Always Alone

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter Six

"WHAT HAPPENED TO your hand?" is the first thing Dad asks when he picks me up from the airport Wednesday afternoon.

"Hi, Daddy! It's good to be back home," I say, smiling cheerfully and reaching for a hug.

"Genevieve, what happened to your hand?"

"Dad, relax. I just broke my thumb. It'll heal in a couple of weeks. No biggie," I say nonchalantly, knowing that if he hears any crack of concern in my voice, he'll think I'm omitting how bad the fracture is. He'll take me to another hospital to get it looked at.

After my dense decision to hit a punching bag with my bare hands, I took an Uber to the hospital.

Dr. Perez examined my hand for any blood vessel damage and performed an x-ray. He said it was a simple fracture and the thumb was not displaced. Wrapping my thumb in a Spica cast, he warned me not to ever do that again and said everything will be healed in a few weeks, just in time for Christmas.

When I got to school on Monday, all my students wanted to know what had happened to my hand and asked to sign my cast. It was really cute how they all got excited about putting their autographs on my arm. They think I'm a badass teacher now.

"How did this happen?" Dad asks yet again, concerned and a little exasperated.

"I was boxing without the gloves."

"Genna! Why would you do that? You know better. What are you doing boxing?" His knuckles turn white as he grips the steering wheel harder. "Did someone mess with you?"

I don't even know why I said anything. My parents take things out of proportion. Just imagining what Mom will say gives me goosebumps.

"I'm fine, Dad, really. No one is messing with me, especially with Angie around," I try to lighten his mood. "I just wanted to try it."

I look out the car window to the long road ahead of us clustering with cars this late in the afternoon. Some trees are covered with red and yellow leaves, others are naked and tingle with tomorrow's firewood.

One of the things I miss most about living up north is making a fire. There's nothing like snuggling up on the carpeted floor with a few blankets in front of the fireplace, hearing the crackle of fresh wood gathered from the backyard and the twinkle of fire lights.

"Are you sure that's all?" he asks and I nod. Dad lets out a deep breath and closes his eyes for a second as if thinking if he should let it go or keep asking. He decides to let it pass. "How about you tell me more about work and the kids?"

Where Mom would've kept on prying, trying to get information out of me, Dad leaves it alone. I know he wants to know my reason for going to the gym and the cost of the hospital bill, like any good parent would, but it will just torment him more. And I also know he leaves the snooping to Mom and will ask about it when they're in bed later tonight.

I go on to tell him about work and the lessons I've planned for next week. I tell him about Mr. Henry and Mrs. Ruiz who've been helping me with parent communication and classroom management.

"Home sweet home," the words roll off my tongue as we make a left on Bach Hollow Road.

My childhood home comes into view.

The small cape cod stands alone but for the red-orange whit linden trees that line the property. Its deep brown deck blankets the home with a comforting feel and the stone chimney stands high above the gray shingled roof, adding to the tranquil atmosphere.

It is so quiet around that I can hear the dried-up leaves falling on the yellow burnt grass. The aroma of autumn is slowly ending, welcoming a hazy shade of winter in its rouse.

Dad parks the car at the back of the house and turns to me. "Are you ready for the craziness to begin?" I'm not sure if he's talking about Mom or Thanksgiving tomorrow.

I let out a deep sigh just as Dad honks the horn. Mom comes rushing out of the front door in a matter of seconds.

"Genna," Mom says loudly, her arms outstretch, inviting me in for a hug.

Mom's wearing dark jeans and a white knitted sweater with black boots. Her blond-gray hair is styled in a neat short bob, a sign that she just came home from work. I know that if she could, she would've picked me up at the airport with Dad.

"Mom." I run up the steps and hug her.

God, how I've missed her.

After an oxygen-swallowing hug, Mom holds me up at arm's length and puts both palms on either side of my face. She presses into my cheeks. "Let me see you."

"I've only been away for a few weeks," I say in a comforting tone, but I can't deny I've missed her terribly.

Her eyes rake me up and down until they land on my hand. "What happened to your hand?"

"She's fine Sandy just a broken thumb that'll heal in a few weeks." Dad comes to my rescue as he enters the house with Angie in her small cage.

I smile up at him, silently thanking him. "Yep. Just three weeks and it'll be as good as new." I give her a thumbs up with my casted thumb, drawing a scowl.

"I still want to know what happened, Genna."

"I broke it at the gym. There was this boxing bag that I had seen a guy punch it and I thought it can't be that hard so I punched it with my hand." Before she has a chance to say anything I add, "I know. Stupid."

"What are you doing in a gym?" I look around for Dad to save me once more, but see him through the kitchen window in the backyard with Angie.

"I know, I'm not fat, Mom. I just want to build some muscle, not lose my curves."

"I just don't want you thinking you have to look like all those Barbie models in the magazines. We don't wear a lot of bathing suits up here, but I know they do in Miami. I want you to be happy with your body." She comes closer to me and gives me a hug. "I won't pry anymore—" I raise an eyebrow, that's unlike her, "—for now," she finishes and we both laugh.

We sit over at the built-in breakfast nook and converse for hours about the plans for tomorrow.

Thanksgiving is always done at Mom's house. I can't wait to eat real homemade food. I'm tired of eating takeout and frozen pizza. I'll be gaining about twenty pounds over the course of a few days. A good way to hibernate once I get to Florida. Now that Mom thinks I'm trying to lose weight, she'll make sure there's food on my plate every minute.

The next morning, I wake up to the pulse of my heart thrashing and the sound of Mom humming to Unspoken. I get out of the sky-blue sofa bed in the living room and head to the source of harmony. Mom's dancing around the kitchen listening to KLOVE and seasoning the turkey with our family secret ingredient—butter.

The Peterson family motto throughout the decades has been, "When in doubt, add more butter."

"Good morning, Mom."

She looks up, sapphire eyes glowing with contentment at seeing her daughter back home. "Good morning, Genevieve. How did you sleep? I hope the sofa was comfortable."

How did I sleep? To say I slept like a baby would be a false statement because a baby wouldn't have sexual dreams about a guy they briefly met—they wouldn't have sexual dreams at all, period.

Last night, I dreamt of him, the guy from the gym. In my sleep, we were in my living room where he was teaching me how to throw a punch on the heavy bag that magically appeared to be hanging from the ceiling.

He put his hands around my waist and positioned me in front of the bag as he came up from behind me. I could sense his breath grazing my neck as he lowered his head and whispered admirations in my ear.

"You're stunning," he said. His guttural voice made me tingle with excitement.

A big hand moved my hair to the side. I let out a deep moan as he bent down to nibble my neck and ran his tongue along my collarbone. He was teasing me and I wanted more than just a josh touch.

My mouth desired to taste him. I swayed my hips slowly, feeling his firmness and turned around. My eyes were on his mouth, our lips a Planck length away. I licked my lips as he bit his, clearly wanting me. I tilted my head to his mouth just as the boxing bag came down, hitting me on the head. That's how I woke up.

But I don't think Mom wants to hear the gory details of my sexual dream, so instead, I opt for, "Good. Did you make coffee?"

I shake my head to rid my brain of the memories. I need a cold shower, maybe even holy water.

"Yep, it's on the coffee pot. Your dad kept it warm for you."

I take out a cup from the cabinet and look around the backyard for a sign of him, but don't find him anywhere.

"Is he in the garage, again? That car is never going to start."

"We ran out of butter. I just used the last bit of it, so he went to the store."

"We are all going to die from clogged arteries," I murmur, inhaling the peppermint cream I poured into the coffee.

She gives me a stern look. "I heard that and we're not. Butter is good for you; it has fat-soluble vitamins and saturated fat."

"Whatever makes you sleep at night, Mother," I sign, walking out of the kitchen.

I pass the old bedroom I used to share with Jess, but don't dare to go inside Dad's new hobby room. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for them to throw away our old things. I don't want to be sad today, though there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of her.

I wonder if she misses me, too. Maybe I could sneak out and go see her without my parents noticing. Once I finish in the bathroom, I head downstairs and fix up the living room, arranging the decorative pillows and folding the sheets.

"What do you need help with? I want to learn to cook something other than eggs."

"Well, everything's done. Your dad made the stuffing early in the morning. You want me to make you pancakes? There won't be any food till later today."

"Okay." I smile up at her.

Apart from being the best interior decorator, Mom's one of the best cooks I know. I have no idea where my culinary genes came from. Few minutes pass by and Dad gets home, his jacket is covered snow.

"It's snowing already?"

"Slightly," he says shaking off the snow.

"Did you buy all the things you needed?" I ask, praying that he forgot something so that I can leave and see Jess.

"Nope, I think we have everything."

Great, however, there's always Plan B.

"Has Grandma given you food, yet?" I ask Angie in a high-pitched voice as she jumps up and down.

I pick her up and kiss her charcoal nose, walking over to pantry where Angie's food should be. Moving cans and cereal boxes around, I place them in front of her wet food and say, "Oh, no. I think I forgot to bring Angie's food."

Not waiting for my parents' to answer, I grab the first jacket I see and shrug it on.

"I'll be back in a little."

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.