Oliver of the Adirondacks

by Dashiell Walraven

Chapter 21

Lizzy practically ran to the back of the bus where I was already sitting, and hurled herself into the seat in front of me. I looked away from the window and into her expectant face. When I didn't say anything, she wiggled her eyebrows comically at me.

"Well?" she asked breathlessly.

"Well what?" I tried to convey my complete lack of interest in talking.

"Is it true?" She had such an eager look on her face, "Please tell me what I heard is true."

"What did you hear?" I asked in a low voice, other kids were getting on the bus, and many of them were staring at me.

"Only that you totally went berserk on Peter Gilbert." News sure got around fast in our little school, that's for certain. I sunk further into my seat, I was already in trouble as it was, it was not going to help me in the least if the entire school thought I'd beat up on an upperclassman. The principal already called my father, but since it happened so near to the end of the school day, he agreed to send me, with my broken glasses, skinned knees and hands, and bruised rib cage, home on the bus. The one thing my father absolutely hated was fighting, and I was sure I was in for a serious dressing-down, and probably a lengthy grounding. As the bus filled up, I thought I might have preferred for my father to pick me up, rather than endure the trip home with everyone all stealing glances and whispering.

"My dad's going to kill me for fighting," I sulked, "this fucking sucks."

"Oh Oliver," Lizzy clucked, "it can't be that bad. Your dad is a good guy, he won't be angry with you for defending yourself."

"I don't get it," I said, clenching my jaw in a vain effort to prevent tears, "why couldn't Peter leave me alone, I never did nothing to him."

"Well, not until today, anyway." Lizzy's eyes crinkled in absolute delight. "So spill, what happened?

"I don't wanna talk about it," I said, sullen. Instead of being angry or put off, she just looked at me for a second or two, studying my eyes. Whatever she read there, she decided to let it be. We sat the remainder of the way to my stop in silence. My stomach was upset as it was, sitting over the wheel well, where the bumps and jolts of the road were transmitted directly through the seat to my gut, only made things worse. By the time I got home, my insides were a roiling, acidic mess.

I should have been relieved when I saw my father was not actually waiting for me at the bus stop. Somehow, however, this filled me with even greater dread. Slinging my book bag over my back, I managed a meager smile to Lizzy while I departed. As the bus pulled away, I turned to walk up the drive, promptly fell to my knees, and barfed onto a berm of muddy snow. Kneeling there, between retching and gagging, I let out a miserable, keening wail.

"Well, you're a sorry sight, Oliver," said my father, in a soft voice. I startled, but being in mid-puke, with my insides all in knots, I was in no position to jump. I squeezed my eyes shut, as I coughed and spit the last remnants of my stomach contents onto the ground. I expected him to start haranguing me, something he hardly ever did, but then, I'd never gotten into a fight before either. Instead, he knelt down next to me and put a soothing hand on my neck.

"Come on inside Oliver," he said in his low, calming tone, "you've had a bad day, let's see what we can do to make it better." Of course, suddenly, it was better; in one short sentence, he managed to ease my nausea and anxiety. I stood on shaky legs and leaned against him as we walked up the long drive to our cabin. Dad slung his arm across my back, his strong hand firmly gripping my shoulder. By the time we mounted the steps to the porch, I felt much better. That is, until Mom got a hold of me.

"Let me see his face!" She came fluttering over to me, grabbed my chin, and immediately started inspecting my face for damage. "Look, he has a scratch right near his eye there," she pointed it out to my father, who did not look terribly worried. "And look here," She shrieked, "would you look at the bruise on his neck." Without so much as a word of warning, she yanked my coat off, and pulled my shirt over my head. She tsk-tsked as she scanned my chest and abdomen, and then all out gasped when she turned me around.

"Good Lord, Oliver," my father said, I could hear the empathy in his voice, "what the devil did you get yourself into?" I just stood there, turned away from them, but saying nothing. My father touched one of the bruised areas on my back and I winced, pulling away.

"Is this where he hit you?" My mother asked in a small voice.

"That's where he hit me first, I think the neck bruise is from the choke hold one of his goons had on me." I felt the anger well up once more, the urge to fight rose in my gorge again as I replayed the attack in my mind. This time though, it quickly resolved to unbidden tears. "I'm so sorry Dad, I didn't want to fight, but they made me." Both my parents looked at me strangely, Dad looked like he might burst or something. He walked toward me slowly, and gingerly took my sore body into an embrace. I buried my face in his chest; I didn't sob, but I could feel my tears soaking into his shirt. He cradled my head in his hand, and held me tightly.

"Shhh, Oliver-Tolliver," he said quietly, "the principal told me, you defended yourself bravely."

After giving Mom and Dad a thorough recounting the afternoon's events, I excused myself to my room. I didn't go in to see Garrett because he was off at a doctor's appointment, and not due back until after suppertime. I turned off the light, and found myself suddenly exhausted. In a matter of moments, sleep overtook me and I did not wake up until after dark, when Dad came in and shook my shoulder.

"Oh, hi Dad," I said, rubbing my eyes, "I guess I fell asleep."

"Not to worry Oliver, I figured you needed it," he said, "I came in to see if you've pee'd yet."

"Huh?"

"I need to watch you pee, Oliver."

"Why?" I asked, both embarrassed and confused.

"With the shot you took to the kidneys," he said, "I uhh, just want to make sure you didn't get, you know... I mean have internal bleeding or anything like that."

"Okay," I shrugged, "are you sure you have to watch?"

"Well, I'll tell you what Oliver, if you're bashful, I'll just take a peek in the bowl before you flush, alrighty?" I agreed to this, and stiffly got off the bed to walk to the bathroom. Dad stood behind me as I tried to relax enough to pee in his presence. I felt like I needed to go, but couldn't quite will myself to let the urine flow. Dad tried to be helpful by running water in the sink, but to no avail. Finally, he said, "This might sound crazy Oliver, but it might do the trick if I go too." Without another word, he unzipped his fly, flopped out his penis, and started peeing.

Initially, I was a little shocked; it's not like I haven't seen my Dad's dick before, but there it was, commanding my attention more than ever before. It suddenly occurred to me that I had, quite literally, come from that very penis. He stuck that thing into my mother, repeatedly, and finally squirted his seed inside of her. The idea was not so much erotic, as it was deeply profound to me in some way. Lost in thought about exactly what that meant, I found myself peeing alongside him. He shook off his dick and stuffed it quickly back inside his fly and zipped up. He peered into the bowl, patted me on the shoulder after declaring me fit for service, and quickly left me to finish up on my own. When I was done, I looked down and I did see a little tendril of red curling around the foam in the water; I gulped but figured it was only a little bit, and hoped that it would go away on it's own.

Back in my bedroom, I lay on my bed, staring at the ceiling. I couldn't shake the image of my father's penis. I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to see it all hard and veiny. Of course, once I had that pictured in mind, it didn't take much more to visualize him sticking it into Mom's... her uhm... Well anyway, from there, I wondered what it would be like if he put it into my butt, like Garrett did that once. The very thought made my insides all weird and shaky, and I wasn't sure if I liked that sensation or not.

I felt like getting a cup of water, so I made my way to the bathroom, but as I crossed the loft, I heard my parents speaking below. Mom sounded very upset.

"He could have been very seriously hurt, I don't understand why you're not angrier."

"Honey, listen, Oliver's okay, he'll be fine. I spoke to his principal, and he assures me that Peter will never get anywhere near Oliver again.

"Not good enough. I have half a mind to go over to the Gilbert's right now and give them a piece of my mind."

"I know you're upset sweetie, but listen," my father said, in that amazingly soothing and liquid voice of his, "I have a meeting with the school administration tomorrow, and I'm sure we'll work it all out."

"Maybe they can tell you why we shouldn't call the sheriff and have Peter arrested."

"If I'm not satisfied, I may do just that."

I approached the railing so I could hear them more clearly, when I heard Garrett's voice join them.

"I'm sorry for listening in, but did I hear you say Oliver was in a fight with Peter Gilbert?"

"Yes," my father said softly, "but that's nothing you need to worry about Garrett, Oliver's fine."

"Why would he do that, Peter's gotta be three times Oliver's size." Garrett sounded upset.

"I have no idea," Dad said, "but we'll get to the bottom of it, I can promise you that."

"Dammit!" Garrett spat, "If I had been there, this would never have happened!"

"Garrett, come on, let's get you back to your bed, and we'll talk about it, okay?" I heard the clicking of Garrett's crutches, as he and my father walked off to the guest room. The conversation over, I felt it was safe to venture downstairs and into the kitchen. Mom was there and she met me with kind eyes that still bespoke of her worry for me.

"Oh hey, Ollie," she cooed, "sweetheart, you want some ice-cream or something?" Ice-cream was Mom's code word for "let's talk", but she didn't know I knew that. Whenever she wanted to pump me for information or talk about something important, she'd fix me a bowl of ice-cream. "Sprinkles?" she asked, and I nodded. I pulled up a chair to the counter, and she deposited the bowl in front of me, generously covered with multi-colored shots; she even managed to find a maraschino cherry to put on top. Almost as an afterthought, she slid a bottle of chocolate syrup to the side. Cherries and syrup; that meant she was serious about her fishing expedition, I silently steeled myself for the interrogation to come.

As I ate the ice-cream, she casually asked if I was feeling any better, and how my bruises were. Eventually, she ventured to ask me why Peter Gilbert was bothering me. I was very non-committal about my answers, offering no details. I didn't dare open that can of worms, I just couldn't be certain of the fallout. She was clearly a little put off that I was not forthcoming with more information. Her mother's radar must have been sounding all sorts of alarms. She knew something was up, but I was not going to be the one to let her in on the big secret.

Luckily, the phone rang. She let it ring three times, looking at me as if I might drop a hint before sighing deeply and answering.

"Hello," she answered. I heard what sounded like a man's voice on the phone. Mom made a couple of terse answers before calling out to my father to pick up the extension. I silently ate the rest of my ice-cream as I watched Mom listening in. She hung up with a very sour expression on her face. Dad walked in, looking equally serious.

"Oliver, listen, Peter Gilbert's father is on his way over. I think when he is here, you should probably make yourself scarce." I gulped, the sweet ice-cream suddenly laying like lead in my belly. "I may ask you to come out so I can show him the damage Peter did to you, but until I do that, beat feet, okay?" I was only too eager to agree, but in a strange, dreadful way, I was curious to know what Mr. Gilbert would say.

When Mr. Gilbert arrived, I took refuge in the guest bedroom with Garrett. We had a deck of cards split between us, but we both just sat there, straining to listen in on the conversation.

"Thank you for being kind enough to let me come over," Mr. Gilbert said, "I was worried you might not."

"Thank you for calling," my father said, "I think it is important that we talk before things get any further out of hand."

"Indeed."

"Can I get you some coffee?" Asked my mother, her tone something less than friendly.

"No thank you," Peter's father replied, "it's kind of you to offer, but I have an ulcer."

"I should think this situation isn't making that any better," said my father.

"We should get right down to it then," he said succinctly, "Firstly, I want to say that I am deeply sorry for what Peter, Jr. did to Oliver, and I want to you to know that if he needs any medical treatment or really, anything, I'm willing to cover the expense."

"That's very nice of you, Peter," said my father, "we will need to replace his glasses, but I think any physical damage will heal with time."

"Yes," Mr. Gilbert said, "consider it done, please send me the bill."

"We were planning on doing that actually," said my mother, crisply.

"It's the least I can do."

"What about Peter," asked my father, "from what the principal told me, he sustained some injuries as well?"

"Well," Mr. Gilbert sighed heavily, "Let's just say the money I spent on his orthodontia has been laid waste; we're going to have to start over again there."

"My Oliver did that?", Mom gasped.

"Yes," he acknowledged, "though the dentist thinks he can save the two front teeth." They were quiet for a while, until Mr. Gilbert spoke again. "Peter's collar bone, on the left side, is broken too, so he is in a brace to stabilize that, and the swelling on his eye should start to come down in a day or two." I heard my mother hiss a breath in between her teeth. "What I am curious about," Peter, Sr. asked, "is that, well, I'm wondering if Oliver has mentioned to you about having any trouble with Peter lately?"

"None that we're aware of," my father said, "at least, not that Oliver has mentioned. Why?"

"Well, because Peter 'has' mentioned it. I just sort of blew it off, thinking Peter was irritated by Oliver for some reason. You know how boys can get on each other's nerves. I figured it was an age difference thing, I don't know."

"How do you mean 'mentioned it'?", asked my mother.

"Oh," Peter, Sr. said, "muttering stuff about how much that 'Oliver kid' was thus and such, this or that. Nothing specific. That is, until today."

"What did he tell you happened?" asked my Dad.

"He told me, and I know this is not the full story, that he and Oliver got into a scuffle and it was because of Garrett."

My heart fell into my stomach and I felt instantly nauseated. I heard Garrett swallow noisily behind me. I clenched my eyes shut, willing myself not to vomit again. When I dared to open my eyes again, I looked at Garrett, who was pale and stricken looking.

"Garrett?" asked my incredulous father, "What the devil does this have to do with him."

"He wouldn't elaborate, and that's really why I came over tonight, I'm trying to figure out how this all fits together."

"That doesn't make any sense," stated my father, flatly.

"I thought, maybe we could talk to Oliver or maybe Garrett, and see if we can get to the bottom of this."

Dread filled every fiber of my being. If my parents found out I'd been fooling around with Garrett, they'd send him back home and Dad would never let him work with us again. I leaned over and wrapped my arms around Garrett's chest. Garrett put his arms loosely on me, but it seemed he was holding his breath. I looked up at him to speak, but he shook his head vigorously and touched a finger to his lips. We both listened, terrified of what might come next.

"So," my mom asked, "what's the connection with Garrett?"

"Well," said Peter, Sr., "Peter and Garrett were best buddies since they were little boys. Garrett was over our house and Peter over to Garrett's, all the time. We used to joke with Garrett's parents that we seemed to be sharing twins."

"Hmmph," said my father, "I never knew that. So what happened, they have a fight?"

"Not that I ever found out about. More like, they just drifted apart. I guessed it was because Peter was getting more into athletics, and Garrett was always over here and helping you folks out. Didn't seem much more than, you know how it happens, just like they were moving in different circles, is all."

"Until today," observed my father, "but how does Oliver fit into all this?"

"Well, Peter did say something that kind of caught me off guard," Peter's father hesitated, "I'm not quite sure I heard it right, because Peter sort of grumbled it under his breath, but I think I heard him say something about Garrett and Oliver being a couple of queers."

Even though I audibly gasped, the sound was drowned out by a loud rap on the kitchen table.

"That is absolutely a terrible thing for Peter to say," said my mother, sharply, "I sincerely hope you told him so!"

"I did, as a matter of fact," he said calmly, "and I asked him about where he had come with such an awful concept."

"Sounds like locker-room-gossip to me," seethed my mother, "your son should know better."

"Indeed he should," he said, "I expect some of his friends put him up to it."

"The same ones who held Oliver down while Peter punched him?", asked my father.

"Yes," Peter, Sr. agreed, "and the very same ones who skulked off like rats when Oliver decided to defend himself." There was an awkward quiet for a little while.

"Did you really bust out his teeth?" Garrett whispered down to me.

"No," I whispered back, "he did all that himself, when he fell down the stairs."

Garrett's eyes widened, I couldn't help but grin slightly.

"Stairs?"

"Yup," I nodded, "after I kicked him in the balls, he bent over and I socked him in the eye. That's when he stumbled and fell down the stairs to the next landing."

"Oooooh," he breathed sympathetically, "the long stairs by the music room?"

"No, the little ones by the chemistry lab."

"Still...", he said, with a touch of admiration in his voice, "sounds like you did him pretty good."

"Yeah, well I was sick of him and his buddies pulling their shit on me. I guess I just snapped."

When Mr. Gilbert finally left, I was exhausted. Garrett looked a little drawn too, which worried me, because he had been looking much better, and getting around pretty well, getting his strength back. Now, for some reason, he suddenly looked frail and gaunt again.

I went to bed that night, thinking about the day's roller-coaster events. Just as my eyes were closing in the dark, they snapped open again. Garrett and Peter had been best friends.

What the devil did that mean, and why did it make Peter so mad at me?

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