Death-Wish Kids


I spent most of Saturday morning with Micah. My father hated when I kept him in my bed with me for hours, but I needed the time and having the baby at my side kept me grounded. He slept mostly, lulled to sleep by the quiet and my body next to his, and the background noise from downstairs. He slept against the curve of my body, little face turned inwards towards my ribs, and my arm curled around him.

The door opened without a sound just after eleven. “You’re going to ruin his sleep schedule,” Dad said as he stepped into the room, “He’s supposed to be going down for a nap in a half an hour. How’s he supposed to do that if he’s already sleeping?”

I glanced to the blonde baby and then back to my did without moving. “Just let him sleep,” I answered protectively, “It’ll be fine.”

Dad stepped in and stood halfway between my bed and the door. “You’re not the one who’s going to have to stay up with him all night, Cyren. You can’t just alter his schedule whenever you want to. You need to stick to his routine.”

“He’s my son,” I responded, “I can do whatever I want with him.” It was childish and I knew it, but I sent a glare with my words, hoping to get my point across.

He didn’t react. He just stood there staring at me. “If that’s the case than you can take him out with you tonight. You only want my help when it’s convenient for you, Cyren. That’s not fair to anyone else.” He walked over and lifted the baby out from beside me, ignoring me as I called for him to bring Micah back. “He’s mine now,” he said, turning to leave the room with the sleeping boy, “You need to get up and get something to eat and take a shower.”

“It’s a Saturday,” I complained, rolling out of bed so that I could follow him, “Micah and I are allowed to have one lazy day, Dad. Mikey’s not picking me up until two.”

“It’s eleven-thirty,” he answered as we walked down the stairs. Micah was stirring now and my father coaxed him away, talking about food and correct napping schedules.

I rolled my eyes and tromped down the last stair. “I don’t need that long to get ready,” I told him, “It’s not that hard to shower and change clothes.”

Ryder looked back at me from where she sat on the couch with Noah. “What are you wearing?”

“Pants and a shirt,” I said, motioning to my current clothes, “I’m surprised you couldn’t figure that out, Ryder.”

Dad disappeared into the kitchen with my son as my sister answered. “I hope you’re not planning on wearing that to the art gallery,” she said, “I mean, you look like a homeless person. Someone might think you just wandered in off the streets.”

I glared at her as Noah turned to see what I was wearing.

Ryder said, “Go take a shower and I’ll try to make you look presentable.”

“I’m not wearing any of your clothes,” I shot back immediately.

“I wasn’t offering.”

I headed back up stairs and directly into the shower. When I came out, Ryder was in the hall, heading to her room, but she rerouted and followed me to mine. I sat down on the end of my bed, tucking my robe around me, and watched as she went through the closet piece by piece. Sometimes it was easier just to let her.

“I can dress myself,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest, “Honestly, I’ve been doing it for probably about fifteen years. And I even dress Micah, so I’ve had lots of extra practice too.”

“You’re going to an art gallery,” she said, “You need to look like more than a punk, kinda … grungy high schooler.” She shot me a look over her shoulder to let me know she meant that as an insult.

I ignored her and met her at the closet. “What’s the verdict?”

“This dress,” she pulled out a black and beige-pink skater dress, “with my Giuseppe Zanotti high-heeled ankle-booties.”

“I said I want to wear your clothes,” I responded, taking the dress from her.

“They’re shoes, not clothes,” she retorted. “I have to find them. Change first, and then do something with your hair. It’s too long.” She walked out of the room, pulling the door closed behind her and letting it slam shut.

I slipped stepped into a pair of underwear and then pulled on the dress. It was one that I bought near the end of my time in Florida, back before I was too pregnant to wear it. It was black fabric at the bust and the straps crossed in the back, making it look edgier, despite the pinkish-beige skirt that fell to mid thigh.

The shoes Ryder came back with where suede ankle booties with three inch, slender heels on them. They were gorgeous, but far different from the usual shoes I wore. As I zipped them up to take a couple loops around the room, I was glad that I didn’t have to worry about carrying Micah around tonight.

Ryder came bursting into the room as I was walking around. “You’re acting like you’ve never walked in heels before,” she said, throwing herself down onto my unmade bed.

“It’s been awhile,” I relented. But she was right. I spent a lot of time in high school going to parties in heels just like these. There were even a couple of pairs of heels still stuffed down in the back of my closet, never to emerge again.

“You look good,” Ryder spoke, looking me over from head to toe, “You almost can’t tell that you’re a raging weirdo ninety percent of the time.”

I paused and looked at her. “I didn’t always used to be, y’know,” I said, palms pressed into the squared-off top of my footboard, “I just got tired of worrying about everyone else’s shit and decided that it was time to grow up and care about things that really mattered.”

“Yeah, like what?” she asked, sitting up straighter and turning to face me, “If you don’t worry about how you’re portraying yourself, then what’s there to worry about?”

“Micah,” I answered immediately.

“You can’t care about what you’re wearing and care about Micah?”

“It’s not that I don’t care about what I’m wearing, Ryder,” I told her, pressing the heels of my hands together, “It’s that I’m comfortable in jeans and a t’shirt just as much as I am like this. There’s no reason to dress like this if I don’t want to and on an everyday basis, I don’t want to.”

She was quiet for a minute, and then she leaned forward just slightly. “So what’s got you dressing up now?”

Gerard. “The art gallery,” I said, moving my damp hair from one shoulder to hang freely down my back. It was starting to curl as a dried, into it’s usual loose ringlets. It was a trait that Ryder, Noah, and I shared. “What should I do with my hair?”

Ryder rolled her eyes but was up from the bed in an instant.

My phone dinged halfway through Ryder doing my hair. It was in the center of the bed, mostly forgotten. Noah sat at the end with Micah in his lap. He was holding onto the baby while Dad made lunch and watching us idly as I tried to sit as still as possible. Ryder had already warned me once as she tried to ‘accentuate’ the natural curls in my hair and make them smoother.

When the phone went off, Noah turned to look at it and Ryder’s head lifted, but none of us moved to get it. Noah wasn’t allowed to move with the baby in his arms, and Ryder had a hot piece of my metal to my head, so I wasn’t taking an chances.

“I need to get that,” I said, motioning for my sister to let go of my hair and let me up, “It could be Mikey.”

Ryder glanced at the phone and then at our brother. He was only a couple of feet away from us. “Noah, get the phone and throw it over here,” Ryder said.

“No, Noah, don’t,” I answered immediately, “You hold onto Micah, I’ll get it.”

“I’m not finished yet,” Ryder said, “And plus, he can hold onto the baby perfectly find and still hand you the phone. It’s not like multitasking is going to make him drop him.”

“Just let go,” I said, getting ready to stand up so that she had no choice but to release my hair from the curling iron and let me go. She muttered in annoyance as I got up and grabbed my phone, standing near the edge of the bed while I checked the messages.

I barely had time to read it before the phone was ringing in my palms. Gerard’s name on the screen. I glanced at my siblings quickly. They were both watching me, eyes moving to the phone. I answered it before they could see who was on the other line. “Hello?”

”Cy? I just wanted to let you know that my parents are going to pick you up instead of me. I’m sorry, but they need me on campus to help set up a couple of things before hand.”

“Mikey,” I said, hoping the older way would understand, “That’s fine. I’ll see you when you get here. Do you know what time you’ll be picking me up?”

I could hear the smile in Gerard’s voice. ”I think they’ll be there just before two,” he said, ”The gallery show opens around three and stays open through seven tonight, but I should be able to get away after a couple hours. You think you could wait around for me?”

Ryder was frowning at me, giving me her impatient look. “Yeah, that sounds good,” I told Gerard, “I’ll see you later, okay? I’ve got to finish getting ready before my sister burns all my hair off on purpose.”

”Okay,” he relented, ”I’ll see you when you get there.” The call ended without any other type of goodbye and I said one to the empty line before taking the phone back to me to my seat.

“What time are they coming?” Ryder asked from behind me.

“In about thirty minutes so hurry up,” I answered.

“You know Dad wants to meet Mikey’s parents,” Ryder said, “And the minute they pull up in the driveway he’s going to be out there to invite them in.”

That thought hadn’t come to me, but I should’ve seen it coming. Dad had been talking about wanting to meet them and now was his chance. But Dad knew about Micah and they didn’t, and they knew about Gerard while my father didn’t. My heart was immediately pounding and I could feel my nervous blood racing through my thinning veins.

“You’ve got to keep him away from them,” I said, tipping my head back at her slightly, “Come on, Ryder, you know how he can be. Please just help me get out of this house and I’ll owe you one.”

“How am I supposed to do that?”

“I don’t know. Keep him from beating me out there. Then I can just jump in the car and we’ll drive off really fast and he won’t have a chance to meet them.”

“What about when they bring you back?” she asked as if she’d found a flaw in the plan.

“I’ll have Gerard bring me home,” I said, now having a reason for him to be the one to drop me off later anyway.

I felt Ryder let go of my hair. “Why don’t you want them to meet?” she asked, and I couldn’t see the look on her face. But the tone of her voice told me enough. Told me that she knew enough already.

“I haven’t told them about Micah yet,” I said, glancing at my brother, who was surprisingly good at keeping things between us. He and Ryder had formed a close bond in years I didn’t live here, but when I moved in it seemed to apply to me and him as well. “And I want to be the one to tell them. I’m worried that they’re going to think I’m a bad influence on Mikey and I really don’t want to stop hanging out with him and Frank.”

“If they’re as cool as you say they are, then why would they care?” Ryder asked.

“I don’t know,” I said, “Mikey’s younger than me and I just don’t want to be that girl, Ryder. Please just keep Dad away tonight and I promise I’ll tell them after today.”

Ryder stepped out from behind me and I watched as she silently walked over to Noah and took Micah from him. “Come back in fifteen minutes,” she said, eyeing him, “And keep everything to yourself, Noah. I mean it.”

He rolled his eyes and walked out of the room. Typical eleven year old.

Ryder cradled Micah and stood in front of me. It made her feel like she was more than just one year older. Even when I was the one with the baby, I still always felt years younger than her. She frowned at me. “Cyren, I don’t like Gerard Way,” she said, eyeing boring into mine, “And I’m not trying to fight with you, but he’s not normal. You know I’m right.”

“Don’t go there, Ryder,” I said immediately, getting up from the chair and moving it back over to the desk, “You keep causing problems by bringing him up and you just need to let it go. You don’t know anything about him.”

“But you do, right?” she said, causing me to turn around quickly and stare at her. She seemed to see the reaction she’d wanted, because she pressed her lips together and nodded. “I thought so,” she said, “I knew that something was going on between you two. You were sticking up for him and he showed up here a couple days ago. If he’s the reason you’re going with them tonight then you should just-“

“Are you going to tell Dad?” I asked, cutting her off. There was no reason to lie about it now, and maybe if I could get Ryder on my side, get to her to stop thinking that Gerard was something bad, then maybe she’d help me make our dad understand him too.

Ryder seemed shocked my the admission, even though she’d already figured it out herself. “Tell him what, Cyren? What’s going on with you and him? Is there anything that I should tell Dad?”

“I really like him Ryder, and I really don’t need you letting everything you’ve heard from your dumb friends ruin this for me,” I said quickly, glancing towards the door. She was closer to it, so if she was going to make a run for it, she had that advantage. But she also had Micah, so I could definitely beat her to it. “And yes, I’m going to see him tonight. It’s his art show at his school and the whole family is going. And yes, he knows about Micah, and no he’s nothing like you think he is.”

“Seriously, Cyren? You’ve barely been in school and already you’re getting into shit like this! I told you to stay away from him, Dad told you to stay away from him, and you do the exact opposite!” She paused then, jaw set, and looked directly at me. “How far has it gone?”

“What are you talking about?” I asked indignantly.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about!” she said, and her gaze flickered to my son, who was still in her arms.

My jaw dropped. “You think I would sleep with him?!” I asked, outraged, “I’ve only ever had sex with one person in my entire life, Ryder! I know people think I’m a slut because I had Micah, but I was thought I was in love with Mitchell! You think that I’ve had sex with Gerard!? It’s only been a couple of months!”

“How was I supposed to know that!” Ryder yelled back, “I don’t know anything about you, and all I’ve heard about him aren’t the greatest things, Cyren! What kind of twenty year old guy goes after a sophomore in high school?”

“I’m seventeen,” I retorted, “If I were six months older it wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever! So why don’t you stop acting like he’s some horrible freak and actually try to give him a chance.”

There was silence on her end, and I stared at her, watching as she resituated Micah and then looked back at me. She knew nothing about Gerard, and nothing about who he was with me, and I was desperate for her to really see him. If I couldn’t win over Ryder, there was no way that my dad would ever come around.

“I’m against this,” she said finally, stepping forward to pass Micah back to me, “But I’ll let you make your own mistakes, Cyren. I thought you’d learned enough already, but you keep making all the wrong decisions.”

“It’s my choice,” I answered, holding the baby against my body and the dress, “He’s my choice, Ryder. I just need you to leave it alone.”
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I'm sorry for the hiatus! Please let me know who is still with me! Hope to see some comments! Hopefully I'll get another chapter out soon.