"Shut up," I said curtly. My father stared at me viciously. "What did you just say-?"

"What the hell do you care?" I shouted. "Did you ever care? You just care now because you're in danger of legal trouble and a background check!"

I am safe, oddly enough, behind these bars. And now was a good time to let it all out.


Change in POV

"Maybe you should-"

I sighed, putting my cheek on my palm.

I could almost hear my guidance counselor smiling at me understandingly and I could definitely hear her pen as she scribbled down something in her notes. When I looked up again, she had a motherly, patronizing face I wanted to see in incredible pain. "I'm sorry, am I boring you?" she asked.

"Yeah," I said.

"I'm a little concerned-"

"When aren't you?" I growled.

"-You don't want to apply to any colleges?" she continued, as if I'd never spoken. Typical. She did it all the time. Acting deaf. I wondered if it was an act or if she was really that dim.

"No. What's the point in college?" I snorted.

And it was because of those words I was now sitting in the front row of the highschool apparently everyone in my current highschool had attended. The local middle school, which was putting on a play about... something. I sighed. Why did I have to be here?

Oh yeah.

Community service. Apparently doing a job that a teacher was too lazy or had better things to do instead of it, counted as community service these days. Taking a video of some stupid middle school play and posting it on the middle school's website for commercializing online or something. I guess it was community service, since it was something agonizingly dull, something no one would do unless they wanted to go to college based solely on volunteer work. I didn't really know why they wanted a video online. To promote their theater arts funding? Bad choice. Everyone knew middle school plays blew.

I watched the kids perform their play. I didn't know what the play was about, having fallen asleep about five minutes in. When I woke up, some kid was talking in an over dramatic, cheesy, drawn out way and I promptly fell asleep again, gladly. When I woke up, I actually managed to stay awake for a good twenty minutes. There was a kid doing pretty well up there and it stunned me awake. He managed a good performance without over dramatizing like the other kids were doing. He had a jocular role and he did it well, keeping an upbeat tone and wide smile that appealed to the audience. I think even I groaned when his part was over and he left the stage.

Then I fell asleep again.

When I finally woke up, I realized groggily I was in big trouble. The camera had been on, but my recording was probably off and my hand shaky, since I'd been sleeping a good amount of the time. I went outside to watch it and see if I was in big trouble or just minor trouble. I went out into the parking lot, since the lobby had a lot of echo and I didn't want my recording to make a lot of noise. I felt a little guilty for sleeping, but I could get over it. I think I got the first half of the performance. The last half I was missing now, but only for a few moments and maybe if I lied and said I'd had camera troubles-

"Go away-" I looked up at the familiar voice.


I looked around, startled and a little offended. Was Rick telling me to go away?

Then I saw him.

And darted behind the nearest car.

Rick stood with his arms crossed defensively, his back to me. Across from him, about two feet away and swaying, was a man who could only be his father.

Same eyes. Same hair. Same slightly slouching shoulders and slight grimace.

And he looked completely out of his mind.

He was swaying on his feet, his eyes bloodshot and wide and unfocused. He grimaced and Rick grimaced back, the looks almost identical.

The only difference being the inebriation of the other, older man.

"Why? You-" here he gulped and made an odd noise, like a goose choking on its own feathers. "-Can't- I- my son's here and I, urgh, got ter see hiw performance, yeh selfish- brat."

"Go away," Rick said sharply. "You're drunk."

He flinched as his father lunged forward drunkenly, grabbing a shoulder tightly with one hand. "Je- I ain't-I ain't drunk, kid. Keep dat' snotty mouth o' yers shut, huh? I'm here to see mah son and dere's nuthin' yeh can do 'bout it be-bec-because I'm fine! Aren't-aren't you... always gon' on about- whining about me missin' everything or... something," he trailed off, his voice thick.

"Oh no, you're wrong, Father," Rick said sharply. "I never cared about your presence. I gave up looking for you in the crowd a long time ago. Shane hasn't. I told him you wouldn't come and not to get his hopes up, but this is his first time, so of course he was optimistic about it-"

Rick winced as his father yanked him closer.

"You little bastard," he hissed into his son's ear. His tone rose until I could hear it better and better each rising decibel. "Tullin' him I wouldn't come, well I'm heah now, ain't I? You self-ush, jeal-us little brat, keepun me from my own son-"

"You're drunk! Stay away from him!" Rick snapped sharply. "And don't touch me."

"If he wunts me here, I'm stayun," his father insisted stubbornly.

"He doesn't know you. I do. You've disappointed me. You've disappointed our mother. And you're about to disappoint Shane, because I'm not letting you go near that school," Rick shouted fiercely.

The man looked like any second he was going to explode. I tensed, waiting for the breakdown. Was he violent when drunk?

Rick wouldn't back down. I waited for his father to snap or for Rick to flinch or turn tail and run.

But it didn't happen. Rick didn't back down and he wasn't going to. I could tell by just how tense his body was and how tightly his fists were clenched. He was going to fight.

I felt a flicker of respect.

Finally his father snorted and looked away from their intense staredown. He turned his back on his son and stormed away, not before yelling over his shoulder, "when he asks why I wasn't here, you're explaining it!"

That was the most sober thing he's said. And it had been said with such digust and anger and hurt it made my stomach curl.

"Wait," Rick called after him. "You're not driving, are you?"

"So wut the hell do-y-yeh care?" his old man shouted back, his voice getting further away every second.

"Dad! You can't drive!" Rick yelled. "Dad!"

His voice cracked a little on the last word. There were so many emotions to be interpreted, so many I didn't know which he was feeling and if he was feeling anything at all, if he was as uncaring as he acted.

His father never looked back. He kept walking without another glance at his son.

For a moment, Rick just stared at the spot where he'd vanished. I couldn't see his face. I didn't know how he was feeling. Anger? Hatred? Annoyance? Digust?


He turned around and walked back to the school.

I skirted around the car, keeping myself hidden.

He stopped.

And looked directly at me.

"Can I help you?"

Sorry for the long pause. I've been really busy with work. And yes, this chapter did drive me a little insane, since I had to mispell quite a few words intentionally. And it irritated the crap out of me, but it was necessary.