Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen

A Chapter by Elizabeth Reed

After about a week I was feeling perfectly fine. The flu was gone and my arm was out of the sling. My shoulder was still a little sore, but I was working in the barn, doing things that weren't too strenuous. Mostly just working the horses and filling water buckets (and yes, I wore a helmet when jumping. It felt weird, but it was worth it since I took a couple dives). I even was texting Josh and went on a date with him to the movies. Twice when Beck showed up at the barn he had another bruise or cut somewhere, having an explanation for them.

'I closed my hand in a door.'
'I tripped up the stairs.'
'I fell off my skateboard.'
One day he came over and kept wincing and moving his hand towards his stomach, so I made him lift his shirt and he had a big bruise on his stomach.

"I tripped and fell over our coffee table." is what he told me. I knew something was going on, but he wouldn't tell me. So one day while we were working Laina didn't come over because her brother was visiting from college, I planned on getting him to tell me. I may have let it slide, but this time I couldn't. He didn't show up to school, so I assumed he wouldn't come to the barn. So, I was in the chicken pen, feeding them and gathering eggs when Beck walked by, his left arm in a cast, resting in a sling. I gasped and ran over to him. The bruise on his cheek was still there, now turing a yellowish color, the bruise on his left arm and the cuts on his right hand were still there too.

"Beck, oh my God!" I cried. "What happened?" He swallowed.

"One of the window's in our living room was open and I had my arm hanging out of it and it slammed down on my arm." he explained.
"A window broke your arm?" I asked, not believing it at all.
"It's a heavy window." he told me. I shook my head.
"Beck, please." I said. "You have to know I don't believe you. The whole time I've been here I haven't even seen you trip, and in one week you get four bruises, three cuts and a broken arm?"

"Oh, Beck." Aunt Hailey said with a grin. "I didn't think you were coming today since you missed school." Beck turned to face her and Aunt Hailey froze. "Oh, Beck." she said sadly, walking over to him. "What happened?" Beck looked at her then looked at me. I folded my arms.
"Yeah, Beck." I said. "What happened?" Beck closed his eyes then looked at Aunt Hailey. Something in the way they looked at each other led me to believe Aunt Hailey knew.
"Honey, I thought it stopped." Aunt Hailey said, wrapping her arm around Beck and starting for the house. I walked behind them, still confused.
"It did, for a while." Beck answered. "But, my mom left again last week and... he started drinking again." Aunt Hailey shook her head, starting to tear up as we entered the dining room and all sat down.

"What's going on, Beck?" I asked. I reached over the table and grabbed his hand tightly. "You can tell me." Beck ran his hand through his hair.
"My father beats me." he finally answered and my heart dropped, my mouth open. "He does it off and on. He stopped a few months ago, just before you got here, because my mother came back. But, she left again last week so he started drinking. All the bruises are from him punching and kicking me and the cuts are from him coming at me with broken beer bottles. I try to defend myself, but he's a big guy..." I started to tear up as well and I made my way over to the other side of the table, sitting next to beck.
"Oh, Beck..." I muttered. "I am so sorry... I had no idea." You had to hit someone really hard and repeatedly in the stomach to get a bruise like that.
"That's why I spend so much time over here." he explained. "Mr. and Mrs. McQuaid have been more like parents to me than my own Mom and Dad... They're the only reason I'm going to school." I looked at Aunt Hailey confusedly and she nodded.

"We've been putting him through school since the fifth grade." she explained. "That's one of the reasons he's here every single day. We told him not to worry about it, but he wants to be here." Beck nodded and Aunt Hailey rubbed his arm. "You can stay with us if you want, dear. Mike will not hurt you anymore, do you understand?" Beck nodded.
"Thanks, Mrs. McQuaid." he said. "But, really, I'm fine. I can handle it. I've been dealing with this for eleven years, I'm fine."
"Beck, your arm is in a cast. You can't go back there. You can say no to me, but just you wait until Chris gets here."
Beck smirked.

"Is that man hurting you?" came Uncle Chris's booming voice after the door slammed open. We all stood and turned around. Uncle Chris walked into the room with the angriest look on his face I'd ever seen. Only then did I realize how muscly he really was. Sweat and dirt speckled his red face as he stood in front of us. "I saw him stumbling around drunk in town."

"Mr. McQuaid, I'm fine, really." Beck insisted. "It's okay."
"I will not stand for this, Beck, do you hear me? I will not let that man hurt you." Uncle Chris said firmly. "I've tried to stop him before, but it ends now."
"No, Mr. McQuaid, really, please, it's fine." Beck tried, but Uncle Chris wasn't listening.
"You're staying here, boy." he demanded. "I'm gonna go take care of this."
"Mr. McQuaid, if you make him mad he might go after Ryan!"
This made Uncle Chris stop. He sighed and turned to face Beck. "I thought Ryan wasn't living with you anymore." he said. "You sent him off with your aunt and uncle for safety."
"Yes, and I had to beg my father to let him leave." Beck replied. "If you make him mad he might take Ryan back and take his anger out on him. Please, he's only seven."

"Who's Ryan?" I asked, though I assumed it was Beck's little brother (though he didn't tell me he had one).
"He's my little brother." Beck answered. "I sent him away last year to live with my aunt and uncle in Knoxville."

"Beck, that man is evil." Uncle Chris said. "He needs to be stopped."
"I know," Beck replied. "But, please, just leave it alone. I'll stay here for a few nights and see if he cools down, just please, don't talk to him." I could see in Uncle Chris's face that he wanted to go over there and pound Beck's father into the ground, but he reluctantly agreed not to go, as long as Beck would stay with us. Beck agreed to. Aunt Hailey offered to buy him a couple pairs of pants a some shirts, so he wouldn't have to go back home to get clothes. Beck reluctantly agreed to let her. I took Beck upstairs and got his room ready for him. He leaned against the wall, watching me make his bed. I kept glancing at him, not sure if I should say anything, or what it would be. After I made his bed he just kept staring at me. I tucked my hair behind my ears, waiting for him to do something. I opened my mouth to speak, but he spoke first. "You are so beautiful." he said. I froze, wide eyed, not sure what to do. I kind of shook my head.

"Um..." was all I managed to say.
"You're so beautiful and you don't even see it." he went on. "Inside and out, you're stunning. You have amazing eyes and long, soft hair. You're such a good friend and a caring person, even though you don't want people to see it. The fact that you're so pretty and refuse to believe it makes you even more attractive."
"Beck, I-"
"Sometimes when you speak I wish you would go on forever." he continued. "You have such a smooth, soft voice. I look into your eyes and I never want to look away. You're an amazing person, Dakotah McQuaid." I could feel my cheeks getting redder and redder and tears coming to my eyes. No one had ever said anything like that to me before and I didn't know what to say. Beck took my hand in his, looking into my eyes. "Cody, will you go out with me?" My heart stopped and my mouth remained open.
"Well," I started, still shocked out of my mind. "I... I can't, Beck... I'm seeing Josh right now and- I don't know, I'm feeling things out with him. It just started and... I don't want to complicate what we have." Beck's face fell and his eyes grew blank. I frowned. "Beck, I'm so sorry." I said. "Please, don't be sad. I want to be friends with you." Beck nodded.
"Of course. Of course we're friends." he said before turning and walked back down stairs. I sighed, small tears welling in my eyes as I continued to fix the bed.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxX

I couldn't believe Beck asked me out. Part of me couldn't believe I said no. But I knew it wasn't right. Not right now anyway. I had just gotten together with Josh and I just couldn't do it right then. Beck and I sat awkwardly on the couch, watching TV, tyring to get Beck to relax. Uncle Chris was sitting in the recliner, still looking grumpy and Aunt Hailey had gone out to get Beck's clothes and something special for dinner. I wanted to rest my head on Beck's shoulder, but decided against it. Beck really made me appreciate my family situation. Sure, my family sent me away... But it was my fault. At least they loved me and wouldn't never hurt me. Just then I realized how much I missed my mother. I couldn't hold back anymore. I told Beck I would be right back and trotted up the stairs, quickly calling my mother.

"Hello?" she answered.
"Hi, Mom." I said, smiling a little.
"Oh, hi Co-"
"I miss you..." I interrupted. "So much..." She paused.
"I miss you too, sweety."
"I'm really sorry I was so mean to you and I didn't talk to you."
"Okay- Hold on... Did Cody McQuaid just apologize for being mean?"

"What?!" I heard Fender, Fiona and Dad cry in the background. I laughed.

"Yes, I did. I feel really bad... I'll text and call more often, I promise."
"And what brought this on?" Mom asked.
"Just some stuff... Can I talk to Fender?"
"Sure, sweety. I love you."
"I love you too, Mom." I heard some shuffling then Fender answered.

"Yo."
"Hey, Fen. How's it going?"
"We painted my room. It's like a dark demin blue now."
"You hate blue."
"Not anymore."
"Oh."
"I hate yellow now."
"What? Why?"
"It's cocky and thinks it's so special... It's not special."
"I see... Well, it was good talking to you. I hope I see you soon."
"You too, sis... I love ya... Sorta..."
"Yeah, I kinda love you too."
"Talk to you later."
"Alright, bye."
"Bye." I hung my phone and smiled to myself, feeling much better. Another problem solved. And I wasn't weired out by me and Fender's conversation, it's how they all went. I trotted back down the stairs and took my spot back on the couch. My phone vibrated and I looked down to see it was Josh.

Hey babe how are you? I hope this isnt too forward but i miss you.

I smiled a little, trying not to look to excited.

Hi there... Its not too forward i... I miss you too. When can we see each other again?

As soon as possible. How about tomorrow night? I can pick you up for dinner at 5:00.

I tried to hold back a smile.

Sounds perfect... See you then.

See you then. =)

=)

I closed my phone and shoved it in my pocket.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxX

To be sure me and Beck stayed out of each other's rooms (even though I assured him it wasn't an issue) Uncle Chris had Gunner lay in front of my door and Trixie in front of Beck's. That way if one of us got up they would bark at us and Uncle Chris would know.
This is gonna suck if I have to pee...
I thought as I got ready for bed. The next morning I woke up early, but didn't want to go to school. I wanted to stay home with Beck and relax, but Beck said he wanted to go to school and get his mind on normal things. So I went with him. Beck had to go without his uniform, but we explained to the principal that due to some circumstances he couldn't go home and get it. So, the principal allowed him to be in his street clothes. Him and I walked around, still pretty awkwardly together. When we met up with Laina she didn't notice our awkward, stiff looks, she noticed Beck's arm and gasped.

"Oh my word! Beck! What happened?" she asked worriedly. I looked at him with a look that told him he could say what he wanted. I didn't care if he told Laina the truth about it, I just wanted him to tell me the truth.

"I'll explain later, okay?" he replied. Laina nodded.
"Okay." she said. Later that day we went back to the barn, Laina with us this time, and me and Beck did what we could in the barn, Aunt Hailey, Uncle Chris and Laina all helping us. I walked the lumbering Zuko out to the paddock and let him roam free, eating up all the grass, then I realized we had never painted the barn or attached the paddock. I trotted back to the barn and put my hands on hips.
"We have projects to take care of, people." I said. They all looked at me, waiting for me to explain. "We have to paint the barn and attach the paddock. The dog's could use a bigger dog house, in case we get another one sometime, we need more space for the chickens and more room for the sheep and, you know what?"

"What?" Uncle Chris asked.
"We could use some bunnies."
They all chuckled.
"Bunnies?" Uncle Chris asked. I nodded.
"We should build a bunny house and get some bunnies." I suggested. Aunt Hailey grinned at me.

"Tell you what, darling," she said. "I'll get some paint and wood next week for the barn, paddock and dog house. If you build a bunny house I will buy you two bunnies, a boy and girl. How's that sound?" I grinned.
"Yes, ma'am! I'll do it!" I said. "I know Beck and Laina will help." Beck pulled the water hose from Zira's stall, looking a little surprised. I paused. "Right, Beck?"

"Uh, yeah, sure. Once my arm is better." he said. Beck was mostly just filling water buckets and straightening up. Laina really started taking charge when it came to the horses. She knew exactly what she was doing and because I had been hurt and Beck was hurt, she did a lot more. With the five of us working we got the barn done in no time and went back inside for Aunt Hailey's chocolate cream pie. Of course, I was thrilled. Chocolate cream pie was my favourite. I was first in line for the pie, first to start eating and first to finish and go for seconds.

"You eat like that all the time and never gain any weight?" Laina asked with a smirk as I entered the dining room with another large piece of pie. I nodded as I sat down.
"I've eaten like this ever since I was little and I've never broken one-thirty." I stated. Laina shook her head.
"I wish I could be that way." she said. "If I don't watch what and how much I eat I blow up like a little puffer fish." We all laughed.
"I like puffer fish." I said.
"Me too, but I don't like looking like one!" she said, taking a bite of her little piece of pie. Gunner and Trixie were sitting loyally by our feet, hoping for a scrap.

"I don't have to watch out for Chris here, only because he works in the fields and on the farm all the time." Aunt Hailey said, patting Uncle Chris's leg. "He can pretty much eat what he wants."

"Yeah, it's pretty great." Uncle Chris said with a grin, shoving a huge bite of food into his mouth. We all laughed and talked for about another half an hour, telling stories and finishing up the pie in no time, when all the sudden the front door flung open with a loud slam against the wall. We jumped and turned around and a big man with messy brown hair and bloodshot eyes walked in. His hands were in tight fists and his clothes were dirty and old looking. We all stood up, Beck and my Aunt and Uncle with more of a sense of urgency and worry. I knew just by looking at this man he was Beck's father. He looked like an older, buffer Beck, and Beck's face told me anyway.

"Dad." Beck managed, his voice flooded with worry. Gunner and Trixie stood, baring their teeth and growling. Aunt Hailey quickly sent them to the other room.

"Where have you been, boy?" Mike demanded. Beck didn't answer, out of fear I'm sure. He just stood there, eyes wide. "Answer me!" the man yelled, amking Beck and I jump. Only when I jump I automatically moved in front of Beck, almost like I was blocking him from harm.
"I told you I was going to be staying here for a few days." Beck forced out.
"You never told me that, boy." his father answered. Uncle Chris stepped in front of the rest of us, his hands in fist, really sizing up Mike.
"Mike, you get out of my house and leave this boy alone." he ordered in a firm, but calm voice.
"He ain't your boy, McQuaid." Mike stated. "He's coming home with me." I took a step back, reaching behind myself and grabbing onto Beck's shirt, pushing him a few steps back. "You get your hands of my son, girl!" Mike yelled at me. I narrowed my eyes, holding my ground.

"Don't you talk to my niece that way, Mike. You get out." Uncle Chris said again.

"Kids, come on, come with me." Aunt Hailey said to us, trying to move us away.

"No, no, Beck, you come with me!" Mike order, pointing at him. Beck looked at Aunt Hailey.

"It's fine, Mrs. McQuaid, I'll go." he said. I shook my head and at the same time Aunt Hailey did I said, "Oh, no you wont." Beck frowned and looked at his father who was getting angrier by the second.
"Come on, Beck, let's move." Mike said, moving towards him. The four us backed up as Uncle Chris put his hands on Mike, stopping him. "Get your hands off me!" Mike cried, shoving Uncle Chris's hands away.

"Get out of my house, Anderson!" Uncle Chris cried. "Right now!" Mike looked at Uncle Chris for a second before making a run at Beck in the opposite direction. Aunt Hailey moved Beck away and instictively (and stupidly) I tried to push Mike back away from Beck. Without hesitation Mike grabbed me and threw me to the floor. I grunted as my head hit the floor and Uncle Chris exploded. Messing with Beck was one thing, but messing with me was a whole other. Mike wacked the back of Beck's head with force just before Uncle Chris stepped forward and grabbed him, throwing him towards the door. Mike cought himself, assuring he didn't fall, then looked at all of us. Uncle Chris stepped forward as Beck helped me off the ground. I rubbed the back of his head for a second and Uncle Chris stepped towards Mike. "Now," he said, calmer. "I believe I asked you to leave." Mike scowled, pointing at us.
"This ain't over, McQuaid." he assured us. "I'll be back to get my boy. He's my son and he's coming home with me."
"Have fun with that, Mike." Uncle Chris said. "Have a nice night." Mike stormed from the house, I was surpirsed he didn't take the door clean off the frame. We all turned after we were sure he left and looked at Beck, asking if he was okay, but all Beck could ask is if I was okay.

"I fell of horses a million times, I can take a push." I assured him, my hand son his cheeks. "Are you alright?" Beck nodded.
"I've lived with my dad my whole life, I can take a smack." he joked with a smile. I giggled a little and hugged him, ignoring the fact that it was a little awakrd. I knew that wasn't the last we would see of Mike, but I was glad that it was over at that moment. Only then did I remember I had a date with Josh and it was nearing 5:00. After making 100% sure Beck was okay I ran upstairs and got ready. I stared in my close, mainly at the dress Aunt Hailey bought me when she took me and Beck for dinner.
I hate dresses... I thought. But I wanna look nice... And that one isn't so bad...
I sighed and grabbed it, putting it and my sandals on. I looked in the mirror, touching up my make up and even adding lip gloss. I curled the end of my hair, pinning a part of the side up.
Well then. I thought as I look in my full length. I look like a girl.
I straightened invisible wrinkles in my dress then slowly walked downstairs. Aunt Hailey turned from the sink when she heard me, a huge smile growing on her face.

"Oh, Kodah!" she cried, dropping the sponge, drying her hand and walking to me. I smiled at her as I came off the stairs. "You look beautiful!" I blushed a little.

"Thank you..." I muttered.
"You look so much like your mother." she said, brushing my bangs from my face. I smiled a little, blushing a bit more. Beck walked out and looked me up and down. My smile faded a bit when I saw him.

"You look nice." he said quietly. I forced a bit of a smile.

"Thanks..." I said, just then hearing a horn honk. "I should go, that's Josh." Aunt Hailey nodded, giving me a quick hug before I left.


© 2012 Elizabeth Reed


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Elizabeth Reed
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Added on December 11, 2012
Last Updated on December 11, 2012
Tags: Teen, Teenager, Angst, Farm, Horse, Horses, Barn, School, Love, Romance, Trouble


Author

Elizabeth Reed
Elizabeth Reed

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I absolutely love to write, but I'm not very confident in myself. I would love honest feedback. Negative or not. If you'd like to see pictures of my characters, go to my photos. The letter(s) at th.. more..

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