December 26, 2408 | Twinbrook, Bayou
“You don’t hafta go. Why don’t you stay?”
It seemed like a simple, straightforward question, but nothing with Gwayne Bayless was ever simple. David knew his mother better than anyone, and he knew she had an angle. He shaded his eyes, glancing up at the mid-morning sun sliding behind impending storm clouds. The humidity choked the air much like his obligations stifled his freedom. If he didn’t go now, he’d never go.
David laughed nervously as he slugged his backpack over his shoulder. “Ma, I need to go. The cab’s here.”
Gwayne managed a thin smile, though the hurt lingered in her ambiguous grey eyes. She curled her fingers around her jean overall straps like she always did when she wasn’t getting her way. David laid a hand against the dusty porch pillars, closed his eyes, and prayed for strength to leave. It wasn’t as if he didn’t want to go, but he felt guilty leaving his siblings, especially when his family was facing financial struggles and his parents, marital woes.
He swatted at a fly, disgusted at its relentlessness in December. Who puts a manor in the Bayuck swamplands? His stepfather’s ancestors must have been crazy, choosing to eek out an isolated and difficult life while gathering, processing, and selling peat for fuel and mulch. David couldn’t see himself as a peat farmer or fisherman or hunter by trade. He wanted a more noble profession – that of long-term spiritual value.
“What if ya stayed?” she continued. “Edgewater would surely accept you a little late, ‘specially with such an esteemed alumna as myself.”
His mother enjoyed bragging about her degree in business finance, her perfect GPA, and how she made honor role. He didn’t doubt he could make it into a prestigious school. He doubted he would ever leave Bayou if he didn’t now.
“Classes don’t start til late January and deadline’s the last of the year. And I’m sure any one of the businesses in town would be happy to give you a job,” Gwayne continued, tugging at the high neckline of her red floral shirt as if to silently indicate she was hot and bothered.
He wasn’t ready for college. The only jobs for a Bayuck boy were fast food and gas station attendants in town, and in the swamps, a farmhand or refinery worker. There was nothing wrong with good honest work, but David wanted more from life than what Twinbrook had to offer.
“Could even get you the car you had your eye on… what was it?” Gwayne asked.
There wasn’t an ounce of truth to that offer. David worked all summer at the fish market and saved every simoleon, but he still couldn’t afford a vehicle. He raised money by mowing lawns and raking leaves, even babysitting old Mrs. Kannigan’s greyhound so he could take this unpaid missionary gig in Colombia. He didn’t need a car.
“Ma! I don’t even have my license yet,” David rolled his eyes.
“Well, you can git…” she pressed her lips together in frustration. “…your license and then we can get the car, or we can get the car. . . . What difference does it make?”
“No,” David shook his head. “I can’t. Dani and I made a commitment and I’m going to honor it.”
“She’s lost all her senses!” Gwayne declared, heatedly. “What woman in her right mind traipses around Colombia to preach to the natives? Women can’t be shepherds.”
“I heard that,” Dani hollered as she poked her head out from underneath the trunk lid at the curb. “You coming? We’re gonna miss our flight.”
“Then catch the next one!” Gwayne hollered. “I will say goodbye to my son good and proper.”
This wasn’t proper. It was an ambush, a feeble attempt to maintain her lack of control.
“Gawd! Ma, you shouldn’t be so judgmental!” David grunted and took a step forward.
“Don’t ‘chu take the Lord’s name,” Gwayne chided, removing her straw hat momentarily to wipe sweat from her forehead. “Can’t be doin’ the Lord’s work if you be swearin’.”
David ignored her latest statement. “And it’s not like she’s going alone. I’m going with her.”
“Naw please,” Gwayne begged, and then shuddered. “I hear São Paten is the worst crimespot in Colombia. Why are you going against?”
David sighed. It wasn’t as if Twinbrook was the safest and most blameless city either. Crime rates increased over the last few years, and attacks on supernaturals grew more bold and more frequent. Nothing like the massacre on his birthday. He frowned.
“And I heard it’s the Cidade Espetacular. Ma, don’t believe everything you read,” he leaned in and planted a kiss on her cheek.
“Don’t go!” Gwayne grabbed his arm. “You don’t belong in that heathen country. You belong here with me… with us…” she swept a glance back toward the house.
David didn’t want to think about belonging. He definitely didn’t feel at home in Twinbrook any longer. His mother grew more controlling and demanding by the day, and his father ignored the problem, focusing his attention on ministering to the suffering and those less fortunate. With the exception of Chase, all of his siblings were homeschooled, in theory by their mother. In reality, David and Chase helped their brothers and sisters with their studies while Gwayne worked long hours for the mayor of the city. At eighteen, he didn’t want to be “in charge.” He wanted to see the world. He wanted to live out from under his mother’s thumb. He wanted to find her.
“I belong in the car with Dani,” David gritted his teeth.
I belong to her. David searched for the woman after their one perfect night together, but she was nowhere to be found. The hospital had nineteen records of Jess, and variations of Jess. It took weeks to gather all the data and months to track all the “Jess’s” in the greater area. Not a one of them “his” Jess. He didn’t understand. How could they share such a beautiful love and then lose it?
He spent the next four months agonizing over what he did wrong, and feeling guilty for abandoning the principles of his faith. He wanted absolution. His work as a missionary would suffice. He wanted closure. He wasn’t sure São Paten would satisfy, but it was a promise – a place to start over and serve God, and try and forget the night he burned with passion. Still, Jess was etched in his mind, her angelic face both haunted and soothed him.
“Whydoya have to go now?” his mother whined. “I need you here. Skeet needs you here.”
A muscle twitched in Davis’ cheek. “Dad understands why I’m going. I thought you’d be happy I’m doing Padre’s work.”
“David!” Dani called again.
“Ma, I need to go,” David stepped off the porch.
“Can’t you understand you’re hurting me?” Gwayne moaned and grabbed for his arm. “I’m going to be worried sick for you and Dani in that wretched place,” she fanned her face. “At least if you went to Uni you could live at home.”
“Ma, this isn’t about you,” David whirled. “I made a choice to serve in the field instead of going to college right away and you have to accept that. I’m leaving whether you like it or not.”
The taxi driver honked. Dani threw her hands up in the air, one leg in the taxi as her arm rested on the passenger side door.
“Don’t you dare use that tone with me!”Gwayne exclaimed. “You’re just like your father. Pigheaded and foolish.”
An icy silence stretched between mother and son. Dani gasped, and slipped into the waiting cab. David wished she didn’t have to witness Gwayne’s ugly outburst.
How could his Ma say something so unfeeling and cruel? He knew he wasn’t Skeet’s son. The kind, but absent-minded shepherd wasn’t even in his life until he was eight years old. His biological father chose a career over marriage and a family. Chase’s father wasn’t much better. Skeet was a welcome reprieve to the chain of men his mother cajoled and courted. She even converted to Peteranism and repented of her former ways. But David knew. He remembered the long and lonely days and he still blamed Gwayne for her neglect. He didn’t forgive her, and if he didn’t leave, he would never forgive himself.
“You have… no… right,” he bit out. “Maybe you’ve forgotten if you hadn’t spent the night with that pigheaded and foolish man as you so call him, then I wouldn’t have been born.”
“Oh David, don’t say such things!” Gwayne ran her hands through her hair. “Of course, I…”
“You what?” David scrunched his nose. “I’m leaving.”
He turned, ignoring his mother’s pathetic pleas. When he reached the vehicle, he offered Dani an apologetic grimace.
“You could come home for your birthday, honey? Or in a month? Don’t stay longer than a month. David? Do you hear me? Stop ignoring me! David, I demand you…” Gwayne huffed. “Well, when are you returning? At least tell me that,” she practically shrieked her last words.
“When pigs fly!” he yelled and slammed the taxi door. “Morreaux International Airport, please,” he directed at the driver.
The man nodded, pulling away from the curb.
“David?” Dani interjected.
He turned his head away from the window. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Author Notes: First chapter of the new year, and a fresh(ish) start for David/Davis. After the worst luck with my Sims 3 game, I decided on a pictureless chapter. I didn’t get the family or their manor set up properly without the game crashing. Ugh!
Thanks for reading. As you can see, Davis has a very complicated relationship with his mum. I named the airport – Morreaux (as that’s the name of the world I’m using for Crescent City). Davis and Dani are headed to this gorgeous world by jj61000 (and some of the descriptions from the site are used above in story). Hope you enjoyed!