Paper Walls - 15. Chapter 15
“Hey Dad… since the other team forfeited, can I go to Callen’s tonight?” I know it’s a long shot, especially since my dad knows Callen and I are together.
He takes his hat off and looks up at me from his desk. He lets out a sigh, “Does his father know that you two are together?”
“Yeah, he is cool about it. He trusts Callen and told him to be responsible,” I tell him.
I know this doesn’t exactly sit well with him. He leans back. “Ryder, you need to give me time. This is a whole new situation for me. Back in Dallas, you didn’t have a boyfriend, so this is a first.”
“So, are you saying if I was straight it wouldn’t be that big of a deal?” I ask.
“NO! Because I would tell you there is no way in hell you would be going over there to stay the night,” my dad says.
“Dad, we aren’t going to have sex. I am not ready for that. We aren’t ready for it. We are in the getting to know each other stage, still. Besides, he has to keep his door open, and it’s directly across the hall from Garret’s room.”
My dad runs his hand through his hair. “Okay… okay, but we are going to have a serious talk when you get home this weekend and lay down rules.”
I walk out of his office, and Callen is leaning against the wall. “Well?”
“He said yes. Especially when I told him you had to keep the door open and all.”
He grins, and I can’t help but get butterflies in my stomach. “You left out the part on how we will have the house to ourselves?”
“Duh!” I tell him.
He smiles again, “Cool, so I will meet you out front, and we can walk to my house.”
“Yeah, sounds good.”
As I am walking back to my locker, I feel someone grab my butt. I turn around and it’s Renee. “Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Your butt looks so good in those jeans.”
I give a nervous laugh. “Hey, Renee. How are you?”
“I’d be better if you would take me out already!” she says, leaning against my locker.
“I thought you were going out with Shawn.”
She giggles. “Well, that didn’t work out,” she says.
“Oh, that sucks,” I say, looking at my feet.
She lifts my chin with her finger. “So, where are you taking me Saturday?”
I start to get a little nervous. I stuff my hands in my pockets so I don’t fidget. “You know I’m fifteen, right?”
“Well, you don’t look fifteen. Besides, I think you’re cute, and we would make a great couple,” she says, putting her hand on my stomach.
I feel my heartbeat start racing, and I have to count my breathing, so I don’t start a panic attack. I don’t like being put on the spot or feeling pressured during social situations. “Here’s my number. Text me with the plans. I’ll be by at 6 pm Saturday,” she tells me and leaves.
I let out a huge breath as she leaves and shiver. I start to dial the combination to my locker, “Can we talk?” It’s Shawn.
I mentally sigh to myself. “No.”
“Ryder, we need to talk,” Shawn says.
“I said we don’t need to talk, Shawn. We are fine,” I tell him.
“Please?” he asks.
I finish putting my books into my locker and turn around. “I don’t have time today, Shawn. I have to go catch up with my boyfriend.”
“Oh… so you have a boyfriend now?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“That’s good. Look, I just wanted to say I am sorry, and it was really fucked up that I kissed you. I was drunk the night before and then, I don’t know, I entertained the idea. Truth is, I can’t be like that with a guy, man. It just, I don’t know, doesn’t do it for me,” he says.
“Yeah, I got that loud in clear through a text message.”
“Ryder…” he says, as I walk past him.
“Shawn, it’s fine!” I tell him.
I walk past him without making eye contact. I just don’t have the patience to deal with him. I walk out of the building and meet up with Callen. “Hey, you okay?”
“Yeah, I couldn’t be better,” I tell him, smiling.
He smiles back, and we start walking down to the parking lot. “So, where is Garret going tonight?”
“To my mom’s.”
“Oh… I didn’t know.”
“It’s fine. I know she doesn’t love me, man, it’s no big deal,” he says.
I can tell that he really does care. “You know it’s her mistake, right?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“I have my first official therapy session next week,” I blurt out.
He looks over at me, “You’re going to therapy?”
“That’s when I realize I never really talked to him about it, I just mentioned it, and I start to get nervous. “Yeah….”
“Why, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“I have some issues…,” I tell him.
We don’t say anything since I blurted that out, and it’s making me nervous to the point I feel like I am going to throw up. We finally reach his house, and once we go in, Callen kicks off his shoes, and I do the same. I follow him to his room.
He turns around and takes my hand. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
I just shake my head. I look at my hand in his. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything.”
“About what? You going to therapy?”
I nod my head.
“I didn’t know if you wanted to talk about it, but if it’s going to help you, then go for it. I just never realized you were actually going to go. I mean, you mentioned it, but never made it clear you were going. I mean, you’re a beast on the field, and you always look so calm and collected.”
I laugh. “It’s ‘cause, on the inside, I am trembling and over thinking that everyone hates me, or I am going to screw up and do the worst thing possible. Football is my life. It’s what I’m great at. On that field, I don’t have to think. I have one job, and that’s to get it done right. I don’t have to worry about my anxiety or nightmares.”
“I didn’t know it was this bad. You told me a little, but you never mentioned it again.”
“I contain it, but I feel like I am going to have a breakdown a lot of times. I clam up, or I just default to football talk, so I don’t have to talk about anything.”
He pulls me into a hug. “I’m sorry, babe, I had no idea. What about the nightmares?”
“I was adopted by Coach. I mean, I am from his family but I was born in Russia. I told you on our first date. Well, my mom was terrible and, short story, I was abandoned and left to die when I was very young. I almost bled to death.” I lift up my shirt and show him the scar on my hip.
He runs his hand over the scar and kisses me. “I’m sorry, babe.”
“So, I am a little fucked up with things, and I get overwhelmed, and I need a lot of structure in my life. I need to know now, Callen, if that’s going to be too much for you.”
I turn the key and unlock the door. Thank god I go to work today. I don’t think I could stand being in the same house as my mom’s asshole boyfriend or whatever he wants to be. I walk into the living room, and as usual, my mother is passed out with bottles around her. She’s probably fucked up on something as well. I look in the fridge and, of course, there is nothing to eat. I need to go check on Dylan before I head out to work later tonight. I will probably take him to get something to eat.
It’s weird. Normally, he is out here drawing or something. Guess he is in our room. I go to the room and try to open it, and it’s locked. I knock on the door, “Dyl, let me in, dude.”
I hear something move and he unlocks the door. I can see his nose has been bleeding, and a black eye is starting to form. I shove the door open. “What happened?” I ask, moving closer to him, and he backs away from me.
I grab him by the shoulders. “Dylan, what happened?”
He’s crying now, and I realize he’s holding his hand. I move his left hand so I can see his right. Three of his fingers are bent the wrong way, and his whole hand is swollen and turning colors. “What happened?!” I yell a little too loud, and I end up scaring him.
“I…I… I was drawing, and he tripped over me, and… and he got so angry, he kicked me in the ribs… and he stomped on my hand and said he could have fallen and broken a bone, so he had to teach me a lesson,” he says between sobs.
“What was Mom doing this whole time?”
He just shakes his head.
“Dylan, tell me!” I yell.
“She was doing lines while he was kicking me.”
This ignites my anger. I go back into the living room and kick the couch. “Wake the fuck up!”
“What?” she slurs.
“You let him hurt Dylan like that!” I scream.
“He’s fine. He’s just being a baby,” she says, and puts her head back down.
“You’re worthless!” I yell at her.
I go back to my room, and Dylan is on his bed crying. “How bad does it hurt?”
“Really bad. I can’t move my fingers or my wrist,” he says.
I pace around the room. I don’t know what to do….. I pick up my cell and I call my job. “Hey, I am so sorry, I can’t come in tonight. I know it’s late for me to call. My little brother broke his hand really bad. Yes, sir, I am sorry.” I hang up with them.
“I’m sorry,” Dylan says.
“Nothing for you to be sorry about,” I tell him.
I call the person I am not sure I should even be calling. “Coach… It’s my brother. I really need help. Yes sir… no, I don’t think it’s safe here at my house. I need to get him to the hospital.”
I do what he says, which is to get Dylan and get out of the house, and go to the park where we picked him up the first time. “Let’s go, Dylan.”
“But Mom...,” he says.
“Fuck her, man, she doesn’t care about us! I need to make sure you are safe. That’s all that matters.”
“He told me to stay in the room, or he would come back and do something worse.”
I don’t want to, but I grab him by his good arm. “I don’t give a fuck about what that dick wants.” I pull him enough to get him to finally move, and we leave the apartment.
I know he is hurting a lot more than he will say. He is cradling his hand close to his chest. I don’t know how he isn’t crying. I know I would be. We finally reach the park, and thank god no one is around right now. I pull him close to me.
“What’s going to happen?”
“I don’t know, bud… First, let’s get you to the hospital, and see what they are going to do. Then let me worry about everything else, ok?”
He leans into me and I put my arm around him as we sit on the metal bench and wait for Coach to get here. I think about calling Garret to let him know what’s going on, but then I remember he is at his mom’s, and she is a psycho about him being on the phone at all.
It doesn’t take long before Coach pulls up and is out of the SUV. He moves towards us, and I feel Dylan push into me more. “What happened?”
“My mom’s whatever you want to call him did this to him because he tripped on Dylan’s feet,” I tell him.
Coach crouches down to be level with Dylan, “Can I see, Son?”
Dylan looks up at me, and I nod. He shows Coach his hand, which is now even worse than it was. Coach touches it, and Dylan cries in pain. “It’s okay, Son. Let’s get you to the hospital.”
Once we get into Coach’s SUV, I tell him, “Thanks, Coach. I just didn’t know who else to call.”
“Son, I am glad you called me. Where is your mother?”
I don’t answer; instead, I look back and check on Dylan, who is trying to hold it together in the back seat. I look down at my cell phone. I don’t know what’s going to come next if I tell Coach anything.
“Shawn, answer me, where is your mother?”
“She coked out in the house,” I tell him, looking down.
“Do what?” he asks.
“She’s fucked up on coke and alcohol. She’s passed out on the couch,” I tell him, looking at him.
“Is this a normal occurrence?”
“Yes sir, this is just another guy that has the drugs she wants,” I tell him.
“What about your father? Where is he?”
“Do you have any other family?”
“Yeah, my mom’s sister. Why?”
“Do you know how to contact her?”
“Yeah, but why?”
“I have to call CPS, Son. I’m required to as an educator. It’s easier if you have relatives who are willing to take you in, instead of foster care. That way, you and Dylan can stay together,” he tells me.
“I know my aunt, but she lives in Ohio.”
“Son, how long has this been going on?”
“Coach, it’s been going on for so long, I don’t really remember anything different. I’ve had to struggle to make sure Dylan was okay. I have had many nights where I didn’t sleep because so many people were in and out of the house, and I needed to make sure Dylan was kept away from the drugs and other guys.” At this point, I am crying, and I hate it. “I’m sorry, Coach. I am just so tired.”
“Hey, it’s okay, Son.” He squeezes my shoulder.
We get to the hospital, and get Dylan into the ER. They take one look at his hand, and they take him back right away. A nurse comes at me with a clipboard, asking all these questions. It’s so overwhelming, to the point I am blanking out about everything…. Coach is making multiple phone calls.
The next thing I know, Coach is shaking me, trying to get me to wake up. “Sorry, I just closed my eyes for one second.”
“It’s okay, Son. Look, a lady from CPS is here. She wants to talk to you. My wife is here as well. She can sit in with you.”
I nod. “I would like that a lot.”
I follow Mrs. K, and they lead me to a little conference room. I sit down across from a blonde haired lady who looks really uptight. “Hi Shawn, I am Deb, from Child Protective Services.”
“Hi,” I tell her.
“So, what we were told is, your mother’s boyfriend has done this to Dylan?”
“Yeah, I came home and he barricaded himself in our room, and when he finally opened up, he told me that her boyfriend stomped on his hand because he fell over Dylan.”
“Has this happened before?”
“Someone breaking his hand, no,” I tell her.
“No, sweetie, being abused by an adult,” Mrs. K says.
“No, it’s not the first time. I have taken many hits from the guys and my mother.”
“Where was your mother when this was happening?”
“She was snorting coke,” I tell her, and watch as she writes down everything I tell her.
“Why haven’t you called for help before?” she asks.
I don’t know why, but this upsets me, “Because I have called for help before, and you know what? You have never done anything. My aunt tried to get custody of me and my brother, but CPS found nothing at the house, because my mother knew! You think I liked living in fear of what stranger was going to be in my house? What if they hurt Dylan, or tried to get into our room at night?! The law never protected us!” I yell, and I am in tears at this point. I feel Mrs. K wrap her arms around me.
“I am sorry for this, Shawn, but you don’t need to worry anymore. We have contacted your aunt. She is on the next plane out to Texas. If she checks out, we will be releasing you and Dylan into her care.”
“What about my mom? What about school?” I ask.
“Your mom has already been arrested for possession and child endangerment. As for school, you will be living with your aunt.”
“What about Dylan, how is he?”
“As far as I know, he is in surgery,.” she says.
She talked a lot about what was to come. She said the police were trying to get my mother to give up her boyfriend. I kind of zoned out. I didn’t know what to think. I was happy I could get Dylan out of that place, but I wasn’t expecting to move to Ohio. I mean, I have everything here. My whole life is here. “Shawn, honey, come on,” Mrs. K says.
“I’m sorry, I was just thinking.”
“Let’s get you back to my house. Ryder is at a friend’s house. You can sleep in his bed,” she says.
“What about Dylan? I need to be here when he is done,” I tell her.
“Sweetie, they haven’t gotten him into surgery yet. They had to get a surgeon to come in because of the damage to his hand. Let’s get you some rest. As soon as Coach hears anything, he will call me, and I will bring you back up here. I promise.”
Hope everyone has had a great weekend! Everything changes very soon for all the characters.
You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on. We get it, because we feel it too. Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now