Trace didn’t follow Blake up to his room. He wanted to give him ample time to expunge whatever he might be holding inside his soul. While Trace can understand Blake’s reason for keeping things bottled up, he wishes that their son would have trusted them with this issue. It’s hard for him to watch him going down this path. Trace went into the office and checked his email and facebook. After giving Blake some time to himself, he went to his son’s room.
He knocked on the door and waited for a second for Blake to respond. When he didn’t say anything, Trace walked in anyway. When he looked at the bed, he found himself stricken with sadness. Blake was rolled up into a ball, his face was wet, and two tears were sliding down his cheeks.
“Blake, you’re making me sad, buddy.”
The teenager didn’t say anything. Trace reached down and gave his son a hug, hoping that maybe it would calm him a little bit. Maybe, they could see about getting him enrolled at the alternative school. Blake would have more academic opportunities at the public school, but he knows that his son would suffer less at the hands of the bully and his sidekick.
“Blake, come on, buddy, talk to me.”
The young man was quiet for several seconds. It still wasn’t very loud when he did start talking.
“I’m tired of him teasing me. I hate him, Dad.”
Trace cringed when he heard the word “hate” leave his son’s mouth. It’s a shame that he’s been made to feel like this by another kid. He just doesn’t get it; he didn’t get it when he was in school either.
“Is anyone else seeing what’s going on at school?”
Blake just nodded his head.
“Listen, do you want us to see if Ian and I can get you reenrolled at the alternative school?”
Despite the fact that Rick and Juan make his life miserable, he likes public school. Tylerville East offers way more classes. He enjoys the classes and the teachers, too. And how many kids can hang with their dad and one of their aunts while at school?
“I want to stay at Tylerville East. There’s a guy at the school that I want to find.”
Trace chuckled and patted him on the back.
Blake might change his mind if he knew what Rick was planning for him. Next week, he may find himself wanting, no… demanding, to go back to the alternative school.
Rick was hot! No way was some lesser being going to get him in trouble. He looked at his lackey as he put his junk in his locker.
“I’m going to get that nerd and make him wish that his ass never sat down in this school.”
Juan looked a little worried.
“Rick, maybe we should let things cool a bit before you mess with him some more.” Rick opened his backpack and pulled out a large glass jar. Inside the jar, Juan could see a large orange and black tarantula. She was about to play a role in whatever ploy Rick had planned. Rick had Juan buy her last night for the sole purpose of freaking the gay kid out. He quietly waited for his uncle, a custodian, to open Blake’s locker. Then he carefully dumped the spider into Blake’s locker and closed it up.
Sure enough, Blake showed up at his locker. He opened it up and the tarantula showed up, trying to run out of the locker. At first, he was a little freaked out by it, but then Blake calmed down and carefully picked it up and made the walk to his dad’s classroom.
“Dad, look what I found in my locker.”
Ian looks a little surprised to say the least.
“Son, how did a 5 inch red-kneed tarantula get into your locker?”
“I have no idea, but it’s beautiful.”
Ian is certain that this spider wasn’t meant to be a gift.
“Is she calm?”
“Yeah, she is really tame. She kicked a little bit, but that’s about it. Can I keep her?”
“Umm… if you really want to, I suppose you can keep her. I’d like to know where it came from.”
“Dad, I don’t care. She’s mine!”
Just then Rick walked past Ian’s room. He wanted to see his target in the middle of a freak out. To his surprise, Blake was not freaking out, but he was handling the spider. Rick immediately knows that he needs to amp up the actions. He’s noticed that Blake’s anger is always kept in check.
What would happen if that anger was tested over and over again? Rick is hoping that the nerd will snap and start a fight. After all, if Blake hits him first, then he’ll be the one who gets suspended. He’s tired of being in trouble just for picking on kids who deserve to be treated like crap. Blake is turning into a real nightmare. Nothing seems to upset this kid. He can’t let his actions be caught on tape. Maybe it’s time to bring his pack back at him. Time to unleash the pain! All he had to do was write a note. Meanwhile, Blake is running around trying to put the tarantula away.
Ian helped Blake get the tarantula secured and then the student went off to his first hour. As he passed by his locker, he noticed a note taped to it. Removing the note, he opened it and found a nude photo of two men kissing. On their faces were glued pictures of his face and Ian’s face. The note itself said, “Is this why mommy and daddy kicked you out? Were you hanging all over the old men?”
The note made him angry, but it also made him sad. He knew who put it there and he realized that reacting to it would only make the situation worse. He wanted the day to pass his way. First, second, and third hour were all fine.
Every time that he went to his locker, there was a new note. Rick was doing his best to get to Blake. Blake was starting to dread the rest of the day. Fourth hour came and Rick was nowhere to be seen. Was he in the office? Did a teacher or a principal catch him by his locker attaching the notes? At any rate, he could actually relax and work on the job at hand. He felt wonderful… and then got to his locker. The outside of his locker was covered in notes from top to bottom. This time he didn’t touch anything, instead he walked down to the office. He can’t fight Rick and hope to win, but maybe he can stop him by reporting him. The bullying needs to stop. He felt like he was at a turning point.
There were only two other kids in the office when he walked inside.
“What can I do for you, sir?” Mrs. Hall asked him as he walked in. She was a serious woman, but always had time to make a kid feel good when the opportunity to do so popped up.
“Someone put notes all over my locker. I didn’t move any of them, so they’re still there.
She rolled her eyes and said “I bet I know who did it too.” Blake didn’t say anything to her.
“I’ll have Mr. Standford walk down and check out the notes. In the meantime, you need to go to class and he’ll have me call you down if needs to talk to you.”
“Thanks!” he said with a smile on his face. He feels pretty good about himself right now. He left the office and headed down to the lunchroom.
As he turned the corner, he ran into Rick. Rick’s books fell to the floor. Rick was pissed. Juan walked past him and then grabbed Blake from behind. Blake started fighting back, but to no avail; Juan’s grip was just too strong.
“Listen, you little douche, I’ve had enough of you prancing around here like you own the place. You’re lucky that I’m in a good mood otherwise, I’d kick your ass.”
“I’m not afraid of you, Rick. I have faced scarier things than you out on the streets.”
No one in Blake’s position had ever been this brave before. For a split second, it actually impressed the bully. His victim was waiting for a fist to come crashing into his body, but it never came.
“Consider this a gift, cause next time your jewels are getting crowned. Go crying back to your daddy!”
Rick stepped to the right and then started to walk down the hallway, but Juan was still holding onto his prisoner. Next thing Blake knew, he was being shoved to the ground. His books went flying and his head hit the floor. He headed to his dad’s room. Unknown to him, he was being followed. Not by Rick, not by Juan, but by Ashley and her friend; they witnessed what happened to him. Blake was now at his breaking point. With luck, he’ll make it to his dad’s room without crying. Ian doesn’t need to see him upset, but at the same time, Blake doesn’t know if he can hold it in much longer. Frustration is building into something more.
His dad’s room is quiet and empty and for that Blake is grateful for that. He sits at one of the tables in the back of the room. The pain in his head is taking the shape of a headache.
Seeing her nephew like this is bugging Ashley. She’s worried about him. She takes off, hoping to catch her brother-in-law. If her jock of a boyfriend had bothered to come to school today, she would have him play some interference with the losers who keep picking on her nephew. Ian’s not in the workroom though, and at the moment she isn’t allowed in the room that he’s in currently.
Back in the classroom, the headache has gotten worse and Blake is beginning to feel sick to his stomach. Even now, his stomach is launching vomit up his esophagus and he runs for the garbage can, but doesn’t quite make it. Four tiles on the floor are covered in thrown up cookies. Ian enters his classroom to find his son on his knees. He runs to his desk and grabs a health referral.
Ian quickly fills out the paper based on what he sees in front of him.
“Blake, are you okay?”
Clearly, he’s not okay and for Ian to even ask is just wrong. Ian realizes that what he just said was stupid because he obviously wasn’t okay. He helps Blake up from the floor and hopes he doesn’t throw up all over the place. His son is crying out of pain and embarrassment at this point, and Ian is feeling all of Blake’s pain. Together they head down the hallway as quickly as they can. Lucky thing Ian works out because Blake isn’t walking very well, and Ian has to support him. Finally, they get into the office and then there are just a few more steps till they reach the nurse’s office. The worried dad carefully helps his son to one of the beds. Miss. Laura Kremke, the school nurse, hears the people coming into the office.
She walks up to Ian and snags the referral out of his hands. Scanning the referral, she starts moving towards Blake.
“Blake, where does it hurt?”
She jots it down on his referral.
“Did you have breakfast?”
“Yes,” he said. The thought of food made him feel a bit queasier.
“What did you have?”
“I had a fried eggs sandwich and orange juice.”
“Thanks,” she said as she reached for her digital thermometer.
Miss. Kremke had him open his mouth and just before she got it into his mouth something caught her eye. Her patient had a good-sized bump just below his hair line. A soft pair of hands lifted up his hair so she could get a better view of the knot.
“Where did you get this bump?”
“I fell after getting pushe…”
He leaned over and puked again.
“Well, I don’t need to take his temperature now.”
She opened the freezer section of the refrigerator in her office and pulled out an ice pack. Placing it in his hand, she lifted his hand up and placed the pack on his bump.
“Hold this on your head. Do you know who pushed you?”
Ian quietly waited for his son to answer.
“I think it was Juan, Rick’s buddy.”
Ian looked at Miss Kremke and asked, “Do you have any office referrals?”
“Let me check,” she answered, as she left to her inner office to see if there were any. Ian had his pen ready to start filling out the form. The nurse came out of her office waving the form in her hand. While he filled out the paper, Miss Kremke was looking up the emergency numbers for Blake.
“I know you’re busy Mr. Richards. I’ll try getting a hold of your husband. I’m going to send him home, but I want him to be checked out by your doctor.”
Ian just nodded his head.
Miss Kremke was busy dialing the number to contact Blake’s other dad.
“I’m Miss Kremke, the school nurse. Is this Mr. Andrews?”
“Yes, it is. Is there a problem?”
“I’m afraid there is. Blake has been knocked down to the ground by another student and has a rather large bump near his hairline. He has also thrown up a number of times. I’m going to send him home, but I want him to see a doctor before coming back to school. It would be best for him to see one today if at all possible.”
“I’ll be there as soon as I can. Shouldn’t be a problem for him to see a doctor before the day is over. I’m walking out of the house now and should be there soon.”
Blake is lying down on the same bed that Ian sat him down at and is slowly feeling a little bit better now that there is nothing left in his stomach.
“Dad,” he says as he looks at Ian. Tears are starting to fall down his face.
“I… I hate school. I hate it.”
“We’re going to deal with Rick and Juan before this day is through and I promise you things will get better. Just give school a second chance.”
Blake isn’t sure that he wants to give school a second chance now. Nowhere else has he experienced this kind of hatred. Sure, things were bad on the streets, but the streets were supposed to be bad. Thanks to the two bullies, he has to get checked out by his doctor. Not to mention that he’s vomited all over the place. He’s beginning to wish that Rick and Juan would just disappear. Anything would be better than putting up with them.
Ian turned the referral over to Mrs. Hall.
“I hope they do right by Blake.”
Being a dad with a son who is being bullied puts a new spin on the subject. As he enters the nurse’s office the buzzer sounds announcing someone wanting to enter the school. He paused to hear the voice.
“I’m here to pick up my son.”
“Come inside,” Mrs. Hall said as she pushed the button letting whoever was outside to enter. Trace walked into the office and was directed to the nurse’s office. Blake was glad to see Trace.
Trace being here meant that finally he could leave school, at least for today. His dad stopped at the front desk and signed his son out for the day. Mrs. Hall smiled and sent him inside the nurse’s office. Trace was worried sick on the drive to the school. He hasn’t been this worried since the day he had his premonition. It took a lot of will power not to go above the speed limit on his way up here. The look on Blake’s face said “Get me out of here!” but Trace wanted to talk to Ian first.
“What happened?” Trace asked Ian, who was sitting near their son.
“The bullies pushed him from behind and he hit his head on the floor.”
As a parent he wants to protect Blake and as a cop he wants to find the bullies. He knows his son’s attitude towards school has changed since this whole bullying thing started.
“Dad, can we go?” the young man asked, hoping to speed up his dad.
“Okay, we’re leaving, let’s go.”
“Wait!” Mrs. Kremke yelled at Trace and Blake. Trace stopped dead in his tracks. She walked up to Trace and handed the nurse’s referral to Trace.
“Is that it?”
As they left the office, there was Blake’s mystery man. His brown eyes seemed to burn with a fire. He was even more handsome in person. Of course this sighting would be better if Blake wasn’t in pain.
Trace knew he needed to get his son up to Doctor York’s office so he hurried home to grab the insurance cards. In the meantime, Blake couldn’t get the image of Ashley’s friend out of his mind. His happiness did sort of help to soften the pain. Finally they arrived at the house, and Trace turned to Blake.
“I’ll be right back.”
True to his word, Trace spent only a couple of minutes inside the house.
“Sorry. I had to grab the insurance cards.”
“It’s okay, Dad.”
Trace could feel the pain that his son was having and he knew that it wasn’t okay. He felt horrible.
They pulled away from the house and headed for their doctor’s office. Their doctor had a last minute cancelation and wanted to see Blake immediately. Ever since Doctor York heard about their plans to adopt the teen, she has been very supportive. Today she is as worried about Blake as Trace and Ian are. It is her caring that parents love about her. She has the bedside manner of a saint. They pulled into the parking lot and quickly found a spot to park. Helping Blake out of the car, it never occurred to him that his son didn’t need it. After getting into the hospital, they headed up to Doctor York’s office. Together they sat down in the waiting room, as Kylie, the nurse came into the waiting room.
Blake stood up and approached Kylie. Blake couldn’t see it, but Trace could, Kylie was worried. Blake’s story captivated her when she heard it and he is one of her favorite patients. Maybe it’s the fact that he has such handsome dads. Kylie led Blake into one of the examination rooms. It didn’t take long for Doctor York to come into the room.
Doctor York knows this patient quite well, thanks to his personality. She has a fair number of teens that she sees, but none of them have Blake’s ‘spark’. His spark, as she calls it, is really just his charisma. Blake was born with it. He can walk into a room and in seconds he’ll have most of the people at his fingertips. She went straight to work making sure that no details were left out.
“Can you show me where it hurts?”
Blake points to his head and then to his stomach. She is a bit worried that he pointed to his stomach.
“Have you thrown up?”
Suddenly, Blake became a tad confused.
“I don’t… remember.”
“Blake, I’ll be right back.”
Doctor York stepped out of her examination room to talk with Trace.
“Mr. Andrews, can I talk to you?”
Trace got up and walked up to the doctor.
“Has you’re son thrown up?”
“Yeah, at least twice at school, why?”
“Blake couldn’t tell me if he threw up or not. I can’t say for sure, but I think he has a concussion.”
Trace knows not to panic and yet, he is scared. Scared may not be the right word, but he is worried.
“I need to get back to Blake, but I think he’ll be okay.”
She stepped back into the examination room where Blake was waiting for her.
“Okay Blake, I’m going to ask you again, did you throw up?”
“I… I think so. I think I threw up in my dad’s classroom.”
She wrote something down on her notepad. Again, she stepped out to talk with Trace once more. Entering the waiting room she again approached. Walking over to him, she could see the concern in his eyes. Now he looked worried and Doctor York felt horrid for making him so stressed. She led him to an empty exam room.
“I believe that Blake has a concussion. I’m ordering an x-ray and I’d like you to do it as soon as you leave my office. I’ll have my office call down to radiology and let them know that you’re coming down. After I get the x-ray and I’ve had a chance to look at it, I’ll call Blake in for another appointment. In the meantime, if Blake blacks out, continues vomiting, or shows signs of confusion, get him to the emergency room. I expect him to be fine, but keep an eye on him. One last question, do you know how Blake got his bump?”
“Yeah, a bully at school pushed him to the ground and he hit his head on the tile floor.”
She stood up and walked out of the exam room and returned to Blake.
Blake was glad to see Doctor York coming back into the room.
“Sorry for walking out on you, I needed to talk to my nurse really quick. Can you tell me how you got your bump?”
If he has memory of the events, than maybe she can eliminate another test.
“I… was pushed to the ground by Juan after Rick threatened me.”
It was condensed, but that it matched what Trace told her.
“Blake, who are Rick and Juan?”
His facial expression changed. He suddenly looked sad. There were no tears, but Doctor York could tell that he was upset. He was holding something back. The doctor was filing out the paperwork.
“Blake, I’m ordering an x-ray and I’m giving you a day off school. I think you’ve earned it.”
When she said “a day off school”, he was happy to the point of giving the doctor a hug.
“You’re excused, Blake.”
“Thanks, Doctor York.”
She followed him into the waiting room and approached Trace.
“Here is the x-ray slip. I’m giving him a day off school tomorrow.”
After thanking Doctor York again, Blake and Trace left the waiting room.
“Dad, I’m not going to school tomorrow.”
Trace saw no reason for him to stay home tomorrow, but she is the doctor.”
“Okay, you’re getting that x-ray, so we need to head downstairs.
Trace was supposed to work today, but now that he’s a dad it’s all about his family. His captain is a great man. When Trace and Ian first started talking about adopting Blake, he was very supportive. Trace was told that he could give him the same benefits, or close to the same benefits, as his fellow straight officers. Being at the hospital to see his doctor stinks big time, this teenager doesn’t like hospitals. Trace pushed the call button for the elevator.
“Are we headed home after the x-ray?”
“Do you want to grab lunch afterwards?”
“No!” Blake said; after the mess in Ian’s room, he wasn’t feeling very hungry. They got on the elevator and headed down. Trace was hoping they wouldn’t find anything on the x-rays, while at the same time, he wanted to find out what was wrong. He was hoping that his son might have, at worst, a slight concussion. The elevator stopped and Trace and Blake got off. Blake had never had an x-ray before and was not looking forward to it.
As they got to the room, Blake’s anxiety level went up a little bit. The technician took Blake’s slip and information and made copies. Then the technician, Blake, and Trace went into the x-ray area. Trace had to wait in the front of the room. Blake was led forward to the x-ray machine. Blake was asked to rest quietly as the tech went about prepping him and the x-ray machine. In a heartbeat the x-ray was done and dad and son headed home.
The ride home was quiet, neither Blake nor Trace said a word. All Blake could think about was how to end the torment. The best alternative that he could come up with was leaving the school behind. He just doesn’t know what to do. All Trace could think about was the fact that his son was hurt by some low-life bully. Arresting the kid might help, but it wouldn’t fix anything. His son wanted to talk with his dads. No parent wants to see their kid hurting. Ian and Trace want what’s best for Blake.
They knew going into this adoption that there would be rough spots. Whether they want to admit it or not, they also knew the minute that Blake decided not to hide his sexuality, that he would get teased for it. Neither one of them wanted their son to get teased, but they couldn’t lie to him. Funny how there isn’t one ounce of blood relationship between them and Blake and yet at times they feel like there is some kind of bond between them. They agreed to do what was in Blake’s best interest. It doesn’t take a genius to know that their son has been unhappy since the bullying started. Trace wants to get his son back to feeling good about himself.
When they got home, Blake went upstairs to his room and Trace went into the kitchen to grab a drink. After he got his drink, he walked up the stairs and overheard Blake thinking out loud.
“I hate school! I don’t… want to go back.”
Blake’s tears had started to fall down his face and Trace could feel each one as his son cried. He’s heard Blake cry before, and each time it’s broken his heart. Rushing into Blake’s room to provide comfort is what Trace wants to do, but he restrains himself and lets his son release via shedding tears. Walking away from the door was hard on the dad who just wanted to comfort his son. Nothing on Earth was going to convince Trace that Blake couldn’t be fixed by tender loving care.
When the tears had dried, it was the young man who sought out his dad. During the time in his room, Blake was able to change his outlook on school. At first all he wanted was to be withdrawn from school. It didn’t matter what school he got registered at, he just didn’t want to be at Tylerville East High School. While Blake was thinking in his room, he reached the conclusion without the aid of his dads. He doesn’t want to be withdrawn from Tylerville East. It’s hard to go through this, but this is more than just bullying. Any chance of meeting the guy in Ashley’s photo depends on Blake remaining at T.E. high school. Besides his mystery man, he knew that if he left the school, Rick wins. Leaving his room, he first checks the office, then the bedroom, and finally the kitchen.
“Hey Dad, can we talk?”
“Sure bud. How are you feeling?”
“Sore. Dad, I don’t want to withdraw from school. Rick isn’t going to chase me away.”
Trace was glad to hear his son talking like this; it shows that he’s no longer afraid of Rick and Juan.
“Dad, I’m sorry for keeping things from you and Ian, but I was embarrassed.”
“We figured as much, son. We thought that once you had some down time that you’d talk to us.”
Blake considered himself very, very lucky. Ian and Trace are so good to him. He thinks all parents should be like them. They know to give him his space when he’s angry and for the most part, they trust him. Arms reach out and hug Trace.
While talking with Trace, Blake reached another decision. If Rick hit him, he was going to strike back. No matter the consequences, he was going to stand up for himself. Yeah, he’ll get punished, but at least he will know that he stood up for himself. Maybe it will send a message to Juan and Rick not to bully him anymore. The only thing left to do is to let Trace know what he’s decided.
“Dad, can I run something by you?”
There was just a second of silence before Blake stared to talk.
“If Rick or Juan hit me, I’m not going to take it. They’ll get what’s coming to them,” he said as he hit his right hand on the table.
“Well, I’m proud of you. I’m glad that you want to defend yourself, but don’t be too eager to fight them. You have every right to defend yourself, but your school has a zero percent tolerance for violence.”
“If they want to suspend me or expel me then so be it.”
Trace was glad to see his son willing to stand up for himself, but he doubts that Ian will be so happy about this decision.
“I just wanted to talk to you about it dad. Anyway, I’m going up to my room.”
As Blake walked away, Trace got out his cell phone and texted Ian.
“See me when you get home.” Trace didn’t want Ian to be caught by surprise.
An hour goes by before Trace’s husband comes through the door. He drops his stuff in the office and heads out to find Trace in the kitchen. He was in the process of preparing a stir-fry.
“I’m glad to hear that Blake isn’t in bad shape.”
“Hey, he’s our favorite son…”
Trace corrected his husband, “You mean, our only son.”
“Yeah, yeah, anyway, Blake has decided to fight against his bullies, but only if they throw the first punch.”
Ian’s thoughts are exactly like Trace’s. He wants their son to stand up for himself.
“You did tell him that we don’t want him fighting, right?”
“I told him that he doesn’t need to be looking for a fight, also told him that he has every right to defend himself.”
Ian accepted the fact that Trace had talked to Blake. They exchanged a quick kiss and then finished cooking their dinner.