"Mom?" I call out loudly as I run inside the house. I parked my car in haste on the driveway and headed straight for the door. "Dad?"
I notice a small crowd in the kitchen. Mom and dad are there with a mustachioed man in a police uniform. An unpleasant chill runs between my shoulder blades. At least everyone is alive...
"Adam, come here," mom says seriously. The officer gives me a meticulous look.
I go to the kitchen and notice some sheets of paper on the table.
"Is that you in the car?" without any additional explanation, the officer asks and moves one of the printed sheets towards me. It's a picture, like a shot from a surveillance camera. It's my car on it, and the license plate is clearly visible.
"Ye...yes," I stutter and immediately regret it, although I still don't know what the matter is. "I mean..."
A satisfied smile touches the officer's lips, but his eyes stare at me inquisitively. He places another photo on top of it, and another, and another. And there is a series of shots that shows the span while I waited for Logan and company in the car, how they jumped in it, and how we left the gas station.
"And who was with you?" the officer asks.
"I..." My eyes quickly skim over the concerned faces of my parents. "I don't know these people..." I answer. It's not a downright lie. The officer raises an eyebrow. He is not surprised, but rather feigns surprise, mocking me. "They just needed a ride. It was cold, so I picked them up. They asked me to stop at a gas station to go to a store, and then I drove them to a suburb, and that was it," I say flatly, trying to even out my breathing. "And what's the matter?"
The officer grins, "The matter is that you became an accomplice in crime," he replies. "A theft, to be precise."
I swallow nervously but maintain my composure studiously.
"As you can see," I say quietly, choosing my words carefully. "I was sitting in the car and did not steal anything."
The officer chuckles again, "Do you think the drivers waiting for the bank robbers are not partners in crime?"
"I don't..." but that's where my strength ends. I don't know what else to tell him. The silence drags on, and I feel how everyone is drilling me with their eyes.
"Well," the officer says, raking up the printed sheets in an armful. "I talked to your parents, Adam, and you don't look like a thief to me. Yet," He purses his lips. "But next time, choose your fellow travelers more carefully. Otherwise, I'll have to invite you to the police station. For now, I'm going to let you go with a warning. But if new interesting details are revealed, like, for example, you lied," he gives me a knowing look. "It may turn into a record. You know, a criminal one."
The officer gets up and, nodding to my parents, leaves. I remain standing in the intense silence opposite my mother and Daniel.
"You said you were with Logan yesterday," mom says quietly, her head lowered.
But she interrupts me, raising her voice, "You said that you were not in trouble! You said!" she sounds angrier and louder, and somehow desperate. "That I should trust you!"
Her voice rings, and she points her trembling finger at me, tears in her eyes. She staggers, and Daniel gets a hold of her. He gives me a stern look and takes her away. Mom is sobbing uncontrollably. I hide my face in my palms.
I go upstairs. I don't know how to fix this, but...
I go to my parents' bedroom. The door is ajar, and I hear my mother crying and Daniel trying to calm her down. I feel sad, ashamed, and hurt...
"Mary, Mary, calm down, my love. Think about the baby. Don't cry, don't cry, please," Daniel says soothingly.
"I just don't know what else to do," mom is sobbing in response. "I feel like I'm failing... I don't... he never was like this." She cries again.
"Hush, hush," Daniel says softly.
"And this friend of his, Logan... maybe he needs help... if Adam didn't lie about this too," she sobs loudly. "He's dragging Adam down... along with him... Thievery! Can you believe it?!" And she bursts into tears again.
"Shhh," says Daniel. "I don't think Adam took part in it. I think he's telling the truth..." He comforts her, but mom only cries in response. I return to my room.
I collapse onto the bed and look up at the ceiling. There is a tangle of contradictory feelings inside me. I feel sorry for my mother, I'm ashamed. I feel sorry for Logan... but I'm mad at him... How could he do this to me...?
And the feeling I tried to discard all day manifests itself with renewed vigor, making my insides itch.
I bury my face in the pillow and pray for sleep. And in the morning I won't leave my bedroom. I know what awaits me. Cold silence, stone gazes... Happy new-fucking year...
I have enough tormenting feelings already. Too bad that school starts only tomorrow. I don't touch my phone for a couple of hours, but then I feel ashamed.
I'm mad at Logan... and damn it... it's more complicated than that! And I hate I got into this mess. I try to cling to the past. I want to go back in time so bad and that's timorous of me... But I wasn't ready for any of this!
I hide under the blanket, but after a few minutes of self-loathing, I take the phone. No messages.
Something is going on, right? I have no fucking clue what but I feel it and I just can't wrap my head around it.
Maybe it's the next stage of shining? Like, first you grow closer, and then after the peak (sex?), you grow apart? If I come to think of it... Shining didn't disappear after sex, but all went down right after that...
"R u ok?" I type and send it to Logan. But the message is left unread for hours I played away, trying to distract myself, to make time go faster. And when I come back after the shower before going to bed, I see that Logan answered. His message is terse, "I was away. I'm fine."
And I don't know what to make of it. I don't know if he was alone all day or went on another spree with his "friends". It's stinging my chest. I lay on the bed thinking if I should do something else or try to sleep when there's a knock on my door.
"Adam, are you asleep?" asks Daniel's voice. I'm not in the mood for a talk, but I guess it's better to endure the conversation with Daniel than with mom. Though I don't remember any conversation with Daniel that affected something seriously. But maybe... he can put in a good word with mom... I don't think he would advocate for me, but... he told her that he believed me...
"No," clearing my throat I speak up. Daniel comes in. He looks around the room. I sit up on the bed, but Daniel remains standing near the door. He seems uncomfortable. Well, he never gave me a "dad talk" because I never needed one, I guess... I was a good kid, a diligent student... maybe even a mama's boy... Probably now is the time when Daniel thinks he has to step in and we need to have a "man talk"? I do hope not!
"Look, Adam," he starts calmly. "Mom is very, very upset," he clenches his jaw. "And I want to ask you, please, do not worry her anymore. It can be bad for her and the baby."
Daniel's words do not resonate with me. Like, ok, of course, I do not wish any harm to my mom or the baby, but why no one asks me if I need help? Why no one listens to what I have to say? Why does everyone want me to be just a silent good kid?!
"Ok," I say, suppressing my raging emotions. "I'll try my best."
"And..." Daniel rubs his neck and sighs. "Logan can't visit us for now... for the same reason."
I clench my teeth as I might and avert my gaze for a moment to collect myself.
"Ok," I say in an almost not trembling voice.
I'm about to break.
"You can't use your car for now," Daniel exhales loudly. "Give me the car keys, please."
"On the table," I say through gritted teeth, not looking at him. Daniel comes closer to my desk and takes the keys.
"You must be at home right after school."
I don't answer that.
"So... This is it," he mutters and nods as if to himself. "Good night," and he walks out the door. With a sense of accomplishment, I bet. And I'm left with a burning frustration.