Chapter One: Flowers
He sat on his father's office building's roof top with his back against the cool gravel that littered it.
His blue eyes watched the white tufts of clouds that shaded him from the suns hurtful rays, but only for a moment before he finally shifted to acknowledge who had called him.
His father stood a few feet behind him in a grey tux with a blue tie, "Its time to head home."
Sam watched him for a moment tracing the wrinkles on his father's forehead with his gaze.
"If you lay there any longer, you'll be sleeping here," the man smiled lazily at his son as he turned to walk back toward the rooftop elevator.
"You wouldn't really leave me here," Sam laughed mildly as he stood to his feet brushing gravel from the back of his hooded t-shirt. October's fall breeze blew his dark brown tufts away from his face and almost sent him back down to where he had recently laid.
"Careful," his father called to him before pushing the elevators down call button. "It really is becoming a little late in the year for you to be up here Sam. It makes me nervous that you're up here by yourself. You could easily fall off the edge or get blown off..." he began.
He chuckled beneath his breath, "I'm sixteen dad, I can handle being up here by myself... Really don't worry so much. You'll end up in an early grave father."
The silver metal elevator doors slid open and the two shuffled inside to escape the cool air.
"Age doesn't matter. You're small, son, you could easily be taken off the edge," his father sighed and ran a steady hand through his thinning dark hair before pressing the silver G button that would take them down to the car garage.
Sam stared at him in mild frustration, watching the blue eyes that resembled his own, "I'm not small. I'm just shorter than most guys..."
"Sam," those blue eyes met his. "Fine, disregard my statement. But, there are no railings and I hope you will take what I've said into consideration. I've already lost your mother..." the man paused for a moment and his gaze fell away from Sam's.
"As long as you're still alive Dad, I won't be going anywhere," he clapped his father on the shoulder before exiting the elevator. He slipped his hands into his hoodie pockets and took a deep breath.
His father walked ahead of him, leading him to their car. "You know you could just go home after school, the train will take you most of the way there. Or, you could even go out to a friends... you don't need to wait for me, son," the man slid into the driver's seat as Sam slid into the passenger's side.
He glanced at the man as a smile formed on his lips, "Friends?"
The older man laughed, "You have friends, come on now, Sam. What about that boy Taylor Mays? Or the neighbor girl, Robin was it...?"
"So far you've named two people Pops. Taylor's not really the friend type anymore... and Robin hasn't talked to me since eighth grade. Friends aren't really plentiful at school..." Sam leaned his head back against the seat's head rest and let his eyes close.
"I'm sure you don't make much of an effort to be friends with anyone. Why don't you ask Robin out? She has friends, maybe you can make friends with them through her," the man's face lit up as if he believed he had thought of the most brilliant plan in the entire world. He carefully exited the parking garage and began driving to their home that lay on the outside of the cities dimming lights.
A chuckle escaped the teen, "Father, that's terrible."
Sam couldn't help the hearty laugh that emitted itself from his throat when his eyes fluttered open and he caught a glimpse of the perplexed look on his father's aging face. "I'm not going to use her to get to her friends, that's mean. If I want to be friends with her friends then I'd just go straight to them," he laughed again.
"I don't see how that's terrible, that's how I met your mother. She was a friend of a girl I dated," the older man paused a moment in thought. "Hm, I guess I can see how that would be a little... mean."
"I'm glad you see my point so I don't have to prove it to you," Sam glanced out the car window as they passed the last corporate building they would see before they would be approaching their Illinois home.
His father smiled slightly, "Well, at least try talking to her. I don't want you sitting up at the office anymore."
"You're kicking me out cause you think I need friends?" he laughed mildly, getting queasy at the thought of actually having to figure out how to talk to the girl that he was pretty sure hated his every being.
"I'm kicking you out cause I want to keep you off the roof, you gaining friends is only a benefit," his father laughed as he pulled the car to a stop in front of their one story home. "Now, before you go inside I want you to go talk to The Eldridge's. Even if Robin doesn't talk to you it would be nice for you to check on her parents. They're very lovely people and I think the Mrs. had surgery on her leg or something like that. So, go ask if there's anything you can do for them, okay? Be polite and don't act like a scrub," the man lifted himself from the car as Sam did the same.
"A scrub, father dearest?" Sam smiled as a rosy color tinted his cheeks in the cold air.
The man waved his hand as if to dismiss his son and walked inside the house.
Sam combed his chilling fingers through his brown waves before starting over to their next door neighbor's home. Dry leaves crunched beneath his feet as he heaved a heavy sigh and stepped onto the Eldridge's porch. He rapped his knuckles lightly against their wooden door and waited a few moments before it creaked open.
"Sorry, sorry, it takes me a bit to get to the door when David isn't home..." the woman before him sat in a wheel chair with her right leg neatly propped up in a white plaster cast. She lifted her brown eyes from her newly adapted eye level and met Sam's gaze. "Why if it isn't Sam Aiden..." a smile graced her thin lips. "You live so close but we haven't seen you since your mother passed..." she paused a moment, looking at him directly.
Before she could continue, Sam changed subjects, "My father wanted me to see how you and the Mr. were doing and if there was anything I could do for you?"
She seemed surprised by his offer, "For me...? Well I guess there is something you could do for me... My garden, you see, all of my flowers are dying and Robin doesn't like to help me with those kinds of things... Would you be able to do some yard work and flower shopping for me...?"
Gardening. He wasn't expecting that. He was expecting a simple rejection of his assistance. Why would she want to replace flowers when winter was just about to start? But he couldn't tell her hopeful face no. "I'd be happy to help Mrs. Eldridge," he smiled in turn. "Would you just like me to come over after school's out?"
"That would be lovely... You're such a sweet boy," she smiled again. "I'll be sure to have a list and money ready for you when you get here tomorrow. Thank you Sam..."
He bowed his head waving away her thanks, "It's no problem at all Mrs. E. I'll see you tomorrow." He smiled once more before slipping off of her porch and traveling the small distance back to his own. Gardening... he thought with a sigh. It couldn't have been, 'Sam, can you mow our non-existent lawn, or can you repaint our shabby mailbox, its becoming a little bit faded.' I would have rather given their cats a bath... He bit down on his lip and escaped into the warmth of his home.
"What did she say?" his father questioned from the kitchen where Sam guessed he was attempting yet another disastrous dinner.
Sam kicked his shoes off by their front door and padded across the cool hard wood floors to where his father stood as he predicted; sadly attempting one of his mother's recipes. It looked to be some sort of spaghetti contraption. "She wants me to replant her garden."
"Gardening?" the man glanced over his shoulder at his son.
"Mmhmm," he managed as he pulled a can of Sunkist from their fridge. A smile crossed his lips as cool fog emitted itself from the can's popped top. The taste of sunshine indeed...
His father pulled two plates from a cupboard to his left and began setting them down on the coffee table in front of their small television, "I never thought my son would be playing with flowers."
"You told me to ask if there was anything she wanted me to do. I wasn't going to just tell her no, I'm not heartless like you father remember?" Sam chuckled as he plopped down on the couch Sunkist in hand.
"I wasn't thinking she would make you do something so girlish," he replied brushing off his son's comment.
Sam merely shrugged as he pulled his father's plate of creation onto his lap and turned the TV on, not really caring what show was currently playing.
The older man reluctantly let the topic go and sat next to his son with his own plate.
"Father dearest, could you tell me what I'm eating?" he asked as he lifted a fork full with noodles and some sort of sauce.
"Its your mother's recipe for Penne pasta… I added some chicken… I hope it tastes okay…" his father began before analyzing his own plate.
A grimace began to form on his lightly tanned face but he tried to smother it as he quickly shoved the fork full into his mouth. He regretted it just as quickly. "It's great dad," Sam forced a smile onto his pursed lips. Greatly undercooked… Or over cooked… I'm pretty sure I'm going to get salmonella… he swallowed the fork full and quickly downed another with the hope that he wouldn't choke.
His father merely laughed at him as tears formed in those eyes that matched his own, "I know I'm not as good as your mother was but I'm trying…"
Why does everything have to come back to her. She's dead. Dead. D-E-A-D. She isn't coming back so there's no reason for him to keep bringing her up… His eyes fell away from his father's as he shoveled another fork full of pasta and chicken into his mouth. "I'm going to bed dad," he sighed and carried his plate back to the kitchen.
"It's a little early, don't you think? It's only eight…" the older man tried.
Sam only shrugged and continued down their thin hall way to his room. A cool breeze brushed against his skin upon entering his room. His window was open just as he had left it that morning unfortunately. He crossed quietly to the window opposite his door and began to shut out the chilling air. Inhaling one last breath of the fresh outdoor air he shut the window and slid its lock into place.
"It's a little late to lock people out."
That last breath caught in his throat as he nearly jumped through the window. He turned hesitantly on his heel to who had addressed him, "Taylor?"
The boy stared blankly back at him, pale yellow-green eyes clouded with sleeplessness, "Long time no see?" His tabby blonde spikes poked out in every direction from beneath his Chicago Cubs hat. Taylor sat in the corner of Sam's room with his blue and white hoodie wrapped tightly around himself. A Cheshire like smile graced his pale skin.
"What are you doing here Taylor," Sam crossed his arms over his chest.
"My parents kicked me out Sam…" Taylor started.
He scoffed in return, "So, you choose to come here. Through my window, I presume. Why does that even seem like a good idea to you, Taylor?" He tried to hide the irritation that scratched at the back of his throat angrily.
Taylor shifted uneasily on his little self-claimed piece of carpet, "Sam, I know your still mad at me… but we used to be friends… Can't you see that I have no where else to go…? It's just tonight… I'll find somewhere else to go tomorrow…"
A sigh escaped Sam as he transferred his weight from his left foot to his right and then back to his left, "Fine Taylor."
The boy stood from his spot and brushed imaginary dust bunnies from the back of his pants. He stood about three inches taller than Sam. "I'm sorry, Sam… We just had an argument and…"
Sam merely waved away his past friend's explanation as he turned and pulled his curtains shut, darkening the room, "Just cause I'm letting you stay doesn't mean were friends again Taylor."
"I'm gonna use your shower then…" the boy turned his back and pulled his cap from his head only to place it on top of Sam's bed post.
Silence was all Sam responded with.
Taylor glanced back at him and slipped into the bathroom without another word.
The shower water hummed a steady a flow as Taylor emitted a soft hum of his own, "All I waited for was a chance to make you understand, to tell you these forgotten truths…"
The Goo Goo Dolls, Sam recognized the band but pushed any further acknowledgement of anything that came from Taylor, from his mind.
"Who's that?" his father peered inside his door quizzically.
"Oh," Sam shrugged mildly. "Taylor, he's staying over tonight."
The man shifted, a little surprised, "Taylor Mays is here?"
"Oh...? Well I'm glad you have someone over but next time give me a little warning…" his father smiled and patted his shoulder.
Sam forced a smile and ushered his father from the room before laying down on top of his bed spread. A small sigh escaped him as he let his eyes close. All he could see in the dark behind his eye lids was her face. Her small petite features. Her honey hazel eyes. The kind smiling lips that would kiss his forehead each night when he was a child. Her brunette curls that surrounded her little face. Mom… Why did you have to go… He drifted into a memory filled sleep until Taylor shook him twenty minutes later.
He shifted on his side trying to ignore the persistent urge of reality to wake him from his peaceful slumber.
"Sam, wake up."
"What Taylor…" Sam shifted once more only to glare up at the boy.
The tabby blonde stepped back a little knowing he was already over staying his short welcome, "I just want to talk to you." His spikes were drenched and stuck to his forehead. Taylor looked like a sad little wet cat as he sat down by Sam's bed. The boy had adopted a couple of Sam's clothes as his own as he had none with him. This made him even more unwelcome.
"What about," he sat up and rested his back against the pale grey wall that his bed was placed beside.
"About what happened…" Taylor's gaze never met Sam's as he pulled at the tabby strands that poked out in an endless amount of directions. "I think its time that we should cause I don't think I've been given the chance to explain myself…"
Sam chewed angrily on his bottom lip, "You were an idiot who decided to drink at your friends or whatever and then drive home in the middle of the night. You're the reason my mother is dead. What's there to explain, Taylor."
"Sam…" The boy merely stared back at him, wide eyed, and ashamed, "Sam it was an accident… Why can't you accept that…"
He stood from the bed, glaring down at Taylor, "You made me come and pick you up that night. I saw my mother dead in her flipped over car. I brought you into my house and didn't tell anyone. I even helped take the plates off of your car so no one would know it was you." He gritted his teeth, "I want nothing to do with you. If you want to stay here tonight, then fine. But, I don't want to hear another word from you."
"Why did you even help me in the first place…?" Taylor's cat-like yellow-green eyes stayed on him.
"We were best friends then, I was just as panicked as you were. I didn't know that the person you had murdered was my mother until I got there. What was I supposed to do. Leave you there?" Sam sat back on his bed and ran his fingers through his brown waves. A heavy sigh escaped his lips.
Taylor stiffened as his gaze fell to the floor, "Sam, I didn't mean to hurt her… I only had one drink… I just wanted to go home… I'm sorry…" His voice was soft and broken.
"I would never hurt anyone… I didn't even want that drink… I just wanted to hang out with those guys… I know I can never take back what happened, but Sam please…" the boy lifted his hands to his face as his shoulders trembled.
Sam fell silent as his harsh expression softened, "Don't cry Taylor…"
"I'm sorry… I'm kind of a mess…" Taylor wiped his sleeve across his cat-like eyes and managed an embarrassed chuckle. "I have no one Sam…"
He lifted his hand and poked Taylor's damp head, "You're here aren't you? I'll let it go if you quit acting like a girl. You can stay here if you want to. I've held onto what happened to my mother for do long… It's time to let her rest. So should we. I'm exhausted and you look like you never sleep." He then pulled his pillow from his bed and smacked it against the little cats head. "Night Taylor."
"N… Night Sam…"
When the world is insane, you get used to the pain and you don't even know what to feel. I'm like you, all alone and confused. But you know, its not forever. Notbroken by The Goo Goo Dolls
Author Babble... Hey everybody! I'm Kaity and if this is the first time reading something of mine for you I hope you're enjoying! If not... I can't help that, but I do appreciate any CONSTRUCTIVE criticism that you have for me :) I hope you're all having a fantastic day! I'm about to put up the cast pictures. I will update those every time a new, important, character is added. I will do my best to let you know at the end or beginning of a chapter if a new one has been added. So check those out and let me know if you thought they might look different :) I'm always curious what people think the characters look like.... Anyway... Bye! Ill try to update this novel ever two weeks! Sorry... I'm caught up in my senior year and I'm starting my second job this week. So I hope you all stick to this! :)