Red hair. Green eyes. Perfect Smile. Curves in the right places. I’m a knockout, but not only in the physical department. I’m a knockout at home, in school…in every aspect of my life. Poor Mason. I don’t mean to be so cruel but he’s not my dad…and Adalyn, she’s not my mother…and they never will be. My parents left me before I could even figure out who they were to me. My dad didn’t have much of a choice but my mother…she chose…she had a choice and I think that’s what hurts the most. The selfish bitch didn’t even love me enough to stay…who does that?
Mason’s struggling through it all even after all of these years. I guess some things just leave a mark that can never heal. I feel bad for him, I really do, but it’s not enough. Adalyn tries to pretend she doesn’t notice but she sees it…she sees it every day
They try so hard to include me in everything…to make me part of the “family.” Mason spends more time on me than he does on his own children. Maybe because I need the attention more than they do?
Lila’s their oldest. She’s nine and an honor student. In other words, she’s perfect and beautiful. Her eyes are just like Mason’s…captivating and piercing green. Ryan and Nick are fraternal twins. They’re two years younger than Lila and I don’t know how Mason and Adalyn did it, but they’re just as perfect as Lila…in school at least. Maybe I would’ve been perfect too if my parents were still here…or at least if my mom tried. But how can I be perfect when my parents were who they were?
I’m far from black and white and I’m never shaded gray. I’m never blue and I can never be a pure white…I’m all red…always red.
I walk into a dark, quiet house and slowly close the door behind me. I hear Marcus’s car pull off and I almost made it in without anyone noticing; or so I thought. Mason must’ve been waiting up for me because as soon as I turned around he was standing at the bottom of the staircase. I jumped a little since I was expecting to get away with it, but it’s not like it was the first time.
“Oh, it’s you, you scared the hell out of me,” I said unfazed by him standing in front of me clearly unhappy.
“I should, but evidently not enough,” he stated in a dry tone. “So you’re just gonna walk right past me and act like this didn’t just happen?”
“We can do that. It’s better than having the ‘talk’,” I said walking up the stairs. I’m surprised he let me get that far. This is a new record.
He follows me up and by the time he gets to the top of the stairs he roughly grabs me by the arm, forcing me to face him and look him in the eyes.
“You’re hurting me!” I say with a slightly raised voice.
“What is wrong with you? Why can’t you just listen? Where did I go wrong with you?” Mason asked. It was question after question.
He shook me a little after every sentence. I felt scared on the inside but on the outside I was ice.
“Mason, you’re hurting me! Get off!” I yelled loudly enough to cause Adalyn to get out of bed.
“What’s going on? Mason what are you doing?” she asked slightly awake and panicked.
“He’s hurting me!” I shout as I struggle to get away from his grasp.
“Mason let go of her! Calm down!” Adalyn softly yelled.
I was able to see the frustration in his eyes. It hurt me a little but I can’t let him see it.
“I try with you! I TRIED SO HARD!” he shouted with fury.
“Mason…Mason, calm down. Let her go and calm down!” Adalyn practically begged.
After a few seconds he did as she said. I wanted to say something but I was at a loss for words. I’ve seen Mason angry a number of times but I never thought he could be that way towards me. We argue and it’s frequent but I’ve never seen him so…tired.
“It’s alright, you need rest,” Adalyn said to Mason as she rubbed his shoulder.
She loved him, more than anything. She loves him the way I hope to love someone someday…the way I want someone to love me.
I looked to my right to see Lila rubbing her eyes and slowly walking towards us. The commotion must have woken her up out of her sleep.
“Hey, Lila, what’s wrong?” I asked softly.
“I heard yelling and I thought I was having a bad dream,” she said quietly.
“No, sweetie, your daddy and Peyton was just talking loud, that’s all. Go back to bed,” Adalyn intervened. She took Lila’s hand and led her down the hall. “Come on, let’s go back to bed.”
As Adalyn walked Lila back to her room, Mason and I stood in the hallway by the top of the staircase in silence for a few seconds.
“No more late nights. No more going out without permission. This has to stop Peyton,” he said in a low and calm voice.
“I’ll try,” I replied back coldly.
“No, don’t try, do it. Besides, you’re not setting a good example for your cousins,” he said more stern.
“They’re not my kids so what do you care…and I don’t need you to tell me what’s good and what’s not. I know right from wrong.”
I could tell it hurt him and I know he wants to give up on me…he might as well, everyone else has. I honestly don’t understand why he tries so hard with me. I’m not that important. I feel like part of him believes that by saving me, he’s saving my mother and father. I wish he’d understand that they’re gone and can never come back. I’m not them and never will be.
I walked to my room, it’s big and spacious, and…me. The walls are red and it’s always dark. There’s a guitar and keyboard in one corner and drums in the other. I even have my own bathroom, so I never have to wait for anyone else. Mason always made sure I had the best of everything and he always went above and beyond. There are times I believe he cares for me more than he cares for his own children. I think he forgets that I’m not his daughter but I always remember that he’s not my father.
Mid thoughts I undress and walk to my bathroom turning on the shower water. I hated who I was but I don’t know how to be someone else. I hate to see myself in the mirror because I only see the face of a person I never met. I already have his name but God didn’t think that was enough. He decided to give me something extra, so he gave me his same eyes, hair, and facial features. I place my hands over my face trying to block out the thought. Daddy, how come you couldn’t stay long enough for me to at least touch you? Its torture to hear the stories about how great he was and how I’m so much like him and he never even got the chance to touch me. He never knew I existed…or was going to exist.
A tear fell from my eye and I quickly wiped it away. I’m not a crier and I wasn’t going to become one now. No sense in crying over a man I never even met before.
I kept my shower short and got ready for bed. I hated the feeling of wet hair against my skin but I was too tired to dry it tonight. I changed into a tank top and some shorts. As soon as I lied in the bed my phone began to vibrate. The name Marcus appeared across my screen and I rolled my eyes before answering it. What could he possibly want at 4:17 on a Saturday morning; besides I was just with him.
“Hello,” I answered sounding completely unenthused.
“I thought you’d be happier to hear from me considering our night,” he said sounding like a complete jerk.
Marcus is an attractive guy but he doesn’t really understand the concept of respect. He lacks everything that a girl really wants but he’s good enough for me at the moment. We’re not dating or in an exclusive relationship and I like it that way. He’s just one of a few. He’s not my first and he won’t be my last.
“Our night wasn’t that great,” I said dryly into the phone.
“That’s not what you were saying while you were--,” I cut him off before he could finish. I don’t know why I continue this with him.
“What do you want? Why did you call me?” I asked abruptly.
“I just wanted to hear your voice before going to bed.”
“Well, you heard it. Goodnight,” I said ready to hang up.
“Wait! So that’s it? This is what you do? You give a guy a great night and then walk away?”
Honestly, it was all that I was used to since I was fifteen. It’s only been a year but a lot can happen in a year.
“It’s not like you want anything more from me,” I said in a ‘matter of fact’ tone.
“How do you know that?”
“Because boys never want anything more.”
I think the worst part is that I believed this.
“Not all boys,” he informed me.
“Just all the ones that I’ve known…and you’re one of them.”
The line was silent for a few seconds. I wondered what he was thinking.
“Maybe I want more,” he said lowly.
I thought about it for a while and within a few seconds I saw how miserable I could be in a relationship with him. On the other hand, I thought maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. It was too late…or maybe too early to think about such heavy concepts.
“I don’t know Marcus,” I said honestly.
As I turned over on my side, I winced when my arm touched the cold sheets. I sat up a bit and touched my arm. Mason must have bruised it when he grabbed me. My skin bruises easily and he held his grip for a long time. I can’t believe I made him that angry. He never touched me like that before. Mason always refused to lay a hand on me or even yell at me. He was more of a talker…at least when it came to me. He always acted as if I was this precious jewel that needs to be kept safe. When I was a kid he used to act as if I was a rare porcelain doll that may break into a million pieces if I fell or accidentally hurt myself. I smile at the thought of being young and carefree. Back then, Mason was the highlight of my day and mommy and daddy was happy in heaven. How was I more content with such a haunting thought when I was much younger? I thought the older we get the better we handle our problems.
It was too much to think about for now and I really just wanted to sleep. If my mind started to race, I would never be able to close my eyes.