I stood in front of my mirror looking at my outfit. Billie Joel shirt with short shorts and lace stockings. I retied my combat boots and braided one side of my hair into a side ponytail. Very platonic, very thoughtless. I walked downstairs grabbing my keys and waving at my siblings. They nodded at me though they were taken with some stupid television show. The cold air of spring night wrapped me as I walked to my car. I started my car and played one of my older CDs most likely The Doors.
Driving down the road to the Greene's I realized I've been hanging out with Asher more than expected. I didn't like hanging out with him but I did. It was complicated. I walked up to the Greene's door and knocked softly swaying back and forth on my heels. Mr. Greene answered the door smiling brightly at me.
"Ms. Andrews, it's nice to see you again. Asher is up in his room." He says. I smile and walk in climbing the stairs to Asher's room. I hear a piano being played inside. It's almost inaudible to the ear but it's rather defined every other way. When it stops I knock on the door softly asking for permission to enter.
"Come in." He says opening the door a crack. I walk in and sit on his bed. He stays at the piano which I'm surprised I'd never noticed.
"When did you get a piano?" I asked gawking at the beautiful instrument.
"Earlier today, a bit after you left. It's a present from some family friends." He says playing another song.
"God it's gorgeous." I said in awe. The grand piano had always been my favorite instrument.
"Do you play?" He asked. I blushed lightly.
"A bit. Only a few songs and I can carry a tune pretty well." I said. He scoot over on the bench and made room for me to sit. I slid off the bed and shyly started over to the piano. My fingers were placed gracefully on the keys and I struck one chord. After playing at a slower pace I began to speed up striking the keys faster and making real music. Asher played carefully beside me adding to my harmony.
"Who taught you how to play?" He asked. I pulled my hands away from the keys and clasped them together.
"My, well-my birth father did. When he was alive. He taught me how to play most of the instruments I do now." I admitted standing up from the bench. Asher stood up after me and I finally got a good look at what he was wearing. Jeans and a flannel that he wore with a white teeshirt.
"Are you alright?" He asked. My eyes met his and I blushed again realizing I had been staring so intently that I forgot what we were talking about.
"Oh! Yeah, I just had a lot on my mind." I said smiling to wave off his concern.
"Alright, should we go?" He questioned opening the door for me.
"Yeah, c'mon." I said leading him out of the house. In the car we didn't really talk much. His hands would always accidentally brush my thigh and I would always take deep breaths. I still didn't understand why he made me feel this way. Why whenever I was around him my whole balance was off. It was like he was controlling some sort of part of me that effected me so heavily that I couldn't think straight.
The movie was packed. We stood in line waiting to get our tickets. I highly regret not buying them ahead of time. I knew what I wanted to watch. I wanted to watch something friendly. Something that wasn't too sexual yet not like a family thing so it would be awkward. Part of me pondered why I was trying so hard to make this neutral. The other half knew it was that almost kiss. Did I want him to kiss me? Did I want to kiss him? What would we do if we kissed? I honestly didn't have any room for boy drama on my long list of shit I needed to fix.
"Are we seeing that Alien Ancestors documentary?" He asked me pulling me out of my thoughts.
"What? Oh, no. I thought you'd like something that wouldn't make you feel like you were in history with Skylar and Cathy." I teased smirking at him. He rolled his eyes and looked at the people around us. One group of kids seemed to notice Asher and walked up to us.
"Asher! Hey man! I thought that was you, what's up?" One guy with blonde hair asked. I'd seen these kids around school but never thought of talking to them. They seemed- free in a distressed artistic kind of way.
"Hey, yeah, just checking out a movie. What are you guys up to?" Asher asked. My eyes widened. I'd never heard Asher talk like a regular person before. It was oddly a huge turn on for me. Like some kind of weird role play thing.
"Same! Bro, I heard that alien shit is the shit." The guy said pushing his blonde hair out of his face. His eyes were a deep blue and when they landed on me he seemed more than surprised.
"Aren't you Ethan Andrews's little sister?" A girl said. She'd been standing behind him talking to a couple other people I assumed were her friends.
"Um,er, yeah." I said looking down.
"You guys should hang with us tonight! There's a film festival a few blocks down and we were going to hit up a cafe right after, Angela would love for another tortured soul to join us." The blonde haired boy chuckled nudging the girl. Her hair was dark blue and purple but her skin was pale white. Angela scoffed and rolled her eyes at the blonde.
"I mean, we kinda had plans but if Peyton's not gonna be too bummed then totally." Asher said. Something inside me ached for him to call me Peyton Elizabeth. I honestly hated the name but he made it- tolerable.
"What'd you say Peyton? Wanna hang out with the big dogs?" The blonde asked.
"Uh, sure." I said nodding. The group high fived each other pulling Asher and I out of line. They led the way and I swung back making Asher look at me concerned. I wish he'd stop trying to take care of me. I could handle myself.
"Peyton Elizabeth? What's the matter?" He asked out of hearing range of his friends.
"Ha, so I'm Peyton Elizabeth when we are alone but Peyton everywhere else? You know what forget it. Let's just go to this film festival with you junkie friends." I said catching up to Angela. She smiled at me and eyed Asher.
"What's up with you two?" She asked tugging her jean jacket forward. I glanced over at her Mayday Parade teeshirt and smiled. Not horrible with her music taste.
"Nothing, we just hang out sometimes." I shrugged sticking my hands in my back pockets.
"Hmm, trust me. If we are going to be hanging out you're going to have to learn how too." She said smiling at me.
"I'm not really a trust people kind of person." I shrugged. Angela sighed and turned to the blonde.
"Hey, Ryan, tell our new friend about the party next week." she said. The blonde smiled brightly and jumped over to where we were on the sidewalk. He was twice my height but probably weighed less than me.
"Next week, we are going to redecorate my dad's office." He smirked devilishly.
"Redecorate?" I questioned. Asher stood close behind me listening but not saying anything.
"Yep, we are tagging his entire building. That's what he gets for touching my stuff, we could always use another hand." He offers.
"I would, but I've got prior obligations. I'm going to stay loyal to those." I said shrugging.
"Woah, that's really big of you dude. Okay, well maybe you can hang with us after school or during lunch or shit like that. Being seniors isn't all you think." Another guy with an Afro says. Ryan talks to the other Afro guy and Angela smiles as she looks around. There's Asher, myself and one other blonde who looks like she's been prostituting since the age of six. Her hand finds Asher's and I run my hand over my hair tugging on my ponytail. Why do you care? He's a stupid senior with stupid senior friends. He's only being nice to you because your parents are family friends. He's obviously into her. Yes, he's into her not you. Her not you. Not that you are into him. You're not into him. You don't like the way he says your name. You don't love the way his grayish blue eyes sparkle when he's unsure or laughing. You don't love the way he touches you without touching you. You don't care how soft his hair looks or that some blonde bench press is hold his hand. His strong gentle hands. Oh shit, I'm jealous.
The movie sucked. No, the movie was probably the worst I would ever see. It was a movie on women activists that died at the end. Its message was on rape yet the girls never even showed a guy in it. I guess I might not have noticed either way. I was too busy watching Asher make out with his blonde boob Barbie. He was holding her on his lap and she was definitely trying to let everyone know they were messing around. Angela smiled at me apologetically as though she should've warned me before hand.
"That movie was so powerful." She said spreading her arms out wide and walking ahead of the group. I chuckled as she ran around me eager to tell me all about it.
"Okay, okay. I get it. Women are important!" Ryan and Daniel shouted. Daniel was the name of Afro guy I had found shortly after that his girlfriend was in Kansas with her family and he couldn't go.
"Sunshine would have loved it." Daniel smiled chuckling to himself. I rolled my eyes and walked into the cafe with Angela on my heels. We sat three on each side. Daniel, Ryan and I on one side. Asher, Blonde and Angela on the other side.
"Welcome to Sunset Boulevard, can I interest you in our pumpkin spice coffee?" The guy who'd I'd noticed around school asked. Everyone muttered replies and no thanks the boy looked rather disappointed.
"I'll have one." I said shrugging. The group turned to me and so did the boy.
"Really?" He asked. His named tag had, Riley, printed nicely on it.
"Why not? I mean, if it sucks I'll just order something else." I shrugged not really thinking it'd taste bad. It's coffee.
"Okay, and for the rest of you?" Riley asked the others.
"I'll have what she's having." Angela says smiling at me.
"Me too." Ryan and Daniel said at the same time.
"I'll take an iced tea with lemon." Blonde says. She looks at Asher expectingly.
"I'll take a water." He mutters. Riley writes down the orders and scurries off to his work area.
"Okay, so tell us where a girl like you has been hiding all this time?" Daniel says turning to me.
"Oh, well, I do live in the attic so that may have something to do with it." I joked.
"I've wanted an attic room since forever. What's it like?" Angela gawks at me. I go into a long story about how I got it and when I got it. The group seemed to love me. I was a cute person.
"We don't really let kids into our group, but the girls have sleep overs and shit but we mostly party and things like that." Ryan says.
"I don't know. I mean, I've got curfew in a few hours and you guys seem to party pretty hard." I said chuckling at the two boys beside me.
"Fine, come to our study group tomorrow and then you'll see we aren't a bunch of junkies." Angela said smiling at me. I gasped slightly surprised she'd heard me.
"Fine, fine, fine. Tomorrow." I said smiling as Riley came balancing our drinks on a wooden tray. I smiled at him as he handed me mine and pulled it up to my mouth preparing myself for the coffee. He watched as we all took a sip smiling as we all seemed content with our choice.
"Damn! This is amazing." Daniel smiled happily taking another sip from his mug. Angela and I nodded in agreement as Ryan basically gulped his down in one take.
"This is literally my new addiction." Ryan hummed finishing his drink off. I nodded my head sipping mine and shrugging. It wasn't an amazing thing.
The coffee was honestly pretty normal. Angela looked over at the blonde and Asher moaning at the taste of her coffee.
"Hey, could you guys take Asher home? I've gotta head back to my own place." I said checking the time on my phone.
"No problem, keep in touch." Daniel said letting me out of the booth. I nodded and walked out of the cafe and into the dark rainy streets. I sighed heavily and walked into a diner. My stomach growled and rumbled as I sat in the booth.
"Hello, my name's Wendy how may I help you?" The elderly lady asked.
"I'll take a ham sandwich and some fries with a soda." I said.
"What type of soda?" She asked.
"At this point it doesn't matter." I said sighing. She smiled and write something's down and walked away. My eyes looked out the window of the small diner and landed on a street corner. A guy in a black hoodie was standing there looking around. A slick all black car pulled up to the curb and the guy bent down and talked to him for awhile. He stepped away and went back to his post. I sighed and shook my head.
"Drug dealers." I mumbled looking around the half empty diner. A girl with her grandfather it looked like was eating soup and laughing. A couple smiled lovingly at each other as they talked to each other. I sat alone.
"Get used to it." I told myself. It wouldn't be a surprised if I ended right back in the system after this week.
My house was dark, Ethan was moving out and Quinn was at a sleepover. Dad had a late night at the office so mom was by herself.
"Mom?" I asked walking into the house. It wasn't my best idea leaving her by herself. But Ethan was right. We can't babysit her forever. I walked up the stairs to her bedroom. She was in there looking at the ceiling.
"Mom? What're you doing?" I asked taking off my shoes and crawling into bed with her. She shivered as my cool skin touched her warm one.
"Everyone's gone. Everyone left." She muttered almost inaudibly.
"Mom, I'm here now." I told her stroking her hair. She laughed and then I felt water fall on my hand. She was crying.
"You left me. You're just like them. Just like the ones who hurt me!" She shouted.
"Mom? Are you alright?" I asked.
"Stop calling me that! That wretched name! I'm not that! I'm nobody's mother!" She shouted. She threw me off the bed making me fall on my back and started ripping pillows and shouting vulgar profanities. I took a pillow and a spare blanket and laid in a corner. She'd be fine. She was fine. We were fine.