Slight trigger warning of abuse attached to this part. Nothing too graphic, but it is mentioned nevertheless. Please do not read if abuse is a trigger to you.
I detected the footsteps stomping down the stairs like a herd of buffalo before I heard his voice. “Hey, Dad, can I have an extra sandwich for lunch?”
My fingers froze where they were, in the middle of folding up his paper bag filled with lunch contents as my eyes flew up to meet his. Mantis stopped on the other side of the counter and leaned on it casually, a gleam of hope twinkling in his green eyes. His purple hair, the hair he inherited from me — the hair his mother tried to hide from her previous boyfriend — looked rather striking against the rest of his green features, and even though his hair was shorter than mine, it fell into his eyes constantly. And, like usual, it did so now as he was trying to judge my expression.
I smiled and shook my head, a laugh escaping from my mouth. “Still going through a growth spurt, sport?”
Mantis was always asking for more food for lunch for at least a month now. And, whenever he spent the night here, he would just scarf down his food like it was the only meal he had eaten that entire day. He also happened to be especially hungry after he came here from Gamma’s, but there was no evidence of her not feeding him. I stopped by her house early multiple times, and each time I stopped by, Mantis always was eating something. Besides, I think Gamma learned her lesson after that last custody hearing.
“I guess,” Mantis shrugged, “so….can I?”
“Of course,” I said.
Luckily, I still had the things I needed still out, so I began working on his other sandwich right away.
“Have you heard from your brother lately?” I asked him. Continue reading