W.A.R. Part Three - The Broken Boy
Chapter Six - I'm Just a Kid
by Jeff Wilson
It was the Saturday before Easter. Things were going great during my vacation from school. Just not having to go to that hellhole was enough to make me happy. I'd been taking good care of Brett's animals. On Good Friday, I'd spent the afternoon in Brett's abandoned house carefully looking at some of his stuff. Nothing major. It wasn't like I was rifling through his drawers or anything. I was just observing the various things that he left around his room. I just wanted to get a real feel for who he was when nobody was around. There wasn't a lot. His room had an almost overwhelming fragrance of air freshener and body spray. It was almost like he was trying to mask the scent of teenage boy in the room. I lay on his bed for a while and pretended to be him. What did Brett Reilly think about first thing in the morning? Did he think about me? I wondered how often he jerked off, and if he thought about me when he was doing it the way I thought about him. What was the last thought that went through his head before he slipped into sleep? Did he still have trouble getting to sleep at night? Was he ever going to meet his father?
I got up from his bed and looked in the mirror above his dresser. I thought about what it would be like to look into Brett's beautiful blue eyes when I looked in the mirror instead of my green ones. Brett had no idea how handsome he was. I closed my eyes and pictured his body. I remembered the time we had wrestled naked in my living room. I remembered his warm body pressed against my chest. I remembered our first kiss, and the many that had followed it in the year since we'd first admitted our feelings for each other. I stripped off my clothes and jacked off while laying naked on his bed, trying to be careful not to make a mess when I came. I used my right hand, and thought about how good it would be if it was Brett's hand on my dick instead of mine. Then I had to clean his blankets when I exploded like a volcano and shot my creamy white splooge about ten feet in the air and on his bed.
Yeah, that had been a good day. I wondered what adventures I'd get into in the day to come when there was a knock on my bedroom door. I arranged my blankets to cover the raging boner I'd given myself think about Brett. I still slept in my underwear, but with summer coming I was thinking about going all natural. But that was still a pretty big step. I asked whoever it was who had knocked on my door to come in. It was my mom.
"Billy, your dad is going to work at the Nicholsons' house today."
I sat up and yawned. "Yeah, that's nice," I said.
"Donnie can't make it today and I think it'd be nice if you helped your father today."
"Awww," I groaned. "I don't want to! I'm on vacation."
"It's not a request," mom insisted.
"That's not fair!" I protested. "I don't want to go! I don't want to spend my whole day being bored. I hate working with dad!"
"William Aaron, shame on you!" mom scolded. "Your dad works very hard to support this family and he loves when you work with him! You get your butt out of bed this instant and get ready to go! Now!"
"You can't make me," I insisted.
"If you don't go with your father, don't expect to go anywhere at all for a very long time, mister. That includes Brett's house."
"But his animals will die!" I replied.
"Then it sounds like you have a decision to make," mom said.
"This is so retarded," I mumbled under my breath. "This is my stupid Saturday and I have to stupid work."
"Yes Billy, everything's retarded with you lately, isn't it? I'm so tired of you saying that word."
"If people weren't so retarded I wouldn't have to say it!" I replied. "Are you going to let me get dressed or you want to see my dick again?"
"You don't have to be so vulgar. Why does everything have to be so difficult with you lately?" mom muttered as she left my room and closed the door behind her.
Once she was gone I tossed my blankets off of me and looked at the clock. It wasn't even seven o'clock yet! I sighed and pulled my underwear off. I threw them into the basket with the rest of the clothes. Then I pulled on a clean pair. I found an old pair of jeans and a t-shirt I'd tossed on the floor a few days before to wear, and I pulled a flannel shirt on loosely to keep warm. I went to the bathroom and tried to put my contacts in, but I got frustrated after a few minutes and just decided to grab my stupid glasses and go.
I grumped my way into the kitchen. Mom said good morning and I scowled at her in return. I was determined to be miserable and to take as many people with me as possible. My hair was a tangled mess, and I hadn't even bothered with deodorant or brushing my teeth for some reason. I just wanted to be dirty and smell bad and I didn't want to talk to anyone. I looked like a grungy teenage punk.
Dad came into the kitchen and grabbed a bagel. He smothered it with cream cheese and ate it while skimming the newspaper. I just sat there and stared at him while he ate. He'd shaved about a week before, but the beard was already back. I rubbed my own face which I hadn't shaved in a month. It was as smooth as a baby. I cursed my mom's family's genes. Anything that did grow on my face was so blond that it was invisible anyway. I thought it was weird that while my hair was getting darker my meager facial hair was lighter than my hair had ever been.
"You ready to go, boy?" dad asked. He was actually happy about going to work. I grumbled incoherently and followed him to the truck. Mom gave him a kiss and told him not to work me too hard. I scowled as hard as I could scowl at her. I wanted her to know that I would not soon be forgetting this.
I didn't mind being with my dad, I just didn't like being forced to get up early and go to work with him. I sat there with my arms crossed looking out the window at the world going by. I missed Brett. I wished he would come home already. I knew he was gone for a few more days, but it felt like he was never going to come home.
"You okay, boy?" dad asked.
I nodded, but kept looking out the window.
"Looks like somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning," dad said.
"Where's Donnie?" I asked.
"He hurt his hand. I was hoping that maybe you and me could work together."
"You and I," I corrected.
"Huh?" dad asked.
"It's `you and I,' not `you and me.' You sound retarded when you say it wrong," I informed him.
"I see. So, what's with the attitude, boy?" dad asked.
"I don't have an attitude. I just don't want people to think you're stupid. When you say things wrong like that you sound stupid."
"And I need my fifteen-year-old son to tell me how to sound more intelligent?" dad asked.
"You're making a big deal out of nothing. I'm just trying to be helpful," I explained.
"By calling your father retarded?" he asked. "Why would you even use an ugly word like that? That's ignorant."
"I never said that," I protested. "Don't get mad at me. I didn't even want to be here. Mom made me come with you. I just wanted to be left alone. I don't want to spend all day getting lectured." I adjusted my glasses and went back to looking out the window.
"Okay. If that's the way you want it..." dad said. We drove the rest of the way to Mr. Nicholson's house in silence. Mr. Nicholson lived in a nice neighborhood. His house was one of the nicest houses I'd ever been in. It was almost as big as Brett's house. But the Nicholsons seemed to have a lot more stuff. Dad not only worked for Mr. Nicholson, but he was one of dad's best friends as well. Mr. Nicholson was about ten years older than dad, and he'd lived down the street from dad growing up. When Mr. Nicholson started his own company, dad was the first guy he hired.
Dad parked the truck in the driveway and we walked to the front door. Mrs. Nicholson was already waiting for us at the door.
"Good morning George," she greeted us.
"Beth, you look terrific," dad replied.
"Well, look who you brought along!" she noticed me and gave me a hug and kissed my cheek. "Billy, you're getting so tall and handsome!"
"Hi, Mrs. Nicholson," I said shyly. She'd known my mom's family forever it seemed.
"Boy, you look so much like your Pap with your glasses," she smiled. "I swear, he looks more like a Cunningham every time I see him, George!"
"Oh I know it!" dad laughed. "Don't think Paula doesn't remind me of that fact all the time! It's just a shame he didn't get the Cunningham teeth. Those braces are costing me a small fortune."
"Don't you listen to him, Billy! You're such a handsome boy! All of the Cunningham kids had that same beautiful blond hair as you. I swear it's like looking into the past to look at you. I knew your grandfather very well. One of the kindest, most handsome men I ever knew, after my Ed of course! George, you need to bring this sweet boy with you more often. Billy, would you like a bite to eat?"
"Nah, I'm okay," I replied. When you're skinny, old ladies are always trying to feed you.
"Well, come in, boys. Ed's already working in the room," she showed us into the house. We followed her though the house to where Mr. Nicholson was working on an addition. The room was empty with drywall still uncovered, no carpeting, and the room was lit with temporary lighting. "Ed, George is here," Mrs. Nicholson announced our arrival to her husband.
"Morning George," Mr. Nicholson said. He looked up from his work and then smiled. "Well, well, well! I wondered when you'd convince Billy to come along with you again!"
"Yeah, he didn't want to. But we managed to pry him away from his video games long enough to come with me," dad replied.
"Billy, it's good to see you again. It's been too long since you came with your dad on his projects. I remember when your grandfather used to bring your dad along on projects. Smart as a whip, your dad was back then."
"Yeah, what happened?" dad laughed.
Mr. Nicholson laughed too. "George, you've forgotten more about electrical engineering than most men ever learn. I can't believe you aren't teaching Billy everything you know."
"I've tried. He's just not interested," dad said with a hint of disappointment in his voice. "He thinks it's boring."
Mr. Nicholson looked at me dumbfounded. "Boring? Why how else are you ever going to learn if you don't go out let your dad teach you?"
"Billy already knows everything," dad said, laughing. "He's much smarter than his stupid old man."
"That's not true," I defended myself. "I don't know everything. I just don't see how standing around being bored all day is supposed to make me any smarter."
"Billy, I don't think you understand. Your father is the best in the business. You could learn more just by watching him in one day than you'll ever learn from a school book. He is the best."
"I guess this would be a good time to ask for a raise," dad joked.
Dad and Mr. Nicholson worked for a few hours. They had me do a lot of running and fetching. I didn't know what I was supposed to be learning. Dad did everything so quickly and smoothly that I wondered why he even needed help. He set me to work putting electric outlets in the wall.
"I'll bet there's not a house in this area that your dad or grandfather didn't work on at one time or another, Billy," Mr. Nicholson explained while we worked. "Your dad could do more at your age than men who had gone to school for years. He would make your grandfather so jealous. You never saw two more stubborn men than your father and grandfather. Your dad's learned to be a lot more humble in his old age!"
"You knew me at my worst, Ed," dad said. "I thought I knew everything too when I was Billy's age."
Ed laughed, "That seems to run in your family, George. Your father was one of the most brilliant men I've ever met, but he was arrogant as the devil himself, George. I was always worried that you'd come to a bad end because of him. And well, you weren't always the easiest guy to deal with either. It's one thing to be brilliant, it's another thing to know you're brilliant. I always hoped you two would patch things up before he died. You always had to be right."
"Yeah, I guess I did, and so did he," dad sighed. "I guess pride has always been a problem for the Roberts men. I just thank God I have Paula."
"Let's just hope Billy finds a woman as good as she is," Mr. Nicholson replied. I almost laughed out loud but managed to keep it to myself. If I had to marry a woman like my mother I'd shoot myself in the head. Dad just looked at me and kind of smiled.
"I think he'll find the right person to share his life with," he said.
"Good-looking, smart boy like him? You'll have a heartbreaker on your hands, George. He'll be beating the women off with a stick before too long," Ed laughed. I just blushed. I certainly wasn't seeing the boy they were describing when I looked at myself in the mirror. I just saw a dork with glasses and braces.
A little later, dad asked me to go to the fuse box and check to make sure a breaker was turned off for the project he and Ed were going to be working on. When I came back, he was working on an outlet that I'd put in earlier. "Now you see, you put this one in upside down," dad explained. He wasn't mad at all. He just showed me how it should have been put in correctly. He held the wires in his hands and put them into place, then he screwed them in properly.
"Now I want you to take care of that outlet over there while I help Ed with the ceiling fan," dad said, pointing to another outlet. "Then we'll be ready for lunch."
"Right," I said. I was actually kind of excited because dad was actually trusting me to do something on my own. I did exactly as he had shown me. I knelt down in front of the outlet. Then I grabbed the wires just as he had done.
"OW FUCK!" I cried. I fell backwards and landed on my butt. My teeth hurt and it felt like I'd been kicked in the balls. I didn't understand what had happened. It didn't help that dad and Mr. Nicholson were laughing at me.
"Don't tell me he fell for that old trick, George!" Mr. Nicholson laughed.
"What trick?" I asked. "What the hell?"
"There wasn't any trick. You must not have turned off the right breaker."
"But you didn't get zapped!" I cried, clutching my sore balls. "What happened?"
"Of course your dad didn't get zapped," Ed explained. "He's been doing that old trick for years. He could hold a live wire in his bare hands and not even flinch. Craziest thing I've ever seen."
"But this wasn't a trick, boy," dad said, offering his hand to me and pulling me off the floor. "If I'd known you were going to get hurt I would have stopped you."
"But how can you do that?" I asked. "How can you not feel yourself getting electrocuted?"
"Well, for one, I know how to ground myself. For another, I can't feel my fingers or toes, so I could hold a live wire all day and it wouldn't hurt," dad explained. "But as I think about it, I'm pretty sure these outlets are on separate breakers. Maybe they were mislabeled in the breaker box. I thought you said you checked everything before we started, Ed?"
"Well it's an old house..." Ed said sheepishly. It was pretty obvious that Ed had fucked up.
"Wait a minute! You can't feel your fingers?" I asked. "Why not?"
"Billy I've had sugar for forty years. That's what happens. It's called neuropathy. It damages the nerves in your extremities. My hands and feet hurt for so long that they just became numb all the time. I've just learned to deal with it over the years."
"That really sucks," I said. I really gained a lot of respect for my dad watching him work. How could he not be able to feel his fingers and still be able to so flawlessly screw in a screw or tighten a bolt? And how horrible must it have been for him to not be able to touch something and feel it? It made me sad and a little scared. Just how sick was he?
Mr. Nicholson left to go buy lunch for us around noon. I sat outside with dad on the back porch while he smoked a cigarette.
"So, you still mad about having to come with me?" he asked, taking a gulp of Mountain Dew.
"Not really," I replied. "It's been okay. I wasn't all that mad. I was just irritable this morning."
"Yeah, that seems to be your default setting lately. I'd really like it if you came with me more often. Not because I want you to learn or anything like that. Ed's memories of my father are fonder than mine. I just like having you around. I'd like us to get along better than I did with my father."
"I know," I said. "It's kind of boring, though."
"I guess if Brett were here you'd have more fun?" dad asked.
"Well yeah," I replied.
"Well, I'd ask him to come along too, but knowing that boy he'd probably blow us all up," dad laughed. "You really are lucky to have a good friend like that. Your mother worries that you don't have friends. She said you didn't want to go to school the other day."
"I have friends. And if people weren't so retarded at school I'd want to go more."
"Well, I guess when you go around calling people that word you don't make a lot of friends, do you?"
"I don't do that all the time, dad. I just get mad sometimes. I just feel angry all the time and I don't know why. I didn't ask to be smart. Why are you and mom always so hard on me? I'm a good kid."
"We just want you to live up to your potential, boy. You could do so much! The only thing that's standing in your way is your attitude. I'll tell you why you're always angry, because I was the same way. You always think you're right. It's made you very arrogant and stubborn. You let what other people think get to you and you belittle them without even thinking about it. You're so much like me at your age. You know the last thing I ever said to my father was call him an asshole before I walked out when I was sixteen and never looked back. I've regretted that ever since, boy. I never had the chance to make up with him because we were both so stubborn. I just don't want you to have to learn the hard way like I did. You need to treat people with respect."
"Okay, I get it. I'm a jerk. I feel much better about myself now. Thanks, dad!" I said sarcastically.
"Now you see, that's what I'm talking about," dad said. "You've never been able to handle criticism and you're even worse now. You always get defensive and you attack before you think about what you're saying. You've always been quick-witted, yes, but now you use your intellect to be sarcastic and cut people down because you think you're smarter than everyone. You always have to be right. I know. I've been in your shoes. But just because you may be right doesn't mean you have to treat others like dirt. You'll gain more respect by being respectful than you will by knocking other people down. Respect is a lot like love. The more you give the more you get."
I laughed, "Yeah right, love is just terrific." How much trouble was I in because of love? My best friends hate each other and they try to keep me away from each other. "What good is love?" I asked.
"Well, this is part of what I'm trying to tell you boy. If you can't see the good because you're always focused on the bad, then how can you expect to find the right person to spend your life with someday? A lot of what love is all about is learning all the bad things about the other person and loving them in spite of it all."
"You make it sound easy," I replied.
"Are you kidding?" dad replied. "It's one of the hardest things you'll ever do in your life. But that's what makes it worth it! You could either spend your life trying to make everybody around you perfect and drive yourself insane, or you could learn to love them and accept them for who they are. Both options are difficult, but one will leave you bitter and alone and the other will leave you as a much better man."
"Okay," I said. "So what if it's the rest of the world that won't let me be myself?"
"How do you mean, boy?"
"Well, let's say I'm willing to do what you say. I let go and just love somebody for who they are, but other people won't let me love who I want. What then?"
"When have you ever cared what other people think?" dad asked.
"I don't know, maybe since I started going to a school filled with a bunch of retards."
"You'd let a bunch of immature teenagers who you won't see again after you graduate determine who you're going to love?" dad asked. "I thought you were a Roberts! Who gives a damn what somebody else thinks about who you love? If your mother thought that way she'd have never married a loser like me."
I sighed. "It just seems like a whole lot of trouble over something stupid. I'm not even sure I love them anyway. I mean, I like them a lot, but maybe it's just curiosity. Maybe it's just about the thrill. I mean, I really want to see what it's like to take the next step, but I don't want to blow what I already have. What if I screw it all up?"
"Do I know this girl?" dad asked.
"Yeah, I guess so," I replied.
"Okay... Well boy, if you spend your life worrying about all the things that can go wrong, you'll never do anything. Life is supposed to go wrong. That's how we learn to appreciate when things go right. Just think about how much stronger you are because of how you had to take care of your grandmother. You never knew you could do something like that until you had to. Love is like that. Until you really jump in and tell her how much she means to you, and take the risk that comes with that, you'll never know. And worse, you'll spend your life wondering what might have been."
"Okay, so what if you love somebody and they love you but if you get together you know it'll hurt somebody else?" I asked.
Dad looked at me for a while. I hated when he did that. It felt like he was reading my mind. "Oh..." he said.
"What?" I asked.
"Oh, nothing," dad smiled. "I just... I wondered if that was... Okay. Okay, I get it."
"Get what?" I asked. "What's wrong?"
"Just thinking out loud," dad replied. "Okay, so you're fifteen. You've got your whole life ahead of you. You just have this one problem, and it's that you're a big old ball of hormones right now and everything is either a national disaster or the greatest thing ever. You don't have a middle setting. You love somebody, and they love you, but you're afraid to screw it all up because if you do you're afraid that they'll hate you forever and you'll die a lonely old man who never finds love. Is that about right?"
"I... Well, yeah..." I mumbled. It sounded really dumb being explained to me like that, but dad was absolutely right.
"Well, how in the world are you ever going to find out for sure if you don't try?"
"I don't know," I replied.
Dad laughed. "Well don't you think it'd be a good idea to talk it over with them?"
"What if they say no?" I asked.
"Then fuck'em," dad laughed. "They're never going to find a better man than you. Seriously... Just... Just talk to them. You might be surprised how things go. And if it doesn't work out it won't be the end of the world."
"How in the world did you get through all this stuff with mom?" I asked.
"Alcohol," dad replied seriously.
We both laughed and then got back to work. We both worked without talking for quite a while. I was afraid that if I said anything dad was going to realize that I wasn't talking about being in love with a girl. Dad seemed lost in his own thoughts. I was glad for the quiet because I was processing about a million thoughts in my head the rest of the afternoon. I really had to talk to Brett, once and for all, about what we both expected out of each other. Was he just playing around with me, just looking for someone to fool around with or did he want the same thing I wanted? And if we did decide to make that commitment, then what was that going to do to the rest of our lives? It was time to stop toying with each other and decide one way or another. It was time for the silly game we'd been playing for a year to end. It was time to either take our relationship to the next level or call it quits and figure out if we could still be friends after all that we'd been through. Either way, things were about to change, and I was scared.
"I'm just a kid! Why does my life have to be so fucking complicated?" I thought to myself.
Anyway, after we were done with work, dad drove me to Brett's house and he waited for me while I fed his animals and all that. It was nice not having to walk through the woods. I found dad hanging out in their living room looking at the photos on the wall after I had finished.
"I think Brett's a good boy. I like him," dad said before we left.
"Yeah, me too," I replied. Now I just had to figure out just how much I liked him. Brett couldn't come home soon enough!
Hi everyone! Thanks for reading! Brett will be back next chapter. Should be interesting.
Did you like this chapter? Did you hate it? Are you wondering where the sex is? Why not drop me a line and let me know what you think? I'd love to hear from you. You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Next time: Brett Gets a New Boyfriend