What It Takes To Survive - Chapter 8

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"Oh my God, Jo" My sister said as she barged into my room like she always did. "You're okay" she said as she hugged me
"Hey, sis" I said forcing a weak smile as she sat on my bed.
"I came as soon as I heard" she said kissing my forehead before hugging me again "When I heard they'd found you..." her voice trailed off
"I'm okay" I said as I hugged her back.
She let go and put her hands on my shoulder "Let me look at you" She used her finger to push some rogue hair away from my face.
"How? How did they find you?"
"It was a commercial fishing boat. They rescued a lot of us, Gaby" I still couldn't believe that nightmare was over.
"Oh sweetie, you have to tell me everything. Mum is freaking out downstairs. She's so happy" Gaby said smiling
That made me smile. I hadn't really talked to anyone since I was sleeping in the car ride back and came up to my room as soon as we got home.
I kept waiting to wake up in that dry cave since we was rescued yesterday morning.
"Mum said you were wearing a skirt and blouse when they saw you at the port? What's up with that?"
"Yeah" I replied gesturing at the clothes on the floor "It's a long story"
Her interest peaked "I've got time"
And so I told her. Everything. She listened intently, occasionally moving to console me. She's always been the only person I could really talk to. And I always felt that I was that person for her.
"Wait, surely I'm not hearing this right"
I didn't say anything because I had been expecting this reaction.
"Somebody tried to what?!" she exclaimed
"Nothing happened. Mikey came and..."
"Jo, that doesn't matter!" she shouted "I can't believe this! One of the kids from your school?"
I nodded.
"Is he back here? Did he get rescued?"
"Yes, but.."
"Jo, he needs to be arrested! Like yesterday"
"I don't want anyone to know, Gaby. I just want to put it behind me" I said trying to defuse the situation.
"Fuck that, bro! We need to call the police! He can't just go free!" She was getting hectic. She stood up
"He didn't. Mikey almost killed him."
"That's not enough, Jo! He can't just.." she stopped talking and stormed out the room "Mum!" I heard her shout from the hallway.
I ran fingers through my hair in frustration and then followed her
"You can't tell them!" I shouted trying to catch up to her
"Mum! Are you hearing this?" I heard downstairs and I knew she had found her.
I hurried down the stairs careful not to trip on my too-long pajama pants.
"Jo was assaulted on that stupid island" She shouted "He was almost raped"
I saw mum's expression change when I finally caught up to them.
"What?!" She asked confused "You told me nothing happened on that island!" she shouted at me
"Nothing happened, mum" I said realizing that everything was already fucked up.
"Tell me everything this instant!" she shouted.
I'd already told Gaby so there was no point lying so I did.
"Mikey got there and he beat the crap out of him. Nothing happened, really"
"He forcefully kissed you, Jonathan. That's rape!" She somehow managed to shout at me and feel sorry for me at the same time. "I calling your father"
"We have to call the police, mum. He needs to be arrested" Gaby said
No one would think for one second that I was the one that had been assaulted.
Dad must have picked up the phone because mum was immediately losing it
"Honey?! You need to come home right now!"
She paused.
"Just come home now! Please. it's important" She hung up. "He'll be here in twenty. Who is this boy?" she said focusing her attention to me again. "All of them go to your school right? Didn't you say Coach Evans was with you the entire time?"
"He was on another part of the island. I kept it from him" I said
"Why in the hell would you do that? What if the boy came back at you?" Mum asked. I didn't reply.
"I'm calling the coach" she said as she picked up the phone again.
"Mum. He just got back with his family" I said. This was blowing up in my face.
"Well this is important" she replied as she dialed.
I looked at Gaby with a blaming look but she was unapologetic.
"Hi, sorry, may I speak with Coach Evans?" I just stood there looking at her hopelessly.
"Good day, Coach Evans. It's Mrs. Fahey. Do you remember me?"
I groaned.
"We have an issue. My daughter just brought something to my attention. Apparently, Jonathan was assaulted on the island and I was hoping you could drop by and clear things up" She paused for a second "Yes that would be wonderful, thank you. See you soon"
She put down the phone and told me to sit down.
"We'll wait for your father and Coach Evans to get here before we continue."
I took a seat on the couch and Gaby took one beside me. Mum took a seat across from us.

We sat in silence until dad arrived rushing through the door.
"Barbara, what's the emergency?" he asked panicked.
Mum stood up and gestured at me "Your son was raped on that island!"
"What?!" Dad asked confused
"Ugh mum no" I exclaimed "I was not raped, that's ridiculous"
"What would you call a boy holding you down and forcefully kissing you?"
The look of confusion never left my dad's face "What am I hearing? Someone forcefully kissed you? A boy?!"
This was up there with the most embarrassing things I'd ever experienced.
Thankfully the door bell rang and saved me from having to answer that.
Mum hurried to the door and opened it.
"Coach Evans" she said "Thank you for coming" she stretched her hand.
"Please call me Phillip" He said taking her hand before then doing the same with my father.
He turned to me "Jonathan, I told you to tell me if anything other than what you told me happened"
I didn't answer.
"One of those kids held him down and kissed him. Probably was going to do more if that Harris boy hadn't shown up"
Coach turned to me.
"That what happened, Jonathan?"
I nodded.
He took off the cap he had been wearing "Damn it, Fahey. I begged you to tell me"
"I'm sorry, coach. I didn't want anyone else to know about it"
"I told you not to handle this stuff alone" He turned to my mum "Have you called the police yet?"
Mum shook her head "We wanted to know everything first"
"Are you going to?" Coach asked again
"Yeah, probably"
"Mum you can't!" I shouted
Dad hadn't said a word and still seemed to be processing.
"Why not?" Gaby asked incredulously
"I can't be that guy that got raped! I can't. Dad tell them"
"I..." that was all he could manage
"I'm not going back to school if this becomes public" I said firmly "Oh my God, nothing happened"
"I told you what happened to my sister. You don't bottle this stuff up" Coach added
"I'm sorry coach but I'm not your sister and I wasn't raped. There's nothing to handle. Please" I begged "Don't make this public"
The room fell silent.
"Dad?" Gaby just said.
"Jo's got a point" He said finally "You don't want to live with that kind of label"
I relaxed.
The room fell silent again.
"We should at least go see if he gave you anything. Herpes or whatever" Mum added
"Mum!" I shouted
"At the very least" Dad said finally.

"Honey, it's for you!" I heard mum yell from downstairs.
I got out of bed and shuffled downstairs.
"It's that nice Harris boy. You should invite him over. So we can thank him properly" she said as she gave me the phone.
It was those wired telephones so I couldn't take it outside. I took a seat at the dining table and pressed the phone to my ear.
"Jo, finally. I'm sorry I couldn't call earlier. My parents have been all over me" I heard him say over the phone.
"You don't have anything to apologize for, Mikey" I replied. It was odd, him apologizing. "My parents think you're a hero, you know?"
"Yeah? For what?"
"For saving me"
"You told them?"
"No actually, I told my sister. She's not as good with secrets as I thought"
"Maybe it should never have been a secret?"
I didn't say anything
"Listen" he began "I wanted to talk about what happened yesterday morning."
"Look, we don't have to talk about anything. We were caught up in the moment and with everything with the island..."
"Hey no, that's not.." He paused "We should probably talk about what happened in person. Do you want to meet for ice cream or..?"
"That kind of sounds like a date"
My sister came down the stairs and around the corner. She was beautiful. She was wearing a grey and white striped top tucked into a dark blue mini skirt. She had heels on and was carrying a blue bag.
"Score, little brother. One day back and you already have a date"
"I'll call you back" I said to Mikey before I hung up. "Where are you going?" I asked her
"Campus, I'm going to go pick up a few clothes"
"What happened to the ones in your room?"
"Most of them don't fit me anymore. That reminds me, could you help me move them to your empty drawers? I'll sort when I get back"
I smiled "Not like I'm doing anything"
"Thanks" she said as she began leaving. She turned around "They'll probably fit you so if you see anything you like" She turned and left.
I called Mikey again. When he picked up, I said
"I can't today. I'm helping my sister move some of her old clothes"
"Gaby's there?" He asked
"Not right now. She'll be back"
"I could help you. I'm not doing anything"
"Uh... you sure your parents will be okay with that?" I asked. I'm not sure when I crossed my legs.
"Yeah. I can't stay at home forever. so?"
"Okay then" I said. I still wasn't sure about seeing him. I thought I'd have more time to figure things out. I had totally made out with him and loved every second of it.
"Cool, I'll be right over"

"You're sister really has like a hundred clothes" Mikey said as we dropped the last box on the floor of my room and sat down near one of the piles.
My room was a fairly large one with a lot of storage space in the form of an empty walk-in closet but there were still clothes everywhere
"I told you! She's going to make a charity very happy" I said as I held one of the dresses up to examining it.
Mikey looked at me puzzled. "I thought this stuff was for you"
I returned the look. "No. That was just an island thing. I wore that stuff because I had to"
The truth is I already missed wearing those clothes and it's been less than eight hours since I took them off. The pajamas I'd worn since I got back just felt so wrong.
"It doesn't have to be, Jo" Mikey said touching my arm as he knelt down next to me "You clearly enjoy wearing this stuff"
I couldn't admit that to myself because the moment I did, everything about my life would change.
I didn't reply.
"That's not a bad thing" Mikey added.
"I just don't want to be that guy, Mikey. Just like I don't want to be the guy that was almost raped"
"It sounds like you care too much about what people think. Try this stuff on, if you like any, keep it"
I took a deep breath "You said you wanted to talk" trying to change the subject.
"Yeah" He sat down. "About what happened yesterday morning.."
I sighed. "We don't have to talk about it. We were acting under duress or something"
He took both my hands. "I wasn't. I like you, Jo. Really"
I looked into his eyes and felt the same sinking feeling.
"Are you gay?.. which is totally okay, I'm just wondering" I asked partly wondering the same about myself. I loved my life. I didn't want anything to change but it felt like that was all my life wanted to do.
"I'm not. At least I don't think so. You're.. different, I don't know why but I..." He paused.
I half laughed "This is ridiculous" I said as I let go of his hands.
His head fell "I told you I'll never make you do anything. So if you want us to forget everything?.."
"I don't!" I shouted surprising both Mikey and myself. "I just... can we just take it slow? Whatever 'it' is."

Mum came up to my room a while later with a worried look on her face.
"Jo!" she said opening the door.
"Mum! Knock!"
"Is that Harris boy here?" she scanned the room and found us sitting on the floor "Oh thank God, your mother is worried sick. You tell someone before you go out!" She said to Mikey.
He stood up "I never had to do that before, I'm sorry"
She visibly relaxed. "Well you haven't been lost before. I'll go tell her that we have you"
"Thanks Mrs. Fahey" Mikey said.
She smiled, "Actually I hear I have you to thank for Jo's safety. I'm glad he had you on that island"
"I'll always protect Jo, Mrs. Fahey"
She was still smiling "Invite your family for dinner tomorrow night, will you?"
"Will do, Mrs. Fahey" Will said as he nodded.
Mum turned to me. "You should go get dressed, Jo. We leave for the hospital in about an hour"
"Wait, hospital?!" Mikey asked alarmed.
"We're going to go check if that boy gave him anything" she said turning to him
I instantly felt like dying "Mum!" I walked to Mikey, took his hand and pulled him out the room.
"And clean up this mess when you get back" Mum yelled from inside the room.

Mikey left and I went in to take my second bath of the day. I checked my watch, 1:09 pm. It had been over 9 hours since I saw mum and dad at the port. They had been so overjoyed, they had been crying. They didn't even ask me once why I was dressed the way I was.
I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. I looked surprisingly good for someone who had been stranded on an island. Except I was more tan than I'd ever been.
My hair was slightly longer but in poorer condition than it'd been before. It had been less than a week since I shaved my body last so there wasn't much hair there. I outlined my body and half hated and half loved how my body curved outwards and then inwards from my waist to my knee. I also half hated and half loved how smooth and soft my body was.
I stepped in and turned on the shower. The water hitting my face reminded me of sitting on the deck of that commercial fishing boat as the rain began pouring. At this point the fading island was no longer visible. Along with everyone on our group, there were four others rescued from the neighboring island.
Most of us that made it to the water from the plane had been rescued within the next few days by a search party but our boat had been pushed too far out. The search radius was just too great.
I don't know when I started crying and in truth, I didn't know why.
I got out of the shower, toweled myself dry and looked at the clean underwear I'd pulled out of a drawer earlier. I walked over to the pile of island clothes that still lay on the floor, picked up the panties and slipped them on.
'What's happening to me?' I thought
I searched through my sisters clothes and pulled out one of her blue ripped jeans forcing them on. Next I slipped on a thin off shoulder cropped sweater and white sneakers. I put my hair into a ponytail and went downstairs.
"Mum?" I called out
"Laundry room, honey!"
I opened the door and walked in, she turned around, shocked.
"Mum, we need to talk"

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