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JayT last won the day on August 28 2018

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  1. I would like to know what made him so jaded leading up to the club
  2. Axel, Axel, and some more Axel
  3. Took you long enough to admit I'm right. Someday y'all will learn. I'm always right, I just might not be answering the question you're asking at the time.
  4. JayT

    Chapter 13

    TJ Chapter 13 After leaving Doris’, we decided to spend the night at our house. Jacob had no problem letting Sean and Kevin stay over any weekend night they wanted. Similarly, Robert didn’t object to Josh and me staying at Sean and Kevin’s. I realized something that evening. No matter where we stayed, we always stayed together. Never had Sean and I stayed one place while Kevin and Josh stayed somewhere else. It made me realize this was my family and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Robert let us know he and Lori were going out dancing and would be coming back to the house later that night. The warning of make sure your doors are closed and locked if you’re not one-hundred percent decent went without saying. Once we were settled in my room after showering and getting ready for bed, I locked the bedroom door, took off my sleep shorts, and crawled into bed next to a gloriously naked Sean. Thank the gods for a doorknob with a lock on it. The amazing thing about that night is the fact we didn’t have sex. Sometimes it’s nice to lay naked in the arms of someone who loves you and you love them back. However, laying there in the dark, fully awake, gives you time to think; and my brain was taking full advantage of the given time. There were a few things Sean and I had not discussed the things weighing on my mind. I could tell Sean was still awake from his breathing. I finally broke the silence. “Sean, can we talk for a moment?” He chuckled slightly and said, “Uh oh, that doesn’t sound good. Am I in trouble?” I smiled, even though he couldn’t really see it. “No, I was just wondering something. Have you given any thought about where you’re going to apply to go to school?” “Yeah, I’ve given it some thought. I’ve also talked to my dad and Aaron about it. Up until a couple weeks ago, I planned to go straight to a four-year university and play either football or baseball or both, if I could make a team. Well, since I won’t be able play football and I’m not sure if I could make a baseball team after not playing my senior year, my dad and Aaron suggested I stay around here and go to a community college and get my basics out of the way before transferring to a four-year school. At first, I rejected the idea. But the more they talked to me about it, the better the idea sounded. It’s what Aaron did when he went to school. “So, I think that’s what I’m going to do. I think it’s what Kevin is planning to do too. We’ve talked about it some. It’s not that we don’t think we can make it through a four-year school, and I don’t want to say we’re taking the easy way out. It’s more like why not take advantage of something when it’s there. My dad and Aaron both said future employers don’t look at where you started school, only where you finished. Why? What are you thinking about doing? What’s your major going to be anyway? I can’t believe I haven’t asked you before now.” I hadn’t told anyone what I wanted to do yet. So, I hesitated a moment before I said, “I want to major in education and then get my Doctorate’s in Administration. I know I’ve heard Robert say more than once how he wishes he had gone for his Doctorate. Mel pressured him into stopping after he received his Master’s in Administration. “I’m not sure if I told you my mom was actually Dr. Mary Kennedy. She was an elementary school principal before she became superintendent. She retired last year. I know I don’t have the patience for elementary school kids, but I think I could do middle or high school. I want to start out teaching and then move into administration. “But I like your idea. I might have to give it some consideration. Plus,” I continued without thinking about what I was about to say, “It will give me another two years I get to see you every day.” We were both silent for a bit. Finally, Sean broke the silence. “You know, we can always apply to the same schools when the time comes. I know it’s only been a couple of months since we started going out, but I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I don’t even want to try.” “Oh, god! Me neither. Don’t even talk like that. Now, let’s change the subject. Can you believe Doris did all that for us? She’s only known us for a few weeks and she just gave us eight thousand dollars each. Of course, we have to be enrolled in school to get the money, but still, it’s a lot and then giving Kevin a full scholarship! I’m wondering how the big guy is handling everything,” I asked as I got out of bed and started putting my shorts on. “We’re going to check on him, aren’t we?” Sean asked with a smile. “You know me too well. Besides, I figured you were about to suggest we do it anyway. This way, I can say it was my idea.” Once we were both dressed, I unlocked my door and headed to Josh’s room. I expected to find his door closed and locked but was surprised when I found the door barely closed. After knocking and pushing the door open a little, I found his room empty. I looked back at Sean and shrugged. I noticed light coming from the front of the house. I headed down the hallway to the living room. I could hear voices and when we turned the corner, we found Josh, Kevin, Robert, and Lori sitting around the coffee table. Josh and Kevin were on the love seat facing away from us, while Robert and Lori were on the couch facing the hallway. When they noticed us, Robert chuckled and said, “I was wondering how long it would take you two to come out and join us.” “Yeah, we couldn’t sleep and got to talking about everything that happened today and decided to check on Kevin and see where his head’s at,” I replied. Kevin turned and smiled at us. “I’m alright. it’s a lot to process. I still can’t believe it. I’m afraid I’m going to wake up to my dad stumbling in drunk and yelling.” Sean walked up and hugged him from behind. I’d never realized how close they had become since Kevin started living with him. Sean placed a brotherly kiss on Kevin’s cheek. Josh playfully shoved Sean and told him to stay away from his boyfriend, reminding him he had one of his own. I might have felt a moment of jealousy but quickly tamped it down. I walked up behind Josh, wrapped my arms around him, and leaned down to whisper in his ear. “We have a couple of good ones here, huh?” Josh’s smile beamed and he responded, “Yeah, we do.” The only place left to sit was on the chair next to the loveseat. I grabbed Sean’s hand, led him to the chair, sat him down, and sat on his lap. After making ourselves comfortable, I looked at the others and asked, “What are y’all talking about?” Robert looked at Josh and Kevin and gave them a ‘go ahead and let them know if you want’ look. Kevin nodded and said, “I was just overwhelmed by everything today and needed to talk some things out with an adult. I was telling Mr. Kennedy and Lori…” Robert interrupted and said, “Kevin, Sean, when we’re at the house and it’s just us, don’t worry about calling me Mr. Kennedy. Y’all can call me Robert, I don’t mind.” Kevin blushed before continuing, “I was telling Robert and Lori that Sean’s dad and uncle talked to us about going to a community college before transferring to a university.” Lori spoke up, “It’s what I did after high school. It let me get my basics out of the way and helped me maintain a good GPA.” “It’s not what I did, but I can see the benefits of doing it that way. I know there were quite a few students from my first year who didn’t make it to the second year,” Robert added. I looked at Robert and shyly asked, “Do you think Mom and Dad would’ve let me do this? Would they have been disappointed?” Instead of answering my question, he stood and crossed to me and pulled me into a hug. He held me tight and said, “You know they wouldn’t have cared, right? They loved you and you always made them proud.” Then I did something I hadn’t really done since the funeral. I started crying over the loss of my mom and dad. “I miss them so much,” I sobbed into Robert’s chest. “I know you do. So do I. But we’re here for each other now. You’ve also got Josh and Kevin, and most importantly, you’ve got Sean. He’s a good one. I’m proud of you,” he whispered in my ear for only me to hear. Before I knew it, we were attacked on all four sides as Kevin, Sean, Josh, and Lori drew us into a huge group hug. Before I could make a comment, Robert interjected, “Teej, if you say one word about a hug orgy, I can’t be held accountable for my actions.” “Why do you take the fun out of everything?” I pouted. “Because I’m the responsible adult,” he responded in a deep voice. “Because I’m the responsible adult,” I repeated in a mocking tone, which earned me a slap to the back of my head. We stayed up for another half hour or so talking, then went to bed. Sunday passed without incident, as did the first half of the week. Wednesday after school was the first meeting of the GSA. The turnout was surprisingly good. A total of thirty people showed up including the fifteen from our group! Coach Wilson decided to start practice later than usual, giving anyone who wanted to attend the meeting the chance to do so. Elections were held and I was voted president, Chase was voted vice-president, Tracie, a sophomore girl, was voted secretary, and Josh was voted treasurer. Of the people not from our group, I recognized only a few of the faces, mostly the ones from our Drama class. Of course, John wasn’t there. He hadn’t been in class since the previous Thursday. That would be the reason I performed two scenes with two different partners. On Tuesday, Lori asked if I would be able to step in and help Josh and still be comfortable doing the scene with Stacey. She told me she would grade me on whatever scene was better. I let her know I would, since I would do anything for Josh. Since we didn’t have a lot of time to work on the scene, we were assigned the final scene from Of Mice and Men. If you’ve never seen the play or read the book, it is an emotionally wrecking scene, but there’s little to no blocking involved. To sum it up, George makes the decision to shoot Lennie, a giant of a man with the mental capabilities of a child and George’s best friend who likes to hear George tell him about the rabbits, in the back of the head himself rather than allowing a lynch mob to capture him. I was playing Lennie and Josh was playing George. By the time we finished the scene, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. I knew Stacey was worried about John; he was her cousin after all. While I didn’t give two shits or a fuck what happened to him, I didn’t realize she would be so worried she would miss her cues and forget the blocking for the scene. However, we muddled through. Once we were finished, I thought I was going to start going off on her. But when I turned towards her to start my tirade and saw the tears on her face, I softened my approach. “You know I’m here if you want to talk about anything. Like maybe whatever has you so distracted I had to feed you lines and push you around the stage.” She wiped her cheeks and sniffled. “You don’t want to hear about it. And yeah, I know I totally sucked up there. I’m sorry.” “I asked about it, didn’t I? That generally means I want to hear about it,” I countered. “You don’t want to know where my head has been lately. You’d probably say I was wasting my time and I don’t want to hear it,” she said as she crossed her arms. “Hey, I’m asking. If you want to talk about,” I paused and took a deep breath before I hissed out, “John, then that’s fine.” She stood there with her arms crossed for several moments before she sighed out, “I’m worried about him, Teej. He hasn’t been acting like himself since he moved down here. Before Sean finally told him to back off, I asked him multiple times why he wouldn’t leave y’all alone. He said something about things not being the way they were supposed to be. Once Sean called him and he realized I wasn’t going to take his side and back him up, he started hanging out with a guy he met online. It’s some druggie who was supposed to graduate last year but dropped out before graduation. “Now, John hasn’t been in school since Thursday. His parents told me he hasn’t been home since Friday afternoon. He stopped answering his phone on Monday night when he told his parents to fuck off and leave him alone. He said he was eighteen and could do what he wants. This was after his dad told him if he wasn’t going to go to school, he shouldn’t bother coming home. The last time he responded to one of my texts was Tuesday night. All it said was ‘leave me alone and let me enjoy my high.’ When I told my aunt and uncle what it said, I could tell my aunt was worried, but my uncle told her not to worry about it since John was making his own choices.” Because I’m a good friend and a nice person, I drew her into a hug and said, “Damn, that sucks. I’m sorry you have to go through this. Is he normally the type to do drugs and stay gone like this?” “Not really. I know he has smoked pot in the past. But that’s all he’s ever told me he’s done. During the summers, he would stay gone from his parents as much as he could, but he would always check in and let them know where he was. It’s not like him to miss this much school. He’s smart and used to be a good student. I don’t know what to do and I feel totally useless.” “Well, if he’s as smart as you say he is, maybe he’ll realize he’s fucking up and come around. Until then, there’s not much you can do. He’s making his choices and he’ll have to live with them. If you ever need someone to talk to or whatever, I’m here for you,” I responded, sounding like I was in some afterschool special or something. The next day, Friday, John was back. He showed up about half-way through first period, and then he showed up about five minutes late for Drama. Lori asked where he had been. She pointed out how he had let Josh down. She finished up asking why he was late class. “Fuck off!” John sneered. Josh had to physically stop me from crossing the room and kicking his ass. However, I did get close enough to him to notice the dark circles under his eyes, the amount of weight he had lost, and the slight bruising on his arms. Lori, however, simply raised an eyebrow and turned to pick up the phone on the wall. After a short, whispered conversation, she sat down and didn’t say a word. John wore a smug look on his face for about three minutes, then the auditorium doors opened, and a furious looking Robert walked straight over to him and in an authoritative voice commanded him to go with him to the office. Nobody saw him afterwards. During my free period before lunch, I went to the front office and asked Robert what happened and all he told me was John decided he didn’t need to attend high school any longer and wouldn’t be returning. I’m not going to lie; I might have grinned a little when he said that. During lunch, Stacey was quick to find out what happened. I had barely sat down before she asked, “Did you find out what happened to John? Can you tell me? Is he suspended or was he expelled?” “I was told he withdrew from the school,” I had to force myself not to smile again when I told her since I knew she wouldn’t appreciate it. I can’t see why, but for some reason known only to her and whatever gods are out there, she cares about the asshat. I guess I would be upset if someone were talking shit about someone I care about. Actually, everyone knows they would get their asses verbally handed to them if they talked shit about someone I love in front of me. Her face took on a look of utter disbelief. I was half-tempted to reach over and close her mouth by pushing up her chin. After a few moments, she quietly stood up and walked towards the exit of the cafeteria. The rest of us sat and looked around until everyone’s eyes found Jarrod. Luckily for him, he got the hint and ran to check on her. He caught up with her just before she turned towards the restrooms. When he tried to stop her, she shrugged him off. I noticed she had her phone in her hands and was typing out a message. He tried to talk to her, but she shook her head and walked away from him. He stood there looking lost for a moment before he came back to the table and sat next to Josh, which was across from me. I was able to eavesdrop on the conversation. “She said she didn’t want to talk to anyone right now, except John. She wouldn’t even look up from her phone and talk to me. She said it as she walked right by me. I don’t know what to do. She knows how I can’t stand him. He’s the reason for the only fight we’ve had. She was feeling guilty over not taking his side or at least standing up for him when y’all told him off. She got mad at me for telling her no on the few occasions she asked if the two of us could hang out with him. I told her I didn’t want to be around some crazy guy who was obsessed with someone he couldn’t have.”. Later that evening during the football game, Stacey sat at the farthest end of the row from me as she could get with Jarrod next to her. She all but ignored him as she checked her phone constantly. Just before halftime, she looked at Jarrod with a worried expression and showed him her phone. I saw him shake his head and then I looked away. A few moments later, I saw them both stand up and head to the exit. As I watched them leave towards the parking lot, I leaned over to Josh and asked, “What do you think that was all about?” He looked confused and responded with the ever intelligent, “Huh?” I nodded towards the vacant seats where Jarrod and Stacey had been sitting and asked again, “What do you think is going on? They looked like they were about to start fighting, then Jarrod seemed to give up and they left for the parking lot.” Josh sighed and said, “I don’t know. Probably has something to do with John. You know how worried she’s been about him.” I shrugged it off, not wanting to waste any time on thoughts of him. Instead, I focused on watching the game and cheered as we won yet another game. We stayed at Sean and Kevin’s that night, giving Robert a chance to do whatever. I was having trouble sleeping. I ended up sitting and staring out his bedroom window. That’s how I noticed Stacey in her back yard, sitting by alone. I looked from the clock on the bedside table, which read 1:50 am, to the sleeping form of my boyfriend. I placed a light kiss to his lips, eased the door open, and made my way downstairs. I slowly opened the back door, made my way over to the fence as quietly as I could and softly asked, “You doing alright?” From the other side of the fence, I heard her gasp. “TJ? Is that you? You scared the fucking shit out of me.” “Do you mind if I come over? I couldn’t sleep and noticed you were up too. I thought I’d come keep you company. That is, if you don’t mind.” She sighed and said, “It’s cool. Come on over. I can’t sleep either.” I made way out of Sean’s backyard and opened the gate to Stacey’s yard. I was wearing my normal basketball shorts and a tank-top with no shoes. I found Stacey sitting at a patio table and took a chair next to her. Neither of us said anything for a few moments. I finally broke the silence. “So, why did you Jarrod take off early from the game? Did you hear from him?” “I got a text from John’s number and it scared me. It said, ‘not sure I’m having fun anymore… That’s it. I texted him back, thinking he would let me know something else, and asked Jarrod if we could leave in case John needed me. He finally agreed after I showed him the message, but I never heard back from him. “I’m sorry I was distracted by everything going on with John. I know I totally effed up our scene. I mean I was messing up so bad you had to stop focusing on your part and guide me through the blocking. I know I let you down and I’m sorry.” “Hey, it’s okay. I know you’ve had a lot on your mind. Besides, I kinda rocked the scene with Josh, so I’m good,” I said with a wink and a smirk. She chuckled and said, “Fuck you. You’re such an asshole. How does Sean put up with you?” “It’s my charm and wit. Plus, I’m good in bed.” She only shook her head. We sat out there for about forty minutes talking about nothing and anything that popped into our heads. I figured she would talk to me about anything serious if she wanted. Finally, I couldn’t hold in the yawn and stood, gave my friend a hug and a kiss on her head, and told her I would talk to her in the morning. She smiled up at me and said, “Thanks for…well…thank you. You’re a good friend. I’m glad we met.” I rolled my eyes. “Don’t get all mushy on me. I’m a selfish, narcissistic, asshole who only looks out for myself. Don’t go spreading rumors about me.” “Uh huh, sure. Keep on believing whatever you want. I’ve got you figured out. But don’t worry; I won’t tell anyone.” “You shut your whore mouth,” I laughed. “But, seriously, remember what I told you the other day. If you need someone, I’m here.” I made my way back inside the house and up the stairs. When I entered Sean’s bedroom, he rolled over, opened his eyes, and asked, “Hey, what’s up? Where did you go?” “I couldn’t sleep earlier and was looking out the window. I noticed Stacey sitting outside in her backyard, so I went out there to keep her company.” He gave me a sleepy smile and said, “Well, come back to bed. I miss you holding me.” “How could you miss me when you didn’t even know I was gone until just now? And besides, didn’t you go sleep with you holding me?” I asked skeptically. “Don’t question me. Get your ass back in bed and cuddle with me,” he playfully demanded. Since Robert made me put a lock on my bedroom door and Jacob never came upstairs, Sean and I have been sleeping naked. So, I stripped off my shorts and crawled in bed next to Sean. I faced away from him and felt him move behind me. He placed a kiss on the back of my neck and whispered, “Close your eyes and go to sleep. I love you.” I let out a satisfied sigh and said, “Mmmm, I love you too. Good night.” A few hours later, I woke up in a different position. Sean was on his back, his left arm still held me, while I had my head on his chest. He was gently rubbing circles on my back and I was running my fingers across his chest, feeling the sparse hairs that grow there. When he realized I was awake, he rolled over so he was on top of me. He was smiling down at me, resting his weight on his elbows on either side of my head. Just as he was going to kiss me, we heard both of our phones signaling we had a text message. We both had a message from Stacey., “Can y’all meet me in my backyard ASAP? It’s an emergency.” As we were pulling our shorts on and finding clean shirts, there was a knock on the bedroom door. Sean yelled, “Yeah, come in.” Josh and Kevin entered the room holding their phones. Josh said, “We just got a weird text from Stacey asking us to meet her in her backyard. Do y’all know what’s going on?” I shook my head. “No, we have no clue. I know she was okay last night. I couldn’t sleep and noticed she was awake and outside; so, I went out and hung out with her for about forty-five minutes.” We headed downstairs, out the backdoor, and through the gates into Stacey’s backyard. We found her sitting at the patio table next to Jarrod. As soon as I saw her, I knew something wasn’t right. She had tears streaming down her face. Jarrod pulled her into a hug and kissed the top of her head. He whispered something to her and after she nodded, he stood and crossed over to us. In a low tone, he said, “Sometime last night or early this morning, John was brought to the hospital. Stacey’s aunt called about an hour ago to let her know. She’s supposed to call back when they have more information. So far, all they know is he was pushed out of a car and left outside the ER’s doors. He was unconscious and unresponsive. They said something about a possible heroin overdose, but they aren’t sure.” I stood there trying to figure out how I felt about this information. Josh went over to Stacey and pulled her into his arms, and they were both crying on the other’s shoulder. Kevin went and stood behind him and placed a hand on his back, slowly rubbing soothing circles. Sean looked dumbfounded and sat in a chair. Part of me wanted to shrug and say something flippant like, “He was the dumbass who used heroin,” and the other part of me wanted to walk back over to Sean’s and pretend I didn’t care. In the end, I just stood there watching the others. The only thing I could really feel was a slow rising anger coming up from the pit of my stomach. I tried my best to keep the anger at bay, but I didn’t think it would take much to set me off. I hoped nobody lit the fuse, because I didn’t want to take my anger out on any of my friends. However, the longer I sat there, the shorter the fuse got. I was getting pissed at Josh for crying over some dumbass who decided to run off and use heroin to deal with life. I was getting pissed at Sean for giving a shit about John. I was getting pissed at Stacey for dragging us out of bed this morning because of John. I was getting pissed at everyone sitting at the patio table because they were all upset over someone who went out of their way to try and hurt me, someone who said mean things about me to anyone who would listen, someone who blatantly tried to steal Sean away from me. But, mostly, I was getting pissed at myself for having these thoughts, realizing how selfish of a person I really am. I thought about the conversations Stacey and I had earlier in the week and the night before. I told her I would be there for her if she needed someone. However, when she did need someone, I was too absorbed in my own feelings to be there for her or anyone else. The realization only made me feel worse. The worse I felt, the angrier I got. I knew I needed to get away from everyone right then or run the risk of snapping at someone and saying something I didn’t mean and couldn’t take back. I was pulled out of my head when I heard Kevin say, “Okay, we’ll go and get cleaned up and you do the same. Why don’t you give us an hour then come over?” Everyone started standing up. Jarrod and Stacey went inside through the patio door while Sean, Kevin, and Josh headed for the gate. I still hadn’t moved from where I was standing. When they arrived at the gate, Sean turned back to me. “Well, are you coming or not? Don’t just stand there looking pissed at the world. We gotta get ready.” he asked in what sounded like an irritated voice, “Why are you acting like someone pissed in your Cheerios? Would it have killed you to tell Stacey you were sorry or something instead of glaring at everyone? Why were you even acting like that in the first place?” Kevin said, I couldn’t believe the way Kevin was speaking to me. I looked to Josh for help first, but he was glaring at me. I turned to Sean and looked at him expectantly. He didn’t do or say anything. “I wasn’t acting any way. I can’t believe y’all are acting so upset over someone who went out of their way to hurt me. He’s the one who went and did drugs and pushed everyone away. As far as I see, he got what he deserved.” “Can you really be such a heartless, selfish asshole not to care that someone we know is possibly dying right now? Can you really not at least feel something for Stacey, who could be losing her cousin?” Josh asked with tears in eyes, Kevin spoke before I could respond. “I thought the whole narcissistic thing was an act, but I’m not sure now. That was…wow! I cannot believe someone I consider such a good friend he’s almost a brother would say something like that. I can’t be around you right now. I suddenly felt like everyone was ganging up on me. I lashed out. “Fuck y’all! This is fucking bullshit. I’m not allowed to feel pissed because everyone is boo-hooing over someone I can’t fucking stand? Y’all do whatever the fuck you want.” I turned and went into the house. I went upstairs without stopping. As soon as I was in Sean’s room, I sat on his bed and started crying. Finally, about five minutes later, Sean walked in the room. He didn’t sit down next to me. Instead he sat on the other side of the bed and said, “Everyone is upset because someone we know, someone our age, almost died last night. We’re upset because a good friend of ours came close to losing her cousin, who she loves despite what he’s done. I can’t believe you can’t understand that. I think you should head home or something…” “You don’t want me here?” I asked, trying like hell to keep the hurt out of my voice. I was so pissed off, at what? I didn’t know for sure and I didn’t want to be where I wasn’t wanted. We all know my issues with being unwanted. So, I stood up, didn’t tell anyone “goodbye”, didn’t grab my backpack, walked right out the bedroom door, down the stairs, out the front door, got in my car, and drove away; ignoring Sean calling for me to stop and listen to him. I wasn’t sure where I was heading. I just knew I was fucking pissed and didn’t want to go home. Next thing I knew, I was pulling into a parking space at the hospital. Without overthinking anything, I got out of my car and went in the front entrance. I didn’t know if John was in ICU, the emergency area, or if he was in a regular room. I walked past the main desk area and headed to the elevators. I went up to the second floor and came across a waiting room. There was a woman speaking on her cell phone in there and without intending to do so, I overheard her say, “He’s lucky. He’s going to be okay. He was only unresponsive when he arrived, not in a coma. I’m just not sure what’s going to happen now. He’s being kept for observation. He should be released tomorrow, probably. Yeah, he’s in room two-twenty-five. Okay, talk to you later. Thanks.” I don’t know why, again, but I found myself walking to room two-twenty-five. When I entered, John was laying in the bed hooked up to IV’s, a heart monitor, and all other sorts of things. His eyes were closed, and he appeared to be sleeping. I glared at him for who knows how long. I knew his mom could come back in here at any moment and wonder who I was and what I was doing. I didn’t even know what I was doing at the time. Finally, his eyes opened and about bugged out of his head when he noticed me standing at the foot of his bed. In a hoarse voice, he asked, “What are you doing here?” “You know what? Fuck you! Who do you think you are? Huh? You’ve thrown your life away and almost died because you’re a selfish, stupid, fucking…Ugh! I can’t fucking believe you’ve got everyone…every single fucking one of my friends worried about you.” “Why don’t you fuck off and go back to living your perfect fucking life where you get everything you want with your perfect fucking boyfriend? You don’t even know how good you’ve got it! You walk around like your shit doesn’t fucking stink and like you’re so much fucking better than everyone else. And you expect everyone to fucking love you and do whatever the hell you want.” “You have no fucking clue what you’re talking about,” I scoffed. “My life is far from perfect. Back in June, the people who I thought were my parents were killed in a wreck. I then found out everyone I thought I could trust and who supposedly loved me had been lying to me my whole life. I found out my brother is actually my father, my nephew is really my brother, and my parents were actually my grandparents. Then I had to move from where I had lived my entire life down to this fucking shithole of Southeast Texas and start my senior year at a new school not knowing anyone except my brother. Oh, and right after I found all that shit out, the guy who I had been hooking up with for the past three years and who told me he wanted more with me as I laid in his arms crying over my parents’ death kicked my ass and said some of the most hurtful and hateful shit I’ve ever heard. So, don’t tell me I have a perfect fucking life. Besides, what does it matter to you? You threw your life away and dropped out of school and started shooting up heroin. Why? You stupid fucking shithead. Why do I even fucking care? I can’t believe I’m standing here crying over you. Why did you drop out? Why did you choose to go off and start using fucking heroin? You’re a fucking dumbass. You need to get your shit together.” Before I could rant any further, I heard someone speak from behind me, “What’s going on in here? John, who’s your friend?” I spun around and the woman from the lobby was standing in the doorway with a smile on her face. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say all of that. And I’m not his friend.” “By all means, please carry on. Maybe you’ll get through to him. You pretty much told him everything I wish I could’ve. I’m Robin Naples, John’s mother,” She laughed as she extended her hand to me. I reached out and shook the offered hand. “I’m TJ Kennedy.” Her smile got bigger. “No, you weren’t lying. You’re not his friend. But you may be who he’ll listen to.” From the bed we heard, “Fuck! Don’t you think I know I’ve fucked up? I don’t need you coming in here and pointing out all my fuck ups. Just leave me the fuck alone.” “Shut up, now! I may not like you, in fact I pretty much despise you, but that doesn’t mean I want to see you kill yourself and ruin your life. Just don’t hit on, speak to, look at, be around, or think about my boyfriend and we’ll be fine. I love Sean with everything I have in me. I don’t need you trying to, and miserably failing at, stealing him away. So, get your ass back in school and stop the bullshit with the drugs. It’s fucking, umm sorry Mrs. Naples, stupid.” I barked out, “Please, call me Robin and I agree, it is fucking stupid. I’m not sure if he’ll be allowed back in school.” “Don’t I have any say in any of this?” John asked petulantly. In unison, Robin and I answered, “No!” I turned to John’s mother and said, “Let me call my b… Robert and see what I can do about school.” I pulled out my cell phone and call Robert. He picked up and sounded worried, “Teej? What’s going on? Sean, Kevin, Josh, and Stacey were just here looking for you. They told me everything going on with John and what all you said. Come on home and we’ll call them back and y’all can talk…” “Robert,” I interrupted, “shut up and answer a question for me. If John was willing to work his ass off, apologize to Lori and you, and promise not to fuck up again, would you let him back in school?” Robert was silent for a few moments before he asked, “Teej, why are asking me about John? Where are you?” “Just answer me please. I’ll explain everything.” “Yeah, I didn’t file the paperwork for his withdrawal yet. I was going to do it Monday. But, he has to be in In-School suspension for a week and formally apologize to Lori. And don’t think I didn’t notice his arms while he was in my office. Weekly drug tests until I say differently. That last part isn’t official, I’ll pay for the tests myself. And you two have to at least try not to kill each other.” “Okay, I’ll call you back in a few minutes and let you know what’s going on. I need to go right now. Why didn’t they call me to see where I was?” Robert sighed and said, “Teej, they’ve been calling you nonstop since you left Sean’s. Look at your phone. I’m sure you have quite a few missed calls and unanswered texts.” I pulled my phone from my ear and saw I did have fifteen missed calls and ten voicemails. There were also ten unread messages. Fuck! “Alright, I’ll call them back and let them know where I am. I left Sean’s in such a haze of anger…Well, I’ll tell you about it later.” I hung up and looked at Robin. “That was the assistant principal and he said John can come back to school starting Monday. He’ll have a week of In-School suspension. He will have to formally apologize to Lori, Ms. Simmons, and Robert has an unofficial request of a weekly drug test, which he said he’ll pay for.” Robin’s eyes glistened with unshed tears. She looked at me, then at John, then back at me and said, “He will be there Monday morning. Tell Mr. Kennedy I said thank you. Also let him know he doesn’t have to pay for the weekly drug tests. He’ll be taking one weekly at home, so I’ll share the results with him. I know you don’t like my son much, if at all, and from some of what Stacey has told me, I can’t say I blame you. But thank you for what you did.” “As long as he doesn’t go out of his way to try and get to Sean again, we’ll be okay.” I was about to walk out of the room when John softly said, “TJ, wait a minute. Mom, can you give me and TJ a minute?” She looked uncertain but patted my arm. “I’m going to go call your cousin. I know she’s waiting to hear you’re awake and okay.” She walked out of the room already on the phone with Stacey. I crossed my arms over my chest and turned to John. “Whatever you have to say, hurry up and say it.” In a whisper he said, “I didn’t know all that shit went down before you moved here. I’m…” “Don’t you dare fucking apologize to me. That’s not how this thing works between us and you know it. I’m not going to apologize for anything I’ve said or done before, and I won’t for anything in the future. We speak truths to each other, and you know it. I don’t like you; you don’t like me. We’ll never be best buds; so, don’t pretend.” “Fuck off, T-Gay. I need my beauty rest, so get the fuck out of here.” He smirked at me. “Hell, you’ll need a lot more than beauty rest. More like beauty coma if you’re ever going fix…,” I waved my hand at his whole body, “that.” He flipped me off and I returned the favor. “Sit and spin, buddy. The ride’s over at the elbow. Unless you’re special; then I’ll give you the shoulder. Now, I’m only going to ask you this once because I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I actually give a flying fuck about you, but are you going to use again? If you are, be honest with me now and I’ll leave you to fuck off and go hang out with druggie losers and try and kill yourself again.” His face hardened. “You said we speak truths to each other. I need you to tell me some truths after I tell you some things. I know you can’t think much less of me than you already do; so, that’s the only reason you’re the one I’m telling this to. You cannot tell Stacey or Sean or anyone.” I didn’t say anything; I just sat in the chair next to the bed and looked at him. “I met a guy on Grindr, and we hooked up the first time right after I moved here. We smoked a little bit of weed that night, but nothing else. But I did notice he had needles and baggies of some brown shit in his stash box. Then, after Sean finally called and told me to leave y’all alone, I hooked up with him again. I asked him what the brown stuff was, and he said, ‘Something you’re going to love. But you’ll have to trust me.’ “I don’t know why, but I agreed. When he pulled out a bag of syringes and a lighter, I almost changed my mind. But, honestly, going numb sounded too good to pass up. Every time after that, he would give me more and more and eventually I started passing out. I have some vague flashes of random people fucking me, but I thought they were dreams and he was the only guy I was with. I was wrong. Last night I thought it was only going to be the two of us. Right before I nodded off, there was a knock on the door and three or four guys came in and I heard one of them ask, ‘Is he the fuck toy for tonight? He was good last time.’ I tried to get up and leave, but my body felt too heavy to move. A few seconds or minutes later, I was gone. “I guess those flashes were memories of me being semi-conscious. I’m assuming I didn’t go into a semi-conscious state last night and when I didn’t start coming around, they thought I had OD’d. So, they drove me up here and pushed me out the passenger-side door and took off.” I looked him dead in the eyes and said, “I’m calling Aaron McNair. You’re reporting this. He fucking raped you and I’m not going to let you blow this off. Drugging someone up and taking advantage of them is so not kosher. I don’t care who you are. Is that the truth you needed to hear? That you were raped multiple times?” He nodded and looked away. “Yeah, umm, if you’re going to call Officer McNair, can you also get rid of everyone before he gets here, including my mom?” “You know she has to know before I call Aaron. You need to report this asshole. If you want, I can talk to her in the hallway and explain why I’m calling Aaron. I won’t give her details, but I will let her know you were drugged, and things happened to you while you were incapacitated more than once.” “Yeah, I can’t tell her I was raped by more than one person and more than once. She’s my mom! I know she needs to know, but can you tell her?” I could tell he was feeling ashamed of what happened, and I wasn’t about to put up with that bullshit. “You need to stop victim-shaming yourself right the fuck now. You were raped. You are the one the crime was done to. There is no reason to feel shame, guilt, or anything like that. And yeah, your mom needs to know what happened. I can understand you not wanting to tell her the details, but the fact a crime was committed against you is what’s important.” I stood up and turned to leave and saw Robin coming back into the room. “Robin, can I talk to you in the hallway for a bit?” She looked between John and me and when John wouldn’t meet her eyes, she agreed. “Alright, that’s no problem. John, Stacey and her friends are coming up here in a bit.” Once we were in the hallway, I took a deep breath and began. “I’m about to call Officer Aaron McNair. He works for the Sherriff’s office. He needs to take John’s statement because even though he chose to do the drugs, he never chose how much he was given. Nor did he ever get to choose who he had sex with after the effects of the drugs took over. Do you understand what I’m saying? He’s too ashamed to tell you himself. But I’m not letting him ignore this and letting that son-of-a-bitch, sorry, get away with what he’s done.” Surprisingly, she smiled a sad smile, complete with tears in her eyes. “I know you and John are never going to be best friends, but I think you both need the other. Thank you for helping John. I figured something like that happened, I’m not surprised. I’ll distract Stacey and the others when Officer McNair gets here. Go ahead and make the phone call.” I pulled out my phone and called Aaron. I explained how I was at the hospital and John had been admitted for almost OD’ing and he needed to file a report claiming the people he was with had sex with him after he passed out from the drugs they gave him. Aaron told me he was on his way and would see me soon. When I turned to go back to the room, I found Sean standing by the door looking at me with his arms crossed. I didn’t say anything; I just stood there and stared and crossed my own arms. Finally, he asked, “Why did you take off like that? And what are you doing up here?” I tried to mask the pain I felt. “I left because you basically told me you didn’t want me there. And you know how I feel when I think I’m unwanted. I had to leave before I could get hurt more than I already was. I was so fucking mad, even before I left, and I couldn’t figure out why. Finally, I just let myself drive and ended up here. I didn’t even know what I was going to do, but I came in, took the elevator up here and overheard John’s mom on the phone. From what she said, I figured she was talking about John. So, after she told whoever was on the phone John’s room number, I went and found him. I finally figured out I was pissed at John for being such a fucking dumbass for going out and almost getting himself killed. So, when he woke up, we kinda fought, but not really. I told him he was fucking dumbass and he told me I had a perfect life and then I told him about everything that happened over the summer. He tried to apologize to me, but I told him that’s not how we work. I told him what I thought of him and everything he was doing recently; told him he was going to go back to school and stay the fuck away from drugs. I called Robert and got John readmitted. Well, first he has to serve In-School suspension for a week and apologize to Lori and take weekly drug tests. Then he told me something about what really happened and I called Aaron and he’s on his way. I can’t tell you what happened or why Aaron’s coming. I was basically sworn to secrecy. So, don’t ask. Just know I can’t talk to you about it. It’s not my story to tell. And I don’t know why I’m fucking rambling on and on right now. I’m nervous you might still be mad at me; and I can’t handle that. Like, at all. So, please either tell me to shut up and leave because you still don’t want me around or come over here and shut me up by kissing me and letting me know we’re okay, because, we have to be okay. I don’t know what I’ll do if we’re not okay…” Thankfully, he took pity on me and snaked his right arm (the one with the cast) around my waist. I thought he was going to kiss me. Nope! Instead, he placed his left hand over my mouth and smirked. “Are you done yet? Can I speak now? Or do you want to keep rambling like an idiot?” “I’m done,” I mumbled through his hand but it sounded like, “I’mm umm.” “Good. I wasn’t mad and I never said I didn’t want you around. I was going to suggest you go to your place and I would meet you there after I explained to the others, I was going to help you work through thoughts. I am surprised to see you here though. What’s going on?” I took a few moments to gather my thoughts. “So, you weren’t trying to get rid of me?” Sean smiled and replied, “God, no! I would never try to get rid of you. I love you.” I let out a sigh of relief. “I love you, too. Like I said in my rant, I was mad and started driving and ended up here. I really can’t say more. It’s not my story to tell.” Sean nodded and placed a chaste kiss on my lips. “Come on, let’s go inside and say hi to John.” We walked in the room and found Stacey fussing over John. Kevin and Josh were trying not to laugh at Stacey’s antics and the scowl on John’s face. Robin was smiling fondly at the group. She looked at me and raised an eyebrow. I nodded, letting her know I made the promised phone call. For some strange reason, I didn’t want everyone to be there when Aaron arrived, so I suggested, “Hey guys, and ladies, John probably needs to rest and I’m fuc…sorry, freaking starving. I say we go to Chili’s and grab a bite and later we can stop by and say hey.” I turned to Robin and asked, “Would you like to join us? That is, if you don’t mind being around five teenagers for an hour or so.” Robin must have sensed what I was trying to do and quickly said, “Food sounds good. Let’s go. It’s my treat, and don’t any of you try to argue with me about it.” Robin brushed John’s hair back and kissed his forehead and said, “Get some rest. I’ll be back later and remember I love you, even though I’m pissed as hell at you right now.” Stacey was next. “I love you, cuz. Please don’t pull this crap on me again.” Kevin, Josh, and Sean all gave him a fist bump and told him they would see him later. I was left standing by John’s bed while everyone else gathered at the door. They all looked at me expectantly; like they weren’t sure if I was going to hug him or hit him. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to hug him or hit him either. He went to say something, probably a thank you for clearing the room before Aaron got there, but I didn’t give him a chance when I looked at him, smiled a huge, innocent smile. “I fucking loathe you with all my bile.” His eyes lit up and his grin was broad enough to rival mine when he responded, “Oh, my fucking god! I fucking loathe you, too.” We all headed out to our cars to go to Chili’s. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I saw a Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office car pull in. I kinda felt bad for leaving John to give his statement alone but knew he could do it. It’s not like I suddenly had the feels for the fucking asshat; I knew we were never going to the kind of friends who called each other all the time and told each other everything in our lives. We would be there for the other when they needed to hear the truth, no matter how painful or awful it was.
  5. make sure you read that hearing a posh British accent
  6. I can rationalize and justify anything all day long
  7. hey mama I've missed you sooooooo fracking much.
  8. We're doing well...we've been fortunate in that my dad's funeral expenses were reimbursed to us by FEMA (they are paying for the funeral costs of people who died from covid as long as you can prove the cause of death was covid) so that has helped us out a lot. She's still having memory issues so I'm not totally comfortable leaving her alone all day so I'm still not working. Her long-term memory is fine; it's her short-term memory that's giving her problems. She will ask me the same question about three or four times within an hour. When I remind her we've already talked about a topic, she'll start recalling things. So it's not like she's forgetting things, she's just hazy on details and needs her memory jogged.
  9. So, after almost two years, I finally sent a new chapter of TJ to @Kitt for editing. I had a major case of writer's block on top of a bunch of family stuff; then, I lost TJ's voice in my head and it took me a while to finally find it again. 

    1. WolfM


      Happy to hear the voices are back and that you're writing again. :)

    2. JayT


      Wow....that almost sounds like you're happy I'm schizophrenic...which I'm not, I'm just bipolar and have ADHD so that keeps me crazy enough ;)  

    3. Kitt


      Have you read the titles on my prompts? 

  10. so I discovered one of the major benefits of being a fulltime caregiver for my mom....I just got back from a free trip to Hawaii on Thursday
  11. I figured there were some people around here who missed me so I decided to grace y'all with my presence
  12. howdy y'all! so....I was told not pull anymore Houdini acts and disappear by @Kitt so, boo motherfathers I'm backish
  13. People do not shake their head yes. They nod yes and shake their head for no. Also, I feel nauseated because a nauseous smell made me that way. I'm not nauseous, that would imply that I'm giving off a foul odor and making others nauseated.
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