John looked at the brown and gold box on the counter. Tim Hortons. His mouth watered at the thought of the fluffy pink icing. They were not for him. He knew this. They were never for him. Still, he imagined biting into one.
The front door opened and his foster-sister ran in.
"Mama, did you get me the Double Strawberry Dips?"
"Yes, sweetie, the pink ones." replied Janice.
"With the sprinkles? Last time they didn't have sprinkles."
"I made sure." John's foster mother looked at him and gestured to the kitchen.
He'd been sidetracked by the donuts. Quickly he set to work cleaning up the morning dishes as he did every day after school.
"Can I eat one now?" Claire asked jumping up and down, her pink tutu swishing in tandem.
Janice opened the box and cut one in half. She handed it to Claire. John's stomach rumbled. The ten year old busied himself rinsing the cereal bowls just the way his foster mother liked, before stacking them into the dishwasher, forcing himself not to look at the open box.
"We'll save this half for after dinner, okay?"
"What about the other two Mama? Can Johnny have one?" Claire always asked on donut days. John had liked the six year old immediately. In the little over a year since he'd been placed with Janice, Claire was the only bright spot; she was nothing like her mother.
"No honey, we don't want John to get cavities. You know that. He didn't go to the dentist like you always have." Her voice light and airy for Claire's sake. John flinched remembering the quick hard slap he'd received the week before when she caught him eating a piece of Claire's Double Pink Dip.
"You little thief!" She'd accused. Her ring had hit the bone on the side of his face, and he'd yelped out. He tried to explain through the tears that Claire had given it to him but Janice gripped his shoulder cutting him off.
"I have done enough for you -do you hear me?" He tried not to blink away her angry spit that had landed in his right eye.
"You're not to touch anything that doesn't belong to you while you're here." Her ice blue eyes narrowed and pierced through her frameless glasses. He'd never felt so frightened of a woman in his life.
This was the third foster home he'd been sent to since his own mother had been arrested. "Nobody wants boys." He'd overheard Joy, his social worker confide to someone on the phone. She was looking out the window when he came back from the washroom; didn't hear him walk in.
That was right before he came to Janice's, right about the time he'd decided to be on his best behaviour moving forward.
"You'll brush your teeth won't you Johnny?" Claire wasn't letting up.
Janice walked to the fridge, ignoring the girl. She grabbed a package of chicken, a small brick of cheese and the remaining half head of Iceberg. She reached into the cupboard under the sink and grabbed a thick wooden cutting board.
On Tuesdays they always ate Chicken tacos with avocados. And Claire and Janice ate Double Pink Dips for dessert.
This is my entry for the Red Dress Clubs picture prompt of this donut. It is a work of fiction pulled out of the rough draft novel I completed for National Novel Writing Month back in November. If you're interested in reading a few other very rough excerpts go here and here. Sorry for any inconsistencies - I'm still working out the details, believe me, I have a lot of work to do!