Fever Dreams

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Chapter 7: Protective

Silas would be at my house any moment and I couldn’t find any fucking clean underwear. Awesome.
“Mooooooommmmmmm!” I called.
The door opened moments later. “Yes?”
“I can’t find any clean underwear,” I said.
She held up the clothes basket she’d been carrying, placing it on the floor. Sometimes she liked to do my laundry, and I was really glad she chose to do so today. “Thanks Ma.”
“Anytime, sweetie. When is your friend getting here?”
“Uh, should be here soon. I’ll get dressed and take a look outside.”
“Alrighty. I better be getting dressed for work, then. Love you, Ethan!”
“Love you too.”
The door closed, and I scrambled to get dressed. Running down the stairs, I pulled my t-shirt over my head; I know that’s dangerous but I’m really anxious to see Silas.
Standing outside the garage, I raised an eyebrow when I noticed a motorcycle speeding down the street. No way… It pulled into my driveway, and the figure, clad in tight jeans and a black leather jacket, took off his helmet and shook his hair.
Why am I seeing all of this in slow motion?
“Silas…wow,” I said intelligently.
“Hey Ethan,” he greeted. “What? You didn’t know about my motorcycle?”
I shook my head. “Nope, this did not come up.”
He shrugged.
I glanced over my shoulder to make sure my mom hadn’t emerged from the house, and said, “You look hot as hell.”
He grinned. “How’s that different from any other day?”
“Usually you’re just inhumanly adorable but tonight you’ve gone up a level.”
“Awesome. So, shall we?”
I nodded, and led the way into my house. My mom was descending the stairs, cautious in her heels, trying to put on earrings.
“Careful, Mom,” I warned.
She waved me off. “I got it, dear. This must be Silas! I understand you and your mother just moved into town during the summer.”
“Yes ma’am,” Silas said politely. I smirked sideways at him.
“If your mom ever needs a gal pal to hang out with, let her know she’s always welcome here for a drink.”
I frowned. “Mom, you know--”
She shushed me. “There’s nothing wrong with a drink once in a while.”
“I never wanted you. I wish you’d go the fuck away, you nasty creature. I didn’t fucking make you. You’re not mine. Go away.” “Okay, Mom, sorry.”
“It’s fine, dear. Mind grabbing me my purse from your father’s office?”
I nodded, and hurried away. I went down the hall to my dad’s office. When he’s not at work, he’s here continuing to work. Who’s that busy? My dad, I guess. Although, I’m a bit skeptical about it.
I found my mom’s purse, and lifted it. Often her “purse monkey” who retrieved it for her, I was used to its weight. It was heavier than usual, and that made my heart slip a little.
Setting the bag back down, I opened it and pulled out a glass bottle.
“No…” I whispered.
“What do you think you’re doing, boy?”
I turned around, eyes wide like a deer in the headlights. I was holding the liquor when my mom appeared in the doorway, but in my fright, I’d dropped it. Both of us flinched when the glass shattered on the hardwood floor, foul-smelling liquid splashing our shins.
Silas stood in the hall, eyes wide, jaw hanging open. I can imagine he looked a lot like me. I shook my head him, willing him to leave. He didn’t move; he was frozen as I was.
“LOOK WHAT YOU DID, YOU BRAT!” my mom screamed.
I flinched again, squeezing my eyes shut. My mom had never screamed at me sober unless I’d done something really wrong. Then again, I’d never taken her alcohol from her before. I was so afraid that I couldn’t speak. She’d never been enraged, unless she was drunk.
It felt like I was seeing my mom’s true colors.
She drew her hand back, and she slapped me in the face. I looked up at her, fear turning to shock as I gently brought my hand up to my stinging cheek. She’d never hit me before.
And before she was done, she curled her hand into a fist and punched me in the eye, then pushed me aside onto the floor. Grabbing her purse, she swiftly left the room, not even glancing at Silas, who was nearly in tears.
I pushed myself to sit up, wincing as the broken glass embedded itself into my skin. Silas finally moved, hurrying to my side to help me up. I leaned against him as he guided me into the kitchen and sat me down in a chair.
“I need tweezers and a First-Aid kit,” he murmured.
“Bathroom. You were standing next to it when my mom…” I trailed off.
He hurried away and returned moments later with the supplies he needed, grabbing the paper towels from the counter and pulling up a chair next to me. I watched silently as he carefully removed the glass from my arm and cheek. I knew it should have hurt, but I was so shocked from what my mom just did that I didn’t feel anything.
“I’m so sorry,” I whispered.
Silas paused for a moment, looking at me incredulously, then returned to his work. “Why are you apologizing? Your mom, she… I was scared she’d…” He sighed. “You didn’t deserve that.”
“I’m apologizing because this date is sucking. I didn’t intend for this to happen.”
“It’s okay, Ethan. I’ll get you patched up and we can…go see a movie at the theater uptown?”
I sensed that he didn’t want to stay in this house. He was as afraid as I was, if not more. And this house was just a reminder that he’d had to watch my own mother hurt me.
“Sure, but I’m paying.”
A small smile alighted on his face. “No, I’m paying. And driving your car. You just relax.”
I raised an eyebrow, watching as he stitched up my deeper wounds. “Who said you could touch my car? Can you even drive a car?”
He pricked me on the hand, and I hissed. “Excuse you, I learned to drive a car before I learned to ride a motorcycle! And we have to take your car; I don’t have an extra helmet.”
I glared at him spitefully, rubbing my hand with the other. “Why can’t I drive?”
“Because you’re going to let me take care of you, retard. You’re injured.”
I rolled my eyes. “Fine. But if you wreck my car, I’ll fucking kill you.”
He smiled, and finished stitching me up.

Maybe it’s because I have maternal instincts even though I’m a guy, but I’d become very protective of Ethan.
I can’t believe I just stood there while the whole thing went down between him and his mom. I was frozen in place; all I could do was watch her slap him. I thought she was done, but then she fucking punched him as if she couldn’t stand how pitifully he was looking at her. Finally, she just knocked him over without another thought. All over a bottle of cheap liquor.
And the worst thing about it is that he apologized for being hit by her. As if it was his fault. I don’t know what to do or say right now, but I need him to know it’s not his fault. I need him to know that he’s better than her, not below her.
He needs someone and I’m here. That’s all I can do.
The movie theater was crowded; it was Friday night after all. We didn’t see any kids from school though. Ethan explained that the theater on this side of town is the one the private school kids monopolize; our schoolmates use the one downtown.
Anyway, we got tickets for a new action flick, but neither of us really had the intention of watching it. We got seats toward the back, and Ethan’s tongue was in my mouth before the previews were over.
I’ve come to figure out that he has a sort of fixation with shoulders. After we’d tugged off my leather jacket, he yanked the first few buttons of my shirt apart and pulled it aside so he could latch onto the exposed skin.
And after two hours, we had five hickeys between the two of us and neither one of us could tell you how the movie ended or even how it began. We got into Ethan’s car, him insisting that he was well enough to drive so I let him. We ended up at a McDonald’s, and I couldn’t bring myself to eat my burger. My eyes were trained on his stitched up arm.
“Are you okay?” he asked me.
I jumped, and took a bite to seem natural. “I’m fine,” I said, mouth full of food.
“I know you were looking at my arm,” he said knowingly. “Look, it’s fine. No harm done. Everything’s fine.”
I set the burger down, and wrung my hands in my lap. “It’s not okay what she did. You need to tell someone.”
“It was just a one-time thing.”
“Until the next time. I…I saw no remorse in her eyes, no love. She didn’t care that she hurt you; you were merely an obstacle to her. And she wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.”
His eyes darkened and he practically threw his burger down on its wrapper. “You don’t know what the fuck you saw!” he hissed. “She’s my mom! She loves me!”
“Remember what you told me: How your mom tells you you’re a mistake? How is that love?”
“She’s drunk when she says that! She doesn’t know what she’s saying!”
“They say drunken slurs can be hidden confessions.”
“Who the fuck says that?”
I shrugged. “I just want to help you Ethan.”
“I don’t need your help. I can help myself. I always have.”
“I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Who asked you to be protective of me? Just stop fucking talking about it. Okay?”
“Okay, sorry.”
And for the time being, the subject was dropped.
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