Request: Chris/Joey. Joey's a bad boy, Chris is a good boy.
"He's a bad influence."
Chris's mother hovered at the curtains, parting them every so often to watch the street outside. Listening intently for the sound of an engine gunning over the contant hum of the fan.
"He's not," insisted Chris as he pulled on his boots. "Remember how he brought you those flowers?"
"He stole them from Helen's garden next door. She caught him and chased him out of her yard, right over the back fence. He tore his pants."
"But it's the thought that counts, right?"
She hmmed her disapproval and peeked out the curtains again, though the street was mostly silent. Chris could even hear the shriek and splash of the kids next door playing in their wading pool. When Joey got close, they would both know.
"Come on, mom, he's nice."
"He has flaming red hair and piercings and a motorcycle. And he wears leather."
"He wears a leather jacket, mom, it's not like he's riding up in fetish gear. Bottomless leather chaps and a whip."
"Christopher, I'm going to pretend that you never said the word 'fetish'," she said.
She hmmed again and Chris saw her hand twitch as she resisted pulling the curtains open. "I'm not sure I like you going out like this," she said, for what felt like the twentieth time, "but you're a grown man and I can't stop you. When you're sitting around the garage in your leather jackets, drinking beer and looking at Playboy and blowing off work, though, you'll only have yourself to blame."
If those were the only ways she thought Joey was corrupting her son, well, then she had no idea. And it was probably best to keep it that way.