Tommy's terrible, rotten, no good, very bad day
AN: Okay, y'all, so this is a story that was born from a random thought in my brain lol. It's about the two youngest brothers of His Plan and it's set about 13ish years before. Also, I guess I'm supposed to warn people that there's a bit near the end eludes to corporal punishment between a dad and his two sons. If that's not cool with you, by all means, skip this story. So without further ramblings from me, read on.
"I want to go." Grumbled Beau as he placed another log up on the chopping block for Tommy to split with the axe. Tommy rolled his eyes and lifted the hem of his white t-shirt up to wipe the sweat from his face before he looked back at his little brother.
"No." He said firmly.
"Cause you're thirteen, that's why. Now quit askin'."
"That's not a reason!" Beau exclaimed.
Tommy didn't reply, choosing to ignore the younger boy instead as he raised the ax above his head and brought it down onto the upright log, sending the two halves on either side of the stump.
Beau, aggravated at being dismissed so easily, glared at Tommy until a thought came to him and he grinned.
"I'll tell dad. If I can't go then neither will you."
Tommy continued chopping wood, unfazed by the remark.
"No, you won't. You'd never rat me out to him cause you know I'd get grounded and wouldn't be able to drive you anywhere so you'd have to go with him or mom."
Beau bit the inside of his cheek as he thought about that, knowing it was true. He'd never purposefully get Tommy in trouble no matter what. He walked around the stump so that he was facing Tommy instead of standing off to the side.
"I'll tell Wesley."
Tommy's gloved hand stilled on the handle of the axe as he looked at Beau who was smirking, knowing that he'd pushed the right button.
Wesley wouldn't rat him out to their dad either, but he also wouldn't let him go. Tommy didn't like to admit that his older brother would be able to stop him, but the fact of the matter was that he could. When it came down to it, Wesley knew how to keep him from the stupid. And Tommy wasn't dumb. He knew street racing in the middle of the night definitely made it to the top of the "Things dad considers stupid" list.
"Fine." He finally conceded, "You can come but you do exactly what I say, when I say it. Got it?"
Beau nodded, "Got it."
Late that night, after telling their parents that they were staying at a friend's house, Tommy and Beau were in Tommy's black, 1967 Javelin, ready to begin their first race of the night. There were several other teenagers out on the old stretch of highway that connected their small town of Decatur, to the next town over.
Suddenly another car pulled up beside Tommy. A canary yellow, 70's model dodge charger. The boy in the driver's seat rolled his window down and grinned over at Tommy and Beau.
"You ready for this, Anderson?" He asked as he revved up his engine.
Tommy laughed confidently, "Are you?" He winked at Beau and turned to face the road.
The flagger stepped in front of them and raised his arm signalling for them to get ready. As soon as he dropped his arm, they sped off. They were racing down the stretch of highway for a half mile and so far they were neck and neck. But just as Tommy began to pull ahead, they were suddenly surrounded by flashing lights and sirens.
A road block had been set up across the two lane highway as a trap for them all and Tommy had no choice but to brake or risk crashing into the police cars.
"Crap. Crap. Crap." Tommy muttered as his headlights illuminated the figure of a cop walking towards them.
"Think that's Wesley?" Beau asked.
"God, I hope not." He answered.
The cop shined his flashlight into the car and tapped the window. Tommy rolled his window down and sure enough it was his older brother, Wesley. He stared straight ahead out the windshield as Wesley looked in at them.
"Get out." He said, lowly.
"Wes, I-" Tommy started to reply but was cut off.
"Get. Out." Wesley's voice had dropped a notch in an almost perfect imitation of their dad. Seeing no other way out, Tommy shoved open the car door before getting out and slamming it shut behind him. Wesley leaned down to point the flashlight towards Beau. "That goes for you too, Squirt." Beau looked as if he'd rather do anything but get out of the relative safety of the car, but instead he sighed and came around to stand next to his brother who was leaning against the front fender of the car.
Beau looked around nervously as the other officers were talking to kids and taking down names before leading them to squad cars. He chanced a glance at Wesley who stood menacingly in front of them with his arms crossed over his chest and a scowl on his face. Fortunately, the scowl didn't seem to be aimed his way yet. Unfortunately, it was aimed at Tommy, who also stood, arms crossed and glaring back at him.
"You wanna tell me what the heck has gotten into you?! Street racing, Tommy?! And you thought it would be okay to bring our thirteen year old brother along?!"
"I wanted to come." Beau said quickly, hoping it would help Tommy. But Wesley just held up a hand to him and continued to stare down at Tommy.
"Do you have any idea how much trouble you're both in?" He waited for a reaction but was met with the same stony silence. "Dangit, Tommy! This is serious! You're about to be arrested! This could turn out to be jail time or at the least, you could even lose your license and car! And what about Beau, huh?"
Tommy looked up at that, his blue eyes flashing. "He didn't do anything."
Wesley shook his head sadly. "You don't get it, do you? He doesn't have to have done anything. He was in the car, Tom! He's part of it! He's a thirteen year old kid who is about to have a record over something so freaking stupid as a car race! What were you thinking?!"
For the first time during the whole exchange, Tommy actually looked sorry. His face softened and he swallowed hard before trying to speak again.
"I...I didn't know-"
"Yeah, no kidding." Wesley said harshly.
Tommy looked around at everything going on around him and suddenly didn't feel well. He glanced at Beau who didn't look much better before turning back to Wesley.
"Wes, can't you just-"
"Don't even." Wesley said sharply and pointed at Tommy, his brown eyes darkening. "You know that I can't and I won't. I'm not just your brother, Tommy. I'm a cop. And that comes with a whole nother set of rules." He looked between the two. Beau looked scared and was studying his boots, but Tommy had replaced his hard mask and was defiantly looking off to the side. "But trust me, if I was just your brother, I'd lay into both of you, right here in front of everybody."
Beau's eyes widened as he looked up at Wesley.
"I don't think dad would like that."
Wesley almost grinned at Beau's quick response. "You wanna call him and find out, little brother? Go ahead." He shrugged his shoulders as if he didn't care before turning back to Tommy. "Did dad mind too much last year, Tommy?"
Tommy's head snapped up at that and he gritted his teeth to keep from saying anything. For a split second, Wesley saw hurt flash across his face, but just as quick it was gone. Beau stood staring back and forth between them. "Tommy? Did he?" But Tommy didn't answer. Instead he continued to glare at Wesley. He'd stood up from where he was leaning on the car and for the first time Wesley noticed that he'd grown enough that they were almost eye level with each other. Wesley glared back at him, not willing to back down now. He'd deal with whatever fall out came later. Finally, Tommy broke eye contact and looked off to the side once more, giving Beau all the answer he needed.
"Well, this starts a whole new ball game." He thought. "One that I have no interest in playing."
"C'mon, boys." Wesley was saying, "You can call dad when we get to the station." He gestured toward his patrol car and Beau sadly started to turn that way when Tommy suddenly shook his head and said, "No, way."
Wesley turned back to him. "Excuse me?"
"You know what? Screw you, Wesley! Oh, wait, I'm sorry. Screw you, Officer Anderson!"
"Tommy." Wesley said in a deathly low tone. Daring the boy in front of him to keep going. But Tommy was past caring. He was in Wesley's face in the next second.
"Not everybody can be a saint like you, but at least if it were me, I'd do whatever I could to help out my brothers. I'd never do this to Beau." He turned and wrenched open the car door but before he could get in, Wesley pushed it back shut and grabbed Tommy by the arm, attempting to keep him out of the car. Tommy took that moment to aim a right hook at his face. Wesley effortlessly dodged the blow and in the next instant, had Tommy pinned against the car, his right arm held up behind his back.
Tommy was struggling but even he knew he wasn't getting up til Wesley let him.
"You're under arrest, Tommy." Wesley said sadly as he unhooked his handcuffs from his utility belt and began to snap them around Tommy's wrists.
He leaned down so that he could whisper in his ear without anyone hearing and said, "It'll be alright, kid."
But Tommy was still too angry to think clearly and cried out, "I hate you! Dangit, Wesley, I freaking hate you!"
The car ride to the station was pretty quick and once they got inside, Wesley led them to a couple of chairs beside his desk. He took off the handcuffs and Tommy made a show of rubbing his wrists, though they hadn't actually hurt him much. Wesley barely kept from rolling his eyes at the theatrics as he handed Tommy the phone. He took it without a word but looked up at him pleadingly.
"No way, kid. You call him." Was all Wesley said as he leaned his hip against his desk.
Tommy sighed and punched the numbers into the cordless phone and held it to his ear with bated breath. After the fourth ring, James groggily answered the phone.
Suddenly more alert, James sat up in the bed and looked over at the alarm clock.
"Tommy? It's after one in the morning, son. What's wrong?"
Tommy closed his eyes so that he wouldn't have to look at either of his brothers.
"Me and Beau are at the police station." He said quietly. "We need you to come get us."
A beat. Two. "What did you do?"
Tommy took a deep breath. "I was street racing. Beau didn't do anything." He quickly added. "But since he was in the car, he's in trouble too, I guess."
"He's in trouble for more than just being in the car."
"Dad, c'mon, Wesley's blowing this all out of proportion. He freaking handcuffed me and everything for no reason. Pushed me up against the car like it was some episode of cops! That didn't happen to any of the other kids."
Wesley couldn't help the eye roll at that as he held his hand out for the phone, but to his disbelief, Tommy turned in the seat, away from him.
"Hang on, Tommy. Why would he do that?" James asked irritably.
"Beats me! He was just yelling at us right there in front of everybody and then he cuffed me."
Wesley looked down at Beau who was staring at Tommy as if he'd suddenly grown two heads.
"Alright, listen." James was saying. "I'm on my way. You and your brother better park it wherever Wesley puts you and stay there."
"I mean it, Tommy." He cut him off sternly. "If I find out that you've given anybody a hard time, you won't see the outside of your bedroom for a month. You hear me?"
Tommy huffed into the phone but didn't answer. "That was a question, Thomas. I expect an answer."
Tommy sighed. "Yes sir, I hear you."
Wesley got the phone then and walked a little ways down the hall to talk to their dad. Tommy slouched farther down in his seat and shoved his hands in the pocket of his grey hoodie and hung his head, studying his boots. He was sure Wesley was telling their dad everything that had happened tonight and probably making it much worse than it was. He was also sure that their dad was siding with him. Seemed like that's all he ever did.
After they hung up, Wesley took Tommy down to a holding cell, but Beau was allowed to remain at Wesley's desk. Neither of them spoke a word as Wesley shut the cell door but before he left, he said, "Dad'll be here soon, kid. It'll all work out."
Tommy didn't reply though. He just turned away and crossed his arms over his chest. Wesley shook his head and headed back out the way he came. Tommy looked around at the small cell. It only held a bed and toilet but at least there was noone else in it. He took a seat on the bed and jigged his leg nervously. For all his bravado earlier, he really wasn't looking forward to facing his dad. How had the day turned out so bad?!
Both Wesley and Beau turned to see Sheriff Jeff Beaty standing in the doorway of his office with a scowl on his face. He walked over to them and stood in front of Beau who swallowed hard but met his gaze. "Hey, Mr. Jeff."
Jeff sighed. "Beau, did Josh know anything about this? If he did, this was definitely one of those times where you tell on your friend just to keep them safe."
Beau shook his head. "No, sir. I didn't even find out about it til today and I haven't talked to him. I promise." Josh was Beau's best friend and the sheriff's kid. And for once, Beau was glad he hadn't seen him in a couple of days. Jeff nodded at the boy and squeezed his shoulder before pointing at Wesley and then at his office.
"We'll be right back, Beau. Sit tight."
"Yes, sir." Beau nodded politely.
Wesley followed the sheriff into his office and shut the door before turning to him.
"Son, I'm just gonna cut right to the chase." Jeff said as he leaned against the front of his desk and looked at his deputy. "Did I see you manhandle your brother out there?"
Wesley's brows creased in confusion.
"Well, yeah. But only cause he tried to punch me." He defended.
Jeff grinned before he schooled his features again.
"First of all, he missed, and you and me both knew he would miss. Second, you had that kid pinned to the car so fast it probably made his head spin. And lastly, in my experience, boys who are embarrassed in front of all their friends rarely make the smartest choices."
Wesley was even more confused now. "Embarrassed? I've never seen Tommy embarrassed by anything in his life."
"Then maybe that's why you didn't notice it, but believe me, if looks could kill, we'd be digging your grave right about now."
"He's just mad that he got caught, that's all."
Jeff shook his head. "I'm telling you, Wesley, you were too hard on that boy. You yelled at him in front of everybody. Go talk to him."
Wesley threw his hands up.
"He tried to punch a cop!"
"No he didn't." Jeff said as he opened the door for Wesley to walk out. "He tried to punch his brother. Now go."
Wesley still didn't move. "Is that an order, Sheriff?" He asked with just a little more cockiness than he would normally show the older man.
Jeff raised his eyebrows and stood up a little straighter. "Do you need it to be?" He asked, his voice low and rumbly.
Wesley sighed. He respected Jeff a lot. He always had. Jeff and his wife, Vivian were friends with his parents so he'd grown up around them and now Beau was best friends with their son, Josh. They were like family.
"No, sir. I don't."
"Good." Jeff said and pointed down the hall where Tommy was being held. Wesley didn't need to be told again before he walked out.
Wesley opened the door to the holding cell and walked in. Tommy was still sitting on the bed with his hands clasped in front of him on his knees.
"Hey." Wesley said as he sat down beside him.
Tommy didn't respond, but Wesley didn't expect him to.
"Look, I guess I shouldn't have yelled at you the way I did. I'm sorry."
"Sure." Tommy replied without looking up.
Not one to give up so easily, Wesley went on, "It's just that I know how dangerous this is. I've seen kids thrown through windshields 'cause they lose control of their cars. There are reasons that this is illegal, Tommy."
Tommy looked up at that. "You think I don't know that? I'm not an idiot, Wes."
"Then why would you do it? And more than that, why would you let Beau come with you?"
"How 'bout you save the lecture, okay? Dad's gonna take care of that all on his own thanks to you."
"You brought this all on yourself, Tommy, not me."
"Whatever." Tommy said as he turned to lay back on the bed. "What are you even doing here anyway? Don't cops usually leave the prisoners alone?"
Wesley sighed. "Apparently I can't be just one or the other. And I figure I was your brother first. Anyway, I really am sorry. I actually didn't mean to embarrass you, tonight."
He got up to leave and was just about to walk out when he heard Tommy reply.
"I'm sorry I tried to hit you."
"It's okay. Does this mean you don't actually hate me?"
Tommy smiled. "Most of the time you're okay." He waited a beat. "How mad is he?"
"Pretty mad." Wesley answered, not wanting to sugarcoat things. "But just keep the smart elic side of yourself down and throw in a lot of yes, sirs and it should keep the damage to a minimum."
"Gee, that'll be easy." Tommy said sarcastically.
Even though their farm was only about fifteen minutes away, it still took an hour and a half for James to get there. Tommy figured he was letting him stew a while before he came and got them. He was still sitting on the bed when the cell door opened again and James walked in. He chanced a glance up but immediately dropped his gaze back to the floor. Angry he could handle, disappointed was something else entirely.
"Are you comfortable, son?"
Tommy shook his head. "No, sir."
James walked over and sat down next to him. The bed protested under his weight but it was big enough to hold one very large dad and one half grown boy.
"How's Beau?" Tommy asked quietly.
"They actually didn't press charges on him. Lucky he's just thirteen. They could have though."
Tommy seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. "I'm sorry. I didn't know he could get in trouble too."
"But you knew you could. You knew you both would be in trouble with me. Why'd you do it, Tommy?"
Tommy shrugged his shoulders and James raised an eyebrow at him. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
"I don't know, dad. I guess I just didn't think it was that big of a deal."
"And what do you think now? Now that you're sitting in jail and you'll have to go to court? Now that you could lose your license and car?"
"Well I wasn't exactly counting on Wesley arresting me." He snapped.
"I wasn't counting on you still having an attitude."
Tommy looked away. "Sorry."
After a minute, he said, "I honestly don't get why you're so mad. It's not like you've never raced cars before. Papaw told me about that time you got caught racing against that kid right in the middle of town."
James glared down at the boy beside him. "Did papaw also tell you what he did to me once he got me home that night?"
"No, but I got a feeling it's gonna be pretty close to what you're gonna do to me."
"You got it."
"Awe, c'mon, dad!"
"And we haven't even touched on how you tried to punch a cop. And then had the gall to lie to me and say he had no reason to handcuff you!"
"I already apologized to Wes for that!" He said quickly, hoping it would somehow help him.
"Doesn't change the fact that you did it in the first place."
James closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. He could feel a headache coming on and he just wanted this night to end.
"C'mon, let's go home. I know your mom will want to see you and make sure you're both okay." He stood up and motioned for Tommy to stand too.
Tommy slowly stood, thinking he might just rather stay here than face his mom.
As they walked out and headed towards the truck, Tommy suddenly had a thought.
"Hey what about my car?" He asked as his hand stalled on the door handle.
"It's impounded til you pay the fine. But I wouldn't get in too much of a hurry. It's not like you'll be driving it any time soon." James answered simply.
Even though Tommy had expected as much, to hear that he wouldn't have his car for awhile brought all his frustration and anger up to the surface. Once Beau had climbed into the backseat of the truck, Tommy got in and slammed the door.
"Easy." James chided. Tommy didn't respond as he put his seatbelt on and settled for staring out the window as James pulled the truck out onto the road.
The silence in the truck was deafening. Beau sat behind Tommy and he could feel him shaking his leg. He knew he was just nervous but it wasn't helping Tommy's own nerves at all.
"Quit it, Beau. You're shaking the whole truck."
"Get over it." Beau mumbled back.
It went on for another minute before Tommy said again, "Stop shaking your freaking leg, Beau!"
Tommy turned around in his seat and leaned over, reaching for his little brother.
"Boys!" James exclaimed as he himself reached over and smacked the top of Tommy's thigh, getting his attention and causing him to turn back around in his seat. "That's enough."
"Dad! It's him!"
"He started it." Beau exclaimed.
"I don't care. Just sit back and be quiet."
Both boys fell silent again. Tommy reached over to turn on the radio but James swatted his hand away. He rolled his eyes but instead just opened the glove compartment and pulled out his cd player he remembered that he'd left in there a few days before. He put the headphones in his ears only to have James take them back out.
"Hey! If you wanna sit in silence go ahead, but I can't take it." Then as if to prove that he could, Tommy put them back in and turned on the first song and leaned his head on the window. He felt the wind as James rolled his window down but realized too late what he was doing. Suddenly his headphones were pulled from his ears again and thrown out the window. Disappearing in the dark of River Road.
Tommy and Beau both wore identical looks of shock.
"Dad! What the heck?! Those were mine!"
"Sorry." But he didn't sound sorry at all.
Tommy fell back into his seat with a groan.
"You know, you bought those for me." He said irritably.
"Well, I'm not buying the next pair."
Tommy tried to be quiet, he really did, but it was never his strong suit. Sometimes he thought he couldn't shut up his mouth to save his butt.
"Okay, I'm in trouble. I get that. But why did you have to throw my headphones out the window?"
"Because you're grounded." James said lowly. "No car, no t.v., no video games, no phone and no music!"
"What?! No music? Did you just make that up?!" He exclaimed.
"Yes. No." He took a deep breath. "I so frustrated with you boys right now that I'm just making this up as I go along, okay."
Both boys stared in disbelief.
"You mean to tell me that I've upset the punishment bell curve so bad that you can't even figure out what to do with me?!"
James just turned a hard glare at him before looking back at the road.
Tommy sat back once again. "Right. Fantastic."
"You know, dad," Tommy suddenly spoke up causing Beau to groan before actually kicking the back of Tommy's seat hoping to shut him up, "Throwing out my headphones is littering. That's illegal. What would Wesley think?"
In the next second, Tommy felt gravel under the tires as James pulled the truck onto the side of the road. Faster than he would have thought possible, James was opening the passenger side door and leaning in towards his middle son.
"Do we need to take care of this right here, Thomas? Because I promise you, little boy, I have no problem accommodating you."
"Little boy?! That's new. Okay, Tommy, if he's making up new words for you, you should probably tone it down!"
"No, sir." He said barely above a whisper.
"Are you sure? Because this is as good a place as any." Tommy shook his head. "Then sit back and be quiet. Not one more word, understand?" He nodded, unsure of how literal that 'one more word' would be. It must have been enough because James got back in the truck and pulled back out.
"And Beau, don't think I didn't notice how you just kicked my seat. Don't let it happen again."
"Yes, sir." Beau replied quietly.
The rest of the ride was in absolute silence. Each lost in their own thoughts. As they pulled into the driveway, the boys chanced a glance at each other, wondering what was going to happen next. He put the truck in park but made no move to get out. He just pointed towards the barn and said, "I'll be on down there in a minute."
Not wanting to risk making him more mad than they already had, they got out and started walking around the back of the house. They just wanted everything to be over with so they could go to bed.
A little while later, James came in the back door followed by his two sullen teenagers. Ruth was sitting at the table waiting on them.
"Beau, tell your mother good night and head on upstairs."
Tommy hung his head. He knew there would be something else.
Beau walked into Ruth's open arms and she kissed the top of his head.
"Good night, baby." She let him go and he walked through the kitchen into the living room and up the stairs to his bedroom. When they heard his bedroom door close, James turned to Tommy who stood quietly in the middle of the kitchen with his hands in the pockets of his jeans.
"Alright, listen. You know I'm disappointed in your behavior tonight and I meant what I said in the truck. You're grounded til further notice. You go to court Monday morning but I talked to Jeff and he figures since this is the first time you've been in serious trouble, you'll probably just get some community service."
James looked down at his kid and his heart broke for him. Despite the attitude he'd shown all night, Tommy was at his core, a sweet kid who just messed up. He sighed as he walked over to him and put his arms around him. One hand on his back and the other cradled his head against his chest, right under his chin and James smiled sadly when he thought that if he got any taller he wouldn't fit there anymore. He could feel Tommy sag against him as he finally put his arms around him and clutched the back of his shirt in his hands.
"I don't know what I would do if something ever happened to you, Tommy. Never again, you hear me?"
"Yes, sir." He mumbled into his shirt. "I'm sorry." And James knew he meant it.
"Alright, now go hug your mom." He whispered.
Tommy let go and walked over to Ruth.
"Don't you ever scare me like that again."
"Yes, ma'am." She too, reached up and hugged him, holding him just as tightly as James had. "I'm so sorry, mama."
She pushed him back enough that she could look into his blue eyes and placed her hand on his cheek. "We forgive you, sweetheart. Now go on upstairs and get some sleep. We'll see you in the morning."
He nodded and began to walk out. As he got to the door though, James' voice stopped him.
"Don't think this means you get to sleep in tomorrow though, son. You and Beau got chores, bright and early."
Tommy turned back, his smile slowly spreading. "Wouldn't dream of it, dad."