Eight-year-old Lee Adama was woken by the sounds of raised voices. His parents were arguing again over the events of the day. Lee, himself was upset, through no fault of his own, he had ended up being blamed for his brother’s actions.
The day had started well enough. Their Father was home on leave and it was a bright summer day with the sun beating down. The boys played outside in the sunshine and one of Bill’s friends had brought his two sons over to play with Lee and Zak. As it turned out Peter, the oldest boy, was in Lee’s class at school and Derek was the same age as Zak. Lee was getting on well with Peter but Zak had taken an instant dislike to Derek.
“I don’t like Derek, he’s such a baby.” Zak had said to Lee while they were inside getting some Juice and cookies.
“Zak, come on you’ve only just met him.”
“He’s a big baby, not a big boy like me.” Zak had pouted and Lee had laughed at his brother.
“Can’t you try and get on with him?”
Things came to a head a little while later, while the boys were playing in their tree house. Zak and Derek were fighting, Lee and Peter broke it up but Zak then pushed Derek and he fell out of the tree house, landing on the grass below with a sickening thud.
“What in the name of the Gods is going on up there? Lee, Zak get down here now!” Bill commanded as his friend tended to his injured child.
“Both of you get inside now.” Bill was barely able to keep the anger out of his voice.
Bill turned in time to see Carolanne roughly grab Lee by the wrist and demand, “How many times do you have to be told to supervise your brother properly? What where you doing? Why did you let him behave like a hooligan?”
While Bill and Carolanne waited till they heard from the hospital, Lee and Zak were sent to their rooms. Once Derek’s parents to called to let them know that Derek had broken an arm and a leg, Carolanne went upstairs and told them both their father wanted to see them.
When Bill called them through to the study, both of them stood with their arms at their sides, backs straight as they had been taught to do.
“ Well young man what have you got to say for yourself. I’m very disappointed in you Zak. Derek has broken an arm and a leg, it could have been worse. What you did was dangerous.” Bill could barely contain his fury.
Zak looked at his father with tears in his eyes “I’m sorry, Daddy.”
“ So you should be, why did you push him Zak?”
“He wanted my ball” the tears were running down Zak’s cheeks.
Bill was silent for a few moments, all this over a frakking pyramid ball.
“As of now, both of you are to go nowhere near that tree house. Tomorrow morning I’m taking it down. Zak, you are grounded for a month. And both of you will go to bed tonight without any dinner.”
Bill paused to let that sink in, and then finished with “Zak you may go. Lee wait here.”
Zak turned his big eyes to Lee and left the study.
Bill stood looking at his oldest son; Lee was eight years old now, old enough to be more responsible.
“Lee, what happened today was unacceptable. You were supposed to be supervising your brother. We are very lucky that Derek was not more seriously injured.”
“I know Dad and I’m sorry.”
“Lee. Zak is only five years old, he doesn’t know right from wrong, and that is why as his older brother you need to look out for him. I’m not excusing what he did for one second. But you need to keep a proper eye on him, your Mother and I put a lot of trust in you, Lee.”
Bill briefly paused before he added.
“Do you understand what I’m saying here, Son. We need you to be a bit more responsible with Zak.”
As Lee lay awake in bed, his parent’s angry voices drifted upstairs.
He could clearly hear his Mother saying, “I’m telling you Bill, this is all down to Lee. Zak would never behave like that.”
“It was Zak that pushed Derek, not Lee. Was there any need to grab Lee the way you did?”
“What, so you are questioning how I deal with my children now? That’s rich coming from you. You are never here to spend any time with your children, Bill.”
In his bed, Lee pulled the pillow over his ears to drown out his parent’s voices. He just wanted to go to sleep and forgot all about today and all the upset, tomorrow had to be a better day.