One more year. One last placement. He had to make this one last.
That’s what Alex thinks over and over as he drives up to his new foster home. In one year, he’ll be able to go off to college and put the foster system behind him forever. Sure, he’s still 16, but being able to skip a grade has its benefits. He’ll just get a job, apply for scholarships and get emancipation. His plan would have to work. It was all he had after all. That single thought kept him going through all the awful foster homes, and all those times he just wanted all the pain to end. There was hope for the future and no way in hell was he going to throw that away.
But now, he just has to make it through this one (hopefully) last home.
Talk less, smile more.
The words ring in his head. He never shuts up. He couldn’t. Silence was bad. Silence meant your father had left. Silence meant your mother had long past embraced death as a dear old friend. Silence meant walking in and seeing your cousin hanging by a rope.
But, he had to be quiet for once. Had to ignore the panic blooming in his chest, and the need to say more. To speak out, to fight. He could do it. Alex had to.
He’s determined to make this placement work.
He just really hopes this family isn’t so bad.
It’s a huge house, with thick bushes surrounding it, and a long winding driveway leading up to the garage. He doesn’t belong here, the scrappy orphan immigrant. The people here are obviously rich, why would they bother with him?
The car pulls to a stop, and Alex can feel the anxiety coursing through him. He bites his lip, a nervous habit he’s picked up over the years.
“Alex, listen to me please” Nathaniel, his social worker tells him, with wide pleading eyes. He hadn’t even realized Nathaniel was trying to grab his attention. “I had to pull a lot of strings with this one, just try to make this work.”
Don’t fuck it up, is what he’s basically saying.
Not even the guy who supposedly stayed by his side the whole time can stand him.
“Alex?” His thoughts are interrupted by Nathaniel, who is still looking at him with those big brown eyes.
He hesitantly nods, fiddling with his sleeves. No use making promises he probably won’t keep. His social worker sighs, but gets out of the car anyways.
Alex is slow to follow, quietly making his way up to the front door and dragging his backpack that carries all his meager belongings along with him. It’s cold out, and the cool breeze bites into his skin, leaving goosebumps.
It was never cold in the island. He remembers the times he and his Mama would walk down the beach, the calming sounds of the waves in the background.
Stop it. He chides himself. No use dwelling in the past.
Nathaniel urges him to knock on the wide, intricate looking door. Everything seems expensive and fragile, as if even the huge door would fall to pieces because of Alex, but he complies anyways, knocking three times before stepping away and making himself look as small as possible.
Quick, precise footsteps are heard from inside the house getting closer to the door. Alex prepares himself for the worst, sucking in a breath as the door opens, revealing a tall man with a strong build and a young, aristocratic face. He’s smiling, but his eyes are cold and calculating. He has an aura that demands respect, shoulders stiff and posture straight.
“Why hello! I’m George King, and you must be Alexander Hamilton” His words are clipped and brisk and Alex can hear a faint, carefully hidden British accent. He pulls his hand out for Alex to shake, and he hesitantly takes it, noticing the man’s grip is almost strong enough to hurt.
“Alex” he mutters quietly, retreating even further into himself.
King frowns and leans in to Alex’s height.
“I’m sorry?” He asks, still frowning.
“You can call me Alex” he repeats, a bit stronger and more certain this time.
King frowns and ignores him, sharp eyes cutting into Alex’s soul.
God, why can’t he just shut up?. He’s making this worse on himself.
King’s gaze scans over Alex, and once deeming him unimportant, looks at Nathaniel instead. He grins again, and his teeth are almost shining. Everything about the man screams “arrogant rich prick”.
“Will that be all then?” King asks his social worker.
“Ah.. yes. I better get going. Alex- be good. Here’s my phone number if you need me.” Nathaniel hands Alex a post-it with some scribbled numbers, and wishes Alex goodbye with an awkward pat on the back.
Alex mutters a quick goodbye with a halfhearted wave, and just like that, Nathaniel is gone, leaving him defenseless with this stranger he’ll be living with for who knows how long.
King places a hand on his shoulder, and if he noticed Alex’s flinch, he doesn’t acknowledge it.
“Will you come in then? I’ll show you to your room. I can take that for you if you’d like.”
He takes the small piece of paper with his social worker’s number on it, and slips it into his pocket, not even giving Alex a chance to respond. Alex knows he won’t be seeing it again.
He’s stuck there wether he likes it or not.
He knew that wasn’t true, but it’s still disheartening to have had King take so much control over his life in such a short amount of time, even if it is just a slip of paper.
Alex steps over the threshold, taking a deep breath and analyzing the house he’ll be staying at.
The inside looks larger than the outside, if that’s even possible, with huge windows and a fancy looking dining room off to the corner. Most of the lights are off, so the moonlight filters in and bathes the house with a serene yet solemn mood.
“Alexander.” A sharp voice cuts through his thoughts. Oh shit. He hadn’t even noticed that his foster father was already up the stairs, glaring at him, and tapping his fingers on the smooth wood banister overlooking the first floor.
Alex hurriedly climbs up the stairs, not meeting George’s eyes. As soon as he reaches his foster father, King sharply turns and walks down a hallway, footsteps clicking behind him. Alex follows, keeping his head down.
King opens the door to a bare looking room, twin bed in the corner and a dresser on the wall opposite to it.
“This is your new room, Alexander.” he pronounces Alex’s name sharply, clearly ignoring the boy’s earlier request. “Bathroom’s next door.”
Alex nods and mutters a quick thank you, fidgeting under King’s scrutinizing gaze.
“Well, goodnight then Alexander.” He says and shuts the door, footsteps fading down the hall.
Alex can already see this placement won’t turn out well. He’s ten minutes in, and King already has an intimidating vibe. He can’t even look at Alex without seeming disgusted, as if the mere presence of the boy disrupted his perfect and orderly life. He didn’t even offer Alex dinner.
At that, Alex’s stomach grumbles. Damn. When was the last time he ate? Right, yesterday before he left his old foster home. It’s not like he can’t handle hunger. Hell, being in the foster system taught him to be able to tolerate going without food for a few days at a time. It’s just the promise the thought holds. If King hasn’t even shared some companionship to Alex, not even bothering to make a good first impression, he’s in for a hell of a ride.
Just keep your head down, Hamilton. Don’t give him a reason to come after you.
He can do this. He has to.
At that disheartening thought, Alex picks up his notebook from his bag, one of the few things he’s kept from the island.
He finds a pen, and sitting on the creaky bed with the moonlight coming in through the window, Alex loses himself to his words.