One night in July, when the clock struck eleven and ten minutes, the house, quiet as a mouse, two high school kids were in bed upstairs having sex.
Clenching his teeth tight and grunting harshly, Augustine pounded hard into his girlfriend Winona Layman, who was now on all fours. With each thrust he speared her with, her face surged into the pillows and the brass bed creaked through the night. It didn’t matter. Her parents weren’t home.
“Oh fuck baby,” Winona cursed through her teeth when he delivered a harder thrust and her stomach pulled tight inside.
Not able to keep up anymore, she fell on her front, almost hitting the edge. Sweat shimmering on his forehead and body burning in heat, Augustine leaned over her back. He probed his body up on both palms and picked up speed, watching her thrash beneath him as he repeatedly slammed into her, chasing his release. Five seconds later, Winona could hardly hold on.
She screamed into the pillow, pulling on to the sheets and arching her back like she was offering her ass up to him on a silver platter, “Fuuuuckk!!! Oh God! Yes!”
The feeling of her inner muscles clenching him tight tipped him off and Augustine groaned out, shooting his load into the condom.
“Fuck,” he grunted as their body bucked against each other.
Winona laughed breathlessly beneath him and Augustine collapsed on top of her, catching his breath with his face buried in her neck.
“God,” Winona panted out, causing him to laugh.
He pushed himself up on his knees, pulling out of her. He rolled the latex off his shaft, tied the end and threw it into the dustbin which was peeking out of the bathroom door. He lay with her for a while - Winona cuddling up to his side - before he got up and wore his clothes back on. Winona watched from the bed as she sleepily stretched out her body.
“Don’t go,” she groaned indolently, coming over to him at the edge of the bed.
“Can’t. Mom’s waiting at home,” Augustine replied as he zipped up his jeans. “See you at school tomorrow.”
With a frustrated sigh, Winona fell back on the bed. Just as Augustine was slipping back his T-shirt on, his phone buzzed once in his jeans pocket and then roared with his ringtone, world’s loudest electric guitar piece, seemingly blowing off the walls of the room.
“Please.” Winona groaned into the pillow, rolling her eyes. “Change that ringtone. You aren’t even deaf.”
Without so much care to her complain, Augustine pressed the green button, sandwiched the phone in between his ear and shoulder and then, sat down on the edge of the bed to wear his shoes. His younger brother, Romeo, immediately began to call out to him frantically.
“Yeah. What? Calm down!” Augustine returned, pulling his right shoe on.
“It’s mom!” Romeo cried into the phone. “I don’t know what’s happening. I think she’s getting a seizure. I don’t know what to do! You need to come home!”
Eyebrows knitted in alert, Augustine halted his movements for a moment. “Call 911,” he instructed in a hurry as he pulled his other shoe on.
“I have. But you need to come home now! Please.” Romeo sobbed into the phone, begging him helplessly.
“Calm down, Romeo. Everything’s going to be alright. I’m on my way. Where’s Ari?” He asked, rushing out of the room without another word to Winona.
“She’s here. I’m holding her.” Romeo replied.
“Good. I’m on my way. Call Sonya too.” Augustine said, jumping into his SUV.
“Okay. But be quick.”
“I’m on my way. Don’t worry.” Augustine reassured his brother as he swerved his car out of the driveway. “I need you to stay calm, okay?”
“Okay. But I’m afraid.” Romeo sniffled from the other end.
With a heavy sigh, Augustine raked his right hand into his bronze hair. “I’m almost there.”
He reached home fifteen minutes later. In the pitch-black night October night, the ambulance lights illuminated his front yard and he saw his mother, Divya, being hauled into the back of the ambulance on a stretcher. Her eyes were closed and the oxygen mask covering half of her face sent a chilling sensation down his spine, causing him to break into cold sweat.
“August!” Eleven-year-old, Romeo, jumped up from the porch - where he was sitting on the steps - and ran down the driveway toward him.
Swallowing his own fear, Augustine pulled his brother to his side to comfort him. Not one word was exchanged as they somberly watched the medics close the rear doors behind their mother. Pressing his forehead into Augustine’s side frightfully, Romeo clutched onto his brother’s shirt with all his might, praying that their mom would be alright.
“Everything’s going to be fine.” Augustine said, rubbing his little brother’s back.
He looked up toward the front porch and saw their neighbor Sonya Martinez talking to one of the medics whilst cradling their one and a half-year-old sister, Arizona, in her arms. Holding Romeo close to him, Augustine walked up to her.
“I’ll accompany your mom to the hospital. You need to stay with your siblings. Is that okay?” Sonya turned to him. “I’ll call you if I need to.”
Augustine felt the urge to say he wanted to come to the hospital too but, when he looked down at Romeo and saw his tear-stained face, he knew he needed to stay for him. Romeo needed him.
“Sure.” He nodded and took Arizona in his arms. She was sleeping.
As he stood at the porch, Arizona in his arms, Romeo by his side, watching the ambulance leave the driveway, an unsettling silence fell over him. He couldn’t fathom why and for what reason but, he felt alone. All on his own.
Brushing it off, he said in a voice so steady and strong, “Let’s go inside. We’ll go see her tomorrow.”
Despite his own fear, he understood that he had to be strong for Romeo in times like this. He knew he hadn’t been the best brother but, for Romeo, he was everything now. There was no one else Romeo could go to in this world but him. All they had was each other.