I couldn’t help myself, I had to sneak another peek. My eyes drifted back down to the photo she had placed in front of me as I ate my breakfast. Royal. I said the name in my head letting it roll around and simmer in my mind for a few minutes.
It was a name that reminded me of royalty, of a person who considered themselves above others, though he didn’t look the part at all.
He oozed sex appeal and charm,,that coupled with the pale blue eyes and the darkness of his skin made him more appealing to the eye. Then there was the fact he was smirking in his photo, which was all but saying fuck you to the correctional officer in front of him. Still, I wanted to reach through the photo and shake the shit out of him. He was a bad boy; it was written all over his face, and I was curious.
“When is he coming?” I blurted the question out. I wanted to meet him; to be the first to question him and bring to light all of his discretions. I wanted to rip him apart and piece him back together. To figure out everything there was to know about him, and to dissect the sad look in his eyes. Something in that photo made me want to know him. It made me want to know why he would endanger himself and those he loved most.
“Tomorrow, possibly tonight. Your father is picking him up from the airport sometime soon. I don’t really know, Noelle.” Her voice was short as she sipped on her tea and scrolled on her phone pretending to listen to anything I was saying.
“Oh, okay. Well does he need any help with anything? Maybe getting enrolled in classes, sports, or extra-curriculars?” I peppered her with questions. I didn’t want to sound overly excited, or too eager because she would take it the wrong way, but I had been alone in this giant ass house for years. Having someone else here with me, someone the same age as me would maybe make the house seem a little smaller and hopefully more like a home.
My mom lifted her eyes from her cell phone screen, her eyes narrowing on me, as she digested what I had said. “Sports? Really, Noelle, he’s a damn criminal for Christ sake. Criminals don’t play sports, and if he’s got a track record like that…” she pointed to the information underneath the photo, “…I doubt he has the grades to back himself up to join any extra-curricular activities.” I could feel my mouth drop open. Her assumptions on who he was were horrible. Just because a piece of paper said something about you didn’t mean it defined you, and apparently my mother didn’t get that memo. I must have taken too long to answer because before I could speak she was talking again.
“Please don’t tell me you see hope in this juvenile delinquent?” I could hear the disapproval in her voice. How could she be so rude, so mean? We knew nothing of him except for who his father was, and that wasn’t even enough to judge someone. So what, he had a record. So did a lot of the guys I went to school with.
“I’ll be the judge of who I see him as. Just because a slip of paper tells you someone did something wrong, doesn’t mean that they’re at fault and it definitely doesn’t mean that he’s a criminal, at least not by choice.” I couldn’t believe I had stood up against my mother. The breath in my chest stilled as I waited for her to let me have it.
“I cannot…” She was flustered as she searched for a word to use against me, a word to describe her pure disapproval of me.
“Well I did, and it’s done and over with. Let me see him for myself and get to know him for the person he is before I judge him. Your assumption on who he is and my assumption are clearly very different. I need to be able to decide what type of person he is and whether or not he deserves to be treated like a criminal. After all, I’ve been alone in this house literally my whole life. It would be nice to have some company for a change.” I pushed off from the marble island counter and walked over to the farmhouse sink, setting my bowl in it.