Chapter 8

Linds' POV

"Hey sweetie," mom greets me with a kiss.

"Hey mom," I reply cheerfully.

"How was your day?"

"It was alright," I shrug. "I'm loaded with homework."

She nods before getting the car in motion. "Did you have any test?"

"No… I was sent to the board in math, but I did okay."

"Glad to hear it," she smiles.

My mother doesn't need much from me to be happy, good grades for one, and a good communication between us. Of course now and then I give her a little attitude, if I was too good she'd know something was up. I mean I'm a teenager after all.

I give her a loose tale of my day, mostly talking about what I've observed for my days are uneventful but I manage to make her laugh and we talk about everything and nothing; she tries to be involved as much as possible in my life, letting me know she's there for me.

I appreciate it, though I'm handling thing fairly well on my own.

"How was your day?" I return her earlier question.

"I cleaned around the house, did the groceries, rest a bit… nothing really interesting."

"Are you working tonight?"

"No, but Bart is coming for dinner," her smile widens.

Awesome…

I hate the guy, but for some reason he's good for my mother. He takes care of her, makes her laugh and he's been sticking around so far. And like I always remind myself, I'm not the one dating him, if mom's like him so be it, I'll make the efforts I need to not to spoil whatever they have.

There was a time where I put mom's partners to shame. I mean I didn't bother being nice; thing is, I know that mom will always pick me above her partners, so I figure I'd cast the partner I like the most. That was before I understood that mom was alone and more even, she was lonely; she yearns for companionship, and at the end of the day, when I thought I had the right to throw the idiots out of mom's life, I realized that she was the one hurting. She has needs I can't fulfil, all she wants is to have someone she cares about and who cares about her in return, someone she can lean on and so on, who cares if I don't like the idiot?

"Cool," I force a natural smile on my face.

Mom likes him a lot, apparently he's a gentleman, he's kind and good; he doesn't smother her or treat her like his thing. They've been dating for nine months, and he's been subtly invading my house for the past three. He's an idiot, selfish, arrogant and not funny; at least from my point of view; again since I'm not the one dating him and he makes her happy therefore I grit my teeth and suck it up.

I spend a little time with my mom, then her lover arrives earlier than he should have because 'he couldn't wait to see her', I excuse myself not to barf in the middle of the living room at the display of so much mushiness and go in my bedroom.

When I emerge from my room, mom is in the shower getting ready, while Bartholomew is on the couch watching the television. I go to the kitchen and scan the fridge for something to drink. I sigh silently when I hear movement behind me, knowing that it's the loser who has followed me, thinking that it'd be good for him to try and win me over.

Like that was ever going to happen.

They say girl see the men the way they see their father. Well my father, once out of his father role was a bit sleazy… I know, not a good thing to say, but just stating the truth. I've seen all the sides of my father and I can say that he was doing things not always the right way; maybe it was because of his acquaintances, in any case some times he was like a petty thug. A shrink might say that it's the reason why I see all grown up men with a weary eye.

And when it comes to Bartholomew… I don't have a fatherly, protective vibe out of him. At times I could swear that his eyes are scrutinizing me the wrong way, with a dirty after thought; which gives me even more reason not to like him. Not that I believe he's conscious of his small primal slips or that he'll ever do something about it, but I still don't like how his mind work.

"Hey, Linds, what's up?" he tries to sound younger than he is.

"Nothing much, Bartholomew," I reply, when I face him with a can of sparkling water.

"You know, you can call me Bart."

"You can call me Lindsey, Bartholomew."

He purses his lips, and his joyful mask falls. He doesn't care much about bonding with me, or having a surrogate father/daughter relationship; actually most of the time I'll be asked to play dead or to stay out of the way. Since he keeps mom busy and thus giving me time to care about my own business, I don't fight him much; at least for now.

"If you don't mind I have better to do than idle and useless chit chat that none of us actually cares about," I say before passing him by. He grabs my wrist, but lets go immediately once I glare coldly at him. "Don't ever do that again," I warn him.

"Come on, I'm just trying to make things work here. I'm here to stay; so we should try to warm up to each other. For your mother's sake," he adds thinking he'll strike an emotional chord.

"I'm already as warm as I'll ever be with you, get used to it, Bartholomew."

It is an ugly name on him, he obviously thinks so himself; even more reason for me not to call him 'Bart'. I have to suffer him because he's my mom's boyfriend and she likes him; but I haven't made it a secret to him: he's not my father, won't ever be seen as one, won't even be called a friend.

"Suit yourself," he shrugs. "It's your loss after all," he gives me a sly grin just one the line between friendly and… over friendly.

"Right," I reply impassively before moving to my room again.

I have to emerge once more just long enough for the three of us to share a meal. Those fake family moments take lot of energy from me, because I have to pretend that I like the prick. I must say that Bartholomew is setting a new record, he's one of the few, if not the only one, I despise a little more every time I have to see his face.

Mind you, Mom doesn't notice much when he's around, her 'lovey-dovey' vision pretty much blocks everything else out. It's only about how good and charming and perfect 'Bart' is. Most of my efforts are dedicated to controlling my gag reflexes; Mom and Bart are way too sugary… I mean pet names are flying around and it's only because they need oxygen still that their lips are disconnected from time to time.

I skip dessert explaining that I have a lot of homework, therefore the sooner I get to it, the better. I wait for mom to come in my room to check if I'm alright and that homework is indeed the only thing in my mind. Once she's satisfied, she kisses my crown and wishes me a good evening – she'll be busy with the loser for the rest of it. Once the door is closed again, I let five minutes pass by before flipping the pages of my physics book until I reach the page forty two. A small thin paper like red and blue piece of material is taped to it. I take off the tape carefully and unwrap it from its protective cellophane.

I take a paper leaf with the rough draft of some exercise and crush it in to a ball before hiding the cellophane in it and putting the ball into the trash bin. I take the red and blue piece of material and put it on my tongue. Anticipation flutters in me at the first sparkle of acidic taste turns effervescent on my muscle. I take a deep breath as if to fill my body with my 'candy'.

I plug my earphones into my stereo and lie down in my bed, a wide smile playing on my lips as I step into YES' roundabout.

Oh yeah, I'm in my zone now.


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