Fever Dreams

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Chapter 9: Scorned

After a game of rock-paper-scissors, we decided that we’d go back to my house for the night. At least “Mom” and Dad wouldn’t confront me with Silas around. I hope.
Silas drove us on his motorcycle, which was pretty awesome. I could see why he liked it so much; I felt really liberated at that moment. Riding behind him, my arms hugged his waist as if he were a dear possession. And I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t. A precious ceramic ballerina; the figment of my dreams come to life. That’s fucking corny. Forget I said anything.
“Doing alright back there?” he yelled over the wind.
I nodded against his shoulder, letting my head rest there. Glancing up at his face, I noticed him smiling peacefully. I’ve become really dependent on his beauty for some reason. It makes me feel like there’s something here for me. He’s hope, or something. Forget I said that too.
He pulled into the driveway of my house, and I couldn’t help but feel dread looking upon the place I’d otherwise sought to avoid. I felt Silas’s fingers touch mine, and I took his hand, squeezing it.
Inside, food and scattered ceramic still littered the floor; no one had bothered to clean it up. Wood shards were everywhere, and there were holes in the drywall where I’d lost my temper.
“What happened?” Silas asked, in awe of the chaos.
I sighed. “I did.”
He blinked up at me, brows furrowing. “Kind of a hand full, aren’t you?”
I chuckled, and kissed the hair over his forehead.
“Ethan?” my dad called from the living room. “Is that you? Did you calm down?”
I dropped Silas’s hand as he entered the room. Why is he fucking acting like everything’s normal around here?
“Where’s M-Julia?” I asked, restraining myself from calling her “Mom.” I have to come to terms with the fact that she’s not.
My dad visibly flinched when I called her Julia. “She packed a suitcase and left,” he said quietly. “Is you friend okay?”
Leave it to Dad to change the subject.
“I’m alright,” Silas spoke up. “Broken nose, split lips, some bruises. I’ll be fine.”
“Your nose needs to be set,” Dad pointed out. “Ethan, help him.”
I nodded, and led Silas to the bathroom. I got a surge of déjà vu when I realized that just two days ago the position had been reversed. Now it’s me patching his wounds.
Getting a closer look at the wounds made everything hyper-realistic. It disturbs me that people are hurt for good intentions. Silas was protecting his mom, and look what happened to him. I bet the boyfriend doesn’t even have a scratch on him.
Silas hissed. Oops, I guess I squeezed a bit too hard. He groaned as I set his nose back into place.
“Sorry,” I whispered, dabbing away at the dried blood with a washcloth. “Didn’t mean to hurt you.”
He just smiled as if I could do no wrong, and kissed my lips softly.
That night, I slept next to Silas in my bed. I held him against my body, curling around him as if he were magnetic. I was drawn to him as if he had a gravitational pull; inseparable from his soft, pale skin, his translucent eyes, his plump lips turned upward into that smile that melts the ice in my veins.
I’ve only known him for a few months, and yet I love him more than anyone.
Silas stirred in his sleep, and rolled over to face me. “Ethan, you’re breathing down my neck. It tickles.”
Even his groggy voice is fucking cute.
“Sorry, I’m just trying to get close. I’m, uh, cold.”
He smirked, and hugged me closer to him; we couldn’t get any closer if we tried.
“Would you believe me if I said everything will be okay in the end?” he asked.
“Probably not. Unless you’re still here when the end comes.”
“Why me?”
“Because I only have a soul when you’re around.”
He chuckled. “Go to sleep. We have school in the morning.”
Fuck, I forgot about school.

The next day at school, it was as if Ethan and I had never interacted. We donned our facade of normalcy, and no one ever paused to notice the only clue that we were together.
Well, except Kristina.
She trapped me next to my locker before second period, eying me suspiciously. “Si, what are you wearing?”
I finished getting my books. “I don’t know what you mean. They’re just clothes.”
“Those aren’t your clothes,” she clarified, smirking. “That jacket’s huge on you, and all you wear is jeans. You don’t even own a pair of basketball shorts.”
I glared. “Alright, fine. They’re Ethan’s.”
“Whoa, hold the phone. You guys spent the night together?”
“Did you, uh…?” She put her thumb and forefinger together into a hole shape, and put her other pointer finger through.
I slapped her hands. “No, we didn’t! Fucking pervert.”
“Go to class, idiot, before you accidentally spill my secret.”
She stuck her tongue out at me, then hurried away.
Later, at lunch, I sat in the art room, nibbling away at my food. I wasn’t really hungry; I was more worried about my mom. Surely, she was worried about me. I hadn’t come home, and I didn’t tell her where I was going. Although, in my defense, I hadn’t known where I was going in the first place.
“Silas McHale to the office, please,” the intercom announced. “Silas McHale to the office.”
Fuck, not I have to get up. I’m too lazy for this.
Making my way down the hall, I spotted my mom talking to an office aid. I stood behind her, not wanting to make my presence known, and waited there until the office aid pointed me out.
She turned, and bent down to pull me into a tight hug. “I was so worried about you, Silas!” she wailed, her words muffled against my shoulder.
“Sorry, Mom,” I whispered.
She sighed. “Where did you spend the night?”
“Ethan’s house.”
“The boy whose house you went to Friday?”
“Good. At least you were with a friend.”
Yeah, friend.
“Well, I’ll be going,” she continued. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay. We’ll talk more at home.”
Later, Mom and I sat in front of the TV with bowls of chili watching Family Feud. For some reason, this had become a ritual of ours since we moved in, with money being tight and all.
I had so many questions for her. Like why she’d date that asshole. And stay with him. And how long he’d been hurting her. But instead, this is what I asked:
“Mom, is Grey out of our lives?”
She sighed. “Silas, there’s something you need to understand-”
“He hurt us.”
“He didn’t…” She trailed off, not believing her own words.
“My face is proof, Mom.”
“Well, he’ll cause us more harm if we try to avoid him…He wasn’t jailed.”
I nearly choked on my chili. “What!? Why not?”
“He has friends on the force. Point is, he’ll probably be back. You know he’s dangerous; imagine what’ll happen if we tried to expel him from our lives.”
She had a point. Still, there had to be a way to save us both.
Ethan called later on while I was getting ready for bed. It was comforting to hear his voice, as always.
I explained the situation with Grey, and after a small pause, he told me he’d help any way he could.
“How are things on your end?” I asked, eager to change the subject.
“Hey, come on. Quid pro quo, remember?”
“Billy is not a real transsexual, Silas,” he joked.
I chuckled; of course he’d avoid the subject with a movie quote. Classic Ethan.
“Jackass,” I muttered. “Come on, you can tell me.”
He groaned. “It’s just me and Dad now. Julia came back for her things, and the two are in a custody battle over Kallie. For now, she’s with her mom.”
I could tell it was extremely difficult for him to refer to the woman who raised him as Julia.
“What about your real mom?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I’m not sure if I could handle it if my dad tried to assimilate Kathy into our lives as my mother.”
“If that happens, I’ll be here to listen to your psychotic rants.”
He laughed, and all was right with the world. If only for a moment.
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