"I'm in here, Mum," his voice muffled, as he called from the kitchen.
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Pamela smiled to herself, and opened the door to the living room.
Unusual. The lights and the TV were off. She stood and gazed around the room, squinting in the half light filtering in through the kitchen door. Nothing seemed to be broken.
"Did the TV break, Hun?"
"No, Mum. TV's fine." He added something, in tones too low for Pamela to hear.
He's talking to Clare? She shrugged, and continued on through, picking up a stray glass which had been left on the coffee table, on her way.
"What did-" Pamela screamed, dropping the glass.
The smash echoed around the linoed room, the contents pooling on the floor around her feet.
The room froze.
Ethan's hand stopped mid way to the cup he was about to stir. Mikey had turned in his seat, his back now to the boy.
He was the first to break the silence."You must be Ethan's Mom."
"Aaaargh!" she cried, lunging, and grabbing for the first heavy object she could lay her hands on, an unopened tin of beans which hand been on the kitchen work top. "Get away from him! Who are hell are you? Get out of my house!!"
"Mum, stop it!" He grabbed her arm, and would have been surprised at the strength with which it resisted had circumstances been different.
"Ms. Reynolds, please. Hey!"
Blows rained down on him, whilst Ethan tried desperately to restain his mother, pleading with her to stop over Mikey's protestations and her own hysterical screeching.
"Leave my Son alone! You pervert!"
Oh God, she's going to kill me! It's the end Mikey. Death by beans and wrath of Mom.
Oh God, oh God. Why won't she stop? Mum, you're hurting me.
Oh, God help me get him out!Please let Ethan be ok. I can't believe I let this happen. Oh God please!
Blood, warm and sticky, gushed from Mikey's nose, the intial jet soaking Pamela's work shirt, and dripping to the floor to mingle with the contents of the broken glass.
"Fuck! That hurt!"
They exchanged confused glances, then all eyes were drawn to the shirt.
Mikey, holding his pouring nose, chuckled, "Quite a left you got there."
"Hah!" It was more a nervous outburst than a display of actual amusement. She'd broken his nose.
Her mothering side over coming the instinctive rage momentarily, she crossed to the sink, drenched the nearest tea towel in cold water. She handed it to Mikey.
"Don't thank me. I haven't finished yet. What are you doing with my son?"
"Nubbig," he said form behind the cloth. "Sorry 'bout your shirt."
"Mum! Don't you know who this is?"
She put her hand on her hip, waiting for the explanation of what this strange man could posibly have to do in her house.
"Mum, this is Mikey Mack!"
Blankness. "What? That's supposed to mean something?"
Ethan sighed, "Mum, don't you ever listen to me?" He stomped off, clomping up the stairs. Pamela didn't take her eyes from the man. Now that she had the time to look, something was tugging at the edge of her memory. It was vague, hazy...
Ethan stormed back into the kitchen, and thrust the video into her hand.
It was one of Ethan's favourites, although she'd never watched it. Anything with the title 'Tuxedo Jam' seemed a little far out for her viewing tastes. The cover showed a man, curiously not wearing a tux. He was surrounded by images of mushroom clouds, and fast cars, and the caption below all the hubbub read 'He's on his way to the cleaners, They're along for the ride!'. She shook her head at the ridiculousness, and flipped the box, wondering what this had to do with anything. 'Mikey Mack stars as ...'
Pamela's head snapped up. She eyeballed Mikey, and then the front cover again. The man in the picture had darker hair, and not to mention more of it, but, they had the same eyes. The rest of the stranger's face being obscured as it was, it was hard to tell anything else. He extended his free hand.
But, that didn't make any sense. Why would...Pamela sat in the chair opposite Mikey, ignoring, or possibly not even noticing, his gesture, too drained now to stand, let alone shake hands.
"Why are you in my house? Alone, with my son?"
Mikey pointed to the panting boy, motioning him to take up the tale.
"I invited him, Mum." She was trying to take it in, he could see that much. "Mike, that is, Mr. Mack came over from America for a little break. He came to see me."
"What? Why you? I don't...Ethan," her confusion giving way to sternness. "I not buying this."
"It's fine, Mum. Me and Mikey have been chatting together, online."
She turned a striken face to Mikey. It seemed to hurt her head, as she tried to articulate her unease. "You...chatted with my...Son? You came to visit...after meeting him...on the internet?"
Michel's stomach lurched as the realisation of what she was implying became clear. "Oh, god no. Nothing like that, Ms. Reynolds." His vision had become fuzzy, and he noted vaguely that his gestures were becoming slightly too animated.
Shit, Mike. You idiot. Oh, fuck. Not like this.
"You sick...," her voice was getting loud again. "What? Not enough obliging young boys in Hollywood for you? That you have to target my son?"
Mikey stood, his temper getting overcoming his pain, "Look, Lady. I targeted no one, for nothin'. We chatted. Not a crime. I was due a vacation, that's all. And, I happen to like your Son."
Wrong choice of words, Mike!
But, the damage was done, the idea formed. It was too late.
"What the- That's exactly what I'm talking about! Put yourself in my shoes, you arrogant self absorbed Bastard. You come home, expecting to find your child with the baby sitter. Instead what you find is a strange man, who just happens to live in the movies, and find out that he's having an online relationship with your son! How would you react?"
"Lady, my Son is fucking dead!"
It was her turn to stand, more in an effort to not let the revelation get in the way of her anger, than anything else.
"My name is not Lady!"
"I was trying to be polite. 'Miss' is a little to formal for my upbringing. What would you prefer I called you? Paranoid?"
Another crack echoed around the room, silencing them both more than the actual slap.
She looked at her throbbing hand, stunned. Mikey stroked his cheek, scratchy five o'clock stubble making his fingers tingle.
"Her name's Pamela," said Ethan quietly, from his crouching position on the floor. Whilst the two grown ups had been verbally cutting each other down, he'd busied himself with avoiding the conflict, and concentrating on something constructive. He'd already sept up most of the glass, and was by now soaking up the cloudy red puddle from the bumpily laid linoleum. He'd heard the kids in his class talk about their parents fighting, could even trust in the probability that it went on, but he'd never experienced a room charged with so much negativity. It scared him to the point where he could even be glad that his father had left when he'd been so young.
"Pamela," Mikey began. "Ethan, I'm truly sorry. To both of you."
She wasn't listening to him now, instead advancing on Ethan.
"Up. In the other room."
Ethan obeyed, head bowed. Pamela threw the door closed behind her, the force of which caused it to swing slowly open again. She didn't notice, indicating that Ethan should sit. Mikey peered as much as he dared to, around the door frame.
There was a frightened rabbit, caught in the paralysis of rapidly advancing head lights. Ethan hunched in the chair, trying to make himself as small as possible, Pamela looming over him, finger tense with fury as she pointed it at him.
I've never seen her so mad.
Why isn't she listening to me?
I could maybe understand why she didn't want to listen to Mikey, but I'm her son.
Doesn't that count?
"How could you be so stupid, Ethan? You don't even know that man!"
"I don't want to hear it, Eth. You're supposed to be growing up. How could you let a stranger into our home? There's no telling what he could have done to you?" She closed her eyes tight against the onslaught of images that had forced themselves into her mind.
No. No. No!
I'd die if anything like that happened to you! Why won't you understand that?
Oh, Boy, please understand why I'm angry.
I'm not angry. I'm annoyed, shocked, scared.
Go away. Go away!
"Mum, you read too many newspapers." It was a brave stand. There was just a slight shrillness betraying his chilly exterior. Mikey flinched just a little at hearing his own words used as such a weapon.
He looked pleadingly at the boy, not to make things any worse than they were heading, but Ethan was as oblivious to his intrusion as his Mother was.
"Don't tell me how to be, Ethan. You broke my trust tonight. Which is a point. Where's Clare while all this is going on?"
"I...I gave her the night off."
Mikey drew breath. What trouble he'd caused. The Kid had lied for him. Was that what he'd asked him to do? Christ, he hoped not. "Listen. Pamela-"
"Don't you talk to me, Mr. Movie Star!" she pointed over her shoulder, unable to bare looking at him.
"But, it wasn't Eth-"
"And, don't you say his name! Don't you dare use his name. You don't even know him."
"Your Son isn't to blame here, Ma'am."
"Too damned right," she did whirl around on him this time. "Don't think you're getting off that lightly. I know what your type think you can get away with. What was it," she skirted around the sofa, Mikey jumping back at the speed with which she crossed the room. She jabbed his shoulder, emphasising each syllable, "Spend a little money on him, make out he's your best buddy, get rid of the adult supervision, and then take advantage?"
"No way! I think you need to calm down here. Ma'am." Right as she had to be annoyed at the situation, there was no call to accuse him of rape, worse child rape. "You need some facts, Lady. First off, it was my idea to come to England, as is my perogative. Your son invited me back here, off his own bat. I did not force anything on him. And, I certainly had no friggin' idea he'd done away with the baby sitter!"
Pamela was worn out, she'd not had much fighting practise lately. She opened her mouth to say something, but was cut short by the feint sound of a phone ringing.
All three cocked their heads, trying to locate the noise, each as perplexed as the other, until Mikey remembered his Handibag was still in the kitchen, his mobile in the side pocket. He nodded to the room at large, "'Scuse me while I get that."
"Mikey! You're not at home." She sounded panicky, which was exactly what he needed right now. Not.
"Ma," he tried to keep his voice low. "I told you I was going away."
"You never said where to, Michel. Where have you gone?"
He become aware of a presence just beyond the doorway, shallow, hitching breaths trying not to be heard.
"It's a long story, Ma. I promise I'll call you when I get back."
"Do you really promise, Mikey? I miss you, y'know?"
"I know, Ma. I really promise. I love you, Ma."
He heard her gasp, and smirked a little before he cut off the call.
He reached to put the phone back in its pocket. "I haven't said that to her since Jimmy died," he said, softly, without looking up.
Pamela sidled into view. "I'm sorry, Mr. Mack."
"Mike or Mikey, please."
She motioned for him to resume his seat, picking up where Ethan had left off with the drinks.
"I've sent, Ethan upstairs," she said, solemnly, handing the Mikey the mug of coffee.
"Please, don't be too hard on your boy, Ms. Reynolds."
"It's not easy for anyone growing up, Pamela. Don't make yourself another obstacle for him to face."
She sat again, drawing the chair closer. "I worry about him so much, Mike. He deserves better."
"Just ask him, once in a while, Pam. Ask him, if he wants another video, or his mother's company of an evening."
"Really?" Self-disgust filled her entire being. How was it that this foreigner understood her son better than she did? What gave him such profound insight into their lives?
He hadn't presumed to nod, but was intently watching his coffee swirl as he stired, and stirred it.
"I really miss her. I do. I wish...I wish I could have let her be around more."
"Are you talking about...about your son?"
"Jimmy, yes. The media was all over it.
"My wife and I barely had words for each other, never mind anyone else. Funny, I never meant to blame her, y'know. It just came out that way. And even when I was screaming at her 'Bitch, you went to an interview and got our son killed!' inside I was just screaming at myself 'How could you let that sick fuck take your son?'
"How did I do that, Pam?"
He was crying. Staring into his coffee like it held the secret to life, and all the while tears were staining his jeans. How long had they been acted into silence?
She wasn't sure what to say, so she let him continue.
"I was numb. I'd allowed that insane bastard free access into my child's life, and just...just let him take it."
It's not easy having a good time. Even smiling makes my face ache.- Frank N. Furter.
So, How Cool Is This? Part 28. So, How Cool Is This? Part 27. So, How Cool Is This? Part 25. So, How Cool Is This? Part 24. So, How Cool Is This? Part 23. So, How Cool Is This? Part 22. So, How Cool Is This? Part 21. So, How Cool Is This? Part 20. So, How Cool Is This? Part 18. So, How Cool Is This? Part 17.