Jul 10, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Second Shot, The Senior Year – 16

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“Thank you, Mr. Tellerman, you’re free to go now.” Judge Milton gestured to the exit to the witness stand. Jason found him pleasant enough, but he’d seen first hand what happened when he got mad. “Please don’t discuss your testimony with anyone else.”

“Yes sir.”

Walking out of the courtroom proved harder than walking in.  Instead of the backs of everyone’s head, now he had to face them as he left. Ignoring Jordan and his attorney proved easy enough; he decided to look at his and Peter’s families seated behind the prosecutors. But when they started to smile, he had to fight the urge to grin back.

All joy drained away once he spotted Jordan’s family glaring at him from the back row.  Jordan’s sister especially shot daggers at him with her eyes.

“C’mon, Jason,” Mary whispered in his ear. Her hand between his shoulder blades kept him walking. “They’re not worth your anger.”

Muffled voices came from inside the witness room and Jason found Peter inside talking with the detectives in charge of the case.

All three looked up expectedly.

“And?” Detective Belle asked for the trio.

“Aside from the little ruckus he caused at the bench, Jason did great.”

“Hey.” His frown failed when she winked at him. “That was so not my fault.”

“Actually it wasn’t, but you seem so serious, I was trying to lighten the mood.”

Peter stood up and stood next to Jason, slipping their hands together. “Are we done?”

Mary’s face softened when she smiled. “Yes. I don’t expect either of you will need to testify again. But as a precaution, I can’t let you go back in and hear the rest of the case.”

“Like I’d want to?” Peter mumbled his words, but Jason heard them.

“Will you let us know what’s happening?” Jason knew his parents would be there, but he asked anyway.

“Of course, but I don’t expect closing arguments tomorrow given what I know about the defense case.”

* * *

Stepping into a pair of blue Graydon shorts, Jason wished he hadn’t missed practice for the second day in a row. Running alone sucked and it did nothing to get him ready for the start of the season.  Thankfully they didn’t need to go back.

He grabbed a white tee shirt on the way out and hoped Peter had made it back with dinner. When he reached the kitchen, he found Darryl sitting alone, drinking a protein shake.

“Couldn’t wait for dinner, D?” Jason noticed a second glass and pointed toward it. When Darryl nodded he picked it up and started to drink.

“Trust me, vegetarian food is something I could wait forever for. Who let Peter pick?”

Downing half the contents, Jason put the glass on the counter and wiped his mouth. “Had either you or Dean thought to get something, you could have avoided letting Pete choose.  Now?” he shrugged.

“Noted.” After pointing his glass at Jason, Darryl downed the rest and sat back. “So how did it go?”

“I only got to see and hear my part, but from what my parents said, it isn’t going well for Jordan. Not that his attorney isn’t doing a good job. But even money can’t spin gold out of garbage.”

“Yeah, well your Pop helped level the playing field.”  He started to laugh. “I’ll bet it shriveled up Hank Colmar’s nuts when he learned your family was going to outspend him helping the government.”

“Honestly, I don’t care a fuck about the Colmars. They act like I’m the one who did something wrong.” He stared into the remainder of his drink and nearly dumped it down the drain. “This tastes way worse than anything Pete will get at the vegetarian place.”

“Yeah, but we don’t drink it for taste. Dinner is supposed to taste much better than a protein drink.”

Jason laughed–really laughed–for the first time all day. “I got nothing.”

“I know you don’t. After all these years you ought to know better than to argue with me. I’m always right.”

“Oh?” Jason arched an eyebrow at his friend. “So the time you said we could sneak out of your parents house at 2 a.m. without setting off the alarm, I imagined that we got caught?”

“Hey, how was I supposed to know my dad changed the code that night.”

“Mhmm.” Jason swallowed the last of his drink. “And you said we could use garbage can covers to protect us when we did the Mentos and Diet Coke Project.”

Darryl shook his head and waggled his finger. “Like that was my fault you threw the bottle wrong and it sprayed us both with coke.”

Jason rolled his eyes. “And it’s somehow my fault you told me the sun tan oil you used would be fine when we went the beach.”

Darryl opened his mouth as if to speak, then started to laugh instead.

Jason turned his back and started to rinse his glass. “Exactly.”

“No wait,” Darryl managed between gasps of laughter. “You have to admit, you were an amazing shade of red.”

“Dude, you basted me in oil. I wasn’t red, I was cooked like a rotisserie chicken.”

Darryl started laughing harder. “You were running like a chicken too the next day.”

“Practice was horrible.” Even his tee shirt felt like sand paper. “You almost gave me sun poisoning, you know.”

“I sad I was sorry about a hundred times.” Darryl’s faux look of contrition hadn’t improved in the five years since this happened. “And I did give you a sponge taped to a back scratcher so you could apply lotion to your back.”

“It’s a good thing you’re not a doctor if that’s the best bedside manner you’ve got.” Remembering the stick, Jason started to laugh as well.  Peter chose that moment to come home.

Standing in the doorway with a big bag in his arms, he smiled at the pair. “Did I miss something?”

Before Jason could say, “no”, Darryl said, “Did Jason ever tell you about the time he tried to broil himself in butter?”

Looking more amused by the moment, Peter peered down his nose at Jason. “No, but it sounds hot. Do tell.”

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