There he stood. He looked apocalyptic with rage.
"The fuck did you do?!"
I stopped, thinking for a few moments before I answered. What had the authorities done? Or had it been the school itself? Had my news been the straw that broke the camel's back? Either way, I might be having a very angry young man in my house with nowhere for me to go.
"Okay, Romeo, let's de-escalate this"
"I don't want to de……"
"Romeo, please listen. What have I done to annoy you?" I had a feeling I knew what he meant but I wanted – needed – for him to tell me.
"The…… What did you say when you got in contact with the person about what I said last time?" He was still aggressive, but at least he had taken a breather.
"You are going to have to be more specific, Rome" I gently suggested attempting to soothe him
"About my family! About the…….the" He paused for a beat to calm himself "What I said about the…...the family business"
The next few seconds seemed to take an eternity. Should I let him in? Or will it be like having a bull in a china shop? Finally I decided to beckon him inside. All that happy-go-lucky-charm had gone away, I really did have an angry young man in my house.
"You had consented to my suggestion that I would talk to an ex-colleague. That is precisely what I did"
"Yeah? Well your ex-whatever went and got a full-blown investigation on me. My parents got wind that it was me who had told on them. So I've got two full on pissed off parents constantly questioning me and now I'm getting harassed!"
My heart sank, what on earth did he mean? Did I want to know?
Another deep breath; this from me "Romeo? What does that mean? I only ever used your initials and school name. I tried my best to keep your identity secret" Again, I tried to speak softly, my heart beating a hundred times a second, that woozy feeling washed over my mind as I thought back to my conversation.
He groaned, looking up at the ceiling, then laying his forehead on the wall "Why did you do that?! How many people with my initials would go to my school?! Even a fucking idiot would be able to know who I was!" He said all this in that whining voice. His hand slipped down to his boxers again, using his other hand's finger to jab the air in front of him.
"Okay. Well, what happened? I can't believe anything more than some choice words were said?"
He took a lungful of air to calm himself once more; his nostrils flaring open as he did. "Promise you won't freak if I show you?" Silently, I nodded
He lifted his grey North Face t-shirt. His body was bruised, red grazes on his fit, tight body. He winced, closing his eyes and then looked at me.
"What on earth has happened?" I whispered, bringing him through to the living room & turning him so the grazes were lit by the light from the windows. I'd seen a lot of war wounds from school fights, these weren't a result of kicking or punching; Romeo had been dragged along the floor. Jesus. But there was an obvious thing to do when he met my question with silence.
"Shall we try to clean you up?" I asked gently, finding a chair that dotted around my dining room table, pulling Romeo closer. I knew I had to stay calm. I opened my legs a bit so that he could stand between them as he rubbed his nose and looked down at me. It allowed him to keep control, put him in the dominant position by looming over me.
He shyly nodded, looking down at me and rubbing his nose again. His nervous 'tell'. I went into the cupboard to get my first aid kit. A few antiseptic wipes alongside a set of plasters & bandages. By now, his t-shirt was full off and on another chair.
Both hands went down the sides of his skinny joggers; his yellow boxers on show above the waistband. It let him comfort himself and gave me plenty of space to work on cleaning his beautiful body.
"Okay, this may sting" I told him quietly, ripping open a wipe, unfurling it and using a square on the worst looking cuts and grazes. Of course, he winced and whined, stepping away from me. "Its okay, you are doing really well, Romeo." I tried to reassure him, sitting back in my chair and waiting for him.
After a moment of holding himself, biting his lip and rubbing his nose, he stepped forward again between my legs and nodded "Ready"
I carried on cleaning his wounds. Soon, the blood was wiped away, leaving the cuts & grazes. None of them were deep, nor were they wide.
"The good news is these will all heal quite nicely" He nodded, watching me, picking his large teen lip. "Even better news, I don't need to bandage these. However, you may want some plasters over the worst looking ones. Would you like that?" I asked.
He quietly nodded. At least calming and treating him had brought him from the brink of God-knows-what.
"The bad news" I smiled and ever so carefully rubbed the small of his back 'Is you won't get any battle wounds from these" He smiled, shifting his weight between each foot and nodded once more.
"I think I'll be okay with that" He whispered dryly. He watched my progress carefully. As he looked down there were no double chins, his skin was still taut over his whole body.
I decided a change of subject was needed. "So what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Smiling, I asked once more "What job do you want to have when you grow up?"
"A football player" He whispered
"Yeah? Are you really good at football, then?" He nodded, smiling; yawning & rubbing his nose once more
"I'm like, the captain of my school team and vice-captain at my Saturday team"
I nodded, chuckling "Sounds like that is a really good aim. What's your second choice?"
"A policeman" he smiled again, picking his t-shirt up again and messing with the fabric of it. It was in a messy ball, now. Meanwhile, I was getting the plasters ready.
"Brilliant, you'd be really good at that, I can already tell"
"Really?" I nodded in reply and he shyly blushed again.
"Really really. So what happened, Romeo? How did this happen?"
He gulped, stretching and then watched my hands as I started putting the plasters on. "Some erm, social workers came to talk to Mum & Dad about the accusations that like. I guess the new ones. They already know about the drugs and stuff and erm, they kind of told my parents that it had basically been me who had complained" His hands went down his boxers again, holding himself. I could smell the mix of cum, teen sweat and deodorant on him. He was so close and so vulnerable, I just wanted to pull him closer and hug him; I had to stay focused, though.
"Okay. And they did this to you?" I asked carefully as I rubbed his bare arms. He was still stood between my legs and nodded. "Well golly" I smiled up to him "They mustn't have liked them coming, then, could they?" It was my feeble attempt at a joke but he nodded, all the same. "Does it hurt anywhere else?"
He shook his head, the anger seeping out of his skin, replaced with that look. You know, the naughty schoolboy one.
I smiled "Alright, well, at least its only cuts and bruises, eh?" He smiled too, rubbing his nose and eyes; his hair getting in the way allowing him to move it and rub his eye at the same time. His hair fell back over his eyes.
I lifted a hand to move it.
Staring at each other.
Pausing. My thumb entered the side of his mouth.
I was suddenly his pacifier. My other hand rubbed his cheek. He'd been through so much today. Eyes closed. Lolling his head around over and over again. I tried to stay calm. Tried to be the adult. But my hand came round. Holding him and stroking his cheekbone. A sob. A tear wiped away. He sucked on my finger for such a long time, enjoying the comfort he wanted. Needed. Suddenly going back to being the young boy he wanted to be deep down.
Suddenly though, he shook his head, moving my hand from his mouth but keeping the other still on his hollow cheek. "Thank you" his voice cracked, a rub of his nose.
"Romeo I… if you ever need to talk…." I shakily whispered, trying to hold my nerve. My finger was still wet with his spittle, our bodies so close.
"Thank you for helping me today, Sir". In the moment of passion, he'd dropped his t-shirt. Collecting it up, he put it back on; his fit body disappearing from view but enticing anyone who cared to look that there was something under there.
And with that, he was gone. Looking out from the front door, I saw him walking quickly away.
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