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Rising Phoenix Chapter 2
Whoever shared the subway with Phoenix, Jem, and Danny would have gotten a right fright. Mainly because; Phoenix: Sodden and her clothes ripped in places showing skin but also it was smeared in blood and was still leaking out of her bandage, not to mention she looked malnourished. Danny; he was a drunken mess and kept exploding into fits of giggles at the most random of times which caught the attention and stares from a filthy looking hobo that smelt strongly of pee a woman with her two children, she kept throwing her long black hair around as if her neck was having fits but really she was trying to get it out of her eyes while she was rolling them around at the three youngsters disapproving them. And a young looking businessman who was trying to ignore them while he was on what looked like a business call but still stole confused glances.
Jem looked all right but he was trying to sort Danny out, not just the laughter but also the non-stop sliding of the seat and onto the floor. And to make things worse Phoenix did nothing to help, she just sat there staring at her fidgeting hands on her lap.
They came out of an entrance on 59th street; Jem said that their apartment block was only a few streets away.
Danny was getting over the worst of the alcohol so he was calming down but tiredness was kicking in. The three of them started huddle together, winters early frost was settling in, it hadn’t snowed yet but it threatened to. The rain hadn’t stopped and it was starting to turn to hail.
A woman who was in her late thirties, bustled about her kitchen. A late dinner was just finished and she was tidying up. A chiming ring filled the house; it was the door bell.
"Mikayla! Could you please get the door, I’m busy!” The woman said, shouting at her daughter.
"Yeah...sure..."Mikayla answered lazily, not moving from the comfortable spot on the couch, where she was reading a magazine.
Once again the door bell rang out.
"All right, All right I'm going..."Mikayla yelled back, getting up of the couch; she went to answer the door.
She pulled open the door to see who it was interrupting her comfort. Her sky blue eyes were amazed and tricked by the sight of what they were transfixed upon.
There on the porch was Phoenix, Danny and Jem. They were like three drowned, beaten kittens; sopping wet and bloody, all supporting each other.
Mikayla fixed a stray brown hair behind her ear and called to her mother,
"Mom, I think you should see this..."
"Oh what now?!” she questioned. She came out of the kitchen, her mousy brown hair was tied back in a bun and she was drying her worn out hands on her apron. Her tired blue eyes scanned the scene in front of her.
"Oh lord! Jem, Danny!" she cried running to comfort her two sons. She held them close, hugging them.
"Mom ...Mom! I’m fine!" Jem muffled pulling away. Danny didn't say anything, but instead he slid away from his mothers shoulder and lay on the floor.
"Danny! Oh lord Jem, what's wrong with him?! She panicked holding Danny up. Jem scratched the back of his neck, looked away and muttered something that no-body could piece together.
"Jem!" She warned sternly.
"I said...He went out with his friends and got drunk!" He winced, looking back down at Danny.
"WHAT?! He's only 11!!"
"Yeah, but his friends are like sixteen...."
“What?! I knew they were trouble…” She sighed
"You’re never hanging around with them again, do you hear me?! She shouted shaking Danny awake.
"Go to your room!"
Danny murmured something under his breath and then dragged himself up the stairs to his room."
When he was out of sight, she looked back at Jem and curiously asked;
"If you're fine, then where did that blood come from?"
"Oh ...ehm; that was from my friend Phoenix...She's hurt and-"
But the rest was echoes to Phoenix. Her mind was still set on the word Jem described her as...a 'Friend’. She never had a friend before...she felt different inside.... almost like she felt loved.
"Oh you poor little thing!” The woman cried bringing her into a hug.
"My name is Jancent." She said warmly pulling back from the hug and looking down at Phoenix.
"Come into the kitchen, and let me see if I can do anything with that wound."
"Mikayla, go get some of your old clothes, Phoenix's are...worn out and she looks frozen...."
She said unsurely looking at her rags. Mikayla wasn’t happy about this; she stood pouting for a while before she actually did what she was told. She slammed the front door and stomped up the stairs in a temper.
"Teenagers..."Jancent smiled shaking her head, leading Phoenix into the kitchen.
Phoenix gasped she never saw such a kitchen...it was so modern. The room was split into a dining room and everything was sparkling clean except from the tiny pile of dirty plates at the sink. The room wafted with homemade smells. Cinnamon with a hint of orange? Some sort of air freshener she guessed. The work tops were golden marble which matched the wooden floor and furniture.
"Right, sit down there and I'll go fetch the first aid kit.” Jancent said pointing to one of the chairs at the table. She wasn't long before she returned with a gigantic box, the size of a wardrobe in Phoenix's eyes and followed by her new friend Jem.
Jem sat down on the opposite side of the table where Phoenix was sitting. Head leaning on his palms observing.
"All right Phoenix could you tell me how you got this...cut?"
Phoenix looked at them both and proceeded to tell them what happened, but left out her hallucinations and Scarlet and instead told them she got caught on a piece of fallen debris when she was escaping the burning orphanage.
They both looked shocked.” you’re an orphan!?" Jem asked in disbelief.
"Please Jem, have some respect, It’s an uncomfortable subject for her..."
"Right, Phoenix this is may sting a little..."Jancent said in a comforting voice. She opened a bottle of Indigo liquid and drippled some on a grey cloth, and placed it on her wound. Phoenix closed her eyes as the poison sting hit her.
Jancent took it away and started dapping around the edge of her cut.
"There all cleaned up...now just to fix a bandage on there..."Jancent said happily reaching for the bandages and a scissors. Snipping of the right amount she fixed it right around her waist. Just at that moment Mikayla came into the kitchen with a large bag of clothes. She threw them down with a sigh,
” Here...God it took me forever to find those...now...if you don't mind I'm going back to my relaxation..."she said tiredly straightening up her back.
Ah, Not so fast missy!" Jancent said smirking.
What, now?!” huffed Mikayla.
"Prepare the spare bed in your room for Phoenix, and show her the bathroom she needs to clean up all that blood."
"What?! Mom I'm sixteen, I'm not sharing with some brat!"
"Don't you dare call her a Br-"
"No, no, don’t fight! Look Jancent thanks for all your help but I don't want to cause you any more trouble!" Phoenix explained standing up trying to get between the fighting pair.
"Oh, Phoenix, don't be ridiculous! Where are you going to go? The only place you had was that …uhm…orphanage? And that was hardly a home!"
"What?! We're not keeping her, are we?!" Mikayla blurted out annoyed that this stranger was taking up her room.
"Mikayla don't talk about her like she's some mere pet! And I don't know for sure...We should wait until you father comes back from his business trip, so until then she is very welcome to stay here for those few days..." Jancent said un-surely turning back to Phoenix.
The room was silent for a few moments; Both Mikayla and Phoenix were awestruck. Mikayla was the first to break; cursing her mother she stomped up the stairs to her bedroom. She slammed her bedroom door sending an echo through out the house.
"Uhm...a-are you sure? Phoenix stuttered just managing her words.
"Of course we're sure! Jem said enthusiastically. He jumped up and picked up the bag of clothes and grabbed Phoenix's hand.
"I'll bring her to the bathroom!" Jem called over his shoulder dragging Phoenix up the stairs behind him.
Hot steam filled the bathroom as Jem turned on the electrical shower
"Right, so the towels are there." Jem said pointing to the towel rack.” and here's the clothes! He said handing her the bag.
"No, Jem I mean it you've done so much for me today and you hardly know me...so thank you..."
"Phoenix like I said No problem! Oh and Mikayla’s bedroom is just next-door, and if she starts to act up just ignore her-ooh right I better go and make your bed...right I'll see you in the morning then!” He beamed walking into the war-zone next door.
Phoenix closed and locked the door and started to strip out of her clothes.
She stepped into the warm water and immediately the earthy mucky dirt ran off her mixing with her blood. She started to scrub at herself but took extra care around her bandages. She rubbed in shampoo and conditioner and stroked it through her long red hair. She tried to hurry her shower because she always hated the feel of water and water in general. Phoenix stepped out of the shower and rubbed herself dry with a scratchy towel.
She picked some pyjamas out of the clothes bag. She found that she had a similar style to Mikayla, besides the pink. She finally decided on a pair, a purple t-shirt and white pyjama bottoms with purple hearts.
She quietly crept out into the hall and into Mikayla’s room. Mikayla was on her bed reading a magazine with a light from her phone. When she saw Phoenix come in, she went under her covers and turned her back to her. Phoenix rolled her eyes, threw back the covers and hopped into bed. She didn’t go to sleep for a while, but instead played back all the events that happened that day; scary yet comforting to know that now after all that she's been through she's finally found a friend....
Warm sunlight shone a stare around Mikayla’s room. Shining the brightest of its warmth on the slumbering Phoenix determined to wake her. She scrunched up her face at the restful heat and turned away to find to her annoyance that her smooth hair had veiled her face, tickling her nose. Aware what was drawing near she sat up on the feathery bed and sneezed heavily. Feeling relieved she began to study the room.
She gazed in wonder at the bedroom walls: Because it was dawn she could see the detail of the room, instead of the darkened mess she had seen the night before. Littered the walls were beautifully detailed sketches of plants, animals and random people, that Mikayla had drawn herself. Cluttering the walls along with these sketches, contained pin-up posters of celebrities Mikayla seemed to favourite; such as Justin Timberlake and Jesse McCartney. There were only a few rare spots of the bedroom wall that could be seen. Which was coloured in with hot luminous pink. Averting her eyes from the walls she found that Mikayla seemed to be fond of the colour because nearly everything in the room was pink except for her furniture. Which was white wood. This turned Phoenix's stomach because she had always despised that colour.
And in a room with that much pink it was just clearly too much for her to handle.
Phoenix yawned and stretched before she dragged herself out of her cloud like bed. She froze; she had forgotten she was sharing a room for the first time. Back in the orphanage that was the only luxury she's ever tasted.
She glanced over to see Mikayla’s pink sheets ruffled and body-less. Phoenix breathed a sigh of relief; she didn't want to encounter her that early in the morning. With that thought glued into her mind she carefully retreated out of the bedroom and down the spiral staircase.
Only to be greeted by a hung over Danny. He muttered something like,
"Shems inshah mitchen.…” Phoenix managed to translate it to,
"Jem's in the kitchen."
She was used to this drunken talk. Her head nurse: Ms.sharis always demanded to be looked after by one of the orphans.
Which always managed to be Phoenix. The drunken nurse would stumble in every night around one or two in the morning and would screech and howl for an orphan. The other orphans, however, would drag Phoenix out of her bed and shove her under the nose of the vicious violent woman.
Shaking her head to clear those thoughts she nodded thanks to Danny before making the rest of her way down the antique stairway. The staircase led to the hall, which also shared, with the living room. Phoenix halted on the last step. On the coco leather coach sat Mikayla cross legged eating cereal watching reruns of South park, Phoenix held in her breath and attempted to creep past to the kitchen without being noticed by Mikayla.
However this went pear-shaped. It all went well until she crashed into a small table she didn't see. She cursed under her breath and looked up to see if Mikayla had noticed. She noticed. When she looked up, her eyes met daggers. She waved her fingers to say hello and dashed into the kitchen. Jem looked up in half surprise and in half relief.
"Oh God, I thought you were Mikayla..." Jem sighed; Phoenix cocked her head in question.
"Mmmm ...she has...these...hurricane like tantrums...in the morning..."Jem answered between an enormous mouth full of pancakes. Golden syrup ran down his chin and dripped down his neck leaving a sticky trail.
Jem wiped the mess away with the back of his hand and smiled sheepishly up at Phoenix.
"Want some? Danny made loads!" He got up and strolled over to the oven. Where he took out a plate: tumbled up with a dozen tinted golden pancakes.
"Yeah, that's the only thing he seems to be good at...he sometimes cooks when my mom is busy."
"Where is jancent?" Phoenix asked, sitting down at the table, curiously examining the pancakes in front of her. Jem watched her circle the plate with her fingers. She licked them clean and continued to scoop up the syrup.
"Uhm...she's in the playroom with the kids she looks after..."
"Hmmm ...is she a child minder?
"Yeah...sort of-hey are you going to eat those?" Jem asked, almost drooling, eyeing Phoenix's plate.
"Uhm...yeah...I guess...why-?” Phoenix looked up and almost died of laughter. Jem's tongue hung out of his mouth just like a dog's would if it saw a bone.
"Here..."She picked up one of her pancakes with her sticky fingers and dangled it in front of Jem's face. She dropped it and he caught it in his mouth.
"You're unbelievable!” Phoenix snorted.
"I thought you were guna eat those...!"
"I am! ...It's just..."
"Well...I've never tried pancakes...and I'm kinda picky with new foods..."
"Oh! Well, ya gotta try these! Jem smirked and shoved the pancake he was holding into Phoenix's mouth. She spluttered and coughed most of the
Pancake into her hand. Then she stopped and savoured the rest of pancake.
She paused before whispering,
"...Oh my gawd..."
Jem raised an eyebrow as if to say,
"Please tell me I can have the rest?"
"This...Is ...amazing!" Phoenix finished, through a mouthful of pancake. Jem dropped his head in self pity and cursed,
"D***it...Danny's not guna make those again for weeks...!"
"Mmmm ...why?" Her mouth was still full of pancake.
"My dad's back tomorrow, and Danny only cooks pancakes when he's away,’ cause he hates the smell and pancakes in general..." With that the kitchen door burst open to reveal a tall, dark skinned man dressed in a police uniform. His eyes crinkled -along with his few wrinkles- in amusement as his eyes set on his son.
Jem turned around to see his father with a face full of confusion and laughter,
"I thought you weren't supposed to be back until tomorrow?!"
"Ah, I know! But the Chief –Heh, that’s me!” He started, winking at Phoenix: his voice was foreign with a hint of a rasp.
“-Said that there was nothing else we could do and we cannot find those unfortunate people…” He finished, shaking his head vigorously. His nose twitched and crinkled with the smell,
“Ah, Jem, please tell me those aren’t pancakes…”
“Uhm…” Jem started, “They aren’t pancakes?” Again he looked up at his Dad with a grin.
“Ah, always makin’ a tonto outa me!” He boomed ruffling Jem’s hair.
“What unfortunate people?” Phoenix asked nervously, (Her mind glued to what he had said and was thinking of the Orphanage.)
“Ah …never mind what I said, It’s complicated- wait a minute, we’ve haven’t met before have we? Oh! And you properly don’t know what I mean! Tonto is Spanish for fool!” He beamed winking; Phoenix noted that he had the same smile and energy as Jem. She smiled back, shaking her head to say no.
“Ah, well I’m Jem’s father; Carlos, I’m a police officer- the chief-, and originally from the Canaries, which explains the Spanish! But more importantly, I has a moo-stache!” He said, saying everything in one breath and pointing to his moustache, which he was clearly proud of. Phoenix blinked in confusion,
“Si! Moo-stache!” Carlos replied, still beaming. Jem nudged her and whispered,
“Just go along with it.” Phoenix nodded and noticed that his cheeks held a faint tint of red.
“Uhm, hi, I’m Phoenix! She said awkwardly holding her hand out for him to shake; instead he gave her a high-five.
After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence the kitchen door exploded to reveal, around six hyperactive children followed by a very distressed Jancent, trying to calm them down. They were all screaming Carlos’ name and jumping around trying to get his attention.
“Jemma! Callum! Penny! Emma! Chris! Gah- Kid’s please; go back into the playroom! I’ll be with you in a minute! Katie! Stop hanging out of Carlos!”
“Wahh, but jwancent! I haven’t seen Cwarlos in aaaages!” whined Katie; she had long blonde curly hair and sparkly emerald eyes and was swinging out of Carlos’ arm.
“Katie!” Jancent warned sternly.
“Fine!” She yelled she dropped to the ground and stomped past the other children and into the playroom, slamming the door behind her.
Jancent closed her eyes and sighed deeply before opening them again, smiling.
“Carlos! Sweetheart, I’ve missed you so much!” She sung, pulling him into a kiss.
Jem turned to Phoenix and rolled his eyes,
“Adults.” He smirked.
Jancent glared at Jem before she turned back to Carlos and asked,
“Did you find them?”
They both went deadly serious, which according to Jem is rare because even he tensed.
“No, It’s not them. It’s her, I just can’t find those eyes…” Suddenly without thinking his eyes flickered to Phoenix.
Phoenix began to feel nervous and she didn’t know why.
Carlos crouched down and looked into her eyes, there was a moment silence before he sucked in his breath,
She knew her eyes were different but by the way Carlos’ eyes had suddenly transformed to fear she knew it was something else.
Her mind danced with images like a movie. What if they were going to take her to another Orphanage? Maybe worse? All these thoughts swam around her head making her mind melt.
“No!” she told her conscience, she thought about Jem, he would never let anything happen to her, would he?
Carlos stood up, keeping his eyes fixed on her, but when he realised she was afraid he smiled, trying to change the mood,
“Ah, Well, Phoenix, don’t we have a treat for you?” He beamed, his infamous smile.
“Ah, Jem, could you please leave the room?
“Oh my God! I think I’m going to be sick!” Phoenix gulped, half losing her voice she asked,
“How much was it again?”
“Two and a half million, dear.” Jancent soothed.
“That’s”, She gulped again in disbelief, “All mine?”
“Yes, dear-well the bank will look after it for you, until you are eighteen that is. In the mean time we’ve enrolled you in the same school as Jem, you’ll also be staying there.”
“Like a boarding school –wait, no, like an orphanage?”
“No, It’s not anything like an orphanage, just a school where you sleep except for the weekends then you can stay with us.” Jancent said trying to reassure her.
“Ah, Also, the Bank had saved the document from the day the money was invested. Eight years ago. They don’t usually give them back, but I was able to pull some strings.” Carlos grinned handing her the files.
She eagerly took them in her hands and readily flipped to the first page. Where she found her full name,
“Phoenix, Lucinda, Senju
Phoenix considered the options before agreeing,
“When do I start?” she asked, forcing a smile.