BruisesMature

"Hey!" Rose exclaimed happily barging right up to Bradley who was crouched onto the floor, his nose touching the page of a dusty bible.

"Hi" Bradley responded.

Rose had expected more of an input from him.

"What are you doing?" she asked in a sweet voice.

"Reading" Bradley replied.

"This Salmon is lovely..." Came a thin compliment from the table from Stephanie. "Thank you dear, my boys always used to say..." Victoria began 

Turning her wavering interest back to Bradley she asked her next burning question. 

"Why do you read the bible all the time?" 

Bradley was getting rather annoyed, his thin black brows furrowing downwards he muttered "Because, my dad says If I don't read it, I'll go to hell" (An honest answer)

"My brother says the bible's boring and not worth reading" Rose told him, looking over at Quincey on the table. 

"Then your brother's going to go to hell" Bradley responded.

Rose's gut turned cold, her pretty little face turned a shade lighter, her aqua eyes flew open wide in horror at such a dark suggestion. Her heart fluttering she managed to say (after a short silence in which she managed to recover herself) "You're weird" 

Bradley shrugged, as he tried to concentrate on the parable in front of him. Rose however had other ideas seeing as Stanley was at the table getting ready for some "Prank" that Rose wasn't interested in. She decided to lighten up Bradley spirits by jumping on him.

"What are you doing!?" Bradley yelled, alarmed as she tried to tug his ever present scarf from his neck.

"You wear this all the time! Take it off! Or you'll get hot!" She yelled, liking how much of a challenge Bradley was putting up so it wouldn't slide from his neck. This was nearly as fun as wrestling with Stanley.

*

Camden's eyes were still on his food, awaiting the questions that he knew would leak from Oliver's mouth. However what made him look up wasn't a question.

It was a remark he was sure he had misheard.

"What?" Victoria said again, to a smiling Antonio.

"Fuck You" He said clearly smiling.

Camden and Heather looked at each other.

"Did he just say, what I think he said?" Camden asked her.

"They must have a weird name for dinner in Spain" was all Heather could utter.

"Fuck You" Antonio said again, looking around, he then gazed at the food on the plate that Victoria still hadn't served him.

"Can I have a Bit of your ass?" He asked rather innocently.

Victoria's eyes widened in horror, the silence was too much Antonio seemed to shrink into his mask, as his single eye rolled around it's sockets in a nervous jitter.

"Can I have a Bit of your ass?" He repeated pointing at the food.

Stephanie had outright shifted her "Scare Glare" as Camden and Quincey had named it, and it landed right onto Antonio, she looked ready to yell at him as Victoria stood there frozen at Antonio's words. If Oliver hadn't noticed Stanley ducking under the table, Camden fully believed the Spanish man would have been decapitated on the spot.

Stanley's face was red from mirth, still chuckling, the English to Spanish dictionary slipping from his pocket this was solid evidence and the final conformation of what he had done. Stephanie picked it up with a livid face.

"STANLEY MITCHELL...! She boomed.

Quincey excused himself, running for the door however his chuckles could be heard from the kitchen as he pounded the wooden floor of the corridor with his fist, tears of mirth spilling from his cheeks. Even poker-faced Delilah managed a smile, as Stephanie was screaming at Stanley "COMPLETELY UNCALLED FOR...!" While Camden and Heather ducked under the table both giggling like no one business.

When Heather finally found breath to speak she gasped to Camden "Never let me forget this"

"Never" Camden repeated, grinning, to him the goth girl didn't seem so bad despite what Mariam had said about her.

Returning to the surface Quincey had returned to the table, his face redder than a tomato, Stephanie was fuming, her face also red but in anger rather than mirth. Stanley had been forced to return to his room and despite what had been said to her, a chuckling Victoria accepted the elaborate joke with a grin, comforting a still confused and anxious looking Antonio.

"Qué dije? Que no era nada malo verdad?" he babbled in a sort of panic. 

Victoria comforted him and using the Dictionary that Stanley had found, she began to explain all to him.

Rose was still crying in laughter, Bradley was also smiling, in a similar manner to his father, who sat the table as relaxed looking as he could be.

*

The situation had finally died down nearly an hour later. After Victoria's ass had been joked about until the jokes ran old, Stephanie was even cracking a tiny grin at one loud joke from Oliver on the matter.   

Bradley tried to scurry off, when the humour died but Rose caught him in a headlock "Oh no you don't" she mused with a mischievous grin, as she resumed her mission to try and rip his scarf off him.

"Well this is going to be the talk of night" Victoria smiled, as Antonio sat behind her rather rigidly, still red in embarrassment after Victoria explained to him what he had been saying. Something told Camden he wouldn't live it down. "At least he has a valid reason to wear a mask now" Heather commented while barely managing to get her grilled salmon down her neck.

"Yeah, this is all were gonna be talking about for the next couple of days" Camden said.

Oh how very wrong he was.

The merry conversation and atmosphere around the cosy table was shattered with a single high pitched scream, the shards of the scream making everyone flinch. "ROSE!" Quincey roared standing up instantly as his little sister flew at him, crashing into his embrace.  She was crying heavily.

"What's a matter?" he gasped.

Mariam and Delilah rose in their seats to try and view the problem, Oliver was approaching the pair of them.

"T... they scared me" she finally mumbled into his shirt.

"What did?" Oliver asked.

A mounting silence followed this.

"All those bruises" she sobbed as a answer.

Every head found Bradley, who stood their frozen looking red-handed, and panic stricken, Rose has succeeded in her mission of removing the scarf from Bradley. Only she didn't expect to find the purple and blue bruises that covered every part of his pale, thin neck.

The bruises that covered his neck clashed horribly with the rest of his skin, which it made it all the more shocking for everyone. The women in the group gasped, Heather turned green. Quincey's eyes looked ready to pop out his skull.

Camden approached him without even knowing how his feet had moved. As he grew nearer to Bradley he noticed there wasn't just bruises, there were dried cuts and slashes on his neck too, Bits of wool from his scarf were sticking onto the wounds, they had a dull brown colour and looked like they had gotten infected and had festered. 

Bradley's eyes were watering, no doubt having that scarf removed from his neck hurt him a great deal.

Camden leant next the boy and store at him directly in his eyes.

"Who did this to you?" he responded flatly. 

Before Bradley could respond Ian rose at the table, his face as white as his own son's.

"I'M SORRY EVERYONE!" He blurted out tears falling freely down his face as his black eyes found the ground. "I SHOULD HAVE CONFESSED EARLIER, BUT PLEASE... PLEASE DON'T HURT MY BOY! DON'T... DON'T...!

"What are you talking about!?" Stephanie snapped.

Ian responded in a quiet, whimpering voice yet everyone heard him. 

"Bradley's schizophrenic, we've tried to have him sectioned a few times, but..." he sobbed heavily before carrying on. "His too violent, he... he hurts other people all the time and in his rages he harms himself too, these are results he never lets me attend to them". Ian said sadly.

No one could believe what they just heard. Even though Camden was pre aware there was something seriously wrong with Bradley, Ian had not told him directly Bradley was a psychotic child who hurt himself along with others. Camden looked at Bradley again, unable to believe this.

"Is this true?" he asked faintly.

Every eye in the room was directed at the boy. Camden could see a blank sadness in his eyes, for the first time he could see Bradley for the empty, psychotic child he was.

Bradley nodded.

"I'm so sorry" Ian whimpered to everyone in the room. 

Camden felt an fury stir inside of him as he rose. "You promised you'd keep this between us! So I could watch over him!" He hissed at Ian, who sat back down shrinking in Camden's rage.

"YOU KNEW?!" Stephanie shrieked at Camden.

Camden's confidence evaporated on the spot, as Stephanie looked ready to murder someone.

"You're truly in the shit now" came Carl's voice. 

The End

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