Chapter 5
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 the door.

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 cup.

“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 gentleman.”

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 recliner.

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 her conversation.

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 old school?”

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 here?”

“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 seduce me.

“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 down.

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 grading papers.

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 player, too?”

“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 up!”

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
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