Consciousness slowly returns. My first realization is that I’m drooling. Then I realize my head is resting on someone’s shoulder. Then I realize it’s Ash. I sit up and wipe the corner of my mouth. Oh, there’s water. I grab the glass and drink it down, which is when I realize I’m in my Dad’s room.
My brows furrow in concentration as I try to remember what happened and why I’m here sleeping next to Ash. Not that I mind, but I think it would be harder to explain then why Petey thinks I’m his girlfriend. Petey!
The events leading up to my confrontation with Petey suddenly click in my brain. I look at Ash. His shirt is splattered with blood. I suddenly feel nauseous. Pulling my legs up, I wrap my arms around them to clasp them to my chest. Ash is obviously fine, but... Movement by the door catches my eye.
Dad smiles at me. “How are you feeling?” He sits on the edge of the bed facing me.
“Sick.” My stomach is doing flip flops and I don’t know if I’m really sick or if it’s just mental.
Dad reaches out and touches my head, brushing back my hair. “A head wound can do that, but you’ve healed well.” My hand goes up to my head. There’s a bandage there.
“Morgan?” Ash mumbles as he rolls over.
“Good morning Sleeping Beauty.” I see my Dad grin wickedly at Ash, who gives him a quick glare before sitting up. He looks at me. I look down. “Are you okay?”
“I guess,” I shrug and gesture at his shirt. “Are you?”
He looks at his shirt as if he hadn’t noticed the blood on it before. “Oh, I’m fine.” There’s something in his tone that I can't figure out.
“And Petey?” I’m afraid to ask, but I have to. I remember the way Ash’s face looked right before I blacked out.
“If you mean that blond curly headed punk,” his voice is so venomous I shrink back, “who hit you with a monkey wrench and called you…” Dad places a hand on Ash’s shoulder interrupting his tirade.
“Pete Jr. won’t be bothering you for a while.” Dad’s voice is under tight control. Judging by the repressed anger I can guess what happened to Petey. I place my forehead on my knees and feel the tears begin to roll down my cheeks. My actions have yet again caused someone to be harmed.
I’m not sure how long I stay like that. I can feel Dad and Ash watching me. Their emotions swirl around me. Ash’s are more conflicting than my Dad’s. Of course they would be, he just found out I had a boyfriend. Only I don’t. Petey’s delusional. But why? Why?
Then I remember. “It’s all my fault.” I blurt out. I reach for their hands. Dad takes mine immediately but Ash is more hesitant.
“What are you talking about, Morgan?”
I look at my Dad. “Petey thinking I’m his girlfriend.” I immediately turn to Ash, feeling him pull away, “which I’m not.” I blink back tears. “I was thirteen. Grandma B and Mom were out shopping so I was home alone. Petey was mowing the lawn for Grandma B when I heard him scream. I ran out. He’d gotten himself hurt, so I helped him into the house to bandage him up. I cleaned and bandaged his wound, I think I actually healed it a little bit, and then," and here's where I was stupid. "Then I served him milk with warm cookies. I should never have brought out the cookies.”
“Cookies? What do cookies have to do with it?” Ash obviously doesn’t understand. But he doesn’t know Grandma B.
I turn to Dad, “You understand right?” He nods. He knows that baking is how my Grandmother shows her emotions. She said never said I love you to me until after Mom died. “When I let Petey back out to finish mowing he stopped on the porch. He turned to me and asks me to be his girlfriend.” I shudder at the memory. “He had this creepy look in his eyes and I was afraid to say no, so I told him.” I squeeze my eyes shut trying to stop the tears, “when the time is right.”
It had seemed like such the perfect answer at the time. It was so ambiguous, neither yes nor no. But it had turned out to be worse than maybe because, I forced myself to voice this, “Apparently at some point he decided the time was right but didn’t bother asking me.”