Death-Wish Kids

06.

Walking out of the building after school with Mikey and Frank was nerve-wracking. The confidence that I spent all day building up had disappeared the minute the last bell rang. Mikey and Frank followed me to my car in the parking lot. They were both surprised about the car-seat, even though they both knew about Micah.

"How old is he, again?" Frank asked from the backseat as I tried to maneuver my way out of the crowded lot.

"Nine months," I said, glancing back at him in the mirror.

It took me longer than usual to get out of the parking lot, seeing as we usually waited for Gerard to come and for it to clear out. Today was different though. My new friends, my only friends, were going to meet my son for the first time.

I was going to spend time with them for the first time... without Micah and without any responsibilities holding me back. It took only minutes to get to the daycare once we made it away from the school, and once again the boys seemed shocked that it was all real and hadn't been a story I'd made up to make myself seem more interesting.

"You can wait here," I instructed as I unbuckled my seatbelt, "I'll be right back."

Frank unbuckled his too. "I want to come in!" he said, pushing his door open, "I really like kids."

Mikey shot his best friend a look. "Frank, get back in the car," he demanded, sensing that I was a little nervous about having him go in with me. "You don't need to go in."

Frank jutted out his bottom lip and looked at me over the top of the car. "I can't come?" he asked like a little kid, half-stepping back into the car, "I'll be good, I promise, Cy."

I chuckled at his promise and then shrugged my shoulders, deciding that it really didn't matter if he met Micah right away or if he waited the few minutes it would take for me to emerge from the building with him. Frank cheered as I asked Mikey if he wanted to come with too, not wanting to force him to do anything he didn't want to.

"No, I'm good here," he reassured me, pulling his feet up onto the seat as if he was getting comfortable, "You two can go."

"We'll be right back," I told him before I shut the door and Frank ran around to my side. He bumped his shoulder against mine and grinned, shoving his hands deep into his pockets.

"You're safe to have around Micah, right?" I asked, glancing him over.

He rolled his eyes. "I'm not a pedophile, Cyren. I just like little kids. I think they're cute. I'm an only-child, you know, so I never got to have a sibling like Gee and Mikey."

"You can have one of mine," I offered as we walked through the door of the building. "They're a lot of fun."

Frank grinned and shrugged his shoulders. "I'll take the one that's not Ryder," he offered.

I laughed at his open dislike of my sister. "Then Noah, it is," I cheered, leading him past the front desk. The lady there smiled at me politely, her eyes gazing over the two of us as we passed. I knew we had to look like two teenage misfits in a place like this, but no one's eyes ever had judgement in them, and for that I was thankful.

Frank silently followed me to the back of the building where Micah's room was. I pushed the door open and smiled at the tiny kids in the room. Before I could move over to my son, who was on the far side of the room, Frank grabbed my arm and stopped me.

"Let me guess," he stated, his eyes trained on the five babies in the room, "Let me figure out which one is yours."

"Frank, really?" I asked, looking the sixteen year old in the eye, "You want to pick out my son?"

Frank glanced at me and nodded. "Why not?" he questioned, grinning, "Two of them are girls, so it's not that hard."

The woman working there smiled and shook her head at him and his antics. No matter what, I was quickly realizing that Frank could have fun in any situation.

"Go ahead," I challenged, motioning to the three little boys in the room. "Good luck."

Frank's eyes trailed over each one, looking for similarities between me and each of the kids. After just a minute or so he pointed at baby with dark, curly, brown hair who was laying in a crib to our right.

"Nope," I laughed, moving to my son on the other side of the room. "This is Micah." I plucked the blonde-haired child from his spot and held him in my arms tightly, happy to have him there, knowing that I was going to leave him again soon.

Frank scoffed loudly. "He doesn't look anything like you!" he exclaimed walking over to me. He leaned in and put his mouth by my ear. "He's the cutest one," he whispered, "But I didn't want to pick him solely on that reason." He stood up straight and grabbed Micah's right hand. "Nice to meet you, Micah. I'm Frankie."

I chuckled but urged him away. "Lets go," I directed, shooting a small smile at the woman in the room as we left it. Frank led Micah and I back out to the hallway and then back the way we'd come. I stopped him at the front desk and signed Micah out, before we continued to the car.

"Mikey, this is Micah!" Frank introduced as he yanked open the back-seat door for me so I could get the baby in his car-seat.

Mikey looked back at the little boy whose name was so similar. "Hey, Micah," he greeted softly before meeting my eye. "He's really cute."

"Thanks," I replied, buckling Micah in, "But I don't think I had much to do with that."

I slammed Micah's door closed as Frank held his hands, the sixteen year old ranting about Micah losing a finger if I wasn't careful.

"Relax, Frank," I urged once I got back into the car, "He's fine. I've closed the door a hundred times. He can't even reach that far."

Frank rolled his eyes dramatically. "Preventive measures, Cyren, that's good parenting."

I shook my head at the dramatic boy and pulled out of the parking lot. I headed towards my house as Mikey and Frank talked to Micah, pretending the baby could understand everything they were saying.

I grabbed my bag and Micah when we got to the house, and Mikey and Frank flanked either side of me as I headed to the front door. They were quiet now, subdued by the fact that they were meeting my dad for the very first time.

"He's not that bad," I promised as I unlocked the door and pushed it open, "He's a chef, completely harmless."

"Don't chef's have access to overly sharpened knives?" Frank questioned, crossing his arms.

I glared at him harshly. "Yeah," I muttered, "And so do I. So shut up unless you want to be stabbed."

They nodded simultaneously, even though Mikey hadn't said a word, and followed me into the living room. "Dad!" I shouted towards the stairs, "We're home! Are you still going to watch Micah for me?"

There wasn't a reply, but within just seconds my dad was traipsing down the stairs with a laid back smile on his lips. "Hey, guys," he said, holding his hand out to them, "I'm Elliot. Nice to meet you."

"This is Mikey and this is Frank," I introduced as he shook their hands, "They're technically in my grade."

The boys greeted my dad in a friendly way and they easily fell into a conversation, their nerves slipping away as they realized exactly how honest I'd been when I used the word 'harmless'. I stepped forward with Micah and cut in after a short amount of time, "Micah missed you today, Dad," I stated, smiling widely.

Dad nodded and pulled Micah from my arms. "Hey, Micah," he greeted, "I missed you today, too." Of course he knew that I couldn't know what Micah was feeling, but he played into it, and waited for what I was going to say next.

"We're going to get going," I told him, anxious to get out of the house before he or I could change our minds, "We're just going to watch some movies at Mikey's."

My dad nodded. "Okay, check in if you stay until after dark. I want to know when you're on your way home."

"Deal," I agreed, nodding as I stepped back, "I'll call you before I leave their house. See you later." I called for the guys to follow me.

"See you around, Mr. Alexander," Frank called over his shoulder as Mikey smiled at my dad.

"Elliot!" Dad corrected, shaking his head at the boys as we stepped out of the door, leaving him and Micah behind us.

We got back into the car, and I was excited. I was tasting the most freedom I had in over a year. Even if we were just going to watch movies at Mikey's house, it was still something I hadn't done since I'd changed everything with just one stupid night of unsupervised stupidity.

I drove and Mikey directed. I figured out that he and his family didn't live very far from me, just a few streets back and four streets over. I pulled into their driveway and couldn't help but stare at the cheerful house.

Just by looking at the place you could tell that a real family lived there. Not one like mine, pieces of a family all thrown into one building, but an actual, mother/father/children kind of house. The kind where your mother makes you breakfast before school and your dad teaches you to play baseball in the backyard.

Mikey and Frank pushed out of the car. Frank raced towards the house, shouting for 'Donna', who I assumed was Mikey's mom since he only had one sibling.

I got out, too, stunned by the feeling of wanting to belong. Of wanting to fit in here like Frank seemed to do so easily. Mikey waited for me where the driveway met the walkway to the front door.

I smiled gratefully and let him take me inside, where Frank had disappeared from sight, but managed to still be heard all the way outside.
♠ ♠ ♠
This is for WoundedByTheWind & Hold.On.Till.May because they left me comments asking for more. (:
So here it is!
What do you think is going to happen?