The cafeteria was alive with chatter when Kyle arrived. When he stood in line to get
his milk and stale doughnut, he could overhear students talking about what
happening the night before.
He had seen Brad taken away in police car, but he didn’t wait up to see if he
returned home. After listening to some of the conversation, it appeared Brad was
being held in jail for assault.
“I heard he almost killed the guy,” remarked one guy to his friend.
His friend asked, “Do you know him?”
“Nah,” he replied. “Supposed to be some sophomore. No one knows him.”
Kyle was slowly beginning to put the pieces together. For some reason, Buddy went
to Brad’s home and was beaten by Brad as some other football players attempted
to stop him. That must have been the reason he stumbled in front of his father’s
car. He was also picking up talk about drugs and Joy Riddler, but he wasn’t able to
understand what they had to do with Buddy’s beating.
He made his way to the south side of the cafeteria and sat down alone at a table.
After laying his book bag on the table, he pulled out his literature book and tried to
catch up on a short story that had been assigned as homework. With all the activity
the night before, he didn’t have a chance to read it.
As he was reading, he was interrupted by another student who sat down across
“Hi!” He waved timidly at Kyle. “I’m Donald Dillon, but everyone just calls me
Donnie.” He extended his hand for Kyle to shake.
Kyle skeptically shook his hand. “I’m Kyle Caldwell.”
The boy laughed nervously and said, “I know who you are.” Kyle found him very
attractive. He reminded him of Jordan. He was medium build, and he didn’t appear
athletic even though he was wearing a Cowboys football jersey that seemed two
sizes too large for him. His sandy brown hair was short, and he had soft blue eyes.
He had a beautiful smile with straight white teeth.
Kyle glanced down so the boy wouldn’t notice him staring. “So you got Oswald for
lit?” he laughed. He grabbed the book from Kyle’s hand and looked at the story he
was reading. “Masque of the Red Death,” he said excitedly. “I read this last week.
It was pretty decent.”
Kyle smiled and said, “Then you can give me a Cliff Note version of what it’s about.
I didn’t have time to read it last night.”
“I bet,” replied Donnie. “I heard about everything that happened on your street. I
live over on Somerset. I saw all the cops around your house.”
Kyle laughed and said, “There was a lot of excitement.”
“Is it true?” asked Donnie. “Did your old man really hit that kid?”
“Listen,” responded Kyle rudely as he put his book in his book bag and started to
get up from the table. “I don’t know you, and I really don’t want to discuss what
happened last night with a stranger.”
Donnie grabbed his arm gently. “It’s okay,” he assured Kyle. “I really don’t want to
talk about what happened.”
“Then what do you want?” Kyle asked skeptically.
Donnie looked around to see if anyone was sitting nearby. Then he leaned in and
whispered softly. “I heard rumors you’re gay.” He did a quick look around before
continuing. “I thought I was the only one in the school.”
Hesitantly, Kyle sat back down and stared at the handsome boy across from him.
He seemed sincere, but he still didn’t know if he could trust him. “So why do you
want to talk to me?”
Donnie shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know,” he replied. “I guess I’m looking for
a friend.” He looked around the cafeteria. “I’ve been going to this lousy school for
two years and no one will talk to me.”
Kyle looked skeptically at Donnie and asked, “So why do you want to talk to me?”
Donnie looked over and replied, “I just want us to be friends, is all.”
Kyle studied his face before responding. “I’m not looking for a boyfriend.”
“No!” replied Donnie excitedly. “I’m not trying to hit on you or anything. I just
thought we could talk, you know, about things.”
Just then, the bell rang and Kyle stood and pulled his book bag over his shoulder.
“So what do you think?” Donnie asked as they started walking away from the table.
Kyle looked over and smiled. “Maybe,” he replied.
“Cool!” exclaimed Donnie excitedly. “Maybe I’ll see you at lunch.” Kyle nodded his
head and laughed as Donnie took off hurriedly down the hall.
He thought to himself, “Maybe I’ve found my first friend.” He smiled and laughed.
“He’s cute, too.” He pulled the book bag tighter over his shoulder and headed to
* * * * *
“But you don’t understand!” Andre shouted as he struggled with the hospital
security guard. “I’ve got to see him!”
The burly guard wrapped Andre’s arms behind his back. “Settle down, Kid. I don’t
want to hurt you.” Andre’s smaller body was no match for the husky man.
Andre’s body went limp as he stopped struggling. “He needs me!” he cried. “Please,
let me see him!”
A nurse stepped up and held his arm. “He’s still in surgery,” she informed him.
Andre asked tearfully, “Then he’s still alive?”
She smiled softly and gripped his arm tighter. “He’s in surgery,” she assured him.
“That means he’s still alive.” She pointed to a seat in the waiting room. “Why don’t
you sit down, and I’ll let you know when he gets out of surgery. Okay?”
Andre nodded, and the security guard helped him over to the seat. He patted Andre
gently on the shoulder before walking away. Andre sat back and cried.
“He can’t be dead,” he cried to an empty room. He sat alone for two hours. When
he heard the elevator door open, he jumped up and rushed to the woman who
came limping into the room.
“Aunt Mavis!” he shouted as he wrapped his arms around her. She was dressed in a
shabby jacket. It appeared she had left the house quickly. Underneath her coat,
she still had on her blue nightgown. She was wearing brown, fluffy slippers.
“How is he?” she asked worriedly. “That deadbeat sister of mine told me what
He led her to the sofa. “I don’t know,” he replied as they sat down. He took her
hand and held it. “I’ve been here for over two hours and no one has come out and
She looked worriedly into Andre’s eyes. “What was he doing in that neighborhood
anyways? The police said he walked into a car.”
Andre shrugged his shoulders. “I’ve been trying to figure that out myself.”
Mavis gripped his hand tighter. “Is he working for Aubry? That’s what his mother
told me when she called.”
“Is she coming to the hospital?”
Mavis shook her head. “She’s working.” They both knew that even if she were at
home, she still wouldn’t come to see her injured son.
Mavis sighed deeply. “Poor Buddy has never had a break. He has to put up with
that mother of his, and now this.” She pulled a stained handkerchief from her
pocket and dabbed at the tears in her eyes. “I hate to say this,” she continued,
“but maybe it’s best that he doesn’t survive.”
“Mavis!” cried Andre. “How can you say something like that?”
She started crying uncontrollably. “I’m sorry,” she wept, “but that poor baby
doesn’t have a chance in this world.” She pulled Andre into her arms and they held
each other tightly as they wept.
* * * * * *
Kyle was sitting in the cafeteria nibbling on a cold chicken nugget. It had been a
busy morning. Brad was the conversation of the entire building. Even sitting alone,
he could still here his name being mentioned at nearby tables.
From the rumors he overheard, Brad and a few other members of the football
team were over at Brad’s house. His parents weren’t home, and someone had
brought some weed over to smoke. When they ran out, David Gaston, a tight end,
called a friend to see if they could get some more. An hour later, Buddy arrived.
When Brad saw him, he became violent and began hitting him mercilessly. Some of
his friends tried to stop him, but not before Buddy was pushed into the pool. They
managed to get Brad inside, but when they went out to check on Buddy, he had
disappeared. Ten minutes later, they heard sirens. When they looked outside, they
saw the fire department and ambulances on the street. Brad’s friends were able to
get away in a car before the police cordoned off the area.
Kyle was still unclear what happened next. From what he noticed the night before,
and from a few conversations he overheard, the police brought in a canine unit and
they were able to trace Buddy’s scent to Brad’s backyard. After questioning Brad,
he was taken downtown. As far as anyone knew, he was still there since he hadn’t
appeared in school.
Kyle took another bite of the chicken nugget, and then tossed it back onto his
plate. “Tastes like shit,” he mumbled to himself. Just then, he looked up and saw
Donnie approaching his table. Donnie broke out into a wide grin when he sat down.
“You don’t mind, do you?” he asked as he unwrapped a cheeseburger and took a
“No,” replied Kyle nervously.
“Good,” smiled Donnie. “I was going to sit here anyway.” He let out a chuckle as he
reached for one of Kyle’s chicken nuggets. He took a bite and spit it out into his
hand. “Jesus,” he said. “Tastes like shit.” Kyle sat back and laughed.
He took another bite of his cheeseburger and asked, “So, how’s your day going?”
Kyle shrugged his shoulders, “Okay, I guess. Everyone is talking about what
happened last night.”
“Yeah,” replied Kyle. “Talk about drama. I even heard you’re messed up in all this?”
“I am?” Kyle asked excitedly, “How?”
“It seems like your sister started all this shit when she broke up with Brad,” he
said. “Now all this is rumor,” he assured Kyle, “but it seems like Brad was out to
get that poor stiff who was hit by the car.”
Kyle shook his head. “I still don’t see how he is involved. I don’t think my sister
even knows him.”
Donnie looked around to make sure no one was listening. He leaned over the table
and said, “I overheard a guy who knows a guy who was at Brad’s house last night.”
Kyle leaned forward and nodded his head. “He says the guy who got hit by your
dad’s car saw Brad and Joy fucking in the hall last week. He thinks the guy told
your sister, so he beat the shit out of him.”
Kyle’s eyes widened, “What?”
“Yeah,” replied Donnie excitedly. “When that poor guy showed up at his house last
night to drop off some weed, Brad went nuts.”
Kyle asked, “So where is Brad now?”
“The guy said he’s locked up in juvie until they find out if the kid dies or not.”
Kyle slumped down in his seat. Donnie reached over and grabbed another chicken
nugget, examined it, and stuffed it in his mouth. He asked, “You okay?”
“I suppose,” responded Kyle. “It’s just a shame some innocent guy got caught up in
“He wasn’t all that innocent,” remarked Donnie. “He was delivering weed to
Kyle looked away and thought about Buddy lying somewhere in a hospital bed; that
is, if he was still even alive. Kyle had seen him a few times, and he appeared to be
a pretty nice guy. He kept to himself, and he didn’t deserve what happened to him.
Donnie looked at the clock on the wall and noticed the bell was getting ready to
ring. He stuffed the remainder of his hamburger into this mouth. “What are you
doing after school?” he asked with a mouthful of food.
Kyle asked, “What?” He smiled as he watched Donnie try to quickly swallow the
“I asked, what are you doing after school?”
Kyle asked, “Why?”
“I dunno,” replied Donnie. “I just thought we could hang out. I can drive you home,
if you like.”
Kyle’s eyes opened wide. “You have a car?”
Donnie’s face reddened slightly. “Yeah,” he replied. “My dad is Jeff Dillon.”
“Jeff Dillon?” squealed Kyle. “Like in Jeff Dillon Ford? The guy I see on the
television all the time?”
Donnie shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah, I guess.” The bell rang and they rose from
their seats. “So, what do you say? Can I take you home after school?”
Kyle eyed Donnie suspiciously before replying. Donnie was attractive and friendly,
but he wasn’t ready to become involved with someone, at least not yet. As if he
read his mind, Donnie smiled and said, “I’m just taking you home. I’m not asking
you for a date.”
Kyle flung his book bag over his shoulder and headed for the door. “Okay,” he
replied as Donnie ran up beside him.
“Good,” said Donnie with a smile. “Meet me in the parking lot after school.” Kyle
nodded and hurried away.
* * * * *
Mavis was asleep with her head on Andre’s shoulder when someone exited the
double metal doors. She awoke when Andre sat up and nudged her slightly.
She asked sleepily, “What?”
“I think the doctor is here,” he replied as he stood before the elderly doctor in
green scrubs. Andre extended his hand and pulled Mavis to her feet.
They both stood silent, waiting to hear what the doctor would say about Buddy.
Andre almost collapsed to the ground when the doctor smiled and said, “He’ll be
He helped Mavis and Andre back to the leather loveseat, and then he walked across
the room to get a metal chair. He straddled it as he sat down before them. Mavis
and Andre were crying as he explained Buddy’s injuries. “It doesn’t appear that the
car accident did much damage,” he informed them. “Most of the injuries came from
a beating he received before being hit by a car.”
Andre squealed, “Beating?”
The doctor looked worriedly at him. “The police haven’t talked to you about what
happened last night?”
Andre shook his head and replied, “All we were told is he got hit by a car.”
“I see,” said the doctor. He leaned forward and explained what he knew to them
about what had happened to Buddy. Andre felt sick when the doctor told them
about the injuries to Buddy’s face and body from a beating he had received prior to
the accident. “He received a very serious blow to the head which resulted in a
severe concussion,” he explained. “We’re going to keep him in the hospital for a
few days to make sure there is no swelling.” He looked over at Mavis and asked,
“Are you his mother?”
“No,” she replied, “I’m his aunt.”
He stood, looked down and said, “I need to speak to his mother.”
“Good luck,” replied Mavis sarcastically. “She could care less that he is in here. If
you need anyone to sign anything, I can do it.”
“If she’s the legal guardian, then I’ll still need her to agree,” he remarked.
“Fine,” replied Mavis as she stood and faced the doctor. “If she sobers up long
enough, I’ll get her to sign.” She took Andre by the arm and started heading
toward the double doors. “Now may we see my nephew?”
“Of course,” the doctor replied as he hurried to catch up.
* * * * * *
Donnie was waiting outside for Kyle when he exited the school doors. Kyle wasn’t
sure if he remembered he had promised him a ride, but a smile appeared on his
face when he saw Donnie at the bottom of the steps.
“I didn’t know if you would remember,” he said.
“I’m sixteen,” laughed Donnie. “I don’t have that Old Timer’s disease yet.”
“Yet,” remarked Kyle with a laugh. He jumped when Donnie reached out to swat
“Come on,” laughed Donnie as he took Kyle’s arm and pulled him towards the
parking lot. Kyle bent over and started laughing uproariously when he saw
Donnie’s car. It was a white Ford Focus with red bold letters running along the side
that read, “Shop at Jeff Dillon Ford.”
“You’re driving an advertisement!” howled Kyle.
Donnie frowned and said embarrassedly, “Get in.” Once inside he told Kyle, “It’s
the only way I could talk my dad into letting me have my own car.” He looked over
with a smirk. “Okay, Smarty Pants, just what do you drive?”
“I don’t have a car,” replied Kyle.
“Just what I thought,” gloated Donnie as he pulled out of the school parking lot. “At
least this didn’t cost me anything, and Dad pays for the gas.” Kyle laughed when
Donnie looked over and stuck out his tongue.
As they headed away, Donnie asked Kyle if he’d like to go somewhere and get a
hamburger. “Yeah, sure,” replied Kyle. “But I have to call home first.” He took out
his cell phone and called his house. Melissa answered the phone.
Donnie listened as Kyle’s tone changed to anger. “Let me talk to Mom.” Kyle looked
over and rolled his eyes. “Then put Dad on the phone.” Donnie stifled a laugh when
Kyle said angrily, “Slut.”
Donnie couldn’t hear what Kyle’s father was saying, but Kyle kept replying, “Yes,
Sir.” After a minute, Kyle closed the phone and put it in his pocket.
Kyle turned to Donnie and said, “He wants me to come straight home. Can I take a
rain check on that hamburger?”
“Yeah, sure,” responded Donnie disappointedly. “Is everything okay?”
Kyle replied, “He wants me to go to the hospital to see Buddy. He said he called
there and they told him he’s out of surgery and in a room.”
Donnie offered to go with him, but Kyle refused. “Dad has never met you, and he’ll
have a million questions.”
“Does he know you’re gay?”
Kyle nodded his head and said, “Melissa outed me last week.” He laughed when
Donnie responded with an angry, “Slut.” A few minutes later, he pulled into the
gated community and dropped Kyle off in front of his house.
Kyle smiled as he waved goodbye.
Go to Chapter 10