“This is weird. It’s never just you and me at lunch. It’s not complete without Nancy, Andrew and Derek. Speaking of Derek, he won’t return my calls or texts. I have no idea where he is! Did he tell you where he was going after he left last night?” Angie was just going on and on. Alex stopped paying attention. “Are you listening to me?”
“What? Oh, sorry,” Alex said. “Did you like ask me something or something?”
“Did Derek tell you where he was going after he left last night? I haven’t heard from him all day.”
“Well, first off, he didn’t leave last night; he left this morning around two or three. Secondly, he told me to tell you that his uncle had a heart attack. He is stable, but they kept him overnight.”
“Oh, my, is Derek okay! I mean his aunt and uncle are his…” Angie stopped in midsentence, “Did you just say he didn’t leave until two or three?”
“Yeah, we talked for like three or four hours straight.”
“Why are you all up in my business?”
“Alex, Angie!” a voice called from the other side of the lunchroom. It was Derek and he was waving his arms trying to get them to go over to him. Alex and Angie got up from the table and walked over to Derek, “Hey, babe!” Derek hugged Angie. “Sup, Alex?” then Alex and Derek did there “secret handshake” they used to do when they were freshmen.
“Okay, I’m about to cry,” Angie said.
“Why, honey, what’s wrong?” Derek was concerned.
“Nothing’s wrong, it’s just so great to see you two getting along!”
“Alright, well, I can’t stay and chat long. I just came by here to say hi to you guys, and then I was going to head back to the hospital. Sorry I haven’t returned any texts or calls. I haven’t turned my phone back on since I left the hospital yet.”
“It’s okay, just good to see you!”
“Well, dude, you go do your thing at the hospital and keep us updated, alright, man?” Alex said.
“Yeah, man, definitely,” Derek kissed Angie on then cheek then walked back to the main office.
“Derek, can I speak with you?” Darcy came out of her office to talk to her brother.
“Yeah, make it quick though, I’m going back to the hospital,” Derek walked over to his sister.
“How’s Uncle Henry doing?”
“Better, they want to keep him until at least tomorrow.”
“That’s good. I’m going to be stopping by the house more often to check up on things.”
Alex had to go to the office and drop some paperwork off to the secretary, and he saw Derek talking to Mrs. Chuck. So he decided to listen in on what they were talking about.
“Okay, but coming into the house, you want to use the back door. The front door makes loud noises, even if you try to close it quietly. Not a good thing when you are arriving home at two in the morning after partying all night long.”
“You did what?”
“Nothing, just go through the back door, it’s quieter.”
“Okay, thanks for the tip.”
“Alright, well, I’m going to get going,” Derek turned around to walk away. Alex hid around the corner so Derek couldn’t see him.
“You’re going to leave me with that?” Derek turned around and walked back over to his sister, and gave her a hug. “I really do love you, Derek.”
“Love you, too. But I still have to get going. Are you coming over tonight?”
“Sure, if you want me to.”
“Okay, I will call you when I get home.”
“Alright, bye, Derek,” Darcy went back into her office.
Derek went over to the front door of the school. He turned around to push the door with his back and he saw Alex, “Hey, Alex,” he said.
Alex didn’t reply, he just turned around and walked back to class. He couldn’t stop thinking about that conversation he had heard his sister’s boyfriend and the school councilor having. He planned to take this up with the principal, but he was going to wait until tomorrow, when Derek and Mrs. Chuck could both be present. Andrew was supposed to start his job at the farm tonight and Angie was supposed to start hers, also. Alex didn’t start his job at the market until next week, so he decided he was going to drive Angie and Andrew so that he could be there if Mrs. Chuck showed up.
It was the end of the school day, and Alex saw Angie at her locker. “Have you talked to Derek lately?”
“Yeah, he just texted me and asked if I wanted to still start my job tonight, or if I wanted to start tomorrow,” Angie replied.
“What did you say? You said you wanted to start tonight, right?”
“Of course I did. The sooner I work, the sooner I get paid.”
“Oh, okay, good,” Alex smiled then walked out of the school.
It was now time to leave their house and go to Derek’s. Alex got in the drivers seat, Angie got in the passenger seat and Andrew got in the seat behind Angie. “I want the front seat on our way home,” Andrew complained.
“Oh, shut up,” Angie said. Then Andrew and Angie began bickering back and forth. Alex turned the radio on and turned the volume all the way up. Then Andrew and Angie got completely silent and looked at Alex. He turned the music back down, “What the hell, Alex?”
“This is a twenty minute ride. We have been in the car for six minutes and you two are already fighting! I’m not going to listen to you guys the rest of the way,” Alex said. The next fourteen minutes were completely silent. “Here we are,” Alex said. “Man, I haven’t been here in over two years!”
“Well, congratulations! Now you’re back,” Angie said. Derek came outside to greet the Anderson’s. “Hey, Derek!” her and her boyfriend kissed.
“Hey, Alex, Andrew, over here,” Derek walked over to the barn with the Angie and her brothers. They were in there talking for about ten minutes before they all heard a car honking. “Who could that be?” Derek asked aloud, not thinking the Anderson’s would know. He walked out of the barn, “Oh, no.” He whispered to himself.
“Derek, hey,” Darcy yelled from inside of her car. Angie, Andrew and Alex all came out of the barn a short time after Derek had. “Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t know you had company,” Darcy smiled at the Anderson’s.
Derek walked over to her, “What the hell are you doing here? I told you I would call you.”
“I know, but I called and Aunt Kate said your little girlfriend and her brothers were over. I couldn’t help myself,” Darcy explained.
“That’s just great, thanks! Now I’m going to have to tell them you are my sister who abandoned me with an abusive father. They are going to hate you!” Derek said.
“Well, we don’t have to tell them all that.”
“Angie’s brothers think that I am dating you behind there sister’s back.”
“Ew, I wouldn’t date one of my students. Although, that brother of hers is pretty cute,” Darcy looked over at Alex, “Wait a minute, that’s the boy you always get in fights with at school, right?”
“Yeah, and we just worked things out and have been getting along. And now they will think we are dating for sure.”
Alex was sitting there watching all of this happen, just as he had planned, “Look, sis, I told you he was dating her,” Alex walked over to Darcy and Derek. “Mrs. Chuck, it’s so nice to see you. But, why are you here exactly?”
“Well, I’m just stopping in to check up on Derek. I heard about his grandfather.”
“You mean my uncle,” Derek looked over at his sister,
“Yeah, his uncle, my bad,” Darcy said. She was trying to hide the fact that she knew Derek. “Well, I’m just going to slip in there to say hi and see how he is doing. I will take your advice and use the quiet backdoor instead of the front door that makes a lot of noises.”
“Why would you say that?” Derek asked. Angie and Andrew walked over and stood behind Alex.
“What? It’s not like we are dating and you are trying to sneak me in or something,” Darcy said. The more she tried to make it seemed less obvious, the more obvious it was that they knew each other outside of the school.
“Excuse me?” Angie said.
“Okay, you stop talking,” Derek said to Darcy, “and Angie, I can explain.”
“Explain what, exactly? What’s going on Derek?” Angie asked.
“I have never seen this kid in my life! How did I get here? I must have sleep drove! It runs in the family,” Darcy wasn’t a very good liar.
“Darcy, you’re making things worse, just stop!” Derek said to his sister.
“Wait, a second, Darcy is your sister’s name. So Mrs. Chuck is your sister?” Alex asked.
“Yes! I would have told you guys…” Derek began.
“She’s the sister that left you with your abusive father?” Angie asked. “So, Darcy, care to explain why you left him there when he was getting beaten?”
“I… well… I didn’t…” Darcy didn’t know what to say.
“Yeah, my brothers have done some horrible things, but they would never sink as low as you. How could you do that to him? He was six. His mother had just died. Did you even care?”
“Of course I cared! I loved Derek and still do. I felt horrible when his mother died, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I was eighteen. I couldn’t raise him.”
“You could have at least tried to do something. You didn’t even call child services! You didn’t even try to help him, Darcy.”
“I was angry with my father! He got Danni pregnant when she was nineteen, and I was twelve! She was old enough to be my sister! There was a smaller age gap between me and her than there was between me and Derek. I didn’t want a sibling. After my mom left my dad for Charles, I was daddy’s little princess. He gave me everything I ever wanted from the age of four until I was twelve.”
“So, you got mad at Derek because his mother was seven years older than you?”
“No, not at all. After Derek was born, it was like I was invisible. The whole world revolved around him. My dad had big dreams for him, since he was a boy. And Danni thought that she could try to act like she was my mother. She was seven years older than me for crying out loud!”
“So you let Derek suffer with an abusive man? That’s horrible! I would never do that.”
“Angie, you don’t understand. You were never in a position like that,” Derek defended his sister. “Besides, it wasn’t her fault my dad was like that, she didn’t know. And I have forgiven her.”
“You forgave her? You got beat everyday because of her.” Angie said.
“Because of me? Are you kidding?” Darcy was almost in tears. “I’m going to go inside. Nice meeting you all.”
“You guys should probably go,” Derek turned around and went into the house.