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Lost Inside

Kind Strangers

Declan was pretty sure that he was depressed. Working day after day in that stuffy law firm was just about driving him close to insanity. The only thing he had to look forward to were the new guitar displays next to the firm and even those didn’t change daily. Clarissa had practically moved into his loft, despite Declan declining her actual invitation to move in with him four times already. Declan was actually staying away from his home as much as he possibly could, but today, it just couldn't be done.

His mother and father were coming to his house for dinner and he had to prepare something good; his father loved homemade meals (he wasn't sure why; Sophia didn't even know how to boil water) and Declan would be stupid to let Clarissa touch the stove in his kitchen, if she even knew where it was.

Declan actually took his car this time, just so he could get stuck in traffic and not have to see that woman who invaded his home. Could it even be called a home anymore? It was just a place to shelter was just a house now.

He had done the groceries before walking into his house. Clarissa was yapping on the phone to someone of no importance and looking over a bridal magazine. Why was Declan going through with this wedding again? She didn't even pay him any attention as he put the groceries away and walked into the guest room; he refused to sleep in the master bedroom with Clarissa unless he was dragged in there and had no other choice. Clarissa walked into the guest room as he was slipping on a shirt, a bright smile on her face.

"I have amazing news; I found us a wedding planner! This is super amazing because I'm going to be going dress shopping in three days with your mother. I'll need your credit card too because we're supposed to be paying for the dress and we all know that the bride isn't supposed to go buy her own dress..."

Declan tuned her out, not caring about anything she had to say. If he had to cheat on her for the rest of his life, he was strangely okay with that; everyone knew that it would be what she was planning on doing to him anyway. Like he honestly cared.

In the middle of Clarissa's speech, Declan turned on the radio to his Imogen Heap CD and began blasting 'Hide and Seek'. Although it was a relatively slow song, it still drowned Clarissa out and seeing as she had the attention span of a fish, she quickly went back to what she was doing once she realized no one was paying attention to her. The song changed when he was mixing the capellini to a slow, classical number. He absolutely adored classical music and would often play it around the house when Clarissa was over because he knew how much she hated it. For someone who always acted so cultured, she was far from it.

"Oh sweetheart, can you please turn that rubbish off, I don’t understand how people can call any of that noise music." She gasped, over-dramatically. "I just got the best idea! I can call the

wedding planner and have her book us a live band to sing personally for us! Won’t that be amazing?" Clarissa clapped and skipped her way out of the room. It took every ounce of will power in Declan's body not to shove his face into the hot oven where their dessert was baking.


Caleb's stomach clenched painfully, causing him to double over on the side of the street. No one bothered to stop and ask if he was okay, no one even bothered to look over at him. Caleb made his way over to the nearest alley, a good block away and slid down to the ground in pain; tears streaming down his cheeks.


"What are you planning on doing this Christmas break?" Declan asked one Tuesday at lunch, his young, pimpled face was set into a broad grin as always.

Both middle schoolers were about to leave for Christmas break. Caleb didn't want to leave his only friend to go on break. His family was planning a trip to Costa Rica, to their vacation home, but just like always, Caleb would most likely be left behind to feed the pets and do the house work.

Caleb was forced to lie though, because surely questions would be asked about the parents if the truth were to come out and his father would kill him if he told anyone he was being left home alone for weeks at a time.

"My family and I are going to Costa Rica this year, so that should be fun. You?" It was probably the most Caleb's ever spoken to anyone.

"Italy. My dad makes us go every other Christmas, to 'know our heritage'. I already speak it fluently, what else does the man want from me?"

Caleb had spent the rest of the lunch period listening to Declan rant about his father and how unfair he was being, forcing them to go the same place every other year. Caleb's heart clenched, knowing that he should have a family like his friend does; one who cares and supports him. Caleb was absolutely afraid of what would happen if he didn't have Declan by his side.

He was forced to find out when Winter break was over and Declan never came back...


Caleb was forced out of his memory, a searing pain shooting from his abdomen. More tears trailed down his cheeks as Caleb painfully grabbed his side and bit his bottom lip, hard, to stop the screaming, curling into a ball in the process. 
His and Declan's lives went in drastically different directions. While he was slowly dying of starvation, Declan was probably drooling over a feast in his home with his beautiful girlfriend. He always seemed so happy on those magazines with that blonde woman Caleb was so jealous of; she certainly looked happier than him sometimes, but most of the time Declan was smiling. Maybe if he imagined being happy and full, the universe would magically give it to him…magically.

Sobs rocked the young boy’s body as he curled in on himself on the ground and passed out for the night.

A hard kick to the ribs stuttered Caleb from his slumber. He was surprised when the rising sun immediately blinded him with its brilliant light. A shout focused his attention to the angry Japanese man towering over him with a bucket of ice water.

"Get the hell away from my store you hobo! Go away!" The man yelled, throwing the bone chilling the water on him.

Caleb scurried off the ground and ran as fast as he could out of the alley and into the main street. It wasn't early enough that the street were deserted, even though they never were, but it was still early for most people to still be home. 
He shivered as the morning breeze fanned his drenched body. What had he done to the man to deserve freezing to death out in the streets?

Caleb walked for hours, somehow making his way from the rich parts of Manhattan to the "ghetto" of Brooklyn and back to Manhattan before five o-clock rush hour. He was getting shoved by passerby’s, trying to move out of his way so that they didn't touch the dirty homeless boy...only one person tried to catch up to him.

Declan wasn't sure how he had been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Caleb. He had just been minding his own business, running across the street from his place of work to get something copied when their machine broke. He hadn't even been paying attention; someone had run right into him. The next time he turned, that dirty head of hair caught his eye. It wasn't that hard, people were making a route for him, attempting to avoid him. Declan didn't even think twice before turning on his heel and pursuing the boy. It was harder than he thought, he was walking against the current and people didn't try to avoid him. 
By the time Declan had managed to cross the street, he lost sight of the young boy. That didn't mean he gave up though, he risked looking like an idiot and jumped over the heads of people, looking for the familiar sight, but seeing as Caleb was a little on the short side, it was hard. Declan did catch the sight of people moving out of the way of something, so he followed them as fast as he possibly could.

Of course he caught up; it was only natural, seeing as he was running while Caleb was slowly walking away. But when he caught up, then what?

He walked behind the boy, staring at the back of his head, avoiding running into anyone, at a loss for words. This entire time, all Declan could worry about what finding the boy he's so longed for in his dreams, but he never got as far as finding out what would happen afterwards. What would he say?

'Hey Caleb, long time no see. I know you might not recognize me, but I've been fantasizing about
you for the past couple of days. Do you want to come home with me?'

No, he couldn't possibly say that. Of course he would word it differently, but...that was pretty much the gist of where the conversation might go.

Focusing his attention back to the boy, Declan continued following. He was only supposed to be out for about five minutes, having already sent the shop the papers he needed copied, it wouldn't have taken long anyway, but he couldn't turn away, not now...not when he was so close. 
What happened next could have been nature telling him to make his damn move or spiting him for being such a coward. Declan had been keeping up with the constant pace of the small boy when said boy stopped dead in the middle of the sidewalk. Declan nearly walked into the person he'd allowed go in front of him to avoid suspicion when he stopped so suddenly. 
The man didn't even bother to care that the boy in front of him was crouching down in obvious pain; he just moved over and went on his merry way.

Declan was stuck. Caleb had now dropped to the ground, withering in pain, clutching painfully at his abdomen, but Declan didn't know what to do. Does he just stand there and wait for someone to help? Oh, who was he kidding; no one was going to help; they would have done so already.

Quickly running up to the boy, Declan felt his heart break at the sight of the tears running down the small boy's face. He was doubled over, grinding his teeth to stop the screams the threatened to leave his mouth.

'What am I supposed to do?'

Declan thought, almost afraid of touching the poor boy. He looked so fragile, but what was wrong?
Hurried footsteps could be heard approaching them, but Declan paid no mind, he was in the middle of a sidewalk, it could be anyone. But those feet stopped at him and someone crouched down beside Declan, pressing small hands on Caleb's clammy forehead. Declan turned and saw a young woman in a fancy dress, a concerned look on her face.

"What happened?" She turned to ask Declan. 
If Declan wasn't sure he was gay, he would've automatically jumped at the sight of the woman, she was gorgeous. Declan was too busy worried about Caleb to actually pay attention to anything but the big picture; he didn't even care to see what colour eyes she had.

"I-I don't know." Declan stuttered out. "I was just walking behind him and he dropped. What's wrong with him?" 

The woman caressed Caleb’s cheek, a pitiful frown adorning her features.

"Poor baby, he's hungry. Who knows how long it could've been since he last had a decent meal."

A bomb suddenly felt as if it was dropped on Declan's stomach. Just the night before he'd gotten himself sick with how much capellini and expensive Italian wine he'd digested. And how much of it had gone to waste? His parents weren't the type to eat leftovers, they were rich enough to not need to save, but he should have anyway. What was he supposed to do now?

 "What are we going to do?" The woman asked, turning to look at Declan.

Without even bothering to think, Declan opened his mouth.

"My car is parked two blocks away from here at the law firm. I'll take him to my house and make sure he gets better." 
The woman seemed thoroughly surprised, hell, even Declan was surprised.

Looking down, he realized that Caleb wasn't even conscious anymore. He had to act quickly before the poor thing died on him.

"But you don't even know him? Why don't you just take him down to the hospital and get him checked out?"

"He doesn't need medication, he needs food and trust me, I have plenty of it. Thanks for your help lady."

Declan bent lower and scooped Caleb up in his arms. It wasn't even a strain, Caleb barely weighed anything. 

The woman, for whatever reason, continued walking beside Declan, occasionally placing a hand on Caleb's forehead, feeling for his temperature. People stared, curious; wondering why two well dressed individuals were carrying a dirty homeless boy. Of course none of them would understand, money rules the world these days, who cares about helping others, right? Thankfully, no one stopped them to ask questions and they managed to make it to Declan's car without a hitch.

"You can, uh, go back to work if you want. I can take it from here." Declan sighed, buckling Caleb into the backseat of his car. He looked over at the woman to still see the pure concern lacing her features; she truly was one of the few only people in the world still left to care.

"Oh no, I was going to a meeting, but this is higher priority than a stuffy office job. You don't' mind if I come with you, do you? This poor thing; I've been told I'm an amazing cook and he looks like he deserves the best."

No other words were spoken as the two drove through the typical New York traffic down to upper Manhattan. Declan didn't even ask for the woman's name and she didn't ask for his, it was strictly professional - like it had a chance to be anything but. It wasn't until they were taking Caleb out of the car did Declan realize that he was no longer alone in his home…Clarissa was certainly not going to be happy about this.
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Thanks to vinuushka for commenting on the last chapter.