You Are My Bad Boy - Chapter 32
When the bell rang, I felt weird. Now, did me and Jax have to split up? We hadn’t parted ways since the football tournament, and I didn’t know if I wanted to. If he left now – would he come back?
He was looking at me. “Now what?” He said, smiling a bit.
What if he just came back to my house? Stayed the night? Stayed forever?
Then he stiffened. “Fuck,” he said. “I gotta go find Ryan.”
My heart sank, but I nodded. “Yeah, you do what you gotta. But after…” I grinned. “I can get the car – we can go on a drive? Just us? Meet me on the field, by the changing room, eight o’clock. I know a place in the woods. ”
“A place to kill me?” He laughed, a little less heavy. “Sure. For you, anything. ”
“Ok, ” I said. It was hard not to smile all the time around him. I stood up, “It’s a date.”
I heard him laugh behind as I left. “Yeah it’s a fucking date. Bitch. ”
Only my mom was there when I got home. She was in the kitchen, which smelled great – she was icing some muffins.
We hadn’t talked really, not since I told her I was gay – I hadn’t been home very often, and then there had been tourney.
I put my bag down cautiously by the door. “Hi mom, ” I said. I wasn’t scared of anything she could say – I was confident in myself now. How could you not be, when there was a Jax Wilson beside you?
She turned quickly. “Oh, Rocco, ” She said, stiffly. “How – how was tournament? I heard it was canceled.”
I went over and grabbed a glass from the cupboard, filling it up with water from the sink.
“Yeah, yeah it was. But one game we played – man! Training is definitely paying off. We’re stronger, faster – but I think the main thing is that we worked together – so well. The chemistry – its the best teamwork I’ve ever had in a team. ”
She beamed at me. “That’s great! All thanks to your leadership, I’m sure. ”
I waved a hand. “Nooo, mom. I do my best, but that would mean nothing if everyone else didn’t. Anyway, smells good! When are those done?”
She slid a badly-iced muffin towards me, and took a nice one for herself.
We ate in silence for a while, then she cleared her throat.
“I’ve been wanting to talk to you, ” she began.
I kept eating my muffin, nodded.
“You say you are gay – why? Why do you say that?”
I swallowed my mouthful. “Not say, mom. I am sexually attracted to guys. Only. I can’t help it and I didn’t choose it – why would anyone choose it, if that was possible, anyway? Gay people and gay couples get treated so badly by everyone else. ”
She took a bite of her muffin and chewed slowly, thinking.
“What about God?” she said suddenly. “He will shun you.”
Wow. She was getting right into it.
“See, I don’t think He will. God wants love, right? Only love. What I’m doing is not harming anyone. ”
She chewed some more, then turned her face towards mine quickly. “You said “what I’m doing”? What are you doing?”
Ok, she had got me – I felt blood rise to my face. “Uhhh. Um. Well…”
“You have a… boyfriend?” She asked.
I sighed. “Yeah, actually. I do. From the tournament.”
She chewed furiously. “Who is it?”
Internally I was running out the door.
“Um. Do you remember Jax Wilson?”
Her eyebrows went straight up. “Jax Wilson? The blond boy?”
I rubbed the back of my neck. “Uh, yeah, that’s him.”
She finally swallowed the mouthful she had been violently churning in her mouth, and silence fell again.
“I am not God, ” she said, after a long pause.
“Uh, what?” I looked up at her.
She was leaning on the bench, staring at the ceiling as she talked.
“I am not God, ” she repeated. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t know if He will accept you or not, but I am not Him. I am a mother. And you are my son. I just want you to be happy and healthy and kind. Nothing else. If you go around with Jax Wilson, or any other weird boy, if that makes you happy, then…” She blinked rapidly.
“Then I am happy.”
A breath I didn’t know I had been holding issued slowly out of me.
We didn’t hug or anything – we never really did.
She poured me a glass of milk and pushed another muffin towards me – this time it was perfectly iced.
It had started raining.
I was putting up posters in my room, covering my bare walls. I had found a bunch of art I liked and printed it – I had discovered that I tended to go for interesting potraiture, pencil, charcoal, and acrylic, and that I didn’t love watercolour. I guess that would be my next challenge, to do some watercolour paintings, so I ordered a beginners watercolour kit online. I had also bought some house paint online – I wanted to paint my navy walls and bedframe completely black.
Although I was busy, I couldn’t help looking at the clock as eight drew nearer and nearer. I wanted to text him, ask how it was going with Ryan, but in truth I hated the idea of texting him. I would rather call, facetime, or drive straight to where he was – anything to get more of him.
My mom was playing flamenco downstairs, and it drifted up towards my room, sad, nostalgic, familiar.
It hadn’t even occurred to me to ask how she was. She had been cheated on. My dad’s face – that was what a cheater looked like.
I looked out the window, to where it was getting dark beneath a cover of cloud and rain, and pulled my curtains shut.
Finally, it was time to leave, time to go get Jax.
Jax, Jax, Jax, Jax!
I bounced downstairs, kissed my mother on the cheek, and she handed me the keys and actually winked – or tried to – when I said I was going to go see Jax.
I felt like jumping, punching the air, flying. Hopefully it had gone well with Ryan, and if it hadn’t, I’d kiss him until he forgot that anyone else but me existed.
As I pulled out of the garage, rain immediately cascaded over the front windscreen. “Damn,” I muttered, flicking the windshield wipers on.
The town was blurry and dark with rain as I sped through the evening streets. “We Didn’t Start The Fire” was on the radio, so I blasted it the rest of the way, until the street lamps became fewer and fewer and the changing rooms of the football grounds loomed up in front of me and I pulled into the parking lot.
“We didn’t start the fire, ” sang Billy Joel. “It was always – ”
The radio clicked off.
I was early – I doubted Jax would be here. There was a bike parked over by the left side, but it wasn’t his. I got out of the car, the pattering sound of it immediately growing louder as I opened the door.
My shoes crunched over the wet gravel as I jogged towards the buildings. Puddles were forming, and I had to dodge this way and that to avoid them. There was an alleyway between the changing room and the office block, and I moved to stand underneath the eaves to get away from the rain. Water dripped, just in front of my nose.
I pulled out my phone, shielding it from the rain. Nothing from Jax.
I sighed, leaned back against the wall, and pocketed my phone again. A light flicked on in the changing room window, yellowish, then just as soon flicked on again.
I held my hand out and let rain collect, cool, in my palm.
A man coughed around the side of the building. I looked up.
Someone slunk around the side of the building. His eyes were wide, bloodshot. His hair was a wet, balding mess. He was soaked. He swayed slightly on his feet. He looked very familiar.
Jax’s dad. Thinner, dirtier than I remembered. He was staring straight at me.
We stood in silence, staring at each other, rain pouring over him.
Something glinted darkly in his right hand.
It felt like my feet were bolted to the ground. Was I dreaming?
He opened his mouth, a black slit in his face, filled with browned teeth.
“I seen what you doing to my son, ” He said. He swayed. “You’re corrupting – corrupting my Jax. Doing -doing disgusting things. Making him do disgusting things to you.”
The whites of his eyes were yellow. He raised the gun, pointed it at my heart. I felt like I could feel the heat of it’s aim, a red-hot beam, hovering on my skin. I imagined the bullet going into me, blowing my heart to little wet red pieces.
He swayed again. “Move into the middle, ” He spat. “Then on your knees, sinner. ”
Slowly, I moved from under the eaves. Rain immediately fell over me, across my face. There was a roaring in my ears.
I sank to my knees, feeling the cold wet concrete underneath me.
His hand was shaking a bit. It could have been from nerves, or the result of drugs in his wretched system.
His eyes were fixed on my face, but when he spoke, it wasn’t to me.
“I ain’t never been a good father. I’ve – I’ve not been a good man. But – but – ” He passed a hand over his face. “I can do one thing for you, my son. For you, Jax – you don’t have to worry no more. He’ll be gone. Boom. All gone – ” He wiped his face again.
“You don’t understand. ” I said. My voice was steady. I thought of my mother and felt something crush inside of me.
His hand shook more. His eyes were black with hatred. “Don’t speak, sinner, ” He hissed.
His other hand came up to hold the gun as well, and it steadied. He looked down the barrel.
His finger tightened –
Jax slammed into him from the side, hands reaching for the gun, face twisted –
I felt the impact of something slam into my abdomen, pushing me backwards, sending me sprawling onto the wet concrete. Blood roared in my ears.
From where I lay on my back, I looked down at my body. It didn’t feel like mine. Dark, blackish blood was blooming across my clothes, from my side.
I saw Jax. He had the gun in his hand, and he brought the butt down, hard. His father’s head jerked with the impact, and then he crumpled to lie still on the ground.
And then he was beside me on his knees, breathing hard, face agonised. His hands flitted over me, unsure, panicked.
“Fuck,” he was saying, voice hoarse. “Jesus. Fuck. ”
He pulled out his phone, tried to turn it on. A strange burning sensation was spreading out from my side.
His phone must have been dead, because he threw it with a cry at the opposite wall, where it hit with a crack and landed in the rain.
Then his hands were back on me, pulling at my clothes.
“Your phone, ” He was saying. “Where’s your fucking phone!”
Blood from my side was pooling onto the ground, where it mixed with the rain and turned bright red, spreading out over the concrete.
And then he was making a call, shouting and gesturing. “Hurry the fuck up! God, he’s loosing blood you motherfuckers! Ok, ok. Ok. Yeah. ”
He hung up. It looked he was crying, but I couldn’t tell because of the rain.
He pressed his hands to my wound, and I cried out. God. It was beginning to hurt, like hot burning knives were inside of me.
He was crying. He pulled me onto him, my back against his chest. His wet hair dripped onto my clothes.
“Denver. Denver. Fucking hell. I don’t know if I should move you. ”
“Shhhh. ” I said.
One of his arms was wrapped around my chest, his hand fisted in my clothes.
“Don’t you fucking get it? This is my fucking fault. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. ”
The bullet wound didn’t hurt anymore. I looked up at him, at his ice-chip eyes, the angles of his face, his downturned mouth, his drenched bare shoulders. His lip was cut.
“You don’t understand. ” My voice was steady.
He kissed me, hard and desperate. “You’re a fucking asshole.” He breathed, pulling away. My vision had a funny black border. I stared up at the rain, which looked like it was falling slow. Or not moving at all. It almost felt like the world was flipped, and I was looking down at the sky, raindrops floating up to meet me. I could feel Jax’s strong arms wrapped tight around me, his skin warm against my back. The sparkly weird blackness was creeping closer now.
I wanted to close my eyes.