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vlista20

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About vlista20

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  1. vlista20

    Chapter 1

    One Moment Chapter 1 Matt looked at the building before him. It didn’t look like a prison, in fact it just looked a little like a one story schoolhouse except with a lot less windows. There wasn’t a big chain link fence topped off with barbed wire, nor any armed guards at a gate, no this place certainly didn’t look like a place one couldn’t run away from he thought hopefully. His social worker, who was babbling on as usual from the front seat of her car had said it wasn’t a prison, but the more she described the place the more he’d feared he’d never be able to escape. He hadn’t even been able to escape from the hospital, a place that wasn’t even set up to keep people locked inside. Granted he’d barely been able to move the first week or so he was there but this past week he should have been able to make it. His damn body was just so sore he couldn’t bring himself to move fast enough to run away from all the people that were trying to stop him including the guard they had put outside his hospital room door. He found it incredibly ironic that now, everyone was so intent on helping him out, when no one even gave him a second thought when he was starving on the streets after he’d first arrived in the damn town. Now he didn’t want anyone’s help. Now he had more important things to tend to, things he feared deep in the pit of his gut that he was never going to get to help with, if he didn’t get away from this place. Casting a sidelong glance ahead at his Social Worker, who he’d yet to actually talk to he wondered why she was still yapping away instead of the two of them getting out of the car. He couldn’t get out, he’d already checked, his door was locked and the button that said ‘unlock’ on his door did nothing when he pressed it. “You are very lucky to be able to come here Matthew, this place only takes a few kids pro bono each year.” He rolled his eyes as this was the fifth time he heard that, as at the same time he cringed at her continued use of his full name. He figured he couldn’t really blame her for that, as he’d not bothered to speak up and tell her it was just plain Matt. He didn’t like her though, and it was obvious she had little use for him. She acted as if she should receive some kind of award for helping him out, something he hadn’t wanted and hadn’t asked for. She always talked nice to him, but it was the way she looked at him that he couldn’t stand; a look that contained a mixture of disgust and arrogance. A look that told him she thought he was sub human and he ought to get on his knees and grovel in her presence, that she was such an incredible person to help the likes of him. He looked to the doorway of the building in front of him as two men walked out and came straight up to the car. It wasn’t until they were both standing right outside the door where he was sitting in the back seat of the car that he finally heard the lock disengage, he sighed inwardly realizing she had been waiting for the men. Men, Matt realized, as he looked them over, that his weak state had no hope in hell of getting away from. From the look of them and their well-pronounced muscles, he didn’t figure he could have gotten away from them on his best day, which only deepened the fear and despair that filled his being. How in hell was he ever going to get away from this place? One of the men opened the door and Matt sat there like a rabbit caught in a trap, his heart beating a little faster as fear over took his despair now that the car door wasn’t separating him and the burly men. He flinched as a big hand wrapped itself around his bicep, taking a deep breath to try to ease his panic, these men wouldn’t hurt him, would they? “Come on son,” Mark Elgers said gently, the hand around the boys arm feeling the tension radiating from him. “Everything’s okay, we’re just here to make sure you get inside.” Matt glanced at the man’s chest hearing humor in the man’s voice and not liking it. “We were tipped off you have a tendency to run.” The man finished as Matt slowly moved his legs out of the car so his feet were on the ground and shakily stood up, his body protesting as it had been doing every time he stood up over the past week. With the one man holding firmly to his arm and the other man walking right behind him as they made their procession to the door the men had come out of, Matt was too nervous and confused to even think about running even if his body had been up to it. The one holding his arm reached out and opened the door in front of them and the three stepped inside into a small office with two women, each sitting behind a desk. One desk was directly in front of the door they had just walked in, the other against the left wall just on the other side of a large wooden filing cabinet. Both women nodded a hello and smiled at him, something he didn’t have in him to return. “Matt,” the man beside him spoke up. “This is Janice and Clair, you won’t see them too much, they mostly stay in this room greeting visitors and doing all kinds of data entry, paperwork and dealing with numbers and stuff like that.” Both women chuckled as Mark shivered in distaste before they both got up and shook a very reluctant Matt’s hand who was eyeing them pensively as he robotically went through the hand shaking ritual. It wasn’t exactly a ritual for him, he couldn’t remember ever shaking anyone’s hand, let alone adults, usually adults just didn’t bother with that kind of formality with kids, at least as far as he knew. Once the women were seated again he heard a click and another door just to the left of where they’d walk in opened all on its own. Mark looked at the boy, smiling at his obvious surprise at the door opening on its own. “This door is locked at all times, you either have to have a master code badge or be behind Janice’s desk to get it open.” He shook his head and smiled at Matt who wasn’t looking at him but still staring at the door. “You won’t get past it Matt, so there’s no need to even try.” Matt’s stomach turned as he figured no less than a really big axe would get him through the door once he was on the other side, and he highly doubted they let the kids in this place carry around really huge axes. He couldn’t go past that door, his mind and his gut were telling him once he was back there he’d never ever get out, he wouldn’t ever get to do what he had to do. He stiffened his legs, refusing to walk as he started twisting his upper body to get out from under the grasp of the man’s hand, which only tightened with his futile attempts, he couldn’t stop though he had to get away. He jerked his arm downward, twisting it at the same time as he propelled his body away from the man. All that seemed to result in was him breaking into a sweat while he gasped for air and the man’s arms going around his waist and picking him right up off the ground like he weighed no more than a bag of feathers. Despite his sudden exhaustion at his tiny burst of energy, that quickly came and went, Matt reached down and tried to pry the man’s arms from around his waist as he felt himself being carried through the door. He looked up with wide eyes as the door slowly moved back into a closed position and clicked, the sound he was sure, of the lock moving into place. As Mark slowly lowered Matt’s feet back onto the ground, he could feel the boy deflating in his arms. “I’m sorry bud, I know you don’t see it now but this isn’t a bad place.” He walked around to face Matt who was still staring at the door, the look on the boy’s face tore at his heart, and he couldn’t remember anyone looking quite so terrified to be there. He reached out and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder, while Matt’s eyes stayed glued to the closed door. “One day, hopefully soon, you’ll see that.” Matt pulled his eyes away from the door; he was still trying to catch his breath as he moved his hand up and wiped the trickles of sweat from his forehead, his despair over being trapped preventing him from centering on the fact he’d gotten so worn out so fast. He looked around and found himself in a long hallway to his left on the opposite side of the door was a bench with a small table beside it that held a flower arrangement. Ahead of him was a long hallway with several doors lining both side of it and one doorway at the very end. He watched Mark walk forward towards a door that was down the right side of the hall just a ways past where they were standing, no longer holding onto him. Matt figured that was because there was no chance in hell of him getting away now. Mark turned back to him as he reached the door while the other man that had been with him walked on past it and through the large open doorway that was on the left. “This way Matt.” Mark coaxed as he gave two knocks on the door then opened it and stepped back giving Matt enough room to enter. Matt looked at Mark, looked him in the face for the first time. His face was nice enough, but he knew the man couldn’t be that nice. After all he was the one that literally carried him here, into this hallway, into this place where there was no escape. He pulled his eyes away from the man’s face and walked slowly forward into another office, this one slightly larger that the last one. He wanted to call the man an asshole as he walked past him, but thought better of it. If he had to stay here, the least he could do was keep a low profile so maybe they’d let him out faster. Of course by then it would be too late, chances were it probably was already too late. His eyes fell on a man sitting behind a desk, a man that looked a lot older than Mark but still had a nice enough looking face, his hair was graying and he had small round glasses on that made him look like a college professor or something. All he needed was a pipe or something to round off the affect. “Matthew, I assume.” The man said standing up and extending his hand. Matt looked at it but made no move to get closer to the desk, let alone reach out and take the man’s hand. This room and this man were making him even more nervous though he couldn’t quite figure out why. Seeing the boy did not intend to shake his hand Jack Marshall sat back down and moved his hand about indicating the many places to sit in the room, among them two full size couches and three armchairs. “Have a seat son; you’re going to be in here for a while.” When the boy still didn’t move he repeated himself a bit more sternly and was pleased to see the boy sit, even though he’d chosen the seat closest to where he’d been standing, the one right next to the door. “My name is Dr. Marshall; I’m what you boys refer to as the ‘shrink’ around here.” Matt’s gut clenched as his hands tightened their grip on the arms of his chair, he figured he must have known that, that must have been why this room had made him so nervous the second he walked into it. The last thing he wanted or needed was a shrink. “You will be meeting with me every other day, at least to start, so that I can evaluate you and see what your needs are.” Matt wanted to tell him he didn’t have any needs, that all he needed was to get out of there but he couldn’t bring himself to open his mouth. They all knew he didn’t want to be there in the first place. Obviously, they didn’t care at all about what he wanted. The man put both his hands up on his desk and smiled. “I’ll tell you right now not talking only ensures a longer stay. Just keep that in mind.” Eyeing the man as a lump rose in his throat, he could only bring himself to slightly nod his head. He didn’t like threats and what the man had said sure sounded like a threat. “Your social worker has been out here quite a bit in the past few days, filling out paperwork, filling me in on what she knows about you, dropping off clothes and necessities for you. You are very lucky to have such a good social worker; most wouldn’t have gone to all the trouble to get you into a place as nice as this.” Matt bit his tongue and forced his eyes not to roll in their sockets, he was God Damn tired of being told how lucky he was. He was ready to scream that he didn’t want any of their damn help, it only made him lucky if he actually wanted it. He didn’t want it. “I’m going to give you a run down of what she’s filled me in on, I’d like for you to jump in if something doesn’t sound right to you.” Jack Marshall didn’t bother to ask if that was okay, he had a very good idea the boy wouldn’t be jumping in at all, he could only hope that something he said would spur some kind of reaction. “You are originally from Mercer, West Virginia, where you grew up in the home of your mother and father. Eight months ago, you ran away from home. After a couple of brief phone conversations with your mother, your social worker has concluded that things were probably pretty rough for you at home. We believe that is why you ran away and we are not going to try any reconciliation.” Matt inhaled slowly; he wasn’t sure exactly what reconciliation meant but going on the rest of the conversation he assumed it meant that he wasn’t going to be sent back there. Noting the slight look of relief on the boy’s face Dr. Marshall continued. “We are also under the assumption that things didn’t work out too well for you on the streets, partly because they never do, and partly because of your willingness to sell yourself.” He paused as a look of alarm came over the boy’s face hoping he’d say something. After about thirty seconds of silence the doctor continued. “Again I must express how lucky you are, lucky that man didn’t kill you that night at the truck stop and lucky you weren’t just sent off to the youth labor camp as prostitution in this state is against the law, punishable by jail time. We, as well as your social worker, are concerned that you chose that route, and that you would rather do that than ask for help.” Swallowing hard Matt fought the waves of anger and frustration that were coursing through him. He’d asked everyone within a five mile radius for help, asked them all if he could work for them; he sure wasn’t ‘Mr. Lucky’ back then. “You okay?” the doctor asked in hopes he’d speak. Matt eyed him evilly and gave one firm head nod while biting down sharply on his tongue. “You kind of look like you want to say something.” Jack could see a lot more than that on the kid’s face, he actually looked like he wanted to jump across the desk and kill him. Still though he wasn’t surprised when all he got was a terse shake of the head. “So as an initial assessment I believe our course of action in your therapy will be to work on your self image and self esteem, you certainly can’t have any respect for yourself if you are so willing to sell yourself like that. Wouldn’t you agree?” His remark was responded to with another hateful look before the doctor continued. “Now I’ll tell you a little about us.” He didn’t miss the slight relaxation of Matt’s shoulders noting there was some relief that the topic wouldn’t be about him anymore. “We are actually a part of a much larger program. This facility is only one of dozens all treating young men and women with different degrees of needs. The home you are in now houses twelve boys and is one of the more therapeutic homes set up for boys with a greater need for guidance and structure.” “Many have had run ins with the law and this place was an option for them over the Youth centers. Most of their parents pay a good sum for them to have that option; again this is where I stress how lucky you are to be able to take part in this program at no cost to you or the state. We realize it’s not fair that only kids who have parents with a lot of money can get into a program like this so we extend the offer free of charge when we can.” Matt looked down at his lap, not happy that he was not only locked in this place but apparently locked in with a bunch of rich snots whose mommies and daddies shelled out big bucks to protect their precious bratty kids. He’d never been rich and had always been teased at school by the rich kids, he’d never had the best clothes, never had the latest cool things kids were supposed to have. He knew rich kids well enough to know if you couldn’t spend way too much on clothes that you didn’t count to them. You were a mere maggot, a wad of gum on the bottom of their shoe, an annoyance they felt they had to put up with. “In this house there are four levels. You start out with a clean slate on level three, that gives you basic privileges, TV, snacks, phone usage limited to five minute calls once a day, you get to stay up until 9pm and have free time from 7pm until 9pm.” “On level four you get all those privileges but your phone time goes up to ten minutes and you get to stay up until 10pm with free time still starting at 7pm.” “On level two you lose your phone usage and have to go to bed at 8pm which only gives you one hour of free time.” “Level one is the lowest you can go, on that level you still go to bed at eight but you have no free time, any time that would normally be considered free you would be assigned extra chores. You have no phone time, no TV time, and no snacks.” The doctor sat back in his chair and took a deep breath. “We already know you want to run away. Therefore, we are going to implement the ‘three foot rule’ with you. That means you are to be no more than three feet from a staff member at any given moment. If they can’t reach out and touch you at any given moment you are too far away. You don’t have to worry too much about making sure you stay that close, the staff is trained to stay that close to you.” “If you try and get away from the staff member assigned to you, you will go down to level one, any attempts to escape all together will drop you down to level one, anything you do that may cause harm to yourself would cause you to go down to level one. Any swearing or not doing a chore, or leaving something out will cause you to drop down to level two. To go up a level you have to have five good days, days with no broken rules, getting all your chores done. You also get bonuses for extra good behavior if the staff sees you doing something that benefits another client or staff member, you get extra points and can actually go up a level in as little as three days.” Matt’s head swam as the man went on and on and he felt himself having trouble keeping his eyes open, not that the speech wasn’t boring as shit, but he also couldn’t remember actually being awake this long in the last two weeks. He wondered if the man actually expected him to remember all this crap, he already had forgotten what the man said in the first part of the conversation and he doubted he’d remember much of any of it by the time he’d actually get to leave his office. “Well you look really tired.” Dr. Marshall said about ten minutes later. “We can finish this up tomorrow. Now you’re not going to be on a regular schedule these next few days, your doctor wants you to stay in bed. So I will have someone show you to your room and the bathroom and we can take you on an official tour once you’re feeling more up to it.” Matt was more than relieved to hear that, as he was sitting there wondering what would happen if he just fell right to sleep during the ‘big speech.’ He really didn’t think he was going to be able to hold off sleep much longer. Just as if the doctor had magical powers or something, the door behind him opened and the same man that had carried him into the place was standing by his chair. Matt stood up figuring this would be the man that would take him to his room, he didn’t care as long as he was able to get in a damn bed and go back to sleep. This was all becoming a huge nightmare, one he actually had to go to sleep to get away from. He followed the man out of the room and into the large hallway then down an even larger hallway that led to the left off the first one. As they walked he looked around, on his left a doorway led into a very large kitchen with a white tile floor and deep red walls, he’d never seen a kitchen so big. Of course, he’d never seen a kitchen that had to serve twelve people three meals a day every day either. A little further down the hall on the right was a larger doorway where he saw the largest living room he could have ever fathomed. On the far side past several couches and chairs was a very large TV which was about all he made out before he turned his head in the other direction. There he saw a dining room that had a huge table that took up nearly the entire room leaving only enough space around it for chairs, a couple of plants and a big grandfather clock that stood in the far corner. They came to the end of the hall and turned into yet another hall this one running perpendicular to the one they’d just left but parallel to the first hall he’d been in. It stretched out on both sides of him and he followed the man who walked left then took a right into yet another very large room. Matt’s stomach knotted as he saw he was not going to have a room to himself. This was something he had pretty much figured out, but what he hadn’t figured on though was sharing it with five other people. Apparently, the 12 boys that lived in this house shared only two bedrooms. Four beds were set up against the back wall while two, were set up opposite each other coming out of the sidewalls, one to his right and one to his left. The right side of the room also held a desk with a comfortable looking office chair behind it. There were a couple of boring pictures on the walls and to his left was a screen thing that looked like it partitioned off a small corner of the room. “Your bed is right here.” Mark said, looking back at the boy that had stopped just inside the doorway. Matt looked at him then to the bed Mark indicated that was one of the four coming off the back wall. It was the one to the right out of the two in the middle. It had an ugly green plaid bedspread on it like the five other beds in the room and a chest of drawers at the foot of it. Mark put his hand down on the chest seeing Matt eyeing it from his spot near the door. “This is already full of your clothes. Your social worker brought them out a few days ago.” Confused Matt slowly walked up to the chest. He didn’t have any clothes, the only clothes he’d owned he’d worn to the truck stop that night and he didn’t figure there was much left of those. He opened the top drawer and peered down, his eyes widening when he saw the drawer was indeed full of clothes. He looked up at Mark, his confusion so profound he decided to actually talk. “These aren’t mine.” He said shaking his head. Mark smiled at the boy glad he was actually talking. “She bought them for you, they are yours now.” He didn’t miss the pleased look on the boy’s face before he looked back down into the drawer and gently ran his hand across the clothes. Mark got the distinct feeling the boy never had clothes as nice as these before. Not that these clothes were top of the line, in fact he was pretty sure they were Wal-Mart specials, but apparently to this kid they were still something to be happy about. “Your pajamas are in the bottom drawer. Pick some out then go behind that screen, that’s where you change if you don’t have a shower first.” He paused for a moment then continued, “Speaking of that, do you have to go the bathroom?” Matt shook his head as he leaned down and pulled a pair of red and black flannel pajamas out of the bottom drawer, he ran his hands along the incredibly soft material as he pushed the drawer closed with his foot and stood back up. He walked to the screen stiffening up as the man followed along, he walked behind the screen and turned around quickly his heart leaping into his throat as the man was right there, behind the screen with him. “What are you doing?” he asked finding that talking was too important to not do it at this moment. “We only have to do this the first time. I have to watch you change just to make sure you don’t have any weapons on you.” If he weren’t terrified over the situation Matt probably would have laughed at the very idea of the likes of him actually carrying a weapon. “You don’t have to take everything off, just down to your underpants; you’ll just have to shake those out a bit.” Mark stared at the boy while the boy stared at him, he was thinking there wasn’t any way the kid was going to do it when suddenly he started pulling off his shirt. Mark cringed just seeing the fading bruises that covered Matt’s chest and back, not able to imagine how it must have felt to receive them all. “My name is Mark by the way,” he said, realizing he hadn’t introduced himself and wanting to get his mind off the condition the boy’s body was in as well as figuring the Matt wouldn’t mind a little conversation to maybe ease the discomfort of stripping down in front of him. Matt didn’t acknowledge him as he slowly turned back to the man and lowered his pants. Seeing he had boxers on and glad of it Mark said, “Just put your fingers in the waistband, pull them out a bit and shake them up and down.” He was very relieved to see Matt do as he was told and even more relieved when the boy covered up his body with the pajamas. He watched as he gathered up his clothes then motioned for the boy to follow him. They left the screen in corner of the room and Mark led him to one of the wicker baskets that lined the right wall. “You just toss your dirty clothes in here; once you’re feeling better you’ll know your laundry day, if you don’t know how to do laundry someone here will teach you.” Matt nodded glad he didn’t have to worry about that now as all he wanted to do was climb in bed and get some sleep. Luckily, his bed was just where Mark led him next. Matt pulled back the covers and crawled under them; he rolled onto his right side, pulled the blankets up high around his shoulders, and was fast asleep seconds after his head hit the pillow
  2. vlista20

    Chapter 14

    One Moment Chapter 14 By early July it was time for Dr. Marshall to start looking for another place for Matt to go. “It’s absolutely appalling they won’t let you take him,” he said shaking his head as he looked at Mark who was sitting across the desk from him. Mark shrugged his shoulders; though he was more than a little upset about it himself, he was used to the world’s shit by now. “He doesn’t have to live with me for me to be able to still see him all the time. We just have to find a good home for him right here in town.” Dr. Marshall nodded and looked down at his watch. “Damn social workers, they are never on time,” he said seeing it was about five minutes later than the time the lady was supposed to show up. Mark smiled up at the doctor, rarely seeing the guy in a bad mood. “You really don’t want him to leave do you?” Sighing Dr. Marshall shook his head. “By all rights he should have been out of here two months ago. I didn’t release him for two reasons, one I don’t want to stop working with him, and he’s made an awful lot of progress in the last 10 months. The other reason is I hate to upset his lifestyle, he’s gotten used to things here, and he’s been through so much I hate to keep bouncing him around.” He stopped talking as the phone on his desk buzzed and Janice’s voice came through the intercom. “A Mrs. Sanders is here to see you Sir.” “Okay, can you bring her down here please?” “Be right there.” Alicia Sanders walked into the office and shook hands with both Dr. Marshall and Mark as she introduced herself. She was not the same social worker that had brought Matt out there, though that didn’t surprise either man as they both were familiar with how people came and went at the Department of Social Services. She sat down beside Mark and across from Dr. Marshall and opened her briefcase, pulling out Matt’s file. “I’ve read through his file. I have to be honest; I was only assigned his case a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t make it a priority as I knew he was safe and sound out here.” Dr. Marshall nodded smiling at the woman, liking her honesty and her reasoning. “How’s he been doing here?” she asked poising a pen over an empty page in her file. “Excellent.” Dr. Marshall spoke up just like a proud father. “He’s really ready to go anytime, though it’s okay with me and this facility if he stays another month or so. We just want to find a family for him and have them be able to visit a few times before he leaves with them. I’m sure you’ll agree the boy’s already been through enough, none of us here want to see him put in a bad placement.” Alicia nodded; the department had gotten weekly updates on Matt’s rehabilitation though she’d just had time to scan them that morning. She was aware of the additional circumstances to Matt’s situation, the abuse he’d suffered growing up, the situation he’d been in as a runaway, what had led him to breaking the law, things that they had had no idea of when he’d been placed there. She considered it nothing short of a miracle that Matt’s previous case worker had picked Matt out of all the kids they handled to go into such a program. If there was ever a kid who had been misjudged it was Matt. “It’s really great news we have a month. I have the perfect family in mind and one of their foster kids happens to be going away to college on August 20th. That would give Matt a couple of weeks to get moved in and settled before school actually starts.” She pulled another file out of her briefcase and handed it to Dr. Marshall; she’d been hoping that they would be willing to keep Matt a little longer as she couldn’t think of a better home for him than the Parkers. “You’ll see they’ve been taking in kids for a long time.” She said as the Doctor flipped through the file. “They usually have four at a time, and this one going off to college is only one of many they’ve had going off to college over the years. They are very loving and encouraging to the kids they have, they take in any age range. They say they want anyone that needs a good place to live. She’s in her late forties and stays home while he’s in his early fifties, works for the newspaper but works at home, he writes quite a few of their articles.” Dr. Marshall’s eyes lit up as he looked up over at the file and back at her. “Oh that’s good, Matt’s quite a little writer himself. He’s written some very impressive papers since he’s been here.” Alicia nodded, “That’s great then, I’m sure Mr. Parker will love that.” “Have you talked to them yet?” “No, not about Matt specifically, but I do know they want another placement come mid August. And there’s nothing about Matt that’s going to make them not want him.” “Will they be able to come out here for a few visits?” “I don’t see any reason why not. They’ve always done visits before. When do you want to set the first one up?” “Is this weekend too soon?” “No I don’t think so, I’ll stop over and see them this evening, and I’ll call you in the morning just to verify everything. Is Saturday or Sunday better?” “Saturday, that’s when we do our visits. If possible morning would be best, say ten or eleven. I’d like them to come out a half an hour early if possible, I’d like to go over a few things with them before they meet Matt. If they decide against taking him I see no reason to have them meet him.” Alicia smiled and nodded as she slipped Matt’s file back into her briefcase. “That sounds like a very good idea. I’ll give you a call in the morning.” Matt was on his hands and knees in the fenced in garden that was behind the facility when Andy walked up and stood over him. Since it was summer, there were no classes though organized activities still took up much of the day. Matt had signed up for gardening as soon as he saw it on the list. Being dirt poor most of his life he thought growing your own food would be a very valuable thing to learn. He’d had no idea when he’d signed up that he’d absolutely love doing it, and had no idea he’d be so good at it, something Jack, the gardening instructor, told him at least once on a daily basis. “It’s almost time for lunch.” Andy said kicking at some dirt. He’d signed up for gardening as well, but didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as Matt. Matt nodded not looking up from the dirt he was mounding up around the tomato plants. “I’m almost done.” Not caring about getting dirty, as he’d been digging himself in the garden all morning long, Andy sat down in the dirt. He pulled his knees up near his chest and rested his arms on them. “I almost don’t want to leave.” Matt stopped working and looked up at Andy, wiping the back of his hand across his sweaty forehead. “Are you serious?” He knew he didn’t want to leave himself but all he ever heard was Andy bitching about the place. Andy nodded solemnly. “I know once I’m out I’ll be fine, but I really kinda like it here. And I know I’m going to miss you.” “I’ll be out soon too Andy, and Dr. Marshall says I’ll probly stay right here in Asheville. So we should even go to the same school. And I’m sure your mom will let me come over for sleepovers.” They both got a good laugh out of that thought before Andy spoke again. “We’ll be friends out of here right?” Matt, who’d turned his attention back to the tomato plants, looked back up at Andy. “You sure you want to Andy? I mean I imagine you got lots of cool friends, are you really gonna want to hang out with a loser like me in a place that doesn’t make you?” He was surprised at the hurt look that came over Andy’s face. “I know I was an ass before Matt, but I thought, over the last six months or so you’d think a little more of me than that.” Matt slumped his shoulders not having meant to hurt his friend’s feelings. “I’m sorry, I just know how peer pressure and shit is. I do want to be your friend out of here Andy; I’m not going to know anyone. I’ll definitely need a friend, and I can’t think of a better person.” Andy smiled then looked over at Michael, a new student that had started a couple weeks before, as he walked out of the back of the building and into the garden. Andy’s smile quickly faded and a look of scorn crossed his face. “They let those people everywhere now.” Matt quickly turned his attention back to his plants. He hated when Andy went off about Michael, it made him very uncomfortable as it reminded him that Andy was a small minded bigot. He liked Andy in almost every aspect, and did want to be his friend, though he knew if Andy ever found out about him, what he really was that the guy would totally detest him. Michael didn’t hide his sexuality from anyone, he was an ‘if you don’t like it tough’ type of person. Not the incredible wimp Matt felt like every time he was in his presence. He wished he could be brave and not care like that. “It’s like they are trying to test me before I get out or something.” Matt looked up at him furrowing his brow, certainly confused. “What do you mean?” “That they know I can’t stand that shit, they want me to mess up.” “What does it matter to you Andy? It doesn’t affect you in any way. Why let it bother you so?” “It’s just gross.” Matt tilted his head to one side. “Well, so isn’t taking a shit, but you don’t hate everyone ‘cause they have to take a shit, it’s not something you have to deal with ‘cept when you do it yourself. Sure if someone came up to you and took a dump like on your desk or something you could get mad. But Michael hasn’t hit on any of us, he hasn’t bragged about his sexual escapades. I really don’t see the difference.” “It’s just nasty.” Matt sighed, shook his head and set back to work on his plants. He knew there was no sense in arguing about it, and he didn’t want to argue too much, as he was no Michael, he was far too chicken to stick his neck out, even if it was for himself. Andy didn’t get a chance to say anything else before Mark walked out into the garden and stood over them. “Dr. Marshall wants to see you for just a minute before lunch Matt.” Matt nodded, stood up and brushed himself off then followed Mark back into the building and into Dr. Marshall’s office. Dr. Marshall smiled at him, unable to get over how different he looked from just 10 months ago. He carried himself with a little more confidence, had filled out in all the places that were lacking due to a long life of malnutrition and just had an overall glow of healthiness. His self esteem still needed some work and he knew the boy still grieved deeply over the loss of his first love but the improvements so far outweighed the negatives, he knew it was definitely time to let him back out in the world no matter how much he didn’t want to, he knew it was what was best for Matt. “As you know you’re going to be getting out of here soon,” he said as Matt sat down. “Your social worker was out here this morning and she says she’s got a nice family in mind for you to stay with. This isn’t a sure thing yet, but I’m telling you now because there’s a good chance they will be here on Saturday to meet you.” Matt’s eyes widened. “Already?” He asked panic running through him. Dr. Marshall nodded. “It’s just a visit though; you won’t actually be leaving until near the end of next month.” Matt nodding relaxing slightly, he like Andy, didn’t really want to leave. The place had grown like a home to him over the last year. He supposed he was ready to go back into the world, and this time with advantages he didn’t have before, he just wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to. “Do you know much about this family?” He asked. “They are a middle aged couple. They will have three other foster kids by the time you get there, they usually have four but the other is going away to college. She’s a stay at home mom and he works from home. He’s a writer.” Dr. Marshall smiled at the intrigued expression on Matt’s face. “Wow really?” Matt couldn’t think of anything cooler, one thing he was now sure of after his stay there was that he wanted to be a writer. He didn’t know yet what kind of writer, but he was sure he wanted to write. He was also happy that he wasn’t going to be the only foster kid. He’d heard enough about that from the other kids on the streets. They had said if you were the only foster kid in a big family you were always left out and treated differently. “So I get to meet them on Saturday?” He asked almost excited now at the prospect. “Well I get to meet them first. I have to make sure they are good enough for you.” Matt snorted something he often did when a laugh caught him off guard. “I’m serious Matt,” Dr. Marshall said chuckling. “I’m not going to send you off to a place if I don’t know its going to be good. I care a lot about you, we all do, just because you leave here doesn’t mean we still won’t be looking out for you.” Matt sobered up quickly and smiled at the man, he couldn’t believe he’d actually hated him the first day they’d met. He’d been so wrong; he and most of the others at this place were great. He, over time, had finally understood why everyone was calling him lucky that first day. He hadn’t seen it then but he sure saw it now. “I won’t ever forget about you guys. I’m really going to miss this place.” Dr. Marshall smiled warmly. “We’re really going to miss you too Matt. But you make sure you come back and visit us now and then. And I’ll probably come out and see you a time or two if you’ll let me.” Matt’s mouth dropped open in surprise. “Really?” The doctor nodded, pleased as hell at Matt’s excitement. “Of course I want you to. I already know I’m going to be seeing Mark plenty but I really figured that he’d be all I’d get to see. I’m glad I don’t have to really say goodbye, it’ll be easier going knowing I’ll see you again.” Dr. Marshall stood up and walked over to Matt’s chair, where Matt stood as well. The man put his arms around the boy and the boy wrapped his arms around the man. They hadn’t hugged before and Dr. Marshall was not accustomed to hugging his patients but Matt was special, he just couldn’t let the boy go without getting at least one good, well deserved, hug in. Saturday morning Matt woke up nervous as hell. He’d never had to meet anyone that would be his ‘parents’ before. He wanted them to like him and he wanted to like them. He’d heard a few horror stories, but deep down had faith that Dr. Marshall would find him a good home. As the time drew nearer to 10am he grew even antsier despite Andy’s attempts, who was getting ready to go home for good himself, to calm him down. “You’re gonna be fine Matt!” Andy said as he stood with his packed suitcases just outside the living room door. “I know, I know.” Matt said rubbing his hands together nervously. They both looked up as Mark walked into the hallway and grabbed a couple of Andy’s bags. “Your limo awaits.” Matt’s mouth dropped open as he looked at Andy. “Limo?” Andy chuckled as he nodded. “Yeah, back to the life of the rich and… well the rich!” Matt laughed as he threw his arms around his friend knowing he was going to miss him like hell. “I’ll see you next month. Don’t forget, you promised to be my friend,” he said only half joking. Andy laughed hugging him back. “And you promised to be mine too!” Matt nodded as he stepped back. “Hey now I’ll actually have someone to call with my phone privileges. Who should I say I am in case your mom answers?” Andy looked down the hall to make sure Mark, who’d left with his bags, was out of earshot. “Mom get off her fat ass and answer a phone? Yeah right!” He turned and started walking off then half turned back and smiled. “I’ll see you in a month, and I’ll be looking forward to your calls!” Matt nodded and waved, smiling even though he felt very sad to see his friend go. He was close with a couple of other of the boys, but since about Christmas time he and Andy had been pretty much inseparable. He didn’t know what it was about Andy that he liked so much, since the guy was a complete bigot, but despite that, and despite the fact that he knew he could never fully be himself while they were friends, he couldn’t shake the good feelings he got from the friendship they shared. Dr. Marshall met Nathan and Ellen Parker at the main door of the facility. He’d used the excuse of talking to Jeanine so he could be the one to actually greet them. He was nearly as nervous as Matt was to meet them as he really wanted everything to go well. As soon as he saw the couple he got a good feeling about them. Both had dressed nicely, obviously caring about the impression they made which was always a good sign of conscientious people. She was tall and lean with dark brown hair and a smile that he imagined could brighten any room. He was just a hair taller than she was, his dark hair grayed at the temples and his dark eyes warm. He shook both their hands the moment they walked in and introduced himself. He led them back down the hall to his office where they sat down together on the sofa in his office. “Would either of you like a cup of coffee or anything to drink?” he asked, knowing they’d be there a while. When they both declined he added. “We have lemonade and iced tea too.” The man looked at his wife and smiled and shook his head again. “No we are fine really; we just got done with breakfast about an hour ago. I think we’re both a little nervous.” Dr. Marshall chuckled as he sat down. “You and I both, and I won’t even mention Matt; I imagine he’s boring a hole in the floor as we speak from all his pacing. I don’t want to keep him waiting too long; I just wanted to go over a few things with you first.” They both nodded, looking very agreeable, and he smiled again pretty certain this was going to be a good match. “What have you been told so far about Matt?” “Just the basics really, why he’s here, how he’s doing here, how his parents were, that he was a runaway.” Dr. Marshall nodded glad that the worst of the news already seemed to have been given and even more pleased they’d still shown up. “Okay well let me fill you in on some of the good stuff then shall I?” He smiled at Mrs. Parker as a warm smile filled her face. “He’s been here about a year. In that time I’ve seen him grow from a scared kid into a pretty confident mature adolescent. He’s got a heart that’s got to be the size of an ocean and tries to find the good in any situation. He’s helped the new kids feel welcome, he’s helped the other boys with their chores if they were behind, he genuinely cares for those around him. That is however if they show care for him. He won’t waste his time trying to make someone like him. If they don’t then they don’t, but if they do, that person will be rewarded in the friendship that Matt has to offer.” “We don’t have many kids here that come from situations like Matt’s; in fact he’s been the only one in his time here. The other kids, who all come from money, gave him a really hard time at first. But he did his own thing, he didn’t get in anyone’s way and he rode it out. Today his best friend left, the two became inseparable, and that best friend was one of the ones that gave him such a hard time in the first place. So you can see he’s a very likeable person.” “He’s overcome a lot; I think he’s well on his way to thriving as a responsible adult. He still has his heartaches,” Dr. Marshall paused and looked the couple over, he didn’t want to ruin anything, he knew how small minded people could be, but he wasn’t going to have Matt hiding anything and thought it best to get everything right out in the open. “Were you told he’s gay?” He watched as Nathan Parker shook his head but neither of them showed any look of distaste. “We don’t really care if he is gay, straight, black or white, near sighted or far sighted, if they need a home we are there for them.” Dr. Marshall smiled very glad to hear that. After filling them in on a few more details he nodded and stood up. “Well I think you two are perfect!” He said happily. “I’ll go and get Matt and you can then tell us a little about your home.” He left the office and found Matt in the living room. “You ready?” Matt looked up from where he was sitting on the couch slaving over another blank notebook. He was half tempted to shake his head, but knew he had to get it over with. “How do they seem?” He asked as he stood up. “Very nice, I think you are really going to like them.” They walked to Dr. Marshall’s closed office door. “Wait a minute.” Matt said holding up his hand. He straightened his shirt and adjusted his shoulders, standing up straighter then looked up at the doctor. “Do I look okay?” Dr. Marshall smiled and nodded. “You look good Matt honest.” “I shouldn’t dress up more? I should have put on something fancier shouldn’t I?” The doctor put his hand on the boys shoulder and squeezed it. “Try not to be so nervous Matt, these are very nice people, I already told them all about you, there’s nothing to worry about it.” Matt nodded and taking a deep breath, he motioned towards the door. “Okay I’m ready.” Dr. Marshall nodded again and opened the door. He stepped inside and turned to find Matt standing, just looking at the open door, just out of view of Mr. and Mrs. Parker. He smiled encouragingly and motioned him in. Matt walked into the room, his eyes immediately falling on the couple. He couldn’t help but smile a little, they certainly looked very nice and neither seemed appalled to see him. “Oh my,” Mrs. Parker said a bright smile filling up her face. “You sure are handsome!” Matt blushed from his head to his toes but managed to keep the smile on his face. “Oh honey, you’re embarrassing him.” Mr. Parker said as he stood from the couch and approached Matt. He extended his hand and shook the boy’s hand. “I’m Nathan Parker son, this is my wife Ellen.” Matt finished shaking the man’s hand then shook the wife’s, who was now standing by her husband. When she pulled her hand out of his she reached out and pulled him into her arms and gave him a quick hug. “Sorry hon, but a handshake just wasn’t suitable for me in this situation,” she said after she’d released him with a big smile on her face. Matt smiled back at her liking her instantly, liking both of them for that matter. “It’s nice to meet you too,” he finally said remembering his manners. “Well let’s all have a seat.” Dr. Marshall said after another minute. “The Parkers want to tell you all about their house.” Matt nodded as they all sat down but before they could start talking he did. “So you are a writer?” He asked Mr. Parker too excited about it to not ask about it. Nathan smiled very pleased the boy seemed so interested in it. “I write quite a few of the articles for the local paper, most evenings you’ll find me typing away in my office. I hear you are quite a gifted writer yourself.” Matt looked at Dr. Marshall then back at Nathan blushing all over again. “Well I’ve been told that.” Dr. Marshall laughed from behind his desk. “Like I said he’s pretty modest.” Nathan smiled at the doctor before he focused his attention back on Matt. “Well I’m very excited to be able to read some, and I’m sure if you’re interested you can help me out with a few articles.” Matt’s smile got even bigger looking very forward to that. “Okay,” Nathan said sitting back on the couch. “Well I don’t know how much you’ve been told about us so I’ll just start from the beginning. My wife and I both grew up in very large families. I had seven siblings and she had six. We knew right off we wanted to have a lot of kids. But when it came time to actually have them, we had an experience with a young man who was about ten years old. His home life was very rough and he continually ran away to our house. After a lot of talking and a lot of paperwork we became official foster parents and the boy stayed with us from then on. We realized at that point that there was really no need to conceive our own children, that there were plenty right around here that needed good homes. It didn’t take us long to fill our home once we’d made that decision. We started out taking in six or eight but realized as the years passed by that we could probably make more of an impact if we didn’t have so many. It’s really hard to give deserved individualized attention when you have so many.” “So about ten years ago we narrowed it down to four and that seems to be working perfectly for us and for you kids. You’ll have your own room. We’ll have three other kids, Jack who’s 14, Megan who’s 12, and Shawn who’s 9. They all have their own rooms too. We usually go on a day trip and do something fun one day out of the weekend. The other day is for catching up on school work, cleaning out your rooms, and when that’s all done you can basically do what you want.” “You have study hour on weeknights once school starts and basic daily chores but really there’s not a lot of rules and rigid schedules to follow.” Ellen Parker patted her husband’s knee and chuckled. “No offense, honey but you’re boring.” She looked at Matt and smiled. “You’ll fit right into the routine hon, it’s not hard. The most important thing you need to remember is that we are there for you, any questions you have, any concerns, anything you need, you come to us. Don’t ever be shy, we run a very open house, if something’s on your mind we want to hear about it.” Matt nodded smiling at her; he had a very strong feeling he was really going to enjoy living with the Parker’s. He’d been pretty sure Dr. Marshall wouldn’t let him down, but now, after meeting his future foster parents he was pretty darn sure of it.
  3. vlista20

    One Moment

    Matt Creighton finds himself in a locked juvenile facility at the worst possible time. He is desperate to escape but cannot explain why without breaking a promise. Hoping that it is not too late, wishing he could return to that one moment when things went wrong.
  4. vlista20

    Chapter 15

    Unbreakable Faith Chapter 15 On the Wednesday after his second weekend stay at the Delmar’s, Ian was a little nervous to see Mr. Delmar standing in the entryway to the group home when he got home from school. He stopped just in front of the man and looked up at him. “Is something wrong?” Ron smiled and shook his head. “Nope,” he said cheerfully. “I just came to help you pack up your stuff. You are going to stay with us from now on.” His mouth falling open he threw his arms around the man. “Oh Dad, I’m so happy. How’d you do it?” “Used my pull as a man of the cloth.” He answered his arms tightly around Ian. Ian moved his head up so his chin was on the man’s chest and chuckled. “I’m not sure that sounds right, but I like the result.” Ron chuckled, and he gave Ian an extra squeeze then let go of him. “Well let’s go get your stuff.” Ian nodded and led the man up the stairs and into his room. He was so excited he could barely think and knew he’d forget something. Jeff was in the room sitting on his bed when they walked in. Watching as Jeff looked the reverend over Ian got the impression Jeff was sad. After packing up his clothes Ron took his bag. Sensing Ian wanted to talk to Jeff he said. “I’ll meet you back downstairs.” Ian nodded waited for Ron to leave the room then walked over and sat by Jeff on the bed. “You okay?” Jeff nodded miserably. “I’m just jealous man,” he stopped talking suddenly and wiped at his eyes. “I just don’t know why no one wants me.” Ian’s eyes smarted as he saw a tear slip down Jeff’s cheek. He put his arms around the other boy. “It’s just cause the right people haven’t come along. It’s not you Jeff.” Jeff put his arms around Ian. “I just hate not having anyone. I want a family too. I don’t care if people think I’m too old to still want it. I do.” “You’re not too old. No one’s too old for a family. And you’ll get one Jeff. I’m sure of it. You’re much too nice not to. You’re the only other kid here that bothered to make sure I was happy here. The only one who always tried to make me feel better. The only one who didn’t pick on me.” He paused, not sure if he should say what he was going say next. “I know you don’t necessarily believe in God, but I believe its people like you that he’s got real special plans for. One day you’ll see your reward.” Jeff pulled away from him and smiled. “You think so?” Ian nodded. “I sure do. He doesn’t waste personalities like yours. He’s got special plans for you. I just have no idea what.” Chuckling Jeff nodded as he wiped at his eyes again. “You’ll come back and visit us right Ian?” He nodded again. “Sure I will. And you can come visit me. The Delmar’s are real nice. I know they won’t mind if you come over to visit.” “I will miss you Ian. I wasn’t nice to you cause I felt I had an obligation. I was nice to you cause I really like you.” Ian smiled. “I really like you too Jeff.” Back downstairs he had a tearful goodbye with the Harvey’s, though he wanted nothing more than to be with the Delmar’s permanently, he was still going to miss Mr. and Mrs. Harvey. The two had been nothing but very nice to him. Had always been patient with all his questions and had even given him plenty of good advice. After promising them as well, that he’d be back to visit, he followed his new ‘dad’ out of the house and to the black Stratus. Once he put his stuff in the back seat he sat down in the front. Ron turned to him and smiled. “Come Friday Tony will be with Natalie and Dan permanent too.” Ian’s smile lit up the cloudy day. “That’s great. I am so happy. I don’t think anyone could ever know just how happy I feel right now. Like I may bust open or something.” Ron started the car and backed down the driveway. “I’m very happy you are so happy Ian. Greta’s beside her self with joy. She’s not the only one. Matt got in trouble for talking three times in class today. Filling everyone in on his new brother.” Ron chuckled while Ian glowed even more, though he hoped Matt didn’t get into too much trouble. When they passed the house Ian pointed back at it. “Where we going?” “We just have to run down to Social Services to make this all official.” When they walked into the Social Services Building Betty, whom he instantly recognized as his social worker, hurried over to them and pulled him into her arms. “You look so handsome hon. So much healthier than you did a month and a half ago.” Ian smiled at her as he squeezed her back. He had her to thank for letting him stay with the Delmar’s sooner than scheduled and his gratitude for her went deep. After letting him go she led him and Ron through a maze of desks. They sat down in front of one that was in about the middle of the room while she sat down behind it. She pulled several papers out of a folder, clipped them onto a clipboard then handed the board and pen over to Reverend Delmar. “Just sign where I’ve X’d.” Ron went through the papers and signed them. He’d already been sent copies of all of them and read through them thoroughly; so that once he was here all he’d have to do was sign. Ian fidgeted in his chair, his legs swinging back and forth. He didn’t know Ron had already read over the papers and was fearful the man would read something he didn’t agree with and the whole thing would be off. Sensing the nervousness that was radiating from him like a heat wave Ron snickered and looked over at him. “There’s nothing to be nervous about Ian. This won’t hurt a bit.” Ian chuckled but kept on fidgeting. He couldn’t seem to control it. It was like the trembling he used to do when facing off against his father. Though this was a bit more obvious than just a little trembling, he just couldn’t seem to stop moving. He didn’t relax until every paper was signed and Ron handed the clipboard back to Betty. “We set then?” Betty nodded, her face filled with a smile. “All set.” Back in the car Ron turned the key to start it. “What had you so nervous in there Ian?” Ian looked over at him feeling nervous about answering. Ron reached over and put his hand on the boy’s knee. “Tell me son, whatever it was I won’t be mad or upset with you.” Leaning his head back against the side window Ian sighed. “I was just worried; worried that you’d see something in those papers that would make you change your mind.” Squeezing his knee Ron shook his head. “Nothing written on a piece of paper would ever make me change my mind about you Ian. Nothing anyone could say or do makes one bit of difference in how I feel about loving you or wanting you to live with us.” Ian blinked back tears, though one still slipped out. “You love me?” he squeaked out. “Of course I love you Ian. Everything you say and everything you do just makes me love you more. You are an incredible person. You’ve survived through so much, so much pain and hatred. Yet here you are still the great person you are today. One who’s sympathetic to others. Who cares deeply about those around him. You’ve got so much love to give, Ian. And all of us, me, Greta and Matt are all going give it back to you.” Fully crying now Ian wiped furiously at his eyes. Ron smiled sympathetically as tears burned his own eyes. He leaned over the front seat and pulled the sobbing boy into his arms. “You aren’t going to be the ‘foster kid’ at our home Ian. You are our son now. As much a part of my family as Greta and Matt are.” Ian buried his face in the man’s chest, he didn’t like the fact he was bawling so hard but could do nothing to stop it. These words he was hearing were words he’d always ached to hear. To hear he was loved and to hear someone praise him simply for whom he was. He stayed there, snuggled in his dad’s arms for a good five minutes before he slowly pulled away and wiped at his eyes. “You sure make me cry a lot.” He chuckled weakly. Ron laughed and tousled his hair. “I do, do I?” Ian nodded without hesitation. “But at the same time you make me feel so good. I guess crying isn’t always bad.” “Not at all son. People cry for all types of reasons. You don’t have to be sad to do it.” He cried all over again when he walked into the house and saw a large banner hanging from the back wall. One that was highly decorated and said, “Welcome Home Son’ and in a different color was added, ‘And Brother.’ He was enveloped into Greta’s arms that held him tightly, as she kissed the top of his head tears pouring out of her own eyes. Ian put his arms up around her back and held on as though for dear life. Even going so far as to get up on his tip toes to hold her more tightly. After they finally separated Matt was right there to take her place and they gave each other a long strong hug as well. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the time all the hugging was over. They all made their way to the living room where there was a box of tissues and Greta handed them around. She started to chuckle. “Well aren’t we all a sorry sight.” Ian chuckled as well. “I’ll need extra water with dinner. With all this crying I don’t want to dehydrate.” That got the rest of them laughing, and with the help of the tissues their tears dried up. Greta walked into the kitchen area. “I made you a special first official night dinner.” Ian walked up to the counter. “What is it?” “Well I’ve come to the conclusion that your favorite meal is steak.” “Oh yeah,” Ian said rubbing his hands together. “Well tonight I’m taking steak a step further.” She opened the oven and Ian peeked inside. “What’s that?” “It’s a prime rib. What I consider the best steak. But it’s baked so it comes out very tender.” Ian’s eyes lit up as his mouth watered. “Wow that sure sounds good.” “It’s excellent” Matt piped up. “We usually have it at Christmas. Mom makes it better than anyone else.” Greta chuckled as she closed the oven door. “And that’s direct from my number one fan.” Ian looked at Matt and grinned. He was so happy he was actually here permanently he couldn’t stop grinning. “Come on,” Matt said picking up Ian’s duffel bag where he’d left it by the door. “Let’s go get you all settled in.” Ian followed him up the stairs and into their room. Matt put his bag up on the bed and Ian stepped up and opened it up. “Your dad said you got in trouble at school today.” Matt chuckled behind him. “Yeah a little bit. They pardoned me though; when they found out I had good reason to be talking.” After turning back around from putting his clothes in the drawer, which took about ten minutes, he saw a small wrapped box on his bed. He looked up at Matt who was smiling at him with anticipation. “Well open it.” “You got me a present?” “No the Easter bunny dropped it off.” “Oh,” he walked over to the bed and sat down, he wasn’t quite sure who this Easter bunny was but knew Matt had been joking and didn’t bother to ask. He put the present in his lap while Matt sat down on his own bed just across from him. He peeled off the paper then ripped open the box underneath. He pulled out a small silver thing that was smooth on both sides. “What is it?” Laughing a little Matt stood up then sat down again, this time beside Ian. He took the silver thing and flipped it open then handed it back to Ian. Ian looked it over again. “A phone?” Matt nodded. “A cell phone. You take it anywhere you go. That way if you ever get stuck or need me all you have to do is use that and I’ll be there.” Ian ran his finger lovingly along the phone. “This is just the sweetest thing ever.” Laughing a little more Matt put his arm up over Ian’s shoulders and squeezed him close, pressing his forehead into the side of Ian’s head. “I’m always gonna be here for you Ian. You make sure you always remember that.” Ian turned his head so their foreheads were pressed together. “I love you Matt.” Matt moved his lips up and kissed his forehead. “I love you too little brother.” Ian blushed and looked back down at the phone. “You gotta teach me how to use it though.” “Not a problem. I already programmed my cell phone number, the house number and Nathan’s number into it.” Ian grinned, so glad Matt had thought of Nathan. Matt stood up and went to his bed where he opened the front pocket of his back pack. He pulled out another phone identical to his then walked back over and sat back down by Ian. “Okay you press this button to turn it on. You want to keep it in standby when you’re not using it. That way you still hear it ring when someone calls you.” He pointed out the buttons on the phone as he explained their purpose. “Now press this button then press number one.” Ian did as he was told then jumped as the phone in Matt’s hand started ringing. “Is that me?” “Don’t know let me check.” He moved Ian’s hand that was holding the phone up to Ian’s ear then put his own phone to his ear. “Hello?” Ian laughed into the phone. “No, no Ian,” Matt said dramatically as he shook his head. “That’s not the proper way to answer a phone.” Laughing even harder Ian dropped back on the bed completely unable to stop it. He was laughing so hard, clutching his stomach that he didn’t hear a knock on the door and didn’t really register when Matt said to ‘come in.’ Nathan walked into the room, a wide smile stretched across his face seeing Ian in the throes of uncontrollable laughter. “What did you do to him?” he asked chuckling at Matt. Matt held up his cell phone putting a fake annoyed look on his face. “I’m trying to teach him how to use his new phone.” Nathan stepped up beside the bed. Sure enough clutched tightly in Ian’s hand was his brand new cell phone. His face was red, even redder now that he was really trying to control his laughter. After taking several deep breaths he sat up, then stood up and gave Nathan a big hug. “What are you doing here?” “I got invited for the celebration dinner tonight.” He said as he hugged Ian back. Ian stepped back and looked down at his phone. “So I can’t call you.” He stopped to laugh for another second. “On my new phone, to tell you the great news.” “You can still call me.” Ian grinned then turned to Matt and handed him his phone. “Now how do I call Nathan.” Matt chuckled and rolled his eyes at Nathan. “First you gotta hang it up from calling me.” He pushed the off button then turned it back on. “Now hit three” Ian nodded and did as instructed, within a second Nathan’s back pocket started to ring. Nathan dug it out of his pocket flipped it open and said hello. Ian got laughing all over again and dropped back down on the bed. Matt busted out laughing as well as Nathan. “It just seems to have that affect on him.” He laughed out loud as he shook his head. Nathan wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. He’d never seen Ian laugh so hard and it made his heart melt to see him here and see him so incredibly happy. It was nearly a full minute later before Ian had composed himself enough to put the phone back up to his face. “Uhh Nathan?” Nathan lifted his own phone to his face. “Yeah Ian?” “Umm guess what?” “What?” “I get to live with the Delmar’s from now on.” The last word trailed off as he started laughing again. “Oh Ian that’s wonderful. You should see my face. My happiness is written all over it.” Ian sat up looking at him in confusion then, catching the joke, started to laugh all over again. He moved the hand holding the phone over to Matt. “I can’t take this anymore. I’ll have to wait and use it when I don’t see the people I’m calling.” Matt chuckled as he took the phone and shut it off. Nathan sat down on the bed and Ian sat up into his arms. “I’m so happy they invited you.” He said squeezing his arms around Nathan’s. “I’m glad too. They said I could go to youth group with you too. If you want.” Ian turned his head and looked up at Nathan, a look of surprise on his face. “Well of course I want silly.” Chuckling Nathan squeezed him a little tighter, as always when he held him he never wanted to let go. Matt smiled at the two and even though he was a little jealous Ian was so close with someone else he knew enough to not let it get to him. Knew what an incredibly good thing it was that they had each other and seemed to love each other and be so comfortable around each other. They all got up off the bed when Greta’s voice called up the stairs calling them down to dinner. Downstairs the table was already set. There was a festive fall leaf covered table cloth and Greta had gotten out the good dishes. Ian stepped ahead of Matt and Nathan and walked into the kitchen to give her a big hug. “Thanks so much mom.” He said as she put her arms around him. “No Ian thank you. Thank you for wanting to come and live with us. I don’t even want to picture my life without you in it now.” He turned his head up, propped his chin against her breast bone and smiled up at her. “Same here.” She smiled lovingly down at him then kissed the top of his head. “Did I tell you?” She lowered her voice and bent a little closer. “That your boyfriend is a very sweet young man and I think the two of you are perfect together?” Ian’s face lit up as other than saying Nathan was cute Greta had not said much else about Nathan. He’d been really worried that she didn’t like that he was gay and didn’t like that he had a boyfriend. Hearing her say that though put his mind more at ease. “Thank you.” She smiled a little bigger and squeezed him extra tight before she let go. With the help of him, Nathan and Matt they got all the food into the dining room and onto the table. Ron walked out of his office and sat down just as the others were sitting down. They all clasped hands with each other while he said the blessing. As soon as Ian opened his eyes back up he looked over at the beef roast, his mouth watering as it looked and smelled absolutely heavenly. Greta sliced him a piece about an inch thick, and when it dropped onto his plate his mouth dropped open. He was surprised it was so big but had no doubt he’d be able to finish it off. “So Nathan,” Ron said as his plate was filled with a large piece of beef as well. “Got plans for college next year?” Matt sat back and shook his head. “Ahh Dad. It’s a celebration dinner not an interrogation dinner.” Ron looked at his son and chuckled. Nathan looked over at him as well and smiled to let him know he didn’t mind one bit. “I’m going to college right here in town, at the University branch here.” “What are you taking?” “Mostly general studies the first year. I’m gonna work my way up to being a journalist.” Ron nodded, “An honorable profession, as long as you don’t become paparazzi.” Nathan chuckled. “No I have no plans to do that.” “Oh Ian before I forget.” Greta spoke up, “I made an appointment for you with our family doctor Friday morning.” Ian who was too enthralled with his steak to say much simply nodded. “Um,” Nathan said nervousness tingeing his voice. “Would you guys mind, maybe if I picked Ian up for school and brought him home? That way you don’t have to do it and he doesn’t have to take the bus.” “You had your license long?” Ron asked. Ian, now more into the conversation, looked from Ron to Nathan. “Three years.” “How many speeding tickets and accidents have you had?” Matt snorted and Ron pushed at his arm playfully. “Quiet down over there.” Nathan chuckled again. “One speeding ticket. Going thirty five in a twenty five. No accidents.” “You ever had that baby opened up.” Ron pointed out the window at the shiny black sports car. “No sir, normally this isn’t something I’d be proud of, but I drive like a little old lady.” Ron laughed. “I find that hard to believe.” Nathan shook his head. “No sir, it’s true. Everyone picks on me for it. I wouldn’t lie to you.” Ron smiled as he’d gotten the impression the few times he’d met Nathan that he was a very honest person. “Okay then, I don’t see any reason why not.” “Not Friday though.” Greta spoke up again. “His appointment is in the morning. I’ll take him to that then drop him off at school.” Nathan nodded. “Um,” Greta, Ron and Matt all chuckled at his nervousness, he actually reminded them a little of Ian and how he always got nervous when he had to ask something. “What is it son?” Ron asked trying to control his humor. “Well I was wondering if Ian could come to my house Friday night. To meet my mom.” Ron nodded again. “Not for the night though. I don’t want to sound like the mean guy but I’d never let Matt stay over at a girlfriends house so I’m not going to let Ian stay over with you.” Nathan nodded. “I certainly understand that sir.” They all looked at Ian, as Ian started to giggle amidst his eating. “What are you laughing at?” Ron asked his face filled with humor. Ian, still giggling, sat back and looked at them all. “I was just wondering if you guys wanted to arrange anything else for me. Perhaps what I’ll wear to graduation?” They all looked at each other in surprise then busted out laughing, as they all realized they’d been making plans for him without even asking him what he thought about it, no less doing it while he was sitting right there. “Well,” Greta said containing her laughter first. “Graduation is not for a few years.” She stopped and looked comically at her husband. “I think he looks nice in blue. We could find a nice blue sweater for him.” Knowing she was joking Ian’s giggling turned into laughter. After the dishes were cleaned up Matt, Nathan and Ian all walked over to the church. Before going inside Nathan pulled Ian away from the door and walked him over to the side of the church. Figuring Nathan had something to say privately Matt continued on into the church. Nathan pushed Ian gently back against the church wall and stepped up so close the ends of their shoes touched. He looped his finger in one of Ian’s belt loops and smiled at him. “You don’t mind do you? Coming to meet my mom on Friday?” Ian shrugged as he cocked his head to one side, his eyes staying focused on Nathan’s. “Well I’m nervous Nathan. But with all you do for me, I don’t see how I can not do it.” Nathan’s eyes narrowed in confusion. “What do you mean? All I do for you?” “Coming to church, coming to youth group.” His lips formed into a warm smile as he wrapped his hand around Nathan’s wrist. “Being my boyfriend.” Looking quickly around to make sure no one could see them; Nathan leaned in and gave Ian a warm gentle kiss. “If you are uncomfortable though Ian,” he said as he pulled back. “Then don’t do it. I mean I don’t want you to be nervous.” “I’ll only be nervous the first time. No matter if we waited fifty years I’d still be nervous the first time. So I might as well get that first time over with, right?” Nathan smiled at him. “You’re so smart.” Chuckling he shook his head. “Well it makes sense to me.” “Being smart?” “No,” he laughed. “What I said.” He reached out and took Nathan’s hand. “We better get inside.” Pulling Nathan to the door, he let go of his hand as soon as he opened it. They found Matt already in one of the classrooms. Ian sat down beside him while Nathan sat on the other side of Ian.
  5. vlista20

    Chapter 17

    Unbreakable Faith Chapter 17 After being poked and prodded for three hours in the hospital on Monday morning, Ian, still drowsy from the sedation wasn’t up to going back to school. Greta didn’t argue, in fact she probably would have argued if he had wanted to go back as she could see just by his eyes how very sleepy he was. Once they got back home Ian went straight to his bedroom and was asleep within minutes. It was nearly two o’clock when Greta saw him wandering back down the stairs his hair ruffled from sleep and pillow creases along the side of his face. She grinned at his rumpled appearance. “Looks like you had a good sleep.” He looked up at her and smiled. “I did thanks,” he said as he sat down on the opposite side from where she was sitting at the table with her checkbook open in front of her and a pile of bills just to the right of it. “You want a sandwich? You slept through lunch but you still have four hours until dinner, so you should have something.” Ian nodded and stood back up taking the opportunity to stretch out his arms. “I can make it. I know where everything is by now.” She smiled even though his was back to her, again amazed at how well he’d blended into their family. Seeing him standing in the kitchen just seemed so natural, like he’d been there 16 years not a mere few weeks. In the few weeks they had known him she’d seen so many changes. The most prevalent being his increasing ease at being in their home. He seemed to grow as comfortable with being there as quickly as they had become comfortable with having him there. She could sense every day that he became more confident that they genuinely did like him and that he didn’t have to constantly watch his back in fear of being in trouble. He seemed to hold himself differently too, he no longer seemed to cower, at least when he was with them. She found when he carried himself with a little confidence and dressed like a normal teenage boy should, that he was a very attractive young man. Something that made him and Nathan being together make a bit more sense. She felt silly feeling that way as she knew for certain that looks didn’t make a relationship. But she also knew how teenage boys were. Nathan, she thought, was one of the nicest looking boys she’d ever come across. And that put together with his wealth, personality and charm she just couldn’t seem to fathom what he’d see in first impressions with Ian. Not that she had thought Ian was ugly in any sense of the term, it was just that back when Nathan had met Ian, Ian was shy and awkward, wore clothes that most popular kids would certainly consider geeky and hadn’t been able to look anyone in the eye. It had made her worry that Nathan was after something from Ian. That he wasn’t ‘in love’ as much as teenage boys could be. But after seeing them together for three weekends and a couple weeknights she had as little doubt in Nathan’s intentions as Ian did. The boy she’d come to discover would bend over backwards to please Ian, and would gladly give up his own life to save Ian’s if it ever came right down to it. Simply in the way she’d seen the boy looking at her new son she’d known that what made Ian so special had shined through to Nathan too. That Nathan loved and cared for Ian every bit as much as she did. A love she was certain would help Ian continue to grow stronger and more confident. A love that she felt would get the couple through anything that life may throw their way in the future. Ian returned to the table, setting down a plate loaded up with chips and a turkey sandwich and sat down across from Greta again. “So we talked a bit about your birthday last week at the doctor’s. It’s only a couple weeks away now. What do you say we talk more about your party?” She suggested folding up her checkbook and setting the pile of envelopes all full of checks to be mailed on the shelf near the table, to be taken out to the mailbox later. Ian’s eyes lit up. He still couldn’t believe he was finally going to get to have a birthday party. He’d never even been to a birthday party, let alone had one. He’d been invited to several when he was in elementary school but after not being allowed to go to any of them for a few years the other kids had given up asking him. He couldn’t imagine their surprise when he was actually the one handing out invitations. Greta grabbed the notebook she’d been figuring out her budget in and turned it to an empty page. “Do you want a big party with a lot of people and snacks and stuff to eat or do you want a smaller party with a few close friends and a big fancy dinner.” He looked up at her his first thought going to her needs. “What’s easier for you?” “Either one is easy for me Ian. You pick what you want, try not to think about anyone else here for a few minutes.” She grinned humorously at him. “I know that’s hard for you but just give it a shot.” He grinned back at her and thought for a minute about his choices. “I think I’d like to have a big party with snacks and stuff to eat.” She nodded her heart filling with warmth at the sudden look of excitement that was showing up on Ian’s face. “Okay let’s get started on the guest list then.” “Is there a limit?” Ian asked before he started laughing. Greta looked at him confused. “What are you laughing at?” After a minute of self-composure Ian wiped at his tearing eyes from laughing so hard and shook his head. “Is there a limit? Get it?” She shook her head even more confused. “No hon, I’m sorry I don’t.” He sighed and ran his finger across the table. “I just never thought I’d have to worry about a limit. I mean two months ago I had no friends. Not one,” he emphasized holding up his hands. “And now here I am planning out a birthday party and asking how many is too many to invite. It’s just so weird.” He sighed again and shook his head. “Good but weird. It’s amazing how fast things can change.” Greta reached over and squeezed his left hand that was now lying on the table. “No Ian you are amazing. The way you have adapted to this new life, the friends you are making, you are the amazing one here. You could be hiding in your room under your bed with the life you lead up until a couple months ago. But instead you are going out and finding your way. That’s what’s made this transition so powerful, you aren’t waiting for the world to come and find you or dig you out from your shell.” He looked at her, confused himself now. “Why would I hide under my bed?” She leaned a little closer to him and smiled. “Most people Ian are scared of what they don’t know. Or they get trapped in a mind set that keeps them frightened even though things have changed for them. It’s often times very difficult for the human mind to let go of the past. Now I know you haven’t fully let your past go, and neither I nor Ron want you to. There’s stuff you have to deal with there that we can work out over time. But the way you keep pushing yourself forward despite your fears and insecurities is amazing to us. You aren’t waiting around for anyone to show you the way, if you have questions you ask but that’s a necessity.” “Should I wait around for someone to show me?” He asked still a little confused. “No, if you did that would be fine, but what you are doing is beyond anyone’s hopes for how you would come out of this. You are going above and beyond any expectations and Ron and I couldn’t be more amazed and pleased. You show us every day just what the meaning of perseverance and strength are.” She stopped as she saw a silent tear slip down Ian’s cheek and watched him quickly wipe it away. She squeezed his hand and smiled. “I’ll stop hon, I just had to let you know in no uncertain terms just how very special you are, and it’s no surprise to me how many friends you have now.” Ian smiled back at her, again reminded just how wonderful it was to have her as his mother now. Wishing she’d been his mom all along but knowing that wishing about the past didn’t do anyone or anything any good. “Well first I’d say Nathan.” Greta chuckled as she wrote Nathan’s name down on the guest list. “Really?” She asked feigning surprise. Ian laughed and nodded. “Yeah it might be good to have him here.” He said going along with her joke. “And I’d like to invite the kids from the group home. Do you think that would be okay? Or would it look like I was rubbing it in their faces that I’m not there anymore?” Greta shook her head as only Ian could come up with a thought like that, always being so concerned with other people’s feelings. “No I’m sure they’d all love to come to a party, it wouldn’t be rubbing anything in at all.” Glad to hear that Ian listed off a few more names. “Mark and Luke, ohh and Raymond!” he said holding up a finger figuring Raymond probably wasn’t invited to any parties and definitely wanting him to be at his party. “And Tony! I can’t forget Tony!” Greta chuckled again at Ian’s excitement as she wrote down all the names thinking they might be better off to have it in the church basement with the amount of people being invited, which certainly wasn’t any problem. “What about snacks? What kind of food do you want?” Ian shrugged not too sure what he had to choose from. “Well how about you go shopping with me a few days before the party and you can pick out some good stuff.” Ian’s face lit up. “Really?” “Of course, now what kind of cake do you want?” When he didn’t answer right away she reworded the question. “What is your favorite kind of cake?” “Well I really loved that one you made a couple weeks ago, the pink one with the white frosting.” “The strawberry one?” “Umm yeah probably.” Greta nodded finding that one a good choice. They spent the afternoon going over other details until it was time for her to start dinner. About that same time Matt arrived home and the boys were off to their room. “So how did the doctors go?” Matt asked as he threw his jacket over his bedpost and sat down on his bed. Ian lay down on his own bed and propped his head up with his pillows, putting his knees in the air. “Much better than last time. I don’t know what they gave me but I certainly felt relaxed.” “Did they find anything wrong?” Ian shook his head. “No but I guess some of the tests take a few days to get results back for. So we won’t know for sure until later in the week. How was your day?” Matt shrugged his shoulders. “Same as always. Boring! What did you do all afternoon?” Ian sat up clasping his hands together in his excitement. “We planned my birthday party!” he said happily “After I slept for three hours.” Matt grinned. “Mom does the best birthday parties Ian, I’m sure it’s going to be great. Am I invited?” Ian snorted, even though he hadn’t been on the actual guest list he knew it was a given that Matt would be there, Matt was his brother after all, he had to be there. He lay back down on the bed clasping his hands behind his head and pulling his knees back in the air. “I just love it so much here Matt. I almost think it should be illegal or something to be this happy. I know it’s not, and I’m pretty certain it’s not a sin, I just can’t get over how happy I am.” Matt lay down on his side on his own bed and looked over at Ian. “What do you mean pretty certain it’s not a sin?” Ian shrugged. “I don’t know it’s just kinda hard to go from a life where any type of fun is sinning to come here where everything is fun and happy and having it all be okay. I’m trying but sometimes I still get to wondering.” “You think God didn’t want people to be happy?” “No, but that’s what I was taught Matt. I know deep down it’s not true, I always had that feeling, but it’s hard to just disregard 15 years of learning otherwise.” Matt nodded. “I understand Ian, for me it’s just the opposite; I can’t imagine being told God is this terrible being that wants people to suffer for him. I wasn’t taught that so I can’t even fathom how it must feel to suddenly learn it’s not true.” “If it is true, and being this happy is a sin I’d think I would keep on sinning.” Ian’s eyes bulged out and he put his hand over his mouth unable to believe he’d just come out and said that. A statement like that at the Weaver’s would certainly get him into a HUGE heap of trouble which was why he was so surprised to just hear Matt chuckling at him from the next bed. With his hand still over his mouth and his eyes still bulging a bit he looked over at him. “Don’t get so scared Ian you’re not going to get in trouble. You have every right to feel that way.” Calming his raging nerves Ian nodded not sure he agreed it was right to say something like that but willing to let it go and not punish himself with the constant arguing of how the statement was wrong. If Matt said it was okay and as much as he trusted Matt he just had to take his word for it. He sat up smiling bigger than he had all day when Nathan walked through the doorway of their room. “Hey!” he said happily as Nathan walked up to the bed and leaned over long enough to give him a big tight bear hug, something that Ian considered Nathan’s absolute specialty. “Hey!” Nathan said right back right before he planted a quick kiss on his lips. “Don’t shoot the messenger but I brought your school work.” Ian chuckled not caring at all about getting his schoolwork. “Why would I be mad about that?” Nathan sat down on the edge of the bed. “Well if it were me, I wouldn’t want anyone to bring it to me, because then I wouldn’t have to do it.” “Well you would once you got to school the next day.” Nathan rolled his eyes as he put his arm over Ian’s shoulders, pulled him close and looked over at Matt. “Always the sensible one.” He said shaking his head. Matt laughed as he popped a Starburst into his mouth, his usual afternoon snack. He’d grown very fond of Nathan over the last couple of weeks and saw them being good friends and a more than suitable partner for his new brother. He found him very funny yet at the same time he knew when to be serious and his first concern was always Ian and his feelings. “Your mom said I could stay for supper.” Nathan said to Ian. “That okay with you?” Still under his arm Ian snuggled closer to him. “Course it is silly! I do have to do my school work though; do you mind being a little bored while I do it?” Nathan started to shake his head when Matt spoke up again. “He doesn’t have to be bored. You can play on the computer.” He said pointing over to it on the desk. “There’s games there or you can go online just don’t go anywhere bad ‘cause my parents track it.” Nathan laughed as he had no intention of going to any bad sites in a preacher’s house, he may on occasion visit some sites that would be unacceptable at his own home but knew better than to do it there, or even tell anyone there about the sites he went to. Not that the sites were evil or anything, just sites he knew the Delmar’s and especially Ian probably wouldn’t approve of. He didn’t know of many teenage boys that never looked at a bit of porn, in fact he figured even Matt must on occasion so he didn’t feel too guilty for keeping that small tidbit of information to himself. He stood up from the bed and situated himself in front of the computer choosing a game to play that he had at home, making sure to keep the volume low as both Matt and Ian did their homework on their beds behind him. He never would have guessed a month ago that he would be spending so many evening’s at a preacher’s house. More so never would have guessed that he’d enjoy it so much. Certainly Ian was a major part of that enjoyment but he also really liked the rest of the Delmar’s, Matt especially. He loved to sit and watch a movie with them or have an evening card game. He hadn’t realized it before but his nights had been pretty lonely, usually he’d either gone out with friends to some crappy restaurant or stayed home by himself. On the few occasions his mother did arrive home at a decent hour she was usually too tired to cook a good meal, so most nights he was home he found himself eating boxed macaroni and cheese. He didn’t begrudge his mother one bit for that, she worked very hard and he mostly felt sorry that she didn’t have enough time to herself. But after spending so many evenings with the Delmar’s he had to admit it was much nicer to have the family all home and together than to sit around a lonely house not knowing what to do with himself. Going to the grocery store with Greta was an entirely different experience for Ian than going with Mrs. Weaver. Instead of having to stand dutifully by the cart not saying a word and having no input on what was bought he was continually asked if he thought something would be good or if he would like something that looked good as they passed by it. At about halfway through the store when he was reluctant to say yes to anything, Greta stopped the cart and pulled it to the side of the aisle. She took his arm and pulled him closer to her not wanting anyone to over hear them and spoke quietly. “Honey if you don’t say what you want I’m not going to know the food you’d like at your party. I don’t want to make the decisions on it for you. It’s your party; you should be the one who gets to decide.” Ian looked up at her tilting his head to one side thinking for a moment she was upset with him. “I’m sorry.” She smiled at him and ran her hand through his hair. “There’s nothing to be sorry about hon, I’m just telling you, I want you to pick the stuff, don’t be shy.” He nodded looking around the aisle they were in. “It’s not just shyness.” “What else is it?” He looked down at the floor and she could see his ears turning red, telling her he was embarrassed. “It’s okay you can tell me.” Looking back up at her his eyes big and dark he took a deep breath. “I don’t know what people are supposed to eat at parties; I’ve never been to one.” He sounded and looked so full of shame she wanted to take him into her arms and hold him for an eternity, knowing though that, that would probably embarrass him even more in the middle of a grocery store she merely put her hand on his cheek and gave him an extra reassuring smile. “Well then it would make sense you’re not sure what to get. Let’s rethink our plan of action here okay?” She felt a little better when he smiled at her and continued. “I’ll make suggestions on what is good to have at parties and you let me know if you think it’s a good idea too.” He smiled again; nodding as he indeed thought that was a very good idea and was fully relieved she understood why he’d been reserved. He hadn’t wanted her to feel like he wasn’t interested in the party. He was, he was more excited about that, than about anything else he could ever remember. Now that they had a new plan in place they walked back to the beginning of the store and started through the fruit section again. “Most kids like to eat the junk food at parties but it’s always good to have at least a few healthy things around. What are you favorite fruits?” Ian looked over the vast array of choices. “Well I really like bananas, and grapes.” Greta nodded very pleased he was being more responsive now that she’d adjusted their shopping procedure a bit. “Do you have a preference between red or green grapes?” “No, but I really don’t like the ones with seeds.” He said standing beside her over a large bin of grapes with the red ones on one side and the green on the other. “Well let’s get a mix of both, be prettier that way.” She said as she filled the bag. By the time they’d reached the halfway point they’d stopped at before the cart was nearly three quarters full leaving just enough room for a few bags of chips, some stuff to make dips and some candy from the candy aisle. By the time they left the store the cart was overflowing with bags. The whole way home Ian thanked Greta in about a thousand different ways having been a bit blown over when the total had come up at the cash register. He’d even started to insist that the party be his present and she not buy him anything else but she quickly put a stop to that line of thinking, telling him that the party was merely the celebration of another year, and the presents were a gift for the person themselves reaching that other year. The afternoon before the party, about two hours before it started, Ian was nearly bouncing off the walls in excitement. He’d run down the stairs at least three times, with three different outfits for Greta to look at to see if they were okay to wear. Despite Greta’s continual approval he still showed up about every twenty minutes with something else on. Matt, Nathan, and Ron were all over at the church gym where they’d decided to hold the party, which Greta was a little grateful of because she knew Matt would be on the floor laughing his ass off at Ian by this time at his desire to look perfect. She knew Matt would only be laughing in good fun but still didn’t feel right about Ian being laughed at even if she found his behavior amusing herself. She turned away from the vegetable tray that she was working on when once again she heard Ian’s voice behind her. “I think this one is it.” She smiled, her face filled with love seeing him in a dark green sweater and a pair of dark brown pants. His hair was gelled giving it a slightly spikey appearance and once again she couldn’t get over the handsome boy in front of her. “Yes I agree that one is perfect.” “Okay,” He said breathlessly, rubbing his hands together, a sure sign he was nervous. She reached out and pulled him into a tight hug, kissing the top of his head. “I love you so much Ian, you are such a joy to have around, I thank God every day you came into our lives.” Ian turned into her hug and wrapped his arms around the woman he loved so dearly. “I thank God every day I came into your lives too. I’m so happy I can’t even begin to describe how much.” She squeezed him a little tighter in a hug that lasted a full minute before she released him. He smiled up at her before he looked over the counter. “What do you want me to do?” “Nothing! It’s your birthday you’re not supposed to work.” “I gotta do something,” he said, his eyes pleading, “I’m so excited I gotta keep busy.” She grinned at him figuring he was probably a hundred percent accurate in his thinking and set him to work cutting up the fruit. The time went quickly from then on, Nathan and Matt coming and going taking the food over to the gym. At six o’clock Nathan walked through the door and up to Ian where he put his arms around him and kissed his temple. “The guests are arriving; I think the birthday boy better get over there.” He felt Ian tremble a little in his arms and he took a step back and looked at his boyfriend closely. “Are you nervous?” Ian shrugged, “I can’t tell, I don’t know if I’m nervous or just excited.” Nathan grinned planting another kiss in the middle of his forehead. “You look very handsome, everyone over there is your friend, there’s not a thing to worry about, you are gonna have a night you’ll always remember happily.” Ian grinned up at him and grasped his hand tightly in his own. “Okay let’s get over there then.” The minute Ian stepped through the church’s gymnasium door his mouth fell open. The place was filled with balloons and streamers. A large poster filled the far wall that read ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY IAN’ and a table was set up underneath it that was loaded with food. In one corner was another table that made his eyes bulge out as it was piled high with presents. He blushed from his head straight down through his toes as everyone in the room started clapping and whistling. He didn’t let go of Nathan’s hand though until Kelly Harvey walked up to him and put her arms around him. “Happy Birthday hon! Thanks so much for inviting us all, we wouldn’t want to miss celebrating your birthday with you.” Ian hugged her back having fond memories of both her and her husband and wanting them at his party as badly as she apparently wanted to come. After he pulled away from the hug with her he got one from Mr. Harvey and Jeff. Next up were Pete and Jason while most of the others settled on just shaking his hand, something Ian didn’t miss that Kevin didn’t even bother to do. He didn’t care though, Kevin had come, he doubted he’d had little choice but he wasn’t about to invite everyone but him. He just hoped the guy didn’t try beating him up at his own birthday party. “Thanks for inviting me man,” Raymond said excitedly as he shook his friend’s hand. “This looks like an awesome party.” Ian grinned at him getting the feeling that Raymond was almost as excited as he was about the party. “I’m glad you could come, and it does look like an awesome party!” he said happily as he retook Nathan’s hand, figuring he’d shaken everyone but Kevin’s hand in the room and figuring that was just not going to happen. As the crowd dispersed around him Ian eyes fell on Tony all dressed up complete with a tie, waiting patiently, being patient something Ian had never seen him be before, and smiling up at him brilliantly. Seeing Ian was now free of everyone else Tony leapt right up into his arms wrapping his little arms tightly around Ian’s neck. “Happy Birthday Ian!” he nearly screamed in Ian’s ear. Ian hugged him tightly back his love for the little boy consuming him. “My birthday’s in a couple months, mom told me, I’m gonna have a big party too! You come Ian? You promise?” Ian smiled at him as Tony pulled back so he could look him in the face. “I promise Tony I wouldn’t miss it for the world!” Tony’s face lit up brilliantly before he wiggled around to get down and took off running across the room towards the food. Ian and Nathan were at the food table themselves when Mark and Jason stepped up beside them. “Man where’s the closet?” Mark asked. Ian looked at him confused, about to answer when Nathan reached over his shoulder and smacked Mark in the chest. “There’s no making out at this party you perv.” Ian looked from Nathan to Mark shaking his head in the process. “I don’t get it,” he said shrugging. “They were looking for a closet so they could hide in it and make out.” Nathan explained. Ian’s mouth dropped open as he looked back at Mark. “You can’t do that! This is part of a church.” “What!” Mark asked feigning innocence. “People make out in churches all the time. At every single wedding.” Ian thought on that for a minute then laughed and shook his head. “That’s not making out that’s just a kiss!” Mark and Jason both slumped their shoulders in their best imitation of a full blown pout, grabbed each other’s hands and turned and walked off leaving Nathan and Ian laughing at the defeated retreating figures. They’d just finished downing their plates of food when Ron’s voice bellowed through the gym. “It’s time for some games everyone! First we need to pick teams. Since its Ian’s birthday he’ll be a team captain and he gets to choose who the other team captain will be. So everyone line up.” Once everyone was in a line Ian moved out in front of it having been instructed to pick the other team captain. Knowing he wanted Nathan on his team and not opposed to him, same as Matt he ruled those two out and looked over the line. “Hmmm I’ll choose Raymond!” He figured that’d be the next best choice. Even though Raymond had recently made a couple of friends that Ian had seen him eating with at lunch he still figured he was probably one of those that always got picked last. Ian figured this way he wouldn’t have to worry about it and thought that he’d get the most enjoyment out of being a captain. The thrilled look on Raymond’s face as he ran out of the line and stood beside him told him he’d made the right decision. Ian got to pick first and of course picked Nathan and by the time all the guests had been picked was pleased he had Nathan, Matt, Jeff, Mark, Tony Jason and Pete on his team. They’d played three games and were just starting a third when Ian heard someone swearing and looked around the room. Not much to his surprise he saw Kevin’s mouth was the one behind all the swearing. The rest of the gymnasium quieted and everyone’s attention was focusing on Kevin. “This is so stupid,” said Kevin, just shy of yelling, once everyone was looking at him. “It’s like a five year old’s party.” Flushing with anger that the party his family had worked so hard on was being bashed by Kevin, Ian wasn’t about to let him say anymore. He took several steps across the room so he was face to face with the other boy who glared at him and opened his mouth to say more. Ian held up his hand. “Don’t!” he said as forcefully as anyone had ever heard him speak. “Don’t you ruin this party, everyone else is having fun and if you can’t manage to stop being a jerk for a few hours then you don’t have to stay.” “Yes I do.” Kevin snapped right back. “I don’t have any choice in the matter. You invited the whole damn house; I don’t have any privileges of my own so I had to get dragged along too. You think I wanted to come to your stupid party. In case you forgot I HATE you!” Ian took a step back as Kevin pushed him and stormed off. Ian couldn’t bring himself to be mad anymore. Kevin may have been talking like total jerk but Ian saw more. He saw hurt on Kevin’s face. A hurt he was all too familiar with from his own past. He turned around to go after him but Nathan was standing just behind him. “Let him go babe, you’re right if he doesn’t want to have any fun just let him go.” Ian shook his head. “I can’t Nathan.” He said as he squeezed his boyfriends hand then walked off to find Kevin. He found Kevin sitting in the small alcove that was just inside the entrance to the gymnasium. He was sitting on the small bench in the room with his knees pulled up in front of him and his head down on his knees. Ian stood in the doorway. “Kevin?” “Go away asshole.” His voice was congested and scratchy and Ian’s eyes widened in shock as he was sure that big tough Kevin was crying. “I’m sorry Kevin.” Ian said refusing to leave and not talk to him even more now that he realized the guy was this upset. “It wasn’t nice of me to yell at you.” Kevin’s head shot up, his eyes red but Ian didn’t see any visible tears. “What the fuck, why are you such a pansy? Are you Mr. Roger’s kid or something.” Ian narrowed his eyes in confusion. “I don’t know Kevin, I was adopted, and I’m not sure who my real father is.” Kevin snorted and rolled his eyes. “God you are so dumb sometimes. That was a joke, I was being sarcastic, Jesus.” He said clenching his fists. “Haven’t you even heard of Mr. Rogers?” “No I don’t think so. Why, who is he?” “He’s a kid show host.” Kevin sighed, the anger dissipating from his voice. “You really never watched him?” Ian shook his head. “First time I watched TV was about two months ago. Honest.” Kevin shook his head muttering, “Damn.” “Do you really hate the party Kevin?” The boy shrugged keeping his mouth closed. “I’m sorry if you do, I suppose it’s not everyone’s idea of fun.” “I know you just invited me ‘cause you had to.” “That’s not true,” Ian said walking a little further into the room. “I wanted to invite everyone from the Harvey’s, I didn’t think twice about it.” “Why would you want to invite me? We aren’t exactly friends. In fact I’d say we were enemies.” “I don’t think we’re enemies, I don’t hate you, I wish you’d be a little nicer sometimes but if we all had the exact same personality the world would be a very boring place.” Ian’s eyes got even bigger when Kevin actually laughed. “I guess you’re right about that. I don’t always mean to be such an ass; it just seems to be what I’m best at.” Ian took a deep breath and spit out his next question. “Do you really hate me?” Kevin looked up at him and for the first time Ian felt like he was looking at a face that didn’t hold hostility towards him. “No I don’t think so Ian, and if you repeat this to anyone I’ll punch your lights out, but honestly I think I’m just jealous of you.” “Jealous?” Ian asked in disbelief. “Yeah. That you can still be so perfect and happy, you should be bitter and mean, like me. It doesn’t make sense.” “So if I was more of a jerk you might like me?” Kevin grinned and shook his head. “I can’t even picture you being a jerk. Certainly don’t change on my account. I wouldn’t be jealous if it wasn’t a good thing.” Ian smiled suddenly very glad he’d decided to come and talk to Kevin. “So you’ll come back to the party then?” “I guess,” Kevin stood up and pointed his finger out at Ian. “But you better not tell anyone what I said man, I mean it, I have a reputation to keep.” Ian smiled which quickly turned into a laugh, having a hard time believing that someone would want a reputation like that, but knowing everyone was different, he promised he’d keep the conversation they’d had to himself. They returned to the party that, from the looks of it, had kept on going in their absence as the last of the games was just wrapping up. Next thing Ian knew he was being led to the table that was piled high with presents by Greta. “You mean I have to open them here!” he said looking at her, his eyes fearful. “Well yes honey, everyone wants to see what you got.” Ian looked at the crowd that had gathered in front of the table all looking at him expectantly. His gut churned as he wasn’t so sure that he was going to like being the center of everyone’s attention. Knowing it was expected and not about to make a scene he smiled shyly at everyone and reached for the first present. He opened present after present unable to believe the incredible amount of stuff he was getting. He opened several items of clothing from Greta and Ron. Another present was a piece of paper with writing on it that he didn’t quite understand and he looked up at her questioningly. “It’s for driving school hon, so you can learn how to drive and get your permit and eventually get your drivers license.” Ian’s entire face lit up as he hugged both his new parents. He hadn’t really ever considered driving at this point in his life, but now that it was a prospect in his grasp the idea left him totally thrilled. The next present he opened was from Nathan. He was overwhelmed when he pulled out a brand new brown suede leather jacket that was just as nice as the one Nathan wore all the time, the one he’d commented on several times that he loved. He gave Nathan a huge hug then returned to the table to where he opened Matt’s and found a box full of stuff to decorate up his side of the room with. Stuff that would make their room have more of his personality in it. Stuff Matt apparently knew him well enough to know that he’d love. The next best present he got that evening came from Jeff. Jeff had given him a nice card along with a gift card to Dairy Queen that spilled out as he opened it, but it was what was written in the card that warmed Ian’s heart. Scrawled out on the left hand page was an address and email address. Ian looked up over the card to Jeff’s smiling face. “You’re moving?” Jeff nodded as he took a few steps closer to Ian. “Remember that family I told you about? The one I thought didn’t want me?” Ian nodded. “Well I was totally wrong, I guess I let my hurt feelings misread everything. They wanted to adopt me the whole time. They just couldn’t get all the paperwork pushed through before they moved. They didn’t want to come out and tell me what they were doing in case it fell through, but last week everything was finalized and I’m flying out there tomorrow to live with them and be their adopted son.” Ian’s mouth fell open as he rounded the table and engulfed his very happy friend with his arms. “Oh I knew it Jeff; I knew you’d find a good family.” “Well that made one of us.” Jeff said laughing in his arms. “I should have believed you I guess. But like I said I was too busy sulking.” Ian stepped back and smiled at him. “Well that doesn’t matter now, I’m so happy for you!” Jeff smiled back at him. “Me too, and I’m so happy for you too!” Long after the party ended and most of the guests, with the exception of Nathan had left, the party was all cleaned up and Nathan took Ian’s hand and led him out into the cool starry night where they sat on the steps of the front porch of the house. “So did you have a great night?” Ian nodded staring up at the stars dreamily. “I sure did Nathan. You’re right; it’s one I’ll always remember.” “Even when we’re eighty, sitting outside in our wheelchairs staring up at these same stars?” Ian leaned into him and chuckled. “Definitely,” he said, his heart filling with even more happiness that Nathan saw them together at eighty years old. “I love my jacket. You are so incredible, I don’t know how I got so luck…” he was cut off as Nathan put his finger to Ian’s lips. “You’re not lucky Ian; you more than deserve everything that happens to you from now on. Don’t ever think you’re lucky, you are special and wonderful, a person so incredible everyone else pales in comparison. I am lucky to have you, not the other way around. I love you more than life itself, you make me want to get up every morning, and you make me smile every night as I go to bed and think of our day together and seeing you the next day. You are everything to me.” Ian smiled as a tear trickled down his cheek, he didn’t understand how he was special enough to deserve a person like Nathan but he wasn’t going to argue, he was far too in love to do much questioning on it. He was happy in the knowledge that Nathan loved him and that his love for and from the Delmar’s was all he needed. He couldn’t imagine anyone having a better life than he now led. He leaned forward and pressed his lips tightly into Nathan’s, tasting his sweet lips as Nathan’s arms swooped around him holding him in a tight hug as their lips expressed, without words, just how very much in love they were.
  6. vlista20

    Chapter 6

    Unbreakable Faith Chapter 6 The ride to the group home was short and mostly silent. Betty had gotten his clothes and what few belongings he owned from his house and they were packed in a duffel bag in the back seat. Ian looked over the two story house as they pulled up into the driveway. It looked to be about twice the size of the rectory. It was white with green shutters; it had a wrap around porch and a small front yard. Betty grabbed his bag from the backseat as they got out of the car and he followed her up the steps. They stopped in front of the door where she rang the doorbell. A few seconds later the door opened and a dark haired middle aged woman smiled out at them. She stepped back out of the doorway holding the door open and motioned them in. After closing the door behind them she stepped in front of Ian. “My name is Kelly dear; I’m the house mother here. I’m very glad you’ve come to stay with us for a while.” Ian smiled at her and shook her hand. “Thank you ma’am. Thanks for letting me stay here.” His eyes wandered around the large room they’d walked into. It wasn’t wide but pretty long. Stairs led upwards about halfway down its length and two wide doorways stood on either side of him. Through the one on the right was a very large dining room table surrounded by ten chairs. The doorway to his left showed a room that was filled with couches and chairs, all facing a large TV against the far wall. He stood taking in his surroundings as Betty handed Kelly the bag from the doctor’s and his duffel bag. Turning back to her Ian reached out for the duffel. “I got that ma’am.” “No hon, I’ll take it up to your room. You don’t need to be straining yourself.” He nodded though he was confused. He didn’t understand why everyone was treating him like he was fragile. It was so unlike what he was accustomed to but he was too confused to even come up with a question to hopefully get an explanation. Betty left telling him to call her anytime he needed to. He nodded to her and thanked her as she opened the door. He turned back to Kelly as the door closed behind Betty. “Well why don’t I show you to your room.” He nodded to her as well then followed her up the wooden staircase that had a blue and green carpet going up its center. The house he realized was certainly a lot better decorated than the rectory. At the top of the stairs a hallway spread out on either side of him. He counted six doors three on one side and three on the other. She walked down the right side and opened the second door on the left. He followed her into the room which was very large. It had three beds in it, three bureaus, and each bed had its own nightstand. The bedspreads were different colors, one blue, one red and one green. There was one large window in the room that was adorned with green curtains that were tied back with a blue tie. He couldn’t get over how nice the room was. “This bed here is yours.” She said walking up to the one that was on the same wall as the door. Its side was flush against the wall and the headboard was in the right side corner of the room. It had the green bed spread on it which he was pleased with as green was his favorite color. The other two beds were perpendicular to it coming off the back wall and out into the room from either side of the window. She walked up to the bureau that was closest to his bed on the right wall. “And this is your bureau. I’ll give you some time to unpack then meet me back in the dining room so I can go over the rules and regulations of the house.” “Okay ma’am.” He said from where he was still standing just inside the door. He didn’t move until she had left the room. He spent an hour re folding all his clothes so they were just so then placing them in the drawers of his bureau. It had two smaller upper drawers, one he put his socks in the other he put his underwear. In the first of the bigger drawers he put his shirts, the next he put his pants and in the bottom one he put his sweaters. He then folded up the duffel bag and tucked it under the bed where he also put his extra pair of shoes. At just after eleven o’clock he walked back down the stairs where he found her in the dining room with a calculator and some kind of leather bound book with numbers scrawled over the page that it was open to. She smiled up at him as he walked in. “Have a seat.” She motioned to the chair kitty corner to where she was sitting at the far end of the table. He walked over pulled out the chair and quietly sat down. Making sure to lift the chair as he pushed himself back to the table so it wouldn’t scrape on the floor. “As you probably guessed you share a room with two other boys.” He nodded, putting his hands up on the table resting one hand on top of the one in the cast. “There are seven other boys that live here, so the most important rule is to be respectful. Keep your part of the room neat, don’t insult any of the other kids, if someone tells you they need space then just leave them alone. It happens sometimes. With a house so full sometimes you guys just need some time to yourselves. Everyone has the understanding that if you request to be alone that you will be left alone.” Ian nodded understanding where that would come in handy. “You are responsible for doing your own laundry. Your day will be Saturday; you share that day with Kevin so the two of you will need to decide who is going to do it in the morning and who will do it in the afternoon. Do you know how to do your laundry?” Ian shook his head feeling embarrassed for perhaps the hundredth time in the last twenty four hours. “Well that’s no problem. I can show you how, it’s not too hard. Once a month you’ll need to wash your bedding as well. Sheets get done every two weeks but your blankets get done once a month.” She adjusted herself in her chair then continued. “You also have a daily chore. Yours is cleaning the living room. Tonight when it’s time I’ll go over it with you so you know what you’ll need to do.” “We get up at six, you take your showers, and you share a bathroom with the other boys in your room so you guys will have to arrange your shower schedule. We have breakfast at six thirty. After breakfast you go up and clean up your part of the room and by that time it’s time to head over to the school.” “After school you have free time until dinner. Dinner is at six, after dinner we do chores then from seven thirty until eight thirty we study. After study hour you have more free time until you go to bed. On school nights you have to be in bed by ten thirty.” “Do you have any questions?” “No ma’am, I don’t think so.” He was sure some would come up but figured he’d ask as they did. Sitting here as shy and uncomfortable as he was his mind was a complete blank. “Do you want some lunch?” She asked after going over a few more things, checking her watch and seeing it was nearly noon. “Okay,” he wasn’t accustomed to being asked if he wanted to eat. He always ate before when his parents did. He found it odd but didn’t dare question it. “What do you want to eat?” “Whatever you’re having is fine.” This really threw him for a loop. He’d never been given any choice before. Had never even heard of such a thing. “Well I’m going to have a bologna sandwich is that okay?” “Yes ma’am sounds good. Do you want help making it?” he looked up at her and noted a look of confusion on her face as well. He blushed thinking he must have done something wrong. His eyes lowered to about her waist. “I’m sorry ma’am.” “Why are you sorry hon?” He shrugged. He didn’t know what he’d done wrong so couldn’t really explain why he was sorry. “I’ll just make it and bring it out to you. It won’t take but a minute. What do you want to drink?” “Water is fine.” He always had water with his meals. All except for breakfast when he got orange juice. That choice was not hard at all for him to make. After lunch she sent him up to his room to take a nap. Not accustomed to sleeping during the day he spent the time lying on his new bed. A bed he found quite comfortable. He stared at the ceiling and thought all afternoon. Thought about what was happening with his parents. What was happening with Tony. He wondered if Tony was happy where ever he was and prayed he was not scared, that he was being treated okay. He also thought of Nathan. What Nathan had done for him and how it seemed as though the guy really, genuinely cared about him. That was absolutely new territory for him. The fact he’d helped him out, someone he barely knew made Ian feel indebted to him. A debt he promised that afternoon on the bed that he’d repay. At nearly three o’clock the bedroom door opened and two guys both looking about his age walked in. One of them whom he recognized as Jeff Wheeler from school stopped and looked down at him. “Ian?” he said sounding genuinely shocked. Ian slowly sat up and looked up at the other boy, a boy that was in his class, a boy he’d always thought was quite handsome. “Yeah,” He said shyly. “What are you doing here?” “Umm,” his eyes darted to the other boy then back to Jeff. “I live here now.” Jeff eyed him up and down then nodded. “Everyone at school’s been talking about you today. They saw you leave in a cop car yesterday, Mrs. Weaver too. Everyone’s wondering what’s going on.” Ian looked down at the floor and nodded feeling like the village idiot. He didn’t want people at school talking about him. Didn’t even want to think of what kind of conclusions his classmates would be coming up with. Jeff, maybe sensing his discomfort said. “They’re all real happy Mrs. Weaver isn’t there any more though.” Ian glanced up at him and smiled an embarrassed smile. “Well this is Mike.” Jeff said gesturing to the other boy that had come into the room. “He doesn’t go to our school. He goes to the alternative school.” “What’s that?” Ian asked never having heard of such a thing. “It’s a school for nimrods.” Mike spoke up. “Nimrod?” Mike looked to Jeff his mouth gaping a bit and a confused look on his face. Jeff shook his head and gave a wave of his hand. “He’s a bit sheltered. He’s not stupid just sheltered.” Ian blushed not sure if he was being complimented or insulted. Jeff turned back to him. “A nimrod is kinda like an idiot. Mike’s not an idiot but he doesn’t like his school so he says that.” Mike let out a laugh and smacked Jeff in the shoulder. “Mr. Congeniality is at it again.” He said shaking his head as he walked over to his bed and flopped down. Jeff turned and walked to his bed, he sat down on the end of it so he was still facing Ian. “So what happened Ian? Why are you here?” Ian picked at his cast trying to find the right words to use. After a minute Jeff sighed. “Its okay man, if you don’t wanna talk about it you don’t have to. But just so’s you know we got a confidentiality thing going here. So if you decide you want to talk about it you don’t have to worry about me blabbing it to the whole school. It’s the rules I can’t say a word. And if I tell you something you can’t say a word either, okay?” Ian looked up at him and smiled. He never realized Jeff was such a nice guy. Of course he’d never actually talked to him. Only looked at him an awful lot. “How long have you lived here?” “About three months. None of us have been here that long. Longest is Kevin. He comes and goes. Doesn’t work out too well with the foster families but he does okay here. I think they decided just to keep him around here. It’s easier on him ya know?” Ian nodded though he didn’t really understand it. “Things are good here though Ian. I think you’ll like it. The Harvey’s are very nice.” He met all of the other boys before dinner. A few seemed pretty nice while a few didn’t seem to care to meet him. Jeff by far though was the nicest of them all. There was only one other boy that he recognized from school, Paul Thomas. The others he figured were either too young for high school or went to the same school that Mike did. They were all called down to dinner at six sharp. The table was filled with dishes of food; he saw baked chicken in one plate. A big bowl of mashed potatoes, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes and another bowl filled with broccoli. He stood awkwardly just inside the doorway having no idea of where to sit. A man he’d not met yet suddenly came up behind him, causing him to jump a bit as he caught his movements out of the corner of his eyes. “I’m Kyle Harvey son,” the man said walking around and sticking out his hand which Ian shook. “How do you like it here so far?” “Fine sir, thank you.” Kyle nodded then turned back to the table. “Why don’t you sit right here.” He said patting the chair that was closest to where he’d sat at the head of the table. It was across from Jeff and beside Kevin. Ian walked over picked the chair up and pulled it out then sat in it and pushed himself back in. Soon as everyone was seated the food started to be passed around. Ian was handed the bowl of potatoes and looked at it not sure of what to do. As the seconds ticked by with him still staring at the bowl Kyle Harvey looked over at him. “What’s the matter son?” Ian looked up at him; in his mind he was thinking this was some kind of trick. A trick to see if he remembered his manners. A trick that if he failed he could be punished for. “I’m not supposed to serve myself sir.” He blushed as the man let out a laugh. “Well son, in a house like this if you don’t take it when it’s going by you could miss out.” A few of the other kids snickered and Ian blushed even more. He looked around the table and saw the other kids had all served themselves. Though he was still very fearful his actions would result in punishment he slowly spooned himself out some potato. The same amount his mother always gave him. Gluttony he’d always been told was a tool of the devil. He didn’t need to be gluttonous to add to his list of sins. He handed the bowl off to Mr. Harvey not looking up at the man, not wanting to see if he looked angry or even worse still amused at Ian’s apparent idiocy. Once he had a moderate portion of everything on his plate he lowered his head, closed his eyes and clasped his hands together. “Dear Lord...” He was quickly cut off as several other snickers filled the table and Mr. Harvey’s voice rang out again. “Son we don’t pray at the table here. If you want to pray that’s fine but do it silently okay?” Ian looked up his face hot and his mind terribly confused. The other kids continued to snicker and Ian looked over at Jeff as he spoke up. “You guys leave him alone.” He snapped giving an evil look to everyone else at the table. When the snickers died down Ian lowered his head again. Though he’d never heard of anything as crazy as not praying at the dinner table he knew he couldn’t ever not do it himself. The Lord needed to be thanked for nourishment. If he had to he’d do it silently. He knew he should probably inform these people about the error of their ways, but was too new to this place, too shy and too nervous to say anything. He figured it didn’t matter how mad his father would be at his cowardice, his father was not there to punish him. This was The Harvey’s home. If there were new rules to learn he’d learn them, as he’d also always been taught to respect his elders. He said his prayer then slowly ate his food. Long after everyone was done, even after they’d started clearing the table Ian was still eating. “Why’s he eating so slow?” He heard Kevin ask Jeff and looked up. Jeff narrowed his eyes and looked from Ian to Kevin. “I’m not his spokesperson man, if you wanna know ask him.” He looked back to Ian with an amused look on his face and rolled his eyes which Ian couldn’t help but smile at. When he was finally through eating he put his silverware on his plate, stood up and carried that, his glass and his napkin into the kitchen where two of the boys were doing up the dishes. He threw the napkin in the trash and walked over to where they were at the sink doing the dishes. “Where do you want this?” he asked not wanting to just set it down and take a chance on ticking one of them off. Paul whom he knew from school and was washing took a step back. “Just dump it in Ian.” Ian did as he was told and Paul half smiled at him. “Thanks.” Ian nodded not sure why he was being thanked as all he’d done was give the guy more work to do. He turned as Kelly poked her head into the kitchen. “You ready to learn your chore now?” “Yes ma’am.” As he was leaving the kitchen he heard the boy drying the dishes say, “What is he a Stepford kid?” He heard Paul chuckle but didn’t hear an answer as he followed Kelly through the dining room. He had no idea what a Stepford kid was but didn’t figure from the tone of the kid’s voice that it was anything good. On the way to the living room he saw Jeff, vacuum cleaner in hand, halfway up the stairs as he vacuumed with one hand while he dusted the banister with the other. Kelly turned to him once they were in the living room. “Basically what you have to do is vacuum and dust. Straighten the pillows on the furniture and just pick up the general clutter.” She pointed to a stack of books on the coffee table. “Those books need to go back in the book case. These shoes need to be given to their rightful owner.” She said pointing to a pair in front of the couch. “I believe they are Kevin’s, I’ll talk to him again about not leaving his stuff out. The stuff to dust with is in this cupboard here.” She opened a cabinet just inside the door, pulled out a can of spray and a rag. “Think you got it?” He nodded. “Yes ma’am.” “Well if you have any questions just let me know. Okay hon?” “Yes ma’am.” He wasn’t sure exactly why but he loved it when she called him hon. He guessed it was because it made it sound like she actually liked him. He imagined it had to be a term of endearment. When she left the room he put all the books back on their shelves making sure all the books that were already there were in order according to size and pressed back flush against the back side of the case. He took the shoes and set them near the door figuring he’d give them to Kevin when his chore was done. He dusted all the furniture, including the lamps and TV. About half an hour had passed when Jeff walked into the room. “Here man, you’re gonna need this.” He said wheeling the vacuum cleaner up to him. Ian thanked him as he took the machine. Before vacuuming he fluffed all the cushions, seeing crumbs and stuff under them he took the vacuum and sucked up all the debris then returned the cushions to their places and vacuumed them. He was so into his work he didn’t notice a few of the other boys enter the room. After vacuuming the curtains, the registers, the lamp shades, the ceiling fan and the corners of the room he turned around to do the floor. The vacuum suddenly stopped. He looked down at it and pressed the power button off and on a few times. He looked into the nozzle then started to bend down for a closer examination when some more snickering stopped him. He straightened himself out, the nozzle still in his hand and looked over to see Kevin, Keith and Jason looking back at him with big grins on their faces. Kevin was holding the plug to the vacuum, the reason apparently it had stopped working. “DUUDDEEE,” Kevin said dramatically. “We want to catch our show before study hour. You need to quit cleaning now, you freak.” The other two chuckled while Ian lowered the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner to his side. “But I’m not done.” Keith shook his head and laughed. “Man this room is cleaner than any of us have ever seen it. You’re done believe me.” “But I didn’t do the floor. I’ll get in trouble.” “You’ll get in trouble if you don’t stop.” Kevin said making a fist and holding it up. Ian looked at his face then at his fist. “But...” “I mean it man; you take your little cleaning supplies and go elsewhere.” Ian wheeled the vacuum over to him and reached out for the rest of the cord. Kevin smirked as he put it in his hand. “Try to learn in the future that kissing ass will get you no where.” Ian shook his head. “What do you mean?” He decided to ignore the swear word. “That being little Mr. Perfect ain’t gonna make them like you anymore. Don’t bust your ass cause it won’t get you nothing.” The first time he could ignore but the second time he couldn’t. “You shouldn’t curse.” All it brought for a reaction was loud laughter from all three of them. He blushed miserably as he wrapped up the cord and placed it on the vacuum. He wheeled it out of the room while the TV came on and their laughter stopped. Jeff was just coming down the stairs and he looked up at him. “Where does this go?” “Oh, right over here.” Jeff walked to a door halfway down the hall and opened it up. Ian pushed it into the closet then closed the door back up. “You wanna watch TV?” Jeff asked. Ian shook his head. “I’m not allowed to watch TV.” Jeff looked at him, a definite look of confusion on his face. “You’re not at home anymore Ian. You don’t follow the same rules. If you want to watch TV you are allowed to here.” Ian quickly shook his head. His father had preached endlessly about the sins of TV and it was not something he was going to view anytime soon. He was about to head up the stairs when Kelly walked out of yet another door in the hallway carrying his back pack. “Your principal dropped this off for you today, as well as a list of assignments from your teachers.” She said handing the bag over to him as well as a list she produced from her pocket. Ian took it and thanked her. Now having work to do he decided to forego going up the stairs and just head to the dining room to do his homework. Kyle Harvey was already in there sitting where he’d sat at dinner, drinking a cup of what smelled like coffee and reading a paper. Ian sat where he’d sat at dinner and pulled his books out of his bag. He set them in a neat pile in front of him, the biggest on the bottom and the smallest on the top. He didn’t notice the man studying him as he situated his things just so. Didn’t notice he was looking at all until he looked up at the man and slowly held his list of assignments out to him. Kyle lowered his paper and took the list looking at the boy and the list in confusion. “What are you giving me this for?” “For you to tell me what to do.” Ian answered feeling just as confused as the man looked. “What do you mean?” A little scared to answer at this point Ian answered very slowly and quite quietly. “You tell me what you want me to do first. And if there’s any papers to be written you tell me what to do them on.” Kyle nodded and set the paper back down in front of Ian. “Son things just don’t work that way here.” He felt terribly sorry for the boy at that moment, getting an indication as to what his life had been like. He’d been filled in on what was already known but this was something new. “You are allowed to have your own mind. To decide what you want to do first. To even decide what to write in your papers.” Ian looked at him blankly thinking back to Mr. Bell’s admonition of him after reading his ‘gay rights’ speech. Of him asking him if he’d ever think for himself. “So what do I do?” The man’s look only increased in confusion. “Well for tonight, why don’t you just go in the order they are written. Maybe tomorrow night you can try just picking one in any random order.” Ian’s eyes narrowed as he looked down at the paper. He was sure he was being picked on and didn’t like it one bit. He stayed at the table doing his work, while the others joined him then long after they’d all gone back in to watch TV. He didn’t make it upstairs to his room until about ten minutes before bedtime. He hung his book bag from the bottom post of his bed then slipped off his shoes and put them under the bed. He went to his dresser and pulled out his pair of navy blue pajamas. “Where’s the bathroom?” He asked turning to Jeff, remembering Kelly had told him that the three of them shared one. Jeff, who’d been eyeing him without Ian’s knowledge, pointed at a door between two of the bureaus. “Right there.” Ian looked at it his mouth falling open. “You mean we have a bathroom right off the bedroom?” His parents had had one and he’d always wished he had one of his own. Being out in the hallways at night back home had always made him nervous, he knew his father could come up with any reason for an attack especially any sound he may make at night on a trip to the bathroom. Jeff chuckled at his excitement and nodded. “Regular old palace here man.” Ian walked to the door slowly opened it then stepped inside. It was a good sized room. There was a toilet, a sink, and a tub shower combo. He peeled off his clothes and pulled on the pajamas. After carefully folding the clothes he walked back out into the bedroom. “Where do I put dirty clothes?” Jeff pointed again this time to three baskets that were by the door. “Yours is the green one.” Ian nodded then walked over and placed his folded clothes neatly in the bottom. Mike started to snicker and Ian straightened himself out and looked over at him. Mike shook his head. “Sorry man, I just ain’t never seen anyone fold their clothes to put ‘em in the hamper.” Not responding to him Ian looked back at Jeff. “We are supposed to coordinate shower time. What time do you guys take yours?” “First come first serve man.” Ian scrunched up his face. “Huh?” “First up gets the first shower.” Nodding Ian walked over to his night stand where he’d tucked his tooth brush earlier not having had any idea at the time that the bathroom was right there. “There’s toothpaste in there.” He said pointing the brush out at the bathroom door. “Is it for all of us to use?” “Sure is.” Jeff said smiling as he adjusted the pillow under his head. After brushing his teeth he put the tooth brush in the holder that was on the sink. He took a good long pee then flushed the toilet and put the seat and cover that had been left up down. He left the bathroom shutting out the light as he left. He folded back the blankets on the bed then got on his knees beside it. Not daring to pray out loud again he bowed his head, put his hands up to his face and prayed silently. “Why’s he do that man?” he heard Mike ask Jeff partway into his prayer. “I think it’s rude to talk when someone’s praying man,” was Jeff’s only response. Ian prayed for nearly ten minutes. Prayed that he’d figure things out in this new place, thanked God profusely for saving him from his home and giving him this new place to live. Prayed for Tony and his happiness and safety and thanked him for Nathan, someone Ian couldn’t wait to see again. He didn’t get to see Nathan the next day however. Not until after he was up, showered and dressed and had gone downstairs did he receive the bad news. He’d just walked into the dining room when Mrs. Harvey looked up at him surprise registering all over her face. “Oh honey,” she said standing up from her chair. “I’m sorry, I guess I figured you already knew but you aren’t going to school today.” He looked at her, his good mood faltering, as he’d really wanted to see Nathan. “Why?” “Your doctor wants you to stay out today. After today you have two days anyway. He wants you to rest.” “But I feel fine.” “Well you may feel fine but you still don’t want to over do it. Just one more day resting is not going to do you any harm. You’ll go again Monday okay?” He nodded sadly knowing better than to push the argument. He started to turn and go back upstairs when her voice stopped him. “Well you can still have some breakfast hon.” “Oh,” he walked another step into the dining room stopping short when he heard his name. “Ian,” Mike said angrily walking up so he was in front of Ian as he turned back around. “Why in the heck did you put the toilet seat down last night? I stumbled in there in the dark and just assumed it was up. I splashed piss all over the damn bathroom.” Ian looked at Kelly in amazement as the woman just started to laugh. He could not believe she was letting him get away with all that swearing. He looked back at Mike who was still glaring at him. “You’re supposed to keep the seat down.” “Not when it’s only guys that use it man. That’s a woman’s rule. No women use our bathroom. So keep it up, got it?” Ian nodded while Kelly continued to laugh. Mike turned to her, a grin coming to his own face. “It’s not funny Kelly.” As he let out a little chuckle himself. “It was gross and I had to spend five minutes cleaning it up.” Ian looked at her as well. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know.” Kelly shook her head, walked over and put her hand on his shoulder. “Its okay sweetie, what you did is proper manners. Just our rules here are a little different sometimes. Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of things. No one comes in here and doesn’t have some adjusting to do.” While he was putting his breakfast dishes in the kitchen he heard the doorbell ringing. Knowing it wasn’t his place to answer the door he ignored it and left the kitchen intent on going up to his bedroom. He stopped in surprise when he got to the front hallway and saw two police officers standing there talking to Kelly, one of which he recognized from two days earlier. Jane Godwin caught sight of him over Kelly’s shoulder and smiled as she walked around Kelly and up to Ian. “How are you doing hon? You certainly look good.” Ian smiled at her, he considered her one of his saviors and was actually glad to see her again, an opportunity he hadn’t thought he’d get. “I’m good ma’am, thanks.” “You are liking it here?” He nodded and smiled at Kelly before looking back at Jane. “Yes ma’am.” Jane looked back at Kelly herself, “Is there a good place we can talk with him?” “Sure,” Kelly nodded then led the two officers and Ian into the living room where Ian sat in one of the chairs and the two officers sat across from him on the couch. “Do you want coffee or anything?” Kelly asked from the doorway. Both officers declined the offer then focused their attention on Ian who sat nervously in his chair wondering what he was going to be ‘talked to’ about. Jane apparently noticing his nervousness smiled warmly at him. “It’s okay Ian; we just want to ask a few more questions.” Filling with relief that they weren’t there to say they made a mistake and send him back home he relaxed a little in his chair. Jane leaned forward on the couch and smiled again. “This is an open and shut case Ian. There’s no way your adoptive parents are going to get away with what they’ve done to you. You probably won’t even have to go to court and testify. There’s enough evidence already to keep them behind bars for several years. You are never going to have to worry about them again.” Ian smiled as a feeling of relief ran through his entire body. Her words were just what he needed to hear. He never wanted to see his parents again, that was one thing he was absolutely certain of. The fact they would be secure behind bars for a long long time was about the best news anyone could ever give him. The two officers left about half an hour later after Ian had done his best to answer the additional questions. Though they both were very nice he had to admit he was glad to see them go, as the questions they were asking were hard for him to answer. Now that he didn’t live that life anymore he didn’t like having to relive it by talking about it. After the officers left he returned to his room. Seeing Mike and Jeff’s bed weren’t exactly made correctly and not wanting them to get in trouble he decided to remake them. He pulled all the blankets off Jeff’s bed and put them on Mikes. With the bed being up against the wall he couldn’t get to two of the corners so he grabbed onto the bed post at the foot of the bed and pulled the bed out. Since the floor was carpeted he didn’t have to worry about scraping any floors. He was about halfway through making the bed, his body pressed between the bed and the wall as he meticulously did his hospital corners when the door suddenly opened and Kelly walked in. He stood up quickly not having intended getting caught with what he was doing. “What are you doing?” she asked walking further into the room. He fidgeted as he looked from her down to the bed. “Umm,” he knew he couldn’t lie. “I was just making the beds.” “Did the others ask you to?” He quickly shook his head. “Were they not made when you came back up here?” He shook his head again. She cocked her head to one side and studied him in such a way that it made him want to disappear. “Why are you doing it then?” He rubbed his hand up and down his casted arm. There was a long pause before he finally spoke. “I just wanted to make them like I was taught.” “Ian, you can’t go around changing things to the way you like them. These boys, as far as I’m concerned, make their beds just fine. You are only going to anger them if you follow them around and pick up after them. Do you understand?” Her voice was kind but he knew when he was being admonished despite the tone it was delivered in. “I’m sorry.” “Its okay hon, I’m just letting you know. It’s hard enough living with seven other boys; you don’t need them getting angry with you all the time. That will only make it harder.” He nodded feeling very low. “I’ll just finish this one then okay?” She nodded and smiled. “You can come down and watch TV if you want. You don’t have to stay up here all day.” “No ma’am. I can’t watch TV.” “Why not?” “I’m not allowed.” “You are allowed Ian; you’re not at home anymore. If you want to watch TV here you are not going to get into any trouble.” He nodded though he knew he’d still not do it he just didn’t really want to talk about it anymore. She turned and left the room and he made up the bed. After it was made he walked over and lay down on his own bed. He had no idea of what to do with himself. After lunch and helping Kelly clean up the mess he asked. “Is it okay if I clean the living room now?” “If you want, but you may end up having to touch it up still this evening. Most of the mess occurs in there in the afternoon.” He nodded. “Well I’ll just do the vacuuming and dusting and after supper I can just straighten it up.” He spent the entire afternoon in the living room, cleaning everything from the windows, to the walls, to the floors. When he was satisfied it was spotless he put his cleaning supplies away and returned to his room.
  7. vlista20

    Chapter 1

    Unbreakable Faith Chapter 1 Ian sat rigidly in the front pew of the church his neck craned and his face pointed upwards at his father as he delivered another ‘fire and brimstone’ sermon to his faithful parishioners. Though he hadn’t turned his head away from his father since the sermon had begun half an hour before he knew the church was packed like it was every Sunday. His father’s church was the only Pentecostal church in the town, and though most people in the town were Baptists there were enough Pentecostal’s in the town to fill this church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and even Wednesday evenings. Though he’d been staring at his father for half an hour he decided to actually focus in on the man’s face. He saw the cold hard eyes that never seemed to hold any softness or compassion in them at all. The haggard looking face, the vein that popped out on the man’s forehead when he got really worked up about something. A vein Ian had seen throbbing intensely way more than he ever wanted to. He felt his mother sitting rigidly at his side, not that he dared take his eyes away from his father long enough to look at her. Not even out of the corner of his eye. His father had an uncanny way of knowing exactly when to look to be able to catch him doing something wrong. After at least another full hour of listening intently to his father’s ranting the service wrapped up. Like always Richard Weaver came off his podium and ‘graced’ the congregation with his presence. Shaking hands with the ‘flock’ and smiling. It was the only time Ian ever saw him smile and he always paid close attention to it. He prayed every night after his mandatory prayer that just once he would see his dad smile at him like that. That just once he would know what it felt like to be looking into that face and not see hatred and anger. He felt his mother’s hand close in on his arm like a vice as she stood up and pretty much pulled him up right beside her. She was a tall woman and thin as a rail. She had a power to her though. One Ian never dared to mess with. She led him over still hanging tightly to his arm to where the ‘good reverend’ was standing. As dutifully as they did every Sunday they stood behind the patriarch of their family. Showing the rest of the congregation they stood behind their preacher both literally and figuratively. The perfect little family. Ian was fully aware however that many members of the church knew he was not perfect. His father had used him as an example in his sermons more then once, talking of his adopted son’s sinful ways. Most of the church members didn’t like him and didn’t have any qualms about letting him know that. They thought it was despicable that he could be so ungrateful to the family that had saved him from a life in orphanages. What they didn’t know though was that half the stuff the good preacher raved about was grossly exaggerated. The slightest indiscretion could be made into the biggest atrocity. His face still burned with humiliation whenever he thought back to the time he was ten and his father had shown the entire church how to properly punish a heathenish child. Ian had had no idea it was coming. Had no idea of what was going to happen until his father had stormed off his podium, grabbed him by the arm then turned him back to the congregation. His clothes were ripped off and he was bent over the stairs. His father had beat him with his belt for a good ten minutes leaving him a stinging mass of humiliation as he was pushed off into a corner and made to stand there facing it with his bruising naked backside on display for everyone to see. His father didn’t stop the humiliation there however. He spent the rest of the morning preaching about every other sin that he’d thought he’d ever committed. How his own parents had given up on him but he would never do that. That after some strong discipline and teachings of the lord’s way the boy may be able to be saved. Ian kept his head down as the last of the parishioners shook his father’s hand and trickled out of the church. He didn’t look up again until he felt his father standing over him. “Get this place cleaned up. When you get home I’m going to quiz you to make sure you were paying attention this morning. So I suggest you go over it in your head because you know what will happen if you don’t get them right.” Ian nodded already dreading the afternoon as he knew he’d never get all the questions right. He watched as his parents walked out of the church. His father’s quizzes were at least fifty questions. Ian doubted anyone that had sat through the spiel that morning could ever pass one of the man’s quizzes. Though he’d paid as close attention as he always did and fought to absorb every word he knew without a doubt he’d have a fiery hot backside come bedtime. He walked to the closet at the back of the church and pulled out the spray duster and a clean rag. Every Sunday he cleaned the church, as well as every Wednesday night and again on Saturday. He never considered the place to be dirty but followed the same routine every time he cleaned it. First he dusted the pews and the windows, next he vacuumed the floors. When the main hall was finished he cleaned both the men’s and women’s bathrooms then did the daycare room. The daycare room was always the messiest and always took the most time to clean. As he walked in he looked around at the toys strewn all over the floor, the books and crayons spread over the tables. It irritated him that the ‘god fearing’ women who ran the childcare couldn’t bother to clean up their own mess. It was one of many clues he got to the fact that his father’s congregation was not the union of holy souls they made themselves out to be. He got on his hands and knees. Scooping up armloads of toys and teddy bears he deposited them all in the toy boxes. When he was younger he used to love to clean the room as he actually took extra time to be able to play with the many toys that were in it. He’d never had any toys of his own. He got some for Christmas every year he’d been with the Weaver’s but within a week he was told to pack them up then a big production was made of taking them down to the orphanage and donating them to the ‘less fortunate’ kids. The good reverend explained on each drive that he didn’t deserve the toys and didn’t have the responsibility it took to take care of them. Said Ian should be thankful it was this way as it made even the likes of him look like a good person in donating his toys every year, though Ian was never fooled. He knew it was done only to make the good reverend look charitable. Knew whatever good he himself ever did was always credited to his stellar upbringing with the Weaver’s. That maybe the little heathen child was finally learning what it was to be a good Christian. After putting everything in its place in the child care room he walked out the front of the church then across the lawn to the two story white Colonial house that he lived in. The house went with the church. It was the nicest house the Weaver’s had stayed in. Ian only remembered two others and both places were less than two year stays. They’d moved here when he was eight and had been here for seven years now. Though he in no way wanted to go into the house his feet climbed the stairs. He’d never disobeyed outright. Never wanted to give his father any more ammunition than he already had. The beatings were bad enough when he didn’t intentionally do anything wrong, he could not imagine their severity if he was openly defiant. Opening the front door he stepped inside and closed it securely yet quietly behind him. He always tried to make as little noise as possible. The longer he went undetected the longer he was safe. Though he’d been quiet his father walked out of the living room and into the entry hall facing off against him. “Took you long enough.” “Sorry sir,” he kept his eyes down, as the only time he was allowed to look the man in the face was when the guy was preaching. “Oh I’m sure you will be. Get upstairs and take off your clothes.” Ian’s eyes narrowed in confusion as his father hadn’t even asked any questions of the quiz yet, therefore leaving him with nothing to answer wrong, and making him wonder why he had to be naked from the get go. He searched his mind for any other little thing that he could have done wrong. Rather than speak out of turn and question the man Ian walked past him and climbed the stairs to his room. At the end of the second floor hallway he opened his bedroom door and stepped inside. His room was pretty good sized but very sparsely furnished. There was a twin bed in about the center of the back wall right below a window; a bureau that had seen many years pass was placed on the right wall and a desk on the left wall. One he never used as his studying was to be done under supervision at the dining room table. He peeled off his clothes his body tingling in dread of what he was sure was to come. He folded them neatly and set them on the bureau knowing he’d be wearing them again that night at church. Hearing his father’s heavy footsteps coming up the stairs he scrambled over to the end of the bed and stood facing the door his hands at his sides his eyes focused on the floor in proper punishment stance. The door flew open and the man he most feared in the world walked into the room. His cold eyes raking the boy over, his head shaking in disappointment. “Look at me boy.” Ian’s eyes fluttered up, his breath caught in his throat and his body filled with nervous tingles as his father held up a notebook, Ian’s notebook that he had filled with his most private thoughts. The notebook that he thought he’d hidden safely in the basement of the church. He instinctively took a step back knowing the man had read the notebook and knowing there would be a severe price to pay. “Of all the shame you could have brought upon your self and this family you chose the most shameful of them all.” Ian flinched as the notebook, wielded by his dad’s mighty hand, crashed against the side of his face. “Well I think you need to see that these little fantasies of yours are just that, fantasies. That no boy of mine, blood related or not is a homosexual. I don’t know what tool of the devil has put these rancid thoughts into your head but I will see to it that today they are taken out.” Richard Weaver walked past his son and placed a paper bag on the bed. Ian’s eyes widened as a second later the man stood before him again with something in his hand he was certain he’d never see in the man’s hand. It was about eight inches long, roughly three inches in diameter and looked very similar to a man’s penis. “You’ll see the pain involved in the kind of sin you are letting filter through that insipid mind of yours.” “Sir please,” Ian begged, now knowing his fate for that afternoon. He didn’t get to speak again before he was roughly spun around and pushed down over the wrought iron at the end of his bed. He cried out in agony as the immense girth of the thing that had been in his father’s hand was shoved unmercifully into his rectum, feeling as though it were ripping his rear in two as it made it’s invasion. Tears of immense pain seeped out of his eyes as he spread his burning legs further apart to try and accommodate the arduous intruder. His belly filled with cramps while he sucked in deep breaths feeling like he was going to pass out from the pain. He wailed loudly biting down on his tongue to keep from screaming at the top of his lungs as his father roughly pulled the thing in and out with an incredible force. His knees buckled leaving his stomach to drop down on the wrought iron which brought even more pain, as his father continued to sodomize him roughly with the crude instrument. After a few minutes of this agonizing pain his father’s hand left the device where it was shoved deep into the boy. Ian gasped as even though the thing was not still moving, his body still burned immensely from his feet all the way up to his chest. “Please take it out,” he cried not caring if his speaking out would get him in more trouble or not, just needing the thing to be gone. The answer to his pleas was his father’s belt smacking him soundly just above his buttocks on the base of his back. The belt hit six more times in quick succession leaving Ian’s lower back a fiery hot and very red mass. That pain seemed to alleviate at least some of the pain that was coming from his rectum. “Stand up, put your hands on your head and face the wall.” Though his body did not want to move Ian forced it to. He slowly stood up, the movement bringing to life even more pain. He shakily put his hands on his head as tears spilled down his face and on wobbly legs turned away from his father and faced the wall. As promised his father started in on the quiz. Being in so much pain Ian did not get one answer right. With the dildo still hanging out of his ass his father brought the belt crashing on to his naked flesh a good thirty times. Ian managed to remain on his feet through the entire ordeal but collapsed to his knees the moment his father yanked the dildo out of his rear. He buried his face in his hands and sobbed never having felt so humiliated in his entire very humiliating life, not to mention the incredible pain the last hour had provided him and that he knew would not go away any time soon. His father bellowed on above him about the shame and sin of homosexuality. That if this afternoon didn’t straighten him out then he could look forward to it again in the future. “You stay here until I come and fetch you for tonight’s service.” He gave Ian a sound kick in the side then turned and left the room slamming the door loudly behind him. Ian stayed in his position until he heard his father’s footfalls go down the stairs. Still whimpering he slowly lifted his head out of his hands and gently ran his hand along the rising welts all over his thighs, butt and back. He whimpered more as his hand brushed over them but as always still continued to explore the damage. It was one of those stellar beatings where he knew just sitting down for the next week would bring great pain. His fingers started into the soft fold of his bottom then froze about half way in not having the courage to go on. It felt as though his hole was split wide open, felt as though it was swollen to twice its normal size. He just didn’t dare to actually feel its surface with his fingers, afraid that what he would feel there would only terrify him more. He stayed balled up on the floor, as his room started to darken with the end of another day. Knowing that meant his father would be coming for him soon, he got up and slowly dressed being as careful as he could while pulling the material of his clothes over his back. Each movement of his legs caused him to grit his teeth as the pain in his rear was still very bad. The entire way through the evening service he gritted his teeth as the hard wooden pew was almost too much to bear. He alleviated it only minimally by discreetly sitting on his hands. This left his very tender butt not to have to bear the entire burden. After the service he followed his parents back over to their house keeping a respectful distance behind them. “Go take a shower, wash the filth from your body,” his father ordered the second they were inside. “I’ll be monitoring your prayers tonight. I’ll expect you in your room in ten minutes.” Ian made it to his room and was there in his pajamas for about a minute before his father walked in. A bible was thrust in his hands and a broom was dropped onto the floor. Knowing the routine of this punishment Ian knelt down over the broom placing his knees directly on the handle. Which didn’t hurt so much right away but he knew that after a few minutes it would start an ache that would travel up his entire body. His father glowered over him, his hands on his hips his waist at Ian’s eye level. “Leviticus 18:22” Ian quickly opened to Leviticus and read aloud. “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman: that is detestable.” “Again,” Ian read it again then the five other times his father said again. “Leviticus 20:30" He flipped ahead a few pages then read aloud again. “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them has done what is detestable. They must be put to death: their blood will be on their own heads.” He then repeated that verse again the five times his father had ordered. The hours passed and the routine went on. Ian was amazed even through his pain how much something that could be such a shameful sin was mentioned in such a holy book. He knew what information he was supposed to gain from this. Knew that his father had no doubt the bible was saying it was wrong and therefore it was to be instilled in him, by this repeated reading of these verses, just how wrong it was. Having his own intellect though Ian found that many of the passages didn’t really seem to be saying it was evil, despicable or shameful. That some of the men in the bible did it and no mention of retribution followed it up. His take was that the passages that spoke avidly against it were simply the writer’s opinion. That Mr. Leviticus or whoever the hell he was didn’t like gays. That didn’t bother him, he could care less about the guy that wrote so long windily that Ian would never have attempted to read the thing, had it not been forced on him his entire life. It was long past midnight when the bible was snatched back out of his hands. Though his legs had pretty much gone numb they started aching terribly as he slowly got to his feet using the bed to provide some much needed support. He stood before his father finally his head lowered as he studied the man’s shoes. “I’m sorry sir for my transgressions; I thank you for showing me the error of my ways. I feel my heart is a bit more pure this evening with the guidance you have shown me today.” It made him sick to say this bit; it was so rehearsed, even written by the man for him to spit out each night after receiving punishment. He couldn’t figure how his father could get any gratification out of it but still the man insisted on it being done. “I expect you up at six for school. When you get home the lawn needs mowing. Here and at the church. When you are finished and only then you may come back into the house for dinner.” “Yes sir,” “I hope some day you realize all the energy it takes for me not to give up on you all together. I hope someday you realize it and begin to act like the god-fearing child you should be acting like. Go to bed now, I’ve had about all of you I can take for one day.” Keeping his eyes downcast he gave a precise nod of his head, “Yes sir.” He didn’t move until his father walked out of the room closing the door a bit gentler than the loud slam a few hours earlier. Ian walked over to his bed and with great precision turned down the blankets. He used great precision with everything he did. Any wrong move or something not quite right could set his father off. He feared everything from not walking right to leaving something misplaced or even slightly askew. Everything had to be in its proper place and he had to be proper at all times. All his trying did little good to keep his father calm and to keep Ian’s body and mind from hurting. Still though, every day he did things precisely trying to be the perfect son that he’d come to realize over the past few years that he was probably never going to be. Though he strived for perfection in everything he did he knew he always came up short. Though he always thought he’d done things okay he was painfully taught they weren’t okay at all. No matter how hard he tried and tried to be the perfect son he always came up terribly short. He wondered why he tried so hard at all. Wondered if it just weren’t possible for him to be a good boy. As he lay in bed on his stomach he went over all these thoughts in his head. He came up with no answers but was not ready to give up just yet. Even though he himself was pretty sure it was futile he wanted so badly to prove even himself wrong he was determined to keep trying. He woke up the next morning with a constant throbbing in his rear. Avoiding being on it at all he pulled himself out of bed right from his stomach. With taking his showers at night he simply went to his bureau and pulled out a pair of tan slacks and a black sweater. His parents didn’t permit him to wear jeans or any type of short sleeve shirt to school. He slipped on the clothes then stepped into his brown loafers, sneakers as well weren’t permitted. He didn’t have to worry about playing any sport in gym in his loafers though as he was also not allowed to take part in gym. His father felt he got plenty of physical exercise at home and did not approve of the gym uniforms the school required its students to wear. He had no friends but also had no enemies. He imagined he would have a few if his mother didn’t work at the school. She saw to it he interacted with no one and with her being the meanest teacher at school, no one had really tried becoming friends with him. They all knew his parents were very strict and he imagined even if he did have friends and was allowed to have friends over to the house that none of them would dare to show up. Fully dressed he quietly opened his bedroom door and walked as soundlessly as he could across the hall to the bathroom where he relieved his bladder, combed his hair and brushed his teeth. He spent extra time getting his hair just right as a hair out of place could spawn a lecture in proper appearance from either his mother or father. After doing a thorough inspection in the mirror and making a few adjustments he could find nothing else wrong. He took a deep breath already quaking in fear as he did every morning before he presented himself to his parents. Leaving the bathroom he walked quietly down the stairs. Making sure a foot fell on each step and his hand stayed on the banister as that was the proper way to walk down the stairs. In the dining room his mother and father were both seated at the table, neither looking up at him as he walked in. He carefully moved his chair out from the table making sure to lift it so the legs did not scrape across the floor. Once he’d seated himself he made sure to lift again as he slid up closer to the table. His mother got up from the table, leaving the room, and came back a minute later with a pan. She spooned out a large glob of oatmeal into the bowl in front of him then took the pan back to the kitchen. Ian clasped his hands together in front of his face and closed his eyes. Rehearsing in his head his prayer before he said it aloud. “Father I thank you for this food you have provided me. I pray I walk in glory today and honor your place in my heart by following the example in your word. Thank you for my father, my mother and all the bounty you bestow on me day after day. Amen.” He opened his eyes back up, put his hands in his lap and braced himself. If a prayer was not good enough he found out rather quickly with a sharp backhand to his head. When no hand came crashing into him he slowly moved a hand up to the table and grasped his spoon. Mealtime was a truly nauseating experience, as he never knew he was doing wrong until he was hit. Lots of times especially in recent years he was not hit at all. Problem was he never knew when it would come and was fearful in everything he did to try and avoid it. He hadn’t ever as far as he could remember enjoyed a meal. His stomach was always in knots when he ate and the food tasted like little more than rubber. He didn’t figure that was the fault of the cook, he figured it was the fault of his nerves. After making it through the meal without being hit and without any words he took his bowl into the kitchen. As his mother washed the dishes he dried them. Like usual no words exchanged between them. After finishing the dishes they left the house and got in her car. He sat in the back as was expected while she got behind the wheel. Though sitting was less painful than it had been the night before it was still pretty painful and by the time the car had hit every bump between the house and school he was once again throbbing painfully. He followed her into the school and to his locker. She always walked him to his locker and then to his first class. Like usual not a word was spoken. She was not much for words and he knew it was not only just with him. He found it quite surprising she was able to talk enough to be a teacher but knew she did talk in class as he was blessed to have her for a teacher this year. After gathering his morning books he followed her to his first class which was English. He enjoyed English a great deal and liked being able to start the day with it. He left his mother’s side and walked into the room. He took his place in the front of the room as his parents required that he be in the front row in every one of his classes. The class filtered in around him taking their seats and talking with each other. He often felt he was not really a part of this world at all. That he was only there to observe or something. The world seemed to go on all around him and he didn’t seem to participate in any of it. He spent countless hours just studying the other kids, seeing how they acted, and seeing how they interacted with each other. He wanted badly to have friends. Didn’t want to be all alone in the world anymore. He got some enjoyment just being among them and witnessing their day to day life but really ached to just be a part of it all. It was a hope he knew he’d never dare to act on. At least not at this school, and at least not while he was still living with his parents. He figured he may actually know how to make and retain friends from all the interactions he’d seen his classmates go through over the years. He loved to see the couples most of all. To see how they held hands in the halls. How they stole kisses at their lockers. Though he didn’t feel attracted to girls himself he still liked to see people in love. Though he knew he’d get even more excited if there were guy couples making out in the halls. Despite his lesson the night before he still couldn’t turn off his feelings. He didn’t really know whether it was wrong or not. He knew it was wrong in the eyes of the church but didn’t agree with everything his father preached each week. But it was something he knew without any doubt that he had to keep to himself. If he ever decided to act on his feelings for other guys it would be long after he’d left his parents house and a long, long ways away from this town where he would forever be known as the ‘preacher’s kid.’ His English teacher, Mr. Bell, a tall lanky man that reminded Ian of Ichabod Crane started the lesson. Though he got good grades he knew through subtle hints and from his mother’s few words that the teachers didn’t like him. They couldn’t come out and say it or say why but the feelings and vibes were strong enough to let him know his mother wasn’t lying in what the other teachers thought of him. Ian listened intently as Mr. Bell prattled nonstop for about forty five minutes before giving the assignment. “I want you to write a paper, two pages long. I want it to be an argument of an important issue facing America today. Pick a subject, pick a side and fight for it.” “Like what?” the girl that was sitting beside Ian piped up. “Like prayer in schools, abortion, the war going on now, right to bear arms, gay marriage, taxes, there’s tons of topics. If it helps tune into the news tonight and I’m sure topics will jump right out at you.” Ian knew he’d have no choice in the topic, and already was pretty sure which one his father would choose for him after the previous day’s tragic events. He was dreading the evening even more now than he usually did. He went through the rest of the morning in his isolation. No one talked to him, no one even looked in his direction. He was, among his peers, the ‘invisible boy.’ At lunch he walked into his mother’s classroom. He was not allowed to go to the cafeteria. Was expected to report to her classroom every lunch hour. He took the seat he always sat in, at the desk right in front of hers. She pulled her bag out from under her desk. Producing two brown paper bags she pushed one towards him across her desk then set the other one right in front of herself. Ian leaned forward and took his bag. He clasped his hands and said another prayer, thankfully this one was allowed to be silent. After his prayer he opened the bag. He pulled out a hard boiled egg, and a garden salad. His mother was big on nutrition. As of late she was on the low carb craze not that the family had a weight problem just that she considered it a healthy alternative. The only meal they really had with any carbs in it was breakfast. The daily slimy oatmeal he’d eaten for breakfast for as long as he could remember. They ate in silence. When he was done with his meal he closed the plastic container back up, then put the trash back in the bag and got up. He deposited it in the trash can then retook his seat. “You get in trouble yet this morning?” “No ma’am.” “You better not lie to me. You know I always find out.” “I’m not lying ma’am.” “Your father is at his last straw with you. He’s real close to sending you to reform school. I think it’s a good idea. Yet we have to be concerned with how it looks sending our son off to a place like that. If it weren’t for his image I’m sure you’d have been shipped off long ago.” This was not the first time he’d heard the reform school threat. He actually wouldn’t mind being shipped off. He couldn’t imagine life getting any worse at a place like that. In fact he figured it might just be a bit better. He would never speak up and say that though, so was still stuck in the hell that was his life. They sat in silence until about five minutes before the period ended. “Go to the bathroom. Then come right back here.” His next class was hers. “I need to go to my locker and get my books.” “Five minutes,” she quipped not looking up from her book. He made quick work of doing his business and getting his books. In well under five minutes he returned to her class and retook his seat. The bell rang a few minutes later and slowly the class filled with people. There was no talking as they entered this room though. Everyone knew Mrs. Weaver loved to hand out detentions. He actually kind of liked the fact that he wasn’t the only one the woman terrified. It made him feel just a little closer to normal though still very far from actually being normal.
  8. vlista20

    Chapter 4

    Unbreakable Faith Chapter 4 Chapter 4 The miracle his father spoke of did occur and his speech for church was completed come Saturday. As they sat at the breakfast table his father went over what he wanted done that day. “You are to copy down the book of Revelations. What you don’t get done today you can work on tomorrow and continue to work on until it’s done. I’ve noticed lately that your penmanship is getting sloppy. You certainly don’t need to advertise your haphazard half asked ways. You’ll continue to write chapters of the bible until I feel it has improved.” Ian looked down at his still bandaged hands. He wondered how his father still expected him to write perfectly when his hands were so stiff he could barely hold the pen. “Yes sir.” He was left alone which was an incredibly rare thing about twenty minutes later. He sat at the table with the bible on one side of him and his notebook on the other. He sat there all morning his hand aching more and more as he filled page after page of his notebook. He didn’t get up to go to the bathroom until well after one then returned, as ordered to the table to continue to write. He knew if he didn’t get enough done his father would think he’d not sat there all day, but knew if it was messy there would be just as much punishment to endure. Despite the ache in his hand that stretched up his arm and into his neck and head he continued to write. The sun was just beginning to set when the front door opened and he heard footsteps coming into the house. His eyes widened as his mother walked past the door followed directly by a little boy. The boy looked to be about five years old and had short curly brown hair. After they’d walked past, his father came into the dining room. The notebook was snatched out from under his hand as his father sat down and inspected the work. Dying of curiosity he worked up every last ounce of courage he had and opened his mouth. “Sir, who’s that boy?” His father’s eyes flashed up to him and Ian quickly lowered his. “That is your new brother.” “You adopted someone else?” he flinched as his father moved his hand suddenly, then sighed discreetly when he realized it was not moving up to hit him. “You think you are the only one whose parents didn’t want him? Don’t you think maybe there are more people in the world that need help besides your sorry self?” Ian nodded. He couldn’t quite figure out his feelings. He almost felt jealous that someone else was coming into the family. Felt that maybe this new kid would be everything his parents had ever prayed for, making him feel even more inferior than he already did. But he also felt fear. Fear that the kid would get the same treatment he’d gotten all these years. He wasn’t so sure he could stand to see it happening to someone else. Especially a little boy who had no means of defending himself and who more than likely had no idea of the hell he could be facing. His father held the notebook up then dropped it back onto the table. “This is a mess. What in the world is the matter with you? Why can’t you even do one thing I ask? Is it that hard to write legibly?” Ian glanced up at him then refocused his eyes on the man’s chest. “It’s just cause my hand hurts sir.” After a painful punch to the face Ian cursed himself figuring he should have known better than to say that. “Do you think Jesus had anyone to go crying to? Do you think anyone coddled him after he was whipped and beaten then left to die on that cross?” Ian quickly shook his head. “No sir, I’m sorry.” “You will be, go cut a switch.” He ended up spending the night on the couch with instructions to bring a bed up from the basement for the boy to sleep in the next day. He didn’t learn the boy’s name, didn’t even see him again until the next morning. They all sat down to breakfast and his mother filled all their bowls with the slimy oatmeal. The little boy looked up at her, down at the bowl, then back up at her. “I don’t like oatmeal ma’am.” Ian cringed wishing he could talk telepathically, and send the kid a message to just shut up and eat. “We don’t talk at the table young man.” His father stated eyeing the boy. “But I don’t like it.” Ian kept his head down praying for the boy to just give up and eat it. “You talk one more time and you’ll be one sorry young man.” “But...” Ian flinched as his father’s chair scraped back across the floor. In a flutter of movement caught out of the corner of his eye he saw the man yank the boy up by his arm then carry the screaming child upstairs. The screams only got louder as Ian heard the sound of leather meeting flesh. He had all he could do not to start bawling himself. He hated to picture such a small boy at the hands of his father’s incredible rage. “You eat,” his mother ordered. Though sick to his stomach Ian picked up his spoon and slowly began to force the food in as the screams continued on the second floor. He got the last bite down as his father returned to the table. “After you help your mother with the dishes go up and get him ready for church. Then I suggest you practice your speech until it’s time to go to the church.” Ian nodded feeling more anger toward the man than perhaps he’d ever felt in his entire life. He couldn’t understand how someone could be so mean all of the time. When it was only him it just didn’t seem the same. But when he saw and heard him doing it with someone else it angered him. Something he was sure he’d never be able to express. He walked into his room twenty minutes later to find the boy curled up in a ball on his bed. He was still crying and had his arms wrapped tightly around his legs his pants still around his knees. Never having had to deal with someone that age Ian grew nervous having no idea of how to handle the situation but knowing he had to or his own rear would be glowing like the kid’s was. He sat down on the side of the bed and shakily reached a hand out and put it to the boy’s hot and sweaty forehead. “You okay?” he asked quietly. “No,” the boy whimpered out. “I don’t want to stay here anymore.” Ian nodded the feeling mutual. He remembered being that little. Remembered being in that much pain and remembered wanting nothing more than to leave. He wasn’t sure when he’d resided himself to staying there but at some point over the years he had. “I don’t think you have any choice. Once you are here, you are here. You just got to do what they say. You just have to try and be a good boy.” His eyes stung as he said it, praying the boy would do a better job at being good than he had. The boy pressed his chin down against his chest as a few more tears trickled out of his eyes. “What’s your name?” Ian asked, sure he’d never dare ask his father or mother. “Tony.” the kid answered quietly. “That’s a good name. Like the tiger.” Tony moved his head again and looked up at Ian. A slight smile crossed his tear stained face. “I guess. What’s your name?” “Ian.” “You’s lived here long?” “Well we’ve been here for about seven years.” “We? You’s mean you and them?” Ian nodded. “How longs you been with them?” “Fourteen years.” The boy’s eyes widened. “But you’s not their real kid are’s ya?” “No they adopted me like they adopted you.” Tony nodded as he turned his head and faced up to the ceiling. “We have to get you up and dressed. We have to get ready for church.” “Church!” the kid laughed out loud. “Church sucks.” Ian’s eyes widened and he quickly put his hand over the boy’s mouth. “Never let anyone hear you say that Tony, if you think what you just got was bad then you don’t want to know what would happen if he hears you saying anything like that.” “But it does,” he said as soon as Ian took his hand away. “First thing to learn is to keep your opinions to yourself.” He managed to get Tony who struggled against every process ready. He hated to think of the beatings that the kid was facing if he continued to behave this way. When they finally got back downstairs Ian stood in the living room and read his speech through at least five times while his father picked at every little thing he considered wrong. With no time left his father stood up. “You better do it better there or you know what will happen.” “Yes sir,” Ian already knew it would happen either way. A day never went by when he wasn’t punished for one thing or another. At church the good reverend told of him and his wife’s great deed of taking in another needy child. How it was a good thing to think of more than oneself and help those less fortunate. A spiel Ian had heard too many times to count. Near the end of the service his father motioned him to the front of the church not on the pulpit but on the bottom step leading up to it. “My son has prepared a speech today. He learned the hard way this week what can happen when one doesn’t pay attention in class, after punishment and guidance he has written this speech to warn others of the sin he committed this week.” Ian’s face, already red, looked down at his paper as he stood in front of the gawking parishioners. He was scared to death and could feel sweat trickling down his chest, neck and back. He’d been right the week before. It was terrifying to be standing up here in front of this crowd. A crowd he knew hated him, a crowd that had seen his naked ass getting a thorough punishment not quite five years earlier. After a moment of self assurance, then just blocking out his surroundings he read his speech. His voice rose and fell where he felt it appropriate and he made as much eye contact as possible. He could feel everyone’s eyes boring into him. Could see it during the moments he looked around the room though he didn’t stop long enough to actually focus on anyone’s face. No one clapped as the speech wrapped up, no one seemed to have been affected by it one way or another. He was tempted to yell out ‘praise Jesus’ just to get a reaction, but knew the reaction from his father wouldn’t be good at all. After setting up the extra bed in his room while Tony sat on the other bed, their father walked in his belt already folded over in his hands. “That was the worst delivery of a speech I have ever heard. How do you plan on having people hear and believe in God’s word if you don’t even sound like you believe it yourself?” Ian who’d turned to him as he walked in shook his downcast head. “I’m sorry sir,” “I’m real sick of hearing your sorry’s. Sorry’s only go so far. Why don’t you for once just try and do something right?” Ian shook his head again. “I don’t know.” “Take down your pants and lean over the bed.” Not needed to be asked twice Ian undid his pants and slid them down to his ankles. He turned and placed his hands flat out on the bed burning with shame as he could feel Tony’s eyes on him. He was used to his mother witnessing such a thing but was not at all comfortable with Tony seeing it. The belt did its work on his butt, the thing lashing at him for twenty minutes, Ian having kept track as he was facing the alarm clock. “You two stay in here until I come and get you.” Richard Weaver ordered as he turned and left the room. After a minute of regaining his senses Ian slowly stood up and very gingerly pulled up his pants. He walked over to the side of the new bed and lay down on his side facing the wall not having it in him to look at Tony. He hugged his arms around himself and wiped at his eyes with the back of his hand. “You okay?” he heard Tony say behind him. He jumped a little as the boy’s small hand came down on his shoulder. “I’m fine,” he muttered feeling even more shame. “I liked your speech. I thoughted you did reals good.” Ian moved his hand up onto Tony’s not able to help the small smile that came to his face. “Thanks Tony. I appreciate that.” Tony’s hand moved from under his. He heard his footfalls crossing the floor then looked up as Tony was now standing on the other side of the bed. The boy lifted up a knee then crawled onto the bed. He rolled onto his side so he was facing Ian and put his head down a few inches from Ian’s face. Neither said a word. Tony didn’t have to. What he’d done and the way he looked told Ian that this little boy cared at least a little bit about him. Cared enough to ask, and cared enough to stay here on the bed to keep him company. They weren’t called back downstairs until dinner time. Tony not having learned his lesson that morning immediately announced that he didn’t like spinach. Ian glanced at his father who in turn looked back at him. “Go cut a switch.” Ian’s mouth dropped open wondering why he was going to be punished. “Not for you stupid boy, for him.” Closing his mouth Ian realized this was even worse than his original assumption. “No,” he said flatly, surprising himself and scaring the hell out of him but knowing he absolutely could not go out and pick a branch that would hurt Tony. “Excuse me?” Richard’s eyes widened as Ian had never flat out refused any order, he knew he’d had to have heard wrong. Absolutely hating to repeat his defiance Ian did it anyway. “I said no.” His father shot up out of his chair, grabbed him by the arm and hauled him away from the table and down the cellar stairs. Ian’s clothes were torn from his body. His father grabbed the first thing he could get his hands on. A board about six inches long and about half an inch thick. The board wielded by the man’s mighty arm beat the boy to his knees, then down all the way to the floor. Still he kept up his attack. Long after Ian stopped struggling, long after nearly every surface of his body was swelling and bruising Richard threw the board aside his energy more than his anger completely spent. Ian did not wake up until several hours later. He awoke to the sounds of Tony’s screams. His body, shivering from the cold cellar and even colder cement floor, would not move. Even if he had the nerve to go up and stop whatever was going on he couldn’t will himself to move his throbbing body. Not even enough to try and find his clothes and cover himself up. He didn’t fall back to sleep that night. His body was too cold and too sore to allow it. Though he’d gotten no sleep and though he was in agonizing pain he was forced up, in the shower then to his mother’s car which took him to school. The next week was pure torture. Each night his father ordered him to cut a switch for Tony each night Ian adamantly refused. He was beaten to the point of passing out each and every night. Come Saturday night Tony seemed to catch on to what he needed to do. He remained silent all through dinner and did everything that was asked of him the rest of the evening. His father, still determined, called both boys into the living room. “Ian go cut a switch.” “What did I do?” Tony called out angrily. “I didn’t do nuthin’ leave him the hell alone.” Richard’s eyes widened and he grabbed Tony by the arm shaking him roughly while slapping his face repeatedly. Ian’s eyes widened as the man pulled out the rubber dildo. The same one that had kept Ian in pain for nearly a full week. His father yanked down the boy’s pants and splayed him out over the arm of the couch. He positioned the thing against his small cheeks and looked up at Ian. “You either go get a switch or I’ll show him about the sins of homosexuality.” Ian’s eyes widened even more. He couldn’t believe that his father would do such a thing but couldn’t take a chance that he wouldn’t and possibly kill the kid. Ian turned on his heel and hurried out to the tree, tears streaming out of his eyes the whole way. He pulled a switch from the tree cursing his father, cursing his very existence. This could not possibly be the way God wanted things. God could not possibly want him to aid his father in the abuse of a young boy. Could not possibly want a five year old to be sodomized if he didn’t cooperate. The thought that his father enjoyed his ‘teachings’ crossed his mind vividly. That maybe, just maybe they weren’t teachings at all. Maybe, just maybe the man enjoyed manipulating and creating pain. By the time he got back to the house with the switch he wanted nothing more than to lash it across his father’s face. Like always though he chickened out at the last minute and handed the thing over. His father shook his head and stepped to the back of the couch keeping his hand pressed down on Tony’s back to keep him in place. “You think I enjoy this so much, you do it.” Ian’s eyes widened. ‘How in hell did he know that?’ “I don’t think that.” He argued futilely. “You are to deliver ten lashes. And if I feel you are holding back I’ll put this in his bottom then put it in yours.” “Sir please.” Ian begged his tears rejuvenating themselves. “I can’t do this.” His father positioned the dildo and pressed it in against the boy’s cheeks. An ear piercing scream came out of the boy and Ian just couldn’t see it happen. A lashing was better than this. “Okay, Okay.” He yelled out his tears still streaming down his face. He positioned himself behind the boy’s upturned rear drew his arm back and delivered the first strike. He sobbed and cried as loudly as Tony did as he delivered blow after blow. When it was finally over Richard pushed the boy off. “Take down your pants and take his place.” Ian quickly obeyed and Richard took charge of the switch. The thing hit him so many times he lost count. Not satisfied just doing his bottom Richard pulled his shirt up to his shoulders and beat his back as badly as he’d done his butt. By the time he was through blood was running in rivulets down off his back and ass. “Go take a shower and clean yourself up.” After taking a very painful shower Ian walked into his room where Tony was already lying on his bed. Tony sat up as he walked in; tears were rolling down his face as he looked at Ian and shook his head. “I tried Ian I really’s did. I’m sorry.” What Ian figured had to be instinct took over. He walked over to the boy’s bed, sat down beside him and pulled him gently into his arms. The boy sobbed uncontrollably as he buried his face in Ian’s chest. “I’ll be a good boy, I’ll be better. I promise.” Tears fell down Ian’s face as well. Tony had been a good boy that evening. He had no doubt about it. Which made him wonder how many times he’d been a good boy and still been punished for it. Made him start to question his entire existence. “You are a good boy Tony.” He said lacing his fingers through the boy’s curly hair. An idea formulating in his head he pried Tony out of his arms and stood him up beside the bed. “Turn around.” Tony looked at him fearfully. “Why?” “Cause I want to see how you look. I won’t hurt you I promise.” Tony slowly nodded then turned himself around. Ian pulled down his pajama bottoms and pulled up his shirt. There were several scratches across his bottom and deep bruising all across his back. He wanted to look between his cheeks to see if their father had actually entered him with the dildo but just didn’t feel right about doing it. He pulled the boy’s pants back up and straightened the nightshirt back down around his waist. “We better go to bed now.” Tony nodded and crawled into his own bed while Ian lay down as well. He went over and over his plan in his head and prayed he could go through with it and not chicken out. His plan didn’t get rolling until two days later. He was in the library again when Nathan walked in. Someone that was pivotal to his plan and someone he truly hoped would help. Nathan, to his elation, walked over and sat next to him again. “How you doin’ Ian?” Ian’s first instinct came out his mouth. “Fine,” Nathan nodded and Ian sighed. “Okay, okay maybe I’m not fine.” Nathan chuckled a bit. “I hadn’t even started in on my pressuring yet.” Though confused by what he meant Ian took a deep breath. “You said a couple weeks ago that I could get help. That all I had to do was call a number. Thing is I can’t call that number. I can’t take the chance on getting the same results. I have a plan but I really need your help.” He turned in his chair to face the other boy. A boy he hardly knew but the only one who’d ever bothered to be nice to him. It was all he had to work with and just prayed he could really trust the guy. “I’ll do anything you want Ian. I want to help.” Ian smiled at him. The first genuine smile he could ever remember having. “My parents adopted another boy.” Nathan’s eyes widened, the shock he was feeling written all over his face. “That has made me realize things can’t go on like this, I can’t watch him go through what I’ve lived through.” Blushing, he stopped, realizing he shouldn’t have said that. “I’m sorry.” Nathan shook his head. “Why are you sorry Ian?” Ian shook his head not wanting to explain it. “The boy goes to elementary school, he’s only five. He goes to Jefferson. What I was thinking…” he paused and looked around to make sure no one could hear him. “Was that you could call the hotline. Make an anonymous call. Say you are a member of my dad’s church. Say you suspect that Tony,” he paused again, “that’s the little boy.” Nathan nodded having figured that. “Say you suspect he’s being abused. Tell them to go to the school and check him out. Tell them to look at his back.” “What’s it gonna look like?” Confused again Ian narrowed his eyes. “What’s what gonna look like?” “His back.” Wringing his hands together Ian looked down at them. “Well it’s gonna look like mine did, that day in the bathroom.” Nathan reached out and put his hand on Ian’s knee. Ian quickly drew it away. “Don’t touch me.” Nathan’s own eyes narrowed. “I’m not gonna make a move on you man. I mean I know how you feel about gay people, I wouldn’t do that to you.” Ian shook his head. “It’s not that, just if anyone sees and someone tells my mom, well she’ll tell my dad and I’ll get in trouble.” Nodding Nathan studied Ian’s down cast face for a moment. “That speech, the one you wrote for English, that wasn’t really your opinion was it?” Ian’s head snapped up and he looked Nathan in the eye. Actually holding eye contact for longer than he ever had with anyone. He wanted so badly for people to know he wasn’t the close minded person everyone thought he was. If he was going to trust Nathan with calling the hotline he saw no reason not to trust him a little more. “No,” he said shaking his head. “My father told me what to write. It’s his opinion not mine.” The smile that lit up Nathan’s face could have lit up an entire room. Though Ian didn’t understand why his revelation could make anyone so happy he still felt really good about it. “Well I’m sorry I called you St. Ian then.” Nathan chuckled. Ian chuckled himself though it surprised the hell out of him. “I actually thought that sounded kinda neat.” Nathan laughed a good hearty laugh that warmed Ian’s heart. It made him feel good to think something he had said could make such a wonderful noise come out of someone. “So will you help me?” “I sure will Ian, don’t you worry about that. What hotline did you call before?” “Youth City.” “Well I don’t think we should call that one again. Did you have another in mind?” Ian nodded. “There’s a poster in the lobby. It’s white and purple and says ‘when home is where the hurt is’ I want to call that one. But I haven’t dared sneak down and get the number. I hate to ask but can you do that too?” “Of course. Do you want me to do it now?” Ian wrung his hands together nervously as he broke out into a sweat; this was it, now or never. After this there was no turning back. He managed a nod unable to get his mouth to spit out an answer. Nathan nodded though he wanted to hug him or kiss him or give him some reassurance as he saw the boy was terrified. He got up and quietly left the library. It was ten minutes before Nathan returned. Ten minutes that Ian kept close track of with the help of the clock in the library. Nathan retook the seat beside him. “Well I called them. I told them what you said. They said they have to look into it and thanked me for my call.” Ian’s face fell. “That’s it?” “Well that’s all they told me Ian. I don’t think they can really give me, an anonymous caller much information. But they did say they’d look into it. And if they do then you and Tony will be safe.” Ian looked back at the table and nodded. Feeling nervous about what would actually happen. Where would he go and live? Would he be sent to the orphanage that he delivered his Christmas presents to every year? Would he finally be sent off to the reform school that had always been a constant threat? The thought that undoubtedly scared him the most though, was staying where he was. He knew after the last few weeks events that he couldn’t stand by while someone else was beaten. He still wasn’t entirely sure whether the treatment was wrong or not. Up until a week earlier when he’d talked with Nathan, he’d thought everyone was treated that way. But if it was wrong, then people had to know. If it wasn’t then he’d take his punishment again and go on. He at least would have the piece of mind in knowing he’d tried to do something, knowing that the way he lived was okay. He’d no longer have the nagging doubts that constantly ran through his mind. He looked back at Nathan, “Your parents never hit you?” “When I was a kid. Maybe four times I got put over my father’s knee. But I never once looked like you did the other day in the bathroom.” “What’s that mean?” Ian asked shaking his head in confusion. “Put you over his knee?” “It’s the way I got spanked. He put me over his knee.” “What did he use?” Nathan, confused himself, shook his head then it dawned on him what Ian had meant and he felt a stab of fear and pity wondering what instruments had been used on this kid over the years. “Just his hand Ian.” He said through his constricting throat. “Just his hand.”
  9. Ian is a fifteen year old, socially isolated, orphan who can never seem to make his adopted parents happy. His guardians, an abusive Pentecostal reverend and his wife, force Ian to live in an oppressive, chaotic world, but all that is about to change when he is suddenly forced from the only world he knows. Can he learn to think for himself in a modern world? **warning this story contains graphic violence**
  10. vlista20

    Chapter 17

    Tyler - Chapter 17 When Tyler returned to the Pollock’s at 9:20 he was called into the living room by Mr. Pollock, who as of yet had not said one word to him. The man was sitting in his recliner and lowered the newspaper from in front of his eyes as Tyler walked in and stood in the doorway of the room. “I understand another boy was here this afternoon.” Tyler slowly nodded, wondering how he knew as the house had been empty when Connor arrived and when they’d both left. Knowing better then to lie he said, “Yes sir,” “You are not allowed to have guests in our house son. We took you in, not all your friends. Please tell me you didn’t offer him any of our food?” “No sir, he was only here for a half hour and then we left.” “And if something comes up missing you do understand you will be held fully responsible?” “Yes sir,” he didn’t agree with this reasoning but knew better then to argue. “I would think you kids would learn a little more respect after being taken in. Don’t they teach you any manners before they ship you off to unsuspecting people’s homes?” “I’m sorry sir,” was all he said, as shame was billowing through him. “You will be if anything comes up missing or it happens again. You can go now.” The man fluffed out his paper and held it up over his eyes again, as Tyler turned and left. He quietly walked down to his room not wanting a run in and perhaps another speech from Mrs. Pollock. He was in his first period class the next morning when the intercom crackled to life. “Tyler Adams to the office please.” He got up ignoring the ewws and ahhs from his classmates, grabbed his pack and took off out of the room without looking at any of them. The minute he walked into the office, the coach walked up to him then led him down a narrow hallway and into an office with one desk and a couple chairs sitting in front of it. He motioned for Tyler to sit on one of them while he sat down behind the big desk. “I want you on the team son. What do I have to do to get you to change your mind?” “Kick everyone else off.” Tyler said, chuckling surprised at his own answer and the apparent lack of brains it took to say it. He relaxed a bit as the coach chuckled himself. “If it were just you there’d not be a team anymore.” Tyler nodded as he sat forward in his chair. “I understand that. I was kidding, but sir, I really can’t be on the team anyways I got a job and there’s just not a lot of extra time.” “Why’d you try out in the first place if you thought you couldn’t do it?” “Deep persuasion.” “Connor?” he asked smiling. Tyler nodded. “What is your work schedule?” “It don’t matter sir, I said I don’t want to be on the team.” “You know those boys are all mouth. If they didn’t have someone to put down they’d be nobody. They are of the intellect that tells them the only way to be cool is to ridicule others. I know you are above that Tyler. So much has gone on in your life, that those trivial things just seem like nonsense to you. Only problem is you have to deal with their ignorance. For me, could you please show them how little their taunts affect you. Show them you are better then all of them because I am damn sure you are.” Tyler looked at the man, getting the gnawing feeling that he was speaking from experience. “You got picked on too sir?” he asked, his curiosity getting the better of him. “I’ve told no one this Tyler. And the only reason I’m telling you is because I know you would understand. I want you to know that I still regret to this very day not sticking to my guns and doing what I wanted to do ‘cause of other people.” Tyler nodded, leaning a little further ahead in his chair his interest most definitely peaked. The coach leaned back a little and let out a heavy sigh. “I was taken from my parents home when I was ten years old. My mother was real sick and my father was a drunk, a mean drunk that thought nothing of beating up his own kids when he couldn’t find anyone to fight at the bar. From ten on I grew up in children’s homes and foster homes. A few of them were good, many of them weren’t. I was never in one place long enough to make any friends and had plenty of kids that picked on me endlessly for my less then perfect clothing and the fact I was so terribly shy.” “Their teasing only made it worse, I had plenty of fantasies where I was king popularity, thought that was all I needed to truly be happy. But now, sitting where I do and seeing it from a different point of view I see just how silly those jock popular types are. Their lives leave them with little to challenge them, everything is handed to them. Their merely bored and find teasing those less fortunate a good way to pass their time.” “If I had known then what I know now, I would have done things so differently. I wouldn’t have been so scared of them. I wouldn’t have let every hateful thing they said about me get to me so. I would have lived my life and let them lead there’s.” “It wasn’t ‘til my third year in college that, I realized I was just as good as anyone else. That it was my circumstances and not me that was the problem. And until I realized that and, got some confidence things did not start to get better for me. I think you’ve already suffered enough for everyone else’s problems Tyler. I think it’s time you proved, if only to yourself, that you are just as good as anybody else.” Tyler sat back in his chair his mind whirling. He’d heard that last sentence perhaps hundreds of times. But, for someone reason it, coming from someone who’d actually been where he was before, it seemed to make much more sense. Coach himself had overlooked all the biased attitudes and made something of himself. Had even had the balls to place himself back in a high school environment and be the boss to all the jocks he’d once hated so. His admiration for the man was incredible, and he found himself feeling he’d do anything to please him. He rubbed his hands together and smiled a small smile. “What time does practice start?” he smiled a little wider at the glee that filled the man’s face, so happy that he could make someone else so happy. “Starts at 2:45 every day and goes ‘til 4:30. What time do you work?” “Five to nine. But I work both Saturday and Sunday, so I’ll have to know which weekend days we have meets, plenty of time in advance.” Coach nodded and reached into his desk, he pulled out a blue sheet of paper with the entire season’s meets written down on it. “We also have practice on Saturday morning’s. What time do you work on Saturday’s?” “9 to 5.” “Think there’s anyway you could go in at noon?” Connor shrugged, knowing Stewart was at work now and wouldn’t be there by the time he got there this afternoon, he asked to use the phone. “I can call him right now and ask. If you want.” “Sure I want.” Coach was so giddy he nearly dropped the phone as he handed it over. “Just dial nine to get out.” Tyler dialed the number and Stewart himself answered on the third ring. Tyler said who he was, and Stewart as usual, perked up at even the sound of his voice. “Hey man, what’s up?” “Well I have yet another favor to ask.” Tyler’s guilt level was through the roof and he almost wished Stewart wasn’t so damn sweet. “Everything okay?” “Sure, real good actually. Just, I wanted to join the track team, far as I can tell the only way it will affect my schedule is on Saturday’s. See, there’s practice in the morning.” “You need Saturday’s off?” he asked, sounding thrilled about the track team thing. “Not all day, I just wouldn’t be able to come in until afternoon,” he glanced over the schedule. “And there are four Saturdays I’d need off for meets.” “Do you want to come in Saturday’s Tyler? Because I can give you the whole day off if you want.” “No I’d like to work like noon to close, I still need to get as many hours as I can.” “Okay no problem. Does it start this week?” “If possible.” “Sure it’s possible. Consider it done. See you at five right?” “Yes sir, see you then.” He hung up the phone and smiled at the coach. “All set there.” “Where do you work?” “Athletic Attic in the mall.” “Like it there?” Tyler nodded without hesitation. “Very much. I have a great boss. He just said ‘consider it done.” he said smiling. “Sounds like a nice guy.” Coach said nodding in agreement. “Okay then, I’ll see you in the gym at 2:45?” “Yes sir, I’ll be there.” “You won’t be sorry Tyler. You’ll do great on the team I’m sure, if your performance yesterday is any inkling to what you can do.” Not so sure he wouldn’t be sorry, but glad the coach was obviously an ally, he smiled as he got up and left the office. No one teased him at all during practice, in fact no one but Connor spoke to him at all. He got plenty of evil looks when the coach wasn’t present but could deal with those easily enough by simply ignoring them. Though he was exhausted by the time he hit the showers, the burning in his body made him feel good, as though he was actually accomplishing something. Connor drove him to work, promising to be back at nine to pick him up, despite Tyler’s repeated arguments that he didn’t have to. As he walked into the shoe store he was surprised to find Stewart still there, so surprised he asked him why. “Dylan called in sick. I’m gonna stay ‘til six then Nick is gonna come in and cover the last three hours.” he nodded his head to the back. “Come with me for a minute.” Planning on going back there to hang his jacket and put his pack in his locker Tyler followed along. Once back there instead of going to the break room Stewart led him into his office. “I know how you feel about charity Tyler. And I know you don’t like special treatment. But I am so damn proud of you for going out for track, I had to get you something. It’s simply a present from one friend to another so I’d really appreciate it if you accepted it.” Feeling totally stunned, he reached out and took the wrapped box in Stewart’s hand. He felt honored that Stewart was proud of him, so honored he almost felt like crying as it was an incredible rarity for someone to say they were proud of him. He peeled off the paper and opened the shoe box inside. His face lit up see a pair of Aasics blue and white running shoes. He took one out of the box, knowing even if he’d had to buy his own pair they would be nothing near as nice as what these were. He looked up at Stewart, a smile filling his face. “This is so nice sir, Thank you so much.” Stewart nodded, easily seeing just how much Tyler loved the shoes. “You can’t exactly run without the proper shoes, can you.” he took a step forward and gave him a quick hug, his pride for the boy knowing no bounds at that moment. The night went slow with very few customers which was the norm for a Tuesday night. He was so happy about his new shoes though, he did not care how slowly it dragged on. He was relieved when at finally nine o’clock he and Nick pulled down the metal gate that locked up the store at night and Connor showed up to take him back to the Pollock’s. The first few weeks of practice went without incident. Just one week before the first meet Connor stayed home sick from school and as the day progressed, Tyler felt more and more insecure about going to practice without him there. He knew Connor was not the only one that saved him from the other kid’s wrath, he knew the coach stayed on full guard as well, yet he couldn’t shake the feeling of dread as the clock ticked closer to 2:45. Everyone ignored him like usual as they changed up for practice. Throughout practice he was ignored and given plenty of space, again nothing out of the norm. Just as they were doing the last of the sprints he caught a glimpse of someone going down, a couple people away from him and turned to see Kyle Montgomery writhing in pain on the hard gym floor. He rolled onto his back still crying out like a big old baby, then gingerly sat up and grasped his ankle. The coach as well as the rest of the team all huddled around him while Tyler stood awkwardly off to one side, not really caring the guy had been hurt and thinking he should probably feel guilty about that, as it was not exactly ‘team spirit.’ After more cries from Kyle and some murmured arguments the crowd dispersed and Kyle, now on his feet with his knee bent and the injured ankle in the air behind him leaned into the coach as the coach steadied him. They all filed off into the locker room where coach got Kyle’s jacket then the two left together Tyler figuring to go off to the hospital. Seeing the look on the other’s faces, Tyler was tempted to just grab his clothes and flee. He remembered the coach’s words though about not running from them his whole life. He sucked in a deep breath walked to his locker, pulled out his towel, shampoo and clothes then took off to the showers. No persuading from Connor would have made him do track if it weren’t for the separate shower stalls. If he had to shower in one big room, with everyone else, and not one trace of privacy, no convincing, guilting or any sort of persuasion would have gotten him to do it. He paid little attention to the sounds outside of the one stall as he cleaned his body and shampooed his hair. After about five minutes he shut off the water and stepped out into the small changing room that was connected to each one. He put on his boxers and was just reaching for his pants when he was grabbed roughly by arms through the curtain that separated the changing room from the rest of the locker room. He was pulled out through the curtain, his heart in his throat and waves of panic raging over his entire body. His eyes darted around him as every member of the team that was present that day except for Kyle surrounded him. Punches fell on his body as he fought frantically to get away which only resulted in him being held stronger by more hands. A hand snaked up behind him and clamped itself over his mouth while he writhed; lashing out with everything he had to get away. He felt his hands and feet make solid contact with their flesh several times but it did nothing to ease the hold several hands had on him. Fists continued to nail him from every direction as he felt himself being pulled away from the showers and over between two rows of lockers. The many hands that now left him without any form of defense, as they held his arms, wrists, knees, waist and ankles forced him down onto his back on one of the benches. Though he still fought with all he had, he was no match for the dozen other guys that surrounded him. Their faces all a blur through the panic in his mind having no idea what they intended to do with him, but knowing as any fool would, it would not be good. His arms were forced downward his hands pulled together below the bench leaving his shoulders feeling like they would snap out of their sockets. He felt them being tied together below him so tightly his hands almost instantly became numb. His legs as well were pulled down, them being fastened tightly together at the ankles. Another restraint was tied around his waist leaving him unable to move though the only hand left on him was the one covering his mouth as the other’s all stood and glared down at him. “We like to initiate new member’s, Tyler.” Mitch sneered down at him already pleased with the bruising he saw forming on Tyler’s mostly naked body, he couldn’t resist but to throw a few more punches in this Tyler’s very vulnerable state. Tyler’s moans only egged him on more and he forced himself to stop as Tyler needed to conscious for the event. He turned and motioned to Pete behind him. Tyler’s eyes widened in horror as he turned back an electric razor in his hand. “Think of it as more of a present for Connor if you don’t like the initiation idea. I hear hairless is quite the rage nowadays amongst queers.” He nodded to Mark across from him and Tyler squirmed what little he could tears marring his vision as two boys began tugging at his boxers. The shaving was the least of his worries as he realized within seconds now everyone would see his deepest shame. “That’s it you cry you crazy fuck.” Mitch snarled seeing his tears. Tyler cursed himself though his mind was much too preoccupied with his ever lowering shorts. The silence in the room for a few seconds after they were pulled down to his thighs was almost deafening. “Oh my God,” Mitch laughed out after his initial shock was contained. “Connor know how deformed you are man? What you got scabies or something?” About half of the dozen guys erupted in laughter while the others just stared in a shocked silence. “That ain’t scabies Mitch.” Mark said quietly not able to take his eyes off the sight. “That’s a burn.” Mitch glared down at Tyler, only aggravated further by the sympathy he was hearing in Mark’s voice. The last thing he wanted in this little scenario was for Tyler to gain sympathy. He wanted him hated as badly as he hated him. “Go a little over board with the candle wax did ya?” Tyler swallowed hard finding, it very hard to breathe now that his nose was stuffed from his crying and the hand still being clamped over his mouth. “Just let him up.” Pete said, shaking his head from where he was still standing behind Mitch. “No way man, we gotta finish what we started.” Mark glared over at him. “No way? It was a stupid idea in the first place. I can’t believe you talked us all into it.” He knelt down and began undoing the restraints. Mitch leaned over to pull him back up, but several hands reached out and stopped him. “It’s over Mitch. Just let it drop. I don’t know what in hell we thought we’d accomplish anyways.” Mitch glared at them all his face red as a beet. “You all are a bunch of fucking shits.” He turned angrily and stormed out of the room making sure to slam the door loudly behind him. His eyes still misted over with tears Tyler sucked in a greedy amount of air as the hand over his mouth moved away. He heard other footsteps retreating, but knew at least one person was still there through his blinding panic as he felt two hands untie his restraints. Even after he felt the last of them being removed, he could not bring himself to move. A fog had formed over his brain and he couldn’t even pull his eyes away from the ceiling. He sensed a shadow fall over him but could not focus his eyes enough to see who he was. In his shamed confusion, he hoped for the best and quietly said, “Connor?” Mark leaned in closer to Tyler’s face having, never seen such fear in anyone’s eyes. A fear that seemed so deep and so profound his heart couldn’t help but break a little. “No Tyler, it’s not Connor. Come on you gotta sit up I can’t get your shorts up all the way.” Tyler made no move, couldn’t seem to figure out how. Mark put his hand under his back and slowly sat him up enough to pull the shorts up. He then hurried over to the showers and grabbed the rest of his clothes. Halfway through putting on his shirt Tyler came to his senses. He caught recognition of Mark and quickly swatted his hands away. “Don’t touch me you fuck.” He snapped, jumping up off the bench and backing away from him grabbing his pants in the process which he put on cowered back against the wall. His tears started again in full force but he kept his eyes on Mark who was staring back at him dumbly, to make sure he would not be surprised again. “I’m sorry Tyler.” Mark stammered, never having felt as bad about any other prank or the way they’d treated anyone as he did right now. “JUST SHUT UP.” Tyler screamed as loudly as he could while he stumbled trying to get his damn pants up. Not bothering with his socks he shoved his feet into his sneakers made a wide path around Mark who still seemed frozen where he was and grabbed his pack out of his locker. He left the room, slamming the door as loudly as Mitch had earlier. Outside the cold wind dried up his eyes, but the shame he felt inside stayed just as strong. He walked, having little other choice, the two miles to work. His mind replaying the incident as he kept his head down, hands shoved in his pockets and trudged through the slushy snow that filled the sidewalk. He had very little desire to go to work in fact he wanted nothing more then to run to his bedroom at the Pollock’s and hide away under his blankets perhaps for the rest of his life. At five o’clock sharp he walked into the Athletic Attic, he silently walked into the back room, put his pack in his locker and pulled on his black work pants and red shirt. He took the time out to actually put on socks then slipped on the brown loafers that he reserved for work and kept in his locker there at all times. After he was changed he punched in then walked out onto the sales floor. Nick who was just finishing ringing up a customer walked over to him. “You alright man? You look a little frazzled.” “Fine,” He muttered in response. “Was there any special things that needed doing tonight?” “No, just man the customer’s tonight.” It being a Friday it was a pretty busy night. Tyler went over and over in his head what had happened and argued with himself on exactly what to do as he helped dozens of customer’s pick out their shoes, try them on then ring them up. At nine o’clock he closed up the store with Nick then walked towards the Pollock’s. After four hours of going over it and over it, his mind was made up about halfway home. Instead of turning down the Pollock’s street he walked past it and onto Connor’s street. He was surprised to see Carol’s car in the driveway and hoped Connor wasn’t so sick that he actually needed her to stay and care for him. He walked up the front step and knocked three times, loudly on the door. Carol opened it and smiled out at him. “Hi honey. Come on in.” Tyler stepped over the threshold, stomped the snow off his feet and smiled at her. “How’s Connor?” “He’s okay, got a pretty nasty cold but nothing he can’t fight off in a couple days. You gonna stay the night?” “May I?” “Of course you can hon, open invitation remember?” He smiled graciously at her. Wanting to hug her, or more so, be held by her as he was still feeling very low, plan or no plan. “Did you eat? Do you want a sandwich or something?” He shook his head. “No thank you ma’am. I just wanna see Connor.” She smiled and nodded not missing the fact he looked much more depressed then usual. “He’s in his room. If you get hungry help yourself to whatever you want okay?” she squeezed his arm as he smiled at her, then let go of him as he turned and walked through the living room and back into the hall. Opening Connor’s door he quietly crept inside. His heart fell as he saw he was sound asleep in the dim light from the nightlight in the room. He walked over to the bureau where he had his own set of pajamas. He peeled off his clothes slipped on the silky feeling pajamas then pulled the blankets down on the side of the bed that unofficially had become his. Connor was on his back snoring softly and he couldn’t help but smile at the beautiful sight beside him. He rolled onto his side, fluffed his pillow so he could look at him better, and placed his hand flat out on Connor’s chest a lone finger rubbing the top button of his pajama tops. He stared for about five minutes when Connor started to stir below his hand. As his beautiful eyes opened, Tyler’s flood gates opened again, with little warning and no way to stop them. Connor sat up quickly. “Hey,” he said quietly his hand rubbing up and down Tyler’s back. “What’s the matter?” Tyler sniffled, mad at himself again for bawling this way. He pushed himself along the bed ‘til his face was buried in Connor’s stomach. Tear’s smarted Connor’s eyes as Tyler sobbed below him, seemingly clinging onto him around the waist for dear life. He wanted to do anything he could to take his pain away. Having no idea what to do, he rubbed his back and ran his fingers through his hair ‘til Tyler’s cries quieted. Once they were nothing more then the occasional sniffle, Connor grasped him by the shoulders and pulled him into a sitting position in front of him. Tyler’s head hung down as though he couldn’t bear to look him in the eye, as he shook his head and apologized a few times. “Why are you apologizing to me Tyler? What’s wrong?” His first and most panicked thought was that Tyler had cheated on him or something. He’d not thought that ‘til the first apology, but now could not think of any other reason why Tyler would be apologizing to him. “Whatever it is, you can tell me, we can work it out.” Though he would be deeply hurt if that was what it was, he’d go on, go on if it were up to him, with Tyler right by his side. “I didn’t mean to bawl all over you.” Tyler said shaking his head, daring to look Connor in the eye for a bout a second. “I just came here to talk and as soon as I saw you, I just started crying.” Connor at his wit’s end in frustration just wanting to know what was wrong, took both Tyler’s hands into his own and squeezed them. “If you don’t tell me what’s wrong Tyler, and real damn fast, I may have to strangle myself.” Tyler looked up into his eyes again and snorted out a slight laugh. “The guys on the team got me today.” “Got you how?” Connor asked his voice ice cold. “They beat me up and tied me to a bench. They were gonna shave me, but as soon as they saw how I look,” He stopped, swallowing hard and wiped at a stray tear. “Well they stopped. Mitch had plenty to say about it, but everyone else was just quiet.” He pressed the palms of his hands into his eyes and shook his head. “I just feel so embarrassed. I just laid there and cried.” He sobbed and Connor quickly embraced, him tightly burning with anger at Mitch and the others. “I looked like an idiot. I am an idiot. I shoulda left when I had the chance.” He pressed his cheek into Connor’s shoulder as his arms snaked around him pulling him even closer. “I don’t know why I thought they wouldn’t do anything. The whole damn thing was a set up. They musta started planning it as soon as they found out you were out.” “What do you mean set up?” Connor asked, his fingers laced through Tyler’s hair. “Kyle pretended to hurt his ankle. That way the coach had to leave with him to take him to Emergency. That way the others wouldn’t have to worry about him being there to protect me.” Connor sighed, knowing if he’d had a gun right then he’d hunt everyone of those assholes down and blow their stinking brains out. “Tyler I’m so sorry. I honestly didn’t think they had it in them to be so cruel. I thought they were all mouth I really did. If you don’t wanna do track anymore I won’t say one word about it.” Tyler untangled himself from Connor’s arms, sat back and looked at him. “I don’t want to quit. After fighting with myself all night long, I’m even more determined now to go through with this.” Connor’s eyes lit up in complete and total admiration. “God Tyler, I can’t even tell you how proud I am.” Tyler smiled shyly at him, loving to hear those words. “But you can’t tell anyone what happened. I don’t want the coach going after them. If they get kicked off they won’t be there to see that I’m not bothered.” he let out a bitter laugh. “Course if you don’t tell anyone how I bawled my eyes out right here, I’ll have a better chance of convincing them of that.” Connor smiled back rubbing his hand up and down Tyler’s arm. “I’m glad you came to me Tyler. I’m glad you cried in my arms. It makes me feel you love me.” “I do love you Connor. I didn’t think I’d have to cry for you to get you to see that.” Tyler said looking a little hurt. “Of course I knew it, now I just know it even more.” He leaned in and was rewarded with a deep long and very passionate kiss. “So what are you gonna do?” he asked after sitting back. “Just act like nothing happened?” “Yeah,” Tyler said with a firm nod. “And kick ass in every damn event I’m in this year.” Connor whooped in delight as he clapped his hands together. “That’s what I want to hear baby!” he said loudly. Tyler chuckled and tackled him down onto his back on the bed. Lying on top of him, he kissed every part of his face and neck. They made love quietly then fell asleep in each other’s arms. Though Connor could have used another day in bed, he was not about to let Tyler face the track team alone. After assuring his mother about a million times that he was back to normal, he and Tyler got into his car at 9:45 and headed for the school. “You can’t say anything to them either Connor, I don’t want them even knowing I told you okay?” Connor gripped the wheel tightly and nodded, knowing it was going to be very hard facing the assholes and act as though he knew nothing of the terrible thing they had done. “Just for God sakes, stay by my side.” Tyler added, grinning over at him. “I am on you like glue babe. You’ll think we are stuck together by the time this practice is over.” Tyler smiled and squeezed Connor’s thigh. “I know you still don’t feel good, I’m sorry I’m making you go out. I just wouldn’t be able to do this alone and if I miss a day they’ll know it’s ‘cause of them.” “I wouldn’t let you go alone anyways Tyler. Don’t you worry about me, I’ll only be out two hours then I can go home and sleep the rest of the day.”
  11. vlista20

    Chapter 18

    Tyler - Chapter 18 Tyler was pleased as much as he was scared when they walked into the locker room and every eye seemed very surprised to see him. Mitch looked as pissed as he was surprised and he couldn’t help note that a few even looked happily surprised. He looked at each of them for only a second before following Connor over to their lockers. He didn’t see their eyes looking at Connor nervously, as though expecting him to lash out at them any minute. Tyler was fully changed when coach called to him from the doorway. He made sure to give them all a withering look, hoping to make them squirm, thinking he would walk into the office and tell all. He noted many of them did squirm as he walked past them and reveled in the thought that he had some power over them all now. He followed the coach out of the locker room and down the hall to his office. Sitting in the same seat he’d sat in the other day, he looked the man over as he sat down behind his desk. “There was absolutely nothing wrong with Kyle’s ankle yesterday. As soon as I found out, I rushed back here. I had it in my mind it was all a set up. With Connor being gone that maybe they were planning something against you. So please tell me, did they do anything to you yesterday afternoon?” “No sir,” he felt guilty as hell lying, but the last thing he needed was for the whole season to be suspended, ‘cause there was no one left to run. How was he supposed to prove himself to anyone if there were no team to do it on? Coach tilted his head to one side. “You’re sure?” “Yes sir, I just got dressed and left. Honest, I had the same impression you did. So I hightailed it outta there shortly after you.” He smiled, seemingly satisfied with that. “Okay, I just wanted to make sure, have you decided which events you are gonna run in next week yet?” “Well 1 mile for sure, then I want to try javelin, and hurdles, and at least one sprint.” he looked off into space as he continued to name things off stopping only when the coach started to laugh. “Son you can only choose five.” he said shaking his head. “What do you think?” “I think 1 mile for sure like you. 200 meter hurdles. You do better at long distance so I’d take that over 100 meter hurdles. Then I’d like to see you in the long jump. I think you need to work a little more on the javelin before you do that in a meet. I’ve noticed your legs are much more powerful then your arms.” he smiled hoping he wasn’t coming off rude. “That can be worked on of course. That’s three so next I’d choose half mile and five hundred meters.” Tyler nodded, not about to go against the coaches advice. He stood from his chair and smiled down at him. “Well sign me up for those then. Then tell me what I need to do so I can do javelin by the end of the year.” “Well let’s get out there and get going then.” Coach said patting Tyler on the shoulder, wishing ever team member was as enthusiastic as he was. By the time Tyler got to work his arms were burning so bad he could barely lift the shoes onto the rack. He thought perhaps Javelin was not the best thing for him, if lifting 25 repetitions of 60 pounds would feel this bad every time. Coach had told him after a few times the pain fades away he just hoped he’d make it through that first few times. He was setting up a display of track shoes at about two o’clock when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned and his face lit up into a smile seeing Chris, his roommate and after a while good friend from Crestwood. “Hey,” he said happily throwing his arms around Chris who hugged him back mightily. “You got out.” “Yeah just this past Thursday.” Chris replied, giddily after letting him go and taking a step back. “I start school Monday so mom’s taking me shopping.” he gestured to a woman standing nearby who walked up to Tyler and smiled. She extended her hand. “I’ve heard so much about you dear. It’s very nice to finally meet you.” He blushed as he shook her hand, imagining at least at the beginning what she’d heard about him was not so good. She wandered off after another smile and Tyler turned back to Chris who began wringing his hands together nervously. “Dude, I gotta ask you a favor and it’s probably gonna sound real cold of me.” Furrowing his brow Tyler nodded. “What is it?” “Could you like pretend we aren’t already friends? On Monday I mean. Like act like you are meeting me for the first time. I really don’t want everyone to know we met at the nuthouse.” Tyler laughed totally understanding and not finding it cold at all. “Sure buddy, just so you know though we will be friends after meeting.” Chris chuckled, his eyes bright. “Well yeah I was hoping that. Counting on it actually, Paul’s getting out too.” Tyler’s own eyes widened in happiness and surprise. He knew from his weekly visits that Paul was rapidly progressing in his therapy knew that he was out nearly all the time and at last visit not one alter had appeared in three whole days. “Where’s he gonna stay?” “Amy rented a house. He’s gonna stay with her ‘til he’s eighteen and they’ll go from there.” “My God, that’s incredible. Wow she must be a real nice lady.” he knew that she was nice just didn’t know she was that nice. “She loves him.” Chris said smiling. “Who couldn’t love Paul? Damn, he’s too damn sweet to dislike. I’m so happy for him and he’s beside himself with joy.” “So do you know when he’s getting out?” “Middle of March, like two weeks from now. Amy will expect you to visit.” he grinned. “Oh and I shall.” he said with a slight bow going along with Chris’s formalness. “Shall I grace the front step of your house one day as well?” Chris chuckled. “Yuh but keep talking like that and you won’t get past the doorstep.” Tyler laughed so glad he now would have another friend at school. The week before the meet flew by quickly. Chris thus far had evaded anyone finding out he’d spent time in Crestwood and though he had quite a few people seeking him out to be their friend he spent all his time with Bobby, Rick, Tyler and Connor. His fear of gay people seemed to have completely subsided as he really seemed to enjoy each and everyone of their company. Saturday, the day of their first track meet, happened to fall on Tyler’s birthday. The bus ride to the meet was a rowdy one. The other team members no longer shot him dirty looks or teased him, he was just basically ignored. Mitch still shot a dig in here and there, but he for the most part as well just left him alone. Tyler sat with Connor at the back of the bus. Connor was dying inside as he knew full well it was Tyler’s birthday, but to not spoil the surprise that was waiting for him that night after the meet, he had decided to pretend he’d forgotten. This was downright killing him, though Tyler seemed completely unaffected by it. He blamed it on the fact that Tyler had never celebrated a birthday. Something he’d found out a few weeks earlier that nearly broke his heart. There were so many little things he was finding. Little things that he’d taken for granted. Like holidays, parents that showed up at sporting events, even little notes his mother put in his lunches, lunches even being something that Tyler had never had packed for him. Once the bus stopped outside one of their rival schools, the team unloaded and filed through the school to a locker room that had been reserved for them and the other two away teams. Tyler had felt himself very lucky that this first meet was not against Washington, but could not feel lucky for long as the next week’s meet would be against them. They all changed out and walked back outside to the track which was surrounded by a pretty big crowd. Being only the first week in March the day was incredibly cold. He was glad he had a sweatshirt like the rest of the team, emblazoned with the school’s mascot roaring on the front. He knew he’d have to take it off when it was time to run, but knew the running itself would keep him warm. He looked up into the stands not having realized track and field was such a spectator sport. He’d have expected such a crowd at a football game but track? Well he wouldn’t have believe it if he hadn’t seen it for himself. Feeling someone step up beside him he looked over and flinched, seeing Mitch right there. His eyes darted around for Connor who he spotted at the beginning of the field talking to someone from another school he did not recognize. “You looking up there thinking you actually got a fan up there? Where are your parents? They here? ‘Cause if they aren’t you ain’t got any fans up there”. Tyler narrowed his eyes thinking Mitch was certainly running out of material. His words actually made him a little happy, as obviously the jerk had not caught wind of his foster kid status and that was one less thing he could pick on. “I imagine that lawyer dad of yours is busy off defending common criminals or maybe even serial rapists. Despicable profession law.” he tisked and shook his head while Tyler had all he could do not to laugh as he’d nearly forgotten all about his lie the first day of school where he’d told everyone his daddy was a rich lawyer. “What does your dad do Mitch?” he asked, then wondered briefly why his sac seemed to have suddenly appeared out of nowhere. “My dad is in the military. A truly honorable profession. Can’t get any better then defending your country now can you. Did your father ever fight for his country?” Tyler nodded truly having fun now. “Oh sure,” he replied with a concise nod of his head. “He went over and flew a helicopter during dessert storm, went in and rescued stranded soldiers. They were shot down once but he got all his men out. Received a medal of honor for that one. Your dad ever get one of those?” Mitch’s face turned a deep scarlet, Tyler looked at him just long enough to be able to remember that face, then turned on his heel and walked up to Connor who’d obviously seen who was talking to him and was hurrying over. “What did that fuck want?” He snarled, glaring past Tyler and at Mitch who was still facing the other way. “He wanted to tease me. I one upped him though. Told him about my dad the war hero.” Connor looked at him as though he were gonna ask it if were true then broke out laughing. “how do you come up with these things?” Tyler shrugged, feeling pretty proud of himself at that moment. The 500 meter hurdle was the first event. Tyler lined up at the starting line with one other member of his team and two members from each of the opposing teams. Mark his teammate was on his left and he jumped feeling Mark’s hand come down on his back. He turned to him in his crouched starting position and was a little surprised to see him smiling. “Good luck man, you gotta win this ‘cause I know I can’t.” Tyler surprised himself even more when he smiled back. “I’ll do my best.” Mark’s smile got wider before they both turned and looked ahead of them. The gun fired and they were off. Tyler always felt great when he was running but there with the crowd around, the other opposing school’s runners right there neck and neck with him, he felt a sense of euphoria. Here he was king loser of nearly every school in the district, out there running with the best of them. No longer hiding in corners and trying his best not to be seen. Now he was one of six people that everyone had their eyes on. He reached the first hurdle and soared over it, his legs responding to exactly what his mind told them to do. He found himself looking forward to each jump, each one he sailed over feeling like he was going a little higher and a little faster. He no longer saw any runners ahead of him and didn’t see any out of the corners of his eyes. Meaning he was not a breast of anyone he was actually in the lead. His determination growing even more, he pushed on feeling faster and mightier, as he pounded the tar with his feet and sailed over hurdles feeling like they were twenty feet below him as he flew through the air. He landed solidly after the last one and ran even faster seeing the tape that indicated the finish line easily within his reach. He jutted out his chest seconds before he broke through it and heard cheering and clapping to his left as he slowly came to a stop. Connor ran into his arms yelling, as he jumped up and down, his arms never leaving him in his excitement. “Dammit Tyler I knew you’d be the star of the team. You left those other’s in the dust. They looked like turtles compared to you.” suddenly the coach was on him too patting his back and congratulating him so many times he lost count. He merely got a few pats on the backs from the other teammates and one extremely dirty look from Mitch but didn’t care one bit. He felt he had perhaps just had one of the very best moments in his life. He came in first at every event but one that day, the more he won, the more congratulations he got from the teammates. He could care less about theirs though. Connor was excited enough for everyone and him and the coach were all he cared about. They won the meet thanks in large part to Tyler though he was ignored again on the ride home, as Mitch made himself the center of attention telling crude stories about sex with his many girlfriends. Connor and Tyler quickly zoned them out as they settled into each other’s arms for the two hour ride home. Bobby, Rick and Carol were all busy with the decorations for the party when the doorbell rang. “I’ll get it.” Carol called out, as Bobby was all the way up one ladder hanging streamers and Rick was halfway up another. She walked to the door and opened it. “Hi Amy,” she said, smiling happy to see her and Paul as well. “How are you doing?” she asked, smiling at Paul who looked so much better and so much more with it then last time she saw him. He smiled up at her shyly, still looking like he wasn’t more then thirteen years old. “I’m good ma’am.” he answered gripping Amy’s hand just a little bit tighter. He was nervous as hell about this expedition, but would never have forgiven himself if he’d missed what he considered to be his best friends birthday party. Though he still had a week ‘til he was officially released from Crestwood he’d been allowed to leave for the evening with Amy to attend the party. Carol ushered them in and took their jackets. She led them into the living room where Bobby and Rick were both crawling down from their ladders. Bobby turned his eyes immediately locking on Paul. A happy smile lit up his face while Paul looked a bit like a deer caught in headlights. Bobby walked forward slowly, intending to just say hello and shake his hand, but once he reached him he couldn’t help put his arms around his old best bud, so glad to see him back on his feet, and actually still alive, which was surprising as hell as he’d heard much of what Paul had lived through like everyone else at the school. “I missed you so much Paul.” he said, setting his chin on top of Paul’s head as he towered over him. Though he’d been nervous as hell upon Bobby’s approach the minute his arms were around he felt safe. He moved his own arms around the bigger boy’s waist and squeezed him tightly. “I missed you too Bobby.” he said quietly forcing himself not to cry on this his first outing in years. Bobby stepped back and smiled down at him. “You look real good.” Paul chuckled, as he bent his neck and looked up at him. “Sure,” he said with a roll of his eyes knowing full well he still looked like a little kid. Bobby chuckled and squeezed his shoulders. “You wanna help us with the balloons?” Paul nodded eagerly, seeing Paul would be just fine with the two boys Amy followed Carol off into the kitchen to help with the food. The doorbell rang again, just after Bobby had introduced Rick and Paul, and Carol opened the door again to let Julie into the house. Julie smiled at her and was escorted into the living room where she set her present down on a coffee table that was quickly becoming filled with gifts. “Hey guys.” she said, smiling at the other’s her eyes fell on Paul and her face lit up as she remembered him as well though she’d been under the opinion she’d never again see him. “Paul!” she said excitedly. “How are you?” Paul smiled shyly at her not remembering who she was. “I’m good.” She walked up to him and put her hand on her chest. “I’m Julie, I’m sure you probably don’t really remember me. But we were in the same class back in Kindergarten.” He looked her over again and nodded, though he still didn’t remember, then turned and began blowing up balloons again. Chris showed up next and helped them with the finishing touches Paul staying close to him, as he knew Chris out of the ones there best. When Robert walked in Rick nudged Bobby about a dozen times ‘til Bobby finally got tired of it and snapped ‘what?’ “Who is that guy?” Rick asked, his eyes wide letting Bobby know he thought the guy was one hot specimen. Bobby grinned, and though he wasn’t sure said. “That’s Robert. Tyler’s best friend.” “Woah,” Rick shook his head and rolling his eyes in shock. “Ya, I do remember him. He worked at the shoe store with Tyler.” he put his hand up over his mouth. “God he’s the one that hates me.” He shrunk down as Robert’s eyes fell on him and though a smile came to the other guy’s face, it made him no more comfortable as Robert walked over to him and Bobby. Robert stuck his hand out to Bobby. “We’ve never been formally introduced. I’m Robert.” Bobby smiled and shook his hand. “Bobby, and this is Rick.” he said, pointing over at Rick who seemed incapable of speech at that moment. Robert looked over at Rick and extended his hand to him which Rick managed to shake. Robert though, still not Rick’s biggest fan, had to give the guy some credit for conceding his original opinions of Tyler and actually becoming a pretty good friend to him. Stewart was the last to arrive among the guests and after introductions he and Robert talked together while Bobby and Rick talked with Julie, while Chris stayed with Paul who stuck real close to Amy, the amount of people making him even more nervous then he’d thought he’d be. Connor parked his car behind a silver Ford Escort and smiled over at Tyler, who was looking over all the other cars. “Who’s all these people?” he asked, not recognizing one of them. “Don’t know, maybe mom’s got some people over.” He shrugged nonchalantly as he opened the door. Tyler met up with him at the front of the car and they walked up and into the house together. Tyler’s face lit up as he saw all his friends inside, and they all yelled surprise the minute he walked in. Tyler turned to Connor, who was grinning like a Cheshire cat, then reached out and shoved him into the wall. “I thought you forgot.” Rubbing his shoulder from where it had banged into the wall Connor laughed and shook his head. “I didn’t forget you twit? What kinda boyfriend do you think I am?” Tyler smiled and gave him a big hug. “Thank you.” he let go of Connor and turned to Carol, who he was sure had a lot to do with it herself. He wrapped his arms around her and whispered another Thank you in her ear. She squeezed him back and rubbed his back. “Happy Birthday hon.” He stepped back and smiled at her, his great day only getting much better as he’d not imagined was even possible. He walked into the living room where he got several more hugs, the biggest and best from the littlest guy in the room, Paul. “So you out now?” Tyler asked, after they’d separated. Paul shook his head. “Another week. But I got registrate...” he paused looking confused. “Res...” Amy chuckled and finished for him. “Respite.” He smiled at her gratefully holding up a finger then grinned at Tyler. “That’s it!” Tyler chuckled as he looked up at Amy. “Did you find a house yet?” “Yeah, it’s on Sycamore. One story, two bedroom. Cozy little place.” “Sycamore is the next street over from the Pollock’s.” he said excitedly. “We are gonna be neighbor’s.” he added, looking back at Paul who smiled happily. Carol and Amy carried in trays of finger sandwiches, bowls of chips, deviled eggs, and dips and set them out on a table that had been set up with a happy birthday table cloth and balloons on each end. Tyler who was half starved, not having eaten since morning, was nearly first to the table beaten only by Connor who had not eaten in the same amount of time. They both grabbed three finger sandwiches one of each kind, turkey salad, ham salad and egg salad. Tyler grabbed three deviled eggs and a good helping of chips with a spoonful of dip. They sat down together on the couch Paul sitting down on the other side of Tyler with a very full plate of his own. Robert sat on the other side of Connor. Tyler leaned forward looking past Connor and smiled at him. “Did you drive all the way down here?” “Yeah, ma let me use her car. I’m staying here ‘til Monday morning.” Tyler’s face lit up. “Awesome!” Robert smiled and nodded. “I thought so. So as soon as you get out of work tomorrow, me, you and Connor ought to head out and do something okay?” Both Connor and Tyler nodded in full agreeance. Though Tyler was embarrassed as hell to do it in front of a room full of people staring at him he opened his presents next. He got several books, a few new shirts, and a small portable radio with CD player and a couple CD’s from Robert and a plaque with the words Tyler’s room done out in seashells on it from Paul. Connor, who made him wait ‘til last to open his, gushed in excitement as he pulled it off the table. Tyler grinned at him loving nothing more then when Connor was this excited about something. He peeled back the paper of the large rectangular box then slowly opened the cover. Seeing white leather amidst Blue fabric his eyes lit up knowing exactly what it was. He pulled out the school jacket saw his name embroidered on the front and the school’s mascot sewed onto the back just like every other one he saw. “Oh Connor,” He gasped, knowing the jackets were not cheap and never expecting to have one of his own. “This way you have something to put your letter on after you get it at the awards banquet at the end of the season.” Tyler grinned, as only Connor would have so much confidence in him, to so quickly seem absolutely sure he’d get one. He set the jacket in his laps and hugged him tightly. “Thank you so much.” Connor chuckled in his arms. “Well I’m the one that’s gonna get to wear it dude. I am your boyfriend.” Carol huffed, as she cuffed Connor upside the head. “Connor you are impossible.” Connor only chuckled louder, too happy in the hug to care if his mother was annoyed with him or not, which he knew she really wasn’t that annoyed. Tyler let go of him and sat up straight again. He put the jacket on Connor, who stuck his tongue out at his mother, who shook her head and laughed at him. Carol disappeared off into the kitchen, seconds before she reappeared the lights went out in the room, which was quickly relit by the several candles ablaze on top of the cake she carried in her arms into the room, while everyone started to sing happy birthday. A lump formed in Tyler’s throat and his eyes stung a bit, as this was truly a first for him. Something he’d not even really realized up until that moment. He looked around the room at all his closest friends and had to smile at the fact that he now had so many people that he cared about and obviously cared about him as well. Robert as though sensing his pleasure walked up behind him and wrapped his arms around his shoulders. “Looks like you got yourself a nice little family now, huh Tyler?” he whispered in his ear. Tyler turned his head and smiled up at him perhaps the happiest smile Robert had ever seen on his best friends face. “I’d say so.” Though the family he was living spoke to him only long enough to reprimand him on something which happened very rarely, he knew who he was with now was his family. He felt very close to Carol and had little doubt she felt as strongly about him as he did about her. He felt as though Paul and Robert were both his brothers and Bobby, Rick and especially Chris were all his best friends. Julie of course was the first girl he’d ever liked and she continued to surprise him nearly everyday with her warmth and kindness towards him, despite her asshole parents. He felt Stewart was a friend as well but more in a way mentor type of way. Stewart always seemed to be there for him in more of a quiet, not always in the front line type of way. He loved Stewart for his quiet yet caring ways just as he loved the rest of them. He looked at Connor, easily able to picture them still together in fifty years. He could not imagine his life without his first major love and felt they had what it took to stay together forever. He took Connor’s hand and held it tightly as he leaned over the cake. Taking a deep breath, he wished to always be surrounded by these people that were now his famil, seconds before he blew out every last candle in a single breath.
  12. vlista20

    Chapter 16

    Tyler - Chapter 16 After dinner that evening Rick did up the dishes then retreated to his room. He was there no more then five minutes when his parents yelling from downstairs peeked his attention. He tossed his book aside then edged out of his room and to the top of the stairs. “I don’t understand why you brought one of them damn kids home in the first place Karen.” He heard his father’s angry voice say. “They are nothing but trouble, the whole damn lot of them.” “Robert I’m not gonna put him with another family that’s gonna abuse him. He’s dealt with that shit his whole life. There’s no reason he can’t stay here. Danny’s off at college, we have plenty of room.” Rick sat down gingerly on the top step wanting to be sure to make no noise. “I won’t have him living here. These kids ain’t trustworthy. Rotten kid, will rob us blind.” “He’s not a rotten kid.” he heard his mother’s voice pleading desperately. “Honey you have no idea the life this kid has survived. He doesn’t need to be shipped off to another family that’s gonna mistreat him. A person can only take so much rejection. Tyler’s taken more then most could ever fathom handling. His own parents damn near killed him three separate times.” Rick’s eyes widened as he himself had never fathomed such a thing had happened to Tyler. He suddenly felt incredibly guilty for his initial mistrust of the guy. He knew now Tyler was a good guy and hearing what he’d just heard drove his guilt levels through the roof. “That doesn’t make me feel any better,” his father retorted, “kid’s unstable, got to be.” “No he’s not. He passed his mental evaluation. His biggest problem is the fact he doesn’t like himself. And with five different families all hating him, it’s no wonder he feels that way.” “He’s not staying here. That is final.” Rick rolled his eyes from the top of the stairs, as that voice of his father’s was not one that could be reasoned or reckoned with. “I want him out of here in one week. That’s all I want, no further discussion on this.” Hearing his mother’s footsteps on the stone tiled floor he jumped up from the step and ran back to his room. He sat on his bed, pulling a pillow into his arms he squeezed it against his chest, as he looked over at Tyler’s measly belongings that his mother had laid out on his bed. He cursed his father for being so hateful. He sided with his mother on this one, which was a truly rare occasion. He’d not mind one bit if Tyler moved in. In fact hearing what he’d just heard, he would welcome it. But he also knew his father. Even if his mother did end up winning out Tyler would not be treated well by the man. He wouldn’t out and out hurt him, but his father had a way of making someone feel smaller then head lice. He knew that was the last thing that Tyler would want or need. He was lying on his bed reading his English book when Tyler walked in at nine fifteen. “How was work?” he asked, looking at him and seeing him in a whole new much more respectful light. Tyler shrugged as he peeled off his coat and dropped down on his bed. “Not so much fun when Robert’s not there.” “Can I ask a personal question.” “You can ask it.” Tyler kicked off his shoes and slid them under the bed with one foot before lying back and putting his head down on the pillow. “How many foster homes you been in?” Tyler turned his head on the pillow and looked over at him. “Why you wanna know?” “Just curious.” He looked back up at the ceiling, squinting his eyes in thought. “Four.” “How old were you when you were put into foster care?” “Fourteen.” “Has my mom always been your social worker?” “No, only since I’ve been a foster kid.” “You had one before you were a foster kid?” “Yeah some lady used to come by the house and interview me every now and then. My parents too. She was a twit.” He drew his leg up in the air and massaged his calf. After lazing around for two and a half months, it took it’s toll to suddenly be on his feet again for five straight hours. He’d woke up twice the night before with a screaming Charlie horse. His ears started to tingle as he heard Karen and her husband reach the top of the stairs. “Damn kid thinks he can come and go as he pleases? God dammit Karen, he could up and kill us all in the night.” Tyler propped himself up on his elbows and looked out the doorway, though all he could see was the corner of the wall outside the door. “Ronald just shut up.” “It’s my house; I don’t have to shut up. Kid’s shifty I don’t like him.” ‘Shifty?’ Tyler’s mouth formed out the word, not exactly sure what he meant by that. He’d not heard that one before. He narrowed his eyes in confusion then jumped as a door slammed loudly down the hall. He dropped back onto his back on the mattress. “Sorry man, my dad can be a real ass sometimes.” Tyler looked over at him, now having a good idea where Rick had gotten his bad ideas about foster kids from. Rubbing his hand down across his stomach, Tyler shrugged it off. “No problem.” Rick lifted his head off his pillow and looked him over. He could tell it was a problem and knew Tyler must be feeling pretty low after hearing what he just heard. He also got the feeling that it was nothing new for him and could not imagine what it must be like to hear that crap all the time. “Tyler I’m sorry about the way I treated you when we first met.” “Don’t worry about it.” “I am worried about it. It wasn’t fair. I see that now.” Nodding as he cracked the knuckles in his toes, Tyler continued to stare at the ceiling. He could not wait ‘til he was living with Robert. Could not wait ‘til he was with someone who actually wanted him around. He could take whatever came in his way over the next couple weeks, ‘cause he knew it was nearly over. Soon he could be happy, and he had it to look forward to. Not daring to leave the room, he crawled under the blankets with his work uniform on. Rick did not question it, he already had a real good idea why Tyler was doing it. On Saturday he packed up his things and was driven over to the Pollock’s. The Pollock’s had two kids of their own and no foster kids, but had taken in a few in the past. Karen walked him to the door like usual, had a cup of coffee with Mrs. Pollock then left, making him promise to come to her if their were any problems. Having already worked the morning shift, Tyler unpacked his bag in his new room then walked back out into the kitchen where Mrs. Pollock was reading the paper at the table. “Can I go to my friend’s house?” She looked up at him and half smiled. “Sure, if you are coming home just make sure you get in by ten. Doors lock here at ten. No one comes in after that.” “So you don’t expect me to call or anything?” He asked, just wanting to make sure the rules were clear. “Nope.” She quipped not looking up from her paper. Tyler nodded then turned and left the house. It was only a five minute walk to Connor’s and before he knew, he was being welcomed in by Carol. “Get your ass in here boy it’s freezing out there.” He grinned as he walked past her. She took off his jacket and hung it on a hook by the door. “So how’s the new parents?” “Okay, I can spend the night if you guys want me,” he blushed and put his hand over his mouth, “sorry that was kinda rude.” She chuckled and squeezed his shoulders. “We were gonna insist on that anyways.” Connor came running out of his room wearing only a pair of sweat pants. Tyler’s heart beat faster seeing his muscular chest and cute little nipples. He threw his arms around Tyler and gave him a big hug. Tyler nestled his chin against his bare skin but kept his hands from roaming, as his mother was still standing right there. “I just gotta get dressed; I thought maybe we could go out this afternoon.” “Sure,” Tyler smiled, always up for going out. Ten minutes later they were in the car heading north. “So where are we going?” “Well I was hoping we could go to a motel.” Tyler’s eyes widened. “You horn dog.” Connor grinned sheepishly. “Well do you want to?” Tyler took a long deep breath. “Okay, I do, but remember I don’t look too good, so try not to harp on it okay?” “I won’t Tyler, I promise.” He said bouncing up and down in his seat in excitement. “Did you get condoms?” “Yeah, some other play stuff too.” Tyler chuckled and put his hand over his mouth. “Let me see.” “Not ‘til we get there.” Connor said chuckling himself. They pulled into a motel about ten minutes later. Connor went in alone and checked them in, making no mention that they wouldn’t stay the night. They’d just pretend when they left that they had a change of plans. He grabbed a paper bag out of the trunk before leading Tyler into the motel room, with the number seven on the door. “Lucky number.” Tyler said pointing up at it. Connor pulled him into the room and swung the door closed behind them. “Lucky seven.” he said tracing his finger down the front of Tyler’s jacket. He reached the bottom and poked in on his groin. “Lucky number seven.” Tyler grinned as he cupped the back of Connor’s neck and pulled him tightly into his lips. They pressed their bodies together, as their tongues danced around in each other’s mouths. Tyler struggled Connor’s jacket off, and threw it over a chair, then Connor pulled his jacket off. They separated moments later and Tyler looked down at the bag. “So what’s in it?” Connor backed up and sat down on the bed. He pulled out a tube of KY and held it up. “I thought I may need that.” Tyler chuckled, as he sat down beside him. “Me too.” He said, taking it and setting it down beside him on the bed. Next he pulled out a deck of cards. “What’s that for?” “Well,” he said looking him in the eye. “I figured you’d be leery of taking your clothes off. So I thought a nice game of strip poker would ease you into it.” “Oh yeah,” Tyler said, taking the cards. “Good idea.” Connor reached back into the bag and pulled out a tube of strawberry flavored warming gel. Tyler laughed as he took it in his hands. “Where the hell did you find this?” “Internet. Tastes good.” “So you sampled the goods?” “Yeah, heats up real nice too.” Tyler rubbed his hand down along his crotch. “I’m getting excited just thinking about it.” He grinned. “Well let’s get started then.” he kicked off his shoes and crawled over the king size bed. He turned back around and sat on his butt, crossing his legs in front of him. Tyler turned around and sat in the same position. He ripped open the deck of cards. “You actually know how to play poker? All the different games I mean?” “Yeah sure, you?” Tyler nodded. “So dealer calls. I got the cards so I’m the dealer.” he glanced up at Connor and grinned wryly. “I call five card stud, ‘cause we are studs. 2's are wild.” He dealt out the ten cards, then fanned his out in front of him. Keeping his poker face, he reveled in the fact he had two kings. He looked over at Connor who threw two cards into the middle of the bed. He took two cards out of the deck and handed them to him. “I take three.” he said, setting down his three cards. He picked up three more and said a silent ‘shit’ as he still only had two kings. “Well?” Connor laid his cards down revealing three eights. He said,‘shit’ aloud and pulled off a sock. “Whoa there.” Connor said, holding out his hands. “Don’t go too far, too fast.” Grinning Tyler lifted his leg and stuck his foot in Connor’s face. “Smell good?” Connor latched onto it and licked it from the base of the heel to the tip of the big toe. “Mm, tastes good too.” he said, licking his lips. Tyler crinkled his nose up in disgust. “I been working this morning man, they can’t taste good.” “I like sweat.” “Well there goes my hard on.” Connor laughed and smacked him on the knee. “Shut up. Don’t you have any sense of erotica?” “You’ll see when I lick your ass.” Connor’s face lit up and he could almost hear the cartoon like sound effects to his dick rising up. He picked up the cards and shuffled them. “I call seven card stud. Sixes are wild.” The games wore on, and before long they were both down to only their boxers. Though now horny as hell, Tyler was still nervous about baring his privates and he prayed the measly pair of eight’s he had in his hand would be better then whatever Connor was grinning at in his own hand. “Well sparkly what’ve you got?” He asked nervously. Connor looked up at him with an amused expression. “Sparkly?” Tyler chuckled, “Your eyes. They’re all sparkly.” he said pointing over at him, then resting his hand back down on his knee. Blinking at him flirtatiously, Connor laid his cards down on the bed. Tyler groaned seeing a pair of ten’s and tossed his own cards on top. Connor elated they were finally through playing the game looked at Tyler and saw his nervous hesitation. “We don’t have to if you don’t want.” He said, praying Tyler would want, but feeling guilty that maybe he had been to pushy. Tyler shook his head, wanting it more then anything he’d ever wanted for in his entire life. He lifted himself up onto his knees and slowly lowered his boxers, feeling his blood running up into his face, making it go hot as his shorts moved downwards. Connor gulped, but kept a straight face as Tyler’s scarred genitals came into full view. Though it wasn’t as bad as he’d pictured, it was still a sad sight to see. Knowing Tyler would not want him making any big deal out of it; he got up on his own knees and wrapped his arms around Tyler’s waist pressing his chest, stomach and groin into his. He ran his lips along Tyler’s forehead then down his nose to his lips. Tyler removed Connor’s boxer shorts, and not that he’d thought he’d been lying, was still shocked to see the size of his endowment. Half an hour later, both still panting from their spent pleasure, they held each other tightly in their each other’s arms. “That was incredible Tyler. I can’t believe we waited this long.” Tyler chuckled. “Yeah if only they had conjugal visits in the nuthouse.” Chuckling himself, Connor ran his hand up and down Tyler’s arm that was wrapped around his chest. He turned his head to the side and kissed his forehead. “I love you so much.” Cupping his hand around the back of Connor’s neck he pulled his head down a bit and connected his lips to his while he intertwined their legs together, his knee coming to rest gently against Connor’s groin. They both got hard again within a few minutes and had to relieve themselves once again. They did not leave the motel until after five, then had to drive around wasting more time so their hair would dry from their showers before they saw Connor’s mom. Who would of course get suspicious if they both showed up looking freshly showered. When they got back to Connor’s she was just putting dinner on the table and smiled at them as they walked in. “I made chop suey Tyler. Connor says you love that at school.” Tyler nodded, his eyes alight with pleasure, he was very hungry after the afternoon’s activities and could not think of anything better to hit the spot. “Thank you.” He remembered to say as they all sat around the table. He had a wonderful weekend up until late Sunday afternoon when he got a call from Robert. “How are you?” he asked, as soon as he’d found out it was Robert on the phone. “Tyler I got bad news.” Tyler’s face fell, though he managed to keep his voice strong while he asked, “what?” “I am gonna be here for at least a couple months. My parents are making me stay here ‘til we get grams settled into a nursing home and sell the house. They are enrolling me in school here tomorrow. I won’t be back ‘til at least the beginning of April.” Mustering up all the courage he had, hiding his sudden deep despair and putting forth his most confident voice he said, “That’s okay Robert, I think I’m really liking this new family. You just stay there and do what you gotta do.” “I’m so sorry man, but I promise as soon as I get back. Me and you we’re gonna be roomies.” Tyler smiled at the thought. Just wishing he didn’t have to wait a few more months. Shortly after he got off the phone with Robert he packed up his back pack, kissed Connor goodbye and walked back over to the Pollock’s. Seconds after closing their front door behind him he heard his name being called in the dining room and walked in to see them and their two daughters sitting around the table. “You want dinner?” Anne Pollock asked. Truly honored at the invite he was tempted to say yes, but having just eaten a full meal at Connor’s he smiled and shook his head. “No thank you ma’am.” She nodded and looked back at her plate. Taking that as his dismissal, he turned back out of the room and walked down the hall to his bedroom where he spent the rest of the night sitting on the floor in front of his bed doing his homework. His alarm woke him up early the next morning. He got up and took his shower. Once he got to the kitchen he realized he was the only one up in the house. Not knowing what time they worked and figuring the girls were in elementary school, which started an hour later, he figured it was normal routine for them to still be sleeping. Not feeling comfortable enough to rummage through their kitchen as it had never been allowed at any other home he turned out of the kitchen and quietly left the house. Connor’s car horn jumped him nearly out of his shoes once he was about halfway to school. He smiled, turned and seeing his red car, then stepped off the sidewalk, crossed the road and sat down in the front passenger seat of the car. “What in hell you doin? I was on my way to get you?” Connor asked, after a quick kiss on the lips. “Well I thought I’d just meet you.” Tyler half grinned as he adjusted his back pack from his shoulder to his lap. “Things okay there?” He nodded without hesitation. “Fine honest. They even offered me to sit with them at dinner last night. Course I didn’t ‘cause I was so full.” he chuckled. Connor smiled, not having ever realized that being invited to sit at a table to eat would be such and honor, but realizing to Tyler it was just that. “Track tryouts are today. You please, please, please, wanna try out?” “I can’t man, I got a job.” “Practice is out by 4:30 you’d still get to work by five. And you’d only miss one night a week or a day on the weekends for meets. Most you’d lose is like five hours.” “I don’t know,” Connor reached over and dropped his hand down on Tyler’s thigh giving it a reassuring squeeze. “Just come and try out. You got tonight off. Then if you make it, you can take the schedule to your boss and see if he can work around it.” “Okay loser,” Tyler chortled shaking his head. “And I don’t know what in hell you mean by if I make it. I’ve got a damn fine running form. I’ll be the star of the team.” He broke out laughing at his own ridiculous thought. “You do have a damn fine running form.” Connor spoke up squeezing his thigh again. “Damn fine form all around. And besides we’ll be able to spend so much time together if we are both on the team.” Tyler wondered what in hell he’d gotten himself into the moment he walked into the locker room for track tryouts at the end of the day. He didn’t know why it hadn’t dawned on him that the jocks, that all hated him, would all be on the team or trying out too. Every eye in the room turned to him and Connor, though Tyler could tell it was him they were eyeing scornfully and not Connor. Mitch Jacobs, one of his top teasers sauntered over with his gym shorts and no top on. “What you doin’ in here Washington?” Connor grasped Tyler’s hand and faced off against Mitch. “He’s here because he goes here now. He’s no more Washington than the rest of us.” “Well let’s just focus on the crazy then.” He sneered, his eyes boring back into Tyler. Tyler started to turn and leave but Connor’s hold on him increased ‘til it was almost painful. He turned and looked at him, seeing in his eyes that he thought if he cowered back now it would never stop. Though he was still all for turning and running he didn’t want to disappoint Connor and stayed where he was. As the coach came out of his office and gave a speech about the tryouts, how many would be picked and what was expected. Mitch pulled his eyes away from Tyler though he still looked plenty pissed off. Snide comments ran rampant through the locker room as they all changed up, all of them directed at, or about Tyler, who was cursing Connor for making him do this, almost as much as he was cursing himself for being stupid enough to agree. He did notice that no one made any fag comments while Connor was there and had to be a little thankful that Connor seemed to have enough clout among them to save him from that particular degradation. With ice and snow still piled high on the track that surrounded the football field they walked into the gymnasium after they’d changed up. Tyler like everyone else was wearing the standard issue blue gym shorts and a white T-shirt with the school’s mascot, a ferocious lion emblazoned on the back and the school’s name written out where a pocket would normally be on the front. He had a pair of old crappy sneakers on, that he knew full well would not make it through a season of track, and had already started thinking of how much he should spend on a new pair, though he still was not too eager about the whole track team and more so him being a part of it. They spent an hour and a half running sprints, doing calisthenics, and then ran around the perimeter of the gym five times which they were told equaled out to a mile. Tyler feeling proud that he’d at least held his own, as he’d never gone out for any sport before was elated when Connor and one other guy seemed incredibly excited about his performance. In the locker room after they’d showered and changed Connor was absolutely certain Tyler would make the team and seemed to be even more certain that he’d be a huge asset to the team. As he talked, Tyler looked over the other team hopefuls and noted none of them, but the one other boy were not one bit happy about him doing so well. After they’d changed the coach walked back in with a clipboard and stood in front of them all. As the coach read down the names of those who had made it, several cheered and clapped each other on the back. When Tyler’s name was read the only one who cheered was Connor and it was quickly drowned out by several boo’s and snide remarks. Tyler’s face burned in shame, he’d been booed by a crowd before but that made it no less painful and humiliating when it was done again. His eyes focused in on the coach, who to his relief he noted the man looked angry, and for once not at him. “I want to hear no more of that behavior among my team.” he ordered, his voice loud and strong. “Anyone who continues to try and alienate someone and not act as a team will find themselves no longer a part of this team.” “But coach!” Allen Carlton shot out. “He’s a Washington, he’s only trying out to spy for them.” “Don’t be ridiculous.” Coach Hayden snapped. “This is high school sports, not Mafia crap. Now I want to hear no more about it!” “But what if he’s gotta go to the nuthouse again. Then we lose a team member just because he can’t keep his mind intact.” Tyler’s face burned a deep red, as Connor turned to Allen ready to lunge an attack. The coach’s voice stopped him. “Leave Allen. I don’t want you on this team.” Allen’s mouth fell open as his own face turned red. “You can’t kick me off. I’m the best one you got.” “You may be able to run, but you don’t have what it takes to be a team player. I don’t want you on this team. I don’t even want to see you in, or anywhere near this locker room, while practice is going on.” Tyler dared to look around and saw all Allen’s friends were glaring back at him with murder in their eyes. Knowing it was just not worth it to be on a team he was hated by, he looked back at the coach. “I don’t wanna be on the team sir; don’t kick him off on my account.” He looked at Connor apologetically then hurried out of the locker room. Not feeling like facing anyone, not even Connor he walked out of the school and hurried to the Pollock’s. Once there he went straight to his room and lay down on the bed, curling his legs up so his knees were at his chest and wrapping his arms around him. He couldn’t believe how dumb he’d been to think he’d fit in enough to actually join a sport. He thought just having a few friends and a boyfriend had made him forget his place, and was questioning his relationship with Connor deeply when his bedroom door opened and Connor walked in. His feelings of doubt about the relationship faded seeing him, as he realized he could never be happy without Connor by his side. Whether he deserved someone so great, he still did not know, but his wanting for the guy overrode his many feelings of doubt. “I’m sorry,” he muttered, his eyes darting up to Connor’s face. “I just can’t do it.” “You can’t not stick up for yourself Tyler.” Connor said cautiously, as he sat down on the edge of the bed. “They are gonna ride you forever if you don’t.” Tyler rolled over onto his back and squinted up at the ceiling as he laid his hand on his chest. “I’ve been ridden my entire life Connor, I only got another year and four months in fucking high school, I think I can make it.” “Yeah and if you go onto college with the same ‘I deserve it’ attitude they are gonna ride you just as bad there.” Tyler’s eyes narrowed as anger shot through him and he glared over at Connor. “So this is all my doing? It’s all my fault no one likes me?” He’d been of that opinion his entire life, but the fact someone else was saying it to him, was really pissing him off for reasons really unknown to him. “Of course not,” Connor shook his head and rolled his eyes wishing he could just say it right. “But I think you can stop it. You can show all them assholes what a good person you really are. You can make them eat their words. You just have to be the way with them that you are with me.” Tyler studied him, his eyes raking over his face for a long time, before his face broke into a smile which surprised the hell out of Connor. “What?” he asked shaking his head totally confused. “I don’t think they’d like me any better if I made out with them or had sex with them.” Putting his hand over his mouth, Connor laughed flopping onto his back, his head resting on Tyler’s stomach. “You could be funny though, like you are with me.” Tyler moved his hand to the top of Connor’s head and ran his fingers through his hair. “I just can’t be on a team that hates me Connor. What in the world would be the fun in that? I don’t care about teaching anyone they were wrong about me. I just want to get through high school with my body in one piece.” Connor turned his head and looked up at Tyler’s face. “Coach didn’t let Allen back on the team, even after you left. And he told everyone else they could have just lost the entire season for all of us, for just letting one of the best performer’s in tryouts walk out the door.” Chuckling Tyler shook his head. “Well the coach was the one that kicked him off. That would be his fault or even mine for showing up. Not the rest of the team’s.” Connor sat up looking down at him. “Not Allen you twit. You! You were the best performer at tryouts.” Tyler’s eyes widened, sure the man must have just been saying that to make the team feel guiltier, but still surprised he’d said it. “You do much running?” Connor asked, cocking his head to one side as he looked Tyler over. Shrugging, Tyler shook his head. “Just running away from people,” he chuckled. “Well it’s been beneficial in one way. You are awesome at it. Please think on it tonight. You’d be great for the team, even if they don’t realize it at first, they will realize it.” Though he was already sure he didn’t want to do it, he nodded hating to deny the pleading look in Connor’s eyes. “But please don’t be too upset with me if I don’t do it Connor. We can find plenty of other ways to spend time together.” Connor nodded as he rubbed his hand up and down Tyler’s chest. He leaned over and planted a firm yet gentle kiss on his lips. “I love you man, I would never be pissed off at you.” Tyler smiled and pulled Connor’s head down for another kiss that lasted a bit longer then the first. “You want to come over for dinner?” “Yeah okay,” Tyler sat up and pulled his shoes back on. “Your mom’s working tonight right?” “Yeah, but I can cook a little.” Chuckling, he shook his head. “Wasn’t why I was asking, I was thinking of a little dessert action.” Connor cooed in delight, then pulled Tyler up by the hand. “Dessert sounds like an incredible idea.”
  13. vlista20

    Chapter 9

    Tyler - Chapter 9 Tyler was stonily silent the whole drive to the hospital and the whole time he was being checked in. He felt he’d been abandoned by everyone. Even Robert, who he’d been so sure, would always be by his side. His heart ached so bad he wasn’t sure if maybe he was actually having a heart attack and his head was throbbing, he though perhaps from his own loud screaming. He knew he’d totally lost it that morning at social services, but felt he had every reason to. Suddenly he was without a boyfriend, without a best friend, and being locked away in the nut house so no one would have to deal with him anymore. He cursed himself for all the little things he should have done. Like just staying put at the Henderson’s for starters. If he’d done that Mr. Henderson never would have got pissed, he’d never have run out, have never been caught coming out of a motel with Robert by Connor and would not be in trouble enough so he was committed. He should have known they’d be looking for any excuse to lock him away. He should have known to be much more careful. He looked up from where he was, staring out the window in a small office that was mostly white, as a lady in a white coat walked into the room. She smiled at him but he had no smile in him to return it. He was sitting in the pajamas and robe, he’d been forced to put on half an hour earlier, with his hands tightly wrapped around the armrest and his legs crossed at the ankles. “Well I’m not gonna ask you how you are doing, ‘cause I already know you’ve had a rough go of it these last several hours.” She smiled again as she sat down, while Tyler continued to eye her setting his jaw in a tight line, his anger growing as he knew she was a shrink and based on his last shrink he knew, he hated them. “My name is Linda. You and I are going to be doing quite a bit of talking for the next month or so. I’m gonna meet with you every day. I don’t have set time but I will find you when it’s time. First thing I need to tell you is that you are gonna want to talk to me. If you clam up and don’t talk, I’m gonna have to assume there is something wrong and recommend you stay here longer. So keep in mind the sooner you talk, the sooner you will get out of here.” He glared at her figuring it would work like that. “I was told that the incident that actually brought you here was you attacking your foster father. But from the looks of your face I don’t really believe that. Would you like to tell me what happened.” He softened his glare, elated that she was actually interested in hearing his side of things. “Yes ma’am.” She nodded, looking very pleased. She put her elbows up on her desk and stretched her hands out in his direction. “Then please go ahead.” Tyler leaned forward in his chair resting his hands in his lap. “They went away for thanksgiving. I guess I was supposed to stay and take care of the house,” he shook his head, “but he never told me that.” His voice was bitter and she easily picked up on it. “He just said I couldn’t go with them. He never said I had to watch the house. So I went to my boyfriend’s house for the week. When I got home last night he hauled me in the house and slapped me. Then he started screaming about me supposedly watching the house. He hit me a few more times then whipped off his belt. He hit me with that a few times so I hit him with my back pack.” He shook his head again, ran his hand through his hair and looked at her desperately. “I was only trying to get away. My point in doing it was not to hurt him; my point was to just get away.” She nodded very pleased with his answer, though it did not encourage her that him talking was always going to be easy. “I believe you Tyler. And I’m glad you told me. Now we don’t have to spend hours trying to figure out why you attacked someone you didn’t attack.” He looked at her intently, trying to find any sign that she was just placating him. He saw none, though it didn’t make him trust her anymore. “I’m going to put you in group therapy as well Tyler. I think it would do you some good to hear other people have problems too.” He rubbed his arms. “I know other people have problems.” “Then I’d like you to see that, they talk about their problems and by talking them out with other people, lots of those bad feelings are worked out. You don’t have to talk in it right away. I just want you to watch what’s going on.” “I also want you in recreational therapy. That’s where you all work as a group on a project or solving problems. It’s really a lot of fun I think you’ll enjoy it.” Hugging his arms around himself, he held his eyes in place though he wanted like hell to roll them. He sat and listened to her stoically, while she went over the rules and everything that would be expected of him during his stay. “Now what do you say I show you to your room and you can meet your roommate.” She stood up and waited for him to stand, then led him out of her office and took a left down the hall. At the end of that hall she took a right. Along that hall she pointed out the day room and cafeteria. Further down she pointed out a gym and meeting rooms telling him he’d have recreational and group therapy in one of them. After taking another right, and walking about halfway down another hall, she turned right through a doorway. Tyler noted the number 87 on a brown plaque to the right of the door. Least if he got lost, he’d be able to tell someone what room he was in to get help finding it again. He stepped into the room and up beside Linda. There was a boy about his age lying on one of the two beds in the room. Linda held onto his arm and held him beside her as she stepped closer to the boy’s bed. “Chris this is Tyler. He’s gonna be your new roommate.” The boy looked up from his magazine for the first time and looked Tyler over from head to toe. He sighed as he set his magazine aside and reached out his hand. “Nice to meet you,” he said not sounding like he meant it at all. Tyler wearily reached out and shook the kid’s hand. He shook it quickly then dropped it, before turning away and walking over to the other bed, which he assumed was his. Linda turned as he sat down and smiled at him. “You can rest for a while.” She turned back to Chris. “I’m trusting you to get him to the cafeteria at lunch.” Chris grunted and nodded, not looking up from his magazine. Linda left and Tyler lay back on the bed. He rolled onto his side bringing his knees up to his chest he wrapped his arms around them. Pressing his face into the pillow he stared at the wall, cursing himself for being reduced to this. Robert drove through the parking lot of Tyler’s school for the second time that morning. He went down every row even drove around the school, but saw no sign of Connor’s red car. He sighed and pulled back out then drove back by Connor’s house, where still there was no sign of Connor’s car. “God Damn shit, where’d you go.” he muttered to himself as he drove through the streets of town. He in no way blamed Connor for getting so mad that morning. He knew how bad it looked. He knew how the way he and Tyler acted in front of people some times made people think they were a couple. He was actually greatly encouraged thinking back on Connor’s outburst that morning. He’d been mortified, which told Robert that Connor truly did deeply love Tyler. He only prayed he could convince Connor what he saw, was not at all what he thought was happening. Even if he had to tell him more than Tyler was ready for him to know, yet he knew he had to get Connor to believe him, as Tyler needed them both very badly right now. He caught a flash of red out of the corner of his eye and pushed on the brakes slowing the car. He narrowed his eyes towards the car that was parked in the entrance to the park. The park was closed to cars but it didn’t mean you couldn’t go in on foot. He smiled seeing it was a Nissan Sentra, smiled even more as he pulled up behind it and saw a Norton sticker in the back window, which he knew Connor had on his car. He parked his car behind it so Connor would not be able to get out then shut his car off and got out. He walked down through the park, his eyes searching every inch of it. Luckily it was mostly an open field and he didn’t have to walk down hundreds of paths looking. He stood at the top of the bluff at the bottom of the park and looked down to the crashing waves below. He saw Connor sitting up on a rock staring out at the ocean. He looked to his left and saw a staircase going down the side of the bluff. He descended the stair case and walked out to Connor, who was back to him perched on the rock with his knees drawn up and his arms wrapped around knees. He took a deep breath just before reaching him and bundled his coat up tighter around him, as the cold day seemed twice as cold right here on the water. He walked around the rock and Conner’s moist eyes fell on him. He looked from Robert to his left, like he expected maybe Tyler would be there too. “I don’t want to talk to you.” He said, his voice quiet like he had exhausted himself. He turned his head away from Robert and put it down on his knees. Robert climbed up onto the rock beside him. “You got it all wrong Connor. I know how it looked, but won’t you please listen to how it really was.” Connor’s shoulders shook as he started crying all over again and Robert put his hand up on his back. Connor’s elbow flew back, knocking him in the arm causing his hand to fall off his back. He started to get off the rock but Robert grabbed his arm and held him on. “I parked behind you, so you can’t leave ‘til I leave, and I’m not leaving ‘til you hear me out.” Connor looked back at him, his face streaked in red where his tears had gone cold and marked his face and fresh tears were still falling. The bill of his baseball cap was twitching in the wind, un-shading his eyes as it blew up every few seconds. A particularly strong gust came up and nearly blew it off and he quickly grabbed and pulled it snugly over his head, so the curled bill completely shaded his eyes. “You don’t beat on him, do you Robert?” he asked sadly. “Why you asking me that?” Robert asked totally confused. “Cause I saw his face this morning. You didn’t do that did you?” Robert rolled his eyes and shook his head. “No of course not. Now if you’ll listen to what I have to say, you’ll know what happened.” Connor sighed and perched himself back on the rock, though his position made him look like he was readying himself to lunge off again if the need arise. “When Tyler got home last night Mr. Henderson was pissed off he didn’t stay there and watch the house. He did that to his face and Tyler trying to get away hit him with his book bag.” he knew he needed to add that, to help explain the rest of the story. “Tyler ran out of the house after he did that. He ran to the store and called me.” Connor wiped at his eyes, the story only making him feel worse. “He’s always called me Connor. Since he was a little boy. I’ve always been the one to help him out when things got bad. So last night, I went and picked him up. We couldn’t go back to my house because my parents were there and they were screaming at each other like usual. So instead of putting him through that, I checked us into a motel. He just needed to relax and get his wits about him again. We didn’t mess around. I never would. I don’t know if you know this or not but I’m straight. I feel absolutely no sexual feelings towards Tyler.” Connor studied his face for any sign of lying, but Robert was looking him directly in the eye not a muscle on his face twitching in nervousness. He let out a long sigh and buried his face in his knees again. “I’m such an ass.” He said, putting his hand up and cupping it around his neck. Robert put his hand on Connor’s that was on his neck. “No I don’t think so Connor. I know it looked bad. I don’t blame you for what you thought. You just have to believe it is in no way true.” Connor picked his head up and looked out at the ocean for a minute before looking back at Robert. “I just keep worrying; Tyler is like the answer to all my prayers. It’s like I’m just waiting for it to be ripped away, like I don’t deserve it or something.” Robert smiled at him. “Tyler’s never gonna leave you Connor. He loves you every bit as much as you love him.” Connor’s face lit up like a torch. “He said he loved me?” Robert grinned. “Has even told you several times. Course, he only dares to say it when you are sleeping.” Connor’s head fell to one side, as a look of total love filled his face. “That’s so sweet.” Chuckling Robert nodded. “He’s real sweet.” He moved his hand from the back of Connor’s neck and put it on his thigh. “Tyler really needs us right now, Connor. He’s pissed as hell at me but you may get to talk to him.” “Where is he?” “Crestwood.” Connor’s mouth fell open and his eyes widened. “The mental hospital? Why?” he asked, his voice breaking. “Mr. Henderson told police that Tyler attacked him. The only way to make it so he didn’t face charges was to put him in an evaluation program. He’s gonna be there at least thirty days.” “Oh god,” Connor said, shaking his head. “How could they do that to him? He’s not crazy.” “I guess that shrink he’s been seeing said it was a good idea. I know Tyler, and I know he’s not apt to talk to some shrink. I’m sure his silence has something to do with it.” Connor rubbed his face with his hand and held it there for a minute. “Can we see him now?” “Not ‘til tomorrow. Karen said she’d make sure we got to see him.” Connor lowered his hand and looked over at Robert again. “Why’s he pissed at you?” “Cause I was there when he found out he had to go to Crestwood. He thinks I abandoned him.” Robert’s own voice broke and he looked out at the crashing waves. “He was so upset. He was screaming and crying. He never does that.” More tears dribbled down Connor’s face as he rubbed Robert’s back and leaned into him. “We just gotta tell him you didn’t abandon him that’s all.” Robert shook his head, as he quickly wiped at a falling tear. “I don’t think it will be that easy.” They were quiet for a minute as the wind blew in their hair and the salt spray moistened their faces. “I’m not supposed to ask about his past, he says he’ll tell me and he’s told me some stuff, but can you just answer me one question?” Robert looked at him. “Depends on what it is.” Connor nodded, deciding that was fair. “Why won’t he sit in the living room?” “You mean he wasn’t able to hide that?” Connor shook his head. “He kept coming up with excuses, but I got the feeling he just didn’t want to go in.” Robert curled his leg up onto the rock and put his hand on his knee, as he looked down at it. “His parents caught him sitting on the furniture one time, after things got bad at his house. He didn’t know he wasn’t allowed up until that point. Instead of yelling at him to get off, the mother just went to the stove where she was boiling water for macaroni she picked up the pot and charged into the living room. She dumped it all over his lap.” Connor’s head started to shake from side to side his mouth hung open and sounds of protest came out. Robert looked at him apologetically and squeezed his hand. “He was not only burned severely, he got real sick ‘cause it got infected. His parents never took him to the hospital and I didn’t know it happened ‘til he started getting sick. I knew he’d been walking funny, but I’d never tended to his wounds in that area before.” he brushed his hand over his own crotch. “He didn’t want me to see, so he just said he had a rash.” “One day I walked over to his place and he was sitting on the front steps of his building. He was sweating buckets and looked red all over. There was a pile of puke beside him and he was shaking all over. He’d gotten himself to the front step but couldn’t go any further. I knew he was real bad, that I couldn’t fix it. So I ran to pay phone and called an ambulance. He was in the hospital for weeks. His god damn parents showed up every day, pretending they were all concerned for him. He was never taken away. They’d said he’d pulled the pan off the stove and burnt himself that way. I don’t know why they never questioned why he wasn’t taken to the hospital right away.” “He nearly died and he went through months of skin graphs. Needless to say he still associates all that pain with sitting in a living room.” Connor stared at him; speechless, his mouth still hanging open but his head now frozen in one spot. “It’s going to take him a while to have sex with you Connor, but that’s not ‘cause he doesn’t want to. He’s ashamed of the way he looks there and he’s ashamed of all his other scars. You have to assure him that it’s no big deal, no matter how a big deal you do think it is. He has every right to be self conscious about it. You just have to show him it doesn’t appall you.” Connor’s head started to shake again, but still he found no words to speak as his head was swimming with each horrific fact he’d just heard.
  14. vlista20

    Chapter 10

    Tyler - Chapter 10 Tyler opened his eyes after being woken by a soft tapping on his shoulder. He jumped a little, seeing a face inches from his, then lifted his head, focused his eyes and saw it was Chris standing over him. “It’s time to eat man. I’m supposed to get you to the cafeteria. Did you know you snore?” Tyler narrowed his eyes. “Yes I knew.” He snapped. Chris shrugged and stood up. “Just thought I’d let you know.” Tyler sat up and lowered his legs over the side of the bed. Chris continued to stare at him. “So who beat you up?” Bringing his hand up to his face Tyler rubbed at his bruises. “No one.” he said quickly. Chris laughed sarcastically. “So you’re a self abuser?” Tyler shot him a severing look. “Just leave me the hell alone would ya?” “Not ‘til after I get you to the cafeteria.” He said crossing his arms across his chest. “I gotta piss first.” despite the eye roll, he got he got out of bed and went into the adjoining bathroom. He relieved himself then washed his hands and returned to the bedroom, where Chris was waiting by the door. He waved him out the door then followed along behind. “I like your outfit.” Chris snickered, looking back at him. Tyler looked down at himself then back up at Chris, noting for the first time that his look was not mean. He managed a small grin and shook his head. Chris grinned back then turned back in the direction he was walking. They walked into the cafeteria and Chris stopped and waited for Tyler to step up beside him. “There’s no line right now because someone is real hard to wake up and we are late.” “Sorry,” Tyler muttered, having a hell of a time trying to figure out if the kid was serious or just joking around with him. “Come on. We can sit together. I gotta orient you.” Tyler followed him to the other end of the cafeteria where they walked into an L shaped room that was lined with a counter. At one end were a stack of trays and silverware and they both took one and some silverware. As they slid their trays down the counter they were filled with food just like in the school cafeteria. Tyler grabbed two milks at the end then followed Chris back out of the L room and to a table off to the side of the cafeteria. They both sat down and Chris took a few bites before he set his fork down and looked over at him. “I gotta tell you who to watch out for.” he said looking around the room. He pointed to a table of four boys, all of them shoveling the food in as fast as they could. “Those boys like to bully everyone. Best just to give them a wide birth. If they don’t notice ya, they won’t start teasing you.” “That there.” He said pointing to a lone guy, who was having a steady stream of conversation with himself. “Is Paul. He’s the looniest one in here. Got like six people living in his head. He was abused so bad.” Chris shook his head, looking like he felt truly sorry for the guy that Tyler was thinking was pretty cute. “They say,” Chris said, leaning over the table and lowering his voice. “That he created all those people in his head so he’d have someone to talk to. They also say that those other people can take over for him. It happens all the time actually. Amazing.” He clucked his tongue and shook his head. “Guy’s still crazy though.” “And them over there.” he pointed to another table of six guys. “They’re all fags. Don’t talk to them or they’ll try and fuck you.” Tyler’s eyes widened at the kids gross misconception. “I’m...” he started, but couldn’t go through with it. He closed his mouth up again and stirred at his spaghetti. “So what are you here for?” he asked, needing to change the subject. Chris held up his wrists revealing two deep jagged scars. Tyler’s eyes narrowed. “Why did you do that?” “Cause I wanted to die.” “Yeah I know that, but why?” “Just had it with everything man,” he shook his head and looked down at his own tray. “Why you here?” “I’m not sure, just to get evaluated I guess.” He said, shaking his head. “Well they must have some reason for wanting to evaluate you. They don’t just pick kids off the street.” “My foster father said I attacked him.” Chris’s face melded into a mix of sadness and pity. “Foster kid huh? That must be tough.” Tyler nodded and shrugged at the same time. “I didn’t attack him though. It was the other way around.” “So he did that to your face?” Tyler nodded again then took a bite of spaghetti. His eyes lit up as it actually tasted real good. Much better then the hospital’s food next door. Chris chuckled across from him. “That good?” Tyler grinned back at him. “Surprisingly yes,” Linda made her way to the cafeteria and over to their table. “I got you in a group that meets right after lunch. It’s yours Chris, so can you see to it he gets there too?” Chris made an exaggerated sigh and roll of his eyes. “Jesus, next you are gonna make me see to it he showers properly.” Linda smirked knowing Chris well enough to know that he was all mouth and really did not mind it. “Don’t swear.” she said tapping his shoulder before she walked off again. “Do you like her?” Tyler asked, nodding in her direction as she was out of earshot. “Yeah, she’s nice, pushy but nice. She listens to us kids though, that’s more then I can say for any other adult I ever met.” Tyler grinned, feeling the same way about adults in general. They walked into the group therapy room across from the gym at one o’clock. Two of the ‘fags’ were in there snuggling up to each other and a rage of sadness raced through Tyler, as he was reminded he was no longer going to be doing that with Connor. Chris rolled his eyes at them and shook his head while he sat down across from them in a comfy armchair. Tyler sat down in the next one and drew his feet up into the seat. He couldn’t help but keep looking over at the guys, who kept whispering in each other’s ears and smiling at each other. Four other guys joined the group and all sat down before Linda walked in and sat in a chair herself in front of the windows. She looked over at the pawing boys and cleared her throat. “We are ready to start Dean and Nathan.” Both boys separated and looked over at her. “As I’m sure you’ve noticed we have a new group member today.” she nodded and smiled at Tyler. “Everyone this is Tyler. Tyler this is Dean and Nathan,” she said, motioning over to them as they were closest to her. She then pointed to the boy on the other side of Nathan and went on down the line. “Mark, Shawn, Bill, and Kyle.” Tyler looked them over as she said their name thinking all of them were quite nice looking. The door opened again and another woman, with a white coat walked in pulling Paul the ‘crazy one’, that Chris had pointed out, in by the arm. “Sorry we are late.” the woman said, smiling at Linda while the kid seemed to be pulling back in the opposite direction to get back at the door. She turned to him and put her hands on his shoulders. Tyler watched as the kid looked back at her and kept shaking his head. After a few more moments of her talking, he walked to the chairs and sat down in the empty seat by Tyler. “Don’t sit there.” Chris sneered, leaning forward and reaching over Tyler as he tried to push him out of the seat. Tyler looked at the doctor he’d come in with who was just standing there looking at the kid, who was now standing up from the chair looking scared, as there were no other empty seats. Tyler pushed Chris’s arms back to him then reached out and took Paul’s arm. Paul jumped a little then turned back to Tyler and looked down at him. Tyler smiled at him, the scared look in the kid’s eyes nearly breaking his heart. “You can sit here.” he said quietly, knowing every eye in the room was on him and hating it. He gently pulled at Paul’s arm, ‘til Paul backed up and sat down again in the chair. “And Tyler that is Paul.” Linda said, smiling at them both. Tyler sat back in his chair and crossed his arms across his chest, he looked around at the other boys who were all still staring at him, then at Paul who was talking to himself again and looking down at the floor. “Okay,” Linda opened a file and glance down through. “Anyone got anything to say?” Everyone sort of looked at each other but no one spoke. “Okay I’ll give you guys a topic. Premarital sex.” Grins filled the room and Tyler got the impression that everyone was willing to go with that. “Let’s go around the room. Nathan you start.” “I’m for it.” he said, grinning widely. “Pro sex all the way.” Chris snorted angrily beside Tyler and shook his head. “What’s your problem schmuck?” Nathan sneered over at him. “No name calling.” Linda interjected. Nathan looked from her back to Chris. “Well?” “It’s disgusting. You people shouldn’t have sex at all. You’re a bunch of freaks and should all be locked up.” Tyler’s eyes widened, wondering how he could have judged Chris as a nice person, now that that had come out of his mouth. It rendered Nathan speechless and he slammed his back into his chair, obviously fuming as he stared evilly at Chris while Dean put his hand on his. “Dean how does what Chris said make you feel?” Tyler looked at Dean who didn’t look half as pissed as Nathan. Dean looked over at Chris who was turning red. Tyler was shocked to see him smile before he looked back at Linda. “Given Chris’s circumstances I don’t blame him for how he feels. He just needs to realize that all gay people aren’t bad, just like all straight people aren’t bad.” Nathan shook his head like he completely did not agree. “That guy wasn’t even gay man.” “He doesn’t know that.” Dean said, looking at Nathan. Chris shot out of his chair and pointed angrily at them. “Don’t you talk about me like I ain’t even here you freaks.” “Sit down Chris.” Linda stated firmly. Chris huffed, then slammed himself back down in his chair. “What exactly does the word gay mean to you Chris?” She asked. “Means they like to fuck guys.” Nathan shook his head and swore while Dean shushed him. “Tyler what does gay mean to you?” Tyler’s eyes widened as he looked at her. “I thought you said I didn’t have to talk.” “What’s the matter wuss? Too whipped to give an opinion.” Nathan shot out. Dean yanked on Nathan’s arm. “Would you shut up for five minutes.” “I’d really like it if you would answer Tyler.” Linda requested. Wrapping his arms tighter around himself he looked around the room again, where every eye was once again on him. “Being gay just means that you love another guy. It’s not all about sex it’s about love. Course sex comes with love, so that’s part of it but certainly not all of it.” He looked over at Nathan whose eyes had softened and Dean was actually smiling at him. “If you were to hold something against all gay men that one gay man did it would be as bad as hating all straight people for something one did. And if you look back on things, you’d see that there’s a hell of a lot more crimes committed by straight people. I know there’s a lot more straight people but it’s a two way street.” “Are you gay?” Nathan asked. Tyler looked at Chris then at Linda. “I’m done talking now.” he glanced back at Nathan who was looking at Dean, Dean was shrugging his shoulders. Tyler glanced back over at Paul who seemed completely oblivious to all the goings on around him as he continued to chatter away with himself. Linda nodded. “Well we thank you for your input. Chris how do you feel about what he said?” “I don’t buy it.” He said, shaking his head as he as well stared down at the floor. “My dad says that it’s evil in itself.” “Yeah and you’re dad raped you every day for fifteen years.” Nathan shot out. Chris’s head shot up followed immediately by the rest of his body he flew across the circle of chairs and drew his arm back to deliver a mighty punch. Linda jumped up, grabbed his arm while two men in white appeared out of nowhere. They took a hold of each of his arms while Chris screamed out obscenities at Nathan, who was staring back at him challengingly. Linda nodded to the men and they led Chris still screaming out of the room. Linda sat back down and looked at Nathan. “That was in no way appropriate Nathan.” Nathan sat forward in his chair and looked at her. “It’s true. Why you always skirting around it. We all know it’s true. His father wasn’t even gay. Why’s he blaming us?” “Because he sees it as a gay act.” she held up her hand as he opened his mouth to argue. “You can’t change his mind over night Nathan and throwing ugly facts in his face is not going to help. You will write him an apology letter. I want it on my desk by the time you go to bed.” Nathan shook his head crossed his arms across his chest and sat back in his chair. “Nathan?” she asked. “Yes ma’am,” He muttered. Tyler noticed his arm was being gripped for the first time in the commotion and turned to his left where Paul had latched onto his arm and was hiding his head between Tyler’s back and the chair. Linda seemed to notice it at the same time. “Do you want us to move him Tyler?” Tyler turned to her. He figured if Paul felt safe there he had no problem with it and he shook his head. She smiled warmly at him and he saw her exchange a look with the lady that had come in with Paul. “He probably likes it.” Nathan chortled. “He’s gay too.” Tyler shot him a dirty look. “You are an asshole.” Linda looked at Tyler and shook her head. “We don’t swear at each other in here Tyler.” “But he can sit there and shoot his mouth off like an idiot?” He asked waving his hand over at Nathan. “Nathan knows the rules. His following them is a problem, but I’m just telling you ‘cause you don’t know the rules in here. You’re not in trouble I’m just informing you.” Tyler jerked forward as the feeling of teeth sunk into his back he pivoted in his seat and looked down at the side of Paul’s face that he could see. Paul’s eye turned up to him and a huge smile filled his face. Tyler laughed out loud at the look of playfulness on the kid’s face. He turned his head, sensing someone near and nearly smacked it into the ladies in the white coat. “Did he bite you?” she asked, her face inches from his. Tyler nodded. “Not hard though, I just wasn’t expecting it.” Amy the doctor shook her head. She reached under Paul and sat him up in his own chair. His head listed to one side as his forearms came up squeezing her hands in between his upper and lower arms. “Sorry,” He piped up in a child like voice. She smiled at him her face very close to his. “You need to apologize to Tyler not me Paul.” Paul’s head turned slowly and he looked over at Tyler. “Sorry.” Tyler smiled at him. “It’s okay.” Paul turned his face back to the woman. “Okay?” “He forgives you.” Amy nodded. She smiled at Tyler then looked back at Paul. “No more biting got it?” she asked, looking at him sternly though Tyler got the feeling she hated being stern with him at all. “No more biting.” he repeated. She turned back to Tyler. “Let me see your back.” Tyler’s face went white as he instinctively pulled at the bottom of his shirt. “I said it wasn’t hard.” “I need to make sure; we don’t need you getting an infection.” His ears tingled at the word infection and his fear made him succumb. He leaned forward a little bit and lifted his shirt to just above what he thought he was the precise spot. Amy leaned over and looked, her heart beating faster seeing several scars on the lower part of his back, the small part that was revealed suddenly understanding why Tyler hadn’t wanted to show her and a little surprised he’d given in. Tyler pulled his shirt back down and sat back as she stood up. She smiled sweetly at him and patted his shoulder. “No broken skin, you should be okay.” He managed to return her smile though he felt humiliated to his very core. He turned and looked at Paul, who was eyeing him closely while he chewed on the end of his thumb. He smiled at him and Paul smiled back looking a little like he was relieved. After the group session Tyler made it back to his room where Chris was lying on his bed, his hands tied down to the bed rails. His eyes were open and he was staring at the ceiling. Tyler walked up beside the bed and saw sweat beads on his forehead and heard that his breathing was labored. He figured he must have just recently stopped struggling. “You okay?” He asked, looking down at him. Chris’s eyes moved onto him. “You aren’t really one of them are you?” he asked quietly. Knowing he probably couldn’t hide it and not wanting to lie and have Chris find out different later, he slowly nodded. Chris’s eyes widened in horror and a single tear slid down his cheek. “Please don’t hurt me.” “I’m not gonna hurt you Chris. I never would.” Chris turned his head away from him, his tears coming out full force as quiet cries filled the room. Tyler left the room and walked down the hall back to Linda’s office. He knocked a few times on the door and heard her say ‘come in.’ He opened the door and walked inside where he stood by her desk. “Maybe it’s not such a good idea I be Chris’s roommate.” “Cause of what he said in group Tyler?” She asked, leaning back in her chair as she looked at him. “I’m not mad at what he said. But he is scared of me. I don’t want him to be scared.” “I put you with him because I knew you were gay Tyler. I also am quite certain you would never hurt anyone. Your performance in group has only assured me of that fact. Chris needs to see that for himself otherwise he’s never gonna get over his fear. It’s not always easy overcoming things pain and fears are most always involved. I’ve talked to him ‘til I’m blue in the face and it does no good. My only recourse now is to have him see it.” Tyler sighed, as he tilted his head to one side. “But I don’t want him being scared of me.” “He won’t be scared for long Tyler. Soon he’ll see he’s wrong.” “It seems to me like you are using me?” he said, changing his tactics though he knew it would do no good. “I’m not asking you to do anything but be yourself Tyler. That’s not using you.” He clenched his hands in frustration and set his jaw in a tight line. “Fine,” He said angrily, before turning and hurrying out of the room. Linda stayed seated behind her desk tapping her pen on it. She didn’t get many taps in before another knock came on the door. She called out another ‘come in’ and looked over as Amy Wilton walked in. “Do you have a few minutes?” she asked smiling. Linda nodded and gestured to the chair in front of her desk. She sat down and clasped her hands together in her lap. “That Tyler is quite impressive huh?” “He’s got a good head on his shoulders, but he’s got plenty of problems of his own.” “Paul took right to him. I’ve never seen him do that with anyone.” “You’ve never seen anyone be nice to Paul either.” she added with a bitter grin. Amy nodded as she eyed the floor. “Why’s he here?” “He’s a foster kid. His mother molested him ‘til he was fourteen when he was taken out of the house ‘cause the father nearly beat him to death. The father caught him and his mother in bed when Tyler was around seven beat him mercifulessly from that day on. Mother even did.” she shook her head in disgust. “His string of foster homes has not been much of an improvement either. He was beaten in two and verbally abused in them all. He’s hostile when he’s confronted about his past he won’t talk about it. He’ll fight you tooth and nail to see he doesn’t have to either. His therapist said he knows every trick in the book and uses them all in every session.” “His social worker is at the end of her rope with him. He won’t speak up and ask for help. He won’t admit when he’s being mistreated. He can’t have any pride in himself if he won’t ask for help. Like maybe he thinks he deserves it. I really don’t know what my approach with him will be yet.” “I don’t think you are gonna get him to talk at all.” “Why not?” Linda asked, always wanting to hear Amy’s opinion. She’d only been there a few weeks and was there solely to work with Paul, but her reputation preceded her. She was a brilliant psychologist and always seemed to know exactly what she was talking about. “I bet you’ll find he is talking to someone. I bet he just won’t talk to someone he doesn’t feel totally comfortable with. The last person he’s gonna talk to is someone, whose being paid to hear his problems.” “How can you know all that by just observing him for one hour?” “He’s compassionate for one. And with that history you gave me, he couldn’t have learned that from anyone that raised him. Which tells me, he has someone who has showed him great compassion. That person, whoever he or she is knows all his secrets. Every little detail of the hell Tyler’s been through. He’s not gonna want to hear anyone tell him to talk it out ‘cause he already has. He’s not gonna feel one bit bad that he didn’t do it with a professional.” Linda pulled his file out from a shelf behind her desk. She scanned through it running her hand down each page. “Robert.” she said, with a nod of her head. “Whose Robert?” “Best friend. The one that kept at social services ‘til he was removed from his parents house, the one that reported abuse at two of the foster homes and the one that brought him into social services this morning.” “How old is this guy?” “Don’t know, it doesn’t say.” she shook her head as she checked over the pages. “Only gives his name and that he’s a friend. But his social worker asked me to make sure he was allowed in to visit. He’s got to be real important to Tyler for her to make that request.” Amy nodded. “That’s our guy then. A silent hero that I’d say saved Tyler’s life in more ways then one.” Linda nodded as well. “So what do I do?” “Well don’t go through Robert to get to Tyler. You don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize that friendship. It’s probably too strong to be messed with, but if not, you never want to mess it up. Tyler needs him even more then he probably even knows. And I think Robert needs Tyler too for whatever reason, I’m not sure but just the fact he’s looked out for him so ferociously for all these years, tells me he needs him. You simply have to ask him if Tyler has told him about his life. If he knows everything, that’s what’s important. If he has then you just have to work with Tyler on his self perception and esteem. I’d say he’s already got a heart of gold.” she said her eyes glinting with pleasure. At dinner Tyler sat alone, since Chris still tied to his bed in their bedroom, not that he figured Chris would want to sit with him anyways. He sat facing Paul a few tables over who was talking and laughing having a great time with himself. He almost envied him for being able to be so happy while it was painfully obvious he was all alone in the world as all the other kids treated him like the plague going as far as making wide paths around him in the hallways. Every time he’d seen him that afternoon he was with that woman but now he was again alone. Or at least as alone, as someone with six people in their heads could get. Suddenly the side of Paul’s face was hit with a lumpy mush of mashed potatoes and the table next to his filled with laughter. Paul wiped it away quickly never stopping in his talking. When another food missile hit him in the forehead Tyler swore under his breath and stood up. He picked up his tray and walked over to Paul’s table where he set it down firmly he turned to the bullies at the next table and glared at them. They didn’t seem one bit scared by it and he turned around and sat down in the seat next to Paul who had potato stuck to his forehead and cheek. Tyler took his napkin and wiped at Paul’s face, while Paul did not even seem to notice him there as he talked in what Tyler noticed for the first time were several different voices. Once his face was clean he put his napkin down, his eyes glancing down the length of Paul’s arms, which were deeply scarred. When he looked back up at Paul the voices had stopped and Paul was studying him closely. Tyler smiled wearily half expecting the guy’s mouth to open and an ear piercing scream to come out. Instead though, Paul’s mouth formed into a small smile. “Hello.” he said cordially. “Hello,” Tyler responded smiling back. Paul put his hands in his lap and pulled his shoulders in close looking happy as a lark that someone was actually talking to him. “My name’s Paul.” “I know,” Tyler nodded, “I’m Tyler.” He stuck out his hand and after some intense studying of it Paul reached out his own and placed it in his. Tyler grasped it gently and slowly shook it up and down while Paul’s eyes stayed glued to them. He let go of it and Paul put his hand back in his lap. “Sorry,” he said as he started to rock lightly back and forth. “Why?” “Sorry,” he repeated, as he continued to stare and smiled at Tyler. “Why you sorry?” “Bit you.” Tyler smiled. “You already said that. I said it’s no problem. Don’t worry about it.” “Amy said not bite. No biting no more.” He shook his head firmly back and forth. “Sorry.” Tyler grinned. “Thank you.” he said having no idea what else to say. Paul’s mouth curled up into a smile that nearly enveloped his entire face. “Your welcome.” He turned his head to the boys at the next table as they started calling out retard, though they weren’t facing him it was obvious who they were calling a retard. Paul looked back at Tyler and smiled. “I’m not so’s retarded.” He shook his head as his hand reappeared on the table, the nail of his index finger digging at it. “Not too smart. But been tested. Not retarded.” he finished, shaking his head again. Tyler leaned in closer to him. “They say that people who call other people names like that are only trying to hide the fact they aren’t too bright themselves.” Paul looked at him in total surprise then put his hand over his mouth and started to laugh. “I didn’t know,” Tyler grinned at him. “Well it’s true.” Paul looking down at his table digging finger. “You awful nice. Not met any nice people. Well sides Amy, she nice.” he said with a nod. “She seems nice.” Tyler didn’t know her from a hole in the ground but figured he should say something. There was a minute of silence and apparently that was a minute too long for Paul as his other voices started chattering away again and he was lost in what seemed to Tyler like deep space. He went back to his room as soon as dinner was over. Chris was sound asleep on his bed and he felt very relieved about that. He went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. He took off his pajamas and folded them neatly then set them on the toilet. He opened the shower door again and stepped inside. Alone again he thought about Robert and Connor wishing like hell he were with them. Wishing like hell he hadn’t gotten so mad at Robert. Now that he’d had time to think about it he knew Robert had not given up on him. Knew Robert had, had as little choice as he did in the whole situation. He wanted like hell to talk to him to tell him he wasn’t mad but didn’t dare even call him after the way he behaved. If Robert decided he wanted to see him again, he’d hear from him he knew it. He just had to hope he hadn’t pushed Robert over the edge with all his crazy behavior. As for Connor, he wanted to talk to him as badly. Wanted to tell him that he’d been wrong that morning and that he would never ever cheat on him. Wanted to tell him he loved him when he was actually awake. Now that he was faced with losing Connor, he cursed himself for not having the balls to say it when he was awake in the first place. There were so many things he knew he should have done differently. He wasn’t that upset anymore, he was where he was. He was mostly just upset at the fear of losing the two most important people in his life. He shut the shower off and stepped back out. Grabbing a towel off the rack he dried himself making sure to keep his eyes away from his body as he couldn’t stand to look at it. After drying off he put the pajamas back on, left the bathroom and crawled into bed.
  15. vlista20

    Chapter 12

    Tyler - Chapter 12 When he walked back out to the bedroom Chris was lying on his side, his legs curled up and his hand under his head facing Tyler’s bed. His face was mixed with a look of sadness and fear. Tyler pulled back his blankets and crawled into his own bed, he lay back on the pillows and propped his head up with his hand. He turned his head to Chris who was eyeing him silently. “You okay?” He did not answer and his eyes didn’t move from Tyler’s face. Tyler let out a sigh and rolled onto his side facing Chris, he propped his head up on his elbow preparing to say something he’d only ever told Robert. “You know...” he started slowly, “If I were feeling what you were feeling because of what happened to me, I would hate all straight women. Do you think that is fair?” Chris’s eyes narrowed a little as he seemed to really consider his question. “Did your mom mess with you?” he asked quietly. Tyler nodded. “Is that why you are gay?” Now Tyler was the one to look confused. “What do you mean?” “Did she turn you off so against women that you turned to men?” His voice was curious and not at all mean, and Tyler had to admire him for that. “No, I was born gay. People are born gay Chris, it’s not a decision. Do you see my point though? Just ‘cause there’s one bad member of a race out there doesn’t mean they are all bad.” “Nathan’s bad.” “Nathan has never hurt you physically has he?” Chris shook his head. “And you say some pretty mean things to him. He’s mostly just retaliating.” Chris lowered his eyes; bringing a hand up to his face, he ran his fingers across his lips. “You don’t hate all women?” “No not at all. I think I really like Linda. And my boyfriend’s mom is the sweetest lady I ever met.” “Was your boyfriend here today?” Tyler nodded. “I think I saw him. Had a wrapped box with him.” “That was him.” Tyler reached over to the night stand and grabbed the box, “You want a cookie or something?” Chris pushed himself up on one arm and nodded. Tyler reached into the box and grabbed a cookie and a brownie, then stretched across the space between the two beds and handed them to Chris who took them tentatively. “His mom made them.” Tyler put the box back on the table while Chris sat up fully to eat his snacks. He ate slowly and after a few minutes started talking again. “I don’t know why everyone says my dad wasn’t gay. Doesn’t he have to have been gay?” “I don’t think so Chris. I think maybe he just wanted to feel powerful. By making you feel powerless; to him it made him feel stronger himself. I’d say your father just had some major problems. He may have been gay, I don’t know, but it is possible that he wasn’t at all.” “I can’t just change the way I feel.” he said, lying back down on his side and crumpling up the saran wrap the treats had been wrapped in. He tossed it across the room and Tyler grinned when it swished right into the trash can. “I know that Chris. But I feel I should at least tell you what I think. I don’t want you to hate me.” “I don’t think I hate you Tyler. I think I just hate your kind.” “Well I don’t really want you hating my kind either. But I don’t expect you to change overnight either. Just think on it some more okay?” Chris nodded as he pulled the blankets up to his shoulders. He closed his eyes and Tyler closed his. Linda found him just after breakfast the next morning and led him into her office where he took his usual seat across from her desk. “Well you’ve been here two days now. Are you feeling any better about it?” To her great elation, Tyler nodded, though she figured she shouldn’t find it too surprising with what he had to compare it too. “You’ve impressed the hell out of Amy.” Tyler narrowed his eyes. “Amy? How?” He’d barely spoken two words to the woman. “Well first and foremost the way you are around Paul. That boy has been here for well over a year and you are the first one to ever come in here and be nice to him.” “Oh my God,” Tyler said excitedly, “I actually met the real Paul last night.” Linda’s eyes widened in surprise. “How do you know it was really him?” “Because he talked like he was sixteen years old. He acted like it too. He didn’t know me at all, I had to reintroduce myself. I guess I’m not sure, I just figured.” “You probably did. His other personalities are nowhere around his real age. And Paul seems to be the only one in there that is not out all the time. See, he doesn’t remember a lot of things ‘cause his other personalities block him out.” “He can’t like that?” Tyler asked more than said. “I don’t know,” Linda shrugged. “But if it hadn’t started to happen he probably wouldn’t even be alive today.” Tyler nodded, though he really didn’t understand it. “So why did you talk to Robert yesterday?” “I’m glad you asked,” She said smiling, “I asked him if he knew all that happened to you. If the two of you had discussed it. Really if you talked to him about it.” “You aren’t gonna ask him what we talk about in detail are you?” “No, I wouldn’t do that to you. I just wanted to make sure you have talked things out. He says you have. Therefore, I don’t have to sit here and make you rehash your life.” “So I don’t have to see you anymore?” He asked excitedly. “Sorry, I’m not gonna let you off Scott free. What we need to focus on now, is how you feel about yourself.” “I don’t have any problems with myself.” “You never just start crying? You never get so mad you just want to hurt someone? Maybe even yourself? Do you ever look at other people and wish you were them? Do you feel you are not worthy of a family that will treat you well? And your mom will be getting out of jail when you are nineteen, how do you feel about that? How do you get along with kids at school?” Tyler held his hand up. “Okay, okay, I see your point.” he said angrily. “I’m not trying to rile you Tyler. I’m just trying to get you to see that there are some things you need help working through simply by what you were raised with. It’s not just you that’s having these problems. Anyone who was raised in situation like yours would have a lot of the same issues. How else would I be able to rattle off a list like that?” Tyler looked up at her and nodded, curtly feeling only marginally better. “I’ve never wanted to hurt myself. Or anyone else.” “Was there anything else in my list you don’t feel or do?” Looking at the floor he slowly shook his head. “When was the last time you broke down crying?” “Day I was told I had to come here.” “Well you had reason for that one. It’s not easy to hear you gotta spend time in a mental facility. Must have been a real blow for you.” Tyler nodded emphatically, as he began to chew on his nail. “You wanna tell me what you were feeling exactly?” “I was feeling like I failed. Like everyone had had it with me and were shipping me off, ‘cause they didn’t want to deal with me anymore.” “Are you still feeling that?” “Sorta, not about Robert anymore, but about my social worker. I can’t figure that lady out. Sometimes she seems real nice and other times she seems like she can’t stand me. I met her son, he told me she really cares about me but when I talk to her I don’t really see it.” “So you don’t really trust her?” “No, I guess not.” He shook his head and dropped his hand down into his lap. “What does she do that makes you think she can’t stand you?” “She says things like I’m tired of you, and she’s at the end of her rope with me. And I just don’t know what to do with you.” Linda nodded, though those things weren’t things she should be saying, she was convinced of the fact that Karen really did care very much for the boy. “I think she says those things Tyler just ‘cause she’s frustrated. She wouldn’t get so frustrated with you if she didn’t care.” “Why does she get frustrated?” “Because you don’t tell her when there’s a problem. You get angry with her a lot. I think you do that to avoid her questions. Does that sound logical to you?” He nodded meekly. “I guess.” “You willing to tell me why you don’t speak up when you are being hurt in a placement?” Tyler sighed and hung his head to one side. “Not really.” “Okay, but I want you to work on being able to tell me. I think it’s important we work through whatever the reason is, so that in the future you’ll speak up when you need help.” “Can I ask a question?” He leaned forward and rubbed his calf. “Of course.” “How much money do these families get for taking me in?” “I’m not sure Tyler, I think it’s somewhere between six and eight hundred dollars a month.” “I’m sixteen now,” he said, mentally calculating. “I’ll be seventeen in April. Why couldn’t they just give me that money and I could get my own place. Given these families track record I’d be much better off taking care of myself. I know I’d be good to myself.” He said grinning at her. “Why do they keep having to waste all that money on people who don’t use it for what they’re supposed to use it for. Because I would see my needs were met too.” Linda grinned back at him. “You don’t see any of the money these families get? They are supposed to give you money for clothes and stuff.” “I’ve never seen a cent. Only reason I get clothes is ‘cause Karen takes me shopping before each new home.” “Have you told her this?” “No,” he squeaked out, “But it wouldn’t do any good. They are all nice and sucking up when she’s around. They’d just say they’d do better. But it wouldn’t happen.” “Well I’m sorry Tyler, but I do not see the state letting a sixteen, almost seventeen year old live on their own. I know what you are saying, and it doesn’t seem fair they would keep putting you where you are not taken care of, rather then just let you do it yourself. But they aren’t meaning to place you with mean people. They are trying to help you.” “Can’t you at least talk to Karen about it? See what she’ll say?” Linda nodded. “I will Tyler, but please don’t get your hopes up.” he laughed a small laugh, which told her he’d not gotten his hopes up about anything in a long time. “Well your group should be meeting up for recreational therapy about now. I hear you are making decorations for the Christmas tree.” “Oh goody!” Tyler said, clapping his hands together in mock excitement. She grinned at him as they both stood up and rounded the desk. She put her hand on his shoulder and squeezed it. “I think you are doing pretty well for you circumstances Tyler. There are just a few things we need to work on then you’ll be back out of here with your friends.” “How long?” “Don’t know, at least the thirty days, but I may recommend another thirty. Barring any major complications I don’t see you staying more then sixty days. But I’m still gonna want to see you once a week on an outpatient basis.” “So I get to come back here and not to that twit I was seeing before.” Linda smiled, feeling truly complimented. “Yes, won’t do you much good to see someone you dislike.” “I agree.” he nodded as they walked out of the office. She led him to the room where rec therapy was going on, then walked off down the hall. Tyler walked into the room that was filled with gym mats. His ‘group’ was sitting around on the floor with cotton balls, construction paper, glue, pipe cleaners, glitter and bunches of other stuff all strewn amongst them. Paul, who was on the floor by Amy a good distance from the other kids, turned and waved to him. Tyler smiled and walked over to them. “Can I sit with you?” Paul nodded another huge smile filling his face. He got down on his knees then sat back on his butt. “Any problems last night?” Amy asked. “None.” he said shaking his head. “You wouldn’t lie to me would you?” He grinned at her. “Really he was fine. No biting honest.” “No biting.” Paul repeated and Amy ruffled his hair. “Good job Paul.” “Mm, mm,” he muttered. “No biting.” Tyler couldn’t get over how much Paul’s behavior at times reminded him of someone who was autistic. How, he just seemed so lost in his own world and only caught snatches of conversation here and there, which he repeated now and then. Feeling better then he had in a long time and wanting to have a little fun he looked over at Amy. “You know I don’t need you kissing my shrinks ass for me.” Her eyes widened in surprise, and he let her struggled for words for a bout two seconds, before he started chuckling. “I’m just kidding with you.” Her face immediately filled with relief. “You got a mean spirit in you boy.” She said with a huge grin. “I guess I do.” he was still chuckling a little and it felt good as hell. “Thanks for the compliment though, with her I mean.” “I only give them when they are due Tyler. There’s no need to thank me.” she glanced over at Paul stifled a laugh and said. “Oh, Paul!” Tyler looked at Paul, who had proceeded in the minute they weren’t looking at him, to glue the cotton balls all over his face. He grinned widely beneath them and Amy and Tyler both could not help but laugh at him. When Amy started pulling them off, he flopped over his back and wriggled under her hand to try and get away, though his giggles filled the room. Amy straddled him with an arm and her legs, giggling right back at him. He drew his knees up pressing, them against her chest and tried to pry her cotton picking hand away. Tyler found it a little odd that she was playing with him in this way. Like maybe she was supposed to not go along with such childish behavior, but her being the psychologist he didn’t bring it up. After picking off all the cotton, she pulled a wet wipe out of a bag he always saw her with and wiped his face, which got him wriggling and giggling all over again. Apparently Tyler’s feelings were written all over his face, ‘cause as soon as Amy sat up and looked at him she smiled. “You’ve got to interact with all his personalities Tyler. Otherwise you can’t work with them at all, and get them working together as one in there.” “How did you know what I was thinking?” “Most people think it. Paul can’t help the way he is. He was made that way by unspeakable abuse. He had to separate his mind ‘cause it was too much for one mind to take. He’s got a family in his head. One that helped see him through all the atrocities that were done to him. Now that he doesn’t need them to protect him anymore, we need to integrate them. Get them all working together, so Paul’s mind can resurface and start taking control again.” “The real Paul does come out though doesn’t he?” “Once in a great while. Paul himself is a very sweet kid. He’s scared as hell though, that’s why he only comes out once in a while, only when he feels it’s absolutely safe.” Tyler looked down at Paul who was still lying on his back, his knees drawn up and his hand flung up on top of his head. He was staring at the ceiling blankly, while his fingers twittered back and forth. “I’ve worked with over a hundred multiple people. Paul is most definitely the funniest. He never gets hostile, he only likes to play and he loves to be held. He’s only got one adult personality, and he never surfaces, so he’s got a literal plethora of kids in his head. Kids that play and laugh, like he didn’t get to do when he was a kid. They are living out the childhood he missed out on.” “The fact that Paul was able to dissociate himself at all in the first place, means he is a very strong person. He did what he had to do to survive. If he hadn’t, his mind would have closed off completely and no one would ever get him back. This way he’s still there, he’s just hiding most of the time. We’ll get him back but it’s gonna take time and patience.” “Are you telling me all this ‘cause you want me to help you?” Tyler asked, getting that distinct impression. Amy shook her head. “I just want you to be his friend. I don’t want you to be scared of him. There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of. He’d never hurt anyone.” “Well I already am his friend.” Tyler said, smiling back down at Paul who was still staring at the ceiling. “I’m serious,” he said looking back at her, “I really do like him.” She smiled warmly and patted his arm. “You are a sweet kid too. You’ll find a good friend in Paul, several of them.” she said with a wry grin which Tyler returned. Linda walked back in the room and over to Nathan who was stringing together paper rings. He shot her a dirty look at whatever she was saying, but got up and followed her out of the room, flinging his paper chain down behind him. Dean, now left alone, gathered up the paper and walked on his knees over to where Tyler was. “I lost my buddy. Can I sit with you guys?” Tyler nodded. “Where’d your buddy go?” “Session.” “You mean talk to Linda?” Dean nodded grinning at him. “Not used to mental place vocabulary yet are you?” Chuckling Tyler shook his head. “So what is she, the therapist for everyone in our group.” Dean nodded again. “Cept Paul, he gets his own personal therapist.” He said, smiling over at Amy who smiled back at him. “You boys mind staying with him for a few minutes.” She nodded down to Paul who was still staring at the ceiling. “I’d like to get in on a meeting if I could.” Tyler nodded, saying it was no problem. Amy thanked him then got up and left the room. “You gotta make something man, or the warden will get mad.” Dean said, working on making some more paper rings. Tyler sorted through his cotton balls, separating them out by size. He started gluing them together by three biggest on bottom and smallest on top. “Nathan still pissed at me?” “Nah, he don’t remember what he’s pissed from one minute to the next.” “Why’s he here?” “Manic depressive. He’s only here long enough to get him on some meds that work. The ones they’ve tried so far haven’t helped at all and it takes 30 days for them to take effect. He’s been here three months already and they just started a new drug like three days ago. Did you find out how long you are here for yet?” “She said this morning probably thirty or sixty days.” “Wow that’s good. Too bad you don’t have a home to look forward to going to.” Tyler smiled a lopsided smile, nodding in agreement. “I do kinda like it here. Think I should act crazier then I am?” “You better not.” A familiar voice said from above him. He turned and looked up, then smiled widely seeing Connor there behind him. He got to his feet and gave him a big hug and kiss. “What are you doing here? Why aren’t you in school?” “There’s a full blown blizzard outside.” He said, as Tyler sat back down pulling Connor down with him. “School got called off so I came here. Your therapist said I could come make decorations with you.” he said grinning. “That’s a good idea, that way you can’t pick on me down the road for doing it.” He said, sliding some cotton balls and a tube of glue over to him. Connor chuckled and nodded as he picked a couple up. Tyler looked at Dean, who was staring over at Connor. “Connor this is Dean, Dean this is Connor.” They both smiled at each other and shook hands. “Welcome to the nuthouse.” Dean said grinning. Connor chuckled again. “I thought I felt like I belonged.” Dean laughed and shook his head. “You’re pretty funny.” Connor shrugged and looked over at Paul. He smiled sadly, then leaned over him so Paul could see his face. “Hey Paul, it’s me Connor, remember me? We used to peek up girls skirts when they were on the monkey bars.” Tyler chuckled, not having realized that Connor had been at least somewhat friends with Paul before. Paul’s hand came up and his fingers traced down Connor’s face. Connor smiled at him though, it was obvious what he was seeing was making him very sad. He sat back up on his legs and reached into his back pocket. “I brought today’s love letter with me. Figured why mail it. You can’t read it while I’m here though.” Tyler nodded as he took it and stuffed it in the pocket of his robe. “So are the rumors flying at Norton?” “Little bit. I’ve just told ‘em all to fuck off.” Grinning, Tyler reached over Dean and picked up some black beads he intended to use as buttons and eyes. “Tell your mom I loved her treats.” “Tell her yourself. She’s coming to see you this weekend.” Tyler’s face lit up. “Really?” “Of course. You are a future in law.” Dean chuckled and Connor smiled at him. “She really doesn’t care that her kid’s boyfriend is in a mental place?” “She only cares because she likes you so much Tyler. She doesn’t think you are crazy, she just figures maybe you need some confidence.” Tyler nodded knowing that was true. “We’re gonna come see you on Christmas too. Mom tried to get you out for the day, but they said since you were in your first thirty days you couldn’t, but we could come here if we wanted.” “You guys don’t have to spend your holiday here with me.” “Well we’re gonna, so don’t give me any lip.” he paused and put his finger to his lip. “I mean back talk. You can give me lip all you want.” Dean chuckled again as his eyes remained on his work.
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