Chapter Ten

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I ran away from the door to pretend like I wasn't listening to Jelissa's conversation with that guy outside. Whoever he was he was cute. And more importantly he got a smile out of Jelissa. "Don't act like your ear wasn't just pressed against the door." Jelissa said walking in the house and giving me a mean side-eye.

"Where you been anyway? You can't come home or pick up the phone, huh?" She asked walking up the stairs to her room and I followed, "If you must know, I've spent some time at Keenan's. Me and Angela had a little spat." She shrugged, "I figured that much." She threw her school shoes across the room and spread out on the bed. I sat beside her and held her head in my lap. "Who was that guy?" I asked. "August. Nessie when am I off punishment?"

"Oh missy you've got a few days left." I ran my fingers through her hair, "A few? Like three? Our audition is in two days, can't you just be the sweet big sister you are and help me out please?" I shook my head and furrowed my brow, "Unfortunately not, but two days? Daddy's and Angela's anniversary is in two days?" "Disgusting, don't remind me." I chuckled, "Well you know per ushe I won't be around for the festivities and daddy and that... woman will be preoccupied." I stood up and made my way towards the door as Jelissa gasped and sat up, "Wait so are you saying no one will be home? I can sneak out to my audition?" Her face lit up, "I have no idea what you're talking about." I walked out of the room as Jelissa fell back on her bed with a smile on her face.

Halfway down the hallway I ran into Angela and I dreaded this encounter since I stepped foot back into this house. "Hello mother," I spoke dryly and she held her hand up, "I just have one question. Why are you so hung up on that girl's happiness? You just barely have your own." I bit my tongue, "Because you took mine from me and I won't let that happen to her. She deserves a fair chance." Angela looked taken back, "I took nothing from you, you relinquished your own happiness. Children who are out of control have consequences to face," I shook my head, "The only thing out of control in this house is you." I walked down the stairs and to my room.

Next Morning

"Mama... Mama wake up." I gently shook my mom's arm and she woke from her slumber, "It's time for your medicine." She sat up in her bed and took her pills from me and I left the room to get ready for school. I pulled back the sheets that were doubling for curtains on the window to let some light into my dark room and started dressing in the mirror singing some melodies that had popped up in my head.

"August!" My mom called and I went to bedroom and kneeled beside her bed that was laying on the floor, "Ma'am?" I asked. "The least you can do, is make some money today," She coughed and handed me a now empty water bottle. "Mama you wanted me out the street's 'member? Besides I think I'm close to a deal and then we can get up outta here and get you some healthcare and better medicine."

"Did you understand what I just said?" She asked as held held me by the face, "Mama when I was hustlin' back in New Orleans the cops was on my ass." "Yeah well we wasn't living like this in New Orleans was we?" She asked and let go of my face and I stood up, "August you been singing since you was a baby. But that ain't gone getchu no money to take care of yo mama. Go out there and make use of yourself." I finished dressing for school and left the house angry.

Thinking about life in New Orleans was the easiest way to get my blood boiling. Our living situation was better, but my life was worse. My brother died, my pops was a crackhead, and all I had to show for it was the little bit of money I had to take care of moms. I wasn't living for me, but for everyone around me. And it seemed like they were all getting dropped off one by one and now my mama is all I got left.

She was sick for a long time and no one knew why. After four misdiagnosis and rapid deterioration, the doctors finally concluded that she had lupus. I wasn't sure if it was her sickness, or just losing hope, but after getting sick and moving up here my mama changed.

Approaching the school I plugged in my earbuds and entered, headed straight to my locker, and zoned everyone out. I stood there for a second looking at my roster when someone shut my locker. I pulled my headphones out looking up to see Jelissa standing there smiling. "You aren't following us like a puppy today, something must be wrong," She chuckled and I cracked a grin.

"Nah, I'm good," I said swinging my bookbag over my shoulder walking towards the auditorium with Jelissa for an assembly. "Oh well I wanted to tell you, I've got a way to get to my audition tomorrow. My parents are gonna be out and my sister won't be home. I can go and make it home and they wouldn't even notice. " I smiled, "That's really great. You should come to the stu with me after school if you can." She raised a brow, "That sounds nice but, I gotta rehearse with the girls. Maybe another time." I nodded, "Oh right. Well y'all gone murk that audition." I told her as we took a seat by her friends and I got to thinking about what my mom said earlier.

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