Chapter 19 | A Visit with the Devil
| Ethan’s POV |
“I’m not going.” I say as I push my dinner around my plate.
My mother audibly sighs, before pouring herself more wine.
“I’m serious. I’ll live here by myself if I have to.” I glare as I accidently push a pea off the plate and onto the wooden table.
“Don’t make a mess.” Mom scolds. “I just cleaned this table yesterday.”
“Say we’re not moving and I’ll clean it up.” I sarcastically smile.
I notice my dad smirk, but when my mom sends him a wicked glare, he immediately frowns.
I roll my eyes at his inability to stand up for himself.
Some man of the house you are.
“Can I borrow the car after dinner?” I suddenly ask, an idea popping into my head.
“Why on earth would I allow that after how you’ve behaved today?” My mom raises a perfectly arched eyebrow, taking another big swig of her cheap wine.
“Because if I go out for a little while, that’s a little while that you don’t have to deal with me.” I shrug. “Come on, I won’t be out super late.”
“Why don’t you have Liam pick you up?”
Because Liam would crucify me if I told him where I wanted to go.
“He’s doing family stuff tonight, can’t leave.” I sigh. “Please mom?”
“Ugh, fine. Just be quiet. You’re giving me a migraine.” She says while rubbing at her temples.
I believe that’s the cheap wine.
I take one big bite of my food before getting up and rushing upstairs. I grab my wallet and phone, before rushing back downstairs. I grab the keys hanging on the hook by the door. “Bye!” I shout as I close the front door behind me.
Once I get into the car, I search the address I need. It’s still early enough that if I get there on time, I can have at least thirty minutes with him. That’s all I need.
I type the address into the GPS system, and head in the direction needed.
I blare the music and try to clear my head a bit before I get there.
I know I lied to my mom about being gone for a long time, being that it’ll take me a little over four hours to get to Jeremy and back, but I need to do this.
After a very long and anxious drive, I finally pull into the parking lot to the prison.
There are still forty minutes of visitation left, so I have to be fast.
I stick my wallet and phone into my pocket, along with the keys, before rushing inside.
“Hello, can I help you?”
“Yes, my name is Ethan Hart, and I’m here to see prisoner Jeremy Hart.” I say to the middle-aged woman behind the glass.
“Take a seat, I’ll call you up.” She motions for the chairs on the other side of the room, so I nod and go take a seat.
After fifteen minutes, a guard opens the side door and walks out.
“Ethan hart?” The guard calls obnoxiously.
I immediately stand up, and rush over to the guard.
“We have to take you through security first, that’ll take only a couple minutes. Please place everything you have on you, inside this grey tub. Pass the tub through the detector, and walk through the sensors.”
I do as instructed, and sigh with relief when no alarms go off.
I know I don’t have anything, but being in prison is enough to put anyone on edge, even if innocent.
The guard hands me the tub, and I take my belongings out, before shoving them back into my pockets. The guard writes my name on a paper badge, and sticks it on the front of my T-shirt.
I nod thanks, as he guides me further into the building.
Once we reach a larger room, I walk inside to see tables and chairs spread out all around the room. There are a few families here, talking with their delinquents. I have zero sympathy for anyone that puts themselves in here.
I anxiously tap my foot against the tile floor, as I sit at an empty table and wait for Jeremy.
This is probably a very stupid idea, but it’s the only thing I have right now.
My phone vibrates, so I pull it out to see a text from Dallas.
Dallas: Where were you today? You said you were coming back, what happened with your parents?
I sigh at her text, knowing I don’t exactly have a good answer for any of her questions. I decide to text her later, so I shove my phone back into my pocket just as another door opens.
A guard walks through first, and then I see a flash of orange. A few seconds later, I’m staring into the eyes of my former older brother.
The guard walks him over to my table, and Jeremy sits down rather easily.
My eyes widen at his beaten face. Purple and blue line his left eye, as it’s definitely swollen. The entire left side of his jaw looks purple too, but that bruise doesn’t look as fresh as his left eye.
“Who the hell did you piss off?” Is my first question.
“Hello to you too, little brother.” Jeremy says dryly.
I eye him suspiciously. “You gonna tell me what happened?”
“Why should I? You obviously don’t give a shit.” He’s quick to snap.
I roll my eyes. “You can’t blame me for reacting the way that I did, Jeremy. What you did is unforgivable. You have no idea how much you damaged that girl.”
“Whatever. She’s just a dramatic bitch.” Jeremy shrugs casually.
My expression hardens, as my jaw ticks. “Do not talk about her like that.”
Jeremy’s eyes widen a fraction, before a sly smirk emerges onto his face. “Awe, does little brother still have a crush on Dallas?” He evilly coos. “I can’t believe you never maned up and told her.”
“Actually, I did. In fact, we’re happily together now.” I challenge. “And do not say her name ever again. You lost that right the second you put your filthy hands on her.”
I notice Jeremy’s eyes darken a shade, as his smirk drops into a thin line.
“Oh are you? I can’t believe she would want you, after having me.” His previous smirk is back, and stronger than ever.
I know he’s just trying to rile me up. He wants me to react. I can’t let him win, I came here for a reason.
“Listen, mom and dad are threatening to pull me out of school and move us closer to here. As if being near you is somehow better for us.” I manage to roll my eyes. “For some insane reason, mom still looks at you as innocent, though I’ll never understand why.”
“So what are you getting at exactly?” Jeremy sighs.
“ALL PRISONERS, YOU HAVE FIFTEEN MINUTES REMAINING. WRAP IT UP!” The same guard from earlier shouts to the entire room.
“I need you to tell mom and dad that you are guilty. That everything said against you, is true.” I finally say.
“And why the fuck would I do that?” He challenges. My fists clench at my sides.
“Because it’s the damn truth, and the only way they’re gonna believe it, is if it comes directly from you! I don’t want to move closer to you. I want to be as far away from you as possible. Not only have you ruined Dallas’ life, but now you’re ruining mine!” I shout. The guard near the door shoots me a glare, and I give him an apologetic frown in response.
Jeremy’s eyes soften a fraction, as I watch his shoulders physically slouch.
“What ever happened to brothers for life?”
I stare at Jeremy in shock. How could he possibly think that I would still be his brother after what he’s done to Dallas?
“That was before you raped the girl I’m in love with.” I say just loud enough, and harsh enough, for him to register.
“Jeremy, I wouldn’t be here if this wasn’t important. If there is one thing you can at least do for me, after all the shit you’ve created, it’s this.” I say soon after, glancing back toward the clock on the wall.
He takes a few seconds to ponder my request.
“I have one condition.” He finally says.
I take in a deep breath, before nodding.
“I want you to come and visit me at least once a month.”
My eyes widen. “Are you kidding?”
“No. Regardless of what happened, you are still my brother and I still want to be informed about your life. I do care about you.” He says calmly. “Besides, that’s the only way I’m going to talk to mom and dad for you.”
I take a minute to consider his offer. Is coming to see him for an hour a month really going to put that much of a strain on me? I mean obviously I would rather forget that he even existed, but if this means I can stay with Dallas, I’m almost willing to do anything.
“ONE MINUTE LEFT!” The guard shouts.
“Well?” Jeremy raises an eyebrow.
I look at the clock once more, still anxiously tapping my foot against the floor. I finally sigh in defeat, and turn back to Jeremy.
“Fine. I’ll do it.” I nod. “But once I’ve graduated high school and have moved out, the visitation stops.” I make perfectly clear.
Jeremy visibly winces, but soon covers it with a harsh nod. “Good. Glad we were able to do this little brother, take care. See you soon.” He smirks as another guard walks into the room and motions for each prisoner to get in line to leave.
I walk out of the room and leave the prison, not wanting to return at all.
I manage to make it home before curfew, and once I walk inside, I see mom and dad lying on the couch together. I stop to observe them.
Mom has her head resting against dad’s chest. He gazes down at her, a small smile on his face. She’s clearly buzzed off her cheap wine, and as she cuddles up closer to him, his smile only grows.
Maybe mom isn’t exactly the monster I’ve been seeing. Maybe there’s more to her than strict rules and stubbornness. Maybe she’s pushing me so hard, because she feels as though she’s failed with Jeremy?
Maybe somewhere deep down, she knows that Jeremy is guilty; she just doesn’t want to believe it.
I just wish she knew that her denial is her own personal prison. She’s holding herself hostage with all of the false hope and lies she tells herself every day. I know she doesn’t want to accept the fact that her first born child, is a rapist, but at some point you just have to stop lying to yourself.
I would give anything for it to be a lie, for Jeremy to be innocent, and for Dallas to have never been hurt. I would love it if everything would go back to the way it used to be, but it won’t and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that closure happens when you accept that letting go, and moving on are more important than projecting a fantasy that everything will magically fix itself.
Nothing will ever completely fix itself, but things will eventually hurt just a little less, and that’s perfectly okay with me.
“Sweetie, there’s dessert on the kitchen counter. You left pretty quickly earlier, everything okay?” I hear mom say just as I round the corner and walk near the living room.
“Yeah, I just needed to clear my head for a bit. Just went for a drive.” I say casually.
“Well Jeremy called us a little bit ago.”
My entire body freezes.
“Oh yeah? What did he want?” I try my best to sound completely disgusted by the mention of his name, as if I didn’t just spend the last four hours driving to visit him.
“We had a rather long talk, and I think he’s right.” Mom says.
I finally walk around the corner and enter the living room. Both her and dad are sitting up now, waiting for me. I walk over and sit beside them on the couch.
“What could he possibly be right about?” I sigh.
“Well we mentioned that we were thinking about moving closer to him, and he told us that pulling you out of school so close to graduation, might affect your grades more than anything. We don’t want you to miss out on college over a sudden drop in grades, so we decided to push the move back.” Mom explains calmly.
“What? Really? Jeremy was the only one who could change your mind? I said all of that earlier and you completely brushed me off.” I say harshly, though I didn’t mean it to come out that way.
Mom sighs, leaning back into dad. “I don’t want to argue anymore Ethan. Just be happy that we’re staying for now.”
“For now?” I raise an eyebrow.
“Yes, after you graduate, we’re going forward with the move.” She says with a smile.
“Well congrats for you and dad, but I’ll be staying here for college.” I shrug. “Thank you for not moving us now. I really didn’t want to leave my school.” I say, though that reason alone is at the bottom of my list.
“Yeah, yeah. Go up and get some sleep, it’s late.” Mom says as she yawns herself. Dad stands and offers her his hand. She smiles up at him before taking it and following him up the stairs.
I stay on the couch and pull my phone out.
Five missed calls from Dallas.
I dial her number and press the phone to my ear.
“Ethan? What the hell? Why have you been ignoring me?” Dallas immediately scolds through the phone.
I smile at her voice, however harsh it may be.
“I will explain everything tomorrow, I promise. I’m going to take you out for breakfast.”
“Hm. Pancakes?” She asks sternly.
“Anything you want, love.” I smirk.
“Fine. But you’re still not completely off the hook.” She mumbles, soon after yawning.
I smile at how cute and sleepy she sounds.
“Try to get some sleep, alright?”
I don’t get a reply, I only get light snoring.
I quietly laugh, keeping the phone pressed to my ear as I walk upstairs. I shrug off my shoes and hop onto bed, still keeping my phone pressed to my ear.
I sigh with content as I whisper, “Sweet dreams beautiful”, and then I too, am falling fast asleep.
Her light snoring a beautiful background noise, to take me far into dreamland.
She’s my favorite thing to fall asleep to.