The door softly latched behind Jay leaving Clayton to his morning cleaning.
"I really don't get you dude."
"What is it now?" Clayton growled inwardly at Alex's persistence in pressing the subject.
"Why do you allow him to rule your life like this?"
"Because he allows me to live with him and because ... he is my guardian." There is no way that I will tell you why I truly stay with him. How much he meant to me when we were little. You with your loving family will never understand the dynamics of our relationship. Clayton felt the muscles in his arms and back clench up as these and other infuriating thoughts ran through his head.
"Surely you have other family members that you could live with..." Her soft voice made it impossible for him to maintain his anger.
"Don't concern yourself with my life."
"She's got a point dude. Why stay here if you can have something better?" Those words invoked unimaginable anger in Clayton. In all his life he had never known that he would be capable of feeling such rage towards another person. "I stay because this is better!" His sudden outburst shocked the siblings as they sat watching him wide-eyed. "Surely you don't mean that. Your parents..."
"I don't want to talk about this!" Her face fell as she tried to hide her tears.
"Drop it! I don't want to hear it, just let it be!" Slamming the plates back onto the table Clayton fled from the room.
"Don't push him sis, if he wants to talk we will listen." Erica's sobs racked her body as Alex tried desperately to south her. The comfort and love that came from those two had Clayton's heart aching for Jay to return. At least then I won't be alone anymore.
The sun had long since set before Clayton returned with their dinner. Jay had yet to return and he was getting little worried. There was silence as they ate their dinner. "You are still covering for him, Clayton."
"Sis..." The hiss of Alex's voice gained Clayton's attention more that the soft spoken words of his sister, drawing him back to their conversation.
"No, you did not see what I saw. You weren't there to see his pain!"
"That was a long time ago." Clayton's voice was soft, surprising all of them that he had actually decided to speak to them at all.
"It's not that long if you live in reality." Leaving more than half his food untouched Clayton got up to leave. With his back turned to them he stopped to consider the truth that was locked up in her words. Could there be something better out there for him?
"What you saw was only the outcome of being separated for far to long." No there can be nothing better out there for him.