“Get whose dinner ready?” Tia asked, once again confused with Alex’s behaviour and turn of events. Alex either didn’t hear or was to panicked to answer as he kicked the ladder down to the ground, climbing down with impressive speed that had come from years of practise.
The truth of the matter was that; Alex no longer needed the ladder to get up and down the tree, he just used out of habit. It was far too easy for him to scale the large oak tree with any kind of assistance and sometimes he was forced to do so, but that little fact wasn’t something his new neighbours needed to know… yet. The two had followed him like baby ducklings following their mother.
The kitchen had muted yellow walls, dark cherry wood cabinets with black marble counters. Throughout the years Alex had learned to hate the colour of the walls, he thought that they were far too cheerful to suit the people living in it, but he did love the marble counters that were cool to his touch. Quickly throwing or putting a tray of lasagna; that he had made the day before, hoping that it would defrost faster than he knew it would.
“What are you two doing here?” Alex demanded as he spotted his new friends at the door, looking around curiously, trying to see where their new friend lived.
“We’re just looking around.” Chris told him, ignoring the tone that Alex had used; Tia was a lot worse “Do you need any help? I like the walls, though I think they would look better if they were say: Red.”
“No.” Alex told him, looking at him and out the window that showed the front yard “You guys should see if your mum needs any help with dinner.”
“She won’t need us for a while.” Tia told him, from her spot against the door frame that lead to the living room.
“Okay.” Alex’s nerves went through the roof, when he saw his dad’s car coming into the drive way “Then why don’t I give you two a tour of the house?”
Pushing the two out of the kitchen, pointing out the rooms on the ground floor, telling them what they were as he talked a mile a minute, before rushing them up the hardwood stairs.
“And this is my room!” he exclaimed, opening the door to his rarely used or slept in bedroom.
The room’s walls were painted a dark blue that almost looked black; a perfectly made double bed was in the corner of the room on the other side of the door, with baby blue bedspread with a winter theme on them. The walk in closet had hardly any cloths in it; there was a largely shocked large black book case. The room was also clean; it looked like it belonged to a lifestyle magazine, unlived in; and the lack of personal belongings also helped this look.
“Want to know something?” Alex asked “there’s secret room in here, why don’t you two try to find it, while I go check the food.”
He didn’t wait for an answer from the two, he ran out and down the stairs. His dad was entering the house as Alex was pulling the streaming pasta out of the oven.
“Is that my dinner?” his dad demanded, looking at the boy with hateful dark brown eyes.
“Yes sir.” Alex said, stepping to the side for him to inspect it, casting uneasy look at the stairs hoping that Tia and Chris didn’t come down them.
“Why isn’t it on a plate, like it’s meant to be when I come home.” He demeaned once again, slamming a tanned hand on the island, his voice sounded like tires of an overloaded pick-up truck and it was just as pleasant to listen to.
“Because it just finished heating.” Alex explained, grabbing a plate from the cupboard near the oven “I’m putting it on a plate now.”
His dad grumbled an answer, that would have had his mum putting soap in his mouth, but he went to wash his hands as he did.
“Alex, is this a picture of Anna?” Chris asked; walking into the kitchen with the framed photo that he had found hidden in Alex’s bookcase. The only thing Alex could do was wait for the reaction as he set a slice of Lasagna on the plate.
“Who are you?” his dad demanded, as he looked at the tall stranger that was standing in his kitchen, a photo of his beloved daughter in his hand.
“This is Chris.” Alex said, as he walked between Chris and his dad, trying to make a barrier between the two, so Chris didn’t get any more of his dad’s anger, but it was a useless attempt since Chris was more than a head taller than him.
“And I’m his sister, Tia.” Tia announced, emerging from behind Chris was only a head taller than her “You must Alex’s dad.”
“What are they doing here?” This was mainly aimed at Alex, since he didn’t really have many people over.
“They just moved in next door.” Alex said quickly, his voice sounded breathless “They’re going to my school.”
“Is that a picture of-” hissed his dad, just remembering the photo that this ‘Chris’ was holding in his meaty hands.
“Chris put the photo away.” Alex hissed, his icy red eyes never leaving his dad’s form, whose face was getting redder and redder by the second.
“I told time and time again, to never bring her up around me.” His screamed at the top of his lungs, while it was loud, wasn’t loud enough for Lily to hear.
“I know.” Alex cried; his arms going above his head to show that he was unarmed “I’m sorry; they didn’t know: it won’t happen again.”
The two who were standing at the kitchen/living room door way were in shock, Chris put the framed photo into his jeans, thanking the inventor of boy’s jeans that could fit the moon in them and then some.
“Get out.” He yelled, while pointing a finger at the back door, his brown hair covering his face “It should have been you! The wrong one died that night! It should have been you.” He kept yelling that over and over; as Alex, Tia and Chris ran out the back door and into the yard.
The three only stopped when they reached the tree house, panting as if they had just ran a mile, it took them a few minutes to recover from the shock of what happened.
“I’m really sorry about that.” Alex said, looking at his feet in shame “I guess I should have warned you about that; to not mention Anna around him; it’s a touchy subject even after nine years. Well, I’m guessing that you want to see your family, so I’ll see you at school.’
“Alex.” Chris said, making the small boy look at him stopping him from turning back to the house they had just escaped. “We’re still driving you to school, got that.”
Out of the blue, Tia grabbed Alex pulling him into a tight hug; shocking both Chris and Alex over the action. It was surprising as hell for Chris since he knew Tia was really a touchy, feely person and here she was giving a hug to a boy she barely knew. It was both shocking and surprising for Alex since he wasn’t used to physical contact of that nature. For one spilt second, Alex had tensed up waiting for the hit that he thought was going to follow, but then he relaxed in Tia’s grip putting his head gently on her shoulder.
“I’m sorry.” Alex muttered to her “You don’t have to put up with me, I’ll understand if you don’t.”
“Why don’t you have dinner at our place; a least for tonight.” Tia said, pulling out of the hug, sliding her hand in his and pulling him across the green barrio, Chris just walking behind the two.
“Wait!” Alex cried; dragging his feet along the grass and the ground beneath his feet.
“What?” Chris asked, Tia and Chris; both looked at him like he was crazy and hoping that he really didn’t forget or forgiven what had happened less than five minutes ago.
“You’re not going to tell your parents about this: are you?” Alex asked, giving both of them a look that made him look cuter than he already was, but still he was getting desperate, really desperate.
“Alex, I really don’t think it’s a good idea for you to stay with him.” Chris told him, slowly like one might do when they’re telling a child why they couldn’t have what they want.
“Please.” Alex begged, and he rarely begged, not that he knew many people to beg to, but he still didn’t want anyone knowing what his dad did to him.
“He doesn’t hit, or anything like that; does he?” Tia asked, watching his reaction very closely not wanting to miss the tiniest of signals.
“He’s got a temper, just that, a temper!” Alex said, carefully dodging the question, by telling her the half-truth “You can understand that’s hard on a parent to lose a child, because you’ve seen it first hand, then he lost mum on top of it, it was just too much for him. He’s not right in the head, I’ll give you that much, but he needs me to take care of him. Please don’t tell.”
“Okay, fine.” Tia sighed, running her free hand through her thick black hair “We’ll keep quiet for now, but Alex I think you should stay over for the night. I think we made it worse when we brought up Anna by accident.”
“No, I just don’t want your parents finding out. You don’t have to worry about me; I can handle him just fine. I just have to wait for him to falls asleep and trust me he won’t remember in the morning.”
“If you say so.” Chris said, while not fully convinced; he wanted to believe Alex more than anything else “Let’s go to the house and have dinner.”
The way Chris said that sentence was like he was also said ‘And let’s forget what just happened’ or something close to it.
Last time I wrote this chapter, I forget to give small hints on how his dad looked and kept forgetting to do so until the end, but this time I was able to give small hints at the look of Alex's dad, his name you'd just have to find out later.
Please comment if you like this chapter, or you see a mistake that I've missed.