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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12. Christian

I sprinted over, adrenaline pumping through my veins. Max was frozen in place behind me. I couldn’t let Mr. Archer do this. I had to save him. I wrapped my arms tightly around his midsection, my cheek pressed against the arch in his back. Stumbling backwards, I pulled him with me – kicking and screaming all the way – as well fell into the middle of Dead Waters Bridge. I took most of the brunt, my thing coat doing little to protect me. My head hit the pavement, and a dizzying pain shot through my head – a little like brain freeze. I grunted in pain, slowly sitting up. Mr. Archer was already sat up – his eyes were large and owlish. His face was pale; his eyes puffy and red. “Why?” He asked, his voice quiet and shy. He looked like a deer caught in headlights – like he might scamper off at any moment. I must admit, as I rubbed my sore head, he did like very sweet. “Why what?” I grumbled, wincing in pain. “I wanted to die. Why wouldn’t you let me?” His voice cracked, more tears falling. Max was still looking on in horror. I looked between Max and Mr. Archer in disbelief. “Are you seriously that fucking dumb? Why wouldn’t I let you die? I’ll give you a few reasons.” My voice was angrier than I meant it to be. I stood up, dusting myself off. “One,” I spat, pointing to Max, “My twelve year old brother is here. I’m already a shitty role model, but I wouldn’t let anyone die in front of him if I could stop it. I wouldn’t put him through that.  Not to mention you’re his tutor – the one person he’s supposed to come to for help. What do you think it would do to him to see you summersaulting off the bridge to your death? So why did I stop you, reason number two, is because I wasn’t going to let you ruin your students’ lives. Number three is because you have a son, you imbecile. Elijah may be autistic, but he can still feel. He gets so freaked out whenever you’re gone – his mum could hardly get him to come to the group. Why would you do that to your own child?” He began moving his lips to reply – his eyes fixed firmly to the floor, but I cut him off. “Reason four is because I already bear the guilt of having three people die because of me – one of them by my own hand. I wasn’t going to add you to the list!” I licked my lips, and let my shoulders relax a bit. “And reason five is because I’m human.” My voice was calmer, and he looked up, “we may be being capable of slaughter and pain and genocide and war, but we’re also capable of empathy, sympathy, and saving someone else. And I’m only human. I can’t deny someone when they’re on their knees.” I told him, smiling weakly at him. “And you’re no exception, Mr. Archer.” I reached my hand out to him, helping him stand up. He looked at me for a few seconds, and then just burst into tears.

I watched him crying, and remembered watching Cathleen sob. Mr. Archer was crying for everything painful in his life. He was crying for so much more than the embarrassment he was feeling. He began wiping his face with his bloody jacket sleeves, and at that point I just put my arms around him, comforting him as best I could. He put his arms around me, too. I didn’t care about the dampness of my coat’s shoulder. Max got a packet of tissues from his pocket, and handed them to me to give to Mr. Archer. He pulled away, and stared at Max, wiping his face down. “Max,” he began, his voice croaky – the way one’s voice always goes after weeping. “I am so so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I never meant to do that, I swear to God.” He said, and looked at me briefly. “I can’t even begin to express how sorry I am.” He tried a few more words, but they all failed.

“It’s okay,” Max replied, “I’m just glad you’re not dead. You’re a really amazing teacher, and I’d hate to see you die.” He smiled at Mr. Archer.

“Why don’t you go take the shopping back home, and I’ll stay with Mr. Archer.” I told my younger brother, and he nodded, going to sort out the bags he’d dropped.

Once Max was out of sight, I turned back to Mr. Archer. “I’m gunna need to call the hospital.” I told him, and his eyes opened wide again, their baby blue colour shining with tears. He shook his head. “Please, don’t. I’ll lose my job – the governors already think I’m incompetent and unfit to teach. If I go back in, they’re going to kick me out. Please.” He begged, and I looked at him sympathetically.

“You just tried to kill yourself. You need help.” I told him.

“I will get help. I’ll take my medication – I’ll see someone every day! Please, just don’t call the hospital.” He whimpered, and I’m sure he saw the uneasy look in my eyes. “you can visit me every day – make sure. Just please, I’m begging you.” I thought about his offer for a good long while.

“You’re off the hook this time, but if you do anything else, I will be on the phone so fast.” I finally agreed, and he breathed out a sigh of relief. “But I want to know why.” I told him firmly. He looked around us, suddenly noticing how open the place was. “Can we…are you okay to come to my house, to talk about it there?” He asked, and I nodded.

“By all means, lead the way.”

______

Mr. Archer pulled an envelope off the door, pulling a house key from under the mat, and held the door open for me. The first thing that hit me as I walked in was just how clean the place was – it was like he had some serious OCD. Mr. Archer noticed me staring, “Elijah prefers to have order in our house, so I keep it clean.” The second thing that hit me was the smell of alcohol. There were at least thirty empty bottles neatly organised in the kitchen. “So you’re just a bit of an alcoholic, then?” I commented, and he blushed. “if I’m honest…I drink, smoke, cut myself. And I used to…do heroin.” He told me quietly, and I stared at him in disbelief. “You?” I stuttered, and he nodded.

“I’ve been clean for a year now, though.” He added, and I sighed with relief.

“Thank fuck for that.” I muttered, “Now, I seriously need to clean you up first.” I said looking away from his saddened face. I felt so hopelessly sorry for him. “Where are your medical supplies?”

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