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About AusGlitterati

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    Books, shows, games, movies, writing. I like to spend as much of my free time as I can in another universe.

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  1. AusGlitterati

    Umbrella (1/2)

    Heh a lot of us have been Lance, I would suppose! Though perhaps in a much less theatrical and dramatic setting! I do feel for anyone who was or is afraid for their own safety. ❤️ Thank you so much for the read and the comment! Have a lovely day.
  2. AusGlitterati

    Umbrella (1/2)

    TYVM frond! I have a great deal of fun with their banter! Haha I'm glad the direction I took with the bullying theme seemed to work! Was a bit worried Lance might sound like an ungrateful jerk here. His parents are letting him down. Thank you so much! ❤️
  3. AusGlitterati

    Umbrella (1/2)

    Bobby Petrović. Bobby. Ahh. Bobby. The thoughts swirled ceaselessly around in his head, and he couldn't make them go away - not that he wanted to. Bobby Petrović. He was basically the perfect gay. He came out at fourteen to modern, supportive parents. He was masculine and suave, a young James Bond, with handsome Serbian features - dark eyes and darker hair. Handsome and charismatic. Everybody loved Bobby. He was one of the brightest kids in his year, he stole the show in athletics and extra-curricular activities and he made sure he was seen doing it. It was all so flawless, wasn't it? How bloody frustrating. Lance wasn't in the same league. Not even close. He never had a chance to come out - he wasn't someone with the ability to hide who he was, after all. Nicky had been telling the world that his little brother liked to dress like a girl and put on makeup since Lance could barely walk, so the stigma had been following him since long before he knew what gay even was. Everyone who saw Lance knew what he was - if they even thought he was male at all. He was awkward and shy in spite of his loud, bold appearance. Confidence was never his strong suit - after all, why bother when people, even his own brother and sister, would go out of their way to tear him down when he felt good about himself? I'm a loser. Bobby can't seriously like me. Bollocks. Janey nudged him, and Lance squeaked as his attention was suddenly brought right back to the phys ed class. Mr Bell was leering at him with that stern frown and his arms folded. He was a mild-mannered and jolly man most of the time, but students not paying attention to him was his pet peeve. Lance didn't like it when he frowned. He had such a gorgeous smile. "Am I keeping you up, Lance?" Mr Bell asked. "Keeping his cock up," someone, likely Michael Meade or his pack of prats, had to shout out, and most of the class of twenty-seven laughed at Lance's expense. Lance shook his head, turning pink. Janey gently rubbed his back, and his other friends shot Meade a filthy look, but none of them said anything. None of them shot back. Lance was grateful for that. When they antagonised the nastier of the chavs, the violet-haired boy was invariably the one who caught the backlash. He wasn't without allies or support - but it never felt good to be so drastically outnumbered. "Care to repeat that, Michael?" Mr Bell snapped right to the mean-spirited boy, still chuckling at his own puerile joke. "What? I didn't say nothin'," Michael lied with a smirk on his lips. "Must've been an echo, right?" When Mr Bell glowered even more intensely, Lance let a small grin widen his lips. Oops. Pushed your luck, didn't you Mikey? He never does know when to shut his big mouth. "I'm giving you one chance to apologise for that remark," the teacher's voice was low and dangerous, and Lance knew he'd won this exchange, because no way in a billion years would Michael Meade ever apologise to anyone, especially his favourite punching bag. "Sorry Lance," Michael looked at him with a shit-eating smirk, and Lance was surprised that word was even in his vocabulary. "That you're a hoof," he added in a loud whisper, and again, the pack of prats erupted in giggles. "Go back inside and get changed," Mr Bell pointed towards the gym, and it was Janey's turn to start laughing. "You're not competing in the cross country this year." That got the bully's attention - and his friends. Hah. You bellend. Suddenly you're not so cocky now, are you? You're the star athlete of the Year Ten boys, after all. Imagine what your parents will say when they hear that you balls'ed it up thanks to a bad attitude. Bye Felicia. "What?" Michael laughed nervously, looking between Lance and Mr Bell with disbelief on his face. "You're not serious?" "Get changed. You're not running this year, and while you're missing out, you can write a one-thousand-word essay to your parents explaining why," Mr Bell decided. "I've had enough of you picking on other students. I don't tolerate bullying, and neither should any of you. Shame on any of you who thought that was appropriate or funny." "I win every year! I make it to nationals every year!" Michael argued, the fury evident in his voice. Being the pride and joy of this tacky little school, representing them even in the national cross country competitions, he obviously thought he was above the rules. "Actually, you didn't win two years ago, remember?" Jane piped up. "Lance did." She wrapped her arms around her friend, who turned pink and looked at the grass underneath his purple running shoes, wishing she would shut up. Michael stormed off in a fury, and Lance wasn't looking forward to the repercussions of that one. It was true, though. Michael was the best at bloody well everything sports related, except one event - a five-kilometre run. Lance, a dancer since he was old enough to learn, had better stamina than the athlete and beat him by twenty-one seconds in 2008 - the first time Michael ever lost! It qualified him for the interschool challenge. However, he did not get to compete, as Michael's adult friends gave him a fairly savage beating the day before, and Michael took his place. In 2009, Lance opted for a close second instead, even though he could have easily snatched another win. It just wasn't worth it. This year, he had no obstacles in his way. None of the other boys would be able to keep up with him. Hmm. What would Bobby do? He'd give it his best, wouldn't he? Then I should do the same. "Alright, you guys are up in a few minutes. Do your stretches and get ready. Lance? Can we have a quick chat?" Mr Bell surprised him by beckoning with a shake of his head, and the boy obediently strolled up to the teacher as he tied up his violet hair into a ponytail so it wouldn't stick to his sweaty face. "Is this about me zoning out earlier?" Lance asked nervously, and Mr Bell looked at him with... pity? "Oh. No," Mr Bell shook his head. "This is about Michael. I'm sorry you have to hear things like that. It's completely unacceptable and from now on, I'm going to come down on him like a ton of bricks." "That's nice?" Lance shrugged, looking away guiltily. "I guess?" "You don't seem very convinced," Mr Bell pointed out the obvious, and he put a hand on the boy's shoulder. "I just mean... there's nothing you can do, right?" Lance explained, having the courage to look up at Mr Bell's brown eyes. "He's not going to stop. So please don't bother on my account." "Don't bother?" Mr Bell was alarmed. "Of course I'm bothering! You have the right to feel safe in your environment, and I won't tolerate anybody making you feel otherwise. I won't have any students bullying others - not at any time for any reason. If Michael doesn't apologise, then I'll come down on him heavier until he does." "That's terrific," Lance was unable to keep the bitterness and resignation from his shaky voice and he threw the teacher's hand off of him. "So he makes fun of me during school. That's nothing. What happens when I leave after the final bell and walk home? Are you going to protect me?" "... What are you talking about?" Mr Bell's stance quickly changed from cool and authoritative to uncertain and concerned. "Are you in danger?" "What do you reckon, Batman?" Lance fearfully ran his hand over his face. "Just... don't! You don't get how this works, so I'll spell it out for you. He's gonna be mad. He's gonna blame me for this. It doesn't matter if I run to the cops or the principal or the bloody Queen herself, because he has an army of friends who make sport out of bashing queer boys! Do you understand what you did? You sold me up shit creek! None of you deal with the consequences! I do! It's always me! For fuck's sake Mr Bell, I have a modelling job in two weeks' time, and they won't shoot me if I've been slapped around all because you thought you were doing the right thing! It might be my only chance to get my foot in the door, and thanks to you, I'm probably gonna lose it now. When you see him treating me like shit, I don't want you to get involved. I want you to fuck right off!" "Lance...!" Mr Bell gaped like a fish, stunned by the sudden tirade of the boy he was supposed to be sticking up for. "I... I didn't..." "I appreciate the thought," Lance, painfully aware that outbursts of emotion always lead to nothing but trouble, swallowed his fury and attempted to smooth things out. "I do. But you can't do anything. Please just look the other way. If I play my cards right, I can get the fuck out of here the moment I turn sixteen. Don't ruin that for me, Mr Bell." He was expecting a reprimand for disrespecting a member of staff, but Mr Bell did not attempt to do so. He looked with sorrow, pity and guilt in his lovely eyes as Lance turned away and returned to the starting line. He felt bad, but he needed to make certain that the man understood that he could only do more harm than good. Maybe things should have been different, but this wasn't a pricey academy or something. This was a low-end public school. Problem children from problem families ran rife through this neck of the woods, and the staff were impotent when it came to the school's severe bullying issues. Lance was not the only one who copped a lot of abuse. "Everything okay, doll?" Janey asked him immediately, and he shrugged. "Ahhh don't worry," he reassured her, biting his lip. "I'll probably have to beg Nicky to walk home with me for a while. Fat chance of that." "I'll walk you home. And I'll make that arsehole brother of yours come with us," Janey offered, and he smiled at her. During the stretches, Janey swung her leg up high and rested her calf on Lance's shoulder, and that drew some attention from the male chavs. What irony, Lance thought, that I routinely get closer to a vagina than any of those macho straighties. He winked at someone who stared, and he and Janey began to giggle together. Shortly after, Lance stretched his leg the same way on Jane's shoulder, and his display of flexibility drew attention all over again. The pair didn't mind. There was no awkwardness between them. In many ways, Janey was the sibling Lance always wished he had. Not like Lola and Nicky. He wanted someone to play, laugh, cry, gossip and argue with. What he got was an idiot brother who was disgusted by him and a bitch sister who despised him. Janey was his best ally. The wind beneath his sails. But she couldn't stay with him forever, whereas Lola and Nicky were always there to bring him down. The run began how it usually did. Most of the lads started off at a sprint, the dimwits. Lance and Jane knew how to pace themselves, and they set a solid pace. It wasn't long before the main mob began to trickle stragglers, and the pair overtook all of them. Some were unfit, others were fit but blew their load too early, and the rest just didn't give a toss. Lance did, though. He always liked to give his all. He and Jane left most of their classmates behind with little effort, running happily together in the warm sun along the grass. There were three sports ovals laid out in an L shape, and the track winded around all of them. One full circuit was a little more than one kilometre, so eventually they began to overlap the slowest and the laziest. All the while, they shared an earphone each as Janey's killer playlist kept them focused and motivated! You have my heart, and we'll never be worlds apart Maybe in magazines, but you'll still be my star Baby, 'cause in the dark you can't see shiny cars And that's when you need me there With you I'll always share Because when the sun shines, we shine together Told you I'll be here forever Said I'll always be your friend Took an oath that I'm a stick it out 'til the end Now that it's raining more than ever Know that we still have each other You can stand under my umbrella! On the fourth lap, the two of them sharing pole position for so long without Michael Meade throwing his weight around, Janey finally began to slow down, and she plucked the earphone from her friend's ear. "I'm knackered!" She gasped, slowing to a brisk walking pace as she regained her breath. "Run, queen!" Who was he to refuse? He blew her a kiss and ran on ahead. It was lovely. His body was exhausted and his legs were jelly, his muscles burning, but he did not care. He had more in the tank, and he pushed through the pain. On one of the crisscrosses between ovals, Lance noticed Luke Blackney, a beefcake friend of Michael Meade, eyeing him off and slowing down so that the two would likely cross paths. Sure enough, when Lance got close, Luke attempted to hip and shoulder him, but the dancer stopped just short of Luke's charge, and the boy went sprawling across the grass like the bloody fool he was. Lance couldn't help but burst into laughter at the idiot's mistake and continued running forward. Nice try, twat-features. He was ready to pass out when he finally finished the race and put his hand on the gym teacher's timekeeping table. "Well done babes," Janey looked a right mess as she slumped down next to him six minutes later and made exaggerated sounds of agony. "I don't know... how you do it!" "It's not brain surgery babydoll," he leaned over and grinned at her. Oh Gaga, I hope I don't look as bad she does. "One leg in front of the other." "You look tragic," she giggled, confirming his fears. "I knew it!" He wailed, hiding his sweaty face behind his hands. "I'm supposed to go on my date with Bobby tonight, too! I'm a mess! Fix me!" "You're a drama queen," she gave him a gentle punch in the chest. "You know I'm gonna make sure you look hashtag flawless. You could just use a shower in the meantime. I didn't know you could smell this bad." The day progressed without incident, which was a relief to Lance, who had been expecting reprisals from Michael Meade and company. Maybe I was too rough on Mr Bell, he thought guiltily. I don't have many allies, and he went out of his way to make things easier for me, even if he doesn't understand how things work. Before he and Jane left to get him all dolled up and ready for the most perfect boy in existence, he decided to explain himself properly to the concerned teacher. Mr Bell always waited until fifteen minutes past three to leave the homeroom just in case any students needed to talk about anything. Nobody ever did. Sure enough, he was there alone, reading something on his phone. "Hey... um..." Lance spoke from the door, one hand playing with his violet locks, startling the teacher. Hehe. "Do you have a moment?" "I have quite a few moments," Mr Bell looked up and smiled at him, beckoning him inside. "I was hoping to see you." "Little old me?" Lance asked with a provocative smile as he approached, and then he immediately remembered himself. Uhhh this your teacher. Not a friend, and certainly not a potential boyfriend! You stop that. "I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for how I acted earlier. I know you were only trying to help. I was... I don't know. It's a sensitive subject." "You really scared me, Lance," Mr Bell admitted as Lance leaned back and sat on one of the front desks. "I've never seen that side of you before." "I'm okay," the teenager faked a smile as he had learned to do. A nice, happy smile to hide the turmoil that tore him apart on the inside. There was no reason anyone else needed to know he was struggling. "The things you said to me earlier tell me that you are far from okay." "I was just upset. It's nothing." "You're unhappy and you're terrified," Mr Bell corrected him. His brown eyes were glistening with sorrow and sympathy. "Nobody is supposed to go through life like this, Lance. These teenage years are supposed to be about discovering yourself. Not being punished for it. I'll give you credit, though. You do a fantastic job of pretending you're coping, but it's an act, isn't it? A bloody convincing one, mind. You will definitely be a star in the entertainment industry, let me tell you that right now. You've got the look, the charisma and the talent. But at the end of the day, it is all a facade." Nobody ever called Lance on his bullshit. Only Jane. But then, so few people were able to see beyond the surface. Lance had a look unlike anyone else in town. He had a reputation and a... unique personality. People didn't bother to look for layers below. Not even his mother and father - not really. They wanted to pretend he was happy. They went along with his act because it was easier. Jane was the only one he let in. Not his other friends. Not Nicky and Lola, or Sue and Garth. Only Jane. In truth, he hated everything. He hated himself for being born such a... freak. He hated London for being the worst place to grow up. He hated his parents for letting his brother and sister walk all over him. He hated the whole fucking world because the Michael Meades got away with everything. And he hated Mr Bell for sussing him out. Why couldn't he just leave well enough alone? "Fake it til you make it," he uttered a weak chuckle, but his downtrodden expression conveyed his true feelings. Fake it til you make it. That's what I have to do. That's my only chance. "High School is never going to be fun for you," Mr Bell spoke again after a pause. "It's going to suck so hard. I won't lie. But you need to trust me on this, okay? Eventually, it's going to end. It will. It always does. All of this? It's just temporary. You graduate and you never, ever have to deal with any of these people again. All of it's behind you and you're free to be you. And you're a great person, Lance. You're conscientious, kind-hearted and full of spirit, mate. Don't ever lose that. Don't ever let them take that from you. I'm on your side, okay? I'm always here if you need help." "Mr Bell... I'm just here to apologise," Lance wasn't okay with hearing the man's supportive words. They threatened to make him break down into tears, and he couldn't do that. Not now! Not today! Not while he had a date with Bobby! Everything needed to be perfect, and no ally was going to mess that up with their good intentions. "I need to go." "Can I offer you a lift home?" Mr Bell asked as the boy stood and turned away. "Do you want me to be lynched instead of bashed?" He replied, forcing himself to shove the emotions back down where they belonged. "Thank you, but no." "Wait!" The teacher got up and sidled through the desks to reach his student. He handed him a small piece of paper. "This is my contact number. If you need help, whether it's only a chat or if you're in trouble, I want you to call me. Any time." Lance exhaled deeply and looked at the number scribbled on the small piece of paper Mr Bell had torn from an exercise book. Maybe I will keep this. What harm could it do? "Thank you again," Lance's eyes, hidden by violet contacts to match his hair, were full of gratitude as he smiled. "I'll see you on Monday." The words spoken by Mr Bell stuck with Lance after he left and went in search for his beloved friend for his escort home. Nobody is supposed to go through life like this. I'm on your side. You are far from okay. It's all temporary. You're conscientious, kind-hearted and full of spirit. Don't let them take that from you. Jane was at her locker, and true to her word, she'd managed to seize Nicky and force him to wait for them. The seventeen-year-old didn't look so happy about it, but Jane always did have a bit of a hold over both him and Lola. Nicky wanted to get in Jane's pants, and Lola saw her as a role model - ironically hating her brother because he was so much like the red-headed girl. "You got yourself in the shit again?" Nicky asked gruffly, and Jane slapped him on the arm. "What? Why can't he just keep his head down?" "Dunno, Nicky! People just can't seem to leave me alone," Lance purred in response, hoisting his back up over his shoulders properly. "I won cross country today. Thanks for asking." "Shit," Nicky palmed his face. "Why would you do that? Are you wonky in the head? Are you trying to get slapped?" "Because I actually feel like succeeding once in a while. Maybe you could try it?" Lance snapped back. "Shut up both of you," Janey stood between them, not in any mood to listen to them quarrel. "We're gonna all walk to Sue's kitchen together every school day til Lance finishes up his modelling shoot, and fuck listening to you go on like a pair of girls with PMS the whole time." "What's in it for me? He doesn't want me around," Nicky pointed at his little brother, who sneered at him in response. After all, he wasn't wrong exactly. "If Lance doesn't get his head kicked in for two weeks, I'll let you have a go on my bristols," Jane promised, and Lance nearly burst out laughing. She would never let Nicky do that, but that was enough to motivate him. The walk home took about fifteen minutes, and the whole time, Lance was nervously looking over his shoulder and eyeing off anybody who might have been scouting him. He'd been jumped and chased so many times. It might have been Michael deciding to choose a far less obvious time and place to exact retribution or it might have been Nicky's presence, but they made it all the way home without any incident. "Can I at least have a look?" Nicky asked Jane cheekily as the boys kicked their shoes off by the door. Jane shrugged and briefly lifted up her shirt to expose her fitness bra - it wasn't a sexy piece of attire, but she certainly did fill it out, and Nicky's eyes lit up hungrily. What a bloody pillock, Lance thought. So easily moved by the potential promise of boobs! After getting squeezed and kissed and congratulated for his efforts in the cross country by his mother, Lance was ready to prepare for the big date with his best friend's help!
  4. AusGlitterati

    April, 2019 (A)

    She's a narcissist of sorts - she sees her children as her possessions rather than people. She wants to be loved and taken care of, and when her kids drift too far away she does some pretty horrid things to reel them back in. Celeste's attempts to engage with friends is seen as a threat, Eamonn's frequent rejection of her turns her sour on him, and Ezra's leaving is seen as betrayal. Thanks for the read and the comment! ❤️
  5. AusGlitterati

    April, 2019 (A)

    Aww I'm taking that as a good thing! Yeah tbh I'm starting to realise that! I'm sinking too much into Eamonn and not enough into KADA! Yessss! Next chapter, first segment will take us (finally!) back to wrestling! Thank you muchly for the reacc and the comment!! ❤️
  6. AusGlitterati

    April, 2019 (A)

    Thursday, April 4th "Heeey Daddy!" Ezra sighed happily as he sat cross-legged on the moist grass by the elegiac tombstone. Jakub Luczynski. "Man, it's been a miserable winter, hey?? Those magnetic poles are moving or something, and it's given us some of the coldest days I remember! People are saying that it's proof global warming is a myth or whatever, but they just don't understand how climate change works, I suppose." It was still below zero, though. Ezra was glad he put on a second shirt under his jacket. He slicked his pale blonde locks back with his hand again and pulled his gloves from the pocket of his jeans. "Ahhh, blast it Dad. You should be here with me right now! You should be here to see Eamonn growing into the finest young man around - with a couple of minor flaws, maybe - and Celeste needs you around to remind her that she's perfect just the way she is! And... I really want you to see me the way I am right now. The last time you saw me, I was on my death bed... again... but you never made me feel like it was my fault, at least. Mom told me that I should have been the one to die instead of you. I dunno. Maybe she's right about that. Still... man, I wish you could see me right now! I'm big and strong, now! Well... not tall big, but muscles big! Look, I have biceps and stuff! Heh. You'd be proud of me! I know it. I just always wish you saw me when I was healthy and happy, and not when I was sick and miserable, you know? I know you drank a lot partly because it sucked to see me so down all the time. Well... I'm never going to be down again! Because I wrestled with KADA! And I'm going to keep wrestling with KADA! So... when you remember me, think of me wrestling with Oliver Vickery! Don't think of me dying in that miserable kid's ward, okay??" It always felt nice to visit Jakub's resting place. It was unlikely his father would be hearing him. After all, it's not like he had a way to Skype with the residents of Heaven. Still, he remembered Jakub so well. Eamonn was the spitting image of their father. Ezra wasn't far off, but he had his mother's face. "Eamonn's been super depressed ever since you died, but he's turning a corner, I think! He's still as sarcastic and rude as he ever was, hehe. Just the other day he told Isaac that the only way he'll ever get laid is if he crawled up a chicken's ass!! Hahaha. He's so darn clever. And so funny! I think he'd do great in stand-up comedy, but he doesn't think so. He comes with me nearly every day to wrestling school! I don't think he wants to wrestle, though. I wish! He likes it, though. He has fun, and he's getting kind of fit! He misses you a lot. I'm trying my best for him. I really am. I do my best for him because I know you and Eamonn were really close. I just wish I could do more. When I start getting paid, I can help him go to college. Celeste, too! I promise. I'll finish what you started!" Eamonn would no doubt be home from school now, waiting for Ezra to text him that he was ready to take him to Minneapolis for their night's wrestling. He'd do his homework in the car while Ezra drove and fantasised about all the dream matches he wanted to be a part of! Well, he can wait a little bit longer. "Speaking of Celeste, she's still a smartass, too. She's a hoot, though! I feel bad for her. Mom always tells her that she's fat and stupid and just takes any opportunity to destroy her self-confidence, you know? Well, you know what she's like as much as the rest of us. Every time any of us is too happy or too independent or something, Mom finds a way to cut us down to size. I don't know, but I do know she shouldn't have kids! Last year, Celeste was gonna have a party for her birthday. I know I told you this, but I still can't believe it. Mom called up all of her friends a few hours before the party and told them all it was cancelled, and Celeste didn't know why nobody turned up. She thought nobody liked her. Ugh. Maybe you were a drunk, Dad, but you loved us. I always knew you did! I don't know if Mom does. She treats us like we're pets or something. She gets jealous when we have friends or have fun with each other. She doesn't even let your parents talk to us anymore! Ugh. I want to take Eamonn and Celeste away, but I have no idea how. Maybe your parents might be able to help? Anyway, I've kept Eamonn waiting long enough! Keep resting easy up there, okay? Love you, Daddy! And I miss you a lot. We all miss you!" On his way back to the apartments, over the humming of his car's engine, he thought fondly of his late father. A sweet man he was! Drank his depression away, maybe, but he always did what he could. Eamonn never went without a kiss and a hug. Celeste never went without a bedtime story. And I never went without a friend to visit me. Ezra: < Get in loser, we're going wrestling! > "That's not funny if you send it every time!" Eamonn lectured him as he hopped into the passenger seat, tossing his bag into the back. "Mean Girls is always funny!" Ezra snorted. "Ezra, stop trying to make fetch happen," Eamonn replied with a playful twinkle in his eye. "It's never going to happen." Ezra chuckled, and Eamonn looked at him strangely. "Why haven't you hugged me yet?" "You don't seem to like it when I hug you," Ezra shrugged, and his brother looked like his world was shattered. It was almost comical! "I never said that!" The taller boy complained, and Ezra lunged and squeezed the life from his brother with his arms. "I know! I just needed to be reminded that you looove meee!" The shorter boy gloated, and Eamonn groaned good-naturedly, resting his head happily against his older brother's for the duration of the embrace. He knew Eamonn enjoyed the affection! But since the younger guy would never admit that, Ezra had to employ some underhanded tactics if he wanted a bit of validation! We're like the three bears when it comes to hugs, he thought. The oldest is too hot. The middle child is too cold. The youngest, Celeste, is just right! "Put on your music!" Ezra encouraged him, and Eamonn smiled. "I don't have any at the moment," he replied as he smoothed his beanie, flattered that Ezra was always so eager to hear the beats he created on the computer they once shared. "I'll just shuffle our playlist." What Ezra said to their father in the cemetery wasn't a lie. Eamonn was looking more animated lately! A couple of months ago he would show as much emotion as a statue. He would be overly critical, unfiltered and sometimes just nasty for the sake of it to all but his brother and sister, particularly when people ticked him off. These days he wasn't alternating between being an outcast in high school and a pariah at home. He spent most of his nights with his brother and even got friendly with some of the others in the wrestling class. He took the loss of their father the hardest of everyone and only now seemed to be recovering. "So, our sister tells me you got in trouble at school again!" Ezra drummed his hands on the steering wheel, and Eamonn snorted. "Don't give me that! What did you do, you horrible boy?" "Talked back to a teacher," Eamonn replied coolly. "Jenkins. Not a big deal. She's always been a bit of a cunt." "Eamonn!" Ezra fought to keep the smirk off his face. Mrs Jenkins really was a cu--cow! I mean cow!! But still! "Dad would give you a smack if he heard you speaking like that!" "Are you him?" The younger boy asked. "No? Then I don't see why it's a problem." "Tch. What did you say to her?" Ezra was curious, and Eamonn sighed. "During lunch period, she asked what I was having. I told her I was having an unpleasant conversation," he explained, and Ezra couldn't keep the amusement to himself this time, letting a few chuckles slip out. "C'mon, man! You need to behave yourself!" The older brother tried to plead with him. "I know school is ass for you and Mom isn't any better, but you won't be in Litchfield forever! When you graduate, you can go anywhere you want!" At the wrestling school in Minneapolis when Ezra stood at the front counter and thumbed through the bills in his wallet, ready to hand over the fortnightly stipend to fund Eamonn's lessons, Sheila surprised him. "No, hon," she shook her head. "Tuition's all paid up until July, the boss says." "Huh?" Eamonn furrowed his brow in surprise, and Ezra was just as shocked. "That's... awesome?" Ezra hesitated, looking at her with suspicion. "Why, though? I didn't pay it off." "Jack Lièvremont did, I believe," Sheila waved him off. "Speak to him about it. He's around here somewhere. Have fun, you boys." I don't believe this! What the heck would Jack do that for? This place costs thousands for a year's worth of classes! For tuition until July, that must have run at least nine hundred dollars! Ezra and Eamonn stared blankly at each other for a short while before they lumbered through to the locker room and changed into their workout clothes. But Jack made his presence known when he followed the boys in. "Hello," he waved meekly, looking shy and anxious. After Beau dragged him and his wife through the mud in Boise, Jack had kept a low profile, embarrassed by Sarah's behaviour and his own complicity. "Hi, Jackjack!" Ezra was more diplomatic than Beau and Eamonn, however, and didn't see the point in making enemies while friends were a possibility! "What are you doing here?" "I wrestle to MCW tomorrow," Jack explained in poor English, sometimes looking frustrated that he was struggling to communicate effectively. Aww. He'll get better at it! "My final match until KADA! I'm here for training." "You got signed! Congrats!" Ezra totally forgot about Jack's match with Diego Silva. He must have done alright, then! But of course he did. Jack was super solid from around eight years of experience! He noticed Eamonn wasn't totally keen to be involved in this conversation. Well, that's his own fault! He didn't have to embarrass Sarah when she was here! "This is my brother Eamonn! He watched us wrestle at MCW!" "I see'd him," Jack had a gorgeous smile as he extended his hand. "I remember. Hello Eamonn!" "You paid my tuition?" Eamonn was humbled for the first time in... wait, was this the first time? Ever? He gratefully shook the big man's hand, and Jack nodded. "I am here to say sorry," Jack's eyes shifted between the brothers. "Our behaviour was poor. But we work together now. So please forgive me." "You paid three months of my brother's tuition just to say you're sorry??" Ezra was stunned beyond words. "Jack, you could've just bought me a coffee or snuck me a beer! This is too much!" "He doesn't speak for both of us," Eamonn broke in quickly. "I happen to think it's just enough." "No, it's way too much!" Ezra's brain was doing that thing again. Gratitude, relief and guilt ricocheted all the way through his body, increasing his heart rate and blurring the connection between his thoughts, his emotion and his body! "I can't accept this gift, Jack!" "It is nothing," Jack reassured him, mimicking Beau's action from a couple of weeks ago and putting a firm hand on the boy's shoulder. Instantly Ezra felt calmer. It was like Pavlov's dog. "We are wrestlers, okay? We are family. If Eamonn wants to wrestle, I will help!" He flashed a happy grin, and Ezra had to smile. "C'mon, Ez!" Eamonn whined and tugged at his arm. "We've been doing it tough since we were in diapers. Can't you just let something good happen?" Ezra looked at his brother and years of guilt, love and shame filled him. Without his shirt on, the scar on the left side of Eamonn's flat belly was visible. The kidney he surrendered to his brother. He gave me his kidney. He didn't have to, but he wanted to. In fact, he demanded it. He was so determined that he probably would have lanced himself open, grabbed it with his own fingers and shoved it down his brother's throat. Then there were the blood transfusions. The bone marrow donations, which often took Eamonn a week or more of pain in the hips to recover from. The nights and weeks Eamonn would look after his sick brother, even though he was in pain himself from the operations. Ezra realised he could never say no to Eamonn. The teenager was surly and saturnine, but utterly selfless. He deserved the world for what he did. "Thanks, Jackjack!" Ezra conceded. "Let me buy you a coffee, hey? A hundred coffees!!" "Yeah. Thank you," Eamonn was flushing with gratitude and joy. "You don't know what it means to me! You can beat up my brother any time you like!" Jack trained in the master class, as was also expected of Ezra. However, the eighteen-year-old took the basic course with his brother these days. Although it was just a basic course, that didn't mean it wasn't an intense workout, even for him! Mostly, it was a joy to see Eamonn smiling, socialising and having fun, and the two of them would always partner up for specific exercises. Today, though, Eamonn changed his mind. "You should go and train with Jack," the taller boy decided. "I'll be alright by myself! You need to get ready for KADA." Oh... Ezra thought. He doesn't need me today. Well... that's good!! I mean, helping Eamonn get confident enough to do things by himself was what I wanted, right? Then why are my feelings hurt? He left Eamonn to the basic class and joined Jack and his old cohorts in the master class, but he felt gutted. He and Eamonn were thick as thieves! Did Eamonn feel the same way when Ezra left home? If he did, he would never say anything. Hmm. It merits further thought. Although they barely spoke the same language, Ezra and Jack were terrific sparring partners! They ran the ropes, repeated basic techniques and played through several different combinations until they each perfected them to the satisfaction of Osten, one of the most respected wrestling trainers in the whole world! It was a blasted mystery, Ezra found himself thinking. Sarah and Jack are more different than any pair I've ever seen! Even Lansilva or Sean and Ollie! What in Heaven's name made them get married? Jack was fun. Friendly, supportive and, as Eamonn found out, incredibly generous. His wife possessed none of these qualities! Their communication left a lot to be desired and even still, Ezra greatly enjoyed his company. He wanted to be a wrestler every bit as much as the Polish-American did, and he was just as elated about winning a contract as Ezra was as well. It's a shame he wasn't single - not because Ezra fancied him exactly, but because Sarah complicated everything by... well... existing!! ~ Friday, April 5th "Ez! Little buddy!" Oliver's cheerful voice rang through the phone and Ezra beamed - even though nobody was there to see it. "How you doing all the way up there in Winter land?" "Cold! It's still cold!" Ezra complained, eliciting a laugh from his associate. "Even in April, I'm cold! How is it in New Mexico?" "Ahh you know, man! It's warm! Most of the time. What's up, little buddy? Everything fine up there?" Oliver liked to get to the point, it seemed. Ezra wasn't so mentally organised. "I watched the replay last night!!" He bubbled excitedly, the memories of the tag-team match fresh in his mind. "Sean pinned the Heavyweight Champion?? Oh my gosh, are you guys gonna be in the main event next Pay Per View??" Oliver laughed. "Glad you had fun, little buddy, but we don't have much time on Fridays so I need you to wrap this up pretty quick. What's going on?" "Oh!" Ezra squeezed his eyes shut. Blast bloody bugger. "Right, there's something I wanna ask. See, I lost my job faster than I thought I would..." He was nervous. He suddenly wished he didn't wait until Beau was in the shower to make the call. He could have used his support! "And... I have enough savings to get to Knoxville, but I'd have to sleep in my car. I was wonder--" "No way, man! Just head down to our little place!" Oliver was quick to catch on and even quicker to come to his associate's rescue. "Who?" A voice - Sean - audibly asked on the other side of the call. He didn't sound impressed. "It's little buddy from Minnesota!" "Ohh, Ezra!" Sean's voice lost its cold edge. Who did he expect it was? Hmm. At least he doesn't hate me! "Hey little buddy, I'll give you over to the boss. Talk it through with him, alright?" Oliver decided, and after hearing a brief, sassy retort from the Cherokee, Ezra heard him on the phone. "How are you, slightly littler friend?" Sean had already developed a taste for being taller than one of his male friends for a change. "Hah! I'm great, how are you?" "I'm lovely, thank you! Ollie called me the boss, so that's gone right to my head," he quipped, and Ezra giggled. "How can I help you, Ez? You need a place to stay? We do have a couple of spare rooms - though they're not quite finished yet. Would that be alright?" "Oh, that'd be awesome!!" Ezra hugged his knees to his chest. "So awesome! Awesome to the max!!" "Don't say that yet! You haven't eaten my cooking," Sean chuckled, and Ezra could hear people buzzing in the background. They were out and about. He felt bad for inconveniencing them. "You're certainly welcome to join us short-term while you get on your feet. You'll have four walls and a roof, but it's not exactly pretty. We're still in the middle of rebuilding." "Rebuilding??" Ezra was appalled. "What happened?" "You remember that F4 tornado that crossed through Tennessee and killed seventy-one people last year? Our property was the second one hit. It passed right over us. I thank God every day for sparing us. We were fortunate that our home was the only thing that needed rebuilding," Sean's voice quivered with sadness. Ezra had no idea how to reply! "We've got three bedrooms - Ollie and I share the master, but there is room enough for you, by all means!" "A-ahh! Okay! Neat!" Ezra waved to Tina, who passed by the open doorway. She did not wave back. She was angry with him for being irresponsible enough to lose his job. "I don't mind if it's not finished! I'll be so, so, so grateful even for a couch!" "You can have the couch, but the dogs sleep on it and they'll lick you all night long," Sean giggled, and Oliver laughed in the background. "Oh yeah, you have puppies!" Ezra blubbed excitedly, rising to his knees for no particular reason. "I've seen them on your Instagram!! And cats and goats and sheep and goats and--" "They're my children, Ezra! If you want to stay here, you have to get along!" Sean warned him in good humour, and Ezra once again heard people in the background. "So... would it be okay if I brought Beau with me?" Ezra asked cautiously, wishing he'd brought it up earlier before Sean got involved. "You damn well better," Sean's blunt reply made them both laugh. "No, he's welcome any time." "What about rent? How much would you need?" Ezra nervously fell back to a seated position and began to tweak the toes on his left foot. "You're a broke wrestler! Keep your money!" Sean scoffed, sounding offended at the very suggestion. "There is something you could do for us, though." "Oh! What?" Ezra's heart pounded in apprehension. Help fix his house? Be his maid? Have an orgy?? "We're out of town three, four or even five nights a week. Sometimes we don't even make it home," The older man explained, still busy cooking. "That's how it is on tour. So if you're spending your days training at the Knoxville Performance Center, then you'd be free to feed our flock in the morning and night. And - this is Oliver's suggestion - if you could get dinner sorted on the night we come home from wherever we've gone, that would be excellent." "That's it??" Ezra was shocked! "That's all??" "Heh. You might not be saying that when you're trying to give Kevin his breakfast," Sean and Oliver started giggling again. "Yep! That's all, little buddy. It also wouldn't hurt to force Beau to watch Sex and the City with me every so often. Those are my terms." "When another tornado wipes our house down, you gotta look after us!" Oliver added, and Ezra grinned. It couldn't have turned out better for him! I get to play with puppies!! "When do you think you'll be down? I'd like to be here when you arrive," Sean's voice was far lighter than Oliver's baritone, but they both had a beautiful lilt when they spoke. "Between Tuesday and Thursday is ideal." "Oh! I don't know! I'll ask Beaubear!" Ezra bit his lip. I could be in Tennessee on Tuesday! Tuesday!! Super awesome beans - but what would that mean for my brother and sister? "I'm so keen to spend time with other gays! You have no idea!" That coaxed an aww from the lads on the other side of the line. It was true, though. There were a few gay guys in Litchfield, but they were much older or addicted to drugs - sometimes both. Until recently, when getting out of Litchfield for good became a bona fide possibility, he and Beau were beginning to wonder if they were only together because they had no other alternative. Now, with the freedom of the larger world at their fingertips, their bond was stronger than ever. Especially for Beau. Ezra was interested in sports, wrestling and cars, like most of the boys they grew up with. Beau, on the other hand, liked drag, Gaga, and art design. Meeting Sean had already been great for him, and he'd talked of nothing else on the way home from Boise. "Get back to us when you're ready, and we'll sort it out from there," Sean promised, and Ezra heard running water. "Stay safe, and I look forward to having some guests!" "Bye! Thank you! Thanks! Oh my gosh!! Ahh--" Ezra didn't notice Sean had already hung up for a little while during his manic rant. "Hey, Beau! Beaubeaubear!!" He rolled off the fluffy blanket and darted into the ensuite the moment his feet touched the floor. "Beau! Beaaaau! Hey! Talk to meee! I want attention!" "You want attention?" Beau was still in the shower, naked and glorious in the stream of water behind the glass door. "You? Ezra Luczysnki? If you didn't get attention for six minutes you'd probably go into a coma." "Foxy says we can stay with him!!" Ezra didn't even think. He just opened the shower door, dressed in his jeans and tank top, and hugged his wet, soapy boyfriend in glee, standing in the glorious stream of hot water. A little too hot, honestly. Beau seemed to like getting his pretty butt scalded. "Ezwhatthefuck?" Beau pried him off, amused but a little weirded out. "You can join me but take off your clothes first, you twit!" "Okay but Foxy! Foxy will let us stay with him and Oliver and all we have to do is feed their critters!" Ezra babbled, his lover's words sailing right over his head. "We can go Tuesday if you wanted!!" "I want to have my fucking shower!" Beau tried to gently shove Ezra back out onto the bathmat. "Yeah that's great news, big man, but we've talked about this! Boundaries and personal space! Do you mind?" Ezra managed to walk backwards out of the shower and awkwardly shut the door behind him, then he realised just how wet he was. Stupid blasted brain! What's your problem? Do you just take a smoke break now and then or do you think this is funny?? Grr. A little embarrassed, he stripped off his sopping wet clothes and tossed them in the hamper. He'd only just put them on fifteen minutes ago! "Awwww!" Beau beamed at him when he finally emerged from the bathroom. Ezra was hugging his crossed legs on the bed, dry and wearing new clothes, a hangdog expression on his youthful face. "Don't ever change, Ezra. Seriously." "I don't think that's an option! Or I would have done it by now!" Ezra bit the inside of his cheek. It was frustrating to keep doing these weird things while his brain was having a hard time processing his feelings! "Do you think there's something weird about me?" "Without doubt," Beau grabbed a pair of boxers from the messy drawer and slipped them over his pretty backside. "I mean it. Do you think there's something, like... wrong with me?" "Errrr... no?" Beau slid up behind Ezra and wrapped both his arms and legs around him, holding him tight like a little teddy bear. "You're a weirdo, yeah. But that's not something wrong with you. I love it when you're so excited that you can't stop bouncing, and I love it when your brain is skipping like a scratched CD and you get stuck in a loop. I love it when you get passionate about things and you shout for no reason! I watched you in the ring from one of the side entrances in Boise, and I couldn't believe how quickly you got the whole crowd on your side. People can't help but love you, Ezzy. You're too adorable for your own good, even when you're a nutcase. So you're eccentric, yeah, but I'd never say it's something wrong with you. You're also sweet, loving, smart and funny. I don't think you have a single bad bone in your body. Except maybe this one!" Beau's cheeky hand slipped between his boyfriend's legs and squeezed his flaccid cock, and Ezra giggled bashfully and pulled those fingers away... even if he didn't really want to. The bedroom door was open!! Anyone could walk past!! Gosh, Beau was a horny devil. Ezra was far from a prude, always ready to play around with his counterpart, but Beau could take it up a notch, especially if he'd been smoking some green. They could fuck three times throughout the night and the brunette would be ready for round four in a matter of minutes. It was funny, really. Beau lost his breath climbing a flight of stairs while Ezra could run for miles. But in bed, Beau was nigh insatiable and never tired before his boyfriend did. The day progressed well from there. Ezra and Beau decided that they were keen to snatch the opportunity to flee down south - Ezra to pursue wrestling and Beau to seek an adventure. It was a little over sixteen hours to drive from Litchfield to Knoxville, but rather than apprehensive, Ezra was excited about spending all that time with Beau in the car. The journey in Mickey's RV had been a real treat! A road trip from Minnesota through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and all the way into Tennessee! Wooo!! To train at KADA's Knoxville Performance Centre, where Sean Fox and Oliver Vickery trained for the grandest stage! And to be paid for the privilege!! A phone call put a damper on things when the blond boy was killing himself at the gym, doing his best to make the most of his body while it was working correctly and get into the best shape he could! "Yooooou've reached Ezra Luczynski!" Ezra answered with pep, slowing down to a walk on the treadmill. "Hi, Ezra! This is Mrs Whitehead," the Principal of Litchfield High sounded pleased to hear from him. Good! She was an okay sort! "Is this a good time?" "I haven't decided yet! Are you ringing with good news or bad?" "Bad news, I'm afraid," she spoke solemnly. "Is Mom at home much these days?" "I don't live at home anymore," Ezra informed her, reaching up and smoothing his long blond locks back over the top of his head. "Why? What's up? It's too late to expel me!" "Hehehe... well, I've been leaving messages for quite some time, now, but Glennys has not been getting back to me," she explained in a tired voice. "Eamonn has been missing a lot of school lately." "Eamonn has? My Eamonn?" Ezra slowed to a stop, the call shocking him too much to let him multitask. "What? How? Why?" "That's the question I'm trying to ask her. Is he alright?" Mrs Whitehead - a name she often copped some flack for - was a mellow, reasonable woman who had gone far out of her way to make things easier for Ezra during the tenth and eleventh grade. Organising fundraisers and personally visiting him in the hospital, and finding ways to give him access to tutors and extending specific deadlines for coursework. He owed a lot to her generosity! Not to mention how she pulled strings to let the LEW crew set up the high school gym on Saturday nights for a night of wrestling! She was one of the unsung heroes of the town, no questions asked! "He seems fine when I see him every day! I had no idea he was playing hooky! That little monkey!!" Ezra was livid with the news. "I am going to give him the talking to of a lifetime!" "I'd like to see him one on one as soon as possible," Mrs Whitehead, used to Ezra's outbursts, simply ignored it and focused on the subject at hand. "Over the past three weeks, he has missed nine school days. He hasn't been in at all this week. I've been getting worried that perhaps he might have been ill and didn't tell me. He isn't, is he? I know cancer can run in the family." "He's... probably depressed," Ezra admitted, feeling angry at himself for not being more involved with his siblings. I've been busy with Beau and KADA! I've let Eamonn and Celeste fall through the cracks!! What would Daddy say?? "I'll get back to you today when I find him! Do you have a number I can call later on?" "Same as always. New model, same number," Mrs Whitehead reassured him. "Thank you, Ezra. I'm glad to hear your voice! Let me know, please. And get that boy in my office, but let him know that he's not in trouble if he's having trouble, okay?" That little skinny bloody giant... goblin... blast! Ezra immediately rang Eamonn's number, but it rang out. That wasn't a surprise at all. He was a smart cookie. If he was pretending to be at school, he wouldn't be answering his phone during school hours. Well! Blast! Ezra: < Oh you are so sprung, young man! School called me. Where are you? > With anger and concern both battling out inside him, Ezra decided to put it go good use and hopped right back on that treadmill. He ran !and he ran. He sprinted, his angry thoughts thundering out as his feet hit the belt underneath him. Why? Is? Ev- ery- thing? So? Diff- i- cult? Stu- pid! Ea- monn! Grr! But? What? If? He's? Not? O- kay? Aaahhh! He paused when his body screamed at him, and he ran his hand through his hair again. He wouldn't be at home. He can't stand Mom. So... where is he going every day? Ezra: < Where are you? I want to see you. You're not in trouble. > Eamonn: < hahaha I'm not falling for that but nice try > Ezra: < I'm worried! Not angry! > Not angry anymore, he thought guiltily. Eamonn: < Bridge out of town. Bring cake. > The word 'bridge' was terrifying, and Ezra immediately snatched his towel and his water bottle, not even bothering to say goodbye to the people inside. Eamonn had a very nihilistic view of things sometimes. He missed their dad and he hated their mom. He didn't have friends and he wasn't going to school. He was lonely. This wasn't a good image for Ezra, whose hands shook as he quickly drove his car as quickly as he legally could to the bridge by the Litchfield creek. It was a long way down from the bridge - even though the creek was small and even dried up entirely during the drier patches, the ravine was fairly deep. Eamonn was indeed where he said he was. The beanie was the giveaway! Eamonn probably showered with one of those silly things on his head, tufts of greasy blond hair poking out around his eyes and ears. He looked over to see Ezra's car creep by him, and Ezra grimaced. He had to park somewhere! Ignoring all the road rules, he slowed to a stop and turned on the emergency lights, letting the orange blinkers flash and hopefully inform anyone creeping up behind him that they needed to go around in the other lane. "I was wondering when someone would finally notice," Eamonn was perched on the edge of the bridge, his legs dangling over the side and his arms on the security barrier. "What are you doing?" Ezra asked him gingerly, taking a seat next to him and forcing himself not to look at the long drop in front of him. "What's going on?" "I'm not about to jump to my death. You can stop being a drama queen," Eamonn teased him, resting his chin on the barricade. "It's nice that you're worried. Pointless, but it's nice." "You wanna tell me what's going on?" Ezra asked him, scooching on his bum and getting close enough that he could put his arm around Eamonn's shoulder and pull him close. "Why you're not at school and why you're suddenly hanging out here and why I had to find out from the Principal??" "What does it matter?" Eamonn asked, and to Ezra's surprise, he let his head rest on the top of his brother's and hugged him. "How can you say that?? You're my big little brother, and I'm worried about you!" Ezra flared. "Of course it matters! What's been going on and why didn't you feel like you could tell me?" "You're leaving," Eamonn replied after a short pause. "You're going to go and be a wrestler and travel the world. Without you, there's no reason for me to even exist." "That's a horrible thing to say!" "Yeah, I suppose. That doesn't mean it isn't true," Eamonn looked at him with sad green eyes. The two brothers looked fairly similar to each other. They had the same eyes, hair and smile, but the main difference was that Eamonn inherited features from their father - sharp eyes and a prominent jawline - whereas Ezra looked more like Glennys, with softer, rounder eyes and face. "Everyone loves me when you're sick because I'm just a bunch of spare Ezra parts. There is more of me in you than there is you. You're fine now. You might be fine for fifteen minutes or for the rest of your life. Until you're sick again, Mom doesn't care about me. Nobody does, now that Dad's gone. It took twenty days for someone to actually find me when I stopped going to school. Twenty days. And that was you, the only person who thinks of me as a person. And you're going away." That about broke Ezra's heart clear in two. There was truth in it. That's what sucked the most. Ever since he was only a toddler, Eamonn's primary role in the family was to be his brother's life support. Blood, marrow and even a kidney. When Ezra was in remission, everyone was so happy for him that Eamonn's efforts were quickly forgotten. Not by Ezra, who would do anything to make Eamonn happy, but by everybody else. Eamonn grew up in his brother's shadow, becoming more bitter, cynical and morose by the year. Ezra never stopped thanking him for everything. Even as recently as January, he was working to support Eamonn and Celeste, to take care of their injured mother, but it was Eamonn who pushed him away and forced him to focus on living the life that his brother bought for him. Ezra sniffled and began to weep. How can I make this work?? If I stay here and give up my dream, then Eamonn will never, ever forgive me, but if I go, then I leave him here feeling hopeless and alone. What am I supposed to do?? "Oh, you really are a drama queen," Eamonn tutted, his arms firmly around his brother. "I don't regret anything, Ez. Never have. I'm okay. I just... everything I did was because I didn't ever want to say goodbye. Now I'm going to have to." "Heh," Ezra wiped his eyes with his sweaty forearm, and they began to sting. "And this is why you didn't tell me, right? Because you knew I'd cry!" "You are predictably pathetic," Eamonn agreed, but his stoic words were betrayed by his tender actions. "I'm gonna miss you so much." "I'm not going to Mars! I'm not going to head to Knoxville and forget about you!" Ezra grabbed his brother's face with his hand and squeezed his cheeks, making Eamonn laugh. "You're my best blasted friend, you gigantic idiot! Shove your goodbye! I don't want it because it's not goodbye! I'm gonna call you and Celeste all the time and when I have money I will fly to Minneapolis and visit you guys! You mean the world to me, you know? I will work something out for you. Please don't give up, okay Eamonn? Gimme some time and I'll fix everything. Can I take you to school?" "So I can have a hundred detentions? Sure, why not?" Eamonn's sarcastic reply was greeted with a strengthening of Ezra's grip on his cheeks. "Whitehead is super worried about you, you goblin! If you tell her the truth, she will understand, okay? And make sure she knows all about how fucking useless Mom is because it'll make it easier for me to get you and Celeste away from her for good," Ezra knew that part of the plan would appeal to his brother, and he felt the boy grin underneath his fingers. Hehe. "I don't think I can go to school today," Eamonn admitted, and to Ezra's alarm, he let out a sniffle of his own. "Monday, maybe?" "What if we go in to see Mrs Whitehead today and we'll explain you need the weekend to get ready for school?" Ezra wanted to get things back on track as soon as he could. He had so many things to organise already. "I'm not glad you've been doing this, big little bro, but silver lining! Mom looks like the worst mother in the world now! I'm pretty sure we can pull some strings and get you to live with Dad's parents or something!" Eamonn wiped his eyes, and he smiled. ~ Tuesday, April 9th "Ez," Beau nudged him. "Ez! Wakey wakey, hands off snakey!" He nudged him again, and Ezra opened up one eye. "What? Where are we? What?" He awoke from his doze, his eyes winking independently of each other as he tried to make sense of what universe he was in. "Beaubear!" "Still in the car," Beau snapped his fingers obnoxiously. "You haven't been a lot of fun in the last few hours." "Are we in Kentucky Fried Chicken?" Ezra got muddled as he looked out the window at a KFC that floated past, and Beau giggled. Ezra slept so heavily that it took him a while to piece his conscious brain back together. "No, babe, you slept all the way through the Colonel's state. We're almost in Knoxville," he explained, and Ezra's heart leapt in his chest. Knoxville!! "I just have no fucking idea where I'm going from here, so if you could ring Foxy, that would be great." "Oooooh," Ezra managed to blink his eyes at the same time and fumble in the pocket of his oversized cargo pants for his phone. "Good thinking. You're not just a pretty face." "I'm also a nice ass," Beau smirked. He had bags under his eyes. He looked tired. "See? Look! Knoxville!" Ezra let out a giddy laugh as he saw the high rises in the distance - and the Sunsphere!! "I slept through Kentucky!!" He realised with disappointment as he tapped Sean's contact in his phone and heard it begin to dial. "Blast it." "It's not going anywhere," Beau retorted, letting a huge yawn split his lovely face in two. "Heyyy!" Sean's cheerful voice greeted Ezra after only two rings. "Where are you guys? We've been waiting! Oliver's about to eat the steaks raw!" "We see Knoxville! And we're umm--" Ezra scoured his brain. "We just went through the biggest bitch of an intersection I've ever seen. Beau didn't kill us, so we're on a roll!" Sean laughed. "Knoxville is nothing but bitches of intersections, I'm afraid, so you'll get desensitised to near-death experiences soon enough. Are you lost?" "Are we lost?" "Not yet, but I'm planning on it," Beau admitted loud enough for Sean to hear him, and the Cherokee man chuckled. "Then it's probably easier if we meet you at Sunsphere. Getting out our way isn't easy if you don't already know how," Sean offered, and Ezra was quick to answer. "Yes! Yes, please! Cities are scary to me!" He begged. "We'll be in a blue Audi and Ollie's wearing a terrible green Hawaiian shirt," Sean informed him, and the boys giggled when Oliver took offence to his boyfriend's words. "If you beat us there, don't worry. We'll be around fifteen minutes." The Sunsphere was quite easy to spot. Ezra's face was almost glued to his passenger window as Beau drove perhaps a little too carelessly through the heart of the city. "Where the hell are you supposed to park?" Beau frowned as he finished a full circle of the Sunsphere. "What the fuck? Grr." "Do another lap," Ezra decided, reaching across and putting a hand on his boyfriend's arm. "If we can't work it out, then we'll call them." "This sucks," Beau sulked, and Ezra had to laugh. "You're the one who demanded we go to a city!" He reminded his boyfriend, who shot daggers at him. "Hah! Who misses Litchfield parking now?" "If you don't shut your face I'm gonna sit on it." "I don't get it. Are you threatening me or trying to seduce me?" "Can't it be both?" They began to laugh again, and then Beau sat up suddenly and pointed. "Blue Audi, right? Black guy in a green shirt. That's them." "Oh, rabbits!!" Ezra felt that familiar starstruck feeling in his chest. Oliver Vickery and Sean Fox!! He immediately mashed the call button on his phone. The car had turned left, and Beau made sure to follow them. "Sean!! I see you!!" "Oh!" Sean sounded surprised. "Can you see me waving?" A small brown hand slipped out of the passenger window and began wiggling its fingers, and Ezra laughed out loud. "Yeah. We're two cars behind you!" Ezra pointed at the Audi. "Follow that car, Beau!" "Yeah?" Beau's voice dripped with sarcasm. "Gee, that's a better idea than the one I had." "Then I guess you can just follow us home," Sean decided, and Oliver muttered what sounded like a whoop of relief. "If you lose us, just call me back, okay?" Their long, exhausting journey coming to an end, Ezra and Beau were silent as they followed a blue Audi through a surprisingly convoluted route and began trailing out of the city, following the Tennessee river. Ezra leaned over and rested his head on Beau's arm, and Beau, although he was tired and irritable, kissed him on the head. He was looking forward to sleeping in Beau's arms tonight. Although he was the sexually dominant top when the two made love, he was the little spoon when they slept. The men turned off the main road onto a smaller one, and then they turned again down a dirt trail that ended at a red barn with a large house off to the side. Ezra recognised it immediately from Sean's Instagram. Home! For now, at least! Home! The tornado had indeed done a number on it! Most of it looked freshly built, and it needed a coat of paint. Beau didn't seem to mind, though. He was just happy they'd finally be able to get the hell out of Ezra's little car. You did good, Ezra thought as he stroked the dashboard lovingly. You got us here! You can have a rest now. "Hi! Hi! Hi!" Ezra's body seemed to vibrate in ecstasy as he stumbled out of the car and stretched his limbs. "Hello!" "Hey hey, little buddy and big buddy!" Oliver was first out, locking the car with his keys. "Damn, kids! I'll pay for the flight next time!" "Welcome home!" Sean looked amazingly different away from the camera. Glasses, a nerdy shirt and his hair tied into a bun so big that he looked like a hammer. "How was that drive?" He and Beau immediately scooped each other up into a hug, whereas Oliver and Ezra settled for a friendly fist bump. "Long. It was long," Beau complained. "It wasn't that long!" Ezra huffed, and Beau smirked. "You wouldn't know. You spent most of it snoring," he chuckled, and the fellas grinned. "I dig the place! You guys have done really well!" Sean flushed at the compliment, and the two bottoms began to chatter together as though they'd known each other for forty years as they shuffled towards the house. Ezra didn't mind - truth be told, a small break from Beau was precisely what he needed. Oliver sensed how tired and tense he was, even though he went out of his way to hide it. "You doing okay, little buddy?" Oliver asked kindly, and Ezra sighed. "It's a big deal, moving out of home for the first time. Especially coming so far away. How are you feeling?" "You have no idea how excited I am!!" Ezra began, and Oliver chuckled. "But yeah... it is a lot to take in! I miss my brother and sister already. And my friends! Ahh. But I'm here with one of the people I used to watch all the time on TV! Ahh!" "You'll be on TV sometime soon," Oliver reminded him, opening up the back of Ezra's car. "I hope you're not disappointed when you find out just how unremarkable we are in real life! Now, we can unpack tomorrow, but you guys probably need your toiletries and a couple of threads. Which ones?" "Ahh blast!" Ezra frowned. "This is mine," he reached across and grabbed a small travel bag. It had his toothbrush, hair products, shower things and pyjamas inside. "I'll be buggered if I know where Beau's are. He has about six suitcases, and he just threw all his crap in where it would fit." "No sweat, brother!" Oliver closed the door amiably and nodded towards the house with his head. "Just kick back tonight, yeah? Seano's gonna barbecue us up some pork steaks that'll knock your socks off." "He doesn't need to do that," Ezra mumbled, not used to being waited on. "Well, don't tell him that!" The big man teased. "I want the damn steaks!" "Are you sure you're okay with us being here?" Ezra asked, aware that he was intruding on these two when they were busy fixing up their house. "Man, I'm thrilled to have you here!" Oliver's face was hard to see in the dimming light of the sunset. "The lady who used to feed our animals is moving on, so this works for us. Don't need to worry. It'll be good to have people around, you know? And we remember how rough it is starting out in the wrestling biz. I probably wouldn't have made it if I didn't get help!" "Yeah? You? But you're awesome!!" Ezra as good as rocketed up the stairs. "Why did you need help?" "You're a bit awesome too, little buddy, but you need help," Oliver pointed out, and Ezra paused a bit. He called. Me. AWESOME. "Nature of the beast, I guess! Come in. Meet everyone." Ezra was nearly overwhelmed. The door lead him to a vast, open room that functioned as a living room, kitchen and dining room all in one. Not unlike the apartment he lived in with his family, except this was at least ten times the size. A huge connecting couch could have seated twelve people, and a dining table that could seat ten. The floors, wall and ceiling were all wood, giving the house a very rustic feel. It smelled like the forest that surrounded it. "Hello!!" Ezra darted over to investigate the tabby cat that eyed him off from one of the cushions on the brown couch, and it uttered a tiny meow when he put his face in front of it. "It's so cute!" "When she feels like it," Oliver chuckled, and he beckoned for Ezra to follow. "This is the main room, and you're welcome to be out here as much as you like. Down this hallway - this over here is our room, I gotta ask that you don't go in unless Seano gives you the okay. Here we got the bathroom, the laundry, the toilet and the two spare rooms. You guys can have whichever you like, but I think the boss has already made his decision." "The boss?" Ezra laughed when Oliver referred to Beau in such a way, and Oliver smirked. It wasn't exactly inaccurate. "Trust me, man, I know it," he shone a smile and lead his little buddy to the one on the left. The bedroom was rather quaint and, as Sean warned him, not quite finished, but it was beautiful! Wood, of course, and unpainted. The double bed was made up with a nice red comforter and two pillows on either side, and another cat had already made its home on the comfortable looking armchair in the corner. Beau and Sean were still chatting about the drive up. Aye aye aye! It'll be good for him, Ezra thought happily. He didn't have many friends in Litchfield. Now he's got someone he has stuff in common with. "Are you okay with this room?" Beau asked him, and Ezra shrugged. "Of course!" he replied and stepped forward to rest his head on his boyfriend's shoulder, and both professional wrestlers cooed at the sweetness of the moment. Beau's smile was massive. The first night didn't last a very long time. Sean cooked a fantastic meal for everyone with Beau's assistance while Oliver and Ezra entertained each other with tales of their first wrestling promotions, and shortly after, Beau fell asleep on the couch with his head in Ezra's lap, all tuckered out from the long journey. Ezra could barely believe his luck as he took Beau to bed and drifted off after a long, sweet kiss. Home. This is home now.
  7. AusGlitterati

    Nurse Ratched

    Hehehe you're not wrong! Nurse Ratched is a reference to the villain from the book/movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. He's listening and learning! Change doesn't happen overnight, unfortunately. The staff have arguably been too lenient on him. Thank you for reading and commenting!
  8. AusGlitterati

    Nurse Ratched

    Haha aww hunnay ❤️ Yeah Tyson needs a big reality check with his attitude. Pls don't cry. Thank you for reading! ❤️
  9. AusGlitterati

    Nurse Ratched

    Hahaha! It was a personality clash that escalated remarkably quickly thanks to Tyson's anger issues and Ron's ego. Both of them behaved terribly by the end.
  10. AusGlitterati

    Chapter 9

    Well wasn't that lovely? Gorgeous chapter! I didn't realise how much I needed this! It was beautiful and indeed it lightened things up! Ian definitely accidentally referring to Lex as his boyfriend was so cute, and Lex being so okay with it was also cute! And Ian's family! ahh ❤️ If I could heart this chapter twice I would!
  11. AusGlitterati

    Nurse Ratched

    He tossed and turned a lot during that night. Sue's constant checks during the night made it hard for him to settle. Every time he got close, that annoying flashlight would light up his face! And the hospital smell never did go away, even if the rooms in this ward were intended to pass as hotel rooms. He'd been away from his bed for almost a week now, between the stay in emergency and the nights in the Acute Inpatient Unit. What he wouldn't do to go to sleep to the sounds of traffic outside his window once more. Instead, he heard the sounds of keycards beeping, doors opening and closing and the washing machine humming all night long. He thought of Vladimir often during the night. How sweet he was. How scared he sometimes got for no reason. Hopefully, Cynthia helped him out. She was here earlier. He managed to pass out for good at around one thirty in the morning. The dream he had was an odd one. There was a person with three heads. Vladimir was there. The three heads on the monster that chased Vlad were familiar, and when Tyson shoved the beast away from his friend, he saw that the heads were his mother, father and sister, all leering at him with hatred. "Good morning Mr Lovett," an older man, maybe in his late fifties, rushed into the room without bothering to knock first. Tyson, already disturbed by a bad dream, did not appreciate that. "Belmont-Lovett," he immediately corrected this rude stranger, sitting up in his bed. "Can you not draw the curtain?" "It's morning, and the sun's out. It's time to get up," the nurse ignored him and flung the curtain open, letting the sun pour in. "Who the fuck asked you?" Tyson was fully lucid now, and he wasn't in a good mood. "Where's Alice? Who are you?" "Drop the attitude, thank you very much. I'm Ron, and I'm your nurse this morning," he replied curtly. "Like I needed another reason to kill myself," Tyson fell back onto his bed and covered his head with his blanket. "Don't spar with me, young man," Ron refused to let it go and stood by the bedside. "I'm not in the habit of taking cheek. It's eight o'clock, and I need you to get in that shower and nip down to the dining hall." "It's eight o'clock and I need you to fuck yourself, Ron," Tyson slipped his hand out and flipped the bird at the man, defiant and angry. "You're not my nurse." Ron grabbed the covers and pulled them down, exposing the boy's face. He was a corpulent, neckless man with a red face and a bushy white moustache above his lips. "Guess again, Mr Belmont-Lovett. Out. I can wait all day if I have to." "Yeah, except you can't," Tyson snorted at him, slapping his hand away and wrenching the covers back up over his brown chest. "I know for a fact you have other people to check up on every fifteen minutes." Ron's eyes narrowed just the slightest bit, and Tyson noticed. Yeah. That's what I thought. "Nice bluff, but I'm not a prisoner, and you don't get to give me orders. Get the fuck out." "You should be careful how you speak to me, Mr Belmont-Lovett," Ron cautioned him in a low voice. "I see right through you. This troubled kid act doesn't fool me for a second. All you have is an attitude problem, and I won't put up with any of your rot. Verbal abuse of a member of staff is a breach of the AIU rules, young man, and just because you're a patient here does not mean there aren't consequences for your actions. I do have checks to make, but when I come back, you'll out of bed and in the shower." "How about you take how of how you speak to me, cunt!" Tyson snapped at him, raising his voice and likely letting himself be heard by anyone who happened to be passing. "Get out and stop harassing me or I'll make sure my Mum gets you fired!" "You are a piece of work," Ron stroked his whiskers with his hand and left the room. "Out of bed, in the shower," he repeated as he left the door open behind him. "Fuck! Off!" Tyson shrieked at the top of his lungs, and he threw his pillows from his bed to the opposite wall, where they hit with a paltry but satisfying thunk. "Tys Tys?" Vladimir's soft, light voice distracted him from his tantrum. Tyson panicked, aware that he looked like a raging psychopath in front of his dearest friend. Shame and guilt immediately overtook him, and he looked down at the brown comforter covering his body. Shit. Shit. Fuck. Grr. "You alright?" Vladimir asked from the doorway, not permitted to enter another patient's room. "Hey." "I'm fine!" Tyson scowled petulantly, folding his arms. Embarrassment wasn't a feeling he knew how to respond to. It only made him angry. "Alright," Vladimir looked a treat when Tyson finally looked at him properly. Wearing a plain pine-green tanktop and worn black skinny jeans, his arms, upper chest and bare feet seemed to glow white in contrast under his stark black hair. "I've got an appointment to see Cynthia right after brekky, so... just wanted to let you know where I'll be." Tyson's red hot anger always seemed to be pacified somewhat by Vladimir's sweet, soothing concern. It didn't take long before he was pulling himself out of bed. He threw on the first shirt and tracksuit pants he got his hands on, and he hobbled down the hallway in pursuit of the pretty boy. "Oh, look who got out of bed," Ron commented smugly as he walked by in the other direction. "Are you going to behave yourself?" "Eat shit, Ron," Tyson snarled at him, and Ron stopped and put his hand firmly on Tyson's shoulder. "Do not touch me! Get off! Get off me, you paedophile!" "You need to get your act together, or I will call security," Ron warned him dangerously, and Tyson pursed his lips together with indignance and wrenched himself away. "You've been written up too many times already, and if you can't control yourself, then you will go to seclusion. Do I make myself clear?" Tyson wanted to slug him in his stupid fucking mouth, but he didn't. He fancied calling Ron all the most colourful words he knew in every language he could speak, but he restrained himself. Nothing would have made him happier to take out fourteen years of repressed emotions and misguided feelings on this human garbage, but it wasn't his first priority. He wanted to see Vlady. Ron wasn't going to get in the middle of that, as much as he seemed intent on baiting the boy into lashing out. He turned away and hopped on his crutch, thinking that he'd do anything to have Alice come back. She was always so lovely to me. I was such an arsehole to her. When I see her, I'll tell her how sorry I am. "Oooh, hello!" Vladimir was waiting for him, of course. One of the seats was already pulled out, and Tyson blushed. "Hi. Sorry about before," Tyson put some weight down on his ankle and relished in the pain that shot through him as he sat down. "You're cranky in the mornings. I get it," Vladimir wasn't on the mark, but Tyson didn't know if he did that on purpose to avoid the subject. "How did you sleep?" Tyson didn't want to mention that he dreamed about the monster that stalked his friend day and night. That seemed... weird. "Not great. Every time I'm about to nod off, Sue shone her high beams on my face," he grumbled, scratching the back of his neck with his fingers. The other boy giggled. "Yeah. You get used to it. Though I hope you're not here long enough to get used to it," Vladimir used his thumb and forefinger to grab at one of Tyson's tiny ringlets and repeatedly pluck at it while the boy playfully glared at him. "I share a room with Dmitry and he wants to read all night, so it never bothered me so much." "What's gonna happen with you when you go home?" Tyson asked, enjoying the feeling of having someone touch him affectionately. Vladimir seemed quite amused by his short curls and had a goofy grin on his face as he played with them. "I'm going to have the longest bath anyone has ever had before," Vladimir finished by pinching Tyson's cheek with a smirk, making the boy slap his hand away. "Umm... I need to start school again in a new place. Hopefully a few suburbs away. I'll probably get stuck in some academy for evil kids." "Why? You're not evil," Tyson objected. Vladimir's eyes wilted slowly, and he looked to the table in front of him. "You're not! None of anything that's happened is your fault." "..." Vladimir opened his mouth to speak but thought better of it, then he said something else. "What about you? Hmm? What's a rich boy got planned for when he gets out?" "I'm probably going to have to make up all the lessons I've missed in the last week," Tyson replied glumly, picking up the blunt butter knife with his hand and running a thumb over the edge. "I don't know, Vlady. When I got here, I wanted to leave so badly. Now, I don't think I can go home. I'll kill myself." "You will not," Vladimir shifted his chair a little closer. "You promised me." "Lincoln's wife promised him a fun night at the theatre," Tyson replied despondently, but he liked it when his friend laughed. Perhaps Vladimir didn't quite understand Tyson's point. "I'll take care of you when we make it out," Vladimir, perhaps sensing Tyson's thoughts, took the knife away from him. It was so blunt that it was nearly impossible to cut through toast with them, but it must have been an unsettling sight. "You're only one suburb away, remember?" "It's not that easy, Vlady," Tyson told him miserably. "We won't see each other when we're out of here." "Well, thank you very much," Vladimir's feelings were hurt by that. "No, I think you're amazing," Tyson admitted, looking up with dark, sad eyes. "I wanna be friends. Or go on that date you promised me. But I just won't be able to. I don't get to see people or hang out or have days off. I have to be this perfect kid so my Mum and Dad look good when all those idiot socialites come walking through and treat my sister and me like monkeys in a fucking zoo." "What's a normal day like for you, Tys?" Vladimir asked with sympathy in his voice. "Outside. Maybe two weeks ago, before you hurt your foot. What was it like, say, on a Wednesday?" "Oh, hump day," Tyson snorted, resting his head on his left fist and tracing his scars with the fingers from his other hand. "I'm awake at half past six so my sister and I can swim laps in our backyard pool. Every day. Hot, cold or hailing. Then Mum makes us eat some goopy protein fiber shit for breakfast, then I get ready for school while she talks about my lesson plans. School, then I come home and she makes me go over everything with her. Wednesday is soccer night, so I'll go to training and come right back home. We'll probably have company for dinner - we always do - and I'll tell them all about how awesome Mum is and how amazing my life is thanks to her. Then I'll learn French or something after dinner, then May teaches me how to play the cello, and then I go to bed." "What about the weekends?" The boy asked, keeping his eye on the kitchen bar to see if his food was coming along. He was so skinny, yet he ate so much. "Do you have any free time then?" "Weekends? Cute," Tyson rolled his eyes. If only. "It's basically another school day. Lessons most of the time, unless Mum and Dad need me to smile and be pretty for the politicians and journalists and shit. I'm not saying I can't see you when we leave because I don't want to, Vlady. I mean I really can't. Mum would never let me. I'm not allowed to have friends outside playing sports or dinners with the senators and their douchebag kids. And even if I was... she'll never let me be friends with someone from the hospital. Especially you. You're gay and you have schizophrenia. She doesn't believe in those things. When I mentioned you, she told me not to talk to you at all." "I see," Vladimir replied quietly and sadly. "So... are you just going to give up on me? And yourself?" "I don't know, Vlady," Tyson felt the urge to cry creeping up his throat and holding it in a vice grip. "I'm used to nobody giving a fuck about me." "Get un-used to it!" Vladimir demanded. He was upset now. Damn it. "If you're going to go home and just kill yourself, then tell me now. I'm not gonna let myself like you if you're just gonna break my heart." That wasn't easy to hear. It wasn't the first time they'd had a conversation like this. Tyson couldn't blame Vladimir for feeling this way, he supposed. Maybe we shouldn't talk about this anymore, he thought. It makes him sad, and it doesn't make me any more interested in living. Realising the pale boy wanted an answer, he sheepishly nodded his head. "Kay," he mumbled. "Do you know where Alice is?" "It's her weekend," he replied, looking a little reassured by Tyson's response. "She doesn't live here, you know. She's allowed to leave, heh." "Oh. Right," Tyson smiled, eager to put that awful discussion behind him. "I had Ron waking me up this morning. Wanker." "Oh, I hate that guy," Vladimir rolled his eyes. "He reminds me of a giant toad." The boys started to giggle, and Tyson's spirits managed to turn into a more positive light as they discussed the ways Ron was a terrible person. Jae delivered a masterpiece serving of french toast with a side of bacon for Tyson and a spinach omelette for Vladimir, and just like that the morning turned around. "Oh, good morning, fellows!" Cynthia optimistically greeted them suddenly, almost as though she'd snuck up on them. "How are my favourite patients today?" "I knew I was your favourite," Tyson chuckled, using his fork as best he could scoop up and swallow the remnants of cream and blueberry juice. "Much better," Vladimir smiled up at her. "Thank you for coming to see me yesterday." Tyson was incredibly curious as to what went on between Vladimir and Cynthia. He was responsible for bringing the two of them together, after all. Shouldn't he be entitled to know how things were going? No, he reminded himself. Cynthia wouldn't give anything up. Vladimir might, but only when he was ready. Damn. He was still so surprised that Cynthia agreed to take Vladimir on as a patient without the promise of payment. She was a private psychiatrist, and that usually meant money - a lot of it. Had she refused to help someone who desperately needed it, Tyson would probably have lost a lot of respect for her. But no. Cynthia cared about him. Vladimir too. She wasn't just in it for the big bucks, like so many of the other doctors he'd seen. She wanted to help. That's why Tyson trusted her. "I hate to pull you away from your breakfast, Vlad, but I'm only here for a short while today and I'd like to see the both of you," she spun a pen around her fingers. "Do you mind coming with me?" "Where are we going?" Vladimir put his fork and knife together in the middle of his plate and stood up. "Wherever you feel like. Your room. The sensory room. The foyer?" She shrugged. "Dealer's choice." "Outside? I'd like to sit in the sun for a bit," Vladimir decided, and Cynthia smiled. "That sounds lovely. I'll meet you by the door in a couple of minutes," she gave a nod, and she turned to her other patient. "Tyson! We've just got a couple of things we need to get sorted after, then I'll get out of your hair." "Do I get a frog?" He asked cheekily, and she laughed out loud. "Sweets for the sweet, so I like your chances." The flattery tended to go to Tyson's head sometimes. She was always so kind and thoughtful, and she did her best to validate his feelings. If he was angry, she wanted to find out why. She was... just amazing. Alice, Neil and Sue were pretty great too. He missed Alice. Did this mean Neil and Sue were going to be away as well? New nurses. He didn't like the sound of that. Especially if they were like Ron. Tyson would certainly be complaining to his mother about Ron, and with any luck, that would be the end of Ron's career in mental health. Edith did have her advantages after all, and being militant about her son's caretakers was one of them. Tyson thought about Vladimir and Charlie. How would Ron's approach affect them? Vladimir got lost in his own mind and Charlie was a broken boy. Best to cut out the rot before it spreads. The ward always lost a lot of the light when Vladimir was gone, unfortunately. Most of the other children were depressed, psychotic or recovering in some way, and they weren't so social. Especially since Tyson had a reputation for being angry and violent. They kept their distance. It didn't feel good to see them avoiding him. Avoiding looking at him out of fear he might lose his temper. Vladimir and Charlie were the only two that seemed to like him as a person - when they felt like being social. The morning class came around. It wasn't mandatory, exactly, but the children were all strongly encouraged to attend unless they couldn't for some reason. Charlie needed one on one support if he was going to learn. One of the girls, Annie, was often set off quickly when she got bored. Tyson, though, had long surpassed the level of anything that went on in there. It was pointless. While he might be set to solve a series of long division problems with two or three figures, at home, he would probably be using long division with polynomials and drawing up the answers on a cartesian plane. There was no reason to go, and he preferred to spend the time reading some of the novels he had stashed in his room. They challenged his mind. The nurses and social workers understood this and let him keep himself busy with the more fulfilling alternative. Not today. "Into the study hall, please," Ron opened the door without knocking. Again. "Come on." "Why? It's kid's stuff," Tyson looked back at the printed words. "I'm good. Thanks." "Sort it out with Petra in the study hall," Ron entered the room and Tyson felt resentment bubbling inside him immediately. "I have sorted it out with Petra," Tyson replied, keeping himself under control. After all, Ron had been fairly clear with his threats earlier. "Study hall. Come on," Ron ignored him and stood by the bed. The nerve! "Get out," Tyson glared up at him. "You can read in the study hall," Ron was firm and unrelenting. "You can't spend all day in bed." "As a voluntary patient here, I can decline medication, procedures and recommended activities at any time at my discretion," Tyson snapped at him, and Ron's face told him that he struck a nerve. "Yeah, you weren't expecting that, were you? You can't bully me, arsehole, so leave me alone, or I'll report you to your boss for exceeding your authority and trespassing." "You think you've got everything worked out, don't you?" Ron did not let himself lose his temper, but the veiny splotches on his face seemed to darken. "How about this, smart man? If you don't leave this room and go to the study hall, I will report the three different occasions this morning that you've abused a member of staff. It'll go down on your record and when you flip your lid again - and you will - I'll have grounds to have you charged, locked in seclusion or even transferred to the HDU." "Ooh I'm fucking shaking," Tyson snorted, sitting up in his bed. "You haven't got any power. You're only a nurse - which is embarrassing for someone so old. No wonder you've got such a big chip on your shoulder." Ron was utterly silent for a few seconds, and then he folded his arms and walked out of the room, shutting the door behind him. Tyson smirked in victory, and he returned to his novel. Not for the first time, he was grateful for the advantages he had in life. Ron was nothing. Just an old mutt with an attitude and a tiny cock to compensate for. Hmph. We'll see about that job he seems so smug about. "Tyson," Cynthia rapped on the door soon after, and he put down his book. "Yeah! Come in!" He welcomed her in and sat up, straightening his clothes and his shirt and even smoothing his black curls. She looked nice today. She looked young for her age - she appeared to be in her mid to late twenties, but he knew she must have been older. She was young in her profession - he knew it took thirteen years or thereabouts to become a fully qualified and practising psychiatrist. She would have to be in her thirties. She had cool, tan skin and very dark hair with walnut coloured eyes and pretty red studs in both ears. She often wore casual and cute clothes. Today, a floral blouse under a knitted white cardigan and black jeans. "I heard a troubling rumour about you," she began with her stern voice, closing the door behind her and dragging the squeaky chair over to the bedside. "You've been giving your nurse a lot of grief." "He actually went and told tales on me?" Tyson sneered with his arms folded across his chest. "That's hilarious. Good joke." "It's not a joke, Tyson," she didn't share in his mirth. She looked angry. "Honey, you cannot keep doing this. What did Ron do that upset you so much?" "He was a dick!" Tyson huffed, sinking into his bed. "Why don't you tell me more about it," she crossed her legs and leaned on the arm, making the chair squeak again. "Why did you feel like you needed to lash out?" "He was a dick!" The boy repeated, beginning to feel attacked and retreating. "Tell me about this morning, Tyson," Cynthia took out a pen and her clipboard. "From the start." "He came in here and he was a fucking dick!" Tyson shouted at her. "He treated me like some little kid, so I told him to fuck off!" "Did you throw your book at him?" Cynthia asked, and Tyson sat up. "No! Why would you ask me that?" He glared at her before realisation dawned on him. "Did Ron say I did? Did he?" "Nurse Weinstein - Ron - has written up a report about you throwing books at him because you two had a disagreement about going to the education until this morning," Cynthia explained gingerly, knowing that her patient was easily triggered into an explosion. "Is that what happened?" "No!" Tyson's voice was loud and full of panic and rage. "He's lying! I didn't!" "Tyson, please don't raise your voice to me," she asked of him in a stern, but calm voice. "I don't like it, and I would prefer to speak with you rather than be shouted at by you." "But he's lying!" Tyson growled, his heart racing and his breathing quickening. "He's lying! I didn't! I told him he was shit at his job and he had no authority over me, but I didn't throw anything! He's just mad because he tries to bully me and I don't let him!" "Do you need a minute to calm down?" Cynthia asked him, cocking her head with sympathy. "I don't want to have this conversation with you while you're on edge, okay?" "I'm fine," he pouted, crossing his legs and beginning to poke at his swollen, sprained ankle. "He's still a cunt, though. Fucking Nurse Ratched with a cock and two hundred extra kilos." The prods caused pain, and that pain was cathartic. "Don't hurt yourself, please," Cynthia begged him, leaning forward. "Stop. Now." Tyson, furious at the unfairness of what was happening, still did as she asked and folded his hands in his lap. "Thank you. So you and Nurse Weinstein don't get along. You didn't throw your book at him? It would not be the end of the world if you did." "I didn't!" Tyson insisted, his eyes beginning to water. "I didn't! I swear that I didn't touch or him or throw anything!" "You have a history of losing your temper, Tyson," Cynthia scribbled in handwriting so indecipherable that he was half convinced it was so only she could read it. "You've spent time in seclusion because you've been violent on several occasions, and you have a reputation for saying rude and hurtful things to other people." "Yeah, I do! And all that's true and I'll fucking cop to that!" Tyson ran his hands through his hair. "I told Ron he was an idiot, so sue me! But I did not throw any books at him! Have I ever lied to you? Ever?" "No. You haven't," Cynthia confessed, a smile crossing her face. "You've always been open and honest, so I don't believe you would lie to me. Nurse Weinstein alleges that you did. Alleges is the key word here, Tyson. Don't bite my head off." "I'll bite his fucking head off," Tyson grumbled, wiping his eyes with his arms. "I didn't, Cyn. I promise. If I did, I'd tell you." "Okay. Did anyone else see what went on?" She asked, and he shook his head. "So, there were no witnesses to verify Nurse Weinstein's report. That makes it fairly unreliable, Tyson. I don't think you need to worry about it. I'll have a word to him and organise a different nurse to take care of you, okay?" "Wow," Tyson breathed a sigh of relief and humility. "Thank you." "Don't thank me too early, Tyson," she pursed her lips. Uh oh. I made her angry. "Abusing the nurses and doctors needs to stop. Right now. It's been nearly a week, and I can't keep making excuses for you." "He deserved it!" Tyson pointed out, but she wasn't listening. "There are ways to deal with situations that don't involve running your mouth," Cynthia never broke eye contact. "We're going to spend some time tomorrow revising strategies you can use to help you keep a level head when the shit hits the fan. Today, I've organised an appointment for you with a friend of mine. Her name is Brianna, and she's a psychologist." "I don't want to talk with her," Tyson told her immediately, fidgeting with his fingers. "Please. Why can't you talk to me instead?" "Aww," Cynthia's warm smile returned. "I'm a psychiatrist, Tyson. My job is less about therapy and more about medication. Brianna's a lovely girl - she and I have worked together quite a few times before. Please give her a chance." "Ugh..." Tyson didn't like the idea of opening up all over again to some stranger. "Okay." "If it doesn't work out, you can always let me know, and I'll work something else out," she reassured him. "But Tyson, I do have to warn you, further abuse of medical and mental health professionals can result in some pretty nasty repercussions from this point on, okay? You're not psychotic, and you've had a week to settle in so there will be consequences if you can't behave yourself." "I'll be good," he whispered in a tiny voice, ashamed of himself. "Cynthia? Thank you. I'm sorry I let you down." "You could never let me down!" She fished something out of her bag - a chocolate frog! "I'm worried about you letting yourself down."
  12. AusGlitterati

    Chapter 8

    😮 I AM SHOOK. *wipes tear Beautiful and poignant. ❤️
  13. AusGlitterati

    Chapter 7

    YOU!!! THAT WAS A HORRIBLE THING TO DO!!! But oh gosh was it a brilliant chapter and now I have to start waiting for updates like every one else!! I'm so in love with these two! And the supporting characters! This story is terrific thank you :3
  14. AusGlitterati

    Chapter 6

    Omg I need to go to BED But I'm hooked! So what's to say that hasn't been said? The first place Lex goes is to see Ian and more than that,he's so gosh darn comfortable with him (even during a tattoo!!) that he goes to sleep there! Aaahhhhhh brb next chapter
  15. AusGlitterati

    Chapter 5

    Lex is such a sweetheart isn't he? And so are his new acquaintances! Certainly if he were to settle down for any Ian -- I mean reason! - he would have a good bunch of mates! The shit Brown aura comment slayed me!! Super keen to read more!!

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