The Boy Who Smiled

A little ‘what-if’ with my characters Connor & Kelly.

1997 — Fourteen-year-old Kelly Hayes kept her mixed-brown eyes on the ground, a pillow clutched to her chest. Her unbrushed brown hair fell into her face, partially obscuring her view of the floor. As if it mattered…

All around her, children played on the floor and teenagers hung out in their little groups spread out within the large room, but not her. She didn’t want to talk to anyone.

Over by the corner to her left, her fifteen-year-old sister Candace and seventeen-year-old brother Bryce chattered with their respective groups.

Not that she cared. They’d ignored her since the fire that killed their parents.

Kelly drew her knees to her chest and rested her chin on the pillow. In terms of human interaction, she had never felt more alone.

Three of the children on the floor suddenly stood and ran to the door. Kelly looked up to see one of the teenage boys – the one with reddish-brown hair, light brown eyes, freckles, and whose name escaped her – standing with a middle-aged couple. From the looks of it, he was leaving.

If he was being adopted, then lucky him. Meanwhile, she and her two siblings would be stuck here at the home until their 18-and-over siblings, along with their grandparents from both sides of the family, decided who would gain custody of them.

She had a feeling Candace and Bryce would go with a sibling, specifically Daniel, who was the oldest at twenty-two and had a job. And she could see herself ending up with a grandparent.

Hopefully, it would be Grandma and Granddad Evans. They were the only ones who didn’t blame her. Technically, Grandma and Grandpa Hayes didn’t blame her either, per sé, but they still didn’t seem to believe her side of the story.

Sometimes she felt like a criminal.

She looked over at the door, where the couple was just stepping out. The boy, who was about a year or so older than her, met her gaze as he followed the couple. He paused and without warning, he smiled.

It wasn’t a smug smile that boasted of him leaving and her staying. It was a soft smile that made her feel…encouraged, in a minuscule way.

She found herself smiling back, if only a little. Then he left.

©H.S. Kylian 2018

(Critiques are welcome and appreciated!)

This post was last updated on December 3, 2018

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