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“All I’m saying is, she might be getting a tad suspicious, what with you not having a paycheck and all. God David! How many times do I have to explain this to you before you get it through your thick skull? You’re only fifteen years old; if anyone finds out that we’ve been seeing each other, I’ll be the one in jail. I’m the one putting my rep on the line for you. If the cops find out, they’ll label me a pedophile or something. And we both know I’m nothing like those pigs. We both know how much I love you. I never want to lose you. So get your job back damn it! Fix this mess.”
David rolled his eyes as he listened to what Greg was saying to him, partly because he felt like a teenager being scolded by his dad, and partly because he knew Greg was right. As he looked out the passenger window of Greg’s ’92 Chevy, bobbing his head to old 80s tracks on the radio, David couldn’t figure out why their love was so forbidden. ‘In three years I’ll be eighteen’, he thought. ‘What’s three years?’ And what did his mom care if he lost his stupid library job? The only problem was his paycheck from his after school job at the library was covering up his visits with Greg.
“You wanna go back to my place?”
“Greg, what are you talking about? You know the deal has always been that you drop me back off at the library before my mom gets there to pick me up. If she sees me get out of the car with some sketchy looking 47 year old man when I’m supposed to be stacking books, she’ll lock me in my room until they lock her in her grave. Besides, I thought you wanted me to get my job back.”
“That can wait a day. Besides, we have two hours before the library closes. Just tell your mom that the place is short a couple of workers and you’ll have to fill in until closing. Go on. Call her.”
David pulled out his cell phone and dialed the number. It took some convincing but she finally agreed. Just as he hung up the phone, Greg turned onto the highway and made a quick dash for his house. In a playful mood as he knew what was about to happen, Greg began to mock David.
“Ooh Greg, I don’t know if I can come out of my dungeon to play with you today. My mommy won’t let me.”
“Shut up, gorilla man.”
After spending some time alone at Greg’s house, David’s spirits were soaring. Until he suddenly remembered a very important detail pertinent to his survival.
“They closed over an hour ago you idiot. She’s probably standing there waiting right…”, David’s phone rang. “Crap! It’s her.”
Even though his sanity was telling him it was impossible, the nerves in David’s stomach made him think that the ring sounded angrier than usual.
“Hello?” David sounded less than confident as he answered the phone.
“Where the hell are you?! I’m at the library right now. They’re not understaffed. They’ve got five people working in here. And guess what? The manager said that you were fired yesterday. That everyday I drop you off at the library, you get in the car with some guy. I knew something was up when you didn’t get your paycheck this week.”
“Don’t mom me. I want to know where the hell you are. You better get your lying a** to this library within the next ten minutes. And while you’re on your way, you had better think of a damn good explanation cause I’m gonna beat your a** when I see you.”
David turned around with a sick look on his face. Greg smiled a nervous smile and said “Busted.”
“You bet your a** I’m busted. I’ve gotta get over there now. She knows.”
As they drove up to the front doors of the library, David saw his mom’s expression. Her bulging eyes told him that she was beyond livid. The only thing he could do was try to sweet talk her. He jumped out of the car.
“Mom, I know you’re mad but”
“I’m not mad, I’m enraged. I’m furious. And who the hell are you?”
David’s mom turned to Greg. David saw Greg’s stumped expression, and he hoped that Greg had thought of something to say by now.
“This must be some misunderstanding. I’m David’s mentor. I thought you knew. David contacted me through a service called Greg’s Kids. He said he was having some trouble after his older brother moved away to college. The program is just like Big Brothers and Big Sisters. He didn’t tell you?”
“Well no.” Her tone changed completely, into that motherly voice that convinced David that he was about to get off the hook. “David, why didn’t you talk to me? I didn’t know you were struggling. And you certainly didn’t have to get a job just to cover this up.”
“Well mom, I was kind of ashamed that I couldn’t handle it.”
“You don’t know how much worry this takes off of my mind. And thank you Mr. uh…”
“Greg. Just call me Greg. You know, David is an exceptional kid. And I apologize for the confusion. So David, see you next week? Say Thursday?”
“Sure. I’ll be here.” David winked at Greg before he turned to get in his mother’s van. Greg breathed a sigh of relief.