Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chapter 1.27-1-3am Friday Morning

Chapter 1.27- Carried Through

Nearly 20 years ago, when the town was full to bursting with sims in a rainbow of hues the police department had received a massive overhaul to incorporate a picture of the town leader on almost every surface. When Sim Nation had reclaimed the local government the police department had immediately been closed down, the building boarded up. Now, what has been resurrected of the department resides in City Hall. In the basement.

            There had been plenty of plans throughout the years to tear the old department down and build a more suitable building in its place, but funding never seemed to come through.
            Add to that the very small number of sims actually living in town now coupled with an incredibly low crime rate and no one was pushing too hard for new one.  No one, except for members of the police force and the handful of miscreants regularly brought in for a variety of normally petty reasons.

            In fact, it was the committal of just such a petty crime for which Helen had been called that morning. Still bleary eyed and wishing she had bathed before bed she trudged around in the murky lighting that made the low ceiled halls feel even more like a dungeon.
            “How very appropriate,” she thought, turning into a door where an officer sat. Seeing her though the glass he pushed a button releasing the lock on the door and allowing her admission.

            “Who are you here for?” He asked Helen without preamble. Helen had expected to be met with gruffness, but not quite so soon. Before answering, she checked his badge.
            “Cyrus Sixkiller, Officer Langley,” she said, trying to remain polite. Trying oh so hard to remain polite.

            The officer gave her a reproachful look full of teasing.
            “Actually, it’s Sergeant Langley,” he smiled just a bit. “I got prompted just yesterday.”
            Helen remained mute as he puffed his chest out. Seeing that she had no intentions of responding he shrugged.
            “Take a seat over there,” he pointed to a couple of loveseats pushed haphazardly into a cluttered corner. “Lieutenant Renteria is in charge of Mr.Sixkiller’s case. I’ll go get her.”

            Helen sat looking around. The office had an air of temporary permanence about it. It was shabby and cluttered. Trash lay near baskets, but not actually in them. Boxes were everywhere. Obviously they were desperately in need of more file storage.
            Staring at post-it notes stuck on the wall by the Sergeant’s desk she hadn’t noticed the woman who had walked up and who was now staring at her.
            “Mrs. Sixkiller?”
            Helen jumped, trying to force a smile at the person who spoke.
            “Did you bring the identification documents I asked you about over the phone?”
            Helen nodded and reaching inside her jacket handed the woman several notebooks.
            “Follow me, please.”

            Following Lt. Renteria was a little more challenging than she had expected. There were books and papers strewn almost carelessly on the floor. Helen frowned. Her OCD could never handle working in such a confined space, nor would it ever allow her to not pick up all the mess.
            “Watch your step!” Chucked Sergeant Langley as he passed them. Obviously, her disapproval showed.
            Lieutenant Renteria huffed. “Langley? Why on Sim Planet is there a sticky note on my office wall? Could you not have just stuck your thick little neck in and told me?”
            “Then I would miss out on the thrill of annoying you,” There was a smirk behind his words. “Ready to move me back to day shift yet?”
            “Not on your life,” The Lieutenant answered, ripping the pink post-it off the cubicle wall.

            Entering the cubicle, Lt. Renteria indicated a seat for Helen to take as she read over the note.  Placing the notebooks gently on her desk, she crumpled the post-it and carefully made sure it went into the basket.
            “If you will give me just a moment to input the information you just gave me into Mr.Sixkiller’s file, I will tell you just why you are here.” The woman turned to Helen, using a softer tone this time.

            As the sound of the Lieutenant typing began, Helen took the opportunity to steal a few glances around the cubicle itself. Though it was small, it was neat and clean which made it stand out from the rest of the department by miles. It also put Helen enough at her ease to let some of her frustration show finally.
            How could she have not had a closer eye on Cyrus? On the drive over, she had mulled over memories that she seemed to have forgotten. How could she have forgotten? It was so important! But whatever was blocking her memory before was gone now, and she vowed never to let her son out of the house again.
            Finally, Lt. Renteria looked up, closing the notebooks Helen had brought with her.

            “Ok, I have just a few questions for you Mrs. Sixkiller,” she said softly, looking up over her computer screen. “There is paperwork in here that indicates that Mr. Cyrus Sixkiller was adopted as a child by a  Mr.Buck Sixkiller who is also your husband, is this correct?”
            Helen nodded stiffly, her frown deepening.
            “Ok,” Lieutenant Renteria looked back at the monitor for a moment, adding notes.
            Helen returned her gaze to the floor suddenly upset over this intrusion into her family’s private matters. The kids didn’t even know that Buck had had to adopt them. Cyrus had just been told that he was no longer Cyrus Blue, which had been Helen’s maiden-name. He had assumed with the innocence of childhood that when Buck had married Helen, he had married Cyrus and Phedra too. Helen hadn’t felt it necessary to tell him then that Buck wasn’t really his or Phedra’s dad. In fact, she still didn’t feel it was necessary. For anyone to know. Ever.

            “Alright, that seems to be all in order, then,” the Lieutenant said, looking up and down her monitor. “Ok, now you were called here because we picked up your son, Cyrus Sixkiller tonight. He had broken into the school and was attempting to vandalize a rather large cage of frogs that were being held in the science department of the school. We have surveillance footage showing Mr.Sixkiller in the act.” She paused. “However, there is some good news.”

            Helen looked up sharply. Good news? With your son in jail? Riiiiight.
            “When school administrators were contacted they were more than ready to vouch for Mr. Sixkillers behavior. In fact, they have agreed not to press charges provided Mr. Sixkiller write a letter of apology to the school board and the school’s administration which he can then read aloud at the next school board meeting. If they feel he has shown proper remorse for what he has done they will let him off with a warning and in-school suspension only.”
            Helen didn’t reply. She merely rolled her eyes, returning her gaze to the dirty Berber carpeting.

            Helen’s behavior was starting to worry Lt. Renteria.
            “Mrs. Sixkiller?” She asked. “I just told you your son could be let off the hook with only a few hours in holding and no legal counseling necessary. Most parents would be jumping with joy.”
            Helen sighed heavily. “Only I’m still pissed he attempted such a thing in the first place. Why was he breaking into the school? Why the science lab? How did I not realize he wasn’t at home and in bed where he belonged? He should have known better. I know he does know better! I taught him better than that! This is inexcusable.”

            Standing, Lt. Renteria came around the desk trying to force Helen to look at her.
            “Mrs.Sixkiller? Your son spent his first half-hour here crying so badly we thought we’d have to get medical personnel in to take care of him. He’s admitted to everyone who would listen that what he did was wrong and that he wishes he had never even had the idea. In fact? His idea was at least a somewhat high-minded one. He was going to release the frogs before they could be dissected. In his words: Mass-murdered.  When we told the Principal that he actually laughed. We woke the man up at 12:30 this morning and he laughed. Told us that Mr.Sixkiller isn’t any trouble and even that he admired the gumption it took for him to break in. Also, he caused only minimal damage to two locks.”
            Again, the Lieutenant was sharp. “You will agree to cover the cost of the locks, keys and the labor to replace them, understood?”
            Helen nodded, still contemplating the floor.

            Lt. Renteria sighed, pursing her lips and shaking her head at Helen who didn’t see.
            “Well,” she said. “I guess all that is left is to go and get Mr.Sixkiller. Are you ready?”
            Helen leaned forward, looking up at the woman in exasperation. She’d never be ready to see her son in jail. Never.
            “Ok,” Lt. Renteria was getting irritated now. “Fine. You may not be ready but it’s time. I’ve already explained to Mr.Sixkiller the situation and what he has to do. We’ll just have to sign him out to you and there will be a few papers you’ll have to sign.”
            She reached behind her on the desk and handed the notebooks back over to Helen with a sharp look.
            “We’ll need Sgt. Langley with us when we go in to the holding area. I have to ask you to please not speak to any of the others in holding even if they attempt to speak to you. Do you understand?”
            Again, Helen mutely nodded.
            “Then let’s go and collect the Sergeant and then your son.”

            The hallway was even worse than Helen had remembered as the trio walked to the door she had peered in when first arriving.
            Sgt. Langley led the way, but paused considering the security panel in front of him.
            “If only I could be moved back to day shift, maybe when I’m not so tired I can remember the code to get in there better…”
            “Alright, alright, keep your shirt on.” He answered placing his finger on a print scanner before punching an impossibly long code into the panel.
            After an eternity to Helen, the door made a series of loud beeps followed by the *click* of a lock being released. Sgt. Langley stood aside to let Lt. Renteria in first, his eyes following her back through the door. Helen decided she didn’t like Langley. He was entirely too flippant for a police officer.

            Helen’s anger toward Cyrus grew with each and every step she took through the large room containing the holding cell. Two of those inside paid attention to their entrance. Though the others, including Cyrus seemed to be in their own worlds. One of those paying attention was writhing and undulating on the floor. She was moving from one provocative position to the next in a motion so fluid Helen was momentarily mesmerized. It took the woman’s sultry smile at Helen to get her to snap her focus back to her son, disgusted with herself.
            And there he sat, hunched over his knees. The only thing Helen could find to be happy about was that he was ignoring the show given by the woman on the floor.

            “Mr. Sixkiller?” Lt. Renteria called. “There’s someone here for you.”
            Helen put her sternest expression on as he finally looked up, closing his eyes painfully when he saw Helen.
During the interminable wait he’d been hoping Buck would be the one to come and get him. Wasn’t this type of thing a dad’s job? At least, that’s the reasoning he’d come up with. His mom was the last person he wanted to face. She’d never understand. She’d never understood.

            Slowly, with lead in his stomach, his heart in his throat, Cyrus stood and walked to the door of the holding cell.
            As he did, the woman on the floor rolled onto her stomach and started to sing to the drain in the floor, tracing a finger lightly along the square holes in the metal plate, her eyes swimming in their sockets.
            “Mr.Sixkiller, I’ve explained the situation to your mother. She knows what happened. I’ve also explained to her the terms of your release, which I’ve already discussed with you. Are you ready to live up to your part of the bargain?”
            Cyrus nodded glumly as the woman’s singing grew in volume. His eyes flicked toward her. To him, the words she sang sounded like gibberish.

            Lieutenant Renteria looked sharply at the woman.
            “Langley?” she called over her shoulder. Langley was on a computer behind them with Helen’s notebooks on the desk beside him. He was typing furiously trying to get identification and release papers ready.
            “Has tox been down to see to Ms.Richardson?”
            “Then let’s get them down here. Now. I really don’t want her to blow on my watch. And if she does you’re doing the paperwork, understood?
            Cyrus’ eyes flicked toward his irate mother momentarily. Reading her extreme disgust of the situation, he quickly looked away, back at the floor. Behind Helen, Langley had taken a break from typing and was talking on the phone to someone; presumably someone from the toxicology department.

            Lt. Renteria finally walked forward, taking a large ring of keys out of her pocket as she did so.
            “Come on, Mr.Sixkiller,” she said. “It’s almost time to go home.”
            Cyrus obediently walked through once she had the cell door open. As she relocked it, he joined Helen, at a safe distance, in waiting on Langley to finish the paperwork.
            “Mr.Sixkiller?” The Lieutenant had finished relocking the door and was behind Sergeant Langley. “Mr.Sixkiller I hope you realize that if you choose to break the law again you will not be let off so lightly. You will be charged and prosecuted. Do you understand?”
            Cyrus nodded, lowering his head further, wishing a worm hole would open in the floor to swallow him.

            Finally, Sgt. Langley shoved several papers and a pen across the desk toward Helen. She bent over and signed where indicated.
            After she had pushed the papers back toward Sgt. Langley he offered her back the notebooks which she again stowed in her jacket. Without another word she turned and walked toward the outer door.
            Once Helen was within a few steps of exiting, the Lieutenant spoke again.
            “Mr.Sixkiller? I kind of thought you wanted to go home.”
            Cyrus looked up, then did a double take before running to catch up to his mom.
            “Stay outta trouble, Mr.Sixkiller. I don’t want to see you in here again.” Lt. Renteria called toward his retreating back.
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            Once outside, Helen had struggled getting behind the wheel. Finally, she extracted the notebooks, throwing them at Cyrus who was sitting in the passenger seat. The ride home was silent, and Cyrus practically ran in the door once they had arrived. Unfortunately, Helen did run.
            “What the hell were you thinking?” She kept her voice just below a yell, but the snarl on her face still carried through to her words.
            Heart pounding, Cyrus raised his hands, trying to ward off the attack he was sure was coming based on her expression and previous forward rush.

            Helen took a single step forward, one hand balled into a fist. The other curling, clutching at the air, wishing it were her sons hair she could grasp.
            “Do you know what I thought when I got a call at 1 o’clock this morning telling me my son, MY SON was in jail??? I though surely not, my son is a well-mannered, well-behaved boy who would never even consider breaking the law! But NO! I’m WRONG! My son is indeed a delinquent!
            Helen’s words were getting more and more shrill. Cyrus had finally lowered his hands, realizing that his mother wasn’t going to get any closer to him than she already was. He also knew that she was right. He was officially a delinquent.

            “Then it occurred to me, I should have known you’d be capable of such a thing. After all, you’ve been capable of carrying on a relationship with that little slut Olivia behind my back for so long.”
            Cyrus’ face burned, tears forming in his eyes. He couldn’t believe his mother knew, or that she’d say such a thing. His mouth opened and closed soundlessly as he tried to find the right words to sting his mother with. However, Helen was not at a loss for words yet.
            “Never. Absolutely never will you be allowed to see her again. I swear to PlumbBob that if I ever hear anything about the two of you being spotted together, or if you even think of her, I’ll ship you off to a boarding school so fast your head will spin.
            “And that’s not all. You’re grounded, to the house grounded, from the phone grounded, until you graduate. There will never again be a moment where someone is not watching you the remainder of your time under my roof. Do you understand? I’ll even call the school to make sure you’re under surveillance there as well.”

            Finally, Cyrus could handle no more. He stopped trying to think up a come back, an excuse. Helen had said it all.
            Crying bitterly, he rushed past Helen and went into his room, almost slamming the door before he remembered the sleeping Galen and instead closing it softly against Helen’s furious glare.
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            A little break for now. Cyrus’ misery continues next chapter.
            I realize that a lot of that was a little stiff, but I'm still getting used to getting the angles right for posing. I'll figure it out. Really.
And for those in the know, the chick on the floor I was having entirely too much fun with in the holding cell? That's a heavily made over June Shallow. Just because she annoyed me once. MWUUUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chapter 1.26-Thursday afternoon

Chapter 1.26-Embarassing

            The moment the Sixkillers had arrived at the Festival Grounds they had scattered to their own pursuits. Galen to skate, Phedra to play skeeball. Layla had went to have her face painted, and Cyrus made himself a grape-flavored snowcone. Most embarrassing to the teens, Helen had immediately grabbed Buck by the arm and had dragged him into the photobooth. Unfortunately, the suddenly wobbly booth had alerted everyone there of what was going on inside.
            Much later, as Phedra wandered around looking for Cyrus to join her playing a table arcade game she saw something that caught her eye. It was no more than a flash, but she would have recognized it anywhere. Especially since she saw it every day looking right back at her in the mirror. It was her eye. And it was on a man she didn’t recognize.
            Marching up to him boldly she stared. Just stood there and stared making the stranger so uncomfortable that he finally looked away.

            After a solid five minutes of waiting for Phedra to do anything other than her wide-eyed rarely blinking stare the man spoke.
            “I’m sorry, is there something I can help you with?” Trenton had caught the eye color as well. And though he couldn’t figure out how this girl could possibly be related to him it irritated him to no end. Somehow, somehow, the girl looked familiar.
            “Where did you get your eye color? Does it run in your family?” Phedra was startled by how bold she was, too. But her mother wouldn’t answer her questions, maybe this person would.

            Staring at her for a second, Trenton finally found his voice.
            “Well, there are rumors of a radioactive batch of dye made hundreds of years ago, and people who used it noticed that their eye color sometimes matched their hair color which now never washed out-” he droned on and on and on.

            Phedra listened with increasing concern for the man’s sanity. The cockamamie story he came up with didn’t match her question at all. Worse, this guy seemed to genuinely believe that he was answering her in a superior fashion.

            At last, the man gave her a patronizing look which signaled he might be ending his lecture soon.
            “-So you see, of course this eye color runs in my family. But it could just as easily run in yours young lady, if your forebears bought the same dye and used it!”
            Phedra was still frowning. She had been cramming biology and anatomy for weeks now. This guy was full of $#!*. Wanting instead to find Helen, Phedra, not saying another word to the odd man, turned and walked away.
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            Phedra had finally managed to find her parents with Galen who was begging for food. Her competitive side flaring up she suggested they all join the hot god eating contest in order to get free meals for all four of them.
            Buck had only agreed reluctantly, knowing that he’d lose and make himself look like an idiot in the process. Standing at the table loaded with water and wieners made him feel even more ridiculous, and before the buzzer could even signal for the contestants to get ready he walked away to order a plate of nachos from one of the vendors present.

            The three remaining contestants took their marks, ready to dive in.

            The moment the buzzer sounded the three left dove into their trays of hot dogs. At the first bite, Helen regretted letting Phedra talk them into such a ridiculous thing as this contest. She hadn’t eaten a hot dog in years on principle alone. People said they were gross. Who was she to question people?

            Phedra was getting closer and closer to seeing the plate on which her hot dogs had been heaped. Glowing, just knowing that she was winning, she took a moment to gloat, cheeks full, and nearly choked. It wouldn’t do to have a lapse like that again. Swigging a sip of water to clear her airway of bun she dove back in to the fray.

            As Phedra was stuffing the last weiner into her mouth Buck wandered back over. Layla was playing one of the arcade games and wanted him to watch how well she did.

            Poor Galen had been struggling throughout the contest. His little stomach just could not handle him shoving hot dog after hot dog down. Even worse, this was the moment Phedra stood up and began to cheer.
            She couldn’t help it, really she couldn’t. She hadn’t meant to upset her brother with her gloating, but her competitive side came out in full force in everything she did, and this was no exception.

            The contest over, the family stayed just a little longer watching Buck launch fireworks high into the sky before heading home and to bed.
           So much lately, Cyrus had been missing at home that no one noticed he was not in the cab chattering excitedly at the end of the day. When they arrived at the house, Galen was so tired he took it for granted that no one was sleeping in the other bed in the room.  In fact, if it hadn't been for the phone's shrill ring at 1 o’clock in the morning no one would have known that Cyrus wasn’t where he should have been at all.

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I know, I’m sorry it’s so short. But next one will be a long one to make up for this.
The fourth picture from the top. I LOVE THAT LOOK! I don’t think I’ve ever have a sim give such a good WTF? face as Phedra did there. Also, I’ve been dying to tell Trenton that he’s full of it for a long time now.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chapter 1.25-Wednesday Night/Thursday Morning

 Chapter 1.25- So Proud

            Watching Phedra struggle with her school work was a new phenomenon in the Sixkiller household. Each and every member of the family had watched with fascination as Phedra would sit hanging over her notebook, desperately trying to connect the broken lines she had created by skipping ahead. Cyrus, especially, loves watching her muddle through her work. After all the years she had tormented him over the time it took him to do his homework, it’s wonderful for him to do it to her.
            “Need some help?” Cyrus teased his sister this particular Wednesday afternoon.
            Looking up sharply, Phedra glared at Cyrus. “Where’s your homework? Shouldn’t you be working on that instead of tormenting me?”
            There was no answer. There was no need.

            Smiling to himself, he switched the subject somewhat. “I see that it’s your biology homework we’re struggling with tonight. Ready for the big fair on Friday?”
            Phedra’s part of the class project was nearly completed, though she wasn’t finished yet. She had spent hours upon hours making sure her conclusions were correct and scientifically sound, running through everything over and over again. In fact, the librarians had finally roped off a corner of the small study area where she could keep her reference materials out until she returned at the next possible moment.
            This was not just for her part of the project. She had anatomy and genomic texts by the dozens littering the space, dotted amongst the books on weather patterns, plume sciences, and cartography.

            “Must be nice that some of us can finish our homework and independent research before others,” Phedra snapped with a sneer.
            She was referring to the fact that she had noticed that Cyrus had brought home significantly less homework that usual lately. The drop off in the amount of work he did in front of Phedra was astonishing to her. When she had asked him, he told her he did it at lunch and on the bus. How he could work on the bus or in the cafeteria was a mystery she could not solve.
Just to prepare, Phedra wasn’t taking lunches anymore. Instead she lurked in the school library trying to take a few more notes. And she hadn’t taken the bus home in weeks, today was the first day in a long time that she had come home with him. She had been using this time at the public library. But she had run into almost every other student taking AP Biology while she had been working there, just not Cyrus.

            Realizing her anger got her nowhere but farther behind, she held her breath, slumping back over her work only to spot a mistake.
            She flipped the pencil over, wrinkling her nose as she ground the pink rubber to dust.
            Cyrus sighed just a little watching her. The fair was only two days away. Tomorrow was a day off for the Leisure day. And since Helen and Buck and forced a promise out of the teens to actually attend, instead of study, Phedra was trapped into studying tonight to make up for the forced time missed tomorrow.  Cyrus had no plans to study tonight, or tomorrow.

            Slumping against the chair back Phedra let out a frustrated sigh.
            “And there’s still the problem of all those poor frogs,” Phedra whispered bitterly. “I just haven’t had time to figure out another way to do this anatomy drill. We’d have to use them to prove our knowledge. I can’t draw that well, and then you aren’t demonstrating proper handling and personal control if you’re just doing a drawing.”
            Nodding, Cyrus sighed heavily too. The frogs had been on his brain a lot lately as well.

            Letting out a guttural growl, Phedra leaned forward again resting her head on her knuckles.
            Cyrus watched her, peering closely at the work she was doing. In his way of thinking, the frogs were clearly the problem here.
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            Thursday morning saw the entire family gathered around the table for a big breakfast. Today was Leisure Day, and Helen and Buck wanted the entire family to go to the Festival that afternoon.
            Outside, the rain pounded the little house making it dark and gloomy inside despite the holiday feel in the air. The meteorologists were predicting the storm to end late morning, with the sun appearing in the afternoon, just in time for the Festival to kick into high gear.

            Buck, in particular, was more than ready to spend a family day, even going so far as to try and help clean up the dishes.
            Phedra stood stunned. Buck never cleaned up his dishes. Never! There are been more family meetings and discussions where it was nearly unanimously agreed that Buck needed to take responsibility for cleaning up his own plate. The one dissenting vote was predictable and always the same: Buck himself.
            Ignoring the stunned teenager at his side, he slid her plate on top of his own fixing his gaze on Cyrus as he did so.
            “Hey, Buddy? When you get finished I’d like a word.” Buck had been waiting for a while to see if Cyrus would come to him the way he had as a child. It upset him that Cyrus would keep anything from him. They had always been so close. And instead of the secret Buck could read on his face fading as time went on, it only intensified as the boy closed himself off from the family.

            Buck went ahead and slid Cyrus’ plate onto the others as Phedra regained her composure and went to shower. Cyrus nodded at Buck, his stomach sinking thinking his relationship with Olivia found out.
            Waiting for Buck to finish the dishes, Cyrus’ mind scrambled trying to figure out what Buck wanted to talk about. He wanted to run, but knew that it would be a giveaway if Buck was only going to ask him to watch the twins or something like that.

            It took a moment for Buck to finally settle on how to start this.
            “Cyrus,” He asked quietly, not wanting the entire house to know that he was concerned. “Cyrus is everything alright with you lately?”
            Cyrus kept his forced smile in place, only turning his head to make sure that he had heard Buck correctly.
            “Yeeeeaaaah?” Confused, Cyrus tried to keep his answer as noncommittal as possible. This was a test, surely, right?
            “You’ve been kinda closed off and quiet lately, it’s not like you,” Buck pressed a little harder. “I just wanna make sure there’s nothin’ at school botherin’ you or anythin’ here at home.”

            “Oh!” Cyrus’ face finally bloomed into a true smile. “Oh! Yeah. No, I’m fine! There’s nothing wrong. I’m just tired from all the extra work for this big science fair coming up at the school. It’s been a lot of extra work.”
            Relief was etched all over Buck’s face.
            “Oh, ok. Of course it is! I shoulda realized, especially with Phedra lookin’ like the walking dead lately.”
            Both of them laughed at the description of Phedra being almost absent-minded lately as she focused her entire being on the science fair. One of the twins, Galen, swore he watched her walk into a wall face first once as she recited the major muscles of a frog and where they were located.

            Grinning widely, Buck looked fondly at the boy he had raised as his own.
            “You know you can always come to me and tell me if ever there is anything wrong,” he said tenderly. “I’m always here to listen.”
            Cyrus grinned back, the relief he felt a moment earlier fading slightly.
            “You know I brag awful hard about you at work. I’m just so proud of all you’ve done. You haven’t given us any trouble, you help ‘round the house and with the twins with nary a fuss. You’re grades are wonderful and your teachers all spoke so highly of you last report card. Really, Cyrus. We’re awful proud…”

            Cyrus continued to hold Buck’s gaze and grin. But then Buck blinks hard a few times, making Cyrus even more uncomfortable, almost making him want to-
            “Cyrus?” Helen interrupted the two from beside the fridge, causing the moment to abruptly came crashing down about Cyrus' ears. “Cyrus can you take out the garbage, please?”

            Finally, his smile falters a bit. Buck loses the grin, though keeps his face warm. He can feel the boys guard lowering. He knew it. There is something.
            “Yeah, mom.” Cyrus answers without breaking eye contact with Buck. He's panting slightly now.
            It hadn’t occurred to Cyrus just how much he was hurting Buck. Buck had always been the one to help him with any difficulties he’d had. Buck had taken him fishing. Buck had shown him how to tie his shoe, ride a bike, make a fire with nothing but a few twigs…

            Buck was always the one who stood up to Phedra for Cyrus. He’d made Helen take time with him, and taken even more time with him himself.
            To hear how proud, and in so many different ways, Buck was of him made him step back in his mind. His heart pounding, for a moment it forced him to think.

            “Baby?” Helen’s voice is soft as a kittens and she has her eyes squarely on Buck from across the room.
            Buck’s mind raced and he held his breath. He’s not sure if Cyrus will crack with Helen, but Buck doesn’t want to pressure the boy into a confession either. He turns to Helen, hoping he can stop her and try to get back to the troubled boy behind him.

            As Helen approaches time slows down for Cyrus. He can’t let Buck down, but where would he start? And maybe Buck wouldn’t get mad, but surely Helen would get upset if she knew it all. And besides, Buck is a man, like Cyrus, and he’d understand some of it more than his mom would, right?
            Girls just don’t always get what a guy feels he has to do for them. It’s not the same.
            Maybe Buck could help him out. Maybe Buck would understand. But what if Buck didn’t understand? What if he got mad? What if he told Helen? What should he do?

            “Cyrus,” Helen cuts across the boys thoughts sharply. “I thought I asked you to get the trash taken outside.”
            Buck was silent. Though he still tried to keep Cyrus in his sights.
            But the moment Helen spoke, the spell was broken for Cyrus. He couldn’t tell Buck.

            “Now please,” Helen’s eyes flick from Cyrus to Buck.
The look she gives Buck makes Cyrus think of the hungry stray cats he’s seen around town. Letting his breath out in a huff as he feels his ears burn, he decides he’s seen enough anyhow.

            Helen grabs Buck in a passionate embrace as Cyrus walks away to get the trash gathered. Hopefully, his mom won’t notice the extra time he plans to take to get dressed before going outside. Somehow, he’s pretty confident she won’t notice.

            After putting the garbage out, Cyrus stands still for a moment, letting the cold rain wash over him, cool the fire in his ears a little.
            Thoughts still reeling a little from what just happened, he desperately tried to find some inner calm. However, one thing kept coming to the front of his mind.
            “I’m so proud of you-” echoed around his brain, ricocheting from ear to ear. Each repetition making him feel more and more like slime.
            How could he let Buck down so bad? He’d be exposed for sure tomorrow if he didn’t do something soon.

            Rubbing raindrops from the back of his neck he tries to come up with a solution to his problems.
            If he can’t tell Buck he’s going to have to deceive him. But how do you deceive a parent when there are going to be so many witnesses? Well, he’d just have to fool them too. Which left only one path open that he could see.
            He dropped his hand as his stomach dropped. He hardly believed that he was as daring as his mind just suggested he be.

            But his mind was made up. There was nothing else for it but to do it, and it would have to be tonight.
            Then a smile touched his face through the gloom. Yes. He’d do it while his family was at the Festival for Leisure Day this afternoon. It was perfect really. He could seperate from them all and slip away early. And no one would ever know.

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            Sorry. Festival is next time. This one kind of ran away with me. 
            The days of the week are important right now and will be even more so as this arc progresses, which is why I have the chapter labeled as 'Wednesday Night/Thursday Morning' in the location bar, even though Wednesday Night/Thursday Morning is not the chapter title.
            So who else wanted to duct-tape Helen’s mouth? Lol