Caine's Point of view
|I am leaving the school when I get the news. Jared has been found behind the school, bloody and bruised, and has been rushed to the hospital. At first I consider going straight to Jerome and kicking his ass, but I calm my nerves and think logically. If Jared is awake, I need to be there for him. Heart racing, blood pumping, I rush to my jeep and slam my foot on the gas as I make my way to the hospital. The whole time, I am praying that my boyfriend is okay, that he is alive.
Rebecca and Jared’s mother, Martha, are already there in the waiting room when I appear. Rebecca looks angry and scared, his mother in almost the same state. “What happened,” I ask as I make it in front of them. Rebecca looks up, meeting my eyes.
“Some teacher was walking to the shed out back when he found Jared lying in the grass, unconscious. He called for help immediately and Jared was brought here,” She explains. “Jerome was behind this. The stupid bastard just doesn’t know when to quit!”
“Yeah, thank you for texting me.” “This is my fault,” I sigh as I sit down. “Are we allowed to see him?”
“Not yet. They have him in surgery for, get this, internal bleeding. Jerome broke one of his ribs and it pierced his lungs.” Rebecca tried to sound pissed, but her voice broke at the end, portraying her true feelings.
My blood runs cold at the words. I try to speak, but the words won’t come. Coughing, I manage, “did they say if he would be okay?”
“If the surgery goes well, then yes, he should be fine.” Ms. O’Brian answers with a weary sigh. Nodding, I sit down and wait for news with the other two.
Eventually a Doctor Ryan enters the waiting room, calling for Jared’s family. He comes over to us and explains the surgery went well and proceeds to tell me all of his injuries when I explain that I had just arrived. The more he tells me, the angrier I get; at Jerome for being a dick, at myself for not being there for him, and anything else I can find to blame. Nodding, I make my way out of the room. “Tell Jared that I will be there soon if he wakes up before I am back,” I say to Rebecca as I leave.
“Wait! Where are you going?”
“I’m going to take care of the guy who did this,” I growl at her.
“Don’t; do you really think Jared would want to wake up and find out you’re in jail,” She asks.
“I honestly think he would. I think he would love to know that someone was finally caring enough to put a stop to his tormentors!” I
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Rebecca takes a step closer, crossing her arms.
“I mean, that when he was abused by his dad, no one did anything for a year. When he was being abused by his boyfriend and got raped, he didn’t trust his own best friend and mother enough to tell them, instead he chose to tell a guy he knew for only three weeks, and when he did, it was too late; he was already too far broken. I am not blaming you guys for that, but I am saying that it’s time someone stand up for him because I know exactly how it feels when no one is there to help pick up the pieces someone else broke.”
“So you are saying that Jay is broken?”
“Yes, I am; because he is. He is broken and I could tell the minute I saw him that first day in class.”
“How could you tell? You didn’t even know him.” Rebecca sighs, sitting on a chair by the wall.
I sat next to her, calming my anger; at Jerome, at her, at the world, and started talking. “Because I was there before I escaped my dad. I was just like him, with my head down, avoiding gaze, flinching when someone touched me, ignoring if someone tried to speak to me, the quiet way of speaking; I was in my own little bubble, just like him. I know the signs, and he has every one of them,” I explain softly.
Rebecca let’s out a long sob/sigh and let her head fall into her hands. “How did I not notice? I met him a month after he met Michael. By then he was already acting that way, so I thought it was just him. I thought it was just the way he was. I had no idea it meant something deeper. I should have been there when he was getting hurt, I’ve been trying to stay strong for him about all this, but fuck; he got raped. That was probably the worst thing he has ever experienced.... I-, I’m so sorry,” She whispers into the air. I lay an arm gently over her shoulders as she cries quietly.
“It’s not your fault; my friends were the same way. They had no idea what was going on until I told them before I left. I think the people who experience immense pain are more likely to detect others who are hurting than those who don’t. Because they know the signs, they know what it looks like. No one can blame you for all this. I’m sorry for what I said, I wasn’t blaming you.”
She nods and pulls out from under my arm. “You should go see Jared, his mum is out.”
“You want to see him first?” I ask her, standing.
“No, I don’t think I can see him like that yet.”
Nodding, I get the room number from Jared’s mother and make my way into the room. Upon entering, I gasp. He looks terrible. His face is swollen and bruised; his right eye black, his lips busted; his arm and leg are in casts, his stomach is bandaged and already spotted with blood. I sit heavily in the chair nearest to him and take his un-casted hand.
“I’m so sorry, baby. I should have been there.” I whisper to his hand and place a small kiss to it. I sit for a while longer, just taking in the sight of him, willing him to wake up, to be okay. “It’s my fault, I’m sorry.” I stay for a bit longer until it is evident that he will not wake for a while. I get up and leave the room, allowing Rebecca her chance.
The next day I am lying in the hospital chair outside of his room when I am awoken by Rebecca. “He’s awake,” she squeals in delight. “You should go see him first, he’s looking for you,” she adds. I look around for Ms. O’Brian but she is nowhere in sight. When I ask where she is, she replies, “I talked her into going into work. She told me once that if she missed another day that she’d be fired and she really needs the job. She’ll be back the minute she is off.” I reply with a curt ‘okay’ before entering the room that a young nurse just exited.
Jared looks about the same as before but awake. He whispers ‘hi’ as I make my way to his side. He grabs my hands as I lean down to kiss his head. “Hey, how do you feel?” He gives a sarcastic answer and I can’t help but hurt for him. His voice is scratchy and dry, the obvious effects of being choked. With each second that passes my anger towards Jerome raises. All I want to do is put a gun to the bully’s head. “I’m so sorry Jay. I’m going to kill Jerome for this. He will have no chance of ever hurting you again. I should’ve protected you...” I sigh softly, carding my fingers softly through his hair.
“Don’t; don’t do anything stupid. I don’t want you getting in trouble,” he begs me, with his torn up voice. “Besides, it’s not your fault. You can’t be my 24/7 body guard, you have things to do.” Nodding, I relent, but demand an explanation.
He explains that he was walking to his ride when he was grabbed by Jerome’s thugs. He says that they torment him as usual but then he suddenly burst, “oh fuck! They were there at the park, Caine! Will took a video of us and he’s going to broadcast it at school. Everyone will know. Caine, everyone will know what I’ve been hiding; everything you’ve been hiding,” Jared sobs pitifully. My heart shatters at the sound and I can’t help but hold him close and try to soothe him.
“Hey, hey, it’s alright, it is okay,” I promise him that I’d stop him and after a few more exchanged words, I make my way out of the room, ignoring Rebecca’s questions. I have one goal in mind. That fucker will die. I’ve had enough of him. As promised though, I call the coach as I all but run to my jeep and explain the situation, telling him that there was information Jerome was threatening to spread out over the system.
“Son...I hate to tell you this, but it’s already too late. He broadcast the video as soon as class started.” The coach informs.
“Fuck;” I swear without guilt, “how much got out?” I ask in a panic.
“All of it... he made it where we could not shut it down; I’m sorry-” swearing again, I toss my phone into the passenger seat as I pull up to the school’s courtyard. It is lunch break now and every one of our grade is luckily outside. I immediately spot Jerome surrounded by a horde of busty blondes, chatting as if he didn’t just almost commit murder.
My blood boils and I don’t think straight as I make my way in front of him and deck him directly in the nose. The girls flee as I straddle him and land blow after blow to his ugly face. “You fucker!” A punch; “Stupid fucking bastard!” Punch; “How could you?” Another punch; “He’s in the fucking hospital! He almost fucking died! You almost killed him!” I scream at him as I land more punches. “And then you broadcast his deepest fucking secret like it’s nothing!” I have tears in my eyes as I hit him once more. “HE DOES NOT DESERVE THIS!” A crowd gathers to watch and I hear occasional shouts of encouragement. I scream some more choice words as I feel someone pull me off of Jerome. I put up no fight; I know I need to stop; I want to fucking kill him.
“That’s enough, Caine!” I hear our principal bark from my side. I bite down on my lip and taste blood. Holy fuck, do I want to kill him. I turn and see that the man holding me is a cop; dammit.
“I’m sorry man, it was just a joke, I swear.” Jerome mumbles, being picked up by another officer.
“A fucking joke?! Landing him in the HOSPITAL is just a JOKE? What the fuck is wrong with you!?” I shout at him, resisting the urge to break the officer’s hold on me.
“I’m sorry...” he mumbles quietly, but I can see the malice in his eyes.
“You stupid fucker!” I shout again before being dragged away.
The officer chants the usual crap before he loads me into his car and hops into the front. “Kid, you’re in a lot of trouble, I hope you understand that.” The officer declares as he begins to drive.
“I know I am. And I don’t regret it. That monster deserved so much worse than that,” I grimace, leaning back.
“Care to elaborate? It might help you if you tell me just what happened,” He states, eyeingme.
“He almost killed someone that I love...and then he puts up a video across school revealing one of this person’s deepest secrets that should have never have gotten around,” I mutter. The officer, Officer Brent, his name tag states, nods and asks for no more elaboration. When we get to the station, I follow him in and into a cell. I am given my traditional phone call an hour later and I immediately call Rebecca.
“Jail? I told you you’d land in jail you idiot! How much is the bail price?”
“Doesn’t matter; you’re not paying it,” I answer her.
“Like hell I’m not. Jerome also posted the video on social media. It’s everywhere now so Jared needs you. What price did they give you? I’ll get my parents to help. When they hear the story they’ll be more than willing; please, he really needs you right now.”
Sighing, I answer, “$300; I was told that I could go ahead and get out without seeing a judge. I guess they took pity on me when I explained the situation.”
“Fine, I’ll call my dad now. We’ll be there soon.” With that, the call is over and I make my way back to the cell I’m being held in to wait. Jerome is in the one next to mine, but unlike me, he is in major trouble as more of the boys involved are brought in. They will most definitely be going to court. I lie back on the cot and rest my eyes, exhausted from the shitty two days I’ve had. Unknowingly, I fall asleep but get woken by Rebecca calling my name.
She and her father are standing in front of my open cell, Rebecca with her arms crossed, but her anger is not direct towards me. It’s towards Jerome. Her father also looks slightly angry. I nod towards her and pull her into a hug. “Thank you,” I mumble. I step back and thank her father as well, shaking his hand.
“You’re welcome son. When I heard what happened with Jared...I am happy to help. With the charges this kid has against him, he will not be getting off easy, I promise you that. Jared’s a good kid. I am sorry about what happened.”
I nod, “good.”
We drive back to the hospital in a silence and I immediately get back to my boyfriend’s side. He is once again asleep and his eyes are puffy and his cheeks spotted; evidence of crying. For the millionth time, my heart shatters. My past was heaven compared to his hell. I sit down and lay my head on his shoulder. “It’s okay, baby. We’ll get through this.” I whisper in his ear.