Death-Wish Kids


We turned onto my street and my eyes immediately went to Gerard’s parents’ car parked on the street. As we pulled past them and turned into the driveway I saw that Mikey and Frank were no longer with them, which meant that the boys had pointed out my house and then been dropped at home.

Gerard turned his car off in my driveway, turning to look at me uncertainly. I looked at my house. I couldn’t see anyone through the front window and the door was still firmly closed, despite the storm brewing just outside of it. I glanced back towards Donna and Donald and saw that they hadn’t moved from their seats yet, but their eyes were on me, waiting for my cue.

“I need to go in first,” I said seriously, looking to Gee, “I can’t just walk in there with your parents and surprise my dad with the fact that we’re together. He thinks they’re just Mikey’s parents.”

Gerard reached to gently squeeze the back of my neck, fingers tangling into my hair. “I’ll go talk to them,” he said quietly, leaning towards me, “You go in and try to explain to your dad, and then come get me when you’re ready, okay?”

I nodded, pressing my forehead to his.

He pulled back and pushed his door open. I stayed in the car as he walked around the back and headed to his parents, sliding into the backseat of theirs. I got out then, knowing their eyes were on me, and headed up the sidewalk to my front door.

I opened the unlocked door and slid in quickly, eyes scanning the room immediately. Noah sat on the couch. Micah’s playpen was pulled up between the couch and the TV, but the baby wasn’t in it. Noah turned around and leaned over the back of the couch as I shut the door and came further in.

“You’re back,” he said, “Was college cool?”

I nodded. “Yeah, it was,” I answered, walking over to him, “Where’s Dad and Micah?”

“Micah’s room,” he said, climbing off the couch and following me towards the stairs, “Ryder is with her friends so Dad told me that I could help him with the baby’s bath tonight, but now that you’re back I won’t get to, huh?”

I stopped on the stairs and turned back to face my little brother. At eleven, he was still adorable, although sometimes overwhelming. “Noah, can you give me a few minutes with Dad and Micah? Go back to your show, alright?”

He frowned, amber eyes squinting at me as he backed down the stairs. “What’s wrong?” he questioned, holding on to the railing, “Are you in trouble?”

“No, nothing like that. I’ll tell you after I talk to Dad, okay?”

He nodded and went down the last couple of stairs. His eyes stayed on me as I got to the second floor and rounded the corner into my son’s room. My dad stood at the changing table, buttoning up Micah’s onesie. He looked at ease, in a pair of shorts and a grey t’shirt.

He saw me as I stepped into the room. “Cy, you’re home earlier than I expected,” he said, lifting Micah from the cushioned table, “Did you have fun?”

“Yeah,” I said, stopping as he walked over, “Uhm, actually, I need to talk to you about something.” I crossed my arms over my chest and looked at my son. His blonde hair was a wispy mess and his little fingers were curled into my father’s shirt. Micah and my dad had a stronger bond than I ever would’ve thought.

Dad frowned, resituating the baby in his arms. He expected the worse from me, so my words caused an immediate alarm to go off in him. “What’s wrong, Cyren? What happened?” He held Micah like he was shielding him from me, angled away like I was a bomb that might explode and injure them both.

“Nothing really happened,” I said quickly, hoping to calm him down before dropping the actual news on him, “It’s just that I know you’re going to be disappointed in me but I want you to know that this is really important to me and it would mean a lot to me if you would just let me explain before you get mad, okay Dad?”

“Tell me,” he demanded, eyes hard and focused on me, “What’s going on, Cyren?”

“Gerard is here to meet you,” I said, “As my boyfriend.”

Dad was taken aback by the abruptness. He looked like I’d betrayed him and he stepped past me without a word, pulling away from me as he moved around me.

“Dad, where are you going?” I asked, following him back towards the stairs, “What are you doing?” He climbed down the stairs with Micah without saying a word. He didn’t even look back to me as he reached the first floor landing.

Noah sat on the couch, looking like a world war was about to start in our living room. He tucked himself back neatly into the cushions and tried to watch without being noticed.

“Dad, wait!” I called as I moved to him, “There’s more. Gerard’s parents are here. They want to meet you and talk to you about all of this. I told them about Micah today, Dad, they didn’t know I had a kid.”

My dad whirled around, holding onto Micah with both hands. “You kept your son a secret?” he asked incredulously, “The whole time you were over there you lied to them, Cyren? Like you lied to me? I thought you were better than this. Sneaking around behind my back, ditching your son to be with some boy, lying about him like you’re ashamed he exists. If you should be ashamed on anything, it should be yourself.”

“I’m not ashamed of Micah,” I answered, “I just get tired of having to explain my life to people and have them turn away from me, Dad. You don’t know what it’s like to be a seventeen year old mother. You’ve never seen the way people look at me, the way they look at Micah. Even his own father looks down on us. I’m sorry but I just got tired of it.”

“So you lied about him? Did you even tell that boy about him?”

“His name is Gerard,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest, “And yeah, Dad, Gerard knows Micah. He doesn’t see us the way other people see us. He loves me and he loves Micah-“

“Loves Micah?” Dad repeated, staring at me like I’d lost my brains, “How does he ‘love Micah’, Cyren? He’s just some boy who you use to get away from your responsibilities. He doesn’t know you and he doesn’t love you.”

“You don’t know him,” I replied, looking at my father as he held my son in his arms, “You think that you’re the only one who can mean something to me and Micah. That you’re the only one we’re allowed to care about. I love Gerard, Dad, I love him. And he’s going to be in mine and Micah’s life for a long time.”

“No, he’s not,” he answered, shaking his head, “You’re not going to see him and you’re certainly not going to have my grandson around him. You’re a child, Cyren, you’ll do as you’re told.”

“Gerard and his parents are outside,” I said, biting my tongue, “They’re here to talk to you about Gerard and Micah, like adults.”

“There’s nothing to talk about, Cyren,” he said, moving past me to go to the front door, “You and Gerard are over.” He held onto Micah as he pulled the door open and peered down the driveway to the car that was parked on the street next to it.

Gerard stood there, leaning against his parents’ vehicle with a cigarette between his fingers. His mom was in the passenger’s side and her door was open as she spoke to her son. When she saw my father in the doorway, and me just behind him, she smiled politely and climbed out, saying something to Gerard that I couldn’t make out. Gerard dropped the smoke to the ground and stepped on it. I hoped my father hadn’t noticed.

Donald climbed out of the other side. Stepping around to his wife and son and the three of them came up the driveway together. I went to my father and took Micah from him, hoping to get my son while my dad was too preoccupied with the Ways. He handed over Micah easily and then stepped back so that he wasn’t looming in the doorway.

Donald stepped up first, at his wife’s side, and held his hand out to my father. Gerard stood behind his parents, taller than them, but looking skeptical and a little bedraggled, and I assumed his parents and him had a similar ‘conversation’ to what my father had with me.

“Donald Way,” Gerard’s dad introduced, “And my wife, Donna. You’ve met our son, Gerard, we assume.”

“Elliot Alexander,” Dad answered, eyes sliding back to Gerard, “And yes, once, briefly.” He stepped back, ignoring me completely, “Come on in.”

I stood just inside the room and when they walked in, their eyes immediately landed on me, and then the child in my arms. Donna, despite knowing, looked utterly shellshocked and surprised to actually see him. She looked at Micah and then to her husband.

“Cyren told me that you and your husband just found out about my grandson,” my dad spoke, closing the door once Gerard came through, “I didn’t know that she’d kept Micah a secret from you for this long.”

“We had no idea,” Donna spoke, eyes back on the blonde haired baby, “None of our boys mentioned it either so we were completely blindsided by the news.”

We came further into the room, Gerard moving silently to my side. Noah’s head popped up from the couch and catch the Ways’ attention.

“This is my son, Noah,” Dad introduced as the eleven year old came around the couch, “I have an older daughter, Ryder, as well, but she isn’t home right now.”

Donna nodded. “We’ve heard a lot about your family from Cyren,” she said, looking between my father and brother, “She talks a lot about you.”

“Hi, Gerard,” Noah said, grinning at the older boy despite the tense circumstances. He didn’t know the history between the boy and I. All he knew was that Gerard was someone who played with him at the park and was friends with his older sister.

Gerard smiled. “Hey, Noah. How’s it going?”

Noah went to cross the divide between our dad and Gerard and I, but Dad grabbed him by the shoulder and stopped him. Noah frowned at looked up at him. Dad covered quickly, asking Noah to leave the room.

“Can you go to your room?” Dad asked, running his fingers through his son’s hair, “There are some things that the Ways and I need to talk about with your sister and Gerard. I’ll let you know when you can come back down.”

Noah nodded, catching onto the seriousness, and slipped between Gerard and I and went up the stairs. My dad pressed his palms together. “We can sit in the kitchen,” he said, not looking at me, “There’s a lot we need to talk about.”

Donald looked at Gerard and I and the baby between us. He and his wife seemed to already understand my father’s position on this relationship and knew that we were gearing up for a fight. I grabbed Gerard’s hand and we followed our parents into the kitchen.

My father moved to the fridge, asking either of the Ways if they wanted something to drink. Donna commented on the kitchen, appreciating the professional sophistication of everything in it.

My father came back with a water for everyone and Micah’s juice bottle, which he set down in front of me without a word before he sat down across from the Ways.

“How long have you known about Gerard and Cyren?” my dad asked immediately, resting his hands on the table as he looked at Donald and Donna.

“Gerard told us a couple days ago,” Donna said, glancing at her son.

“Cyren lied to me about their relationship,” my dad said, still not looking at me, “I asked her multiple times in the past if there was something going on between them and she lied to me.”

“You never asked,” I answered, holding Micah in my lap, “You just told me that you didn’t like him and that I wasn’t allowed to hangout with him, Dad. You never asked, you just told me what I could and couldn’t do.”

“You still lied to me, Cyren,” he replied, looking at me then, “You continuously lied to me about who you were with and what you were doing. I should’ve known that day he showed up here unannounced, but I trusted you. You told me, to my face, that he was just picking you up and taking you to do homework with Mikey. What did you two really do?”

“We ordered something to eat and then he took me to his college to show me his drawings for one of his classes,” I answered easily, giving up the information without holding back, “And then he drove me home.”

“You’ve been lying to me for months,” he stated.

“Yeah,” I admitted without remorse, “I didn’t want to, Dad, but I also can’t spend my entire life locked in this house. You don’t let me make any choices for myself or Micah, so I found a way to be in control of my own life.”

“You’re seventeen, Cyren, you don’t get be in control,” he answered, “And I don’t appreciate that some twenty year old boy came into my house and helped you lie to me. I can’t believe you would act like this, Cyren.”

“Gerard didn’t help me lie,” I replied, shaking my head at my father, “I did it all by myself, Dad. Don’t blame it on him.”

“Mr. Alexander,” Donald spoke up, glancing towards his son, “We didn’t know that any of this was happening. We figured you were unaware of their relationship, but we didn’t know that you were against Gerard and Cyren being friends as well. We know that our son is twenty and Cyren is only seventeen, but we can assure you that Gerard is a good man and if he’s taking their relationship this seriously, he really cares about your daughter.”

“And Micah,” Gerard added, “I’m not some kid that’s hiding behind his parents and lies, Mr. Alexander. I love your daughter and I’m lucky that she loves me too. I know that you don’t like any of this, but at this point, there’s nothing else to be done about it. I’m in Cy’s life and she’s in mine, which means that Micah is part of my life too. That’s all there is to it.”

“No, Gerard, that’s not ‘all there is to it’,” my father rebutted, “You don’t come into my house and expect me to be okay with you dating my daughter. I don’t care if you two think you’re in love, you’re not going to be together and you’re not going to see each other anymore. You might be a ‘good man’, but Cyren is a child and she has a responsibility to her son, not you.”

“You don’t get to make that decision for me,” I told him, frustrated by his thought-process. “I want Gerard in my life, Dad. I want Micah in my life. I don’t have to choose between them. You’re the one making me pick and it’s not fair.”

“You live in my house, Cyren,” he answered, “You expect me to pay for your food, your car, your daycare. You want me to do all these things for you but have no say in how you make decisions? That’s not going to happen. If you want to keep living in my house, you will not see him anymore.”

Gerard’s fingers tightened around my hand. We had decided before we came here that we would stay together despite my father’s objections. I didn’t think that my dad would give us an ultimatum.

“Mr. Alexander, please,” Donna spoke up, petitioning my father for his attention, “I think we’re really vilifying this relationship. We told Gerard that if you didn’t allow for him to be with Cyren that he would need to end it, but I don’t think you understand my son at all. He cares for both of them. He wouldn’t do anything to hurt the relationship that Cyren has with her son.”

“You don’t understand my daughter,” he answered, “She hasn’t show that she’s capable of making good choices. When she’s allowed to control her own decisions, she makes bad ones. Which is how she ended up in this situation in the first place. I love my grandson and my daughter, but I won’t let her repeat her mistakes.”

Donna looked at the baby in my arms. He was the most gorgeous thing I’d ever created and yeah, he’d created a lot of damage in my life and continuously complicated things, but he wasn’t something that I would take back.

“If that baby was my grandson, I would understand,” Donna said, looking across the table to my father, “And it takes a lot for a mother to let her child take on that much responsibility. But as a parent with a grown child, you have to let them make their own mistakes. If they’re smart enough, they won’t repeat them, but that’s up to them.”

“She’s not grown,” Dad answered, looking at Gerard and I, “I’m not going to let her further complicate things. I’m not as ready as you are to let them ruin their lives.”

“How am I ruining my life?” I asked loudly, getting up from the table with Micah. “I’m not going to sit here and let you talk like this, Dad. You know how far I’ve come since Micah was born. You know that I’m trying my hardest to do well for him, but I can’t keep doing this. I want Gerard and I’m going to be with Gerard as long as he wants me. I don’t care if you don’t like it because I don’t have to live here. You and I both know that I was legally emancipated the day I moved to New Jersey with Micah.”

When my father pulled me out of Florida to live with him, I’d spent a lot of time on the internet looking up laws and legal codes. In Florida, I was forced to live with my mother until eighteen, despite the fact that I was a mother now too. But in New Jersey, I had no legal obligation to live with my father if I didn’t want to. There was no age for emancipation.

“You would leave over a boy?” my dad asked, steaming mad, “After everything I’ve done for you and how far you’ve come these last few months, you’d walk out of my house because I won’t let you date a boy you’ve known for three months?”

“I don’t want to,” I said, still standing, “But I can’t live here forever like this. I know you don’t understand, but I love him, Dad, and if you don’t accept it, Micah is going with me when I leave.”
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Update 1/2

It's been a long time since I've updated any of my stories and I'm trying very hard to refocus and get chapters written. Please comment. It would be great to see what you guys think. :)