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"Good morning everyone," I said to my tired students. "I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are ready to get some work done this week." The class let out a small groan. But it's not like I'm going to be giving them more work than I usually do.
We began the notes then started a movie. I decided I'd let them skip the assessment only because it's a Monday.
The rest of the school day was all right. I let all my classes skip the assessment which I'm sure brought a lot of silent gratitude my way. Travers came in at lunch and gave me attitude. I thought for sure that his birthday was the last of his little rebellion, but fuck was I wrong.
Arriving at home with both of my sons in tow I noticed our lawn wasn't doing very well. The dark green that it usually bore was turning into a light green color. Jared definitely won't be too happy about this. He loves having a beautiful front yard.
Jared arrived home a few hours after we did. Dinner was waiting for him to devour. All of us were sitting on the couch watching some TV when the doorbell rang. No one else even turned their heads so I figured I'd get it.
"Can I help you?" I asked the woman standing in front of me.
She looked at me, her eyes watery. "It's been a long time, Tyler."
"Excuse me? I'm afraid I don't know who..." My mind was racing trying to figure out who was standing in front of me. And then it suddenly exploded into my mind. "Mrs. Young?" There was an uneasy tone in my words.
"That's right," she said.
"What... What are you doing here?" I closed the door behind me so that no one else could hear or see what was going on.
"I came to make things right with my son and you, too."
"Well, we don't have time for games right now. We're fine as a family."
"Family? Do you have kids?"
"Tyler, please," she spoke softly. "I know I was a terrible mother to him. The divorce from Paul left me miserable and lonely. I just didn't know how to handle the pressures."
"That is no excuse for what you did to him. You practically abandoned him. You didn't even show up to our wedding, not even to try and stop it."
"I've changed. I got help and now I'm healed and...happy. There's only one thing left for me to do in my life."
I sighed. "What are you going to say to him? It's going to take a lot more than an apology to win him over."
"I know that, and I am fully prepared to accept the consequences of what I've done. Do I expect him to welcome me with open arms? Of course not. But I can at least let him know how sorry I am and how much I truly love him."
I shook my head, but opened the front door. She stepped in cautiously, looking around the entryway. I offered her a drink then went to get Jared.
"Jared, um, there's someone in the kitchen to see you." I said quietly. He looked at me and smiled. It calmed me down just a little bit.
"Who is it?" He stood up and walked in front of me.
"You're going to want to see for yourself." Keegan and Travers perked up hearing my words. "You boys stay here until told otherwise. Do I make myself clear?" They nodded.
Jared walked closer to the kitchen and slowed down on the way. His mom was standing near the sink looking through a window at our backyard. He turned around and glared at me. I smiled innocently.
Jared cleared his throat.
Debbie turned around quickly. A smile formed on her face when she saw him. "Hello, Jared,"
"Hi," he said quietly.
"How are you doing?"
"I'm fine," he again said quietly. "What are you doing here?"
"I want us to be normal." Debbie said.
"Because I miss you. And whether you believe it or not I do love you."
"You have a weird way of showing it then. Right after your fast divorce you left me with that man that is unfortunately my father. I saw you maybe once a month if even that. Do you know how much that hurt me?" Jared was beginning to grow upset. I knew this could blow out of proportion at any second.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I was in a bad place at the time. I never meant to hurt you at all. If I had known how to fix myself then or your father, I would've done it so fast Jeff Gordon wouldn't have believed it." A single tear escaped her left eye. For some reason I felt bad for her. I could tell she was actually being sincere with him.
"It's going to take me some time," Jared said quietly. "I'm going to bed." He didn't wait for any response before turning around and heading towards the stairs.
Debbie and I talked a little while longer until she said she should probably be going back to her hotel room. I offered her our guest room, but she figured she'd better not take the offer until Jared had a chance to settle down.
Travers and Keegan never once moved from the couch. I was so proud of both of them for actually listening to me. They were both curious about who was in the kitchen, but alls I told them was that they'd meet her someday soon.
A little while later I went upstairs into my room. Jared was lying in bed crying. I sat next to him and tried comforting him. Before long I was lying with him, holding him against me as he sobbed out his pain. We fell asleep in the same position we started in. Around one in the morning, Jared and I got a surprise that was definitely not wanted.
Lights and sirens began going off. Jared and I both jumped out of bed unsure of what to do. I told him to go in with Keegan and that I'd go downstairs. He ran into Keegan's room and shut the door. With great caution, I walked downstairs, searching around for any sign of someone.
Someone was fiddling with the alarm pad. It was Travers.
"Hey!" I shouted, trying to be loud enough over the alarm. I punched in the code. "Honey, it's all right, it's just Travers!"
Travers looked at me with fright. Jared came running downstairs looking thoroughly pissed off.
"Just what in the hell do you think you're doing?" Jared screamed. I rubbed my temple trying to calm my growing headache down.
"I was just going to...get the...paper." Travers pathetically spoke.
Jared opened his mouth, but I stepped in. "Travers, go to your room. We'll discuss this later on."
As Travers walked away he muttered under his breath, "Fuck you."
"Excuse me, what!?" I shouted. He didn't stop walking. I ran past him into his room. Now I was enraged. Looking around I spotted my prize. I grabbed his cell phone and iPod.
"What do you think you're doing?" Travers asked harshly.
"Until you start giving me some respect you will not be getting any of these simple pleasures. Today after school you are coming straight home. There will be no talking on the phone, no iPod, no computer, no nothing until I get some respect. Do you understand me!?" I was inches from his face, my voice trembling with anger.
"I asked if you understood!?" I yelled. He nodded silently. I stormed off back upstairs.
The next morning was quiet. Even Keegan kept his mouth shut. My words last night have left me feeling a little bit guilty, but Travers does need to start showing me some respect. He just didn't realize I had that side of me.
Classes went on as they always did. Trevor hadn't really spoken to me since the party so I'm guessing he's still embarrassed that Jared caught him and Travers in the sauna.
Travers met me at my Murano right after school. The entire night was a silent affair. Jared later told me that I scared the living hell out of Keegan. That's when I felt even more guilt.
"Hey bud, can I come in?" I asked, stopping under Keegan's doorway.
He looked up from his book. "I guess,"
"What are you readin'?" I sat by his feet and placed a hand on his knee.
"Right," I sighed. "So, Jared told me that I scared you a little bit last night. I just wanted to say that I am sorry for freaking out so badly. I bet you didn't know I had it in me, huh?"
Keegan giggled. "Nope,"
"I guess you know now that you'd better keep your rebellion phase to yourself." I laughed, rustling up his hair. "Now, start thinking about getting some sleep. I'll see you in the morning, buddy. Love you." I stood up and walked out of his room then went into my room.
"Everything okay?" Jared asked me. He was lying in bed also reading a book.
"Yeah, we're all good now." I got in on my side and quickly dozed off into dream land.
"All right, take out your notes and any assignments you have. Even though today is a block day, I'm going to have to set a time limit so we can finish the movie today as well." I explained to the class.
Thirty minutes later, most of my students turned their tests in. Just then, my cell phone rang. It had to be important considering everyone got an earful about not calling me during school hours unless it was an emergency. The ID showed the house number. Travers stayed home sick today so he's probably just calling to piss me off and to bring him some soup. I just ignored it for now. I focused back to my class. Trevor started the movie to where they left off so I started to grade their tests. Five minutes later my cell rang again. Figuring it might actually be important I answered.
"Yes, Travers?" I said impatiently.
"D-dad!" he screamed.
"Travers? What's wrong?" I knew something was wrong. He hasn't called me 'dad' in quite some time.
"Daddy! H-help...me!" he screamed once more. "No! Stop, please!" There were rustling sounds in the background.
I stood up so fast I slammed my chair into the wall. All of my students looked over at me. "Travers? Travers!" I closed my phone and ran out of my classroom.
I didn't stop running until I reached my Murano. Without hesitation, I started the engine and threw it into reverse. Going through the parking lot would take too much time so I decided to go over the curbs. Once on the road, the gas pedal was down to the floor. Cars honked at me as I whizzed right by them.
I came to a long, screeching halt in front of my house. "Travers!" I shouted. I ran inside and already knew something was wrong. The front door had been kicked in. Suddenly, an overwhelming fear swept through my body. "Travers!" His bedroom was empty so I checked upstairs.
I've never been so panicked in my life.
There was my son, lying face down on my bedroom floor. I ran into my room and collapsed next to him. He was unconscious, but had a steady pulse. My emotions came unglued at that moment. I was holding my lifeless son in my arms. The feeling of pain and sorrow overwhelmed me. I began crying hard. But I knew I had to be strong for at least another hour.
Carrying him very carefully to my car, I rested him in the passenger side before I jumped in. The drive to the hospital was quick.
"Jared," I said hastily. "Something happened to Travers and I need you!"
"Just get ready to take him in. I'm pulling up to the hospital now. I'll meet you in the emergency room." I hung the phone not even waiting for his response. I came to another screeching halt once in front of the ER.
Jared was waiting for me. He rushed to the passenger side and looked Travers over. Dr. Zanders then came running out with a gurney. With Zanders' help, Jared and he carefully placed Travers onto the gurney then rushed him inside. They began calling things out that I had no idea about.
"Jared?" I said loudly.
He stopped and grabbed onto me. I broke down and started to sob hard. He rubbed my back trying to get me to calm down.
The heart monitor kept on a steady beeping sound. Travers lie in bed sleeping as he has been for the past two days. Jared told me he'd be all right. Apparently Travers was raped.
"Honey, you should go home and get some rest. You've virtually never left since you brought him here. It will take some time for him to heal." Jared spoke softly to me.
"No, I can't leave him alone. Not again." I said sadly.
"Tyler, there was nothing you could have done."
"God damn it, Jared! I should have stayed home! I should have been with him, nursing him back to health! Now look what's happened. He's lying in this damned bed barely alive!" I said harshly.
"None of this is your fault." Jared calmly replied.
I sighed. "Sorry,"
"Please go home and get some rest. He'll be fine here."
"Fine, but I'll be back as soon as I can."
Once at home, I took a very hot shower in Keegan's bathroom. I haven't been able to calmly walk into our room yet. Images still haunted my memory of where I found my son.
Jared and Zanders did a thorough examination on Travers. A police report has been filed for rape. He was pretty beaten up, but luckily whoever did this was stupid enough not to use a condom before he came inside of my son. Austin swore to me that he would catch the bastard that did this. A million thoughts have been running through my mind the past two days. Why didn't the alarm go off? How the hell did anyone know Travers was even inside of the house?
Around five I went back to the hospital. Keegan was with me. He wanted to see his brother. I haven't let him until this day. I was afraid that he would have a nervous break down or something. When he walked into Travers's room he immediately started crying. I picked him up and tried to comfort him. About an hour later, Jared came in to get him some chocolate pudding.
"Travers," I said softly, taking his hand in my own. "I am so sorry that I wasn't there for you. I'm so sorry for the things I said a few nights ago. If I could take those words back I would do so in a heartbeat. Please forgive me." I began to sob. Suddenly, I felt him lightly squeeze my hand. As I looked up at him, our eyes met.
"I-I'm sorry, t-too." he roughly let out.
"Oh, baby," I stood up and rubbed his cheek. "I'm so glad you're okay."
Tears fell from his eyes. "I'm s-sorry, daddy."
"Shh, you have nothing to apologize for. You just get some rest, all right?" His eye lids slowly closed and he was back into a silent slumber.
I informed Jared that he awoke. He wasn't surprised at all, but was happy nonetheless. Keegan and I played some card games the rest of the night. Ten swung around and I figured I needed to get Keeg home. As we were making our way out, Austin was coming in.
"Hey Tyler," he said, giving me a hug. He gave Keegan one as well. "I just stopped by to tell you that I called your security company today. According to them, the alarm never went off because it wasn't activated."
"That isn't possible. I remember setting it before I left that morning." I said, bewildered.
"Maybe Travers deactivated it? Maybe to get the mail?" Austin suggested.
"I don't think so,"
"Well, anyways, how is he doing?"
"He responded to me today. So I guess that's a great sign."
"Tyler, as soon as he is stable enough I'll start questioning him. The blood work has come back from the lab, but the results are...unofficial."
"What does that mean?"
"I'm not sure myself. The chief said that it has been deemed classified until further notice. I asked around and I put pieces together. I think when they say unofficial they really mean they have no clue."
I sighed. "Well, it was nice seeing you, but I gotta take killer here home." We said our goodbyes then went our separate ways.
Keegan slept with me on the couch. Jared got home late again. He didn't bother waking me which I was kind of grateful for really. Being at the hospital for the past two days has taken a toll on my body.
I awoke around nine. Jared was in the office doing some paper work when I stumbled in.
"Morning," he said solemnly.
"Morning," I replied just as solemnly.
"I made you both some breakfast." he said, not looking away from his work.
"Okay, thank you," I grumbled tiredly. "Aren't you going to work today?"
"Honey, it's Saturday. I'm only called in on emergencies."
"Oh, yeah, that's right." I walked out, making my way into the kitchen. As I was reheating the breakfast, Keegan walked in. "Hey stud,"
He giggled. "Are we going to see Travers today?"
"Oh, you bet we are!" I said excitedly. "In fact, why don't you go ahead and get in the shower while I fix your breakfast up. Then I'll get cleaned up and we can go."
Keegan jumped off the counter and ran upstairs. I smiled, continuing breakfast. It only took a few minutes to warm everything back up. Jared came in for some more coffee then went back into the office without saying a word to me.
Keegan eventually came bounding back into the kitchen. I served him his food and then went upstairs to take my own shower. I went into Keegan's bathroom to shower again. The only thing I went in my room for was my toothbrush and paste, deodorant, cologne, and gel. Oh, and my clothes obviously. I casually made my way downstairs and informed Keegan that I had to run a quick errand before we went to visit Travers. He seemed a little disappointed, but didn't say anything.
"Baby, can you clean the house a little bit for me? I haven't had the energy to do anything lately. Specifically, can you clean the air vents? I haven't done that in a while." I said to Jared.
Without looking up from his work he replied, "Yeah, sure,"
I got in my Murano and went off to do my errand.
* * * *
I reluctantly got up from my desk and started to clean around the house. I'd have asked Keegan to help, but he was busy playing video games. I figured he's been through a little too much anyways.
The dishes were the first things that I finished. Vacuuming was next.
* * * *
"Hi, we talked a couple days ago." I said in a hushed voice to the man behind the counter. "Tyler Delfino,"
"Oh, right right," he said. "Nicky, lock up the store."
"So, what do you have for me?"
He reached under the counter and pulled out several boxes. "This one is a nice one to hide around the house." He pulled a pistol out of one of the smaller boxes. "It's a Glock 26. This one in particular holds 12 rounds."
* * * *
Now that the vacuuming is done, I guess alls that's left is to clean the air vents. I grabbed a rag and ran it under warm water. I grabbed a dry one as well then went into the living room.
* * * *
"Well, there's the six that you can hide away." Burt said. This guy was being more than helpful, and I was learning a lot as he went on about the pistols I was about to purchase. "From the way you spoke on the phone it sounds like you want some power as well?"
"Absolutely," I said. Burt nodded to Nicky. He reached back under the counter and pulled out some more boxes, much larger than the previous ones.
"This here is a Franci SPAS-12. These are no longer in production. I'm going to have to sell you this one at a higher price."
"Whatever, I'll pay anything you want."
* * * *
I popped the air vent open and was unpleasantly greeted by a small cloud of dust. Since a cloud came out at all it means Tyler really hasn't cleaned the vents in a while. This vent was overlooking the dining room and kitchen. The next one I began on overlooked the living room to the office. As I was cleaning it, I noticed something blinked very faintly.
* * * *
"All right, I'll also need to purchase a gun safe and some sort of holding devices to hide the pistols around the house." I said.
Burt grinned at me. "You're serious about this security stuff aren't you?"
"Let me put it this way, if anyone touches either of my sons again they'll be dead so fast they won't have time to reconsider." Venom leaked from my mouth. "I'd do anything to protect my family!"
There are so many things we wish we could tell the young. We'd like to persuade them not to grow up so fast. But they won't listen. We want to tell them that beauty fades. But they refuse to believe it. We warn them that their actions will have consequences. But still, they defy us. Sadly, the young can't begin to understand the world is a dangerous place. So it's up to us to do anything we can to protect them...
* * * *
"Oh, my God!" I yelled. That's how someone knew Travers was in the house. I jumped off the chair and ran into the kitchen and popped open one of the air vents. Another one. I let out a vicious roar.
Our house is wired.
* * * *
"I have one more gun to show you." Burt said. "This thing could make a nuke blush." He went into a back room then came back with one of the biggest guns I've ever seen up close and personal in my life.
"I'll take it!"
* * * * * * * * * * * *
*(© by Marc Cherry, 2006)
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Also feel free to join my group at this address.
By the way, readers, I'd really appreciate receiving some more comments on A Promise Well Kept. I'm enjoying making a sequel to my most popular story and thought that'd this would be my biggest work yet. But apparently not too many people think so. I don't expect a seven page appreciation letter, but a quick "I like your writing," would suffice. Thanks!