A Matter of Betrayal Ch. 12
CHAPTER 12: RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS
On Monday there was a new addition to the lunch table. Sheryl had joined the group and sat next to Colin, Brian grabbed the seat on her other side. “So how did the dance go?” Colin asked Sheryl. “Did I find a suitable escort?”
“You found a terrific escort,” Sheryl said with a smile giving Brian’s arm a hug. “He was a perfect gentleman.” Brian actually blushed a bit.
“Are you guys an item now or what?” Colin asked.
“No, we’re just friends,” Sheryl said quickly. “I think I need to be not involved with anyone for a while, but in the future…who knows? I do want to thank you for bringing us together for the night; I had a really nice time. You’ve always taken good care of me,” she said softly making eye contact with Colin.
“Well…it was my pleasure; I’m glad things worked out. I hope Seth didn’t give you guys a hard time,” Colin said.
Sheryl sniffed in derision and said, “He acted like we didn’t even exist just like he’s doing now,” she motioned over to Seth’s table. “Actually, sometimes it looked like he genuinely didn’t notice us there. Seth has been acting really preoccupied lately, even before we broke up.”
“Let’s forget about Seth, he’s not worth it,” Brian said. “What I want to know is why you weren’t at the dance? You’ve been acting pretty mysterious lately yourself Col. Who were you with on Saturday night?”
“Uh…I don’t think it would be right to talk about that in front of my ex girlfriend,” Colin said thinking up an excuse on the spot.
“Oh no, I would love to learn who the mystery girl is in your life now!” Sheryl said playfully.
Colin could have strangled Brian for steering the conversation this way. “Who says I have mystery woman in my life?” He said.
“It’s written all over your face dude,” Brian said, “and now we know it’s not a girl but a woman. You getting some college tail? No wonder you didn’t want to take her to a high school dance.”
Oh shit! Colin thought. I fucked up! “Again I point out there is a female present and you are being uncouth,” he said hoping to deflect this interrogation.
“And again I point out I’m fine with this and interested in your answer…and you are being evasive,” Sheryl said with an impish smile.
Brian and Sheryl were both looking at Colin waiting for him to reveal who was his new love. “I’m sorry, but it’s not something I wish to talk about,” he said.
“Fine, be that way,” Sheryl said in a huff.
“I don’t get it,” Brian said, “what’s so special about this woman that you have to keep it secret?”
“I have my reasons so can we drop it?” Colin said.
“Fine, I give up,” Brian said. Both he and Sheryl looked disgusted with Colin for his tightlippedness.
“Look, as a friend, I’m asking you to understand. If I could tell you I would but there are reasons I can’t.” Colin said.
“Okay, I won’t bug you about it anymore,” Brian said and after a moment of hesitation, Sheryl nodded in agreement.
“Thanks guys,” Colin said. They continued talking over lunch but Colin had a queasy feeling that he had still said too much. Only three months until graduation, Colin reminded himself. He and Aileen could make it.
* * *
It was Monday again and the first day of March; the month was definitely coming in like a lion. When Colin left for school that morning he was met by a deluge of rain as he left the apartment complex. The wind howled and blew the cold rain sideways so his umbrella wasn’t much help. This didn’t help with his current dark disposition. He wished he could have stayed in bed today. The past couple weeks had been inordinately stressful and he just wanted some time to recoup.
Sheryl’s assertion that she was not looking to be involved with anyone for a time seemed more and more every day as her way of telling Colin she was waiting for him to take her back, at times she even appeared to think they were back together. Despite having agreed not to press the issue of who Colin was seeing, Sheryl was doing just that. She sat with him at lunch every day and at least once a day she would steer conversation in a roundabout way towards his love life. She even showed up frequently at the diner when he was working. She would come in, sit at the counter, and order a Diet Coke or cup of coffee and stay there for hours while he worked. He knew she was still hurting from her breakup with Seth, but it was disconcerting for Colin seeing her all the time and feel she was looking to get back together with him. He didn’t want to believe she was stalking him, but what else could he call what she was doing?
It didn’t help that he was continually being harassed by Ricky Woods and Dan Blade, another one of Seth’s group. They verbally assaulted him and any friends he was hanging out with at the time. Especially when Sheryl was with him he would hear remarks like “seems like Colin don’t mind sloppy seconds” or “nice catch Martin, I hear she’s only had one previous owner that’s driven her”. Since Colin wasn’t going out with Sheryl these taunts didn’t güvenilir canlı bahis siteleri bother him personally, but it bothered him to see that they upset Sheryl. They were baiting him and he knew it but Sheryl was in a fragile state of mind all ready and didn’t need this. Colin often found himself in a position of having to defend her honor to the point of threatening Ricky, Dan, or whoever else was causing a problem and sometimes he’d end up in detention for his effort. This wasn’t helping in breaking Sheryl out of her delusional state regarding their relationship.
There were also the physical threats. Sometimes Seth’s goons would catch him in the halls and “accidentally” bump into him, one time Ricky and Dan ganged up on him in the bathroom and Colin knew he would have had the snot beat out of him if it hadn’t been for William and Kendis walking in on them. Ricky was pissed at Colin for breaking his nose and wanted revenge, but Colin could see Seth’s hand behind all of this. It was what he always did; send someone else to do the dirty work while he could claim innocence in any incidents that might happen.
Colin felt it was only a matter of time before he found himself in a dire situation and would have no back up. He knew Seth was just testing him trying to get him to let his guard down with these half hearted attempts to get at him. Sooner or later the real attack would come; Colin just had to be wary and be ready for it when it did. The word had gotten around the school that Colin was on Seth’s shit list and people were avoiding him. Even Tedd Silvers, who Colin had stood up for against Ricky, distanced himself. It seemed his circle of friends dwindled down to Moe, William, Kendis, Sheryl and Brian. They were the only ones who would allow themselves to be seen associating with Colin, but at least he still had some friends that were willing to stand by him.
However, Brian was becoming another problem all of his own. The reason why he had been free to take Sheryl to the Valentine’s Day dance on such short notice was that he recently broke up with his girlfriend, Karen Georgina. Karen and Brian went out for close to a year but in January called it quits. It had been a pretty mutual break up, both of them decided their relationship had run its course, but still, Brian hadn’t planned on going to the dance because he didn’t feel up to asking someone new out just yet.
Brian took out Sheryl as a favor to Colin but it seemed that after the dance he began to develop feelings for her. Colin was all for the two of them getting together, he thought they would make a nice couple. He had known Brian all throughout high school, but Brian hadn’t been part of Seth’s inner circle, thus he never got to know him very well. That was until January when Colin rejoined the basketball team and they became closer friends. Colin’s estimation of Brian was that he was a good guy and would be good for Sheryl; the only problem was Sheryl was focused on Colin. Everyday she seemed more entrenched in a fantasy that they were back together. It also didn’t help matters that he and Sheryl were being teased by Seth’s associates as if they were a couple.
Colin could tell this situation was beginning to annoy Brian; it had gone beyond annoying to Colin. Brian was starting to become more distant and while he still sat at the same table during lunch he was usually a few seats down from Colin and Sheryl now. Another friend Colin was losing due to this insane situation.
Colin met up with Moe and Matt as he usually did on the way to school. Matt ignored Colin and walked on ahead of them as he’d been doing since the entire athletics scandal. Moe stayed behind with Colin.
“Pretty fucked up weather today, ain’t it?” Moe said.
Colin said nothing, but as usual Moe couldn’t take a hint and started running off at the mouth. “I finally got around to seeing that movie The Butterfly Effect last weekend. Fuckin’ Ashton Kutcher; ruined a perfectly good sci-fi flick. Why the fuck they keep putting him in movies? I’ll tell you why. Teenybopper thirteen-year-olds think he’s so dreamy, fucking ruining things for the rest of us. At least they could have kept him to chick flick romantic comedies, but do they do that? No…they had to put him in a dramatic role. Fuck! I couldn’t concentrate on the fuckin’ movie cause I kept seeing Kelso playing the role and it didn’t match up. Made me laugh my ass off and the fuckin’ movie wasn’t supposed to be funny! Motherfuckers. You know who they should have cast in that part?”
“Moe, please give it a rest, just for today,” Colin said.
Moe was quiet for a brief moment then said, “This fuckin’ weather getting you down? I know how you feel. Days like this I don’t wanna be out, I just want to stay in bed with my porno mags and jack…”
“Moe! Just shut the fuck up for once! Please!” Colin exclaimed.
Moe shut up but only for another brief moment. “Dude, you are in a particularly rotten mood this morning. What’s the matter? Not getting any?”
Colin’s eyes shot daggers at Moe güvenilir illegal bahis siteleri and when he saw the look in Colin’s face he finally shut up for good. Colin stewed as they continued to walk to school. Moe had hit a little too close to home with his last statement.
Colin thought back to Valentine’s Day and how wonderful it was. He felt closer than ever to Aileen after that night. But the following Monday they had to return to their everyday lives and the problems that were still there waiting for them.
Seth was still waiting for his chance to get back at Colin. Aileen understood that just as well as Colin. She didn’t fight him on his stance regarding Seth but he could tell she was worried. He did everything he could to reassure her he would be all right but the one thing he couldn’t do, the one thing he refused to do was be Seth’s lapdog. He wouldn’t run from any direct confrontations and he had no fear of those anymore, what concerned him was the indirect ways that Seth preferred to strike. Waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop was causing a certain tension between Aileen and Colin and putting a strain on their lives. Even when I refuse to let him have an influence on my life he still finds a way to impact it! Colin thought miserably.
Usually Colin could find solace in the private world he shared with Aileen. They both drew strength from that world, from each other, but living in the constant shadow Seth cast on them from the outside was making things difficult. This morning things seemed even worse; he missed what had become a morning ritual with his mother. They showered together in the mornings among more intimate things before leaving for school and work, something that Colin relished. This morning Aileen begged off their normal habit complaining that she didn’t feel well and wished the bathroom for herself. As Moe had succinctly put it, he didn’t get any. But it wasn’t the sex he wanted as much as just that last moment of loving closeness they would share before having to separate for some hours.
. Colin arrived at school cold, wet, and in an utterly bleak mood. When he saw Sheryl there standing beneath the shelter of the covered front entrance, he silently cursed. He knew she was waiting for him.
“Hi Colin!” Sheryl said with a smile as he approached her.
“Dude, I think you got a crazy psycho bitch on your hands,” Moe said sotto voce. “First she likes you but she dumps you, then she wants to be friends, then she hates you, now she’s back to liking you again. There’s some bad mojo going on with that girl.”
“Let me handle my life Moe,” Colin said.
“Hey your life is like your asshole, it’s nice to be warned before someone tries to fuck with it,” Moe said as he walked ahead of Colin and into the school.
Sheryl met Colin as he walked up to the entrance and wrapped her arms around one of his. “Good morning!” She said in a bubbly manner. “How are you today?”
Colin looked around and saw Brian standing in a corner glaring at him and Sheryl. With a look of disgust he walked inside. “Things could be better,” Colin mumbled.
“Awww, what’s the matter sweetie?” Sheryl asked.
Colin ran a hand through his damp hair and said, “Sheryl we really need to have a talk,” just then the warning bell for classes rang.
“We’ll have to talk at lunch, see you then honey,” Sheryl said and she kissed him on the cheek then hurried inside the building.
Colin’s fists were clenching and he felt a vein pulsing in his head as he entered the school.
* * *
Colin was on his way to lunch when he saw Ricky and Dan running straight towards him. Both had a look of urgency in their eyes. Oh shit! thought Colin, This is it! He braced himself to fight both of them. The halls still had students making their way to lunch. Are they really that stupid to try beating me up in front of witnesses or am I really that stupid to believe someone will come forward afterwards to identify them? Ricky stopped right in front of Colin while Dan ran right past him. Ricky’s expression didn’t bespeak malice, but rather fear and concern, Colin wondered what was up.
“Colin! You gotta help us!” Ricky said.
“What’s going on?” Colin said.
“It’s Seth, he’s gone whacko! He’s gonna kill her!”
Who?” Colin asked in alarm.
“He’s been pissed at her ever since she broke up with him and got back together with you. He’s finally had enough.”
“Where are they?” Colin asked. Things were too urgent to waste breath correcting him that he and Sheryl were not back together.
“Out by the football field, under the bleachers!” Ricky responded.
“Go get help!” Colin told Ricky as he took off for the football field. Ricky ran along side him.
“That’s what Dan is doing,” Ricky informed him.
It was still pouring down rain when Colin went outside. He arrived at the football field and ran right under the bleachers. There was no one there and no sign anyone had been there. Just at the moment he realized güvenilir bahis şirketleri Ricky had successfully gotten him into an isolated area he felt a severe pain in his back and collapsed to the muddy ground. He got on his hands and knees and tried to stand up when another pain hit him in the back and his face was back in the mud. The pain was so intense he was seeing stars.
Colin stayed on the ground this time but lifted his head up enough to see a pair of sneakers walk in front of him. He stared up and saw a person dressed in black sweatpants and sweatshirt, he was also wearing a black ski mask and holding an aluminum baseball bat in his black gloved hands. He heard a sucking and squishing sound from the mud and turned his head to see another individual with a bat and dressed exactly like the first person walk up to his right side.
“Roll over,” the second person said in a rough male voice. Colin was still trying to sort out what was happening and his mind didn’t process what he just said. The man kicked him in the side hard enough to make Colin expel all his breath. “I said roll over!” The man ordered. Colin heard him this time and began to obey but not soon enough for another hard kick to his side. He rolled onto his back taking slow breaths and trying not to throw up from the pain.
The first attacker grabbed Colin under the arms and pulled him to his feet lifting him effortlessly. Colin’s arms were kept pinned behind his back, he tried struggling but the assailant’s grip was unbreakable. Pain exploded in his shoulder blades as pressure was put on his arms. “Stop squirming or I’ll break your arms!” His captor said. Colin stopped struggling.
The second attacker stepped in front of him and dropped the bat on the ground. “So this is the troublemaker we’ve heard so much about,” he said. “Let’s see if he still likes to squeal after we get through with him!” Colin didn’t even see the punch coming. All he knew was that one second he was staring at the man and the next his head was reeling. Intense pain throbbed in his left eye and the side of his face. Before he could even refocus his sight on the man another punch came at him…and another…and another. With the last punch he heard a sickening crunching sound coming from his nose and he knew it was broken.
Colin felt the blood and tears running down his face and tasted the metallic flavor of blood in his mouth. “How’s it feel to have your nose broken asshole?” Ricky said gleefully.
“Fuck you Ricky!” Colin managed to get out.
“No, I think you’re the one that’s fucked! I hope you’ve appreciated the use of your legs, you ain’t gonna have them much longer.” Ricky said laughing menacingly.
“Move out of the way Woods!” said the assailant who had been standing in front of Colin. He had picked up the baseball bat again and looked ready to take a swing at Colin.
“Wait! Please!” Colin begged but he was ignored. He closed his eyes in preparation for the pain to come.
“Hold it!” said a new voice. It took Colin a moment to sort through the haze he was in before he recognized the voice belonged to Seth.
“What’s going on Seth?” asked the thug holding the bat.
“He’s had enough,” Seth said.
“What do you mean he’s had enough? Jimmy says we’re supposed to break his kneecaps. You know that.”
“I can’t let you do that.”
“What’s going on Seth?”
“He’s my cousin is what’s going on. As much as I want to see him punished, I can’t let you go that far.”
“What about Jimmy?”
“You let me worry about Jimmy. I’ll take any heat for this,” Seth said.
“You know you could get in big trouble for this, you could get all of us in trouble! Why are you sticking your neck out for this dipshit loser?”
“I told you, he’s my cousin; we’re blood. And he’s not a loser he’s just got a naïve sense of right and wrong. I won’t let you get in trouble; I’ll take all the blame. You owe me and I’m collecting on that debt now.”
“Yeah, all right but this clears the slate between you and me,” the thug said as he moved away from Colin.
“Seth, don’t do this man! Let him get what’s coming to him!” Ricky whined.
“He’s had what’s coming to him and that’s it. Get out of my way Ricky before your nose gets broken again.” Seth said and Ricky backed off.
“Tommy, let’s get out of here before anybody sees us,” the thug said to his companion. Tommy let go of Colin giving him a shove and he slumped to the ground then retrieved his bat from the ground. Colin’s two attackers walked off and slinked into the shadows.
Colin lay on the ground with his face pressed to the cool mud. His nose and left eye were throbbing and he was trying to find relief from the pain any way he could. “C’mon Colin, let’s get you to the nurse,” Seth said as he moved to help him up. He placed one of Colin’s arms around his shoulders and tried to pull him to his feet.
Even though Seth was being gentle Colin still felt sharp pain in his back and side as he was helped up. He grunted in pain as he got to his feet. “Just lean on me Colin, we’ll be there in a minute,” Seth said. Colin did as he was told and found he could walk with support from his cousin. They walked out from under the bleachers to be pelted by cold fat rain drops. Both of them were thoroughly soaked but the drenching helped wash much of the mud from Colin.