~Chapter 1~

RIIING RIIING RIIING

He awoke to the phone ringing. He quickly sat up, his eyes still partially closed, and fumbled around the side table next to his bed. By the time he found the phone it had stopped ringing and gone to the answering machine. /Honey, pick up. This is your moth-/

"Yeah, I'm here. What do you want? You do realize it's 5 a.m., don't you?" he said, although he wasn't sure she actually understood what he was saying, as he was only half awake.

"/Oh, yes, I forgot you sleep in/," she said.

"Sleep in? I get up at 7," he snorted.

"/So you only had 2 more hours/," she said.

He slid his hand down his face. Sometimes his mother was so difficult.
"Again, what do you want?" he said.

"/I was just checking up on you. I never know if you're feeling unwell because you never say anything. But, you've been like this since you were a baby so I guess I should be used to it/."

"Mother, I'm 22 years old now. I don't need you 'worrying' over me anymore."

"/But I haven't seen you since you left the house/!"

"So this is what you're really calling for. You want me to visit you."

"/Not just me, I also want you to meet your stepf/-"

"Well I don't. I'm hanging up now and going back to sleep."

"/Wai-/"

He hung up the phone and lay back down. He stared up at the domed ceiling of his apartment. He rolled over onto his side, thinking. If he visited his mother now she would know how he was treating himself, just by looking at him. Most likely she would try to fix it because 'oh no, her poor baby doesn't love himself! Mommy needs to smother him in her love so that he will see he is loved and love himself!' He snorted. No, he would definitely not be going to visit her. He rolled over to his other side. Dammit, since she called and woke him up he can't get back to sleep; when he was awake he was /awake/.

He sat up for the second time this morning and swung his legs over the bed. He stood up and slouched over to the kitchenette, which he could see from his bed. He opened the fridge and got out some cherry soda. He drank straight from the one liter bottle. No one else was going to drink it, so why not? After a few gulps of that he put it back into the fridge.

He rifled through his cupboards for something to fill his stomach, as that cherry soda had not done anything for him. He finally found something in the very back of one of the cupboards. There was a box in the back corner of one of the shelves on top. He reached up, fingertips stretched out, but couldn't reach it. Come on! It's not like he was /that/ short. More like...average height. He sighed and turned around. He put his hands up on the counter and pushed up, swinging his butt backwards as he did. Then he turned around and got on his knees. He peeked into the cupboard and saw a brightly colored box in the corner. He easily grabbed it and jumped down from the counter. He slammed the cabinet door shut and walked over to the small breakfast bar. He set the box down on it and looked at it. Zebra Cakes? He didn't remember buying thoseā€¦but snack cakes last forever, right? He shrugged and took out a few cakes and scarfed them down. After he was done with his healthy breakfast he walked over to his tiny bathroom that was off the kitchen. He slid the door open and went inside.

He stripped off his clothes. He shivered a little. He didn't have heating (or air conditioning, for that matter) in his appartment; he was too poor to live in a better neighborhood than this.

He went over to the corner where the shower pod was and stepped inside, closing the lid as he did so. He pushed the 'mist' button and stood in the middle of the pod, still shivering; he also did not have heated water. He pushed the 'soap' button. Pinkish bubbles shot out of the sides of the pod, covering him in soft pink foam. He quickly lathered up and rinsed off. Then he turned off the water. He shook some of the water droplets off before stepping out of the shower pod.

He stood trembling in the middle of his bathroom waiting to dry (he didn't have towels either). The cold made it hard to dry off. He started shaking off, like a dog, water droplets flying off onto the clothes on the floor and the sink. He looked down at his still damp skin. Good enough.

He scooped up his dirty (and now slightly damp) clothes and walked out of the bathroom. He set them on the kitchen counter by the sink and went over to his bed.

He reached underneath and pulled out the box he kept his clothes in. He opened it and rifled through until he found a long sleeved black shirt and a pair of dark blue pants. He pulled out a smaller box that he kept his socks and underwear in. He pulled a pair of underwear out and some black socks. He pushed both boxes back under his bed.
He quickly dressed and was walking over to the kitchenette when the phone ringed again. He let out a breath and walked back over to his bed. He picked the phone up.

"Hello?" he mumbled.

"It's your mother again," she said.

"Mhmm. What do you want this time?"

"I was just thinking if you can't," it's won't not can't, "come over to my house, then I could come visit at yours," she paused, "Where /do/ you live?"

"I'm not telling you, and you're not coming."

"But-"

"No. You cannot come to my house," he said slightly frantically, compared to his usual monotone. Nobody else would pick up on it, it was so slight, but of course his mother did.

"Dear, is it that you don't want to see me that much, or you don't want me to see your home?"

"I just don't have the time right now."

"You said that when I called to see if you could make it to the wedding. Something about work being really busy. Is it work again, this time?"

He sighed, inaudibly, and answered, "Yeah. It's real busy here. Could get a promotion if I do good this week."

"Oh! Well that's wonderful! I just hope you can visit us some time soon."

"Yeah, sure, mom. I'll try to get some time off."

"Good. But I won't keep you. You'll be getting ready to go to work," he mentally snorted, it's 5:30 a.m., nobody goes to work this early, "Bye bye sweetie! Love you!"

"Bye."

Then he hung up.