7. Safety & Tears


Author’s Note:

This chapter has taken longer than usual for a few reasons which I won’t go into, but I do apologize for the wait. I try to update as soon as I can but sometimes life gets in the way.

To refresh your memory, in the last chapter, Per saw a box being burned by Win’s dad and Win getting hit which leads to a conversation about Porn magazines on the swingset. This next chapter is wide range of emotions and has some violence. I recommend listening to the song link I provided and keeping a tissue handy for wayward tears.

This chapter is a crossover with another fan fiction a friend of mine, bamburn04, is writing (link is below).

Where We Stand

All the photos used in here are screen captures from LoveSick the Series episodes and edited by me.

Happy Reading and don’t forget to leave a comment, follow, and upvote!

~Jae

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Chapter 7

“Hey, Per.” A familiar voice greets me as I’m waiting in line and an arm is slung over my shoulder. “How’ve you been?”

“Oh. Yo, Pete. Pretty good.” I flash a wide grin to Pete.

“Oi!” Out of nowhere, he smacks me upside the head with an obviously fake snarl to his lips. “Address your upperclassman properly.”

“Tch, why should I? You’re acting like we’re not close or something.” Sticking my tongue out, I wonder what crawled up his ass. I’ve known this guy since we were kids, hanging out at the park and going on vacations together. Back then, he never cared what I called him.

“You see.” P’Pete moves ahead of me in line with a smirk. “For your rudeness, I’m taking your spot in line.”

“Aw. P’Pete is a bully.” It’s a fake whine but P’ should know better than to mess with me. He’s using this lame excuse so he can cut in line in front of me, acting as if I don’t have dirt on his ass. After a very interesting conversation we had not too long ago while I was hanging posters for the Live Concert, we both know better and I think this is a great time to remind him who’s holding all the cards. “This is what I get for helping you out. You know the one about s—–” P’Pete covers my mouth quickly, cutting off my words (and some of my air supply). He doesn’t say much but his eyes are speaking volumes… ‘We’re in the middle of the cafeteria, surrounded people. Don’t just go throwing shit around like that.’

“Dude, shut your trap.” Dragging my head closer to his lips, he whispers into my ear, tickling the hair near my face. It’s not surprising he doesn’t want that little advice talk we had spreading around the school. I nod my head in understanding so he releases me and I take a deep breath. Damn, he has a strong grip for a skinny guy. Don’t fucking say it. We’re not talking about my body here.

“Oh, looks like someone doesn’t want a little rumor spread around.” I’ve got him now. A devilish smile spreads across my face as he easily falls into my trap. “Wonder what would happen if Knott were to hear that little secret?”

“Do that and I’ll kill you.” Where the hell did P’ learn to glare like that? It’s freaky scary so I jump back just in case. No need to go psycho over this little bit of fun.

“I’m just kidding.” Rubbing the back of my head, I try to calm him down. I don’t need him giving me the evil eye every time we see each other. “How about we trade?”

“Fine, what do you want?” His tone is much more calm and reasonable and I breathe a sigh of relief.

“Buy me two fish stews and my lips are sealed.” We both get what we want and I don’t have to stand in this long ass line by myself.

“Aren’t you a fucking glutton?” P’Pete mutters as he opens his wallet.

“The other one isn’t for me. It’s for Win.” Who does he think I am? P’Noh? While I can put away my fair share of food, I’m nowhere near that bad. “He’s saving me a seat.”

 “Fine.” Sighing, P’Pete agrees but he stops me from leaving his side. “Well, at least stay in line with me for a while. I’m going to be bored as fuck.”

“Sure, but make sure to deliver our food to us later.” Standing a few more minutes in line for a free meal won’t kill me. Raising my hand, I point to the table where Win is waiting to show P’ where to drop off the food.

It’s been a while since the last time we really talked, not including him asking for advice the other day. Our group used to hang out a lot but that all changed when P’Earn moved away. P’Pete started hanging out more with the older guys, leaving me behind. I didn’t mind though because I still had Win.

Our conversation turns to our mutual friends and P’Pete asks about Win but that conversation ends quickly. With everything that’s happened, I have a hard time talking and I don’t think Win would like others to know. My eyes wander to where my best friend is sitting, his chin resting on his hands, elbows propped on the table. Looking at his bright face and kind eyes, you’d never guess the scars hidden underneath.

I guess the downward turn of my mood is too depressing for P’Pete as he sends me to sit with Win. What does that say about me that he’d rather stand in line alone? On the way to our table, I pull out my phone and earbuds, shoving the buds in my ears. There is a really good song I downloaded that I want Win to listen to, something I think he will like.

Just before I sit down I take a quick look around the cafeteria and my eyes are caught by an interesting sight on the steps nearby. P’Ohm is sitting with Mick and it looks like they are sharing a drink, using the same straw. I’ve never seen such a gentle look on P’Ohm’s face as he holds the cup for Mick to take a sip and Mick is practically glowing from the attention. “Wonder when they started?” I mumble quietly, happy for them.

“Did you say something?” Win’s voice draws my eyes to where he’s sitting. I sit down on his right and greet him with a wave, shaking my head to show it was nothing. Straightening up, Win gives me a confused smile as he looks at my hands which are not carrying our lunch. “Hey, Per. I thought you were getting our food?”

“Don’t worry. It’s coming.” I glance over at Pete who’s made it to the head of the line and is putting in our order. Facing Win again, I reach over and ruffle his soft hair. “I’d never let you starve.”

Soon after, Pete arrives at our table carefully balancing several dishes. He sets ours down and rolls his eyes at me.

“Umm, Hi P’Pete. Thanks for getting our food.” Win looks from him to the food in confusion.

“No problem, Win.” Pete gives Win a friendly smile and glares at me before heading to where Earn is sitting.

“What was that all about, Per? Why did P’ get us our food?” Picking up his utensils, Win takes a small bite.

“Just a little favor he owed me. Nothing big.” I assure him while trying to find that song.

A commotion from the direction P’Pete went in has me looking up and I see the weirdest thing. A few tables away, P’Pete is sitting on P’Earn’s lap while they argue. I’m can’t hear what’s being said but it looks funny as hell. “Hey, Winnie. Look over there.” I can’t contain my laughter as I point out the sight to him.

“What are they doing?” Eyes wide, Win giggles. “I didn’t know those two are dating.”

“I don’t know if they are or not but I think they probably should be.” That thought brings to mind the advice P’Pete asked me for again and I begin to wonder just who he was talking about as I watch P’Pete and P’Earn’s antics. Shaking my head, I focus back on trying to find that song as I say in amusement, “They’re perfect for each other.”

Success! I grab one of the earbuds, place it in Win’s ear, and hit play. “Ever heard this song before?”

🎶🎶🎶🎵🎵🎶🎶🎶🎵🎵🎶🎶🎶

Have you got color in your cheeks’
Do you ever get the feeling that you can’t shift the tide
That sticks around like something’s in your teeth
And some aces up your sleeve
Have you no idea that you’re in deep
I dreamt about you nearly every night this week
How many secrets can you keep’
‘Cause there’s this tune I found that makes me think of you somehow
When I play it on repeat
Until I fall asleep
Spilling drinks on my settee

🎵🎶🎵🎵🎶🎶🎵🎵🎶🎵🎵🎶

(Do I Wanna Know ~ Artic Monkeys)

https://youtu.be/bpOSxM0rNPM?list=PLaCdim3CQzuY-mEaO5Ur7EObm8FalsSQn

“Sounds familiar.” Win says after listening for a minute.

“Their stuff’s awesome.” Usually, Win and I agree on most things so I’m pretty confident that he’ll like this band as much as I do.

“I think I heard it last year.” Tilting his head, he focuses on the lyrics before glancing over at me with a smile. He bobs his head along to the music.

“I really dig this song.” Nodding, I smile and dig into my food. I knew he’d like it.

*******************

**********

****

The rest of the afternoon flies by and, after classes are over, I pack up my things to head to the band room. Auditions for the Live Concert competition start soon and I need to meet up with the other members of my band. I stop by Win’s desk as he gathers up some papers.

“Hey, Win. Don’t forget to come watch me play.” I knock on the top of his desk with my knuckles.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be there as soon as I’m done.” Smiling, Win looks up at me. “Your band is on later, right?”

“Yeah. You have time to finish up here and still make it.” I assure him, excited that he’s going to come watch. “I’ll see you later.”

Win nods and waves as I hurry out of the room. A few minutes later I’m wading my way through our crowded club room, searching for my bandmates who have wedged themselves near one wall. There’s one empty chair left next to them and I quickly sit on it so Win has somewhere to sit when he gets here. I greet the group and a few random people that are sitting nearby. The energy in the room is through the roof as everyone psychs themselves up to perform.

The guys and I are ready and I’m sure we can make it through these prelims, but the competition for the tops spots is fierce. Some of the bands so far are really good, some are not so good, and some are truly horrendous.

The Cheer group’s band, P’Cheer, has just finished with P’Earn surprising everyone by serenading our club’s president with a love song. P’Ohm teases him for having the guts to pull such a stunt while P’Noh tries to shut P’Ohm up. Then our big-mouth Vice President announces loudly that it’s too bad for Earn that Noh’s real guy is up next. It gets tense for a moment when these two face off as P’Earn leaves the stage and P’Phun steps onto it. The Cheer Club President lifts his brows mockingly at P’Phun and their shoulders shove each other as they pass by.

I wonder if all those rumors about P’Phun and P’Noh are true. The ones about P’Earn liking our President are obviously true, no denying them after what P’Earn just did. I’m not as sure about the Student Council Secretary since I notice that he brought his girlfriend with him to this. P’Noh just looks uncomfortable over the whole situation.

The door to the club room swings slowly open as the Student Council’s band, Mafia, starts to play. Win peeks in and I move to sit on the arm of my chair, waving Win to come over and sit down by me. Quietly weaving through the people, he sits in my vacated seat and we exchange a smile before turning to watch the band. With Win finally here, I feel more relaxed and confident.

Studying the members of Mafia, my eyes stop on the handsome guitar player with the longer hair. He looks so down as he concentrates on his guitar until his eyes rise up and find someone who’s watching. A sweet smile spreads across his face. Following his gaze, I find P’Noh who turns when he sees P’Phun’s smile to look at the beautiful girl sitting behind him. P’Phun’s girlfriend, Aim, is grinning as she watches him play but the smile isn’t very convincing to me. She seems awkward, like she’s trying too hard. Whatever it is, it’s got a weird vibe. P’Noh turns back around towards the stage, weighed down by his thoughts. P’Phun’s gentle smile never leaves his face and I get a strong impression that it’s not for the girl sitting in the back of the room.

 

          

After several more bands, including my own, it’s gotten pretty late. I help put away the club’s instruments and say goodbye to some of the guys who are leaving. Win has moved to sit over on the sofa and is having a hard time keeping his eyes open. Every once in a while, his head bobs down and he has to shake himself awake. It’s kind of cute, like a small puppy refusing naptime.

I walk over to where Win is sitting, waiting patiently for me. Behind him, plastered all over the wall, are the posters advertising the Live Concert Event in bright colors. We are so going to be one of the finalist who get to perform on the stage in front of the whole school. We killed it when it was our turn to play. Smiling, I lean over the side of the sofa, resting a knee and both hands on the arm.

“Wanna head home together?” I ask, knowing I won’t be happy until I can’t see him safely in his own room. Win nods his head in agreement, a small smile on his lips. “I’ll drop you off.” I add and Win nods again.

P’Noh is shuffling through some papers nearby, so I straighten up and call out to him. “P’Noh…Do you mind if I leave a little earlier?”

“Again?” Exasperation is evident in P’s voice. “I haven’t dealt with how you didn’t show up to help me yesterday.”

“Sorry, P’, but this is really important.” The seriousness comes through in my voice and I have P’Noh’s full attention. “It’s life and death.”

“It’s life and death?” P’Noh questions such a drastic statement.

“Anything can happen. Just let me go drop Win off.” I say earnestly and we both look down at Win who is glancing shyly at P’Noh. “I can’t let him go home alone today.”

“Sure. Sure.” P’ agrees after noticing the bruises on Win’s arms, but he doesn’t say anything about them. “I’m doing this for him, alright?” He nods down to Win, compassion in his eyes.

“Thank you so much, P’.” Our club President is really the best and I give him a proper wai in gratitude before turning to Win. “Come on.”

Standing up, Win wais to P’Noh, too. He doesn’t say anything as he passes but I hear the sigh of relief as we head to the door together. He’s not the only one happy that I can take him home.

“Look after him.” P’Noh tells me in concern as I open the door to leave.

“Yes.” Of course, I will look after Win. It’s what I always do. It’s what I will always do.

The walk home is quiet between us, only the sounds of the passing cars on the street and a few people who are out and about can be heard. Both of us are tired from the long day. Eventually, we find ourselves next to Win’s front gate.

“See you tomorrow.” Win says as he turns to face me.

“Yeah.” Half grinning, I easily agree until I spot a redness in one of Win’s eyes and point it out. “What happened to your eye?”

“I don’t know. It’s probably just some dust.” Lifting a hand to his face, Win tries to rub his eye but I bat his hand down. Placing my own hand on the side of his face, feeling his soft skin under my palm, I take a good look but don’t see anything amiss. Leaning closer, I blow gently on the eye, hoping to remove any specks that might be irritating it. Win’s eyes are wide as he stands still as a statue.

PerBlowsWinEye

“Win.” A deep voice interrupts us and we turn to find Win’s dad standing in the doorway of the house. “Why are you home so late?!” His voice is tinged with anger.

“I was watching the bands tryout.” Win answers in a placating tone.

“Per, it’s you again?” His anger is directed at me for a moment as he glares. Then he looks over at Win. “Win, get inside the house. We need to talk.”

“Do you want me to wait out here?” Ignoring the fuming father, I face Win.

“It’s okay. You should go home.” Win insists, trying not to let me see his fear. We look over at his dad unhappily and Win heads through the gate to the man standing impatiently with his arms crossed.

When Win is close enough, his dad grabs him by the arm and pulls him into the brightly lit house, closing the door. Win’s sad face staring out at me as it shuts twists in my gut. I’m left alone in the dark, unable to do anything except pace back and forth uselessly as I strain to listen for every sound. Staring intently at the solid barrier between us, I’m unsure of what to do. Should I stay, even though Win said to leave, just in case? Should I do as Win said and go home? What if he needs me? What if, this time, his dad starts and won’t stop? What if…

“How could you do this?!” The raised voice of Win’s dad breaks into my stream of worries, bringing to life my fears.

“Dad, no.” Win’s cries follow pitifully.

“What about my job?” With every word, I can hear the sounds of flesh hitting flesh and wince with each one. “You’re a real pervert, aren’t you?! Whose photos were they? I found them all over. How could you do this?!”

I can’t stand here and listen to this anymore. I can’t stand by and listen to Win’s sobbing, knowing what his father is doing to him. Tossing my school bag on top of the fence post, I jump the fence and run to the door. My only thought is to get to Win, to stop his pain. Throwing open the door, I see his dad repeatedly hitting a crouched down Win in the shoulder and side as his other hand holds the boy in place.

“Father!” Stepping up, I hold out my hand to keep the man away from Win.

“Don’t call me that!” Win’s dad shouts at me. “I’m not your father!”

“Fine, Uncle.” Standing in front of the sobbing Win, I really don’t care what the fuck he wants to be called but I adjust to try to calm the situation. “But you have no right to treat him like this.”

“You’re the one that has no right to do this.” The red-faced man argues back venomously. “Don’t you know that you’re the reason this is happening?”

“Me?” Now I’m really confused. What the hell do I have to do with his abuse of Winnie? Has he completely lost his marbles? “What do I have to do with this?”

“Everything.” Win’s dad insists. “From now on you better stay away from Win!”

“Why do I need to do that?! He’s my friend.” Don’t demand that. Anything but that.

“You honestly don’t know that he’s…” Win stops him before he can continue.

“Dad, don’t!” Win pleads desperately, shaking his head.

“So now you are embarrassed? What about before?!” Steamed up, he makes a grab for Win again.

“Uncle, no!” Stepping in front of Win, I push his dad back. He can’t touch Win. I won’t let him. “If you don’t stop, then I’m taking Win to my house!”

“You can’t.” The older man denies.

“Why can’t I?!” I yell back, unable to control my own temper anymore. “He’s your own son. How can you do this to him?!”

“It’s my business what I’ll do.” He fires back at me.

“Then Win is coming with me tonight.” Wrapping my hand around Win’s thin wrist, I back up with him towards the open door.

“No!” Jolting forward, Win’s dad grabs me by the shoulder to stop us. Quickly letting go, we stare at each other and he grudgingly makes an offer. “I won’t hit him… but you need to stay away from him from now on.”

Win and I look at each other and I can see how scared he is as he shakes his head, begging me not to agree. His hands tremble as they clutch at my arm, finding security in my presence. Turning to face his father, Win still doesn’t let go, holding me close to his side, but I’ve made my decision.

“That’s fine, but promise me that you won’t hurt him again, Uncle.” It almost kills me to say this, to agree to this, but Win’s safety comes first. If staying away will stop the abuse, then that is what I will do. Somehow.

“Alright.” His dad answers after a minute of thought, but he doesn’t sound very sincere. “I promise but you need to keep your word, too.”

Looking into Win’s broken eyes, taking in the trail of tears on his pale cheeks and the remnants of pain, I am torn and hurting. I know this man may go right back to beating Win at any time. I know I can’t trust him with my precious friend. I know all of this, but what else can I do but hope that this is the end. I need to believe that things will be better or I won’t be able to leave. Turning my face away from Winnie’s, I’m unable to look at him as I answer his father. “I will.”

“Good. Now, get out of my house!” Nodding towards the open door, the older man screams at me.

One last look at Win and I slowly pull my arm out of his grip. I walk out into the darkness, away from Win, without looking back. Looking back would kill me. Every soft sob of his strikes me in my heart as I step further into the night, leaving him trapped in the bright house.

Entering my own dark house and closing the door, I slide down its hard surface until I’m a puddle on the floor. The tears I refused to cry earlier flow like a river down my face and my body is wracked with sobs. I don’t know how long I’ve sat here in the dark, lost in my misery, but I know I need to stand up. I need to pull myself together because, without a doubt, Win will be waiting at the window for me and he needs me to be strong right now.

Stopping in the bathroom, I splash cold water on my face and take several deep breaths. In the mirror, I see a stranger looking back at me with my face. The same face that I always see, yet it no longer looks like mine. It looks lost and scared with eyes that seem too old and hollow. Shaking my head, I chase away the image and calm my thoughts.

Finally feeling somewhat back to me, I walk into my bedroom and turn on the light, going straight to my window. Just as I thought, Win is standing at his open window waving at me. My heart lightens a little and I smile.

                  

                                  1WinBoard.jpg 

Win’s smile seems hesitant as looks back at me. Leaning over his whiteboard, he writes something but sits there and stares at it. Since he’s occupied with his own thoughts, I take the opportunity to undress and change into my sleep shorts. The cool night air feels good on the bare skin of my chest as I stand in front of the window once more, a towel draped over my shoulder. Win must have decided against writing anymore and leaves the board on his desk. Catching his attention, I mime brushing my teeth and going to sleep then wave a good night to him with a smile. Smiling gently back at me, Win nods his head.

    PerBrushTeeth     PerSleep   

After a quick shower and brushing my teeth, I turn off the bedroom light and climb under the covers. I don’t even try to sleep though. The memory of what just happened at Win’s house keeps replaying in my mind and I wonder if there is something else I can do, something else I could have done. The image of Win’s fingers clutching onto my arm stands out crystal clear in my thoughts. I can still feel the shaking in his warm hands and see the misery etched across his face.

How could I let him face that monster of a father by himself? How could I walk away from the person that means the most to me? How could I leave him alone? Even though it was the best choice I could make at the time, I still hate myself for abandoning Winnie.

Rolling over, I slide my hand across the pillow next to me. It’s his pillow, the one he always uses when he sleeps here. I pull it against my chest and wrap my arms around it in a tight hug. A few tears escape as I press my eyes closed and rub my face into it.

“I’m sorry, Mawin.” My whisper is buried in the soft fabric of his pillow. “I’m sorry I left you alone.”

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One thought on “7. Safety & Tears

    Per-Win Story Update « Jae 🐾 said:
    October 1, 2015 at 3:18 am

    […] 7. Safety & Tears […]

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