Grounded he was, when Sunday rolled around and all the guys showed up to go sledding and Quinn turned them away. So that day was spent at home doing nothing since he couldn’t watch television, and when customers showed up to make purchases in his mother’s at home woman’s clothing store; he was the one getting up allowing them inside and showing them where the studio was.
One of the women were so lame, they had the nerve to pinch his cheek and call him cute for helping out. Took one look at his attire and said she had a son going through that all-black phase, and that maybe they could be friends.
“Mom! You’ve got another one!” Yakusoku couldn’t have shooed the woman fast enough.
One woman came with her daughter to get a dress, Yakusoku had been in the kitchen having lunch when they walked in. The girl’s mother said she wanted to look around a while longer, and sent her daughter upstairs. She stood around by the entrance to den until he’d made eye contact with her, and she took that as an invitation to enter the kitchen and have a seat. She couldn’t have been more than 10 years old, and she behaved shy as hell with the way she drummed her fingers on the wooden table.
“Nilla Waffer?” Yakusoku offered.
“Yes please, my name is Emma.” She took the cookies and munched away; her seat moved a bit as she swung her legs beneath it.
“Hi, Emma.” He fixed her a glass of milk too. Setting it down before her, he says. “My name is Promise.”
Her eating stilled as she thought that over, deciding she didn’t mind she continued to eat her cookies.
The day went on like that until the evening, and he helped his mother make dinner. They only had to make potatoes and brussels because Reeve was bringing home two racks of ribs from a place called Smoked Bones a little ways out of the way home.
His mother asked him about all the healed dots on his forearm, and he told her that he’d scraped his arm on some wood last night.
Monday came and school was dull as dull could be. He was almost too bored to bother going to the T.H.A.T, Teens Helping Abused Teens, thing. But he dragged himself off to the base of operations and took his seat in the same place as before, Meina took a seat beside him again only this time she seemed less... snobbish about it. She actually smiled at him. Must be some stupid joke the nerd-herd has going about him. Fuck her.
He looked over a slip of paper which held a print out of a bunch of numbers to call for certain emergencies. Drug abuse, violence at home, rape. His eyes lingered on that one for a moment. He couldn’t believe he’d told Gev... he more so couldn’t believe that he didn’t shun him, or treat him like he’s a little bitch because he let a girl no bigger than a pencil fuck with him. He didn’t treat him any differently at all! It was great.
He’d made his green ink pen a mustache above his lip, believing it was going to be a slow afternoon when his phone went off. “Teens Helping Abused Teens, how can I help you?” It seemed like the right thing to say. He was still kind of winging it, being a newcomer and all.
“Hi, this is Luna- fake name ahahaha.” ‘Luna’ seemed nice enough. “Um... My boyfriend... God, it’s kinda hard telling this to a man.”
“No that’s okay, but... I can get you a girl, if you want?”
“Oh no! You sound nice enough to me,” Luna laughed again. She was clearly about to ask a question about sex. “So anyway um, he wants to sleep with me, but, I’m just not ready for that sort of commitment. What should I do?”
“Hmm? I’m not really sure if this is the place for you.” Yakusoku thought about it. “You might wanna try writing to the news papers columnist, Ms. Understanding. She can help you.”
“Oh, thank you. I’m sorry about wasting your time.”
“No don’t worry about it, you didn’t. Its been a slow afternoon.”
“Sorry.” And again Luna snickered. “Thanks anyway,” she hung up.
Yakusoku smiled. “That wasn’t so bad.”
The next call was a tough one. A girl was in dire need to leave home because every night her brother snuck into her room and tried to take advantage of her. This made Yakusoku furious, and worse part of all, he thought he recognized the voice. But from where? Keeping his nerves calm, he spoke to her before he lost his cool.
“Have you thought about telling your parents?”
CALLER: “I tried to but... it’s just me, him, and Mom, and she’s always so sick.” The girl was nearly in tears. “I’ve tried everything, locking my door- putting things against it... but still he gets in. So far he hasn’t been able to do anything, but I’m afraid that with each night that passes he’ll succeed.”
“I know a number you can call, if you want it... or maybe...”
He didn’t want to get mixed up in it, it was the wrong thing to do. Besides, he was supposed to offer them numbers they can call so someone else can deal with it. But dammit; having been abused himself, hearing that its happening to someone else is too much. Regardless the time length, the nerve is still raw. Which is what had him glance around the room before whispering into the receiver.
“Maybe, if you want, I can help you.”
CALLER: “But how can you help me, you don’t even know me?”
He hesitated a moment. “If you just tell me your name and phone number I could...” He stopped himself before saying, “I could fuck your brother up, that’s what I could do.” But he shook his head. “No, I’m sorry. The number you need to call is 800-465-8233, you can get help there... I’m really sorry, and I hope everything works out for you.”
CALLER: “Thanks... and boy...”
CALLER: “Yakusoku, thank you for caring.” Even though he didn’t say it outright, she knew what he’d wanted to say.
She hung up. Yakusoku felt that numbing sensation again, it buzzed in the back of his skull. That story was so horrible, why would a brother do that to his sister? It made no sense! Maybe this wasn’t the project for him, he’s too sensitive on the rape subject.
“Yaku’, are you all right?” Meina pats his shoulder.
“Umm...” He nods. “Yeah. I’m fine.” But Yakusoku wasn’t entirely sure about that.
Rape, he couldn’t even think about rape. He honestly didn’t think calls like that would come in. Fear of flunking, fear of commitment. Maybe pop smacks you around... he didn’t think other people had the same problem as he had. He didn’t think other people were sexually threatened. But, he’s helping them. Helping them like no one had helped him, and its a good thing. Rubbing his temples, he gathers his nerves in time to lift the receiver from the base when it began to ring.
“Teens Helping Abused Teens, how can I hope you?”
There were sniffles, at first, then a low sad voice came on.
CALLER: “I have a sad story to tell.”
Yakusoku listened to this voice for a moment. Something about it sounded familiar as well. Well wouldn’t it have to? These callers attend the same school that he does. He’s probably heard it in the hall or in class at some point in time. He wondered if he could figure out who she is?
CALLER: “Are you there?” The voice asked calmly, almost like it had expected him to be lost for a moment.
“Wha-... Yeah, yeah I’m here.” He replied, shaking away a negative feeling in the back of his mind. “I’d like to hear your story,”
CALLER: “...Okay. You see, I’ve got this boyfriend.”
CALLER: “He’s so handsome... Sooo, right. His has these sexy eyes that look right through you, as though he can see into another world.” She paused a moment. “I like his hair, his voice- everything! And anything about him... And at first we were so in love... I mean, we kissed and touched, we talked about everything. He knew me better than anyone in the world.” She paused again. “But then things started to get strange.”
CALLER: “After our three month anniversary, he... raised his hand to me.”
“He hit you?” This wasn’t such a shock to him. That’s what this was all for, to help people in need, but that didn’t mean he had no sympathy for her.
CALLER: “No no, he said he would never hit me... but he was so angry, I swear I thought he that he would.” The tears in her voice began to go away the more she spoke. Her voice became almost eerily calm. “I told him to knock it off, but he only laughed... Is that a bad sign when someone laughs when you tell them to stop?”
Yakusoku nods his head. “It is... and I think that if you want to insure that you won’t be hurt by this guy, you’re gonna have to leave him. I’m sorry if that sounds too harsh but, it’s the truth. A man who raises his hand to a woman is no man at all, and not someone you wanna be with.”
His father had taught him right in that sense. He never raised his hand to a woman, any woman. Even if she really and truly deserved it. Maria flashed through his mind.
The girl made a dry laugh, then sniffed her tears back with her running nose.
CALLER: “I could never leave him... I love him.”
“You can’t love someone who has thoughts of beating you... It just isn’t right.” Was this girl serious? Leave his ass!
CALLER: “But he never hit me, I told you that.”
“Yes, you told me that... but you’re not listening. If your boyfriend has plans of hurting you” And he says this as if he’s dealing with a very slow individual. “than he isn’t anyone you want to be with.”
Again she laughs at him.
“What’s so funny?”
CALLER: “He’s all I have, you don’t understand... I can’t leave him. I can’t... I love him, he takes care of me...”
Oh! Now it was starting to make sense. She must be some girl who was thrown out of her home, or ran away with her boyfriend and they’re poor. He takes care of her the best he can, but sometimes it isn’t enough. That could begin to wear on someone’s nerves, but it still doesn’t give him the right to beat on her.
“I’m so sorry... well, if he really means that much to you, tell him that hitting is not acceptable” Aaah, channeling Jo Frost it would seem. “and you’ll leave him if he tries it again. If he loves you-...”
CALLER: “He does.”
“Okay, so he loves you. Which means he won’t want you to leave... and hopefully, he’ll stop threatening you.”
The girl laughed again. This time it sounded happier.
CALLER: “I’m sorry to laugh but, what you say makes a lot of sense. I’m glad I called.”
“I’m glad you called too, and I hope everything wo-...”
CALLER: “He’s home.” She abruptly hung up.
“Hello?” Yakusoku listens to the dial tone of the dead phone on the other end. “That’s funny.”
The other calls that afternoon were all cake walks. He helped a lot of people out too. And when he stood to leave, the teacher in the room approached him.
“Good work Mr. Land, I hope to see you here Friday.”
“Umm, unless you know something I don’t know. I’ll be here.”
He visited his locker before leaving the building, Ludwig waited around for him like he had the Friday before.
Smiling, he walked over to the male, who stood from the bench he’d seated himself on; he brushed the melting snow from it, it seemed, and before Ludwig could greet him Yakusoku said. “Careful Lud’, you’re starting to look like a groupie.”
“Whatever. Like I said, lived here a while and am the losers’ cast away.” He shrugged. “So I can groupie all I like.”
Yakusoku chuckled at that. “I can’t wait til I’m old, and I can just dork-out on people like that.” Slinging an arm around the male’s shoulders, he says. “But for now, you just seem a little pausey.”
“Again with that? Why can’t I behave like Gev, and not get paused out?”
“You’re not ready yet,”
“I’m a fast learner.” He teased.
Snickering, Yakusoku removed his arm. “You’re freaking me out.”
Ludwig only laughed at that before grabbing up a handful of snow then the back of Yakusoku’s sweater, stuffing it inside.
“You ass!” He called out when the snowball hit his skin like a razorblade. “Oh, you’re toast!” He scoops up a handful of slushy, nearly melted in the sun snow. “Come back here!” He chased after him with mock fury.
Hurling the ball, it cruised forward missing Ludwig completely and instead smacking against a short girl, walking up ahead, square on the back. She paused, and got a second to process what had happened before turning around to see the culprit. It was the shy girl who Ludwig kissed during tag.
“Shit, I’m sorry.” Yakusoku says when he reaches the girl. “I was trying to hit Him!” He points at the violinist who’s doubling back from his sprint ahead.
“Its... its okay. I’ve been through worse.”
That voice! It was her! On the phone, the one with the soon-to-be-dead brother. Playing coy, Yakusoku put his arm around the girl, giving her an apologetic hug. “No really, I should walk you home to make up for it.”
“You don’t have to do that.” She squeaked.
“I insist.” Tossing his head back to signal Ludwig that he was heading off with this girl, the male raised a brow but followed along. “My name is Promise, this is my friend Ludwig.”
“Hi, we know each other from reading class- sort of.” Ludwig replied. “And the kiss in the hall...”
“Hi, I’m Shelby.” Replied the girl, barely able to make eye contact.
And did Yakusoku forget to mention that her brother would be dead? Yakusoku, along the way to the girl’s home, asked her what she’s into and while she spoke he pulled out his phone and began sending text to Ludwig.
Y: Can you fight?
L: Took Karate at one point. Why?
Y: Wanna help me teach some fuck a lesson?
Y: Shelby’s brother is trying to molest her.
Y: Yeah. Let’s get to her house and kick his ass.
L: Are you sure?
Y: Sure, enough.
L: I can’t work with ‘sure enough’. Are you sure?
L: Then let’s wait. See what happens tomorrow. If its yes, we kick his ass.
“Do you know what I mean?” Asks the girl, looking over her shoulder at her two soldiers.
“Yeah, books are my secret obsession.” Replied Yakusoku, assuming the conversation.
“Oh, I make no secret of it. They’re really fun.” Shelby shrugs. “Sometimes, I wish I could be in them.”
“You can, RPGs.”
Yakusoku deadpanned. “If I weren’t grounded I would invite you into role playing Heaven.”
“Run, before he ruins your brain with video games, sex, and pot.”
Shelby laughed. A sweet little sound. When they arrived at Shelby’s home; the place, Yakusoku noticed, was right behind Nono’s house. That would come in handy if this turned out to be the girl from the phone call. Ludwig’s help had died on the table. Although, he couldn’t really count wanting to check it out as table death, he doesn’t possess the Hero complex Yakusoku has.
“Hi, mom!” Shelby greets a kindly looking woman sitting on the couch in the living room. “These are two nice boys, Yakusoku” She said very smartly; must have asked around after he’d kissed her before. “And Ludwig. They walked me home.”
“How nice of you, are you in trouble or something?” And she stood to shake their hands.
“No. I got snowballed,”
“It was for him.” Yakusoku pointed.
“And they walked me home to make it up to me.”
“Strange, but sweet. Would you like something to eat or drink?” She asked; crinkles lined her eyes when she smiled.
“Can’t. I’m grounded as it is, so I shouldn’t lag for too long.” Replied the Hero.
“Nice boys like you, nonsense.”
“Oh, I’m bad Ms. Shelby’s mom... real bad.” But his smile said otherwise. “Bye.”
“Bye.” Ludwig added as they head for the door.
They heard the male before they saw him; not exactly the molesting looking type Shelby’s older brother. Honestly, he looked like Topher Grace from that 70′s Show, but in his Spider Man year. Yakusoku made sure, as the howling prick walked into his home, to glare him down with the hardest stab his dagger eyes could throw.
Topher’s twin looked him over wondering, no doubt, what his problem was before going through the living room and into the kitchen out of sight. No waiting, tomorrow he and Nono were gonna kick some ass.
Tomorrow came. And detention followed.
The fight was not pretty and to all the hall it seemed so random and out of place; two sophomores fucking over a senior. Its unheard of! But it happened, and it almost ended badly for the two when Topher’s friends came out of their stupor and launched at them. It was after the first punch was thrown by Topher’s bystanding friend’s, that a teacher broke them up and sent them to the main office for their sentencing.
His parents were not happy when they got the call from school, and his grounding stretched into December. It was over dinner that he told them why, and also that he’d gladly and more thoroughly... do it again.
Detentions in place for the rest of the week of school, it lagged and ended all the way until Friday.