Chapter 54

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I walked home from the mall that afternoon, timing it just right so that I would make it home for the usual time and my mum and Derrick wouldn’t suspect a thing. On the way, I kept on thinking about how Alex and Jade had made me feel – how they’d made me feel like I actually belonged somewhere.

I couldn’t help but smile at the thought that somebody finally cared about me, and no matter how reckless the two of them actually were, I wasn’t the slightest bit bothered.

As I turned the corner to walk into the neighbourhood, my heart almost completely sank as I saw that my Aunt Michelle and Uncle Brian’s car was parked outside of the house. I hoped that Midge wasn’t there, and I hoped that Brian wasn’t, but, down to my luck, they both obviously were.

Lethargically, my two crutches dragged along the sidewalk until I reached the house, and I proceeded to slowly limp down the driveway and to the front door, letting myself into the house with a slam of the door so that they knew I was home.

I could hear laughter coming from the living room, and so knew where exactly everyone was.

I dumped my bag down by the door and walked through, opening the door to be greeted by identical smiles of my mum and Aunt Michelle. Considering all of the drama, everything seemed so normal. They both seemed so happy.

Well, it all seemed normal until I fully stepped into the room and saw Midge and my Uncle Brian – the two of them slumped in the furthest corner of the sofa, staring mindlessly at the television.

Brian’s arms were folded tightly and Midge began to tap away on her phone.

I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for them – Brian especially – because I knew that they were completely caught up in all of it and couldn’t possibly choose sides because either way, they’d piss somebody off.

“Good day at school?” my mum asked with a grin which caused Midge to snap her head immediately in my direction, glaring at me because we both knew that I hadn’t actually gone to school that day.

“Mhmm” I nodded as I closed the door behind me, trying not to meet Midges gaze and instead watch her peripherally as she continued to glare.

She continued to smile as I saw Midge turn her head back to whatever it was she’d been doing, before my Uncle Brian turned to her and the began to talk about something – me, probably.

“Well,” my mum added, “everyone’s staying for dinner, so sit down and make yourself comfortable.”

I looked around the living room – the only spare seat on any of the sofas being the one next to Brian and Midge. I knew that I couldn’t refuse to sit next to them, and so I walked over, slowly sitting myself down on the sofa.

Surprisingly, Brian turned to me, smiling and asking me if I needed any more room because he and Midge were sprawled out a lot. I shook my head and began to awkwardly stare forward in deep thought.

It was strange to think that, at that time the previous year, my dad would have been there instead of Derrick, and they would have been happy. There would have been no awkward silences and no lack of conversation.

But, since I had arrived, there had been and it was most likely my fault.

“So what were you two up to today then?” Brian sighed as he slumped back on the sofa so that he wasn’t obstructing Midge and I from seeing one another.

She shrugged. “Ask Charlotte.”

Brian looked at me, smiling and ready to listen to what I had to say. But of course, both Midge and I knew that I didn’t know what to say because I hadn’t actually been there. It seemed that she would have rather liked it if I had been caught out.

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