Chapter Seventeen | Rain Rain, Go Away, Say You Really Want To Stay
◦◦ Sawyer ◦◦
Fifteen Years Ago, Naples Florida
“Oh shoot, I better get home. My moms gonna kill me if I’m late again. Bye, Sawyer!”
I looked up from the chalk drawing Chelsea and I had been working on together for the last four hours and frowned with confusion. “Really? But the street lights haven’t even come on yet!”
She gave me an apologetic smile and swung her bright pink Mismo backpack over a shoulder. Brunette curls began bouncing as she briskly walked away from where I still knelt on the sidewalk. “I’ll see if I can stay longer tomorrow, and we’ll finish it. Okay?”
Well I guess that wouldn’t be too bad, I’m getting hungry anyway and mom promised she’d be home to cook tonight.
I stood up with a hopeful half smile and cupped my hands over my mouth so Chelsea could hear me better. “I’ll hold you to it! Same place, after school.”
“Yep!” My friend quipped back with that carefree wave she always gave me when we had to part ways for the time being. I kept an eye on her until she rounded the corner and disappeared out of sight, then I tucked my prized pack of forbidden chalk in between two bushes before starting the short walk back home.
On the way, I made sure to dust any remnants of my earlier activity away just in case. There’s a first for everything, and mine with chalk happened to be the last as far as my parents were concerned. I’d come home covered from head to toe in the stuff, gushing about the epic bearded dragon I’d drawn. My horror stricken mother yanked me into our West Wing’s bathroom and vigorously scrubbed at my stained skin while dad harshly scolded me from the other side of the door.
They never bothered to even look at my creation and in case you’re wondering, I was only six at the time.
Now I’m twice that age, with a hefty allowance fund to buy anything my little heart desired. Which, included things I knew I couldn’t have; Mature CDs, laffy taffy, and messy art supplies.
I’m a preteen, what else were you expecting?
A couple months ago when I turned twelve, mom and dad sat down with me to have a serious discussion. They explained how I’m old enough to look after myself when they couldn’t be around, and left it up to me as to whether or not I wanted them to try and find another ‘nanny’ to keep me company while I’d otherwise be alone.
Seeing as I scared the other three I’d had off over the years, I promptly declined. Father’s work began keeping him away for longer periods, and my mom spent her time at frivolous high society parties showing off her expensive dresses and gossiping about those who were less than us. I all but stopped existing seemingly overnight. Nonetheless, they still found ways to try and control my life.
Starting with the friends I wanted to have.
Chelsea Browman's family had ‘new money’ my mother explained with a wrinkled nose, and instructed me not to befriend her over brunch when she first settled in our area last year. Apparently my peers felt the same way, and it was really hard to watch Chelsea eating lunch all by herself everyday in the cafeteria.
I’m not exactly what anyone would call popular either, with my tomboyish looks and bad attitude. For the most part, my classmates left me well enough alone. Everyone needs a friend though; Even if it’s just one.
Defiance runs through my veins, and so it was only natural that I slid into the seat next to Chelsea’s one random Monday afternoon and flashed a welcoming smile her way. She stopped tugging on the crisp white collar of her shirt with widened dark brown eyes. “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to the uniforms. I’m Sawyer, we’ve got a few classes together.”
Chelsea grinned, looking thrilled that someone aside from an instructor was talking to her. “I sure hope so, I didn’t have to wear one at my last school...my names Chelsea. Nice to meet you!”
Whenever I got a chance, I’d hang out with her privately. One of our favorite things to do was find a prime piece of sidewalk and doodle with chalk for hours. Like we had today. It was probably the only time I felt like someone my age, instead of a mini adult always having to fend for myself.
Thunder crashed in the distance, and I groaned as I felt the first few droplets of water splash onto my stunned face.
So much for finishing up our project tomorrow; It’s being washed away right this very second.
I started sprinting, getting a mild rush from watching the street lights switch on as the onslaught of rain became heavier and more intense. I always imagined someone was missing me, wondering where I’d been even though I knew better than anyone how untrue that fantasy would ever be. By the time I made it back to my estate, I was soaking wet with chattering teeth and a longing for steamy hot chocolate.
Maybe mom and I could find something interesting on television; I missed watching our guilty pleasures during rainy days.
My idea offered some comfort as I shivered like crazy. Finally, I managed to unlock the front door and quickly rushed inside.
“MOTINA?” I shouted for my mother in Lithuanian and hung up my vintage tan jean jacket hastily. No answer, unless you call the echo bouncing off every surface of this gigantic house. I figured she might’ve been in the kitchen, so I strode down the long hallway in search of her with hopes as high as they’d ever been. Once I caught onto the little yellow notepad laying neatly on our shiny black countertop, I felt my stomach plummet. Three hundred dollar bills were tucked underneath it, and I ignored them to read mom’s latest excuse for ditching me.
I’m afraid I will have to cancel our dinner plans. My friend from Paris flew into town unexpectedly and she has requested my presence. I know you have plenty of money in your account, but here is three hundred dollars anyway. Stay safe and no strangers inside!
With a disappointed scoff, I crumpled up the note and tossed it in the automatic steel trashcan. White flashes of lightening crashed repeatedly in the dark sky, pellets of rain beating against every open window surrounding me. I felt my chest tighten with fear and resisted the urge to whimper.
You’re practically living on your own, Sawyer. Isn’t it a little ridiculous to be afraid of some stupid thunder at your age?
As I was turning around to head into my room, I noticed a bottle of unopened Tequila sitting on the crystal coffee table. Abandoned, and screaming my name. It wasn’t the first time my parents carelessly left their liquor laying around, and I was starting to look forward to benefiting from that carelessness.
Mother probably rushed to greet her friend and forgot it as a result. Well, it's not her problem any more.
Without a second thought, I numbly retrieved a clear glass from the wide Ornate cabinets and resigned to another evening of getting drunk out of my skull. Eventually the frightening sounds faded away, and I melted into a much more relaxed mood with every drink I poured. To try and make myself feel better about what I'd been doing, I played with the idea of telling Chelsea.
What would she know about my pain? Her parents gave a shit and mine didn't. Chelsea abided by curfews, shared the details of her day with a family who wanted to know things like that, and slept with the comfort of knowing she was loved.
I had all the freedom I could ask for, only I never asked for any of it. The word 'curfew' was a foreign one, and I couldn't remember the last time either of my parents asked about school or anything else aside from 'Do you have enough money for ECT, ECT.'
We were the same age, in the same grade, studying the same courses, but we lived completely different lives; There's no way Chelsea would understand.
Besides it's not like I had anyone's arms to run into for comfort at the moment, and if it weren't for this bottle of tequila I'd probably be hiding in my closet crying. Irrational maybe? Sure, but I've never done well with thunderstorms.
I decided to protect my best kept secret, knowing letting anyone in on this semi regular drinking habit would be cause for regret somehow.
What's the worst that could happen?