Chapter 58: Hard Skinned

I woke to a delicious smell coming from the kitchen. The night before came flooding back to me quickly and I knew Olivia was making breakfast.

I groggily got up and walked into the living room.

“Good morning!” Olivia met me, standing on her toes and quickly kissing me.

“Hmmm….” I moved my arms around her, holding her closer and kissing her again. “Good morning.” I held her to me.

Olivia giggled softly. “Breakfast will burn.”

“Oh, right.” I mused.

I released her and she went into the kitchen again. “What’s for breakfast?”

“Apple pancakes.” She answered with a smile.

“Awesome.” I mused.

Olivia laughed softly, running back into the kitchen. “I was hoping Thomas was still here, so I made a lot, butit seems like he’s already gone.” She mused.

“Yeah, he had a chess club tournament at another school or something. He’s gone for the weekend; they were leaving early this morning.” I mused, moving into the kitchen and reaching down the container of coffee from the cupboard.

I turned on the machine and waited impatiently.

Olivia pursed her lips, “So what do you want to do today?” She neatly flipped the pancake in the frying pan.

I shrugged. “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” I asked her.

Olivia laughed softly. “Oh, no. Not this game…” She teased.

I couldn’t tell her what I actually wanted to do. I was sure she probably wouldn’t appreciate me dragging her back to bed and ripping her clothes off like an excited kid on Christmas morning. “Well, what’s there to do around here?” I asked her.

Olivia thought for a moment. “Well, admittedly not much. But I’m sure we could find something.”

I nodded absently. I noticed the mail sitting on the kitchen counter, and I picked it up, rapidly sifting through it, searching for my name.

I found one and tore it open. I turned it over. There was a letter from my mom, all written in her perfect handwriting.

I barely even glanced at it before finding that inside was a train ticket home.

I frowned. “Huh.”

Olivia frowned. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Just… my parents sent me a train ticket home… For Christmas, I guess…” I mused, tapping the stiff paper against my knuckles. “I mean, really who takes the train anymore? It’s going to take forever for me to get home… I don’t know why they didn’t send me a plane ticket.” I dropped the ticket onto the counter with the rest of the mail.

“Well at least you get to go home.” Olivia mused. “I mean, there are a few kids who don’t get to go home at all…”

I frowned briefly. “I think I might be one of them.”

Olivia turned and gaped at me, looking worried. “What?” She demanded.

I shrugged. “Well, they pretty much dropped me off here and dumped me… maybe I’m better off. I don’t know if I even want to see them.”

Olivia pursed her lips. She quickly turned off the heat on the stove and removed the frying pan from the oven.

She turned to me and lightly laid her palm on my cheek. “I know my opinion doesn’t really matter… but I think you should go… if anything it has to be a lot better than being stuck here…”

I nodded. “I know that, but I just… I know I’m going to be pissed. I mean… they left me here, they abandoned me and…” I sighed. “I guess I deserved it. I put them through hell… I just… expected a bit more support from them I guess. I could have used my dad’s lame ass advice.” I folded my arms over my chest, leaning back against the counter.

Olivia watched me silently for a moment. She slowly moved across the room and placed her cool hands on my forearm. She stood on her toes and lightly kissed my cheek. I sighed and put both arms around her, hugging her close. “Thanks, Liv.” I sighed against her hair.

“I know its difficult for you to talk about… you don’t talk about your family often.” She mused.

I hugged her tighter for a brief second.

“You could always come to my house for the holidays, I’m sure my mother won’t be too bothered by it… but my younger siblings are totally and completely spoiled, and obnoxiously so.”

I smiled to myself. “Are you still planning to go to Tulsa to spend time with your dad?”

Olivia nodded. “That’ll be the story… but mostly I think I want to see you.” She laughed softly.

“Good.” I mused. “Because otherwise being at home would probably drive me crazy.”

I released Olivia slowly and she returned to her cooking.

“Can I do anything?” I asked.

“You could set the table.” She shrugged.

“Okay, cool. I can do that… I think.”

Olivia laughed softly.

I reached down two plates and began setting the table. In the mean time, the coffee pot finished brewing and I poured two mugs. Olivia sipped at hers occasionally while I downed mine quickly and poured myself a second.

“So, will I get to meet any of your friends when I’m in Tulsa?” She mused. Her back was to me, and she seemed to be asking anxiously.

I drew in a deep breath. “Well… I… I don’t know.”

I didn’t have very many friends. My friends were drug dealers and the guys who brought us booze when our IDs didn’t work. The only people I usually hung out with were drug addicts, who weren’t reputable people. I was adamant that I wouldn’t be bringing Olivia around any of them. Who knew what they might do to her.

And I was absolutely positive that I couldn’t take the temptation of drinking, smoking or whatever drugs they had there.

“Liv, I… I don’t think that’s a good idea. I mean, the people I used to hang out with… I mean, the people I used to know think I’m a low-life and a druggie, and the ones I hung out with before rehab were… horrible people. It wouldn’t be right to bring you around them. They’re dangerous, they might hurt you… or… worse.” I sighed.

Olivia nodded.

“But you could probably meet my family if you wanted to. I mean, they would absolutely love you.” I smirked.

Olivia smiled. “That would be nice. I’d enjoy that.” She mused. “Pancakes are ready.”

“Oh, awesome.” I mused. I was sure she could hear my stomach growling. I was starving and her apple pancakes were making my mouth water.

We sat down to eat and she passed me the maple syrup.

“Can I ask you another silly question?” She mused, her eyes focused down at her breakfast.

“Sure.” I shrugged lightly.

“I know it’s probably none of my business… but… I noticed you have a guitar in your room… but I’ve never seen you play it. I didn’t even know you played…” She mused. “Do you think I could hear you play something sometime?”

I drew in a deep breath. “Well… I haven’t played in a very long time…” I mused. “But I could maybe play you something… I’m a little rusty, but I’ll give it a shot. After breakfast I’ll clean up and we’ll see what we can do.”

Olivia beamed hugely. “Great!”