© All rights reserved. LittleThingsInLife
"Argghh, Derek put me down." I giggled, having just been woken by him scooping me up and throwing me over his shoulder. My bedroom flipped on itself; Ariel was swimming on her head and Beauty and the Beast were dancing upside down. His gruff chuckles continued all the way downstairs and into the kitchen, where he put me down only to start tickling me until I dropped to the floor gasping out, readying to scream out again as he went to his knees intent on torturing me some more.
"Derek, leave her be, she'll be sick and it won't even be because of all these pancakes we know she'll eat." mom scolded and teased at the same time. Upon hearing the word 'pancake' I quickly crawled out from underneath Derek, jumped into my usual chair and leaned forward impatiently waiting for the stack of delicious pancakes to be placed in front of me.
"Happy birthday baby," She happily chirped dropping the plate of warm pancakes covered in syrup within my greedy distance. I looked at the number 10 she'd sprayed on the top with whipped cream. I grabbed for my fork as she placed a kiss on top of my head before sitting down with Derek and starting on their own breakfast.
"Thanks." I mumbled with a chunk of food partially chewed up in my mouth. I could see the disapproval and amusement on my mother's face but she didn't say anything; it was my birthday after all.
"We've planned the whole day for you princess," Derek started, using his special nickname for me, knowing how much I wanted to be a princess when I grew up. Derek had been in mine and my mother's life for three years now. My real father left me and my mom when I was five years old. He promised to have me on the weekends... then every other weekend, and soon it was goodbye forever.
It used to upset me, but when I turned seven, mom met Derek and he was the perfect substitute, happily making me forget about the father that didn't want me. He'd do anything for me; even watch endless Disney movies with me on his days off.
I looked up at him, momentarily forgetting my half eaten pancakes, wanting to know what they had in store for my special day.
"Once we've opened presents," I grinned at the thought "we're going to watch whatever movie you want, then the two of us will head on over to the park while your mom stays here and gets your favourite dinner ready and then the three of us will go over to the ice cream parlour and you can have as much ice cream as you-" a stern cough from my mom had him stopping mid sentence and backtracking "-you can eat one bowl of whatever ice cream you want?" he ended with a question.
He looked over at mom to make sure what he said was acceptable and I held in a laugh; Derek was always trying to hype me up on ice cream so I knew I wouldn't just get one bowl. We both looked at each other and smirked, mom would give in; iIt was my birthday after all.
It turned out they had lied a little on what the plan for the day was; I opened all my presents as promised, and we watched Beauty and the Beast at my request, then me and Derek went to the park where he pushed me on the swing and got into trouble by some of the other parents there for trying to climb on the monkey bars with me. I did not however go home to the expected meal my mom was supposed to cook me, oh no...
My mouth dropped open and I jumped up in excitement; A party for me! I could see a few kids from my school but the faces I shot to were my old best friends; The Spencer's. I hadn't seen them for three years and I squealed, pulled out of Derek's hand and ran to them.
They'd had to move away after Sandra and Karl Spencer realised they had too many kids and not enough space. Because of how badly we took the move the adults decided it would be best if little contact was made; it would only hurt again every time they visited.
"You're here for me birthday!" I exclaimed.
"The free food actually," Aiden teased before pulling me into a hug. Aiden was 14 now and he'd grown tall in three years. His dark blonde hair that used to be chopped down to his ears was now cut short into some kind of spiky do that I assumed must be the new cool look for teenagers.
I shoved him off me and pouted until he gave in and apologised, showing my forgiveness I threw my arms around him and squeezed him tightly.
"I missed you." I said snuggling into his chest.
"Missed you too Ally." He whispered kissing the top of my head.
"Stop hogging her Aiden, we miss her as well," I pulled out of the hug to see both Jamie and Lucas' identical scowls, only one year older than me they still always treated me like I was so much younger.
I jumped into Lucas' arms and then Jamie's giving them both equal squeezes and repeating that I had missed them too. After that it was Sam's turn to open his arms expectantly, I chuckled before complying.
"Hey Sammy," I teased, Pushing me gently backwards; I could see his expression but was still in his arms, I laughed at the scowl on his face.
"Don't call me that Alex, you know I hate it." Sam was the same age as me and it had made us bond quickly; we needed to work together so we weren't subjected to the twins teasing alone.
The second twins as I called them were too young to remember me and were both distracted playing with some other smaller kids on the other side of the perfectly decorated living room. Mom had done a great job, there were princess stickers and balloons. I suspecting the cake would be of some princess design too.
Wanting to thank her I walked over to where she and Derek were talking to Sandra and Karl.
"Oh happy birthday Alex, it's so good to see you!" Sandra grinned before bending down and hugging me. Karl repeated her actions also wishing me a 'Happy Birthday'
"Thank you so much. This is the best day ever, I love you." I shouted.
Figuring this was thanks enough; I beamed a smile at mom and ran off wanting to spend as much time with my new and old friends as possible. I heard the chuckles behind me at my enthusiasm.
Many hours later, when the food had been eating, the music had been played and the candles had been blown out, it was time for people to leave. I didn't mind so much about my school friends because I would be seeing them after the weekend. I just didn't want the Spencer's to leave. Who knew when I would next see them?
"Can I go to their birthday parties next time?" I asked as they all stood at the door, taking turns giving me goodbye hugs.
"We'll see honey," my mom soothed, I nodded, knowing I would beg her and beg her every day until I got the answer I wanted. I wasn't spoilt; I just missed them so much and loved playing with them.
"We won't leave it that long again Alex, we promise." Sandra promised pulling me in for a hug.
I smiled brightly "Okay!" all the parents laughed at me.
"See you guys later." I said slightly more cheerful this time and they all waved before driving off.
"Sandra wouldn't lie about that, would she mom?" I asked just to be sure.
She stroked the top of my head affectionately "Of course not sweetheart, now bed time for the birthday girl."
I yawned straight after her words, like they'd magically made me tired and both Derek and mom laughed, before Derek scooped me up and carried me upstairs.
"Night princess." He whispered tucking me in, mom came in and kissed my forehead.
"I love you baby, sleep tight." She said before they both walked out, turning my light off and closing the door.
"Love you too."
And then I fell asleep, unknowing that I would wake some hours later to a panicked Derek pulling me from my bed...
"Alex wake up, we need to get out now!" I didn't understand the urgency in Derek's words until my eyes adjusted and I could see the thick smoke filling up the room.
Panic set in and I froze; the house was on fire. I heard Derek hiss a word I'd never heard before as he ripped my bed covers off and picked me up.
Stumbling through the smoke we found our way to my bedroom door and onto the hallway. The smoke was too thick to see and all I could hear was the blaring alarm and coughing. I realised it was me when the burning sensation in my chest worsened.
We reached for the stairs but because we couldn't see, Derek missed the first step and we both went tumbling down, I screamed the whole way and felt each impact of each step hit me in different places, finally my head whacked the floor and everything went black.
Beep, beep, beep....
The room was bright... too bright and I slammed my eyes shut from the pain. Slowly I opened them and blinked until they adjusted. I was in a hospital; I'd been there once before when my shoulder had become dislocated after Jamie and Lucas dared me to climb a tree outside their old house.
But why was I here now?
I realised it must have been the pain I was in that had woken me; my chest burned and my head pounded, not to mention my entire body ached. What happened? Did I fall again?
The door opened and a man in a white overcoat walked in. It was the same doctor I had years ago. I remembered because he had tricked me; tried to distract me while my shoulder had been put back into place. Dr. Reading.
"Alexandra, you're awake. That's good," he tried to smile at me but I could see the tightness in his eyes. "How are you feeling?" he asked
"Everywhere hurts. My heads sore... my throat too." I added after hearing the croak and wincing with every word.
"Understandable after what happened," he looked at my confused expression and sorrow filled his eyes.
"There was a fire." That was all he needed to say for me to remember. I could see the smoke, feel my fear and then it went black.
"I remember falling?" I questioned. Did that all really happen?
"Yes, you blacked out after your fall. No permanent damage but it did knock you out and you'll have a big headache for a while," the doctor blabbed on in some medical language about smoke inhalation and other nonsense my ten year old self didn't understand. I wasn't properly listening, I remember Derek had been with me and he had fallen too.
"Is Derek okay? What about my mom?"
Dr. Reading hesitated and I paled... what was he going to say?
"Derek's fine, you actually took the brunt of the fall so he's just a little bruised up," I sighed in relief, well that's good news. I waited for him to say the same about my mother but he just stopped talking.
"And... What about my mommy?" I repeated.
His eyes dropped to the floor and at the same time my heart dropped into my stomach. What could have happened for him to not want to tell me?
"I'm so sorry Alex. Your mom, she... Derek tried to go back in after taking you outside but the fire-fighters wouldn't let him. They went in themselves but it was too late. I'm sorry but your mom didn't make it." Silence "She died." he clarified after seeing my scrunched up face.
'She didn't make it. She died' the words kept swishing around in my mind but they weren't stringing together or making sense. I felt my stomach start to churn and leaned over the bed heaving. Nothing came out and I choked and coughed as my chest increased in pain. Dr Reading rubbed my back trying to soothe me but I pushed him off. I didn't want the man who told me my mom was dead touching me...
"I... I want Derek," I struggled to get out. The tears were slowly pouring out of my eyes and falling onto the floor.
"Okay I'll go get him, your father is also here, if you want to see him?"
I didn't think there was going to be anything that could stop my tears, but sure enough hearing my father was here after years of nothing had me in a state of frozen shock; even my tears froze.
"I want Derek." I repeated.
Dr Reading nodded "Guess that answers who you want to live when then," I heard him mutter to himself.
"He wants me to stay with him?" I choked out. There wasn't a chance in hell I was going to do that. Where was he for everything else? I wasn't important enough for him to even see me on my birthday and now he wants to be involved. I wanted to scoff, I wanted to scream, I wanted to turn back the time and get my mom back, but I stayed silent and waited for the doctor to answer me.
"Well it's in your mothers will that if something was to happen to her, you would go to your dads and vice-versa, but Derek is named your secondary guardian so his name is next to your fathers and then the Spencer residence is next on the list; if neither are capable of taking on your care, but it is your decision." Reading explained.
"'I want Derek." I said for the third time. He knew what my answer was and nodded once again before leaving the room.
I stayed silent and was glad I did for I wouldn't have heard the conversation going on outside;
"She's my daughter and I want to see her. She's too young to make decisions such as who visits her and who takes care of her. Let me in, I need to talk to her." I heard my father demand.
"She's my patient Dom, and I'm sorry but she was adamant about seeing Derek. Maybe once she's adjusted and calmed down she'll talk to you, but right now is not a good time, her mom just died." I winced and decided to block out anything else they said.
It wasn't five minutes later when the door opened and Derek walked through, my face was wet and my eyes puffy from crying. I wanted to jump off the hospital bed and into Derek's arms but his expression stopped me. He looked blank and emotionless; his eyes wandered around the room but never settled on me.
"Derek?" I whispered but he didn't respond.
Dr Reading came back into the room and told me that first thing in the morning I would be able to leave with Derek. We were staying with a friend of his until better arrangements could be made. I nodded but my eyes never left Derek. He still refused to look at me and I grew more worried the longer he just stayed in the room, unmoving and unspeaking.
Once Derek left to get things sorted for us, Dr Reading asked if I would let my father come in to see me. I didn't want to, but I was just a child and if he wanted to there wasn't much I could do about it, they were just soothing me by asking my permission.
When he walked in the room, I burst out crying again. He rushed over go me intent on holding me in his arms but I screamed at him to get away.
"It takes something like this for you to want to see me!" I shouted out in anger "well I don't want to see you. I never want to see you again. I hate you!"
A look of shock, hurt and guilt flittered across my dad's face before he could mask it but I didn't care, I was all out of emotion. I just wanted him to leave, to be alone so I didn't have to speak; it hurt too much to do anything. I just wanted the day to rewind and see my mom again.
He stayed silent for what seemed like an age, but finally he breathed out deeply and nodded, leaving me to cry by myself. I didn't think I would ever see him again and I really didn't care at all.
I was all alone in my hospital room later on that night; I knew I wouldn't be sleeping so I imagined what my new home was going to be like. Once Derek feels better he'll look at me I told myself. I tried to picture my life without mom but it was like a black void, I couldn't see anything...
When Derek picked me up in the morning it was clear neither of us had slept and I hoped he would look at me or acknowledge my presence but he didn't do anything. I followed him outside and into the car. I didn't know where we were going or what was going to happen to me... and I really wanted my mommy.