Chapter One


That's the first word that comes to my mind every morning. Want to know why? Well, I fucking do too. What other reason would I have besides I'm waking up?

"Get the hell up, you lazy, worthless idiot!"

Bang. Bang. Bang.

Oh. Right. Him.

"Did you here me, boy!?"

I groan and roll onto my side.

Once again, fuck.

"Do I have to fucking come in there!?"

"No!" I shout, throwing on a pair of pants and rushing towards the door hurriedly. I yank it open and I'm thrown against the wall. Fuck –his breath smells like alcohol. Again. Oh, fuck. I say fuck too much. I wonder why I do that so much. "Sir." I add quickly.

"Clean up the apartment while I'm gone, boy," Alfred spat at me, "I've got a lady friend coming over, so I expect dinner to be ready too. And you outside, of course."

I nod solemnly, his forearm is pressed against my throat. Yeah, sorta hard to breathe.

"I didn't hear you," Alfred growls, slamming my head in the wall. He's always like this in the mornings."Fucking answer me, you little –"

And therein lies the reason for my bad language.

"Yes, sir," I reply hurriedly. He grunt and lets me go. I rub my neck as he walks away. Ow.

I only swear like this in my head. I don't say much out loud except 'Yes, sir', 'No, sir' and occasionally 'I'm sorry, Sir'. Teachers effing love me. They I'm a lazy genius or something –I'm neither, but lazy is especially wrong. Ha, as if I could lie around at home all day. As if Alfred would let me. Well, I suppose it looks that way from their point of view; I don't have a lot of time to do homework between chores and…physical training.

Yeah, let's call it physical training for now.

Oh, fu –Crap. Yeah, let's try crap. The more distinction there is between Alfred and me, the better, I think. So yeah, crap. Alfred's back early and I haven't finished cleaning the apartment. I've only got the dishes and the rest of the living room –but still. Alfred won't be pleased. When the door shuts, I tense but keep working.

I hear the thump, thud, thump of his footsteps as he comes down the hallway to the living room. It's about two in the afternoon and since Alfred would rather buy boos then blinds, the sun is beating through the window and blinding me at certain angles. His footsteps stop as he reaches the doorway to the room.

I don't look up. I keep my eyes on the ground until he speaks to me.

He just pauses, looks at me and knocks over a glass that I haven't picked up yet. It shatters on the hardwood floor, making me wince. Loud noises and me just don't mix, and he fucking knows it. Well, there goes the whole 'Crap' thing. It's too much of a bother to try to break the habit.

My eyes flicker to the pieces of broken glass on the floor and then to him before I quickly train them back on the ground.

Alfred glowers at me and growls, "Missed a spot."

And then he's gone, storming down the hall to his room; the last door on the right. I stay far away from that room. I think I've only been inside it once in my entire life. I continue to clean until everything's done, then I start to cook dinner. I'll clean up the glass last.

I've been cooking for years. I don't have a mom anymore, so she can't do anything for us and Alfred –well, he's a horrible cook. That's why he gets me to do it, I'm sure.

When everything's in the oven and the water for the pasta is boiling, I go over and pick up the pieces of glass. I cut myself on the last piece. Damn it!

I go to the bathroom, sucking on my finger. I open the cabinet and rummage threw it until I find a tiny box of band-aides. I pull one out, wrap it around my finger so that the white part is settled over my cut. Then I stand after throwing away the scraps and I'm faced with the mirror.

I see Alfred's green eyes and Alfred's auburn hair and his slender nose and defined cheekbones. I see his neck and his cleft chin and his ears that are a smidge to small for his head. I also see a bruise and a split lip. Those are all mine. Everything else in the mirror belongs to Alfred because I look exactly like him, except a few of his features are withered away from drinking.

People say I'm good-looking. Boyish. Cute. That kind of crap. People fucking lie too much.

I can't avert my eyes at first, but then I hear his door open. I've got good hearing; I've got to. I come out of the bathroom and nearly run into him. He shoves me back, knocking me backwards so I fall on my backside. He snorts.

"Get the fuck up and finish," He snaps and heads into the living room to watch TV or whatever. I go back to making dinner/lunch for him and his 'lady friend' that's supposed to come over.

Suddenly, he shouts roughly from the other room. "Get me a beer!"

I wince.

He's like this in the afternoon.

Damn, it's fucking cold outside. That's not saying much, considering I was born and raised in Florida, and so it's only about sixty or so degrees Fahrenheit. New Yorkers would be wearing shorts and tank tops while I'm out here in a jacket shivering my skinny white arse off.

I rub my hands together and decide to sit down on the wooden hallway outside Alfred's apartment. I know to keep warm your supposed to keep moving, but if I'm gonna freeze, I'm going to do it comfortably, thank you very much.

The apartment we live in is 334, which is parallel to apartment 333. An old lady used to live in there, but she died about a year ago –cancer or mothballs or something. Danny says someone else is moving in there. Danny's the landlord. He's kind of weird; he walks with a cane wherever he goes, even though he doesn't have a limp.

My butt hurts now –how long has it been?

Two, three hours since that woman went into our apartment with my dad? Please, he's thin, but it doesn't mean he's gone that much stamina for god's sake. And then the door opens.

Speak of the devil.

Oh shit. She's got a bruise. That wasn't there before. I look at her worriedly –she's actually sorta pretty, except for the fact she was most likely just in there banging Alfred.

"Are you…okay?" I ask her, but I don't get to answer. My dad pulls me in the apartment by the collar of my shirt, strangling me for a moment. The door slams and I'm falling to the floor again. I'm used to it. Physical training.

He's just glaring at me, "It's your fault, you waste of space."

"Sorry, sir," I say automatically. I remember mentioning before that I usually only say 'Yes, sir' and 'No, sir'. Today I've gotten a vocabulary stretch, I think. At least it's nighttime, so I'm not being blinded by the sun now.

"Apologies mean nothing," He snarls and lifts his foot as if to crush a bug. Namely me. It always hurts, too. Every kick, every punch -perhaps it's my own deficiency, but no matter how often, I can't seem to get used to it.

This time is no exception. White sparks fly in front of my eyes as the bottom of Alfred's shoe comes into contact with my face. It splits my lip back open, and tomorrow there will probably by a bruise where that horrible throbbing is.

Damn –tomorrow's Sunday.

Great. A whole day for my bruise to form just for school on Monday.

He's right though. Apologies don't mean anything. But what else was I supposed to say? I'd like to ask him why it's my fault. I really would, because everything seems to be my fault, and I really don't think I have that much control over the universe. How did I screw up this date of his? I don't know, and frankly, I don't care. All I know is that it's eight O'clock and I'm already tired. I want sleep.

He's not that bad, really. I mean, he's taking care of me. When mom died, he could've just given me up. He's my dad. He raised me. I don't know why I call him Alfred in my head, I done it for a while now, and it just feels weird to call him 'dad'. It doesn't really suit him.

Alfred spits on me and storms away, bumping into a million things as he goes, knowing I'll clean everything up after him. And I do that. His door slams and I flinch.

He's like this at night.