Brian got into his black BMW and started the ignition. He was on his way to see Josh. Since his phone call with Mary two days ago he had returned home to Orlando. He was supposed to be with his family in Lexington but felt he had to leave. He couldn't stay there.
In his heart, Brian still didn't feel comfortable around the people he once thought were his blood relatives. He knew he shouldn't be feeling like this anymore, after all they were the people who loved him, cared for him and comforted him for all those years, his real mother had just given him away. Still after all this he could not forgive them for lying to him for so long, his bond of trust with his parents and brother was broken and it needed a lot of help before it could be fixed again.
Brian began to think back to what Mary had said on the phone. She thought that he just wanted Josh back to fill his needs, maybe he did, at this point in time he didn't know. All he did know was that Josh was in a lot of danger and he was going to do everything he could today to get Josh to open up and tell Mary the truth, it would be the only way to get her to believe and to get him out of that house.
Brian came out of his thoughts as he came to Evergreen street, he looked carefully for the right number. When he found it he pulled over to the side of the road, looking for oncoming vehicles.
Brian turned the engine off and sat for a few minutes thinking over what he was going to say. When he had all the thoughts sorted in his head, he opened the car door and closed it gently.
He walked up to the door thinking what a beautiful house it was. It was a nice neighbourhood and it made it harder to believe how much terror could go on in such a house in this area, but he knew things were not always as it seemed.
Brian cautiously pressed the door bell and waited for an answer. He didn't have to wait long however as a man, who looked to be in his forties opened the door.
"Hello you must be Brian. I'm Ted Allen, its nice to meet you." Ted said as he gave one of his warm smiles and held out his hand.
"Yeah, you too." Brian said, shaking the man's hand. Brian was confused, he was expecting someone who had more of a demeanor about them.
"Would you like to come in?" Ted said as he moved out of the way to let Brian through. "Josh has been very excited about seeing you." Ted said.
"Has he?" Brian questioned, walking into the living room. He looked around and noticed how clean and tidy the place was, again he was slightly confused as to how someone could hurt a young child in these circumstances.
"Yes, he talks about you all the time, it makes me wonder why he were taken out of your care." Ted wondered, motioning for Brian to sit down.
"He kept running away, his social worker Mary, didn't think I was fit enough to fill his... our mothers shoes." Brian said, he didn't really want to talk about this.
"He told me that you were adopted and didn't know anything about him." Ted said, prying into the young man's life, something which Brian wasn't comfortable with.
"That's true." Brian said, simply, wanting to change the subject. "So where is Josh?" He asked, wanting to get out of the house and out of this man's presence.
"He's upstairs, I'll go and get him." Ted said, leaving Brian in the living room alone.
Ted walked up the stairs and headed to Josh's room. He opened the door and saw Josh sitting on the bed listening to his walkman.
When Josh saw Ted enter his room he stopped the CD and took the headphones off.
"Josh, Brian's here." Ted said, his voice held no feeling or emotion, it was such a dramatic change to how he was with Brian a few minutes ago.
"Okay." Josh said, getting off the bed. As he was leaving the room Ted grabbed his arm.
"Remember what I told you Josh, you tell him anything and you know what will happen." Ted warned.
Josh remembered the threat vividly. He was told not to tell Brian anything, even though he had already, otherwise both he and Brian would be hurt. He had promised himself before he went to sleep the night before that he was going to tell Brian that he had lied. He hoped he could convince him enough to get him to drop the subject. He wasn't going to get Brian hurt even if that meant continuing to live in hell a bit longer.
Josh got into the passenger seat of the BMW, trying to hold onto the confidence that he had in his head before, but as soon as he saw Brian he could feel himself crumble. He knew it wasn't really manly but all he wanted to do at that moment was to run into Brian's arms and feel the warmth and comfort coming from his distant older brother. All he wanted was to be away from his tormentors.
Brian got into the car, so far he could see no difference in Josh. He was acting a lot different than what he was expecting, but all he hoped for was that Josh would tell him again what was going on, he wanted to be sure before he did something stupid.
"So Josh what do you want to do today?" Brian asked, putting the key in the ignition and starting the engine. He pulled the seat belt around him and watched as Josh did the same.
"Don't care." Josh said, he was trying to be the awkward teenager again, but with Brian he could never usually keep up with the facade as he was so nice and giving. Josh looked out of the window as he tried fighting his inner turmoil.
"Are you alright?" Brian asked, he could see the sad look in Josh's eyes.
"Yeah I'm fine." Josh replied, he knew Brian would be on his case all day but he was glad to have some time out of the house.
"Are you sure? You didn't seem alright on the phone the other day" Brian said, he was going to get the truth out of him even if it killed him.
"Yeah Bri, I'm fine and I don't have any idea what you're talking about. I haven't even spoken to you." Josh said, it wasn't a very convincing lie and he knew Brian wouldn't fall for it.
"Josh, don't give me that crap. You know you can tell me anything." Brian said as he turned the engine off and turning to face Josh.
"Bri, just leave it will you? I don't want to talk about it." Josh yelled. Brian was taken aback at Josh's sudden outburst.
"But Josh, I can help. You just need to open up to me. Please." Brian begged, he wasn't going to let this lie.
"I can't." Josh said, he could feel tears welling up in his eyes. He didn't want Brian to get hurt, he knew Ted was someone who stood by his word.
"Josh I won't let anything happen to you, I promise, just tell me what's going on."
"I can't and besides its not me they would hurt." Josh said, a lone tear fell down his cheek, at this moment he wished his mother was here, then he wouldn't even be in this situation.
"What do you mean by that?" Brian asked, confused.
"I can't tell you. Can't we just go somewhere?" Josh said, he wanted to end the conversation.
"No, we're not going anywhere until you tell me what the hell is going on." Brian demanded.
Josh sighed, he had lost. Brian was not going to give up no matter how hard Josh tried. "They said they would hurt you if I told you what's going on." Josh said, trying to stop the tears.
"And what is going on?" Brian asked, hopefully getting the answer he needed to hear.
"They hit me." Josh said, wiping the wetness from his face on the back of his hand.
"Why?" Brian asked.
"I don't know. Brian I know I'm a pain in the ass, but I want to come back and live with you. You actually care about me because if you didn't you wouldn't even be here and at least you're family." Josh said.
"Josh you know you can't come back with me unless you tell Mary what's going on."
"I can't tell her though." Josh said.
"Why not?" Brian asked.
"Because she always asks me when Ted and Joyce are around, that's why I didn't tell her before, I don't want them to hear." Josh said.
"Well would you tell her if I was there with you?" Brian asked.
"Then we've decided on where we're going today." Brian said.
"What do you mean by that?" Josh asked.
"We're going to see Mary to tell her the truth." Brian said, turning the engine back on.
Brian looked over to Josh, he could sense the tension and the nervousness that radiated from him. They had arrived at Mary's office, much to her surprise, and were waiting outside while she finished another meeting.
"Are you okay?" Brian asked.
Josh only looked up and gave a slight nod.
"Josh, I won't let anything happen to you, I promise." Brian said.
"I know you won't, but I'm just scared that she won't let me come back and live with you. I don't want to be with someone I don't know again." Josh said.
"You won't, I'll make sure of that okay. Now just relax, everything is going to be fine." Brian assured.
"What if she doesn't believe me?" Josh asked, he couldn't believe how nervous he was. He thought back to what Ted had said and started to get scared, deep down if he had to admit it he knew he loved Brian and he was very thankful that he was trying to help him, but he couldn't shake off Ted's words.
Josh went to get up to run as fast as he could when Brian grabbed his arm.
"Where are you going?" Brian asked, getting Josh to sit back down.
"I can't do this Brian, I'm sorry." Josh said, looking Brian in the eyes.
"You can do this Josh, do it for me okay. Do it for yourself. Do you really want to stay at that house?" Brian said, trying to reason with him.
"No, but I don't want you to get hurt." Josh said.
"I won't get hurt Josh, I can look after myself. I'm only doing this for you, I wouldn't be here if I wasn't." Brian said, holding Josh's hand.
"I know, I'm sorry Bri, I've put you through so much and you're still nice enough to help me. I don't deserve you as a brother." Josh said, realising for the first time he had recognised Brian as being family.
"Yes you do, and I'm glad I'm your brother." Brian said.
"Me too." Josh said, looking up when he door to Mary's office opened and a couple, holding hands and smiling, came walking out. Once they had gone Mary walked over to the two brothers.
"To what do I owe this pleasure?" Mary asked, slightly annoyed. She had a busy day on her hands and didn't have time to be messing around.
"Can we talk, in private." Brian said, standing up, still holding tightly onto Josh's hand.
"Yes, we can talk in my office." Mary said, leading the way.
All three sat down, with Mary sitting behind her desk. Her strong demeanor did not put Brian off.
"So what do you want to tell me." Mary said, folding her arms across her chest and looking at Brian.
"I don't have anything to tell you, Josh however does." Brian said looking at his brother. He could see the fear and panic in his eyes. Brian gave him a look to tell him that he was here for him.
"What do you want to tell me Josh?" Mary said, unfolding her arms and putting on more of a sympathetic approach.
"I lied to you the other day." Josh said quietly, looking down.
Brian kept his strong hold on Josh's hand as, finally, Josh came clean.
"What do you mean?" Mary asked.
"When you asked me if Joyce and Ted hit me, I lied. They do hit me." Josh sad, keeping his head lowered.
"Has Brian put you up to this?" Mary asked.
"No of course not." Josh said, turning to look at Brian. "I told you she wouldn't believe me."
"Josh, I do believe you, its just that child abuse is a very serious accusation, honey. Are you really telling me the truth?" Mary said, wanting to be sure.
"Why? Do you want proof or something?" Josh standing up and pulling his hand away from Brian. He couldn't believe that she could even question him. He knew what would shut her up though, as he took off his shirt to reveal several dark bruises on his chest and arms. He could hear a collective gasp coming from Brian and Mary.
Brian looked at his brother with true sympathy, he wanted to cry out for him, he couldn't believe how someone could be so cruel. He felt like going over to Ted and punching him until he was on the floor begging for mercy, but he knew that it wouldn't solve anything.
Brian ran up to Josh when he saw the tears pour down his face. He pulled him into his arms and held him tightly. He was comforted when he felt Josh hug back.
Mary watched as the two brothers embraced. She didn't want to interrupt the moment so she picked up the phone and called the police.
She had learnt a valuable lesson from this case and that was to always seek the truth before she dismissed something again.
She looked at Brian and Josh hugging each other and a tear almost came to her eye when Brian kissed Josh on top of his head. She knew she would give custody back to Brian, there was no way she could split them up again.
Written by: Sarah
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