Author: Dhani Cauldwell PM
Every bite of cake took Luke closer to fulfilling his family's destiny for him, a future of being out of breath after a few steps, a future of motorized carts to get around in grocery stores, a future of dirty looks, and, perhaps, no future at all.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Tragedy - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,135 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 11-12-11 - Published: 10-15-11 - id: 2961236
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Here is chapter two of Cake. I want to express thanks to the people who have reviewed this story and encouraged me to keep writing it. Enjoy. Reviews are welcome and always appreciated.
As soon as Luke stepped into the kitchen he was greeted by the intermingling smells of pizza, hamburgers, and macaroni and cheese. The kitchen counters were stacked with a variety of confections ranging from chocolate chip cookies and double fudge brownies to imported Swiss chocolates and churros. The stove held a large pot of bubbling cheese sprinkled with tiny chunks of broccoli and a tray full of French bread cut into precise pieces. On the center island was a large three-tier chocolate cake covered with vanilla frosting and decorated with M&Ms and Reese Pieces.
The table in the back of the kitchen, where Luke's family was gathered and sitting, was covered with a confetti-colored, plastic tablecloth and filled with the bags of potato chips, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and fries that Moira had bought during their expedition. The table also held six pizzas from a local pizzeria that his family frequented and a large crock pot of homemade macaroni and cheese.
Luke did not move from his position in the kitchen doorway once he saw this gluttonous display. It was all too much. The memories of Libby and Hammy's ninth birthdays came flooding back to him as he stared at the piles of food around the room. The memories that had caused him nightmares and induced the anxiety he was currently feeling started ramping up inside him and he couldn't help but to quake. He heard his family beckon to him to join them at the table to start the celebration, but his mind was far away and their voices sounded distant.
Luke slowly backed out of the doorway and then took off down the hall toward the front door. He made a beeline for the staircase and quickly ran up the wooden stairs and into the bedroom he shared with Hammy. After locking the door he dove underneath his bed and squeezed himself as far back as he could. Curled up in a ball and shaking, Luke waited for the inevitable plodding of footsteps on the first floor and the eventual creak of the stairs on the staircase to signal that the family was coming to get him. Luke knew there was no way he was getting out of this. His family enjoyed this tradition far too much to allow him to skip it.
Eventually, Luke heard the sounds of scraping chairs and what sounded like two pairs of feet walking along the floor downstairs. Then, the sound of creaking, straining stairs as they tried to hold the massive amount of weight that was tromping up them. Luke pushed himself harder against the wall and let out a quiet whimper as the footsteps stopped in front of his bedroom door and he heard the doorknob turn.
"Ugh! Mom! The little freak has locked himself in his room!" Libby shouted from outside the door.
"You can get it open with your library card! Just slide it down the door frame where the lock is and it should pop right open!" Moira called sweetly from the downstairs kitchen.
The footsteps momentarily retreated from Luke's doorstep and down the hall. Libby was most likely headed to her room to locate her library card, which Luke hoped would buy him some time because Libby's room was a perpetual mess. A gentle knock came on the door and Luke heard Hammy's voice.
"Come on, Luke. It's not that bad. It's actually kind of fun!"
Luke's face contorted into a face of abject disgust at this statement. He squeezed his eyes shut and held himself tightly as he tried to correct his erratic breathing. He could feel his heart pounding a million miles a minute as he desperately hoped beyond hope that Libby wouldn't find a way into his room. As much as it hurt to be shoved underneath his bed, the alternative was far worse. He would rather live his life underneath his bed than go back downstairs to the kitchen where he would have to start a life he did not want.
To Luke's dismay, he heard Libby walk back down the hall toward his bedroom and the unmistakable sound of something being slid down the door frame. Luke gasped and desperately tried to make himself disappear underneath his bed. He pressed himself as hard as he could against the wall and pulled his legs up as close as he could to his small frame. Tears streamed down his face as he heard the door swing open and saw the bare feet and swollen ankles of Hammy and Libby walk into his bedroom. He covered his mouth with his hand to stop his labored breathing from being heard, but he knew his hiding place had been discovered when Hammy bent down and looked underneath his bed and saw him.
"Oh, he's hiding under here, sis. Man, Luke, why are you playing hide and seek at a time like this? It's your birthday!"
"For real," Libby agreed, "I'm hungry. Let's get this show on the road."
Luke did not move. He felt numb. His siblings were idiots. His parents were idiots. He was an idiot. An idiot for thinking that he could escape what fate had intended for him. Fresh tears fell from his face as he heard the grunts of Libby and Hammy as they lifted his bed off of the floor to expose him. He laid there, in an uncomfortable position, not moving, still sobbing, and his heart pounding hard against his chest.
"For crying out loud," Libby said exasperatedly throwing her flabby arms up in the air and letting them slap against her wrinkled thighs, "I am tired of the dramatics, dude. Get your butt up off the floor and downstairs. You are such a crybaby."
"He does look pathetic," Hammy mused, looking down at Luke pitifully, "I wasn't like this on my ninth birthday, was I?" Hammy asked Libby, looking away from Luke.
"Neither of us acted like this," Libby spat, "we were grateful for the celebration mom and dad threw for us. We didn't act like brats and go and hide under our beds." Libby glared down at Luke and nudged him with her foot, "get up! I am tired of this."
Luke still refused to move and Libby let out a groan of frustration. She stomped over to Luke and grabbed him by the back of his t-shirt and wrenched him up and onto his feet. Luke looked up at her with a pleading look and he was met with a sneer. Libby pointed at the door and Luke looked away from her as he followed Hammy's waddling body out the door and back down the stairs toward the kitchen.
This time, Luke's exit out of the kitchen was blocked by Libby's ponderous body and he was forced to walk over to the kitchen table where his parents were still sitting, patiently waiting for his arrival. They both gave him toothsome smiles as he took his seat at the head of the table. Hammy and Libby both took their seats on either side of their parents.
"Well, now that everyone's here," Moira glanced at Luke lovingly, "we can begin the celebration! Hammy, darling, you were the last one to celebrate this special day. Do you remember what happens first?"
"Of course! Luke needs the special pill before anything else can happen. Everyone knows that." Hammy gave a smile that made his fat face look more pig-like than ever.
Luke gave an audible gulp and his heart, if it was possible, beat even faster. Moira smiled sweetly at Hammy and gave him a small pat on his hunched back.
"That's right, Hammy. Luke needs to have the special pill before anything can happen. I think daddy likes to do that part." Moira looked over at her portly husband who gave a small chuckle and leaned to the side so he could reach into the pocket of his sweatpants.
He pulled out a small, manila envelope, laid it on the table, and slid it over to Luke. Luke stared at the unassuming paper and then up at his father, confused as to what he was supposed to do with it.
"Well, open it up," Quentin said encouragingly, mimicking with his hands how to open the envelope.
Luke picked up the envelope carefully, flipped it over, and opened up the top of it. He looked inside and saw a small, white pill inside of it and pulled it out with his free hand. He put the envelope back down on the table and studied the pill he was now holding. It was the same pill that both Libby and Hammy at taken at the beginning of their ninth birthdays before the festivities were allowed to commence. Luke had no idea what was in the pill, and he certainly had no intention of taking it after seeing what it had contributed with regards to Libby and Hammy.
Luke set the pill on the table next to his neon green party cup and folded his arms defiantly. He heard Moira tut beside him in an irritated manner and could see the disapproval plastered across every one of his family member's faces.
"Take your pill, dear," Moira said with a forced smile, gesturing to the offensive object next to his cup, "don't you want to start your birthday celebration?" her eyes narrowed.
"No," Luke said quietly, mustering a glare at her despite his unequivocal terror, "I don't."
Everyone at the table, including Quentin, tensed up when they heard this. Everyone's eyes shifted to Luke and Moira and the only sound that could be heard was the bubbling of the broccoli cheddar soup on the stove. Moira tilted her pumpkin-like head at Luke and gave him a smile that could only be described as sinister. She reached over with one of her humongous arms and gently picked up the pill. She rolled it between her fingers and looked at it thoughtfully for a moment before again locking her gaze with Luke.
"Well then, I guess if you won't take it willingly then I have no choice…," she said in her usual saccharine voice, "…but to force it down your throat."
Suddenly, Moira reached out her hand and grabbed Luke by the front of his shirt and dragged him over to her seat. Luke felt her acrylic nails digging into one of his arms and he began kicking her anywhere he could reach to get her to let go. His efforts were thwarted when Libby and Hammy came to their mother's aid and held Luke's legs and arms from striking her. Moira held his head in her lap between her rolls of fat and Luke found himself immobilized.
"I don't understand why you are so combative, Lukey," Moira said softly, running her fingertips softly down one of his cheeks, "all mama wants to do is help her baby."
If Luke had had access to one of his arms he would punched her square in the face. This repulsive woman could care less about him. Her 'help' was nothing more than veiled attempt at validating her own gross obesity and making sure that everyone around her had to suffer because of her poor eating habits.
Luke kept his mouth tightly shut to prevent Moira from forcing the pill down his throat, but she quickly pinched his nose and Luke was forced to open his mouth for air. Moira dropped the pill into his mouth and then covered his mouth her hand to make sure he didn't spit it out. Luke tried to keep from swallowing the pill, but Moira's jostling of his head to get the pill to the back of his throat forced Luke to swallow the pill or risk choking.
As soon as Moira was sure that the pill had been swallowed she released Luke from her grasp and told Libby and Hammy to go back to their seats. Luke, exhausted from the adrenaline rush of fighting against his mother and siblings, returned to his seat as well, panting and looking defeated. His mother had already won one major victory with getting him to swallow the pill, and the next phase of her plan would be far easier to carry out.
"Well, now that that's been taken care of," Moira announced pleasantly, as though what had just gone on had been the most minor of events, "who wants some cake?"