Misjudged – Part Five
After realizing that his parents were waiting for him at the end of the path, Tommy stopped short. Cash stumbled into him and said,“What’s the hold up, little man?”
Tommy, who was too scared to really say anything, lifted his arm and pointed to the edge of the woods where his parents were standing. Whatever they wanted, it couldn’t be good.
“Tommy!” one of them yelled. The three teens looked over at them.
Greyson turned back to Tommy, confused. “Are those your parents?”
Tommy realized that none of them had ever seen what his parents looked like before. His parents and him didn’t really look much a like at all. Tommy’s dad was tall and intimidating, while his mother was small and tired looking.
Tommy nodded as his parents began to run down the path towards them.
“Don’t touch my son!” yelled his mother. Tommy looked at his shoulder and saw that Scarlett had put a protective hand on it.
His mother slapped Scarlett’s hand away and pulled him into a tight hug. “We thought they took you away for good!”
“What?!” screeched Scarlett.
Tommy’s father rounded on them. “I don’t know what you’ve been doing with my son, but it ends now. After he was missing, our neighbor told us that she had seen you three with him, but I couldn’t believe it.”
Tommy’s father took a step back so he could look at all three of them at once. “I thought my son would know better than to hang around a slut, a drug addict, and a burnout.”
Tommy’s mother covered his ears. “Arnold, language,” she whispered.
It was silent for a moment, and Tommy could see Scarlett’s eyes widen and turn to rage. She moved to walk up to Arnold, her fist clenched, but Cash held her back.
“It’s not worth it to go to jail, Scarlett.”
“Did you not just hear what that ass called us?”
Tommy’s mother began to usher him away. He followed her, but could still hear the shouting. He closed his eyes and made a decision.
He stopped walking, ripping his arm from his mother’s hand and said, “No.”
Tommy’s mother stopped and looked at him before asking, “Excuse me? You do not talk to me like that, young man.”
Tommy glared at her before turning and running back to where his dad and the teens were still yelling at each other. He used his short height to his advantage and wedged himself in between them.
“Dad, stop yelling at them!”
“Thomas. I don’t think you understand what kind of reputation these people have. You don’t want to be associated with them!”
“But they aren’t bad! I don’t really understand some of the words you called them, but you’re wrong!”
Tommy’s dad growled in frustration. “Tommy.” He took a deep breath. “Haven’t you heard about what they do? All they do is smoke and drink their lives away! It’s a wonder they’re even in school still! I just don’t want you to end up like them!”
Tommy’s mother was now standing next to his dad, one of her arms was stretched out to Tommy. “You’re coming home. Now.”
Tommy stared at the hand and then looked back at his parents, still not moving.
“Thomas Ashworth. Home. Now.”
“But you’re both wrong! I’ve known them for two months and they haven’t done anything bad! If you let me explain-”
“Wait!” his mother interrupted.“You’ve been hanging around them for two months??”
“Yeah, and neither of you noticed because you were too busy arguing with each other! The day I met them was the day dad was supposed to take me to the park, but then you two got into a fight and he forgot!”
His parents looked guilty.
“And,” continued Tommy,”I have no friends because you two never let me have anyone over! They’re my best friends, and I’m not going to let you take them away.”
“I’m sorry, Tommy,” began his mother. “But sometimes these things happen. I promise-”
“You always make these promises but then you never keep them!” Tommy interrupted. “You promise we’ll go to the park, or go and get ice cream, but then we never go! You two promised to stop fighting, but you still fight all the time!”
Tommy rounded on his dad. “And you promised that you would stop drinking those things that make you angry, but you didn’t do that either!”
All eyes turned to Tommy’s dad, shocked.
“What?” asked Scarlett.
next: Misjudged – Part Six
previous: Misjudged – Part Four
first chapter: Misjudged – Part One
more by CASSIE GAMMIE
photograph by Davide Ragusa