That day when I got home from school, Mikey was there waiting for me. He sat by the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in front of him.
“Hi”, he greeted me when he heard me drop my bag to the floor. “How was school?”
“It was fine”, I answered quietly and went to fix myself a cup of tea. While my father was completely addicted to coffee, I loved tea and I drank at least three cups a day. It was relaxing.
“Can you be a bit more specific with your answer?” he asked.
“I don’t know, can you ask a bit more specific question?”
He smiled at my answer, but soon the smile faded and a serious expression appeared again. “The school nurse called today.”
I froze. If the nurse had spoken with Mikey... That could be bad. If she had talked to dad, then there would be no problem at all. Dad would just shrug it off, figure that I was tired, and go on like it was nothing. But the problem with Mikey was that he always had to try and fix everything. Of course I didn’t need fixing, I was fine, but obviously Mikey didn’t agree. I shrugged. Whatever happens, happens, because apparently the world isn’t fair.
“I’m fine”, I announced and sat down with my tea cup, taking a sip.
“Of course. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t say I was.”
“Mikey, when the girl says she’s fine, she’s fine”, my dad said, appearing in the kitchen. He startled the both of us. I was surprised that he had managed to get up, let alone get dressed and drag himself down the staircase. Judging by the water dripping from his hair he had also taken a shower, and shaved his face too. What was happening to the world?
“What are you doing up? Are you going somewhere?” Mikey asked him.
“Well good morning to you too, sunshine”, dad mumbled grumpily. “Gia, can you make me a cup of coffee? My head is killing me.”
I bounced up from my seat and was about to do as I was told when Mikey stopped me.
“Don’t bother, Gia. I’ll do it”, he said and took the empty coffee pot from my hands. “You go do your homework or something.”
I didn’t protest. I had to do my homework anyway. But I was worried that Mikey would say something to upset my dad who obviously wasn’t feeling too well. Mikey had that scary look in his eyes and dad just looked annoyed. I wanted to listen to their conversation, but that wouldn’t have been nice. I did walk extremely slowly to my room, but Mikey was too smart and waited until he heard the door close before he started speaking, so I didn’t hear anything.
But I was right. Mikey had upset him. After fifteen minutes of doing my homework, I heard someone, dad most likely, stomp up the stairs and slam a door shut. Then another footsteps coming up and then there was a knock on my door before it opened. The extremely angry looking Mikey came in and went straight to my closet, taking out a big bag.
“What are you doing?” I asked him when he started to put my clothes into the bag.
“You’re coming with me whether you like it or not”, he announced. The look in his eyes scared me so I didn’t dare to say anything. I just put my books back into my school bag and went to the bathroom to get my toothbrush and other stuff that I would need. Outside I probably seemed completely calm, but inside I was panicking. If I left, what would happen to dad? He won’t be able to come by without me, didn’t Mikey understand that?
Well obviously he didn’t, because ten minutes later I was in his car, away from my home and away from my dad. I didn’t say anything to Mikey the whole ride, but in my defense, he looked scary.
It was only when the car pulled up in the drive way and stopped that Mikey spoke. He didn’t make a move to get out of the car so I didn’t either.
“So I guess you figured out that me and Gerard talked”, he started, now much calmer.
“Yeah”, I said quietly.
“Well, we decided – or actually I decided – that if Gerard keeps acting like a child and refuses to acknowledge the fact that his actions have consequences, then you’d better stay away from him.”
“But –“ I started to object, but he stopped me.
“No buts! You’ll understand later. I hate this as much as you do. I don’t like being the bad guy, but I have to.”
And that’s how I realized that I had lost my family. My mother was dead. My father was just going there, but he might as well be dead too. But there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing would bring my mother back from where ever she was, and my father was too deep in his own drugged up world that he didn’t care. Life was just great.
“I’ll take your things to your room”, Mikey said when we went into the house. His girlfriend Alicia came out of the kitchen with a book in her hands and a confused expression on her face.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“Gia’s staying with us from now on”, Mikey explained before he went into the room downstairs that I sometimes stayed in.
Alicia looked relieved. She came to give me a hug. “That’s good. You’re of course welcome to stay here. Would you like to eat something?”
I kind of liked Alicia. Besides my grandmother she was the only female in my life. But sometimes she was a bit too much. “No thank you”, I said. “I’m not hungry. I’d rather just go unpack.”
Before she could say a word, I went into the room I would stay in and after waiting for Mikey to go away, I closed the door.
I missed home already. The peace and quiet. The independence. Dad. But this was just a situation I couldn’t get out of. I knew that Mikey will keep me here until dad gets better. And that will never happen. So I’m stuck.
Mikey was unbelievable. There wasn’t a problem, he was creating one. I paced in my room and thought about what to do. In the middle of the fight I had just gotten so angry that for the first time in my life I had actually wanted to kick my brother’s face in and... Well, you get the idea.
I heard his voice, so obviously he hadn’t left yet. He was probably trying to recruit Gia to his side. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I did hear that Mikey wasn’t at all calm. After I heard the door slam, I went to the window to see exactly how pissed my brother was. But to my surprise, he wasn’t alone. I couldn’t believe that Gia would actually go with him. They both must be going crazy.
I felt something warm and wet on my cheeks, but I ignored it. I went to my bed and sat down, picking up my cell phone from the night stand. I quickly went through the numbers until I found the one I wanted. But before pressing the call button, I froze. Calling Blake so he would bring me more stuff to ruin my life with wasn’t probably the smartest thing to do right now.
Gia was gone now. No one would know.
But I really shouldn’t.
I groaned and after a moment of hesitating I pressed the green button. Who was I trying to fool anyway.
It’s not that I didn’t like Mikey and Alicia. No, they were really nice and they did all they could to make me feel at home. But nothing could change the fact that this house was not my home.
They say that home is where the heart is. And my heart was... Actually I wasn’t sure how to continue that sentence.
I had buried my heart a long time ago in order to keep myself sane. But if that was true, then how come I would’ve done anything if I could to just go back to my dad and continue live my life as it was. It was all I wanted. And I couldn’t have that.
Living with Mikey and Alicia wasn’t that bad. I could always rely on having food in the fridge. I didn’t have to do the laundry. I never had to clean up anything besides my own mess and my room. Mikey and Alicia were happy to drive me to school and from school. They took me out shopping and bought me stuff I didn’t need. They talked to me, made sure I was happy and they did everything they could to make me happy if I showed any sign of gloominess. Lucky for me, I was excellent at faking.
The nights were still the worst. During the day all I had to do was smile and laugh at jokes I didn’t understand. But at night... There was no one there to smile to. I was all alone with the monsters.
If possible, since I moved in with Mikey and Alicia, it got worse. The nightmares seemed more alive. I was now deathly afraid of going to sleep, so I simply didn’t sleep. But that wasn’t enough to keep the monsters away. No, they still found a way into my thoughts.
And I couldn’t take it anymore. When I realized that I had to figure out a permanent way to keep the nightmares away, I started to think of a way to do it. And then I remembered.