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    Frank K
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Barriers - 1. If it Means A Lot to You

"Good morning and welcome back everyone." My Homeroom teacher Mr. Kelber put down a stack of papers on his desk, I assumed it was our schedules.

"You've been here for three years, you know the deal by now. When your name is called come grab your schedule and locker number. I don't care what you do after that just don't get me into trouble. Jason Andrews."

Always a pleasure to be the first person called.

"You're out of here by noon every day. Easy year." He chuckled looking at my schedule.

I shrugged, not in the mood to talk due to the combination of a bitter hangover and disdain for adults who pretend they care.

"Locker 294-A, that's the top one." Kelber handed me my schedule and a lock.

I nodded.

"Some things never change huh? If you need to talk, let me know. We all aren’t the demons you think we are you know." He looked at me expectantly.

“I’ll keep it mind.” I said dismissively before going out to gather my things to cram into my locker

I should probably introduce myself. My names Jason Andrews, turning eighteen on Friday. It’s my senior year at Woodrow Wilson High in the middle of Pennsylvania. You know that loser burnout white kid who sits in the back causing trouble? Yeah that’s me. I’m pretty unremarkable at a whole 130 pounds at 5’ 8. Falling in line with the class burnout I have your generic black jeans shirt and hoodie on most days.

I threw my bag into my locker slammed it shut and pulled out my pack of cigarettes as I headed for the door to catch a quick smoke before first period. I use the old abandoned dirt path by the school as it has yet to fail me.

"JASON!" Someone shouted as soon as I was about to open the door.

I turned around knowing exactly who was calling out to me.

"You finally decided to acknowledge me I see." I said as Jenna ran over to me to catch up.

"In a great mood I see.” She responded mockingly as she dashed over before kissing me on the cheek and squeezing me. "You were going to smoke without me?” At 5' 4", short bleached platinum blonde hair, clear brown eyes and tight body from going to the gym, Jenna Peterson was a teenage boys dream but her attitude was worse than mine and that’s what kept them at bay. Nobody could seem to tame her. Jenna seemed to be the only person at this school that didn’t annoy the living shit out of me.

"Where were you last week when I came back?" I asked as I opened the door for her. She knew I went to Scotland every summer and I hadn’t seen her since I got back despite her living a whole two houses away from me.

"You know this year I think you should really try and expand your social horizons.” She started as she grabbed the pack out of my hands and fingered half of it into a pouch in her purse. “You know over the summer I found out a lot of people don’t actually hate you like you think they do.”

“They don’t hate me. They think I’m a ticking time bomb." I corrected her as I walked up to grab my pack from her.

“Yeah well I had to keep myself occupied while you were gone and I may have gotten myself into some trouble…” She started.

“Ah so someone finally managed to tie you down?” I asked before lighting my smoke.

“Eh, we’ll see how it goes.” She answered before taking my lighter out of my hands and lighting up, this time she would return what she took.

“And you’re not going to tell me who it is until you’ve decided.” I said finishing her thought.

“You’re just so smart Jason.” She joked as she hit my arm.

“Give me a hint.” I demanded. She rarely hid things from me meaning this guy must be one hell of an idiot. “It’s not Jon is it?”

“I wouldn’t dream of taking your love interest away.” She said as she ashed her cigarette. “He does play on a sports team though and that’s all I’m giving you.”

“Whatever.” I scoffed trying to front tossing my butt. “You coming over today?”

“You get out three whole hours before me. You’ll be blasted by the time I get out of the gym.” She said following suit and moving towards the school.

“I’m not going to dignify that with a response.” I replied as I tried to get away from her.

“Oh shut up.” She grabbed my hand and brought me in for a hug which I refused to return. Jenna was so much stronger than me it was pathetic. “I’ll come over before work tommorow and we’ll watch something ok?”

“Fine.” I huffed as I struggled free.

“Ok. Who knows? Maybe I’ll let you know by tommorow.” She broke the hug and went in the direction opposite of me. “Text me whenever.”

I sighed as I walked to my next class. She really was my only friend in this school and it fucking sucked not being able to hang out with her. I’m honestly surprised this didn’t happen sooner. Jenna was cool once you managed to get past her rough exterior. If you looked past my exterior you saw a scared little bitch afraid of being hurt. I didn’t give it much more thought as I walked into my next period a few minutes after the bell rang.

"Jason why are you late? It's the first day for crying out loud." Judy Cantera has been my English teacher since I started at this god forsaken place. She did her best to try and inspire me but I just hated myself too much to care.

"Sorry Ms. C., I got caught up at the office again” I said trying to make a believable lie.

She sighed knowing talking about it any further would be a waste of her time. "Row 3 seat 5. Please be quick so I can talk about the upcoming year."After taking my seat, She narrowed her eyes telling me she wasn’t going to deal with my shit on the first day of school.

The class went by rather quickly as it was your usual first day nonsense. I wouldn't have even been in class if it was any other teacher but I knew she would have called the vice principal immediately if I didn't show up.

As soon as I walked out of class, I heard my name called.

“Jason!” An all too familiar soccer player made his way up to me and my mood soured as he approached. He was wearing his soccer shirt because the after-school fair was happening today and the sports clubs couldn’t be without one of their captains.

“What do you want Houston?” I asked before he was front of me.

“Look, I don’t like doing this either.” I responded with his hands in front of him. “But I need to talk to you.”

“Fuck off.” I said before sliding past him.

“Come on man.” Houston grabbed onto my arm with ease. God one of these days I need to get a gym membership so people can stop doing this shit.

"Holy fuck what don't you understand about fuck off?" I snarled as I ripped my arm free. “I don’t give a fuck what you want.”

“Look I’m seriously sorry and you need to know…”

“I DON’T GIVE A FUCK.” I screamed before using all my force to shove him to the ground.

As if I wasn’t already in a bad mood, he goes and makes it worse. I didn’t care what he had to say but I bet it had something to do with his mom. Mark and I had a really bad falling out right before middle school seven years ago. Overnight we went from best friends to him not being able to look me in the eye. Even if he wanted to apologize now it meant nothing.

The commotion I made caused the whole hallway to look at us so I made as much distance as possible before he thought to do anything else. I Took one look back before heading into my history class and found myself on the floor within seconds.

“Andrews,” My history teacher said from behind his desk. “You should really watch where you’re going you know."

“Sorry.” I apologized as I got up to see a large figure in front of me with his hand stretched out.

“It’s ok Jason.” Ken Wilker, the 6’ 2” giant said. I reluctantly accepted it after picking up my books. “Thanks for the pass coach. I know I get caught up sometimes.”

“Get to class.” He replied. “Andrews, take your seat in the back like you always do.”

I took my seat next to the window and let my mind wander like it always does. Before I knew it the class, and my first day of school was over. I didn't live far from the High School, a 5 minute walk at the very most. It would take me longer to get out of the parking lot if I drove so I just walked every day. It was a crisp day, trees were shedding their leaves and there was a gentle breeze helping them along, it was nice. I thought about grabbing a burrito but that would be put to the side as I turned to corner to my house as I noticed an all too familiar car parked out front of it. There was Jonathan Han waiting for me with his signature grin on his face.

"Miss Me?” Jonathan Han asked as he leaned against his car confidently. “Could have told me you came back last week.”

***

I had gotten to know Jon last year in detention. I had gotten it for mouthing off to my gym teacher. Jon was there for god knows what and sat down next to me. I knew of Jon Han. It was hard not to know of the star point guard and he was in a few of my classes over the years, but this would be the first time his I would interact with him directly.

"Whats up?" That was the first time I saw his grin and his dark green eyes.

"The hell do you want?" I said focusing on my homework to not give him the light of day.

"What I can't say hi?" He took the notebook I was writing in and read it. "Ahh history, I can't stand this shit I don't know how you can sit here and do it."

"Give me back my fucking notebook Jon." I yelled instantly.

"What this?" He threw it out the window right next to him. "You don't need this right now." He smirked again.

"What the actual fuck do you think you're doing?" I said raising my voice even more.

"Look Jason I'm not afraid of you like everyone else is. I just happen to find you cute. Give me like a minute of your time then I'll reach outside and let you get back to the Native Americans or whatever bullshit you were reading about."

"I..." I stuttered Did he just say he thought I was cute?

"There we go, ok here's the deal I wanna take you out for a meal after this. Meet me out front and I'll drive and take care of everything. You don't need to dress up or anything I just wanna get to know you. You’re a lot more interesting than most of the people around here that’s for sure."

I sat there and crossed my arms and tried to figure out his motives. Why the hell was this guy asking me out on a date in detention of all places with everyone listening in? I didn't even know Jon was bi before this moment. Why is he using all these stupid lines as if I'm some dumb cheerleader? Why are they working? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find Jon attractive. He had a simple white shirt which accented his chest and biceps as he leaned back waiting for my answer. His baggy sweats left the rest of his body to my imagination but from what I heard I wasn’t something to be ashamed of.

After a bit of contemplation, I couldn’t find a reason to say no. "Alright, I guess I have nothing better to do." I shrugged.

"Fantastic. Lemme get your notebook." Jon hopped up on the ledge and stuck his upper body out the window to grab my notebook off the grass. I could see his abs stick out over his black boxer briefs as he wiggled his way out of the window. "Here ya go. I’ll meet you out front after this. I’ll drive. Enjoy your homework I guess." He got up and walked away to go talk to his friends.

Less than an hour later I sat at the front of school with a cigarette in my hand waiting on Jon. I was about to say fuck it and blow him off but he showed up just in the nick of time in his BMW.

"You can smoke in my car. I don't care." He told me as he rolled down the window. “Get in.”

I obliged and hopped right in. "So where are you taking me?"

"My family’s restaurant, I figure we can sit at a booth undisturbed while I get to know you a bit." He turned to me and chuckled.

“I have to say I did not think I’d be on a date with the star player of Wilson High.”

“I’m not that popular.” He said getting a chuckle and an eye roll from me. “Alright. I’m a bit popular.”

“You’re popular enough to have anyone in the school. In fact, I didn’t know you were into guys before you talked to me.”

“What can I say? I like what I like.” He shrugged as he turned a corner.

“And that includes me?”

“It does.” He said confidently as he parked the car. “What do you think this is some sort of joke?”

“You don’t want the answer to that.” I responded as I opened the door.

The Hans owned a restaurant that was a couple steps up from your average hole in the wall Chinese place. My parents had a few events here so I was kind of familiar with the place but it had been a while since I had set foot in here. As we walked in the door his mother started talking in Mandarin but stopped as soon as she realized her son wasn’t alone.

“Stay here for a sec.” He said to me before walking behind the counter to the desk. After a bit of back and forth she pushed him out of the booth and he brought me over to a table.

“What was that all about?”

“I don’t bring many people around here besides the boys.” He was referring to his friends Ken Wilker, Eric Smith, and Ben Paulson. “I explained that you were my date and she got excited. Apparently your mom has events here all the time so she wants to make a good impression on you.”

“Wait, your mom knows you’re Bi?”

“Yeah…I kinda had to tell my parents a while ago.” He said drifting off.

“I’m surprised they don’t care.”

“Yeah it’s pretty cool.” He continued to look away like he was trying to get off the subject.

“Are you like out at school? I know a few people are but I never heard anything about you.”

“I don’t broadcast it nor do I hide it. After I told my parents I kind of just stopped caring.” He answered shortly telling me that he was definitely done with this particular conversation.

“Fair enough. I’ll stop prodding. So why me?”

“Why not? You’re pretty cute.” He smirked as he leaned back confidently.

“Come on. I’ve heard the stories. You’re not the dating kind of guy.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” He leaned forward offended.

“Let’s see…Tina Chen, Jessica Miller, Sophie Brown, Destiny Williams…” I started naming names of girls I know for a fact he’s slept with.

“Ok, maybe I’ve slept with a few girls.” He said trying to interrupt my point.

“Caroline Smith, Julia Zoh. Oh there was that rumor about Marissa Sanchez even though she graduated two years ago.” I continued on.

“One, that IS true. Two, ok you got me I’ve had more than a few partners.” He surrendered.

“My point is, half of those girls would of happily dated you and yet you turned them all down after getting in bed with them.” I said with a bit of venom. I wasn’t about to sleep with him just because he took me out for a meal.

“How do you even know this? It’s not like you know anyone in that circle.” He asked frustrated.

“I do listen to whats going on around me even if I don’t look like I am. Come on Jon we’re in the same classes. Jenna gossips more than she should about you as well.” This was par for the course. It was nice being invisible in school honestly.

“Ah, Jenna Peterson. The only girl to ever turn me down.” He shook his head and went back to his relaxed state.

“This isn’t some shitty ploy to get into her pants through me right?” I scoffed rolling my eyes.

“I wouldn’t have brought you here if it were. I assure you.” He answered with humor.

“Well then back to the beginning. Why me?” I asked again.

“I’ve noticed you lately.” He shrugged.

“In what ways?” I asked bewildered. I mean sure, I was different from his usual popular conquests but not in any good ways.

“Well, I noticed you’re listening to some bands I’ve been into lately.”

“What can I say, gotta live up to the emo kid image.” I shrugged. “That’s not enough to take me out on a date though.”

“I don’t know. I saw a shot and I took it. Didn’t help that Ken egged me on I suppose.”

“What?” I asked alarmed.

“He caught me staring at you and pretty much dared me to do it.” He chuckled as he looked shyly looked away.

I looked around assuming this would be another one of those stupid pranks. Haha very funny you thought the hottest guy in school was into you! Time to go post it to TikTok! God, I let my fucking guard down for one second.

“Jason?” Jon asked concerned realizing I wasn’t humored.

“Where are they?” I asked rather forcefully.

“Who?” He asked even more alert and confused.

“Your friends? The camera? This is all some stupid prank to make fun of me isn’t it? Get in a good joke on the emo kid right?”

“Oh. Shit. I didn’t mean it like you were some….”

“Hello! Food’s ready!” Jon’s mother came over with three plates of food breaking us from the mini explosion I was about to have. “You’re not allergic to seafood are you? My honey walnut shrimp were a big hit the last time your parents had an event here. Very good!”

“Oh!” I snapped right into polished mode on queue. My mother made me learn how to do this under duress when I was much younger and it turns out it’s very handy when you’re trying to please adults. “I remember these! They were delicious!”

“Good good. Here’s some noodles and rice as well. Enjoy.” She smiled a bit too much for someone who was overseeing her son dating another guy. “You know, it’s so nice to see Jon bring a date here. Especially someone who’s so well connected.”

“MOTHER.” Jon shouted embarrassed with both hands on the table.

“What? You’re always out partying. Doing things with girls who have nothing better to do but to sniff around you. It’s nice that you bring him here.”

I couldn’t help but laugh discreetly as Jon and his mother went back and forth once again. I could see the sweat drip down from his forehead and it was quite the change from the sly fox Jon was known for being.

“Ok. Tell me if you need anything else.” She said in my direction. “Tell your mother I would love to host another one of here events at some time. We also have the Philly location too!”

“I’ll be sure to tell her that. Thank you so much.” I responded doing my best to bow.

“So polite too. Jon you should learn from him!” She giggled with glee before leaving.

“Holy shit.” Jon slid down his seat as he looked at his mother walking away.

“I guess if your mother approves I have nothing to worry about.” I said lightheartedly

“About that…I didn’t bring you here to set you up. I promise.” He assured me.

“I’m still waiting for that answer. Why me?” I said as I picked up some noodles.

"You’re cute and you’re different. .” He answered shrugging once again. “I’ve been bored of sleeping around and god knows it’ll get me into trouble soon.”

“Really? Do I need to call Jessica Miller or…” I said between bites.

“Ok ok ok.” He shook he hands in front of me and took a deep breath for continuing. “I’m TRYING not to be that kind of guy anymore.”

“Crazy how I don’t believe you.” I admitted not wanting to give him any leverage.

“Take it for what you will. It’s lost its luster. I swear on my life.”

“And you think I’m the kind of guy that would break that habit?” I continued on unshaded.

“Well you aren’t on top of me yet so I’m willing to wager as such.” He said. “You’re pretty awesome when you want to be Jason. I remember this one time you were acting in Ms. Cantera’s class and you got pretty into it.”

“Alright. I get it. You’re not a prick and you know how to butter me up.” I stopped the sappiness as I rolled my eyes to maintain the image. “It’s cute.”

“I’m just saying, with the summer coming up it’s be cool to just hang out with you and go to some concerts. We don’t have to date or anything like that but I...”

“Well I have to put a stop on that whole summer thing. I have to go spend it with my uncle in Scotland since my parents are gonna fuck off to who knows where.” I interrupted rolling my eyes.

“That has to be pretty cool. The last time I traveled out of the state was to China when I was twelve.”

“It gets boring after the fifth trip.” I said dismissively.

“So you just do every summer?” He asked confused.

“Well I wouldn’t have a guardian around otherwise so it’s not like I have a damn choice in the matter.” I spit out growing impatient of the conversation.

“Oh. That sucks.” Jon said mouthing fuck right after “Well, for whatever time we have left. I would like to get to know you better.” He continued on after taking a moment to regain his composure.

“You’re not gonna give up here if I say no.” I responded instinctually. Man, what the actual fuck is wrong with me?

“I mean if you’re that adamant about it…” He said ready to give up.

“Sorry. Sorry. This has literally never happened to me before and I’m a mess.” I said trying to walk it back.

“It’d be great if you just relaxed.” Jon chuckled as he grabbed my hand in assurance. “As cute as it is. You’re thinking too much.”

“Sorry.” I apologized again looking away.

“It’s fine. It’s not like you’ve dated anyone” He said tugging on my hand trying to distract me.

“I think we should call it here.” I said embarrassed. I’m a fucking mess. I really am. I have absolutely no idea what he sees in me.

He chuckled annoyed before letting go of my hand. “Alright. Lemme just clean up I guess.”

Neither of us said much as he drove me home. He was clearly annoyed, I’m sure at me and I had my own thoughts to deal with. Just another fuckup. Whatever.

“Hey.” He grabbed my hand as I opened the door to get out. “Let me know if you wanna hang out again.”

“Oh.” I responded off-guard. “Yeah. This was great, I’ll let you know.”

“Cool.” His mood instantly improved as I got out. “Have a good night Jason.”

We hung out a few times after that. It became a game of inches I had come to learn to like. Nothing substantial came from it before I left for the summer though. Jenna would tell me that he banged Veronica Lopez the day I flew out. It bothered me more than it should have honestly. It’s not like we were together but knowing he would just fuck the second I flew out for the summer was pretty shitty. She said she heard he hooked up with half the town over the summer but I think she was just being dramatic after getting my reaction about Veronica. Jenna explained that Jon isn’t the type of guy to take no for an answer to the point that she had to punch him to get him to back off. She was just looking out for me after all.

***

"Why on earth did you miss me of all people?" I said as I walked up to my house making it clear I had no intention of stopping.

"Because I can't do this to just anyone." And with that he grabbed me, pressed my back against his car and kissed me.

I just stood there as Jon kissed me with no real reaction and he sucked on my lips like a vacuum. He didn't invade my mouth, he just worked on my lips for a good 30 seconds before finally pulling off.

"God I missed you. You can’t leave me without telling me again" He turned around, put his arms behind his head and looked up at the noon sky.

"I...uh..." I stood there dazed unable to process what just happened.

"Yeah I'm pretty great I know." He joked.

That comment snapped me back to reality. "What the actual fuck was that?" My blood boiled at his arrogance.

“Hm?” He questioned as he turned around to look at me.

“The day I flew out you slept with Veronica Lopez.” I started.

“Let me explain.” He said clearly prepared to defend himself.

“You sure managed to keep busy after that too. Did you think I wouldn’t find out?”

“Look,” He started with his hands out trying to get control of the situation. “I didn’t even get anywhere with Veronica.”

"Like I’m supposed to believe that." I stomped my stairs in disgust. “Thank god Jenna told me or I might have actually fallen for your dumb ass.”

“You can ask Kenny I swear.” Jon pleaded desperately. “It was absolutely a mistake. Come on Jason.”

"This is what I get for thinking you could possibly be different. Everyone at this stupid fucking school is the same." I turned around one more time as I opened my door. “Glad to see you were happy to waste everyone’s time.”

"Jason hold on..."

I slammed the door and that was that.

My head was spinning from the rage as I walked over to my kitchen to take a seat. As soon as I sat down I saw an envelope with my name on it. I took a deep breath and opened the envelope knowing what was coming

"Hey Champ,

We're off to Texas for the next month so we'll be missing your birthday. Sorry for the inconvenience we hope that the check enclosed will make up for it. Have a party. We trust you.

Mom and Dad"

I rolled my eyes. They’re off somewhere for another couple of months yet again. Why would they be here for my birthday on Friday? When have they ever been here for anything?

To explain further, my father’s side of the family is loaded. The Andrews lineage traces back to Scottish Royalty and obviously when you are a royal you have quite of bit of land in the country you reside in. Over the century the land and resources were turned into money and from there the entire family became business men handling the family estate. My father Melvin was the first person to leave the United Kingdom for a scholarship at Stanford University where he would eventually stay and screw around in Silicon Valley where he would eventually meet my mom. The sad truth was they didn’t actually plan on having me at any point, it kind of just happened. When my mother the workaholic found out, until it was too late to do anything about.

I opened the envelope wide and looked at the blank check. This was par for the course really. I could have anything I wanted if I asked except for the one thing I ever wanted from them. My home was hardly broken. They took care of me financially but that was the extent of their parenting. The help raised me and that stopped around 8th grade when we moved into our current home. After that there was just some housekeeper that came by while I was at school every other day.

Dad restocked the cabinet before he left again. I have no idea why he does this when I drink nearly all of it myself but I'm not one to complain. A lack of real parenting lead me to develop some questionable coping mechanisms if it wasn’t clear already. I was well versed in the world of degeneracy well before my peers. You would think that sort of thing would make me more popular but it just made me miserable and on edge.

I pulled out some vodka and poured a shot to calm my nerves. Everything was shit as usual and I genuinely didn't know any other way to cope except drink. Jenna was nowhere to be found, Jon thinks I’m an actual idiot and to top it all off my parents still didn't understand that I was going insane being left alone all the time. I texted Jenna what happened with Jon, took another shot, picked up my keys and headed for my Lexus. Might as well get some food before I shut down completely. I expected Jon to be waiting outside but thankfully he was long gone when I checked.

The town of Astrin wasn't a small hick town like you normally see in the middle of Pennsylvania. We had Plainvell road with everything you could possibly want on it. There was a large state park on one end and an even bigger shopping center on the other, with random assorted shops and restaurants in between. The Chipotle was in the shopping center so it was about a ten minute drive. I parked near the front so I didn't have to walk very far. The mission was grab a burrito and head home.

Somewhere between picking up my food and walking to my car I decided it was too far for my stomach so I found a bench and ate my proportionally large lunch. I hated eating honestly, it's why I was so thin. I didn't take care of myself in any way shape or form but between the cigarettes curbing my appetite and the booze knocking me out I just didn't care to feed myself very much. Sitting down for a meal by myself was something I dreaded heavily because it was my worst nightmare, me alone with my thoughts. Today my thoughts were primarily occupied by Jon my utter disbelief that I had fallen for his tricks. Jenna warned me about anything and everything Jon did to deter me away from him, and she ended up being right. I don't know why I didn't listen and let him play with my mind. I regretted giving him any attention.

Halfway through the burrito the chill settled in making me nauseous. It was a combination of my thoughts, the food and the vodka and I knew I couldn't eat anymore. I glanced at my phone for the time, "2:15". I could feel myself sobering up so it was time to head home and pound another shot or two to pass out and forget about this awful day.

Another ten minutes later I got home safe. I threw my keys on the table by the door and walked back into the kitchen. My house was the nicest one in the area around the school. Ground floor consisted of a living room, dining room and kitchen like I imagine every other house of this size.

My living room was never used. Pristine white rug, two leather couches that look like they had been used no more than twenty times in the four years they had been there, a glass coffee table and various paintings and potted plants to make sure the room looked full. The housekeeper did a nice job of changing out the plants every couple of weeks to keep it fresh should my parents actually choose to spend more than a day at home. In the corner was my dad's liquor cabinet. I don't know why I keep calling it my dad's when I'm the one in it daily.

Anyone who had ever watched a cooking show on the food network knows exactly what my kitchen looks like. An empty top of the line double door fridge, a 10-burner stove that was never used for anything other than midnight ramen, several huge black marble counters, and plenty of space for the non-existent appliances and cookware in drawers and cabinets. There was a nice circular table in the dining room right next to the kitchen, again maintained but never used.

I sat on the couch hitting the same bottle again. I was just so fucking mad over everything that had happened today I honestly just wanted to pass out and wake up in the morning. The thoughts just keep coming and it’s the only way to silence them.

It’s the really nasty thought cycle that I can’t seem to escape. I could have all the friends in the world and be happy having the time of my life. Instead I'm a fucking venomous snake shooting poison at anyone who comes close. How could anyone love or even care about someone so damaged? Even if they manage to get close, I always find some way to shove them out. Jon was going to stay far away from me now if he knew what was good for him.

After staring to space for what seemed like hours, I got up from the couch still clutching the bottle in my hand and wandered downstairs to my floor. I needed to lay down in my bed. Hopefully some rest would make me feel a little bit better.

A bunch of pillars holding up the house separated the two sides of the floor. One side was my bed and all my video games, my top-of-the-line computer all hooked up on my 50" flat screen TV. The other was an empty space currently occupied by a cot that Jenna crashed on when she stayed over. To right of the cot was my walk-in closet and the left was my bathroom and the laundry room. I didn't have any decorations set up because I didn't give a shit what my room looked like because only my parents, the housekeeper and Jenna were ever down there.

I laid in my bed for another half hour and drank a bit more to numb my mind. I just didn't wanna think anymore. I just wanted to not wake up in the morning knowing nobody would give a shit. "It was bound to happen eventually." "He would have died of a liver disease anyways." "It's not like anyone actually cares." I had these suicidal thoughts constantly in my drunken state, it wasn't as bad as it sounds because of how numbed I was. I sat up and lit a cigarette. The burning in my throat from the combination of liquor and smoke helped me take the focus off my misery.

I tried to find something awful on Netflix to distract me but nothing drew my interest so I stumbled over to my bathroom so I could look in the mirror. I honestly looked diseased in my current state, I clearly wasn't taking care of myself. Scrawny, could barely keep my eyes open, hunched over and pale as a ghost. I threw my shirt and pants into the hamper and stumbled back into my bed looking for my phone. I hopped under the covers in my grey boxer briefs and stumbled through my contacts.

"Hey." I opened after I heard him pick up.

"Whats up Jason? You ok? Im really sorry about today." Jon immediately started.

"Shut up and get over here, front doors open and I’m downstairs. Come get what you want." I slurred as I stared at my wall.

"What do you mean what I want?" He asked confused.

"Just come here and you'll see." I managed to mumble before putting my phone down and passing out.

***

"Jason I'm here." Jon woke me up some time later. "Where are you? I bought dinner."

He would find the stairs to my floor eventually, I turned over and smiled a bit when he finally walked downstairs with the takeout he clearly got from his parent’s place. He looked good in his varsity jacket and black slacks meaning he must have just got off work.

"It reeks of smoke in here man holy shit." I heard him hit the bottom step and walk over.

"Just get under the covers with me. Take off your shirt too." I mumbled with a combination of intoxication and sleep.

"How drunk are you right now?" I heard behind me.

"Why the fuck does it matter? Just get in bed with me I know it's what you want."

"It’s not what I want." He put his bags down and sat on the bed attempting to get my attention. “I just missed you while you were away.”

I tried to turn over but I felt sick so I stopped halfway staring at the ceiling.

“You hit the this hard huh?” Jon picked up the bottle next to my bed and took a good look at it before putting it back down and all I could do to reply was a grunt. “Are you home alone? Where are your parents?

"Texas." I mumbled.

"Ah they’re gone again. Crazy how they do this to you all the time.” He fell into my line of sight and brushed my hair.

“Stop.” I demanded as I pushed his hand away. “Just get out.”

"Don’t be like this." He got up, took off his coat and threw it on my computer chair. “Let’s just eat.”

“Shut up.” I said as I rolled over feeling around the for bottle I brought down.

"You’re going to die at this rate. I can’t just leave you like this." He saw me reaching for the bottle next to my bed and got to it just before me.

"Maybe I wanna die now give me the fucking bottle." I got up and tried to swipe it from him.

“No." He moved back to make sure I had no way of getting to it without getting out of my bed.

“Then get the fuck out!” I yelled in frustration “Let me fucking pass out.”

“I know you don’t want me to leave.” He responded as he knelt down after putting the bottle on my computer table.

“What the fuck are you on about?” I asked maintaining my anger.

“You’re not scaring me off.” His beautiful green eyes penetrated me, as if he was able to see straight into my thoughts. “You called me because you were lonely.”

“Just fuck off already.” I groaned in frustration as I turned around.

After a minute I felt a cold hand graze my chest as he got in bed and brought me in close. “I’m not doing anything. I just want to hold you.” His stubble brushed up against my neck as he finished adjusting himself. “Just relax ok?”

It felt…who am I kidding? Jon’s embrace felt incredible. His scent, a combination of sweat, grease and generic body spray had an immediate calming effect. He brought me in as close as he could and I couldn’t help but ease up from the caustic demeanor I had just a few seconds ago. I really was just a child lashing out, wanting to be held. After a couple of minutes, I leaned into him and let him get a better grip on me. I rested my head against his shoulder and let the silence drag on.

This made no sense. He could be with his friends right now but instead he chose to lay here with me. Worthless shitty me.

“You’re not worthless.” He whispered into my ear.

“What?” My head attempted to snap around but my body or Jon wasn’t having it.

“I notice the little things you’re doing as I hold you.” He told me. “Your mind is probably going a mile a minute. None of those thoughts are true.”

“You’re so fucking smug.” I responded not liking how easily I was read.

“It’s not a game. Well, I guess it was but I don’t think it was right to play this game with you to start with.” He said hugging me tighter.

“What do you mean?” I asked confused.

“I’ve given us a lot of thought while you were away. When you left I got frustrated and made that shitty mistake with Veronica.” He started

“So you did sleep with her.” I interrupted.

“Nope. She couldn’t even get me hard.” He chuckled unashamed of it. “You were on my mind the entire summer.”

“You’re lying.” I huffed in disbelief.

“You can ask her yourself.” He shrugged before continuing on. “I kind of just took my experience for granted.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ll explain later.” He got up from bed and went over to the bag of food. “We should eat before we go to bed. Do you think you stomach something?”

“If will stop the constant complaints I guess.” I answered rolling over. “You have anything easy?

“Yeah, I think I have some soup in here.” He said digging through the bag .“Here. It’s not much but I don’t imagine you’re going to be eating much anyways.” He handed me a plastic container with a pint of soup in it which I quickly drank as he ate a container full of steamed vegetables. “Do you want me to stay?”

“It’s up to you.” I lied as I sat up. I absolutely wanted him to stay but I couldn’t let him know that. I liked that he obligated himself.

“You can lay down if you want. I’ll be quick.” He waved his hand as he shoved his face.

The food did help settle my stomach and It made it much easier for me to get back under the blankets.. I closed my eyes and after what couldn’t have been more than ten minutes he joined me. This time was different though, he had stripped down to a shirt and his boxer shorts.

“Made yourself comfortable I see.” I thought out loud as I put my head on his chest.

“I can’t sleep with much on. Just wait until I shuck these things.” He joked with a grin pointing to his boxers.

I grumbled inaudibly as he pulled me in. Despite everything that had happened, the one thing that I couldn’t believe was that someone as attractive as Jon could be so into me. He wasn’t scared off. In fact, my drunken episode seemed to entice him more.

“You should let me worry about what I want to do.” He said breaking my thoughts once again.

“Can you stop that?” I asked hitting him.

“Ow.” He winced. “I do it everyone I’m close to. Just one of the things you’ll have to get used to.”

“We aren’t….”

“I think...” He started interrupting me. “You like me as much as I think you do. Tell me now if I’m wrong.”

A short period of silence confirmed this.

“I’m not expecting to tout you around school tommorow, but I care about you. You’re not the monster you think you are.”

“Sorry.” I sighed and I looked away proving once again how much of a mess i was.

“Again, you let me decide how I want to spend my time.” He answered as he gripped me tighter. “I like being here for you. It puts me at ease."

“I didn’t realize being the point guard was such a burden.” I said sarcastically.

“It’s not as easy as you think it is rich boy. I have problems just like everyone else.” He shot right back.

“You holding my money against me? I yawned into his shoulder.

“Maybe a little.” He chuckled.

“You’re lucky you’re comfortable and I’m drunk.” I mumbled.

“If you holding me like this means you won’t slam the rest of that bottle. I’m more than fine with it.” He replied gripping me tighter.

It still made no sense to me but I decided to say fuck it and enjoy the comfort and use it to go to sleep. I heard him call my name right as I managed to doze off and for once I was at peace, even if it wouldn't last till the morning.

Hello, I'm Frank. You may have seen this story elsewhere. After a bit of thought I decided to rewrite it and post it here. I hope you enjoyed Chapter One. The next one will be out in a few days.

Copyright © 2021 Frank K; All Rights Reserved.

Thank you for reading

All comments can be directed to DM's or FrankKalau92@gmail.com

If you enjoyed what you have read, please leave a reaction and/or comment for the author!

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Chapter Comments

I am a bit surprised, but by the end of this chapter I was beginning to warm up to Jason. Reading the prologue and the beginning of chapter one I was prepared to write him off as too negative, and not continue this story. Something changed, and I don't know what. Maybe it's Jon, who I liked right away. After reading the rest chapter one, I have a little sympathy for Jason, and I am curious to see if Jon can turn him into a human being. I am looking forward to reading more. Thanks.

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I enjoyed reading the first part of your tale. Jason’s self destruction makes me curious about what’s happened in his life. I wonder if it all stems from his loneliness and sense of abandonment due to parents not being around, or if something happened to him beyond that. I’m also curious what life was like in Scotland with his uncle.

Jonathan concerns me a bit. That part about not taking no for an answer until he gets punched. And the trail of girls he’s left in his wake. He seems to lack empathy. 

Overall I’m interested to see what happens as the story develops. Thanks for sharing.

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This story has definitely got my attention.  Jonathan is persistent and I'm going to give him the benefit of doubt for the time being.  He does seem genuine in his concern for Jason's self-destructive behavior!  His parents should be horse-whipped and who knows what went on in Scotland!

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Just started reading this, I'm loving it so far. Really interesting characters here, especially Jason and Jon! I'm curious how things develop between them. Jason is obviously damaged and very stubborn, but seems like he's met his match in Jon. 

I'm also really curious about what happened with Mark since Jason seems to hate him. 

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