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The Talon House

Staking My Claim


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Staking My Claim

Chapter 7

By Nick

"What just happened?" I asked myself, looking around my room and pondering my next move. When I left my house the night before, I was with Jarred Fedina, the beautiful hunk who had satisfied my sexual urges as only he could, but at the end of the night, we were separated by forces beyond our control and I rode my bike along General Booth, which turned into Pacific Avenue, all the way home, without him.

It wasn't what I was planning on when we left for the party at Kyle K's house, but it was how things wound up happening. Even worse, it happened because of him. I might have been a little less bitter about the way things had unraveled, but I honestly couldn't stop fuming, even after the party had dispersed and I started for home.

Of course, that was just the beginning of my troubles. Add to that the fact that I was so busy trying to figure out where Jarred and Phillip had disappeared to that I lost track of time and missed my curfew, and it's easy to see that I was in a bad state at the moment.

The evening had started off innocently enough, but things quickly deteriorated when Kyle Pelton, Renee, Jarred and Phillip all came into the room with Kyle K and I. The distressed look on Jarred's face told me that he was as uncomfortable as I was, but there was nothing we could do at the moment.

"You remember Phillip, don't you?" Jarred asked me, his eyes shifting uneasily between the two of us. I looked up at him, then over at Phillip, who was smiling broadly and looking right at me, and did the only thing I could do. I smiled back at him and said, "Sure, we met at 7-11, right?"

"Yeah, I remember that," he said. "That was a while ago, wasn't it?"

"It has been," I said, standing up and extending my fist to meet his, which he had extended. We bumped knuckles and I reclaimed my spot on the beanbag next to Kyle K, which I suddenly found myself hoping would make Jarred feel a little jealous. I admit that it was childish, but I couldn't help it. I was definitely feeling jealous, and even a little silly that I was sitting in the presence of my lover and his boyfriend. Things got even more uncomfortable when Phillip took a sudden interest in talking to me.

"So why haven't I seen you around, man?" he asked, as if we were old friends. I was a little taken aback by that, since the truth was, we'd only met one time.

"Well, with school and stuff," I lied. "I just really haven't gotten out much. I usually get out more over the summer."

"Well dude, you'll have to hang out with us from now on," he said with a warm smile.

"We're three steps ahead of you, Cassiante," Kyle K quipped from beside me, wrapping a friendly arm around my shoulders as he passed me the joint. "He's a regular now."

I hit the joint and I was admittedly beaming on the inside. If there was one bright spot in my evening at that point, it was the time I was spending with Kyle K, who was growing on me in a hurry. The first time we met I was sure he hated me, or at least wasn't too impressed with me, but he was proving me wrong. As I coughed on my hit, I passed the joint to a smiling Phillip, who didn't seem to be bothered at all by the time I had been spending with his boyfriend.

With six of us in the room, it didn't take long for the joint to burn away, but I was already high. Kyle produced a third and forth joint, though, and it took a lot longer for us to kill those off. When we were finished, I sat still and zoned out for what seemed like an eternity while everyone around me talked. When I tuned in for a moment, the guys were laughing at Phillip for being in the choir, and Phillip was telling them all to f**k off.

After an extended period of laughter, Kyle Pelton, Renee, Jarred and Phillip went back downstairs to see what was happening. I had completely lost track of the fact that there was a party going on downstairs, and that it was basically going on unsupervised while we were in the middle of a choke session upstairs. Jarred closed the door on his way out and I suddenly found myself back where I was; alone with Kyle Kammersguard.

I turned his way, stealing what was supposed to be a quick glance, and soaked up his beauty. He had a far away look in his eyes, and I knew it was because he was so baked. He was staring straight ahead, and it was obvious his mind was somewhere else. He shifted a little, and that's when I realized that his arm was still around my shoulders, causing my stomach to stir a little with a sexual charge I couldn't have begun to describe.

As I looked him over, I began to let the possibilities course through my head. His rich red colored, pouty lips looked delicious, and I imagined for a moment that he allowed me to taste them. Of course, I didn't dare try. I wasn't going to let my high, be it sexual or pot induced, ruin the moment. He had given me no indication that he was interested in guys, and I wasn't about to push the envelope with him.

Instead, I closed my eyes and enjoyed the feel of his warm body next to mine. As my thoughts drifted, I wondered what Jarred thought, seeing the two of us together on the beanbag, and if it made his feel the least bit jealous. I hoped so, because, I decided, if anyone deserved it, at the moment, it was Jarred.


"You're late," my dad said shortly as I crept through the door from the garage, hoping that my parents were asleep. He was right, of course. I was late, and I had no way of explaining myself. My curfew was eleven o' clock, and when I slipped through the door, it was after one in the morning.

"Well sorry," I said in a nasty tone, feeling a little defensive after the long bike ride home that gave me time to fume about the way my evening had turned out. I normally wouldn't have acted that way with him, but his presence and his tone caught me off guard, which was something I'd had enough of that night.

"Excuse me young man?" he demanded, sounding appalled. "Just where have you been?"

"Out," I said bitterly, just wanting to go to my room and be alone. I turned to head to my room when I felt my dad's hand on my shoulder, stopping me and spinning me around at the same time so that I was facing him. He looked outraged.

"You'll do better than that," he said matter of factly. "Now I'm going to ask again; where were you?"

"I was at a party and I lost track of time," I snapped, wishing he'd just let me be.

"Who's party?" he asked suspiciously. "I thought you were with Jarred."

"Well I wasn't!" I said sarcastically, advancing on him as I did until I was almost in his face. "Are you done?"

"Yes I am," he said with an irritated smile on his face. "And so are you. Go to your room, you're grounded."

"I f****** hate you!" I yelled before I turned on my heels and stormed up the stairs to my room, where I slammed the door as hard as I could and locked it. I looked around my room and decided that I wanted to do something, anything, to get back at my dad for grounding me. So I turned my stereo on as loud as it would go and flopped down on my bed, pulling my pillow over my face so I couldn't hear the pounding at my door, which was getting louder and more persistent the longer I tried to ignore it.

Finally I got up and turned my stereo off, then I walked to my door, where my dad was still knocking.

"Andrew, open this door right now!" he shouted.

"f**k you!" I yelled. "Leave me alone."

"Young man, you don't speak to me that way!" he yelled through the door. "Open up right now."

"No!" I shouted. "I just want to be alone."

What happened next was something I never thought I'd witness. The pounding on the door got even louder, and out of the blue, I heard a ferocious shouting from my dad that had me instantly petrified.

"Andrew I said open this God Damn door!" he bellowed. "Right now!"

I was too scared not to do as I was told. I unlocked the door, and as soon as I did, it flew open and I was staring up at my dad, who looked like a mad man. His eyes were radiating with fury and his nostrils were flaring up, and all of the sudden, he was advancing on me. He reached out and gripped my wrist with his hand, squeezing it hard and roughly leading me to my bed, where he practically threw me down.

"Who the hell do you think you're talking to?" he demanded. "Answer me."

I lay on my bed and sobbed, stunned at his sudden outburst. I'd never seen him explode like that, and I wasn't sure what to do. Before I could respond, he reached out, grabbed my cheeks with one hand, and raised my face so that I was looking straight into his blazing eyes, then he spoke again.

"I'm your father," he said in a low tone that was somehow loud at the same time. "I'm not one of your friends on the street. Do you understand that?"

I nodded slowly, and he went on.

"Don't you ever speak to me that way again," he said as my streaming tears landed on his fingers. "You can be mad at me all you want, Andrew. But you will not cuss at me. Is that understood?"

I nodded slowly again, then I watched as he let go and took a step back. I turned my head to the door, where my mom was leaning against the jam and watching me with a matter of fact look that said she was behind my dad a hundred percent. She stood up straight and walked over to my dad, latching onto his arm as she sighed.

"What's gotten into you, honey?" she asked me, looking and sounding disappointed. "You know better than to use that kind of language with your father."

"I'm sorry I had to be rough with you, Andrew," my dad said. "You know I love you very much, and I'd never hurt you. But I won't be treated that way by you. I've always respected you and treated you fairly, son."

I didn't answer either of them. Instead, I stayed where I was, which was on my back, on my bed, and sobbing. My dad had never handled me that way before, and I didn't like it. Of course, I'd never cussed him out like that either, but that didn't excuse his actions. I could see a small amount of regret on his face for what he did, but he never apologized. Instead, he stood there with my mom and watched me silently, as if they expected me to say something. They could have stood there all night, as far as I was concerned, though, because I wasn't speaking to either of them.

The next morning I got up, expecting to be alone, and was shocked to hear the TV on downstairs. I got out of bed, went down the hall to the bathroom to pee and wash my face, then I walked back down the hallway to the top of the stairs, where I could hear the unmistakable sound of CNN coming from the television set. I rolled my eyes and shook my head, knowing that my dad had stayed home from work, most likely to spy on me.

I didn't let that keep me from going downstairs to look for something to eat and drink. I simply bypassed the area of the living room he was in and walked straight to the kitchen, where our initial confrontation had occurred. I opened the fridge and found a carton of milk, which I opened and drank from. When I set it back on the shelf I had grabbed it from, I spotted a covered plate, so I took it out and removed the foil to see what was under it.

It was half of a sandwich from The Baker's Crust, one of our favorite bakery's. I pulled the bread apart to examine it closer and took note of the fact that it was a roast beef with Swiss. I took the onions and pickles off, tossing them in the sink, then I grabbed the milk carton and headed for the table. I sat down and took a bite from the cold sandwich, then I chased it with a large gulp of milk. Just as I was wiping my milk mustache away my dad walked into the dining room carrying a glass, catching me off guard.

"Hey buddy," he said quietly, taking a seat across from me. I didn't respond to his greeting. Instead, I took another bite from my sandwich and turned the milk carton around to see if there was something to read.

"I take it you're not speaking to me," he said a little sadly, and in reply I simply passed him the milk carton. He poured himself a glass, then slid the carton back my way before he said, "Well, I guess I can understand that, but I at least want you to hear me out."

"Or what, you'll throw me around again?" I snapped suddenly, shocking myself as much as my dad.

"Andrew, I'm sorry for that," he said. "I had no right to treat you like that, son."

Instead of answering, I took another bite of my sandwich and chased it with another gulp of milk, then I got up from the table, carrying my plate and the half-empty carton of milk back to the kitchen with me. I put the milk back in the fridge and dumped the sandwich in the trash, then I put the plate in the sink and moved to the living room.

I took a seat on the couch, curling up on the end and grabbing the remote control to flip through the stations when my dad came into the room and sat on the couch too. I sighed again and tossed the remote his way, uncurling my legs and moving to get up when he commanded me to stop.

"Son, I want you to stop ignoring me," he said bluntly. "I'm sorry for what happened last night, but you can't just blame me. You had a part in it too."

"When was that?" I demanded, standing up and turning to face him. "When I twisted my own wrist? When I threw myself on my bed? When I squeezed my own cheeks?"

"Okay, you need to calm down," he said in a calm voice of his own. "I know what I did, Andrew. You don't have to remind me. But you know what? You were way out of line, and I think you know it."

"How was I out of line?" I countered defensively.

"Well let's see, buddy," he said. "First off, you were more than two hours late. Second, you had a serious chip on your shoulder when you came in, and third, how many times did you cuss at me?"

"You didn't even ask me what was wrong," I accused him, my eyes filling with tears again because of the confrontation. "All you cared about was that I was late. You wanted to have a reason to ground me because you hate me!"

"Don't say that Andrew," he said. "You know I don't hate you, and I didn't plan on grounding you."

"Then why did you do it?" I demanded.

"Because you had it coming for being a little s**t," he said plainly. "You had no reason to talk to me the way you did. I gave you plenty of time to change your tone and you didn't."

"That doesn't mean you had to hit me," I told him, feeling emotional about what I considered to be abuse.

"I didn't hit you kiddo," he said. "I was rough with you, and I'm sorry. I promise it won't happen again, Andrew. But you can't talk to me that way, and you sure as hell can't stomp around here and slam your door and blare your music at one thirty in the morning."

"I wish you weren't my dad," I said, hoping to hurt him. It worked, too. He sat back in his seat and looked devastated as I snatched the remote off of the couch, where I had tossed it, and reclaimed my spot at the other end of the couch to resume channel surfing.

He didn't say another word. Instead, he simply looked at the floor with a heavy sigh and shook his head. To say I was satisfied would have been an understatement. I had never had this kind of fight with my dad before, but I knew how to win it. I mean, who the hell did he think he was? He wasn't allowed to touch me that way, and to be honest, I never thought he would. Hell, he'd never even raised his voice at me before, and now, all of the sudden, I was just supposed to be okay with him roughing me up? No way. I didn't care how sorry he was, he wasn't getting off the hook that easily

"I'm going to Jarred's." I announced about an hour later, uncurling my legs and hopping to my feet. As I walked toward the stairs I waited for him to tell me no and that I was still grounded, but it never happened. Instead, I made it all the way up the stairs and down the hall to the bathroom. I jumped in the shower and fifteen minutes later I was in my room, getting myself together. I did my hair and put my cutest outfit on, then I bounded back down the stairs to walk out the door. I didn't see my dad on the couch, so I just shrugged and made my way out to the garage, where my bike was waiting for me.

Unfortunately, so was my dad, and he didn't look pleased.

"What do you think you're doing?' he asked pointedly.

"Going to Jarred's," I said with a sneer, realizing that I wasn't off the hook.

"Actually, no you aren't," he said firmly. "I told you last night that you were grounded, and I meant it. Go back inside."

"Why?" I demanded, turning and stomping my feet the whole way back into the kitchen.

"That's why," he said, pointing to my feet. "I didn't raise a brat, Andrew. You're grounded and that's final."

"For how long?" I asked.

"Until I think you're ready not to be grounded anymore," he said.

"I hope you know I meant what I said," I snapped. "I wish mom would divorce you and kick you out!"

"Well, maybe you can tell her that yourself," he said sadly. "You'll be here when she gets home."

"Why are you doing this to me?" I shouted.

"You're doing this to yourself, buddy," he said. "Now go to your room."

"You're sending me to my room?" I asked incredulously, and his reply was a simple nod while he pointed at the stairs. I couldn't believe his nerve, so I turned on my heel and stormed off, stomping my feet the whole way and slamming my door for good measure. In the corner sat my backpack and wallet, which I knew had two hundred dollars in it. I looked around my room again, sitting on my bed and rubbing my temples while I tried to figure out what to do next, then it came to me.

I stuffed a couple outfits in my backpack, grabbed my wallet, cell phone and Ipod, then, while my dad was on the phone and not paying any attention, I slipped out to the garage through the kitchen, got on my bike and rode off into the hot afternoon.

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