Status: Active :) Comments are lovely.

Lost Inside


Three heads turned to the small boy who had exited the elevators unannounced. Vanessa removed her hands from her eyes as more sobs rocked her body. She shoved her brother aside and pushed past Declan and didn’t stop until she had Caleb tightly wrapped in her arms. Any other family and it would have been a beautiful sight.

It took five minutes to untangle Vanessa from Caleb and by that point they had moved their meeting to the elevator to go up to the loft; they were attracting too much unwanted attention in the lobby.

Declan led the way into the loft, but made sure to keep his hand wrapped around Caleb’s the entire time, ensuring the boy that he did not have to go through this alone. For that, Caleb was grateful.
Caleb and Declan sat close to one another on the love seat; it was almost strategic in the way that Vanessa couldn’t join them and suffocate her younger brother in hugs. So the other two siblings took a seat on the couch.

For what felt like the longest time, no one said a word. Vanessa was sniffling into a tissue, Jetson was wringing his hands nervously and Caleb was crushing Declan’s hand so hard that one of his fingers turned a slight shade of blue. The older man finally decided that he would have to be the one to break the silence.

“So...” Declan awkwardly cleared his throat. “You two said that you came here for a...reason?” He didn’t want to sound rude, but if they didn’t start talking soon, Declan was afraid that he was going to lose a couple of digits. Seeming to almost read his mind, Caleb loosened his grip.

“Yes.” Jetson almost whispered, staring at his shoes. This made Declan unhappy; he would not accept that Jetson was truly apologizing unless he looked his brother in the eye. “I just...after I left last time, I was thinking over everything that I had said to you.” The boy raised his head; it seemed that it was now Caleb who was incapable of keeping eye contact. “I knew that it was true all along, I knew that you hadn’t run off and you probably hadn’t been living in this place for very long, but it’s just...I just didn’t want to believe that I was raised by those types of people.

 “Growing up, I always had everything that I’d ever wanted and I was a selfish and stupid child who just assumed that I deserved better than everyone else and I could see - I could see how they were treating you and what they were doing to you, but I...I didn’t...” Jetson’s eyes lowered yet again. It was okay.

Caleb couldn’t meet his brother’s eye. This was the boy - man - he swore that he would probably never speak to again in his life. Jetson had been the favorite, the wanted one and Caleb had been jealous of him his entire life. How could he not be? His parents had abandoned him all because he couldn’t be his younger brother. It was normal to feel a bit of resentment at this. And here Jetson was, apologizing, but was it too late?

Jetson had already gotten everything he had ever wanted. He was already the favorite; the good one, the wanted one, so what did he have to lose with his apology? What would Caleb have to gain? A brother? But Caleb was worried that the resentment would never go away. 17 years of envy does not just disappear overnight. And what about Vanessa? She was talking, but Caleb found that the words didn’t reach his ears. Could he forgive her for all that she had done. It wasn’t like this was happening when she was a child. She had been 21 years old when Caleb was thrown from his house, so she had been grown enough to recognize the abuse. Why had she never tried to reach out and help? Because she was too busy trying to live out her own life to care about her neglected baby brother? It didn’t make sense to Caleb; families shouldn’t act this way.

Declan recognized the glazed look in the boy’s eyes when he spared a glance. He knew that Caleb was not retaining a single word that his siblings were saying. Too much on his mind; that was usually never a good thing. He gave the boy a light pinch on the back of the hand to get him to at least pay attention to a little bit; it seemed to work.

And now Vanessa was saying something about how terrified she felt when she had learned that their parents had claimed her brother dead. Caleb’s attention was slipping again.

And their parents. How could he ever begin to think to forgive their parents? Caleb didn’t think it was possible. He wanted nothing more than to locate them, inform them that he was in fact alive and then give them a piece of his mind. Tell them all that was wrong with them and how they were the worst excuses for parents ever and how he would never be able to forgive them for what they had done to him. He wanted to do it, but then a better idea came to mind.

“I’ll write them a letter.”
Vanessa stopped talking, looking hurt and confused. She had been in the middle of a heartfelt apology and it appeared as though Caleb didn’t pay attention to a single word she has said.

“What? You’ll write who a letter?” Declan enquired.

“My parents. Let’s face it, I’ll never be able to talk to them face to face, I...but they need to know. I want to tell them how I felt, how I feel now. I want them to know that I will never forgive them for what they did to me, but they should at least know that contrary to their efforts, I am alive.”

Three faces stared at him, two in shock, one in pride. Vanessa and Jetson shared a look before turning back to their brother.

“What do you mean you’ll never be able to talk to mom and dad face to face?” Vanessa asked. “You’re going to have to forgive them.” Declan went on the defensive again; he didn’t like where this was going.

“Why do I have to forgive them? If you were in my position, would you ever be able to just forgive and forget. I could have died! You haven’t spoken to them in two and a half years and they never did anything to you.”

Vanessa looked hurt, Caleb was just confused. How could she expect him to pardon them for their mistakes when she herself didn’t?

“I know they messed up, Caleb and I know that I’m not the best example, but they’re still our parents and I think they might deserve a second chance.” She stopped when she saw the confused and hurt look on her brother’s face. “I’m not trying to tell you what to do! Please don’t think that and I will respect whatever decision you ultimately come to, but I think that perhaps you should give them a second chance.”

Caleb would think about it, but he never expected to forgive his parents. They did too much wrong all his life. Perhaps later on when he was old and gray and had a family of his own.

“I know what you’re trying to say, Vanessa, and I feel that maybe some day I will forgive them for what they’ve done, just not yet. I need time to heal and...I think letting them know I’m alive is good enough.”

She gave him a warm smile. Vanessa wondered how she had never cared for her own brother before. She had loved him like she loved all of her other siblings, but she had never paid any attention to how her parents had behaved towards him, she just thought that they were cold towards the rest of the children as well. 
Jetson stayed silent. He didn’t know what else he could say. He really was sorry to his brother for all of the years of abuse, but if Caleb was not willing to forgive their parents just yet, what would make him forgive the siblings sitting right in front of him?

Jetson stared at his feet; he would understand if Caleb didn’t want to forgive him; he felt that he didn’t deserve it either way.

Declan was staring around at the three siblings surrounding him. He didn’t know how this would end; he wanted to make a prediction and hope for the best, but he didn't want to get his hopes up. What did he want to happen? Declan figures that he would want them to make up and become one step closer to being half of a family. He knew that Caleb needed someone other than him and Emilia, he needed a blood bond, perhaps that would help him heal.

It was quiet for what felt like the longest time. No one said a word, no one knew what to say.
Finally Jetson sighed, mussing up his hair - Caleb would do that when he was nervous as well.

“I think...I think that’s all Vanessa and I had to say to you today.” He mumbled. “We’ll give you time think or...whatever it is that you need to do.” He gave a nod to Declan and Caleb. Vanessa scooped her brother in her arms one more time before tearfully leaving the loft.

Caleb had not moved from his spot, standing in front of the door where his siblings just left. He didn’t know what to do and he didn’t know who to talk to about it. 
Of course there was Declan, but...he wouldn’t understand. He had been handed everything in life that he could have ever wanted.

Declan stood to the side, watching the younger man with apprehension. Does he attempt to talk to him? He figured that Caleb desperately needed someone to talk to, but he wasn’t sure if he was the right person.

“Do you want to talk?” That didn’t stop him from trying.
Caleb snapped out of his reverie, barely glancing to Declan before making his way to the sofa. Caleb locked and loosened his fingers, he didn’t know what was expected of him now. What was he supposed to do?

“I don’t...I don’t know what to do, Declan.” Words never rang so true in his mind. 
Declan grasped at the straw he was given and almost ran to sit beside the boy, holding his small hand in his own.

“What is your heart telling you to do?”
Caleb sighed, lowering his head; he didn’t want Declan to see him cry again.

“I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking you! Just tell me to do...please.” He had never heard the boy sound so desperate. It was as if his life depended on the answer that he was dying to hear.

“Well...” Declan was in way over his head. What does he say? What does he tell him? Can he really tell him anything at this point? Only Caleb knew what he should do, even if he didn’t believe it yet. “Listen, Caleb, I...I can’t tell you what to do because I don’t know what you should do.” Caleb turned away and tried pulling his hand away from Declan’s. His tears were freely flowing; he just wanted all of this to stop. “Please listen. I know you don’t want to hear this, but it’s the truth, only you know what you should do. This is the rest of your life, not mine, not theirs, yours. What do you want to do with your life? Do you want your siblings to stay in it? Do you want your family to stay in it? It’s all your decision; for the first time in your life, you’re in charge.”

Declan scooped the boy in his arms and held him close when he heard the heartbroken sob. Caleb didn’t want to be in charge; he had never liked being in charge. He needed someone to tell him how to live, who to be; whenever he tried being himself, he was always rejected. Declan continued to stroke his hair and rub his back until Caleb calmed. Declan was speaking to him, saying words that made no sense in the boy’s ears. He had to decide what to do himself? How was he supposed to do that? He didn’t know how to do that.

After thirteen and a half long minutes of silence with the occasional sniffling, Caleb finally raised himself from Declan’s lap and sat beside him.

“I...I think I’ve made a decision.” He cleared his throat; he had Declan’s undivided attention. “I...I want to forgive siblings, that is. Jennifer and Jessica will definitely take longer to forgive, but...the rest, yes.” Declan wanted to ask about the parents after five more minutes of silence, but Caleb answered the question before he could ask. “As for my parents...I’m sticking with my original plan. I’ll write them a letter and let them know that I’m alive, but...but that’s it...for now.”
Declan smiled what he hoped was an encouraging smile.

“Okay....if that’s what you want to do, then that’s what you’re going to do. Don’t let anyone talk you into doing anything different.” 
And Caleb had never been more relieved; Declan was proud of him. He didn’t realize how badly he wanted it until that moment.

“Would you like help writing the letter?”

Caleb gave him a watery smile and nodded. He knew that he was going to cry writing it, but he had never wanted to do anything more. He wasn’t sure of the best way to give it to them yet, though. Stick it in the letter box or give it to one of his siblings?

The two men sat in Declan’s office; the older man had purchased another wheeled office chair a few days prior so that Caleb could turn in circles while Declan worked instead of them both staying alone and separate. Caleb held the pen over the paper....he had no idea what he wanted to say. But he did know that he was going to write it by hand instead of typing it; it was too personal.

“How about you start with a greeting. Like, hello or to whomever it may concern.” Declan suggested. Caleb nodded, putting the pen to paper.

“Dear mom and, dear Sheri and Louis.” Caleb nodded and turned back to Declan for more.
The man let out a chuckle and ruffled Caleb’s messy hair.

“I am not writing this entire letter for you, mister. You’re going to have to think of things on your own.” One look into Caleb’s big blue eyes and he was practically reciting the entire letter for the boy. They stayed in the office for 30 minutes until Caleb finished with the final copy on Declan’s nice parchment.

“Dear Sheri and Louis,

You’re probably trying your hardest to forget about what you’ve done to me, but the damage will never be mended. I am alive, despite your best efforts, I have managed to survive and grow. Not into the man you wanted, but into the man I should be; a man that I am proud of.
These past three years have been the hardest three years of my life thus far. I have been homeless, starved, beaten, raped, and my life has been nearly taken from me many more times than you could ever imagine. The fact that I am alive today is nothing more than miracle. 
I have found a home, an amazing home, more than I think I deserve -”

“You should take that part out.” Declan interrupted. “I’ve already told you that this is not even anywhere close to what you deserve.”
“This is my letter Declan.” The younger smiled. “May I continue please?” He waited for the nod before continuing.

“Um....more that I think I deserve, but I could not be more grateful to the man who saved my life. It’s sad that a stranger will allow me to take refuge in his home while my own parents couldn’t extend the same courtesy. I cannot forgive you for what you have done, not yet, but I think you deserve to know that I am in fact alive. Please do not try to find me, I will find you when I am ready. 
Your son, Caleb.” The boy folded the paper in thirds and placed it in the ecru envelope. He turned to Declan with a small smile. “It’s like a million pounds have been lifted off of my shoulders.”

Declan smiled, bringing the boy in for a hug; slightly awkward seeing as they were both still sitting.

“How are you going to do this?” Declan asked. “Put it on their doorstep or get one of your siblings to give it to them?”

“I don’t know yet. I kind of want to give it to one of my siblings, but I don’t want them to get any flack from the others for knowing where I am or something. But then I’m worried that if I just leave it on the doorstep, it’ll blow away or something.”

“That’s why they invented mailboxes hon, give it to the post office and they’ll get it when they do.”
Caleb grimaced.

“No...I want to know when they get it. So...maybe I’ll put it on the doorstep after all.” His face suddenly lit up. “You can give it to them! I’m sure they have no idea who you are; you can just go up to their doorstep, ring the bell and tell them some weird kid told you to give it to them.”

“Hon, I’m Declan Callum.” He chuckled. “I think they might have an idea who I am.”
Caleb scoffed, smacking the man’s arm.

“Oh hush, mr. celebrity. Just say you were in the neighborhood or something. Come on, please!” He could never say no to those eyes.


One week before Christmas, Declan tightened the scarf around himself as he ran across the street to the gray house with the green roofing. Caleb stayed in the car, thankful for the tinted windows. Sheri opened the door, looking as weary as ever. Declan was panicking a bit, he never liked lying and this woman didn’t look like she could take anymore heartbreak. She politely asked him what he needed.

“Um...I was just in the neighborhood and this random kid just stopped me and begged me to give this letter to someone in this house, you go.”

Jetson had gone back home after Caleb had forgiven him; he sent a confused look Declan’s way from behind his mother's back.

“What did the kid look like?” Jetson asked. Declan wanted to throttle him; why was he asking that?

“Um...big blue eyes...uh...rosy cheeks...short?” What else could he say that wouldn’t give away Caleb’s identity. “Anyway, that’s all I came here for, so I’ll just be on my way, thanks.” He sent a glare Jetson’s way before turning on his back and making his way back into the car.

“Your brother’s a twat.” He growled as soon as he buckled his seatbelt. Caleb demanded to know everything that happened while not taking his eyes off of the door. His mother had closed it after Declan had left, but he didn’t want to leave the vicinity just yet. He was barely listening to what Declan was saying.

It barely took ten minutes before the door to his family’s home burst open and his mother and father went running out with Jetson in tow. Sheri had tears running down her face and Louis looked beside himself; Caleb’s letter was clutched in his hands.

“I think they’re looking for you.” Declan muttered, watching as the three frantically ran down the street, shouting Caleb’s name.

“Let’s go home.”
♠ ♠ ♠
I'M ALIVE!!! Just barely, but I'm alive! I have a list of excuses as to why I haven't updated in almost a month, but I don't want this author's note to be 3 pages long!

I'll try to get back into some sort of updating schedule, but life happens and it sure happened to me!


Thanks to:
Josh Cutlip

Sarcastically Blunt
for commenting on the previous chapter :))

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