Seeing Through Tears
This is My Home
I missed my bus later that day, leaving me with no other choice than to run home like my life depended on it. I focused on the sound of my runners slapping against the pavement as my legs pumped mechanically. I silently prayed that my dad wouldn't be too upset that I'm late. He liked punctuality, you see. I always had to be home when he said otherwise he… worried.
I stormed into my house and slammed the door behind me, gasping for air. I really wasn't too much out of shape, but after sprinting three or four miles I wanted to collapse with a nice cool glass of water in one hand to gulp down. Leaning my side against the door I peeled off my backpack and jacket.
"That you, Anna?" My dad hollered over the sound of the television.
"Yes!" I yelled between deep breaths.
My dad stomped into the hallway and leaned against the wall. He held a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand, and a cigarette in the other.
"Where the hell have you been?" By the way he slurred out his words, his tongue heavy in the back of his throat, I figured that this wasn't his first Jack Daniels of the day. He took a few crooked steps forward, stopped for a moment to take another swing of Jack, and then resumed stumbling towards me.
When he was a foot away, I closed my eyes for a moment, and tried to ignore thick cloud of smoke he blew in my face. It was no use. I coughed violently, stepping away. "Could you please put that out?" I asked as calmly possible, my voice strained from the smoke. Inside I was shaking with nerves. If I let one wrong word slip from my lips this was not going to end up being a good day. "You know I'm allergic," I added, to justify my request.
"Really?" he mocked with a wicked smirk. Parting his chapped lips he blew another round. "Well maybe if you came home on time instead of gallivanting around town, I wouldn't have lit it."
"Please, Dad, just…"
I was cut off when he roughly grabbed a fistful of my hair and pulled my face towards him so it was inches away from his own. He held my hair with the same hand that held his cigarette. I hope he won't melt any of my hair. Or burn my skin, like he did a month ago.
"I thought I asked you where you were," he growled.
Shutting my eyes tightly I took a deep breath. If I just acted calm, he wouldn't do anything too rash. "I missed my bus." I whimpered.
"You missed your bus?" he was close enough that I could feel the warmth of his breath on my cheek; the stench of booze and cigarettes burned my nostrils. I couldn't take the combined smells. My head spun in so many directions I thought I would vomit. "Why the hell would you miss your bus?"
When I didn't reply right away, he yanked on my hair with a violent strength that made my skull begin to throb. I took in a sharp breath, my stomach beginning to turn and my nerves becoming apparent.
"Tell me what happened!" he demanded, his voice booming in my ear.
In panic I responded right away, without even thinking. "I had to get my canvas from the art room," I quickly explained, instantly regretting those words that shot out of my mouth.
"What?" he roared. "Your canvas? What the fuck did I tell you about doing that shit! It's useless. You're not allowed doing that crap."
"But my class…" My words caught in my throat, a small squeak escaping instead. He threw me towards the wall, swinging me by my hair and giving my side a shove. By this time the cigarette was dropped onto the blemished carpet, but he still clutched onto his precious beer.
"Fuck the class." He wondered over to my collapsed form. "You're not to having anything to do with that crap. I told you, you are not allowed to get involved in art. It's for smart ass pansies."
No matter how much I tried, I couldn't control what slipped out next. It just escaped on its own. "What if I like it?"
Oh shit. I didn't.
Well… I certainly was on a roll today.
He froze, his jaw tightening and voice growing dangerously low. "Like it? I don't give a shit if you like it. It's a waste of time. All that crazy shit with their fucking crazy ideas about freedom and shit. God damn hippies."
I know what you're thinking 'that man's insane'. I completely agree with you by the way, but I still could understand what he was talking about. The subject was still incredibly tough with me, even after a decade.
"I'm not her." I murmured.
"Damn straight your not." He grabbed my arm and yanked me to my feet, almost disconnecting my elbow joint from its socket as he did so. "But you're just as horrible."
I felt my heart contort in pain. I hated it when he talked to me like this. Like he was convinced it was true. How he convinced me sometimes it was true. I hate him. I hate him more than her.
"Well you made her that way!" I growled angrily. "And you made me this way. You're worse than the both of us!"
His eyes grew wild and dangerous with every word that flew from my mouth. With his lips pushed together and hands curling in anger, I knew this argument would be over soon.
Oh God. Why did I always become so blind when angry or upset? I'm just like my father…
And I knew I would be severally punished for what I just said, so I prepared myself by being a coward and pressing myself against the wall, covering my face with my hands and wishing I could become invisible to everything, to become the wall its self.
"You deserve to die, you fucking bitch."
I did, I really did. You have no idea how horrible I could be. I truly was my father, and mother combined. God couldn't even save me. I would never escape them. Never.
The next thing I knew, he had grabbed both my arms with one large hand, and punched me in the eye. Pain shot through me instantly, but because I was used to it, I knew better than to react. If I showed weakness, he'd be encouraged to continue. I kept my eyes shut, not daring to look at him. I counted for ten seconds until he had gone back to the living room, and then allowed my eyes to open. Which hurt like fucking hell. My right eye, the one he hit, I squinted through, because it was too painful to keep open all the way.
I hate him, yet I'm so much like him. I'm not violent, but I know him, and there are a lot of characteristics in myself that I see in him. Sometimes I hate myself for being like him. But I'm not going to be extreme about this. I have no idea how to escape him. He'd follow me wherever I go. In a strange way, I've accepted this as a part of my life, and deal with it the only ways I know how. If I were to become too dramatic, or wallow in self pity, I'd fall apart. I had to stay strong. Rae always said he saw some good in me, that there was hope. Rae always said I was worthy of love. Rae always made me feel better. He would always be there.
So what did I do next?
I went to find Rae.
Rae's my twin brother. He moved out of our house at 16, or was actually kicked out… or ran away. I'm not too sure what happened. All I know is that once he left, my father did not go after him. Now he didn't exist to Dad. But every time I asked what happened Rae would shut down, refuse to talk, so I stopped pushing for an answer. I knew He'd tell me when he was ready. After he left he moved into a house with several other guys. He still goes to school, but when he's not at school he's working at a local Shell gas station. I sometimes visit him there. It's boring, but sometimes I just need his company.
But the house he lived in, with the other guys, was great. With three spacious floors their house was larger than average. They managed to arrange the house so that all of them had a room, even if some weren't actual bedrooms. There were seven of them, and they all had jobs, so it was an affordable arrangement.
I didn't bother to knock on the front door when I entered. This house was like my second home. Though I wish it were my first. I always came here when dad was acting up, which pretty much meant everyday.
Jake, and Nathan were standing near the entrance when I came in. Jake was over 6'4 and twenty one, with light blond, spiky hair and hazel eyes. Nathan, was average height, and my age with bright red hair and green eyes. They did a double take when they saw my swollen face, the black eye forming and my messy hair. Jake was the first to recover, and immediately walked away, presumably to fund Rae. I bit my lip, finding it quite sad that they knew just what to do when they saw me like this. IT didn't happen all the time. Only on several occasions did the other guys witness my wounds, but they never questioned it, that I knew of, at least not to my face. But I knew their minds were rolling.
Rae came running, bursting through the basement door; his messy brown hair was still damp from what I guessed was the shower, which made me assume he just got home from work. His frame was lean at 6'3, a strange thing for us because I was only 5'3. We did have the same eyes though; mine were only a little darker.
He didn't look surprised when he saw me, only upset… and a bit breathless from his little sprint. His worried eyes mixed with sadness in an instant.
"I'll get the ice," he muttered, and I followed him to the kitchen.
When we turned the corner, he asked, "What happened this time?"
I looked down at my shoes as I walked and wrapped my arms around my waist. Shrugging and replied, "The usual."
And he knew what that meant.
"What did he say?" He asked as he opened the freezer.
If it weren't such a horrible situation, I would have smiled. Rae would always know me completely. My father's verbal abuse always cut deeper than his physical abuse. But I didn't want to repeat what happened just yet. So I kept silent, knowing he would understand. He gave me one of his giant bear hugs, which always made me feel a bit better and told me to go sit down. I complied and waited for him to join me as he got the ice ready.
He came over and settled it on my eye. "Better?" he asked, jumping in the seat across from me and leaning back in the metal chair.
I smiled a little and took his hand. "It'll do."
"I'm really sorry Anna," Rae said miserably.
His comment struck me. "What?" I asked, completely bewildered. "Why?"
Rae ran a hand through his hair, his guilty eyes gazing out the kitchen window. "I'm sorry I'm not there. I'm never there to stop this."
"Don't be sorry, Rae. It's not your fault. You'd just be beaten worse, and you know it. He doesn't do it to me as horribly because I'm a girl." I snarled the last few words.
"You'll get out," he assured himself or me... I'm not too sure who it was, maybe both of us.
I snorted. "And be killed trying."
Rae frowned deeply at my response. "You will Anna. He can't hold onto you forever."
I felt like saying he could, and being honest with myself, but I knew that would set off water works, so instead I changed the subject. "How was work today?" I put down the ice pack, being too lazy to keep it up.
Rae immediately started laughing. "It was awesome. This old lady came in, and she was driving this huge car and had no idea how to control it." He burst into a violent fit of laughter. "She… and… it hit."
I put a hand on my forehead, sighing. This was going to take a while. He rambled on for a few more minutes, spluttering out random words. I could understand most of it. I was used to his little fits of laughter and was the translator for most people.
But someone drove my attention away from Rae's comical gas station story.
Seth McLain himself walked into Rae's kitchen and causally opened the fridge. He stuck his head in and looked around. He picked up containers or leftover pastas and chicken strips and examined them, shook the containers, and then tossed them back inside. He acted as if he lived here.
Seriously, what was he really doing in Rae's house?
Rae's fits became louder, or maybe, to someone not as fond as Rae, down right annoying. Annoyed would be right word to describe Seth as he first pulled his head out of the fridge to glare at Rae, who was all but in hysterics. He studied the scene for another moment before his eyes fell on me. His mouth opened slightly, and he gaped at me. I shifted in my seat uncomfortably and kicked Rae in the shin.
"Ow!" Rae hissed. "What was that for?"
I blinked innocently.
He looked around and noticed Seth. "Oh, hey man."
The hell? I wondered, observing Rae's friendly, familiar greeting. Since when have they been friends?
"This is my sister Anna." Rae said and patted my head gently. I smiled a little at the pride he portrayed when he introduced me.
"Yeah, I know her." Seth replied. He took a few steps towards us, his eyes still on me. "We have English together."
"You do?" Rae questioned, a little surprised. "And you actually go, Seth?"
Seth shrugged. "It's interesting sometimes."
"Yeah." Seth confirmed. "Right, Anna?"
I was taken back when he addressed me, for it was the first time he ever had. With his eyes still directed at me I felt a shiver run through my spine as I slowly raised my orbs to meet his gaze. His eyes were dark blue, deeper than you could ever imagine. God only knows what he's like, what he knew of the world, or how deep he felt of anything. They were beautiful orbs of the night. Absolutely breathe taking.
I somehow remembered I had been addressed and found my voice. I couldn't remove my gaze from his as I spoke. It was like his eyes hypnotized me. "Yes, really interesting."
Seth's eyes lit up, making them, if possible, even more brilliant, and he smiled; a real smile this time. It wasn't like his amused smirks or arrogant grins that would normally be found spreading across his attractive face. It was a smile as in: pearly white teeth and everything. I immediately thought he should smile more often. Seth was gorgeous, but when he actually smiled, I could easily label him as the sexiest man I've ever seen.
All too soon Seth ripped his eyes away from mine and turned to Rae, a shit eating grin now on his face. "You should have seen her in class today, Rae. You would have been proud."
"What'd she do?" Rae asked, looking from me to Seth.
"Finally cracked Halt."
Rae looked stunned. "No shit?"
"Yeah man. I don't think she's going be in for a few days. Maybe even weeks"
River, another roommate of my brother entered the room with the phone in his hand and held it in front of Rae. "You've got a phone call. Some chick named Stacy. She sounds hot."
I rolled my eyes. So like River. He thinks any chick is hot on the phone, or anywhere. He was a total playboy, and looked the part too. He always wore the best clothing that he thought was 'sexy' to the ladies, and spent hours styling his golden blond hair. Don't even get me started on his work out routine. Lets' just say it worked well for him.
Rae grabbed the phone from him and cleared his throat. "Hey baby," he said in a deeper voice than usually. It was so ridiculous that I had to laugh. He shot me a glare, and left the room. River winked at me and left as well.
But Seth stayed.
Okay, now I felt awkward. What was I supposed to say to him? He just stood there as I looked pointedly at the table, feeling his eyes on me. His constant staring was unsettling. What was there to stare at? Didn't he have some beautiful girl, gothed out in black and heavy makeup, waiting for him somewhere? I bet she would have long, slender legs. Seth looked like a leg man. I had legs so short all my pants needed to be hemmed up a few inches.
He sat down after a few moments and I felt compelled to glance at him. When I did, I found myself caught in his gaze, and couldn't pull away.
Shit, what do I do? I need to leave. I shouldn't be staring at him. This was Seth McLain. He didn't talk, he didn't look: he glared. I bet he will do it in a few seconds. Yep, in a few seconds that gaze will transform into the classic death glare and if he feels like so inclined he will spare me a few words and ask me what my problem is. Even though he started it.
We watched each other for a few moments before Seth blurted out, "What happened to your eye?"
I instinctively covered my forming bruise and ducked my head. Damn. I forgot about that. "It's nothing." I replied quickly.
He frowned at my response and stated, "It doesn't look like nothing."
"Well it is."
"Then what happened?" He pushed.
It was clear that he wasn't going to drop the subject any time soon. I sighed and concentrated on my shoe laces. I think I need to retie one. The knot would loosen soon. I didn't want to trip over it and cause myself any more injuries. This sudden thought gave me an idea and I found I could possibly give Seth a legitimate excuse.
Seth persisted before I could begin my story. "Anna."
"It's a tad embarrassing."
He raised his pierced eyebrow. "Is it?"
I nodded my head dramatically. "I ran into a door," I muttered, and pretended to look embarrassed about it by not meeting his gaze, although that wasn't the real reason why I wouldn't look at him. I just really hated lying to people. It did wonders to my conscious.
I expected him to laugh at my excuse, but he seemed to see right through it. His frowned deepened and he shook his head, leaning in to try and get a better look at my eye. I flinched back in response, ignoring his confused look. I really didn't feel like explaining to him why I had a problem with ANYONE getting close to me. The only one I felt safe with doing that was Rae, and even then…
Without another word I stood up and left the kitchen, and Rae's home. I decided I would take a walk around the neighborhood to kill some time before I wondered back home. My Dad would still be in a foul mood if I came home now. Maybe I should visit the library. I wouldn't go back to Rae's house. I knew Rae could be a while on the phone, and I didn't feel like hanging around his house that much at the moment. Not with Seth there.
But as I walked, my thoughts kept shifting towards Seth. Why was he at my brother's house? I've never seen them talk or hang out before, so why now? Rae always told me about all of his friends. He could be there hanging with one of the other guys, but that still doesn't explain why he was talking to Rae like they were best friends. Seth was a druggie, a trouble maker and Rae didn't usually associate with them, But maybe Seth isn't who I really think he is. Maybe I was wrong about him. I'm sure I wasn't, but it wouldn't hurt to probe Rae about it.
As I was dwelling over this I stepped on my shoe lace, which as I predicted, came untied. I managed to fall on my side, onto someone's lawn. Thank God for soft grass. I looked up to the house and in the window of the living room was an old man on his big comfy couch. He was watching me, his eyes narrowed and forehead wrinkled in signs of annoyance. In a second, he'd probably come out and yell at me because I ruined his perfectly groomed grass. I bet all his neighbors knew never to step on his grass.
Soon he stood from the couch and made his way to the front door. I scrambled onto my feet and started off in a slow jog, moving just around the corner and out of his sight as he opened the door.
I still haven't tied my shoe.
Please let me know in a review if you find any spelling/ grammar mistakes. I'd appreciate it.
I realize that I spelled Rae the girl way. I wanted him to have it that way because I just don't like the boy spelling of it… I don't know why, it just bugs me. Plus this way he's even more unique. I know lost of people whose names are spelled the way it was meant for the other sex. Meh. 'Nuph said.