Hi All, flashing again with the Free Fiction Friday Group
As a gentle reminder (LOL), my contribution to the group will be an ongoing tale set in Australia.
I hope everyone is enjoying the journey with Davie!!!!!!!!
IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING
Jeremy’s plane began its ascent, and my stomach did the funny sinking thing, same as what happens in elevators. When the tyres finally left the tarmac it felt as if my stomach had dropped so far down it was now somewhere around my knees.
I caught myself tearing up, which made my mother look at me all worried like, so I quickly turned my head and blinked a few times to clear them.
He was gone. Really gone. I knew I was going to miss him. None of my other school friends made me laugh the way he could. None of them got me the way he did. He could be such a dick at times, but man, he was funny. The goof had made a big show in the departure lounge of telling me our friendship was rock solid. He didn’t have to tell me—I freakin’ knew that already. He was my best mate. Always would be.
CHAPTER 03: Farewells
Past (David aged 15)
I watched the lights of my father’s car disappear down the driveway, feeling a funny knotting sensation in my stomach. My chest felt tight, making it hard to get a good breath.
So that was it.
Dad was gone.
It was just me and Mum, now.
Dad was there to pick me up at ten. It was the first time since he’d left that we’d be alone, just the two of us. He was taking me to his new house for lunch, and I was supposed to meet his girlfriend, Claudia, and her two kids today. Dad didn’t say much during the drive, so I just looked out the window and thought about Mum. When it was time for me to wait out front for Dad, she’d been standing at the kitchen window looking out at the backyard. I went to kiss her good-bye, and her cheeks were wet. Was it still crying if you didn’t move or make a sound, but water ran down your face?
The car slowed to a halt in front of a typical suburban house, one not so different to my own, but neither Dad, nor I, moved. I knew he wanted to say something because he was drumming his fingers on the steering wheel and frowning, his mouth opening and then shutting. I could pretty much guess what he wanted to say, but I’d be blowed if I was going to make it easy for him.
“I expect you to be nice to Claudia, David.” His voice was hard, but he wouldn’t look at me.
I snorted, “Yeah, just like what you and her did to Mum was so nice!”
“David, that’s enough! I will not tolerate that kind of attitude or behavior from you.”
I could see he was getting angry because his face had turned red, but I didn’t care. Maybe if he got mad enough he’d just turn around and take me back home. I didn’t want to meet Claudia and her two snotty-nosed kids, Angel and Leif. I just knew I wouldn’t like Claudia. I mean, what kind of twit named her kids Angel and Leif? A stupid hippy-chick one.
“Maybe you should look at your own behavior first! You’re the one who’s a fucking cheater!” I yelled, my heart pounding as I threw the car door open and leaped out before he could cuff me one. I was scared. I’d never sworn in front of my Dad before, let alone called him a name.
My pulse thundered, and I was breathing hard. I was terrified my father would hit me, but being on his new front lawn where all his new neighbors could see us made me feel a little braver. Fear wasn’t the only thing I was feeling—I was so angry I couldn’t see straight. It made me determined to stand my ground. Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste of death but once. Jesus Christ! I’m thinking freaking Shakespeare? My Dad’s probably going to clock me one and I’m mentally quoting Julius Caesar? Mrs. fucking Caplan would be impressed.
“How dare you talk to me like that, you cheeky little shit!” And I could tell he wanted to yell at me, but because we were out in the open, he was keeping his voice low as he approached me.
He might have cared what everyone thought, but I didn’t give a flying fuck. “I dare ‘cause it’s the truth!” It felt so damn good to yell and swear at him and tell him everything I’d been thinking for the last month. The only thing that might have felt better was if I could have punched him in his cheating face. I really, really wanted to hit something. It was like my muscles burned to.
“What the hell would you know? You’re just a bloody kid!” His voice was rising now, too.
“I might be just a kid but I know right from wrong, and last time I looked; cheating is WRONG!” I screamed, drawing myself up to my full height when he took another step toward me, and grabbed my bicep.
“Let’s take this inside,” he fairly growled at me.
“What? So your new neighbors don’t hear how you screwed around on Mum?” I yelled in his face, trying to shake his hand off, but he had me gripped tight.
“Inside. Now, David.”
He dragged me across the lawn, and I kept trying to yank my arm free, but he was a lot stronger than I was. I might have been just about as tall as him, but he far outweighed me, and I hated that fact. I wanted to knock him flat. I wanted to hurt him the way he’d hurt me. The way he’d hurt Mum.
I fought him the whole way—damned if I was going to make it easy for him. I kept on struggling, even when some dark-haired woman opened the front door, and I could see two equally dark-haired kids peeking out from a door down the narrow hallway.
Why should they get to play happy families when Mum was left crying?
Fuck them all.
Dad wrestled me into what was obviously their living room.
“Get your hands off me!” I fumed, hating his power over me.
“I would never have expected this kind of behavior from you, David.”
I noticed he was a lot calmer, and I sneered at him because I guessed his change in attitude was because Claudia and her two brats, could now hear him.
“Yeah, ‘cause telling the truth is so bad.”
“David.” There was a warning in his tone, but I chose to ignore it.
“What, Dad? I shouldn’t tell the truth?”
The dark-haired woman stepped into the room. “Both of you calm down, you’re scaring the kids.” When she put her hands on her hips and glared at me, I had to laugh.
“That’s enough, David,” My father warned me yet again.
“No, it’s not. It’s nowhere near enough and if you two don’t like it, then take me home. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to meet your fucking cheating girlfriend. Or her kids. Take me home.”
And with that I stomped past them both. The door down the hall flew open, taking me by surprise. “Bye, David.” I nearly stopped, because I wasn’t expecting that.
“Bye,” I muttered, at the same time as I heard Claudia call out for them to get back in their playroom. Walking as fast as I could out of the house, I climbed back into the car and waited, tense and ready for a fight.
I thought he’d give me an earful, maybe even clock me one on the way home, but we didn’t say so much as one single word to each other. When he pulled up in front of the house, I turned to him.
“Don’t you dare have a go at Mum over this. This had nothing to do with her. This was me. All me.” I held myself tight, ready for trouble.
“When you can be civil, give me a call,” was all he said, staring straight ahead.
“Don’t hold your breath,” I replied, and without a backward glance, I strode back up the path I’d walked down less than an hour earlier, to the front door.
My mother said nothing when I brushed past her and climbed the stairs two at a time. She didn’t even call out when I slammed shut the door to my bedroom so hard the whole house shook.
Once within the safe confines of my room, I launched myself into the air from my doorway, twisting my body so that I landed on my back on my bed. It creaked noisily in protest. It was a maneuver I’d taken years to perfect, but today, I couldn’t even crack the smallest of smiles over my achievement.
God, how I wanted Jeremy. I needed him to talk to about everything. I wanted to be able to call him, or better yet, go around to his house, or have him come to mine. I could imagine the way our conversation would go. I’d be a bit reluctant at first, but then I’d give in knowing he’d draw every last word out of me eventually, so I might as well make it easy for us both and surrender without a fight and just spit it all out.
I’d say, “I told him he was a fucking cheater, and that I didn’t want to meet his fucking girlfriend or her kids.”
“You didn’t!” he’d gasped, and I knew I’d feel a moment of pride in having managed to shock him. Jere swore heaps, but never in front of his mom or dad.
“Yeah, I did. Thought he was gonna deck me too, but I guess he was scared what his new neighbors would think,” I’d boast.
“God, David. I’d have been packin’ it!”
“I was, but I was so freaking angry, Jere, that I wanted to deck him, too. It was real weird.”
“Bloody hell, David! Your Dad is such a fuckwit.”
“So, well, anyway, he said to call him when I could remember my manners or something like that, and I told him not to hold his breath. So that’s it.” I’d finish, and somehow just being able to say that to Jeremy would make me feel better.
But Jeremy wasn’t here.
Jeremy was in Africa, probably riding an elephant or something equally new and exciting, and way too busy to remember to write a letter to his boring best friend in Australia.
Turning the page, the photos of Jeremy ended, replaced with those of a new house, a new school, and Bobbi. Looking at her now with adult eyes, I could see that even at fifteen she’d had the makings of a very attractive young woman. Back then, of course, all I’d seen was a bossy, skinny, scrap of a thing who wouldn’t take my shit.