Thursday, June 28, 2012

Part 3

“Dad, I need to talk to you!”  Jimmy yelled as he roamed the house looking for his dad.  He wasn’t in his usual post in the overstuffed recliner in the living room.  He took the stairs two at a time and pounded on his parent’s bedroom door.
“Dad! Now!”
The door flew open and Dale Brown stood leaned up against it in a pair of boxers.  His face was cross with a slight hint of red on his cheeks.  “What, son?”
“Is Mom in here?  I don’t think she would want to hear this.”
Dale nodded towards the closed bathroom door. 
“Come downstairs then.”
“Sheesh, Jimmy, didn’t I ever teach you how to be patient.”
“Just put some pants on and come downstairs.”
“Watch your attitude young man.”
“Why are you in your boxers anyway?  It’s not even eleven o’clock, yet.  You don’t go to bed this early.”
Dale rubbed the back of his reddening neck.  “Uh, your mother and I were kind of in the middle of something before you barged in.”
“Wow.  That was way too much information for me.”  He pivoted on his foot and headed down the stairs.  “Hurry up, I need to talk to you.”
Dale grabbed his jeans off the bed and pulled them on.  He met Jimmy in the kitchen.
“What’s so important that I had to come down here out of earshot from your mother?”
“It’s about a girl.”
Dale massaged the bridge of his nose.  “What did you do, Jimmy?  Do you need money?”
Jimmy gritted his teeth.  “No, Dad.  I don’t need money.  Yet, anyway.  Might want to save up for bail.”
“Good Lord, Jimmy.  What did you get yourself into?”
“A few of the guys have been hazing the new cheerleader and it went too far tonight.”
“And why do you care about the new cheerleader?  I thought football was your one true love.”
“She didn’t deserve it, Dad.  And I don’t know who it was, but I have this feeling like the next time I see anyone from the football team I’m going to go off on them.  Somebody’s going to get hurt.”
“Calm down, Jimmy.”
Jimmy smacked the back of the chair he was using to lean on.  “I can’t, Dad!  Some guy Lydia doesn’t even know thought he could get his rocks off freaking her out.  I want to kill him!”
“Who’s Lydia?”
“The girl, Dad.  The one that’s been helping me with my geometry.  Remember?”
“Can’t say I do.”
“Figures.  You don’t pay attention to anything that I do,” Jimmy mumbled.
“Do you want my help or not?’ Dale spat out.
“Nevermind.”  Jimmy walked toward the stairs.  His dad grabbed his arm and stopped him. “What’d the guy do?”
“She didn’t say in so many words, but it was bad, Dad.  Really bad.”
Dale narrowed his eyes and looked at his son.  “When a lady says no, she means no.  You got that, Jimmy?”
Jimmy nodded.
“I mean it.  No means no.”  He squeezed his son’s arm.
“Loud and clear, sir.”  He slipped his arm out of his dad’s grip and rubbed the red spot it left.  “Sheesh, Dad, what happened over there to make you like this?”
“Too much,” Dale grumbled.  Jimmy looked at his dad’s eyes. They had the far off look in them that happened everytime someone mentioned Vietnam to him. 
“Tell me.”
Dale blinked his eyes to get the haunting images to leave his eyes.  He crossed his arms and leaned against the wall.  “About the girl, Jimmy.  You do what you gotta do.”
“What if it was Mom?”
Dale rested his hand on his son’s shoulder. “If someone gets hurt, I’ll look the other way.  That answer you question?”
Jimmy nodded.  Dale headed back upstairs.

Michelle Baker knocked on Lydia’s bedroom door.  When she didn’t answer, she walked in and saw her daughter sitting on her bed with silent tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Sweetheart, what happened?”
Lydia leaned her head against the wall and crossed her arms over her stomach. “Why didn’t you stay?  You never listen to me!  If you would’ve stayed, you would know!  You were too busy being mad at Daddy to even care about me!”
Michelle shook her head.  “No, Lydia.  That’s not it.  I just didn’t want to hear what you were going to say.  I can’t stand it when you’re hurting. I’ve seen how you are.  I knew I couldn’t help you, because you always want your daddy to rescue you.  He’s not a superhero, sweetheart.  Somethings you have to figure out by yourself.”
“A boy hurt me, Mama.  He did it on purpose.”
“What did he do, Lydia?” 
“Go ask Daddy.  I don’t want to say it again!”
Michelle backed out of the room and shut Lydia’s door.  She turned around,leaned against it and took a deep breath.  Lt. Baker stood next to the door.
“Did she tell you what I think she told you?” Michelle asked.
“Yes, Shelly, she did.”
Michelle closed her eyes.  “Why?  Why do the boys always do that stuff to her?  Everywhere we go.  Every GD base we’ve ever been on, they look at her and think she’s an easy mark.  I thought it would be different if we got out.”
“I thought so, too.  She doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”
“She’s too pretty,” Michelle whispered.
Lt. Baker grabbed Michelle’s hand and pulled her close to him.  “She’s just like her mama.”  He kissed the top of his wife’s head.  “Beautiful on the outside, smart on the inside.”
The corner of Michelle’s mouth turned up. “If you’re trying to apologize-”
“I don’t want to fight anymore, Shelly. That’s all we’ve done since I retired from the service.  I want my wife to talk to me, to not be angry with me.  I’m sorry for the things that happened, but they were out of my control.” 
“Stop trying to fix things, Danny.  You can’t fix what I broke,” Michelle muttered.  She looked down at the ground.
Lt. Baker tipped her chin so he was looking into his wife’s eyes.“You used to let me do it all the time.  The dryer, the dishwasher, the car.  How many times have you broken that?”
Michelle pushed away from her husband.“Stop it!  Stop rubbing it in!” She turned to walk away, but Lt. Baker grabbed her arm and spun her around so she had nowhere to look but at him.  “I broke your heart, Danny Baker.  You can’t fix that.”
“I can try, Shelly Baker.”  Very slowly, he dragged the knuckles of his hand across the tearstained cheek of his wife and then  leaned in and kissed her.
The door to Lydia’s room opened and her dad took a step back from her mom. To Lydia, they looked like two teenagers that had just got caught by their parents.  “I don’t want to go to school tomorrow.”
“Okay, sweetheart,” Lt. Baker answered.  He grinned.  “It’s Saturday. Don’t think you’d get much done anway.”
“I don’t want to go back to that place ever!” Lydia screamed and slammed the door.
“What are we going to do, Danny?” Michelle sighed.
“I’ll take care of it.  Her friend and I have it handled.”

Lydia hadn’t been to school all week.  Jimmy couldn’t focus on anything.  His last geometry test had a bright red D- marked on it and his football season was about to go out the window if he didn’t fix it.  Right now, he was focused on what was possibly his last starting game of the season if things didn’t change soon.  At halftime, the Warriors were down 3 to 0.  After a five minute butt chewing from Coach Greyson, the team was sitting around talking.  Jimmy looked around for Stokes, but someone’s voice caught his attention.
“Yeah, I took her out to the field and had a good time with her.”
“I bet you did, Warski,” another voice added.
“She made these little noises.  I thought I was going to finish before I started.”
Jimmy’s face turned bright red.  He headed towards Brett Warski, the second string receiver.
“Oh, hey, Brown.  Couldn’t stand not hearing about your girl, Lydia?”
Jimmy grabbed Brett by the shirt collar and threw him up against a bank of lockers.  “Tell them the truth, Warski.”
“The truth?”  Brett smiled.  “She said she couldn’t get enough of me, boys.  Said she’d be waiting for me tonight after the game.”
Jimmy slammed Brett up against the locker again. “Liar.  What the heck do you get out of doing that to her?  She’s a person, she has feelings.  If you needed a lay so bad, why didn’t you find a blow up doll?”
“Lydia’s cheaper.”
Jimmy threw a punch and connected with Brett’s mouth.  He spat a string of curses at him while continuing to beat him and the rest of the football team hopped over the bench to try to separate the two.  Jimmy wouldn’t stop.  Stokes grabbed his best friend by the shoulders and threw him against an opposite bank of lockers.  Jimmy tried to get away, but Stokes had him pinned against the locker.
“Leave it, Brown,” Stokes snapped.  “Leave it.”  He looked at his friend’s eyes.  They were full of rage.
“You have to.  We get 24 more minutes out there.  Then, handle it off the field.  Away from Coach Greyson. Got it?”
“Yeah, Brown.  Why don’t you take your butt buddy’s advice,” Warski snapped rubbing his jaw.
“I’m gonna kill him.  You know that, right?” Jimmy said to Stokes.
“No doubt in my mind you aren’t, Brown.  Football first, though.  Got it?”
Jimmy nodded.
“Good.  You play better when you’re angry anyway.”  Stokes turned around and grabbed Warski’s neck. “You call me that again, you’ll be eating out of a straw, second string.  You can kiss your chances of making it to first string goodbye.”  He raised his eyebrows.  “Ya hear me, Warski?”
“Whatever, Stokes.”
Stokes let go of his neck and pushed Brett’s face away from him.  Brett lost his footing and fell onto the floor.  Jimmy smirked at his friend and then looked at Brett.  “Stay down there with the roaches where you belong, Warski.”  He followed Stokes out of the locker room and didn’t even apologize when he stepped on Brett on his way back to the field.