Chapter 53

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The remainder of my weekend had been depressing to say the very least. I had ended up spending the rest of it in my room away from everyone. I felt completely lost.

It felt that over the course of a week, I had managed to push a proportion of family members away from me, and completely dreaded to think of how many I would push away in the near future.

After the incident at the barbecue I didn't even think that any of the guys were interested in talking to me anymore.

Waking up on Monday morning for school felt different - it was almost as though the moment of complete ignorance that I would experience just after I woke was completely plagued by everything. I knew I would never be able to get away from it.

I knew that I was completely stuck I my situation.

School was a complete blessing as I walked through the doors and into the building. I had ended up walking, and considering it was nearing Christmas it was freezing.

I knew that the chances were I'd run into Midge and her friends somewhere, but I told myself that I wouldn't acknowledge it if it did happen.

I was slowly making my way to my locker when I was pulled over. I didn't look up at first to see who it was that grabbed my arm and pulled me over, but really I should have just assumed.

I looked up lethargically to see Jade and Alex smiling at me.

"Hungover were we?" Jade laughed as I wearily smiled at them. "You still seem a little..."

"Argument with my dad" I shrugged.

They both nodded in acknowledgement as they exchanged glances. "You don't need family. At the end of the day, you've got us."

I tried to smile wider as they continued to talk.

I sort of tuned out to what they were saying as the conversation descended into something rather shallow, but as the bell rang and they continued to talk, I began to realise that we probably weren't going to class.

Jade smiled at me as Alex grabbed hold of my arm again, steering me in a complete alternative direction to that of my home room class.

She began to look down at her phone and text someone, only to alter the angle of it as she realised I was looking down at the screen.

"We don't usually do Mondays in this place" Jade explained with a causal shrug. "The teachers don't usually notice anymore either. And if they do, they just pretend they didn't."

"Uh...where are we going?" I asked, attempting to hide my caution.

"Chill out" she laughed "we always go to the mall. Never get caught."

I nodded, wondering how we were actually going to get there.

"Alex's cousin is picking us up. You ever need a ride? Just give him a call."

I nodded, making a mental note that I would never actually do that. I think deep down, I was a little wary of them...especially the people that they introduced me to.

As Jade continued to ramble on, and I continued to nod, Alex announced that her cousin was in the parking lot and that we had to make our way out before anybody saw us.

We crept past all of the classrooms, causally walking down the hallway as though we were simply making our way to class. As we neared the end of the long hallway, we began to pick up our paces and relax a little more.

Although, as soon as I saw Alex's cousin and his car, I could do anything but relax. It was run down, rusting over and emitting a concerning screech from its engine.

"Don't worry" Jade giggled "we'll be there soon enough."

I nodded as we approached the car and were urged to "get in the fucking car in under thirty seconds."

Being the last person to get in, I felt somewhat pressurised by the harsh glare from the rear view mirror that was directly aimed at me.

I shifted uncomfortably as I put my seatbelt on - being the only one in the car to actually do so. Her cousin pulled away with quick timing, steering relentlessly around all of the parked cars until we got out of the premises.

He turned the radio up - unfortunately for me blasting Critical Acclaim through the speakers. The last thing I wanted to hear was my dads voice, and I was going to have to endure a car ride to it.

***

After arriving at the mall, we were pushed out of the car.

I didn't even have the chance to shut the door properly and turn around before He sped off out of the parking lot, running the red light as he did so. I actually began to wonder how he had managed to keep his driving licence for so long.

We walked through as though they knew exactly where they were going. Thankfully not drawing much attention to ourselves as we continued to walk.

I trailed behind slightly as they led me around. I knew that if my dad knew where I was and what I was doing, I'd actually be dead. My mum on the other hand, I didn't think would be that bothered in the slightest.

They began to slow down as we approached the movie theatre and they soon diverged from their straight line of walking and went off into the video arcade where they proceeded to sit on a bench.

Considering it was a Monday, there was quite a few teenagers hanging around. I hoped to God that Alex and Jade didn't know any of them.

"You're quiet, Charlotte" Alex observed as I continued to look around. "Whats up?"

"Family shit" I shrugged, hoping that there would be no more follow up questions.

"Midge?"

"Partly."

"You wanna tell us?"

I looked between them awkwardly. I didn't particularly want to, but knew that their powers of coercion were immaculate and that I'd eventually tell them regardless.

"We just fought" I shrugged. "And everyone else took her side."

"Family" Jade sighed, shaking her head. "They suck. Seriously, don't bother with them. Your mom seems okay from what I've heard from you."

"From me?"

"We heard shit from that cousin of yours" Jade shrugged. "Midge or whatever her name is."

"What kind of shit?"

"Just shit, you know. But it was your Uncle Brian I couldn't stand. He was intrusive and constantly wanted to know where we'd be taking Midge. Ugh. You're so unlucky to be related to them."

"Tell me something I don't know" I sighed, trying to hide the cracks in my voice.

"On the bright side, there's another party this weekend. You'll be coming I assume? The guys all really liked you."

I nodded, somewhat enthusiastically. That was the first time in a long time that somebody actually told me that they liked me. It actually felt pretty good.

I knew they could be trouble, but I figured that I was sensible and I could stop myself from getting into all manner of shit. I could look after myself, and I would.

I was actually beginning to feel like I was wanted for once, and that I actually belonged somewhere.

And then, after that revelation, I resolved to actually try with them, considering they were the only ones who wanted to try with me.

I decided then and there that I'd actually open up to them and stop wallowing over my awful family. After all, I was no longer alone.

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