ivA Chapter by TopHatGirl
“Okay, before we all celebrate,” Cole says, as people are starting to approach you. “We need to think about how this will affect all of us. She needs to have actual parental figures. Someone to look after her. We can't act like she can be independent. Because think about it, she doesn't even know anything about regular life. We're only twenty year olds with no (legal) job. Sure, our income pooled together was enough to support eachother on a poverty level, but we can't raise a child. She needs schooling, new clothes, definitely an identification card of some kind-”
“Whoa, chill,” Tio says, placing a gentle hand on Cole's shoulder. “We can figure this all out, alright?” He sits at his desk, pulling out a notebook and stealing an ink quill pen and bottle from Let's desk. You can tell which desk it which by the names carved underneath them. He flips open to a fresh page, labeling it TO DO and dotting the first bullet point. “Okay, schooling. Any ideas?”
“Homeschool,” Jaxx says, sitting on the second bunkbed and running his head through his hands. “She doesn't know enough English, or at least, able to speak it well enough, to fit in without raising questions. Besides, there's the parent meetings, cost, and transportation. We can't pose as her parents, despite Mizzy's deep wish to act like a mother, for some reason.”
“I can teach her mathmatics,” Cole offers. You sit on the bunk bed next to Jaxx, who stiffens at your presence. They've gone back to talking like you aren't there. “I was good at it in high school, and it would be fairly easy to get a hold of standard textbooks.”
“Being the Theater major, I think I'll take care of the language arts region,” Let says. “I'll have her read some Shakespeare for her to improve her English.” You shudder at the thought.
“She should be versed in culture, too,” Tio argues. “Not just math and english. She obviously doesn't know about the world at all, I think history and contemporary culture should be apart of of her lessons.”
“Hello?” you say, trying to speak up over everyone.
“What about physical education?” Mizzy asks, and everyone groans at the suggestion. She shrugs, biting a pencil. “Well, I hated gym class, but maybe she needs to get some exercise? She seems rather sickly at the moment.”
“Guys?” you speak again, and again, everyone ignores you.
“Identification cards should be fairly easy,” Jaxx ponders, biting his thumbnail. “We are in the seediest business in San Francisco. Just get a picture of her, put it on some school ID card, and there we go. We should also get a birth certificate and any other legal documents.”
Tio nods, writing frantically. “I know some people, I'll ask around tomorrow.”
“I have tons of old clothes to give her, they've grown out of fashion anyways,” Let says. She sizes you up, and nods. “She seems to be the same size.”
“Hey-” No use.
“For monetary costs, I'm sure after a month or so she'll be alright to take on a job,” Tio says. “See, Cole? She can stay.”
“Good. I didn't want to cause havoc,” Cole muses.
“Excuse me,” you say. Everyone suddenly realizes that you are there, and you smile halfheartedly. “I am glad you solved problem, but can I please somehow get clean?” You finger your ponytail, squeezing your hands around the greasy strands. “I feel dirty.”
“Yeah, we have a bath here that we rarely use. The shower's quicker, but I think you need a bath to relax,” Mizzy says.
“It's over there,” Cole says, pointing to an inconspicious door shoved behind boxes and papers in a corner. You nod your thanks, and make your way into the bathroom. The tiles of the wall are a bright yellow, painted flowers lining the white bottom. The mirror has a small crack on one side, and when you open it, it reveals bottles of medicine bottles, lined up by height. The bottom row are perfume bottles, sorted by colors of the rainbow. The faucet of the sink is leaking, a drip drip drip into the sink. There's grime building up in the drain, and you wipe one finger across it, coming of in a disguisting streak. Sighing, you look at the bathtub. Rather clean, you gingerly examine it for anything out of the ordinary. For some odd reason, you have the idea of a monster popping up out of the pipes and eating you alive. It's a ridiculous notion, but it still gives you a weird sensation.
You pull off your sweatshirt, revealing your naked upper body. Surprisingly, there are bruises lining your body, all faded to white lines. Your stomach is smooth and in shape, which pelases you. You strip your pants off, and the buttons and zippers seems to have left an indent in your skin.You rub your legs to keep warm, as goosebumps are popping up like mad.
Eying the knobs for hot and cold water, you attempt to configure how to fill the tub. There's a metal switch thing, and when you pull it up, you hear a soft click underneath the drain. So far so good, and you twist the hot water knob far to the left.
As soon as you do this, a large flow of water streams out and hits your injured hand, scalding it many degrees. You shriek, falling back and head hitting the cold tile floor with a thud. You groan, cradeling your hand and watching the room spin in circles. Footsteps echo across the floor, and the five others surround you. Let and Mizzy gasp, kneeling down and putting a towel under your head to support you. Jaxx, Cole, and Tio sputter and mumble at the side of your bare body, blushing in embaressment at seeing their now “adopted” teenager lying on the floor naked. You cover any exposed private parts with your arms, heat flushing at your cheeks.
“Grow up,” Mizzy hisses. “Did you burn your hand again?”
“What is with you and that hand?” Let asks.
“Not so much hand hurts as head does,” you admit, rubbing the back of your head where it impacted the floor. Cole quickly gets over the embaressment and leans down to examine the injury.
“Nothing major,” he notes. “Just a bump. You'll be fine.” He stands back up, and the men quickly flee the scene, closing the door behind them with a soft click. After this, Let fills the tub without trouble. You hesitantly step, the warmth pulsing through your body. You sit in, sliding down. Let runs her fingers through you hair, xlixkinf hwe ronfuw in disapproval. Mizzy lifts up one of your hands.
“So much dirt,” she remarks, inspecting your fingernails.
“Why are you two doing this?” you ask, frowning. You are not something to clean and primp.
“Because we don't want you to look like some rat off of the street. Then you might get asked questions by concerned elderly women,” Let explains, squeezing a thick bunch of your hand and letting it fall back to your shoulders. She bubbles her hands, cleansing your entire head. Mizzy takes a scrub brush and gets to to work on your nails. This whole thing makes you feel extremely uncomfortable. The harsh light in your eyes makes you uncomfortable. It shines on your face and your hand itches to control it, to let it fly through the air. You sigh. Sighing seems to be a common thing for you to do nowadays.
After they scrub you to the bone, you ask if you can be left alone. Exchanging glances, they quirk eyebrows at eachother. Mizzy says,”Alright, but call us if you need us.” You nod, and ask if they could please turn off the lights when they leave. With this, they didn't look very surprised, and left in silence, wishing you a good bath and shutting off the light. You are left in the darkness. You scrunch your legs up, your knees touching your chin. The water is losing the heat, and you shiver once. Carefully, you turn the knov again until the water is up to your neck. Taking a deep breath, you dunk your head underneath.
The bath water is shallow, and not as salty. Still, it's enough to let the memories of drowning overwhelm you.
You can't breath. When you open your mouth, the water floods in and oh no you're choking you're dying on no you can't die now you can't drown please no oh no-
You sit up.
The bathroom is the same, you are not drowning, and you are never taking a bath again. A shower, perhaps, after you stop hyperventilating. Bath, never. You stand up now, wrapping a towel around yourself and pulling the drain out. You shiver again, wiping off condensation from the mirror, staring at your reflection. Your silver hair looks more like an old grey in this light, your eyes are dull and tired, and you are wet. But, you managed to look less grungy, more like a young lady. Eying the countertop, you see that Let has laid out some old clothing for you. Preferring your sweatshirt, you reluctantly pull on the blue t-shirt and purple pants. The pants are extremely tight, and you're not even sure how one could walk in them. You feel uncomfortable without shoes on; there's always too much energy going on beneath one's feet for comfort. Sighing yet again, you exit the bathroom.
The Five (you've decided that this is what you are going to refer to them as from now one. It's kind of catchy) are typing away on their computers when you enter. They are oblivious to your presence, and you only watch in silence as they tap out codes and figures to break into various networks they are most certainly are not supposed to be in. The clock hung above them all reads 11pm, which seems like the time they start. You passed out for a long time, apparently. Taking advantage of their ignorance, toy take the time to sneak away, open the door to the stairs, and walk out, taking a pair of shoes with you. Lacing up your sneakers on the top step, you smile to yourself. Only having been here a few hours, and yet this already seems familiar to you. To be fair, though, nothing was really familiar to yoy before this.
You climb up the fire escape ladder to the side of the apartment buildings, making your way to the roof top. Feet danging off the edge, you stick your hands between your thighs to warm them up, blowing out a stream of air. The air brushes your still wet air, and you stare up at that crescent moon, realizing that only twenty-four hours ago, you were about to die. This part of San Francisco is sleepy at this particular time, which you are thankful for. It's hard to think when the whole word is trying to yell their thoughts at the same rate.
Standing up, you wipe your hands on your pants and stand in the middle of the flat roof. The building adjacent to the one below your feet has a faint glow coming from the highest window, third one from the left. It's tiny, like one from a nightlight. Unable to resist the temptation, you extend your arm and coax the energy from its bulb. It flows out easily, weaving through the air and into your palms. The bandage on your injured hands does a world of justice, and you can only barely feel the heat radiating on it. The other one is fairly tougher than the other, but just in case, you better not hold the light for too long. Just to play with it.
It flutters about, and you control it into a tiny circle around your wrists. It's a bright orange, and you like that color the best. You have a sloppy technique, and you almost lose the light several times just trying to do the most simple of procedures. It illuminates the night more, especially your face, as it moves and ebbs around your hands. Very relaxing, you find it, even more so than a bath.
“It's amazing,” a voice says. You drop the light, and it explodes into sparks on the concrete roof, seeping into the matter to be found its source again. In a few minutes, the light would find its way back to the bulb and be right again. You whirl around, relieved to find Tio standing there and not some creepy stranger.
“What are you doing?” you ask, and sit again, tracing imaginary sparks on the ground.
“Taking my break.” Tio comes to sit next to you, a full foot taller than you, and placing an arm around your shoulder. “Are you ashamed of your power?”
“No. Well, I do not know.” You shrug, leaning slightly away from Tio and his affectionate actions. “Why do you like the comics?”
Tio purses his lips, staring at the moon as well. “Probably because they're an escape. Not everyone has cool powers, kiddo.”
“I know that,” you say softly.
“I know that you know that,” he corrects himself. “But can you imagine being without the light thingy?”
“No,” you answer honestly.
Tio nods. “Well, we can't imagine having a power. Those comics give us hope that maybe, just maybe, we can be a superhero. Maybe we can be destined for greatness, to save the world and, and-”
“Get the girl?” you ask, quoting something one of the villains said. Tio laughs, and it rings through the night.
“Well, more likely get the boy.” he says this quickly, closing his eyes and only daring to peek at you once. You tilt your head sideways.
“I don't get it. You act like what you just said was bad. Did you say a curse word?”
Again, laughter. Tio shakes his head, patting my shoulder. “It might as well be. But, no, I didn't say something bad.”
You sigh with relief. Good, you didn't have to figure out anything bad. “I am tired,” you announce. “It might be odd, because I recently passed out, but I am still very tired. Can I go to bed?” You aren't sure why you ask for permission, but it just feels right.
“Sure, Thief. Sure.”
© 2011 TopHatGirl
Added on December 2, 2011
Last Updated on December 2, 2011
AboutBalancing the soul sucking monotony of being a student and the hair ripping insanity of being an amateur writer isn't all it's cracked up to be. But, hey, it's something to tell my therapist one day.. more..