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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14. Christian

“I went to school the day after, with bruises on my chest from where she made me choke the pills up – I got checked out later – turns out she’d cracked a rib. Nothing serious. But I go back to school, and when I do, my form tutor calls me out, and the head teacher and the head of year were all waiting for me in the head’s office and just completely go off at me. I got suspended for a week. My parents were so angry.” Alex smiled, and ran his hand through his long hair. “I got to go to the grammar school for sixth form. And at prom I ran into this girl and spilled my drink all over her, and I expected her to like, slap me. But…she just laughed and said I’d better help her clean it all up. She told me she was there for moral support for her friends, and that was the only reason she’d gone. So she gives me her number, and we just because really close. We kissed for the first time on New Year’s. She just gave my life meaning, I wasn’t depressed when I was with Millie. So when we were eighteen, I asked her to marry me, and we got married when we were twenty-one.” I smiled at his story, and the fact he had a sector of his life he was happy with, at least. “What was your wedding like?” I asked, and he got up. “I’ve got pictures.” And he trundled off to get them.

After Alex broke down, I got him a glass of water, and helped him to breath, and somehow we ended up sitting in his lounge. He had books piled in an orderly fashion, and art material stored neatly. He came back with a small photo album. “Millie compiled pictures of our relationship through the years.” He explained, skipping pictures of him and his ex-wife in their youth. Eventually, he stopped on a page of him and her, him in a suit, her in a wedding gown. “It was a black and white theme. It was only for close friends and family.” He explained, and I looked over the picture. Alex had white hair in the picture, his bride’s was black. “Your hair even matches the theme.” I commented, grinning. I looked up at him. “What went wrong?” I asked and he sighed, shutting the book. “I, um, started developing my mental illness halfway through her pregnancy with Elijah.” He said, curling up on the sofa. “What kind of illness?” I asked weakly, and he stared at me for a long time before he told me. And once he had, he looked down, as if he were ashamed of it. He sniffed, “I started seeing this guy.” He began, and glanced at me quickly. His eyes were searching me – looking for something. “He wasn’t really a guy, though. A hooded figure. And he’s called Wick. And he started saying these things about me…about Millie. I guess that’s when my drug addiction started. I was already a smoker – have been since I was sixteen.” He told me, then taking out his packet of cigarettes, putting one to his lips. “I have to go outside to smoke this.” He told me, and I nodded, following him out of his French doors, and stepped out into his garden. Alex yanked a lighter out of his trousers, and lit his cigarette. “So I get into this whole…business with drugs and shit, And I keep getting more distant from Millie. We started arguing – we need the money I’m wasting…all that.” he explained, and I wet my lips. “Why didn’t you tell her about Wick?” I questioned, and he looked at me like I was the epitome of stupid. “In my world of hallucinations and delusions, Millie was the enemy.” He told me, breathing out slowly, the smoke swirling around his head. “and I believed him. I couldn’t do anything else. You have to understand, Christian, you look at that situation, and you see the proper way of getting out of it. You see that Wick is an image – and nothing more. But I was sick, I was stupid.” He said, pausing to breath in from his cigarette. “You’re not stupid.” I told him as he breathed out, smoke weaving slowly through the air. He smirked, “I thought Wick was the messenger of God. I had to believe him about Millie.” He covered his eyes with his spare hands, like he was ashamed. “And then when Elijah was born, it was like…everything went back to being perfect. It was like every problem we had disappeared when Eli came along.” He took a long drag from his cigarette. It was quiet for a long time. I busied myself with picking at the hem of my jumper, but after a minute I stopped, and stared out into his garden. “What went wrong?” I questioned, my voice low, cautious, not wanting to upset him.  He sighed, chuckling, “Wick started telling me…that Eli and Millie were better off without me.” Alec stopped smiling. His face looked pained, his eyes were shiny, like he was about to start crying.  His lip was quivering. “And I believed him. So one day, I left Millie downstairs, tending to Eli, and I took a knife and drew myself a bath, and I…I got in and started cutting up my wrists and arms.” He bit back the tears distracting himself from his story with his nearly finished cigarette. He dropped it on the ground, stubbing it with his shoe.

Alex opened the door for me, to go back inside. “When Millie found me…needless to say I was institutionalised. Diagnosed, dealt with. Millie notified the head teacher, and they let me stay working as soon as I came back. But by the time I came back, Millie and me had drifted. I moved out of our master bedroom – moved into the spare one. We started seeing different people, and eventually I just decided we needed to get a divorce. I’d rather see Eli grow up between two households, then grow up in a single household with estranged parents.” He said, watching me as he made his way back to sit next to me on the settee.

“Why do you want to die now?” I asked him.

“Well,” he began, “I don’t know why I want to die…I just.” He sighed, and doubled over – his head in his hands. I stayed quiet, not wanting to push him into talking. “I just feel empty, and… just pointless. I feel like all I’m doing is making Eli worse. I don’t want to do that but I feel I do. I feel like…there’s nothing I can say that would actually matter… have you ever heard the song This is how it feels?” He asked me, leaning on the arm of the sofa, looking at me cautiously. “Who’s it by?” I asked, scanning my brain for the song. “The Inspiral Carpets.” He answered, and I thought harder – still trying to find the song. I eventually shook my head. He smirked, “come on, Chris – you work in music.” He commented, and my face dropped. He laughed, clapping his hands together. “Yes, I do know about your band – why are you so surprise? Your band is getting more popular – you should expect more people to know.” He dismissed, and I blushed.

“You were talking about a song.” I reminded him, and he nodded.

“There’s a section in the song that just comes to mind when thinking about…this.” He told me, looking down. “How does it go?” I asked him, smiling. He sighed, and sat up, remembering the lyrics.

“It’s something like…this is how it feels to be lonely, this is how it feels to be small, this is how it feels when your word means nothing at all.” He sang tunefully.

“And you feel like that?” I asked him quietly. He looked at me sadly. His light blue eyes were red from crying, there were bags under his eyes, and his hair was getting shaggier – he kept brushing it out of his face. “I just. I’m finding it really hard to keep myself motivated. Every time I walk into my classroom…I just think I’m doing a shit job teaching these kids, and I mean – who is gunna need these qualifications in art later unless they’re becoming an art teacher? I mean, with my teaching – they’re not even going to get the decent qualifications they need to do that.”

“Bullshit.” I snapped, and he turned to look at me with a somewhat shocked expression on his face. “Excuse me?” He asked, after much stopping and starting. I stared at him.

“I’m sorry, Alex, but I have to stop you there because its 100% bull. You are an amazing teacher. My brother was so gutted when you weren’t at school – he loves your lessons. And Cathy says you’re hands down the best teacher in the art department.” I swallowed, looking down. “And from what I remember, you’re a really kick-ass teacher.” I added quietly. He smiled, resting his cheek on his index and middle finger.

“You always liked music, didn’t you?” Alex asked, and I glanced at him oddly.

“Yeah, I’ve been singing since I was, like, six.” I explained, looking around the living room again.

“When you went missing, your parents donated an award to the high school. The Christian Theodore award in music. It’s given to the one overall pupil who has shown consistent effort in that subject.” He explained, and I stared at him. “That’s depressing. It sounds like some sort of memorial – like I’m dead.” I commented, shivering. He smiled.

“they’ve just started giving it out like it’s a normal reward – always give it to the artsy-fartsy stuck-up bitches, though.” He added, and I sighed.

“They always do that – only this time with my name.” I muttered, leaning back on the settee. I looked at Alex. He was leaning back too, watching me. His dark brown hair was slightly tangled – the gentle waves matted together. It was such a stark contrast to his pale blue-grey eyes. Alex was studying me, which I was doing the same thing to him. We leaned closer towards one another. He smiled at me, and I smiled back – my face getting closer to his. He chuckled, “it’s been wonderful having you, Chris. You are a literal lifesaver. And I owe you everything. Is there anything I can do in return?” He whispered to me, watching my face. And in that moment, I stopped thinking, and closed the gap between our mouths and kissed him.

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