"You were looking!?" Nathan questioned, putting a long sleeved top on quickly to cover his body. I nodded guiltily.
"Sorry, I'm sorry for looking but still you have some explaining to do!" I shouted at him. "And don't use the excuse of the gangsters cause that was two weeks ago and if your face recovered from cliff that quickly then I'm sure those marks would of gone by now!" Nathan hung his head low. He ran his fingers through his hair, messing it up and sat down on his bed.
"Mums out," he sighed.
"No kidding," I rolled my eyes. What was he playing at?!
"Mums out most the time, thank god! Better her out than in
"Did she do this to you!" I exclaimed.
"Let me tell the story," Nathan said. So I sat beside him. "Okay..." He said. "Damn, I've never said this out loud it's weird,"
"Get to the story," I reminded him. He nodded.
"My dad wasn't a good man, he never did anything for this family. Well family? What family was there... He was an alcoholic and used to beat my mum really badly, he tried to hurt me sometimes but mum would protect me and get hurt instead. It was horrible. Probably the worst and hardest years of my life. Luckily he died when I was 11 of alcohol poisoning. Since then my mum has suffered from depression and she's bipolar... It's not her fault. She's had a bad life and she's very ill," Nathan had a tear in his eye but he wasn't letting it come out so it just sat there glistening. "She used to take medication and she went to the doctors, but she stopped that a couple of years ago and became against doctors and treatment. Now she's become like my dad, alcoholic and abusive. She leaves me alone and says I ruined her life which I technically did, dad never wanted a child and he hated my mum ever since she had me, before he was fine, well I say fine, he was better. I guess me being born kind of triggered everything." Nathan continued saying. I didn't want to interrupt him. "The little things makes her mad and she takes it out on me, sometimes the day after she apologises but other times she tells me I deserved it. I don't love her, I know there's that rule that you have to love your family but I don't and nobody can I tell me that I do. I also know it's not her fault and that she's ill but..." The tear finally rolled down his cheek. "She's horrible and I could never forgive her for all the things she has put me through. Nothing can excuse that," I started crying a little as well. I knew Nathan's life wasn't easy, especially at school but I never knew this. I may of suspected something suspicious about his mum but never did I think she would beat Nathan, sweet Nathan who didn't do wrong. All made sense now, why he always twitched when I hugged him and why he is always shy. He put his hand on his head. He used his other hand to wipe away the tears. I then pulled his sleeve up to his shoulder to take a proper look at the mess his mother caused him. I gasped and cupped my hand over my mouth.
"I'm sorry," Nathan told me. "I don't want to shock you,"
"You shouldn't be sorry," I replied, finally taking my eyes off his arm and looking into his tearful eyes. The music stopped, the record had finished. It then occurred to me.
"Did she break your records as well?" I asked, standing up. I heard a whimper come from Nathan, it was so blindingly obvious, why didn't I see it before. His mum was never around and... His black eye wasn't from thugs. "Was she the gangsters that beat you up?" Nathan nodded. He stood up so that he was at the same level as me. I wanted to hug him but I was worried I'd hurt him.
"I would of told you earlier, especially when you told me about your sister," Nathan said, panicked.
"It's okay," I replied, gently so that he knew I was there for him. I took his hand that was wiping away the tears and held it in my palms. He sniffed and looked at me, with red puffy cheeks.
"But rule no.2?" He asked, pulling a confused face.
"I guess it's not awkward," I told him confidentially. He pulled a smile through the tears making me smile. "Nathan... Why haven't you told anybody about this? Others can help you, teachers, social workers-"
"No." He interrupted me. "You can't tell anybody?"
"I can't just do nothing! I feel guilty! Knowing you're getting hurt at school and at home and just standing there like nothing's wrong! I'll be there with you I promise, but seriously! You have to tell somebody, they could help your mum and help you!" I tried persuading him but it didn't look like it was working.
"Zoe, things are complicated." He sat down. He looked confused, like he was trying to solve a problem. "Promise me you won't tell? I'm not ready..."
I nodded. "I should go... Be careful, don't let her hurt you and try stay out of her way! Do all you can to protect yourself, you have no idea how much this is killing me.."
"You don't think I try," he said. Nathan got up and kissed me goodbye. I didn't want to let him go, I didn't want to leave him here incase he comes in next week with even more injuries. My eyes began to sting.
"Okay," I nodded. "Bye then,"
"Bye," he smiled once more and then closed the door behind me.