The Fault Lies In Truth
By Maquis Leader
Rated R for language
Author’s note: Somewhere after season 6. I think…
“Maurice, what are you doing?”
“I’m making a sandwich, Ma.” Bosco closed up the bread wrapper. “What’s it look like I’m doing?”
“It looks like you’re going to ruin good pastrami.”
“How?” He put a handful of pastrami onto a slice of bread, and picked up the bottle of mustard.
“By putting this crap on it.” Rose took the mustard out of his hand. “Why do you use this stuff? This yellow baby crap mustard? Let me get you some good mustard.”
“I like the yellow baby crap mustard.” He took the bottle back and squirted a squiggly happy face onto the pile of pastrami. “And I’m sure French’s doesn’t think it looks like yellow baby crap.”
“I don’t know where you got such a bad habit.” She shook her head.
“Weak genes? Let’s blame my father.”
“Maurice, you can’t blame him for everything.”
“Sure I can.” Taking a bite of his sandwich, Bosco shrugged as she put the pastrami and mustard away. “It’s easy – watch me. The rain today? His fault. That car wreck we saw on the way over? His fault.”
“He wasn’t always – you don’t know him, Maurice.” She sighed. “It’s my fault.”
“Jesus, Ma – everything is not your fault!” His appetite deserted him, and he put his plate down on the kitchen table. “I get so damn tired of it – everything is your fault! He beats the hell out of you – and it’s your fault!”
“You’re not yelling at me, Maurice!” Rose slammed the refrigerator door. “I’m your mother – you don’t yell at me!”
“I’m so fucking sick of it!” He turned and headed for the living room, needing to get away from his mother for a moment. “I’m tired of how it’s your fault that he beat on you – how it’s your fault he hates me!”
“It is.” She said softly.
“Whatever.” Stopping, he turned to look at her. “It’s not your fault – it’s not your fault I’m too short and too stupid and too – “
“It’s my fault you were born!” Rose clapped her hands over her mouth and turned away.
“It takes two to tango, Ma.” For once, he wasn’t going to feel sorry for her. He stalked back into the kitchen to confront her. “The old man climbed on top and fucked you and here I am! The biggest screw up of all time!”
“Don’t be crude, Maurice!” All these years she’d kept it a secret, never telling him the truth. She shook her head. Maurice was her baby – her only baby now – and the truth would only hurt him.
“So tell me how it’s your fault this time?” Relentlessly Bosco pushed, not willing to back down for once. “How is it your fault I was born? Because you couldn’t resist the Boscorelli charm? Huh? Was he so damn charming that you couldn’t keep your hands off?”
“Too close to the truth, Ma?”
“You don’t understand!”
“I understand plenty – “ He picked up his sandwich and threw it in the trash, plate and all. “You think I don’t know how it works? You think I don’t turn on the charm so I can get what I want? Only I’m smart enough to get up and leave before they wake up. Guess my old man ain't as smart.”
“Maurice, please – “ Wiping at her eyes, Rose pulled the plate from the trash. “Just this once – please – just accept it – it’s my fault – “
“Okay, whatever, Ma.” Checking his watch, Bosco wished he hadn’t lent his car to Faith. Unless he wanted to walk, he was stuck. “It’s your fault that Pop never wanted me.”
“It is!” She bit down on her temper. Being patronized was one thing that infuriated her. And nobody did it better than her son.
“Sure, sure.” He nodded. “Whatever lets you sleep at night, Ma.”
“You think you know everything?” Her temper snapped, and she rushed at him, slapping at his face. “You don’t know anything!”
“Ma!” Stepping back, he caught her arms and pushed her back, careful not to let her stumble and fall. “What the hell – “
“It’s my fault you were born!” Rose screamed at him. “I lied to him! I lied to him, Maurice!”
“What are you saying?” The thought that Anthony Boscorelli wasn’t really his father filled him with a heady, joyous feeling. “He’s not my father?”
“Of course he’s your father!”
“Then what?” That hope crushed, he found himself angry at her again. “Were you supposed to get rid of me?”
His mother didn’t answer, her gaze dropping to the floor. Bosco stumbled back and leaned on the kitchen counter for support. “He wanted you to get an abortion?”
Numbly, she nodded. The secret was coming out with no way to stop it. “Only it was too late – I made sure of that.”
His father had always looked at him with contempt and dislike – saving his love for Mikey – and Bosco had never known why. But to want him dead before he was born? “I – I – don’t – “
“We were seeing each other. Had been for a few months.” Rose went to him, but he pushed her away. “I knew I wasn’t the only girl he was seeing – but, Maurice, I loved him – God, I loved him!
“And he got you got pregnant?”
“I lied to him. I was on the pill – back then people didn’t use condoms, you know?” She gestured and shrugged. “That was for cheap, dirty people. Things were different then.”
“I don’t understand.” What the fuck did condoms have to do with anything?
“I knew if I mentioned marriage he’d run – and I wanted him so bad, Maurice.” It had seemed like such a good plan all those years ago. Rose wiped at the tears again. “I stopped taking my pills – and I didn’t tell him.”
“Oh my God…”
“I loved him so much, Maurice – you have to understand.”
“My God – Ma, how could you do that?”
“I loved him!” She grabbed his arms and shook him. “I loved him so much it made me hurt inside! So I let myself get pregnant – and I didn’t tell him – and by the time he noticed – it was too late to get rid of you!”
“So – I’m just – you – “ Pushing away from her, Bosco stumbled out of the kitchen. He had to get out of here. Had to get away from the thought that he was nothing more than his mother’s way to trap his father into marriage.
“Maurice, baby – “ Rose followed, getting between him and the front door. “I love you, baby – don’t think that I don’t! I loved you from the moment I realized I was pregnant!”
“How could you do it?” Tears were burning his eyes, and Bosco couldn’t stop them from overflowing. “No wonder – he hated me – “
“I wouldn’t get rid of you. He knew a doctor who would do an abortion even though I was too far along – but I wouldn’t get rid of you.” She cupped his face in her hands, wiping at the tears on his cheeks. “No matter how bad things were between your father and me – I’ve never regretted having you, baby.”
“You made him marry you.” That explained so much. The looks and abuse – mental and physical – that his father had heaped on him.
“He – he tried to get rid of you.” Pulling his head down to her shoulder, Rose ran her fingers through the soft, dark hair. “You were so tough – even before you were born.”
“He tried – he beat you – “ Raising his head, Bosco looked into his mother’s eyes. “He tried to kill me?”
“For once it was my fault.” She shook her head. “I shoulda known he wouldn’t change, but I loved him, Maurice. I thought I could change him.”
“Why did he marry you?” If he hated the idea of being a father so much, why the fuck had his father married her?
“Your Uncle Joey was still alive then – you remember him?”
“Yeah, he used to bring me tootsie rolls.” His Uncle Joey had been a big man who would pick him up and toss him in the air – and he’d never been afraid that Uncle Joey wouldn’t catch him.
“He beat the crap out of your father – told him if he ever raised a hand to me again – he’d kill him. Told him that he was gonna do right by me.”
Too bad Uncle Joey had died back when he was little. Which was probably about the time his father began slapping his mother around again. Or at least leaving marks that would show.
“It is my fault, baby. It is.” Rose kissed the red mark she’d left on his cheek. “This one time – you can’t blame your father.”
“Yeah, I can.” Bosco pulled her closer, resting his cheek against hers. “He coulda run – or he coulda been a better man.”
“You don’t know what his life was like, Maurice. His father beat him and his mother – it’s all he knows.” She rubbed his back like she’d done when he was a little boy. “My father beat my mother – it’s just the way it is.”
“No – it isn’t.” If he were lucky enough to get married someday, there was no way he was ever letting it be ‘the way it is’. “I’m never hitting my kids – never. My wife either – “
“If you can’t help it – you don’t know, baby – “
“He won’t, Rose.”
Bosco jerked around to find Faith behind him. He hadn’t heard the front door open. “How much – “
“Enough. Bos – ” She put a hand on his arm. “You’re not going to be like your father. I’ve seen you – you’re too good to ever be that way.”
“I need to go.” He hugged his mother. “I need to think.”
“Maurice – “ Rose clung to him. “Please – baby, don’t go – “
“I’ll call you, Ma.” Bosco kissed her cheek. “I need to go.”
“I’m driving.” Faith told him when he held out his hand for the keys. “I’ll drive – you think. It’ll be a change for us.”
He wasn’t going to argue with her. It never worked anyway. Walking outside, Bosco got into the Mustang.
“Don’t worry, Rose.” Faith paused on the front steps. “I’ll take care of him.”
“I know.” Rose reached out, her hands clutching at Faith’s arm. “Just remind him that I love him.”
“I will. He knows – but I will.” She patted Rose’s hand. Too many times she’d seen Bosco take care of a battered woman or child – treating them with kindness and compassion – sometimes puking his guts up afterwards as he relived a moment of his own childhood. “He’s won’t be like that, Rose. Trust me.”
Getting into the car, Faith started the engine. “Anywhere in particular you want to go?”
“No.” Sighing, Bosco leaned his head on the window. “Just somewhere where it’s nobody’s fault.”
Guiding the Mustang out onto the street, Faith headed back toward home. If Bosco didn’t have things worked out by then – well, she’d drive them somewhere else. And somewhere else after that if she had to.