A/N: Of all the chapters I had to write, this was the worst. I hated this chapter, but it's vital to the rest of the story...I hope my writing wasn't too bad in this one, but if it is, I hope you'll understand why.
When will the Rain Stop?
Without a family, save his elderly Grandparents in the South, Mattie was an orphan. His Grandparents were too elderly to be able to raise a child, and he had no other family. The only people that could house Mattie were Kay and his family.
Mattie had been staying with them for four weeks and things were difficult. Each night Mattie would have nightmares of the incident that left him without his family. He would wake up early every morning, wouldn't eat or play. His school teachers found him hard to handle as getting him to participate was almost impossible.
He was normally a happy child but this catastrophe had obliterated the spark. He didn't crave attention, in fact he would rather he was left alone…this made Kay more upset.
The worst was yet to come; there was still the funeral. Mattie had never been good at saying goodbye. Jen was unsure as whether to take him.
He was sitting on the sofa watching television. That's all he ever did nowadays. She approached him but Mattie didn't lift his head.
"Mattie, do you want to come to come to the funeral?" she asked softly. The child shrugged his shoulders, uncaring. He hardly ever spoke. "Because, if you don't want to come, you don't have to."
The child's gaze was fixed on the screen. "I want to come."
Jen sighed. "It will be very upsetting…are you sure?"
The child nodded slowly but his intentions were undeniable. "Let me come."
There was no arguing. If Mattie wanted to see his family one last time, then that's what Jen would do. She shuddered at the thought. The Post Mortem had been bad enough…
The funeral was in a week…nobody could predict Mattie's reaction…he never cried, but maybe seeing the remains of his family gone forever would bring tears to the child's eyes after all…
Kay heard the door slam and he jumped, spilling his lemonade everywhere. He heard somebody clamber up the stairs; heavy sorrowful thuds.
His mother entered the room. She removed the decorative black hat from her head and shook her beige hair. She was wearing a flowing black dress that highlighted her beauty. Although this was not the time to dress-up for a dance…the funeral ended two hours ago.
"Kay…" she murmured as the child raced over to greet her. "You best leave Mattie alone for now."
"Why?" asked Kay taking a sip of the remaining lemonade. "Is he crying?"
"Most probably, dear. He's very upset."
"Why?" Kay asked again, prompting for answers.
"Because he's had to go through a lot of upset at the moment."
"Because we just came back from…we went to…he said goodbye to his Mommy and Daddy." It was difficult explaining a thing like this to her young son. He didn't entirely grasp what was going on but it was unfair to keep it from him all the same.
There was a forceful knock on the door and Kay jumped again; the last of the lemonade dripped down his front. His mother straightened up with a sigh and ushered her son to go upstairs. He did so reluctantly.
His mother opened the door and Kay poked his head through the banisters to catch a glimpse of a lady with a briefcase and a clipboard. His mother let her inside.
Jen scowled up at her son and he scampered off up the rest of the stairs
Knock…knock…knock..."Mattie? Can I come in?" Kay questioned timidly. He could hear the soft sobs from within and so pushed open the door gently; unsure what to do.
Mattie was curled up in a blanket on the bed with his back to Kay. He was shivering as silvery tears trickled down his cheeks.
"Mattie? You wanna come play?" Kay asked with a comforting smile although Mattie didn't see it.
"No." his friend snapped back. "Leave me alone." Kay felt hurt but understood quite clearly that Mattie wasn't in the mood to play.
"Don't cry its okay!"
"Okay for you maybe. You still have your family." His tone was cold and perhaps…envious. He just wanted his mother…
"But-…" Kay began but Mattie cut him short with a fiery temper.
"What don't you understand about 'leave me alone'?" Mattie rose to his knees and glared at the young child who was now gripping onto his empty cup in shock and fear.
"Maybe…" stuttered Kay "maybe playing will make you happy…"
"You're so stupid, Kay. All you ever want to do is play; can't you go away and let me be by myself?"
"Shut up!" He turned back round and tugged the blanket up over his head. "I thought I told you to leave…"
Kay turned slowly on his heel, but his path was cut off as his mother entered the room. Kay looked up to her face, she looked gloomy but serious. She brushed past him and sat next to the whimpering child on the bed.
"Mattie?" she asked. Her voice was wavering but tranquil. "I'm afraid there's something you have to know now." Mattie swept the blanket from over his head; his hair wild and his eyes damp.
He sniffed and Jen stroked his hand. "You can't live here anymore…it's not legal."
"What?" Mattie queried. Kay stood back and said not a word. It was best he didn't.
"I mean, you can't stay here with us anymore…you have to be fostered."
Mattie didn't know what 'fostered' actually meant, but he gathered it meant living with somebody else and their family. Jen had said it was the 'legal' way to do it…that she hadn't got 'permission' to look after him. She said it was 'against the law'. Mattie didn't like the sound of being fostered. He just wanted to stay here with Kay.
The day of collection arrived four days after the funeral. Mattie's new foster parents were coming to pick him up. He didn't want to go…not without Kay.
He sat alone in the lounge; the toy car that Kay had given him cradled in the palms of his numb hands. His loaded suitcase was at his feet and he kicked it over in annoyance when the doorbell rang again.
He heard the lock click and Kay's mother's voice rang out. He heard two other voices…he didn't know if he liked the sound of them.
The party entered the lounge where Mattie was sitting patiently and the couple of foster parents knelt at his side.
"Hello there." A large woman with curly auburn hair said cheerfully "We are your new family." She was followed in by two young children of about two or three years of age.
"This is Stuart and Kate; your new brother and sister." The man next to her said. He looked to be in his mid-thirties. Mattie didn't reply.
"Guess what." He prodded. Mattie's mouth didn't open; he really didn't feel like talking. "They're twins. Do you know what twins are?"
Again, Mattie refused to speak. Kay's mother filled in.
"Don't be put off by his silence; he's still a little…sensitive about families." Mattie sighed heavily beside her. "But he'll be okay."
Kay sprinted down the stairs with a back-pack crammed with clothes. He slung it over his shoulders as he sped into the lounge and halted at Mattie's side. His mother looked perplexed.
"Take me too!" Kay begged as he pointed to his packed bag indicatively. Obviously this was going to be another difficult goodbye…
"Kay…you can't go with him" cooed his mother as she relieved his small shoulders of the weighty bag. He pouted and snatched it back.
"Yes I can! It's easy; I packed my stuff and all I have to do is get into the car and-…"
"No." whispered Mattie as he jumped down from the sofa and headed for the front door. "You aren't coming with me."
"But…Mattie…why?" Kay pleaded as the adults followed him to the car. Kay jogged along at Mattie's heels; still with his bursting bag resting stubbornly on his back.
"Because you can't…goodbye Kay." Mattie jumped into the car…he was never good with saying goodbye's…
"Mattie!" cried Kay as the car engine roared into life. He pressed his small fingers against the window but Mattie didn't look down at him…
"Mattie! Don't…don't go!" Kay's gleaming blue eyes were bursting with stinging tears. He couldn't bear it. He wanted to hug Mattie, not receive the cold response he just had.
Maybe it was for the best…
But it could be the end of their friendship…
This was it.
They would probably never see each other again…