I looked at the clock above the TV set, trying to stifle a yawn. Only fifteen minutes have passed.
My dad sat on the couch next to Rachel who was holding Blayze while he continued to sleep. Rachel's mother sat next to her and her father was sitting in the lazy boy chair across from the couch. Rachel and her mother were deep into a conversation about the wedding. Rachel wanted a summer wedding, but her mother was trying to convince her that a spring wedding would be better. They bantered back and forth, neither of them gain any ground on the others resolve. My father was vainly trying to start a conversation with Rachel's father, but he wasn't much of a talker. He was the strong silent type. Actually, he was the strong silent very intimidating type; he was tall and burly with piercing blue eyes, and a poker face that never wavered. For a man of fifty-two he was in good shape. His build was sharp, but it was easy to tell he was once a very strong man. I'm not sure why my father tries so hard to talk to him. By his face he didn't seem to like any of us, us mostly meaning my father and me. There was something in Richard's eyes when he looked at Rachel. It wasn't the same way he looked at us. I can't really say what it is for sure, but I would guess it would be love.
I sighed and looked at the clock again. Time always seemed to drag when they came to visit. I can deal with Rachel's parents coming over, and I could deal with the awkwardness of having to sit in the living room with them. What I couldn't deal with was the senseless chatter of what color the napkins were going to be at the wedding, or what the invitations should smell like, or whether or not to put name cards at the tables to tell people where to sit. Maybe it was just me but I didn't see how those things honestly mattered when you're planning a wedding. Hopefully the more important things were already taken care of.
I looked at Rachel.
"Take Blake upstairs to his room."
"Sure," I said as I jumped up from my place on the arm of the couch. If it got me out of this room I'd happily do anything Rachel asked.
"And make sure to turn on his music."
I nodded and scooped up Blayze. He didn't even stir when I lifted him up, having fallen into a deep sleep. I shifted him so that his head rested on my shoulder and started out of the living room.
"Oh and Trinity would you mind cleaning up his room while you're up there? It's a mess and I haven't had a chance to get to it," she said then turned back to her mother not even awaiting my answer.
I paused for a second. Yesterday she had me wash her car because she didn't have a chance to get to it. The day before that I had to clean her office because she didn't have a chance to get to it. The day before that, she had me wash a load of her laundry, and only her laundry, even though I had done the laundry the day before because she didn't have a chance to get to it. I don't mind doing things around the house, and I somewhat don't mind doing things for Rachel, but I have my own chores to do. I don't need her chores on top of my own. Sometimes I really felt like she treats me like her maid.
I took a deep breathe. She didn't really treat me like a maid. She tells me to do things like any other mother would do to her daughter. Except she wasn't my mother, though, sadly she was going to be. There was still something inside me that rebelled every time she tells me to do something, every time I thought of her becoming my mother. For some reason I couldn't accept that she was going to be a replacement for my real mother. It's been almost five years since my mother passed, and I've moved on. I'm able to accept that she's gone and never coming back, but I can't accept the fact that someone was replacing her.
When I came to Blayze's room I saw that the 'mess' Rachel said to clean up was much more than a mess. The word mess was a serious understatement. Blayze's room was a catastrophic disaster.
There were so many toys on the floor not a piece of the carpet could be seen. I couldn't even take a step into the room without stepping on something and I didn't dare try. It was kind of hard to believe that Blayze had so many toys. His room was almost twice as big as mine. That meant the floor was almost as twice as big, yet he had enough toys to cover every inch of the floor and still have some in his toy chest on the far side of the room. Not to mention he had more toys downstairs in the family room and more in the basement. I shook my head. The toys were only part of the problem. The other part of the problem was Blayze's four foot tall book case was completely empty of books and the lower shelves were completely missing. Where the shelves used to be, there now was a picture my brother had drawn himself in crayon and marker. I could only guess who was going to have to clean that up. I continued to survey his room and found that every single one of Blayze's books sat in three towering stacks on the right corner of his room. Set up against each one of those stacks was a shelf making them looked like ramps. On top of those ramps sat three trucks and at the bottom sat a colossal number of other trucks. I couldn't help shaking my head at the site of this room. Boys will be boys. One thing I knew for sure was that he didn't do this by himself. He couldn't. The question was who would help him do such a thing?
I sighed and slowly made my way into the room trying to move toys out of the way as I went. Thankfully the only things that were on Blayze's bed were markers and crayons. When he was all tucked in I gave him a kiss on his forehead and mentally prepared myself for the task at hand.
"Quite the mess in here."
I whirled around, startled at the sound of a voice.
Richard stood in the doorway with his hands clasped behind his back. He made no move to enter as his gaze drifting about the room until they landed on me.
I stood there like a dear in the headlights. He honestly surprised me. My father and Rachel have been dating for almost four years but we'd only just met her parents a little over a year ago. I was the only one who found that strange though. Within that time we've met with her parents on numerous occasions, but not once did he ever say a word to me. This was the first time since I'd met him that he's ever directed a comment to me. Since it was the first time he's ever talked to me, and it was rather unexpected, I had no idea what to say.
So we stood the in awkward silence just looking at one another for a moment until I stammered something incoherent that he probably couldn't hear, or understand, and started picking up toys. There was something about him that made me very nervous. Maybe it was because I had never talked to him before. I had no idea what to say to him. So instead of saying anything I continued picking up toys and putting things back in their right place. All the while I tried not to look at the man standing in the doorway. He didn't say anything else after that, so I glanced toward him to see if he was still there every so often.
It took me about an hour to put everything back where it belonged. During that time Blayze hadn't stirred even a bit and Rachel's father hadn't moved an inch. So we once again stood in that awkward silence. Right now all I wanted to do was go lie down in my bed, but I had to get past him do that.
"Is his room always like that?" he asked.
I blinked and glanced around the room before answering, "No, not always."
He nodded, "Do you always clean his room?"
I hesitated before answering, for some reason this felt like an integration, "No, not always."
He looked at me for another second, gave a slight nod, then left. The stairs creaked with his departure.
I stood there for a moment, confused. What was that about? Did he only come up here to ask me questions about Blayze's room? The first time he ever talks to me and it to ask about my little brother's room? Well to be completely honest I could imagine us talking about anything, let alone my brother's room. I'm stilled surprised he even talked to me, but I was also a little creeped out by his actions.
I shook my head and with one last glimpse at my brother, to make sure he was still sound asleep, I left for my room.
For the rest of the evening I pretty much kept to myself. Rachel was put out with my absence at dinner. She said it was disrespectful to her parents. In truth, though, it had nothing to do with her parents, well, maybe it did, but I honestly wasn't all that hungry. I was more tired than anything else; tired of the whole mess that was going to be a wedding for my father and Rachel, tired of the mess that was Rachel, and tired of the mess that was supposed to be my best friend.
I fell asleep wishing I could have my old life back. The life when my best friend always seemed to be around. The life when I was free to paint whenever I wanted wherever I wanted. The life when I used to be able to talk to my father about anything and everything.
When did my life change? That was a question I already knew the answer to. My life changed when my mother died. My father and I were both devastated by her death. Neither of us really knew how to handle it. So my father began to work more and I started to paint more. For a while we barely talked to each other. We barely saw each other, actually. Even though my father never said it, at that time I knew it was really hard for him to look at me. I'm the spitting image of my mother. We had the same brown, wavy hair, same shape lips and nose, almost the same height. The only thing that was different about me was that my eyes were hazel and not brown. Eventually though we gradually got better. We'll never be like we used to be though. I used to be able to tell him everything. Now I seem to only give a brief view into my life. I tell him what he wants to hear and that's it. There was a time when I used to tell him my feeling, interests and dreams, but those seem to be gone now. We have a somewhat shallow relationship. Maybe it's because I'm a teenager. Teenagers really don't talk to their parents as much as kids do, at least, some teenagers don't. I'd honestly like to believe that, but I know that's not the reason. My father is better now that he's with Rachel though. When Blayze was born he was exceedingly happy. It had been a long time since I had seen him that happy. He was still happy now. He almost seems to be back to the person he was before. Almost. Some days there's still a glimmer in his eyes. I can see it still causes him a little pain when he looks at me. The same goes for my art work. It's too much like my mothers. He hasn't seen a piece of my work in years. I can't say it doesn't hurt me, but I'm glad he's happy.
As for my best friend, I don't know what happened there. After my mother died Xzavyer was the only person I talked to, really talked to. He was the only thing that kept me on my feet after my mother died. I had Kim and Jewls and Emms, but I couldn't've made it through that time without him. Somewhere in the past year or two though he's drifted. I didn't realize it at first. It wasn't something that happened suddenly. He just gradually stopped coming over, gradually stopped calling and texting, and eventually stopped being there. I find myself thinking about him almost every day. What happened to him? What happened to us? What happened to me?
Kim was right. I'm not any fun. Not anymore. For hours, I just lied on my bed thinking until my mind drifted into another realm.
My dreams were empty of everything at first, only the blackness of sleep could be seen, but when I did start to dream it was of Xzavyer. It was only his voice though. He was calling to me, calling my name. Darkness surrounded me, but his voice kept coming, he kept calling and calling, so I kept looking for him, yet I knew there was no way I was going to find him in this darkness. He was unreachable to me now, so I stopped looking for him. It was pointless; nothing could be seen in this darkness. His voice continued to call but it eventually faded away and I was alone in the darkness. Maybe I had always been alone. Maybe he was never actually there. Something else was though. A small sound echoed around me. I couldn't identify what it was. Every time it sounded it grew louder and louder until it seemed that all of the darkness thundered with it, pulsing in a rhythmic tune. I was sure my head would split with the sound of and just as soon as I was ready to scream everything was quiet again. The darkness was peaceful and not so dark anymore. There was a light somewhere far off but it could still be seen. When a person is dying their loved ones tell them to stay away from the light. I'm sure this was different though. This light seemed to beckon me forward. The closer I came to it the bigger it became until eventually I saw a silhouette of a person standing in the light. As I drew closer the figure started to look familiar. Then it turned around. It was Xzavyer. His mouth opened and he shouted my name so loud that it seemed to rip the fabrics of my dream. For some I ran towards him. His arms were open as if inviting me into their embrace but before I could reach him my dream world faded and my snapped eyes opened.