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Listen Layla

Chapter 14


Eighteen, one day older, big deal.

I hate my birthday, despite having one day that’s all yours, supposedly a special day, it was never a day I would call special. Actually maybe the exact opposite. Technically it wasn’t all mine considering Hayes and I were born the same day. Brothers by blood, fraternal twins, but enemies by choice.

To Julian, birthdays represented something different. They were like levels to him, each year you reached a new level and when you reached the next level, you had to prove your worth, your capability. So every year on my birthday, Julian would make it one to remember, never once did he not have something planned. He would never forget his sons ‘special’ day.

When I was five my father taught both Hayes and me how to shoot a BB gun, cool right? That’s not even the best part, he liked thorough instructions, actual demonstrations. After teaching us to load it and change the safety. He had me stand in front of this big tree.

I was five and clueless, excited because he was going to teach me the fun part, how to aim, and shoot a target. I thought wow, this is the best birthday ever. He lifted the gun and started explaining how to hold it, where to look, and how to stand. To me, I thought he was bonding, trying to connect with his sons.

I can still remember just how exhilarating it was, so exciting right up until the moment he pointed the BB gun at me. Then it wasn’t as cool as I thought it was.

“Did you get all that boys?” He asked.

Me and Hayes nod our heads eagerly, I can’t believe he is actually teaching us how to shoot. Dad smiles down at us, he seems proud and I can’t help but feel happy, he’s proud of me. For once he’s not yelling, he’s not mad at me.

Maybe today I won’t be put in time out, I hate the closet, it’s so dark and scary. Sometimes I think the monsters will get me and eat me up. Then I cry and dad makes me stay in longer when I cry, he says it’s not manly. My mom cries sometimes and it makes me feel sad, maybe that’s why dad doesn’t like me crying because he gets sad.

I stood straight up like a good boy with my arms and legs spread out against the tree as dad told me. I tried to hold in my smile but couldn’t because dad was smiling. He was happy with me and that was a really good feeling.

Hayes studied dad just like me, we wanted to do everything right so we didn’t make him mad. I didn’t like it when dad was mad, he gets really angry when Hayes and I do something wrong. His spankings are really hard and when he yells it always makes me afraid.

My eyes stayed on dad as he demonstrated how to hold your arms, he lifted the gun and pointed it my way. He’s only showing us, there’s no reason for me to be nervous, I told myself. But I was still nervous, not being able to help it.

“D-Dad?” I stutter.

His eyes narrowed at my ‘imperfection’. “What did I tell you about fucking stuttering, it makes you sound like a weak bitch.” He hisses.

I glance down ashamed. “I’m sorry.”

“Look at me boy,” He growls. “I’m not finished with my lesson, this is the most crucial part.”

Instantly I look back up, my worried eyes on him.

He smiles, arms straight out, gun aimed at me. “You look real close, studying your target, aiming the best you can for the bullseye.” His eyes watch me with an intensity that scares me, he leans in real close then closes his left eye. “Then you pull the trigger.”

With a click, a sudden pain stings my chest causing me to cry out. I grab the hurting area with wide eyes bending over a bit, looking at my father. My skin is stinging so bad, I want to cry but dad hates crying. He doesn’t look happy.

“Stand the fuck up, the lesson isn’t over.” He yells in his angry voice. “You have four more to go, take your birthday present like a man Declan. Every time you cry out is an extra shot, got it?”

I straighten up nodding my head, tears brimming my eyes, I should be grateful. This is my birthday present. I look at Hayes with terrified eyes, his eyes match my own fear. At least I’m not alone.

It’s only target practice, this will make me better.

I remember being in so much pain for days after, the big red welts on my skin looked almost like chickenpox. I told people at school I had chickenpox just like Julian told Hayes and me to do. Even though some of the welts actually bruised, we were sent home early so we couldn’t spread the ‘virus’ to other students.

Every fucking birthday he had a lesson to teach, a point to prove, and a way to make it memorable. Birthdays were worse than any other days with him, he sure knew how to leave a mark you could never forget.

Gotta say prison suits him well.

In fact, I just got a call informing me he’ll be being transferred to a high-security prison pretty darn soon four hours away from me. The farther he is the fucking better.


Ellie was in a hella good mood today, better than usual considering she was almost always in a good mood. No matter how much I hated today, I was happy that she was happy. The dread I was feeling this morning became non-existent the moment I saw her.

She made it so fucking hard not to be in a good mood, the moment she smiled at me, I was cast under her spell. When she told me happy birthday, it really hit my heart hard, a thousand feelings flowed through my bloodstream, and not one could I interpret. I just knew they were all because of her, she was every fucking drug in the world mixed into one.

Cocaine, heroin, marijuana, whatever you could think of. She had me high, ecstasy on overdrive.

My morning classes are so fucking monotonous, half the time I sleep through them, being a scholar student wasn’t the first thing on my goddamn agenda. This place is a bore, too bad I didn’t get suspended for longer.

Ellie and I didn’t have any morning classes together and let me tell you it s-u-c-k-e-d sucked. In between classes we only had like a minute at most before having to be separated again for however long, but it was too long.

A crumpled paper ball hits my head in my half-conscious state falling onto the desk. Sitting up, I grab the wrinkled up ball of paper and peer around the classroom ready to punch somebody. My eyes land on Wes, who has a big smile on his annoyingly happy face on the other side of the room. He points to the paper and gestures for me to open it.

Happy birthday to my favorite birthday boy! You’ve grown into a handsome young man Deck Deck!

God, he’s so fucking mental.

I crumpled the paper back up, aimed for the trash, and scored with a winning smirk. I glance back at Wes, he’s now frowning with his arms crossed, I shrug nonchalantly not being able to hold back my grin.

A tap on my shoulder has me turning around to see who the fuck is touching me. A brunette girl, Layla I think her name is, no maybe it’s Lily, hell I don’t know and frankly don’t give two fucks.

“Yeah?” I question harshly. I really don’t appreciate her touching me.

She smiles, I wish she didn’t, it’s too wide and her dimples don’t compliment her features well. What the fuck does she want? “Can you help me? I’m stuck on this question,” she asks, leaning in real close to me, to close.

I lean back away from her. “No, do it yourself,” I mutter.

Her smile falters. “But I don’t know how, that’s why I asked you.”

Is she trying to get on my nerves, because it’s definitely working? “Listen Layla-.”

“It’s Lena-.”

“Do I look like the fucking teacher?” I grit, not waiting for her response. “No, didn’t think so. Figure it out yourself, Layla.” With her widened eyes, I take that as my cue to turn back around, she shouldn’t have asked in the first place.

“Is everything alright over there, Mr. Anderson?” Mrs. Wilson calls from across the room, causing multiple heads to lift and look my way.

Can’t people mind their own business? “Why don’t you ask Layla, she’s the one whos bothering me.” I retort.

“It’s Lena.” The girl behind me insists.

Lena, Layla, same thing. “And I don’t care.” People snicker like it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever heard, but it’s not a joke.

Mrs. Wilson stands. “Alright class that’s enough, get back to work.” She says. “Lena, you come here and I’ll help you.”

A long while after (only five minutes) the bell rang and I was the first one out the door. It’s finally lunchtime and I can see Ella. Unfortunately, Wes was right behind me, jogging till he caught up.

“Dude slow down.” He breaths dramatically. “In case you’ve forgotten Deck Deck, most people say thank you when someone tells them happy birthday.”

I gaze over at him. “Really?” I say sarcastically.

“Really.” He chimes. “In all realness though happy birthday man.”

I raise an eyebrow. “It’s just a day.”

He pokes me in the cheek. “Yeah, your day.” I shove him hard, he chuckles. “Did someone not get their daily dose of Ella, you were so mean to that poor girl.”

“Who, Layla? She deserved it.”

He shakes his head grinning. “Her name is Lena.”

Like I said before, don’t care.


I was up and out of my seat as soon as the bell rang, I couldn’t wait to see Declan. Just as I walked out of the room he was right there in front of me, a very handsome smile on his soft red lips.

Was he happy to see me too?

Declan looked good today, well he always looks good. He had on a dark grey sweatshirt, dark washed jeans, and black boots. In the light, if you were really looking you could see the silver chain glinting around his neck just under his sweatshirt. I loved it when he wore his silver chain, he just looked so fudging beautiful.

Wes stood beside him, he was too smiling at me, his usual brightness shining as always. It was kind of funny how Declan wore darker clothes, while his best friend wore lighter ones. Wes and him had two different personalities but somehow it worked well with their friendship.

I couldn’t wait to give Declan his present later and show him his cake that I made.

Declan opened his arms and almost instantly I caved into them giving him a great big hug. I couldn’t help the giggle that tumbled out of my lips. “Hi, D.” Declan once told me I was his teddy bear, little did he know he is also mine.

He looks down at me. “Miss me Lil’ one?”

“I always do,” I murmur, then glance at our blonde friend. “Hey, Wes.” Declan takes my hand and we begin to walk to the cafeteria in a row of three, Wes on the other side of Declan.

Wes peers over at me. “Thank goodness you’re here, Deck Deck has been cranky all morning.” He tells me, then in a quieter voice. “He was mean to this girl who asked him a question, like totally killed her vibe and he didn’t even tell me thank you when I told him happy birthday.” Wes whines.

“You know I can hear you right?” Declan muses. “And you know what you’re being Wesley? A little tattle tail.”

“You see Ella,” Wes complains, actually sounding sad.

I try my best to hold in my laugh and be serious. “I think you hurt Wes’s feelings.” I murmur to Declan.

Declan smiles. “So? Does that bother you, baby?”

Baby. When he calls me that, it makes me feel like jelly, all gooey inside. These little summersaults flip back and forth in my stomach. “Well umm...” I mumble, not knowing what to say. Then I remember Wes mentioning a girl. “You were mean to a girl?”

We turn into the cafeteria, Wes breaks off from us and doesn’t bother trying to hide his eagerness as he makes his way over to the lunchline with a pep in his step. Nothing gets in the way of Wes and his food.

“She asked me a question and I told her I wasn’t the teacher.” He states, shrugging.

“What if you hurt her feelings?” I murmur, knowing if that were me I would probably be really upset.

He glances down, meeting my eyes with his forest ones. “Ellie she’s not you, I don’t think she really needed help.”

I nod feeling better, he leans down and places a kiss on my forehead. “Does that upset you?”

“No, I just...” I trail off just as we get to our lunch table. I’m about to sit down in my chair when Declan pushes it back in and pulls me down onto his lap. I try to stand up but he holds me down not letting me.

Color dapples my cheeks. “D, people w-will look at us.” I stutter, glancing around.

“Let them, you’re mine Ellie, let every single person know it.” He whispers, his breath hot on my neck sending elated shivers down my spine. “Now tell me you’re not mad at me.”

He thinks I’m mad at him? How can he say that? No matter what he does, I can’t ever really be mad at him, and even if I was it wouldn’t be for long. “I’m not.”


My heart skips a beat. “I promise.”


After school activities were canceled due to incoming thunderstorms, so that meant no soccer or football practice. A piece of my heart was sad, but the bigger part of my heart was super excited with the news.

At my house, I raced past Thomas and sprinted up the stairs to get Declan’s birthday present. It was under my chair, it’s the only place I could think to hide it without Declan finding out. I told him I didn’t get him anything and it was true, I made it all myself.

Pulling out the leather photo album, my hands begin to tremble. Will he like it, what if he doesn’t? The beaded bracelet is tucked inside, but now I’m suddenly unsure. Should I have wrapped it?


I drop the gift in a startle turning around. “D-Declan you scared m-me.”

He stands right behind me, his chocolate curls a tousled mess, and his ever so green eyes watching me. “Why did you run all the way up here?”

I nibble my lip thinking of an excuse. “Y-you know...just umm getting chapstick.”

He takes a step closer bringing his thumb to my mouth, tracing the line of my lips before gently pressing down making my lips part. He smirks as blood rushes to my warm cheeks, my whole body becoming all hot in mere seconds.

“We’ve been over this baby,” He whispers, his voice low. “Yet you do it over and over again, lying right through these lips. What should I do about that?”

My eyes widen as his thumb slowly pulls my bottom lip down, my lips won’t seem to move, no words will even form on my tongue.

“Hmm,” He hums, bringing his hands to my hips, his fingers inching up under my shirt. “What do you want me to do?”

He leans down his lips edging my jaw, planting butterfly kisses along my hot dewy skin. My hands instinctively grab his hair, tugging the soft locks.

For a moment he stops, bringing his face in front of mine. “Tell me what to do to you,” He demands softly. I glance down feeling a bit shy, he has never asked me this before and I’m not quite sure how to respond. “Go on”

Fiddling with his hair, I whisper, “Whatever you want, D.”

He smiled planting his buttery lips on mine, tasting with a hunger he is now showing me for the first time, an aggression I match. “As you wish.”

Just like that, I’m off the floor, his hand under my thighs, my back hitting my bedroom wall. His kisses brush my skin like hot wax, smooth and slow-burning, leaving trails of him behind. My hands tracing stars down his skin, connecting constellations on his back.

My head is scrambling in all thoughts him, my heart is beating with ecstatic energy, my air lumbering in thrilling breaths. One love, two people, his mouth, my mouth. Lips eclipsing with static kisses.

Tingles, little electric sparks dancing with every little piece of contact.

My eyes fall closed as his hands’ touch, feel, memorize. Dizzy, he’s absolutely dizzying. My body becomes goo, literally. I fall limp.

He chuckles into my chest. “God Ellie, you’re so fucking tantalizing.”

I smile sheepishly as my bones feel like jello. “Sorry.”

He brings me over to my chair and sits me down. For a moment, I try to bring myself back, to get a hold on my surroundings. When I open my eyes, blinking away the patches of color, I see Declan holding something in his hands, staring at it. My gift for him.

“What’s this?” He asks, eyes shining.

My hands twiddle. “It’s y-your birthday present, I made it for you,” I tell him nervously.

“You made it?”

I look down at my lap. “Y-yeah, it’s okay if y-you don’t like it.”

He picks me up and sits down on my chair, then brings me down on his lap. “I’ve never had a special birthday before, but Ellie,” He murmurs. “You make every goddamn day special, anything from you means everything to me.”

Leaning in, I kiss his cheek. “Happy birthday D.”

Word count: 3077

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