While I was driving home in silence, with my rusty old Ford pickup, my mind wandered to my parents. I was only six when they died, so I don't remember a whole lot about them.
Maura, the woman who runs the orphanage, tells me about them sometimes, Kayla too sometimes. Kayla is my sister, she's fifteen.
Maura told me that my parents were cops. There was a fire at the police station, and they couldn't get out. They tried to help get everyone else out, and to cuff all of the people being held at the time. But they were too late to save themselves. They burned alive; suffering. We have a few family photos, and albums that I like to look at after a big skating exhibition.
Maura also says that my mom was a skater and that was why I liked it so much probably. There's pictures of my mom when she was younger, and she's in a skate dress and she's smiling. She looks truly happy.
Kayla doesn't like to skate, she's more of a studying kind of girl. So I support her in that sense. I stay up late to help her study, I drive her to all of her spelling bee's or her debate matches. I ditch exhibitions to take her somewhere where she'll get to show off her talents.
I try to give her everything she could ever want, and I work hard for it. We have nice things because I want this for her. I work at a bakery down the street from the orphanage, as a nurse at the orphanage itself, and I earn money and prize money at exhibitions.
I was removed from the care system at the orphanage on my eighteenth birthday, because I'm legally an adult. But I have nowhere to go, so Maura hired me on as a nurse. I know everything and it means I don't have to leave Kayla.
I pulled up to the house and lost my train of thought. I sighed and got out of the car. I made sure I had all my winnings, two-thousand dollars, and put it into my bag. I got my bags from the car and went inside.
All the kids were still up, all nine of them including Kayla. I was surprised because they usually sent the younger four to bed around eight and it's ten.
"What are you guys all doing up?" I ask slowly.
"We wanted to know how you did!" Lila grinned toothily. Lila was four, one if the youngest ones.
But Charlie was the youngest of them all, at six months. Someone dropped him off on the front steps. It was awful. I picked the name Charlie for him. Charlie Parker.
Most of the kids here, got my last name. I liked to share it with them and Kayla enjoyed them too. All of them had our last name actually, except for Dean. He had Maura's last name; Cooper.
After Charlie, there was Danielle. Dani was only three. Then Lila, who's four. Lastly there was Roman, age six. Those were the 'youngsters' of the bunch.
But there was also, Tammy and Tony. The twins that were nine. They get to stay up until nine, as well as Fiona too. Fiona is nine also. The final child we have is Dean, and he's nine too. Then Kayla, but she's hardly a child.
"I got second place guys! So tomorrow when I come back from work at the bakery, I'll bring some cookies or some brownies!" I grinned.
"Yes!" They chorused.
"Okay, off to bed! It's past everyone's bed time!" I called, earning an outrage of boo's.
Maura took the youngsters to bed, and I took the other four. Kayla could take herself. I made sure they all brushed their teeth, and crawled into bed before turning the light off.
"Goodnight guys," I whispered softly.
"Colbie?" Tammy said quietly.
"What babe?" I looked at her in the darkness.
"Can we go to your next exhibition? Please," she whined. I sighed but promised they could.
"All of you can come next time, I promise. I'll use my winnings and get you all in, okay?" I heard her said okay and I shut the door quietly.
I padded back to my room that I shared with Kayla. The house had five bedrooms. One for Maura; one for Kayla and I; one for Tammy, Fiona, Danielle, and Lila; one for Tony, Dean, and Roman; and one for baby Charlie. We decided to group them by girls and boys, because it's easier that way.
When I got into the room, Kayla was already studying hard at her desk. She had her desk lamp on and was scribbling into a notebook furiously. I smiled to myself and watched her for a little bit.
"Why are you staring at me?" Kayla ask quietly without turning around.
"I'm just proud of you, Kay," my voice broke, "Mom and Dad would be too."
Kayla immediately turned around and hugged me. I kept my tears in, I didn't like to cry in front of her. Eventually we both went to bed, and I was glad. I'd been so exhausted all day.
Only then did my mind start to wander to Dallas. I groaned to myself and crashed my head into the pillow. I tried to will my mind I to unconsciousness but sadly, it didn't want to comply. So I laid in my bed awake for hours, until I could finally sleep.
But one lingering question stayed in my mind, even in slumber.
Why did he walk away like that?