When Stiles finishes his homework, he puts the notebook paper carefully into his folder. He doesn’t want to lose it because it took him an hour to focus on finishing all the math problems. Sure, he’s good at math, but he doesn’t enjoy it that much. Not like science, where he gets to see what makes thing work or, even better, getting to experiment. Not even like English, where he gets to write about stuff that maybe doesn’t always fit the topic but still gets him points. Probably because Mrs. Stallons really likes him a lot, always calling him a bright star amidst a sea of conformity. She’s the only teacher that’s always encouraging him to be unique and to not listen to all the bullies.
Once he’s got his homework put up, he realizes it’s later than he thought. He’s hungry, and it’s gonna be bedtime soon. That means Dad has to be home, but Stiles didn’t hear him at all. He knows what that means, and he kicks his desk because it makes him sad and angry and he doesn’t really know how to make it feel better. It’s how he’s felt for months, since Mom died, and it just seems to get worse. Scott’s told him he needs to stop acting out or he’ll get into even more trouble, so Stiles is trying cause Scott’s gotta have him around to fight the guys who try to steal his inhaler all the time. Since Scott’s dad left, Stiles knows Scott needs him even more. And he sorta likes being needed because it helps him forget his mom calling him a monster and accusing him of trying to kill her.
Rubbing his hands over his eyes, he kicks the desk again. It doesn’t really make it better, but it helps for a few seconds. That’s better than nothing. His stomach is growling, so he can’t hide in his room any longer. He goes downstairs, walking quietly when he hears some sports game playing on the TV. He looks into the living room and makes a face when he sees Dad passed out on the sofa, uniform shirt unbuttoned, an empty bottle of whiskey lying on the floor by his hand. Stiles’ eyes sting even more, but he ignores that as he carefully picks up the bottle and puts it on the table. The TV is loud, but he can’t turn it down because it’ll wake Dad up. He found that out months ago, and he’s not going to do that again.
Instead, he gets an old blanket off the chair that Mom used to wrap around her during cold winter nights. He puts it over Dad before hurrying out of the room. Going into the kitchen, he looks in the fridge and sees that it’s almost empty. Dad forgot to buy groceries again. It’s happened a few times since Mom died, and he figures it’ll happen again. He’s not gonna tell Scott’s mom this time, though, because Dad had been angry last time. Maybe he can sneak some money out of Dad’s wallet when he’s sleeping so he can go to the store himself after school tomorrow.
There aren’t many options for dinner, so he ends up slathering peanut butter on some crackers that taste a little stale but are edible with enough peanut butter on them. When he finishes eating, not really full but also not that hungry anyway, he washes the dishes piled in the sink because Mom always hated when dirty dishes were left out for long. He has to stand on a chair to reach the cabinets to put away everything, but he’s resourceful, so he manages. He quietly goes back upstairs, shutting his door and sliding down it until he’s sitting on the floor, just looking at the shadows on his wall made from the moonlight and tree outside his window.
Maybe tomorrow will be better. Maybe this will be the last time Dad drinks himself to sleep. Maybe Lydia will actually speak to him at school and Jackson won’t make fun of his dirty clothes because he hasn’t figured out how to wash clothes yet. Maybe Scott will get the nerve to punch that stupid jerk, Matthew, instead of feeling useless and weak. And maybe Stiles should stop dreaming because he knows better. None of that’s going to happen.