Chapter Ten | Hold On
The rain drummed against the window panes in time with my heartbeat, and the murky sky cast an unpropitious silhouette. My thoughts built up on top of one another and I could feel a cephalalgia occurring. My attempts at soothing the pain by engulfing my head into the corduroy pillow were unsuccessful, and I allowed the tears to trickle across the bridge of his nose, unable to contain my vehemence. Everything about the prior day was fruitless; nothing felt honorable. I truly believed that my course of action was right, but it wasn’t, in any way I believed it could be viewed.
I tried. That’s all that I can say I did. She was drunk and didn’t know what she was doing. I never expected her to know. She was amnesiac when under the influence of her alcohol. She was terrorizing; I despised seeing her when she was. The outcome of her abuse left me with a damaged ankle and concussion. She was a pain in the ass the day after. I just couldn’t understand why she’d do something like this. I was her son. Her son. I should be loved and welcome home and feel safe in my parents’ arms. Not the irreconcilable. I would leave to go to the Academy next year and they don’t know. She doesn’t have a job - same with dad. The thought of calling them my parents left a vile taste lingering on my tongue.
Jarring footsteps making their way up the staircase just outside my room interrupted my thoughts - dad. My heart pounded against my sternum. I knew the excruciating pain in my head wouldn’t subside soon, and tears stained my face. I bolted to the bathroom and closed the door with a crash, locking it without a second thought.
“Cayden. You... alright?... good...?” Great. Now my father was slurring his words, obviously too drunk to comprehend anything around him. I didn’t answer. I had a particular notion that he wouldn’t question me if I kept silent. “Well, anyway. Get down here soon. Your mother and me need to talk to you about this trip.”
Shit. I’d forgotten about the trip for my birthday. I could’ve sworn Jordeyn told me about it yesterday. I stood from the spot where I was curled in near the back corner of the bathroom. Almost immediately, my legs buckled underneath me and gave out. I saw a splint on my ankle and a makeshift cast on my arm - Blayne’s work. But when had she come? She seldom came to this shithole. She despised my parents for what they do to me. Did they do the same when I wasn’t around? I swear to fucking God I’ll kill them if they did. I can’t stand it anymore. The audacity they have... “D-do I have to go?”
“What do you mean, son? It’s for your birthday. We’ve never celebrated it, and you’re turning twenty! It’s not every day your son celebrates the last year of his childhood.” I stared blankly at the wall, the stars in my vision evanesce. What did he just call me? “Son, you coming?” I couldn’t stand any more of his acting. The raw audacity he has to call me his son. All those years of taking on his beatings and lectures about me being a disappointment to the family name. What family name? No one even knew we existed anymore; thus the reasoning of me taking on Azyriah’s grandmother’s maiden name. Thank God he allowed me to use it, ’cause if not, I’d simply go insane. I unbolted the door and slammed it open, causing it to ricochet off the wall and slowly closing behind me.
“You. You have no right to CALL ME YOUR SON. I’ve tried for years to get you to even look into my eyes without cringing, and I can still see the difficulty you have with that. I’ve tried standing up for myself, but no matter what, you just can’t simply let me be. I’m done with the alcohol, I’m done with the abuse, and I’m also completely, and utterly done with the audacity you have to call me your DAMN SON. IF I HEAR FROM ANYONE, INCLUDING MY FRIENDS THAT YOU’RE DOING THE SAME TO THEM, I WILL NOT HESITATE TO SLIT YOUR THROATS.”
“You cannot speak to me like that under my roof. I’ve fed you, bathed you, given you a bed to sleep in, and loved you like a parent. You should be damn grateful for what we’ve done for you, and that we haven’t thrown you into the streets. I-”
“When. When have you ever loved me? You and mom are always drinking and violent. You don’t even know that I’m going to the Academy next year, and neither of you gives a shit about me, so don’t even try to tell me otherwise. I will not be talking to either of you about this trip because it’s for my birthday, and neither of you remembered, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Blayne’s and staying there until I leave. You won’t even notice I’m gone, because you already can’t, so just continue with your lives as you already have been and leave me alone.” It felt great. The adrenaline coursing through my blood and numbing the searing pain I’ve been feeling in my ankle whilst leaning on the door. He stared at me in shock, beer bottle in hand, and drool staining his chin. His eyes darkened, showing pure fury. His ears were tinged a deep, crimson red, and his nose a pale pink. No matter what I’ve said or done in the past, has he ever looked at me with suck disappointment. I hated it, but drank the feeling of pure power. I’ve done what I could, and it felt astounding.
I pushed myself off the wall into a somewhat standing position, and shoved past him, causing him to stumble and his back crashing into the floor. I didn’t turn my head to give him the satisfaction of me caring or giving him a second glance. I stormed down the hall and ran into her. “And where do you think you’re going?”
“Oh, let me think for a minute. I’m not sure, so why don’t you ask the pig in my room.”
“Don’t talk about your father like that. You know for a fact that he cares more about you than you ever know.”
“You have ZERO ideas about what he does or says to me. You’re just like him. Drunk, violent, and addicted to shit that has nothing to do with me. And to add on to everything else, you’re obsessed with the idea of me leaving in the next eight months. So please, don’t worry about a thing because I’m staying with the people who do care about me until I leave.” I tried. I tried my absolute best to get past her, but she towered over me. Her breath was fanning over my face and it was revolting. The smell of alcohol mixed with nicotine and teeth that haven’t been brushed in over a week. I was shocked that none of her teeth have fallen out.
“You will stay here, with us, or you’re never coming back.”
“Please. Don’t threaten me with a good time.” I shoved her into the room behind her and slammed the door shut.
I rounded the corner and saw them sitting at the table covered in grime. I bit my lip to keep from laughing at the face Viktor made, his finger running over the surface of the table and choking at the texture.
“Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m not usually at home to clean. I stay at-”
“Shut up and come here. Now.”
She didn’t have to tell me twice. I limped into her arms and collapsed. Her hair, smelling of coffee with a hint of cinnamon - her signature scent. She never changed it. Always the same, and I cherished it. Her wool sweater, soft against my stained face, more tears racing down my chin. I felt her arm move around me and a burning sensation began near my ear.
“What the hell, Blayne? What is that?”
“Sorry, sorry, I thought it cooled down.”
“Is that coffee?” I wasn’t asking to know, but for reassurance. I knew she had an issue with refraining herself from drinking that putrid, dirt-flavored, bitter water mixture, but if it’s what kept her going and happy, I will gladly leave her be.
“I’m not sure. You tell me.” She shoved the coffee cup under my nose and almost immediately, the scent of coffee grounds and her cinnamon-infused creamer took over my body. I closed my eyes to keep my dinner down and took a respite. I crawled away to where Azyriah was standing and leaned against his shins. His shins vibrated from the deep chuckle that emitted from his throat and he messed my hair. I quickly turned and swat at him.
“Don’t,” my voice sounding more childlike than I intended. He quickly snatched his hand away and vigorously nodded, a smirk playing on his features.
“What is wrong with you?” She snapped at me. Blayne never snapped. She never raised her voice towards anyone. What the hell happened?
“Cayden... What do you mean, what happened?”
“I said, what happened.”
“Cayden Marx. Where are you?”
“Dad now is not the time.”
“What. Cayden, is that your dad?”
“No, Blayne. It’s my Uncle.”
“Oh.” Her voice shook and her gaze drifted to the floor.
“YES, IT’S MY DAD.”
“I can’t be here.” I watched as she sprung off the table and bound out of the room. What the hell? I fumbled for the ledge of the table and hauled myself to my feet, limping as fast as I could after her.
“Blayne!” It took every bit of energy and strength I had to catch up to her. She cut a corner, and I lay hold of her shoulder.” What was that?”
“Cayden, do you really not know?”
“What. Is. It?”
“Please tell me you remember the bruises I had from Halloween week.”
“Yes, yes, I remember.” Her blue eyes pierced through mine and I felt vulnerably naked, despite being clothed. Tears pooled her eyes and her lips parted. Sweat trickled on her brow and she picked at her nails; a nervous tick of hers. Her posture slacked and the tension in her shoulders increased. “Blayne, who.”
“I told you. I fell...”
“You didn’t fall. No one gets a black eye from falling down the stairs. Now, for the last time, who.”
“It’ll make everything worse, and I don’t-”
“I don’t care if it makes anything worse. I need to know now.”
“Alright Cayden, you want to know? You really want to know who did this? Your dad. During that Halloween party at Jordeyn’s, he somehow got in and found me. He knows what I am to you. He hates me, if not, more than you. I tried to defend myself. I really did, but I couldn’t. He’s terrifying, Cayden. And it’s mortifying to me, that you have to spend every single second of every day in this flat with him, knowing what he’s doing. I thought Jordeyn was joking, but no. It’s even worse than what she said it was. I want you out of here now, before I call the cops. Do you understand me?”
All I could do was stare at her with blank eyes, mouth ajar, and my thought’s interrupting whatever I was going to say to her with - when the fuck did she talk like this? I couldn’t process any other bits of information besides her saying he hit her. He hit her. He hit my Blayne; the only important thing in my life, and the only person on this earth keeping me sane and anchored to the wretched, disgusting, fucking excuse of a world.
“I’m sorry, repeat what you said.”
“I want you out of here-”
“No. About my pathetic excuse of a dad.”
“I-He... He um... He kind of... uh... hit me.” She turned red from embarrassment and tears ran down her face. Her chest heaved, and she collapsed. She screeched and wept, doubling over in half. I couldn’t look at her like this; broken and frail from everything my dad did. I was going to kill him. Despite everything they’ve both claim to have ‘done’ for me, I’m going to kill them. Fuck morals, fuck parents, fuck the world. They can burn on the stake for all I cared, but no one lays a hand on her.
“I’ll be right back.” I stumbled and ran against the couch and chairs. The room spun, and I met the doorway. They stared at me like I was a drunk on the sidewalk. I look like them. I can’t look like them. What the hell. I regained my composure and faced him. The foul face who has tormented me for years and years. “Did you, or did you not hit Blayne?”
Viktor was up on his feet and Azyriah had a hand in front of his chest, ready to hold him back if need be. “What did you say to me?”
“I said did you, or did you not HIT. BLAYNE. CARVER.” I dug my nails into my palms and refrained from throttling him. The false confusion he plastered on his face pissed me off. He spluttered and stared at the two with utter ‘confusion’
“Are you out of your mind? I’d hit no one. Ever. You should know-”
“YOU THINK I’D KNOW THAT? ALL YOU DO WHEN I’M HERE IS ABUSE ME. YOU NEVER LOVED ME. DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHY I HAVE A DAMN SLING ON MY ARM? BECAUSE OF YOU. YOU DID THIS. AND I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO BOTHER CALLING YOU DAD BECAUSE NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO NOW, YOU DON’T DESERVE THAT TITLE.”
“You’re a pathetic liar, Cayden Marx. And I’m ashamed to even have you as my son.”
There. That’s where he hit me. The one nerve I had tried to protect from him forever. My dignity, emotions, and emotional humanity. I lunged at him and slammed him against the wall, my hands around his neck. I watched, the edges of my vision were red with rage, veins popping out of my neck. His face purpled, and he spluttered like an idiot. Firm hands hugged my chest from behind and tugged me off of him. I fought and kicked and bit at whoever it was. “LET GO OF ME.”
“Calm. Down.” Az.
“AZYRIAH SMITH. YOU WILL NOT TELL ME TO CALM DOWN.”
“Then I’m not letting you go.” How was he calm? I just told everyone that my dad had hit Blayne, and he was defending him?
“You find out not even five minutes ago that he hit her. He hit her Az. I don’t want to see him again.” Almost instantaneously, I felt a heavy weight on my chest. I could feel the tears running again and my knees buckling under my weight. I heard nothing around me, and the images of people around me blurred.
“I know, I know. I’m sorry.” He consoled, spinning me by my shoulders to face him into a bone-crushing hug. “Blayne! We need you.” From around his shoulder, I could see her face: blotchy and red from crying, clothes ruffled and a mess, and her hair in twenty different directions. How could one look so devastated and hurt, yet so perfect and serene at the same time?
She ran towards Az and slowly peeled him off me. Tears streamed down her face, looking odd against the tender smile on her face. She cared. The only person who even cared about what i had to endure. I pulled out of her hug and stared at her, searching her eyes for regret or remorse. None.
I leaned in and kissed the tears from her face. I caught a soft gasp emit past her lips and quickly withdrew; her face frozen in soft shock. “I-I’m.. I’m sorry. I didn’t think-” She closed the distance, her soft lips meeting mine. I didn’t think twice about returning the act.
I kissed along her soft jaw and murmured, “Blayne Carver. If I had to fall in love with you again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. If I had to keep one moment and have it in my memory, cherished forever, it’d be the moment I fell in love with you.”