Twenty

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Aden
I'm laying in bed with my light turned off when I hear someone knock at the door.

"Aden honey? Are you okay? We haven't seen you all day." Mom says from the other side of the door.

"I'm good mom. Just a little tired." I answer back.

"I told you not to stay up so late studying. You stress your body out when you do that."

"I'll try to remember that next time."

She lets out as sigh. "Alright well try to take it easy."

"Will do."

She hesitates a moment longer at the door but after a few seconds I hear her footsteps as she walks away. I let out a sigh and drop my head back.

If she saw me now she'd probably throw a fit. I'd cleaned up most of the blood but at leas sixty precent of my body is covered with bruises. I popped a few pain killers but I might as well have taking tick tacks with the way my body is feeling.

I'm still not sure what I was thinking when I challenged Jamal towards the end. If Dashawn didn't come around when he did I'm pretty sure he would have killed me.

Jamal will probably still kill me if I go back to school. Something like this would have never happened at my old school. Private school still has bullies of course but it's usually the rich picking on the poor. As much as I hate it my last name allowed me certain privileges.

I could always go back there. My father would gladly accept me back into his home if only to rub it in my mothers face. But I hated it there too.  People were only nice to me because they knew who my father was. Whenever a girl got close to me the first thing she saw was my status. They knew that if they married a Harris they were pretty much set for life.

Plus moving back would mean having to deal with my fathers wife and her annoying son.

I close my eyes. I'm so tired of this. No matter where I go I can't ever find a place to belong. For a second I thought I'd finally found a place to belong to with April, Regina, and Dashawn but that whole thing had gone up in flames today.

My phone buzzes. I reach down in my pocket to look at it. Aprils name lights up my screen. I sigh and put the phone down without looking at it.

I don't have the energy to deal with anymore Robinson drama today.  My phone buzzes again but I don't even bother checking it. I close my eyes again. After a few minutes I drift off to sleep.

When I wake up almost a whole day has passed. I make the mistake of trying to sit up. The pain I felt yesterday is nothing compared to what I feel today. My entire body radiates with pain.

I take a deep breath trying to fight off the pain. The second time I try to sit up it is a much slower movement. My vision is unfocused and my head pounds. I reach for my glasses.

They were cracked yesterday during the fight but I didn't have time to locate the second pair.

My parents are probably off at work. They both usually leave out before me so they wouldn't notice if I stayed home. Today is the first day I take advantage of that fact. 

I force myself to stand. I need to eat and probably take some more pain killers.

Once I get back from the bathroom I notice my phone is buzzing. I pick it up and look at it. The screen says I have six messages from April and one from a random number. I open them up and read them.

April: Aden?
April: are u still mad at me? I really didn't mean it. I'm so sorry
April: where were you today.
April: Are you okay?
April: Dashawn told me something happened to you yesterday day, but he wouldn't say what.  Did my brother do something? Please text me.
April: I just want to know if ur okay.

(327)579-8762: Yo Aden. This Dashawn. April wanted me to txt u n see if u ok. She freaking out over here. She thinks u avoiding her messages... Are u ok dude?

I look at the time. Dashawn texted me a little over five minutes ago. I text him back.

Aden: Don't tell April what happened. I don't want her getting involved. I'm good just a little sore but thanks for asking.
(327)579-8762: alright man. Txt me if it gets too bad. Ur girl go kill me if u die on me.

I read over Dashawn's message. I don't know what to think about the 'my girl' thing. April definitely isn't my girl.

I go back to the messages. She does seem genuinely worried about me. I feel kind of bad. The first two messages were sent yesterday. She probably worked herself into a panic because of my lack of response.  

I sigh before texting her back.

Aden: I'm okay. Just feeling a little sick.

Seconds after I press send my phone buzzes.

April: Oh... I guess it's a good thing ur not hurt. Did u take some medicine?
Aden: Yeah
April: oh okay...
April: are we still on for this weekend?

I look over at the mirror. My lip is scared and there's still swelling around my face. April would take one look at me and know that my story was a lie.

Aden: It might be better if we just make a google doc. I don't want to get you sick.
April: Ok...

I sigh. She probably thinks I'm still avoiding her but I didn't want her to see me. I put my phone down and fall back against my bed.  I should really let this friendship with April go. I knew from the start being with her would only cause me pain.  So why haven't I?

I think back to the day in the car when she cried. It was the first time I saw the crack in the happy girl armer. That's the reason why I couldn't just let her go. I knew Regina was wrong. There was a lot more to April then she let on.

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