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


  1. Oh Cyrus... what do you have up your sleeves?

  2. Oh dear, what's going on? Tell me, Cyrus! I can help! Promise!
    And you better be actually doing your homework, boy!

    And what will Buck do now? Obviously he knows he's hiding stuff, but will he go angry-dad and try and force it out, or just guilt-trip him again?

    And yes, Helen, shuttup!

    1. lol. And I hate to say this but there is one more chapter before we get a hint of what is going on, and then two before the Truth comes out. So hang onto your seat!

  3. Cyrus has frogs on his brain!!!?? Eeew!
    Poor Cyrus, though, what a dilemma, to trust Buck or not, with whatever is going on.

    1. LOL! I didn't even realize that I had put in brain not mind! hahahahaha! Ah well, I'll leave it for a laugh. These boogers are entirely too serious right now. They need a little comic relief!
      Cyrus is certainly in a pickle, isn't he?

  4. wondering what Cyrus is planning. If it's what I suspect it is, then yes, we'll need duct tape for Helen!

    1. Just a few more chapters to know for sure, on the duct tape and what he is planning. HA!

  5. Oh, poor Cyrus, I hope things come right for him *hugs him*

  6. Uggghhh the suspense! Poor Cyrus. Even if he is a bit of a brat to Phedra.

    1. He blames a lot of his problems on Phedra doesn't he? However, she invites it.

  7. What IS that behind Cyrus' leg in the last few shots? Is it a gnome standing in front of a post? The one right as it says he put the garbage out looks like it has a face down on the ground. Kinda creepy like that spot in hell in 'what dreams may come' with all the faces on the ground. he plans on going solo in this stunt, huh?

  8. Lol! I believe he's standing in front of the mailbox that has a gnome at it's base. lol It could certainly be kicked over so that it's weird looking.

    Yup. Solo. Because otherwise he'd have to admit a few things.