Oliver texted me early the next morning asking me to pick him up a block away from his house and that it was urgent. It feels so weird sitting here a block away from my best friend’s house not being able to go inside. It feels like a part of me is missing. I miss seeing his dad; I even miss seeing those pictures of his mom. Oliver is jogging towards my car, I wave. He is slightly out of breath once he sits in the car. “So? What’s up?” I ask once he gulps down a few breaths.
“I told my dad.”
“Told him what? Also, where are we going? I don’t want to sit in front of this house longer than I need to.”
“Oh yeah, uh well, I don’t know. Can we just drive around for a bit? Make sure you don’t drive past my house.”
“Okay,” I say as I pull a U-turn. “Can you explain what you told him?”
“Oh yeah. I told him that I won’t stop being your friend, even though you are what you are. I said it doesn’t change who you’ve been the last few years and it won’t change you going forward.”
“Uh, do you think that was a good idea?” I glance over at him, who looks a little shaken. I’m not sure if it was from the physical activity or from the fact he stood up to his dad.
“Yes. I really like Alex. We’ve been e-mailing each other a lot, since dad has been around a lot I can’t really call him without having to explain anything. I even told dad that the guy I like is a shape shifter too.”
At that I slam on the breaks and yell “Are you crazy?! I think you might be sick.”
“Seriously, Riley? That hurt. Way to give me whiplash, especially after I just stuck up for you.”
“Sorry. Look I’m already driving. What did he say? When you told him about Alex?”
I could see him shrug from the corner of my eye. “Not really anything? I kind of bolted out of the house once I said it.”
“Seriously Oliver, you are making me want to slam on the breaks again...” His phone interrupts me with his dads ringtone, which is his dad yelling “PICK UP YOUR PHONE OR I’LL ARREST YOU”. He looks at me and I nod my head.
“Hi dad.” I hate not being able to hear what his dad is saying; Oliver manages to put his phone on speaker.
“I think you should come home we didn’t finish that conversation.”
“I don’t think we should until you’ve had a chance to think about things and calm down a little dad...”
“Yes sir,” I say quietly. I have to say I’m a little afraid right now.
“You need to turn your car around and bring my son home. I can have every squad car looking for you in a matter of minutes.”
“Dad you can’t just boss her around like that, I did leave on my own”
“Yes si...” I start to say but Oliver interrupts, “NO dad. Not right now.”
“Son, I want to talk to you. Actually, to you both.”
“Uh, okay. We’ll be there in a bit.”
“Bye.” His dad says without waiting for his son to say bye back he hangs up the phone.
“Oh no. Oh no. Oh no no no. This is not going to be good,” Oliver says.
“You don’t know that. It could be fine,” I try to sound hopeful and think that this isn’t one of the stupidest things we’ve ever done. Nope that is going to happen tomorrow I remember. Taking a deep breath, I turn the car around and head back to Oliver’s house.
“Uh Oliver. Should I wait in the car, you know, just in case he tries to shoot me when I walk in the door?”
“What the heck is wrong with you Riley? He isn’t going to try to shoot you. Stop being so dramatic.”
As soon as we walk in the door, Paul tells us to sit down. I think to myself at least he didn’t try to shoot me, at least not yet anyways.
“I obviously cannot keep you two separated. So I only ask you Riley to make sure you never hurt him.”
With a confused look on my face I say, “You know I’d never hurt him.”
“Dad, Riley would never do anything to hurt me, not even close.”
“There are things you don’t know son. Sometimes people go after the people they love most to get to them.”
“I’ll be careful dad.”
His dad just nods at this and finally lets out a sigh, “So the boy you like? He is one too. I guess I can’t stop you from that too, right?”
“Right. Dad he is great.”
I clear my throat, “Oliver I should be going. I have to get ready for something.”
“Is it the thing you are going to do with them?” He asks.
“Yeah. Thank you for letting Oliver stay friends with me. It felt like a part of my heart was missing without him around.” I say to Paul. He has a weary smile, then nods and distantly looks at Carla’s picture.
“Bye, Oliver.” I wave and step outside. It has started to rain. I take in a deep calming breath.