Matt then took me to a conference room – not the same one they had us in the first time I came to the lawyers’ office – and another dude came in with one of those little machines they use to take down depositions and statements. I was used to that part of the process. The person who was at my last deposition even saw that I was interested in the machine and showed me how it worked. And I was glad it was a dude who came in. I know I’ve told my story to enough women, but I haven’t gotten over feeling incredibly embarrassed talking about the things she said to me, especially the comment the day I was in the gym and she looked up my shorts.
So I had to go through the whole story one more time, with Matt there to prompt me and make sure I didn’t leave anything out. He was pretty thorough, even though this must have been the first time he heard the complete story. Finally – it felt like it took forever – we were done, and the stenographer dude went to go type up the statement.
Matt said I should stick around until the dude was done so I wouldn’t have to come back just to sign my statement.
I looked at my Swatch and saw it was almost 7.
“Isn’t it late, though? Don’t y’all want to go home?”
“We’ve got typists going 24/7 here,” he explained, “and this isn’t at all late for an underappreciated associate. Besides, I’d rather hang with you than go back to my office and do paperwork. I wanted to pick your brain about hitting.”
That was a surprise. Matt didn’t exactly look athletic.
“Only softball, of course,” he said. “In a recreational league, just like the one you’re in with the Parrots, only it’s over in West LA where I live.” I must have looked a little surprised that he knew about the Parrots. “Yeah, I watch the show,” he admitted. “I probably shouldn’t say that Maya’s hot, but she is. And I really like Gechitzik. He makes me want to get a beagle shepherd, but my apartment is way too small for a dog like that. And you’ve got some of the most instructive baseball stuff on video anywhere.”
“Sometimes I get the feeling that there’s a black hole out there and nobody’s listening to what I say. It’s good to know someone who knows about the game watches.”
“I really liked the segment with your friend…”
“You mean Lucas?,” I asked.
“Yeah. It’s awesome to hear what you have to say to an adult. The kids are really great – I like Matteo a lot, he reminds me of me at that age – but you can’t really discuss spin rate too much with an 11 year old.”
Not only does he watch the show, I thought, but he pays attention: he even got Matteo’s age right.
“Wait until week after next. Me and Lucas put on a sliding clinic that was super fun to shoot.”
“That sounds awesome,” said Matt, totally losing his lawyer seriousness. “I’ve never tried to slide in a softball game.”
“Hopefully you’ll learn how,” I said. “And you can amaze your friends and teammates. What position to you play?”
“Outfield. I’ve got the arm for it.”
So it turns out that Matt isn’t just a cool but nerdy lawyer. We talked, mostly about playing ball and a little about los Doyers (Matt’s a fan and worried about what’s gonna happen to Bellinger if he doesn’t get his act together), and, in what felt like no time, the dude came back with the typed-up statement for me to read over and sign. Michelle looked over it before me and gave it the ok. It just looked like my story one more time when I read it. This is a little different from the depositions I had to give about In Hell with Maya, since, there, I kept having to talk about what didn’t happen. I didn’t have a story since everything in the book was made up. I never even met the author. This time I really did have a story, and, well, y’all know what it is. I’m getting tired of it, honestly, and it’s pretty humiliating, both for me (as a dude) to have to say I’m being sexually harassed, and (worse) to have to defend myself against super meanass accusations that totally aren’t true. That woman is trying to ruin my life…and for no good reason.
It was getting on 9 by the time I was done at the lawyers’, way past suppertime, although Belen threw together some huevos rancheros and beans and tortillas for me so I wouldn’t starve. It wasn’t past Jacob’s bedtime, so I looked in on him before I headed for the pool house. Both boys know something’s up – of course they found out where I was all afternoon – but they don’t know the details. I’m sure Maya doesn’t want them to know. I sure as heck wouldn’t if I were a parent.
“Are you gonna be okay?,” he asked me when I was upstairs in his room. “I mean…if you need a lawyer…”
“It’ll be okay, cowboy,” I said.
“You know I know pretty much what it’s all about. I don’t know everything, but I know that you’re being accused of something you didn’t do.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” I said.
“Every girl in my class has a crush on you,” he then said. “They all like to be around when you come to pick me and Matteo up.”
“They can just see me on the show,” I said. “They don’t have to try and see through the windows of a car.”
“But they do,” said Jacob. “That’s how I know what they’re saying about you isn’t true. Why would someone who has girls chasing after him like you do need to do stuff to get an old woman to pay attention to him, and…I don’t know…give him stuff…and stuff.”
Ok, so this was a whole new dimension of bringing up someone else’s children that I wasn’t prepared for. I especially didn’t want to step on Maya and Robert’s toes, since Jacob is their kid, and they have the right to decide what their kids learn about and when.
“Have you talked this over with your mom or dad?,” I asked, since that seemed the safest thing.
“A little. Mom did say I could ask you questions about it. Well…,” he added, “within reason. There are things I’m not supposed to know about.”
“I’m sure your mom told you the story like it is, cowboy. That woman, well…she…was interested in me and offered to get me an agent if…well…you know that part, I’m sure…and I said no, and so she accused me of what she did to me.”
“You know I know the expression ‘sexual harassment’ – I’m not retarded.”
I smiled. That felt good, as I’d spent most of the afternoon and evening nearly fixing to cry.
“Is there going to be a trial?,” Jacob then asked. “I overheard something about that.”
“Yeah, cowboy,” I said. “A hearing in front of some big network executive. With lawyers and everything.”
“I’m worried,” I said. I know that the boys – Jacob especially – look up to me like I’m some kind of superhero (well…at least where anything athletic is concerned), and I didn’t want to ruin that by admitting to a 13 year old that I was scared as fuck about the hearing. “This is a big deal, Jacob,” I said.
“How come you just called me by my name? You don’t usually do that off-camera.”
“I don’t know. It just kind of slipped out.” It had, maybe because he conversation had gotten serious. Y’all probably noticed that I got ‘cowboy’ from Keaton, but Jacob liked it when I first met him, and it stuck between us.
“Well…,” he said, “Matteo and I are definitely on your side. I just wish I’d seen something happen so I could testify about it. But she was careful to make sure we were at school when she approached you, wasn’t she?”
“You’ve been watching too many court shows on TV, cowboy,” I said.
“It would be awesome if you had a witness, wouldn’t it? Say Ethan caught her on tape or something when she didn’t know y’all” yes, both Jacob and Matteo caught y’all from me; I don’t know what Maya thinks “were watching. Have you asked him?”
“Your mom did. But the woman was careful, so I’m sure she didn’t get caught on film. You know, now that I think about it, she was super careful. Like she knew what she was doing. Like…”
“Like she’s done it before!,” said Jacob. “Maybe there’s a witness to that?”
“Maybe?,” I wondered aloud. It was certainly worth a call to Matt in the morning. Law firms that have people typing 24/7 probably have private investigators on staff too.
“Did I come up with something helpful?,” Jacob asked, looking a little proud of himself.
“You very well may have, cowboy,” I said. “You should get back to your homework, and I need…”
“To have a beer and lay down?”
“You know me pretty dang well, cowboy,” I said, smiling again. “Whose turn is it to sleep with Gechitzik tonight?”
“Matteo’s. I’m sure he’s in there already.”
“I’ll go check,” I said. “And thanks, cowboy. You really may have helped. Good night.”
“Good night, Hunter.”
Matteo’s room is right next door to Jacob’s, although y’all can probably imagine that they’re totally different. Jacob’s got sports posters and two Dodgers Fatheads (Kershaw and Bellinger) on the wall, while Matteo’s got wallpaper with hot-air balloons on it and a bunch of his own drawings on the wall.
Something else that’s totally different between the two boys is bedtime. Jacob is one of those kids you can’t get to go to sleep, and who is always stretching his bedtime (I was like that…yeah, I used to read comic books under the covers with a flashlight.) Matteo, on the other hand, usually has his teeth brushed before his set bedtime, and, although he likes to read in bed, always turns the light out when he’s supposed to.
So I wasn’t surprised to find that the room was dark, except for the night light. (Jacob sleeps with a night light too, although I’m not sure he’d want me to tell y’all his secret. He still makes fun of Matteo’s night light because it looks like Winnie the Pooh and he’s got a ‘grown up’ Star Wars one.)
“Hunter?,” Matteo said, sounding groggy.
I was trying not to wake Gechitzik, but I failed. He got out of his basket, came to check me out, maybe see if I’d been around any dogs, but lost interest and got back into his bed.
“Is everything okay?,” Matteo asked. “I know where you went.”
“We can talk about it in the morning, dude,” I said. “It’ll be ok.”
“Oh, good,” said Matteo, turning over and falling back asleep.
I wish I was as easy to convince as Matteo lol. But then it really was time for a beer and laying down. I had to call Joyce, too, since the lawyer thing happened so quickly this afternoon that no one – not even Dad, not even Keaton – knows where I was or how things stood.
Ok, I’ll be honest with y’all: I had a second beer. I’d probably be a wound-up spring in the morning and work it off in the gym or the pool anyway. I did call Joyce and tell her the story (she thinks the whole thing is “outrageous” and has called my accuser names I didn’t know she knew), and then Keaton, who’s also 100% on my side, although he does keep telling me that it’s my gayass abs that got me into this mess in the first place lol.
Then I went to sleep. It had been a long afternoon and evening, and I was dead. I even thought about not putting on my pajamas or brushing my teeth, but habit kicked in and I did get ready for bed properly. I knew I needed to be rested up for what was coming.