"You're not coming home for Christmas?" Todd said with a loud humorless laugh. His face was contorted with anger, the phone gripped hard against his ear, slouched over the counter several feet away from the living room he'd left Betto in. "You're fucking serious?"
"Todd, you told me, and I quote, that you didn't give a flying fuck if we were home for Christmas or not," Todd's mother spoke sounding caught between guilt and anger.
"No, no, it's fine," Todd snapped. "I just didn't think you would actually up and ditch the only family you have that is still in your life."
"If you didn't want me to leave you should have said so," Todd's mom was angry now, and Todd admitted that striking at the lack of family present in her life was harsh. But it was her own fault. She was the one who went and married a pedophile. "You're not a child anymore Todd. If you want people to know what you want, you have to say it. If not, you can't get all pissed off when things don't go your way."
"Quit lecturing me, Johanna," Todd bit out. "You lost your rights to play mommy with me a long time ago."
"Trust me, if this was a role I could give up I would've done it already," she retorted just as cruelly as he had, and Todd's jaw clenched almost painfully. "I left gifts for you and the Kiplings in the living room. Merry Christmas, Todd."
She hung up on him. She was rarely the one to hang up first, usually Todd ended the calls in fits of anger. Todd jerked the phone away in disbelief then roughly shoved the device in his pocket. She hung up on him. As if it were her fucking right.
"Fuck!" Todd lashed out, violently slamming his fists onto the countertop. Pain rocketed up his arms and he smacked the wicker basket of fake fruit off the counter in retaliation. They scattered to the flowered tiles with obnoxious clatters and Todd delivered a final kick to the basket and it shot into the other room with even more noise.
"You okay, buddy?" Betto asked, coming carefully into the kitchen to see what the commotion was.
"Yeah. Fucking peachy," Todd snapped, cheeks staining pink in a mix of anger and embarrassment at his outburst. "My mother's just being more of a bitch than usual."
"Want me to kick her ass for you?" Betto was a big, Italian, rugby playing man with dark features and a harsh grin. Very capable of kicking just about anyone's ass.
Todd let out a bark of laughter at Betto's offer and Betto grinned at him. "You'll have to catch a plane to Germany then, B."
"Why the fuck is she in Germany?" Betto frowned.
"Like I said, she's being more of a bitch than usual."
Todd was beyond angry with his mother. Sure, he hadn't spent much of the Christmas holidays with her over the last few years, preferring to spend Christmas Eve and morning with the Kiplings. But Todd still came back for a brunch with his mother and stepfather, where they opened their gifts for each other and spent the rest of the day pretending they didn't all hate each other. Of course, it seemed his mother wasn't in the mood for pretending she enjoyed her son's company at all this year. She had left him without any notice to spend Christmas in Germany with her husband's family. Todd was sure she hadn't even thought about him. Todd was sure he hated her.
Johanna had set up a Christmas tree for the sake of the season. A small, plastic, silver one in the corner of the room with a scattering of gifts below it. The only seasonal piece of the house and Todd glared at it like he was ready to kill it. Betto stood awkwardly behind him, the hockey game he'd been watching on the TV, paused.
"I'll have to bring these back with me when I go to Lev's," Todd informed his friend as it was Betto who would be driving him back to the Kipling's. The joys of having a vehicle.
YOU ARE READING
"Levon." Todd answered, voice hard. "Todd." Levon responded just as coolly. There was a pause. "Are you busy?" "I just got back from class," Todd said. "Waiting for Betto to get out of his lab so we can go for supper." "Nice." Levon wanted to punch...