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Listen to me, p.1
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       Listen To Me, p.1

           Phylicia Joannis
 
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Listen To Me


  Listen To Me

  The Logoria Series Book 2

  Copyright © 2007

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

  Table of Contents

  Chapter One Busted

  Chapter Two Bible Study

  Chapter Three Max Shaw

  Chapter Four Grounded Forever

  Chapter Five Officer Rick

  Chapter Six Addiction

  Chapter Seven The Morning After

  Chapter Eight Reality

  Chapter Nine The Truth

  Chapter Ten The Lesson

  Chapter Eleven Proverbs

  Chapter Twelve The Loss

  Chapter Thirteen Second Chances

  CHAPTER ONE

  Busted

  “Not again,” Martin mutters to himself as he slinks down in his chair. His mother’s face is teeming with emotion. His father’s jaw is clenched, head bent slightly and hands on his hips, deep in thought. His prosecuting pose. Nothing escapes his father’s keen observation. Even hardened criminals squirm under the scrutiny of his gaze.

  Martin’s eyes meander to the portly, bald head of Principal Burke, his alleged captor. Mr. Burke is scowling and shaking his head in disdain. Martin isn’t concerned with him, though.

  He turns slightly to get a better look at Marjorie Griggs, the victim of this whole ordeal. Her eyes are swollen with tears and her face is puffy and red; at least, the part that isn’t buried in her mother’s shoulder. Martin frowns and his heart wrenches in guilt. His eyes flicker to Marjorie’s dad, but he turns his head away quickly. The look Mr. Griggs gave him could have melted glass.

  He’s in the principal’s office for what seems the millionth time this year, and all parties involved, and their parents, had been contacted and subsequently corralled into the office for a conference.

  If only Mr. Burke hadn’t caught him with those photos.

  “Well Martin,” Mr. Burke’s annoying voice sounds squeaky and shrill. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

  Martin parts his mouth open, but hesitates. None of this is his fault. His intentions this morning were nothing but innocent, but they’ll never believe him now.

  “Mr. Burke,” Martin’s father speaks gruffly. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t accuse my son of something without first proving his guilt.”

  Martin’s head shoots up at the boom of his father’s voice, and he watches in stunned silence as Mr. Burke stutters. “With all due respect, Mr. West, I caught him red handed with those pictures.”

  “Circumstantial,” Mr. West frowns. “Did you see him put any on the walls?”

  Mr. Burke opens his eyes wildly. “Well, no, but why would he have them if he didn’t do it?”

  “I don’t know, what did he say when you asked him?” Mr. West narrows his eyes.

  Mr. Burke sputters. “Well, I…I…”

  “You didn’t ask him, did you?” Mr. West bristles. “Did you?”

  “Well, no,” Mr. Burke looks pleadingly to Mrs. West for help. He gets none.

  Mr. Griggs stands up with clenched fists. “Hold up just one minute, sir. You may be blind to the kind of kid you raised, but Martin West has been terrorizing my daughter since elementary school, and I’m not going to let him do it anymore!”

  Martin winces as his father turns his face in Mr. Griggs’ direction.

  “Mr. Griggs,” he begins with a note of condescension, “I understand that you may be upset about the situation but that doesn’t give you the right to make baseless accusations about my son –“

  “Baseless?” Mr. Griggs raises his voice. “Your son is a menace! There’s not a kid in this school who doesn’t know it, and I don’t care who you are, if I have to beat him with my bare hands, he’s going to pay for what he’s done to my daughter!”

  Mr. West hardens his tone. “I’d watch what I said if I were you.”

  “Let’s all just take a step back,” Mrs. West finally speaks up. “Please, let’s all just settle down.”

  Martin watches as his father sits in a chair, blood boiling. He doesn’t dare look at Mr. Griggs again. How could things get so out of control? Mr. Burke’s glaring lack of aptitude aside, it makes no sense to Martin. He’d thought that attending the prayer meeting this morning would make his day go smoother. Apparently he’d been mistaken. He should have followed his gut and stayed away, but he’d promised Jennifer he’d come…

  †††

  EARLIER THAT MORNING

  Martin adjusts his backpack on his shoulder as he pulls open the heavy steel doors leading into the JROTC Building. He walks slowly down the worn steps, impressed by the trophies on both sides of the wall. His stomach growls and the noise echoes down the hall. He continues despite growing protest from his stomach, counting the doors, as were his instructions, until he reaches the fifth door on the right. He turns the knob and swallows. It’s locked.

  Martin is relieved. The prayer group is scheduled and organized by Jennifer Smith, one of the youth members at his church. Jennifer had asked him to come, since he’d recently given his life to Christ, and Martin had thoughtlessly agreed. It wasn’t until he woke up this morning that he realized how uncomfortable he was with the idea. Sharing his faith with his parents and his youth pastor, Mr. James, is one thing. Discussing it with a group of strangers is another.

  Martin turns to leave, anxious to get out of the building as soon as possible.

  “Martin?” He hears his name and turns back. Jennifer Smith smiles at him and holds out her hand.

  “Sorry about the mix-up. We had to change rooms at the last minute. We’re down here.”

  Martin takes her hand as she leads him further down the hall, plastering on a fake smile as he is led into a room full of students.

  “Okay, let’s get started!” Jennifer calls for the group’s attention. Several teens take seats formed in a semicircle. Martin recognizes one of the girls, a brunette with braces, and turns to hide his face. His tactic fails thanks to Jennifer, who pulls him to the front of the group.

  “Everyone, we have a new addition to the prayer group. This is Martin’s first time, so let’s all make him feel welcome.” Martin looks away in embarrassment as several of the teens clap.

  “Is this a joke?” One of the girls stares in disbelief. “There’s no way he’s serious. He’s just making fun of us.”

  Jennifer looks at her intently. “Marjorie, I know you may have some doubts because of some… past experiences, but everyone deserves a second chance, right?”

  Marjorie looks away, obviously unconvinced.

  Jennifer waits a beat before moving on. “Okay, I'll start us off with a song.” Jennifer begins singing Amazing Grace softly and the other teens join in. Martin tries to avoid eye contact with anyone by staring at his shoes. The song ends and Jennifer begins to pray.

  “Lord we come before you today thanking you for your goodness. You've given us the gift of your son, Jesus Christ. You've given us salvation through his death and resurrection. You've forgiven us, you've washed us, and you’ve given us a second chance. Now help us today to do for others what you have done for us by sharing the gospel, by sharing the love that you've shown us, and by forgiving others. Keep us safe and guard our hearts. Amen.”

  Martin mumbles an amen and looks up, but the prayer continues as the girl standing beside Jennifer begins to pray out loud. The prayers continue around the room until the girl beside Martin says amen. The group continues to pray softly as they wait for Martin.

  Jennifer gives Martin a soft nudge, and Martin begins to pray. “Lord,
um, thank you for this day. Lead us by your spirit and um… amen.” The group says a final amen amidst a few snickers.

  Jennifer turns to Martin and smiles. “So what did you think? Will you come back?”

  “Well, it's all very new,” Martin hems.

  Marjorie walks up to Jennifer, interrupting their conversation. “Jennifer, I want to talk to you about something.” Marjorie looks sharply at Martin then adds. “In private.”

  Jennifer looks at Martin. “Um, sure. Martin, do you mind?”

  Martin shakes his head. “No, that's fine. You and Miggy can talk all you want.”

  “Don't call me that,” Marjorie frowns. Martin stares at her, confused.

  Jennifer gently pushes Marjorie towards a chair. “Marjorie, I will be right with you.” Marjorie takes a seat and Jennifer pulls Martin to the side.

  “Martin, she doesn't like to be called that.”

  “Called what?” Martin crinkles his brow. “I didn't call Miggy anything.”

  “That, precisely that,” Jennifer chides. “She doesn't like being called Miggy.”

  “What?” Martin scoffs. “That's her nickname. I've called her that for forever.”

  “The only people who call her that are the people who make fun of her,” Jennifer frowns. “The circle is a peaceful place and everyone deserves to be treated with respect. She doesn't like to be called Miggy, and we don't call her that. Her name is Marjorie.”

  Martin frowns. “I didn't mean anything by it.”

  Jennifer smiles. “Well tell her.” Martin stares blankly and Jennifer sighs. “Just talk to her. Please?”

  Martin swallows and turns towards Marjorie. She stares at him coldly, arms folded, before looking away.

  Jennifer comes between the two and places a hand on Marjorie's shoulder. “Marjorie, I know you wanted to talk to me about something, but first I think we need to clear the air. Martin has something he'd like to say to you.”

  Jennifer nods at Martin. He clears his throat.

  “Uh, listen, Mig –” Jennifer gives him a look and he corrects himself, “Marjorie. Um, I didn't mean to offend you or anything.”

  Marjorie doesn't reply, but she unfolds her arms. Martin takes it as a sign of progress.

  “I know I haven't been the nicest person. You've had it pretty tough, what with your head gear and your voice and -" Jennifer shakes her head no as Marjorie's cheeks flush.

  “What's wrong with my voice?” Marjorie huffs.

  “Nothing!” Martin hems. “It's fine it's just, I don’t know, maybe…a little shrill?” Martin uses his thumb and index finger to measure the precise depth of her shrillness.

  Marjorie's eyes narrow and she frowns. “Really? That's what you came over here to tell me? That you’re sorry I have a shrill voice?”

  Martin opens his mouth, but Jennifer stops him.

  “What Martin's trying to say is that he's sorry for being mean, and he wants you to forgive him, right, Martin?” Jennifer smiles at Martin and motions for him to follow her lead.

  “Yes?” Martin responds with uncertainty.

  Marjorie doesn't respond and Jennifer nudges Martin again. “I mean, yes of course. I am sorry for being such a jerk to you and for being disrespectful, and mean, and if you want me to call you Marjorie, then Marjorie it is.”

  Marjorie is quiet for a moment before speaking. “Well, I guess I accept your apology.”

  Martin smiles. “So, you forgive me?”

  Marjorie doesn't say anything, but she nods and offers a slight smile.

  “Good!” Martin looks at his watch. “I'm going to head to class before the bell rings. You ladies go ahead and talk about whatever it was.”

  Marjorie shakes her head. “No need now. We'll walk with you.”

  Martin, Jennifer and Marjorie grab their things and leave the JROTC building to go to the school entrance. By the time they get to the door Martin and Marjorie are laughing and joking. Martin grabs the door and lets the girls in first.

  “After you,” Martin offers as Jennifer and Marjorie enter.

  Marjorie's bloodcurdling scream pierces the air and Martin covers his ears. Marjorie runs out the door, but stops and turns towards Martin.

  “I knew you hadn't changed!” She points accusingly at him. “I'll never forget this, Martin. I hate you!”

  Martin watches her continue to run down the street in tears, baffled. He walks through the school doors and finds Jennifer staring at the walls.

  “What got into her?” Martin asks. Jennifer points to the walls of the foyer and the walls along the hallway. In almost every space is a photo of Marjorie in her pajamas and hair rollers with her night brace on, mouth wide open and covered in egg yolk. A caption reads “Miggy the Magpie caught eating her young.”

  Jennifer looks at Martin. “Who would do something like this?”

  Martin closes his eyes in apprehension.

  “Me.”

  Jennifer stares at Martin in disbelief. “You did this?”

  Martin shakes his head. “No, I…I mean I was going to, but…” Martin doesn't finish. He spots his friend, Max Shaw and excuses himself. “Max! Max!”

  Max turns from the direction he was headed and stops to face Martin. They haven't spoken in weeks. Not since the incident with Johnny Reese.

  “Max, can I talk to you?” Martin approaches him.

  Max eyes him warily. “So long as you aren't armed with any knives.”

  Martin winces. “Max, listen. You gotta take these pictures down.”

  “What pictures?” Max looks around. “The photos on the wall? I think they're great! Whoever put these up is very clever.”

  “Max, it's not funny,” Martin frowns. “Marjorie saw them and she's really hurt.”

  “Who?” Max crinkles his brow.

  “Marjorie,” Martin repeats himself. “You know, Miggy.”

  “Come on,” Max chuckles. “This is hilarious! Tell me you don't think it's funny.”

  Martin shakes his head. “That's not the point, Max. You didn't see her face.”

  Max scoffs. “Martin, this was your idea! And since when do you care about Miggy?”

  “Since today,” Martin frowns. “Come on, Max. It's still early; we can get these pictures down before too many people see.”

  Max sighs. “Alright, tell you what. I was on my way to the gym to post the rest, but I'll give them to you instead.”

  “You have more?” Martin raises his eyebrows.

  Max shrugs and hands him a folder with the photos. “Knock yourself out.” Max walks down the hall and Martin shakes his head. He flips open the folder and glances at the pictures.

  “What do you have there?” Martin cringes as Principal Burke's head pops up behind him. He closes the folder, but it's too late. Principal Burke has already seen the photos.

  “My office, now!”

  Martin slumps as he is escorted to the office.
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