“Alex, you don't have to do this to yourself,” Isaac said.
“I happen to like tae kwon do,” I said, “It's great for self-defense and it's a lot of fun.”
“Since when have you cared about fun?” he questioned me.
I just rolled my eyes. His question wasn't even worth an answer. “Why not?” he demanded.
“Just leave me alone, Isaac,” I said, while “hanging up” my phone. I pushed the big white doors open and stepped inside, out of the heat. I dug my uniform out of my locker and went to the bathroom to change. People were going in and out in all directions, it seemed. It was chaotic but I had gotten used to it.
It was strange for them to have a princess in the same class, but they soon got over it. When I came out of the bathroom Isaac was waiting for me. He smiled. I wished I could return the smile, but it was buried under too many other emotions and confused thoughts. “Hey, Princess Alexandra!” our instructor greeted me. I didn't feel like correcting them, nor anyone else, so I let them call me the name I hated. Not that I'd tell them I hated that name of course.
I sat down along with the rest of the class. Isaac and Aunt Chloe stayed back, leaning against the wall. That was normal behavior for them. They both gave me a smile. I wished I could be that happy for real; I wished I could be truly happy. Isaac sighed, “Alex-.” No, I thought, don't start. He sighed again, “Fine, have it your way.”
I took this class because of Mikhayla, she had a hand in nearly everything I did. I quickly shoved that thought away though and concentrated on the class. I couldn't have Isaac knowing the true reason I'm the way I am. I'm pretty sure he knew though, there wasn't much I could get passed him.
Isaac and Aunt Chloe soon got bored with the class, like they always did. They left me alone then, and I could finally be alone with my true thoughts.
My true thoughts were screaming Mikhayla's name. I was terrified of her, that was very obvious to me. No one seemed to notice that not-so-little detail about me, but, like Aunt Chloe and Isaac said, could I really blame them for that? I didn't dare let anyone see the real me, not even my brother and aunt who would not tell a single soul about it. I feared that they would think me a coward. I was so afraid of the world itself, afraid that they wouldn't protect me from her. There was no way they would protect me, they didn't know about it. Ugh, this was a vicious cycle that was going to keep repeating, I thought. I hate this so much!
Soon enough the class was over and Isaac and Aunt Chloe returned to escort me back home.
“So, how was it?” Isaac asked.
“Fine,” I told him, and it had been fine.
“Good, you're learning to not lie to me,” he said.
“Yeah, sure,” I said, pushing the part of me that was making me feel guilty far away.
“Alex,” he chided, figuring out from my reply that I was still hiding something.
“Maybe later,” I told him.
“You and I both know that later equals never. So tell me now.”
“I can't!” I screamed at him. That got the attention of everyone on the streets. They stopped and stared at me like I was part of a freak show, thought, I supposed I was in some ways.
“No, you aren't part of a freak show, Alex,” Isaac said gently. He was trying to make me calm down, and I admired that about him, but it wasn't going to work.
“How do you know?” I was still screaming. I ran from him then, tears threatening to escape.
I ran into an abandoned alley. I waited for Isaac to come, and sure enough, he did. “Because I know,” he said, giving me a very brotherly hug. “It's going to be fine.”
I wiped my tears away and nodded slightly. “I look like a mess, don't I?” I smiled a little.
“A little bit,” he chuckled, ruffling my, which just made it look worse. “Maybe you can say you were attacked by a bear.”
“I don't think that'll go over well with them,” I laughed.
“Yeah, probably not,” he agreed.
“Just stay out a little longer, and I'll fix you up,” Aunt Chloe said.
“Okay, but what will I tell them when I come in late?” I asked.
“Blame it on me, Matthew will know...” she paused, “You know what, say you were helping a little girl who fell off her bike. Yeah, that'll work.”
She stopped then to look me over really fast. She took some water and a cloth and wiped my face with it. You could no longer tell I had been crying. She started on my hair next, which was not really that bad either. She combed it out and it gradually started to look like it had when I set out this morning. “Thanks,” I said to both of them.
“You're welcome,” they both said. They disappeared, leaving me to wonder where they went when they weren't with me.