XXXI. Your Son
Inhaling a deep breath, Mrs.Greyson releases Josh’s ear. Finally, she noticed Ricardo’s presence. “Aww, you poor baby,” she said.
Mrs.Greyson is a full-fledged mother.
She made her way towards Ricardo, who leaned back slightly. “Are you okay?”
“Mom! He hurt me! I’m the one with broke-”
“Oh! Shush! You’re fine! They told me you were the one who punched first!”
Josh rolled his eyes and folded his arms as a pout began to emerge. Mrs.Greyson settles herself down on the edge of the bed with Mr.Greyson behind her. “How are you doing?”
Ricardo’s eyes maneuvered around the room, body shifting restlessly. “I’m good,” his voice someone pitches slightly.
She places a hand on top of his. “I’m sorry for Joshua. He’s been overly spoiled by his father.”
"My child whenever he’s bad,” Mr.Greyson grumbled.
She ignored his comment and merely smiled at Ricardo. “What’s your name?”
Ricardo shifted his bed around the bed once more. “Ricardo Winston,” he replied formally.
Mr. Greyson’s eyes narrowed towards Ricardo. Mrs.Greyson smiled, “Will you forgive Joshua?”
“Only if he apologizes.”
“Honey. I’m not negotiating. I’m only saying that out of formalities,” she said, and Ricardo’s smile dropped. “You broke my son’s rib, but you’re sitting here with all of yours,” she squeezes his hands.
“Here is the thing,” she said. She turned her body, “Both of you apologize and promise you will never fight again because God damn it-” she stood up, wobbling slightly. “I am not in the mood to deal with this-” she looks at the kids who, one by one, left the room. The door closed, “bullshit.”
Everyone stared at her.
“This fucking bullshit of an excuse to fight! I will not be fucking deal with this boys will be boys crap right now because fucking damn it; I am fucking pregnant and too fucking hungry to hear this fucking-”
Hormones. Pregnancy hormones. Lots of it.
“Sweetheart. Sweetheart,” Mr.Greyson said, chuckling anxiously as he massages her shoulders, “I think the boys get it. Don’t fight.”
She nodded and laughed, a terrifying one. “I’m so sorry, boys.” She flips her hair back, “I just thought something big happened, and someone died, so I was worried.” She nodded, “But you’re both okay and alive. Yeah? Yeah? Moreover, you both forgive each other. Right? Right?”
“Right?!” Mrs.Greyson screamed.
Josh and Ricardo mumbled words of agreement, but I can tell it’s insincere.
“I’ll take that,” she said, with a broad smile on her face. “I’m hungry. I’m going to get something to eat.” She pats Mr. Greyson’s shoulder, “Go take care of your son,” she walks out of the door.
We all released a deep breath.
Mr.Greyson looks at Ricardo and sighs. “Of course,” he mumbled underneath his breath before shaking his head. “Ricardo,” he said. “I will be discussing this matter with your father. Mr.Davenson will carry out the punishment. Follow what he says.”
“You know my father?” Ricardo question.
There was a brief silence lingering in the air as Mr.Greysin and Ricardo stare at one another. It feels as if they were holding some mental conversation that I wasn’t allowed to participate in.
“Let’s say we know each other...personally,” Mr.Greyson said before walking out of the door.
Josh and Ricardo’s dads know each other?
Josh and Ricardo spent a few weeks at the hospital while I continued going to school. I didn’t get any punishment because I wasn’t involved. They got suspended for a month. Pandora Academy has a heavy, no fighting tolerance. So, whenever I have time, I would visit Josh, similar to everyone else.
However, Ricardo was always alone. It must feel terrible to enter a new country without anyone.
I sat on the edge of Josh’s bed, waiting for him to finish using the restroom. My eyes skimmed towards Ricardo, who was staring at the flat screen bolted on the wall. Josh and Ricardo requested separate rooms, but Mr.Davenson said they should stay together; to get to know each other. They haven’t spoken a single word; avoiding one another as if talking to each other will end the world.
“Stop staring at me, you little pervert.” That’s the nickname Ricardo decided to give me.
“I am not a little pervert.” I didn’t particularly appreciate how I have to repeat the same line over and over. “If anyone is the pervert, it’s you.”
Ricardo briefly glances over, and I expect him to do what he always does. He always looks away and stops speaking to me. Over time, I realized that Ricardo is the type who prefers not to socialize unless necessary.
However, unlike usual, he got out of bed. I stared at him, unable to blink as he made his way to me. Even in the hospital gown, he somehow looks good. I swallow, stuck on the bed, as he pinned his hands on both sides. My eyes dropped, seeing the inked pictures and foreign scribbled words on his chest.
There must be something wrong with his parents, allowing him to get a tattoo - many tattoos.
Inhaling a shaky breath through my nostrils, I can pick up a new scent; lemon and mint.
It was different, foreign compared to Josh.
You stupid heart.
He smirks, “Oi. Little pervert. My eyes are up here.”
Immediately, my vision shot up, and my cheeks burned. “W-Why...Why are you so close! You belong o-over there!”
“Who says I can’t be here?”
I turn my head to see Josh standing at the doorway, also in his gown. How can they both look so good even in hospital gowns!
“Hailey. Come here,” Josh said, but he wasn’t looking at me. Sometimes, I wonder if they have a thing for each other because they look at each other...alot...and very intensely.
I flick Ricardo’s arm away and scooted closer to Josh. Ricardo crossed his arms, “No one likes a control freak.”
Josh’s eyes narrow, “No one likes an asshole.”
Ricardo smirked before turning around and getting back on his bed, “Like you would know...virgin.”
Josh’s face turns red, and he looks at me. “I swear! I didn’t tell him!” I reject his accusation.
Instantly, Ricardo burst out laughing, rolling in his sheets, “Are you fucking serious? You’re actually a virgin. I was just fucking around.”
Josh’s face turns even redder. At one point, I thought he was going to explode.
“Hey!” I screamed, and Ricardo stopped laughing. “There’s nothing wrong with being a virgin. Josh wants to save it for someone special instead of throwing it around like trash. The first time is special. So-” I wiggle my finger in front of his face, “shame on you for just throwing it around and about. Now, you won’t understand the emotional connection between two people when they...you know! Yeah!” I nod in approval of my speech. At that moment, I felt like it sounded good, but realistically, I didn’t know what I was saying. I just didn’t like it that he was teasing Josh.
I link my arms with Josh. “Come on! Let’s leave! I cannot stand being here!” I dragged Josh out. After some steps, I look up to see Josh grinning, “What?”
Josh wet his lips before removing his arm from my grip and placing it over my shoulder with the other holding IV. “Thank you for defending me.”
I bit my inner cheeks. “He was kind of insulting me too.”
“Aw. Little Hailey is growing up,” he places a hand on his chest and bends back slightly. “My heart can’t take it.”
“Why are you so dramatic?” I whined. Josh leaned against the wall as if he would collapse at any moment.
He wipes away an invisible tear and wraps his arms around me. I groan, holding up his weight. “It’s just I remember when I had to stand up for you, and now-” he put out his lower lip, “You’re defending me. Little Hailey is a big girl.”
I rolled my eyes and pinched his arm. “I’ve always been a big girl,” even I know that’s a lie. “I just pretended to be hurt so you can feel strong.”
He nudges a brow, “So you were faking it this whole time?”
“Yeah,” I said, placing my bicep in the air, “With these muscles-” I pinched my skin, “who will bully me.”
“Oh-” he places a hand on his chest, “now I’m hurt. Hay Bug, I can’t believe you were faking it this whole time. However-” he grinned, “since you’re so strong” sarcasm, “I am depending on you to protect this weak-” he pointed at his healing rib cage, “guy from now on.”
I pound a fist on my chest. “Count on me. I will protect you...unless it involves my life. I will back away.”
“Oh, I feel loved.”
I didn’t notice it until now, but Josh was close...extremely close. I swallow as his ocean eyes dive down into mine. Mom says I’m still growing, but Josh is tall...really tall. I balled my hands into fists, but over time, it began to unravel as my body lost its energy. Soon, I realized it was because I wasn’t breathing.
Josh lifted a hand, potentially attempting to tuck back the hair covering my face, but before he had the chance. I turned my head. I’m afraid if he touches me now, I may faint. Josh cleared his throat and took a step back.
“Oh, I forgot my jacket. Wait here,” I told him, trying to find any excuse to place a distance between us, even if it’s only for a while.
“Do you want me to go with you?”
I shook my head, “I am going to go get it and get out. Your weak body will only slow me down.”
“No eye contact. That’s how he lures you in.”
I nod, “Absolutely none,” I said, before walking towards the hospital room. The farther I walk away, the fast the temperature seems to decrease. However, the tight knot inside my stomach was still present. Honestly, I didn’t want to go back, but I want to escape from Josh for a little while, and the hallways are cold. They say it’s a way for the patients not to get too comfortable.
There was a slight crack at the door. “No, mamma...I understand,” Ricardo said, and I noticed how he was staring at the white sheets on the bed. Ever since Ricardo and Josh got admitted, there are tons of men in suits around the hospital. There were several men in black suits around him. He sucks in his cheeks, “Uncle is here. So, I’m not lonely.”
Uncle? Ricardo has an uncle here? I never saw his uncle visit him. Maybe, he comes when I’m not here.
“How’s your health?” Ricardo exhales a deep breath, “No. I don’t hate you for sending me here.”
“Mamma...I don’t hate you. Please, stop thinking-” he stops talking, and immediately his back straightens. “Papa,” his tone changed.
“No. He hit me first,” Ricardo said, crunching the sheets in his hand. “Yes. I am fine.”
Ricardo didn’t say anything for a long time until. “How long are you going to keep her there?” His eyes were narrowed, somehow sorrowful. “She’s miserable, and you know it. That’s why her health keeps getting worse each year.”
Ricardo closed his eyes before he removed the phone from his ear. Inhaling a shaky breath, he threw it across the room. “Get out!” he screamed at everyone.
His deep brown eyes met mine.
Instantly I stumble back and race away from the room as the men walk towards the door. I made my way back to Josh, feeling as if I heard something I shouldn’t.
“Your jacket?” Josh question.
I shrugged, giving him a weary smile as the beats inside my chest refuse to decline. “I’ll grab it when we get back.”
Once Josh and Ricardo’s suspension was nearly over, Mr.Davenson called us. Sitting between Ricardo and Josh was excruciatingly uncomfortable. I fidget in my seat, leaning closer to Josh. However, when I realize the extremely close distance between us, I can’t help but lean towards Ricardo. Then, Josh would frown. Now, I am sitting straight in the middle, not making eye contact with either of them.
“Now, the both of you are going back to school tomorrow,” Mr.Davenson said, not lifting his eyes from the papers in front of him. “In regards to the living arrangement.”
We were all quiet.
“How do you all feel about living together?”