I was sound asleep when someone entered my room. I felt a weight on the bed,
and I squinted to see who it was. I really didn’t need to see. I already knew.
“Better wake up,” announced Lane as he took two fingers and pulled open my eye.
I rolled over and groaned, “Let me sleep, Lane.” He threw his body on top of mine
and attempted to tickle me in my ribs. Since I’m not ticklish, it didn’t bother me;
however, I let out a scream so he would think I was.
“Stop!” I shouted as I rolled onto my back. He straddled my body as he looked
down at me. Suddenly, he pushed his butt against my erection.
He started giggling and jumped off me. “Someone’s got a hard willy!”
“Like you don’t get them,” I muttered as I pulled the cover over my head and
rested on my side.
He started pushing on my shoulder. “You better get up.”
“Why?” I asked as I turned toward him.
“Randy told me to wake you up. You’re supposed to come upstairs for breakfast.”
Just then, I heard my father’s voice at the top of the stairs. “Skipper! Casey! You
boys hurry up.”
I pulled the covers off me and stood. Lane stared at the obvious protrusion in my
underwear. I covered myself with my hands. “Do you mind?”
Lane giggled and stood. He grabbed the front of his shorts and pressed against
them. “I’m getting a hard willy, too.”
I grabbed his shoulders and pushed him toward the door. “Well, you take your willy
and go upstairs while I go take a shower.”
He giggled and asked, “You going to play with yours?” His face reddened as he
added, “I play with mine in the shower sometimes.”
I pushed him out of the room. “That is too much information,” I laughed as I closed
After showering and getting dressed, I went upstairs to the kitchen. My father,
Karen and Lane were just finishing up breakfast. I sat down at the seat beside Lane
where there was a bowl of cereal and a glass of milk.
Lane grinned widely when I sat beside him. “I hope you like Fruit Loops, Casey,” he
said. “I like Fruit Loops.”
He smiled when I responded, “Yeah, sure. I like Fruit Loops.” I looked over at
Karen and asked, “Do you have any coffee?” She started to rise, but I told her she
didn’t have to wait on me. I poured myself a cup of coffee, and then I refilled her
“My, what a nice thing to do, Casey,” she said appreciatively. My father grunted
when she added, “Randy, you should take tips from your son on how to be a
When I was finished eating, I started to get up and go back to my room, but my
father stopped me. “Casey,” he said. “I’ve taken the morning off. I’m taking you to
school to enroll you in classes.”
I asked surprisingly, “What? It’s Friday. Can’t we wait until Monday?”
He shook his head and responded, “I can’t on Monday. I’m meeting with
out-of-state clients all day.” He put down the paper he had been scanning.
“It has to be today.”
Lane asked excitedly, “Can I ride to school with you?”
My father looked at me and laughed slightly. “If Casey moves his butt now so you
won’t be late to your morning class.”
Lane stood and grabbed my hand. “Come on, Casey.” He pulled me to my feet. “I
don’t want to walk to school.”
I looked around the room. “What about Rodney and Curtis?”
“Rodney has a car,” my father informed me. “He and Curtis have already left.”
I looked down at Lane who was still holding onto my hand. “Why don’t you ride
with your brothers?”
He frowned and replied sadly, “They won’t take me to school.” When I asked him
why, he shrugged his shoulders.
I felt repulsed when my father kissed Karen on the cheek as we left the kitchen.
She hugged Lane, and for an instant, I felt she wanted to hug me. I hurried out the
door before she had a chance.
As we drove to school, my father asked me in what grade I would be enrolling. It
hurt me that he didn’t even know. “I’ll be a junior,” I replied with a tone of
irritation in my voice.
He immediately responded. “Listen, Casey,” he said as he turned to look at me.
“I know I should have...”
I interrupted him by turning and looking at Lane in the backseat. “You want me to
meet you outside after school, and we can walk home together?”
His eyes lit up. “Yeah, Casey. That would be cool.” I ignored my father’s stare.
When we arrived at school, my father and I escorted Lane to his class. I looked
around the room while my father talked to Lane’s teacher. It was interesting to
observe all the assignments that were taped on the walls. In my former school,
some teachers might have a motivational poster or two, but most of the classroom
walls were rather bare.
In Lane’s classroom, students’ works were prominently on display. There were
written assignments, drawings and completed homework. All had a bold comment
written by his teacher. She also liked to display stars on the work. Most
assignments had five red stars.
I jumped when Lane walked up, gripped my hand and pulled me over to the back
of the room. “I did this,” he exclaimed proudly as he showed me a colored map of
the United States. “I even copied all the states right,” he said with a smile.
My father stepped up beside him and put his hands on his shoulder. “Good job,
Skipper,” he said as he observed the map. He looked over at me and asked, “Don’t
you think so, Casey?”
“Yeah, sure,” I replied as I walked away. I felt saddened because he had rarely
been involved in my education. My mother was the one who attended the parent-
teacher conferences. She always made excuses that he was too busy at work to
attend. However, when we would return home, he would usually be asleep in his
After leaving Lane’s room, we made our way to the office. My father kept insisting
how much I was going to enjoy the school. “Rodney and Curtis are very popular,”
he exclaimed proudly. “Both play football, basketball and baseball. I’m sure they’ll
be happy to introduce you to some of their friends.”
I snidely remarked, “They haven’t even introduced themselves to me yet.”
“Yes, well,” he stammered. “They are very busy boys.”
“Yeah, sure,” I replied as I opened the office door and stepped inside.
The principal was talking to the school secretary when we entered. He looked up,
walked over to my father and shook his hand. “Randy, Old Boy, how are things
going?” He glanced over at me. “What brings you here today?”
“George,” he replied. “I want you to meet my boy, Casey.” I reluctantly shook his
hand. “This is Mr. Snyder, the principal here,” he informed me.
Mr. Snyder seemed surprised as he stated, “I didn’t know Karen had another son.”
My father’s face reddened as he replied, “Casey is my son.” He looked over at me
nervously, “from my first marriage.”
“I see,” replied Mr. Snyder. He shook my hand again, as he asked my father, “And
how can I help you today?” My father nervously explained how I was now living
with him, and that I needed to enroll in school.
While my father remained behind to talk to Mr. Snyder, I instructed to go across
the hall to the guidance office. I was told to report to a room where a young
woman, probably no more than about twenty-five years old was talking on the
phone. She motioned for me to have a seat. I waited until she was finished with
After hanging up, she smiled pleasantly and extended her hand. “Hello, Casey,” she
said, “I’m Ms. Moore. I’ll be your guidance counselor.” I followed her down a
narrow hallway to a small, cramped office. She had me sit in a chair beside her
desk while she typed something into her computer.
“Oh!” she said surprisingly. “A teacher has already requested you for his class.” She
gave me a puzzled look. “I thought this was your first day here?”
“It is,” I replied. I then recalled meeting the baseball coach in the hallway. I
assumed he was the teacher who had made the request. She finished typing, and
then waited for my schedule to be printed.
“There you go,” she said with a smile. “All set. Now, look over it to see if you have
any questions. I tried to match you with the same classes you were previously
taking at your other school.”
I quickly scanned the schedule. I had seven classes. At my old school, I only had
six. I noticed that I had Mr. Wentworth fourth period for Junior English. The other
classes matched the ones I had been taking with the exception of a seventh period
gym class. Again, I was assigned to Mr. Wentworth.
I pointed to the class. “I already took gym during my freshman year. Do I have to
take it again?”
She took my schedule and studied it. “It’s just an elective,” she informed me.
“Since we are on a seven period schedule, it’s a way for students to take classes
that may be more interesting than the normal studies like English, history and
science.” She looked over at the computer, and then she added,
“It appears Mr. Wentworth requested you take the class.”
I questioned, “But why?”
She quickly scanned my body. “Mr. Wentworth has an eye for athletes,” she said.
“He grabs up all the good ones before the other coaches have a chance to recruit
them.” She scanned my body again before asking, “Did you excel in sports at your
I started laughing. “No,” I replied, “Unless you want to call skipping classes a sport.”
“Well,” she said, “I’m sure Mr. Wentworth sees some potential in you.”
I laughed again and said, “I don’t know what. If he’s looking for a baseball player,
he’s going to be disappointed. I’ve never played baseball.”
“Maybe it has something to do with your stepbrothers, Rodney and Curtis. They
play baseball for Mr. Wentworth.”
She jumped when I said angrily, “They are not my stepbrothers.”
“I’m sorry,” she apologized, “but I thought you were Randy Barrett’s son? That’s
what Mr. Snyder told me on the phone.”
“He is my father,” I replied tersely, “but I’m no relation to the other boys.”
“I see,” she responded apologetically as she studied me carefully. “Anyway,” she
said as she stood. “Let me escort you to your first period class.” She looked at the
clock on the wall. “Class should be over in about ten minutes, but you can meet Mr.
Snowden, your chemistry teacher.”
“I have to start classes today?” I asked surprisingly. “I thought I would just register
today and start on Monday.”
“Nonsense,” she said as I followed her down the hall. “Why waste an entire day.”
She laughed when I replied, “I’m okay with that.”
I was embarrassed when Ms. Moore took me to my class. I followed her across the
room to Mr. Snowden’s desk. I heard several students giggle as I crossed the
room. When I glanced out of the corner of my eye, I saw three girls staring intently
at me. I quickly looked away when one gave me a flirtatious wink.
Mr. Snowden was a small, wiry man with a shrill voice. I wanted to laugh when he
extended his hand to mine. His felt like a cold, wet fish when I shook it. The three
girls giggled again when he looked around for an empty desk. He had me sit behind
one of the girls, a tall, buxomly blond. She was wearing a tight sweater that left
little to the imagination. The other two girls gave her a jealous look when I sat
down behind her.
Mr. Snowden went back to the board to finish discussing a problem he had been
working on when Ms. Moore and I interrupted him. No one in the class was paying
attention. Many students pulled their book bags from the floor to await the bell.
When the bell rang, I rose from my desk and pulled out my schedule to see where
my next class was located. The blonde snuggled up beside me and looked at the
schedule as she pressed her breast against my arm. She gave me a puzzled look
when I took a step away from her.
“Hi,” she said as she gave me another flirtatious look. “I’m Monica. Are you new
“Yeah,” I replied as I looked down at my schedule. She once again took a step
closer to look at it. The two other girls giggled as they watched her attempt to
“You have Mrs. Bedlaw next,” she cooed. “We’re in the same class.” She wrapped
her arm around mine and led me from the room. “I’ll show you how to get there.” I
glanced behind us to see the other girls following us. They had cold, angry looks on
their face. I felt like a bridal bouquet that had been fought over at a wedding
reception, and Monica had wrestled it from the hands of the others.
She attempted to find out as much as she could about me in the brief three minutes
it took us to walk to our next class. Other than telling her my first name, I
managed to ignore most of her questions.
However, she was more than happy to give me details of her life. She was a
varsity cheerleader, which I had already assumed. Besides being extremely pretty,
she was also athletic. She did let me know that she was ‘single’ for the time being,
which elicited giggles from the two girls behind us.
As we approached the classroom, I noticed Curtis standing outside the door talking
to several other guys. Monica wrapped arm tighter around mine as we drew
nearer. Curtis scowled at us when he saw how closely we were walking. Judging by
the angry look on his face, I quickly assumed that he might be the reason that
Monica was temporarily single.
She led me over to Mrs. Bedlaw. Monica seemed upset when she told her to take
her seat. I was assigned a history book, and she then told me to have a seat in the
back. When I walked down the aisle, I saw Curtis sitting behind the desk I had
been assigned. He looked angrily at me when I approached. I looked away and sat
After the bell rang, Mrs. Bedlaw told us to open our books to chapter 14. She gave
us twenty minutes to silently read ten pages about the Industrial Revolution, and
then we were to answer the unit questions that followed.
I opened the book and began reading. A minute later, Curtis kicked the back of my
desk, leaned forward, and threateningly whispered in my ear, “You better back off
Monica if you know what’s good for you.”
I ignored him and continued to read. Seconds later, he kicked the back of my desk
again. He asked angrily, “Did you hear what I said?” I quickly glanced toward the
front of the room to see if the teacher was observing us. She appeared to be busily
I turned slightly and whispered, “Fuck you.” I looked back at his face as it reddened
with anger. Even though I did not intend to pursue Monica, I had dealt with guys
like Curtis before. If he thought he could control you, then he could make your life
miserable. I wanted him to know that I wasn’t scared of him. I realized it was
dangerous territory because we would have to live in the same house, but I did not
intend to make it a permanent situation. Sooner, rather than later, I was planning
to leave anyway.
I turned back around, and he kicked the back of my desk again. He leaned forward
and whispered angrily in my ear, “You’re dead meat.”
I mumbled loud enough for him to hear, “I ain’t scared of you, Fucker.” He kicked
the back of my desk once again, but then he left me alone the rest of the period.
When the bell rang and I got up to leave, Curtis brushed past me and walked
away. He said something to a friend at the door, and they turned to look at me.
Monica walked up with her two friends, wrapped her arm around mine and led me
to the door.
Once outside, we stopped and she asked to see my schedule. I started to hand it to
her, but a guy who had walked out behind us, snatched it from her hand and
scanned it. Monica tried to grab it, but he held it away from her as he read over it.
“Give it to me, Mike,” she pleaded in a whiny voice. He looked at me with a
satisfied smile on his face. He was very attractive. He was about my size, but he
had blue eyes, unlike my brown ones. His hair was blonde and stylish. It appeared
he had probably stood before the mirror before he came to school to make sure
each strand was in place. He had on expensive clothing, not like the other students
who wore jeans and cotton shirts.
After reading over my schedule, he extended his hand. “Hi, Casey,” he said with a
firm handshake. Monica quickly snatched my schedule from his hand. “I’m Mike
McConnell.” He looked over at Monica and laughed. “Monica is my sister.” I looked
back and forth between them, and I could instantly notice a resemblance. She was
several inches shorter, but their facial features were nearly the same.
She muttered as she looked at my schedule, “He’s an asshole.”
Mike grabbed me by my right arm and pulled me away. “Come on, Casey. We both
have Shivers for Trig. I’ll show you where it’s at.”
Monica grabbed my left arm and pulled on it. “I’ll show him, you dimwit.”
“You’re too stupid to be taking trig,” he replied as he pulled me away. Monica
stormed off with her two friends trailing behind.
“Thanks,” I said appreciatively as I walked beside him to class.
He laughed and replied, “No problem. Monica is like a piranha when a cute, new
boy enrolls in school.” I glanced over at him when he said cute. As if reading my
mind, he looked over and grinned.
Mike introduced me to Mr. Shivers. He was a young teacher, and he seemed to
relate well with his class. He greeted everyone at the door with a warm welcome.
“Well, Casey,” he said as he handed me a book. He looked over at Mike. “At least
you’re associating with the right people.” He looked at Mike and winked. Mike
shoved him gently on the arm, and we walked to the back of the room. He
motioned for me to sit beside him. Another boy approached and told me that was
his seat, but Mike politely asked him if I could sit there. The guy shrugged his
shoulders and took a seat behind me.
Mr. Shivers spent the first twenty minutes going over the homework assignment.
He had several students go to the board and demonstrate how they had arrived at
an answer for a problem. I watched in amazement as Mike worked out an
extremely difficult one. I could never stand as confidently in front of a class as he
did. He gave me a slight wink when he walked back and took his seat.
For the last half of the period, Mr. Shivers gave an assignment from the book, and
he informed us we could work together as long as we worked quietly. The class
erupted into laughter. “Okay,” he said jokingly. “At least keep it down to a low
roar. And if Mr. Snyder peeks into the room, act like you’re working.”
The class laughed again when a boy off to my right hollered out, “Sure thing,
Teach. We got you covered.”
Mike pulled his desk beside mine. “Wanna work together?” He laughed and added,
“Not like you have much of a choice anyway.”
“Sure,” I grinned as he scooted closer. He opened his book and we began to work
on the assignment.
After watching him work a few problems and then copying it to my paper, he
stopped, looked at me and asked, “So, what’s your story? What brings you here?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know,” I replied. “Stuff.”
“I see,” he replied. “Parents get a divorce?”
“No,” I answered. “They did that a few years ago.” He looked at me and waited a
second for me to continue my story.
When I didn’t say anything more, he laughed and said, “I guess I’m in the 'mind
my own business' territory, huh?”
I grinned and replied, “Yeah. Something like that.”
“It’s all good,” he said with a grin. “I’ll charm it out of you later.”
His eyes sparkled as stared into mine. I stared into them as I replied, “You’re
pretty sure of yourself, aren’t you?”
He winked seductively and said, “I got my ways.”
My face reddened as I responded, “I bet you do.”
We continued working the rest of the period on the assignment. We finished it just
before the class ended. Mike took my schedule off my desk and examined it again.
“Hey, this is kind of like Providence,” he said excitedly.
I gave him a puzzled look. “What?”
“We have the same afternoon classes,” he replied. I scanned my schedule again.
I asked, “You have Mr. Wentworth twice like me?”
He replied, “Coach? Yeah, sure.” He quickly scanned my body. “You must be a ball
“Nope,” I said. “Never have.”
“If you got Coach for two classes,” he said, “then you’re playing baseball for our
team.” The bell rang, and we rose from our seats. Mike put his arm around my
shoulder as we started to exit the room.
“Let’s go see Coach,” he said as we walked down the hall with his arm still around
me. It felt awkward, but I was too afraid to step away from him. He was making a
sincere effort to be my friend. Besides, he was cute as hell, and if he wanted to
walk with me like that, then I wasn’t going to be stupid enough to ruin it. Besides,
no one seemed to even notice. Mike did seem popular, though, because almost
everyone we passed called out his name.
As we continued down the hall, I saw Curtis approaching. He stepped up in front of
us and stopped. He turned to his friends who were walking with him. “Aw, look
guys at the two little lovebirds.” I immediately pulled away from Mike’s embrace.
Mike’s body went rigid as he confronted Curtis. “Go to hell, Crawford.”
Curtis looked at me and laughed. “Don’t worry, Mikey. I’m not going to steal your
boyfriend from you.”
“Fuck you,” spat Mike. He turned to me and grabbed my arm. “Let’s go Casey. I
don’t have time to scrap his shit off the floors when I knock him out.”
“Ohhh,” cooed Curtis. “Acting tough for your new boyfriend?”
I stepped between Curtis and Mike. I snarled at Curtis,“Why don’t you shut the fuck
By then students were beginning to gather around. Curtis seemed to quickly
evaluate the situation, and then he turned to his buddies. “Let’s go,” he said as he
pointed down the hall. He angrily looked at me and stated threateningly,
“I’ll deal with you later when I get home.
I replied sarcastically, “I’ll be waiting.” He turned and hurried off down the hall.
* * * * * * *
Chapter 6 Return to TMJ
Birds Don't Sing
Before a Storm