It was only now that Jaiden realised how empty Finn’s bedroom was. He had a small wardrobe in the corner of the room, a shelf that had books piled up on it; making it look as if it would fall off at any moment, and the bed they were both laid on.
That was the first thing that came to mind as he looked around the room, the room was still white, the same white it had been 3 years ago. Mould was lurking in the corners of the room, sending an eerie mood across Jaiden’s mind. In that moment, Jaiden knew that he had to protect his little brother at all costs, even if it meant dying in the process. Jaiden wrapped his arms tighter around the young boy, holding him close before he whispered:
“You’re safe now Finn, I promise.”
The morning sunlight peered through the crack in the curtains. Jaiden almost forgot where he was, until Finn started shuffling around in his arms. Finn sat up and stretched, yawning as he did so.
“You got school today?”Jaiden asked groggily, rolling onto his back. Finn looked back at him and nodded, pulling himself off the bed. Jaiden watched as Finn pulled his school uniform out from his wardrobe. As Finn pulled off his pyjama shirt, Jaiden sat up straight, anger bubbling up inside of him.
“Finn!” he exclaimed, startling Finn in the process,
“What?” Finn mumbled, looking at Jaiden sheepishly.
“When did you last eat?”
“Um... I’m not exactly sure, probably Tuesday... mum doesn’t buy much food, she just buys drinks and those smelly long things.”
As much as Jaiden wanted to laugh at his little brother’s innocence, he couldn’t bring himself to. He stood up and made his way over to Finn, crouching down in front of him.
“I’m going to help you, I promise. Mum promised me she’d look after you and she hasn’t, so I will.” Jaiden said, resting his hands on his brothers shoulders lightly, fearful that he might break his brother’s fragile bones. Finn just nodded and continued getting ready for school.
After Finn had brushed his teeth and grabbed his school bag, Jaiden pulled him back as he was about to walk out of the door.
“I’m taking you to school today.” Jaiden said, smiling at the younger boy, “And I got you something too.” While Finn had been getting ready for school, Jaiden had prepared a box full of food that he had left over from his journey back to his mum’s house. As he handed it to Finn, the boy’s face lit up. He immediately squealed and rushed over to Jaiden, wrapping his arms around him in a tight hug. Jaiden laughed and pulled him into his warm embrace.
A startling voice broke them apart.
“Finn, don’t you have school?” Eleanor’s voice sounded from the doorway of the lounge.
“Yes, mamma...” Finn mumbled, looking down at the floor.
“Then go!” she shouted, Finn nodded quickly and rushed over to the front door.
“Finn... wait, take my car keys and wait in the car, I’ll be out in 5 minutes, okay?” Jaiden interrupted, holding his keys out for Finn to take. Finn skipped over and took the keys, before walking out of the front door. “I’m taking him to school and then I’m going home.”
Eleanor shook her head and laughed. “Home? Another rich family for you to Conn?”
“No... I’m going to see Ciara.”
“Oh, I see. You’re still with her?”
“Yes. I am.”
“Well, here we go again. You leave me yet again.” She turned away, making Jaiden grit his teeth.
“You can’t blame this on me! I paid for this roof over your head! I watched over Finn while you were constantly drinking. I sent you money every single month to help you pay for this house. I didn’t send you it so you could spend it on alcohol and treat Finn like he’s nothing!” Jaiden shouted, clenching his fists in anger. Eleanor turned around and quickly connected her hand with his face, making his head snap sideways.
“How dare you speak to me like that?! You are a disgrace to this family!” she bellowed, anger laced in her voice.
What family? The family that broke apart after all those years?
Jaiden turned away from her and walked over to the door, opening it ajar before turning back to his mother.
“I’m going to save him from you. No matter what it takes.” He warned. His mothers face paled as she glanced at him,
“You wouldn’t...” she stammered,
“I would.” Jaiden replied, before stepping out of the door and shutting it behind him. He took a deep breath and made his way over to the driver’s side of his car. As he got in and fastened his seatbelt, Finn looked at him.
“You ready?” Jaiden asked him,
“You bet!” Finn replied; smiling for the first time since Jaiden had come home.
The ride to Bracken-head Primary School seemed to go faster than it actually should have done. Finn got out and hovered by the car door.
"Are you leaving again?" Finn asked, running his fingers over the edge of the car door. Jaiden glanced at Finn and for the first time in his life, he saw a scared little boy that hated going home to his drunken mother.
"I'll pick you up after school, Finn. Go enjoy your day." Jaiden managed, pulling a small smile at him.
Finn nodded, and closed the car door, waving to Jaiden as he pulled out of the parking lot. As Jaiden drove the hour to his fiancés house, he couldn’t help thinking about what him and his mother had spoke about and how she had looked when he said he was going to save Finn. As much as he couldn’t bear the thought of hurting his mother, he also couldn’t sit around and let Finn die while he did nothing. As he reached the town of Mull, he made a decision. He had to make one call before he saw his fiancé.