Birds Don't Sing Before a Storm

Chapter 5

I was sound asleep when someone entered my room. I felt a weight on the bed, and I squinted to see who it was. I really didn’t need to look. I already knew.

“Better wake up,” announced Lane as he took two fingers and opened my eye.

I rolled over and groaned, “Let me sleep, Lane.” He threw his body on top of mine and attempted to tickle me in my ribs. Since I’m not ticklish, it didn’t bother me; however, I let out a scream so he would think I was.

“Stop!” I shouted as I rolled onto my back. He straddled my body as he looked down at me. Suddenly, he pushed his butt against my erection.

He started giggling and jumped off me. “Someone’s got a woody!”

“Like you don’t get them,” I muttered as I pulled the cover over my head and rested on my side.

He started pushing on my shoulder. “You better get up,” he insisted.

“Why?” I asked as I turned toward him.

He shrugged his shoulders. “Randy told me to wake you up. You’re supposed to come upstairs for breakfast.”
Just then, I heard my father’s voice at the top of the stairs. “Skipper! Casey! You boys hurry up!”

I pulled the covers off me and stood. Lane stared at the obvious protrusion in my underwear. I covered myself with my hands. “Do you mind?”

Lane giggled and stood. He grabbed the front of his shorts and pressed against them. “I’m getting a woody, too.”

I grabbed his shoulders and pushed him toward the door. “Well, you take your woody and go upstairs while I go take a shower.”

He giggled and asked, “You going to play with yours?” His face reddened as he added, “I play with mine in the shower sometimes.”

I pushed him out of the room. “That is too much information,” I laughed as I closed the door.

After showering and getting dressed, I went upstairs to the kitchen. My father, Karen and Lane were just finishing up breakfast. I sat down at the seat beside Lane where there was a bowl of cereal and a glass of milk.

Lane grinned widely when I sat beside him. “I hope you like Fruit Loops, Casey,” he said. “I like Fruit Loops.”

He smiled when I responded, “Yeah, sure. I like Fruit Loops.” I looked over at Karen and asked, “Do you have any coffee?” She started to rise, but I told her she didn’t have to wait on me. I poured myself a cup of coffee, and then I refilled her cup.

“My what a nice thing to do, Casey,” she said appreciatively. My father grunted when she added, “Randy, you should take tips from your son on how to be a gentleman.”

When I was finished eating, I started to get up and go back to my room, but my father stopped me. “Casey,” he said. “I’ve taken the morning off, and I’m taking you to school to enroll you in classes.”

I asked surprisingly, “What? It’s Friday. Can’t we wait until Monday?”

He shook his head and responded, “I can’t on Monday. I’ll be tied up all day with clients. He put down the paper he had been scanning. “It has to be today.”

Lane asked excitedly, “Can I ride to school with you?”

My father looked at me and laughed slightly. “If Casey moves his butt now so you won’t be late to your morning class.”

Lane stood and grabbed my hand. “Come on, Casey.” He pulled me to my feet. “I don’t want to walk to school.”

I looked around the room. “What about Rodney and Curtis?”

“Rodney has a car,” my father informed me. “He and Curtis have already left.”

I looked down at Lane who was still holding onto my hand. “Why don’t you ride with your brothers?”

He frowned and replied sadly, “They won’t take me to school.” When I asked him why, he shrugged his shoulders.

I felt repulsed when my father kissed Karen on the cheek as we left the kitchen. She hugged Lane, and for an instant, I felt she wanted to hug me. I hurried out the door before she had a chance.

As we drove to school, my father asked me in what grade I’d be enrolling. It hurt me that he didn’t even know. “I’ll be a junior,” I replied with a tone of irritation in my voice.

“Listen, Casey,” he said as he turned to look at me. “I know I should have...”

I interrupted him by turning and looking at Lane in the backseat. “You want me to meet you outside after school, and we can walk home together?”

His eyes lit up. “Yeah, Casey. That would be cool.” I ignored my father’s stare.

When we arrived at school, my father and I escorted Lane to his class. I looked around the room while my father talked to his teacher. It was interesting to observe all the work that was taped onto the walls. In my former school, some teachers might have a motivational poster or two, but most of the classroom walls were rather bare.

In Lane’s classroom, students’ work was on display. There were written assignments, drawings and completed homework. All had a bold comment written by Ms. Chambers. She also liked to display stars on the work. Most assignments had five red stars.

I jumped when Lane walked up, gripped my hand and pulled me over to the back of the room. “I did this,” he exclaimed proudly as he showed me a colored map of the United States. “I even spelled all the states right,” he said with a smile.

My father stepped up beside him and put his hands on his shoulder. “Good job, Skipper,” he said as he observed the map. He looked over at me and asked, “Don’t you think so, Casey?”

“Yeah, sure,” I replied as I walked away. I felt sad because he had rarely been involved in my education. My mother was the one who attended the parent-teacher conferences. She always made excuses that he was too busy at work to attend. However, when we would return home, he would usually be asleep in his recliner.

After leaving Lane’s room, we made our way to the office. My father kept insisting how much I was going to enjoy the school. “Rodney and Curtis are very popular,” he exclaimed proudly. “Both play football, basketball and baseball. I’m sure they’ll be happy to introduce you to some of their friends.”

I snidely remarked, “They haven’t even introduced themselves to me yet.”

“Yes, well,” he stammered. “They are very busy boys.”

“Yeah, sure,” I replied as I opened the office door and stepped inside.

The principal was talking to the school secretary when we entered. He looked up and immediately walked over to my father and shook his hand. “Randy, Old Boy, how are things going?” He looked over at me. “What brings you here today?”

“George,” he replied. “I want you to meet my boy, Casey.” I reluctantly shook his hand. “This is Mr. Snyder, the principal here,” he informed me.

Mr. Snyder seemed surprised. He remarked, “I didn’t know Karen had another son.”

My father replied, “Casey is my son.” He looked over at me nervously and added, “From my first marriage.”

“I see,” replied Mr. Snyder. He shook my hand again as he asked my father, “And how can I help you today?” My father explained how I was now living with him, and that I needed to enroll in school.

While my father remained behind to talk to Mr. Snyder, I was told to go across the hall to the guidance office. I was escorted to a room where a young woman, probably no more than about twenty-five years old was talking on the phone. She motioned for me to have a seat. I waited until she was finished with her conversation.

After hanging up, she smiled pleasantly and extended her hand. “Hello, Casey,” she said, “I’m Ms. Moore. I’ll be your guidance counselor.” I followed her down a narrow hallway to a small, cramped office. She had me sit at a chair beside her desk while she typed something into her computer.

“Oh!” she said surprisingly. “A teacher has already requested you for his class.” She gave me a puzzled look. “I thought this was your first day here?”

“It is,” I replied. I then recalled meeting the baseball coach in the hallway. I assumed he was the teacher who had made the request. She finished typing, and then waited for my schedule to be printed. She then handed it to me.

“There you go,” she said with a smile. “All set. Now, look over it to see if you have any questions. I tried to match you with the same classes you were previously taking at your other school.”

I quickly scanned the schedule. I had seven classes. At my old school, I only had six. I noticed that I had Mr. Wentworth fourth period for Junior English. The other classes matched the ones I had been taking with the exception of a gym class seventh period. Again, I was assigned to Mr. Wentworth.

I pointed to the class and asked, “I already took gym during my freshman year. Do I have to take it again?”

She took my schedule and studied it. “It’s just an elective,” she informed me. “Since we are on a seven period schedule, it’s a way for students to take classes that may be more interesting than the normal studies like English, history and science.” She looked over at the computer, and then she added, “It appears Mr. Wentworth requested you take the class.”

I asked, “But why?”

She quickly scanned my body. “Mr. Wentworth has an eye for athletes,” she said. “He grabs up all the good ones before the other coaches have a chance to recruit them.” She scanned my body again before asking, “Did you excel in sports at your old school?”

I started laughing. “No,” I replied, “unless you want to call skipping classes a sport.”

“Well,” she said, “I’m sure Mr. Wentworth sees some potential in you.”

I laughed again and said, “I don’t know what. If he’s looking for a baseball player, he’s going to be disappointed. I’ve never played baseball.”

“Maybe it has something to do with your stepbrothers, Rodney and Curtis. They play baseball for Mr. Wentworth.”

She jumped when I said angrily, “They are not my stepbrothers.”

“I’m sorry,” she apologized, “but I thought you were Randy Barrett’s son? That’s what Mr. Snyder told me on the phone.”

“He is my father,” I replied, “but I’m no relation to the other boys.”

“I see,” she responded apologetically as she studied me carefully. “Anyway,” she said as she stood. “Let me escort you to your first period class.” She looked at the clock on the wall. “Class should be over in about ten minutes, but you can meet Mr. Snowden, your chemistry teacher.”

“I have to start classes today?” I asked surprisingly. “I thought I’d just register today and start on Monday.”

“Nonsense,” she said as I followed her down the hall. “Why waste an entire day.”

She laughed when I replied, “I’m okay with that.”

I was embarrassed when Ms. Moore took me to my class. I followed her across the room to Mr. Snowden’s desk. I heard several students giggle as I crossed the room. When I glanced out of the corner of my eye, I saw three girls staring intently at me. I quickly looked away when one gave me a flirtatious wink.

Mr. Snowden was a small, wiry man with a shrill voice. I wanted to laugh when he extended his hand to mine. His felt like a cold, wet fish when I shook it. The three girls giggled again when he looked around for an empty desk. He had me sit behind one of the girls, a tall, bosomy blond. She was wearing a tight sweater which left little to the imagination. The other two girls gave her a jealous look when I sat down behind her.

Mr. Snowden went back to the board to finish discussing a problem he had been working on when Ms. Moore and I interrupted him. No one seemed to be paying attention. Most were just waiting for the period to end.

When the bell rang, I rose from my desk and pulled out my schedule to see where my next class was located. The blond snuggled up beside me and looked at the schedule as she pressed her breast against my arm. She gave me a puzzled look when I took a step away from her.

“Hi,” she cooed as she gave me another flirtatious look. “I’m Monica. Are you new here?”

“Yeah,” I replied as I looked down at my schedule. She once again took a step closer to look at it. The two other girls giggled as they watched her attempt to seduce me.

“You have Mrs. Bedlaw next,” she said excitedly. “We’re in the same class.” She wrapped her arm around mine and led me from the room. “I’ll show you how to get there.” I glanced behind us to see the other girls following. They had cold, angry looks on their faces. I felt like a bridal bouquet that had been fought over at a wedding reception, and Monica had wrestled it from the hands of the others.

She attempted to find out as much as she could about me in the brief three minutes it took us to walk to our next class. Other than telling her my first name, I managed to ignore most of her questions.

However, she was more than happy to give me details of her life. She was a varsity cheerleader, which I had already assumed. Besides being extremely pretty, she was also athletic. She did let me know that she was ‘single’ for the time being, which elicited giggles from the two girls behind us.

As we approached the classroom, I noticed Curtis standing outside the door talking to several other guys. Monica wrapped arm tighter around mine as we drew nearer. Curtis scowled at us when he saw how closely we were walking. Judging by the angry look on his face, I quickly assumed that he may be the reason that Monica was temporarily single.

She led me over to Mrs. Bedlaw. Monica seemed upset when she told her to take her seat. I was assigned a history book, and she then told me to have a seat in the back. When I walked down the aisle, I saw Curtis sitting behind the desk I had been assigned. He looked angrily at me when I approached. I looked away and sat down.

After the bell rang, Mrs. Bedlaw told us to open our books to chapter 14. She gave us twenty minutes to silently read ten pages about the Industrial Revolution, and then we were to answer the unit questions that followed.

I opened the book and began reading. A minute later, Curtis kicked the back of my desk, leaned forward and threateningly whispered in my ear, “You better back off of Monica if you know what’s good for you.”

I ignored him and continued to read. Seconds later, he kicked the back of my desk again. He asked angrily, “Did you hear what I said?” I quickly glanced toward the front of the room to see if the teacher was observing us. She looked like she was busily grading papers.

I turned slightly and whispered, “Fuck you.” I looked back at his face as it reddened with anger. Even though I had no intention of pursuing Monica, I had dealt with guys like Curtis before. If he thought he could control you, then he could make your life miserable. I wanted him to know that I wasn’t scared of him. I realized it was dangerous territory because we would have to live in the same house, but I had no intention of making it a permanent situation. Sooner, rather than later, I was planning to leave anyway.

I turned back around, and he kicked the back of my desk again. He leaned forward and whispered angrily in my ear, “You’re dead.”

I mumbled loud enough for him to hear, “I ain’t scared of you, Fucker.” He kicked the back of my desk once again, but then left me alone the rest of the period.

When the bell rang and I got up to leave, Curtis brushed past me and walked away. He said something to a friend at the door, and they turned to look at me. Monica walked up with her two friends, wrapped her arm around mine and led me to the door.

Once outside, we stopped and she asked to see my schedule. I started to hand it to her, but a guy who had walked out behind us, snatched it from her hand and scanned it. Monica tried to grab it, but he held it away from her as he read over it.

“Give it to me, Mike,” she pleaded in a whiny voice. He looked at me with a satisfied smile on his face. He was very attractive. He was about my size, but he had blue eyes, unlike my brown ones. His hair was brown and stylish. It appeared he had probably stood before the mirror before he came to school to make sure each strand was in place. He had on expensive clothing, not like the other students who mostly wore jeans and cotton shirts. “Abercrombie and Fitch,” I thought to myself.

After reading over my schedule, he extended his hand. “Hi, Casey,” he said with a firm handshake. Monica quickly snatched my schedule from his hand. “I’m Mike McConnell.” He looked over at Monica and laughed. “Monica is my twin sister.” I looked back and forth between them, and I could instantly notice a resemblance. She was several inches shorter, but their facial features were nearly the same.

She muttered as she looked at my schedule, “He’s an asshole.”

Mike grabbed me by my right arm and pulled me away. “Come on, Casey. We both have Shivers for Trig. I’ll show you where it’s at.”

Monica grabbed my left arm and pulled on it. “I’ll show him, you dimwit.”

“You’re too stupid to be taking trig,” he replied as he pulled me away. Monica stormed off with her two friends trailing behind.

“Thanks,” I said appreciatively as I walked beside him to class.

He laughed and replied, “No problem. Monica is like a piranha when a cute, new boy enrolls in school.” I glanced over at him when he said I was cute. As if reading my mind, he looked over and grinned.

Mike introduced me to Mr. Shivers. He was a young teacher, and he seemed to relate well with his class. He greeted everyone at the door with a warm welcome.

We walked to the back of the room, and Mike motioned for me to sit beside him. Another boy approached and told me that was his seat, but Mike politely asked him if I could sit there. The guy shrugged his shoulders and took a seat behind me.

Mr. Shivers first went over a homework assignment. He had several students go to the board and demonstrate how they had achieved an answer for a problem. I watched in amazement as Mike worked out an extremely difficult one. He gave me a slight wink when he walked back and took his seat.

For the last half of the period, he gave an assignment from the book. He informed us we could work together as long as we worked quietly. The class erupted into laughter. “Okay,” he said jokingly. “At least keep it down to a low roar. And if Mr. Snyder peeks into the room, act like you’re working.”

The class laughed again when a boy off to my right hollered out, “Sure thing, Teach. We got you covered.”

Mike pulled his desk beside mine. “Wanna work together?” He laughed and added, “Not like you have much of a choice anyway.”

“Sure,” I grinned as he scooted closer. He opened his book and we began to work on the assignment.

After watching him work a few problems and then copying it to my paper, he stopped and looked at me and asked, “So, what’s your story? What brings you here?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know,” I replied. “Stuff.”

“I see,” he replied. “Parents get a divorce?”

“No,” I answered. “They did that a few years ago.” He looked at me and waited a second for me to talk.

When I didn’t say anything more, he laughed and said, “I guess I’m in the mind my own business territory, huh?”

I grinned and replied, “Yeah. Something like that.”

“It’s all good,” he said with a grin. “I’ll charm it out of you later.”

His eyes sparkled as stared into mine. I stared back and replied, “You’re pretty sure of yourself, aren’t you?”

He winked seductively and said, “I got my ways.”

I responded with a laugh, “I bet you do.”

We continued working the rest of the period on the assignment. We finished it just before the class ended. Mike took my schedule off my desk and examined it again. “Hey, this is kind of like Providence,” he said excitedly.

I gave him a puzzled look. “What?”

“We have the same afternoon classes,” he replied. I scanned my schedule again.

I asked, “You have Mr. Wentworth twice like me?”

He replied, “Coach? Yeah, sure.” He quickly scanned my body. “You must be a ball player, too?”

“Nope,” I said. “Never have.”

“If you got Coach for two classes,” he said, “then you’re playing baseball for our team.” The bell rang, and we rose from our seats. Mike put his arm around my shoulder as we started to exit the room.

“Let’s go see Coach,” he said as we walked down the hall with his arm still around me. It felt awkward, but I was too afraid to step away from him. He was making a sincere effort to be my friend. Besides, he was cute as hell, and if he wanted to walk with me like that, then I wasn’t going to be stupid enough to ruin it. Besides, no one seemed to even notice. He did seem popular, though, because almost everyone we passed called out his name.

As we walked, I saw Curtis approaching. He stepped up in front of us and stopped. He turned to his friends who were walking with him. “Aw, look guys at the two little lovebirds.” I immediately pulled away from Mike’s embrace.

Mike’s body went rigid as he confronted Curtis. “Go to hell, Crawford.”

Curtis looked at me and laughed. “Don’t worry, Mikey. I’m not going to steal your boyfriend from you.”

“Fuck you,” spat Mike. He turned to me and grabbed my arm. “Let’s go Casey. I don’t have time to scrap his shit off the floors when I knock him out.”

“Ohhh,” cooed Curtis. “Acting tough for your new boyfriend.”

I stepped between Curtis and Mike and said, “Why don’t you shut the fuck up!”

By then students were beginning to gather around. Curtis seemed to quickly evaluate the situation, and then he turned to his buddies. “Let’s go,” he said as he pointed down the hall. He angrily looked at me. “I’ll deal with you later when I get home.”

I replied, “I’ll be waiting.” He turned and hurried off down the hall.