Saturday, 12 September 2009
11:58:47 AM (GMT)
Michael sighed and turned away from Mimi and Tyler to look at the shining backdoor
and come to his final resolve. “Okay,” he said quietly, more to himself than to
the others, “I’ll help him out.” He walked back onto the patio, soon hearing
the sibling’s footsteps following, and opened the door hesitantly; His mind was
made up but his body was doing it’s best to combat him. As he pushed the door out
of the way his resolute blue eyes locked onto pensive green ones and he gave the
younger boy a gentle smile as he walked into the kitchen with Mimi and Tyler close
His throat attempted to dry as he heard the door close, but he stood firm and
kept smiling. He knew the way his body was acting was probably due to the idea of
self-preservation, but he was too selfless to care about it at that moment,
“Chelsea,” Michael said lightly, trying to keep from sounding unsure, “you can
stay with me.” There was a short silence after the words as Chelsea slid off where
he’d perched on the countertop and smiled brightly as relief overtook the boy’s
“Thank you,” Chelsea said overjoyed and gave Michael a quick hug.
“Thank you so much,” he murmured and stood humbly in front of the other teen.
Michael smiled at Chelsea, feeling like he’d made the right choice. He glanced
behind himself and looked at Tyler and Mimi who seemed equally proud of his decision,
and then he glanced past them at the clock on the wall. He frowned as he read the
blue, digital numbers; It was ten minutes from six o’clock; He had to be home by
six, and his house was fifteen minutes away.
Mimi and Tyler glanced back at the clock and noticed the nearing hour as
well. “You better hurry, your mom will kill you if you’re late,” Tyler said
sounding urgent. Michael nodded said goodbye before gently taking Chelsea’s wrist
and slightly pulled the younger boy along as he walked hurriedly toward the door. He
grabbed his hat and let go of Chelsea’s wrist as he opened the door and looked down
the road toward his house. He sighed, realizing that Tyler and Mimi had driven him
there. As soon as he opened the door he was face to face with Tyler, who had realized
the same, “Sorry, forgot that we didn’t let you bring your car,” the
bespectacled brunette said sheepishly as they jogged to the car and piled in.
The ride was short, due to Tyler speeding; Tyler had a pretty good notion
that Michael’s mom wouldn’t let the seventeen year old stay over again if he was
late this on time. As they pulled into the driveway he noticed that his parents’
van was gone and that there was a note on the front door. “I think they’ve gone
shopping or something, so you guys can come in with me.” He said and got out of the
car; Tyler and Chelsea following soon after. As he unlocked the door he took the note
down from where it was pinned and skimmed over it; They’d apparently went to the
movies, and wouldn’t be back until six thirty, at the latest.
Michael put the note in the recycle bin near the door and hung up his hat
before going upstairs, “So,” he said as the silence began to make him restless,
“that was easier than I thought it’d be.” He looked back at Tyler and Chelsea
as he stepped off the last stair. He smiled slightly, knowing that his parents were
gone for now made him feel a lot less uneasy about everything, and, as Tyler and
Chelsea came to stand beside him on the landing the split the three upstairs rooms
across from each other, he actually felt a little happy to be housing someone he
barely knew without asking his mother.
Chelsea smiled and finally spoke again, “Thanks, Michael,” he said
happily. Michael was slightly amazed how they were all acting casual as they trekked
to his room. Michael opened the door and threw his duffle bag on the bed before
walking across the room and plopped into the computer chair and rolling back and
forth, as if he were bored. If only that were the case; truly, he was extremely
nervous. It was six forty, his parents would be home soon, and he had a boy he hardly
knew sitting on his bed quite awkwardly next to one of his friends that wasn’t
suppose to be there while his parents were gone. Michael’s attention was called
back to Chelsea as he heard a small rumbling noise, “Um,” the auburn haired boy
said meekly and wrapped an arm around his growling stomach, “do you have anything
Michael chuckled a little at how timid the younger boy seemed compared to
the night before. “Sure,” He nodded and stood from the chair and gave the seat a
small shove so that it rolled back to the desk. “Wait here Chelsea. Come on
Tyler.” He walked to the door with his brunette friend quickly following. Michael
climbed down onto the landing and expertly sped down the stairs two at a time while
Tyler, who had been right beside him on the landing, struggled to keep up with his
pace. The older brunette reached the bottom four or five stairs earlier than Tyler
and smiled slightly as he turned the corner and walked through the living room and to
the kitchen without so much as a glance backward.
The elder teen leaned against the granite counter top and sighed. “We
didn’t quite think this through, did we,” he asked, voice laced with concern as
he turned and opened a cupboard containing “special snack food” that his mother
had forbid him to eat without her permission: AKA potato chips. He smiled at the
thought of his mother’s concern of the family’s health as he pulled a back of
Doritos down and re closed the cabinet. “I mean,” he began, returning to his
unanswered statement as he popped the bag of chips open, “What about his school,
what about his friends, or worse, what about his parents? Honestly, I wasn’t
thinking about any of that when I told him he could stay here, were you?”
Tyler looked at Michael with a sardonic gaze that seemed more fitting for
the boy’s older sister. “Too late for that,” the younger boy said with a roll
of his eyes. “Honestly, I didn’t think of it either, but I’m guessing that the
kid thought about his parents and friends, most-likely, and he made the decision that
he wouldn’t, or maybe couldn’t, ask or take their help.” Tyler sounded so
enlightening in that single statement that Michael’s thinking process halted for a
moment. Just as he regained his thinking process he heard the pantry door the came
from the garage open.
Michael’s mother walked through carrying a few, light grocery bags.
“Oh, Hi boys,” she said cheerily and set the bags down on the table. She glanced
back at the two boys and scowled at the newly opened Doritos bag. “You’re not
going to eat dinner if you load up on fatty food,” she said softly, yet with a
stern underlining, “Now, put that away and help unload these groceries.” She said
and began to daintily pull items from the plastic bags. Michael glanced at Tyler,
shrugged, and went to help with the groceries.
Shortly through a bag composed of ingredients for spaghetti everyone in the
kitchen stopped their work as they heard a loud commotion in the pantry. “Well damn
it; you mother fucking pieces of shit,” they heard echo through the joint rooms as
Michael’s dad walked through the door. “Next time Nancy, get paper!” He
brandished a torn bag whose content had apparently been a two liter of Mountain Dew
that had broken the bag and fallen onto his father’s sandal clad foot. “Damned
plastic don’t hold it’s own worth shit,” he muttered, obviously annoyed.
Michael’s mother huffed and started into a rant on why she did not get
paper bags, which turned into an argument after the first sentence. Michael exchanged
a glance with Tyler as he grabbed the forgotten bag of chips and slipped out of the
kitchen, unnoticed. The two boys climbed the stairs two-steps at a time until they
were safely back in their room. Michael smiled as he shut the door and tossed the
chips to Chelsea. “The Rents are home,” he offered a brief explanation.
Michael sat back down in the computer chair and rolled along his
bedroom’s floor. Tyler threw a Dorito at Michael, “Hey,” He said, getting the
older boy’s attention, “I’ve got to go soon; I don’t think Mimi had expected
me to stay longer than it took to drop you off.” Michael nodded as Tyler stood.
“Don’t forget to do your Biology packet before Monday.” He reminded before
waving and leaving. A few quiet moments later he could hear the dull roar of his
friend’s car as the other teen pulled out of the driveway. He sighed, glancing at
Chelsea, who was looking out the window, and then at the biology textbook that was
sitting unopened on the desk.
He rolled back over to his desk and grabbed the television remote,
“Here, you can watch TV or something,” he said and tossed the remote to the
younger boy before turning toward the biology textbook and taking out the thick
packet of review work the teacher had assigned over fall break. As he began working
on the questions he heard the TV come on with a click and the sounds of some cartoon.
He glanced back at the flickering screen before returning to questions about subjects
he’d probably never use again.
He finished the first two pages before his concentration broken. He turned
back to Chelsea and watched the teen repeatedly tap his foot as he stared at the TV.
The noise of his foot hitting the floor was driving Michael insane. “Hey,” He
said trying to get the other boy’s attention. Chelsea seemed not to notice so he
repeated again. He stood from the chair and walked over the Chelsea, “Hey,” he
reiterated again and waved his hand in front of the other teens face. Chelsea blinked
and turned his attention toward Michael, “Can you stop tapping your foot; it’s
distracting.” Chelsea nodded.
Michael blinked as his mother called up the stairs for him to come down
for dinner. “I’ll be back soon,” he told the other teen, “But make sure you
turn down the TV. My mom will get pissed if it’s not on and I’m not in here.”
He gave a casual wave before leaving the room. He participated in dinner as if he was
not hiding someone in his room and finished dinner a little quicker than usual. When
he came back he glanced at his digital clock, noting that an hour or so had passed.
He looked across the room at his bed where the auburn haired teen was peacefully
sleeping. He shrugged and returned back to his homework.
Somewhere between questions about genetics and DNA he dosed off, only to
wake to the shrill noise of his alarm clock sometime later. He jumped slightly at the
startling noise and hurried over to his alarm clock before it woke everyone in the
house up. He gathered up his homework and threw it into his backpack haphazardly
before groggily walking to his closet to find a clean outfit. As he pulled a long
sleeved, purple shirt from its hanger he heard a small groan and jumped. He glanced
over his shoulder and looked at the barely woken teen with a slightly annoyed
expression; He was naturally jumpy in the mornings, without having forgotten about
having someone hiding in his room.
“Where are you going,” Chelsea asked through a yawn as he stretched.
“Aren’t all the schools out this week for fall break?” He rubbed his eyes and
blinked away his sleepiness. Michael shook his head and let the room be silent for a
moment; it was too early to be attempting to dress and talk at the same time, and he
needed to get his clothes on for school. After getting his main outfit on, he kicked
off his weekend shoes and sat down on the bed next to Chelsea before he started to
put on his school shoes.
“All the county schools are out for fall break,” He stated and
finished tying the laces of one shoe, “but private schools don’t have a fall
break. Not the one I go to anyway. It has “Extended Fall Weekend,” somewhere
around Thanksgiving.” He explained as his sleep-hazed mind struggled to remember
where he’d put his other school shoe. He noticed Chelsea vaguely nod from his
peripheral vision as he stood and walked across the room to search the bottom of the
closet. “Will you, uh, be okay here by yourself today,” Michael asked, the
awkwardness that had been staved yesterday seemed to be sneaking into his mind with
each passing moment. Again he saw Chelsea nod out of the corner of his eye.
“There should still be plenty of potato chips left, so you can snack
on them, I guess. My mom goes shopping with her friends around nine o’clock AM
until about eleven, and I’ll be back for fourth block lunch around two thirty in
the afternoon,” He rambled slightly as he slung his heavy backpack over his
shoulder, and though he’d said three times what he’d usually say in the morning
he somehow felt that he hadn’t said enough, or that he hadn’t said the right
thing. “Try not to make much noise, and keep the door locked, please,” he added
and gave a small, hesitant smile as he walked out the door and to his car.
Anxiety ate away at Michael, and the school day seemed to pass all
too slowly. Michael found his thoughts wondering to what was going on at his house
and all the things that could be going wrong. By the time the fourth block lunch bell
chimed he found himself jumping from his seat in Chemistry and racing out into the
parking lot and toward his car. He worried through the whole drive home that when he
had arrived home he would find his mother waiting for him with a glower and their
unknown guest, but when he got home it was as normal as any other day. His mother and
father were watching re-runs of Law and Order with the same, shared two liter of
Pepsi between them.
He gave a small smile and a wave at them before dropping his bags by the
stairs, like he normally did, and heading toward the kitchen. He went and got a bowl
of cereal, like he always did, and sat down with them; He didn’t want to be sitting
there though. He wanted to be upstairs, checking on the younger teen that was hiding
away. He finished up his cereal and was about to go put it in the sink before running
upstairs when the TV suddenly cut from Law and Order to an urgent looking news screen
with bold, black letter scrolling across the words, “Have you seen this child?”
He blinked as he saw a photo of an auburn-haired teen with sea-green eyes become
sharper on their cable TV. He knew immediately who the teen was, and tried to
inconspicuously put his used cereal bowl away before speeding upstairs.
Michael jammed the key to the door in the keyhole with a feeling of,
however as he unlocked and pushed the door open the feeling seemed to die
immediately. Any and all words and questions he had for Chelsea seemed to disperse as
he saw the teen sitting quietly on the bed, watching the same news report that was on
downstairs as well. He gently closed the door and tried to muster up at least one
thing he’d been thinking previously. “You’re parents are looking for you,” He
said, sounding more confident than he had thought he would. Chelsea just shrugged and
ignored it as he picked up the remote. Michael frowned, “Don’t you care that
they’re worried at all? Shouldn’t you go tell them that you’re okay and go back
to them?” Again, Chelsea just shrugged before beginning to flip through channels.
Michael slightly glared at the other; He wanted replies, not shrugs.
“Chelsea,” He said, raising his voice slightly as he grabbed the
younger teen’s shoulders, “Why are you here when your family is actually worrying
about you,” he asked heatedly, but Chelsea just looked at him blankly without
offering any information. He let go of the teen’s shoulders and sat down on the bed
beside Chelsea. “Honestly, I don’t see why you need to stay here if you’ve got
two parents that care about you, maybe you should just go home,” He said quietly.
The auburn haired teen scoffed and looked at his feet. “My parents
might love me, but going back there right now, it seems like a fate worse than
death,” He said hollowly and frowned. Michael looked at Chelsea expectantly; He
barely knew anything about Chelsea or why the other boy needed a place to go and he
hoped now would be when he finally found something out. Chelsea didn’t say anything
else though; he just stared at his feet quietly.
During the silence, Michael debated in his head weather or not to
pursue the subject. He decided that if he was going to shelter the other boy, he
wanted to know why it was necessary to do so. “Why won’t you go back? I need you
to tell me why you don’t want to go to your home with your family and parents,”
he murmured loudly enough for Chelsea to hear, but the other boy didn’t seem like
he was going to answer. “Tell me, please,” he almost pleaded, “or you can’t
stay here anymore,” he added, feeling slightly ashamed for exploiting Chelsea’s
need for a place to stay just so the teen would tell him about something that Chelsea
obviously didn’t want to talk about.