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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10. Christian

Ruan leaned back on his chair, resting his head on my desk, grinning up at me. Somehow, his train-track braces made the smile strangely endearing. “What do you want, Dobby?” I asked him, cocking my head. Since entering the class, I’d taken note of the fact that everyone called him Dobby – a nickname that derived from his surname: Dobbs. He frowned, leaned back up, and twisted his chair around so he could face me. “I would’ve thought at least one of my friends wouldn’t call me that…” He muttered, sorting out his hair. I shrugged. “Catches fast; Blame your dad for giving you that ridiculous surname.” I countered, and he smiled sadly.

“My father that abandoned me, my sister and my mum with hardly any money whilst he went off to marry some slattern he’d met. Yeah, I’ll add it to the reasons I need to kick him in the balls for.” He snapped, and I shrunk back into my seat a little. He noticed, and his glare turned apologetic. “I didn’t mean to snap at you.” He said, looking down. I chuckled sadly.

“It’s okay. I’m, err, actually used to being shouted at. It’s a very big relief when no one hits me.” I admitted, and he just stared at me. “Cathleen always talked about you. When I moved onto her road four years ago, she always talked about you. Then when…when you came back, and everyone else looked at you with fear, she was never disgusted with you. She still spoke kindly – saying how you were getting over your stutter, and stuff like that.” He told me, and I licked my lips.

“Everyone knows what I did, don’t they?” I asked sombrely, eyes on the table.

“When you…did what you did – that’s all anyone ever talked about. Everyone seemed to forget about what you’d gone through.” He told me honestly.

“Do you think everyone’s scared of me?” I queried quietly. He paused, and looked at me sadly.
“Chris, what makes you think-”

“You don’t need to lie to me, Ruan.” I told him sternly, looking up at him. His eyes had a defeated look in them, and he sighed. “This is a simple town, Chris. Everyone in this classroom is a teenager. You can’t expect teenagers to have the mental capability to…deal with things like this. Nothing ever happens here – the people here just aren’t used to big cases and crimes like this.”

“So yes?” I asked, itching my arm. He chewed his lip, running his hands through his hair.

“Why are you doing this to me, Chris?” He questioned, glaring at me.

“I just want to know if there’s any point in me being at school if all I do is scare the people around me.” I told him, and he looked at me with confusion clear on his face.

“You’re in school for you’re a-levels. Who gives a shit about whether anyone likes you? You have me, you have Cathy, and you have your kids and your family. Why do you care what anyone else thinks about you?” He asked, and I chuckled.

I give a shit what people think of me.” I told him, staring at him. “Not just for the sake of me. I care about what people think about me – because of my family, and my friends.” I told him, and he knitted his brow. “I don’t follow.” He admitted, and I ran my hands through my hair.

“This town is where we live now. It’s where my dad has lived since the divorce with my mother. I don’t want him to have to move, because of having a difficult time because of what I did. Marie doesn’t have to help me with my children. She could have sent me on my way to make my own way in the world. And my little brother…my little brother is eleven years old. He had nothing to do with anything I did. But kids in his class won’t leave him alone. Because of me. Because of what I did. It’s my fault that my father’s work colleagues keep their distant from him. It’s my fault Marie is isolated from her friends. It’s my fault Max is outcast. And I don’t want the same to happen with Cathleen and you.” I swallowed, and looked down. “I don’t want Clarice and Jacob to suffer because of what I did. I don’t want them to not have friends at school because they’re my children. I don’t want them to hate themselves, because of a mistake I made. So yeah, I give a shit about what people think of me. Because of the effect it has on everyone I care about.” I told him, rubbing my face. It was only the second week of school, and I already wanted to stop going. I wanted to run away. I got up from my seat. Ruan stared at me as I did, but didn’t do anything to stop me.

I wandered up to my teacher, “Miss,” I began, and she looked up at me.

“Yes, Christian?” She answered, and I looked away.

“I…I want to go home and see Clare and Jakey. I miss them…a lot.” I told her, avoiding eye contact. She frowned. “You made it a full week before; don’t you think you can get through today, too?” She asked, and I swallowed. “I really need to get home and see them.” I insisted. She nodded sadly, and began writing something on a piece of paper. “Give this to the office as you sign out.” She told me, and I nodded, tucking it into my jacket pocket. Ruan watched me as I pulled my backpack out of my locker. “Just…get this out of your system and come back to school, yeah? Cathleen was really enthusiastic about you coming. Just try and make it for her sake.” He mumbled to me, sauntering over to his friend Ryan. “I’ll be back, Dobby.” I told him, smiling. He smiled weakly back as I put my backpack on and wandered out of the classroom, aware of the many classmates watching me as I did, whispering to one another, too afraid to come and ask me anything.

I made it to Max’s form room in the art department before tutor time ended. I knocked on the door, and to my surprise, Mr. Archer answered it. “Oh, you’re back.” I said, raising my eyebrows. He stared at me. “Don’t speak that way to a teacher – I’m not telling you off – it’s more for future reference. Other teachers get pissy about it.” He told me, looking down. I noticed the bags under his eyes, and the paleness of his face. “You okay?” I asked him, shoving my hands in my pockets. He rubbed his face. “My meds make me fall asleep in lessons – do you know how bad that is? I fall asleep in my own lessons. And I’m just hungry all the time; I’ve already gained so much weight.” He moaned, blinking sleepily. “But what did you come here for anyway?” He asked, his eyes shifted and refocusing so much I wondered how he was still standing up. “I need to talk to my brother.” I told him, and he shrugged. “Ain’t no Velasco’s in my class.” He said matter-of-factly. I nodded,

“Because I’m a Rothschild now, so my brother would be Max Rothschild.” I explained, and he nodded, leaning back into the classroom. “Max,” He called, and my brother looked up, “Your brother’s here?” And Mr. Archer held the door open for him as he returned to his desk in the front of the class, resting his head on the desk.

“Chris, what do you need?” Max asked me, leaning against the wall.

“I’m going home now, so don’t wait for me at the end of the day.” I told him, and he nodded.

“That it?” He replied, and I nodded, looking through the window in the door at the sleeping teacher.

“Should Mr. Archer even be at work? He looks awful.” I commented, frowning. It was a shame to see somebody who was supposed to be so lively and vibrant and in the prime of their life face down on their desk. Max shrugged, “To be honest… I don’t even know why he’s out of the hospital.” He agreed, and I smiled. “Well, see you back at the house, I suppose.” I said, waving goodbye. Mac said goodbye too, and I began walking back down the corridor, down the stairs, and towards the front gates of the school, and towards my home, crossing the bridge that passed over the rocky, deep, fast-flowing river below that gave the town its name: Dead Waters. 

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