Warning : PG-13 child mistreatement
I hadn’t expected anything else from my father when I came back home. But I was feeling calm and…stable. I’d just seen Xavier go through so much…I hadn’t realized what I was getting into at all when I met up with Erin and the fairy Kyxa. The fairy started calling all sorts of people and then we were all heading for a specific loft like a mob of determined people. Along the way I caught snippets of what Xavier’s biological family was like…how messed up it seemed, yet at the same time they had strong family bonds. They seemed like a real family.
So when I came home to my father’s usual glare, it felt like I’d taken a step back.
He must’ve realized it, cause he took his threats up a notch and fulfilled one of them.
“-do whatever you want like some playboy? Passing out in the street? Getting mugged? Never even showing up for work? I warned you Edmund! You’ve used your last straw! I’m cutting off your account. You lost your credit card anyway!” My father snapped.
I opened my mouth to yell something back, but I glanced up the stairs, catching sight of Charlotte’s thin frame, and instead I just walked past my father, climbing up the stairs.
I burst inside the room Charlotte and I shared, nearly ripping off my jacket and throwing it in a corner. If Charlotte hadn’t been there I probably would’ve tried to wrestle it into pieces to relieve my anger.
I took in a deep breath to calm myself and think.
“Can we talk now?” Charlotte asked.
“Yeah. I’m sorry I walked out on you earlier.” I said, swallowing a little nervously. I know the end result of this conversation, why am I so scared of having it?
“It’s really important, are you sure you’re ready?” Charlotte asked.
“I have Huntington’s chorea.” She admitted. My eyes widened in surprise as I recognized the name. It was a neurodegenerative genetic disorder. Not what I had expected at all. “I won’t live past 35.”
“Of course not, I didn’t tell you. Your father knew though.” She admitted, a little hesitantly.
“Don’t tell me he…” I said, an unbelieving smile tugging at my lips. My dad wouldn’t stoop that far?
“I’m sorry. I believed him.” Charlotte admitted. “He approached me saying he had a cure. A way for me to live longer than up to 35.”
“And he told you he’d make sure you got it if you married me.” I confirmed, shaking my head in disbelief.
“Yes, but I actually ended up liking you Edmund. But…recent events have led me to think you might not like girls all that much…” She said.
I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. “Not the best of relationships huh?”
“It’s pretty clear to me now that your father was bluffing, and you seem to have it up to here with him. How about we break this off? It’s clear neither of us is really into this romantically…let’s be friends instead?” Charlotte asked.
“Yeah…thanks Charlotte. You’ve given me the last push I needed.” I replied with a smile. She cast me an amused questioning look.
Without answering it I set about finding a suitcase and filling it with anything useful I could get my hands on.
I thought Alistair was at school right now…but it seems he was skipping it again.
When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I dropped the suitcase with a loud clunk, unbelieving of what I was seeing.
“-horrible influence from your brother! You should know better! I’VE taught you better!” Leopold had yelled.
“It’s not like school was important today anyway DAD!” Alistair had shouted back with the same force.
Our father hadn’t liked the reply, so he reached out and harshly slapped Alistair across the head.
“HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU? Don’t speak to me in that tone boy!”
“Ow dad that hurt!” Alistair complained, holding his head.
“You continue to talk back!?” My father shouted, raising his hand up to hit Alistair again.
“DAD!” I snapped, grabbing his arm to stop him from hitting Alistair again. My brother sped off to hide behind the couch.
In a fit of rage, Leopold spun around to punch me instead, but I stopped him by his wrist, pushing him back so he could regain control of himself. I was used to this. Thankfully he seemed a little less eager to start hitting again when he caught my determined glare.
I might have felt some hesitation earlier, but it was all gone now.
“I quit.” I stated simply.
“No. You can’t quit your job because you’re having a little bit of difficulty-”
“I quit being your son.” I repeated harshly. Alistair peeked out from behind the couch his eyes gleaming with what looked like admiration. And it made me feel proud.
“You quit being – ha!”
“I’m being serious.”
“Well that’s okay, I should’ve disowned you the moment Alistair was born. You weren’t fit for the role from the start. Damaged goods.” Leopold scoffed.
My face twitched, desperately wanting to throw my own insult, but I stopped myself, turning to Alistair instead. He got up and ran over to me.
“Sorry buddy, I don’t like leaving you like this.” I whispered into his ear.
“If I can, I’ll find a way to get you out of here too.”
“Come visit okay?” Alistair whispered back. I nodded, hugging him tighter.
And before I lost my courage, before anything else could happen, I grabbed my suitcase and headed out of there.
I was two steps outside when I dropped my suitcase on the ground, looking up at Ridgevalley’s cloudy sky…
I had no money to my name, no house, no job…All I had was the clothes on my back, the little in my suitcase, and a good friend.
And damn, it had never felt so good to have so little.
First few weeks were hard.
Charlotte lent me some money so I could get myself settled, and with it I managed to rent a cheap apartment and buy a few essentials. My first priority was getting a job, and I already knew what I wanted to do. Writing.
Full of hope and confidence, and I’d dug out one of books I’d nearly finished, finished it, edited it in a day, and then went to drop it off to a publisher.
It didn’t get accepted, and that was a huge blow.
But I didn’t give up, and instead of going back to another publisher, I managed to find a few magazines that were willing to publish my short stories.
I ended up spending the majority of my time at the library, typing away all the story ideas I’d gotten, but never had the opportunity to jot down. I thought I’d get a book in no time with this method! At first I only got a pile of half-written ideas, but after four weeks and lots of research, I managed to type up a small book, with an acceptable storyline.
I sent it to several different editors this time and perked the interest of one of them. And that’s how my writing career officially started.
It wasn’t easy getting to that point. I got stressed easily, always with the knowledge that if I didn’t get this first book published, if I couldn’t prove to myself that I could live off my writing, I’d be in trouble. I’d often get the need to punch something, to lash out after deleting pages and pages of writing. But the calm of the library would bring me back, and I’d go scouring the shelves to read a few books to help me along.
That and Xavier, the Xavier I’d seen go back upstairs to help merely because he had the power to. Xavier had gotten strong, and I wanted to do the same. I was finally living on my own, being my own person, and I was determined to prove I could.
“I did it! I can officially say I did it now!” I exclaimed as Charlotte arrived at the library where I asked if we could meet up. I’d pretty much kept myself isolated physically in the last few months, I called and texted both Charlotte and Alistair once in a while, but now I finally felt like I’d managed to establish myself in a routine where I could survive on my own, just writing books.
Charlotte took a small step back at my extravagant gesture. “I can see that…” She said, eyeing my chin a little warily. “You really got that beard to grow…”
“…what? No, I’m talking about-”
“You used to have such nicely combed hair too.” She said with a sigh of regret.
“Charlotte! That doesn’t matter anymore!” I said with a grin.
“I think personal hygiene is always important.” Charlotte said, glancing at my whole outfit.
I frowned. “I clean myself.”
“I think your hair could use a comb again every once in a while…you can’t just cut it off from that, the poor thing is used to being combed.” Charlotte said, a grin creeping up her face.
I shook my head. “Can we stop talking about my hair?”
She nodded with a smile.
So then I set about telling her with pride that I’d managed to publish three books in the last few months. When everything was said and done, my writing really was as good as I’d hoped it’d be. And the amount of money I was getting was enough for me to start repaying the loan she’d given me.
“So then, as a published writer, as your own person,” Charlotte added with a smirk. “What’s your next step? What’s next on your list?”
“Supporting Alistair, making sure he can live out my father as well. I can’t fight for custody of my brother, my father’s too powerful for that. He has too much influence. But I can support him.” I said, with a determined nod.
“What else?” Charlotte asked with a sly smile.
“And…maybe get in touch with some old friends.” I admitted, an uncontrollable smile spreading on my face.
“One in particular no doubt, I highly recommend you trim that beard.”
“Is it really that bad?”
“Eh…maybe clean your hair too, use shampoo.”
“I do clean!”
And so that’s how, a day later, I found myself knocking on Xavier’s apartment door, with something my nervous hands had picked up last minute on the way over.
I held my face as a mad blush spread across it. I’d be nervous as hell coming over here, and I’d managed to gain some courage and confidence, determined to show Xavier who I’d managed to become! …And then Erin and Xenia had laughed at me, making me feel embarrassed and ridiculous, and now just the sight of Xavier was making my heart beat wildly. I felt so out of control with my emotions, it felt like I should back away and just take a few breaths. But it was too late to back out now.
And most importantly, I didn’t want to back out. I never wanted to back out again.
I bit the inside of my cheek. Brought my hand away from my cheek. Took in a breath. Tried to control the grin on my face.
I didn’t know if you guys knew, but I kind of like cliff hangers.
Spent waaayyy too much time on Ed’s final hairdo. I just didn’t have that one perfect hairdo. So I slapped that one on him, thinking he could change it later, but…it’s honestly starting to grow on me…>.>
Self-blooper: You know that screenshot where Ed brags to Char about what he’s accomplished? How he spreads his arms out and all? Well…I kind of did that as well (it’s a thing we artists sometimes do…the urge to replicate the movement), but I ended up knocking a bunch of stuff down from my desk. *facepalm*
NANOWRIMO UPDATE: So like that didn’t last long. I was writing easily 2000 words of that book for the first 3 days, and then I was literally hit with all this Light the Way to Heaven inspiration. I speed wrote so many chapters that, as you all have seen, I’ve managed to post a new one every two days. So, since I was so into LtWtH, I sort of put Nanowrimo aside…saying I’d continue next week…and then I just left it there and haven’t touched it since. Like really, did I really think I’d be able to neglect LtWtH enough to write a book? Like wow no. (Not when Xavmund still needs to happen)
I still managed to write 3 or so chapters, so I guess I can post them on here if you guys want since I don’t think I’ll be continuing it…or else it’s really just going to rot in some forgotten sub-sub-sub folder of a folder entitled “OTHER” on my desktop.
Darn I really thought I’d managed to manipulate myself into doing it this time