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TalonRider

My Jump Off

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My Jump Off by Nick

Chapter 8

Okay, another definitely not what I wanted to hear. I could’ve sworn that he was doing the same thing with my mom in their bedroom. Now what? I had to come up with a plan, and quick. As I sat still, trying to process my thoughts and figure a way out of the corner I suddenly found myself backed into, I decided to throw caution to the wind and at least try to turn the tables.

“So I’m not allowed to see Phillip anymore?” I asked accusingly.

“Jarred, I didn’t say that,” he said defensively, his expression softening.

“But you want that, don’t you?” I snapped at him. “Maybe then you can get me to meet some girl and I won’t be a fag anymore!”

Alright, so I knew I was going over the top, but I felt so desperate to stay out of trouble I was willing to say anything.

“Son, you know better than that,” he started, but I cut him off before he could go on.

“You know what,’ I spat in a well rehearsed hurt tone. “Don’t worry about it. I know what’s going on.”

With that, I jumped up from the table and stormed off, leaving my hamburgers and my Coke at the table. I practically slammed my bedroom door once I got down the hall, then I waited for the knock that I knew would inevitably come.

“Jarred, buddy,” my dad said in a desperate voice. “Why don’t you let me in so we can talk? You know I don’t feel that way, don’t you?”

“Just leave me alone!” I practically screamed at the top of my lungs. “I can’t believe you!”

I sat on my bed and rubbed my hands together in anticipation, knowing that my mother would be at my door in short order to try to reason with me. I heard a loud sigh from the outside of my door, then the sound of my parent’s bedroom door opening and my mom’s footsteps down the hallway.

“What happened Jeff?” I heard her ask through my door.

“He got the wrong idea, dear,” I heard him answer in a flustered voice. I laid back on my bed and waited for my mom to knock at my door.

I knew it was unfair of me to do this to my dad, but I had to do something. I mean, I wasn’t about to face the music over something that I think I should be allowed to do, anyway. Phillip and I are in love, and nothing they can say to me about sex and emotions and being too young for all of those things could change how we felt. We didn’t just have sex. We made love. It was entirely different.

Still, when the knock finally came, I knew what I had to do. I inhaled as hard as I could through my nose and conjured up some tears, then, in the saddest voice I could muster, I sobbed, “Who is it?”

“It’s mommy, honey,” she said in her caring, nurturing ‘mom’ voice. “Let me in so I can talk to you.”

I took one last look in the mirror, to make sure I looked okay. I rubbed my eyes to make them red and puffy, then I opened the door and she walked in. I was sure to glare hurtfully at my dad for effect, then I walked straight to my bed, where I laid face down and hid in my pillow. I felt my mom’s touch on my shoulder as she sat down on my bed next to me and almost instantly, a feeling of guilt rushed through my entire body.

“Tell me what happened, sweetie,” she said softly.

“Dad want’s me to break up with Phillip and get a girlfriend,” I sobbed, knowing full well that I was full of it. “He’s ashamed of me.”

“That’s not true, honey,” she tried to assure me. “We’re both very proud of you, Jarred. I think you just got the wrong idea.”

“Buddy, I don’t want you to do any of those things,” I heard him say from the foot of my bed. “I’m certainly not ashamed of you, either.”

“Why do you hate me?” I sobbed into my pillow, unable to look him in the eyes. I was sure that if I looked up, they’d know I was putting on a show.

“Son, I don’t....” was all he could get out before my mom cut him off.

“Jarred, I don’t know where all of this is coming from,” she said in an exasperated tone. “But somewhere along the line, I think you two got your signals crossed. Maybe we should start from the beginning. Jeff, why don’t you tell me what happened?”

s**t. I knew this wasn’t going to be good. As soon as he got to the part about seeing me in the backyard, getting it on with Phillip, I was going to be a** out. I had to stop him.

“Why does he get to tell you his side?” I demanded as I sat up and turned around to face them, my eyes still puffy and red. “What about my side?”

“I thought you were done telling me your side, honey,” my mom said with a look of concern on her face. “Go ahead, then.”

“Dad just came downstairs and started being mean to me,” I sobbed, knowing that I was lying through my teeth. “He doesn’t even want me and Phillip to make out anymore.”

“Jarred, stop it!” my dad suddenly snapped, shocking me, and from the look on her face, my mom too. “I’ve had it with you accusing me of wanting to keep you and Phillip apart.”

“Jeff..” my mom started, but this time, he cut her off by holding his hand up to silence her without taking his eyes off of me.

“I want you to listen to me, and listen good, son,” he said in a suddenly calm but forceful tone as he pointed at me with his index finger. “You’re grounded. You were having sex in the backyard, and you know better. Now this subject is closed, as far as I’m concerned. You know the rules.”

I sat still, paralyzed with fear and the realization that he had awakened to my act. I was so intimidated by his actions that I had real tears in my eyes. I knew that if I wanted to, I could get up and storm out of the house, and that he wouldn’t physically try to stop me. But I was honestly so shaken that I had neither the will nor the notion to move.

My mother, for her part, seemed to be having an awakening of her own. She gave me a look I couldn’t place, because I had never seen it before. Finally, she spoke.

“You were doing what?” she asked me in a tone that gave her look the definition it was missing. I couldn’t respond at the moment because while I was shaken up and intimidated by my dad, I was now scared. I had never seen either of them like this.

“Answer your mother,” my dad said in a sharp but quiet tone.

I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out. Instead, I felt the sudden need to lift myself with the palms of my hands and back up to the wall.

For as long as I could remember I had gotten away with anything and everything. I was untouchable. I used my mom’s lipstick to write my name on the side of the house when I was ten, and nothing happened. I caught the garbage can on fire when I was twelve, and nothing happened. I flipped my dad off when I was thirteen and nothing happened. I got caught having sex with Phillip in my bed less than a couple of months ago and nothing happened.

Now I was busted. I tried to run back in my mind where I went wrong, and I thought that maybe I could trace it back to the tantrum I threw, but maybe my dad already knew what I was up to. Perhaps I went wrong when I opened the door and let them in. I didn’t know. What I did know was that I felt like I was in a room with two strangers. Two angry, fed up strangers.

“You know what?” my mom said. “Don’t even bother. I can’t believe you, Jarred!”

With that, she turned and walked out of my room. I was waiting for my dad to follow her, but instead, he pulled the rolling chair out from under my desk and took a seat. This time, I could read his expression. Unfortunately, I knew it well. He was disappointed.

“I’m sorry this had to happen, son,” he said quietly. “I was hoping we could talk this over at the table like two adults would, but apparently, you’re not ready for that. I hope this serves as an example of why we don’t want you to have sex yet. You’re not mature enough.”

Those words stung me harder than anything. I didn’t have a retort, either. I just rolled over and wept, knowing that he was probably right. I felt so silly, knowing that I had been caught in a huge act. Even worse, I made my own father out to be a homophobe. I felt like s**t, and that was the only reason I was crying. I deserved any punishment I got. I knew that. I just didn’t know if I could stand having my parents walk around with such a low opinion of me.

Before my left my room, he leaned over me and kissed the top of my head, then he walked out without closing my door. I heard him talking to my mom in their room, and I knew that obviously, they were talking about me. I could hear my mom ranting about how angry she was with me, and how she trusted me to do the right thing. I knew I had let them down, and I was crushed. I think I would’ve happily taken being grounded for a year if I could just have their trust back, but I knew it was too late for that.

Sleep didn’t come easy that night. I tossed and turned and woke up several times, feeling sick to my stomach about what had happened. Each time I woke up, my mind flashed back to my dad finally snapping, and to my mom finding out the truth. Then, I would start to ask myself the same questions.

Why did I do it? Why couldn’t I have just faced up to what I did? Why did I make such a huge production of it all? Why did I try to turn it around on my dad?

Even worse, I thought, was the fact that I was grounded. What about me and Phillip? How were we going to see each other? I mean, yeah, there was school. But I needed to see him more often than that. I loved him, and the idea of us being separated was tearing me apart. s**t.

Eventually, after my thought process had run it’s course, I would break down and cry myself back to sleep. It seemed like the night was taking forever, too. As if the tears and uncertainty were part of my punishment, they dragged on all night and I must have woken up at least six times. The last time I woke up was at around five in the morning. I got up and walked down the hall to take a leak, and I noticed that there was a light on in my parent’s room. I decided not to look in, even though their door was wide open. I walked right past it and to the bathroom. When I made it back to my room, I gently closed my door and laid back down.

Falling asleep the last time was the hardest. That might have had something to do with the fact that I had already slept, but I think it had more to do with the fact that I knew I was going to have to face my parent’s when I did get up. Of course, there were also those thought’s again. I knew Phillip was going to call me as soon as he could, and I had to tell him everything. I wondered tearfully to myself how he was going to react.

When I reopened my eyes, the sun was shining brightly through my blinds. I sat up and looked around, and the first thing I noticed was that my door was opened. I noticed the smell of breakfast coming from the kitchen. I was able to detect bacon and coffee in the air, mingled with the aroma of toast. I was about to get up and get in the shower when my dad popped his head in and smiled when he saw me sitting up in my bed.

“Hey buddy, you’re up,” he said in a warm tone. “Mom’s got breakfast ready if you’re hungry.”

I didn’t know what to say to him. I sat still on my bed and looked at him silently, then I had to look down. I wasn’t mad, just uncomfortable. True, we’d had fights before, but never like the one we had the night before. I wasn’t sure what we were supposed to do. In contrast, however, he seemed totally at ease.

I was halfway expecting him to yell at me again when I didn’t answer him. Instead, he looked sympathetically at me as he came in my room and sat down on my bed. I looked up at him, feeling a huge lump in my throat, but not knowing what to do about it. I felt like anything I said was going to be wrong, and possibly harmful. So when he wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me into him for a hug, I was a little shocked.

We didn’t talk this time. Instead, it was dead silence between us, but I was still crying. I felt so horrible about everything that I couldn’t help myself. I think the thing that made me feel the worst was the vulnerability. I was used to being the center of my parent’s life, and even though we had drifted apart over the last few years, I had gotten so close to them again over the last few months. I guess the idea that I might have ruined that was too much for me. I felt out of control of my own situation for the first time in my life.

The silence itself was deafening. It was like all of my thoughts were screaming out at me, and making me feel even worse. I found myself clinging to him with all of my might, trying to tell him in my own quiet way how sorry I was as my tears flowed.

After a few moments, his grip on me loosened and he gave me one last reassuring squeeze, then he spoke.

“Why don’t you come eat some breakfast, son?” he said. “We’ll talk things over later, okay? Everything’s going to be alright. I promise.”

I felt a kiss on my cheek, then he pulled away, getting up and walking back out of my room. I sat still and thought about my dad and I realized what I had.

I was a total loser. My parent’s gave me everything I could have ever asked for, and I gave them hell. My dad didn’t have a hateful bone in his body, and neither did my mom. The only thing they asked of me was that I be responsible. I couldn’t even do that. I waited for the house to be empty so I could break every rule they had in place. I smoked weed, I had sex with my boyfriend and when I got caught, I tried to make my dad, who loved me more than I would ever know, look like a hateful bigot. I didn’t know what the hell was wrong with me.

Yet through it all, here he was. He was still standing by my side. He was still letting me know that I was the center of his universe. He was still letting me know that everything was going to be alright. What had I done to deserve this mans love? I had no idea how he did it. But I knew one thing was true.... My dad was my hero.

I wasn’t too sure what my mom was going to say to me when I got to the kitchen. I had a feeling that my dad had most likely talked to her for me. Not that I deserved it, but I still had that feeling. I went to the bathroom and washed my face, then, once I composed myself, I made my way slowly down the hallway to the dining room. When I came around the corner, down the hallway and past the living room, I saw parent’s sitting side by side, holding hands at the table. My dad was holding his fork up for my mom to take a bite of eggs, and she was smiling dreamily at him. I shyly approached the table and took a seat where my plate was sitting. My mom looked over at me warmly and smiled as she chewed her bite.

“Good morning, sweetheart,” she said softly once she had chewed and swallowed her eggs.

“Good morning,” I said in a small voice. I could barely hear myself when I said it. I felt so awkward still, and I wasn’t too sure what was going to happen when I came to the table.

Things seemed normal for the most part. I didn’t have much of an appetite, so I just picked at my food and sipped my orange juice as I listened to my mom and dad talk about various subjects that I realized I knew nothing about. Someone from my dad’s office was getting ready to go on a vacation in South America, and my parent’s were talking about giving him some money so he could buy some kind of rug my mother wanted from Peru. Then the conversation shifted to my mom’s minivan, which she used to make her deliveries. She talked about how it needed to go to the dealership for a tune-up, but that it was going to have to wait because she had deliveries clear into the evening every day this week because of Mothers Day, which was coming up this Sunday.

I slowly exhaled, disappointed in myself for not even remembering Mothers Day. If she hadn’t said anything to me, I might not have known. I was so involved in myself and my own selfish wants and needs that I hadn’t been paying attention to important things. It seemed like the more I thought about it, the more my dad’s words the night before seemed to permeate.

I wasn’t mature enough.

Coming to this realization was hard. I mean, I had never even given it a second thought. I was pretty popular at school. I had a boyfriend I loved. I got good grades. I didn’t get into trouble at school. What part did I miss?

Even worse, how long had my parent’s been noticing what had obviously gone right over my head? What about the people around me? Did they notice too? Had they simply been tolerating me? Was I hard to be around? How did I get to this point?

The lump in my throat was back with a vengeance, but I willed myself not to cry. At least, not at the table. Not in front of my parents. They were enjoying their breakfast, and I didn’t want to ruin it for them the way I ruined their evening the night before. God, I was such a screw up.

“How come you aren’t eating, sweetie?” my mom asked with a little bit of concern in her voice. I looked up at her and shook my head slowly, afraid that if I spoke I would fall apart. I looked back down at my plate, trying to find my appetite, but it wasn’t there. Finally I just put my fork down and sighed, feeling defeated.

Out of nowhere, my mom’s hand came across the table and she gripped the top of my own hand, giving it a loving squeeze. I looked up at her, and I lost it. My tears started to flow again, knowing that it was too late. I had ruined their breakfast and most likely their whole day.

My dad got up and took our plates to the kitchen sink as my mom got up and came to my side of the table, where she pulled out the chair next to me and sat down. She wrapped her arm around me and gave me a kiss on the cheek, then she wiped my tears and pulled my head down onto her shoulder.

“I’m sorry mom,” I sobbed into her neck as she stroked the back of my head with a soothing shush.

“I know you are, sweetheart,” she said softly. “Everything’s going to be fine.”

“How?” I asked through my tears, knowing that I had lost their trust and that any respect they might have had for me was gone.

“Honey, we were hard on you last night,” she said. “One little talk with you about sex wasn’t enough. We should have known that.”

“I can’t help it mom,” I sobbed. “I’m gay.”

“I know that baby,” she said. “Nobody wants you to change, either.”

“I can’t help how I feel about Phillip, either,” I admitted. “I love him.”

“I know that, too,” she said gently. “Let’s wait for your father to finish in the kitchen. We’ll all sit down and talk.”

I didn’t say anything. I just sat there with my head on my moms shoulder and waited patiently for my dad to finish in the kitchen. When he was done, we all got up and moved to the living room, where I sat between them on the couch. I felt so small, so insignificant. My dad kneaded the back of my neck when he sat next to me, and I instinctively rested my head on his shoulder.

“Why don’t you start, Jarred,” he said. I knew what I needed to say, but it was hard. I guess I needed to be as honest and forthcoming as I could be.

“I’m sorry, dad,” I said, feeling the shame of what I had tried to do to him the night before come rushing back all over again. “I don’t know why I did it. I was just scared of being in trouble.”

“I know you were buddy,” he said with a sigh. “But there’s something I want you to understand, son. What you were doing with Phillip was an adult act. When you choose to act like an adult, you have to be willing to face the consequences like an adult, too. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

I simply nodded my answer, feeling a little more than embarrassed that we were back on the subject of sex. This was somewhere I didn’t want to go with my folks, and yet, here we were. He went on.

“Son, we trusted you to do the right thing,” he said. “I’m not going to lie to you. I was pretty disappointed when I saw you two out there. But, maybe some of that’s our fault.”

“How?” I asked quietly, my head still resting on his shoulder.

“Because mom and I didn’t press the issue the way we should have,” he conceded. “We had a responsibility to make sure you understood why we don’t think you’re ready.”

“But I am ready, dad,” I pleaded, feeling like this was my chance to plead my case.

“I know you think that, son,” he said softly. “But you really aren’t. You’re fifteen, Jarred. You have a crush. It’s not the same thing as being in love.”

“But I am in love,” I argued, starting to weep again. “You don’t understand how much I love him, dad.”

“You’ve never been with anyone else, Jarred,” my mom said with a hint of pity in her voice. “How can you say for sure that you love him?”

“I have too,” I countered, then I knew I was busted. I felt my dad shift uncomfortably as I lifted my head from his shoulder, realizing the words that had just slipped from my tongue.

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