Twenty Six

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Aden
I tried to text April after lunch. The chances of her texting me back were low but I needed to hear from her. I spent most of biology worrying if she was okay. I couldn't get that frightened look out of my head.

Jamal was my least favorite person and maybe what happened to him was karma finally coming to bite him in the butt, but I could be happy over something that caused April so much distress.

I wasn't even sure what happened to him. What Keith had said when he came to get April had been on the vague side of life.

I made my way to the cafe but I wasn't feeling very hungry. If April had been here we would have ate together. We would have sat somewhere sunny and I'd watch her smile as we sat an ate. It had been so perfect in my head but I never got to see if reality lived up to expectation.

I walked into the cafe and sat down at my old table. Not two seconds after I sat down Dashawn appear in front of my table.

"Yo, dude can I sit with you?" He asked.

"Go right a head. The seats empty."

Dashawn put his plate down and sat across from me.

"I heard about what happened with April." Dashawn said after taking two bites of his sandwich.

"Yeah her brother in the hospital." I say.

"Sucks. I mean it's good that he's not here to harass you but it sucks that April's upset."

"Yeah. It does." I say because I'm not really sure what else there is to say. I hated Jamal. My mind was already working on several different ways to take him down.

It was because of him I had to deal with my mom this morning. She'd freaked out worse then I expected. She'd even talked about sending me back to my father were the schools were supposedly safer. Michael was the only one who could calm her down.

The worst part had been when I was leaving I could hear her tearful voice asking Michael if she was a bad parent. She blamed herself for what had happened. So yeah as far as Jamal goes I could care less if he got hit by a train. I just hated that April had to be collateral damage.

"Where's Regina?" I asked, Dashawn.

He looks down at his plate. "Today wasn't one of her good days and she has her own way of dealing with problems."

"Is she okay? I mean she seemed a little off when I talked to her."

"Yeah she good. Regina just has a lot of stuff she's working through. It might seem like she's a b!tch at times but that's because she's afraid to let people in."

I nod. I could kind of sense that walled up feeling from Regina today.

"We got into an argument today. I don't think she likes me much anymore." I say because it's the truth. I don't regret sticking up for April but I could see Regina was hurting.

"Nah, she likes you, trust me. She just needs some time to herself."

"I just don't understand what she has against April."

"You know she use to be a cheerleader."

My eyes widen. The fact that the word cheerleader and Regina's name could be used in the same sentence was shocking enough. I try to picture her smiling brightly and doing the peppy cheers. I can't. No way is that possible.

"It's true." Dashawn said. "First semester freshman year. Her and Nicky tried out together. Regina was first pick and Nicky was a substitute."

"So what happened?"

"That part of the story is Regina's to tell not mine. The point of the story is that Regina use to be a lot like April. She was a bubbly sweet girl. I think some times Regina looks at April and sees her past self. She hates that April hangs around the popular kids because thats what she use to do before they showed their true colors."

I sit back and think about what Dashawn said. I don't know what happened between first semester freshman year and now but it could not have been good. He said she use to be like April. I can't imagine what would make someone change that drastically.

People really will surprise you. Dashawn and I talk for the rest of lunch. We move the conversation to a similar topic and discuss comic books and music. Neither of us say anything important and when the lunch bell rings I feel more that a little drained.

I say goodbye to Dashawn and continue with the rest of my classes. By the end of the day I'm more than ready to return home to my comfortable bed.

I pull out my phone preparing to text April before I get in my car but it rings before I can start the text. Dad's name lights up my scream. I feel a little wave of panic wash over me as I slide to answer it.

"Hello." I say into the phone.

"Come to my house." My father's voice orders from the other end.

"Dad I-"

"Now, Aden."

My hand grips onto the phone. My father thinks that he can order everyone around. He talks to grown men like they're children. I pretty sure his cook has been tempted to spit in his food every now and then.

"Dad I can't. I'm busy." I say finishing of my earlier statement.

"Busy getting your ass handed to you in which ever ghetto your mother decided to shack up in."

"You mean after you cheated on her and moved a whole other family into our house."

I hated how he looked down on my mothers financial situation. He'd cheated on her but she hadn't asked for any of his money. Mom always said that after she found out all she wanted was for her loveless marriage to be over.

"Aden I don't have time to argue. Either you come here or I send someone after you." He said before hanging up.

I glare down at my phone. Looks like my day is going from bad to worse.

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