Happy Birthday dear Alex, Happy birthday to you, Alex sang in his head, his eyes were drifting shut and the sweet, calm darkness came rushing in to wrap around him, much like a well-loved blanket a slightly ominous one, but well-loved just the same. A sense of falling away from the pain baffled his slipping mind. It was like he was floating and falling at the same time, it as if someone had dropped him into a large body of water.
The words you hear give you the chills Alex thought, his mind had slipped through multiply songs like an old fashion juke box, Alex did this to distract himself from sensations that he couldn’t understand. Being a follower hurts, but leading kills.
It was only when the screaming stopped, did Alex realized that they was screaming in the first place. It also made him realize that someone was poking him, instead of being painful it was just… really irritating… okay, it was slightly irritating, but still irritating. He could hear a voice talking, but it was like being under water, the words were distorted, impounding themselves, waving and bending, making it impossible to know who was talking, much less make out what was spoken. In a very perverse way; he didn’t care, he just didn’t care. He wanted whoever was talking to leave him alone, leave him to the darkness where nothing could hurt him.
“Lemme alone.” He muttered; inadvertently breaking the barrier that was between his mind and reality.
Noises and sensations came rushing in together like a tidal wave, making his stomach roll and seethe. He bit his lower lip, refusing to open his eyes instead turning his attention to his rebelling stomach, trying to will it into submission. Vaguely, Alex wondered if this was all his dad saw him as; like an upset stomach that needed to be mastered. Then for the fun of it, his head deduced to join in with his stomach and started to swim sickeningly.
“What happened?” A panicked voice asked.
“He felled down the stairs!” his dad shouted, the tone in his voice was one of panic, to someone who didn’t know what was going on they might take that panic as concern for his son’s wellbeing, but Alex knew better then too believe that his dad was concerned about him, his dad was far more concerned about caught and thrown into jail for that.
“No. He did not fall down the stairs! He…” another voice said, Alex knew the two voices’ that were talking to his dad, but he couldn’t make out who they were.
“Ow!” Alex moaned, unknowingly interrupting the speaker as he tried to open his eyes.
“I fell down the stairs.” Alex whispered “I…fell…down…”
“Shh, darling it’s alright.” Lily said, as she came into his view “Are you hurt?”
Alex blinked as he looked past Lily’s form to his dad. Mr Foster glared at his son in warning glare and his warning was not to tell anyone what had happened.
“No.” Alex uncertainly said “Just sore… I think.”
Scarlet kneeled next to him helping him into a sitting position.
“What are you doing here?” Alex quietly hissed, winching as he remembered her opening the kitchen door before passing out.
“Are you okay?” Scarlet asked; completely ignoring the question.
“I’ll be better some ice-cream.” Alex stated, looking Scarlet in the eye in an attempt to silently tell her how badly he didn’t want to talk about it… well, at least not at the moment.
“Alex, sweetie I think you should go to the hospital.” Lily said “You fell down some stairs; you could be badly hurt.”
“I’ll make sure he goes to see a doctor.” Mr Foster said
“Okay.” Lily conceded “I’m Lily Pastelle Peterson, by the way. You must be Alex’s father. I’m sorry about barging in here like this, but when I heard you and Scarlet shouting at each other, I wanted to be sure that everything was okay. Alex had become very special to me and my family, I can’t imagine what we’d do with he was hurt.”
“He’s something; that’s for sure.” Mr Foster agreed “I’m sorry that I haven’t told you my name, I’m Antonio Elmer Foster; but I have to go to work. Alex, try to stop being so clumsy, by the way I’m leaving town this afternoon and will be back sometime next month. Bye.”
With that Antonio walked out of the house and got into his car, leaving behind a speechless Lily and irate Scarlet staring after him as he drove away.
“Well, Alex.” Scarlet said as she helped Alex to his feet. “Let’s get you that ice-cream. Lily are Tia and Chris awake? Maybe they should come over if they are.”
“I’ll go and get them.” Lily said she was a bit dazed from trying to wrap her head around about what had just happened “They’ll be over in no time. Would you two like to come over and wait for them?”
“Actually, I think I need to go and get changed.” Alex said leaning against the black marble countertop “But thank you for the offer. Oh, and can you tell Tia that I left something in her school bag, when you get her?”
With that Lily walked back to her house, sadly, she was still in a bit of a daze. When Scarlet saw Lily leave the house, she turned to look at Alex.
“What happened?” She demanded “I came over to give you a birthday present and I find him screaming and beating you into a pulp.”
“I’m sorry.” Alex told her, while he ran his hand through his hair “I don’t know what happened this time. I’m sorry that you had to see that, but thank for not telling Lily.”
“Alex… you can’t live like this.” Scarlet whispered, worry and concern coloured her normally harsh and uncaring voice “And I can’t cover keep covering for you all the time.”
“I need to change.”
He walked away, leaving Scarlet in the kitchen alone. She stayed glued to her spot, until Tia came running in, her bag over her shoulder.
“What happened?” She asked, her mid-length hair flying to halt seconds after she stopped running “Mum said he fall down the stairs, where he is?”
“He’s in his room changing.” Scarlet said, leaning against the wall “He didn’t fall down the stairs, by the way. I don’t know how your mum believed that silly lie, Alex wasn’t anywhere near the stairs when she came in.”
“Hey Tia!” Alex cheerful greeted, walking into the kitchen wearing a light blue jacket. Hiding his bruises from the world well… maybe a little bit too well.
“It happened again” Alex quickly told her “I just thought you should know; since I promised to tell you, but I’m okay and he’s not going to be here, since he’s going somewhere for work, until January… so you don’t have to worry about me.”
“Wait… he’s leaving over Christmas?” Tia asked, her tone was of one of complete disbelieve and disgust.
“He always leaves town over the holidays.” Alex shrugged, he clearly wasn’t bothered by this; in fact he seemed a bit… happy that his dad wasn’t going to be there “He doesn’t like to celebrate them.”
At the Peterson household, Chris had finished getting ready he walked out of his room at an unrushed pace, unlike his sister who had already left.
“Chris sweetie.” Lily said, walking in front of her son “Is everything okay with Alex?”
“Yes… why?” Chris asked with a push, stopping right in the middle of the hallway, he was taken surprised by the question.
“I don’t know… it’s just a feeling, one that says something’s wrong with were his lives and I don’t like his father too much.” Lily admitted, wrapping her arms around her middle “His dad just said he was leaving town and he did right after Alex fell down the stairs. Who leaves their child alone after that happens?”
“Alex said that his dad is busy.” Chris said, but there was a nagging doubt in the back of his mind, he ignored it “But if it makes you feel better… I can ask him if anything is wrong.”
“No…no!” Lily said a little too quickly “I don’t want to scare him or offend anyone. I do however think he should stay with us… just until his father returns, though. I don’t like the idea of him being alone in that house, he would get lonely.”
“Okay mum I’ll ask him.”
Chris kissed him mum’s check and went to join his friends. He didn’t see the anxious look on her face nor did he see her ringing her hands, like she always did when she was thinking. Lily knew Chris was a sweet boy who cared about his friends and if he knew anything he would of told her, but she doubted Chris knew what was going on next door. If anyone had a good idea on what was going on between Alex and Antonio it was Tia, who was a bit… okay, a lot more confrontational than her brother and she was the one who spend more time with Alex… it seems that Tia might like Alex.
Lily made a mental note to ask Tia about her friend when they returned home for the night, but she knew that the subject needed to be brought up delicately. Tia was only starting to open up since Harmony’s death and she didn’t want to be overwhelmed or to be scared back to her moody shell… or a combination of the two.