Summary: Fred goes home over Christmas Break, where he has to face his abusive father, betrayed brother and ignorant mother. When he comes back, he is not the same person he was before he left and therefore he doesn’t feel the same about the love he had for his girlfriend.
Rating: R – for language, child abuse and general maltreatment.
Dedication: To Kristine. Thank you for being my inspiration, and for coming up with a great title for the story. And sorry for writing prequels when we’re not done with the main story yet. You know how annoying sidekicks can be... Forgive me? *pouts*
Disclaimer: Fred, Catalina and Fred’s family belong to Cimmy. Lex O’Leary and Jeff Delricci belong to NYgoldfish54. Any other mentioned people belong to Disney.
Disclaimer: Eden Hall Academy belongs to Disney. Forgot to mention that earlier. I don’t really own a lot in this story...
Chapter 4. Childhood Memories
The dinner went fine. Marcus left several times just so he could occupy the bathroom for a few minutes. Alex spilled gravy all over his white shirt. Sebastian exploded when Alex smeered butter all over his shoes. And I’m not sure what I did, but sure as hell, didn’t I get punished for their actions?
There were about thirty people coming to our house. I don’t think we made too much damage to them. One of the waiters accidentally stepped on Alex’s hand, so there was some high-pierced yelling. My head is completely messed up.
Luckily, I get my awaited phone call. It’s almost 10:00 pm when my father bellows from the kitchen. “You have a phone call. Don’t talk too long!”
No one but Catalina calls me, and definitely not to my home, so I’m happy when I pick up the phone. “Hello?”
“Hi!” she cheers. “Oh my God, I have so much to tell you. What’s with your dad? He sounds grumpy.”
“We’ve had an important dinner here tonight. Or all day, really.”
“Connie said you were drunk yesterday when you called. What’s going on? He hasn’t been mean to you, has he?”
Tell her. She’ll listen. She’ll understand. She’ll sooth you. “No, of course not. I was just allured.”
“Yeah, right. By whom?”
“Eh, myself, mostly.”
She giggles a little, and starts telling me about what she’s been up to. She talks faster than my brain manages to comprehend, so I just turn my attention off and listen to her voice. She sounds so happy. I wish I could be there right now. I wish I could have her in my arms, and snuggle up in bed with her, staying warm.
My mood drops several points when my brother starts banging on the door. “Hang up! I need the phone!”
“Go throw up some more,” I hiss back. Catalina is quiet on the other end of the line. “Use Mom’s line in her office.”
“She’s locked herself in. She fought with Dad.”
Fucking hell. “Okay. Five minutes.”
“Two. And I’m counting!” Marcus howls. I hear my dad yelling at us to keep it down.
Catalina clears her throat. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing. My mother refuses to let Marcus use the other line. I have to go look what the fuss is all about. I’ll call you tomorrow. Have fun, Lina. I love you.”
“Yeah, me too. Bye, Fred.”
I sit in silence, listening to the monotonous sound from the phone. Why can’t she say she loves me? I really need to hear it, just one time. That’s all I’m asking for. One simple time.
I open the door and give Marcus the cordless phone. “Are you happy now? Get out of my face.”
Marcus gives me a concerned look when he sees the tears in my eyes. He’s about to say something, but I don’t care. I shut the door in his face. Then I start to cry uncontrollably. What have I done to deserve this?
I’m not the only one with a shiner when I join the breakfast table this morning. My mom has a bruise over her cheek bone. I guess that’s why she locked herself into her office. She also seems a bit under the weather. I guess more people drank a bit too much punch last night, huh?
Marcus is completely over his hangover, badgering me about going out again. Does he ever learn? I’m refusing, because I’m not that bad of a brother.
My dad left for Berlin earlier this morning. He’ll be back in two days, on Christmas Eve. I guess I have to entertain the family, then. “Can I go into the city today?” I ask, even though I shouldn’t have to beg for my mother’s permission.
“Yeah, go. No more drinking, though.”
Marcus leaves to be with some friends, and Sebastian takes off with one of our neighbors. They were going to some water theme park. My Mom can probably manage Alex on her own. With or without a headache. He is after all her son.
I’m not planning to go into to town, though. It’s cold outside, but I still walk the half mile to Catalina’s house. One of her homes, her parents are divorced. I’m not sure where her mother lives, but her dad lives just down the road from us, but in the not-so-wealthy area.
There are lots of snow everywhere, so I can’t walk anywhere but on the road. I walk past the school, where I first met her. And then past the gas station where I once ran into her when she was renting a movie. I can see the hill where we used to sleigh down at winter. Not just her and me, but our class, everyone who lived around here.
Then I spot the hockey rink, where I first learned to skate. I wonder where she learned to skate? I wish she could be here with me now, so we could talk and remember together.
I walk past the pizza place. Food, yum. One of the first places I ever took her to on a date. You don’t have much to choose between when you live here. We had only dated for a month or so, before my dad sent me off to that stupid private school. She left for New York almost right after that. So we haven’t been home together for two years.
Her house is located just across from the only food store in our tiny town. This is just a suburb to a larger city, located about one and a half mile away, so it only takes five minutes to drive there.
Her house. It looks so peaceful. I bet no one ever gets slapped around in there. Well, she’s told me stories about her family situation, but I doubt that they’re as bad as my family. They have those Advent candleholder in every window of the house. It’s not a big house with many windows, I can spot five windows from where I’m standing. I think our house has about thirty-three windows, only counting the big ones.
I can see her dad outside the house, shoveling snow. I haven’t met her parents, I’m not even sure she’s told them about me. It’s not that she’s embarrassed over me, she just keeps things to herself. I do recognize her father, though. He used to come to school and hold lectures about the country his children are from. I know Catalina found that utterly embarrassing, and I don’t recall paying attention, it was before I got to know her. But I recognize him.
He seems like a nice dad. Anyone who takes pride in what their children do and come from, should be rewarded. My dad isn’t proud of anything I do. He would never skip a day of work just to come to my school and tell people about something I’ve done. That’s not the same thing, I know. But Catalina’s dad seems like a great dad, compared to my fucked up father.
The wind is starting to howl, and I’m freezing, so I walk back home. I am halfway there when I meet Marcus. “There you are! Mom wants you to come home. She’s mad because Alex fell in the stairs.”
“Great. Why don’t they just shoot me instantly?”
“He’s just crying, but he won’t stop, and he keeps screaming for you.”
My parents have too many children, really.