“I can’t have you there Patrick. My mom is going to be crazy enough without you being there,” I tell Patrick as we get closer to the park where I texted my mom I would meet her.
“She won’t. Sometimes having a stranger there or doing something in public defuses a situation a little bit. And besides that, what’s the use of having a boyfriend if he can’t be with you during difficult situations?” Patrick answers, taking his eyes off the road for only a second before looking back.
“Look Patrick, it’s bad enough to spring Mister Watson on her in the middle of the park. If I throw my boyfriend into the mix, she might just really blow up. Remember, she thought I was at Mandy’s, where now she knows I was with you. She probably think we were having sex the whole time,” I argue, but seeing him smile at the last sentence makes me smile a little bit too.
“Well, I would not have objected if that was all that was happening while you were at my place,” he said with a cocky attitude, taking his hand off the steering wheel to run his fingers through his hair and out of his face.
“Yeah, I bet,” I say with a grin as he stops next to the park and switches off the car.
“Tell you what… I won’t come with you, but I’m not going home either. I will stay here and wait until you are done, just in case you need me. If things go well, you text me and I leave. If not, at least I am here for you,” Patrick says and I know I won’t be able to argue with him. When he has made up his mind in this way there is almost no way for me to change his mind.
“You’re probably the most stubborn person I have ever met,” I tell him, leaning over to give him a quick kiss.
“Well… I am almost as stubborn as you,” he says, leaning over to steal another kiss from me.
“I will try and come to you here when everything is over, okay?” I say as I open the door of the car and get out.
“Deal mister!” he answers with a smile, pouting his lips for another kiss, but I just smile back and close the door of the car in his face, because if I lean in for another kiss I may just hop back in the car with him and beg him to take me home and take my virginity.
I walk quickly to the other side of the park to avoid the fear inside me taking over and making me turn back to Patrick in the car. I have no idea how this is all going to go down. The last time I heard from my mom she was shouting at me to meet her and get out of this town, and here I was, not only letting her know to meet me at a park just after dark, but on top of that I have kept my promise and let Mister Watson know to meet us here as well. Maybe with another grownup here, one that actually wants to help, no matter what he might be getting in return, might help her see the light. And if I tell them about my job and the book I am going to sell. Maybe that would be enough to make my mom relax, even if it is for just a while.
I see her pacing up and down in front of our car as I get closer to the other side of the park where the lake is where I have slept underneath the bench with Dumbledore watching over me. I actually look around to see if he is there but he doesn’t seem to be in the park yet. He might be a little bit late, or maybe he is sleeping somewhere else tonight.
“Cory!” she shouts as she recognizes me walking over the grass. “Get your ass here right this second! You have no idea the trouble you are in!”
She looks frantic, but I can understand it with all the worry she must be under at this minute. Another night in the car looming over us, where she won’t be sleeping but rather playing a lookout must be darkening her mind already.
When I get close to her I think she might slap me, the tears in her eyes and her hair standing over the place in a way I have never seen her before. Not like this in any case. Completely hysterical.
“Cory!” she shouts again, and as she pulls back her arms I can’t help but flinch, but instead of slapping me she pulls me into the tightest hug I have ever gotten from her. “You scared the living shit out of me!”
“I’m okay mom,” I say as I wrap my arms around her, allowing her tears to flow and the sobs to rip through her as I hold her and try to calm her down. “Everything is going to be okay from now on. I promise.”
For a few minutes we just stand there, holding each other until she gets a bit of a grip on herself.
“Get in the car,” she says as she lets go of me. “I didn’t want to take the open road during the night, but now I don’t have a choice.”
“I’m not going anywhere mom. At least not yet. Just hear me out please,” I say, walking over to the car and taking my seat on the bonnet. “We can stay here. We have to stay here. There is no point in running away from our problems.”
“We are going to have the same problems there that we have here. The difference is that I found a church that has a program where they try to keep families together, so it just makes more sense to go there,” she says, this time not getting hysterical but sitting down next to me. “I know this is hard for you Cory. You have your friends. And a boyfriend too.”
She smiles when she says the word ‘boyfriend’ and she puts her hand on my head.
“Yeah, he’s a really cool guy,” I say with what I know must be a goofy smile.
“And you don’t have to break up with him. We are only going to be a three hour drive away. You can visit him from time to time if his parents will be okay with that. And with cellphones… It might not be so bad after all. You know what they say… Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” she says.
“But mom… Let’s say we have a place to stay here, and I already have a job and a way to get enough money within a month to get us a place to live. Would you be up for that?” I ask, testing the waters, hoping that Mister Watson will show up soon so that my mom can see this is all real. That I am not just playing some game.
“Well honey. Wishful thinking is a good thing sometimes, but other times it’s just not realistic enough no matter how much we want it to be real,” she answers in the same way she would have tried to explain something to me when I was five years old.
“Mom, just hear me out,” I say with a sigh, really just wanting her to listen to me and not just see the negative of what could happen.
“Okay Cory. You have ten minutes. Then we really need to leave. We really need to. Your sister is sleeping, and I’d rather drive while she is asleep than having to try and entertain her while I should be concentrating on a dark road as well,” she says.
“Mister Graham gave me a job at the bookstore in the mall. It’s only weekends, and it doesn’t pay like a huge salary, but it’s something mom. It could tie us over till you get a job,” I say, thinking again of how good it is of Mister Graham to do this for us, making sure I don’t need to go back to Jaycee’s place any time soon.
“That’s great Cory, but we can’t get a place and pay rent with money you earn from a weekend job,” my mom answers with a weak smile. “I appreciate you trying to help, but we have to look at the bigger picture at this point. There isn’t much gas left in the car. We are out of food and nearly out of money. The little bit of a pay I got from the bar lady job I was at won’t even feed us for the next three days. We need somewhere we know we will be fed and where we will be able to park the car and walk from when we don’t have any money left.”
“And that’s where I come in,” a voice says, walking from the back of the car to join us.
“Mister Watson,” I say, smiling from ear to ear, almost like he is some sort of superhero coming to the rescue. “Mom, you remember Mister Watson, my vice principle at school?”
“Yes,” my mom says standing up, pushing her hair back in an attempt to look a little bit better before shaking his hand. After he lets go of her hand she tries to subtlety pull her creased shirt right as well.
“I hope you are well,” Mister Watson says although I think it is pretty obvious that my mom isn’t but she still nods in agreement. “Is there a chance that we could maybe speak in private?”
He takes my mom by the arm and leads her away from the car and toward the lake as I stay behind to keep an eye on the car and Chloe. I don’t know why Mister Watson would want to speak to my mom alone. It’s not like I don’t know what he is going to speak to her about. And it’s not like he has to have anything private away from me. I mean, I’ve already sucked his dick. How much more private can two people get?
I pick up my phone and scroll down until I see Patrick’s number.
“Hey sexy,” he says after just two rings.
“My mom was better than I thought she would be. She’s still hell bent on leaving town because of some church that would be able to take care of us, but Mister Watson is talking to her now. Hopefully he will be able to change her mind,” I say into the phone.
“Well, that’s good news, isn’t it?” Patrick asks.
“Only if she decides to stay. She can be quite proud and very suborn when she wants to be,” I answer.
“Tell you what… If she says you can stay then you ask her if you can come and sleep over by me tonight. How does that sound?” Patrick asks and I can almost hear the smile in his voice.
“That would be amazing,” I answer. “I love the idea of waking up next to you in the mornings, but I think I will have to take a rain check on that. If my mom takes Watson up on his offer I should rather stay the night with her. But I promise I will then be at your house as early as I possibly can tomorrow.”
“Great! Then that’s what we do,” Patrick answers.
At that moment I saw my mom and Watson walking back over the lawn as the sun sets completely behind them, turning the last bit of red on the horizon into a dark blue color.
“Listen, I gotta go. I will have the verdict in a few minutes,” I tell Patrick as I lower the phone without saying goodbye, pressing the ‘end’ button.
I can feel myself hyperventilating as they get closer and closer, both of them with solid faces not giving away a single emotion.
I look from the one to the other as they stand in front of me, waiting for an answer. It’s Mister Watson that breaks the silence.
“Let’s get you guys home kiddo,” he says as he ruffles my hair with a smile breaking over his face.