Chapter FourteenMature

 

The next morning Alex had woken up at the time he usual does, which is early, quietly showing and bruising his teeth in the strange bathroom before slipping out of the room and down stairs to the kitchen. There, he made breakfast just like he would of his dad was here and was in his own home and not someone else’s. The old routine brought Alex comfort as he ghosted about trying not to wake anyone up as he went. The house was fairly clean and in good order, but he did found three cups in the living room which he collected and washed, while the bacon sizzled in the background in the iron frying pan. The Peterson’s household gave off a different vibe then the one in his own household; it was one that put him to ease than putting him on edge.

“Hey, girl, open the walls, play with your dolls. We’ll be a perfect family. When you walk away, is when we really play. You don’t hear me when I say, ‘Mum, please wake up. Dad’s with a slut, and your son is smoking cannabis’” Alex sang absently as he cooked, his voice was but pour, it didn’t matter what the lyrics said “No one ever listens, this wall paper glistens. Don’t let them see what goes down in the kitchen.”

“Places, places get in your places. Throw on your dress and put on your doll faces. Everyone thinks that we’re perfect. Please don’t let them look through the curtains. Picture, picture. Pose with your brother, won’t you be a good sister? Everyone thinks that we’re perfect. Please don’t look through the curtains. D-O-L-L-H-O-U-S-E I can see things nobody else sees.”

“Hey girl, look at my mum, she’s got it going on. Ha, you’re blinded by her jewellery. When you turn your back she pulls out a flask and forgets his infidelity. Uh-oh, she’s coming to the attic, plastic. Go back to being plastic. No ever listens, this wall paper glistens. One day they’ll see what goes down in the kitchen.”

“Places, places get in your places. Throw on your dress and put on your doll faces. Everyone thinks that we’re perfect. Please don’t let them look through the curtains. Picture, picture. Pose with your brother, won’t you be a good sister? Everyone thinks that we’re perfect. Please don’t look through the curtains. D-O-L-L-H-O-U-S-E I can see things nobody else sees.”

“Hey girl… Hey girl, open your walls, play with your dolls. We’ll be a perfect family. Places, places get in your places. Throw on your dress and put on your doll faces. Everyone thinks that we’re perfect. Please don’t let them look through the curtains. Picture, picture. Pose with your brother, won’t you be a good sister? Everyone thinks that we’re perfect. Please don’t look through the curtains. D-O-L-L-H-O-U-S-E I can see things nobody else sees. D-O-L-L-H-O-U-S-E I can see things nobody else sees D-O-L-L-H-O-U-S-E I can see things nobody else sees.” Alex finished the song, in fact he loved this song ‘Dollhouse’ by Melanie Martinez, when his voice faded out the normal morning noise rushed in and replaced it.

“You have a beautiful voice.’ Robert commented from the kitchen door, causing Alex to jump in surprise.

“Oh… um… Thank you.” Alex said, leaning against the kitchen sink, as far away from Robert as he could get, he was a bit, okay… fine, really confused on why he was commenting on his singing… but that wasn’t point when did he enter the kitchen.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.” Robert apologized to the young boy “I was just coming in to get something to eat and I heard you singing, I didn’t want you to stop, so I just stood back and listened.”

“Okay.” Alex told he was unsure of what else to do or what he could say.

He had never been alone with Robert before and that fact alone was making him uneasy. He wanted so badly to like the unassuming man and to a certain extent Alex did… but being alone with him was another thing all together.

“If you sit down, I’ll get you a plate.”

“Do you want any help?”

“No!” Alex exclaimed… maybe a little too quickly “It’s fine… I do this all the time. Just sit and I’ll bring you some food.”

Robert sat down, he watched Alex’s every move, and didn’t escape him how jumpy he was… more so around him than he was with Lily or Tia. After what his daughter told him last night, he now understand why Alex behaved like that. As the young boy competently flitted around the kitchen, his white hair bouncing and oversized shirt which was flowing in his wake, it baffled Robert about how anyone would want to cause harm to such an innocent child. Robert could also tell that Alex was trying to relax around, but he knew that it would be a long time before that happened.

“Here you go.” Alex said, putting a load plate of food in front of Robert before hopping out of the ay “Do you want some coffee as well?”

“No thank you Alex.” Robert replied, he was trying to calm some of the boys nerves “Are you going to have anything to eat?”

“I was going to wait, I just wanted to make sure Tia, Chris and Lily got something first.”

“Oh… well Lily is talking to them right now, so they may be a while.”

“Oh…”

Robert watched Alex’s face careful slide into a guarded mask, one it seems only Tia could get through, as he made himself a small plate. Robert wouldn’t even dare tell him what Lily was talking about with Tia and Chris… but at the same time couldn’t help but wonder how he would react if he did know.

“So Alex.” Robert began… he was trying to get rid of the tension that was starting to build up “How did you sleep last night?”

“Very well, thank.” Alex politely replied, his face was covered by his hood “It’s really kind of you to let me stay here. I promise… I won’t be any trouble.”

“Not at all.” Robert laughed “It’s our pleasure. Lily and I are quite taken with you and I’ve never seen Tia warm up to any one so quickly.”

“She’s a really kind person and Chris is just as kind. You’ve raised them well.”

“How do they like school?”

“As far as I can tell, they both really like it and are fitting in very well.”

“That’s good, I was worried about moving them in the middle of the year, but it seems to be working well for the two of them.”

Alex nodded and picked at his food, poking it and sliding it around his plate, sadly, the silence only grew as the seconds went by.

“Did you get anything nice for your birthday?” Robert asked casting around for different subjects.

“My friend Scarlet gave me a new book.” Alex said a genuine smile breaking on his face and his eyes light up “And Tia gave me a very interesting journal.”

“Is that all? Did your father or grandparents get you anything?”

“No.” Alex said as his checks starting to warm up “My grandparents past away.”

Robert did take note that Alex didn’t say anything about his father, in fact all questions about his father Alex seemed to steer clear from, in fact it was the same with his home life as well, he would give them a slight answer, never going into detail, or change the subject. It wasn’t until Tia had talked to them did he know that Alex even had a younger sister.

“Good morning.” Lily greeted as she entered the kitchen, Tia and Chris behind her “Alex dear, did you make breakfast?”

“Yes.” Alex said while he visible relaxed at the sight of the others “Thank you so much for letting me stay here, by the way. I really do appreciate it.”

“It’s not a problem at all, not a single problem sweetie.” Lily brightly said, kissing the top of his white head.

“Alex!” Chris loudly announced “I checked and your present arrived early this morning. Want to see it.”

“Yes.” Alex laughed, his checks darking, you could see it a mile away, his skin was that light.

“Okay, but you have to close your eyes.” Chris said as he started to visible bounce with excitement.

Alex stood up, but he raised his eyebrow unsure of how much he liked the idea, the idea of closing his eyes and trusting someone to lead him around.

“Come on.” Tia softly said her tone was cool and comforting as she took Alex’s small hand into her own “Shut your eyes, don’t worry, I’ll be the one leading you to your present.”

Alex reluctantly allowed his lids to drop and he let Tia guide him through the kitchen and out into the backyard, much to his confusion. The morning air was brisk and light, the light breeze was tugging at his hair as if in greeting, the grass was soggy and cool on his bare feet causing him to chuckle lightly as the blades tickled his toes.

“That’s good!” Chris yelled, the whole neighbourhood could hear him “open your eyes.”

Alex opened his eyes and laughed in delight as he saw what Chris was holding.

“Oh my goodness.” He said, running over to the tall boy “She’s beautiful!”

“Chris handed him the Australian shepherd puppy; a white, brown and black mixed fur ball and bundle of energy. Alex cuddled her before setting her on the ground to play.

“Thank you Chris, thank.” Alex said from the ground at the giant of a boy “She’s perfect.”

“I knew you’d love her!” Chris claimed and if Alex said anything, he’d say that Chris looked very proud of himself.

“What are you going to name her?” Tia asked watching Alex play with his new puppy with a smile on her face.

“Luna.” Alex replied without even a second thought about it.

“Luna? Why Luna?”

“She looks like a Luna, don’t you Luna?”

In response the puppy, newly names Luna, yipped happily, nipping at his fingers, casing Alex to snicker. For the moment, he was going to pretend that his dad would let him keep Luna and he was going to pretend that his dad was never going to come back, that everything was going to be alright from now on. That moment was going to be important because the next day it would be one of the only good memories he would have to cling to as the storm that his life picked up steam and turned for the worse, if his dad had anything to say about it.           

The End

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