C4 I'm not sorry, mom!
Letting go of the jacket, I pushed her backward and quickly wiped my hand on my jacket, as if I'd just touched a ball of cow turd. Not that she was dirty, though. Just to make her more upset.
"What took you so long?" I asked, raising the cigarette to my lips once more. "You're supposed to meet me immediately after school, like I'd told you to."
"You said we're to meet at the field everyday after school," she muttered, her gaze cast to her shoes. "I went out to the field and didn't find you there. I was searching all over for you before someone told me you'd be here."
Silent, I looked her over. Technically, she was right. We weren't supposed to meet behind the school.
I took a deep drag and was blowing it out toward her when some smoke hitched in my throat, momentarily choking me. Doubled over, I coughed, wheezed and coughed some more, beating a hand to my chest.
"You know smoking reduces your lifespan by eleven minutes everyday you do it, right?" Amelia told me.
"Of course, only you would know that," I sputtered, embarrassed by the situation. "Shut the fuck up and look away."
She looked away then, and coughing some more, clearing my throat occasionally, the cough reflex behind my throat began to die down until it stopped completely.
"If you hadn't been here, that would've never happened," I said, wiping the tears in my eyes.
Slowly, she turned back to look at me. "I wasn't the one that told you to start up smoking."
One angry look from me and she lowered her gaze.
"I got a B in my history homework." I went straight to the point, stubbing out the cigarette and slipping off my backpack.
Flipping through the books in the bag, I pulled out a sheet from the middle of two notebooks. I flung the sheet toward her and then pulled out today's homework, zipped up my bag and slipped it back onto my right shoulder.
The paper now in her hand, she stared at me.
"How the hell did I get a B?" I cocked an eyebrow.
"I don't know," she answered simply.
Annoyed by her smug reply, I reached forward and thumped her forehead.
"Ow," she winced, stepping back, a hand to her forehead.
"Next time that happens, I'll do a lot more than just thump you, trust me." I told her. "So, for your sake, there better not be a next time."
There were tears brimming in her eyes. Ignoring them, I held today's homework out to her. "Take it."
Seconds after, she was still staring at me, the tears shining brightly in her eyes. Knowing her, she stubbornly refused to let them fall.
"Is there something you'd like to do to me, geek?" I said. "You wanna thump me back? Punch me? What you wanna do?"
She kept silent.
"Answer me!" I exploded, and, at once, she recoiled backwards.
"What do you wanna do to me, Amelia?" I spat in her face.
"Nothing," she said, the first streak of tears going down her face.
"You sure? 'Cause that's not what it seemed like a second ago."
"I don't want to do anything," she muttered, sniffing.
"Good," I said, stepping back from her. "That's what I thought."
Throwing the homework at her, I said, "I don't wanna ever see a B on my homework paper again," and walked away, back onto the field, not too far from where Amelia and I had just met, for practice.
An hour later, I was pulling my Audi-hand-me-down, from dad-into the curved driveway of the mansion, stopping directly beside the dolphin fountain.
Getting out of the car, I shut the door and tossed the key to the valet before heading on toward the huge, oak front door, which was always left wide open, except at night time.
I walked past the threshold and into the wide and evenly spaced living room, with its plush couches, chandeliers and floor to ceiling tinted windows.
I'd barely taken three steps in when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted dad and Ashley at a corner of the room, standing before one of the windows. Dad was directly behind her, slipping something that looked like a gold necklace around her neck.
I watched, with contempt, as he hooked it behind her and adjusted it so it sat properly on her neck. Turning around with a smile, Ashley leaned in and gave him a kiss.
I wanted to gag. Most especially when the kiss held on for much longer and dad's hands began to wander.
To distract them and bring to their attention my presence, I dropped my backpack to the floor with a dull thud. At once, they broke the kiss and dad spun around in my direction.
"Jason, hey!" He smiled, as soon as he saw it was me, his face flushed. "You're home early today. What, no practice?"
"Practice ended early," I told him.
"Oh," was all he said, Ashley slinking up to hold onto his arm.
"Hi, Jace," she smiled at me.
Returning her smile with a scowl, I said, "It's Jason. I've told you that for over a million times now."
"Jason," Dad said, "speak to your mom with respect."
"You mean my third mom," I snorted. "Who's barely older than me, by the way."
"I'm twenty seven," Ashley defended.
"And I'm eighteen," I said, "eleven years your younger brother."
"Jason, stop that," Dad stepped in.
"You can't just keep marrying every woman that flits your way, dad," I frowned. "You and me, we're just fine on our own. We don't need nobody else."
"He called me 'every woman', honey," Ashley pouted, clinging tighter onto dad's arm.
"Jason, Ashley is your mother now, and she's not going anywhere," Dad said to me, "the sooner you realize that, the better for you."
Bending down, I picked up my backpack from the floor. "Ashley's not my mom and will never be. She's just your third wife, for the meantime, though. Not long now."
Turning away from them, I started up the windy, marbled staircase when dad's voice stopped me.
"You will call her mom, Jason, and not Ashley," he ordered, now standing at the base of the stairs.
"No, I won't," I said.
"Then you leave me no choice than to seize your car, cut off your allowance and ground you for the rest of the school year. No parties in the house, no going to parties, no friends visiting and no visiting of friends. All your gadgets will be seized, as well."
I turned to look at him. "You can't do that."
"Don't test me, Jason," he said, in a low voice, one that signified he was getting to the wall.
"But she's not my fucking mother," I yelled. "I can't call her that."
Dad's tone rose. "Mind your language, boy, before I come over there and whoop your silly, arrogant ass!"
"Now, you will apologize to your mother right away," he added.
"Right now, Jason!"
Gritting my teeth, I fisted my hands.
"Sorry," I said, through clenched teeth.
"That doesn't sound like you're sorry to me," Dad said.
Looking away from him, so my gaze fell on Ashley, I stared. "I'm sorry, mom."
She smiled. "Apology accepted."
I stared some more before looking back at dad. "Happy now?"
Turning away from him, I stomped the rest of the way up the stairs and straight to my room. I banged the door behind me as I walked in, throwing my backpack onto the floor.
Maria, Jackie and now goddamn Ashley, I thought, heading over to my bed and plopping down on it. How many more moms to come. Five more? Ten?
In the space of seven years, since mom died in a car crash, I'd had three different moms already. I was done with that. I was sick and tired of the pretentious, gold digging sluts dad brought in as wives simply because they knew how to serve it right.
All these, the women, the fact that I didn't have my mom with me, would've been avoided if I hadn't convinced her to take me to David's party that Friday evening. If Amelia's parents hadn't been driving at 90 miles per hour. At least I'd still have my mom now.
Annoyed, I raked a hand through my hair. Being at school pissed me off, coming home did the same. I couldn't be anywhere and be happy. At school, I had to deal with the reminder of mom's death, Amelia, and at home, I had to stand Ashley.
I didn't know for how long I could go on that way.