Chapter 3

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Kayla said she'd walk with me back to the house, saying it couldn't be too far. I nodded and we left a little while later. "So did only Riley leave?" I asked as we walked in the near pitch blackness.
"Brianna, Amber, and Mikey drove her in her car."
"What about the rest of you?"
"Luke usually has to walk Drew home since he's a nightmare to drive with when he's drunk and he isn't even driving." Kayla said and I laughed. Talking was the only thing that kept this walk from getting creepy. I didn't enjoy walking places, especially at night. There were footsteps behind me, I looked back quickly and saw nobody. My anxiety was sprouting a bit and I began picking at my wrists a bit. A sharp pain told me I had nicked myself, but it was not easing stress like it used to. "I can't see a damn thing, I'm calling Michael." She voice quavered as we stopped by a corner. He didn't pick up twice so we just kept going. I started thinking that we should've stayed put in the house instead of walking, dumb idea.
       Keith texted me a few times to let me know hat he just got home and wanted to Skype. 'I'll skype you in a few minutes, Riley ditched me and her friend Kayla so we're walking home.'
'...what? It's 1 in the morning, Al'
'I know but we're not that far.'
'And out of the three guys that I saw yesterday, none walked you 2 home?'
'Two are drunk off their asses at some party and the other drove Riley home. So, no.'
'I'm kicking their asses when I get their.'
'*there      And don't, Steven isn't here to make sure you don't get arrested.'
"Alz, I think I know where we are." Kayla nudged me and I sighed with relief. There was a shattering sound and a dark voice cursed. We turned and saw a glass had fallen off a trash can. A dark figure came out from behind it and stared at us. Kayla's face suddenly turned to one of terror and we started sprinting in the right direction. We saw the lights in the house, they were still on. I was tripping as we crossed the street to get there, footsteps behind us. "Fucking run!" Kayla gasped and we made it to the door.
       The door was fucking locked so we began slamming our fists on the door in a panic, we caught a grey hoodie across the street though we couldn't see a face. "Open the damn door!" I shouted and it cracked open, it was Alex. We shoved the door wide open and then slammed it after. Kayla locked the door as we caught our breath. I found that I couldn't, I felt purely terrified, I could barely speak, this was a panic attack. "Alice, you ok?" Alex asked me as Kayla stormed upstairs to Riley's room to yell at her. "I-I-I c-c-can't breathe." My stuttering was horrible, you couldn't barely understand me.
"Mom!" Alex called after having me sit on the love seat next to the door. Aunt Diane came downstairs and was puzzled. "She says she can't breathe." She explained and Aunt Diane sat down next to me.
"Alice, sweetie, what's wrong?"
"P-p-p-p-" I stopped and look a little gasp of air- "p-panic." She knew what I meant and told me just to relax and breathe. I squeezed my eyes shut, little flashes of bad memories crossing my vision. She put a hand on my shoulder and I flinched. "Who the fuck was that guy?!" I could hear Kayla shouting out of anger and fright upstairs. I tugged on my hair a bit as my eyes darted around the room.
      'Did you get back safe? Text me.' Keith texted my phone. I still felt like I couldn't breathe at all. 'Got back, having a panic attack. What do I do?' I texted back shakily.
'Hell if I know, call me.' I did, clicking on the CALL button next to his contact and held the phone to my ear. "Hey, what's wrong?" He asked me.
"I-I-I-"
"Babe, you have to breathe."
"I-I can't."
"Do that counting thing you do all the time," He told me and I did, calming down a bit, "now what the fuck happened? You were fine a minute ago."
"I-I don't fucking know! We were walking and heard something break. Some guy came out of no-where, f-following us. It was fucking terrifying." I said, rubbing my eye.
"Just relax and breathe, babe."
"Ok, ok, I'm calm. I'm the definition of calm. My middle name is calm." I breathed.
"Uh huh, sure." He chuckled nervously as I came out of my panic attack, it lasted a good 15 minutes.
"You good?"
"Yeah, thanks." I half-smiled, I wasn't completely fine yet but I was certainly better than a moment ago. He said goodbye, hanging up then. I went upstairs and immediately took a shower, afterwards going to bed.
I woke up at around 3AM with a nightmare. I sighed and got up, I guess I'm not going back to sleep. I started wandering around aimlessly, I stepped sleepily downstairs and almost tripped over Luke who was laying on the carpet, Drew being on the armchair. I kicked him in the stomach, not enough to hurt him but you know what I mean, and he woke up startled. "Get out or go bother Riley in her room." I said, hovering over him with my hands on my knees. He blinked a few times before rolling over onto his stomach. I made myself a coffee in the kitchen before sitting on the couch and watching some TV while wrapped in my blanket.
At around 7AM this Saturday morning was when Aunt Diane woke up for work. "How are you feeling, sweetie?" She asked me with a pitying glance that got me annoyed.
"I'm fine, it happens sometimes. No big deal."
"What causes them?"
"Uhm, let's talk about that later. You're late." I said pointing to the clock. She had slept in 30 minutes. She began to rush around, losing her keys, phone, blazer, everything. I had to shove Drew off the armchair to get Aunt Diane's keys. I tossed them to her and she caught them before walking out the door. "You're going to get dressed soon?" She asked, looking at me and my exhausted form.
"Probably not. Do I need to?"
"Well I- oh never mind." she sighed before shutting the door. I leaned my head back onto the back of the couch and sighed. I rubbed my eyes a second before going on my phone. My phone was blown up with comments on Instagram and text messages from blocked numbers. The usual cruel ones except they were flooding my recent photo of me with Riley and her friends.
I heard footsteps on the stairs and I turned to see the girls drowsily stumbling down the stairs. "Al, what's with all these comments?" Amber asked me and I dismissed it with a shrug before getting up and walking into the kitchen.
"Dude, there are like a hundred comments, none of them are friendly in the slightest... One just called me a fugly slut!" Brianna gaped at her screen.
"I get... bullied a bit at home." I muttered reluctantly and they looked up at me like I was crazy.
"How are you so calm about this, this is insane!" Riley sat down by the island.
"I'm used to it I guess. I mean, sure it can be rough but everyone at my school is a snot nosed brat with a silver spoon in their mouth and I'm not." I shrugged and sipped my second cup of coffee. "I haven't even heard of some of these words." Ambers eyes were wide as she scanned them.
"What an hideous little slutty idiot, dating the biggest player and worst, scariest person on the planet... I take it your boyfriend that we saw isn't the best guy?" Riley questioned me and I thought for a moment. It would kind of depend. "As long as you don't piss him off then you're fine."
"Oh boy..."
"He isn't bad. At least he doesn't abandon people at parties causing them to have panic attacks on the walk home." I said with a pointed look at Riley.
"I'm sorry!" She groaned and ran her fingers down her face. They pressed on asking me questions. "Have you told anyone?"
"Why?"
"What'd you do to get this?"
"Can we just drop the conversation?!" I eventually snapped and they got quiet. I picked up my mug and went upstairs to try and lie down again. I felt like bawling my eyes out from frustration but I pushed the feeling down, I'm never one to cry like that unless its something serious. I looked at my phone. 'Bitch.'
'Slut'
'Better dead'
'Idiot'
'She has friends?'
'Who paid them? Lol' I sighed and tossed my phone onto the nightstand before burying myself under pillows and messy blankets. I tried to shut my eyes only to have upsetting memories flash behind my closed eyelids. Fan-fucking-tastic. I knew that Keith wasn't up yet so I wouldn't bother him, he's less of a morning person than me. That's saying something.
       A knock at the door startled me and the words "go away" formed immediately. The door opened and I saw Alex with the four girls. "Can I help you?" I asked with a little eye roll.
"We just wanted to make sure you were fine, and to make sure you didn't lock the door." Alex explained and I was puzzled.
"Why am I not allowed to lock the-" then my brain put together that Keith must've said not to let me lock the doors. "Overprotective, irritating little-" I cursed as I grabbed my phone to text Keith, asleep or not.
       Aunt Diane told Alex that I'm not allowed to lock doors which she was told to do by Keith, the only one who knows I lock the door when I'm upset or want to cut. "Why doesn't she want you locking your door?"
"Let's avoid that conversation please? My life isn't perfect, ok? My life has never been overflowing with happiness, that's all I'm saying for right now." I snapped and they just kind of looked at me. I blew a stray lock of hair from my face and leaned back. "Can you at least give us something?"
"I don't need any sympathy in my life, thank you. Now leave me alone, take Drew and Luke home or something." I dismissed and hid back under my blanket. They left the room, leaving the door wide open. I left it there since I was too lazy to close it.

       I eventually just got pissed off that I couldn't sleep and got up again around 8:30AM. I was in a demonic mood. Luke and Drew had woken up and were pretty much walking into the walls from their hangovers. "My ribs hurt..." Luke whined as he sprawled across the couch. Oops. Alex asked if I wanted to go get my hair done with her, she had an appointment in the next hour. I shrugged before going back upstairs to get dressed. I slipped on a black Tshirt and greenish grey cargo pants.
      I sat in the passenger seat of Alex's car. "So, how's college?" I asked as I looked for a good station.
"It's pretty good, people are so much nicer and parties are so much better." She told me and I found myself somewhat relieved. Maybe I can have some decent friends in college. Just maybe. I twisted the knob to search for something and almost missed a Green Day song. I turned up the volume and crossed my arms behind my head. "So why aren't you allowed to lock any doors? You can tell me, I won't squeal anything to my mom."
"Yeah, you will. If you knew. I'll tell you after my birthday, so I'm no longer required to do anything she says." I replied with a crooked smile.
"How bad?"
"Quite."
"You poor kid..." She said to herself under her breath. I decided that I had some questions of my own. "So, how was my boyfriend's step brother?" I asked her with a smirk and she looked at me puzzled.
"Your little fuck buddy, Zach, he's Keith's stepbrother."
"No..."
"Yep."
"Oh dear lord." She covered her mouth with one hand and I began to laugh.
      She parked the car and we got out, walking down the boulevard to a salon. A bell rang above our head as we opened the door and shut it. "Hey, Al. What are we doing today?" We were greeted by a twenty-something year old girl with blonde hair that faded to lilac purple ombré. It was so fucking pretty! "Just some highlights and a snip." Alex said and the girl nodded. Alex's hair was a dark brown with red highlights that were usually pretty light during summer but I guess they are still dark from a stormy spring. "Hey, nice to meet you. I'm Cassie. Are you here with Alexis?" I nodded. Alex rolled her eyes at the sound of her whole first name.
"Yeah, she dragged me here. I'm Alice."
"I'm sure we can squeeze you in, c'mon." She invited for us to sit down.

-Aunt Diane's PoV-
I had a great surprise for Alice, someone I think she'd enjoy to see after the few weeks of being here. I left work early to go to the train station where he should be getting off soon. "Bye, Donna." I waved to my friend who sat in her cubical boredly.
"See you soon, Di." I soon passed my boss/ex-husband's office and gave a slight nod to him as he left his office. I was married to Leonard for about 10 years until our marriage crashed and burned  2 years ago. It's been very hard working for him since we don't get along but I do it because he still pays well and the girls get to see their father.
My best friend had died right before my wedding day, almost like a bad omen. I felt horrible, not being there for her as she went through chemo and radiation by herself since Richard was always so busy raising Alice. He always had a smoking and drinking problem, Alice was so depressed by her mother's illness and death that she blamed him. She always would fight with him saying that it's his fault, it was his smoking that gave her lung cancer. Though it may have been a factor, it must've taken a toll on him. I've noticed the girl's wrists and I plan to bring them up later once she gets more settled.
I finally found my way to the train station after much traffic. I could see him from where I stood in the entrance. He smiled and got into the car. We drove back home and sat down for some coffee. His hands were shaking a bit and he looked slightly sick but I didn't pry for answers. He's never been a big talker. "So... How's everything back in at home?" I asked.
"Well, it's Maywood. Nothing has changed. You got your gangs on one side of town and your rich prudes on the other. And then me who doesn't fit on either side." He joked with me and I laughed. I heard keys jingle and Alex walked in. Alice walked in soon after, a third of her hair was blue to my shock. She was smiling at her phone but all happiness and color soon faded from her face as she peered up to me and him. She spoke in a small, terrified tone as he looked her in the eye, "D-D-Dad?"

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