Captivated by Him(6)

By: Terri E. Laine






4





past





Daddy and I were watching football when someone knocked on the door.

He pointed his finger at me and whispered, “Go hide, just like we practiced.” Then he placed a finger over his lips.

I was scared and ran up the stairs like he’d told me. I hid in the hall closet and stood with coats hiding me.

The TV was loud and I didn’t hear anything until everything went silent.

“There. That shit was so loud, I couldn’t hear myself think.”

I remembered that voice. It was the bear, the bad man who killed Mommy. I asked Daddy why we couldn’t tell the police who killed Mommy. He said we couldn’t or we would die just like her.

“Why are you here? I’ve done everything I’ve been asked to do.”

Daddy was scared, too. His voice shook like he was cold and had the shivers.

“You’ve done a good job. That’s why I’m here. Boss thinks you’ve worked too hard and need something to relax you.”

I heard the door open. “Ladies.”

“What’s this about?” Daddy asked.

“You’ll see.” The bear sounded happy.

I heard lots of giggles and wondered what was so funny as the door closed.

“A gift from the boss,” the bad man said.

“I don’t need this.”

Daddy must have been really mad.

“Yeah, you do. It’s been a year and from all accounts you’ve been a hermit. Time to move on.”

“Move on?” He used his angry voice like he did when I did something I wasn’t supposed to. “I can’t just move on.”

“Where’s the big kid?” Bear asked.

“He…He’s not here.”

“Really?”

Bear thought Daddy was lying. Would he find me?

“He’s at a playdate.”

Daddy lied. If Bear found me, would he kill Daddy for lying?

“Good. Then there’s not a problem. Sit, Jonah, unless you want me to tell the boss you rejected his gift.”

There was a noise like Daddy sat in his squeaky chair, the one near his computer I couldn’t touch near the kitchen.

“I’ll watch the game while the ladies take care of you.”

Bear sounded happy. Was Daddy happy?

The TV came back on. And I didn’t know what the ladies were doing for Daddy. Will they cook for him? I miss Mommy’s cooking. Daddy’s was okay, but it wasn’t the same.

I stood there forever. My legs wanted to give out. I wanted to sit, but if the bad man came looking for me, he would see me if I sat. That was what Daddy said.

But then I needed to pee. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could hold it.

When the closet door opened, I held my breath until Daddy swept the clothes away and I saw him. I was so afraid before I saw him that I had an accident.

I knew I was in trouble, so I cried.

Daddy pulled me out and hugged me even though I didn’t hold it until I got to the bathroom.

“I’m so sorry,” Daddy repeated several times as he rocked me.

“I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to,” I said.

He swiped a hand over my head.

“It’s not your fault. Let’s get you cleaned up.”

After he helped me dry off from a bath, I wanted him to know I was a big boy—school was starting soon and I wouldn’t have another accident.

“I promise not to do it again.”

He tucked the towel around me and patted my cheek; I noticed his were wet. “I know you won’t.”

“I miss Mommy.”

Daddy choked on tears like I do when I cry too hard. “I miss her, too. God rest her soul. May she forgive me.”

“For what?”

Daddy hadn’t done the bad thing to her. It was the bad man.

“For everything,” he whispered.

I hugged him and he shook. If I were bigger, I would make the bear go to heaven just like he did Mommy. But I wouldn’t cry about it.





5





gavin





Tade strolled in the café with an attitude.

“What crawled up your ass?” I asked.

He grumbled a response around a bite of food.

“That chick really got to you,” I said.

He glared at me and I had to laugh.

“Speaking of, I ran into her friend before I got here,” he said. “She was laying out by the water.” Damn, I should have been there. I easily imagined what she looked like in a bikini; today was warm enough for it. “She wanted me to put in a good word for her.”

I leaned back and felt the smirk growing on my face. “Did she, now?”

Our conversation was cut short when a few other guys showed up to our table. The topic switched to football and I hardly paid attention. I considered dumping my food and finding an excuse to go across the road by the boathouse. That was where the small sandy beach area was.