"If I asked you... to get me one thing for my birthday... would you get it?"
She looked at me with a puzzled look on her face.
"Depends. Your birthday is coming up. What is it?"
I turned my phone on and started scrolling through my saved pictures.
She had taken selfies with my phone a few days ago. I tapped on one and I was shaking. I was scared to death of losing her again, but I was tired of hiding how I felt about her.
I handed her the phone with shaking hands.
She looked even more puzzled.
"Titus, this is me." She laughed.
I nodded silently.
She quit laughing and looked at me. I could feel my cheeks getting red.
A few moments of silence passed and my heart was beating out of my chest.
"Will you.... go out with me?" I asked and built up the courage to look at her.
She dropped the phone and ran.
I sighed and picked up my phone from the mud.
I did it. I finally fucked up so bad that the one person who actually cared walked out.
I sat at the table and stared blankly at the lake.
About an hour passed and I didn't move a muscle. After all, what was the the point?
I heard leaves crumble but I didn't look behind me.
"Titus..." Skylar asked.
"Yes?" I asked, not turning around to look at her.
She sat next to me but I still didn't move.
"It's okay. To be honest, I wouldn't stay around me either."
"It's not that I don't like you, Titus. Things have happened in the past... I'm scared."
I looked at her.
"It's a long story."
"Skylar, I don't know if you've noticed, but I haven't gotten up for an hour. I'll always have time for you."
"I was thirteen. I was dating this guy... I thought I loved him. All the girls were falling over him, and I considered myself lucky to be with him. One day, we were watching a movie. He put his hand on my back and tried unhooking my bra. I told him to stop, but that just made him mad. He tackled me to the floor..."
She had a hard time getting the words out.
"He punched me and knocked me out. When I woke up, I was lying naked on the floor."
"Skylar, I know it must be hard to trust someone after that, but believe me, I'd never do that. You're a wonderful girl, you have a beautiful mind, and I have never met anybody like you. I'll always be here for you. If I'm lucky enough to date you, Skylar, I will not do anything you're uncomfortable with. You don't want to kiss? That's fine. No holding hands? Great. Dating isn't about sex."
I looked at her.
"I would love to go out with you."
I grinned from ear to ear.
"Can I kiss you?"
"Not yet." She laughed.
I smiled and she held my hand.
She was everything I everything I ever needed.
When I got home that night, there was another car in the driveway, a car I have never seen before. I walked through the door and up the steps to see who was here. Loud yelling erupted.
"YOU'RE THE SAME BITCH YOU ALWAYS HAVE BEEN!" A familiar voice said.
I ran into the room to see dad shouting at mom.
Mom had an on and off relationship with dad for years. Me and Ian were his only sons, while my other brothers and sisters had the same father. He left when Ian was born, and we haven't seen him since.
Dad saw me and smiled.
"Titus, how are you? I haven't seen you in a few years."
"Seven, to be exact."
"It's good to see you again." He smiled.
"I wish I could say the same about you." I growled.
"I forgave you for walking out all of those times. Mom always defended you when me or Ian were feeling down about you not being here. She'd say, 'oh, he wish he could be!' or 'He loves you!' You yelled at the only woman who made me and Ian have hope that you'd come back and everything would be alright, and that is something I can't forgive."
Ian walked out of his room and ran into the living room.
He looked at our dad with a puzzled look on his face.
"Who's he?" Ian asked.
"A deadbeat." I growled.
"Ian?" Dad asked and took a step towards us.
"No. Get out." I said and stepped in front of Ian.
"Let me see my fucking son, Titus." Dad growled.
"Wait..." Ian said and stepped out from behind me.
"You're my dad?"
"Yes." He said.
"Why are you here?"
I glared at dad.
"I wanted to see my family."
"'Family?' Go ahead and tell Ian what you called our mother." I growled.
Dad stayed silent.
Ian looked at dad.
"What did you call mom?"
We both stared at him.
Moments of silence passed.
"I don't know what's worse; calling our mom a bitch or being too much of a coward to own up to your fucking mistakes." I growled.
"You called mom the B-word?" Ian growled.
Our half brothers and sisters walked through the front door to see Me, Ian, and mom staring at dad with hatred in our eyes. They backed out of the doorway, knowing that it wasn't the time to barge in.
"All my life, I waited for you to come back. I wondered what it felt like to have a dad and mom always told me you loved me, and that everything will be okay when you come back. After knowing you for a minute and a half, I never want to see you again. It's funny how that works, huh?" Ian growled and went back to his room.
"Get the fuck out of here." I growled.
"I have a right to be here." Dad glared at me.
"That right left seven years ago along with you."
"I'm not leaving." Dad smirked.
He tried going to Ian's room but I blocked him.
"I SAID GET OUT!" I shouted and punched him in the face.
Dad fell to the floor and my mom looked at me, obviously shocked.
"Don't touch my little brother." I growled and went into our room.
Ian was sitting on his bed, staring at his shoes.
"How are you doing?" I asked and sat next to him.
"Without dad, what is there to look forward to? Whenever I was down, I told myself that everything will get better when dad comes back. That him being here would take everything bad away."
"Life has a funny way of getting better."
"How could this situation be taken well?" Ian asked.
"Think about this. Living a successful life and making dad regret that he hadn't stayed."
"What if he had stayed, though? What would be different?"
"I think it'd be worse. You have to listen to endless fighting. I know for sure you'd be different. I would be different. We'd be raised to think fighting and arguing would solve everything."