Death-Wish Kids


Unfortunately, I had third hour lunch which meant that after only one class I was allowed time to eat in the crowded cafeteria. As I shoved my notebook and pen back into my bag, the boy from the office and his friend called after me.

“New girl! Wait up, where're you going?” Frank called, hurrying after me as I made my way out of the class room.

I stopped once I was outside and waited for them, knowing it would do no good to ignore them, seeing as I'd have to spend the rest of the school year in class with them. The shorter one grinned when he saw me standing outside the door.

“What do you want?” I questioned, crossing my arms over my chest.

Frank looked at me with confused eyes. “What?” he asked, “Nothing, why?”

I frowned. “I've got to go. The lines are probably getting really long and I'm really hungry.”

“You have lunch this hour?” the other boy questioned, his hands shoved into the pockets of his black hoodie, “Us too. Do you want to sit with us?”

I didn't know what to say to get out of eating with this boy and his slightly more outgoing friend. “I can't...” I trailed off, “I have to find my sister.”

“Who's your sister?” Frank questioned, grabbing my arm to pull me away from the stream of teenage traffic, “Is she new too?”

“You're really nosey,” I retorted, keeping my arms crossed, “Has anyone ever told you that?”

Frank and his friend both grinned and Frank nodded. “Yeah, actually. All the time.” He held out his hand for me to shake. “I'm Frank Iero and this is Mikey Way. Do you want to have lunch with us? You sister can sit with us too, if she wants.”

I couldn't held but smile at the boys. Mikey pushed his glasses up higher on his nose and offered me a smile. It was tempting to accept their invitation, seeing as I didn't know anyone and Ryder had avoided making any plans to see me during the day, but I knew if I went home with stories of new male friends that my dad would lecture me until the sun came up. “I really can't,” I said reluctantly, “My sister has her own friends and I'm sure they're waiting for me.”

Frank and Mikey frowned. “Are you sure?” Mikey questioned, “If you change your mind we sit on the left side of the cafeteria. Feel free to find us.”

“Thanks, that's sweet of you,” I replied, looking over my shoulder as the bell rang. “Would you guys mind walking me to the cafeteria? I'm not sure where it is exactly.” I pulled the map out of my bag and had it ripped from my fingers within seconds.

Frank grinned at me widely as he looked it over with Mikey. “Me and you have geometry together,” he said before handing it to Mikey, “And gym.”

Mikey glanced at it and then handed it back to me. “Only biology.”

“And english,” I pointed out, motioning back to the class room we'd just come out of.

Mikey smiled and nodded. “Bio and english,” he corrected.

Frank led the way down a wide hallway, towards what I assumed was the cafeteria at the end. The two of them walked on either side of me. Frank's hair was cut into a mohawk and bleached on the sides. Mikey's was shaggy and dark, cut to stop right above his eyes so his bangs wouldn't interfere with his glasses. Mikey was slim, lanky, and tall with sharp cheek bones while Frank was much shorter with a rounder face and brighter eyes.

“Are you two sophomores?” I questioned, biting my lip as I followed them down the hall.

Mikey nodded for the both of them. “Aren't you?” he asked.

“Sorta of,” I replied, “It's a long story.”

“We've got fifty minutes,” Frank stated, “Is that long enough?”

I nervously ran my fingers through my hair. I wasn't so sure that telling two strangers my story was such a good idea. I didn't want the entire school knowing that I'd dropped out a two months after getting pregnant. My mom had easily signed the papers without a second thought, causing my dad to fight for custody of me. Being pregnant and a high school drop out wasn't going to fly with my father, so he took matters into his own hand.

“I don't really like to talk about it,” I murmured, hoping that Mikey and Frank would let it drop.

Frank, much to my relief, shrugged his shoulders. “You'll tell us sometime,” he promised, “You just don't know it yet.”

I chuckled and nodded. “You're probably right,” I agreed, knowing that I liked these two much more than I was supposed to. Mikey pulled open one of the doors to the cafeteria and held it for me. The room was packed with teenagers of all ages stuffed into corners and scarfing down handfuls of food. None of it looked particularly disgusting though, which was pleasantly surprising.

“Do you see your sister?” Mikey questioned, looking over the room although he had no idea what she looked like.

“What's her name?” Frank asked again, “Maybe we know her and can help you find her?”

“Ryder Alexander,” I told them, knowing they were probably going to figure it out eventually, whether they saw me with her or saw her ignore me, once they saw us together they would recognize the physical similarities.

“No shit?” Frank asked, looking at me with surprised eyes.

“What?” I asked, crossing my arms over my chest, “What's wrong with being related to Ryder?”

“Nothing,” Mikey answered before he could, “We just didn't know she had a sister.”

“Nobody did,” I defended, “I've lived with our mom until now.”

Frank rolled his eyes. “No offense,” he muttered, “But your sister is a total bitch.”

I was surprised by his words. My sister was the perfect child. The oldest, best child. I'd never heard anyone say a single bad word about her. She was smart and attractive and somehow managed to have the world at her finger tips. “How come?” I asked Frank as I scanned the room for her. “I thought everyone likes her.”

“They usually do,” Frank replied, looking around the room too, “But I'm not so much a fan of the Ryder and Jason show.” He pointed to the round table on the other side of the room. My sister sat in a plastic chair that was pushed up right next to a boy's. He had cropped, dark hair and held her hand on the table.

“Who's that?” I asked, unaware that Ryder was dating anyone at all.

Frank and Mikey both looked at me with surprise. “You don't know your sister's boyfriend?” Frank questioned loudly. “They break up and get back together all the fucking time. You have no idea how annoying it is that our entire school watches them like a bad sitcom on daytime television.”

“Ryder and I aren't close,” I said, still watching her as she leaned in and kissed the boy next to her. I wondered if this was the problem she'd been talking about this morning, and if so, I wondered how she possibly thought I wouldn't understand boy troubles.

“That's kind of obvious, Cy,” Frank deadpanned, heading towards the shortening line.

“Why don't you sit with us then?” Mikey questioned, obviously wondering why I would pick Ryder over them if Ryder and I didn't get along very well.

The answer to that question swam in my head as I nodded, following them into the lunch line so I could get something small to eat. “Yeah, okay,” I replied, “I guess it wouldn't kill me to sit with you guys.”

Mikey smiled and Frank grinned. They each got food from the line and waited for me to figure out how to access my account. My dad had added me onto my sister's account and filled it with money that we would share. I finally payed for my slice of pizza and chocolate milk and let Frank and Mikey show me where they sat everyday, on the complete opposite side of the cafeteria from Ryder.

“Is it just you two?” I asked as we sat down at a round table.

Mikey glanced at Frank and they both nodded. “Our other friends already graduated,” Frank explained, “They're like... really old.”

Mikey laughed. “They're not that old,” he defended, “Bob is only nineteen.”

Frank dropped his bag to the floor and his body onto the hard plastic chair. “Yeah, but Gerard and Ray are twenty for Christ's sake! They're like, official adults and shit.”

Mikey tried not to laugh seeing as he had a bite of his sandwich in his mouth. “Stop picking on my brother,” he demanded, “You know he's almost old enough to buy us alcohol.”

“Who's your brother?” I asked between bites of greasy pizza.

Mikey set his sandwich down. “His name is Gerard.”

Frank grinned and nodded. “He's my real best friend. Mikey is just a substitute since Gee doesn't go here anymore.”

“Hey!” Mikey exclaimed, punching Frank's shoulder as the short boy laughed manically and scooted his chair far from his friends. “That's so not true,” Mikey said to me, “I met Frank way before he met Gerard.”

“That doesn't meet anything!” Frank defended, “Just because I've known you longer doesn't mean I like you better!”

Mikey glared at his best friend and then at me as I laughed at their antics. The two of them kept me smiling long enough to almost forget about Micah sitting alone at daycare. After I finished my slice of pizza I asked Mikey and Frank if we were allowed to be on our phones during lunch.

“Not anymore,” Frank pouted, “Some assholes used their phones to record a fight a couple months ago. They put it on the internet and the school found out so they banned phones, even during lunch.”

I bit my lip. “Is there anyway I'll be allowed to used the office phone?” I questioned, looking at the boys with my breath held in my lungs.

“Who're you calling?” Frank asked, leaning his elbows on the table.

“None of your business,” Mikey replied, smacking Frank's arm.

I smiled gratefully and Mikey and gathered my things from the floor. “I'll be back, okay? I have to make a phone call before lunch ends.”

“We'll walk you,” Frank offered, getting to his feet.

“No, it's okay,” I said quickly, “I can find it myself. I promise I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere. I'll just be gone fifteen minutes or so.” I pulled my bag strap over my head and headed out of the cafeteria so I could call and check on Micah.

I hurried down the halls and pushed the doors open to the office. The lady, Mrs. F, smiled at me politely. “Is everything okay, Honey?” she questioned, folding her hands in front of her.

I nodded. “I was wondering if I could use the phone,” I asked, looking at the black machine that sat on the desk.

“What for?” she asked, “Students aren't allowed to make personal phone calls during school hours unless it's an emergency.”

I sucked in a worried breath and pressed my palms against the desk. “You don't understand,” I retorted, “I really need to call someone.”

“Is something wrong?” she asked again, “Because if you need me to I can call your father. I'm sure he'll come get you if you're too overwhelmed on your first day.” She reached for the phone and I shook my head.

“I'm fine,” I stated, “I just need to use the phone.”

Mrs. F. shook her head. She set the phone back down on the hook and smile apologetically at me. “I'm not allowed to let students make personal calls. I'm sorry.”

I hoisted my bag up higher on my shoulder and sighed. I knew if I told her she'd understand and let me call who ever I wanted, but I hadn't really planned on telling anyone about being a mother. Teenage mom was not a stereotype I wanted stuck to my forehead. “Please don't tell anyone,” I started, desperate to call about Micah, “But I need to call and check up on my son. Today's his first day at daycare and I'm dying without him.” I ran my fingers through my thick hair and waited for her reaction, hoping it was one of sympathy.

“Oh sweetheart,” she gasped, “You should've just told me. I've been through this same thing. Every mother has. We all know what it feels like to be separated from someone who grew inside of us. Of course I'll let you check up on him.” She dialed something on the phone and then handed it to me. “Here you go.”

I grabbed the phone from her and walked around to the side of her desk so I would be out of the way if someone walked in. I pulled a card out of my pocket and dialed the number that my dad had saved for me. It rang just twice before a receptionist picked up the phone.

"Hello. This is Gingerbread Manor. Amber speaking, how may I help you?”

I cleared my throat. “This is Cyren Alexander. I'm calling to check up on Micah Alexander.”

I could almost hear the woman smile on the other line. “Ah, yes. Ms. Alexander. Anita told me she thought you'd be calling.”

“Am I really that predictable?” I asked, biting my lip.

”No,” she said, ”It just means you're a good mother.”

I laughed slightly sarcastically. “That's the first time I've ever heard that,” I stated, “But he's okay right?”

”Yes, of course! Micah is doing really great today, actually. He cried a little bit after you left, but quickly bucked up and started having fun once we showed him all the toys and other kids. He's such a great baby.”

I nodded although she couldn't see. “Yeah,” I said finally, “He really is.”

”He'll be waiting for you at four-thirty,” she promised, ”We'll see you then, okay?”

“Okay,” I agreed, “I should go. See you then.”

”I'll tell Micah you said hi, and see you then.”

I hung up the phone. Talking to someone who was with my child did make me feel better, even if I wasn't able to see him myself. I thanked Mrs. F and asked her not to say anything to anyone, not even any adults. “It's hard having people look at me like I'm a slut,” I told her honestly, “Just because I have a baby doesn't mean I've slept with more than one person.”

She smiled at me sympathetically. “I understand, Cyren. I won't say a word. I promise.”

“Thanks,” I breathed, “I'll see you tomorrow?”

“I'll be here,” she replied, smiling brightly. “Have a good rest of your day.”

I headed back into the lunch room and was surprised to see my sister walking towards me. She must've been heading out of the lunch room, but when she saw me enter, she stopped and said something to her boyfriend before heading over to me purposely.

“Where have you been?” she asked, looking over my shoulder like she was waiting for someone to walk in behind me. “I was waiting for you.”

“Sorry,” I muttered, “I was using the phone.” I glanced to the tall guy standing beside her. Even though Mikey and Frank had already told me who he was, I asked, “Who's this?”

Ryder glanced up at the boy and then back to me. “This is Jason,” she explained, “We're kind of dating.”

“You didn't tell me you were dating anyone,” I replied simply, looking at him. He was a tall guy, but muscly too. He wore a simple shirt with a hoodie over it and a pair of faded jeans that looked like they'd purposely been washed too many times.

Ryder sighed and got a better grip on her boy friend's hand. “I don't tell you everything, Cyren. You've only been here a few months. We haven't exactly had bonding time,” she retorted, smiling at Jason as he wrapped his arm around her waist. “I have to go,” she said after another minute, “Jason has a meeting with some basketball guy. I'll see you at home, okay?”

I nodded dumbly. “Yeah. See you at five.”

She turned her attention back to me. “Actually, I'm going to be home a little late. Can you tell dad that I'll be home for dinner but not to wait up, just in case?” She smiled at me politely and then let the tall boy pull her through the double doors and out of the cafeteria.

Of course Ryder wasn't the one who had the baby, but I didn't expect her curfew to be so lenient when mine was strict. I barely had any time alone. The trips to school and to pick Micah up were about all the alone time I'd had in the longest time.

“What was that about?” Frank asked as he and Mikey walked over to me with their backpacks on their backs.

“Nothing.” I shrugged. “Just letting me know that she's not going to be home on time.”

Frank and Mikey nodded. “Do you want to go outside with us?” Frank questioned, touching the front pocket of his jeans, “I really need some fresh air.” He and Mikey shared a knowing grin which caused me to look at them with confusion.

“What are you two up to?” I asked, folding my arms over my chest, “I really can't afford to get in trouble on my first day.”

Frank shook his head and rolled his eyes. “We won't get you in trouble,” he promised, “I just figured that since you don't seem to have any other friends that you might want to spend some more time with us.”

I glared at the short boy but let him lead the way anyways. He took Mikey and I out a back door at the end of a long hallway where he pulled a cigarette from an almost empty pack that came out of his pocket. He lit up and grinned as the nicotine flooded his blood stream.

“Do you not like smokers?” he questioned, obviously seeing the look on my face as I looked away from the cigarette between his fingers.

I shook my head. “No, I just haven't had one in a long time. I've been trying to quit for the sake of my family,” I replied, thinking about polluting Micah's lungs with the toxic smoke.

“That's good,” Mikey replied with a smile on his lips, “Cigarettes are so unhealthy. I've been trying to get Gerard and Frank to quit for a long time, but when Gee tried he pretty much just added coffee to the list of his addictions. So I figure I better just leave him alone before he adds anymore things.”

“What's your family like?” Frank inquired between drags on his cigarette, “Mine's real fucked up.”

“Mine's not bad,” I said honestly, “I live with my dad now. He and my mom divorced a long time ago and I had decided to stay with my mom because my dad got custody of my little brother and Ryder decided to go with them.”

“How come you came to Jersey?” Mikey questioned, leaning against the dirty brick wall of the school. There wasn't anyone else out here but us so I figured nobody really knew about the little hiding spot behind the school. A little alcove nestled right beyond the view of the door we came out of.

I lifted my shoulders and dropped them in a weary shrug. “I got in some trouble back home. My dad thought it'd be a better idea for me to be with him and Noah and Ryder. He brought me out here, re-enrolled me in school, set some pretty tough ground rules, and told me that he hopes I'll enjoy it here.” I pushed my hair out of my eyes and leaned against the wall, too, all of a sudden too tired to hold my body up straight.

“What do you think so far?” Frank asked.

I shrugged again. “I haven't been here long. You two are the first people I've met since I got here.”

“So, it's pretty great, huh?” Frank joked, laughing as I shoved his shoulder. He dropped his cigarette butt to the ground and stepped on it. “You ready to head back in?”

Both Mikey and I nodded. We followed him back through the unlock door and down the long corridor. The cafeteria was being crowded as the students moved towards the doors, ready to be done and head back to class now that their stomachs were full. Frank leaned against the wall in the open hallway and grinned at me as I shoved my hands in my pockets and watched the people through the thick windows on the doors.

“You'll like the guys,” Frank said, “I can't wait until they meet you. They'll fucking love you,” he gushed, looking to Mikey for confirmation.

The lanky boy nodded, a small smile on his lips. “Yeah, Jamia will be happy to have another girl around, too.”

“I can't meet your friends,” I said almost sadly, leaning against the bricks between Mikey and Frank.

“Why not?” Mikey questioned, tilting his head down to look at me. “They're really great. I promise.”

I shook my head. “I'm only allowed to go to school and go home,” I sighed, leaving off the part about stopping at daycare to pick up Micah. “My dad has me on a very short leash now that I'm living with him.”

“He won't let you out of the yard for one night?” Frank asked, his voice whining, “What if I meet him and promise to take good care of you?” He grinned wildly and nodded eagerly. Mikey grinned too and folded his arms over his chest.

I sighed softly with a shake of my head. “My dad doesn't really like guys,” I informed them, “I'm not allowed to hang out with them anymore. Sure, at school he won't know, but if you showed up at my house asking for me, we'd both be in trouble.”

“Seriously?” Frank snorted, “What'd you do that's so fucking bad?”

I held my breath as my many mistakes came to mind. “A lot of bad shit,” I replied softly, picturing the little boy waiting for me to come and get him. “I can't really explain right now. But I'll let you know when I know you better.”

Frank and Mikey glanced at me with small smiles on their lips. They knew I was hiding something from them, keeping my story from them, but they weren't pushing it and I was grateful for that. The rest of the day dragged on. It seemed like a eternity waiting for five more classes to pass and for the last bell of the day to ring, signaling that I could finally leave.

Mikey and I had eighth hour biology together, so he walked with me out of the building. Frank was waiting outside for him like he did everyday. I sped walked through the halls as quickly as I could, wanting to make it out of the parking lot before it was too crowded to move. But when Mikey and I stepped out of the school, he looked at the obscene amount of cars trying to crowd their way out of the two exits.

“You're not going to make it very far,” he commented, lifting a hand to wave at Frank, who sat on the ledge of the stairs.

“Come on,” I grumbled, following him over to Frank. “How do you guys get home?” I asked, “You're not old enough to drive yourselves.”

Mikey replied, “My brother picks us up after the traffic clears out.”

“Yeah, you should wait with us,” Frank interjected, “Gee's never going to believe that Mikey made friends with a girl as nice looking as you if he doesn't see it for himself.”

Mikey glared at Frank. “Even though Frank's an ass, you should still wait with us,” he encouraged, “Plus, it doesn't look like you're getting out of here anytime soon, anyways.”

I looked back to the crowded parking lot. I had no choice but to agree with them. Cars were honking and people were shouting out of windows to their friends in other cars. I wasn't going to make it out within the next fifteen or twenty minutes.

“Okay,” I agreed softly, sitting down on the ledge next to Frank. “How long does it usually take for everyone to leave?”

“Not long,” Mikey stated, climbing onto the ledge.

We sat for barely fifteen minutes, just chatting, before a blue Nissan pulled up to the curve and honked. Mikey and Frank looked over quickly and grinned simultaneously. “Come meet Gerard,” Mikey encouraged as Frank grabbed my arm and tried to pull me over to their car.

“I really should get going,” I muttered as the two of them led me to the little blue vehicle.

“Shut up,” Frank demanded, “It'll only take two seconds for him to see that you really exist.”

Mikey pulled open the passenger's seat and I could see the man sitting in the driver's seat. His appearance was shockingly stunning. His hair was cropped short and bleached white although his eyebrows were still dark. He wore mostly black clothing and smiled up at me as Mikey introduced us. His cheekbones were even more apparent than Mikey's and his eyes were an olive kind of green that looked naturally hazy and grey.

“Gerard, this is Cyren. She just moved here,” Mikey told him, stepping out of the way so I could say hello.

“Hey,” he said softly, smiling as he lifted his hand from the steering wheel, “Nice to meet you.”

I nodded. “You too,” I replied, glancing at the clock on the dashboard, “But I really have to get going.”

“We'll see you around?” he questioned, dropping his hand back onto the wheel.

“I don't think so.” I shook my head. “Nice meeting you. Bye Frank, bye Mikey.” I pushed past the two boys and hurried around the car. I crossed through the almost empty parking lot and threw myself into the driver's seat.

I stuck the key in the ignition and left the school parking lot, wanting to get Micah and get home a quickly as possible. The day had been long and tiring and even more stressful than I'd assumed it would be. But making a couple of new friends was the hardest part of all. I'd sworn off guys and friends all together and I wasn't going to risk my new life on two teenage boys and one of their older brothers.

From the day he was born, Micah had become the only man in my life. It didn't matter if Frank and Mikey were just looking to make another friend, I didn't have time to explain my story to them and I definitely didn't have the time to create a terrible reputation for myself at yet another school.

It was almost five o'clock when I pulled into the small parking lot of the daycare. My dad would be home soon and would be mad that I wasn't, but it didn't matter because Micah was right inside the door. Waiting to show me around his new daycare and waiting for me to take him home with me again.

With Micah, I doubted I would ever need another man. The little boy had secretly become my everything in these last nine months and I hadn't realized it until I'd been forced away from him for an entire day. As I walked through the doors of 'Gingerbread Manor' I had no idea how I was going to make it through another minute away from him. Tomorrow would be hell... but everyone kept promising that it would get easier.

I could only hold my breath.
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Not sure if this is any good, but I got three comments and a recommendation so far, so thank you so much! (: