- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Welcome Home, Idiot
In the city of L.A., people flash by like the buildings outside a speeding car. Some are remember and most aren’t. In the city of angels, only demons live on under the artificially lighted skies. The angels have long ago fled.
“Dude, Alex, are you listening to me?”
“Huh?” I reply intelligently. “Yea sure.”
Caleb looked at me with his signature “that’s bulls*** and you know it” look. “Yea, you heard just about as such as I hear when I’m in Mrs. Leveington’s class.”
“I thought you weren’t failing math.” I said as we pass the deli restaurant a few blocks from my house.
“I wouldn’t be if that lady was hotter, like Miss Brian, instead of looking like Cleopatra’s grandmother.”
“But aren’t you failing her class, too?” I asked as we passed a staggering drunk.
“See? And that’s the problem with our school systems!” Caleb proclaimed. “The teachers are either too hot or not hot enough! How in the hell does the school board expect students to do well with conditions like this?!”
“Uh… Caleb, its study hall. It’s impossible to fail study hall. I didn’t even know they gave grades in study hall.”
“Minor details,” Caleb sneered jokingly as we passed a winking prostitute.
After a few more minutes of walking, we finally reached Caleb’s apartment complex.
“You sure you don’t wanna hang for a while?” he asked as he pressed the buzzer for his mom to open the main door for him.
“Yea… I gotta get home,” I answered as Caleb’s mom’s voice filtered through the speaker.
“Hey Mom, it’s me,” Caleb answered as a buzzing noise was heard and the front door unlocked and popped open. “Thanks, Mom.” Caleb pulled the door open further.
“You sure, dude?” Caleb asked one last time.
“Yea. See ya at school.” I answered and waved as Caleb grinned and shut the door loudly.
Checking my watch, I decided to take a short cut and pass through an alley. The alley was like every other alley in the world: dark, creepy, and smells like pee and puke. I cringed as I walked through. Trying my best not to touch anything, I was overjoyed when the alley finally ended. I let out the breath I was holding and checked my shoes for any foreign substances. Unfortunately, I found something green on the bottom of my shoes. As I tried to scrape some of it off, a sudden noise caused me to look up quizzically. When nothing jumped out and tried to rape me, I hesitantly looked around. I could have swore I heard –
“Who the hell do you think you are?”
“Je ne sais pas de quoi vous parlez.” (I don’t know what you’re talking about.)
“Stop s**tting us. We know you can speak English.”
– voices. I looked across the street, and sure enough, there are three guys here ganging up on someone who’s been backed up against the chain-linked fence that surrounded a park. I knew that I should probably just pretend like I don’t see them and keep walking, but for some reason, my feet carried me over to where the four were standing.
“Hey!” I hear myself yell and when all eyes turn on me, I almost wished I had kept walking. Damn my conscience.
“Go away Kid.” The guy closest to me sneers.
“I would, but you’re blocking the way.” I lied with a shrug.
“Walk around,” another guy growled.
“Can’t. You guys are taking up the entire sidewalk” I reply, careful to keep my face completely neutral.
“Then walk on the road.” The third one answered angrily.
“And risk becoming road kill?” I asked in fake shock. “No thanks.”
“Look Kid. Just get lost.” the obvious leader snarled, his patience clearly almost gone..
“I would,” I answered. “But like I said, your fat a**es are taking up the entire sidewalk.” I added with a smirk.
“Why you –”
“Je n'ai pas besoin de votre aide.”
I look behind the men to see a small blonde leaning against the chain linked fence. Her pale blonde hair fell down to the middle of her back and she was wearing a strange dress with lots of lace and ribbons.
“Damn it. This is exactly why I hate dealing with f***ing foreigners.” One of the men complained angrily, momentary forgetting about me.
“She said she didn’t need my help,” I clarified as the men whipped their heads back to my direction.
“You speak Spanish?” one asked.
“Je parle français.” The blonde corrected.
“Dumba**. The b**** is speaking Italian.” Another countered.
“Actually,” I interjected, interrupting the argument. “She’s speaking French.”
“Merci,” she deadpanned.
“You’re welcome,” I replied and was amazed at how calm she looked. “Now guys, lets just let Frenchie go and we can all go home without bloody noses.”
“You’re the only one going home with a bloody nose,” the boss man growled as he raised a fist.
As the fist neared my face, I side-stepped it, grabbed the extended arm, and pulled down. I could feel the man tumbling over as I threw him to the ground. I smirked smugly as he yelled in surprise then groaned in pain when his back made contact with the hard cement.
“And that’s seven years of Judo for ya,” I grinned as the man stumbled to his feet.
“I’ll show you seven –”
The man was cut off by one of his friends when the street lights finally decided to turn on and light the street up. And they wonder why L.A. is most known for their crimes, maybe because they don’t turn the f***ing streets lights on till its 12:00.
“You’re Brian Sullen’s kid!”
“And you’re a jacka**,” I answered. “Now that we’re all reacquainted with each other, you think you wanna let the girl go now?”
“You little punk,” the leader raised his fist again.
“Hey, what do you think you’re doing?!” another man asked. “That’s Sullen’s kid. We hurt him and it gets back to Sullen, we’re royally f***ed.” The man explained, watching me nervously.
“Who the hell is Sullen?” The man asked, angry at being forced out of a fight.
“He’s the most powerful lawyer in L.A.” The second explained quickly. “If you want to survive, you stay on his good side.”
“Yea, so let’s just go,” the other pleaded.
“Don’t think this is over, b****,” he turned and glared, and then ran after his two retreating friends.
As soon as the three men were no longer in sight, I look back over towards the girl to see that she is even more relaxed than I was, and I wasn’t even the one being threatened by drunken drug dealers.
“You okay?” I ask curiously.
“Je n'ai pas besoin de votre aide.” (I don’t need your help.) The blond repeated indifferently.
“A simple ‘thank you’ would be nice.”
“Vous devez rappeler votre propre entreprise.”
“Helping pretty girls is my business,” I continued to joke.
“Vous n'êtes pas amusants.” She said.
“I think I’m very funny.”
“Que voulez-vous que?” She asked, and although it was obvious she was getting annoyed, her pale features remained completely empty.
“Nothin’,” I grinned smugly. “Just wanted to help.”
“Laissez-moi,” (Leave me alone.) she commanded as blood seeped through the hand she had pressed tightly against her abdomen. Even though her face and voice were both empty and monotone, she was swaying unsteadily on her feet. Clearly she had lost too much blood.
“You need medical attention,” I stated the obvious.
“Je suis… bien,” (I’m… fine,) she said as her legs buckled and she fell to the ground.
“Damn it,” I cursed as I rushed forward and just barely caught the blonde before she made contact with the sidewalk.
“Fine, my a**,” I grumbled as I swung her legs up and held her bridal style. “I’m Alex, by the way.”
“Je m’appelle Alice,” (My name is Alice,) she mumbled as she slipped into unconsciousness.
“Uh…” The girl tried to smack my hand away.
“Wakey, wakey, sleepy head,” I cooed jokingly, poking the blonde’s forehead again.
“... Arrêt…” (… Stop…) she mumbled as she swatted at my hand again.
“Come on, don’t you want something to eat?” I asked poking her again.
This seemed to get her attention since she stopped trying to hit me and sat up slowly, careful of her bandaged wounds. She looked down curiously to see her dress replaced with one of my old t-shirts and a pair of loose shorts that I stole from my mom. She pointed to her wounds quizzically.
“I wrapped them while you were sleeping,” I answered getting up from the couch.
She then motioned to her new clothing.
“Your old clothes were covered in blood, and don’t worry, I had our housekeeper change your clothes before she left.” I said loudly since I was in the kitchen checking on what Mina, our housekeeper, had left me to eat.
“Merci,” she answered quietly, but I heard her all the same.
“Your welcome,” I replied and walked back into the living room with a glass of water. “Here.”
She took the offered water and took a small sip before setting it down on the dark wooden table placed in front of the couch. I doubt she even really drank any. After a minute of an awkward silence, I got back up and walked into the kitchen to look at the food. After a few more minutes, I decided the food was ready and carefully removed the burning dish from the blazing oven. It looked like some kind of pasta.
“Are you hungry, Shrimpy?” I asked, sticking my head out the doorway separating the kitchen and the living room.
The pipsqueak nodded and pushed herself off the couch. She walked hesitantly around the loft until she reached the kitchen and then just stood in the doorway.
I sighed and fixed her a plate then handed it to her. “We’re eating in the living room,” I explained.
She looked at me blankly and I stared back at her before she blinked and turned on her heel and walked back to the living room. After fixing my own plate, I followed after the shorty and found her sitting on the couch where she had slept for a good three hours.
“So…” I ventured after an awkward silence. “Why did those guys wanna hurt you?”
She took another sip of water and completely ignored me.
“My name is Alice.”
“Oh, so it can speak English,” I teased and smirked.
“It’s not as if you could not comprehend French,” Alice commented as she pushed food around on her plate.
“Yea, but French is just so complicated. I’m just lucky I have a home tutor,” I took a sip of her water.
“Home tutor?” she asked, eyes blankly following her cup.
“Dad,” I answered, setting the cup back down. “He’s French and my mom’s American.”
“I thought so, too,” I answered. “So back to my question: what’d you do to get beaten up?”
“No reason worth discussing,” Alice set her plate down.
“Right…” I sigh tiredly and looked for the remote to the TV.
After finding the device wedged between the sofa cushions, I turned on the TV and started flipping through the channels. I relaxed and silence settled back into the room.
“Where are your parents?” she suddenly asks after peeking at the clock several times.
“Hm… Don’t really know.” I mused.
“Excuse me?” she asked, clearly confused.
I lowered my gaze back to the TV screen. “I dunno where my parents are. They kinda come and go as they please.”
“Your guardians sound like cats.”
“At least with cats, they’ll stay around if you have food.” I joked, flipping the channel again.
“Are your parents absent often?”
“In this city no one stops for anyone, even parents flash by in a kid’s life. People fall in and out of my life too often for me to worry about if I can remember them or not, because in the morning, they’ll be gone.” I answered quietly. I then turned around so that I was facing Alice. “In a week or so, you’ll probably be gone and I’ll probably never see you again.”
“Do you want me to leave?” she asked hesitantly.
“No, but you will anyways, because that’s how this city works. No one is permanent here.” I smile before turning back around.
“What a lonely way to live.”
“Not really,” I grinned. “With no one permanent, there’s no reason to be sad. Without someone special, you don’t have a reason to cry.”
The room returned to silence and I couldn’t decide if it was awkward or comfortable. Maybe a little bit of both.
“What if I fell in love with you?” I asked so suddenly it even surprised myself.
“I’d kill you,” she answered seriously without missing a beat. “To fall in love is the same as dying.” Alice added bitterly, then after a moment of silence asked: “What if I did leave after a week?”
“Then I’d track you down and kill you, too,” I replied jokingly. “So it’s a good thing I don’t know how to fall in love.”
“Bonne chose, je n'ai nulle part d'autre à aller,” (Good thing, I have nowhere else to go,) Alice answered.
I looked over expecting to see a grin on her features as well, but her face remained completely empty. I couldn’t help but wonder if she even knew how to show emotions.
“Yea,” I shifted my gaze back to the TV. “Good thing about that, too.”
The channels continued to flip as time ticked by. I glanced at the clock again and decided that both my parents were probably not going to come home again tonight. I sighed and turned off the TV and stood up and stretched.
“We should probably get to bed. I’m tired, and you could probably use a good night’s sleep.”
Alice nodded and stood up, too. We moved towards the hallway and I led Alice to the second door on the left. I opened the plain white door to reveal a room covered in pale yellows, blues, and lavenders. It was the guest bedroom.
“You can either sleep here or in my room,” I grinned cheekily.
Shrimpy looked at me then to the room then back at me again. She sighed and stepped into the room skeptically as if she was expecting a giant dinosaur to materialize outta nowhere and bite her head off.
“I will sleep here,” she finally answered.
“Okay,” I then walked away from the guest room door to the door across from it.
I opened the door and stepped into the room. My room. I turned back to face her. She shook her head obviously in disappointment. I looked behind me to see my room a mess of colors and objects. One could only guess what color my floor was.
“What?” I asked, turning back towards the blonde.
She shrugged and stepped towards the guestroom door. “Bonsoir.”
“Good night,” I answered back as she closed the door quietly.
It’s been two weeks since I rescued Alice, though she keeps insisting that she didn’t need rescuing. Ungrateful baby.
After wrestling with my keys, I finally managed to get the door open. I dropped my book bag and flipped on the lights while kicking the door shut, cringing when it closed loudly. I sighed and readied myself for a verbal spar before I noticed something wrong.
Alice hadn’t said “welcome home” when I first walked into the loft.
My head quickly shot up from looking at the ground to quickly search the living room for the familiar blonde. The room was empty, even her usual book wasn’t on the table. I could feel the panic rising as I quickly walked to the kitchen to see if she was just in there trying to find something to eat, but when the kitchen also turned up empty, I couldn’t help the loud scream that ripped from my throat.
I knew this would happen so why am I running around looking for her. I knew she would leave eventually because no matter what, they always leave eventually.
I almost sprinted towards the guest bedroom and practically ripped the door open from the hinges.
“Alice..?” I asked meekly as my heart sank at the sight of the empty room.
I knew I shouldn’t have gotten attached. Absently, I wondered why I was still running around the loft looking for Alice since it was clear she was gone. I guess I had always assumed that maybe with her it would be different because before I knew it, I had fallen in love with her. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that if I loved her, then she would stay with me forever. She would become permanent. But I should have known. Alice isn’t any different than anyone else. No one is ever permanent.
I kept running and searching every place I could think of in the loft since she didn’t seem to like to venture outside very much.
I could feel my throat tightening but I still yelled as loud as I could. Maybe I should’ve just given up since the neighbors are probably going to start complaining soon and I really didn’t feel like dealing with b****y people right now.
I ran back into the living room and searched the area for the third time. I even got desperate enough to check my own room, even though Alice refused to ever step foot into my room. I ran passed my balcony and paused in shock.
“Pourquoi criez-vous?” (Why are you shouting?)
I quickly pushed open the double glass doors to see Alice sitting on the ledge of the balcony. She was wearing one of her simpler dresses: a black lacey Lolita dress that emphasized how pale she was. I stepped out onto the balcony hesitantly, as if a wrong step would make her vanish.
“Yes?” she asked as she jumped gracefully of the ledge.
“I’m… Home…” I didn’t even notice what I had said until her usually emotionless expression melted into one of mild shock, and then for the first time since I had met the indifferent blonde, her pale pink lips curved into a small smile.
“Welcome home.” She replied.
I reached forward and felt my arms encircle her waist as I pulled her into me. She stiffened out of surprise but soon relaxed against my body and even looped her own fragile arms around my neck. I could feel my arms tightening as she placed her forehead against my shoulder.
I just hope that when I do finally tell her everything (my feelings, my fears, and my love) that with that small smile of hers and with her pale, small hands.
She’ll kill me kindly.