**WARNING! This post is of a graphic nature and involves sexual abuse and/or content. Reader discretion is advised.
A bully is a bully until he meets a bigger man.
Journey of Miles—Part III
Miles found comfort at his father’s house as there was no Oliver to torture him there. His stepfather didn’t seem to care where he was as long as he was not at the ranch and certainly wouldn’t have balked about Miles going to his father’s house for fear of having to deal with Maxwell. Needless to say, since “Dad and Nat” lived the same distance on the other side of the school, Miles found himself at his father’s house more often than at the ranch, but every time he returned to the ranch, the punishments were more severe. He even went so far as to ask if he could live with his father, which resulted in a terrible fight between Julia and Oliver, and even more cruel punishments from Oliver to Miles for being the source.
Natalie was kind to Miles. She often took him on shopping trips and outings with her and Victoria. Levi declined these activities as he preferred to spend time with his friends. Miles noticed how many people knew Natalie in the places they frequented—not just the store workers and owners, but patrons as well. Everybody liked Natalie, it seemed. She continued to keep his secret and nurse his wounds when he visited his father’s house. The snapshots of his abuse were piling up. He had a shoebox full of them—taken by Natalie with date stamps on the film. He was becoming more and more convinced that she was a beautiful angel.
Another year had passed and Miles was spending more and more time at his father’s house. He and his father have a strong bond and a good relationship, but his father wasn’t around as much as Natalie. Having majored in business but minored in pre-law, Maxwell was now bidding for a seat in the Mecklenburg County District Court. It was a long shot, he knew, but the current judge in the seat was so grossly abhorred by so many that Maxwell had just as good a chance as any to win the seat. Throwing his hat into the race meant lots of work and some evenings away from home. The campaign kept him very busy, not to the degree that he neglected his family, but busy nonetheless.
Miles’ antisocial behavior has become a problem at school. He is still mum about the abuse at home, but his studies are failing and he is extremely moody and volatile. He avoids people as much as possible and rarely gets into fights, but his sometimes explosive behavior is extremely disruptive.
Oliver is now more open with his discipline of Miles—nothing extreme around Julia, but horrendous and brutal when her back was turned. He uses the excuse that Miles is an unruly child so he must be disciplined, when in actuality, Miles is being abused, which is causing him to be an unruly child giving Oliver an excuse to “discipline” him. Maxwell and Julia have spoken about the issue several times as their relationship is friendly. They can’t seem to find a reason for Miles’ behavior. When Miles is questioned, he has no answer for his parents about his behavior. When Maxwell questions Natalie, she only shakes her head and denies any knowledge of what could possibly be the problem.
Miles is spending more and more time at his father’s house… and with Natalie. Natalie and Julia have become friends as well since Miles has been at Natalie’s house so often. Levi lessened his visits to his father’s house as of late, only going when Maxwell had something planned for “the boys.” Natalie wants so badly to tell Julia what is going on with Oliver, but she truly believes that it will only make things worse for Miles if she can’t find a way to get him out of the situation, especially if Julia doesn’t believe her—or worse yet, if Julia already knows.
Miles, unfortunately, learned the hard way that Oliver also had a drinking problem. Natalie’s shift was changed for a week, so he was unable to go to his father’s house after school like he had been doing to avoid Oliver. At 11 years old, Miles was now quite tall for his age, and very attractive for a pre-teen. He was in his room, doing his homework, careful to stay out of sight and avoid a confrontation with his stepfather, but it was to no avail. He heard him before he saw him—his boots thudding down the hallway with purpose. Miles scrambles to his closet and pulls the door behind him, moving all the way to the back in an attempt to hide from his tormentor. Oliver burst into the room, searching for him.
“I know you’re in here, you little bastard,” he says. His speech is slightly slurred but clear enough for Miles to hear the venom dripping from his voice. Why does he hate me so much? Miles thought to himself. What did I ever do to him to make him hate me for years and years?
“I’m going to teach you a real lesson, so you might as well come out and make it easy on yourself.” Miles didn’t dare move. He almost didn’t breathe. He watched the light shine in from the crack in the closet door and waited for Oliver’s shadow to block the light. Moments later, Oliver threw the door open and spotted Miles cowering in the corner.
“Did you think you could hide from me?” he growls as he drags Miles kicking and screaming from the closet.
“Shut up!” he demands, before hitting Miles so hard that the young boy actually saw stars. He was light-headed and dizzy, but he could still smell the heavy stench of scotch seeping from Oliver’s breath and pores as he dragged Miles to the bed. It took the child a moment to realize that he was being stripped from the waist down, and by the time he could clearly understand what was happening, it was too late. He cried out in agony as Oliver penetrated him anally over and over again. His repeated threats were not enough to quiet Miles’ cries, so Oliver covered his mouth until he had finished his task and left Miles lying there, weeping bitterly.
This happened every day for five days—the five days that he was unable to escape to his father’s house… to Natalie. On the sixth day—a Saturday—afraid that Oliver would come to his room and sodomize him once again, Miles erupted in violent vomiting and couldn’t stop. Julia and Levi both tried to help him, to see what was wrong with him, but it was of no use. When he had completely emptied his stomach, he went into wretched dry heaves. At the threat of being taken to the doctor, Miles nearly becomes hysterical. They already think he’s crazy and is inflicting the cuts on his shoulders upon himself because he won’t tell them who is really doing it… He will not go to the doctor.
Later… Miles has no idea how much later… he hears his father’s voice… and hers, the red-haired angel, the only one that knew his problems and his secrets. His reaction to Natalie did not go unnoticed by Julia and also momentarily made Maxwell feel a little uneasy.
“It’s the Pediatric nurse thing,” Natalie tries to explain it away. “Kids automatically trust me… I can’t tell you why…” In this case it was not because she didn’t know, but because she wouldn’t tell Miles’ secret. However, seeing Natalie kneel down and touch Miles’ hand sent Julia crying from the room. Miles could hear Oliver angrily padding down the hall and instinctively became afraid. Oliver came storming into the room only to come face to face with Maxwell, who is glaring at him.
“Is there a problem?” Maxwell all but barks down at Oliver.
“No,” Oliver replies impassively, “just trying to find out why Julia is crying her eyes out. Was it something you said?” he adds accusingly.
“Oh, I don’t know. Could it be because her youngest son is up here puking his guts out? Did you think of that?” Maxwell spit angrily, appearing to grow taller in front of Oliver. Miles dare not make eye-contact with the monster who has driven him to violent regurgitation, but he is too weak to rise from the en suite floor.
“He’ll be fine. It’s probably something that he ate,” Oliver says, emotionless. Miles keeps his head down as the sound of the man’s voice sends him into dry heaves again.
“His stomach is wrenching, Max. I have no idea why,” Natalie says to her husband.
“What do you think it is? What should we do?” Max asks. Levi steps into the room and, upon seeing present company, steps over to his father.
“Is he okay, Dad?” Levi asks. Maxwell looks to Natalie.
“It could be just a virus or something, but if he can’t keep anything down, we might have to take him to the hospital and put him on an IV. He’s going to dehydrate soon,” Natalie informs him.
“No! No!” Miles protests. “I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. Just, please Dad, let me go to your house,” he begs.
“What’s the matter, son?” Maxwell is sure that something is wrong, but he has no idea what it could be.
“I just want to go to your house, please, Dad?” he continues. Maxwell sighs.
“Okay, Son. Let me ask your mother, okay?”
“… Which is exactly what he’ll do, at his father’s house!” Natalie hisses, shooting a glare at Oliver. At that moment, he could see in her eyes that she was telling him that she knew exactly what he was doing to Miles. When the light of realization goes off in his eyes, she doesn’t break her glare. “It would be wise for you not to interfere right now,” she says, softening her voice a bit so as not to give away Miles’ secret.
“I just don’t think it’s wise for him to leave if he’s not well,” Oliver says curtly, calling Natalie’s bluff.
“Why? Do you know what’s wrong with him, Mr. Anderson?” Natalie accuses, matching his tactic unwavering.
“Dad, please!” Miles wails, and that’s enough for Maxwell. He heads for the door with Miles and Oliver refuses to move. He and Maxwell are having a stare down until Natalie says, “Is there something you would like to share, Mr. Anderson?” She’s egging him on, waiting for him to open the door and trip on his tongue. Instead, he steps out of the way to let Maxwell past.
“Levi, are you coming, too?” Maxwell asks his oldest son. Levi looks to all of the adults in the room then to Miles.
“Junior Dude, are you going to be okay or do you need me to come with you?” he asks his little brother.
“I’ll be okay, Senior Dude,” Miles says to Levi in a raspy voice.
“Are you sure?” Levi asks and Miles nods.
“I just want to go to Dad’s,” he says, laying his head on his father’s shoulder. Levi looks at his father.
“I’ll stay and make sure that Mom is okay,” Levi says to Maxwell.
“Why wouldn’t she be?” Oliver snaps and Levi just rolls his eyes.
“Call me later, Junior Dude?” Levi says.
“Okay, Senior Dude,” Miles replies as he falls asleep in his father’s arms.
When he awakes, he is in the back seat of the car with Natalie while his mother and father are having a heated discussion on the front lawn.
“What’s going on with that man? He acted like he didn’t want me to take my own son!”
“What’s going on with him? What about her? My son hasn’t let me touch him in years and she comes along and she’s holding his hand? What’s that all about?” Julia wails.
“She’s a peds’ nurse. She knows how to handle children,” Maxwell says, though his voice is less than convincing.
“That’s my son! My son.” Julia cries.
“Make them stop,” Miles whimpers, “please, make them stop.” Natalie leaps from the car and goes over to Julia and Maxwell.
“Julia, I am sorry,” Natalie begins. “I am really very sorry. I am not trying to take your place. No one can, you are his mother. I’m just good with kids, that’s all. Now, please, stop this. You guys are upsetting Miles.” All three adults turn to look at Miles who is staring at them weakly through the windows of the Range Rover.
“We’ll talk later,” Maxwell sighs and Julia nods. He and Natalie walk to the Range Rover, get in, and proceed to take Miles to their home.
So, another chapter opens in Miles’ history. Sad, but unfortunately, more of a reality in today’s society than you think. Comments? Thoughts?
P.S.–I will not be updating this backstory as often as I was updating the original story. For one thing, this story is not as long (by any means) as that story. Second, the rewrites for the book come first–but I will do what I can to try to keep you lovelies entertained and invested! Love and handcuffs!