Erich - ThirteenA Chapter by emily
I didn’t speak to Gabe for about two days after the fight. On Thursday, I managed to avoid him by skipping class and pretending to be asleep any time he came back to the room by himself. Jim apparently decided that I was his new role model or something, so at least I had someone else to walk around with. He’s a good guy, Jim. Big mouth, but smarter than he looks (or sounds, for the record).
I’ll admit, I liked being the hero. For a little while there, I was Erich Amery: the guy who fought off four wankers and walked away with just a scratch on his hand.
Gabe looked rough, limping around with his face all black and blue. That worked pretty well for me, actually, since that night Jim wanted to double check on the concussion and I ended up doing fire warden duty alone. I had already spent most of the day alone, but at least I wouldn’t have to spend the whole night with just Gabe. I might have finished the job the Wankers started.
I didn’t think about the dream. Instead, up there on the roof, I went to sleep for the first time since Tuesday.
Friday was worse, because I couldn’t miss another day of classes. I couldn’t avoid it anymore; I just kept my bandaged hand jammed in my pocket and tried to walk at least a foot ahead of Gabe all day.
The problem was the other guys didn’t want Gabe to go anywhere alone, and I didn’t either, but goddamn it I didn’t want to be the one to walk with him everywhere. So we moved in a pack all day, hiding Gabe middle. Thank God that was the last day of classes for the week; I would have killed something if we would have had to keep that up.
I managed to make it through the whole day without acknowledging Gabe. Lucky for me, he cut out of dinner to work on something for that damn Anatomy class. Hersch walked him there, so it was just me and Jim who saw the Wankers come in.
“S**t” he hissed, spitting applesauce bits through his teeth, “Amery, behind you!” I jerked my head over my shoulder and saw at least eight of them waiting in line for their soup.
I set my jaw and glared at them. There were way more of them than us, but even they weren’t stupid enough to come after us in the middle of the commons. “Calm down, Banhart,” I muttered. “They won’t try anything.”
He looked at them over my shoulder and gave them the sneer of a guy who thought he was untouchable. “B******s. They haven’t shown their faces here all week.”
I laughed but didn’t stop glaring at them. The first one I had gotten my hands on had his arm in a sling, and Davis’s face was a mess, probably worse than Gabe’s. It felt pretty damn good to see that I had left my mark.
Jim nodded towards the one in the sling. “You think they went to the infirmary?” he asked nervously.
I frowned and shook my head. “Hell no. They don’t want Knight knowing about the fight any more than we do.” I caught Davis’s eye then. His lip curled and I smirked back at him, then turned back to Jim.
“F**k, did you ever work them over,” he said. “The redhead looks like he picked a fight with a f*****g polar bear.”
Goddamn, he was impressed with me. That sure didn’t happen a lot. “That one’s Davis,” I said, turning back around to give the b*****d another squint, “The arschloch with the knife.” I shoved my hand in my pocket, so they wouldn’t see my bandaged hand.
Jim snorted. “Yeah, well now he knows better than to pull it on you.”
I shook my head. “I think we’re done with them .”
He rolled his eyes and took a bite of bread, “Whatever you say, Captain.”
“Hey guys!” Hersch’s dropped into the seat next to Jim and his tray clattered to the table. “Did you see? The Wankers showed up!”
We spent the rest of the night having a staring contest with the Wankers from across the commons. Lucky for us, since our dorm was in the main building they couldn’t follow us there without getting caught. It was almost nine by the time anyone remembered Gabe.
“F**k,” Jim groaned when Hersch reminded us. “Could we be any worse at keeping him out of trouble?”
“You sure couldn’t,” Hersch muttered. “Amery, you go.”
“Why me?” If there was one thing that I didn’t want, it was to walk around in the dark, alone, with Gabe.
“Because I’m going to see Rebecca and Jim is staying here to work on our History of Africa term paper.”
“Geography of Africa,” Jim corrected him snidely from the desk.
“Shut up and work!”
“And,” Hersch added, cutting Jim off and jumping back to the original argument, “if the Wankers are out there is no way they would pick another fight with you.”
I groaned. It pissed me off when he was right. “Where’s the class?”
“In the weird little annex building outside the east block. By the showers.”
“Hey Abrahamson, how about I go see Rebecca and you work on…” Jim sniggered, wiggling his eyebrows.
“Shut it, Banhart! We need three pages by tomorrow!”
I slammed the door behind me before I had to listen to any more. Honestly, those two fought like they were married.
I won’t lie: the fight made me jumpy. I cursed Gabe the entire way to the Anatomy building, pissed that he couldn’t just stick with us so I wouldn’t have to risk my a*s walking around alone at night. Four Wankers I could handle, but if they brought any more next time, I was fucked. I kept my hand on the pistol in my coat and jumped whenever the bushes rustled. Thank God no one could see me like this.
I finally made it to the building, wondering why the hell any Anatomy class would be all the way out here and not in the science quad of the main building. There were no windows and no light, so I had to grope around on the wall to find the door. When I finally got inside, I knew right away that this was no Anatomy class.
All I could see was a room with ten folding chairs and a podium. I didn’t know what the hell kind of class this was, but I knew that Gabe had been lying about whatever he was doing out here. I stood in the doorway for a minute before I heard the music.
I followed the sound across the room until I came around the corner into a hall full of closets. Inside the very first one, Gabe was playing the violin.
Well I sure as hell didn’t want him to see me. Lucky for me, his eyes were closed, so I flattened myself against the wall around the corner.
The song was upbeat and kind of creepy, with a lot of jumping around from note to note. Something about it was a little off, but I knew one thing for sure: Gabe was brilliant. I had seen plenty of fiddlers in Germany, one time Mama had even dragged me to go see the symphony, and I had never heard anyone play like him.
He kept playing; he couldn’t have known I was there, so I snuck another look. Once I started watching him, I couldn’t stop.
I’m not so good with words, but it was that thing was a part of his body. He pulled the bow across the strings and it looked as natural as breathing. His fingers vibrated so hard on the handle thing it was almost like they weren’t moving at all. And his face, even through all the bruises you could tell he loved what he was doing more than anything in the world. That sounds stupid, but like I said, I’m no good with words.
For a second, for the first time since that night, I remembered my dream. I dug my nails hard into my palms, forcing myself not to think about it.
Then he stopped. He cut off so damn fast I didn’t have time to hide. Gabe opened his eyes and his face twisted up like I had hit him when he saw me there. “Erich?”
When I realized that he knew I had been watching him, I panicked. I faked a casual smile and leaned against the wall. “Moretti, there you are!”
Gabe didn’t buy it. He just shook his head and bit his lip, looking up with his huge, pleading eyes. “Please don’t tell they guys.”
I froze. We both knew that I had asked him for the same thing back in London, and as far as I knew he had kept my secret. So there was nothing else to say. “Don’t worry about it, Kamerad.”
Gabe smiled just a little and knelt down next to his violin case (how stupid was I: “equipment for Anatomy Class”). I felt dumb just standing there. “Violin, huh?” Why did keep talking? Why the hell did I always make things worse?
He nodded as he put away the bow. “Yeah, I guess. Since I was five, actually.” He shut the case and stood up. “I guess that didn’t sound very good,” he went on without encouragement. “It’s a concerto for two, by Bach. It’s the best music I have but… no partner,” he muttered, awkwardly picking at his nails and looking at the floor. That was why it sounded wrong. It was incomplete.
I raised a hand to the back of my neck uncomfortably. “No, I thought it sounded… uh…” I scratched nervously at my shoulder, “… uh, good. Sounded good.”
We just kept standing there for what felt like years. Finally, when I just couldn’t take it anymore, I held out my pack and said: “Want a cig?”
Gabe smiled, relieved. “Yeah.” He took it from me and we walked together out of the building. All the way back, and for the rest of the night, all I could do was ask God why the hell I couldn’t just stay away from this guy.
© 2012 emily
Added on August 19, 2011
Last Updated on January 19, 2012
Sons of Thunder: Part One
AboutHello all! My name is Emily, I'm 18, I am definitely not at home in this tiny MN town, and soon I will be the most famous author my generation. I go to Barnes and Noble to see where my book will sit .. more..