A/N: Hey guys. I hope ya'll are enjoying this series so far, and if so please let me know in the review section! I am enjoying writing a new series and it would be great to get some feedback. Anyway, I hope ya'll enjoy this chapter of The Hand I Was Dealt!

Chapter 3 –
Someone New
One Year Later

My expectations have not failed me, as nothing much has really changed. Garth never got caught for what he did to me. The school is far too lazy when it comes to things like this. My father still isn't providing much of a fatherly role. Kate is still unfortunately the missus of Garth, and staying on the topic of Garth, he hasn't stopped the beatings as per expectations.
The nightmares also continued, gradually getting worse and worse and worse over the past year. I was also hearing this voice in my head, talking back to me every once in a while, also gradually increasing in frequency over the past year.
To explain Garth a little bit; he is the classic jock. Captain of the football team, gets the cute girls, popular, and the list goes on. School is his kingdom, essentially.
Kate is also the co-captain of the cheerleader squad, which basically means she's gonna be dating the captain of some sports team, or by some black magic, isn't actually dating someone but has her eyes on someone, and gets them relatively easily. Her kind-heartedness and sheer beauty is enough to sway just about any man into her arms; guys just trip over themselves whenever they see her essentially, but she doesn't abuse it. She's too sweet to use people.
Really, I should be doing my maths work at the moment, and not thinking about this. However, my thoughts were interrupted by the ear-piercing noise the school plays to signify a period change, and right now it had just ticked over to lunch.
I also noticed that Garth hadn't touched me at all today, nor had he gone near me, yet. It was probably either a good sign of he hasn't come today, or a bad sign of he is waiting for a good time. More likely the latter of the two.
I walked into the cafeteria, grabbed a lunch tray with the usual slop and sat down in my usual spot. I ate my shitty school cafeteria food, until my head was violently grabbed and slammed into my food. As I lifted my now mashed potato covered face, it was quickly followed up by a group of people laughing behind me, and I immediately knew who it was.

"Thanks Garth. I really needed that today," I said wiping the food off my face, however, it was interrupted by my head being slammed into the tray of food again, leaving more mashed potatoes and now some peas too on my face.

"Enjoy your food, coyote," Garth said laughing and walking away. I wiped my food back off my face but it was once again interrupted, however, not by my head being slammed again, instead a loud smack and Garth's whiny voice.

"What was that for?!" He said, me turning around and watching the events unfold.

"You know what I said last time Garth!" Kate shouted.

"What are you on about Kate?!" He shouted back.

"Of course. You never listen to me," She said quieting down a bit, "I said the next time you hurt someone, that it was over! We're done Garth!" She said angrily and stomping back off to her table, leaving Garth to stand there in shock. I chuckled quietly at the sight and turned around to eat my food; well, what was left of it I should say.
I was about to finish said food, until I felt a tap on my shoulder, turning around to see what appeared to be one of Kate's friends.

"Can I help you?" I asked, confused as to why someone would come up to me during lunch.

"Hey Humphrey. Just thought I'd ask if you're alright since Garth just kinda ruined your lunch," She said with a smile on her face.

"I'm sorry, but can you say that again?" I asked, shocked anyone would ask if I was alright.

"I just thought I'd ask if you're alright," She repeated. I struggled to answer her question out of confusion, "Hello? Earth to Humphrey?" She said giggling.

"I'm sorry, it's just the first time someone has asked me that in a while," I said, nervously scratching my head.

She giggled and said, "Well it's a pleasure to be the first. My name is Sweets," holding her hand out for a handshake.

"Humphrey, but you already seem to know that," I said, accepting the handshake. It's nice to receive friendly interactions from other people at school. It happens quite rarely but I guess that makes it all the more better.

"Well I have to get back to my friends before they throw a fit at me," She said giggling a bit, "It was nice to meet you Humphrey. Oh and I know it from Kate. You know, since she's in your class and all," She said, smiling widely at me.

"Yeah you too. Thank you," I said turning back to my empty tray. I grabbed it off the table and took it to the trash, putting it in with the rest of the dirty trays. Sweets left me in a rather decent mood, suits the name I guess.
The rest of the day just seemed to fly by. Not a lot happened for the rest of the day. Garth seemed to not want to be around me, all the classes were rather quiet and uneventful, and I left the school in a better mood than usual.
I arrived home to see my dad's car non-existent. His car wasn't in the driveway. I unlocked the front door and went in, surely enough the house was empty. There was nobody there. I walked into the kitchen to see a note on the counter.

"I'll be gone for a couple weeks. Good luck on your own."

The note instantaneously put me in a better mood. The first thing I did was check the fridge for food. Unfortunately, he hadn't left me much aside from some eggs, bread, and about a quarter of a bottle of Ginger Beer. It was no problem though. There's nothing wrong about some eggs and toast.
I went out the front door and went to a neighbour of mine that I do some work for every once in a while. I knocked on the door and after about 30 seconds, she opened the door and smiled. This woman I'm talking about is Ada. She's probably about late sixties or early seventies. She is a very kind lady. She loves company because not many people go to visit her. She always seems to have a story to tell me, no matter what.

"Why, hello Humphrey," She said, bringing me into a hug, "How are you today?"

"Heya Ada. I'm alright," I said, accepting it. She was some of the only friendly company I got and she thought I was a nice kid so I wasn't going to complain about it, "How about you?"

"I'm great. Are you here for some work to do?" She asked, her walking stick in her hand, holding her up.

"Yep. I don't have much to do today, so anything would be nice," I said, weakly smiling at her.

"Well, I've got a couple of things you can do if you so please," She said, pointing to the hedge, "The hedge out the front could use a bit of a trim if you don't mind."

"That should be easy enough. Anything else I can help you with?" I asked.

"The lawns should be fine for another week, and the house is clean enough for the time being. So I'm not sure what else you could do," She said.

"Okay, well I'll get started. I'll just go grab the hedge trimmer and I'll be right back," I said, walking back over to my house and grabbing the gigantic scissors and walking back over and starting the job.

Time Skip – One and a half hours later

After a good bit of work, I finished trimming the hedges and was left with just the clippings strewn across the lawn, which took less than five minutes to clean it all up and put it in a pile in the corner of the lawn. I saw Ada open the front door and walk outside a bit.

"Thank you Humphrey," She said, "It looks so much better now."

"It's alright Ada. I'm glad I could help," I said, wiping the sweat I gained from standing in the beaming sun off my forehead and walking up to her with a smile on my face, "I should make my way home now. I've got some homework to do that I don't feel like forgetting about," I said chuckling.

"Well it was nice of you to help out. Thanks again Humphrey," she said, reaching out for a hug, me gladly accepting it, "I'll see you later Humphrey."

"It's no problem Ada. See you soon," I said, leaving the property and heading back to my house. I don't know why, but today was actually a somewhat good day. Dad isn't gonna be home for two weeks, someone actually acknowledged me at school, and best of all, Kate removed herself from Garth's grasp. Aside from today's altercations with Garth, today was actually alright. I don't even know why either. However, I am in no place to complain. I cannot complain about a good day.
I arrived back into my house and decided I'd get my homework done. I grabbed my books out and got my homework done relatively quickly. Everything was stuff I already knew so it was no struggle.
I finished after about twenty minutes and just sat their, enjoying the quietness of the house. Nobody was home aside from me, I could actually think without it being disturbed by someone violently coughing or banging on things. It was peaceful.
I then realised, I was going to need to think of something to pass the time, since I actually had the opportunity to do so. I walked around the house aimlessly, looking for something I could possibly entertain myself with. I walked into the living room, scanning the room for something to do. The T.V. sat against the wall, many cracks lining themselves up the screen. I had a walk around the house, trying to find something I could entertain myself. I entered the garage, and aside from a work bench and some tools, the only thing that sat in the garage was my father's drum-kit. He never used it. He 'bought' it years ago and never used it. I just decided to grab the drum sticks and have a play around, and I enjoyed it! It was surprisingly fun to just muck around on them. I inevitably made the decision to try learn drums, however having no reference point it was rather difficult. So I just decided to grab my dad's stereo and see what music he had on it. It was a lot of rock, which is about what I expected, but also what I hoped for.

I felt relaxed for the first time in years. But why? Why is this all happening?