The Long Road Back Ch. 09bysexygirl76©
Hawk's POV (Six months later)
I was restless. Crystal had taken John to the park with her mother. Something was wrong but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. I thought about Crystal and I's relationship. The last six months had been pure heaven as far as I was concerned.
I walked into the bedroom and pulled open my nightstand drawer. Reaching down I picked up a ring box. I opened it, looking at the diamond and amethyst engagement ring. I wanted Crystal to be my wife. But no the time wasn't right yet. I put the ring back in the drawer.
Sitting down on the bed, I looked around the room, trying to figure out what was wrong. Why I was so restless? What was wrong with Crystal and I's relationship? I looked down at the bed; no it definitely wasn't the sex. I smiled as I thought about the way she had clawed at me this morning as we made love. How I had taught her so much over the past six months. How I had taught her to take me anally, or to take me into her mouth. She had caught on quick on both counts.
I moved out of the bedroom. Walking down the hall I stopped at John's room. He had actually cleaned it up before they left today. I had to admit to myself I was still having trouble adjusting to fatherhood but I figured I had handled it well up to this point. John seemed to accept me as his father no problem.
I closed his door, and then made my way back to the living room. It wasn't John that was making me so restless. Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I knew what was wrong, I knew what was wrong with Crystal and I's relationship and I knew who I had to talk to.
Grabbing my keys off the coffee table I went out and fired up my bike. If anyone could answer my questions, he could.
15 minutes later I pulled my bike into Jeff and JoAnne's driveway. Cutting the engine I looked at the house as I took off my helmet. Now that I was here I wasn't sure this was such a good idea. But Jeff had known Crystal since she was a kid. If he couldn't help me, who could?
Slowly I moved off the bike and towards the front door. After I rang the doorbell I waited anxiously for someone to answer it. I was finally about to go back to my bike when the door opened. Jeff stood there in a pair of swim trunks with a towel around his shoulders. "I thought I heard the doorbell. Come on in."
I moved into the house. "I...Um....I'm sorry to interrupt. I was kind of hoping we could talk."
The older man scrutinized me for a minute. Then he smiled. "Sure no problem, I was just gonna take a dip in the pool. Come on into the dining room I'll get us some tea."
I followed him into the dining room. I watched him throw his towel on the back of a chair then move into the kitchen. I pulled out a chair, quickly sitting down. I was looking down at the table when Jeff came back.
"So what did you want to talk about?" He sat down across from me. From the look on his face somehow I think he already knew.
I looked at my glass but didn't touch it. Instead I looked over at Jeff. "You've known Crystal and her family for a long time haven't you?"
Jeff looked at me as if he was assessing me for a minute. It made me very uncomfortable. "Yes, I've known the family for a long time. My wife Marlene and I used to live next door. But we moved to Bakersfield when Crystal was five. I don't really know the grown up Crystal any better then you do."
"Oh." I hung my head. This was going to be harder then I thought. Reaching out, I picked up my glass. Taking a small sip I set it back on the table. I wondered if I should go over and talk to Robert. I mean he was her brother and all. Then I sighed. No Robert wouldn't be able to help me either.
I took a deep breath then looked at Jeff again. "When you were married to your first wife or even now with JoAnne, were there ever moments when she would just stare off into space, almost as if she was in another place or another time?" I asked trying a different approach.
This time Jeff was quiet for a good five minutes before he spoke again. "No, can't say I have ever been in that situation."
"Oh." I looked down at the table. I didn't know how else to ask my questions. Jeff seemed to sense something because he reached over, squeezing my hand. I looked at him in shock for a moment until I realized he meant it in a fatherly way.
Jeff smiled in a fatherly way, "trouble in paradise?"
I looked at him. "Yes...No...I don't know..." I looked down at the table again. "It's just that sometimes life is great. We laugh, joke, tell stories about our childhood, we have a great time."
"But...There are other times, usually at night after Crystal puts John to bed or while she is putting him to bed, that she gets this far off look in her eyes. It's like she is lost in another place or another time and no matter what I do I can't reach her. I feel as if she is pulling away from me. I don't want to lose her again Jeff, but I feel like I am." I looked at the other man pleadingly.
Jeff nodded in understanding. "Crystal has been through a hard life. Her parents divorcing foster care, the trouble with Danny..."
"I know and I am trying to give her all the time she needs to come to grips with things. But I feel like she is pulling further and further away from me and I don't know what to do about it." I took another sip of my tea.
"Have you tried talking to Crystal about it?"
I laughed sourly. "Yea, she looks at me like I've lost my mind. I don't think she even realizes she's doing it."
Jeff looked out the patio door towards the pool. He seemed to have forgotten I was there for the moment. When he spoke again it was in a low voice. So low I had to strain to hear him. "Sometimes, when a person goes through some really hard times, they will withdraw into themselves. They use it as a defense mechanism to keep themselves from getting hurt." Jeff looked at me. "You know what I mean?"
I nodded; I knew exactly what he meant. Suddenly my mind went 15 years into the past.
I was 12 years old again. I was sitting on the steps in front of my house. Mom and dad were arguing again. Something about mom using the credit card and running up the bill so high that dad couldn't afford to pay it. I heard the yelling and wanted to be somewhere else, some time else.
Suddenly I heard mom scream. Jumping up, I ran into the house. Mom was lying on the floor, her nose bleeding. "Mamma," I cried running over to her.
"Leave her alone Joshua, she got what she deserved." I heard my dad yell at me as he pulled me away from my mother.
"You creep." I screamed pulling out of his grip. I turned on him and started hitting him wherever I could reach. "Don't hit mom. Don't hit Suzanne, if you wanna hit someone hit me." I screamed as I continued beating on him with my small fists. "Hit me."
He did, beating on me until I could barely move. My eye was swollen shut and my lip had cuts on it where I had bit it to keep from crying out. Finally mom was able to pull him off of me and I lay there, not moving, afraid to move.
Mom cleaned my cuts, telling me that she would take care of me. That everything would be okay. Somehow I didn't believe her.
Over the next four years, my dad beat on me often. He never touched mom or Suzanne again for which I was grateful. I knew I could handle whatever her dished out as long as he left them alone.
Whenever he would get mad at one of them he would beat on me. After the first 3 or 4 times, I didn't feel the pain anymore. I was lost in my own world. I was a bird flying away from it all."
I was pulled back to the present by Jeff's voice and him shaking my arm. I turned around to see him standing by my chair. "Hawk, are you okay?" He asked his voice full of worry.
I smiled sourly. "Yea, I was just remembering how my dad used to beat me when I was a kid and how I used to imagine I was a bird flying away so I didn't feel the pain." I laughed. "The old bastard died last year in a bar fight, I guess he found someone who was actually bigger then he was."
Jeff moved back over to his chair. "So maybe it's not that Crystal is purposely trying to pull away from you. It's more that she has that defense mechanism in place and doesn't realize it."
I nodded as I drank more of my tea. What Jeff said made sense. "What do I do?" I asked looking at him.
Jeff looked at me, a slight smile on his face. "There is only one thing you can do."
"Love her. Let her know that she isn't alone. That she can lean on you. That you're not going to hurt her like Danny did, or leave her like her father did." He reached out and put his hand on my shoulder. "In time I think she will come back to you."
I looked down at my glass. "I want to marry her."
Jeff chuckled. "Have you told her yet?"
I shook my head. "No. It just hasn't seemed like the right time. Every time I think it is the right time, I...I..."
"You get cold feet?"
Jeff just nodded, "That's understandable. It took me almost a year to get up the courage to ask JoAnne to marry me."
I looked over at the older man, "really?"
Jeff nodded. "It's natural to be afraid of commitment."
I bristled. "It has nothing to do with being afraid of commitment. I love Crystal. I love John..."
"But?" Jeff prodded gently.
The answer to that question brought up two questions. I wasn't sure which one to ask first. Finally the words just slipped out of my mouth. "Do you think I'm a good father?"
Jeff looked at me as if he had never seen me before. "What?"
"Do you think I'm a good father?"
He must have seen how much his answer meant to me because he was quiet for a moment. Then his words weren't exactly what I had been expecting. "Do you love him? Does he seem to accept you as his father? Do you hit him? Do you spend time with him?"
I looked at Jeff for a minute, and then the words just spilled out quickly. "Yes. Yes. No. Yes."
Jeff smiled. "Then you are a good father. As long as you love him, he accepts you, you don't hit him and you spend time with him then there is nothing else you can do."
I nodded. That made sense. Then the other burning question seemed to want to be asked. "Do you think I'm good enough for Crystal?"
This question seemed to shock Jeff even more then my first one did. "Do I think you are good enough?" He scratched his head. "Hawk, that isn't for me to decide."
I clenched my fist on the table. "I know it's not. But sometimes, I feel like I'm not good enough for her, like she deserves someone better. I mean look what that bastard Danny put her through."
Jeff nodded. "Hawk, it isn't up to me or JoAnne or Robert or even Thomas to decide if you are good enough for Crystal or if she is good enough for you. Only you and Crystal can answer that question." He looked at me seriously. "Do you think Crystal is good enough for you?"
I forced a laugh. "Is Crystal good enough for me? She is too good for me. I thank god everyday that I have her in my life."
Again he squeezed my shoulder then asked his straightforward question. "Do you love Crystal?"
I looked at him with tears in my eyes. "More then life itself."
"Does she love you?"
I didn't know how to answer that. I thought she loved me, she told me all the time that she loved me. But did she really? "How do you know if somebody really loves you?"
Jeff took his hand off my shoulder, sitting back in his chair, he scrutinized me. "Well I guess it is different for everybody. I know JoAnne loves me because she tells me. Sometimes she will do something special for me, like cook a special dinner or pick out a particular movie on TV that she knows I like. It can be little things, things that no one else does or thinks about."
I nodded trying to think of everything Crystal did for me. "When I come home from work she greets me with a kiss. When I go into take my shower every night, my bathrobe is laying on the bed for me with the sheet turned down."
I looked at Jeff with the question burning in my eyes. "Yes Hawk that can be ways that someone can show you they love you."
"Well if that is the case, then I guess I am pretty sure that Crystal loves me." I smiled.
"That's all that matters then. Whether you are good enough for her or she is good enough for you is a moot point."
Just then we heard the front door open and women's voices. "Hey Jeff, where are you?"
Jeff leaned close, whispering quickly. "Talk to Crystal. Explain your fears. See how she reacts."
I nodded as JoAnne, Crystal and John came into the room. "There you are." JoAnne said walking around the table to kiss Jeff on the cheek.
I turned around in the chair. Crystal was standing there looking at her mother and Jeff with a wistful look on her face.
John noticed me first. "Daddy..." He cried rushing into my arms. I caught him in a huge hug as I looked at Crystal. I knew the moment she realized I was there. Her eyes lit up and she had a beautiful smile on her face.
"Hey honey. I didn't know you were here." She walked over, dropping a quick kiss on my lips. "How long have you been here?"
"For a while, I was talking to Jeff."
She looked concerned. "Is everything okay?"
I looked over at Jeff who smiled, then looked back to Crystal. Holding John tight in my arms, I reached out with my free hand and grasped hers. "I think it will be." She just smiled that beautiful smile at me again. "Come on, let's go home."
Jeff drove us home, promising that the motorcycle would be fine until tomorrow when I could come pick it up. I sat in the backseat with Crystal and John my arm resting against the back of the seat. "Did you guys have fun?" I asked.
John looked up at me, and then said through a yawn. "Yea it was great."
I smiled; ruffling his hair then looked at Crystal. She was looking at me, but I knew she didn't see me. She was off in her own world again. At first this bothered me, and then I thought about what Jeff had said and relaxed. I would talk to Crystal tonight. Everything would be okay.
Later that night, Crystal and I were cuddled on the couch watching an old movie on TV. After John had fallen asleep in his spaghetti we decided to put him to bed. That was two hours ago. I was still trying to figure out how to bring up the subject that had me worried when Crystal suddenly put her arms around me. "Hawk, do you love me?" She asked quietly against my chest.
I was stunned for a minute. Lifting her chin I looked into her eyes. "Yes. I love you very much. Why would you ask that?"
She tried to pull her face away but I just held on. Not hard but enough to keep her from pulling away. "I don't know...I..." She closed her eyes, and then opened them. "It's just I'm scared. I mean I thought Danny loved me and look what he did to me."
Leaning down I kissed her softly, then took her in my arms. "Crystal. I would never hurt you like that. You and John are my whole life." I felt her relax in my arms.
I held her close. "Really, I don't know what I would do if I didn't have you in my life. I think about Danny and I want to bring him back to life so I can kill him with my own hands."
Crystal laughed against my chest. "Oh Hawk. I love you so much." She kissed me. "Was there something you wanted to talk to me about? You have been quiet since we left mom's house."
Now that she had brought the subject up, I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to begin. Suddenly Jeff's words flowed through my mind. 'Talk to Crystal, tell her your fears, see how she reacts.'
I slowly moved her out of my arms so we were sitting next to each other. She looked as if she wanted to say something but I put my finger to her lips. "I need to talk to you and I need you to listen to me. Can you do that?"
She looked at me and nodded her face was full of curiosity.
Closing my eyes, I started to talk. I told Crystal about my past. How dad had beat on me until I was 16. How I dropped out of high school and ran away from home to get away from him. How I lived on the streets for a year never knowing where my next meal was coming from or where I was gonna sleep at night. I laughed sourly. "I learned more about the streets, drugs and sex that year then any sixteen year old should ever know."
She looked at me, her eyes were wide and her mouth was open partially but she didn't say a word.
I looked at her expecting to see scorn or disgust. Instead I saw pity which was even worse. "I did what I had to do to survive, but by the time I got off the streets I was really leery about getting hooked up with anyone." She nodded; it was as if she didn't know what to say.
"I had been on the street for a little over two years when I met this guy. He was in his mid to late 40's. Said he would give me a hundred bucks to give him a blowjob then let him fuck me. I told him my terms and we came to an understanding. When it was over he looked at me. "How old are you boy?" he asked.
I gave my usual response. "18 sir."
He laughed. "Yea right, if you are a day over 16 I'll eat my shorts."
I looked down at my shoes. "Actually I am 18. I just turned eighteen last Tuesday."
He nodded, and then lifted my chin so I could look him in the eye. "What's a kid like you doing on the street? You wear nice clothes. You must have a family out there that cares about you."
I nodded as tears came to my eyes, I told him about my dad and how he used to beat me. When I told him about Suzanne, he went ballistic. "What the hell were you thinking leaving her with him? He could be turning her black and blue and you are here hustling yourself. You get your butt back home and I don't ever want to see you on these streets again."
I ran out of the hotel room. Ran for over an hour before I had to stop and catch my breath. His words kept echoing in my mind. The next day I went back home. Dad had never laid a hand on Suzanne, for which I was glad. I got a job and moved into my own place taking Suzanne with me."
I took a deep breath. "I worked two jobs, plus went back to school. Whatever it took to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. When Suzanne went off to college I knew I had to get away. I had always been happy in LA until we moved up here due to dad's work. So I got on my bike and drove down there. I had actually just arrived in LA the day I met you."
Crystal smiled. "I will never forget that day. That day changed my life." She reached out, entwining her hand in mine. "The minute I looked into your eyes I knew my life would never be the same.
Right then I knew I had to have her. Standing up, I picked her up in my arms and carried her to the bedroom, where I laid her gently on the bed. I slowly stripped her naked then slowly took off my clothes.
Her eyes never left mine as I disrobed. When I moved over her I knew what I wanted. I knew what I needed to have. We made slow, passionate love. We would slowly push ourselves to the brink then back off, wanting to make it last as long as possible.
Finally I knew that we both needed release. I pushed roughly with my hips, impaling her over and over. I gloried in her cries of pleasure. It just drove me to larger heights until I felt myself go over the edge with her following right along on my coattails. I screamed out her name as I filled her. I knew then that no matter what happened I would keep her in my life. Somehow, someway, I would make this work. I would never let her go.
Afterward, we just lay there holding each other, trying to get our breath back. I was lying on my back with Crystal's head lying against my chest. "I'm sorry if I seem distant sometimes." She said softly. "Half the time I don't even realize I'm doing it." She rose up so her arm was laying on my chest as she looked into my eyes. "It's just sometimes, I feel like what we have is too good to be true. Like one day you are gonna decide that you don't want me anymore. That you are gonna walk out that door and not look back."