July 26, 2012

Downies (3) - Round 24

"Come here, you naughty girl," Headmaster Avril called out as went downstairs.   Noticing no one was around, he frowned.  "Melanie? Are you here?" he called out, feeling ridiculous in just his underwear.

He couldn't believe she left without letting him know!

"Mom! Mom! Look! I made an A!" Gage said proudly, holding up his report card for her to see.

Melanie barely glanced down.  "Sorry about that," she said into the phone.  "Gage was being too loud.  What were you saying?"

Wearily Gage went inside and started his homework.  She might not care if he got an A, but she definitely noticed if he didn't make an A! 

It was hard on Gage having so many uncles pass through his life.  Just as he kind of got to know one & accept them, they were replaced by someone else! 

And Melanie was hard at work romancing new loves...


One that Gage thought might stick around longer was the police officer.  Police officers were supposed to protect and defend people, right?

But this was just seemed to be interested in his Mom.  Anytime he came over, he never even looked at Gage.

And he heard them... upstairs...  it was the final straw!

Melanie had gone downstairs to fix supper since she was famished.  It was then that she noticed that Gage was missing.  Frantically she ran up to tell Quentin since he was an officer.  "Go call dispatch," he barked as he threw on his pants.  "Don't worry Melanie, we'll find him," he said, trying to reassure her before he hurried out.  He knew how important it was to find these missing teens quick if there was any hope they would return.

Gage had never been more scared, elated, and then embarrassed than he had tonight.  He'd been elated when the cruiser picked him up since right about then he was thinking about what a big mistake he'd made.  But, as people watched him climb into the back seat, he couldn't help but feel embarrassed that they assumed he'd broken the law.

Standing in front of his house, he scrubbed at the tears at the corners of his eyes.  Mom was going to kill him for causing so much trouble!

"Gage!" she said as she raced down the steps.  "I can't believe you did that! How foolish! Thoughtless! I was scared!"

She reached out to hug him and was startled when he pulled back.  "I'm not a little kid anymore, Mom."

Her arms dropped uselessly to the side and she just looked at him for a long moment.  "Very well," she simply said before turning away. 

Just then, Quentin came racing up the front walk.  "You found him? Great!" Quentin said, coming to a rest in front of them.  Fixing Gage with a stern stare, Quentin pointed a finger at him and lectured him for all the reasons the real world was not a safe place for a teenager.

Gage chafed under the lecture, but didn't have the guts to talk back to a police officer.  Once it was done, he headed down to the beach and watched the waves slap against the sand.  He hadn't meant to eavesdrop, but Mom's window was open, so he heard every word.

"What do you mean it's over?" she'd snapped.

"Come on, Melanie.  Your son was so upset about us that he ran away! I won't be responsible for that!" Quentin had argued.

"Oh please! You'd let a teenager run your life for you?" she said dismissively.

He heard more arguing and then hushed talking and finally heard Quentin slam the front door and gun his motor. 

As he watched the waves, he thought that maybe things would change now that Quentin was gone & he was a teenager.

***

He woke to the sounds of her bed squeaking.  "I hate this house!" he'd yelled as he threw back the covers. 

Mom caught up with him before he made it past the driveway.

"Gage? Please! Stop this. It's insane! You can't leave!" she said.  "What do you want from me?"

The words 'love me' burned at the back of his throat. But, gritting his teeth, he just shook his head.

"Well, be reasonable! You can't leave in just your pajamas," Melanie tried to reason.  "Look, I know it upsets you that I date a little," she said.

Ha, alittle?! Gage thought miserably.  She might as well install a revolving door for her bedroom, he thought sarcastically.

"Will it help if I tone it down alittle?" she asked.

Gage looked up, hopeful.  "You mean it?" he asked.  "Promise?"

Melanie smiled, "Of course! I'll be discreet!"

Gage headed back inside, smiling.  Things were going to change this time! He knew it!

He knew he shouldn't have been so surprised to see someone join them for dinner.  He was getting to the point where he didn't think Mom would ever change. It was such bull crap!

This time when the cruiser dropped him off, Gage headed straight to the beach to avoid a confrontation with his Mom.  But, she followed him anyways, sobbing into her hands.

"Do you even know what this puts me through?" she cried.  "To find you gone! To have to call the police and tell them my son has left me?!"  Sobbing into her hands she asked, "How can you do this to your own mother?!"

Guilt laid heavy on Gage's heart.  He didn't want to hurt, Mom... he just... sometimes he got so mad at her that he couldn't be here.

It was hard being a teenager!  You had to do whatever the adult told you to do.  Mom signed him up for military school (i.e. military part-time) to help give him structure.  He'd begged her to let him keep going to his school first, but then gave up.  It's not like he was leaving behind any friends!  What did it matter where he went to school?

And apparently he'd excelled there.  Cautiously he began to believe that it just might work this time around.  Maybe he could learn to control his anger better...

***

Gage stared at the woman in front of him without any recognition.  "Gage?" she asked in surprise.

Gage looked at her suspiciously.  "What do you want?"

"I'm your sister! Christa?" she said. 

"Sister?" Gage gulped.  "I have a sister?"

"Didn't your Mom tell you? Oh God! She didn't! I never should've trusted here!" she said angrily before realizing she was bad mouthing his mother.  "Sorry. It's just that I think she was jealous of me.  Dad married her right before I came back from college."

Gage was stunned.  He had a family! God, he hoped he didn't cry in front of his sister!  "I thought I was all alone!" he managed to say.

Wrapping her arms around him, she hugged him tight.  "I'm so sorry Gage! I know how that feels.  Gunnar and Barbara adopted me when I was in elementary school.  I grew up feeling alone until they brought me into their life! Even then it took me a long time to get over my fears."  Squeezing him, she wished she'd been able to spare his pain.

"You were adopted? That's so cool!" Gage said.  He couldn't believe he had a sister! "Look, I have to go to work now, but will you come back again?"

"That's a promise," Christa said.

Christa watched Gage walk away with no clue about the phone calls & the letters that she'd sent.  He hadn't even known about her.  Just wait until she Melanie came home!  She had a few things to say to that heartless wretch!

Melanie was shocked when she walked through the front door and Christa stood there angrily. "What are you doing here?"

"I met my brother today!" Christa said crossly.

Melanie scowled.  "He's not your brother.  You're not even related to Gunnar! I want you to stay away from my son!"

"Well your wants & demands are of no importance to me! I was Gunnar's daughter for far longer than you were his floozy wife!" Christa snapped, emphasizing each of the last few words with a jab to Melanie's shoulder. 

Oh, Christa was beyond angry. 

"You assaulted me!" Melanie said as she rubbed her shoulder.  "Get out! Get out of my house and stay away from my boy! I know people in the police force! You wouldn't want to mess with me!"

Melanie smiled smugly when Christa left.  It didn't hurt to have friends in high places.  Just as quickly, her smile dropped.  Just wait until Gage got home.  She couldn't believe he could betray her like this!

Gage walked through the door & the first thing he saw was his mother glaring at him.  "What's wrong?" he asked, concerned.

"I heard that you met someone interesting today," Melanie snapped.  "You are never to see her again.  She claims to be your sister, but she's a liar!"

Gage's mouth dropped open.  "But, she said..."

Melanie waved her hand dismissively.  "Who cares what she said! I said not to see her again!"

"NO!" Gage shouted, shocking both himself and his mom.  It was the first time he hadn't felt so alone and his mom wanted him to give it up?!

Melanie buried her face in her hands and sobbed, but Gage saw it for what it was... a blatant attempt to manipulate.

"No," he said more calmly again as he headed to his room.  "She's my sister. You can't keep her from me anymore!"


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