Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing.
He stood in the doorway of his new home. It was not as spacious as his last home. The coats hanging in the closet, which had no door on it, were crowded and shoved almost haphazardly on the hangers. He looked down and noticed the clump of shoes just tossed on top of each other at the floor of the entry way closet and flowing out like a sea of tennis shoes. Alecia followed his gaze and commented, “No shoes allowed in the house.” He nodded his understanding. Leaning down he carefully untied his shoes and placed them at the front of the tidal wave of foot wear. He stood back up and watched as a crowd came from a room in the back of the hall entrance.
“Alecia!” the man exclaimed and gently hugged Daniel’s social worker as it seemed they were friends. The man’s face was broken into a wide grin, which showed black, chipped and crooked teeth. His beard was full and trimmed neatly. It was dark brown, like his short hair, but flecked with white. He must have been in his forties, Daniel determined. A woman behind the man had bright blond hair that showed brown roots, meaning she needed to touch her hair up and soon. She smiled with her mouth closed and gently stepped forward to hug Alecia as well. Daniel looked at their clothes and determined they would not shop for him at any moment. The man was in denim overalls and a plaid button shirt. If they hadn’t just driven through the city, Daniel would have thought they were on a farm. The woman wore tight jeans that were two sizes too small for her girth and the boy thought the button should have popped off at any moment. Her shirt was a t-shirt that stated ‘White trash is the now the in crowd’.
Alecia stepped a little into the hallway and motioned for Daniel to follow her, “I’m sorry Bill, but I need to place another child here temporarily. I know you’re crowded as it is, but you know how it is around here. Too many kids and not enough people willing to take the older ones in.” Daniel followed her and his new family into a small living room area. A couch, which was ripped and worn beyond repair, sat against the far wall. An outdated television, one of the old box ones, was sitting on top of a TV dinner tray. Daniel wondered at how long the poor thing would be able to continue to hold the weight of such an antique. A recliner, which was in worse shape that the couch and stained to the point of not knowing what the original print used to be, sat in the corner next to a lamp that had an inch of dust on the torn lamp shade. It was a fire waiting to start and Daniel made a mental note to clean the light bulbs in this place as soon as possible. The carpet was also shredded in places, stained and needing to a replacement sometime soon. The family all piled in. Alecia pointed to the couch, giving Daniel the signal to sit down, which Daniel did reluctantly. He looked around some more and found the walls were not covered in beautiful landscape pictures like his last home, but rather pictures of children in front of many different settings. Many of the kids were all teenagers. “This is Daniel Francis. He is about twelve years old. I’m sure you’ve been seeing his picture on the nightly news.”
The man smiled again his creepy toothy smile, “Yes! I have! Well, you’re a celebrity I guess!” He sat down next to Daniel and patted the boy’s thigh. Daniel tensed up and nodded to the man. He was now extremely wary of this new family. The woman continued to stand next to Alecia.
Alecia continued, “Daniel, this is Billy Franks and his wife Clarrissa Franks. They are foster parents for the nine kids here,” she gestured to the other teenagers standing around the room. She continued to point to each in turn, “This is Jenny, Waylon, Dennis, Kevin, Lisa, Kerry, Dana, Charlene, and Laura.” The five boys and four girls nodded their heads politely as they were introduced. Looking at the children he deduced that Waylon could have been a biological child, but the other children were definitely foster children.
“Boys, why don’t you help Daniel gather his belongings from the car and get him settled,” Billy pushed gently on Daniel’s back to force him off the couch. Daniel followed the five other, and older, boys from the living room to get his suitcase and school bag from the back of Alecia’s car. Once of the front lawn of the small house the boys turned around and stopped Daniel from progressing in getting his things.
Waylon crossed his arms covering his blue t-shirt and separated his legs in an obvious aggressive stance. “We are crowded here, so you need to know now who is in charge,” he drawled out, sounding a lot like Billy, and confirming to Daniel that this was their biological child. The other boys stopped and turned around to watch their interaction. No one seemed willing to stand against Waylon. The peppered blond boy pointed his finger into Daniel’s chest hard, “I make the rules and you will follow them. Any snitching will get a soap beating and you stay out of my way.”
Weighing his options, Daniel decided that agreeing would just be best at this time. He nodded his head and smiled. “No probs. I don’t plan on stepping on any toes while here. I just want to get out of here.” The other four boys glared back at him as if he just insulted them.
Kerry and Dana shook their heads and leaned into the back of the car to get the two bags of things. Waylon led them all back into the house, through the entry, passed the others in the living room and continued down the hall to a bedroom in back. They walked into the room and Daniel looked around and wondered how this was going to work. Kevin seemed to notice his thoughts, “There’s four beds. We were rotating who slept on the floor, and it looks like you’ll be added to the rotation.”
“Except that one,” Waylon pointed to the top bunk of the two sets of bunk beds. “That one is mine. I don’t sleep on the floor and I do not share my bed.” He pulled himself up onto it without using the ladder. “I’m the real kid here, so I get the bed all of the time. This is MY room and you’ll be lucky I am willing to share any of it.”
Dennis, the tallest one of them all, went to the small closet and slid the door open. Reaching in, he grabbed down a fluffy, folded sleeping bag from one of the top shelves. “This will be yours while you’re here. I’ll get it down for you at night and you’ll hand it to me in the morning, folded, to put back. You’re too short to reach it without me, so don’t go being bratty on this.”
Kevin slid his bags underneath one of the bottom bunks. “We keep our stuff in our bags and they go under the beds when we aren’t in them. The drawers and hung up clothes are Waylon’s.”
Daniel sat on the floor while his new foster brothers started doing things around the room. Dennis sat on one of the bottom beds and pulled a book from the back pocket of his baggy jeans. His blue eyes moved rapidly back and forth on the page. He shook his head a few times to move a strand of his blond shaggy hair from his eyes. Kevin was a brown headed boy, but Daniel could hardly tell since his hair was buzzed very close to the top of his head. He brown eyes, but they were currently closed while he bobbed his head to his headphones. He sat on the floor, leaning against the wall between the beds. Kerry and Dana looked alike, and must have been siblings. They were playing a board game of some sort on the other bottom bed, under Waylon. They were dark skinned and had black hair. Their eyes were so dark that Daniel would have guessed black from far away, but seeing them close he knew it to just be very dark brown. He looked up at Waylon, who was glaring hatefully down at him. Daniel rose one of his brown eye brows, “Problem?”
Waylon jumped down from the bed and stood menacingly over the younger boy. “Are you a boy or a girl?”
Daniel was taken aback by the question. “Boy. I’m sure I’m a boy.”
“Then what is with the hair? You one of those trannies?” Waylon sneered. Daniel stood up, but only was as high as Waylon’s chin. His glare wasn’t strong at his height, but it said enough. Waylon balled his fists and Daniel braced for the punch.
Just as Waylon was bringing his hand up to hit Daniel the door opened and in walked Clarrissa. She looked at the scene in front of her, but didn’t comment on it. Instead she said in a small timid voice, “Boys, dinner is ready.”
Waylon shoved Daniel down into the post of the bed and walked passed him and his mother. She looked down at Daniel, and again didn’t comment on what had just transpired. Denny, Kevin, and Dana walked out the door, too. Clarrissa followed the three boys. Kerry held his hand down to Daniel. “You won’t find sympathy from her or Billy. Waylon is a golden child and we aren’t even worthy of third class citizens here.” Daniel took the hand up gratefully and followed Kerry down the hall to another door which led to a dining room.
Plastic outdoor chairs were set up with TV dinner trays in front of them. No table or a traditional setting was to be found in this place it seemed. Billy was served by his foster daughters, then Waylon was served, then Clarrissa was served, then the foster brothers and then the foster sisters and it seemed that not only was gender given priority, but also age. The youngest foster sister, Jenny at the age of fourteen, was the last to get a meal and she had to bring it from the kitchen herself. Daniel looked at her plate and realized that it also meant she got whatever was even left in the pans from the other room. Tonight his plate was flowing with bounty and she was missing portions. With him added to the family now it would seem she would be the one to suffer. He smiled at her and held his plate out to her, “Did you want my potatoes? I don’t really care for them.” Everyone stopped eating and stared at him like he had just announced that he killed the pope in Rome. Clarrissa’s eyes widen to fear and Billy looked like he was going to burst from anger.
Quickly Billy’s face turned from anger to slight amusement and chuckled, “Ah, Daniel, let me enlighten you a bit, boy. Girls aren’t worth your potatoes. They are, by God’s grand nature, to be slight, weak and thus under us. Eat your potatoes and ignore the girls.” Billy then went back to eating and so did everyone else. Jenny smiled slightly at Daniel as way of thanks, but ignored his still stretched out plate.
What kind of hell did his social worker place him into? If the boys weren’t even third class citizens, then what did that make the girls in this family?