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Complicate Me(9)

By:M. Robinson

“I’ll see you guys later.” I ignored him and left.

I pedaled my bike as fast as I could to Alex’s house, knocking on her door.

Her mom answered. “Hey, sweetie.”

“Hey, is Half-Pint around?”

She frowned. “Oh I’m sorry, Lucas, she isn’t feeling well. She went to bed as soon as we got home a little bit ago. I’ll let her know you stopped by. Your mama is inside though with Lily. Do you want to come in?”

I shook my head no. “Can you let her know as soon as she wakes up? I really need to talk to her. It’s important. Can you tell her to call me?”

“Will do.” She stepped back and closed the door.

I took a shower and went straight to bed, trying to block out the look on Alex’s face and failing miserably in doing so.

It wouldn’t be the last time I hurt her.

This was just the beginning…

I usually hated Sunday mornings. Everyone dressed in their Sunday best to attend service at the only church we had in town. I dressed in my usual black slacks and gray button down with a tie firmly knotted around my neck. I was already hot and we hadn’t even left the house yet. Thank God I didn’t have to wear a suit jacket. It was way too hot outside. Alex always called me to make sure that I was awake so I didn’t have to face my mom's wrath about not getting up on time and not taking service seriously.

She didn’t call that morning.

I contemplated whether to call her or not but decided against it since I would be seeing her soon anyway. The car ride was inexplicably slow and I sat next to my baby sister Lily, she was eight and for the most part never really annoyed me. I thought about Alex the entire way to service.

Her face.

Her lips.

Her eyes.

“Lucas, you listenin’?” Lily asked, taking me away from my thoughts.


“I said, are you alright?”

“Yeah I’m fine.”

“You sure? You’re actin’ funny.”

“I’m good.”

“Okie, I thought maybe you were coming down with the same thing Alex got.”

That made me turn to look at her. “What?”

“Half-Pint.” She rolled her eyes, thinking that’s the reason I was confused.

“Yeah, I know. What are you talkin’ about?”

“She looked like you do last night. I thought maybe—”

“You saw her last night?” I interrupted.

“Yep. Mama and me were at the restaurant when her and the boys showed up. She looked really down like she got sick or something. Her mama took her home and we went with them. She usually at least tries to play with me, but this time she didn’t say a word, she just went right to her room and went to sleep. Mama and Mrs. Collins were making tea and she asked me to take her up some medicine and water.” She hesitated for a few seconds distracted by the kids running out of their cars to service.


“Oh.” She shook her head. “Her face was all red and her eyes were watery. She said she didn’t feel good, but it looked like she was crying to me. Just sayin’.”

The wind was knocked out of me and I was finding it hard to breathe and gather my feelings on what Lily had innocently shared. I caught my mom’s eyes from the rearview mirror, and for a moment I thought she knew. The knowing look on her face made me tear my gaze from hers, not wanting to answer any questions that were imminent in her stare. I stepped out of the car first and they all followed, slowly treading behind them, looking around for Alex. She usually waited for me at the front entrance so we could walk in together and sit with the boys in the back.

She wasn’t waiting for me, and it only added to my anxiety and apprehension of what the hell happened.

I immediately found her when I walked in, except she wasn’t sitting with the boys. She sat with her parents, beside her mom, but that’s not what shocked me. What stunned me was that she wore a light yellow dress and her hair was down. I don’t think I ever saw her hair down unless we were in the water, and even then she quickly piled it on top of her head with a hair tie. The long shiny dark waves flowed swiftly down her back and I found myself wanting to run my fingers through it to feel if it was as soft as it appeared to be.

How had I just realized her hair was so long?

Once I found my footing I made my way to the boys who were all staring as intently at Alex as I was. They all looked my way and I shrugged, answering their confused stares that I didn’t know what was up either. Service ended and we all gathered outside, waiting for her family. She was the last to walk out behind them and I exhaled a breath I didn’t realize I held until I saw her.

She looked…

She looked like a girl.

Not just any girl, a beautiful girl.


“Alex,” she corrected me.

“Excuse me?” I countered.

She smiled at all of us, picking up our jaws from the floor.

“My name’s Alex,” she simply stated, smiling.

“Since when?” I asked, not knowing the girl in front of me. She even sounded different.

“Since birth,” she sassed, looking at only me.

Dylan cleared his throat, bringing her stare back to all of them. “You look nice, Alex.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. Why was I the only one pissed off about this?

“Thank you,” she replied, blushing.

The rest of the boys followed suit, acting as if our lives hadn’t just changed drastically. They fawned over her like they would any new girl that would come around us. Except this wasn’t a new girl, this was our Half-Pint. I didn’t care what she wore or who she pretended to be. I knew who she was on the inside and on the inside she was mine. The shark tooth necklace that still hung around her neck proved my point. It helped ease my desire to drag her away and call her out on this bullshit.

I backed away from them not wanting to make a scene, but mostly I backed away from her. The more I looked at her the worse I felt. It was a continuous, unforgiving feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had done something wrong, and it caught up with me. I’d never felt like that before, and all it would take was for her to look at me for one second, for one damn second and she would see it.

We all went back to her restaurant, exactly the way we had every Sunday. The Collins’ provided a huge Sunday spread, being their busiest day of the week, bringing in people from South Port, the next town over. Everyone told Alex she looked beautiful, grown-ups, old people, shit even boys from our school.

I hated it.

I hated the attention she was getting. I hated the stares that were suggestive and not very subtle. I hated the dress she wore and I hated that she smelled so damn good that all I wanted to do was wrap my arms around her and never let her go.

How could I feel that way? We were so young.

But mostly I hated the fact that she ignored me. She wouldn’t meet my questioning eyes and I was sincerely about to lose my shit. My temper was looming, and I was ready to drag her out onto the beach and yell at her.

Why did I want to yell at her?

I didn’t eat a bite of my food and when she asked for a glass of water with lemon instead of cherry coke that we always drank I seriously almost yelled at her from across the table.

Was she provoking me?

“Lucas,” Jacob called out from beside me. “Come with me outside.”

I stood, still glaring over at her, but everyone seemed to have her attention but me.

“What the hell is your problem?” he questioned, as soon as we were away from prying ears.

“Nothin’, what’s your problem?” I argued, needing to take my anger out on someone.

He put his hands out in front of him in a surrendering gesture. “I’m not the bad guy here. But it would take a fool not to realize that you’re pissed off about Alex.”

“Her name’s Half-Pint.”

He narrowed his eyes at me, stepping closer. “Listen to me because I will only say this once. She’s growing up, Lucas. Did I think it would happen this quickly? No. I thought we would at least have one more year. But we’re all changing too Lucas, and she’s always wanted to be one of us. She doesn’t want to get left behind. Does it suck? Yeah, it fucking does. I’m not gonna lie to ya, but this is her way of doing that. Come on give her a break. She looks great. I’m happy for her, we all are. Now lock up your shit and be happy for her, too.”

“Don’t tell me what the fuck to do, Jacob,” I gritted out.

He jerked back. “You’re actin’ like you’re jealous, Lucas.”

“I’m not,” I simply stated.

“Good,” he merely replied back.

We stood there squaring off, neither one of us backing down. If Jacob thought he could pull that big brother shit on me, he was dead wrong and had another thing coming. It may work with Alex but not with me. He didn’t need to be telling me what to do when he had no idea what the hell occurred in the first place. This wouldn’t be the first time that Jacob pulled this bullshit on me. I would get used to it throughout the years, the older we got, the worse it became. Dylan and Austin wouldn’t be that far behind either, all jumping in on something that was none of their fucking business to begin with.

She didn’t need protection.

Especially not from me.

“What’s going on?” Alex questioned, drawing us away from our intense exchange and making us both turn to face her.