Chapter Twenty-OneMature

Feet were pounding on the sidewalk as he jogged through the city. His white hair flew back, ruffling in the wind, jumping with his movements. The sun was starting to fade and the city was filling up with more of the unsavoury characters. Lily and Robert had gone to Colorado for the weekend, because Lily’s mother was sick and Robert didn’t want to leave his wife’s side. Alex knew that hospitals weren’t a good place for her, and he understood why Robert went with her, he didn’t want her to face anything to difficult… just until he was positive that she was going to be okay. That left Tia, Chris and Alex home alone by themselves, but since they were all past the age of burning things down to ground just the heck of it, that and Robert’s brother lived down the road, if something did come up, they were told to go to him.

Alex had missed running, but the crowds in the city were getting thicker and when he turned to go back home he was forced to walk. The air grew colder, it started to chill the sweat on his skin and people were starting to notice him, so he pulled the navy coloured hood over his head and buried his hands in the front pocket. No one bothered him and he didn’t try to make contact with anyone around him.

“Alex?” came a loud, cocky voice from five feet in front of him. Alex looked at the person who the voice had belonged too: Michael, his old crushes boyfriend. A year ago… Alex had tried to ask Mary out, but he was turned down for being weird. Michael, who was dared by his friends, swooped in and Mary had agreed without a second thought. Michael had always taken pride in the fact he could get any girl he wanted, even ones he cared so little for, while Alex had no one and he took every opportunity to make sure Alex knew that fact and he knew it well. It had always ticked Alex off that Michael had cheated on Mary multiply times and when Alex told her… all she did was yell at him, but they didn’t see each other, well not much anyway going to different schools helped with that fact, but the bitter resentment between the two never died off.

“Alexander.” Michael slurred, slinging his arm around Alex’s slim shoulders before he could step away as Michael’s friends laughed.

He could smell the bitter alcohol and smoke from his breath. Alex froze, wishing that he didn’t go for a ran and wishing he didn’t go this far, also he should’ve taken someone with him, all he could do was wish this whole situation, because nothing could good ever came from a drunken, bitter male and an undersized boy who had wronged him.

“How are you… Alex?” Michael asked pulling him, trying to get Alex to fell into step with him; while Alex just dragged his feet, scraping his running shoes against the pavement.

“I’m fine Michael.” Alex quietly said “But I’ve got to go… so I’ll see you later.”

Alex tried to get out of Michael’s grip, he really did, but he only found himself blocked by on of Michael’s large football playing friends. Not for the first time Alex cursed his small frame, quite like his mum’s.

“Stay with us, Alex-a-boo.” Michael said, he seemed to be the most chatty of the group.

“Okay.” Alex told him, a plan was forming in his mind, panic and sprinting mind, but he had no other choose and he didn’t want to know what these… things wanted from him. “But can I borrow someone’s phone “I’ll have to call Amber and Jasmine to tell them that I’m going to be late.”

“Ah… don’t tell me you still hang out with those freaks.” Michael teased, extracting his arm… making sure to rake his nails against Alex’s neck, causing him to shudder.

The sun had fully set at this point. Alex snatched Michael’s phone and dialled the number.”

“Hello?” Tia asked, she was confused at the unknown number.

“Hey!” Alex said, he forced his voice to be chipper, but still the underlying tone of fear was still present.

“Alex… what’s going on??” Tia asked him “Where are you? Who’s phone are you calling from?”

“Oh, Michael, you remember Michael right?” Alex said still keeping his voice upbeat so Michael didn’t know he was scared “Well, I was out running down fifth and Main, when Michael and his friends found me. They want me to hang out with them for a while, so I just wanted to tell you I would be a little late.”

“Do you want to hang out with Michael?” Tia asked, she was unaware of Michael’s problems with Alex, but she wasn’t going to wait and find out.

Alex could tell Tia was getting her keys regardless of what he said, he heard the scrape of the kitchen chair as she stood up.

“No.” Alex said dropping the act, letting his fear ring into his voice.

Michael snatched his phone back when Alex dropped the act, he didn’t want the cheeky brat doing anything else.

“Now Alex.” Michael said as he waved his fat finger in Alex’s face “You weren’t trying to find a way out of going with us… were you?”

“I have to go.” Alex quickly told them as he sucked through the gap between two of his five friends. One of them was able to gripped his wrist, yanking it painfully in an attempt to stop him from running away, but it did cause Alex to yelp in pain, which made them laugh at his pain.

Alex did the only thing he could think of at the time, kicked him where the sun don’t shine, causing the taller boy to let go of his wrist. Running as fast as he could in the opposite direction, the group still came after him… Alex could hear their feet hitting the ground as they tried to catch him, pushing people as they did, but he had adrenaline pupping through his veins, going through each of his limbs giving him the strength to continue until he reached the street that he told Tia that he was going to be on and there it is, the corner he needed, with signs glowing in the street lights and headlights of cars driving past.

“Hey there handsome.” A voice said behind him, this was an unfamiliar one as the matching arm pulled Alex into the shadows of a deep doorway, covering his mouth in case he screamed for help.

Sadly for Alex, the hand smelled worse than Michael’s had, in fact he smelled worse than Michael and all his friends… put together. Alex wanted to scream, he couldn’t believe his bad luck and he was wondering what he did that was so bad that it pissed off Lady Luck. Swearing that if he got out of this alive and unscratched… he’s never go running by himself ever again.

“Don’t be like that boy.” The voice hissed, as Alex tried to get out of his hold “I’m not going to hurt you… I just want to get to know you better, you could be great fun for the lady’s and I.”

Alex knew that he had to find a way out, he licked the unknown person hand, filth-ridden palm, it wasn’t a harmful, but a very bizarre sensation that cause the person to let go of Alex’s mouth, who in turned screamed at the top of his lungs. The sound echoed of the buildings and into the night air, the person tried dragging him father into the shadows when Michael and his mumbling-drunk gang found them.

“Hey lady, that’s ours.” Michael growled at the unknown women, who froze in her efforts of trying to get the cute male into the house.

Despite the fact that he was getting kidnapped by an unknown female and that the gang in front of him tried doing that less than five minutes ago, he felt indignation rise in his chest when he was referred to as an object.

“Finder keepers, loser’s wipers.” The women triumphantly said.

A truck jumped onto the curb, lightning them up with its headlights as bright as the sun, causing the drunken boys to scatter and the women to let go of Alex running back into the house to get away from the blinding lights. Alex didn’t care who was driving the truck… just as long as it wasn’t the people who had tried to kidnap him, opening the passenger door and getting in, he barely registered that it was Tia driving or the fact she looked more pissed than he had ever seen her. Without a single word between them, Tia backed into traffic, causing plenty of horns screeches and words no child should ever hear go off, but she ignored all that as she drove away.

“Are you okay?” Tia asked, her voice was tight, knuckles white on the steering wheel.

“Thank you for coming.” Alex meekly said at the same time.

“Alex… did they hurt you… at all?” Tia asked, trying to calm herself down before she scared Alex or did something she regretted… nobody hurts her Alex and gets away with it… what hers, he wasn’t hers… where did that come from.

“Just scared me.” Alex shyly admitted, staring at his wrists “I’m okay.”

“No more running in the city?”

“No more running in the city.”

At the next stoplight Alex slide closer to the edge of his seat eyeing the passenger door as if it was going to open and his attackers were going to grab him. Tia seeing this movement, hit the lock button and gently pulled Alex face to where she could see it… Alex may lie about his feelings, but his eyes were his give away and told her what he was feeling. There, she saw the barely contained terror and fear… she mentally kicked herself. She had told Alex that she’s keep him safe and that she’d project him from anything bad happening to him and already she had failed him. She was about to apologize when Alex threw his arms around her waist in an uncharacteristic display of emotion, burying his head into her stomach. Alex knew he was safe with her and she was becoming important to him, he also knew that she wasn’t going to judge him, so he quietly sobbed into her top. Tia realizing that the only thing she could do for Alex was to get him home and distract him from the most recent horror in his life.

He really does have the worst of luck Tia thought, pulling forward at a more reasonable speed as the light turned green, driving was a bit awkward with the young boy, who refused to let go of her, making her movements lack their usual grace I should really change that.






The End

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