Chapter 6:

The End of a Long Day


At the end of 7th period, Rayner and Blake had agreed to walk together for a bit. However, Mr. Brian noticed Rayner stand up and spoke to him. 

"One second, Rayner," he said. "Can you stay and speak with me for a moment?"

Rayner looked back at Mr. Brian and said, "Oh, sure." He turned back at Blake and said, "Well, I guess something came up."

"It's okay, Blake assured. "I'll wait for you outside of class."

"Are you sure? You don't mind waiting?"

"Of course not. He said it'd just be a moment, right?"

"Okay. Thanks Blake."

"I'll be right outside, waiting for you." Blake nodded and walked outside of the room.

Rayner then walked up to Mr. Brian's desk and asked, "Is there a problem, sir?"

"No, not at all," said Mr. Brian. "I just noticed that on my attendance sheet, you have an asterisk. This means you have a part-time job, right?"

"Oh, yes. That's correct. I just realized that I forgot to tell you my work schedule. I'm still in high school, so they're having me work every Wednesday through Friday in the afternoon."

"Okay, I'll put that down. It's Tuesday today. Will you be leaving school before seventh period tomorrow?"

"Well, I don't have work until 4, so I can still come in tomorrow. If anything, I'll probably just need to leave half an hour early to go home and get ready."

"Alright, not a problem. Thanks for the update, Rayner."

"Of course, sir. Is that all you needed?"

"One more thing."

"Yes?" Rayner didn't know what else needed to be discussed so he got a little nervous.

"Rayner, I noticed how you interacted with a few of your fellow classmates today."

"Oh, that... Yeah, I guess I did talk more than I usually do."

"Not just that, Rayner. Look, I knew your father very well and I know how your family's conflict impacted you. You started isolating yourself from other people and avoided any conversation you could."

"I figured it was better that way."

"Better for who? Certainly not yourself. No offense, but I've seen how miserable you looked these past few years. And like with the other students, whenever I would approach you, you would say that you were fine and brush me off."

"Sorry, I must have seemed like a jerk to you..."

"Just the opposite, actually. To me, you seemed like a kind person who was letting the world treat him like a monster. But I know that you're not a bad person, Rayner."

Rayner’s expression dimmed as he continued the conversation. "You do know what happened, right? You know what I did to my father?"

"Indeed. I heard the details from your mother. Look, I understand if you don't want to forgive yourself. But please just don't let it drag you down. You have a bright future ahead of you. Don’t let a slip up that happened in the past tie you down."

"I... I don't know..."

Mr. Brian sighed and let the topic go. "Alright, Rayner. You can head out now. I'm sorry for getting so personal with you."

"Oh no, it's alright sir. It's not like we're complete strangers after all. I'll see you later."

"Wait, before you go."


"I could tell that you were really enjoying your time with your friends today. I hope to see more of that side of you from now on. "


"Have a wonderful day now, Rayner."

"Yes, sir... You too."

Rayner then walked out of the classroom filled with the feeling of dread after remembering his family incident.

He had a quick flashback about the incident. This time it took place right after the middle-aged man in the flashback stormed outside of the house. After the adrenaline in his system faded, Rayner felt his forehead and noticed that there was some blood on it. He wasn't sure if it was his own or if it belonged to the other man. It could've been a mix of both.

He then heard a woman's voice call out from behind him. As he turned, he saw the silhouette of the woman calling out to him.

"Sweetie," she cried out. "It hurts..."

As Rayner faced the woman before him, he saw a trail of blood running down the side of her neck.

"I'm sorry!" Rayner screamed. "I don't know why I did that! I didn't know that would happen!" Rayner then ran off somewhere else.

The flashback ended as Rayner felt a hand tap him from behind.

Rayner, who was still reliving his trauma, jumped and quickly stepped away from whoever tapped him.

"Don't come any closer!" Rayner yelled. "I-I've done enough damage for the day!"

A different voice then called out to him. "Rayner!"

Rayner then snapped out of his flashback and saw Blake staring back at him, with a worried look on her face. He felt himself breaking into a cold sweat and tried to relax.

"What was I doing just now?" Rayner asked. His breathing was heavy and he could barely enunciate properly.

"You walked out of the classroom and just kept walking away," stated Blake. "You were spacing out just now. Are you alright?"

"I... I don't know. I feel dizzy..." He began rubbing his forehead with his hand to try and heal a headache that began to rise.

"Easy there. I don't want you to get hurt."

"I'm fine." Rayner tried to force himself to walk but couldn't focus that well.

Blake clutched onto his bicep tightly so that he couldn't walk away from her. "No, you're not! Let's just wait here for a moment until you catch your breath at least!"

"But we should start walking. I don't want to keep you away from home any longer."

"I'm not in a hurry. Please just stop and take a break for me."

Rayner sighed and begrudgingly said, "Okay..."

Blake spotted the tables and chairs outside of the cafeteria and said, "Okay, let's go over there. You can relax while we wait there."

"No," pleaded Rayner. "Let's go over there instead." He pointed over to a shaded area by a couple of tall trees. Blake followed his suggestion and led him over to the trees where he then sat down.

Rayner then closed his eyes and shook his head to get himself to stop thinking about negative things. I'm so pathetic, he thought. I haven't broken down like this in a while. It's probably because of the dream I had last night... I need to clear my head. Otherwise, I'm going to ruin some of Blake's first experiences in town. Okay, I'll try to be happy for her sake.

Rayner took one last deep breath and then forced subtle smile. "Phew, I'm alright now," he said.

"Are you sure?" Blake asked, concerned.

"Definitely." Whether or not he was, he tried to believe that he was fine. "Alright then Blake, shall we head out?"

"Sure thing..." Blake wasn't fully convinced but decided to take Rayner's word.

During their walk, Blake made sure to stay close to Rayner's side to make sure that she could help him if it looked like he was going to collapse.

"So, what did Mr. Brian talk to you about?" Blake asked. "Did a student try to get you in trouble or something?"

"No, nothing like that. Wait, do you think that could happen?"

"Knowing your reputation, I wouldn't be surprised."

"Oh, I never considered that. Thankfully, nothing like that has ever happened before... as far as I know. But no, Mr. Brian just needed to know my work schedule for my part-time job."

"Oh, so you're a working man," Blake said playfully.

"Er... Yeah."

"That must mean you have a lot of spending money."

"I guess so. I mainly use my money to pay for bills and stuff for the house. The only other person at home is my mom, so I do my best to help out where I can."

"Ah, I get it. I respect that a lot, actually. I kind of want to get a job too."

"Well if you're seventeen or eighteen it shouldn't be too hard to find a part-time job. I was only seventeen when I started working at my job. The requirement was eighteen but the owner was friends with my parents and pulled some strings for me."

"Wait, are you already eighteen, Rayner?"

"Yeah, I am."

"But the school year just started."

"Oh, I guess you haven't heard then. I actually had to repeat Freshman year because I didn't do anything and was truant a lot during my first year here. That was around the time the uh... incident happened."

"Say no more. I understand. Hm, I'm only seventeen right now so maybe I should wait until my birthday so that I can work with you."

"With me? But you can find other places to work."

"I know, but wouldn't it be fun if we worked together?"

Rayner blushed and said, "I guess so... But even if you did work where I did, we still wouldn't see each other much."

"Oh? How come?"

"Because I work as a bouncer for a restaurant. I would be outside all the time."

"Oh, I see. Well then I'll just have to come bother you whenever I find the time."

"What? I can't believe you..."

"So you're a bouncer, huh? That's funny. I can't imagine you looking super scary, Rayner."

"Well I don't try to look scary at school. Plus I don't really have to put on a mean look that often where I work. In our small town, not many people give you trouble. Unless they're drunk. Those are the people that I have to be stern with."

"Ah, that makes sense. How often will you see one?"

"I see a lot of drunk people at night but if I'm lucky, I only have to confront them once or twice a week."

About fifteen minutes into their walk home, they reached a street intersection. 

"Well, here's my turn," said Blake, pointing to their right. 

"Oh, really?" Rayner replied. "That's funny. I'm actually just down the next street over."

"Huh? No way, we live so close to each other then."

"Right, I didn't even know there was an available house so close to mine."

"Alright, Rayner. I'll see you tomorrow." Blake smiled and held her arms out for a hug.

Rayner scratched the side of his face nervously and went, "Um... Yeah. See you later." He slowly approached Blake and let her wrap her arms around him.

"Wow, I can feel your muscles. You're not bad, Rayner."

Rayner abruptly backed away from Blake’s clutches and nervously said, "Alright Blake, bye for now!" Rayner then hurriedly made his way down to the next street over.

Back with Blake, she looked at her arms while walking down the street. Blake reflected on herself for a moment. Why did I do that, I wonder? Hm, maybe I'm too comfortable around him.

As Rayner arrived at his house, he saw a car parked in the driveway. This meant that his mother was home. But before he could walk inside, a voice called out to him.

Rayner looked over to the house next door to his and saw his neighbor calling for him from inside of a car that just pulled into the driveway.

"Excuse me, Rayner," he said. "Could you come over here real quick?"

The man then got out of his car. He was a tall man with a slightly hefty build. He had short black hair and wore a gray suit. He stepped out of his car with a grocery bag in hand and held it out towards Rayner. This man's name was Felix Writer and he lived with his wife Joyce as Rayner’s next-door neighbors.

"This is for you and your mother, Rayner."

"What is it?" Rayner asked.

"Just some produce that my wife asked me to get for you guys."

"Oh, why go through the trouble for us?"

"It's nothing. Joyce said that she was talking to your mother, Maddie, earlier and told me that she forgot to buy a few things yesterday."

"Thank you very much. I wonder why my mother didn't just go now."

"Oh, she didn't tell you?"

"Tell me what?"

"Oh sorry, forget I said anything. If your mother didn't tell you then there might be a reason for it."

"Um... Okay."

"By chance, would you know if Joyce is still at the the school?"

"Oh, I didn't see her on my way home. She must still be in the nurse's office."

"Ah, I see. Well I'm done with work for the day, so I might as well come and pick her up then. Have a nice day, Rayner. Tell your mother that I said hi."

"Yes, sir. Bye Mr. Writer."

Without any further distractions, Rayner walked into his own home. It was a one-story house with the front door leading into the living room. To the right was a hallway that led to the garage and restroom. Further down, the hallway ends with a path to the left that leads to three separate bedrooms. Across from the living room, was a passageway into the kitchen and dining room.

As Rayner stepped foot into the house, he put the grocery bag down for a second to remove his bracelet and leave it over a stand by the door. He then picked up the bag again and made his way into the kitchen.

At this time, Rayner heard his mother's voice as she was talking on the phone. Rayner saw his mother standing by the kitchen sink, staring out the window.

Rayner's mother, Maddison(Maddie) Kingsman, had purple hair much like her son's but even longer. She was wearing a thin black long-sleeved shirt and a long white skirt underneath a green apron. Across the back of her neck was a scar.

As Rayner saw his mother's scar, he twitched and shamefully turned his head away.

Rayner didn't tell his mother that he was back and left the groceries that the Writer's got for them over the counter. 

Rayner was about to leave the kitchen but stopped in his tracks as he overheard what his mother was saying on the phone.

"Yes, Honey," she said. "I'm doing fine, I promise. I love you too."

"Mom,"Rayner said abruptly. "Who are you talking to?" Rayner had a bad feeling in his gut.

"Oh," his mother said, as Rayner surprised her. As she turned around, her gray eyes nervously darted around the room and then back at her son. She continued to talk on the phone and not directly to Rayner. "Darling, Rayner is back from school now. Did you want to speak with him?"

"Is that Dad?" 

Maddie simply nodded her head in response.

Rayner felt his heart sink. "You're actually talking to him? I thought I chased him away forever..." Rayner then left the kitchen and quickly made his way through the living room and hallway into his room.

Rayner’s mother held her hand out and wanted to call out to him. However, no matter how hard she tried, her voice wouldn't come out. She put her hand down and tried to relax as she felt herself shiver. 

She was still hearing Rayner’s father speak to her on the phone call.

"Yes, Dear," she said. "Rayner actually went straight into his room. I think I need to go, I'm not feeling very well right now. Can we talk again sometime? It's been so long since I heard your voice."

As Rayner ran into his room, he let himself fall over his bed and slammed a fist into his pillow. 

It's been almost five years since I last heard about him. I never thought that he would try to contact us again.

Flashbacks of Rayner hurting his father and screaming at him to leave began to quickly flood his thoughts.

Rayner began to throw a quiet fit over his bed. He continuously smacked his pillow around for a good minute before throwing it at a wall.

Maddie had walked up to Rayner’s room and stood there for a moment.  She had her hand on the door handle, ready to open it whenever. Instead, she just stood there and rested her forehead against his door, silently. Eventually, she left Rayner's doorstep and went into her own room. 

Thus, the Kingsman house, though small enough for a family to interact easily, seemed bigger than ever as both Rayner and his mother would never be around one another for long periods of time. This is the cycle that Rayner had lived his life and the way it would continue in the foreseeable future.

But perhaps Rayner’s soon-to-be new school life might affect his home life too. Only time would tell for the Kingsman household.