Out In The Wind

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CHAPTER 27

“Why not?!” I almost scream as I yank the jeans Patrick gave me up before pulling the shirt over my head. “You are the most complicated person I have ever met! The one moment I think you like me, and the next you push me away. But then you tell me you had sex with Jaycee, who’s a prostitute!”

I look at Patrick with as most hatred I can muster even though I can see his face fall completely with the mention of Jaycee’s name.

“What did you say?” he asks steadying himself against the shower door.

“I said I can’t believe you won’t have sex with me, but you would do Jaycee. Some cheap slut that gets paid for sucking off other men,” I say. I know I am sounding like a child, and I know this is not my business, but a part of me wishes that Patrick will take this story and tell the entire school, the same way Jaycee did with my big secret.

“That can’t be the truth. Jaycee… Jaycee might be flirty, but he’s… No, he can’t be…” Patrick mutters, walking out of the bathroom, me following right behind him.

“Yes it can Patrick. Where do you think I came from before I came here? From Jaycee. He offered me a job,” I answer. “And I’m thinking about it, okay? I’m actually thinking about it, but I still want my first time to be special. To be with someone I love.”

And as the last word slips over my lips I want to kill myself for saying it in the first place. Why would I say something like that? Do I actually love Patrick? Sure, I care for him. I like him. I’d love for him to be my boyfriend, but do I actually love him?

“You love me?” he asks taking a step closer to me.

“I don’t know. I’m not sure,” I answer as he takes another step toward me.

“Do you love me Cory?” he asks again closing the space between us to the point where our noses is touching.

“Yes,” I breathe the only answer that feels right.

Patrick doesn’t even answer. Before I know it his hands are in my hair and his lips are on mine and I part my lips to allow his tongue access to the inside of my mouth.

Patrick pulls back after a few seconds, making me reach forward with my mouth but he takes one step back, putting him safely out of my reach.

“Stay with me tonight. We can’t do anything now, but please Cory. Stay with me tonight,” Patrick breathes heavily before he takes another step back, as if he didn’t do it he would not be able to hold himself back at all.

“I can’t,” I whisper.

Dumbledore’s face appears in front of me. The way he had given me some of his food. Probably the only extra mattress he had and would have slept on to make the bench more bearable he had given to me. He asked only one thing in return. I had to finish the book.

“Why not? It’s not like you have somewhere to be,” Patrick says, his eyes narrowing in confusion.

“Actually I do. I have a debt to pay,” I answer.

“You don’t mean Jaycee? Seriously Cory. His offer means nothing. You don’t owe him anything,” Patrick says taking a step closer to me again before taking another step back. This time it doesn’t look like he wants to rip my clothing off. This time it seems like he wants to grab me and shake me.

“No. Not Jaycee. Someone else. Someone who did something wonderful for me last night,” I answer. “There’s this man. I owe him. He gave me food. He kept me safe.”

“So you want to go back and give him what? Your virginity? It does seem like you are offering it up a bit too easily,” Patrick says, but this time I see his meanness for what it really is.

All Patrick is used too is getting what he wants. No matter how hard he tries to be down to earth and trying to show that money doesn’t define him, the way he grew up is still a part of him. When he cannot get what he wants there’s something else that takes over. When he is not in control like he has always been thanks to his parents he strikes out because he takes everything personally. He takes it all as a personal attack.

“You know what Patrick? I may love you, but it doesn’t mean I have to like you,” I say to him, this time being the one taking the steps toward him. “And there is someone out there just as sad as what I was last night. And he helped me. When I needed you, you turned around, climbed in a car and drove off to your mansion on the hill. But last night I showed up in a park with nobody to help me and nowhere to go. And then there was this man, helping me. Giving me food, and keeping me safe while I was sleeping. He was there when nobody else was. So I do owe him. I owe him a story, because it was all he asked in return. He understood last night that it was all I had to give him. That the words in books that sometimes heal me and takes me away from this fucktup earth is the only thing I had to share. So all he asked was that I take him with me. That I read out loud to him as well. So if you can’t understand that… If you keep on jumping to conclusions I don’t think I’d want to have sex with you anymore. I don’t even know if I could be your friend if that’s who you really are. If your ego is so big that you can’t understand that there is more to life than getting what you want when you want it.”

I take a deep breath, standing toe to toe with Patrick, looking at his eyes that has turned red, listening to his heartbeat that has become elevated, and I dare him to start a fight with me. To prove me wrong on everything I have just said.

“Do you want something to eat?” Patrick asks through gritted teeth. “After I’ve made sure you are really okay I will take you to him, but I want you to sleep with your phone in your hand tonight. Keep me on speed dial. You will have to promise me that you’ll phone me if anything happens. No matter what happens I will be there in a minute.”

I look at him for a moment, trying to take in his want to be different than his parents and for the first time we have met I don’t want to rip his clothing off his body. I simply want to be held by him, because this is the type of guy that makes you feel safe, even if you are potentially walking into danger.

“Thanks for the support,” I say, changing my mad face into a smile as I peck him on the lips. “Maybe you are my hero.”

“I will try my best,” Patrick answers, and although he is still balling his fists, and although he looks really mad, he kisses me back. Just a small kiss. One that has the word ‘love’ hidden somewhere inside.

***

I read the text from my mom as I walk across the park toward the bench where I can see Dumbledore has already settled on. I text back.

Cory: Sure mom. I can meet you at the mall tomorrow after school. Look forward to hearing your news.

I check my phone every few seconds as I am walking toward Dumbledore, but she doesn’t text back, leaving me wondering what the news is that she wants to share with me. It could only be one thing. Aunt Barbara had another huge fit and we are out in the car once again.

I sigh as I see Dumbledore and I can’t help but feel like I’m going to cry again.

“Somethin’ wrong kiddo?” he asks as I take a seat next to him, leaning into the light of the lamp almost like the light will do what I hoped the shower would. Wash the sadness away.

“I don’t know yet. I guess I will know tomorrow,” I answer.

“No frettin’ what will happen tomorrow kid. Today is all we got,” he answers taking out a cigarette butt, lighting it, take a few drags until there is nothing left and then flips it over the grass toward where the pond is.

“But tomorrow might be worse than today,” I answer fighting back the tears once again. I swear that I will soon run out of tears completely and have none rest for the rest of my life. Then again, if this is the way my life is going, it might not be such a bad thing.

“You don’t know what worse means kid,” Dumbledore says before he leans into his cart and takes out a small package. “Here. Thought you’d like it. My son used to love them.”

I look down at the small packet of jelly babies he holds out to me, which in turns breaks down my walls and make me start crying there and then. All of a sudden I feel like a kid again. It’s like that time when I was eleven years old and in love with Daniel DiMaggio and I tried to kiss him which just ended me up in the principal’s office and got my parents called him. No matter how much I told everyone that I asked him what he would want his secret valentine (which was me) to do to make themselves known, and that he answered they should just walk up and kiss his, it made no difference. I was the pervert in everyone’s eyes, except off course my dad. He took me to Bookstairs where he bought me a book, and the night he gave me a small packet of jelly beans, telling me they were magic beans, and that if I ate them all they would someday shoot a rainbow out of my heart and point me to the boy I am supposed to be with and that the boy would then love me back. It made me cry that night as well, because I wish I had the magic beans before I kissed Daniel. The next day I officially got off with a warning and Daniel never spoke to me again.

“Thanks,” I mutter through the tears. “But I think I know what worse looks like. My dad was my world. He killed himself. From there everything just kinda went to hell and now I am sitting here.”

I take the packet from Dumbledore’s hands and open it, holding it to him to take the first one, which he does.

“Here isn’t the worst place to be. Believe me,” he mutters.

“What could be worse?” I ask, wiping my tears and picking out a red jelly baby. They have always been my favorite.

“Iraq.”

Dumbledore reaches down and then starts pulling up the leg of his dirty pants, revealing something I had not expected.

“You don’t have a leg?”

“Some guys got killed in the field. We went over a mine. The truck flipped. Lost my leg in the accident. Almost died. I was there for a while. Didn’t think I was gonna make it. Got a really bad infection. Got home and the old lady took off with my best friend. Took my kid with her,” he says looking out over the pond, ignoring the packet of jelly beans I am still holding out to him.

“That’s how you ended up here? You couldn’t work?” I ask, not sure if I am allowed to, but also wanting to know why he is sitting here.

“No. I drank it all away. That part was all on me, but now I’m sober. I’ll take this over the past any day. At least I have some peace,” he says looking down at the packet in my hand and dunking his hand in there again, bringing a yellow jelly baby to his mouth.

“I’m also here because of a choice,” I say looking him in his eyes, trying to see what else could be behind the blue in there.

“Maybe it’s time for you to read some more,” Dumbledore says, taking out two cans of his spaghetti dinners and handing one to me. “Eat quickly. I’ve been waitin’ the entire day to hear the rest of the story.”

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