After my father carried TJ in the house, it became a chaotic scene. My father took him upstairs and laid him in my bed. I was frantic. I kept yelling and screaming. Carter stood in a corner watching silently. My mother was rushing wet towels to my father who was cleaning the wounds on TJ’s body.
“Is he going to live?” I screamed. I was afraid I was going to lose him.
“I think it looks worse than it really is,” my father tried to reassure me. I kept looking at TJ’s listless body. He appeared to be alert, but he still hadn’t said anything. His eyes were swollen, and I didn’t know if he could see me.
“I’ll call 911!” my mother shouted.
“No!” TJ sat up and screamed. “Please don’t call an ambulance. I don’t want to go to the hospital. Please!” He looked in the direction of my mother, but it was obvious he couldn’t see her through his battered eyes.
“Randy.” My mother turned to me. “Run next door and get Elizabeth.” Elizabeth is our next door neighbor. She is a nurse in the emergency room at the hospital. If TJ needed to go to the hospital, she would know.
I bolted down the steps and ran next door. I pounded on the door repeatedly for several minutes before the porch light came on. Mr. Anderson opened it and peeked out.
“Randy, what’s wrong?” he asked sleepily.
“Mr. Anderson, I need to see Mrs. Anderson.” Just as I said that, she looked over her husband’s shoulder.
“Can you come with me?” I asked anxiously. “Someone’s hurt.”
“Is it your father?” she asked worriedly.
“No, a friend of mine. He’s been hurt really bad,” I cried. She disappeared for a minute, and then came out putting on a bathrobe. We hurried back to my room where my father was still wiping the blood off TJ. Elizabeth took one look at him, and she immediately began to attend to his wounds.
“I don’t think anything is broken,” she said after a few minutes. “He’s got some serious bruising. Bring me some ice and let me see if I can get the swelling down. I think we should get him to the hospital.”
“No!” TJ shouted again. “I’ll be alright. I don’t want to go to the hospital.”
“I really think you should,” insisted Elizabeth. “Can you tell me what happened? Who did this to you?”
“I don’t know,” TJ replied as he turned his head away.
“I’ll tell you who did this,” my father said angrily. “That goddamned brother of yours did this. Didn’t he?”
TJ didn’t respond. My mother entered with a plastic bag full of ice. TJ winced when Elizabeth pressed it to his swollen eyes.
My father looked over and noticed Carter for the first time. He’d been so busy taking care of TJ that he hadn’t noticed his presence.
“Who are you?” he asked rather harshly. Carter cowered in the corner.
“He’s a friend of TJ,” I said quickly. “He brought him here.” My father walked over, put his hand on Carter’s shoulder and led him from the room. I followed them into the hallway.
“Do you know what happened?” my father asked him calmly.
“No, Sir,” Carter replied. “He came to my bedroom window and woke me up. I went to the door and found him like that. I didn’t know what to do, so I called a friend and had him bring us here. We couldn’t get him to go to the hospital.”
“You did the right thing, Son.” My embraced him. He instinctively knew Carter was devastated over what had happened and he needed comforted. Carter looked so small wrapped up in my father’s arms.
“I’ll be right back,” My father informed me. “You go back in and see if there’s anything you can do.” He walked down the hall and disappeared into the den.
TJ was sitting up, and Elizabeth was giving him small sips of water. He still couldn’t see, but he heard me enter the room.
“Randy?” he asked softly.
“I’m here, TJ.” I sat on the side of the bed and took his hand in mine. Elizabeth looked down at our hands, and then she looked at me and smiled.
“He’ll be alright, Randy,” she said reassuringly. “It looks like most of the injuries aren’t serious. A lot of bruising, put I don’t think he needs stitches. I’ve been able to stop the bleeding. It’s probably going to be a few days before he can see anything. Just keep the ice on his face. I’ll check on him before I go to the hospital in the morning. If I don’t see any improvement, I’ll take him with me and have a doctor check him out.”
“Thank you, Elizabeth,” my mother said as she walked over and gave her a hug. They’d been friends since before I was born. Mrs. Anderson and her husband had never been able to have children, so they’d adopted me as their son. I liked that because I got some great gifts for my birthday and Christmas.
“You alright, Baby?” I gently kissed his swollen cheek. It was breaking my heart to see him so hurt. It wasn’t the beautiful face I was used to seeing.
“I’ve had better days. It was a great birthday.” Tears were falling from his swollen eyes. I reached out and held him tightly. I looked over at Carter. He shook his head and left the room.
“Ssshhh. It’s all right. You’re safe now,” I assured him as I rocked him in my arms.
“I ain’t nothing but trouble,” he cried. “I ain’t been nothing but trouble all my life.”
“That’s not true, TJ. Could I love you as much as I do if you were trouble?” I whispered in his ear.
“I’m not worth loving. I’ll just make your life miserable too.” He clutched me tighter. “I love you and there’s nothing you can do to make me not love you,” I said as I held him tighter.
“Give me time and you’ll hate me like everyone else.” He released his hold on me and started to move away.
“No, you don’t,” I said angrily. “You’re not going to shut me out. Dammit, I love you.” I grabbed him and pulled him back into me again. He was wracked with emotion. I just held him and rocked him in my arms. After several minutes, I felt his body begin to relax. Realizing he’d finally fallen asleep, I laid him gently down and pulled the covers up onto his body. He was still dressed in his bloody clothes, but I figured he needed his rest more than he did clean clothes.
I left the bedroom and walked downstairs to the kitchen. My father was sitting quietly drinking a cup of coffee.
“Where’s Mom?” I asked.
“She took Carter home. He wanted to walk, but she wouldn’t let him go home alone at this time of night.” He then added, “He’s a rather strange kid.”
“I know” I said thoughtfully. I really didn’t know anything about Carter. I couldn’t figure out why TJ had befriended him. Of all the people at our school, why did he become friends with a known stoner? It made me wonder if TJ was also involved in drugs. I was concerned, too, that maybe TJ and Carter were more than just friends.
“So, what are we going to do?” I questioned my father. I knew he would not let someone hurt TJ without doing something.
“I called Dave, and he’s going to come by in the morning and talk to TJ. We’ll decide what to do after that.” Dave was my dad’s attorney friend who had bailed TJ out of jail.
I still couldn’t comprehend everything that had happened since Friday afternoon. TJ had seen me and Dean kissing. He disappeared and missed the party I had planned for him. He then gets arrested for shoplifting. He goes home where his mother accuses me and my father of sexually abusing him. Then he shows up at our house beaten and battered. What a way to spend a birthday!
“You okay, Son.” My father looked at me sympathetically. “I know how you feel about TJ. He’ll be all right.” I walked over to my father and fell into his arms. Everything that had happened to TJ finally overwhelmed me. I needed my father to hold me. Several minutes later my mother came into the room. After talking a few minutes with them, I decided to go to bed.
I went to my bedroom and closed the door. After stripping down to my boxer shorts, I climbed quietly into bed. TJ rolled over and put his arm across my chest.
“I love you.”
He moved closer and nestled his head into my shoulder. A few minutes later, he began snoring softly.
* * * * * * *
The past twenty four hours have been a nightmare. I had to be stupid and take that bottle of cheap wine. Funny thing is, I don’t like drinking wine. It usually gives me a headache. But after what had happened in Carter’s bed, I just needed anything to take my mind off the crazy thoughts going through my head.
My first instinct was to hate Carter. It disgusted me to think what he’d done. Then, I began to feel sorry for him. I thought how desperate he must be for love that he felt he couldn’t get it any other way than to take it from someone who was asleep.
I remembered the look in his eyes when he was jacking off admiring my body. He was so busy looking at my dick that he didn’t see me watching him. He never said it, but I knew he was falling in love with me. He had sat next to me all night and really seemed to be comfortable. He would never tell me how he felt because he knew I was in love with Randy.
A week ago I’d cried myself to sleep because I didn’t think I would ever find love. Now I had two guys I thought were in love with me. I should be happy, but I was miserable. When I saw that bottle of wine, I felt I could get some temporary relief. I got relief; it just wasn’t what I thought.
I don’t think I have ever been so ashamed as I was when I looked at the disappointed face on Mr. Lawrence’s face when he came and picked me up at the jail. When I went out with him and saw my mother sitting passed out in the lobby, I wanted to run as far away as I could.
To make matters worse, he insisted on taking us home. I wanted to take the bus, but he forced us to let him take us home. My mother was more than happy to accept the ride; at least she wouldn’t have to pay for bus fare.
Overwhelming shame overcame me when he entered our house and saw the pig sty we call home. It hadn’t been cleaned in weeks. Beer cans littered the house. To make matters worse, Butch had to come out in his underwear and begin making a scene.
When Mr. Lawrence offered to let me return home with him, my mother went into a tirade. She called him a pervert and asked him if he was fucking me like his son was. I held my head in shame. She screamed some of the most obscene words at him. He stormed out of the house, not even bothering to look back.
After he left things got worse. I went to my room, but my mother kept coming in and yelling at me. Each time she returned, she was drunker than the time before. I wanted to scream as I listened to the vile words she was hurling at me. I knew she never loved me, but I didn’t realize she possessed such bitter hatred. After several hours of verbal abuse, I heard her stumble into her bedroom. When I looked in, she was passed out on her bed.
I went to bed around midnight, depressed and hungry. I tried to sleep, but couldn’t. I had been in bed an hour when I heard Butch return from his night out. He stumbled down the hall and into his bedroom. Five minutes later, I heard him open my bedroom door. I looked over and he was walking towards my bed completely naked. His small, ugly cock was jutting out, and he was stroking it as he approached.
He stood over my bed and threw the covers off me. He looked down angrily at me and spat, “Fag! I’m going to show you what a real man does.” With those words he threw his filthy body on me and pressed me to the bed. I could feel his cock trying to penetrate me from behind. He was tearing at my underwear in an attempt to pull them off. I was thrashing around on the bed, trying to throw him off me.
“Stop fighting me! You’re going to let me fuck that ass, Bitch!” He began to stab his cock into me. I gave a final push and managed to throw him off. I then rolled over and tried to get off the bed.
Suddenly, I felt a searing pain to my face. Then another and another. I knew he was trying to kill me. He kept pummeling me with his fists. I was so dizzy from the pain that I could not fight back. After several more blows, I passed out.
I awoke later completely disoriented. I was lying in a pool of blood. I tried to see what time it was, but my eyes were blurry. I felt my face and realize it was swollen. Blood was dripping down onto my chest. Butch was nowhere around. I reached behind me to see if he had raped me, and I sighed when I realized he had not. My stomach was wet with his cum. He must have masturbated on me and then gone to bed.
I got dressed and went to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and gasped when I saw myself. My face was heavily bruised and my eyes were almost swollen shut. Blood darkened my face, making it almost unrecognizable. I ran out of the house and stood on the street. I was quickly loosing my vision.
I knew I needed help. I couldn’t call for an ambulance. I didn’t have any insurance to pay my medical bills. The hospital would call the police. Once they found out what had happened, they would call children’s services and place me in foster care. I didn’t want that. I’d heard stories about kids who had been taken from their home, especially kids my age. I only had one more year until I turned eighteen. Then I could be on my own. I had endured my life for seventeen years; I could make it one more.
I started walking, barely able to see. My eyes were quickly closing. The only place I knew to go was to Carter’s. I had planned on never seeing him again, but right now he was the only person I knew I could trust.
When I reached his house, I went around to his bedroom window and began tapping lightly. When I didn’t get a response, I knocked a little harder. Soon, I heard his bedroom window open. By then, both my eyes had closed shut.
“TJ? What in the fuck do you...Oh, Christ, hold on! I’ll be right out.” Seconds later, I heard footsteps coming around the house. He grabbed me by my waist and led me to the chairs beside the garage.
“What the fuck happened?” he asked worriedly.
“I need help. I can’t see!” I cried.
“I’ll wake my mother up and have her take you to the hospital.”
“NO!” I screamed. “You can’t take me there.”
“Jesus, Man. What can I do?” He was becoming frantic.
“I don’t know. I’m scared!” I screamed.
“Wait here. I’ll be right back.” I heard him running away. It sounded like he ran next door. About five minutes later he came back. I could hear someone with him.
“TJ, I’m back,” he said breathlessly. “I brought Robby with me. He’s a friend of mine who lives next door. I’m going to have him take you to Randy’s house.”
“I can’t go there like this,” I cried.
“I don’t know what else to do,” he said excitedly. “They’ll be able to help you.”
He helped me up. I could feel another pair of hands take hold of me. They led me out to a car parked on the street. Carter opened the back door and helped me in. He then got in beside me. I gave Robby Randy’s address and he quickly pulled off.
Carter gently placed my head onto his lap and lightly stroked my hair on the way to Randy‘s house. He kept telling me that everything would be all right. I felt him kiss my forehead several times. Suddenly, all the anger I had for him earlier left me. I was glad he was beside me.