"Is that the best you can do Santana?"
The choreography is hard. I'd been on the dance team for a month. A whole fucking month. You would think by now it would have gotten easier. You would have thought by now I would have been able to pick this up. Ana was an amazing dancer. She was the kind of dancer that you didn't think existed. She did things with her body and contorted them in ways that I didn't really think was possible. I look over at her and just realize how she moves.
Rosa is picking up the dance moves. She moves next to me. It's a contemporary routine. It's easy or so it should be. Katrina is doing amazing. Tip Toe is some nerd and is the worst dancer in the class and he's getting it.
"Are you joking Santana!" Ana barks, "It's easy. Chasse! Chasse!"
Chasse is a gliding movement across the floor. We should follow it by a pedaled movement. I attempt to roll up to the ball of one foot, transfer weight to the other foot and bend my knee.
"You call that a bent knee?" Ana asks.
Portia giggles. I shoot her a stare. It's a hard stare. She stops giggling at that moment.
That's when Ana shouts out, "Double Stag!"
A double stag was leap with both legs in a bent position. I attempt the Double Stag but fall busting my ass in front of everyone. Portia laughs. She can't help herself. I get up of the ground kick off my flat shoe and throw it at her head.
"Santana you going to do that during our premiere performance for the school?" Ana asks.
"She keeps fuckin laughing..."
"You keep falling," Portia barks back.
"Bitch I can out dance you any day," I spit back.
"No actually you can't," Ana responds.
I look over at Ana. The whole class stops dancing. I have never been so embarrassed in my life. Dance was my thing. It was the one thing that came second nature to me. Or so I thought until I started doing Ana's impossible ass choreography. Ana looks over at me with this hard look. I didn't think she liked me. She just seemed to not really smile at me like she did the rest of the people in the class. She didn't give me words of encouragement like she did everyone else. She was just a fuckin bitch. That's all it was.
"I'm a guy," I state, "These fucking tights are ridiculous. I can't dance in this shit."
"I'm a guy too," Tip Toe states.
I roll my eyes at Tip Toe, "No offense but you're like 5'5". I'm a big guy. My dick don't fit in these fucking tights man let alone the rest of me..."
"What about Prince?" Ana asks, "He's the best dancer in the class."
That's when I turn to Prince. Yes. Prince. He's joined the class. He came in just a week ago and I think the only reason he was in the class is because he wanted to give Ana the dick. He stands there with this cocky smile.
"Let me show you how it's done," Prince states.
Prince hops into the air at that moment. He nails the Double Stag on his first go round. He does it flawlessly. I watch as Portia and Katrina start clapping. They might as well suck his dick at this point. They used to act like that towards me when I joined the class until they figured out that I was the worst at picking up this modern dance routine. Then all of a sudden in comes Prince. He's walking around in his fucking leotard trying to make it look gangster. I shake my head, irritated with myself more than anything at this point.
"Amazing," Ana states.
"Just trying to impress you," Prince flashes her a smile.
I sigh. I'm irritated more than anything. Prince didn't even seem to be into dancing. He was good at it but this didn't even seem like something he wanted to do. He just comes in and fucking does it and Ana is praising him.
"I think I just found the solo for the dance performance," Ana states looking at Prince.
"I can't do it," Prince states.
"I can't have people in the school seeing me do this kind of dancing," Prince responds, "I'll do it behind the scenes. It's fun or whatever but I'm not going out in public and doing this. No way."
"I'll do it," I respond, "I'll do the solo."
I sound desperate when I shout out like that. Maybe a part of me is. I want to prove myself. I was a better dancer than I was showing off so far. I knew that.
Ana shakes her head, "You're not ready, Santana. Rosa gets the solo..."
With that Ana walks away. She doesn't even let me argue the point. She doesn't even care to listen to the point that I'm going to make. She makes her choice and just walks away. As she walks away I watch Prince and the others follow her. They are going to change. Prince turns towards me and he smirks a little bit. He is more than a dick. He hasn't said a single word to me since he joined the class. I remember when we first danced, I beat him in breakdancing.
Now I couldn't even qualify to be his fucking understudy?
I'm steaming as I feel arms around me, "We have to go celebrate."
I turn and see that Rosa is standing there behind me. Usually, by now, she was off somewhere with Katrina and Portia. Her arms wrap around me and when I turn towards her Rosa tries to give me a kiss.
"I'm not in the mood."
"Since when is my boyfriend not in the mood to show me some affection."
We'd made it official two weeks ago. I cared about Rosa. I really did. I know I shouldn't be taking it out on her. She was my girlfriend. She was the person who supported me the most out of anyone in my life. She'd been the perfect girlfriend too. She'd been by my side. She's supported me through it all. I couldn't ask for a better ride or die. But right now I didn't feel like all that mushy shit. I was mad as all fuck. More than being mad, I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed that not only Prince but everyone else in the fucking class made me look like an amateur.
"Not in the mood when I fucking suck," I grunt.
She shakes her head, "At least you look sexy in your tights."
I know she's trying to make me feel better. Normally it would work. I'd probably normally make a joke about how tights did make my dick look at least 12 inches or talk about how my muscles were popping in this outfit but I couldn't. I couldn't make any of those jokes because I wasn't there. I was somewhere else.
"I got to go..."
I start walking away from her. I'm pissed at her. I'm pissed at Ana. I'm pissed at Prince. But most of all I'm pissed at myself. I should have been able to do this. I should have been able to fucking perform when I needed to perform.
I walk to the lockers ready to change and while I'm changing I hear someone join me. I turn at that moment to see Mr. Harsh in his wheelchair. He has a phone in his hand.
"Sandman. That's what they used to call you...when you danced," he states.
It's random that he's here. I wonder if Ana had told him about my performance. Even worse I wonder if he saw my performance. I try not to look at him. It's hard talking to a guy about my inability to pick up moves when I know that he would never be able to dance again. The others avoided Mr. Harsh. It hasn't been so long since he had been beaten with weapons taken to his legs by the Suwoo gang. It was the talk of the Bottom for some time. It's almost as though people knew that he had succeeded and they had it out for him.
"It's just a nickname."
"How'd you get it?" he asks me.
"Does it fuckin' matter?"
He smiles a little bit, "I'm going to pretend you responded in a respectful way. You're upset. It's understandable. And I'm here to help. So talk to me. How about you just humor me. How'd you get your nickname?"
"My grandma said I had the gift in my dreams. Old Dominican ladies are really superstitious like that. She swore up and down that growing up I could see the future in my dreams though."
"Do you see yourself being a great dancer?"
I'm being completely honest. I shake my head and just look away. It's hard to fake the funk. I just sit down on the bench and just stare out. This shit probably didn't matter anyway. What the fuck was I going to get out of dancing. A long time ago dancing meant everything to me. A long time ago I was the Sandman.
"I think you will be. I believe in you," he states.
What's irritating is he didn't even know me. Where the fuck did he read this line of encouragement. Was it supposed to be in some motivational movie or something? Didn't he understand where we were? Didn't he understand how low we'd fallen?
"I did have a dream about you though," I explain to him, "I thought it was my friend Desta at first, but it was you. I can see that now. You flew too close to the sun."
"You came back to the Bottom. It's hot out here. It's so hot. Your wings melted. Now, look at you. You can't walk. You can't dance. Why the hell would you come back out here?" I ask him, "You made it. You made it out! And then you come right back to the fire?"
I look over at him and I'm almost angry. People wished they had achieved what Cornelius had achieved. He got out of the hood. He made it. He became successful. He should have forgotten about everyone. He should have left everything behind. But he flew back. He came back to the Bottom and now look what these jealous, envious motherfuckers did to his legs. It's almost enough to make me want to cry, but I don't cry. I don't cry because you got to be hard in the Bottom. People who cried were pussies.
He crosses his arms, "You know why Tip-Toe is called Tip-Toe? He had to Tip-Toe around his foster family's house whenever he walked. His foster father works during the day. If his foster father hears him walking he would beat him into a bloody pulp. He joined the dance team because he wants to be away from the house when his father is there. It's easier for him to have an after-school activity to do."
"I didn't know that..." I respond.
He smiles, "You know why Portia and Katrina joined? They joined because they heard there would be food served on orientation night. I found them trying to beg the cafeteria ladies for food. I told them to come with me. Since then they've been dancing."
My heart is getting really heavy.
"You trying to make me feel like a dick man?"
"No. I'm saying I came here to teach people how to dance," Corny explains, "I want to bring happiness to people who need that escape. When they dance they forget their problems. I'll never walk again. I know that. Every night I cry myself to sleep, but I'm not going anywhere. I'm here for a reason. You want to know why everyone is out dancing you? It's because they all are here for reason. Everyone except you."
"I have a reason," I argue.
"Oh yeah?" he asks, "What is it?"
I stop for a moment. He's doing this on purpose I think. He's trying to make my heart heavy and it's goddam working. I can't think of anything to say. I can't think of anything at all to say so I just get real quiet. I just cross my arms.
"I don't know...I admit."
"Figure it out and become the Sandman again," he tells me.
I can't stop thinking about what he's said to me. There was somewhere I had to go. Someone I had to go see. I find myself digging through my phone and texting Katrina.
YO, YOU KNOW WHERE THAT KID DESTA STAYS NOW?
Two minutes later she hits me up with a confused emoji and a: WHY?
Katrina knew a lot of people. She was Spanish but she looked black. She was a little ghetto but she was also smart as hell. Girls liked her because she wasn't really too pretty and guys liked her because she had a lot of pretty girlfriends like Rosa or even Desta's cousin Prissy. She was the perfect in between.
I can't say much more. I'm hoping she doesn't ask me much more. Katrina had become good friends with me on the dance team but she was also good friends with Rosa. I wondered how it would sound that I was looking for Desta. Maybe it wouldn't sound like anything but what if she was suspicious? What if she told Rosa about those suspicions?
A few awkward seconds pass.
I'LL TEXT YOU THE ADDRESS.
I don't know what it is. I can't stop thinking about those words that Coach C told me back in the locker rooms. He wanted me to remember why I was dancing. I remember the day I spent with Desta. I'm so zoned out that I don't even realize as I'm walking down the street the group of M83 gang members standing at the corner.
"YO SANTANA!" a voice calls out.
I ignore them. I'd been keeping out of trouble ever since the Harsh lady got killed a while back. It was in the newspaper. The cops had come up to the school asking questions. The school was one of the last places she visited before she was shot up. No one tipped them off. No one helped them. This was the Bottom after all. What do you expect?
"You avoiding us, hermano?"
This is coming from Chico. There is a group of them. They are looking at me with this look of confusion. I looked like them. I talked like them. I was their Hermano whether I wanted to be or not. I try to play it cool. The last thing I want to let them know is that I'm turned off by all this shit. That doesn't fly in the hood.
"Nah, bro. I have just been busy. I'll catch ya'll around though."
I start walking but I realize I'm surrounded. The hall is really empty. Real empty but two of the M83 gang members are in front of me. Three more are behind me. It's Chico who puts his hand on my chest. It's real aggressive like. He almost wants to push me. I hold my ground, making sure that his little pressure doesn't move me too much. I can see the look in his eyes though. This shit turned dark really quick and I'm getting antsy.
"You said you were going to ride with us. You avoiding us..."
Had they been looking for me? Have they been trying to corner me like this? I can see them desperate at this moment to get attention.
"It's not like. Just been busy."
"Busy with what?"
I have two options right now. I can sweat. A part of me wants to sweat. A part of me notices these people are sharks in the water. If they smell blood they were going to attack. I wasn't going to give them that. I wasn't going to break a sweat. I take my time to answer. I'm not going to let them punk me. I can't. Not unless I wanted to end up with a boot print on my face or maybe even worse.
I force a laugh, "Getting pussy...you know I got a girl now. She can't get enough of the dick."
A few of them start laughing. I think that maybe I was off the hook. That is until I see Chico's face. Chico isn't laughing. He's dead serious. The same guy who I had thought was once really friendly was looking at me like I was his goddam enemy.
"You join M83, it comes first," he tells me, "Before anything. You hear me?"
"I got you, I got you..."
"Do you really?" he squints taking a step forward, "Or do you want me to teach you what happens to motherfuckers who go ghost on us?"
He takes a step forward. I don't move. He's in my face. I can smell his breath. Chico's breath is foul. His eyes are looking at me harshly. He's like a fucking bull. He keeps playing at his waistband while he's in front of me. He had a gun under there. I wasn't stupid. I don't blink. I don't smile or grimace. I just put on a stone face and stare back at him. He's looking for a reason right now. I can tell he is. I stop breathing. I don't even want to give him that. I don't even want to give him the opportunity to notice a gasp.
"Everything going OK over there?" a voice states.
We turn and see that it's Coach Cornelius. He's talking to another faculty member and it's clear they see what's going on down the hall. Coach Cornelius is in his wheelchair but he is almost fearless. He leaves the other faculty member and makes his way over to us.
"Mind your fuckin business Professor X," Chico grunts at the teacher.
It pisses me off that he's talking to a teacher like that let alone someone like Coach C, but Coach C being here right now is only making this worse. He needed to leave.
He looks over at me, "Santana everything OK over here? You want me to call the security guard?"
Chico looks over at me, "How about it Santana. You need help?"
His eyes stare over at me. He wants to intimidate me. He wants me to know that I was the new kid in town and that I needed to respect him. I keep my face as stone. I knew the rules here. I wasn't going to break and I definitely wasn't going to snitch.
I smile a little bit, "Everything's good. We were just talking."
"See you around," Chico tells me, patting me on the shoulder, "Right?"
I look at him reluctantly, "Yeah. I'll see you around."
As soon as they leave Cornelius looks up at me. His eyes bury into me in a way that makes me think that I'm in trouble.
He knows. He knows what was going on without me even telling him. That's the bad part. I just shake my head though. I wasn't going to look like a pussy. No way.
"I got to go..."
I had to figure this shit out. I wanted out but maybe there was no way out. Maybe it would have been easier to just do the gang life instead of doing the dance. I was just confused but I did know one thing.
The issue with M83 was far from over.
I'm in my room. There is music playing. Michael Jackson's Dirty Diana. I keep my knees slightly bent and relaxed. I keep my spine, neck, head on a vertical axis. I am looking at my feet like a windshield-wiper-like oscillating my head from side to side. I begin to spin and spin. I use my arms for momentum. I keep feet together, turn on the balls of my feet, not heels.
I stop in a definite pose.
But lose balance and fall right when I'm about to land the spin. Just then the door opens and Prince is standing there.
He walks over clearly annoyed and shuts off the music.
"You got a death wish?" he asks, "Tone is asleep downstairs on the couch."
I don't even ask why Tone is here. It's normal at some points to see Tone downstairs doing dumb shit.
"I don't give a fuck."
"If he sees you dancing he's going to beat your ass," Prince states.
"Tone is not my daddy."
"You and I know damn well that Tone does whatever your father tells him to do," Prince explains, "And I heard your father tell him to beat your ass if he catches you doing that `ballerina' shit."
"Are you going to tell Tone what I was doing? Are you going to tell my dad?"
Prince looks confused by the question, "Why would you ask me that shit?"
"Seems like everyone does what my father says."
Prince looks at me hard. I can tell he's still thinking about all the shit that happened when my mother died. I can tell that he feels bad about everything that happened especially when he told my father that I was out dancing. I didn't blame him. Prince was such a big dog at school. But the thing about big dog's is that usually they were raised by bigger dogs. We all were popular at school. We all felt like we were the shit at school, but it seemed like we were all over-compensating for the fact that at home we were nothing more than lost little pups.
Prince does the oddest thing at that moment. He turns the music back on. He puts it on really low.
"Be quiet, at least," he tells me, "And stop falling. So you don't wake him up."
If I knew how to stop falling, I wouldn't be doing it. None-the-less, I think this is Prince trying. That's the thing about Prince. He tried at least. I give him a nod. He doesn't return the sentiment but I know him putting the music back on was him at least making an attempt to make up for the past. I couldn't be too mad about that.
He is about to go back downstairs when there is a doorbell.
"You expecting someone?" I ask.
"Might just be Prissy. She forgets her keys sometimes. I'll get it."
He leaves the room. I'm about to go back to dancing but then all of a sudden I realize that I'm a bit thirsty. By a bit thirsty I mean a lot thirsty. I get up off the bed and head downstairs.
Sure enough, Tone is down there sleeping on the couch. I walk past him and go to the fridge to get some water. As I'm in there I realize the front door is still open. I can't hear the conversation. That's really weird because if it was Prissy out there, shit would have been done by now.
"Listen I don't want no problems...I just want to talk to your cousin for a minute," a voice states.
I am in the hallway looking down. I see Santana standing there. I've almost forgotten how Santana looks like. My heart is beating all fast. Damn the guy is attractive without even trying. I'm watching him from the doorway and I'm remembering just how handsome his face was. Why was my heart beating so heavy seeing him here? He was here. For me. Why?
"Get the fuck off my porch before there are problems," Prince states, "Promise me...I'm trying to save your ass right now. You don't want these problems."
Prince looks back into the house. I duck behind the nearest wall. Luckily he's not looking for me. He's looking to see if Tone was still asleep.
"I'm not leaving until l see him," he states, "If that means we fight again, then that means we fight again."
"Desta is not here," Prince states.
Prince lies easily to his face without even flinching.
Prince gives him a hard look, "Right. Get off my porch. If you come here again, I'll make sure I'm not gonna be as nice bro..."
With that Prince slams the door right in Santana's face. It's harsh how he does it, but I know that it could have been so much worse. I was expecting it to be so much worse. What the fuck was Santana thinking about showing up on this side of town especially now that people were confirming that he was a member of M83? They were a rival gang. You didn't just fucking do something like that.
I think about the fact that maybe Prince dealt with things the right way by getting rid of him. Prince was being responsible by getting rid of him before Tone found out. But then I start thinking. He really seemed like he wanted to talk to me. He really seemed like it was important.
So I do the only thing I can think of.
I sneak out the back...
I catch up with Santana down the block.
He turns and he has this huge smile on his face, "Damn man. I found you!"
There were cars roaming around this hood. Cars that belonged to gangstas who worked for my dad. They were gangstas who were waiting for any reason to get in my dad's good graces. I find myself taking him out towards an alley between two building. I try to grab his wrist but it happens so fast that I see myself holding onto his hands. Here I am with his hands in my hands. It happens right in time because I see Prince coming out of the house and heading off with a few of his homies in the direction we were just standing. We manage to miss Prince in a minor second.
We are pressed up against a wall in the alley. It smells like cat piss down this back alleyway. Then I realize not only am I holding onto Santana's hand still but I'm actually a little too close to him. We both look really uncomfortable when we realize it. I quickly release his hand and he quickly takes about three good steps away from me. I guess he doesn't want me to get any ideas.
"What the hell you doing here?"
"Damn, no hi? They don't teach manners out here do they?"
"Ok, ok. I came to talk to you."
"Talk? Talk! You know what my gang would do to you if they caught you in this territory? You trying to be another statistic?"
"If that statistic is the finest motherfucker walking, then yeah," he grunts.
He's trying to play it off. I notice he does that a lot. He puts on like he's the bravest person in the world. He's cool and confident all the time, but I can see right through that shit. There was something important that he was here for. I knew it.
"So you going to tell me why you're really here?" I ask him.
"I want you to come back to school."
"I dropped out."
I stare at the walls. It's tough talking about shit like this. It's tough because he wasn't raised in my household. I didn't even talk to the other kids who grew up in my family about this shit. Tone was fuckin psycho. Prince and Prissy were both out of it their damn selves.
"I just did..." I tell him before grunting and shaking my head not really understanding why I'm even explaining myself, "Why do you even care?"
"The fuck that got to do with you?" I ask.
"I'm just looking out. Your cousin Prince is doing it."
"You're lying, Prince is not fuckin on no body's dance team."
"Why would I lie?"
"I don't know. That's the point. I don't know you. I'm trying to figure out why you're even here. Why do you even care?"
That day we hung out," he starts, "You had a passion in your eyes for this shit. It was the first time in forever I felt that fire. It was like you were...I don't know...flint."
"What the fuck is flint?"
"You know the shit they start fires with?"
"Nah nigga, flint."
"Don't call me nigga. You ain't black," I tell him.
He grunts takes a deep breath and crosses his arms, "I'm sorry. I'm not trying to offend you. It's just slang. I'm not trying to argue with you. I'm trying to make a point. You got that heat. Flint. Matches. Lighter. Whatever the fuck it is. YOU GOT IT. And I need it around me. That shit lit me up. Yo, we need that passion on the dance team. Come back to school."
Somewhere in this conversation, he's taken a few steps closer to me. The same steps he had taken to get away from me. I stop talking. It's so strange how my heart melts every time he talks to me like this. He's getting really soft. We're in this alleyway and it's so intimate. We could be the last people in the world for all we know. The world could be burning all around us but right now this conversation was the only thing that mattered.
"Ain't nobody ever called me flint before," I state.
"I'm sorry about your mother," he tells me, "That darkness I've seen before. I know it's so easy to get lost in that darkness but I've seen light in you and damn man...that shit...that shit is SO bright. It's so bright it might be able to lead all of us out of this darkness."
"Yo, you tripping."
"Look in my eyes..."
"Look in my eyes. I can see it..."
He lifts my face. He does it with two fingers. Two fingers that he gently pushes up on my chin with. He does it until our eyes are equal to one another. I can smell his breath up against my upper lip. His eyes search through mine. They gaze so hard. It's almost as though he can see the light that I'm talking about. And I'm searching back in his. And almost in that reflection, I can see something. Just a glimmer of hope. It's so distant. It might just be a street light or water reflecting off the old pipes into our eyes. But I want to believe it's more.
Maybe that's why I reach over and put my hands on his chest. Maybe that's why I find myself doing something I strange.
I kiss him.
I kiss him.
It's just a peck. It's the smallest peck ever but he doesn't punch me. He doesn't wail on me. He doesn't hit me. But then at the same time, he doesn't kiss me back. Then he takes a few steps away from me almost feeling really uncomfortable.
"Damn...that was amazing," I whisper under my breath.
I don't even mean to say it. It just slips out. I feel like an idiot almost immediately when I say what I say.
"I got a girl man."
He puts emphasis on the girl part. I can see him looking at me and I'm surprised he isn't wiping his mouth off right at that moment.
" My bad," I state, "It's just...you were saying all these nice things and...and..."
He lifts his hand and puts it on the top of his head, "Yo...I think you got the wrong idea..."
"I got to go..."
"Wait, what about the dance team?"
I don't answer him. I ignore him.
He reaches over, "Just think about it. We can forget about what just happened. It doesn't have to get weird between us."
He hands me something. It's a flyer. It's a dance flyer. I take the flyer and I just walk away. I can't be around him anymore. I'm beyond embarrassed.
I get back to the house. I pull out the flyer. A part of me isn't even prepared to read it, but the other part of me is just so intrigued. They were having a performance soon. The school's dance team was actually performing...IN PUBLIC. This was clearly an invitation to that.
I don't get the opportunity to hide the paper in my hand because right at that moment it's snatched from me. It's snatched by Tone. He had it in his hand and he's examining it. I'm surprised the asshole can even read.
"Give it back."
"You ain't supposed to be doing this," he tells me with a stern look.
"I ain't doing shit," I respond, "It's just an invitation to someone else's performance."
"You gonna go?"
He grunts, "You think you so special huh?"
It's random how he says it. Tone just looks over at me.
"You think you're so special. All that goddam talent," he states, "You think I don't know you still dancing. You think I'm dumb, huh? Just because I can't do all those fancy ass dance moves. You think you better than me?"
"Never said that."
"Didn't have to."
"That's called an assumption."
"I know what the fuck it is. Smart ass. Don't tell me how to think. You ain't better than me. I don't get why you always got to be the special one and not me. You know I was told to beat your ass if I found you dancing. You knew that?"
"Yeah, I know. I'm gonna fight back if you try---"
"You fight back and I'll break those legs of yours like we broke that faggot."
Hearing Tone say that and smile was irritating, to say the least. I'm pissed at him.
"That faggot was your uncle."
"That faggot was a faggot. He got his legs broke and I outta break yours too."
I'm pissed. Normally I wouldn't be trying to piss Tone off. He lived for shit like this. He probably got off on it. Normally I would just walk away. Today was different though. Hearing him talk about Corny in this way was making me more and angrier.
"You ain't going to do shit," I state, "You know why. My dad would fuck your ass up if you broke my legs."
"He would, wouldn't he?"
Tone does a weird thing at that moment. I watch as he just walks away. He starts pacing back and forth in this weird fucking way. Something I said to him was DEFINITELY getting underneath his skin. DEFINITELY. I can tell by how awkward he is. I can tell by how pissed off he is.
He was having some sort of attack or something.
"Tone, you OK?"
He wasn't OK. He goes to the nearest wall and Tone is banging his head up against the wall. He's doing it over and over again.
"You were always the special one," Tone states, "I'm supposed to be the idiot. I'm supposed to be the idiot. I'm supposed to be the idiot."
"Yo...calm down. No one called you an idiot."
"You wouldn't know. He cared about you. He claimed you. He never loved me. He never loved me like you."
He's banging his head harder and harder. He's drawing blood. I don't know what to do. I'm beginning to panic. I try to calm him down but he pushes me away. He continues to bang his forehead up against the wall until the gash opens and blood rushes down his head!
"Tone tell me what you're talking about."
"Don't act like you didn't know. Everyone fucking knows."
"Everyone knows you're not my cousin. You're my brother," he says, "And Tray's my father."
I stop talking.
My mouth gets dry.
"And I'm supposed to be the idiot."
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com