By the time Mandy finally arrives at the park I am really worried about Andy.
“We probably need to get you to a hospital dude. You looks seriously faint,” I say to him as I raise him up from the grass with his one arm draped around my neck.
“No. No doctors, please,” he mumbles. It seems like he is way worse off than what he was when I found him. “I just need some sleep. Maybe a hot water bottle even.”
“Well we leave it up to Mandy. If she thinks you need to get to a hospital you better go,” I answer, still walking over to Mandy’s car, which she leaves running as she sees us and jumps out of the car.
“What the fuck is going on here?!” she shouts as she runs toward us, making up the space in a few seconds, coming to a halt right next to me.
“This is the Andy kid right?” she asks, looking at him as I struggle forward with him, which is still difficult with him limping every single step we take.
“My name is Andy,” he answers. “I’m the guy you chased out of drama class so that he could get abused by two assholes.”
I look first at Andy and then at Mandy, maybe even expecting her to lash out at him, but she keeps quiet. I can’t help but thinking that it serves her right for speaking about him like he isn’t even here.
“I’m gonna be so late for school,” she mutters as she gets to the other side of Andy and helps me get him to the car.
“You might want to consider skipping school,” I say with a little bit of a chuckle as we put Andy into the backseat of her car, where he immediately falls down on the seats and close the one eye that can still open.
“Yeah well, figures,” Mandy says as she closes the car door and turns toward me. “What the hell were you doing in the park this time of morning? Aren’t you staying some guy? And what’s up with little gay-geek here?”
“Paul drops me off here in the mornings,” I lie while looking her in the eyes. I don’t even blink. It sometimes seems to me that the longer I am homeless the better I become at lying. “And that’s when I found Andy. So, there’s nothing to tell, and the sooner we get him to your house the sooner we’ll both know what happened to him.”
“Then what are you standing around for? Get into the car,” Mandy says, walking around the car to the driver’s side, but before she gets into the car she glances at me. The look I have come to know that she gives when she either doesn’t trust or doesn’t believe me at all.
“Why did you contact me?” Mandy asks as we drive toward her house.
“Because I thought you were closest and would be able to help,” I answer truthfully. That off course and I really didn’t want to burden Patrick with this. He would’ve just asked even more questions and maybe tried to tell me that I’m lying to him again.
“Let’s just be clear. I’m doing this for you, not for gay-geek on the backseat,” she says.
I want to snap at her for being such a bitch but Andy beats me to the punch: “Gay-geek can hear you on the backseat. And you can drop me off right here if you don’t want to help.”
I give Mandy a look that I would reserve for someone I would like to kill with some laser vision or something, and she seems to get the message because she mumbles a half-ass apology under her breath as she continues driving toward her house which is coming closer and closer.
I notice that she doesn’t have any music on, and silently I am actually grateful about it. The last thing I need this morning after the realization that I may have lost Dumbledore, and then finding Andy, was her pink pop music blaring loudly in the car. I don’t think I would have been able to handle that at all.
When we finally get to her house where five minutes of driving felt like an hour to me, I help Andy up the steps to the front door myself.
“Is your mom home?” I ask as she unlocks the door to the house and holds it open for us.
“No. Working, as usual,” Mandy answers as I walk Andy into the house and head for the living room couch.
“Great, I wouldn’t want to be the one explaining this to your mom,” I say with a forced laugh as Mandy takes a seat right across from me and Andy.
“I would be more worried explaining the smell you have going on Cory,” she answers.
I know I must smell of old man, musk, and a bit sweaty even, but gosh, I have no idea what’s going on with Mandy at this moment. I give her another one of my stares but this time she ignores me and turns toward Andy.
“Who did this to you? The jocks?” she asks, and then it hits me. She’s dating a jock. She must think the rumor about Andy taking pictures of the guys in the locker room is true. That maybe he has a photo somewhere of her boyfriend’s junk.
“No. It was my dad,” Andy answers, adjusting himself on the sofa, grunting a little bit as he does so.
“Your dad?” I exclaim. “Why would your dad do this to you?”
“Because of the jocks. Some of the parents found out about the photos. My dad got mad, beat me up and threw me out. But don’t worry. He’ll let me back by tonight when he’s sober,” Andy says as if this is something that happens to him every week. Like he is used to being thrown out of the house after a beating to the point where he can’t see through his eyes.
I can’t even understand how a parent can do something like that. It feels wrong on so many levels. My mom and dad had never hit me. Not in my entire life actually. They have always tried to love everything better as far as they could. A spanking had to mean that you had done something terribly wrong like stealing, and even then it was only one pat on your ass which was meant to scare you but didn’t really hurt.
“So it’s true?” Mandy asks without showing even a bit of sympathy. “You took naked photos of the guys in the locker room.”
“Only the two that tried to make me their little bitch. Wanting me to give them blowjobs if I didn’t want them to beat the shit out of me,” Andy answers, raising his body a little bit. I’m not sure if he is trying to straighten his back because it is sore, or if he is actually trying to look Mandy in the eyes and challenge her. “I knew they wouldn’t want pictures like that out in public, so I thought it would be a good way to get my life and mouth back before they started demanding my ass as well.”
I can barely believe what I am hearing out of his mouth. The easy way he speaks about everything. It is so much different than what I summed him up to be. I always just imagined him to be some very quiet kid.
“I need names. I want to know who the two jocks are. If you tell me I will help you,” Mandy says, crossing her arms and sitting back on the sofa. “That’s the deal I want.”
“God Mandy. You need something in return to help someone whose dad threw him out after beating him up because of a story he heard?”
To be honest, I can’t even believe my ears.
“Shut up Cory,” Mandy says. “Brent already told me the real story and this little bitch here is lying through his neck. So either he tells the truth or he can go and find help somewhere else.”
“Jeez Mandy,” I sigh, but Mandy puts up her hand to show me not to say another word.
“Out with it Andy,” she snarls in his direction again, demanding some truth that I know she won’t be able to get, because there is nothing there.
“It was Drew,” Andy says. “He was the one guy. It started out innocent enough. He would kiss me in the locker room, and asked me never to tell. So I fell for him. Things went a bit far. Then he brought in his friend. When I refused Drew said he would beat me up. That he would make my life a living hell. So I just kinda gave in and did them both.”
Mandy purses her lips and breathe in and out deeply before she says: “Drew is steady with Amber. They’ve been going on for like three months already. When did this happen?”
“Last year already,” Andy answers. “I think Amber is his attempt to prove that he’s straight.”
“Okay,” Mandy exhales. “And the second guy?”
“What does it even matter?” I ask. “I mean, it happened and he tried his best to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. So no harm done anymore. Andy took the punch. It’s over. Or are you wanting to out every closeted guy in school?”
I feel the emotions rising within me. This seems so unfair and Andy needs help. He can’t sit here and tell us about his abusers right now. There will be lots of time for that later.
“No. I just need to know,” Mandy answers, lifting her hand up to show me to keep my mouth shut once again.
She turns to Andy once more and gives him a stare of absolute hate.
“Tell me Andy,” she says.
I have never seen Mandy like this. It’s like there is something about her that I don’t know at all. Like we are in some episode or movie where a demon or spirit has taken over her body.
“I think you already know,” Andy answers, adjusting himself a little bit closer to me almost as if he’s scared of Mandy, and honestly I don’t blame him. I am actually regretting calling her for help and not Patrick.
“Say his name,” Mandy answers. “Just say it so I can kick your ass.”
“Mandy!” I shout. “Leave it. I’m sorry we came here, okay. I’ll call Patrick.”
“Cory!” Mandy shouts back getting up from the couch. “If you help this little git I swear… I will never talk to you again. He’s nothing like what he seems. He’s lying to you! He has been taking photos of the guys and blackmailing them from day one to cheat on their girlfriends and have sex with him. Brent told me everything.”
“That’s not what this is about!” I shout back, not being able to believe that she’s going on like this. No matter who Andy might be and who may or may not be telling the truth, he is still someone in need. Someone who slept in a park last night, and I sure as hell know how that feels.
“It’s exactly what it’s about!” she shouts back before she turns to Andy again. “Spit it out! Say the damn name!”
For a moment I think that Andy is going to burst out in tears, but then he lifts himself from the couch and takes a step toward Mandy.
He looks her straight in the eyes and says: “I don’t need help from someone whose boyfriend has such a small dick.”
After Andy said that all hell broke loose.