Normal day as always, sun rises with partly clouds today with slight chill from the light fade of frost on the window glass corners; through sleep that blasting horn of a fire truck clock alarms goes off. With tired eyes, look to see the time that ticked behind a side crack clock screen, a quick hand slam on the button to shut it up.

Slowly the person sat up in bed, having the blanket pool around him, while using his hands to rub the sleep out of his eyes. A rough out groan echoes through his throat while giving a pleasant pops in his bones that slept in very odd angles during the night.

Once more awake, looked at the time with a clearer head, having his eyes go wide, rushing out with a tumble out of his bed for a quick brush of a shower and even quicker breakfast. Running back to fix his bed, quickly enough, before going to find workable clothes, soon finding he’s been lazy for past few days.

Leaving handful reminders about his home to do when he got home, later tonight, take-out meal would have to do on the home after work, as his last instant reminder for some food shopping tomorrow. The smell of burnt toast brought him back from his mini mental rant.

“Oh for fuck sake, come on!”

The words left very easily when he went to his small kitchen, to pull the plug from his toaster, using a cloth to calm down the smoke before the smoke alarm went off. Getting lucky, it didn’t go off this time, small victory ended when he rammed his foot into the chair he had pulled to seat in later to eat.

Leaning on the counter, to be able to shake off the pain, to a dull ache, it was not leaving for a good day. Adding soon that his cell-phone was going off, by the ringtone, it was luckily not his boss. This time anyway.

“Hey . . . yeah, running a bit late. Clock is broken, again.” He started out with, going back to fan the smoke, sparing a moment to open the window that was over placed by the sink, opening a cover for a plate for his toast, smiting his fingers as he did when griping the darker than toast.

The words on the other end caught him off guard.

“Yeah, yes, I am on my way out now. I still got time before the next bus takes off. I’ll be there soon. So you can keep your boxers untied . . .”

A soft knock came from his front door, having no choice but to put the other on hold to answer it. The faint shouting form the other, didn’t help much when he opened the door one handed, asking the other calmed down and that he be there soon.

Resting with fewer hinges in attitude, his phone against his shoulder: to muffle sound just enough to speak out the following.

“Excuse that . . . how can I . . .”

His words just halter when looking in front of him, glancing down a bit to see a better look at who was there.

“Umm, Delia, we have a problem . . .” He stopped, still eyeing what was before him, who in return held out a note to the other, silently asking the other to read it, without bothering his call.

He took it, while having the other come in from outside chilling air, and mostly before any neighbors saw, ushering the other on the small couch in the living room. Going back to the kitchen to read the note, out loud for the other on the phone to hear, on catching up what is going on.

Hey Arty—

Some things have come up and I’ll be away for a few days, I just got a chance to work at—hear this, maybe my dream job. It’s a bit of a drive and with lack of notice; I can’t take my kid, Cullen, you gave him that color book for his birthday—yeah-yeah it was years ago, but he likes you and sounded like a good choice. I’ll call your workplace when everything is fine on my end and get back to you soon.

Love Marcelina

PS: don’t worry, Cullen is a quiet child, he won’t cause much trouble. He’ll behave and when in doubt TV never hurts. Favorite show is on channel 23, there won’t be a peep from him. Give him my love, and I’ll see him soon!

There was silent between the two, the man rolled up the note, tossing it to the ground.

“She’s at it again . . . yeah, I’ll see you a bit, tell the boss . . . thanks Delia, I own you.”

With that, he clamp his cell phone shut, dropping it on the counter, giving the crumple note a kick. Before leaning on the counter in distress, shoulders just painfully tense far worse than being late for work. Running a hand through his ear-length dark brown hair, feeling a few stands being pulled, stress is getting to him, one of his socked covered feet batted against the tile floor, in a calming matter.

“Mr. Jacobs, are you okay?”

Upon hearing the voice, quickly he turn face with an easy smile, shoulders still tense, yet he didn’t show to kid.

“Mr. Jacobs is my father, call me Artyom, I would think you were my mother. So call me Arty, okay?”

Cullen just cocked his head, as if thinking it over, nodding. Looking down to the floor, guilty, before eyeing the toast that had long sense gone cold, but the kid’s eyes understanding didn’t go unnoticed to Arty.

“Are you hungry there, Cully-boy?”

“Cullen is fine, Mr. Arty.” The young lad said, ignoring the strange Arty made when he said his name, but paid no mind, while eyes still on the toast, before adding. “Are you going to eat that, the walk here was long and mom didn’t want to get lost, so I didn’t get to stop to eat.”

Arty glanced at the burnt bead, little bit sad, soon asking. “If you want, I make some less burnt, anyway. Cordelia will be here soon, no doubt with something more filling, so if you want?” Pausing for a moment, to walk over to where the bead and toaster was, flicking a bit, and implying the next words. “When Delia get’s here, don’t let her know I said Cordelia . . . I umm, like all my bits and pieces where they are, you got it?”

“If you got butter, juice, and more toast coming. I won’t say a word.” Cullen stated to him, taking a seat at the table where the chair was still pull out, pushing in closer to the table, reaching for the plate of burnt.

“Okay, I’ll count that.” Arty replied back, slipping some bread into the toaster, moving over to the cool box, looking for juice, lacking it, grabbed milk. Soon turning: to face Cullen before speaking to him. “Is milk fine?”

Cullen gave a nod, ripping the bread in pieces, to pass time. While Arty got the milk ready to poured in a small glass, along with a tub of smooth butter and a flat spoon, letting silent play out between the two, only for having the ding breaking it for a moment.

Arty fetched the toast, enough for the two this time, setting back at table.

“You can be mad you know, Mr. Arty.”

“Why?” Arty asked, munching around the plain toast.

“You’re not first, mom is going off somewhere, she always come back. Last person got on mom’s bad side and sent me to you. Saying you’re, a softy.”

“You got that right. Who was the person before?”

Cullen was a bit quiet for a moment, trying to remember the person’s name, eyes straying away from Arty’s eyes. Out of the blue the pale blond boy rubbed his neck, still not answering yet, just eating away at the butter up strips of bread.

Finally, it dawned on Arty, but he didn’t dare speak out of blue of it, not in harshness, before deciding to ask.

“Was it his name, Tomi?”

The name made the kid flinched, it was Arty needed, pushing his remain food towards him, looking at the microwave timer clock, waiting still for Delia to show up.

“Where the hell is she . . . don’t you repeat that, got it?”

Cullen only nodded; short smirk was his only real reply. Arty had his own, but added nothing to it, stating he was going to do something his room, and be back soon. Heading out the kitchen, rounding towards the living room, upon catching eye of Cullen’s backpack, he chooses not to bother with it now, and off his room.

Trying to find things to make a spare bed is not easy. Well, that was how Arty was first thinking before, just going, into a blinding rage of something else.

“If I ever get my hands that woman . . . oh men . . . screw it, Tomi first. This is his problem, not mine. His fault! Not mine!”

He ranted on and on, in his room, happily and lucky to have shut the door to block out from anyone from hearing it. The words only seemed too blurred from cusses, thoughts, topics only under the sun would know of that left his mouth.

“I see that mouth of yours has yet to change.” A voice said behind him, as Arty just went on pacing back and forth.

“Cullen, let you in?”

“Yeah, sweet kid, dishes in the sink and TV on low. Quiet, odd for a kid his age, huh?”

“Blame it on Tomi; I am, when I see him . . .”

“You’ll be join him in the save place. Warning you now, it won’t be fun, Arty watch your actions. I mean it.”

“What I am going to do, Delia? This is way out of my element; I know nothing of kids, how else I am going to do this?”

“We’ll take it with small steps. At this moment, Cullen doesn’t have anyone else at this moment, knowing how Marce is, this was maybe the most human thing she has done. Arty, don’t . . .”

Delia stepped back when Arty’s anger got the best and freaked out a bit more. Sparing a chance to make sure Cullen was hearing Arty’s melt down. The fallen of lamp, crashing on the ground, didn’t even get a respond from the boy.

That alone made Delia unsure of how to take that in, before trying to get Arty to calm down; making him remember there was some good out of this. In the results, Arty felt the first sign of anger from Delia’s hand, normally to peaceful, not anymore at this moment.

“You done, you calm, or do you want another.”

“No, no, I’m good. I got it. Thanks.” Arty spouted out, hoping to spare from another strike.

“You’re welcome.”

“What do I do?”

“I really say. But for now, there is a kid . . . in the living room, wanting you to be there for him. Come tomorrow, everything will change, and for that you are just going to go with the flow.”

“I’m going to fuck this up, you know it, Cullen doesn’t want to be around me, and maybe I should.”

“Say it and I will put you in a choke hold.” Delia said with a warning hush to her words.

Arty stepped, coming to the notion that if he said one more thing off, Delia was going to lose that sweetness she would usually have.

“I got some food for you guys, on the table; I’m heading back to work and have someone cover for you. Got it?”

Arty gave a nod in understanding, giving her goodbyes, watching and hearing her leave. The door open, a pause came.

“I’ll have a talk with the boss about giving you a work time. Get to know each other. Don’t mess this up Arty. Bye, Cullen, and see you later.”

“Bye.” Cullen replies, not letting his eyes leave the screen.

Arty calmed himself, gathering the things he was meant to get, and headed to the living room.

“Hey, Cullen, want to do something later? Like . . . you play ball or something?” Arty asked with a smile, meaning it more, than before.

“Cloud watching?”

“Sure, why not?”

The End.



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