Posted on 7:14 AM | By Biki Honko | In
"Ahh, the cool air feels super! How about a booth away from the window? Is that cool?" Morgan didn't even wait for an answer and walked off to the table he wanted.
"I need to use the restroom." And Soah took off.
Dave and Kevin walked up to the table and sat down together. Morgan finally noticed them looking at him and glanced up.
"Morgan! What is it with this girl? You never, ever pay this much attention to any one girl. I honestly was beginning to think you were gay, for all the attention you paid the girls flirting with you all the time." The look on Kevin's face showed how confused he really was.
"I really don't know. Maybe .... could it be ..... I think ....." Morgan just kinda ran down into silence. "And no I'm not gay. All of those girls bore me to tears, how many times do I have to tell you that?"
"And how many times have I told you then to find someone who is not boring! Dude, she has only said like 12 words, don't you find that boring?"
"No. She doesn't chatter just to fill the quiet, or to hear the sound of her own voice. I think there is something under her quiet, and I wanna know what it is." Morgan sat looking for Soah. "She hasn't asked me once if I thought she was pretty, or some such fool shit. Did you notice, no make-up, her clothes aren't painted on, she actually looks like a real person. That seems to be the type of girl I attract. And I hate all of them. I have to piss." And with that, left the table.
"Kev? Have you ever hear Morgan talk about a girl like that before?"
Kevin looked at Dave with a stunned look on his face. He took Dave's hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, and a slow smile started to crawl across his face. "I think my boy is finally in love. I never thought I would see the day. Shit, this is the best day ever!"
"Just wait you, there is more good news coming. Do you mind if I share my good news with you when Morgan is here. Or do you want to wait until we are alone?"
"Huh? What are you talking about? More good news? Really? Yeah, talk in front of him. Now that he knows, no more secrets from him, that was killing me and you know it. I hate keeping secrets from my best bud."
"Well, get ready, cause they are coming back." Dave smiled at Kevin.
"Hello, are you ready to order?"
"Oh, yeah, cheeseburger and fries and soda for me." Morgan answered.
"Make that two."
"Make that three!"
"Umm, fries and a chocolate shake please." Soah quietly answered the waiter.
"Dave spill the good news before I bust!" Kevin was wound up tight, and starting to get loud.
"Shush you! Well, the reason I am not hanging with you hardly at all this summer is because my work hours got increased."
"Old news dude, we all know that." Morgan looked over at Soah and smiled. "Ya gotta forgive Dave, it takes him a month to tell you that tomorrow is Wednesday, or should I say, it was like a month ago! Get to the damned point. Your gonna kill Kev if you draw it out like you usually do."
"I was working on getting to the point when you interrupted me! Dad has been training me to be the day manager." Dave quieted Kev with a smile and continued. "Not only does that mean a huge pay increase, but it comes with a great perk, a giant ass hugely fantastic perk. This is the part that is good news for you Kev. The perk? The apartment over the shop? It is mine rent free! Would you like to live together?"
Kevin leaned into Dave and gave him a huge kiss. "Yes!!! Shit yes! When can we move in? Today? Now?" Kevin threw his arms around Dave and hugged him hard, hard, hard. "Is is on a bus route? I need to get to college when it starts back up in the fall. Slacker summer is over for me, I'm getting a job to help out with expenses."
Morgan started laughing at Kevin. Sometimes he acted just like a kid, but that is why everyone loved Kevin. You just knew where you stood with him. "I hate to be the downer on your up trip, but if you two move in together, everyone will know you are a couple, are you cool with that? Because just a while ago you were busting a vein thinking everyone knew."
"Dave? What do you think? It will be all weird for a while, but it should settle down soon, right?"
"If they can't deal, fuck-'em! I am tired of hiding. So, lets buy some shit and move in as soon as we can."
"I don't know about you, but I don't need to buy shit. I make my own!'
"Good one Morgan!"
"Finally, here comes our food."
All of the boys dug right into their burgers, but then almost as one they noticed what Soah was doing. She was dipping her fries into her chocolate milkshake before eating them. Once again they had almost forgotten she was there. Feeling their eyes on her, she slowly ground to a halt.
"What are you doing dipping your fries into your shake, woman? That is weird and nasty." Kevin shuddered at the idea of eating the chocolate dipped fries.
"Umm, I guess it is a girl thing. The sweet and cold of the shake, and the hot salty greasy of the fries is a perfect match." Soah refused to look up at them, but continued on, "Would you like to try it? I wouldn't mind."
Dave and Morgan both shrugged and picked up a fry and dipped it into Soah's shake and gave it a taste. Shock was clearly written on their faces.
"Damn, that is good!"
"Kevin ya just gotta try it, just once, come on!" Dave was trying to get him to eat one of his fries dipped into Soah's shake. He leaned over to whisper something into Kevin's ear, and when his head shot up, Dave just grinned and nodded his head. "Come on, for me, please? You will like it, I just know it."
Morgan looked at Soah and said, "I don't even want to know what Dave whispered into Kevin's ear. But, my imagination is too good by far, and now I have ideas, that I would rather not have."
"Shit! Alright! Give me that damned fry!" Looking like he was about to consume poison, Kevin opened his mouth and Dave dropped the fry in. Kevin's eyes were scrunched up tightly, until he began to chew. "Well, fuck, it is good." Everyone began to laugh at the sad expression on Kevin's face.
"All right there Soah, it is time to come clean! What other "girl" food combos are us guys missing out on? Clue us in girl." Morgan grinned at Soah, and then reached over to pat her hand. Flinching slightly when he touched her, Soah looked quickly away.
"Um, well, ridged potatoes chips dipped into cold baked beans. Cold baked bean sandwiches. BLT sandwiches, bacon and mashed potatoes."
"I hate to break this to you, but guys eat BLT sandwiches also."
"Yeah, but we LOVE them. You guys just eat them. Morgan can you let me out please? I need to use the restroom."
As soon as Soah was out of sight, Dave quickly reached out and grabbed up her bag, and started going thru it. Kevin and Morgan both looked shocked as to what Dave was doing.
"What the fuck do you think you are doing there Dave?" Morgan was mad and was trying to get the bag away from Dave.
"Did you see her flinch away from you? She is terrified of us. Something is up with her, and I want to know what it is. You can be the worlds biggest ass, but you are not mean. The best place to find some details is in her bag! Now shut it and keep an eye out for her." Keys, wallet, comb, ewww girl thingies, hey a note book tied shut." Pulling off the elastic and opening the book up, he started to quickly scan the pages.
"Here she comes!" Kevin helped Dave dump Soah's things back into her bag, and to drop the bag back on the seat. As he looked at Dave he saw that he looked pale and shaken. "Dave? Dude are you ok? You don't look so good."
"I have to be going. My curfew is at 4 and it is almost 3:30." Everyone looked at the strange sound in Soah's voice.
"Sure, no problem, let's go!" Dave pushed at Kevin to get a move on. "Do you want us to drop you at your house?"
"My bike is back at the park. The park will be fine."
"Hey! Let's stick your bike in the trunk, it will fit I think, and then for sure you won't miss your curfew. How does that sound?" Dave really just wanted to know where Soah lived, and this seemed to be the easiest way to accomplish that.
"..... sure.... that would be fine I guess..." Soah was getting quieter by the minute.
"Whew! It is a good thing we brought you home. I don't think you would have made your curfew if you had ridden home." Dave smiled at Soah as he got her bike from his trunk.
Soah looked nervously at the house and then back at the boys. "Thanks for everything guys. Gotta go, bye." And quickly pushed her bike up the driveway and around back.
"Spill it, what in the hell did you read in her book? You turned white as a ghost. And why did you insist on taking her home?"
"Kev? I ... can it wait until we get to your house, please?" Dave's voice sounded strained.
Kevin closed his bedroom door and took Dave in for a hug. "Davie? Baby talk to us. What in the hell was in her book?" Kevin rocked Dave back and forth, hugging him tightly. A weird sound escaped from Dave, and Kevin realized that Dave was crying. Dave clutched onto Kevin holding him hard.
Pulling away from Kevin he leaned down and reached under the bed and pulled out a box of tissues. Blowing his nose and wiping his eyes. Kev pulled him over to sit next to him on the bed. Morgan pulled the desk chair over next to the bed and sat, waiting for Dave to begin.
"They.....her parents ...... umm.......beat her............and.............bbb" Tears streamed down Dave's face as he started to sob again. Kevin wrapped his arms around Dave and held him tightly. Morgan got up, sat next to Dave and started rubbing his back. "burn...... her.... they fucking burn her! How could anyone do that? Her own parents?"
Morgan laid his head on Dave's back and started to cry. "We gotta do something, if we don't, now that we know, we are as guilty as her parents are."
Kev kissed Dave's cheek, wiped the tears from his own face, and pulled his phone from his pocket. "Dad? Are you swamped with work today? No, I am not alright, really, really not alright. I need you to come home! Love you too, bye." Kevin took a big shuddering breath and said, "Dad will be home soon, he is leaving right now.
The boys were still hugging each other when Mr. Gardner came into Kevin's room. He sat in the chair that Morgan had vacated. "Kevin? Talk to me, what on earth has happened? Did one of your friends die?" Carefully pulling Kevin from Dave's arms he pulled him to his feet and held him tightly, kissing his cheek. "Talk to me buddy, I can't help if you don't tell me what is wrong. Come on, talk to me, ok?"
Kevin sat back down twinning his arms around Dave again. "Dave has got to tell you, Morgan and I know, but he is the one who found out."
Mr. Gardner looked at Dave and realize how shook up he was. Kneeling down, he rubbed Dave's legs, and quietly said, "Dave, look at me son, whatever this is I will try my hardest to help. Trust me enough to talk to me."
"Dave? I will tell the first part, so you only have to tell what you read, ok?" Without waiting for Dave to agree, Morgan plunged into telling Mr. Gardner everything that had happened that afternoon up to Dave opening the Soah's book. Dave shakily told him what he had read in her book.
"Are you sure what you read is true?"
"Yeah, Dad we all think it is true. After we called you we started talking and we remembered that when anyone moved to quickly or spoke to loud, she would flinch or cringe away. And...... she would fade into the background. Most of the time, we forgot she was even there. If we had of remembered she was there, some of our conversation most likely wouldn't have happened. It was hard to get her to talk. We still don't even know why she approached Morgan. But, something was holding here there. Morgan? Why were you so insistent that she came with us?"
"There was something about her, like a lost puppy you just want to pick up and comfort. She never faded from my view, ever. "
"How was she dressed?"
"Umm, board shorts and a t-shirt."
"Were her clothes clean or dirty, new or old? I need some details here. Dave you were in her purse, I want details on that also."
Morgan thought for a minute and said, "Her clothes were clean. Not new, but in good shape. But, they were not regular girl clothes. Most girls wear short shorts, and tiny tops. These clothes were girl clothes, but like the sporty girls wear. Her shorts came to her knees, and her t-shirt had sleeves to her elbows. No jewelry, nails not done, no make up, very plain. Her purse wasn't a purse at all, one of those smaller messenger bags. She started with two bottles of water, that had been frozen.... She was planning to be there a while it seems now. Or, she was planning, hoping to met someone at the park."
"Her bag looked well used. Not ratty, just that she has been using it a while. Her wallet looked really old though. No make up, the rest of the stuff in her bag is all stuff you get in the grocery store. Nothing cute or special, which seems rare when you are talking about girl stuff."
"Did you see any marks on her? Old bruises, scars. Did she move stiffly, as if it hurt her to move?"
"Dad, I don't understand all of these questions at all. Why can't you just go get her?" Tears were starting to leak from Kevin's eyes again. "And no, we didn't see anything on her at all. Except a reluctance to be touched, or to touch for that matter."
"If we don't move carefully on this, it will just make things worse for her. A big noise, and if they find nothing on her body, or if she is unwilling to talk to the police, then when the spotlights get turned off, the abuse will increase. Often when that happens, the abuse increases dramatically. We can't let that happen. Do you think she will be at the park tomorrow? If you could build up a relationship with her, so that she could trust you, we could get her away from them."\
"I think she will be there tomorrow. She seems like she wants something from me. Friendship or something else, I just don't know. Hey, Kev? Tell your dad the good news."
Kevin looked up at his dad, happiness beginning to shine in his face. "Dad! Dave and I are going to live together! His new job comes with a free apartment, and a large pay raise. I am going to get a job to carry my end of our expenses. Could we borrow your truck to pick up furniture?"
"Kevie? Do you want to do this? I thought you were worried about loosing your friends? Are you ready if that occurs?"
"Mr. Gardner they were cool with knowing that Kev and I were gay. They were just squeamish thinking about what that really means. As long as we didn't hit on them or talk about guys in a sexual manner, they were fine with our gayness. But, if they have trouble with us as a couple, sorry Mr. Gardner, but fuck-em. We don't need them as our friends. We have Morgan, and we can make other friends. We are both almost 20, we have been together for 2 years and some change. We know what we want, and what we want is each other."
"Yeah, I hated hiding that we were a couple from all of our friends. It was...hurtful. Mostly, I hated hiding it from Morgan. If us being a couple bothers them, it is not our problem any more. It really never was, we were just being polite."
Mr. Gardner pulled Kevin up and hugged him hard. He then pulled Dave up, giving him the same hard hug, and pulled back so he could see Dave's face and said, "Welcome to the family son, if you want, it would make me happy if you called me dad." Putting Dave in one arm, he took Kevin in his other, "Your peer group has lost it's grip on your behavior, their acceptance or lack thereof is meaningless to you. From today on, you are both men, congratulations!"
"Mr... uh, dad? What are we going to do about Soah?"
"Let me talk to some people, you three need to find everything you can about her. Age, siblings, everything, even if it seems unimportant. If you all agree that she is fixed on Morgan, it is going to fall to Morgan to get most of this information from her. Kev, I want you to hold off on the job hunt, I will give you back pay for this time after you find a job. I think for a while at least meeting her in a group will be better. You will find out quick enough if she wants to be alone with Morgan, and if she does, let me know. I am not sure that would be wise for Morgan to be alone with her, for Morgan's sake."