“Leave me alone,” he told me sternly and shut the door behind him with a loud bang.
I stood outside the door, wondering if I should go in. I didn’t want to leave him alone. He’d been alone enough. I wanted him to know that I was there for him, that he was not alone. But he would get more frustrated if I stayed hunting for all possible ways to calm him. He needed to let them out.
“You can’t ask him to come back, Derek. He doesn’t want to,” I heard Grammy chide dad downstairs.
“But mom, he needs to. I know, he doesn’t want to but I’m asking him to for his own good.”
“It’s not that easy, Derek. After all that he had been through. You can’t just come and ask him. It’s harder for him than you think it is. He’s happy here.”
Dad groaned, “I know mom, but...”
As I stood outside the door listening, I heard something crash loudly inside Xavier’s room, making me jump in fright. Without waiting another moment, I pushed through the heavy door and found him heaving heavily, his breathes enraging continuously, standing and staring blankly with a livid frown on his face at the dresser mirror which was broken now, half of it scattered on the floor in splinters. He turned to look at me, his chest rising and falling noticeably as he breathed. He barely had breathes to speak.
Yet, hauling long and heavy, he said, “Don’t come near me.”
I saw his fist bleeding... no better than his traumatized face. I figured he broke the mirror with his already bruised fist.
“Xavier.” I reached out to him and held his wrist.
He attempted to swing my hand off.
“Why don’t you just stay still!” I almost shouted, tears brimming inside my eyes.
He looked at me and then, settled down on the edge of his bed. I walked to his dresser and opened the last drawer where he kept the first aid kits. I took out the small box and walked back to him. I knelt down on the floor with both knees and began cleaning his wounds. He kept his gaze drooped down to the floor and never looked up even once. Beads of sweat appeared from perspiration on his forehead; the cause of anger and pain. I looked into his eyes and saw it glisten in wetness. He didn’t move.
I hugged his head and whispered, “Let it go, Xavi.”
“Was I too late, Claire?” he asked me. He always had the tendency of blame himself even when nothing was really his fault.
“Nothing that has ever happened is your fault, Xavi,” I told him.
“Get married, Claire. Anthony really loves you. You’ll be happy with him,” he said.
I looked at him disapprovingly. Anthony and I had been engaged for almost two years. He was in the marine corps and I had no doubt that he loved me. I was sure we would get married someday; but not just yet. I couldn’t leave Xavi alone on his own. And he knew why I was still not married.
I began bandaging his hands as I replied, “I know that Anthony can make me happy but I’m not ready to marry yet.”
“I don’t want you staying away from your happiness; not because of me.” He peered into my eyes rigidly.
“You’re my family, Xavi. I am happy being with you.” I smiled into his eyes.
He looked away... Disapproving.
“She never stopped even a moment to think about us when she left,” he stated, “She’s never coming back.”
“Forget about her, Xavi,” I said.
I didn’t want him to talk about mom. She was like a never-ending source of pain for Xavier. And I blamed her for a lot of reasons. I could forgive her for all of that but I couldn’t forgive her for what she did to Xavi. She’d given him much pain and disappointment than he could ever take. He never deserved this. He deserved Love. If there was anyone in this world who was deserving of love than it was definitely Xavi; not even me.
“I WANT TO,” he whispered back, “But I can’t. I hate her too much to forget.”
Hate. He said he hate her but what was really coming out of his mouth was nothing but pain. He was hurt beyond healing... because he loved her too much.
He was scarred only because he loved too much.
“Most of the time, I wish I was never born in this family. Anywhere else but Not Here.”
I began to weep as a pang of pain coursed through my chest. It hurt me so bad to think that Xavier hated his life so much to the point he hated being born in this family; being my brother. And I loved him so much.
“You have me, Xavi. I’m always here for you.” I sobbed.
He scoffed at himself. “I have become terribly wicked, haven’t I?”
“No.” I shook my head. “You’re just young.”
He may seem strong on the outside but on the inside, he was still just a seventeen year old boy in need of Love, in need of something to believe in.
He was a mask of himself.
“I have to sleep. I have to sleep. I have to sleep.”
Chanting this sleep inducing ritual, I walked about my room to and fro sleeplessly.
I can’t sleep!!
I’d tried so hard but it wasn’t happening. I couldn’t stop thinking about... Xavier. After he kissed me, I couldn’t seem to able to think of anything else besides. I’d tried every other possible way to distract my mind but this numbskull wasn’t willing to. It had already passed one in the morning now and I was as wide awake as an owl.
Getting tired, I slumped down on the floor next to my bed and leaned back my head on the edge of the bed. I bit down my lower lip remembering and at once smacked it with my fingers. I closed my eyes and I saw Xavier’s piercing eyes. I groaned and buried my face in between my arms that was hugging my knees to the chest. I closed my eyes again and I saw him again.
I don’t care anymore. I’ll stare at the face in my mind until I get bored and sleepy.
I stared and stared at the picture at the back of my mind wondering how anybody could be so handsome and... Why would he kiss me.
A strange sound, something like grunting, made my head snap up.
What was that? Where did it come from?
I looked around frantically, my body tensing up and I could feel the hair on my arms rising like prickles. I heard another grunt by the opened window.
Oh no. A robber.
What kind of a stupid robber robs when the light is on?!
I scrambled towards the door where David had left his baseball bat thankfully. I clutched it firmly with my shaking hands, stood up wobbling in fear and turned to charge at the window and knock the rascal down.
I widened my eyes in shock and in relief at the same time.
What the heck is he doing here?
Xavier’s heavy and long frame tumbled in and lay on the floor beside the window, grinning widely at me.
“I made it,” he showed two fingers, proudly, making the victory sign.
I stood by speechless and flabbergasted, my jaws hanging open.
Xavier’s in my room? At this hour? At night?
I swallowed nervously.
And how the heck did he climb up here?!
He reached out a bandaged and groaned. “Help me up.”
How did he get that?
It looked bad. Fighting wouldn’t cause this much damage. Or... I don’t know.
“What happened to your hand?”
He pulled back and examined it as if he’d just seen it. “Oh this. I broke my dresser’s mirror with it. I was soooooo angry.”
“Oh.” And I stared at him.
He stared back at me.
He frowned looking confused. “You play baseball in your room at night?”
I looked at the baseball bat in my hand which was held up to the level of my eyes ready to combat. I let it down awkwardly.
“That’s a veeeery interesting hobby.” His eyes studied me seriously, nodding deliberately. “I haven’t heard of anyone playing baseball at night. You’re veeeeery different and unique, Alana. I liiiiike you.”
“You’ve been drinking?” I frowned.
He grinned. “Just a liiiiittle...” He squeezed his index finger and the thump together to measure, leaving a small gap in between. And when he found it small enough, he presented it to me saying, “Only this much.”
I sighed and asked, “Why are you here?”
He smiled without mischief. “I missed you. I had to see you.” Then, the smile disappeared again. “But you don’t want to see me, do you?”
I bit down my lower lip. Speechless.
“Get up, Xavier,” I said.
He reached out his hand again. I sighed, took his wrist with both hands and with every ounce of strength in my body, I helped him push his heavy body up from the floor.
Does he eat blocks of iron to be this heavy?
“Oh great,” he mumbled when he stood up.
Then he threw his arms around me (surprising me) and I had to take a step back to avoid falling backwards as his elephant weight fell onto me.
He snugly rested his chin on my shoulder and murmured into my hair, “I hate my life, Mongrel. It sucks. My father never wanted me. And my mom... she left me years ago. And you hate me too. But Claire, she’s cool. Grammy is the awesomest. They’re all I have.”
I stood paralysed by the heat of his body enveloping me in a tight embrace.
“I... I don’t...”
I tried to say something; that I didn’t really hate him. He just irritates me. But he suddenly pulled back in arms length before I could complete my sentence, making me miss his warmth.
He eyed me and asked, “Do you reeeeeally like that fat cat (Jacob)? I swear, he won’t make you happy. He eats only lasagna and you can’t spend the rest of your life eating ooonly lasagna. It’s gonna suck. Besides,” he leaned in and whispered into my ear secretively, “He’s gay.”
That took me by surprise. I almost giggled. Drunk Xavier was quite interesting. When he moved back and looked at me, there was a triumphant glint in his eyes and he even gave me an assuring nod; that Jacob is gay. I know, guys call each other gay when they are jealous of the other.
“And also, I want to beat him up. Tomorrow, first thing in the morning, I’m gonna beat his shit out.” He brought his index finger in front of his eyes. “I’m sooooo jealous of him. I haaaave to beat him. That’s a decision. And a man should never go back on his word.”
Oh no. Instead of jumping about happy that a guy as hot as Xavier likes me and is ready to beat up anybody who stands in his way, I couldn’t help but freak out. This guy is too full of surprises and capabilities. He’s capable of doing anything. Sometimes, I wish he would see me as any other bimbo. Not that I would appreciate it but for Jacob’s safety.
“No. You can’t beat...”
“Yes! Thanks, Jesus. It’s not pink!” he declared pointing both his index fingers on my bed which is covered in white linen sheets, cutting my speech off.
“Xavier, listen to me!” I tried to tell him, “You can’t....”
He ignored me and explained, “You know, I really can’t sleep on pink bed. It reminds me of barbie and I swear, I’m not Ken. I. Am. Not. Ken. Jacob is. Not just that, he’s also a man-whore.”
Okay. You really don’t like Barbie or Jacob. I’m sure of that.
He went over and slumped down on my bed face front.
“Alana, I’m sorry I kissed you,” he mumbled into the bed and looked back at me, twisting his torso in the process, “But I reeeeally liked it. You were amazing. You tasted like,” he paused and then started hitting my bed with both fists while he laughed delightedly, “Oh God. You tasted too good, Alana. It’s not even strawberry or cherry. It was like... It was like tasting my favorite song, Stairway to Heaven.”
Okay. I stood smirking and giggling as I watched him. Sometimes, he was also too cute and adorable. He kept hitting my bed like an excited six year old boy as he kept thinking about the kiss, all the while laughing and calling onto God ‘Oh God. Oh God. Oh God’. Hmm. He liked the kiss just a little too much considering the fact that he even got a slap for it too.
I saw him smile down on my bed and continue speaking in slurred words, “But we should not make promises we can’t keep so I won’t promise that I won’t ever kiss you again but I’ll try, and that is, if you don’t want me to. But if you want me to, don’t be shy to tell me. I will kiss you immediately. That’s a promise. You can also sleep here with me. I promise, I won’t touch you. You can draw a line on the sheet between us if you want to; you know,” he paused drowsily, “Mark our territories.”
I stood considering that. No more words came from him after that. He’d pass out. I sighed, dropped the baseball bat on the floor and removed his leather jacket and shoes. Then I pulled the quill over him and slid into the bed besides him under the same cover. There was only one. Besides, I didn’t think it would be a problem. He’d passed out. He wouldn’t wake up anytime soon.
His sleeping face was turned towards me and I gazed and gazed until I drifted off to sleep wondering and wondering.
Why did he wound his hand?
Is he in pain?
I want to know him.
I care about him no matter how irritating he is. He’s no more a stranger to me.
And I also hoped that he would wake up before dad returns home from his night shift. Before I closed my eyes, I smiled once to myself as I gazed at his beautiful face. He really like to pull his words when he’s drunk, like reeeeeally.