Monday, February 7, 2011

Challenge 91: Losing Denver...

"Hi sweetie, how was your day?"

"Fine," Denver grunted.

Mrs Lebowski pulled a tray of cookies out of the oven and slid them off onto a plate. Denver, who had been half way up the stairs, paused and sniffed.

"Smells good."

"Chocolate chip and raisin," she laughed. "I'll trade you a cookie for a story about your day?"

Denver slouched in the doorway, school bag heavy on one shoulder. "That guy in shop - Mitchell Lewis. He stopped Anthony Biggs from hitting me today."

Mrs Lebowski's eyes flashed. "Why would Anthony want to hit you?"

"I dunno, because he's a retard."

"Well it was nice of that boy to stand up for you."

Denver shrugged. "Not like we're really friends or anything."

"Ah." Her overly bright smile returned. "You should try a little harder to make friends, sweetie."

"I have friends." Denver said between mouthfuls of cookie. Half the tray was gone before Mrs Lebowski confiscated the rest "for your father."

"So why don't I ever get to meet your friends?" she asked with a pout.

Denver shrugged the school bag back on and said, "Most of them are on the other side of the world. Online gaming and all that."

"Do you have an online... girlfriend?" Mrs Lebowski took a moment to decide on that last word.

Denver's eyes narrowed. "You know what? That's none of your business, Clare."

She looked like she'd been slapped in the face. Footsteps pounded up the stairs and a door slammed shut. Clare flinched, tears pooling in the corners of her eyes.

Denver didn't emerge again until much later, after George got home.

"Mmm, roast." George gave Clare a kiss. "You know me too well."

Denver made a face behind shoulder length black hair.

"How was your day honey?" Clare asked as George carved the lamb. "Any new developments?"

"The Jefferson Estate looks like it might be a good catch, if I can get my hands on it." George put a slice of lamb on Denver's plate.

"That's lovely darling." Clare smiled.

They ate in silence for a while. Then Clare said, "Someone tried to hit Denver today."

Denver groaned. "Why did you have to bring that up? Makes me sound like a wuss. It's not like he succeeded."

"I wish you wouldn't keep getting into fights, Denny," George said quietly. "That's not how you were brought up..."

Denver scoffed a whole baby potato to keep from responding.

"Maybe you should go easy on the potatoes, Denny." George poured gravy over his own meat. "You are starting to look a bit pudgy."

Denver gave him a scathing look and shoveled another huge spoonful.

"Denver Lebowski." George growled. "Cut the attitude."

Denver stabbed a steak knife into the untouched meat and stood up. "Seriously dad, you call that attitude? I didn't say fuck you for calling me fat. I didn't scream at Clare for thinking I'm gay... even though it's written all over her face every damn fucking day."

"Shut your mouth before I shut it for you." George put his cutlery down slowly.

"George," Clare put a hand over her husband's. "I think Denver has had a hard day. Why don't we deal with this tomorrow after you both have had time to cool down."

George let out a breath and rested his head on his palm. Denver was already gone; motorbike screeching down the drive.

"I don't know what to do about that kid," he said.

"Being a teenager is rough," Clare said. "Losing a mother triply so."

"Denver used to be such a sweetheart though." George asked. "Other kids have lost their mothers and they don't go and... change that much. We should never have allowed that bike..."

"Wasn't our money," Clare replied. "Denver has been working in shop for three years to be able to afford that bike."

"I prefer the online games," George admitted. "At least then I know she's not out getting herself pregnant."

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