Wednesday, April 20, 2016
The Anger Games 11
It wasn't until the week after New Year’s, when everything hit the fan.
The kids had gone off to school, Lissie had gone to work, Cam had gone to supervise some repairs that were being done at the restaurant, Dave had the day off from both jobs, and the house to himself. He snagged a beer and sat down at the computer to talk to his friends.
Just about twenty minutes later Cam returned, "Dave!" He called laughingly, "I got a flat at the light and I don't have my jack! I need to use yours, all right?"
Dave promptly inhaled his mouthful of beer, resulting in him choking and gasping for breath. In his panic he knocked over the bottle he'd been drinking from so that the amber liquid spilled all over the desk and dripped off the edge onto the plastic floor protector. The brown bottle joined the liquid mess seconds later but luckily didn't break.
Cam ran into the living room to find Dave, still red faced and coughing, and the room smelling strongly of beer. He stood in shock for a few moments, staring at the very guilty looking boy, and the beer which continued to drip off of the desk and down onto the floor. He couldn't remember ever being as angry as he was at that moment. He felt that he was about to yell when he saw how Dave was trembling.
With a mighty force of will, Cam kept his temper, although he felt his hands shaking from anger. "You will clean this mess. Every drop. Use air freshener so that the room doesn't smell like a brewery. Then go to your room and wait for me there. Understood?"
Dave couldn't seem to breathe but nodded his head.
"Give me your keys, please. I'm going to fix my tire. Then you and I are going to have a serious discussion when I get back." He said, doing his best to keep the anger he felt out of his voice.
Dave handed over the keys with ice cold, shaking hands and then went into the kitchen to retrieve the items he'd need to clean the mess and his heart froze. Cam would have to move the boxes of beer in order to get into the well where he kept his spare and his jack. He ran to the window to watch as Cam made the discovery that would sink his ship faster than anything else he'd done.
He saw Cam's hand slap down on the trunk hood as he turned back toward the house. Dave pulled back quickly and plastered himself against the wall, not sure whether to do as he'd been told or to run out of the front door and just keep running. He listened for Cam's angry footsteps coming back into the house but they never came. He looked out of the window and saw the man stalking back down the street with the jack and the lug wrench in his hands.
Dave quickly cleaned the area, heart pounding and hands shaking as he considered his next move. He did have a spare key for his car and he could run before Cam finished with his tire, he might even have time to throw his clothes in a bag and get out before Cam threw him out. He had no doubt whatsoever that Cam would throw him out this time.
He put away the paper towels and cleaner, grabbed a large trash bag and ran to his room. His nerves in tatters he accidentally slammed the bedroom door, startling himself, sure that Cam had already returned. He then struggled with the plastic bag which perversely refused to open no matter which way he turned it. He used his tee shirt to wipe the sweat off of his face, then wiped his hands on his jeans to get rid of the moisture there, but the bag continued to refuse to open.
Frustrated he tried to throw the bag aside to continue to look for his spare key, but the damned thing stuck to his hand until he shook it off. He'd leave the clothes. It wasn't as though he couldn't buy more clothes later. He became more and more nervous as the key stubbornly refused to let itself be found. His cold hands shook and he kept dropping everything.
Then reality sank in.
Sure, he could find his key and take off. But where would he go? He could sleep in his car, he supposed, but he knew that he'd be chased off by the police. The problem was that if he managed to find a secluded enough place where the police wouldn't bother him, chances were some one worse would.
Go to his parents? No. His parents would consider it a debt that he could never repay and they would never let him forget it. That was if they didn't just smirk and slam the door on him.
Devon's wife would never allow it.
While he'd come to a truce of sorts with Dane over coffee that day he knew he wouldn't feel comfortable asking to sleep at his house, even for one night. Even in his own mind he knew he sounded like a snob, but he'd seen Dane's couch. It was held off the filthy rug with bricks. It was sagging, and dirty. After six kids and years of God knew what all else that had happened on it, nothing sane would want to sleep on it. He also knew that he'd be unable to breathe with the overwhelming smell of cigarette that clung to every inch of the house.
He sat down on his bed and put his head in his hands, mentally berating himself and kicking himself for screwing up above and beyond the call of stupidity. He ran his hands through his short black hair as he considered his next step.
Run. To where?
What would he do for a job? He should still have his job at the garage, but there was no way he'd be able to continue to work at Martinelli's, was there? Would Cam be able to put aside his feelings and give him a recommendation after this? Dave smacked his palm against his forehead. Right. That was going to happen. That loss of income and his age would make it even harder to find an apartment. Cam and Lissie had been trying to help him find a decent, affordable apartment and they had been going to cosign for him, but he'd blown that right out the window.
Stay. And then what? His thoughts whirled and he struggled to put them in any sort of order.
Cam and Lissie had been nothing but kind to him and he'd completely messed everything up by betraying their trust. The thought that he was losing Cam and Lissie and the kids caused his eyes to well up with tears.
Another thought hit him like a punch in the gut. Was Cam finally going to whip him before he and Elisabetta kicked him out for good and all? As much as he hated to admit it, this time there was no denying that he would deserve it. The beating, and to be thrown out on his ear.
He forced himself to take regular breaths. His nervous sweating stopped, his heart began to slow to a more normal rate, he could feel the shaking stop. As worried as he'd been just moments before, he now felt oddly calm. He knew what he had to do.
He picked up the bag and got it open on the first try. He calmly and neatly placed his clothes in and cinched it closed before setting it beside the bedroom door.
Normally the thought of going into Cam and Lissie's room without permission would never occur to him, but he figured that he'd be on his way out soon enough, so this one infraction wasn't going to make things any worse. He went into Cam's closet and took out two belts, one about an inch wide, the other perhaps twice that.
He brought them into his bedroom... rather, the bedroom he'd been allowed to use... placed them on the bed and sat beside them to wait. If Cam thought him worth beating before he threw him out, then so be it. He deserved it, and he wasn't going to run from it. He knew that no matter what Cam did to him, that it wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as what his own parents would have done, and nothing near as bad as what he'd done to the man who'd trusted him.
Before he knew it he heard movement down stairs. Cam didn't slam anything down. His movements were quiet and purposeful. He didn't bellow Dave's name or stomp up the stairs as Damien would have. Dave watched the clock. It was a good half hour before he heard Cam's footsteps approaching the room, he fought down his fear and stood to face his ex-friend with as much bravery as he could muster. When Cam entered the room it was all that went through Dave's head was the image of himself coming to attention and saying 'We who are about to die, salute you.'
He had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep himself from grinning. It was a nervous habit of his which had gotten him into more trouble than he could rightly remember, and now was definitely not the time.
Cam stood by the door for a few moments, looking thoughtfully at Dave as though he'd never seem him before. He couldn't believe that this usually mature, responsible boy had done something like this. He worried that his young friend might have a drinking problem and he worried about how he would react to what Cam had planned. But then he realized, not only by the boy's behavior, but by the steadiness of his eyes, that Dave had come to a decision. Just what that decision was, Cam wasn't sure of yet.
Over the past few weeks he'd been purposeful but careful in touching Dave, both to assure the boy that not every extended hand meant a slap, and to show him that he was in a safe place with family who cared about him. That was the difference, Cam said to himself. Dave knew. And he wasn't afraid any more. Then he saw the belts in the boy's hand.
Dave made the first move. He picked up the belts and presented them to Cam. "I know you're going to kick me out, and I know that I deserve it. I also know that... I... you said you don't whip your kids but I deserve that too, and... I'm here to... if you decide to... I mean... before you... tell me to get out, I..." He faltered. He could feel his face getting red and he dropped his gaze to the floor. This wasn't at all the way he'd practiced it in his head while he'd been waiting for Cam to get back.
"David, I'm not going to toss you out, any more than I would Hunter or Manny or the others... and don't,” He said holding up a restraining finger, "Start telling me that you're not one of my kids. You're as much mine as any of them, I am very disappointed in you for breaking your word to me, just as I would have been if it had been Hunter who'd done this and not you."
Dave ducked his head and handed the belts to Cam.
Cam looked at the belts in his hand. He had never considered ever using a belt on any of his kids. His own father hadn't been an abusive man, but he had believed in the belt, and nothing Cam or his brothers had told him to the contrary had ever convinced him that his hand was more than enough.
But Dave expected a whipping, despite Cam's repeated reassurances that he didn't do that. He didn't like the idea completely but if Dave would feel better having a belt used on him, them Cam would show him the difference between being abused and being punished. He looked at the belts again and put aside the thicker one. Dave bit his lip but didn't say anything else or move.
"Where did you get the beer, David? I know you couldn't have bought it yourself. Did one of the guys at the garage buy it for you?"
"No, no one from the garage bought it for me." Dave replied quietly.
"Then where... that guy from your neighborhood? The one I specifically told you not to... how did you get in touch with him?" Cam asked, afraid that he already knew the answer.
"I drove." Dave replied in a faint voice.
"With one eye?! With your vision impaired?! How could you..." Cam took a few deep breaths to calm himself down. How on earth could the boy have made turns with one eye swollen shut? How could he have judged distance with no depth perception? "David, you could have caused an accident! You could have been killed. You could have injured someone else. Do you realize how... thoughtless that was?" Cam asked, choosing his words carefully.
"Yes, Cam. I'm sorry, but I drove slowly." He reassured the older man, “And I didn't really break my word to you... not... exactly?" Dave hedged.
"How did you not exactly break your word to me?"
"You said that I couldn't ask anyone to buy beer or anything else for me and technically I didn't have anyone buy the beer for me, it was for you." Dave felt his face flushing again. Hearing his own flawed reasoning spoken aloud, he decided that his defense was no defense at all, and it sounded lame even to him. If he'd been on trial for his life he'd be on death row.
"So you decided to deceive me. That makes it all better then, doesn't it?" Cam asked sadly as he walked toward the younger man. "A deceit that wouldn't have been necessary if you hadn't been drinking the beer all along. Am I correct?"
"I... I..." Dave tried to respond.
"One full case and one with six left in it, David, I checked. How many times have you been to the old neighborhood? How many cases of beer have you had your friend buy for you?"
"Just the once." Dave said, then seeing the disbelief on Cam's face he added earnestly, “I swear Cam, just the one time. He bought the two cases and... and I've been replacing the ones I've been drinking as I drank them. I... I put them in the back and pushed the others to the front."
Cam was about to ask a question when the answer occurred to him. "Ice." He said, looking down at Dave. "They were out in your trunk in the middle of winter. Even under a blanket they'd have frozen. That's why you couldn't drink them straight out of the case, and why you had to put them in the back of the refrigerator. Am I right?"
"Yes sir." Dave said, feeling as though the breath were being squeezed out of his chest.
Cam did some quick mental math. Dave had been with them since late November, there had been six left in the open case that had originally held twenty four. The other case was still full. Dave had been with them since just after Thanksgiving so that meant that if Dave were telling the truth, he'd had eighteen beers over the course of forty four days. He admitted that that didn't seem to constitute a drinking problem but it was still eighteen more beers than the teenager should have had.
Cam felt sad, guilty and angry. Sad that the boy he'd thought of as a friend had deceived him, guilty that he hadn't noticed. Angry that the kid had endangered not only himself but others with his frankly foolish actions. And for what?
Cam walked past Dave then and sat on the edge of the bed. "We need to talk, David. Sit down." He ordered quietly, placing the belt behind him and pointing to his right.
Dave did as he was told and concentrated on a pulled thread on his patch work quilt, scraping at it gently with one bitten down nail. Cam put one of his larger hands on the smaller one and stilled it gently.
"You're old enough to know that when you do something wrong, there are consequences, aren't you, David?" Cam asked, putting two fingers under the boy's chin to gently force his head up.
"Yes sir." Dave replied quietly.
"Do you realize that if something had happened and you'd been caught drinking in the house that I would have been held responsible?"
Dave looked up at Cam, frightened. "No. No that wouldn't have been fair! How could it have been your fault what I did when you weren't around to see?"
"Because I'm the home owner, and because I'm responsible for what happens in my house. It would have been a case of underage drinking. If anything had happened to you, or someone else as a result of your being impaired, I would have been arrested."
"Cam, I'm sorry, I really didn't know."
"Had you been drinking on the day you drove to your old neighborhood?" Cam asked gently.
"No!" Dave said earnestly. "No, I would never drink and drive, I swear."
Cam took a deep breath. "You swore to me once before and you broke your promise. Why should I believe you now?"
Dave hung his head in shame. "You have no reason to." He admitted.
Cam appreciated the honesty but he had to make sure that his son knew what was going to happen and why.
"David, you understand that you did wrong? You broke your word to me. You deceived me. You had dealings with that man after you promised me you wouldn't. You drove while your vision was impaired and you could have hurt yourself or someone else."
"Remember when you first moved in, I told you I was going to treat you just like the others?"
"And what else did I tell you?"
Dave looked at Cam uncomprehendingly.
Cam put out a hand and touched Dave's face. Dave continued to look puzzled, but unafraid. He drew in a breath as understanding dawned.
"So... you're going to... to spank me?" Dave asked, blushing. The idea of being spanked like a little kid was embarrassing and he was about to ask Cam to please just use the belt when Cam seemed to read his mind.
"Yes." Cam replied, trying not to smile at the boy's expression. "Then afterward I'm going to give you a half dozen licks with the belt. Do you understand why?"
"Because I deserve a whipping after what I did."
"I'm not going to whip you. You're going to get six across your backside with the belt to drive the lesson home, and for no other reason. Do you understand?"
Dave thought about it a moment and then nodded. "Yes Cam." He said softly.
"Since this is the first time I'm going to spank you, I'm going to give you a choice that I don't give any of the other kids, not even Hunter." Cam said, nearly smiling again at his young friend's mingled expression of anxiety and inquiry.
"You can take your spanking on the bare like the other boys, with just my hand, or you can take it over your boxers with the hairbrush."
Despite his best efforts, Dave began to smile nervously.
"What do you find funny about this, David?" Cam asked, displeased.
"Nothing Cam, I'm sorry, I'm just nervous." Dave explained, placing a hand over his mouth. The words '... just my hand or on the seat of your boxers with the hairbrush' segued into a very Clue-ish, ‘Lissie in the kitchen with the wooden spoon, or Cam with the belt in the bedroom.' His laughter an inappropriate times had gotten him into trouble more often than he could count.
Slightly mollified, Cam finished his sentence. "Either way, afterward I'm going to have you pull your jeans back up and I'll deliver the half dozen. After that, this will be over and done with. Understand?"
"Yes sir." Dave answered automatically.
"David. Look at me." Cam ordered gently.
Dave obeyed the order instinctively.
"When we're done, this incident is done. All you have to do is remember the lesson. And never, ever repeat the actions that resulted in your being punished in the first place. Clear?"
Dave replied with a wan smile and a "Yes sir."
"Then stand up, David, and either get the brush from the dresser, or take down your jeans and boxers and get over my lap."
After just a moment’s hesitation he unbuttoned his jeans and lowered them and his boxers, blushing as he held down the hem of his shirt as he lowered himself across Cam's knees. After all, how bad could a spanking be, and no matter what, it had to be easier to endure than having Cam use a brush.
He didn't have much time to worry about his modesty. Cam efficiently pulled the back of Dave's shirt up and began to pepper his backside with hard, stinging smacks.
Dave gasped for breath. He'd known that Cam spanked his kids but he'd never been on the receiving end. He nearly laughed at his own thought but then gasped again as that large hand came down again and again. Oh shit! He thought no wonder his kids are so well behaved! He'd never...
"OW!" he yelped.
The larger man's hand didn't let up and effortlessly found it's target no matter how much Dave twisted around. First up one side from the crease of his thigh, then back down the other side. A flurry of fast hard swats in one spot on the left, then a repeat on the other side. Dave couldn't help but to curl his legs up in an attempt to thwart Cam's efforts. Instead he was rewarded with hard, smacks to the backs of this thighs and a briefly but sternly worded command to put his feet back down.
Dave found himself first trying to crawl forward off of Cam's knees until he realized he was not only losing his pants all together but exposing more area to target and set afire.
Other than his brief outburst and inarticulate, uncontrollable gasps, he'd kept his mouth shut, determined to take his punishment. He'd be the first to admit that it was nothing like what Damien would have done but for some reason it seemed to hurt more. Not just physically but in his chest as well.
Unable to stay silent anymore, Dave began to cry out, "Ow! Ow! OW! Cam! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'll never do it again, I sw...OW please!" He wriggled in an attempt to get his rear end out of the position it was in, and out of Cam's reach, but the older man was having none of it. Dave put a hand back but all he got for his effort was a stinging palm, so he quickly withdrew it.
"Do you understand why you're being spanked?" Cam asked.
"Because... broke my word." Dave gasped.
"Are you going to do it again?"
"Say that again, please?"
"No! I promise, I won't do it again!" Like I'm really going to say I will do it again? Dave thought to himself.
"Are you going to keep your promise this time?" Cam demanded, once again reading the boy's mind.
"Why else are you being spanked?"
"Because I... OW! Because I drove when I shouldn't have... OW! Pleastop! Please! OW!"
"Are you going to do that again?"
"No! I promise. NO! OW!"
Cam stopped and began to rub Dave's back. He ruffled the boy's hair and massaged his neck before returning to rub his back. "Are you ready for the last part, monello?"
(monello - brat)
Dave let out a watery laugh. "Can I plead the fifth? Temporary insanity? Please Cam, I swear I learned my lesson, please?" He hated the pleading tone in his voice. After all, the belt had been his idea. He had literally asked for it.
"Six Dave,” Cam replied softly but firmly. He rubbed the boy's back while he waited for Dave to stop crying.
"Ready?" He asked gently.
"No?" Dave joked through his sobs.
Cam helped Dave pull his jeans back up and politely looked the other way as the boy adjusted his clothing, then he positioned Dave on the bed with his torso on the bed and his feet on the floor.
"This is for deceiving me." Cam said, laying the first three solid stripes to Dave's jeans clad backside.
Dave closed his eyes and gritted his teeth against a yell. This was nothing like Damien would have delivered, but it still hurt on his already burning rear.
Cam laid on the last three. To his credit, Dave let out a gasp but no other sound. He buried his head in his arms to hide the tears.
Before Dave quite knew what was happening, Cam had helped him gently upright, holding him until he got his balance, and then drew him into a hug. At first Dave was uncertain and stood stiffly, but then he melted into the hug, wrapping his arms around Cam's waist and crying uncontrollably into the man's shirtfront.
"Shhhhh,” Cam said comfortingly as he rubbed the boy's back. "It's all right now. It's all over and done with."
"I'm sorry, Cam. I'm really sorry." Dave babbled into the fabric.
"I know, ragazzino. I believe you. I believe you learned your lesson. Haven't you?"
(ragazzino - little boy)
"Then it's in the past. You're forgiven, understand? You're forgiven." He repeated, rubbing Dave's back and neck as he held him. "Lissie and I and the kids all love you. You aren't going anywhere unless you want to, so before you go to bed tonight you unpack those clothes and put them back in the dresser. Oh, and put those belts back where you got them. From now on I only ever want to use them to hold my pants up, not warm the seat of yours. Capire?"
(Capire - understand)
Dave's tears began again, and he clung hard to a slightly startled Cam who instinctively held the boy more tightly as he began to sway gently back and forth. Cam kissed the top of the boy's head and then rested his cheek on the dark hair.
"Tutto bene il mio ragazzo. Tu sei perdonato. E 'tutto finito. Ti amo mio figlio." Cam whispered.
(Everything is all right my boy. You're forgiven. It's all over now. I love you my son.)
Dave, who had never heard those words spoken to him before, cried harder, but this time from happiness.