When I pulled into my driveway it was almost midnight. Dylan looked asleep but the minute I turned the ignition off, he shifted in his seat and opened his eyes.
“Are your parents gonna freak out when they see me?” he muttered.
“My parents are not here”, I said. “They left until the end of the week, remember?”
“Not really”, he sighed.
“Right”, I hemmed and pulled his door open.
I unbuckled his seat belt and pulled him outside.
“Want me to carry you or something?” I laughed when he just hung on my neck.
He straightened up and shook his head.
“No”, he muttered. “I can walk… I think… Ugh, I need a smoke…”
“Go to sleep”, I snorted. “You are high as a kite.”
“I wanna smoke”, he repeated stubbornly.
I sighed and rolled my eyes.
“Fine”, I muttered and grabbed his waist. “Let’s get on the bench first.”
We stumbled to the bench and he collapsed on it, waiting for a cigarette. I lit one for him and he grasped it so tight that I thought it’s gonna break. It didn’t. He took a slow drag and smiled.
“That’s good”, he muttered.
“Awesome”, I sat next to him and lit one for myself.
He watched me smoke and suddenly laughed out loud. I looked at him patiently.
“What’s funny? Or do I even want to know?”
He snorted and laughed again, cigarette shaking in his fingers.
“You wanna know why I hate dogs?” he asked finally and I sighed.
“You already told me”, I nodded. “Your neighbor’s dog almost killed you when you were little…”
“No”, he laughed almost hysterically now. “I made that shit up… I was afraid that you’d freak out if I told you the real reason…”
“Dylan… Let’s just get you to bed”, I said quietly.
I wasn’t sure I wanted him to tell me something while he was in this condition.
“No”, he breathed and stopped laughing. “I wanted to tell you but…” He took another drag on his cigarette. “See, now I have a perfect excuse. I am high. I probably won’t even remember it after I wake up tomorrow… So I’m gonna say it, okay?”
There was no use in arguing with him right now so I just looked at him patiently. He nodded and looked at his cigarette.
“A week before I turned seventeen”, he muttered without laughter now. “Roy decided that fucking me wasn’t enough… He had a drinking buddy who had this huge-ass dog. I think it was a mix of Rottweiler and Wolfhound or something like that… I swear, it looked like a goddamn pony. So he borrowed the dog, right?”
“He borrowed the dog”, he looked like he didn’t even hear me. “And… Ah, shit… Give me another smoke, will you?”
I lit another cigarette slowly and handed it to him.
“So he got the dog, right?” he dragged onto the cigarette. “And he had that really old dresser in the garage… It was like seventy years old, solid fucking oak, been sitting in the garage forever. Looked like shit but could fit tons of junk inside… Anyway, he knocked me out with those damn drugs one night again… Not enough for me to actually black out but just enough to make me dizzy as hell so I couldn’t move to save my life… I mean, if I’d blacked out, it would be no fun, right?”
“Then he ties me to that fucking dresser and gets the dog to fuck me for God knows how long…” he looked at his cigarette thoughtfully. “He got off on watching the whole thing. I don’t think he even touched his dick. It was just POOF! He came all over…” he gestured in the air with his good arm. “It hurt like hell… It felt like the damn dog was gonna kill me… Actually, I was hoping he would kill me but he didn’t… Well, obviously”, he shrugged. “And then I knew what I wanted for my birthday that year… I fed that son of a bitch the same damn drugs he’s been feeding me and he didn’t even notice. It was easy”, he snorted. “I just put it in his booze… He was out in less than half an hour… And then…” he took another drag and looked at me calmly. “I sat the house on fire. Ever since then I hate dogs”, he finished with a small nod. “See, I couldn’t bring myself to tell you this… I mean, it’s disgusting, right? I thought that you’d just freak out and dump me on the spot…”
I took the cigarette out of his fingers and stabbed it in the ashtray. He just looked at me, his good eye huge with fear and hazed helplessness. I cupped his face in my palms and kissed his lips carefully.
“I love you”, I muttered. “Let’s get you to bed, okay?”
He closed his eyes and ran his fingers over my face.
“Okay”, he said finally.
…He was out before his head hit the pillow. I, on the other hand, couldn’t sleep for a long time that night. I just laid there and held him, drinking every single breath that escaped his slightly opened mouth. I finally fell asleep around four or maybe five in the morning. When I woke up, I was almost startled seeing his one good eye staring at me without blinking.
“Jesus…” I muttered. “You know, when you do this, it’s really creepy…”
He didn’t smile at that.
“I told you last night, didn’t I?” he asked quietly.
“Yeah, you did”, I said after a minute.
He fell silent again, dark helplessness splashing in his eyes.
“And…?” he asked finally.
“Well”, I sighed. “There went my plan on getting you a puppy for next Christmas…”
He blinked and then he started to laugh. It wasn’t “Oh-My-God-This-Is-Hilarious” kind of laughter. It was the kind that you hear from someone who just had been informed that their diagnosis was mixed up with someone else’s, and they do not have a life threatening disease as they’ve been told before. Pure relief. He laughed until he almost cried and finally, when he sounded like he is about to become hysterical, I pulled him towards myself and shut him up with my mouth.
…He stayed at my house for that entire week. With Kay and my parents being out of town it was great. Billy and two of his remaining pets stuck together ever since they beat the crap out of Dylan. I couldn’t blame them, really. Neither of them would stand a chance against him one on one. I made sure that he didn’t go anywhere alone after that whole thing happened. I could care less about the funny looks and words that we’ve got because we would go everywhere together. It varied from “Are you joined at the hip?” to “Which one of you is Missus in the family?” I didn’t give a damn about that and if someone got on Dylan’s nerves, he would make them suffer. Literally. Soon enough people left us alone and then life became somewhat decent and stable. Until the second week of April.