For nine months she carried Elias without that pregnancy glow. She had more of a regret and anger thing going on that read on her face wherever she went. Most people just assumed she was having a rough pregnancy, which was true. After all, it was pretty rough carrying a child that one didn't even want. It was made worse when Elias rotated in her womb and instead of a natural birth, had to be delivered by c-section. This caused big problems for Arlene, because a c-section would put her out for work for weeks. Regardless of the help that she would have at home, she would still have to be a mother, and so she wasn't happy. As summer gave way to fall, a wailing baby was brought into the world, forever changing its parents' lives.
Arlene insisted on going back to work as soon as possible, but her plans were derailed when she attempted to get out of bed and walk within a few days. Met with pain so unbearable that she needed help returning to bed, her husband assisted for a while. Yet Benjamin Schaber was just as emotionally unavailable as his wife. As a dentist with his own practice, he had a pretty pliable excuse for rarely being at home. He did make sure his wife was comfortable and that the hired help knew what they were doing before he left for work. This left Arlene resentful, for she wanted to be back at the spa she owned with a close friend. All of her coworkers were equally as uppity as she and never once asked about the baby. They asked when she would return and how she planned to get her figure back. "This 'thing' really did a number on my body," she'd tell them multiple times. Even with her professional skin care knowledge, she was helpless to the stretch marks that resulted, comparing them to a tiger's coat. It was these moments she carelessly expressed the regret of she and Ben not being careful enough.
Of course as soon as she was able to, Arlene was back at work and Elias was left in the care of various nannies. He didn't really notice the difference between them and his mother. When he cried out or needed something, over time there were different faces greeting him. He wasn't able to form any sort of close bond to any of these women because none of them were around quite long enough. It didn't get any easier as he grew older. Elias became incredibly self-dependent but also incredibly defiant. He was angry at the lack of attention at home. He hated that other people did the work that his parents were supposed to do, and that if he got into trouble at school, there wasn't often a parent at home for him to tell. Even if there were, they were barely concerned. So he started to think big, getting into worse trouble at school, so much so that the principal had to call his parents for a meeting. Elias didn't care about the amount of trouble he was in, for the half hour that he got to spend in the office with his parents was well worth it. At last they were finally paying attention.
Unfortunately his little plan came a little too late, and it backfired. He was put into therapy, his mother claiming that she was sick of his outbursts and that he "needed help." Misdiagnosed with ADD, he was placed on medication that pretty much knocked him off his ass. His parents were pleased, however, as well as his teachers. Elias was so out of it half of the time from his medicine that he didn't always know what was going on. At fourteen his Ritalin led him to worse habits when he caught the attention of a few sixteen year-olds in his school. They otherwise wouldn't have wanted a thing to do with a freshman, but were interested in the pills he was taking. Elias shared his and they shared theirs. Eventually he was taken off of his ADD meds and became much more aware of his feelings. The sadness and anger toward his parents only seemed to have intensified in a year, and so Elias was miserable. He self medicated with weed and alcohol, and by the time he was finishing his senior year, he was into heavier things.
Despite everything going on, Elias knew that college was his escape, and so he maintained his grades enough to get into a decent school and away from his parents. Ben and Arlene were equally thrilled to send him off, figuring he was an "adult" now and no longer their problem -- aside from tuition, the price of his books, and plane tickets to and from home. Elias figured things would change once he was going to school in New York, thinking he wouldn't need to rely on his vices to be happy. He'd be free. But that just wasn't how it was going to be. Elias felt more alone than ever and the friends that he made were all into the same shit that he was, so instead of getting better, his problems escalated. He managed a year in college before his addictions became crippling and he was unable to function without being drunk or high. It only took one trip home for his parents to finally see that something was going on. Still, Arlene and Benjamin were more embarrassed than concerned. They threatened to cut him off if he didn't get help. Knowing that he couldn't make it on his own, Elias agreed to go to rehab. He dropped out of college and entered a clinic in Farmington. Once he was out, he enrolled into a local community college, something a little more calm and less tempting. Now he could curb his addiction and keep out of trouble.
Not wanting to directly deal with Elias themselves, his folks got him an apartment and took on paying his bills and rent while he was in school. The freedom proved to be too much, as well as the overwhelming loneliness of having an apartment to himself. His parents would only visit to check to see if he was high, offering a greeting but never to stay for lunch or to simply spend some time with their son. Instead the exchange involved a humiliating pat-down and thoroughly going through his things. They had reason to worry though, because eventually Elias was using again, his parents finding his stash on a surprise trip to his apartment. It was rehab trip number two for Elias, this one proving to be a little more successful than the last since he did manage to stay clean for quite a while. He finished his second year of college and planned on going for four but the summer before his third year, things once again began to spiral out of control. Elias started hanging out with old friends who'd told him he was a pussy for getting clean. They claimed he'd changed for the worse, as if they thought he was better than them for not using anymore. Wanting to feel connected to people, even if they hardly had his best interest in mind, resulted in Elias getting high with friends all over again.
By twenty-three, it became obvious that he was back to his old ways and that finishing college wasn't going to be an option. He dropped out and his parents cut him off completely. Unable to afford to live on his own, he bounced back and forth between different couches and floors. Within a year, Elias used heroin for the first time, nestled between two friends, nervous and knowing there wouldn't be any turning back from this moment. Yet he no longer had anything to look forward to, and therefore didn't care what happened to himself. He remembers that high quite well, how comfortable he felt, as if his friend's shoulder was the best place for him to rest his head. And when they kissed, it felt like he could have just stayed there forever, as if it were truly a safe place. For six years, heroin was the one constant relationship he maintained. Whenever he tried doing without it, Elias felt like he would rather die, because he was unable to deal with his feelings. It was difficult to simply exist if he wasn't high.
It was a nearly fatal overdose that prompted him to want to really change. He was twenty-seven at the time and his parents provided him with his third rehab trip. It was their attempt at playing the role of concerned parents as usual, still worried about anyone finding out. Not only did their son drop out of college, but they also had to worry about someone discovering he was a junkie. The last few years were a whirlwind of emotions, of triumphs and defeats. Elias would get clean, begin working, do things for himself and other people that would make him happy and finally content with his life ... and then he'd fuck it all up again. His latest relapse was January 2015, but he decided to go cold turkey this time, detoxing in his apartment back in Farmington with the help of a former mentor. Knowing that he couldn't stay in Maine and live, he moved to New York City to live with his ex boyfriend in Manhattan, his faithful supporter. It's a bold move on his part, and a major change that Elias has struggled with daily. Yet he's trying. He's always fucking trying.
✧ He's managed to salvage his relationship with his father. Benjamin stepped up to the plate after finally realizing that he was in grave danger of eventually losing his son to his drug addiction. It's not always easy, but he is now there for Elias when needed.
✧ On the other hand, Elias has stopped trying to fix his relationship with his mother, for she has shown virtually no interest in him since the day he was born. Arlene doesn't care about his struggle, his recovery, or the fact that he could have died multiple times. It's of no concern for her, and she honestly wouldn't be shocked if she got the call that Elias overdosed.
✧ Was given a French bulldog in 2013 by his parents, a "gift" that made Elias furious at first. He left the dog in the crate that it was presented in and didn't bother taking him out until Warren came over and did it for him. He didn't see being given the dog as a caring gesture but as another way for his parents to avoid dealing with him. Colby has since become his partner in crime, his best friend, and the big brother to the rag-doll cat Elias would adopt a few months after receiving the dog. He forgets her real name after calling her QB (Queen Bitch) for so long.