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    Frank K
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Barriers - 2. Honest

“Bro. We could have been at Eric’s party tonight.” Ken complained as we watched the crowd at a concert.

“Shut up. You didn’t have to come.” I said as I shot a look at him.

“Come Onnn Kennny. We’ll have a great timeeeee.” He responded mocking me. “They don’t even come on for another hour and this band blows. I don’t know how you listen to this stuff.”

“I like it alright? Don’t come next time. Whatever.” I begged off the topic.

I dragged Ken to a concert tonight because I didn’t want to be at one of these things for my first time alone. I took a liking to the music back in freshman year but I was always too busy to get out to Scranton for one of these things. With the season over I finally found some time and even if I was here in the back I was enjoying myself a lot.

“Woah. It’s Jenna Peterson.” Ken flipped his hat and pointed to her in the crowd in front of us.

Jenna was an interesting one to say the least. I made the drunken mistake of trying to hook up with her and she made me pay for it with a swift fist to my nuts that I felt for days after. Kenny over here seemed to be in love with her so whenever we saw her, he would point it out.

“Alright dude. You’re helping me talk to her tonight.” He said a bit too confidently.

“No.” I said straight to the point. “She will run you right over.” Kenny likes to have these ideas that he’s like me sometimes. The truth is the extent of his dating experience was taking some cheerleader to Junior prom and getting absolutely nowhere after that.

“Come on man. We need to kill time anyways. Just get me in there and talk to Jason Andrews for a while. Those two are always together.”

I didn’t even recognize Jason until now but there he was. Jason and I shared a few classes this year and he just sat in the back dozing off most of the time but tonight was a stark contrast to his disposition at school.

Jason was into the music to say the least. I’m pretty sure he was at least a little drunk by the way he was moving. He must have learned how to dance from somewhere because his hips were almost mesmerizing as he swayed back and forth to the music. Yeah sure he was rail thin, but that’s how I like them. Fuck, why hadn’t I noticed him until now.

“So we doing this?” Ken asked knocking me out of my blank stare.

“No Kenny. I’m not going to let you talk to Jenna only for her to laugh at you.” I said rolling my eyes.

“Whatever.” He scoffed. “I’m going for a smoke.”

It’s for his own good. I don’t like telling my best friend no but if she doesn’t like me enough to swing at my nuts, she’s not going to be nice to him just by the association. He’ll get over it.

“I JUST WANNA FEEL ALIVEEEE!” A voice beside me sang as I watched Ken walk to the smoking section. “Come on! I need another drink.”

“How that fake works here I’ll never know.” Jenna said following Jason along as they passed me.

Damn. He can sing too holy shit. Jason Andrews is way more interesting than I gave him credit for.

***

“This blows.” Eric whined as we sat in the back.

“I still maintain this is still worth it.” Ken said as he adjusted his hat and leaned back.

“Coach will bench us if we keep fucking around. we need to be careful.” I added as I laid on the desk.

Monday was in the 60’s so I made the call to skip school for a trip to the lake which landed us here the day after. Probably shouldn’t cut class when your coach is your history teacher but I admit I’m not the brightest guy.

As I laid on the desk I thought about taking a nap knowing I had to work tonight but I couldn’t close my eyes knowing who was in front of me.

“Jon you gonna keep staring at Jason Andrews until you burn a hole in his Jeans or what?” Ken asked as he kicked me out of my lazy stare.

“Buzz off Ken. I wasn’t looking at anything.” I said as I put my head down knowing what was coming.

“You’ve keep looking at him. You know, ever since that concert you’ve been paying an awful lot of attention.” He said knowing exactly where this was going.

“Can you shut the fuck up?” I interrupted as I got his foot off my shoulders.

“I knew I wasn’t imagining things. You’re actually into emo boy.” He laughed.

“So what if I am? What’s it to you?” This back and forth was annoying the living shit out of me. It’s not I ragged on him for obsessing over Jenna.

“Eh, what am I saying? You wouldn’t stand a chance with Andrews.” Ken chuckled.

“What did you say?” I asked as I picked my head up.

“He wouldn’t give you the light of day Mr. Point Guard. Look at how he treats Mark Houston. He definitely hates us Jock types.” He said as he smirked and leaned back knowing what was coming next.

“I’ll easily get a date with him.” I replied as I got out of my chair. “Watch this.” My fucking ego. It’s what always gets me into trouble. Ken’s known me too long, he loves pushing my buttons. He knows I’ll take that challenge every day of the week.

Jason had his signature black hoodie up as he worked on his homework. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had his music on. That’s what I can talk to him about. Alright Johnny, you’ve got this.

“How’s it going?” Alright flash the smile and get his attention. Shit he’s not looking up.

"The hell do you want?" Cool. His music isn’t in. Still need his attention though.

"What I can't say hi?" Let’s see what he’s doing. "Ahh history, I can't stand this shit I don't know how you can read it." What the fuck am I doing? He’s gonna be furious.

""Give me back my fucking notebook Jon." Well, I got his attention at least.

"What this? You don't need this right now." Shit. I tossed it out the window. Oh well, shouldn’t be that hard to get.

"What the actual fuck do you think you're doing?" Damn he’s cute when he’s mad too.

"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’m gambling here but I’m pretty sure if I ignore his grit he’ll enjoy the attention I give him.

He opened his mouth but then stopped before he could say anything. Bingo.

"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 can see his brain going a mile a second as he stared at me. My sisters the same way. He’s wondering if he should tell me to fuck off or if I’m attractive enough to give a shit about. Call me cocky but we all know how that’s going to turn out.

"Alright, I guess I have nothing better to do." Score. Jon Han wins again.

"Sounds great. Lemme get your notebook." Hope I don’t get shit about this from the teacher. "Here ya go. Remember just meet me out front in 40 minutes when this shits over. Enjoy your homework I guess."

“I knew it.” Ken started as soon as I got back.

“You’re right Ken, but I have my date and that’s all that matters.” I responded triumphantly.

“What’s going on?” Ben said waking up from a nap.

“Jon got a date with Jason Andrews.” Eric said catching Ben up.

“Whats the plan? You gonna get fast food and try and get in his pants?” Ken asked jokingly.

“Nah. If I wanted that I’d find someone who’s eager to hang off my nuts.” I answered stroking my chin. “I gotta play this one slow.”

“You picked one hell of a target dude.” Ben said coming to his senses. “Jason’s a borderline psycho.”

“I blame Ken if this goes south.” I said pointing in his direction.

“Ah shut up you would of done it eventually.” He countered.

“Whatever.” I grumbled before putting my head down once again. Fuck Jason’s cute.

***

“AHHHHHHHH” I screamed into the open space of my back yard. “I’M SO FUCKING STUPID!”

“From what you’re telling me it wasn’t even that bad.” Ken said trying to calm me down before hitting his vape.

“But he didn’t go for it! Any of it! What the fuck?” After I dropped off Jason, I came home to find my best friend to be exactly where I expected him to be and explained how the date went.

“You knew you had to take it slow.” He took another hit before coming over and patting me on the shoulder.

“I know it’s just…”

“What were you expecting him to blow you in the parking lot?” He joked eliciting a smack from me. “Ow. That’s how I know im right.”

“You think you’re so damn smart.” I said getting ready to hit him again.

“Jon. Nobody ever says no to you. You always get what you want.” He said confidently.

“I don’t always...” I attempted to protest.

“The last person to fend you off was Jenna Peterson funny enough. Jason’s only friend.” He continued on.

“Ken…” I attempted to interject once again.

“It sounds like he likes you, he’s just being Jason. Let him figure it out.”

“What does being Jason mean?” I asked annoyed that he wasn’t letting get a word in.

“I mean from what I know about the guy he like hates everyone.”

“He’s seriously not that bad.” I defended him immediately.

“YOU know that. Nobody else does.” He shrugged. “I’m pretty sure he likes you considering he would probably just tell you to fuck off if he didn’t just wait it out.”

“Ahh!” I yelled one more time unsatisfied with the entire day.

“He said he wanted to hang out again anyways. There’s nothing to freak out about. Just wait it out.”

“You’ve never gotten anyone in your life. How are you going to tell me what to do?” I shot back in frustration before regretting it immediately.

“Oh word?” He said walking away immediately. “You’re right. What WOULD I know?”

“Kenny wait. I didn’t mean...” I said trying to walk it back.

“It’s true.” He admitted as he picked up his backpack and walked towards his car.

“Come on…”

“What kind of girl could I possibly land? I’m ugly and awkward.” He continued as he walked away. “I’ll talk to you tommorow. Feel better.”

I tried to run over and grab him but he forcefully shoved me to the ground. As I watched him drive away all I could do was scream into my hands over the absolute mess I had made of everything.

***

I’m pretty sure this is where I dropped him last time. It had been a couple weeks since I had seen Jason’s house and I definitely wasn’t going to turn down some time to chill. He shyly told me after math class that I should come over and hang out with him and Jenna today and I jumped at the chance.

I’ve been in this rut lately. Between helping Kenny, working at the restaurant, and ball I just haven’t had the energy to be the guy I used to be. Everyone seems to be enjoying the high from making finals this year but personally I haven’t been able to enjoy it. I think it’s why I’ve been looking for time with Jason. It’s just nice not being a part of everything lately. It helps that he’s not involved in the drama. He's like my personal escape when it's all too much.

I parked my car out front and as I approached I heard music playing from the backyard. It was a nice spring day so it made sense to spend it outside so I looked for the gate but found myself stopping as soon as I found it.

And I’m…I’m already gone.

I’m already something to someone that I don’t know.

When will I know?

There was his voice again. There was just something so appealing about how he sang his heart out. He didn’t hide anything when he sang and it gave me chills. I knew if I walked in he wouldn’t continue so I just stood at the door and listened for a little longer.

“He can’t hear you.” Jenna scoffed behind me. She must not have been very far behind me when we go out of school. She pulled out her phone and called him in the same motion. “I’m here and Jon Han is too. Yeah he actually showed up. It is? Ok great.”

She pushed past me and opened the gate door and walked through not bothering to leave it open. Jenna really doesn’t like me now that I’ve been trying to get Jason’s attention. It’s whatever. I just hope she doesn’t interfere too much.

***

“It’s still so lame these guys sold out.” Jason said as he sipped his beer. “Their new album is clearly produced to high hell.

“I like it.” I shrugged, not being able to add much to the topic.

“You would.” He scoffed before picking up his vibrating phone. “Pizza’s here. Lemme go get it.”

I finally managed some alone time with Jason after a few weeks. Everyone, including myself is surprised I’m still at it. The only thing keeping my going is seeing the glimpses I get of Jason. He’ll go on the long passionate rants about music and when he’s into a song we’re listening to he’ll sing along. I just keep finding reasons to want to get to know him more.

I looked around his house and let me tell you…this thing is not what I expected. I always figured Jason came from a home with one parent who’s struggling to make ends meet but it was a polar opposite. His kitchen alone was probably worth a house on the other side of town. If Kenny knew about it, he would flip.

“It’s always so weird seeing someone we go to school with deliver the pizza.” He said as he brought it back to the table we were hanging out at.

“Oh yeah who was it?” I asked as I screwed around on his phone and put on another song.

“Steven Walker.” He answered as he got some plates out of the cupboard. “Jenna would have had a field day with that one.”

“Speaking of my favorite person, where is she?” I asked as I opened the box.

“Working.” He said handing me a plate.

“Ah, so I finally have you alone.” I remarked wiggling my eyebrows.

“Huh, I guess you do.”

If I had to be honest, I really didn’t like the dynamic Jenna and Jason had. From what I saw, they kind of just egged each other on to drink more than they should. Maybe I was being biased because she would always start shit when I mentioned that they were going a bit fast but I can’t help but notice that Jason gets progressively worse as he drinks more and it’s pretty concerning.

“So yeah,” Jason started as he picked a slice. “It sucks you have to work when we’re heading out to Scranton. You’re missing out on a pretty sick show. “

“Believe me if I could go I would.” I still hadn’t managed to go to a concert since I saw Jason back in February but the restaurant needs me while my uncle is in China. Unfortunately, he goes back in waves. Him and my mother plan on retiring after I graduate college so he’s doing all the planning. “Would be awesome to spend a night with you two instead of all the nonsense.”

“You can ignore whatever Jenna says about you coming. It would be awesome to have someone else.” He finished his slice and walked to the window he opens to smoke. Easily the worse quality of Jason was his nicotine addiction. Ken has the same problem but at least his shit doesn’t smell.

“That all you’re gonna eat?” I asked looking at the entire pie still left.

“Don’t worry about me. I’ll eat again before bed.” He said looking at the school. There it was, that part of him that comes out when he’s thinking too much.

“Something bothering you?” I asked as I leaned back. He shot me a pretty dirty look instinctually but realized I didn’t mean any harm by it and shook his head trying to center his thoughts again.

“Just sucks I’m leaving for Scotland again soon.” He sighed as he threw out his dart and came back over to the table. “I really don’t want to leave.”

“I know you’ve told me your uncles a hardass, but is he really that bad?” I asked playing dumb.

“He just wants what’s best for me so I can’t fault him but I don’t know.” He was letting his mouth run. “I just wanna stay here and enjoy the summer.”

I knew what he was getting at but I had to hear it. “What’s so great about this dump that you can’t find across the pond?”

He chuckled and stayed silent with his hand on the table trying not to look at me. I guess I wasn’t getting it out of him so I had to make the magic happen myself. I got out of my seat and grasped his chin. He still refused to make eye contact with me but this wouldn’t deter me.

I just couldn’t deny it anymore. The way his hair hangs in front of his face. The way he looks when he’s deep in thought. How he always manages to calculate everything so he’s never vulnerable. I’m infatuated with Jason Andrews and I’m sure he feels the same about me. It’s pretty hard to say that you like someone without being vulnerable so it made sense he was silent but I simply couldn’t wait anymore.

I brushed the front of his hair aside so I could get a better look at him before putting my hand over his and feeling his heart racing a mile a minute. It’s not like Jason had ever been like this one with anyone ever. I acted on instinct as I grabbed his chin and watched as his hair fell back over his eyes and it made me chuckle. Fuck, he’s so damn cute.

At this point it’s now or never so I moved in and pressed my lips against his. I dared not go any further just in case I was wrong but he quickly returned the kiss and we stood there with our lips locked. After a few more moments, Jason’s eyes shot open and he pushed me away.

“You have to leave.” He said in a panic moving to the door.

“Jason, we should probably figure out…” I gently started.

“Sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.” He continued to rattle off shaken up. “Please just go.” He opened the door and looked away waiting for me to leave.

I stood there confused but realized it wouldn’t do me any good to try and get any more out of him so I picked up my hoodie and made my way to the door.

“If you wanna talk about it, I’ll be around.” I said before walking through the door. The door quickly slammed behind me and I was left looking at the mid-day sky wondering if I had fucked up.

***

A few days later, school let out for the summer and I hadn’t heard a word from Jason since. I figured I had given him enough space but he didn’t answer his phone or the door so I had to call my favorite person to see what was up.

“What do you want?” She started instantly.

“Hello to you too.” I replied. “I haven’t heard from Jason in a while. You know what’s up?”

“He left for Scotland on Sunday.” She said trying to hold back her laughter. “I guess you two aren’t as close as you thought you were.”

Damn. All this time for nothing. I thought if I had meant anything to him, he would have at least had the decency to tell me when he was leaving. I sarcastically thanked Jenna for the info and hung up. To say I’m pissed would be an understatement. I had to vent somewhere, thankfully I knew Ken was in the gym.

“Johnny? You good?” He asked knowing I was in a bad mood as I approached.

“Fucking Jason man. I shouldn’t of bothered.” I spit out as I made my way over to him shooting baskets.

“I’m sorry dude.” He dropped the ball and gave me one of his massive bear hugs.

“I fucking hate you so much.” I grumbled as he squeezed me.

“It’s my fault.” He said as he let me go. “I egged you on to take him out. Not gonna lie though I thought you had him after that day.”

“What’s past is past. I can’t play these games anymore. I’m back.” I rubbed my hands instinctually. “Think Eric can throw a party together on short notice?”

“You sure man?” He looked at me questioning my motives.

“Fuck it. If Jason’s gonna be an asshole and fuck around with my feelings. I’m not gonna bother.” I resolved.

“Alright. Lemme call Eric and see what we can do.” He sighed.

“Thanks Kenny. You’re the best.” I punched him on the shoulder and picked up the ball. “We’re gonna have a great night.”

***

“Hey stranger.” Veronica Lopez waved a bottle in my face trying to get my attention as I watched everyone from afar at Eric’s place. Even after three rounds of shots something was off, I just couldn’t get into the party like I normally could. Fucking Jason.

“Hey Ronnie. Where’s Mark?” I knew her and Mark Houston were dating for a good part of the year so I had to ask.

“That asshole? I broke up with him earlier this week.” She scoffed as she put the bottle in my hand. “You haven’t been around lately? Busy helping your mom?”

“Yeah, we’ve been slammed lately.” I lied. After how everything transpired, I didn’t want anyone knowing how much time I actually spent with Jason. I definitely didn’t want anyone finding out about the kiss.

“Well it’s great that you made it out. Now come on, let’s get trashed. I need it after this week.” She winked as she took my hand to drag me to join everyone.

After Ronnie dragged me into the group I started to loosen up. I guess I was more attention starved than anything because as I felt better as I found myself back in the center of everything. Eric kept passing me drinks and Ken monitored us to make sure I didn’t get out of hand so I knew I could let loose.

“Feeling better?” Ronnie asked as she leaned against my shoulder as we both sat down.

“Tons. Thanks for dragging me back in here.” I answered as she played with my shirt.

“God, it’s been two days and Mark’s already hitting on other girls.” Veronica said pointing at Mark talking to a short blonde girl who had her back to us.

“Sorry to hear that Ronnie.” I said trying to comfort her as she moved hands all over my body.

“Well two can play this game.” She whispered into my ear as she placed her hand on my crotch making it very clear what her intentions were.

Damn, what a way to come back into the game. It’s good to know I still have it without trying. I’m not one to waste time so I picked her up without saying a word and started toward the house. I looked Mark in the eyes letting him know what was up and the last thing I saw was him tapping his date on the shoulder to look at me and Ronnie as we made it into the house.

***

“FUCK.” I screamed as Kenny drove me home.

Couldn’t get it up. Not even for a second.

“Yeah, I figured this would happen.” Ken chuckled as we made it back to my place.

“The hell do you mean?” I asked angrily.

“You seriously think you’re going to go back to being the resident playboy after you spent a solid three months working on Jason?” He asked.

“Fuck Jason.” I snarled in frustration.

“Yeah I get it that’s what you want. Even if you two have no future, you’re not getting over him in a night. That’s not how you work.”

“God shut the fuck up Kenny.” I moaned as I felt the consequences of my actions quickly catching up with me.

“Nah, this is a good lesson for you Johnny boy.” He parked the car and looked at me. “I get it you’re hurt, but that guilt you feel is that part of you that still wants to see things through with Jason.”

“Fuck Jason!” I screamed again making it clear that I wanted nothing to do with him.

“Yeah, no. I don’t believe you.” He rolled down the window and lit a smoke as he continued. “You’re definitely in love with him.”

“Why the FUCK did he just fucking leave without saying shit?” I cried confused.

“If I had to guess from what you’ve told me, it’s because he’s still afraid of being hurt.” He thought out loud as he flicked his smoke.

“Well fuck that, why should I even go through the trouble?” I asked him.

“Because you’re a stubborn piece of shit and get mad when you don’t get what you want.” He chuckled again pissing me off more. “I keep telling you. You’re just frustrated you’re being denied..”

“FUCKING GOD DAMNIT.” I yelled as I kicked his glove compartment open.

“Come on, let’s go inside and get some rest and figure out what to do tommorow. You’re too drunk anyways.”

All I could do was sigh as Ken brought me into the house. He threw me on my bed and grabbed the blankets out of the closet to make his way over to my futon on the other side of the room.

“There’s a bottle of water next to you. Just get some rest and we’ll figure it out tommorow.” He said before setting up the bed.

All I could do was mumble before falling asleep like a rock.

*

“You should come cook at my restaurant!” I heard my mother say as I struggled to open my eyes.

“I was thinking about going to culinary school. Open up my own place.” Ken replied as I came to my senses.

“You should. Ok Kenny, take care of my son!” My mom finished as I heard her feet walk out the door.

I laid there trying to recall the details of last night. I definitely drank way too much and thinking about what I did with Veronica had me shuddering. I reached for the water bottle and drank it in record time before getting up to see what Kenny managed from my kitchen like he always does.

“Your mom got that good bacon.” He said as he finished making sandwiches. “What do you remember from last night?”

“I don’t wanna talk about it.” I grumbled as opened the fridge for more water.

“Sucks.” He said as he made his way to the table. “You’re gonna do this all summer if you don’t figure it out now and while you might be willing to deal with it, i’m not.”

“You just wanna use his kitchen.” I shot back as I sat down.

“I’m serious Johnny. You couldn’t shut up about him before he pushed you away. You’re not going to just go back to your old ways instantly.” He slid the plate in my face. “Eat.” He demanded.

“So what am I supposed to?” I asked before picking up the sandwich.

“You need time to think. You’re such a bonehead.” He chuckled as he ate. “Maybe go on a couple of dates to clear your mind off him or something. What you shouldn’t do is just sleep with whoever will jump on you like you used to.”

“I’m a fucking idiot.” I whined as I put my head against the table.

“You know, if you had told me that you would be in this deep with emo boy last year I wouldn’t have believed you.”

“Don’t call him that.” I immediately said defending him.

“Yup. You’re in deep.” He said as he picked up his plate to clean. “Never thought I’d see the day.”

“He’s just different man. He talks about his passions with such enthusiasm. He never bullshits me and doesn’t care about the stupid details we get caught up in at school.” I ranted aimlessly. Damn. Kenny was right. I’m in love with him. “I just don’t know if I can just pick back up when school starts again.” I said honestly.

“You’re thinking too hard again bro. Just take it slow, don’t be a slut and you’ll know whats up when he’s back around.” He put the dishes he washed on the rack and picked up his keys. “Alright man. I’d love to stay and pick your brain more but it’s time to get mom from you know where.”

“It’s noon already? Shit, get out.” I got up and pushed him out the door. “Tell her I said hi.”

***

“Well he’s around.” Ken pat me on the back as he took his seat next to me outside on our lunch break on the first day.

“What? You saw him?” I asked turning around quick.

“Yeah, he bumped into me after I got a pass from Coach this morning.”

“You’re not seriously doing this are you?” Eric asked still confused why I was still single let alone waiting on Jason.

“The fuck are you on about?” I was getting real sick of his shit. “I get that you don’t like the guy but you don’t have to fucking talk shit about him every chance you get.”

“Jon’s right dude.” Ben mumbled as he had his head down on the table. “Let Johnny do whatever. It doesn’t affect us.”

“Fuck this.” I got up and started walking to my car.

“Where are you going?” Ken asked knowing full well where I was going.

“It’s now or never. I need an answer. I’ll be back before next period.”

*

“Thank you. Have a good day.” I said to the customer as I handed her the change. I needed to take my mind off yet another fuck up so here I was working while Ken sat behind the counter doing his homework.

“Surely you move on now.” He finally spoke as he looked up from his book.

“I don’t wanna talk about it.” I said as I moved the orders up on the counter.

“Jon. He’s not interested. Move on.”

‘I FUCKING GET IT OK?” I yelled looking back at him. All this did was get ken to shake his head and go back to his reading.

“JONATHAN. DON’T YELL.” My mother reprimanded me as she came out of the kitchen.

“Sorry mom.” I apologized as I attempted to calm myself down.

“What happened?” She came over and pat me on the cheek. “What are you so mad about?”

Ken and I nervously looked at each other for longer than we should letting her know the answer.

“Ah…I see. It’s that one you brought here.” She smiled and laughed as she walked to the dining area to check on the wait staff. “We talked about this long ago with your father you know. Don’t be afraid. You’re too young for that.”

“Wait. Your mom knows?” Ken asked shocked.

“Of course she knows. I brought him here!” I answered nervously.

“Ah, that’s fair.” He said as he put his books away.

“Hey. Don’t forget your food.” I said pointing to the bag I put together for him.

“Johnny, you don’t need to…”

“Shut up and take it.” I demanded. “Less to worry about.”

“They say she’s doing better…” He said hopeful. “Thanks man.”

“Any time.” I said before watching him walk out the door.

“Why did Ken leave?” My mom asked after she made her rounds.

“He had to go pick up his mom.” I answered leaning against the counter trying to get my mind off Jason.

“Are you sure you aren’t together?” She laughed as she pat my head.

“MOTHER.” I said annoyed hearing it for the millionth time.

“You two. You’re too close. Your father was sure you were together when you told us.” I sat in the cashier’s stool as she continued. “That’s why it didn’t matter to us that you like boys.”

“Mother can we not do this today.” I asked unable to contain my embarrassment.

“Oh stop. You’re young. You’re too handsome to be hung up on anyone. You got rejected. Plenty of other people.” She waved her hand in front of me and smiled.

“I know mom. It’s just…” I thought out loud before I was interrupted by my phone. “Hello?”

“Hey.” I knew that voice was holding a few too many drinks.

“Hey Jason. Look I’m really sorry about today.” I said as my mom’s left eyebrow went up.

"Shut up and get over here, front doors open and I’m downstairs. Come get what you want” He told me.

“What do you mean what I want?” I felt the frustration growing but managed to subdue it for now.

“Just come here and you’ll see.” He finished before hanging up.

I instinctually grabbed my keys. “Ok mom, I have to go.”

“Ah. Ah. Ah.” She grabbed my arm as I tried to leave. “Stop. You’re just like your father. Too hasty.”

“What do you mean?” I asked offended and unable to move.

“You were just sitting here pouting you screwed up.” She pulled me back and walked into the kitchen. “You sit here while I go make you food to bring over. Think about what you want to say to him.”

She was right. Both times I made my move it backfired. I don’t have any more chances after this, I need it to be perfect.

*

“Jason?” I asked quietly as he rested against my shoulder. I heard a soft snore indicating that the alcohol had finally gotten to him and he was done for the night.

He feels incredible in my arms. After months of posturing back and forth, after playing a stupid game for so long, we were finally here. Most people called me crazy for even trying this. Fuckem.

It makes so much sense now. Jason wasn’t keeping me away because he didn’t trust me. He was keeping me away because he hates himself. He doesn’t think he deserves anything except the cold bitter embrace of a bottle. Here I was, effectively throwing myself at him but he refused to accept it because he didn’t think he was worthy of being cared about. His parents were never there for him. He never found anyone to replace his former best friend. The only reason he let Jenna in was because she enabled his shitty behavior and self-loathing.

I can’t help but think about whats going to happen tommorow. What if it was the liquor that caused him to give in. He was usually so resistant to everything. What happens when the hangover settles in?

What about school? I had managed to not draw that much attention so far but maybe Eric opened up his big mouth today and the word spread. Would Jason tolerate all the attention he was getting for me? I mean even Kenny called him damaged and he likes everybody. Ah shit. My mom is right, I just dive in head first without thinking about anything and end up in situations like this. Tommorow is gonna be awful for him for sure.

Ah, what am I doing? My entire focus should be on making sure Jason never does this as long as I have a say in it. Like damn, I could never imagine being so lonely that you just reach for a bottle of liquor to numb yourself from the outside world.

My dad would always tell me that if you find someone you truly do care about, you’ll find a way to make it work. I can’t help but wonder If he approves of everything that I’ve done up until now. He would probably call me an idiot like everyone else but at this point I don’t care. Jason needs someone and I’m ready to be the guy to bring him out of his shell. You do what you can for the people you love after all.

The main reason I decided to rewrite the Story is because I looked at Jon's development and it made no sense from my perspective. Perhaps I'm a little too critical of my own work but the original chapter and a half from Jon's perspective didn't really make much sense. I'm very happy with this new addition and I hope you enjoy it too.

Another part that I ignored in the first write through was how important music is to Jason. Here is the song he was singing when Jon is standing at the door. I'll be including more songs in the notes as soon as i figure out a better way of putting it in the story without breaking immersion.

Thank you for the support and please anticipate Chapter 3. Expect about a week and a half before the next chapter as work is getting in the way quickly.

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 still really like Jon, and Jason continues to grow on me. I don't suppose it will happen, but I would like to see Jason get rid of Jenna as a friend. She is very annoying, and her negativity keeps pulling Jason down. Thanks. 

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15 hours ago, JeffreyL said:

I still really like Jon, and Jason continues to grow on me. I don't suppose it will happen, but I would like to see Jason get rid of Jenna as a friend. She is very annoying, and her negativity keeps pulling Jason down. Thanks. 

I don’t think Jenna IS a friend. A friend wants what’s best for you, not tearing you down or facilitating destructive behavior.

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Wow Jason leaving without saying goodbye really hurt Jon. He is very smitten with the guy. I like reading from his pov too, I didn't see it coming.

I agree with the other guys, Jenna is kinda bugging me. I personally don't like people with such a personality, and she also doesn't seem like a friend Jason needs. It seems like Jon could be a much better influence. (Although I guess it helps that she's always taking half of Jason's cigarettes, so he smokes less because of her :P)

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