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"Uh, I...sure, you can use the car," Brad looks over at Erin on the couch as they watch some children show with Chester. Erin looks up from her magazine with a look of disbelief, "Uh, where are you going to go?" 

The TV lets out some loud sound behind Gaige, "I'm taking a girl to the library so she leaves me alone in class," Then he shifts his weight between his feet, weighting for directions to Brad's keys. 

"To study?" Erin bounces in, holding her place in the magazine with her finger, "With who? Where are you to going? How late are you staying out?"

Of course, Erin didn't like the idea of Gaige going out at night in the town one day after his school suspension had ended. He was still technically grounded for another two weeks, but Gaige didn't do anything that the grounding held him back from. Although Erin and Brad had tried to take his phone but Gaige had slipped out of that one because technically it was still on his mothers plan therefore not under Brad or Erin's authority.

The Peterson siblings had been at their dad's the week Gaige punch Dennis Hay in the eye for refusing to not say 'retard' and 'faggot' in class, so they didn't get to bother him about his trouble. But today when they got home, they eyed Gaige with smirks and knowing smiles. Milton even bothered to whisper to Gaige how he had gained popularity at school from his little stunt. But it was short lived until he came back to school and everyone was on him about why he did what he did. Not that Gaige answered. 

In the four day suspension, Gaige's mom called and left texts that ruined the boy more.  Reminding him why he was at his fathers. Reminding him what a punch could do if he were in prison. Asking Gaige why he had become like this. She had asked him that before he climbed on the plane to Michigan too. He asked himself that as he sliced his hips with half a pair of scissors he found in his desk and broke. He asked himself that as he ran around the block until his lungs burned, starved himself for days until he threw up pure stomach acid and farther. 

And he'd be stuck there as he had been or a year or two -in the 'why am I like this' frame of mind. Picking his pile of bones off his bed in the morning, wiping his blood off the blade of the scissors, sinking into the grave in the ground. 

But now, here he was lying to his guardians to use the car to go pick up Alexia to go to the little movie theater for the 'hang out' Alexia had been planning since they first met. He truly was doing it so maybe she'd leave him alone. But also because he was bored and desperate to get out of the house. 

Gaige blinked at Erin, before turning his attention back his father, "I'll be quiet and back before midnight. May I have the keys?" 

"Whys should we let you go?" Erin was still jumping the conversation when Gaige just wanted to get the fuck out and pick Alexia up on time.

Gaige sighed, "I thought good grades were the equivalent of parental love in this house?" Erin blinked and Chester giggled at some dumb thing on the TV.

"Uh, the keys are in the bowl in the mudroom. The keychain with the blue carabiner on it," Gaige nodded and finally left the house. 

Alexia ran out the dark house with bright lights before Gaige even turned the car off which was an extreme relief to him. He closed his eyes as she pulled opent he passenger door with a squeal of a hello.

"Hey! Nice car," She shut the door and the lights inside shut off so he could only see her in the small neon blue ones in the dashboard.

"Dad's," He pulled away from her curb, "You're in charge of getting us there."

She looked at him and giggled, pushing some of her expertly curled hair away, "Oh okay. Take a right when we get to Washington," The radio played some overused pop song lowly, "I hope it isn't busy. You know, since it's a Tuesday."

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