pain sparked alive as blood escaped the scrape on my shoulder and air rushed in. Dots swam across my vision while I tried to use my time to let my mind comprehend what happened. When I began to rise I had expected a car to be with its headlights shining too bright for my eyes to see but there was no car but a figure I couldn't make out.
He moved too fast to keep up with and I was again on the ground holding the limb he smashed with his steel toed boots. He swaggered both confidently and patiently then crouched next me, I gritted my teeth when he grabbed a hand full of my hair and pulled my head back.
"P. A. T. H. E. T. I. C. Pathetic," he slammed my head into the asphalt. Darkness swarmed faster and more persistent than the dots threatening to pull me unconscious.
"Who the hell are you?" I gasped blinking it all away.
"Not anyone you should concern yourself with."
"I will have your head for this."
"Darling no one cares what you do but I am sure you could if you really wanted to. In the mean time you better hold your breath." He rose swinging his boot into my stomach as he went. I rose as far as my knees when his fist knocked me back to the road by the jaw. I had every intention to fight back but I was too slow for him as he made every blow he swung, meeting his target every time. Soon enough I was spitting up blood after one of his blows cut my lip, I wished John and Nathan were here they could at least try to help me but they were gone.
I was alone for the first time since the first day we met. I wasn't going be able to get away from the figure on my own and I couldn't fight him. I wanted to fight more than anything; I didn't want to be curled up crying anymore.
My attacker didn't laugh when I shrieked in pain but let me catch my breath then continuing like he was being polite. He didn't mock me as he hurt me but instead seemed apologetic. His pity for me fed my want and need to fight but I couldn't make a movement to hit him before collapsing too weak. I thought I heard someone scream out to me but I dismissed it as my imagination hoping it meant I was going to black out soon.
I was finally finished with running errands for Kaden and was coming up to the house he told me to meet him at. Careful not to show my concern for why we were here, I let myself into the house and entered the backyard. Bellows of blood curling pain hit me first putting me on high alert when Kaden swung his arm around me and guided me to the back fence of the empty backyard.
"Well what has you in a good mood?" I asked Kaden casually.
"You know those kids we had trouble with before we left all those long months ago?"
"Yes? What about them? We already dismissed it as something that was never going to happen again."
"Yes well I thought I would make sure it wouldn't happen again."
"What?!" I blurted out getting the need to run to Proserpina just to make sure she was alright. Images of his friend injured beyond health made me want to hurl but I still stood there listening to Kaden hoping it wasn't true.
"That's why I brought you here, my friend. I want you to be the first to witness my accomplishments and celebrate to another great year with me. Come look," I hopped onto the bottom ledge of the fence to peer over the top.
A girl was lying on the ground blood coming from her shoulder and some other wounds I couldn't see. The familiar figure of Jax was calmly beating on her. Jax was my friend since the day they joined Jack's group when he wasn't cruel to others. Jax had never wanted to do any harm to people with less skill then him but Kaden couldn't accept that even then. Even now I could see Jax's reluctance to hurt the girl in his stance while he pulled back for another round.
"Kaden, who is that?"
"Donny, are you blind too? That's the girl that humiliated us at the airport," Kaden grinned proud. Looking harder I spotted Proserpina's face underneath her hair bunched up in concentration. No waiting I hopped the fence leaving Jack behind while he ordered me to return. I barreled into Jax slamming him to the ground.
"Stay down! I'm warning you Jax!" I commanded him. He stared at me surprised then panicking.
"What are you doing Donny?! He is watching us!!" his voice came frightened.
"I can't let you hurt my family, I'm sorry Jax."
"Please Donny think clearly for a moment. Something worst than this will happen to her if you let her go plus you'll be a target too. What choice is best for everyone? He'll someone other than me, someone worst and she'll be able to do anything anymore. Remember who he has wrapped around his bony finger."
"But Jax...she is family to me," I tried.
"Donny think about what would be best. Making her an even bigger target for being a weakness and your friend or what worst than this can his twisted mind can come up with as a punishment for both of you?" I didn't have to think about it, I knew he was right about that. To get over this stage without her getting anymore hurt, she had to be hurt now. I squeezed my eyes closed rubbing my face, I didn't want to accept it.
"You know I'm right Donny," he went on knowing what I was thinking. "Alright then hurry help me or he'll be suspicion of both us." Going to his original spot he continued his blows somewhat softer than before. I followed his lead and landed my own blows but shut out the screams before they made me break down completely.
I could faintly hear Donny's voice speaking to someone above me. I was on the break of unconsciousness; even as my body didn't want me to I resisted the darkness overwhelming me. I could see his face as clear as day now while he turned to me conflicted with something.
Why isn't he helping me? Does he not see I'm hurt or does he not care? Where has he been all this time? Why show up now? Donny why won't you help me like you have done in the past? Aren't I worth it anymore? Did I have any real friends? Why would they leave me alone for this long? How could I be so gullible and stupid? I should've stayed in my shadows.