Why did I ever agree to this? Here I am staring at myself in the mirror to make sure I look good, all for ‘giving a guy a chance’… Cupid seems alright, but I don’t know about dating him.
“He's here Carter!” Tre called from outside my door. Moments later there was the knock. “Hello, Cupid, how are you tonight?” I continued to hear Tre. He was talking louder than normal so that I could hear.
Of course, Cupid would speak just soft enough that I couldn’t hear him. I didn’t want their conversation to go on too long, so I made my way out to them and grabbed Cupid’s hand. “Okay, see you later. I’ll be hone before midnight.”
Then I closed the door behind us. “You cute when you’re embarrassed, you know that?” I just rolled my eyes at him. “Ready for the date?”
“Sure, let's go.” The restaurant Cupid picked out wasn’t too far away, so we just walked there. We did so in an awkward silence. We would look at each other and then suddenly turn away when we caught one another.
“This has started… better than I thought honestly.” Cupid shared. “I thought you'd not answer the door and leave me outside.”
“I have a wall, but I’m not that cold,” I admitted to him. “I said I'd go, therefore will go at least once.”
He smiled at my comment. “So, there's a chance this will happen again!”
I couldn’t help but grin at his enthusiasm. “Yes Cupid, I could very well go on a second date with you.” He seemed very happy by what I said. “if this turns out good, maybe I’ll plan the next one.”
“That would be amazing!”
Our way to the restaurant went by smoothly. We chatted about school and our classes. It was actually a lot better then I expected it to be. The way we talked, we really clicked together.
That all changed in an instant though. When we got to the restaurant, coming out was one of the guys who I had spent the night at a few times. He was one who loved to dominate me completely, and I immediately shut down when I saw him.
I stopped right in the middle of the parking lot. “We can’t eat here.” My words went out before I could even think of them.
“What, why?” Cupid turned to me. “You can't stop here; we're in the middle of the road. There's even a car coming.”
He went to grab my hand, but I pulled it away. “No.” The car honked moment later, and the guy turned to us. “We have to go.” I turned with the intention to make haste.
“What’s going on Carter?” Cupid tried to pull me back around to look at him. “Talk to me!” He spoke with more aggression this time.
“Is that my little bitch Carter?” The guy's booming voice echoed through my body. “Where do you think you’re going? You still owe me a little something.” He was talking about sex, without a doubt.
Cupid's grip loosened, I pulled my arm away. “Who are you?” he spoke to the man.
“Doesn’t matter who I am, he's a thief!” He pointed at me. “Where the hell's my cell phone and money you little faggot!” He spat at me, though it didn’t go far enough.
“Go away, leave us alone.” Cupid barked at him. He didn’t listen, only continued his March towards us.
I Finally regained control of myself. “Or I'll call the cops and tell them everything!” The look on his face was enough. He looked around and saw a few people with their cell phones out. If he continued and they came, I would tell them everything, and he'd go through endless court time.
He growls and rejoined his group before they drove off, causing more ruckus then they should have. Cupid took me to sit down on a nearby bench before going and grabbing water from the restaurant.
Once I drank all of it. I looked up at him shyly. “Do you want to know what just happened?”
“Well I know what happened, but not what caused it.” Fair enough, he is right. “You stole from him?”
I nodded. “Multiple times actually. He only realized on the last one, I guess.” I chuckled, Cupid didn’t find it funny. “It’s a long story and will probably take the entire date to tell you.”
“I'm listening,” I told him my life before the summer and the start of the school year. When I skimmed over something, he would ask for more details. He would listen to every word I told him. “So the trial is this weekend?”
“Yeah and I’m scared for Cairo.” My body shook, a chill going down my spine. “Does this change anything for us?”
Cupid smiled. “Only that I want your journey from now on to be a better one. One that I’d like to be around for.”
This date wasn’t what I thought it would be at all. It was a million times better. Every time I release that pressure I feel like a zillion bucks. This was one of those times, but it was more like a zillion and one this time.
“That’s my plan.” I had just gone over everyone’s duties for the upcoming semester. Some of the faces on student council were less than satisfied. “There is still some I’m doing, but with everything in my life at the moment I’ve been told to disperse my duties a bit.”
Edea had this grin on her face as I ended the meeting. She came up to me as most of the student council left the room. “You already seem more like yourself. You’ve been really stressed out recently.”
“Everyone says that, but I don’t see it.” I shrug. “Oh well, if I’m doing better now that’s what matters.”
“Indeed!” Edea agreed with me. “Oh, looks like the horndog is approaching.”
Kayde rolled his eyes at her. “Yes, I get it, but I want to make it up to Greyson somehow.”
“You could never speak to him again?” Edea suggested.
I smacked her. “You go make sure Tiz isn’t doing something stupid.” She walked off giving me the finger as she went. “I don’t know how you can make it up to him, sorry.”
“I’d like to set up an all expenses paid date for Skylar and Greyson.” He was being honest at least. “Doubt they will accept it from me though.”
“You want me to take credit for your idea?” I raised an eyebrow.
Kayde shook his head. “Only at the beginning, I’d have a note or something telling them it was me.” I can’t wrap my head around this kid, let alone this idea. “Please Noah, coming from you they would do it.”
“And if they don’t want anything to do with you, I’ve just ruined my relationship with them.” He shrunk back a bit. “I get it; you just want to apologize but going through someone else isn’t going to help their view of you. You got to ask them yourself.”
He lowered his head in defeat. “Yea, I guess you’re right. Could you help me talk to them?”
“Don’t you still have that restraining order in the school?”
“Yeah, which is half the reason I was asking you. There's not much I can do until that is lifted.” He shrugged and started to walk off. “Thanks anyway, Noah.”
“If you need help,” I called to him as he ventured off. “With the planning of the date, just ask. I know the two fairly well.” Kayde had a little grin as he walked off with a little more relief with his step. I was just happy I could give a little help where I could.
“Are you ready?” Mrs. Craven looked over at me.
I nodded. “I think so, not an option not to be.” It’s all or nothing here… and Carter still hasn’t shown up. “When did Carter say he would be here?”
Mr. Craven came around the corner. “Tre and Carter should be here soon. I just got off the phone with them.” Mr. Carter was dressed just like a lawyer, briefcase and all. “He’s very important to our case.”
“I’m going to need him for support too,” I said, mostly to myself.
“Don’t worry; we’ve got your back!” Noah, Aidyn, and Abel came from around the corner. “I hope you don’t mind these two coming. I was scheduled to tutor Abel and Aidyn, my boyfriend, wanted to be here for you.”
Aidyn grinned at me. “We will be here for you the whole time, promise.”
“Thanks, guys; I do really need my brother though.” And like that Tre and Carter came around the corner. “Carter!!”
I bolted to Carter, hugging him. “Sorry for being a little late. We’re here now.” He ruffled my hair. “We got this now.”
“Okay,” the Lawyer came up to the group. “I need Cairo, Mr. and Mrs. Craven, and any witnesses to come with me. The rest of you can go into the courtroom whenever you’re ready.”
I gave them a small wave before going into the side room. The lawyer explained the ‘game plan’ for trial, and told us to remain calm if any curve balls are thrown. “Remember, we have Carter as a witness, which should be more than enough.”
Soon we were called into the courtroom; Carter stayed behind as our ‘secret witness’. It had been a few months since I last seen my father, there he was though. Handcuffed to his seat and wearing prison garb, I didn’t feel safe even with him like that. Carter’s mom was near him, with her lawyer beside her.
I saw Noah, Aidyn, and Abel in the back corner and felt much safer with them. The bailiff caught my attention though, he swore everyone in and handed things to the Judge. “Cairo, could you come here a moment?”
I turned to our Lawyer, who nodded. “Yes, sir.” I came up to the front of his seat.
“Come around.” He waved me around, and I obeyed. He spoke in a hushed voice to me. “Before I hear the grown-ups talk about what’s best for you, why don’t you tell me? Where would you want to call home?”
“With the Cravens, without a doubt,” I spoke without a second thought.
He had a curious look on his face. “Why is that?”
“My big brother, Carter, was kicked out for being gay. Not only do I want to see him still, but I think I may be like him in that way.” I spoke in the same hush tone he did. Making sure no one heard me. This wouldn’t hinder our case; it’s a major part of it. “I do not want to live with Carter’s ‘mom’ without him there.”
“Thank you, Cairo. You may go back to your seat.” I smiled and did as he asked. When I returned to my seat, he addressed the court. “For transparency sake, I asked the young man for his opinion on the question being asked today.”
Dad didn’t look too happy with that. Neither did their lawyer. “Sir, respectfully, he does not have a say in where he lives.”
The judge shook his head. “He may be young, but I always ask the children who walk through my court’s doors this question. It’s not against the laws to ask for their opinion, sir.” He spoke clearly and loudly. There was nothing to argue, only if you wanted to lose.
“I have only a couple of questions, based on what I’ve read on the case and looked into.” He took out a folder and lightly tapped his desk with it. “Mrs. Reynolds, do you have any children?”
“Yes, I do.” She replied, confusion in her voice.
The judge nodded. “And where does he live now?”
She crossed her arms. “Not at home.”
“Uncross your arms, ma’am.” The judge commanded. “He lives in Tre Edwards’ home, does he not?”
“Yes.” She growled.
“Is Tre here today?” The judge asked the courtroom in general.
“Yes, sir.” Our lawyer spoke. “I can go get him if that is what you want.”
“Thank you, please.” Our lawyer went into the room we came out of to fetch Tre. When they came out the Judge gestured for Trey to come up to the witness stand. The Bailiff swore him in. “What is your name?”
“What relevance do you have to this case?”
“I am the legal guardian of Cario’s Step-brother, Carter.”
“Could you tell us, only from what you’ve seen or heard from someone in the court, how Carter came into your custody.” Tre then told the judge everything he could say about Carter's life over the summer. There was stuff I didn’t know and honestly didn’t want to know.
Tre finished up with, “Carter's guardianship was given over to me without so much of a second thought.” The judge looked over at Carter's mom, who refused to make eye contact. “He's been living with me ever since.”
“Thank you, Tre, you may be seated. Anything you'd like you dispute from Tre's testimony, Mrs. Reynolds?” Tre came and sat down beside me. Carter’s mom shook her head and turned to dad; they exchanged some words quietly. “Why was Carter removed from your home, Mr. Reynolds?”
“He didn’t behave; he's ran away from places he's called home more than once.” My father grumbled out. “When are we going to get to state our case? He’s my son and should live where I’d like him to.”
The judge takes a breath. “I ask the questions here Mr. Reynolds, and I am gathering the information I deem necessary for the case. I have read the arguments on both sides, and this is a custody case above all else. Your household once held two growing boys and now holds none.” I could see dad getting angrier as the judge went on. “Why, Mr. Reynolds, would your step-son run away from your home?”
“He didn’t respect the rules of my home.” Not entirely a lie but way too loose in my opinion.
The judge sighed. “What rules did he not respect?”
My father continued to get irritated. “What does it matter?” He shot back.
The judge turned to our side. “If I’m not mistaken, Carter is waiting to be brought out?”
“Yes, sir.” Mr. Craven spoke.
The judge waved for us to bring Carter out. The Lawyer once again goes into the room. Out came him and Carter, who then got sworn in and went to the witness stand. “Carter why were you removed from your mother and step-father’s home.”
“I was no longer welcome in it after they found out I was gay.” He spoke clearly and confidently. Almost like he was saying ‘fuck you’ to the opposition. “I was at my aunt's when Mr. Reynolds first came to their home and invaded.”
“I didn’t hear much of it. He stormed into the house, without knocking, screaming at the top of his lungs. I believe he said something about how being gay is a sin according to the bible.”
The judge nodded. “I believe that is why we see you in your current state, Mr. Reynolds? Alongside another break and entering of the same household.” Dad said nothing. “Thank you, Carter. You may go sit down.”
“Thank you, sir,” Carter replied before crossing the courtroom.
“I think I’m pretty much ready to rule.” The judge cleared his throat. “Cairo, could you please stand for me.” I joined Mr. and Mrs. Craven at the stand. “Could you repeat what you told me at the beginning of this case?”
I looked around the courtroom. First to my father, who had a face red in anger. Then to Carter who had an encouraging smile to show me. I turned around to see Noah, Aidyn and Abel. Each of them offered me a nod of approval.
I finished my look around by looking at the judge straight in the eyes. “I have developing feelings for another boy.”
My father immediately started swearing at Carter. “You’ve god damn corrupted my son you faggot! I’ll fucking kill you, Carter!”
“Get this man out of my courtroom!” The judge spoke over him to the security. My father continued screaming on his way out of the courtroom. “I cannot allow a child to enter a household with that environment. Mr. and Mrs. Craven will continue their fostering of Cairo, for now.
“This session is over, with that as my ruling. The possibility for the adoption of Cairo will remain open to being looked at another day.” The judge nodded. “I think we’ve had enough anxiety for one day. Dismissed.” And he got up and to leave, taking his files with him.
Carter’s mother said nothing to anyone. She just left immediately, her lawyer in tow. The judge took note of this before going back into his chambers.
Noah came up to me with a very proud expression on his face. “You did it, Cairo! I’m so happy for you.”
Aidyn and Abel were just behind him. “Could I talk to Abel for a moment?”
Everyone around us looked at me, and then started heading out of the courtroom. “What did you want to talk to me about?” Abel questioned.
“When I said I had feelings for another boy…” I started but couldn’t finish.
Abel grinned from ear to ear. “I feel the same way about you, Cairo.” He held out his hand and took in instantly. We walked out of the courtroom holding hands without anyone batting an eye.
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