Family Affairs, Chapter 12

Carry barely looked up from where he was sitting when Leah walked in. “What do you want?”

She sat down next to him. She waited until he looked at her before she spoke. “I know.”

He turned his head away in disgust. “What do you know?”

“I know what he did to you. I know what it is you don’t want to talk about.”

“How could you…?”

The smile left her face for a few brief moments.

“You mean he…”

“Yeah. I was five. He kept me home from school, told Tyler I had a fever and that mom would be home to take care of me. Mom had to run errands to the store… How old were you?”

“Eight. Tyler got sent away for about two weeks. My brothers were living with their father at the time and mom went to college during the day and worked at night. You never realize how many hours there are on a summer day until he gets his hands on you…” Tears welled up in Carry’s eyes.

“How come you won’t tell anyone?”

“Have you ever told anyone?”

“My mom. It was a few nights before she died. She killed herself because she couldn’t live with the fact that she had ‘let that happen to me.’ She felt so guilty thinking it would happen to Tyler.”

“Did it ever?”

“Tyler and I had two different purposes. Tyler was what he took his frustration out on. I was pleasure… You didn’t answer my question. Why don’t you tell someone?”

“I can’t. You know how it feels. The pain. The guilt. The embarrassment. People already look at me differently. My God, I’m a legend in our small town. Everyone knows about the poor abused little boy. I don’t want anyone to know.”

“You can’t just keep it bottled up inside you. It’s just going to eat away at you.”

“Who do you suppose I tell?”

“You have your mom. She seems like a wonderful woman. Or you have Tyler or Steven.”

“My mom wouldn’t understand. I can’t tell Tyler or Steven. I just couldn’t stand to see them look at me any differently.”

“I’m here.”

“Why do you care about me so much? You don’t even know me.”

“I’ve always cared about people. I don’t like to see them in pain. You don’t have to talk to me. I’ll understand if you don’t.”

“Can I ask you a question?”


“Do you think he’ll… I mean, if he did, who would he…”

“I try not to think about it. I heard you had been taken, but I didn’t know Tyler had been taken too. When I woke up in the car, I thought that was why he wanted me.”

“If he takes me, I’m not going to fight him.”

“You can’t do that. You have to fight him. You’re not just going to give up.”

“Tyler cares about you.”

“He cares about you too.”

“You’re pregnant. I’m not going to let him get a hold of you.”

“I can take care of myself.”

“What about the baby? If he tries to take you out of this room and you fight, what’s to stop him from hitting you in the stomach? Or what if I put up a fight and he decides that it’d be easier to take you? Are you prepared to let your unborn child die?”

For once, Leah could find no response.

“Then you see my point.”

Tyler knocked on the door, interrupting their conversation. He poked his head into the bathroom. “He’s coming down here you might want to…”

“Carry, get your ass out here.” Robert’s voice came from somewhere behind Tyler.

Carry stood up. “Be discreet. Hold this door shut. Don’t let Leah out until dad shuts the door. If you want her to be safe, do it.” Carry whispered to Tyler.

Carry walked past Tyler. He closed the door behind him and held it shut. He could feel Leah pulling on it, trying to open it. Tyler watched as Carry walked out the door shutting it behind him. He then let Leah open the door.

The door flew open. She ran to the main door and started beating on it. “Why’d you do that?”

“Carry asked me too. He said it was for your safety.”

Leah just looked at the main door after Carry.

“What’d he say to you?” Tyler asked.

Steven looked over at them. He too was interested in what Carry had said.

“I can’t tell either of you. It’s a secret that should be held between us.”

Both Tyler and Steven were curious, but they respected what Leah had said and dropped the subject.

Steven dug out the candy bar he had put under the bed. “You want some?” He offered it to Leah and Tyler.

“No thanks.” Tyler said.

“Just a piece.” Leah replied.

They all sat on the bed staring at the door. Tyler and Steven just sat there in silence. Leah whispered prayers while grasping the thin gold cross around her neck. She took the chocolate and munched on it. Her eyes never left the door.

They heard a commotion downstairs. “Is he making a run for it?” Steven asked.

“No.” Leah stated.

No one questioned her decision.

Soon everything went quiet. They waited for three hours before Carry and Robert reappeared at the door. Carry’s hair looked disheveled and he was sweaty. He held four sandwiches and four bottles of water in his hands. Once he stepped in the room Robert closed the door behind him.

Carry set the tray down and walked to the bathroom. They lost their appetite when they heard him retching. When it was quiet Leah went into the bathroom. Carry sat next to the toilet quietly sobbing. Leah sat down and wrapped her arms around him. He buried his face into her and sobbed harder.

“He… We went into… I mean the bedroom… And…” Carry started, but couldn’t finish what he so desperately wanted, needed to get off his chest.

“I know. You don’t have to talk unless you want to.”

“I just couldn’t see him doing this to you. You’re so nice and…”

“Shh… I didn’t tell the guys anything.”


“I’m not going to tell them about this either.”

He forced a smile. “So what do I tell them?”

“Tell them that he brought you down to make lunch because he didn’t trust Tyler and you tried to run.”

“I feel so dirty right now.”

“There are some towels hanging there. There’s also some soap on top of the sink. You can take a shower. Tell them you spilt something on you.”

“Thanks Leah.”

“No problem. I’ll go tell the guys that you’re going to take a shower.” Leah left the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

He could hear her tell the guys exactly what she said she was going to say. He ran the water. He washed over and over again, but he never felt any cleaner. When he finally stepped out of the shower, he realized that he had rubbed his skin raw. He knew there’d be questions. Maybe he’d answer them, maybe he wouldn’t. He dressed, but hesitated before stepping into the room. He looked at himself in the mirror. He looked like shit. His arms and hands were red from the water and the scrubbing. Maybe they’d figure it out on their own. It’d be a relief. He finally worked up the courage to step out into the room.

“Jesus Care, what’d you do? You’re all red. Are you allergic to the soap.” Tyler asked. Tyler walked over to Carry and started looking at his arms.

“I don’t know. Maybe.” Carry avoided Tyler’s eyes.

“If we can take showers, I’m next. It’ll help me relax.” Steven was glad for the relief. He walked over to the bathroom and turned the water on. He couldn’t believe how hot it was when he stuck his hand under there. “Was the water that hot when you were in there?” Steven raised his now lobster red fingers up for Tyler to see.

Tyler was still studying Carry’s arm when he looked up to see Steven’s hand.

Steven turned the water down and closed the door.

Tyler just kept looking at Carry’s arm. “You want to tell me what happened? Why the hell you’re scrubbing your skin raw with scolding hot…” Tyler stopped himself. It finally dawned on him. “Carry, did he…”

Carry looked over at Leah, “I don’t want to talk about it.” Carry interrupted.

“Why didn’t you say something? I could have protected you.”

“If it wasn’t me, then it would have been Leah. I couldn’t let that happen to her. You care about her so much.”

“I care about you too. If I would have known…”