Okay, for those of you who don't like abuse, this chapter contains further scenes of it. Fair warning? Good. Only other thing I think I need to mention is that some parts are confusing, this I know, this I intend, this will stay, deal with it. You get the gist of what you need to, and that's all that you are meant to get, so keep that in mind also. Um…I think that's it. Hope you all enjoy. OH! Wait, also remember the delirious condition that Steve is in. I'll explain more later if needs be.
Good reads to you all!
I knocked on the door, looking to my feet that found themselves in the midst of a flurry of shoes. I had decided that coming and seeing Two-Bit after dinner was just as well as calling. The only thought that was running through my head went something like, I hope to god he is okay. The reports weren't great, even if I hadn't heard them till a few hours before. Needless to say, I was worried sick, something I never thought I would say about the one and only Keith Matthews.
I stood waiting, worried, wondering if I had done the right thing coming here, but it wasn't a long period before I was cut short.
The door before me was flung open like a tornado had hit it, and surely, by the small hand on the door, it was.
"Uh…who are you?"
I crocked a brow, surprised at the greeting I had received. "Darry. You don't remember me?"
She shrugged, "Not really. Should I?"
"Nah, it's been a while." I laughed, "Your mom around?"
She stared at me a second, seeming to size me up, "Yeah, she's doing dishes. What's your name again? I'll tell her you are here."
"Darrel, Darrel Curtis."
She nodded and skipped off into the kitchen. I took the liberty to walk into the front room then. Mrs. Matthews was sure to scold me if I stayed on the porch.
The room was small, as was the entire house, but it was clean and homey. Mrs Matthews, even as a single working mother, was one of the most devoted house keepers I had met. She figured that, and I quote, "I might be poorer than most, but my house will look decent." You had to respect a women with as much vigor and drive as her.
Mrs. Matthews was soon walking into the room, drying her hands on a plain apron tied around her waist. She looked relieved when she saw me. "Darry! I've been so worried! You never answer your phone anymore!"
"Sorry, ma'am. It's been a little busy in the Curtis household." I grinned sheepishly. Mrs. Matthews was like my second mother, but I wasn't used to the scolding.
The relief disappeared and worry crossed her features. "How is everyone? My Soda?"
I had to smile, only Mrs. Matthews called Soda "her Soda". "Fine. Bruised up and hurting, but they will live."
She looked slightly weary, "I sure was worried about those boys of yours. Are you sure they are all okay?"
"Yes, Mrs. Matthews. I took Steve and Soda to a doctor earlier, and Dal is fine. From what I hear, Two-Bit got the brunt of it, how is he?"
She sighed, "He's alright. Spent the night in the hospital, that boy, but he's doing better. He's in his room if you want to see him."
I wasn't too surprised to hear that Two-Bit had spent the night in the hospital. Dally and Soda had later commented, after I asked, that he had hit his head really hard and was bleeding like a stuck pig.
"Glad to hear he's doing better." I didn't wait to hear more from Mrs. Matthews, instead I just walked past her and over to Two-Bits room in the back of the house.
His door was closed, but I slowly nudged it open. If he was asleep, I didn't want to be the one to wake him. The room was dark, curtains drawn, clothes strewn on the floor and a dim lamp shown in the corner.
I looked over to the bed on my left and saw Two-Bit, asleep, a heavy blanket neatly laying on top of him like it had been set there and was since undisturbed. Sneaking in, I closed the door behind me and made my way to a chair that had been set next to the bed.
By the time I got there, I could see Two-Bit had awoken and was looking up at me. "Darry?" he mumbled, his voice hoarse as I had ever heard it.
"Yeah, its me." I sat down. "How are you feeling?"
"Ugh…" he didn't move much, just kept looking at me, closing eyes and opening them again a few seconds later. I knew he felt like shit, it was obvious. Besides, I had had my share of concussions from four years of playing football.
I looked more closely at Two-Bit then, trying to assess his condition without asking more questions of anyone. He had a bunch of stitches on his forehead, and there was still some dry caked blood in odd places on his face and neck. He looked feverish and pale, even in the dim lighting, and a bowl of water with a rag only reaffirmed my suspicions there.
"I heard you had a rough night." I finally commented. I wanted to see how coherent he was. I was there to find out details, not see sleeping zombie.
"Yeah…a hell of one. Damn doctors." He paused, and then tried to move his head, groaning till he stopped.
"Take it easy, no special treatment for me." I joked. He sure was in pain.
"Hell no." He swallowed hard, "How is everyone else?"
"Alright, I guess. Dal's been sleeping all day, and he's hurting, but he's fine, Im sure. I took Sodapop and Steve down to the clinic. Soda hurt his neck something bad, but in a few weeks he should be fine. Steve's pretty bad off, but he's doing a little better now."
We went on talking for a while, but it was obviously tiring Two-Bit down. So I left pretty soon after that.
When I shut the door to his room, I sighed. I had been so worried about him, and the relief I felt then was tremendous.
I walked out of the house without any more words. Nodding to Mrs. Matthews on the way out.
The drive home was much better than the way there had been. I felt reassured Keith would be fine. He seemed well enough. Now I only had to worry about Steve. He still couldn't move more than an inch without gritted teeth and groans.
The house was quiet when I walked in. Steve asleep on the couch, Pony reading in my chair, Soda in his room asleep and Dally in mine. At least there was no chance of any broken lamps for a few weeks. That was in itself a good thing. The expenses evened out.
"Hey, Dar." Pony spoke up.
I set my keys down and took my coat off quietly. "Hey."
He was silent a second, then spoke up, "How is he?"
"Keith? Fine. He hit his head good, got plenty of stitches and won't be up for a few days. But he's fine. If we don't see him in a few days, I'll get worried. But he saw a doc and he was talking."
"Everything fine here?"
"Yeah…Soda asked for ya earlier. But he fell asleep."
"Oh? What for?"
He shrugged. I decided to go check on Soda, only to find him asleep and doing fine.
It was nice to have everything calm and quiet for once. The house was never this quiet, and despite the circumstances, I was going to enjoy it. I remembered I had more bills to go through then. Pony had interrupted me, but it had to be done. I had work the next day, so tonight was a good time to do it. I wouldn't be able to sleep in my bed anyhow.
Soon I was at the table in the dining room, slaving over bills that I hated. How we were going to pay for everything was always a torturous thought, especially with medical bills looming in the air. So it turned out to be a night of hell; starting with bills and continuing on to worse things. And I thought it would all end so soon.
By nine o'clock I was finished with the hellish bills. So I went to check things before hitting the sack. Pony was all but done with his homework, so I told him to go ahead and got o bed. He was beat, so was I, and it was lights out as far as this house went. So soon, the house was dark and quiet. I grabbed a blanket and slipped onto the floor of Pony and Sodas room. Lying there before sleep, I was reminded of Christmas. Every year, we all slept in the same room, all of us boys. When we were little we told made up stories of seeing Santa, as we got older we just goofed around and talked. It was always a great time, something that I doubted we would ever forget. WE all loved it, but it wouldnt be the same without mom and dad shushing us, or dancing in the front room to Christmas music.
I must have drifted off fairly quickly in my good memories, but what I woke up to only disapated any good memories I had. Pony was screaming loudly when I shot up.
"Pony?" I sat next to him and pulled him into a hug, "Its okay. Its alright."
He was shaking like a leaf and half crying as he tried to make it go away. I felt bad, not being much of a comforter; but Soda just sat next to me, a bit startled, but in a daze none the less. I had to be the comforter.
Pony calmed down after a bit, "You better now? Can you go back to sleep?" I asked.
He nodded, his eyes dropping as his body reminded him it was time for sleep. So I let him lay down, rubbed his shoulder and walked out of the room. As long as I was up, I was going to check on Steve and Dal. Just to make sure. Steve wasn't all that much better than the night before, even if the doctor said he would be fine after he flat out refused to be taken to a hospital.
I stumbled into the front room, rubbing the back of my head and yawning. I wished I could sleep in in the morning, sleep would do me some good I knew. But work had to be done, money had to be made.
I stopped and looked at the couch, sat down and stared at it. I turned on the light to make sure my eyes weren't tricking me, but after the blindness passed...they hadn't.
"Steve?" I asked loudly enough that he would answer me if he were somewhere else in house. But he didn't. So I started looking around. He was no where to be seen. I even checked the empty basement.
By that time I was nearly frantic. Where would he go? Last time I saw him, he could hardly stand, let alone leave. What the hell was going on? I looked around again, but then decided I had to go looking for him. I would bet on him passing out in the street and getting killed or something with the way the tree had fallen so far. And he couldn't make it far, I knew.
I pulled on some jeans, a cool t-shirt and combed through my hair a bit, just to look decent. Then I went in to Pony.
"Pone? You still awake?" He grumbled, like he had almost fallen asleep, but I had kept him from it, "Well, I've gotta go. Steve went off somewhere, so I'm going to search for him before he kills himself out there. Keep an eye out."
I waited for a verbal response from him, but got only a look that told me he thought I was crazy, a little grunt, and him rolling away form me to go back to sleep. I smiled a little, walking out.
A few minutes later I found myself wandering the streets. I checked the lot and the park first, figuring he went looking for Johnny or something. He wasn't anywhere I could find him at least. So I went back to the truck. My first thought was to check Two-Bits place. He could have wanted to see for himself that our crazy Kieth was fine. The answer was no, though. Mrs. Matthews told me she hadn't seen anyone all night. Then I thought of Bucks. It was a long shot, but Dally might be there, and he might know. No luck. SO I started checking anywhere and everywhere else. The drive-in, the DX, the Dingo, then our house again. But with no luck, I was getting frantic. It had been about a half hour since I woke up with him gone, and I had no idea how long he had been gone before then. IN a last ditch attempt, I even looked over at the school grounds. That took forever to cover, and no Steve.
Racking my brain, in the humidity of the truck, I finally faced the one place I hoped to God he hadn't chosen to go. It was the one place I didn't want to go, and the place that would present itself to be possibly the worst decision of ones life; his home. Surely, he wouldn't go home so soon after that kind of a beating…but it was possible. The reasons behind it would have to be insane but…I had to check. There was no where else I could think of him going to.
So I drove over to the house, and sat outside for about a minute before I heard the yelling. It was loud enough that I was surprised the whole block hadn't woken up, but no lights shone in the windows to tell me that my theory was true. All but one were out.
"You fucking piece of bastard shit! I told you!"
I looked up to the window, hearing Steve's father carry on. He sure was mad. I hadn't heard anyone yell that loud since the last game of my senior football season. I sighed. This wasn't going to be fun. But it was apparent that Steve was in the house. And by the shadows, there was some major pain involved in the actions of his father.
Slowly, and wondering what the hell I was doing as I went, I slipped out of the truck and slammed the door. All I knew by then was that Steve didn't need anymore of this. He was hurting plenty, and I didn't want him to be in the hospital the next time I saw him.
I tromped up to the door wishing my boots made less noise, but they were big for a reason and nearly the only shoes I owned. I could see in the window everything that was going on, Roy was at it again, as if the night before hadn't been enough. That man needed to have a beating of his own, or at least a good prison sentence.
I heaved one last breath before opening the door without a knock or second thought. I was surprised to find that the air was silent aside from the booming of Roy and the physical noise he, and he alone was making. Helen was no where in sight, I supposed she was hiding from the wrath of her husband, knowing she couldn't do anything and unable to bear her son looking as he did.
I looked down at Steve. He was curled on the floor, bleeding, pale, and shaking. At that point, I truly couldn't tell you if he was out cold or barely awake, but it didn't seem to matter. Roy picked up a beer bottle, and slammed it over his sons head before he even realized I was there. But once Steve was definitely out cold, he seemed to feel my eyes on him, and looked up. He looked like a deer in the headlights the way his face contorted.
I swallowed hard. This could lead two places, and one was somewhere I wasn't willing to go. But I decided to let him make the first move.
"Who the HELL are you?" He growled.
Roy looked confused.
"Steve is a friend of mine, more like family, actually."
Roy clenched his jaw, "He's my son and I can do whatever the hell I please with him!" he slurred after a small pause.
I kept my cool, hard as it was, and just stood there. I thought about telling him a lot of things. Things that Steve had said about him, things about having good caring parents, about how he couldn't blame Steve for getting drunk and doing something stupid since he had learned from his father; but I held my tongue. I figured that would only make things worse. I hated dealing with drunks, and Roy was very drunk by the looks of things. There were plenty of beer bottles around, some broken, some not, but all empty. And the way he swayed on his feet and slurred his speak, he was very much drunk.
"Are you done?" I asked him. All I wanted was to get Steve out of that God forsaken house as soon as I could, and without any physical contact with the beast.
Roy growled. He was in a bad position and knew it. I had all the power then. I was bigger strong, more level headed and sober, I was automatically the winner in this match.
Helen walked into the room about then, sniffing and sobbing. It seemed to me she had been doing that for a long time. But as she looked at me, she seemed relieved. Someone was there to stop her husband. It seemed she was even willing me to do more. The look of desperation on her face broke my heart.
"Roy…" She begged, "Haven't you done enough?"
His face went red, the veins in his neck starting to stick out even further, "Enough? Enough? This kid is a hood! He's fucking out of control and Im -- "
"Please!" She cut him off. I stood there, just willing my body to melt into the walls.
"Don't fucking defend him!" Roy was moving across the room, around the coffee table, the sofa, and to Helen. She looked terrified. And after what he did, I didn't blame her.
Shocked by his ability to brutally beat not only his son, but now his wife in one night, it took a second to jump in. But I wasn't going to let him continue that. Helen was screaming, defenseless on the floor, sobbing and trying to crawl away from his hard boots.
I, without really thinking, crossed the room, swung him around to face me, and decked him. With as drunk as he was and as disgusted as I was, it only took that. I knew he would be fine, but he would be out for some time, and not feeling too well after that.
Things went silent then. I looked down to Helen, then looked up, waiting. Waiting for what, I didn't know.
Helen sobbed harder then, not moving. She seemed in shock of the whole thing.
"Mrs. Randle? Can I…are you okay?"
She nodded her head, and stood up. Glancing over at Steve she turned and swiftly made her way down the hall to her room, shutting the door.
I was at a loss. What now? Did she want me to take Steve, call the police? What? So I did what I came to do.
Steve was still out cold on the floor. He was bleeding from about everywhere, and looked horrible. My only comforting thought was that he wasn't awake to feel it anymore, or to fight me for what I was about to do.
AH! Cliffy! I know, I'm evil…I've been told that numerous times before…but I guess you'll just have to wait and see.
In case you didn't get it, Steve left the Curtis house for home in a very delirious state. I know it doesn't all make sense yet…but it will. Be patient if you don't understand…or tell me and I can explain it to you. Deal? Sweet.
Okay, on to Review Responses:
Keira: HAHA, you are going to really hate me now…sorry. And yes, I will tell you later what I have in mind. I always do, you spoiled little brat. LOL, Jk. Well, see ya round.
BoboTheSemiDeadCat: Im glad you've held out this long…do you feel better yet? Good… Sorry this on took me a while. It wasn't the Two-Bit I had problems with. Anyway, thanks for your review! Hope you enjoyed.
Tensleep: Wow, thanks! You are too nice. Well, I know you've already read this chapter…but…I know you will review again. So thanks! See ya later.
Oblivious Misconception: HAHA, thanks. I see Eveie being that way too, obviously, it was fun to write anyhow. And yes, for poor Steve I had to make it pour, and its not stopped as you can tell. At least one thing in his life is patched up, right? Well, I hope you enjoyed this chapter! I made you poor readers wait a long time to find out about Two-Bit. Thanks for your reviews! I love them, really!
Nikechick7777: So happy you are satisfied! Well, here's more to keep you at bay. Thanks for your review. Hope you enjoyed!