I stand there, helpless, trying to fight back my own tears. Aaron doesn't let go of me, or even stop crying. 'I wonder how long he's known.'
I search for something to say to comfort him, but find nothing. Instead, I just run my hand through his bright orange hair.
I hear my dad climbing up the stairs, grunting every few seconds. I'm slightly amused that he has such a struggle getting up here. A few moments later, he's banging on the door. "Let me the hell in!" He yells. I don't think he knows Aaron is in here with me.
"Come on," I whisper quietly, picking up Aaron and walking over to the closet. Even if my dad did manage to get in, I don't think he'd go and look in the closet.
An hour passes. My dad is still banging on the door, cursing and screaming. I'm glad that Peter isn't home to hear this; he's much better off at his friend's house right now.
Inside the closet, I sit in the very corner, in the dark, with Aaron sitting on my lap. He has his face against my shoulder now and he's still crying, but not as hard as he was before.
"Shh," I whisper in his ear. "It'll be okay eventually," I mumble. I doubt that he's ever heard dad scream like this before.
Finally, I hear dad walk away. I'm just about to get up and go back into the main part of my room when he comes back to the door. I'm not sure what he's doing until I hear my doorknob rattle and then fall to the ground with a clink. He unscrewed it.
I set Aaron down in the closet. "Don't come out. Hear me? Do not come out unless I tell you to."
He nods, wiping away the last of his tears. I stand up and walk out to my room, over to the door. I swing it open, causing my dad to stumble forward a bit.
"It's about time you come out, you damn coward," he growls at me. He grabs me by the collar of my shirt, roughly pulling me closer to him until my face is only inches away from his own. "You just can't stand to fight, eh?"
I smell a hint of alcohol on his breath. I just stand there, staring at him as he holds me by the collar. I don't want to fight him; especially when he's drunk.
"I asked you a question!" He yells, letting go of my collar. I step backwards, away from his horrid breath.
Again, I don't answer him. My hopes are that if I don't answer him, he won't get angry. Instead, I stare down at my hands and pick at the calluuses on them. He slaps me, his hand cracking against my left cheek. I don't look up, refusing to respond to his abuse. He hits me again, over and over, trying to get me to respond.
By the fifth slap, I'm just barely fighting back tears from spilling out of my eyes.
"Daddy, stop hitting him!" I hear Aaron yell. I turn around to tell him not to come out, but it's too late. He runs over to dad, jumping slightly to try and reach his wrists. Dad simply holds them up, out of his reach.
"Aaron! Stop," I hiss at him. Pulling him backwards, I stare desperately at him. "Don't do it. Don't. I don't want you to get hurt too," I beg him. My cheek is already swollen and bruised, and it hurts so much that it's giving me a headache.
"Don't hit him, daddy," Aaron begs our father, blubbering from tears. "Please, daddy. Don't do it again."