By: Eric Case
To those whom it may interest, this story, and all my others - some of which
won't be on nifty - are available at my website "The BookCASE", so you
can check it out and let me know what ya think. Oh and if ya go puleeaaze sign
the guest book! :)
http://thebookcase.tripod.com/ - The BookCASE
I woke up the next morning still thinking about the previous day's events. I mean, the day itself had been a disaster, but the evening... It would be hard to describe the feelings of confusion I had. I was feeling way too many emotions at once. I was upset about being so physically immature, I was angry about being treated like shit by practically everyone, I was grateful to Max for being so nice to me when no one else would, I was afraid about thinking of what would happen on Monday, and it was all at the same time! Then there was what Max had said to me that evening about me being beautiful..
I stood up and walked quickly to my adjoining bathroom and turned on the shower letting it warm up. Then, letting my boxers fall loosely to the ground I stood looking at myself in the full-length mirror on the back of the door. I definitely wasn't tall as I have already pointed out, and I was no heavy-weight champion of the world either. I stood about 5'4'', with blue eyes and sandy-blonde hair. That neat colour between brown and blonde. Well I thought it was neat anyway. I weighed about 110 pounds, but I carried it well. I mean I wasn't a skinny bean-pole, and I wasn't a short brick shithouse either. I thought I looked pretty cute. I even had a nice little bubble-butt, but that just drew more jokes. I had a well defined six-pack already, and toned legs, but I was still hairless. My armpits were as clean as the day I was born and so was my.. well.. you know.
I stepped under the warm water of the shower feeling it's warmth cascade down me. I loved showers, the way they warmed you up after being outside in the cold. It was like having a warm blanket that washed away all the hurt people put on you. Anyway, I got washed and got out, then quickly dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast.
"Hey mom. Hey dad," I said as I slid into my seat.
"Good morning Jared," My mom said smiling.
"There was a big fellow who came by for you earlier this morning," My dad said. "Big guy.. said his name was Max. He dropped off your bag -- said you left it in the car."
"Oh," I said a little surprised. "Uh.. cool."
"So who is Max?" My mom asked sitting down after resting a bowl of corn flakes in front of me.
"Oh he's just a friend," I said then took a mouth full of my cereal.
"Is he a freshman too?" She asked.
"He looked a little big to be a freshman," my dad chimed in.
"No he's not a freshman; he's a junior," I said without raising my eyes from my bowl. "He and I worked out at the gym yesterday and he drove me home."
"What did you need a ride for? It's only a block and a half away," My dad said looking at me funny.
"He had to pass this way on his way home," I said simply. I was a little aggravated at being questioned like this. It's not like they found a joint in my pants pocket!
"Well he seems like a very polite young man," my mom commented.
"Yeah," I said flatly. Then added, "he and I are going to work out at the gym again today."
"What time are you leaving?" Dad asked.
"Umm.. I'm not sure, why?"
"Well we have to looking for a new living-room carpet, and paint this morning remember?" He asked raising an eyebrow and cracking a smile knowing I'd forgotten about my promise to go with them since the last time they picked a new paint for the living room, they had picked a gross mustard yellow.
I let out a long groan. "Do I have to?" I asked pouting. Both my parents smiled wickedly at me nodding their heads up and down. I rolled my eyes and cracked a smile myself. "Fine."
We finished breakfast and twenty minutes later, were walking through Home Depot. It was never enough though, to go to HD and do what we were supposed to. We always had to go looking for other junk to "improve the house". Personally I liked things the way they were since I'd finally gotten used to the putrid yellow living room (I basically just never went inside lol). I wanted to hurry up and get home so I wouldn't miss Max when he came by to pick me up.
Eventually we made it to the flooring department, found a nice carpet, after grabbing a bunch of those paint cards with all the colours on them, and went to the checkout to pay for the litter and debris my parents had picked up. They were actually kinda cute walking along pushing the cart together. We put the newly bought household accessories into the trunk and headed for home.
When we turned onto our street I saw Max's Cherokee on the street in front of the house and I perked up right away knowing he was waiting for me. Dad pulled the car into the driveway and I saw Max sitting on the top of the three steps that climbed to the front porch. His head was propped up by his hands that rested on each side of his head covering his ears and as I looked at his face I saw the bruise under his left eye.
I jumped out of the car as it came to a halt and dashed lightly over to him crouching down to look up at his face. "Ohmygosh, are you okay?" I asked. Max just nodded staring off into space. "What happened?"
"Nothing," he said hoarsely. I put my hand on his leg and he flinched like I'd hit him with a stick.
"Are you alright?" My mom asked coming to the rescue in her usual motherly way. She crouched on the step next to him putting a hand on his shoulder.
"Yeah," Max said in a shaky voice.
"Let's get him in the house," my dad said as he joined the three of us on the front step.
"Come on inside honey," my mom said helping Max stand up. We took him inside and mom got him seated on the couch with her on the right, and me on the left. "Now what happened to your eye?"
Max shut his eyes tightly as tears spilled out of them and ran down his cheeks. "I think I killed my dad," he said after a long pause. "He got drunk again. He hasn't gotten drunk in weeks; he's been really good. Then this morning he started drinking again so I came and dropped Jared's bag off. Then when I went back home he had already started his yelling. Then he started breaking stuff and I tried to calm him down and he started hitting me. I didn't wanna hit him back cause he's all I got, you know?" Max said sniffing and looking up at my dad who was sitting across from us on the coffee table. "Anyway, I went up stairs cause usually I just go to my room and he leaves me alone till he cools off, but this time he broke the door down and came at me with a baseball bad so I had to do something.." he trailed off.
"What did you do son?" My dad asked resting a hand on Max's shoulder.
"It's not his fault, you know? It's just my mom died when I was six, and drinking is a way out for him. I shoulda just let him break the stupid trophies and he woulda got stuff out of his system! I stepped in cause they're my football trophies, and his from when he used to coach and I knew he'd be sorry afterwards. It's my fault," Max said and bit his bottom lip closing his eyes sending more tears spilling down his face. "He hit me in the side with the baseball bat and I grabbed it and threw it through the window, and he started wailing on me again so I punched him in the stomach, turned him around and kicked him outta my room and he fell down the stairs. I didn't bother sticking around to see anything else so I just left. I dunno why I came here I just don't have anywhere to go. I'm sorry I messed up your day, I just.. I don't know what to do," Max said wiping his tears out of his eyes with his thumb and forefinger.
"Is there someone we can call for you? Any other family? Grandparents? Aunts, or Uncles?" My mom asked. Her eyes were all puffy and red and she'd cried a few tears too. Even my dad was all choked up, but I think I was probably hit the hardest. I mean here was this guy who was known for his strength and composure all through the school, and all the while he acted like everything was great, he had a terrible home life. I had figured he probably lived in a mansion with a pro-football player for a dad and a cheerleader for a wife, and they all lived happily ever after. Meanwhile his life was a totally different story.
"My grandparents on both sides are dead I guess.. well I don't really know about my dad's father, but they don't speak and I wouldn't know where to find him. I have a step mother but they live in New Jersey. After mom died, dad married my step mom and everything was okay for a couple years. They had a son together and everything was working out great, but then something happened when I was about 12 and he started drinking. First he'd just get kinda loud when he drank, then later he started calling everyone names. My step mother said she didn't want her son growing up in that kind of environment, and once my dad hit her the first time, she packed up and left." Max said then paused recalling past memories. "I tried to call a couple times cause I missed my brother, and I missed her, but I could only call collect cause I didn't want dad to know I had their phone number, but she never accepted the charges."
"Well Max," my dad said clearing his throat cause his voice was cracking. "I think the first thing we should do is get you to a doctor and make sure you haven't broken anything. We should also get the police to go check on your father."
"No I'm fine, I don't wanna go to the doctor," Max said quickly.
"You could be bleeding internally Max, we need to get you to see someone. You were hit with a baseball bat after all," my mom said rubbing Max's back.
"No they'll make me file a report or somethin against my dad. I can't do that," Max said looking at the floor.
"Why not?" My dad asked. "He hit you with a bat."
"He's all that I've got," Max said meeting my dad's eyes with his. "I have nowhere to go if they put him in jail. We'll lose the house and I'll end up in some group home cause I'm only sixteen," Max said. "The bat didn't really hurt either cause he only barely hit me with it."
"Is your dad much bigger than you?" My dad asked. I guess he was curious.
Max chuckled. "No I've been bigger than him since I was 13. He can only hit me if I let him, but he can't hurt me. He can never hurt me nobody can," Max said clenching his teeth.
"Mom you're a nurse, can't you look at him? That way he doesn't have to go to the doctor if you don't think he needs to. Then if it looks bad we'll take you to the doc okay Max?" I asked trying to help.
Max looked at my mom who nodded, and agreed. Dad stood up and checked his watch. "Max you stay here and let Catherine get a look at you, and I'll go to your house and check on your dad okay?" Max nodded and stood up following my mom into the kitchen. He wrote his address on a piece of paper and my dad left quietly while Max sat in one of the kitchen chairs. My mom went to the kitchen drawer and got out her big first aid kit and set it on the table. It was the size of a tool box and opened up much the same way with a top section and bottom section.
Mom pulled out a pair of rubber gloves and slid them onto her hands. Then she sat down on the stool I had brought for her. She looked at Max's face, which had a bruise under the eye, but he looked pretty okay all the same. "Can you take your shirt off?" she asked. Max nodded and pulled his shirt over his head exposing his bruised upper body to be seen. "Oh Max," she said frowning. "You poor dear!"
My mouth fell open as I saw the yellow and red marks on his chest and stomach that had been so perfect the night before. "Where did he hit you with the bat?" Mom asked. Max stroked his thumb over one of the bigger red bruises on his chest.
"I've had worse than this from football games," Max said looking at me winking. My mouth had still been hanging open and it snapped shut as I blushed.
My mom started pushing lightly on certain spots checking to see if they were spongy or hard. I could easily think of a part of Max that could be spongy and hard.. just not at the same time, and I had to bite my bottom lip so I wouldn't laugh. Max saw my face and knew exactly what I was thinking and gave me a cute smile. I guess she'd meant something to do with internal bleeding, but it was funny and helped relax me some. After a couple minutes my mom sat up and seemed satisfied that Max was okay. "Well aside from all these bulges of muscle, all you've got are superficial bruises. Nothing too deep."
"Told ya," Max said smiling.