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“I have had it with you! Seriously Michael, this is the last straw.” Janean glowered at Mikey as she stood, hands on her hips, tapping one foot and ranting angrily. “When are you ever going to learn?”
“Now, just calm down baby.” Mikey’s father stood up from his chair and moved to her side. “Just give the kid a chance to explain. He said it was all a mistake.”
“And you believe him?” Janean laughed sarcastically. “Chuck, you’re not that stupid. How much longer are we going to put up with this shit?”
Mikey rolled his eyes, annoyed. He couldn’t stand to hear that woman’s ramblings for another second but he knew better than to ignore her. She wasn’t just going to go away. “I’ve said all I’m going to say.” Mikey snapped at her. “Believe me or not, I really couldn’t care less. I told you that I had nothing to do with what happened to that kid and I meant it!”
“And we’re just supposed to take your word for it? After everything you’ve already put us through? Mike, you’ve got issues. I’ve been telling you that for years. You need help. Maybe this time…” She sighed and looked at her husband. “Maybe this time you’ll actually get some help.”
“What are you saying?” Mikey narrowed his eyes. “You actually want me to get locked up?”
“No, it’s not that we want to see you go to jail but…I just think that maybe it would be for the best. Mike you can’t keep going down this route. If you don’t get some help now you’ll end up dead, or worse.”
Mikey raised an eye-brow and chuckled some. “What exactly would be worse than dead?”
Janean rubbed her temples in frustration. “You could end up killing someone and spending the rest of your life in prison, and knowing you Mike, that would be worse than being dead because you would never survive in prison.”
“Whatever, it’s not like they have anything on me. I just have to wait for this thing to blow over.”
“Well, hopefully that kid wakes up soon and he can just tell the cops that you had nothing to do with it.” Chuck put a hand on Mikey’s shoulder and squeezed gently. He was hopeful. Mikey on the other hand wasn’t as optimistic. If Avery woke up and told the cops anything, it wasn’t going to be anything in Mikey’s favor.
“Yeah dad…”Mikey grinned halfheartedly. “I guess if he wakes up the truth will come out.”
“Hell yeah it will, and then everyone will owe you one big fat apology!” Chuck gave Mikey a swift and hard pat on the back then returned to his seat and to his current television program. The matter was settled for him. Mikey had been wrongfully accused and that’s all there was to it. Life went on. Janean on the other hand wasn’t as convinced.
She looked Mikey up and down suspiciously. She knew him. She knew the way his mind worked. He may have fooled his father but she wasn’t quite as gullible. “For your father’s sake, I hope you’re being honest with us.”
Mikey shrugged. “It’s not like it’s any of your concern anyway. Why are you always butting into our business. This is between me and my dad.”
Janean narrowed her eyes. “It most certainly is my business. When I married your father I agreed to not only be his wife, but also to be a mother to you. As difficult as that has been, it’s all I’ve ever tried to do. I may not have been the best mother in the world but at least I tried.”
Mikey scoffed at her. “You might be married to my dad but you are not my mother! Things were just fine when it was just me and my old man, then he had to bring you into the mix. It was the worst mistake of his life. We didn’t need you then and we sure as hell don’t need you now, so you can drop the mother of the year act because you ain’t fooling anyone. Just butt out of my life, I don’t need your pity or your concern. I don’t need anyone.”
“Okay…” Janean frowned, “You just keep telling yourself that Michael. One of these days you’re going to find yourself alone with no one to turn to.”
“Fine by me.” Mikey growled. “The only person I can depend on is myself anyway.”
Janean nodded in defeat. “If that’s the way you want it, I’m done.” She threw up her hands then turned away from him and walked off. She’d said all that there was to say. Mikey had dug his own grave with this one and he could lay in it now.
“Stupid bitch.” Mikey muttered under his breath. He hated Janean. He’d hated her since the day his father had introduced them. How could she even think that she could be anything close to a mother to him, she was only ten years older than him for one thing and for another, she simply was not his mother. He had a mother. He adored his mother and it broke his heart when she died. That was the first time in his life when he had actually felt alone.
There was no one who could replace his mom, especially not some little tramp, half his father age, who let herself get knocked up just so the old man would marry her. Mikey resented the fact that Janean had wormed her way into their lives, he resented her son too. He didn’t even care if the kid was his half brother or not, he was just another problem illegal bahis that Mikey had to tolerate.
Anyway, he didn’t need her help. He didn’t need the old man’s help either. He could handle this situation on his own. Even if Avery did wake up, Mikey was going to see to it that the kid didn’t talk. As long as Avery kept his mouth shut, Mikey was in the clear. Any evidence that the cops had against him was circumstantial at best, and if they were looking for witnesses, well they were out of luck.
The only two nitwits that actually knew the truth would never talk. If they did, Mikey would make sure they went down with him and they knew it. Besides that, those two were long gone. They’d skipped town the morning Avery was found and hadn’t been heard from since. Mikey grinned thinking of those two cowards. It was a smart move on their part, leaving the way they had, because had Mikey caught up with them, they’d be sharing a room right down the hall from Avery.
Boomer had no sooner made it into the parking lot of Rick and Avery’s apartment complex when Rick’s cell phone started ringing. Rick fished his phone out of his pants pocket and looked at the screen. “It’s Trash.” He looked over at Boomer and Boomer could see the look of concern etched across his face.
“Answer it.” Boomer told him. “It might be important.”
Rick nodded as he brought the phone to his ear. “Hey Trash man, what’s up?” Rick’s eyes widened. “Are you serious? She did, really? Hell man that’s awesome news! Yeah, how’s he doing now? Oh okay. What about nurse dreadful? Yeah I hear that.” Rick chuckled some and Boomer relaxed. It was nice to hear him laughing again. Obviously what ever Trash had called to tell him was good news.
‘Finally some good news.’ Boomer thought. ‘Lord knows these kids need it.’
Rick thanked Trash for calling him, then he hung up and shoved the phone back into his pocket. He looked up at Boomer and smiled, a wide, happy smile. “Avery spoke.” He beamed. “He said my name. Kat heard him and she ran down to tell Trash. Boom, he actually said my name! This is great news!”
To say Boomer was shocked was an understatement. He was shocked but also elated and a little giddy. “So, he’s awake?” He asked.
“Well, they don’t really know for sure yet how aware he is. He’s been kind of in and out of consciousness, but Kat says at one point he squeezed her hand and then he said my name, so it’s a really good sign. Boom, I think he’s going to be okay!”
Boomer smiled. “That’s great news kid. I suppose your wanting to go back to the hospital?”
“If that’s alright, I know you’re probably wanting to head home. You can just drop me off if you want, I can find another ride later.”
“No, it’s all good.” Boomer laughed. “I’ll call my lady and let her know what’s going on. My only real concern is that nurse who kicked us out. She may not let us back in now.”
Rick shook his head. “Trash already took care of that. He told her that Avery’s dad is a big time lawyer and if she don’t let us see him, especially since he called out for me, that Avery’s dad will sue the hospital.”
“Smart thinking.” Boomer smirked. “Anyway that we can back that up though if it comes to it?”
The smile faded from Rick’s face as he sighed. “Probably not. I called his parents but his father didn’t really seem to care much. His kids in the hospital and the bastard didn’t even want to hear about it. He told me he’d send a little extra in his monthly check to help with the medical bills but that’s all he was willing to do.”
Boomer shook his head. “I hope for both his and Avery’s sake that he can eventually let bygones be bygones. In the long run, he’ll regret not being in Avery’s life. No parent really wants to just wash their hands of their kids. No matter how angry they make us, we’ll always love them.”
“Yeah, well, Avery has lousy parents. he deserves better.”
“He’s got us.” Boomer winked at Rick. “We’ll never turn our backs on him.”
“Never.” Rick agreed. “I’ll be by his side for as long as he wants me there. I love him more than anything. He’s my life.”
“I Know…” Boomer smiled as he pulled out and back onto the road, headed for the hospital. “I know exactly how you feel kid. A love like that only comes around once in a life time. When you find it, you gotta hold on tight with both hands and never let it go. Through good times and bad, that love is the one thing you have to hold onto. It’s the one thing that keeps you going. It keeps you sane.”
Rick looked at Boomer and smirked. “You feel the same way about your wife don’t you?”
“Damn straight kid. That woman has put up with more shit than anyone should have to yet she’s stayed with me all these years. Truth be told, I’m as in love with her now as I was the first time I ever laid eyes on her. I knew the minute I saw her that she was the woman I was going to marry. She was beautiful then and she’s beautiful now. She’s my rock, my lover, and my best friend.”
“Yeah, I can see that. The two of you are really illegal bahis siteleri great together.”
“So are you and Avery.”
Rick looked surprised. “You really think so?”
“Of course. If I thought you weren’t right for him I’d have staged a protest. In fact, I was happy to see the two of you together. I’ve never liked Mikey and I didn’t much like him being with Avery. I wasn’t shy about letting him know that either, though it didn’t do much good. Avery was so blindsided by him that he couldn’t see the truth staring him in the face.”
“I think Mikey was a huge mistake that we all had a hand in making. I mean, we all knew what kind of guy he was. We knew he wasn’t good for Avery but none of us said anything or did anything about it. If we’d spoken up, maybe we could have prevented this from happening.”
“You couldn’t have known things would go this far though.” Boomer looked sympathetically at Rick. He knew Rick blamed himself for what happened to Avery and he didn’t know how to convince him otherwise but he felt that he at least needed to hear it. “Mikey is the one to blame for Mikey’s actions kid. You’re not responsible.”
“Aren’t I?” Rick looked out the window. His face became dark. He was angry, but he was more angry with himself. “The first time they ever hooked up I wanted tell Avery that Mikey was no good. I wanted to tell him to be careful. I don’t know why I didn’t. I suppose that I just didn’t want to cause tension with the band but that was a mistake. I knew what Mikey was like, what he was capable of. I know because he…” Rick sighed and shook his head. “It doesn’t matter now.” He popped a cigarette into his mouth and lit it then rolled the window down.
Boomer narrowed his eyes as he listened to Rick. “He’s done this to someone before hasn’t he?”
“Who?” Boomer asked.
Rick took a long thoughtful drag off his cigarette then blew the smoke out the window. “Someone who doesn’t want anyone else to know about it.”
“Fair enough.” Boomer concentrated on the road but the silence between them was uncomfortable. He felt that he had to say something but what could he say? He didn’t want to overstep his bounds but he also couldn’t just let the subject drop like that. He took a deep breath and looked at Rick with concern. “You know, if this person ever wants to talk about it, I’m here.”
“Thanks.” Rick said, still staring out the window. “But I don’t think he’s ready for that yet.”
“And that’s okay.” Boomer told him. “He may never be ready to talk about it, but if he ever is, he has a safe place and I won’t ever judge him, because it isn’t his fault. You make sure that he understands that. It was never his fault.”
Rick looked at Boomer and a silent kind of understanding passed between them. Rick knew that Boomer understood what he was saying, but Boomer wasn’t going to force it out of him and Rick was thankful for that. Maybe the day would come when he needed someone to confide in, but not then. He just couldn’t bring himself to actually admit it, which he hated about himself.
In his mind, if he hadn’t been such a coward, if he’d only come forward sooner, maybe Avery would never have had to suffer the way he did. Things could have gone a lot differently if Rick had just had the guts to come forward. Now he had to live with that, and the guilt was tearing him up inside.
Rick picked Avery’s hand up and held it tightly in his. An hour had passed and still there was no sign that Avery was going to wake up. Rick watched him closely but still, there was nothing. If he just would have moved a finger, squeezed his hand, something…he was as still as the last time that Rick had seen him though.
“Come on baby.” Rick whispered to him. “You gotta give me something. Just let me know that you know I’m here. I love you so much Ave, I wish that you could hear me. I want you to come back to me.”
“Give it time Rick.” Kat smiled reassuringly. “I’m sure it took a lot of strength for him to just say your name earlier. He just needs to rest.”
Rick nodded. “You’re positive that you heard him say my name?”
“Totally.” Kat said. “It was like a whisper but I heard it clearly. He called out to you. He knows you’re here, I’m sure of it.”
Hearing that eased Rick’s mind a bit, he only wished that he’d been there to hear it himself. Damn Mikey for coming there and causing a scene. Rick couldn’t put all the blame on him though, it was his own anger and impulse control problem that had caused them to get thrown out, still, if Mikey had never been there none of it would have happened.
He looked across the bed and saw Kat and Trash on the other side. Kat was sitting on Trash’s lap and Trash had his arms wrapped around her. They looked happy together, content. Rick had to smile. He’d never pegged Trash for the kind of guy to get serious over any girl but it looked like he had with Kat. Rick was happy for them and he was glad that Trash finally had someone worth something in his life. The other girls he’d dated canlı bahis siteleri in the past were, well, how he’d gotten his nick name to begin with.
Boomer had been standing against the wall near the door. He couldn’t help but feel pride when he looked at his kids. They each had someone, someone that they loved who loved them back. It was what any father hoped for their children, and these were his kids, blood or not, they were his and he loved them.
He yawned and pushed himself away from the wall as he looked over at Rick who was still seated by Avery’s bed. “I’m going to head on home now.” He told him.
Rick nodded. “That’s fine, I’m going to hang around here a bit longer.”
“How you gonna get home?” Boomer asked him.
Rick Shrugged. “I guess I can call a cab.”
“I’ll drive him.” Trash spoke up. “I don’t know how much longer we’ll be here but he can always give me a call. Kat lives right up the road so it’s no problem.”
Rick looked at Trash and smirked. “Staying at Kat’s tonight huh?”
Trash gave him a quick wink. “You know it.”
“Alright then I’m out.” Boomer walked to the end of the bed and looked over Avery’s sleeping form. He smiled as he looked at him. The kid really was going to be okay, he could feel it in his gut. “Keep me updated.” He told Rick.
Rick nodded. “Sure will.”
Boomer gave a quick wave then disappeared out the door. Rick brushed the hair out of Avery’s eyes and smiled at him. “You think he knows I’m here?” Rick asked.
“I’m sure of it.” Trash told him.
“Thanks man.” Rick looked up. For the first time in days he looked like Rick again. The brightness of his eyes had returned and the fear that normally displayed across his features was gone, replaced by something like hope. “You guys don’t have to hang around you know. If you got plans for tonight its cool. I’ll call you if I need anything.”
“No, its fine bro, we can hang out a while longer.”
Kat looked at Trash and raised an eyebrow.
“I think he probably wants some time alone with Avery.” She whispered.
“Oh…” The look of confusion on Trash’s face was quickly replaced with understanding. He smiled as he patted the top of Kat’s leg. “Yeah bro, I think we will go for a bit. I’m kinda hungry and I’d like to take my girl out to eat.”
“That’s fine.” Rick looked up. “You two have fun.”
“Call me if you need me.” Trash told him.
“I will.” Rick promised.
Kat and Trash both hugged Rick good-bye and Kat kissed Avery on the top of the head.
Trash gently touched Avery’s shoulder as he looked down at him. “You’re looking good kiddo.” He said. “Just don’t sleep too long baby boy, we miss you.”
The two headed out and Rick was left alone with Avery. He loved his friends and he was glad for their support. He also figured that it did Avery good to have people around him that he knew, but Rick was also grateful for the alone time with him. With so many people coming and going he really hadn’t had much of an opportunity to just sit there and talk to him or watch him sleep without constant interruptions.
Avery definitely looked like a sleeping angel laying there. Even with the bruises and the tubes, he was still so beautiful. The swelling in his eyes was going down and he was beginning to look something like himself again. None of that mattered to Rick though really. He could look past all that and still see the young man that he’d fallen in love with. He leaned over and softly kissed Avery’s lips. “I love you so much.” Rick whispered to him. “I’ll be here, by your side, until you wake up babe. That I promise you. I’m not going anywhere.”
He squeezed his hand again and placed his other hand on top of Avery’s head, lightly moving his thumb over his forehead. “You mean everything to me Avery. I can’t live without you, so please, please, promise me that you’ll come back. Promise me that you’ll pull through this, baby. We’ve got an entire life to live together…just as soon as you open your eyes.”
Hanson walked into the small forensics lab and frowned. It was like walking into a closet, a closet made of glass. The lab shared space with an animal research facility. Stacks of small cages lined the wall opposite the glass closet. Hanson couldn’t tell all the different species of animals located there but he figured that most of them were rodents. The smell from the kennels was horrendous. The work area wasn’t very sanitary and he was fairly certain that maintaining the health and well-being of the test subjects wasn’t the top priority.
A medium sized kennel sat directly to the right of the door. It was on the floor, and not close to any of the other animals. The walls were covered over with only three holes on each side for air, and a small metal gate on the front. A warning sign hung on the side of the cage that read: Warning! Contagion. Animal extremely aggressive!
“For fucks sake!” Hanson sneered. “What they hell do they have in there? A rabid dog? And why the hell is it so close to my evidence?”
“That’s Kippy.” A voice behind him spoke. Hanson turned around to see a young man, probably in his late thirties, standing behind him holding a cup of coffee. “You don’t want to mess around with Kippy, she bites.”
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