No such luck. As soon as we got back to the little room where I’d started out, Dad walked over to us. “What happened?” he demanded.
“Someone beat me up,” I said.
“I see that.” He glared at Mom. “How could you let this happen?”
“Excuse me?” She put her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes. She wasn’t much taller than Holly, and Dad had a few inches on me, so there was no way she should have intimidated him. But he flinched a little. “He was on his way to school. I was on my way to work. What the hell do you think I could have done, Timothy?”
“You could have—I don’t know.” He looked down at me again. “What the hell’s on your face?”
I swore to myself. I didn’t think he meant the blood and bruises. Cindy had washed off the blood, but she hadn’t touched my eyes.
“Evan?” Dad took the chair that Mom had been sitting in.
“Eyeliner,” I said.
“What the hell?” He looked from me to Mom and back. “He’s wearing frigging eyeliner?”
“Timothy, your son was beaten up,” Mom said through clenched teeth. “He’s lying here with a concussion. Two boys ganged up on him, and all you’re worried about is what he’s wearing?”
“How the hell could you let him do that?” He glanced down at me. I slid my hands under the sheet, but not fast enough. “Show me your hands, Evan.”
I couldn’t ignore a directive from Dad. I pulled one hand out, and he grabbed it. “Frigging nail polish? What are you, some kind of queer?”
“Don’t call me that.” My deadly tone was almost as good as Mom’s. Inside I cringed, because I knew this was going to blow up in my face. But I refused to lie there and let my own father insult me. “Yes, Dad, I’m gay. If you have a problem with it, maybe you can wait to complain till I’m out of the hospital.”
“He’s gay.” Dad stood up and glowered down at Mom. “You did this. You took him away from me, and you let him dress this way. That’s it, Imogen. I’m going to my attorney. Obviously you aren’t raising Evan right.”
“Dad, stop it.” A big lump rose in my throat and I almost choked. I couldn’t live with Dad. I’d barely been able to tolerate him on weekends.
“Timothy, this is not the time.” Mom kept her voice down, but she sounded absolutely furious. “Fight with me later. Not in front of Evan.”
“Screw that!” Dad didn’t bother trying to be quiet. “That’s why they beat you up, isn’t it, Evan? This was a frigging hate crime or something?”
“It was a couple guys from my school.” I had to force back tears. I hated it when my parents fought with each other, and it was a zillion times worse when it was about me. And even worse when it was in front of me. “They just don’t like me.”
“Because you’re—” Dad stopped himself and waved his hand at me. “You’re going to come live with me, son. This isn’t how a man behaves.”
“No, I guess it isn’t.” Freaked out or not, there was no way in hell I would let Dad do this to Mom and me. I took a deep breath and let it all pour out. “A man barges into a hospital and blames his son for having the shit beat out of him and makes all kinds of threats without even bothering to ask if his son’s okay. If that’s a real man, Dad, enjoy your life.”