Small hands reached out to play with the soft curly locks of a women smiling down at him. Her dark blue eyes where filled with kindness and love as she looked down at the small boy in her arms. Slowly her face grew closer, untill soft lips pressed on the tip of his head in a gentle kiss. ''Love you darling.'' A soft voice utterd, before it turned to a far away echo dissapearing into nothingness. That kind face morphed into one of anger, with make up running down her in tear stained cheeks. Her lovely round face had hollowed, and her skin had turned a sickly pale. Shouting and the sound of something breaking filled the room, before the women rushed to the door and yanked it open. Slightly bigger hands reached out to her again, but this time they where slapped away. The women looked at him, in regret, dispair and guilt before she finally turned her curly head away from the boy and dissapeared from his sight with a loud clash of a door closing in his face.
Lindsey woke up. His now open eyes stared up at the sorry excuse of a roof they where now sleeping under. Slowly his hand reached out to the side of his left cheek, trying to feel if he had cried but he felt nothing beyond his own dry skin. He didn't cry this time either then.. Funny, how one could stop crying after a while. As if it didn't hurt anymore. Is if it ever would not hurt that his own mother abandond them when they had needed her most.
Not that it matterd. She had been out of his life for 5 years now. It had been just the 4 of them all this time. Lindsey's eyes scanned over the room as he watched the sleeping forms of his 3 younger siblings. The twin boys, and his darling little sister remained blissfully unaware of what had happend. For all they knew their mother had died. Not run off on them. Jacob and Eliot had only been 2 years old at the time, and Jaimie was only 1. None of them old enough to remember what happend, a small mercy really. Their father was not good for a damn thing, but at least he could keep his mouth shut about what really happend.
Their father... well, Lindsey supposed, it had been the 5 of them really. For as far as they could count their no good father anyway. That spineless weak willed man got pushed over at every turn, played and tricked all the time, it was because of him they lived the life they lived. Dirt poor, no proper roof over their head. No guarentee of food on a daily basis. For fuck's sake they didn't even have shoes or basic plumming. All because the man could not grow a backbone or hold a simple job. In a sense he didn't blame his mother for running away. Only for not taking them with her. At least their father had never run out on them. Not that he would have the backbone to do so anyway.
Lindsey had taken it upon himself to look after his siblings as much as he could and made sure each of his remaining siblings had a present during christmass. Everytime his father asked him where he got them he refused to say. It wasn't like the stores where really going to miss 3 toys in the grand scheme of things.
Nor a drugstore a few pills to help break fevers. Lindsey had lost 2 siblings at once, the year before their mother left. Maybe that was what had trigger her, perhaps not. Lindsey reminded himself again that it didn't matter. What matterd was that he lost 2 siblings that year because of the flu. The goddamn flu of all things. Something that could have been prevented with so much ease it made his blood boil just thinking about it.
But that didn't matter right now either. What matterd was making sure he would not lose another. He looked at the small bed of Eliot. Red flushed cheeks and raspy breathing showed he was in a poor state, but he had been worse. Much worse. The drugs he stole where working wonders and hopefully the boy would be all better soon. Lindsey refused to accept anything less. He would keep his siblings safe, no matter what it would take. It wasn't like anybody else was going to.
The first light of morning was peeking trough the window in pale thin rays. Lindsey remained on his old matress just a bit longer to watch over his younger siblings, before he carefully sneaked out of the room. Time to get them some breakfeast. He walked down the old leaking hallway before finding his father sitting in what passed as a livingroom as well as their fathers room. Not that odd considering there where only 2 rooms even slightly usable. The adult male looked into the direction of his eldest son with a weak smile that did not quite reach his eyes. ''Your early today.'' The man stated. It wasn't a question, so Lindsey didn't answer. Instead he walked to the door. ''I'm off, I'll be back with something to eat in an hour or so.'' The man did not have to ask where Lindsey was going or how he was goig to get the food. Both knew he would have gotten no answer.
Hours had passed, Eliot's fevor was breaking thankfully, and Lindsey found himself outside for a precious moment to get out of that dump of a house, enjoy the sun and try and read a book he got his hands on recently. Lindsey liked to learn. Learning ment more knowledge and more knowledge might get him and his family out of this life. A long shot, but it was something at least. Better then doing nothing like their father was. Of course Lindsey should have known better then to asume the rest of his day would go on quietly.
''Lindsey! Jacob took my teddy again!'' A small girl ran over to Lindsey's side as she pulled his messy shirt with urgecy. It didn't take long for another voice to follow suit as a small boy made his way to the other side of Lindsey. ''Did not! I haven't been anywhere near your stupid bear!'' The girl's cheeks puffed as she glared at her brother. ''Teddy is not stupid! Take that back!'' She yelled before charging him and bumping her little fist against his chest.
Lindsey rolled his eyes before he pulled his siblings appart. ''Alright alright, thats enough of that.'' The 11 year old boy was forced to put the book he was reading away to try and settle the problem between his siblings. ''Now then, Jaimie, did you actually see Jacob take Teddy?'' Jaimie's blonde curls bounced as she turned her small head his way. ''No, but Teddy is not on my bed, and Jacob took him last time.' Lindsey looked at Jacob then but the brother was quick to defend himself. ''Only because you said you didn't want him anymore.'' ''Did not!'' 'Did too!''
The 2 children went on for a while before Lindsey broke them appart once more. ''Right then, this verbal tug of war ain't going to solve anything so let just go check if we can find him. Jaimie where was the last time you saw Teddy?'' Jaimie's big round eyes glanced at both her brothers before setteling on Lindsey. ''This morning when I woke up he was still with me in bed.''
Lindsey grabbed hold of his siblings hands before walking back inside to the house. ''And you haven't taking him with you after that?'' Jaime ferociously nodded her head no. They walked to the room they slept in but before the door was opend Lindsey stopped and whisperd. ''Eliot is still recovering so keep your voices down.'' The 2 nodded before they made their way inside and started looking for Teddy.
Jaimie and Jacob somehow managed not to argue while they searched for the missing stuffed animal. Lindsey picked up Jaimie's pillow and under her covers but Teddy was not there. His hand slipped between the bed and the wall, looking if perhaps Teddy had slipped in between. He searched between the crack when the tip of his fingers brushed against something soft and bumpy. ''Found it.'' He spoke softly. The 2 kids joined him as he pulled Teddy free and after dusing him off and making sure there where no wood splinters or bugs on it returned it to Jaimie. She pulled her Teddy close with a crushing hug. She really loved that plush animal.
Lindsey smiled, happy to have made her happy again and to have ended that pointless argument. He pulled his siblings back out of the room but not before giving Eliot a closer look. His face had returned to a more healthy collor. His breathing was easyer too. To be safe he gently pressed his hand to Eliot's forhead. The skin felt cooler. Good, that was good. He would be fine now..Stray hairs where sweeped out of the sleeping boy's face gently before Lindsey moved away back to where his other siblings where waiting..
The 11 year old boy gently closed the door with a soft click. Once far enough away to avoid waking Eliot, Lindsey stopped the 2 from running off. ''Not yet you two. Jaimie, is there something you want to say to Jacob?'' The girl look at the brother she had accused with a bit of a guilty look on her face. ''I'm sorry I thought that you took Teddy.'' Jacob's face which had been firm with tension so far softend. ''..It's ok, just don't think it again. I'm not going to take your Teddy from you. I promise.'' Jaimie nodded before her tiny arms wrapped around Jacob in a hug. Lindsey was about to go back to his book outside when two pair of hands reached out to him. With a sign he got to his knees and joined his siblings in a tight hug. When pressed close they felt so small, So vurnable.
Lindsey didn't love his life, he didn't love his parents, and he certainly didn't love the way the world worked. But he loved his siblings as annoying as they could be sometimes. And he would protect them, no matter what.
More hours had passed and the sun was starting to set. Eliot had woken up and had insisted on joining his siblings in the main room. Jacob and Jaimie had been carefull with him, and they had all eaten soup together that Lindsey had managed to make from leftovers of this morning. Lindsey had just finnished up cleaning the bowls when their father returned from a day of looking for work.
''Kids I'm home!'' He called out and with big smiles on their faces Jaimie and Jacob rushed to their fathers side, crushing his legs with loving hugs.''Daddy!'' they called. Unlike Lindsey, his remaining siblings couldn't see the man for what he really was. Weak, worthless, stupid. All the things Lindsey would never be. Smiles, kisses and cuddles stopped being enough to win him over years ago. To bad for his father, that was all he had to offer Lindsey.
The man smiled when he found himself glomped by his kids. Big hands moved down to ruffle their heads before he leaned down and pulled them on for a big hug. He kissed them on their precious little foreheads which resulted in them giggling. ''Have you been good today?'' He asked the bundles of joy in his arms while getting up and making his way to the open kitchen that was connected to the main room. While the kids where talking about their day he noticed that Eliot was back up, and the relief on his face showed. The man stopped his journey to the let over of soup to make his way to Eliot. ''Good to see you up. How are you feeling?''
Lindsey grew more and more annoyed with this happy family routine of his as he watched him pull out a wooden carved horse. Eliot loved Horses, always had. So of course his face beamed when their father offer him the wooden toy.
Jacob and Jaimie joined in, studying the toy and chatter filled the room for the good part of an hour before the little ones started to tire. Lindsey helped them prepare for bed, tugged them in and told them a story untill they had all fallen asleep. Only when he was sure they where not faking it did he make his way back to the main room, where his father had gotten himself comfortable in a worn out lazy chair. With the little ones gone he could be frank.
''You don't have a penny on you and don't have the guts to steal. Where did you get that horse toy?'' The man looked in Lindsey's direction with a sad glance. ''Lindsey, I know I haven't been the best of fathers, but I do try you know. Stealing isn't the answer..I know why you do it. I do not blame you, but that isn't how I do things.'
Lindsey wasn't in the mood to have a heart to heart so he glared at the man. ''Where did you get it? Did you get a job?'' The grown male said nothing for a while, as if he was thinking on what to say. There seemed to be something he wanted to say, but somehow it got lost before it left his mouth. What could he say to a son who lost all respect for him?
''I did. A wood carver needed somebody to help clean up the shop and carry and chop wood. It doesn't pay much, and it's not many hours, but it's something. He gave me that toy when he learned that Eliot was sick.''
Lindsey's fists where clenching when he heard what kind of job their father finally got. After all this searching he setteld for something like this? ''Are you fucking kidding me right now?!'' The man's face soured at those words. ''Mind your language boy.''
The 11 year old fumed. ''My language is the least of your concerns. There are four kids you are supposed to take care off. We need proper food and a proper roof and what about actual education in a proper school and a proper house with plumming? We need a home. A house, a proper house, not crappy places like this. You think sweeping some wood curls from the floor for 3 hours a day is going to be enough?'' The guilt on his fathers face was clear, but Lindsey couldn't care less. He better feel guilty. ''You think bringing home some wooden trinket even slightly makes up for the fact we are not wearing any fucking shoes?''
''Of course not. But it's a start. Lindsey, nobody is hiring for fulltime anymore. It took me months to even find a job. I thought you'd be pleased. I'm trying Lindsey I am. But I can't take jobs that are not offerd.''
Lindsey smashed his tiny fist against the coffee table before jumping up with such force the chair shoved backwards. '' Always excuses with you. If nothing proper is offerd, create offers. If no doors are open, force them open. Show some backbone, be more agressive. Asking politely and walking away with every no you get like a timid mouse will not get us anything. You need to put your fist down and not take no for an answer. Also If you hadn't given away all our savings to begin with you would still have a proper job, and we would have a house, my other siblings would still be alive and mom would still be with us!''
The father's teeth gritted together and his fists clenched. Both in shame, and in anger with the mention of that women. He failed her, but that didn't mean she had the right to fail their kids. To run away like she had. He would never forgive her for that.
''Don't you mention your mother! She ran out on us. I know I made mistakes. I know alright! Not a day goes past I do not regret the poor choices I have made. But at least I never run out on you. Your my kids, I will always be there for you.''
Lindsey laughed, a bitter unimpressed laugh. ''If only you had, perhaps then we would have gotten a better chance in life.'' The boy's father's upset face weakend and his eyes betrayed the hurt he felt at those stinging words. ''You don't mean that. Your just angry because of the situation, which is understandable. I promise I will make things better Lindsey, I will.''
The youth just stared at him with eyes far to sullen and bitter to belong to an 11 year old, clearly not believing a word the man said. ''No. You won't. '' The man wanted to protest, but was interruptde by a knock on the door. Both father and son looked at the door confused. Who would knock on their door of all places, at a time like this? Nobody even knew somebody lived here. It wasn't like they had any friends or family that would visit. At first they both planned to ignore it asuming it must be some kind of mistake. Another knock followed. Harder this time, followed by sweet sounding female voice calling trough the door. ''hello? Is there anybody home? Please we need some help.''
Lindsey was about to walk to the door, but his father got up instead. ''I'll go, you stay here.'' Lindsey would have rolled his eyes at the sudden tough man act but he humord his old man and let him go. Not however withoud following him and peeking around the corner to keep a close eye on what was happening.
His father walked to the door and opend it carefully. To his utter surprise there where 4 young people standing before his door. Two young ladies, two young lads. One of the lads looked like some Billie Idol wannabe, bleached hair and everything. And the dark haired girl looked a bit..dreamy as she was glancing up into what he asumed where the stars . But the blonde women in front of him had the kindest of smiles as she spoke up for the group in one of the most polite and sweet voices he had heard in a while.
''Good evening sir, sorry to bother you at this late hour, but our car seemes to have broken down. Could we possibly come in to make a call?'' When he didn't reply right away the other guy, with darker hair and an smooth fancy dark red and black looking outfit that looked like it was worth more then everything he owned in his whole life combined, started talking. ''We wouldn't take long. Just a quick call. There seems to be nobody else around and we rather not keep walking trough the dark night. You never know what you might come across..'' He sounded a bit worried. Not that the man blamed them. Strange things did happen in the late hours and he was amazed there where young people who actually still cared about their own safety these days.
''I'm afraid our phone isn't in that good a shape...'' He was a bit ashamed to admit that he was so poor that everything the house had was in bad shape. What would these youngsters think when they saw the bad living conditions he and his kids lived in... Then again, they probably would just be gratefull to not have to dwell alone in the night.
He opend the door further and smiled. These youngers where somebodies kids too, as one parent to another he would help them out. ''Actually nothing is in really good shape. But leaving you kids outside because of my own fragile pride just ain't right. Your free to try if you don't mind the state of this place. Please, do come in.'' The 4 youths smiled gratefully before following the man inside and closing the door behind them. The blonde women tilted her head, her blonde hair falling to the side as she smiled. ''Not at all, thank you so much for your hospitallity.''
The well dressed lad wrapped his arm around her, it seems they where a couple. Ahh young love. ''Yeah we really apriciate it sir.'' He said. So polite. Where did you even find youngsters like this anymore. He could only hope Lindsey would turn out that way one day.
As Lindsey's father made his way into the main room, he failed to notice the smirks that where starting to form on the faces of his guests.
Lindsey had not.