My eighteenth birthday came and went pretty quietly for the most part. It was just another day. I get the feeling my parents were pretty relieved that I didn’t use it as an excuse to go and get hammered.
I didn’t really get much in the way of presents. I don’t think I cared much. I remember getting an awkward hug from Lucas, a faint smile and a black eye from Jesse, and a photo frame from Maxxie. The photo he’d put in it had been taken only a month before, when we were at London Pride. He had had a huge rainbow flag tied around his neck like a cape with glitter in his hair, and I had my arm around him, and plenty of glitter on my shirt from where I’d hugged him. The frame itself had been painted bright pink and dotted with equally bright beads and feathers. I’d loved it. It was something that always managed to cheer me up, just looking at it. No idea where it is now, though.
By late August, it’d been about seven months since I was kicked out of school. I got a part time job, sure, but my focus was always going to be on getting better at MMA. It kept me sane, having something to focus on, and a way to vent my anger. I didn’t neglect Maxxie, per say, but nothing could compare to the feeling of a nameless vampire’s bones shattering under my blows. It’d become something of a local sport for the vampires around here. I’d be matched against a different vampire every few days and we’d just brawl until one of us tapped out. I have no idea what mum and dad must have thought when I came back from Lucas’ covered in bruises, or if the hospital called them up and told them I was in casualty again. I don’t remember if they ever tried to do anything about it. Those months are a blur of blood and broken bones in my head now.
I know I had become the person you didn’t want to look at wrong in passing, though. It’s not like if someone looked at me wrong I’d hurt them, but y’know those people that just... make you feel uncomfortable when you walk by them? That was me. And I’d definitely turned into the person my parents always warned me not to hang out with when I was a kid.
As I waited for Maxxie one afternoon after school, I noticed that a lot of the kids were avoiding me as much as they could. The guys I’d put in hospital nearly pissed themselves at the sight of me waiting at the gates. It was actually kinda funny, watching them scuttle away back into the school until it was ‘safe’ to leave.
The short blonde thing I was looking out for kinda crept up on me. I guess I was too busy watching the kids I’d scared the shit out of to notice him walk up to me, but either way, the first thing I knew of his arrival was his arms twisting around my waist and his face burying itself in my chest.
“What’s up?” I frowned, hugging back.
“I missed you,” he replied morosely, “I seem to miss you a lot, these days.”
“You’re never here,” he mumbled into my shirt. My frown deepened at that. I thought I’d been doing okay. “You’re always with your brother and his friends now.” I was grateful he left out the word ‘vampires’ with all the people passing within ear shot. I didn’t know what to say. I think I mumbled out some sort of apology, not sure if I’d shat out my heart by that point or not. I’d wanted to get better at fighting because it was one of the few things I was actually any good at. I hadn’t ever wanted Maxxie to get left out.