Hate Me

After a shocking experience in his past, sixteen year old Christian Rothschild is left with twin babies: Clarice and Jacob - their mother Amber long out of the picture. Twenty-six year old art teacher Alex Archer is a divorcee left alone with his four year old Elijah. His life has long since been happy.
What happens when these two meet at a single parent's club? And even more, what happens with Christian goes home with Alex?
Can Alex get over his homophobia, and keep afloat with all he's got on his plate? And can Christian keep their relationship secret, when he is on the rise to fame?

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5. Alexander

I pulled my beanie over my head. “It’s getting colder, isn’t it?” I remarked to Elijah as I held his hand tightly. He remained silent, holding his t-rex plushie he’d had since birth. He loved dinosaurs. “Does he have a name?” I asked, trying to get my baby to open up a bit. “Tyrannosaurus rex.” He mumbled quietly. This kind of dribble of conversation was normal for us; but only now did I see how abnormal it actually was.

Eventually we reached the hall where we spent a usual Tuesday evening. We walked in, and I followed on as Eli wandered to the usual spot where he played by himself. I watched him, recognizing all of the other single parents and their children. Including the new parent as he walked in with his two children clinging close to him. Christian. He locked eye contact with me for a moment and found his way over to me slowly, allowing plenty of time for his two babies to toddle slowly along beside him, I smiled as he sat down with the two of them, getting their interest in some toys beside my son. It was a quiet hall filled with things our children could play with, whilst we, the single parents, could talk to one another whilst still keeping an eye on them. I watched Christian interacting with his two, observing the ways he hugged them, or kissed them, and the small affectionate touches only a parent gives their child. I thought of when I first saw Christian. He was a child himself then, so innocent – eleven years old - but in a short span of five years, nobody saw him as innocent anymore. They only saw what he’d done, and what had happened to him. I watched him and couldn’t match up his actions with the smiling, happy young father bellow me. A mere child himself, raising two of his own. I watched again as his two giggled and screeched with happiness, how close they were to him. I felt suddenly envious of how I had never been able to hold Elijah like that. He was four, and he was already so distant from me.

Emma, the mother of a little girl a little older than Elijah, stood next to me. “You’re looking at that boy like he’s just murdered your mother. What’s wrong?” She asked, and I glanced at her.

“Poor choice of words considering who that boy is, don’t you think?” I retorted, and she stared at the boy a bit more. “Is that…?” Her voice trailed off, but I knew what she meant. I nodded.

“What is he doing here? He shouldn’t be allowed somewhere like this.”

“It’s not like he’s dangerous.” I muttered, and she sighed, dropping the subject.

“But seriously Alex – I’ve known you for a long time - Mille too. She told me you two were fighting over Eli again. Want to tell me about it?” She pried, and I sighed.

“I’m angry.” I began, looking at my ex-wife’s best friend. I liked Emma a lot – she’d been a friend to both of us through the divorce, and it was probably her that kept me and Millie on speaking terms. I’d known her since middle school, and she had a way of getting me to open up. “Why?” She asked,

“Because of Millie.” I told her, and Emma nodded, keeping one eye on her daughter.

“What did she do?” She probed, and I sighed.

“She was right about Eli.” I hissed, and she frowned.

“Right about what?”

“She was right about Eli having autism.” I breathed out. “And I’m pissed that she saw it, and I didn’t.” I added, saving her the trouble of asking. Emma put her hand on my shoulder, looking into my face. I kept watching Elijah go through his familiar acts of playing. Even they were mechanical. I glanced at Christian again. “It’s not that kid’s fault.” She told me, noticing.

“Yeah, but he gets to hold his kids and I can’t hold mine.” I spat, and she sighed, tapping another mum on the shoulder. “Could you watch Elijah and Tamara for us?” She politely inquired, and once the mother nodded, she dragged me out of the main hall and into the bathroom.

“What?” I snapped at her, and she crossed her arms.

“Are you hurting yourself?” She suddenly snapped, and I stared at her. She repeated herself, and then added, “Are you smoking again? Cutting?” She paused again, before adding, “Using again?” I glared at her, “what does this have to do wi-”

“This has everything to do with Elijah’s autism, and you know it. Every time something goes wrong, you slip into these…these episodes. You start doing all this things under the influence of them, and you need to stop it.” She said harshly. “Eli’s still a baby. He still needs his parents. Both of them. I’m aware you can’t help yourself when you’re in these states, but you can help yourself by not smoking, or drinking, or cutting, or….getting high.” She licked her lips. “Eli’s not very social, but so what? He still loves you reading him stories, he still holds that toy you gave him, Every time you get into these states and lose touch with reality, he gets taken out of routine, and dropped at Millie’s until you recover. You have no idea how freaked out he gets.” She told me, and moved herself a little closer. “Millie left you…because of this, but she left Eli because she knows you would never do anything to hurt him. But she gets scares that sometimes you hurt him more by being like this.” She told me, and I stared at her in disbelief. “But I’m okay.” I said, more to myself than her. “I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m fine.” I repeated, and she smiled sadly.

“Alex, I don’t think you are.” She whispered, and I started shaking. I pulled my hat off, raking my hands through my hair. She put her arms around me, but I was already crying. “I think you should call the nurse when you two get home.” Emma advised, “Before you get worse.” I nodded, and laughed nervously.

As I was cleaning myself up from my hysteria, a man came bursting through the door, surprised to see Emma there. It was the men’s bathroom, after all. “Uh…sorry, I thought this was…I’ll just.” I knew the man thought Emma was in there to do me some sexual favour, but at that point, I no longer really cared. “No, it’s fine, we were just leaving.” I said coldly, shoving passed him to get back to Elijah.

________

 

I sat across from the nurse, glancing at my son in the corner. “Has Wick shown up?” She asked suddenly, after there had been a long and quiet pause. I looked up quickly, before returning my stare on Eli. I licked my lips. “No,” I said, my voice weak. Lost. I almost didn’t recognise it as my own. “No, he hasn‘t yet.” I answered. I felt over exposed in the vest she’d made me wear. She wanted to inspect what I’d done to myself – to make sure the cuts weren’t infected, at least.  She sighed, “Alex…I’m at a loss for what we should do. I know you don’t take your medication. I can’t make you. You know what will happen if you don’t – I don’t need to say it. To be honest with you, I think you should be hospitalised. They’re the ones who can help you back up, and stop you from hurting yourself – or anyone else. Unless you do take your medication, I would strongly encourage you to admit yourself.” I rested my cheek on my hand.

“Do you think I’m a danger?” I asked, tapping my foot. She nodded.

“I’d like to hold you until I know you’re not going to have an episode.” I sighed, rubbing my face with my hands. Elijah watched me. “Going away?” He simple asked. Even though Eli may be socially inept, I could still see how much it hurt him when I nodded at him.

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