After Scarlet, Chris, Tia and Alex had ice cream this time instead of going into the treehouse they stayed in the house.
“Oh.” Chris said, as casually as he could, making Alex look as him as he was giving a proper tour of the house “Mum wants you to stay with us.”
“I can’t do that.” Alex said his eyebrows crinkling with concern “It’ll be over the holidays and last I heard they were for family, not family and the awkward boy next door.”
“Yes that is true… but mum doesn’t think of it like that.” Chris told Alex a giant smile on his face “I think it would be more like family and the children’s’ best/wish he was my son as well to her.”
Alex beamed at that; his insides warming over as if he had just drowned an entire thing of coffee in one go. Over the course of three weeks; Alex had become attached to his neighbours, Lily and Tia especially, Lily was like a mother he’d never had, or one he couldn’t remember. He even started to warm up to Robert, even if it was just a little bit. It wasn’t Robert’s fault, after all, that Alex didn’t fell at ease around him, he was really a kind and gentle man.
“Well… if you’re sure.” Alex slowly said; he didn’t want to refuse the invitation, but he didn’t want to intrude either.
“We’re sure.” Chris told the small boy and his smile got even bigger “How about you grab your stuff and bring it over.”
“Okay! Scarlet can help me pack?” Alex asked jumping up and down with a winch.
“Sure.” Scarlet agreed as she followed her exited friend to his room, while the other two went next door; to tell their mum that Alex did agree to stay with them.
“Admit it, you like them!” Alex teased as he pulled out his suitcase, that hadn’t seen the light of day for years, putting his perfectly folded clothes into it.
“Tia is full of herself, but… Chris is nice.” Scarlet scoffed sitting down on his bed, rarely used as it was.
“No.” Alex corrected moving to his closet “Tia is another version of you and Chris is blissfully in his own world.”
“I’m nothing like Tia.” Scarlet indigently said.
“Your both good looking, brutally honest and won’t put up with any nonsense.” Alex laughed at his best friends face, she was glaring at him “I’d say that your very similar.”
“They have nice parents.” Scarlet said; she was trying to avoid the subject that they were talking about, or might be talking about… Chris.
“They do.” Alex said, as he leaned on his closet door, he was deep in through “They’re so lucky.”
Scarlet could only shake her head, she always wish that Alex had some luck when it came to parents, but he didn’t… and with some help Scarlet and Alex brought his belongings, not that Alex owned much to begin with. Tia and Chris were waiting in the kitchen for the two of them and both had matching grins; ones that could be compared to children in a candy store.
“Here… let me take that for you.” Chris said as he took the light bag pack from Alex as Tia got the other bag from Scarlet “Mum’s thrilled that you agreed, by the time we told her she already had the guest bedroom ready.”
“That’s really nice.” Alex said he suddenly felt very shy.
Following Tia and Chris into their house; up the stairs and into a room just a little down from theirs. Lily and Robert’s master suit was on the ground floor, leaving Tia and Chris upstairs with the guest bedrooms. The room they had even Alex was painted a calming shade of blue with mellow yellow trimmings and matching bed frame, in fact the whole room had a very beach-y feel to do it. There was an on suit bathroom which was a light grey, quaint, and already had a tooth brush and a towel in it.
“Do you like your room, darling?” Lily asked Alex while leaning on the doors frame and wringing her hands in anxiety.
“It beautiful.” Alex gushed, his breath was almost taken away by the sheer peacefulness and he felt safe for the first time in years… he felt safe.
Then in a very un-Alex like manner, he went over and hugged Lily. It wasn’t as if it was the first time the two had hugged, but it was Lily who made the first move and never the over way round… until now that is. Alex normally kept to himself and only responded when someone else made the first move.
“Well, dinner is going to be ready soon” Lily said, as she left was swiping tears from her eyes.
“Did I do something wrong?” Alex said Tia and Chris, he was truly worried that he had done something wrong and in turn had upset Lily in doing so.
“No… I’ll go check up on her.” Tia sighed as she left Alex, Chris and Scarlet to help settle himself in as she went after her mum.
“Hey mum!” Tia shouted when she caught up with her in the living room.
“Yes Sweetie.” She asked
“What’s the matter? Did Alex do something to upset you?” Tia asked, getting right to the heart of the issue… as per usual.
“No… darling!” Lily cried, she was surprised by the question and turned to face her daughter “Of course he didn’t do anything to upset me! Why would you think such a thing?”
“You the room crying.”
“Oh… well, it was just the first time he hugged me.”
“Tia… sweetie, I have to ask you something.” Lily said, walking her daughter over to the couch where her dad was already sitting, he was reading a book. Lily tapped him on the shoulder, making sure to have his attention before moving into the matter at hand “Robert, sweetheart, I want you to listen as well.”
“Yes dear.” Robert said as he put his book down and giving his wife his full attention.
Tia always loved that about her dad, it was his devotion that he showed her mum, no matter how busy he looked; he would drop it in a matter of seconds for his wife and he’d never seem bothered by it. It was as if nothing in the world compared to his family, the importance of family was pretty high on Robert’s list. Tia hoped that when she got married her husband would be exactly like that, sweet and caring.
“Tia… what’s Alex’s home life like?” Lily asked, she had been hoping to put off this conversation at least until later in the evening, but she had Tia by herself and wanted to take full advantage of that.
“Why?” Tia asked she was trying to buy some time for her racing mind.
“He’s just so… different, I guess.” Lily said “I’m not sure how to put it into words… but he always seems so shocked when we do something nice for him and then his father leaving for a month and over the holidays to boot! I just wanted to know if you’ve noticed anything.”
“He’s not the world’s best dad.” Tia admitted to them, hoping that this conversation would just be… dropped. “But Alex said his dad always goes during the holidays… every year.”
“He works a lot.” Tia told her, she was grasping at straws at the moment and was keeping her cool demeanour up.
“You would tell us if something was going over there… would you, cause we would need to need to know about it, right?” Robert asked, looking his daughter right in the eyes, watching her very carefully.
“Yes.” Tia told them, she was telling her mind that it was for Alex and if she couldn’t take his dad then she’d tell her parents.
“Then I want you to answer is honestly and truthfully.” He said, watching his daughter who at the moment was acting like any other stereotypical brooding teenager, but Tia was soft hearted no matter what she showed the world and she would always be the soft hearted jade of a young women “Does Alex’s father abuse him?”