“No! Leave me alone!”
The young boy’s shrill reply echoed down the long staircase.
Becca turned toward her husband uncertainly. “What do we do?” She mouthed.
Damien hesitated, then glanced out the window, his eyes lighting up. “It’s still light out.” He tried, calling up the stairs to his son. “Why don’t you come on down here, buddy, and we can go –”
The bedroom door shut with a slam that nearly shook the whole house.
The man rubbed his temples, defeated. “Well there go our chances of winning ‘Parents of the Year’” he muttered, trying to smile.
Becca placed a hand on his shoulder. “There’s always next year.” She smirked playfully. “He just needs a little space right now. We knew this would happen.” Her voice was serious as she continued. “Give him a couple weeks and he’ll love it here.”
Done with his eavesdropping, Lucas backed away from the door, closing it more gently this time. He trudged toward the bed as his mother’s words replayed in his mind “He’ll love it here”… Yeah right. He thought miserably.
It had been barely 24 hours since the Ainsworths had moved into their new home, and things were already becoming disastrous for poor Lucas.
The nightmare of his first day at his new school played over and over in his mind. First, the teacher had forced him to speak in front of the whole class.
The boy stumbled awkwardly over his words as his classmates barely contained their snickering.
Recess was even worse. Try as he might, he simply couldn’t muster up the courage to talk to any of the other students, and they avoided him like the plague. While the rest of the class played on the monkeybars and goofed off with their friends, Lucas sat alone, reading one of his new mystery novels. It was nice to have a bit of an escape from reality, at least.
And, as Lucas discovered, a thick leather-bound book was quite handy for hiding one’s tear-streaked face.
Things seemed to be looking up at dismissal. A few of the neighborhood children walked home with him, and for a moment, Lucas was hopeful. But they teased him the entire way, mocking his embarrassing speech from earlier and ridiculing the faded yellow band shirt he wore.
His father had bought it for him at a music festival in their hometown nearly a year ago. Lucas thought it was the coolest shirt he owned.
As soon as he made his way through the door, Lucas had charged up the stairs, his parents’ calls of concern falling on deaf ears.
And now here he sat, alone and miserable in an unfamiliar house in a brand-new town, surrounded by a bunch of strangers who laughed at his nervousness and hated his favorite yellow shirt.
I hate it. I hate it. I hate it!
Lucas rose to his feet, determined, and grabbed his backpack, spilling his school supplies onto the floor. The boy’s face hardened as he began stuffing it with handfuls of wrinkled clothes.
I’ve had it with this place… I’m going home.