I walked into Biology with tons on my mind. Yes, okay… Stories. Damn his precious, darling heart. ‘A pang of jealousy.’ He was human after all. And, he really wanted to be touching me. I’d like that. A lot. I guess the requests and the trip down the hall hadn’t been that hard. Well, Junior had been. Next time, I’ll have to hold him as well. It took me a moment to see Ms. Carlisle waving to me. That’s when I noticed she had three chairs sitting up front. Uh-oh.
“Rebbecca, up here please.” Caught! I’d heard about Biology classes and the Program. For the rest of the week I was the demonstration model. Why three chairs? Wait, she was adding a fourth. Tim and Shirley walked in hand-in-hand. Grinning. Naked. Looking more than a little flushed. Ms. Carlisle invited them to the front. We put our stuff down and sat, said hi to each other, and awaited our fate. The rest of the class settled down. Needless to say, all eyes were on us.
Ms. Carlisle turned to us and checked each of us out. With a little chuckle, she asked, “Anyone need relief?” Three negatives, so she turned and addressed the class. “We’re not doing mammals yet, so no live demonstrations—this week.”
“That sucks,” said a male voice in the back.
“Mr. Allen?” Ms. Carlisle asked while raising her eyebrows.
“Yes, ma’am?” Will Allen, class creep.
“Since you want to participate, why don’t you join us in the front, please.” I recalled that teachers could request anyone to participate in the class, naked, as long as they weren’t exempt. And not many were. A few for religious reasons and one because of diplomatic status is all I could recall.
“Why?” His voice hard, defiant.
“Because I said so. And, I like having an equal numbers of males and females sitting here.”
“Naked?” Now I have a good reference for what incredulous sounds like. I filed this in my writing folder.
“Of course. Any arguments, you could find yourself finishing the week that way and doing your normal week later.” I remembered that punishment time in the Program didn’t count towards fulfilling your requirements for graduation. I was glad I was on the end with Tim and Shirley between me and the empty chair. Shirley didn’t look that happy.
Will was skinny with really bad posture, ragged clothes, bad acne, and he smelled. He didn’t often talk to us girls—he leered. When he talked to us, it was always rude or disgusting—focused on chests and other bits. When he stripped there were no cheers. No cat calls. Everyone looked at other things around the class.
“Class.” We all looked at Ms. Carlisle. “Will is not being punished. He’s doing this just for this class at my request. Unless this whole class wants to go naked for the rest of the day, you are going to show some appreciation and respect for Mr. Allen.” The class politely, and quietly, clapped.
Tim leaned across, looked at Will, and asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, thanks.” His eyes actually showed appreciation. I gave him a thumbs up and Shirley patted him on the arm in support. He glared at each of us and didn’t say a thing.
For us nude people, the class passed almost normally. We just sat there naked, on display, instead of in our normal seats. We were expected to participate in class like everyone else. It was impossible to take notes, though. We weren’t allowed to cover ourselves, so no notebooks in our laps or laptop computers. I’d have to ask someone to email me a copy of theirs later. The new Electronic Classroom hadn’t reached out school yet, so no video, audio, transcripts, notes, and references online—yet.
About ten minutes from the end of the class, Ms. Carlisle took a different direction that shocked the four of us up front. “Okay, from now through the end of the year, we’re going to reserve the last ten minutes of class to question our Program participants. That is, when we have them.
“First, a question from me to each of you. Are you a virgin? Rebbecca?”
“Yes, ma’am.” I looked down and felt myself turning really red.
“No.” Tim and Shirley answered in unison and then smiled at each other.
“Will?” Ms. Carlisle asked into the protracted silence.
“Ah, yeah.” I think he might have turned brighter red than me.
“Thank you for sharing. Fifty percent virgins is a little high for seniors in High School, about average for teenagers. This small a sample size might account for it.” She shook off the question about sample size and looked at the class. Her eyes showed true concern. “Anyone that is being pressured, think about that. You’re really not alone.” She paused to let it sink in. “Okay, any questions from the class?”
Hands were raised and she pointed to a girl in the third row. Stacy? Amanda? I couldn’t remember.
“Ah, Rebbecca… Since you’re a virgin… Do you still have…. I mean… Are you… intact?” She looked as embarrassed as I felt. Ms. Carlisle didn’t say anything for a minute. I think it was a contest to see which of us could turn the reddest. Finally, she gave us a break.
“Being intact is having a hymen, which is the membrane that protects the vagina. Having, or not having a hymen is not an indicator of virginity. Even though many ignorant cultures have, and still do, consider it so.” Ms. Carlisle preached, and then turned waiting for me to answer.
“I was intact until yesterday.” I managed to get that out—somehow. My core responded with my recall. It heated and I felt the need to squirm. ‘Oh, God. Everyone will know I’m a slut.’
Tim turned and asked, “Because of what happened in the hall?” Concern written all over his face.
Now I was red all over and having trouble breathing, recalling the sudden pain. ‘Breathe,’ I recall Luis telling me. Good advice. “Almost. That hurt.” I said that?
“How?” Thanks, Shirley. Wait until your turn.
“Luis, at my request, took it with his fingers.” My core fluttered at the thought of his kisses and what his tongue had done to me. “I wanted it… gone.” I just gave them confirmation that I am a slut. I’m going to need a towel—soon! My hands look very nice in my lap.
Ms. Carlisle came to my rescue at that point. “Let me educate the two of you that don’t know about what happened yesterday. Plus, correct the information most of the rest of you are carrying around. Rebbecca was assaulted in the hallway. A person—unknown—came up behind her and attempted to push their fingers into her vagina. Ram would be a better word.” She looked over at me and saw the astounded look on my face. How did she know this? “Rebbecca, I’m very aware of what happened. The teachers have as good a grapevine as the students. I hope better!” The class chuckled. “I totally agree with what Luis did—although not officially.” She turned back to the rest of the class. “There is someone in this school sporting a new tattoo on their forearm today. It’s temporary and resembles a bruise. Coincidentally, it is the size and shape of Luis’s hand.”
Will had been wearing a long sleeved shirt before he stripped. No one had paid attention to him then or since. However, as soon as Ms. Carlisle finished explaining, he tried to hide his right arm. The movement in the otherwise still classroom was like a beacon to a moth on a dark night. It caught everyone’s attention. The bruise on the inside of his forearm was not so easily hidden by his small hands.
“Mr. Allen. Do you have something to add to this conversation?” When he didn’t speak, she went on, measuring her words carefully. “The school’s official position is that Luis acted within acceptable boundaries. In fact, the faculty and staff think he showed considerable restraint and maturity. The person that committed the assault has one, and only one, chance to do the right thing and show their maturity. Again, do you have anything to add to this conversation, Will?”
He sat. Not speaking. He just glared at her, then at me, then back again at Ms. Carlisle. Whenever he looked at me, my skin crawled. Ms. Carlisle let the silence stand for about a minute. It seemed like a month to me.
Will finally muttered something unintelligible.
“Excuse me, Mr. Allen. I didn’t hear you.” Ms. Carlisle sounded just like a Drill Sergeant in the movies.
“I didn’t say nothin’.” His tone and manner added the word bitch to the end of the sentence.
“Miss Keon, did you hear anything?” Ms. Carlisle asked Shirley. How is she doing this? She’s so collected and together.
“Ma’am?” Shirley looked scared. Tim leaned over and whispered something to her. She straightened as a new resolve appeared in her eyes. “Yes, I did. He said, ‘I’m gonna kill that cunt.’” Did he mean me or Ms. Carlisle? My blood ran cold.
The bell rang. No one in the class moved. Before Ms. Carlisle could say anything, Will jumped up and attacked me. Fists swinging! I fell off the chair trying to defend myself.
I was letting the differentials fade from my mind, not to mention all the hands on Junior as I walked to Becca’s classroom door. Faint memories of Biology and the Program rattling around in my mind. Then, Susan walked by and gave Junior a tender, sweet squeeze.
“See you in History, Luis!” She smiled and gave me a wink. I stared at her ass as she walked down the hall. The way her dress swayed was… Interesting. What Calculus class? Biology? Oh! Yeah… Becca! Junior twitched at that notion.
The second bell rang. Nothing. It was too quiet. The door was still closed. Then I heard a scream followed by angry voices and more screams. The door was opening by my own hand before my brain registered that one of the screams had belonged to Becca. It was still trying to catch up to the moment when I found myself with a double handful of slimy flesh. It had been on top of Rebbecca hitting her. She was curled up on the floor in a protective posture.
The thing in my hands, now high over my head, was screaming in rage and thrashing worse than an eel on a hook.
Ms. Carlisle was yelling in an attempt to be heard and restore order.
Shirley was backed up against Tim, screaming in terror. Tim looked shocked and was trapped from any action by Shirley.
Everyone else seemed frozen by the suddenness of it all.
“DON’T!” Becca’s voice cut through the confusion. Her eyes held fear and determination. Her hair was a mess. Her arms red from the beating. “Don’t do it, Luis. He’s not worth it!”
My training had kicked in. I had removed the danger and done nothing more. Looking at Becca, though, made me want to beat this little shit to a pulp. I didn’t. Her eyes and voice kept me from doing it more than my training. I set him down on his feet. As soon as he got his balance, he swung at me. Idiot! I caught his fist in my hand, which made a sound like a wet rag hitting a steel floor, and squeezed until he was on his knees.
“Don’t move,” I managed to get out of my mouth through gritted teeth. I was doing everything in my power to keep from just crushing his hand. “Becca, are you okay?”
“I… I don’t know.” She was sitting up now. I breathed a slight sigh of relief.
“Shirley, check her out, please? I can’t let this fool go right now.” Shirley, Tim, and Ms. Carlisle surrounded Rebbecca and began to check her over. I looked at Will and saw absolute hate in his eyes. They were wild with rage and not at all human. The same look I had seen once with a trapped, feral dog.
Dr. C came running into the classroom. Part of me registered that I had never seen him run before. He saw me holding Will down with one hand and that I was relaxed, not moving. He headed straight to Ms. Carlisle. They moved away from the crowd and had a quick, whispered conversation. I didn’t think I was in trouble, not with things the way there are today. I remember Poppa telling me about “Zero Tolerance” and all the problems that caused. Under that system, I would have been expelled for what I did. That, along with the cultural notion of Personal Responsibility being personal, not legislated or regulated, had actually reduced violence in schools.
“Luis, escort Mr. Allen to my office. I expect him there in one piece, but get him there. Okay?” His eyes bored into me. I knew exactly what he was asking of me. Use only the force necessary to get him to the office. I nodded. “Mr. Carter, accompany him.” Tim got it and nodded. We both knew his job was to monitor me. “Miss Davis, I’d like you to go to the nurse’s office and get checked out.”
“Dr. Cavenaugh, I’m okay. Just in shock. I’d rather be with Luis right now.” Her eyes held only a hint of fear. The rest was pure determination backed by resolve.
“Are you sure?” His voice much softer. Another thing that has changed, according to Poppa. In days of old, she would have been forced to go to the nurse so the school could avoid a lawsuit. She now had personal choice on her side.
“Yes.” My Becca had more than a note of defiance in her voice. Damn, I love that girl. Just took a beating, yet knew what she wanted and was going to get it. She got up, very slowly, and came to me. “I want to hold you and hug you. Right now you’re a little occupied. Later, please?” I winked at her, not trusting my voice right then, and blew her a kiss. I was so proud of her and the way she was handling all this. I twisted Will’s arm a little harder. Reflex… Right! He yelped. Becca looked at me in a way that reminded me of one of Momma’s scoldings. I let some of the pressure off of Will’s elbow. Her eyes briefly flashed a smile.
Dr. C gathered up Ms. Carlisle and the front row of the class with a few glances and a wave. “If anyone else would like to share their observations of the incident, please let Mrs. Grant know and we’ll contact you during the day.”
The entourage headed out into a crowded hallway. Dr. C led the way and parted the seas. I was holding Will’s hands behind his back with one hand, my other on the back of his neck propelling him forward. I kept him a little off balance without the danger of him falling over—so he couldn’t use his feet as weapons. He was screaming a constant rant of obscenities and threats. I wanted to gag him, but neither of us was overdressed enough to provide materials to cram into his foul mouth. That’s when it hit me that he was nude as well. Plus, I saw the bruise on his forearm.
A huge part of me wanted to waste him right in the hallway. Pull his limbs off, one by one, and roll his torso into a little ball and flick it into space. Then play soccer with his skull. He fought me every step of the way, which was all the excuse I needed to make sure his hands would remember this day for a very long time.
When we got to the office, Dr. C whispered to Mrs. Grant and then led the key players into his office and directed the rest of the troops to the seats in Mrs. Grant’s domain—the Cavern.
“Mr. Contadino, please place Mr. Allen in the chair in front of my desk. I trust that you will not allow him to get up?” I nodded and walked him to the chair. Just as I released his hands to seat him, Dr. C went on. “I’ve instructed Mrs. Grant to call the police and …”
Will went nuts. He pushed the chair back into me as hard as he could using, what was to him, some superhuman strength. Then he slithered out from my relaxed hold on his neck and picked up Dr. C’s letter opener from the desk. He attempted a roundhouse swing towards me. Me disappeared.
Mind registered the weapon and the need for prudence. Body did what it had been trained to do. It kicked the chair out of the way, moved into him, and let his hand go behind it. Hand met his wrist as Body turned away from him. Then Body levered him. Arm, hip, side, legs—only four ounces of force. Perfect T’ai Ch’i. He went upside down, dropped the letter opener, flew across the room, and slammed into the wall with way more than four ounces of force. Mind was screaming for restraint and prudence. Body began advancing on the crumpled figure, very intent on finishing the job.
Dr. C stepped in front of Body trying to block its progress. Body reached arms out and grabbed him by the waist. Mind was aghast. Body proceeded to pick him up and started to move him out of the way of the target.
“Luis. Put. Me. Down. Now!” He didn’t raise his voice, yet it was the loudest command I’d ever heard. Body still moved him out of the way and set him down. As Body prepared to advance again, Mind heard him say, “LUIS!” His voice wasn’t loud. Emphatic, yes. Mind stopped my foot two inches from crushing Will’s skull. “Thank you. I’ll take over. You go tend to Miss Davis.”
We locked eyes. He saw Body begin to unwind the tension. He stayed with my eyes until I totally relaxed and Mind quieted. Spirit stepped forward to take control. “Thank you, Dr. Cavenaugh. I apologize.” I bowed my head and shoulders to him.
He shook my hand and held it. “You’ve done better than anyone could expect. Thank you.” He gave me a little head bow. He checked out my eyes carefully. He could see that my body had unwound, my mind was quiet, and my heart was running the show. For me, it was hard to hold his gaze. I was ashamed. And, quite frankly, I’m not used to looking up to another person. “Now, go tend to your girlfriend.” It was an order I gladly complied with.
I gave him another bow, from the waist this time. I worked on coming completely back to Center and focused on breathing deep and slow. Letting the air move the energy through me. Trying to wash the adrenaline out and minimizing the muscle shakes. Breathe into my Dantien – my Center. Well, mostly. The energy beginning to flow properly, Dr. C saw it and released my hand.
“Mr. Allen. I would advise you not to move. I’m not as gentle as Mr. Contadino.” Dr. C rearranged him carefully then put plastic cuffs on Will’s wrists and left him moaning on the floor.
I turned, took Becca into my arms, sat, and snuggled her in. “Are you okay, sweetie?”
She looked up, eyes full of tears. Fear and confusion on her face. She snuggled in tighter. I could feel her heart beating faster than a Gene Krupa drum solo.
“Hold me…” Was all I got out of her. I wrapped her into my chest. Losing her eyes, feeling her warmth and tremors.
“Are you hurt? Do you need a doctor?” I could feel her shake her head and borrow in deeper. She pulled herself into a little ball and disappeared in my arms.
About then, the police arrived. A couple of uniformed officers exchanged plastic for metal and escorted a slow moving Will out. The ignored me. A formidable female detective took charge. “We need to interview everyone, one at a time, and separately. Please go outside until you are called. Don’t talk among yourselves about events. We’ll start with…” She looked at her PDA, “Rebbecca Davis.”
Becca looked up at me, pleading. I hugged her and looked up at the detective. “Ma’am, she’s really freaked right now. She needs to calm down.”
“Who are you?” She studied me as if I had just arisen from the primordial sludge. I felt she knew everything about me, including the number of fillings I had.
“Luis Contadino.” She referred to her notes again. She must not know everything! I assume she had a wireless connection and was pulling my file. Why am I wasting time thinking about that?
“Mr. Contadino, if I were you, I’d be more worried about myself right now. I’d advise you to have legal counsel when we speak—later. And, since you’re under 18, you need a parent here as well.” SHIT! WHAT! Breathe! Maybe Zero Tolerance wasn’t completely gone.
“Ma’am, in the moment, I’m not concerned about myself. This girl in my arms needs help. I’m not letting her out of my sight.” Turning to Dr. C, “Could I ask you to have someone call my Dad, please?” I quickly put together a To Do list in my head.
“No problem, Luis. Already done.” Whoa! He used my first name and his tone was supportive. Almost friendly.
“Have Becca’s parents been notified? Jason?”
“Her parents are on the way. Jason should be getting word about now.” Dr. C informed me. Two items off my list.
“Ma’am,” I directed towards the detective, “I need to stress that my girlfriend needs space, love, comfort, and support right now. I’d suggest you start with the others.” I turned my attention back to the number one item on my list—the precious bundle in my arms. Her Cave as she calls it. She looked up at me with tear filled eyes, sobbed, and tried to say ‘thank you’ before she buried her head again. She was this tiny ball in the large expanse of my lap. A silly thought hit me—is this how big I’d be if I were Santa?
Dr. C stepped into the conversation. “Detective Alvarez, I know you have an investigation to do. We will not interfere. I can assure you this young man has done nothing more than protect someone he loves and has shown incredible restraint in the process. I suggest you start with the teacher and other witnesses.”
“Doctor Cavenaugh, stay out of this.” Can you say command voice? The coming battle of wills drew my attention.
Just as the ‘conversation’ heated and the tension rose, Jason burst into the room. “Bec? Are you okay? Where is she? What happened?”
The detective started in on who Jason was. Dr. C was trying to calm him down and answer the detective. I know he hadn’t seen her yet, she was pretty well hidden in my chest and arms.
“Becca,” I whispered to her. “Jason is here. We each need to talk to the detective, without each other, and then I’ll be back with you. He can be with you in the mean time. Okay?” She shook her head violently and grabbed my arm. Damn, she’s strong. “I’ll stay as long as I can.” She nodded and held me harder. I snuggled her tighter.
Jason, the good running back that he is, scanned the field for openings. He engaged the tacklers at the line of scrimmage effectively and broke through the Detective’s questions. Scanning the secondary, he finally noticed Becca in my arms. He paused for a moment and made his decision. Dr. C and Detective Alvarez continued their debate. I couldn’t hear it. Jason came over to me, he appeared a bit calmer. “How’s Bec?” I wouldn’t say he was glaring at me, but he was pissed.
“Physically? Okay except for some potential bruising on her arms. She’s not bleeding. Little wimp isn’t that strong.”
“He’s still alive?” Anger spilling out of his eyes all over the floor.
“Yes.” I felt the need to apologize. At the same time, I knew I’d done the right thing. The need passed.
“Why didn’t you kill him?” Becca started to shake her head and cry. He softened a touch.
“Following my lady’s orders.” She nodded and clutched me. “Plus, I think she’d rather have a boyfriend she could see outside of prison visiting hours.” She violently nodded. “Jason, they want to question us separately.”
He looked me in the eyes, his anger draining away. He picked up on my thoughts. First things first. “Don’t worry, Luis. I’ll take care of her if they do that. Plus, Mom and Dad are on their way.” We gave each other a nod of understanding and agreement.
Jason sat next to me, ready in case he was needed. I returned my attention to Becca and tried to feel what she was feeling. Letting go of self, I opened to her being. First, I focused on her body pressed up to mine. In other times, this would be delightful. Right now, she was trembling, her heart beating way too fast, and her breath too rapid and shallow. I then tried to focus on her energy and pulled back a bit. Fear has a unique energy pattern and she had the strongest I’d ever felt. Before I let my own sympathetic reaction get out of hand, I went back to basics. ‘Breathe.’ I did. Ten deep, slow cleansing breaths. As I returned to Center, I realized how far off I had gotten. She must have felt my energy shift, for her breathing slowed some. Not enough.
“Becca?” She slowly pulled her head out of my chest and looked up. Once I had her eyes locked with mine, “I want you to breathe with me.”
Confusion crossed over her. I focused on yesterday and the two of us posing on the couch in Art. I let the feelings of love and peace flow over me. She started to feel it and her eyes changed. She nodded.
“Breathe with me. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Try to go slow and stay with me, okay?”
She may have been good at hiding in the past, but she never learned to have a poker face. As the war of emotions played over her—that cute brow doing its knitting again, she calmed slowly, and then nodded.
“Do you need to blow your nose?” Jason heard me and held up a box of tissues. She looked up with a ‘huh?’ look. “So you can breathe through your nose, silly!”
A look of hurt crossed over her face. I didn’t give into it, instead held out my love to her through my eyes. After a couple of seconds, she smiled. When she tried to breathe through her nose she reached for the tissues. Between Jason and I, we had her sitting up in my lap, tissues in hand, and honking away in no time.
Dr. C must have been keeping an eye on us as he continued his ‘discussion’ with the detective. He carefully nudged his trashcan in our direction with his shoe. Jason and I worked together as any good team with a goal. When Becca finished with one wad of tissues, it was out of her hand and into the trashcan. To be quickly replaced with a fresh batch. After five or six cycles, she began to breathe more freely through her nose. She looked up curiously trying to figure out where all the spoiled tissues had gone. Good. She’s coming back to the world.
“Ready to breathe with me?” She hesitated only briefly then nodded. “It will help if you look into my eyes. Plus, I like it.” That got a brief smile of joy.
“Breathe in slowly.” I matched her and when I felt her coming to her peak, “now hold it.” I let a few heartbeats pass. “Now, slowly let it out. It should take as long as it took to breathe it in.” She did and emptied. “Now, push the last out and hold it.” I could feel her tense as she pushed a bit more out of her lungs. “Good, now in slowly…” The breaths got longer and deeper. Slowly, the fear flowed out of her. She kept going even after I stopped coaching her. I looked deep into her eyes seeking the soul I found yesterday. Slowly the new Becca emerged. Not with the same brilliance as last night, yet it was still strong. She reached her hand up and stroked my cheek.
“Thank you.” I could feel the depth of her voice in my body. At a loss for words myself, I just smiled and gave her a little squeeze. “What happened?”
“I…” Dr. C cut me off.
“Mr. Contadino, Miss Davis, I’d suggest you hold off on such conversations until after you finish your police interviews.” He waited for us to respond. Something about his voice just makes you want to do the right thing. We both nodded. “Good. Now, we need to help the police sort things out. That means you two need to be interviewed, separately. Are you up for it?”
I looked back at Becca. Something in Dr. C’s voice always drew your eyes to him. She looked at me as well. The sparkle was back in her eyes and she searched mine. I could see the concern for me in her face. I went inside for a second and checked myself over. Was I ready for this? Did I believe she would be okay? Did I need more strength from her? I took a deep breath into my Dantien. I pulled in to my limit rolling the energy ball as I did. Growing energy roots out of my feet into the Earth. On the hold, I let the energy spread through me. Breathing out I expunged the fear in me. I knew I couldn’t fake an answer to her. Was I ready? I took another deep breath. Was I ready to be so close to another? Before the stories got hold, an image of my parents came up—and their joyous life together. I knew our path was right. As I exhaled, I gave her a yes with my eyes. Hers said yes. A new strength shining through.
“Dr. C, we’re ready.” As I said that, Becca’s Mom came through the door. She saw Becca huddled to me and smiled, nodded her head, and turned to talk to Dr. C. Two minutes later, her Dad came in. He saw us and gave me a wink and a nod. He joined his wife in the conversation with Dr. C and Detective Alvarez. Becca reached her arms up, pulled me down, and kissed me. Hard. We broke panting. She locked eyes.
“My Mountain. Thank you. I can do this now.” I saw the strength in her eyes and nodded. She unfolded from my lap and stood. She took my face and kissed me again, then walked over and joined the group putting an arm around each parent. Dr. C looked at me and indicated the door with his eyes and a sweep of his head. I mustered all the grace I could and went out into the Cavern. I took a seat normally reserved for those awaiting punishment. How fitting.
I was oblivious of all the others around me and was just letting my stories start to bubble up when Momma, Poppa, and our family lawyer walked in. Momma sat on my left leg and hugged me. Poppa took my right hand and shook it, putting his left over it.
“You know we’re on your side, no matter what?” Momma said softly. I cried. I know, I know… I’m supposed to be the big, strong silent type. Too damn bad. With Momma and Poppa supporting me, I just let go.
Momma cradled my head on her shoulder. Poppa held onto my hand. Momma was whispering in my ear how healthy and normal it was to let my emotions out. “After all, we’re Italians.” Poppa agreed with her. I remembered to breathe. After ten good ones, I realized I was in a circle of love and compassion. It took five more to deal with having left Becca in the other room. I know I’d need a lot more to deal with my actions and the police. I was okay now.
Custis Coleman, our family lawyer, started in about keeping my mouth shut and blah, blah, blah, blah… Lawyer speak.
“Momma, Poppa, I did my best to protect Becca.” I went on to recount the incidents as best I could. “I could have stopped him by just taking the letter opener out of his hand. I didn’t. I wanted to hurt him. I threw him into the wall. Then Dr. C stepped in front of me…” Ten more breaths. I was ashamed of what I had done to him and let my parents know as I related that part of the story. “I owe it to myself to tell my story without editing it and take whatever punishment they see fit.”
Mr. Coleman started, my parents joined him. They all went round and round about what I should do instead. I let them go on for a bit then looked Momma in the eyes. “You taught me to accept the consequences of my actions.” I turned to Poppa. “You taught me to be a man and stand tall.” I looked at the lawyer. “Everyone says I showed restraint. All I know is that I wanted to kill him. But, I didn’t. Then I picked up Dr. C. Only his voice kept me from really hurting Will.” I took another deep breath. “I can only say what I did, take what comes my way, and accept it.”
Momma hugged me. Poppa shook my hand and was busting with pride. Mr. Coleman was bursting at the seams and it wasn’t pride!
The door to Dr. C’s office opened.