John walked into school with his head hung low being inconspicuous about not wanting people to his bruise. He didn't want to get ask questions about it. If he'll answer that it was his father, he didn't want to know what will happen to him. What his father could do. He seen it before when he threatened his father that he'll tell his mother; he got a broken nose and he told his mother and other people that he fell down the stairs. He will do fine if he can keep his mouth shut for once.
He went to his locker tried to avoid everyone. He opened it and got his books and notebooks out that he needed. While he was busy with his locker, he heard a familiar voice behind him. The familiar voice belongs to his friend, Alex Marsh.
"Hey, John," For some reason, he sounds excited. "Have you seen the trailer for..." He trailed off when he saw the look on his friend's face. He saw the black eye that's slowly healing. "Dude, what happened?" He was concern. "That's some serious eye damage there."
"It's nothing," John insisted, but Alex didn't look convinced. "What were you saying?" He asked in a rush so he can change the topic that's not centered around him.
They spent most of their time talking instead of going to class. The two teen boys talked about a new movie that would come out soon to theaters and they were very excited about it. John mentioned about his grounding so that will ruin any plans Alex will have for them.
"Really? That sucks, man. Sorry I had the game going on for so long." He apologized.
"That's okay. I wasn't watching the time like I should have anyway."
"Marsh, Sutton, get to home room so you're not late." The school's guidance counselor spotted the two teenage boys as he returned to his room.
"Yes, Mr. Underwood." Both of the boys said and went hurriedly to class except John did heard his name got called. He turned around. "Come see me." That was all Mr. Underwood told him and he went inside his room. John and Alex exchanged a glance before they departed their separate ways.
John entered his room and there were a few times he had been inside there. Most of it was that Mr. Underwood was deeply concerned for his mysterious injuries that he got sometimes. John always made a lie, but this time, it seemed that Mr. Underwood was not going to take any of it. He thought that he should come clean so the pain can go away, but there was a part of him that didn't want to for his mother's sake. His parents were in love and he didn't want to ruin that for his mother. Also for Chloe because she's still just a little girl and she shouldn't grow up without a father. John would confess if his father would ever lay a hand on his baby sister. That would be his last straw. But, his father seems to favor her more than him so that could never happen.
He stood in front of the desk and wanted Mr. Underwood not to see his face. That will lead to more questions, but he thought Mr. Underwood already did see it, but he can try.
"John, look at me," He demanded tired of seeing the same thing happen to the poor boy. John didn't want to, but he did slowly and lifted his head to make at least an eye contact. He made a sigh. "When did this happen? Tell me the truth this time."
"Last night." He mumbled.
"...I got mugged when I was walking home," He lied and that was easier to do. He wasn't a great liar in the first place, but when he first got a beating by his father, he improved that skill. "The boys were bigger and stronger than me. I didn't see them coming."
Mr. Underwood wasn't sure if he wanted to believe it. He asked another question. "What about all those other days? What happened to you?"
He made a lame chuckle. "I'm a clumsy guy."
The boy kept his eyes on him, but his body language spoke to him. He acted fidgety and his hands were inside his pockets. It's not the first time he gets a student acting somewhat similar like that. The cause of it mostly was that the child got abused.
His face was serious. "I know what you're going through, John. I've been there. I won't tell anyone, I promise."
John got defensive. "There's nothing more to say. I already told you."
"I'm five minutes late." He left the room abruptly and went to his home room.
Hours later, it was finally the lunch period. Almost all the student's stomachs were growling while they were in the classroom. John decided today he'll sit with his girlfriend, Sarah Trent; he had dated her for eight months and she was his first girlfriend. His mother liked her and he wasn't sure about his father. He never was around when John would bring her home with him to hang out. She's pretty with her blond hair, green eyes wearing sneakers, jeans, and a purple top to bring out her eyes.
Unlike everyone else was, Sarah wasn't blind to not notice her boyfriend's black eye. Only her and Alex knows that his father is abusive to him. He didn't like any more people to know. Alex was suspicious about it in the morning, but it was early and John was got tired because he stayed up since he couldn't go back to sleep. He didn't want to talk about it with him out in the open. He got caught by Mr. Underwood and that was worse. Sarah was always worried and concerned for him about his relationship with his father. She knows whatever he does has a major effect on him.
"Did you go to the nurse at all today?" Sarah asked.
"Yeah," John answered and took a sip of his water. "Mrs. Nelson gave me medicine and an ice pack. It helped."
Sarah hated that she always had to see his injuries and does nothing about it except he would lie to everyone. "I hate to see you hurting like this, John. If you don't tell anyone about this, I will."
"Mr. Underwood and my family believes me. What makes you think they'll believe you?" He snapped and saw her disapproval expression. He made a sigh and knows that she only cares about him, but he wanted her to respect that it's only their business and no one else's. He doesn't want everyone to get involved. "Sorry, but I can handle this. I have been for a while and I'm still alive. I promise if this gets any worse, I'll tell someone."
"You will?" She sounded hopeful.
He kissed her on the lips for assurance. "I will."
Ricky Underwood returned home to his apartment that he shared with his girlfriend. They had a complicated relationship and it was on and off. His girlfriend was Adrian Lee. He worked at his old high school, and when he look back on it, he couldn't believe that he's a guidance counselor. From what he had gone through, he wanted to help other kids because with whatever situations they're in, he could relate and it's easier for their relationship. Adrian was glad for him that he finally found a job.
She's as a full-time nurse. She used to dream to work for something in the court system, but nothing interested her. Grace changed her mind because she's a nurse as well. He always come home first before she does. She would arrive at six which was the usual time he cooks dinner. He started to cook when it was 5:30. While the chicken was in the oven, he sat on the couch in the living room and watched TV.
He thought about a student that was in his room, John Sutton. A boy whose sixteen and would get hurt once in a while. He's not in any sports that would cause him those injuries and he certainly didn't buy it when he said he's clumsy. Ricky knows abuse when he sees it, but it was obvious that he didn't want to talk about it. He can't really force him to unless John wants to. He really wants to help him, but he's not cooperative. Ricky thought it was one of his parents. He hadn't seen them, but (in similar cases) it was either the mother or the father or both. He could count how many he saw the boy's injuries; it was at least five. At the teacher's lounge, the ones who had him was also worried. But, there's nothing that they can do unless John would come to them first.
He thought about the mother. What if she would have done that to her son? Why? He never understood the things that awful parents would do to their children. Whatever problems they may have, the children are innocent and should never see violence. He wished everyone would understand that so John wouldn't have to feel what he's feeling. It's unfair.
His mind wandered to a person he hadn't thought of in years. A person who gave up her life to become a mother. He knew her well enough that it wasn't her dream to become one, but she sacrificed her teen life to become a parent. It's something he never understood why Amy did what she did. He thought about the Jeurgens family sometimes. He used to check up on them. They were on great terms until he knocked her up and ruined their daughter's life.
He thought about their son. He thought she named him John or something. It's such a very common name. He grabbed his phone and looked at his pictures that were mostly of him and Adrian because she wanted to take pictures of them. When Ricky scrolled all the way down, he saw a picture of a baby. It's not any ordinary baby, though. It was the picture of his son, John.
He wondered how old he would be by now. Amy was sixteen and he was seventeen and he's thirty-three now. He did the math inside his head and his answer was that his son would be sixteen, the same age that Amy was when she got pregnant. He hoped that John didn't follow in her footsteps and become a teenage father. The baby on the picture looked mostly like Amy than him and he thought that was a good thing. John did look cute. When Ricky got the picture, he never had the time to look closely at it and see what he looked like. Back then, he didn't care and wouldn't if John would have died from childbirth. He was basically heartless back then, but now, he was thankful that he can see the picture and think of him.
Ricky wondered what John looks like now. Would he look like Amy? Like him? What would he be like...?
"Hello? Ricky?" He was unaware of hearing Adrian's voice. He was too lost in his own thoughts that he didn't know she entered.
He turned his head to see her and got up. "Hey, sorry."
"I called you three times. What are you looking at?" The Latina asked him sounding almost hurt. He showed her the picture. She made a slight frown knowing exactly who that baby is. "Were you thinking of her?" Adrian never really liked Amy because she took Ricky and made him be a father.
"I was thinking of him actually. John my son." Ricky answered.
Adrian nodded and looked at the food that Ricky had prepared. She went over to the counter and smiled when the aroma filled her nostrils. "What are we eating?"
"Potatoes, steamed vegetables, and the chicken is in the oven that I need to get out." Once he got the chicken out, they began to eat dinner.
"I'm glad that you cook so I don't have to." She smirked and Ricky shook his head playfully at her.