Death-Wish Kids


It felt strange as I laid in bed the next morning with Micah at my side. He'd woke me up with the sound of his cries no more than a few hours ago. Between the time I woke up and the time I got out of bed, a part of me was believing that Mitchell would be capable to get him instead of me. The image of a perfectly functional family flashed in my head before I remembered just how imperfect Micah's family was.

The clock on my dresser read nine AM and my blankets pooled around the end of my bed, threatening to fall between the mattress and the headboard. Micah laid on his back next to me, his little head on a pillow and his bottle drained next to him.

Downstairs I could hear my father and Noah rummaging around in the kitchen. I listened for the sound of Mitchell's voice, but couldn't find it. Ryder's familiar steps sounded on the stairs and I listened to find out if she was coming or going. I got my answer when she stood on my doorway, gingerly crossing her arms over her chest.

"You should get up." She nodded towards the stairs. "Your boyfriend is all alone in the kitchen and your friends will be here soon, won't they?" She tightened the tie around her messy bun.

I glanced back at the clock again and groaned softly when I realized that she was right. I sat up carefully, minding the baby next to me. "I'm up," I stated, "Can you at least watch Micah while I'm getting ready?"

She quickly glanced at Micah and then frowned. "His daddy's downstairs, can't he watch him?"

I gave her a look. "You know he's never spent a minute with him alone!" I hissed, gently pulling Micah into my arms, "You can't just leave Micah with someone who has no idea what he's doing!"

"He's the dad," she muttered. She dropped her arms to her sides and leaned against the door frame.

"I think I know that," I replied. I stepped off my bed with Micah and walked over to him. Micah woke as I jostled him, trying to hand him over to her.

"Great, now he's going to start screaming," she said sarcastically, taking him from me anyways. She held him slightly awkwardly, looking out of place and unhappy any where near a baby.

"He's fine," I denied, brushing past her, "Just give him some of whatever Dad is making." Before she could reply, I hurried into the bathroom and closed the door on her. I showered slowly, savoring the time I had to myself. It wasn't long until Noah was banging on the bathroom door, claiming that our dad wanted me downstairs within fifteen minutes to eat breakfast with the rest of them.

"Okay!" I shouted through the door. I rinsed my hair and finished up before I shut off the water. With the towel wrapped around my body, I quickly crossed the hall, crossing my fingers that Mitchell wouldn't be the next one to come looking for me.

When I was dressed in a pair of tattered jeans and a t'shirt, I headed downstairs, my hair dripping water down my back. Noah sat on the couch in the living room, his focus unwavering as he watched something on the TV. I walked around the back of the couch and through the kitchen door.

"Look who's finally out of bed," Dad joked as I walked into the room, "You might've slept through the entire day if Ry hadn't woken you up."

"I was up," I defended, moving over to sit in the seat across from Mitchell. Micah was in his arms and Ryder was no where to be seen. "I have friends coming over later, I was just trying to catch up on some sleep."

He turned off the stove and carried a plate over to the table. He called out for Noah, who came barreling through the door within seconds. He plopped down in his usual chair and turned his attention to our dad.

"Can Owen come over today?" he questioned, "His mom has to go to work and Owen said he can get picked up when she gets off!"

I pretended I didn't see my dad glance between Mitchell and I before he nodded. "I don't see why not, Noah," he replied, smiling when Noah jumped from his chair.

"I'm going to call him!" Noah shouted as he ran over to the phone that hung on the wall, "I hope his mom hasn't left yet!" He climbed up onto the counter and sat down so that he could reach the phone. He dialed the number he knew by heart, and I turned my attention away from him.

My dad sat next to Mitchell with his arms resting on the table. He turned his head back to me when I spoke.

"I'm going to get some snacks," I said, getting up from my chair, "Do you think you could watch Micah for a few minutes while I'm gone?"

"We've got plenty of things to eat here, Cy," he responded, his eyes following me as I moved towards the door, "I've got a few plates in the fridge for you and your friends." He motioned towards the stainless-steel appliance.

I shook my head. "The guys are simple, they're not going to like all that fancy stuff, Dad. They're more chips and pop kind of people," I explained, going back over to pluck Micah from Mitchell's arms, "I'm just going to run to the store and get some things."

"Cyren, relax," Dad called as I tried to make a break for the door, "You don't need to go and get snacks. We do have regular teenage boy snacks too. I keep them above the fridge so that," he jabbed his thumb towards Noah, "Can't get into them whenever he wants."

"Really?" I questioned, lifting Micah higher in my arms, "Why didn't I know this?"

"Because you don't listen?" Dad offered, a smile on his face. He stood up and walked over there. He reached above the fridge and opened the cupboard. Inside were a few bags and boxes of snacks. Dad looked at me with raised eyebrows and a smile on his face. "There's also pop in the garage," he commented, "I stopped and got some on my way home last night."

I couldn't help but smile in relief. "Thanks, Dad. I just don't want them to come over and hate all your fancy stuff."

He pretended to be offended by my words. "Cyren," he stated, shaking his head at me, "No one has ever hated any of my fancy food. I don't think your friends would either."

I shrugged my shoulders, an easy smile on my face. "Can never be too sure," I replied. I switched Micah to my other arm, noticing that he was still in his pajamas. "I've got to get Micah dressed for the day," I told him and Mitchell, "I'll be down in a little while."

Dad gave me a look from where he stood behind Mitchell that almost dared me to leave Mitchell downstairs alone again. I bit my lip and then nodded towards the door. "Do you want to come, Mitchell?" I questioned, "It's probably more fun than sitting alone."

Behind him, my dad nodded and turned to the sink to start on the dishes. Mitchell glanced over his shoulder at the man and then shrugged, pushing up from his chair to follow me.

His footsteps were heavy as he followed me across the living room and up the stairs. In Micah's room, he sat down in the rocking chair and watched us as I picked out Micah's clothes.

"If you're going to be here," I stated looking back at him, "You could at least change Micah's diaper for me."

Mitchell glanced at the baby in my arms and then at the changing table next to his crib. "I think you've got that covered, don't you?" he asked rhetorically, tapping his fingers against the arm of the chair.

I turned to face him directly, the closet behind me. "No," I growled, "I don't have 'that covered', Mitchell. When you come to visit, you help out or you leave. Micah is your son too, no matter how much I hate it, and you can't just get out of it." Micah's fingers wrapped around a few strands of my hair as his other one reached out towards one of his shirts in the closet.

Mitchell slowly got to his feet and crossed his arms over his chest. "So now you want me to be a father," he stated, looking me in the eye, "This morning you didn't even want me to look after him while you were in the shower."

I gently pulled Micah's fingers from my hair. "That's because you're irresponsible," I replied, rolling my eyes at him, "I would never let you watch him all by yourself. You wouldn't last fifteen minutes without someone else cleaning up your messes."

Mitchell was silent and brooding as he stood in front of me. I waited for his reply, but the defiant look on his face told me that he was the same high school boy I'd drunkenly slept with in his best friend's bedroom during a party. He wasn't a father, despite the fact that Micah shared his DNA.

"Mitchell," I said softly, meeting his hardened eyes, "You have to be here this weekend, because the court makes you, but that doesn't mean you're Micah's dad. You're just someone I was stupid enough to sleep with and I don't ever want you believing that you're anything more than that." I turned back to the closet and rifled through the outfits as Mitchell stayed silent, his eyes staying on me and my son.

I was changing Micah a few minutes later when Mitchell spoke again. He walked over and stood next to the changing table, his hands shoved into his pockets. "You know, Cyren," he said, "You've changed. You're not the same naive girl that used to follow my friends around trying to get into their beds, you've become what nobody wants to be."

"And what's that?" I questioned, not taking my eyes off of Micah as I fastened his diaper around his hips.

"A bitter, unhappy bitch."

I looked up at him then, my eyes meeting his. "Really? I thought you were going to say bonded to you for eighteen years, because from my point of view, that is so much worse."

I finished getting Micah ready without saying anything more. Mitchell left the room as I stuffed Micah's little feet into little socks. As the door closed behind him, I pulled Micah to his feet and grabbed his sides to steady him.

His blonde hair was curly and wispy as he reached up and tangled his little fingers in it. I smoothed down his jacket and laid him down again to zip it up. When I lifted him back to his feet, he grinned and shoved his fingers in his mouth.

"Come on, Little Man," I encouraged, pulling his hand from his mouth, "Lets go have some fun, okay?" I situated him on my hip and headed towards the door, excited and nervous to introduce my new life to my old one.
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Frank and Mikey coming up next!
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