Me and Luke’s
New Year’s Eve
CHAPTER
1
I
So, yeah, if this is what my New Year’s going to be full of, well, it can go screw itself.
My parents are getting a divorce, or at least heading in that direction. My sister just moved away, after being kicked out and told to never come to this house again. Trust me, I’m not paraphrasing. I’m just so ready for a change in direction, but they say the way you start your new year is the way you spend the rest of it, so yeah, I’m screwed. In the wise words of thefemalelife, “At least life wants to screw me”.
I’m really done.
hey I text Kayla, my best friend.
hey she texts back. what’s wrong, kris?
not much. just hoping for a better new year
you know it’s not your fault right
right. I text back and turn off my phone. I’m not in the mood right now. I’d like to just wallow in my sadness. So I climb out of my window and onto my roof. Staring at the stars, I wonder where I am right now. Eight-year-old me would not want to be me right now. How did I get here?
I walk along my roof, balancing on the steepest part, even though it’s unsafe. My white Converse are visible, and so is my breath. I probably should’ve grabbed a jacket — an actual jacket — before I came out here.
I walk across my roof, jump down onto the awning that covers my porch - don’t worry, it’s perfectly stable. I’ve done this a million times before. I jump down onto the porch, not bothering to quiet myself, because my parents are probably too busy arguing to care anyways.
I walk to the park, wondering if Luke had the same idea. I sit down on our bench, and sure enough, he walks out from behind a tree, coming up from the path by his house.
“Hey,” is all he says.
“Hi,” I answer back.
“What, no ‘is for horses’?” he quotes me.
I twist my mouth to the side. “Nope, not tonight.” Is the only thing I answer with. But if I know Luke, he’s going to weasel it out of me anyways. I turn my head to look at him, and the moonlight catches his silver eyes, making them all the more beautiful. His dusky blonde hair is windswept, like he just came from running. His clothes say otherwise, but Luke loves running. He has on a gray and black hoodie, with black jeans.
“Brought you one,” he says, and holds out his gray Vans sweatshirt. I smile, he knows me so well.
“Thanks you much,” I say, using our favorite grammar from when we were kids. I take a sharp inhale of breath because when I grab the hoodie, his hand is slightly shaking. “What did he do this time?” I ask him. Because you may not know it, since Luke is the quarterback for our high school football team, or because he’s part of one of the most popular groups in the school, or that he has me, for crying out loud as one of his best friends, even though I’m just as emotionally damaged as he is.
“Nothing,” he says, not looking me in the eye.
“Luke.”
“Just a few beer bottles. Really, nothing.” he says, still not looking me in the eye.
“Luke.”
“What.” he says, slightly annoyed. Saying it so I know that anything I’m about to say he won’t take to heart.
“You’ve gotta make this stop.” I say.
“It’s fine. I can take it.”
“Then don’t think about yourself. Think about Jordan, Landon, and Ivy.”
He quiets.
“Your dad’s not going to let you stay to protect them. The minute you get that diploma, he’s packing your bags for you. Then it’s going to be just like it was when Leigh left.”
He swallows, knowing that I’m right. “Then I’ll just flunk.”
“Do you know what that could do to your future?!” I ask him, incredulous. “And he’s just going to get all the worse.” I quiet myself. “If you don’t do it for you, if you don’t do it for them. Do it for me. Please,” I beg him with my eyes. “Don’t let him keep doing this to you, don’t keep doing this to yourself. Look, I get it if you don’t want to go to a foster home, I get it. You guys can live with me just let it stop. Luke,” I say, nudging his face to look at me instead of the fountain. “Please.” I whisper.
I don’t think he’s convinced, and I don’t know what else to do, so I kiss him softly.
“Okay,” he whispers, so quietly I hardly hear him.
“What?” I ask.
“Okay.” he says and looks at me. “I’ll do it. I’ll do it.” he hands shake.
“Your dad won’t be able to hurt you anymore.”
“But-but, he’s a police officer. Everyone thinks our family is perfect.”
“Show them it’s not, okay? No one else has to know about this.” I say, knowing he’s thinking of his reputation.
“Are you—” his voice breaks off, failing him. “Are you sure he won’t be able to touch them, touch me, to touch you?”
“Postive.” I affirm.
“Alright,” he says, pulls out his phone, gulps, and dials 911.
“Um, hello? Operator? Non-emergency,” he starts, looking at me. I give him a small smile of reassurance. “Uh, yeah, I don’t exactly know—” he cuts himself off, looks at me, and says, “Well, I can’t expain it but my friend here, she uh—, she urged me to call for this, so I think she can expain it.
I widen my eyes. “What—” the phone is to my ear.
“Ma’am?”
“Yes, um, so my friend, Luke here, he uh, his Dad, he er— Well, he abuses his children.”
“How many are in the home?”
“Four, but one of them used to live there as well.” I answer.
“Were they in the same situation?”
“Yes,” I asnwer.
“Can you give me the ages of the children?”
“Yes. Six, eight, nine, and seventeen, turning eighteen in two weeks.”
“Can you give me an address and a last name? And then we’d like for your friend to go back to his house. Is this his phone?”
“Yes, it is his phone,”
“So we can track it. Okay. Name and address?”
“His last name is King, and his address—”
“Actually, we’ve got it from here. Thank you.”
“Wait, um, is there any way you can you make sure they don’t wind up in foster care?”
“Of course, their mom and aunt live in the area.”
“Oh,”
“Thank you again, have a nice New Year’s Eve.”
“Oh, okay,” I say, and the line goes dead.
Luke looks at me. “Safe,” I whisper.
“Oh, thank you! Thank you thank you thank you!!!” he shouts, picking me up in a hug and spinning me around. He stands me back down, but keeps his arms around me. He looks me in the eyes, and whsipers, “Thank you.”
And then he kisses me. Longer than five seconds, longer than ten.
I can’t wait for my New Year.
“I should probably go home,” he says when he pulls away.
“Me too,” I answer. He smiles at me and kisses me on the cheek, and jogs back home.
I watch him leave and then I head back home. I walk of the front porch, climb the banister, and crawl through the window to my room. My mom and dad are waiting for me.
“Kris, we have to talk to you,” says my mom.
“If it’s about your divorce, I don’t want to hear it. Just surprise me.”
“We’re not getting a divorce, but I can’t blame you for thinking so. Honestly, that’s where I thought it was heading too.” says my dad.
“Then why all the arguing?” I ask.
“I’m pregnant.” says my mom.
“And…?” I ask, looking to my mom, smiling softly, and then I look to my dad, who pretends to smile but I can see in his eyes the sadness he’s trying to hide. “Oh,” I say, realization dawning on me. “It’s not yours…” I whisper.
My dad swallows. “You saw right through me, didn’t you, kiddo?” he ruffles my hair.
“It’s okay, guys, I’m fine.”
“You sure?” asks my mom.
“Yeah. Thanks for caring, though.”
They smile at me. “We love you, kiddo.” says my dad.
“I know. Love you too.” I say, and they bid me good night and close the door.
I have good news. I text Luke.
me too, but you first
okay. my parents arent getting a divorce!!!
that’s awesome!
so whats your good news?
they got my dad, and my mom’s moving into our house
that’s great!
and it’s all thanks to you
I smile at his text. Sure, my New Year isn’t going to be perfect. My mom cheated on my dad, but there’s a lot of pluses. No divorce, Luke is safe.
I smell Luke on his sweatshirt that I forgot to give back, and smile. If this is my New Year, well, it’s going to be fine.
Because I know, that text? It made my New Year’s Eve.
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