As soon as I woke up the panic adrenaline kicked in. I attempted to get up but my hangover made sure that wasn’t a possibility. I tried to recollect my memories from last night but all I could remember was that feeling Jon gave me when he held me. There was no use denying my real feelings for him anymore, we were definitely past the point of just being friends.
“You awake?” I heard ask Jon from the stairs. “We have an hour before school. I grabbed some stuff from the deli. Let’s eat.”
“I’m not hungry.” I groaned as I rolled over.
“You had a pint of soup last night.” I heard behind me. “Come on, we went to bed at like eight. You’re starving.”
“Go away.” I half-demanded as I felt him turn me over.
“I’ll get out of your hair if you eat.” I opened my eyes to see he threw on exactly what he had on last night. “I swear.”
“Fine!” I shouted. “Just go upstairs so I can get dressed.”
“There we go.” He was way too smug for five in the morning. “I’ll be back down in ten minutes if you don’t come up.”
I slid my hands against my face and managed to pull myself out of bed and into my closet. After finding the same damn thing I wear every day I walked up stairs to find Jon staring at my family photos.
“Who’s this?” He asked as he pointed to a person who looked incredibly out of place in a family photo from a few years ago.
“My uncle Calvin. The one I have to go see every summer.” I answered as I scratched the back of my head as I made my way over.
“Wow.” Was all he could say before standing there for a solid minute.
If you looked at my father and his brother you would not think they were related. As my grandmother says, Calvin got the looks of the family while Melvin got the brains. Just turned thirty this year, Calvin turned his early years of Rugby into a strong fitness regimen that made him look five years younger. He looked even better now than he did when we took this to be honest.
“Yes, he’s very impressive and you would jump his bones if you had the chance. Let’s move on.” I grabbed him from the portrait and did my best attempt of bringing him to the kitchen
“I need to ask about his workout routine.” He said as he went through the bag. “You want pork roll or bacon?”
“Bacon please.” I said with my hands on my head trying to reign this hangover in. “An asprin too if you can find it in the cabinet.”
“They had a two pack at the deli.” He slid everything to me with a small orange juice.
“Thank you.” I said as I opened the packet. “You’re making me go to school today aren’t you?”
“I mean, I have to go drag Kenny out of the equipment room after this. I can’t really force you.” He pouted like a goddamn idiot and I couldn’t help roll my eyes at the sight.
“Whatever.” I fronted before taking a bite in the sandwich.
“I just don’t want to see you destroy yourself.” He started calmly. “We don’t have to date, but I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t at least try to help you.”
He makes zero sense. You’d think he would be this tough alpha type that all those stupid jocks are but he wasn’t. He was probably the most genuine person I’ve ever met in my life and it was throwing me for a loop. Jon’s dating habits were far from a secret and for him to take this one-eighty degree turn is just…something doesn’t add up. I just kinda stared at him as he lazily scrolled on his phone as we ate. There had to be something I’m missing.
He noticed me staring at him as he finished up his sandwich. “If you’re wondering, I’ve never felt like this but I’m just being as honest as I can and letting it all work out. That was my dad’s advice to me before he passed.” He quickly hid his face from me and started walking towards the door. “It’s probably a lot for you and I prove it I’ll find a way to make it better.”
“Wait what? Your dad passed?”
“It’s a rough thing to talk about.” He stopped in front of the door. “I figure it’s fair to tell you a bit about me if you’re gonna open up to me as well. So are you coming? I’ve really gotta go and see Kenny.”
“Sure…” I said pushing down what I was feeling. I composed myself as much as I could and grabbed my bag before meeting him right outside my front door.
“Mornings too nice.” Jon commented as he stretched. “Let’s walk. I’ll come back for my car later.”
“Wait, walk into school?” I asked seriously. If anyone saw us together the rumors would start flying immediately and I didn’t want to cause any drama or problems.
“Damn straight.” He said grabbing my hand. “They can talk all the shit they want. I’m here for nobody except my friends and you.”
“Jon…” I interrupted him breaking his grip on my hand. “You’re doing it again.”
He chuckled as he started moving forward. “I’d rather get it going now if we’re gonna try and figure this out but I get it.”
“JASON!” I heard not too far behind me, freezing me in place. I had completely forgotten about Jenna and how she would react to all of this.
“Just what I’ve been waiting for.” Jon said all too easily as he turned around. “Jenna Peterson, my favorite person on earth.”
“The fucks this?” She asked as she made her way up to us.
“What does it look like to you?” He answered real quick. “I took care of him last night, don’t worry your pretty little head about it.”
“You drank too much again?” She asked as she smacked my shoulder. “What the hell happened yesterday?”
“I uh...” I muttered speechless unable to comprehend what was going on.
“I took care of it.” He put his hand between us to give me some space. “Jenna. I don’t want to hate you and I like Jason quite a bit so I’m hoping we can find some peace here.”
“So is this a thing now?” She moved her index finger between me and Jon in confusion. “You know after the shit with Veronica…”
“That was a mistake. On my life. I didn’t even get it up with her.” He said quickly only to realize what he just admitted.
“Jason?” She looked past Jon and tried to get me to say anything that resembled English.
“I don’t know.” I lied shrugging.
She crossed her arms and pursed her lips like she always does when she’s thinking. After a few moments of silence, she gave up and shrugged. “Fine.”
“Alright great.” Jon beamed removing his hand between us.
“Just know if you decide to…” Jenna continued only to be cut off again.
“Yeah. I know. I won’t.” He pulled me in and kissed me quickly on the lips before dashing off. “I’ll text you later!”
“OK. He’s gone. What actually happened last night?” She asked astonished as I stood there dumbfounded by Jon’s quick display of affection.
“If I could remember I would tell you.” I answered coming back to my senses. “All I really remember is drinking half a bottle of Whiskey and texting Jon.”
“Wait. Did he fuck you?” She continued on as bluntly as possible.
“What? No! At least I’m pretty sure we didn’t. I’m sure I would feel it.” I thought out loud.
“Whatever. I still don’t trust him. Give me a smoke.” She finished in classic Jenna fashion. I rolled my eyes as I tossed her my pack and we fell back into our old routine of smoking on the abandoned path before parting ways for homeroom.
I spent the entirety of homeroom and first period trying to recall what happened last night to no luck. It’s probably not a good thing that I’m getting blackout drunk on my own volition at the ripe age of eighteen but here we are.
“Jason?” Ms. Cantera called out breaking me of my train of thought as I walked out at the end of the period.
“Huh?” I responded stopping at her desk.
“Are you ok? This is twice you’ve come into school looking haggard.” I guess it wasn’t a secret that I was drinking myself into a stupor regularly. “It’s the first week of school. Is everything okay?”
“I’m fine.” I lied once again as I looked away.
“Alright, as long as you’re sure. Do take care of yourself though. At least do something nice for your birthday.” She said as I walked out of class.
Fuck. I completely forgot I’m turning eighteen in two days. I think the last time I actively celebrated my birthday with a big party was when I was ten. That was back when I had friends and everyone didn’t see me as that weird fag. Since then I’ve wallowed alone, sometimes not even bothering to acknowledge it. I’m sure Jon will want to do something but hopefully he’ll just respect my wishes to just treat it as any normal day.
Jon sent me a text saying he wouldn’t be able to see me between first and second so I just walked into history expecting to be bored again but someone else had different plans.
“Jason!” Eric Smith yelled motioning me over as soon as entered. I completely forgot I shared a class with one of Jon’s best friends.
“Great. Does everyone know now?” I asked as I took my seat.
“Relax man, nobody’s said anything.” He answered lying back and getting a good look at me. “Johnny really knows how to pickem.”
“Yeah the ticking time bomb sure is…” I responded.
“I wasn’t saying that now.” Eric cut in trying to affirm his neutral position.
“You were thinking it or at the very least heard it from one of your bozos I’m sure.” I responded immediately.
There was a moment of silence telling me I wasn’t wrong and with that I rolled my eyes and looked forward. Eric wanted to continue to conversation but thankfully the bell rang and his coach started talking and he knew better than to interrupt. I could feel the tension between Eric and I and just wanted it to be over. I didn’t even know what Jon and I were so to talk to someone else about it was out of the question.
I hadn’t thought about the social repercussions of everything. Jon had been fairly discreet about everything thinking back on it all. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was doing it for his sake rather than my sake but then I realized with how expressive and straight forward he is that probably wasn’t it. Was he seriously this into me or was he just not thinking that far into the future? Just another thing to add to the pile of questions.
“Jason. Come on give me like five minutes.” Mark Houston yet again called out to me as I walked out of class.
“I’m definitely not in the mood today.” I grumbled as I walked past him.
“Come on. I don’t want to do this either but you need to know.” He continued on ignoring what I said.
“I seriously don’t care Mark. You could be dying and I still wouldn’t give a shit.” I responded bluntly hoping to get him off my back.
“It’s about…” He started but got cut off by my other nuisance.
“Mark! How have you been?” Eric asked gleefully wrapping his arm around Mark’s shoulder. “How was your summer?”
“Good Man.” He responded quickly. “If you don’t mind I’m trying to talk to...”
“How’s the soccer team doing? We gonna win this season?” He continued to babble on and I decided this was the best chance I had to get away so I made off for the door with no resistance.
On the walk home I resumed my thoughts about my birthday. I mean there wasn’t much to think about. Jon would have some dumb thing he would want to do and I would argue until I gave in because he can’t take no for an answer. It’s just like, what is there to celebrate? I’m an accident from two people who clearly aren’t fit to be parents. There’s nothing remarkable or interesting about me, like whats even the point of celebrating my birthday?
I opened the door with care as sometimes the housekeeper is finish up and I don’t want to scare her. Today it seemed she finished up early and was nowhere to be seen which was a relief as it means I can just go into the cabinet and grab a beer and think about lunch as I take a break from everything going on.
The first sip was exactly what I needed. I definitely took it overboard last night but it was just too much for me to handle. I threw on some music and relaxed the only way I knew.
"I'm going under and this time I fear there's no one to save me This all or nothing really got a way of driving me crazy I need somebody to heal“
I find myself singing along to these sad songs more than I’d like to admit. They just take me away from my miserable existence even for a moment and make me happy. Music is pretty much the only thing I’ve got going for me. I love going to concerts, I love discovering new bands, it all just makes me happy. I constantly fantasize about forming a band and writing my own stuff but that’s too much work. Like who would even listen to my whiny nasally voice anyways?
This is my usual routine. Order a pizza, let my speakers blast the sad shit, drink the day away. I’m surprised Jon likes this stuff. I couldn’t imagine why a guy like him is into all this shitty sad music. What’s he got to be sad about? Guy has people hanging over his every word and plenty of people to screw around with.
I heard a knock at the door. breaking me off of my third beer and my trance on whatever rubbish was on the tele. I figured it was the pizza place so I got up, collected myself and answered it only to find I was wrong.
“I figured you were napping.” Jon commented as he entered the house.
“I thought you were gonna text me.” I said as I looked outside for my pizza before closing the door.
“I did. I even called you. You didn’t pick up so here I am.” He picked up my empties and shook his head. “Three already? Jesus Christ.”
“Lay off, I had to deal with Eric Smith today on top of everything. What did you tell them?” I responded immediately cutting to the chase.
“All the gang knows is that I was here yesterday. Actually, only Kenny knew that so he must of told the other two.” He thought out loud as we heard the doorbell ring once again and this time it absolutely had to be my pizza. “Ooh, what did we get? Bacon?”
“Stay.” I demanded as I walked to the door and handed the delivery guy a twenty. “What are you even doing here? I thought you had practice.”
“Did you not notice the gym clothes?” He said pointing out he had changed since I last saw him.
“I did not.” I opened the box and took a bite from a slice quicker than I should have and burned myself. “Son of a bitch.”
Jon chuckled as he opened the fridge to get me a bottle of water. “You’re already a mess and school just let out.” He put the bottle on the table and brushed my hair away from my face.
“Am I a fucking joke to you?” I said as I pushed his hand away. “Why are you even here?”
“When you didn’t pick up I figured I should check on you.” He picked up a slice and happily took a bite. “I didn’t think you’d be three beers in.”
“I told you. You have no idea what you’re getting into.” I opted for my beer instead of the water bottle.
“You’re trying really hard here. Maybe I should just leave.” He said trying to hide a laugh.
“Finally! you fucking get it.” I took a seat back down and went back to the tv. “Just lock the door on your way out.
Jon helped himself to a slice as the music continued to play and the next song intrigued him.
“You like this stuff? I didn’t think you were into electronic shit.” He asked confused.
“I like what I like ok? It’s bloody fucking music who cares.” He answered.
“Interesting.” He elongated.
”What?” I asked knowing something what up.
“Nothing. Nothing.” He assured me as he typed into his phone.
“What? It’s Kenny. He’s wondering where I am. I didn’t tell them this time because he has such a fat mouth.” He slipped his phone in his pocket as he came over to me.
“I don’t believe you but it’s whatever.” I admitted as he came down.
“You should eat another slice.”
“Not hungry. I’ll get to it later don’t worry.”
“Alrighty.” He sat on the couch next to me and put my head on his shoulder. “Let’s just watch tv before I have to go.”
“You’re lucky I’m tipsy.” I murmured as I turned my head to look at the tv.
“I’d prefer you not be to be honest.” He said as he adjusted himself.
I should give in here. I should seriously give in here. Jon doesn’t want to do anything stupid. He’s keeping his word and is being patient. I’m overthinking it. Relax.
“So when’s Jenna coming over?” Jon asked as he rubbed my shoulder and typed out something on his phone with his other hand. It’s crazy how easily he breaks my spirals of thought.
“She said she would call but I don’t even know if I want her over.” I rambled honestly and I looked back at him with an awkward scowl.
“Why do you want me to come back tonight?” He chuckled knowing it would get a rise out of me.
“Maybe…” I fibbed. “Ok yes.” Last night was the best night of sleep I had gotten in a while and it would be nice to recreate it.
“Unfortunately, I have to help my mom. My uncles in China right now so she’s running the place all by herself.” He said squelching the idea in my head. “I mean I can come by at like eleven when I’m done but…”
“No, I’ll be knocked out by then it would be pointless for you to wake me up to just go back to sleep.” I said finishing his statement.
“Don’t worry. You won’t be able to get rid of me when he’s back in a week.” He broke off from me and went back up to the pizza. “I shouldn’t be eating this stuff before practice but I can’t help myself.”
“Already thinking weeks in advance?” I asked as I laid down on the cushions that Jon previously occupied. “You’re way too hopeful.”
“I don’t think you understand what I mean when I say I’m infatuated with you.” He said taking a bite and drinking some water. “You don’t know what I’ve thought about doing with you.”
I blushed thinking about the obvious. Jon looked great in his workout gear. I hadn’t taken the time to notice him with everything happened but he had made some really nice improvements over the summer. His left bicep was a noticeably more pronounced and the shirt he decided to wear today wasn’t hiding his upper chest. As my eyes went I couldn’t help but notice an impressive imprint telling me quite the tale about his size if it was that obvious as a semi.
I mean like I had thought about kissing Jon. I had given brief thoughts about sex but I’m a virgin, I wouldn’t know the first thing to do. Now to think about him on me, using his incredible body to overpower me…holy shit.
A buzzing accompanied by a ringtone by a familiar band broke the silence and I was grateful for it.
“Ken, I told you I would be there.” Jon started as soon as he swiped his phone. “I still have ten minutes before everyone else. We talked about that this morning. Alright. Alright. I’m coming. I’m coming.” He flipped his phone closed as he continued to get an earful from his best friend.
“Must be fun being the team captain.” I chuckled as I stood up, swaying a bit from my buzz.
“Kenny’s just doing his thing. He’s actually the backbone of the team and I just make him make all the decisions. This is one of those times I have to go do that.” He sighed as I walked over to him. “Promise me you won’t drink anymore today?”
“Now why on earth would I do that?” I asked with a dumb loose grin on my face.
“Because this will probably get you through the night.” He leaned into me and planted his lips on mine. This was different from yesterday; he was softer yet firm as he waited for approval. As soon as my mouth hung open in shock, he darted his tongue to part my lips. I had no idea what do to but he must of sensed it as he picked up my tongue with his as he held me. Before I could regain my senses and attempt to reciprocate in any way he pulled off me and gave me that dumb grin.
“You’re such an ass.” Was the first thing to come out of my mouth and was met with immediate regret.
“Ok. Tell me to get out.” He raised his eyebrow demanding I challenge him.
“Get.” I pointed to the door. Instinctually once again.
“That’s my second favorite thing about you..” He said turning around. “You keep me on my toes.” He chuckled a bit as he made his way to the door.
“Wait, what’s the first then?” I asked confused.
“You’ll just have to find out.” He chuckled as he made his way out. I’ll call between practice and work.” He clicked his tongue at me one more time before I was out of my sight and more importantly out the door.
The music kept playing as I sat there looking at the hallway to the door trying to figure out what the hell just happened. The thought that kept rising to the top was the glimpse I got of what he was packing. I didn’t really think too much of sex until now but Jon was pressing the issue and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. I guess his…experience was helping him quite a bit.
I looked around for my cigarettes and after realizing I gave the remainder of my pack to Jenna this morning I went into the cabinet and opened a new carton. I have no idea what my dad is thinking just leaving full cartons around the house but I guess when you travel as much as him you lose track of how many you buy in duty free shops. I stepped outside into the backyard to clear my head. With the buzz wearing off I was starting to get a better grasp of what was going on. One hit from my dart was exactly what I needed to settle my head.
With a perfect view of the school from my deck, I thought about how crazy this first week of school had been. It wasn’t just Jon, everyone seemed to want my attention lately. I guess this was just the tip of the iceberg if I was going to actually get involved with him. After what happened in middle school I figured I would always just be an outcast but this just shows you things can change at the drop of a hat.
I got the chill again. Not because it was cold but it felt like something was missing. It’s the product of spending too many nights alone unable to process what’s happening to you and not being able to confide in anyone. All the mistakes of your life hit you one by one and you just want to end it all. The lingering feeling of loneliness is impossible to shake. I walked back into the house not being able to stomach looking at the school anymore wandered down to the basement. Maybe a nap would make this feeling stop, even for a little while.
“You’re a FAG? No way.”
I woke up groggily a couple of hours later. At first I didn’t want to open my eyes but I had no idea where my phone was and the buzzing was bothering me. Eventually I found it and muttered a greeting.
“Did I wake you up?” The voice I had grown accustomed to asked as I came to my senses.
“Yeah.” I grumbled back.
“Go back to sleep then. I’ll be there at six tommorow.”
“You don’t have to..” I obviously fibbed.
“But I want to.” He said confidently. “I might call again when I lock up. It’s ok go back to sleep.”
“Thanks.” I mumbled before shutting off my phone and going back to sleep.
*** “I can’t apologize enough about all of this. I thought we raised him better than this. I have no idea where he got it.”
“It can’t be helped. Jason was always just so special. It explains a lot actually.”
I shot up awake. The memories permeate my dreams sometimes and send me into a cold sweat. I picked up my phone to use as a light to find my smokes and immediately lit one in bed in a panic. After I burned through it I was able to get off my bed and get my bearings.
I looked at my phone as I walked in circles. 3:30. Plenty of time to shake this off before Jon shows up. I walked upstairs to the pizza left out and heated two slices on the stove before sitting down on the couch. I’ve tried everything to forget that awful day. I’ve tried drinking it down and suppressing it to the back reaches of my mind but for some reason it comes out at the worst times. That changed everything about my life and I look back on it and wished I had just kept my mouth shut and never told him the truth.
I threw on a hoodie and walked outside into the night. The nice thing about Astrin was that it was the perfect combination of a city and a suburb so we had the nice benefit of being able to see the night sky perfectly. The stars and another dart calmed me down further but eventually the day came back up and all I could do was groan.
I took a look at my perfect backyard that was never touched. Perfectly maintained hedges covered the boarders and combinations of sandstone and marble covered the walkways and the currently covered pool area. Next to the pool was a mini bar setup and a cooking station perfectly set up with a stainless-steel grill. It’s crazy how we’ve never actually used any of it since we moved here freshman year. My mother always had to have everything perfect “just in case”.
I walked back into the house just in time to hear my front door attempt to be opened. I shook my head knowing exactly who it was so I stood in the hallway with my arms across my chest waiting to hear how the hell he managed to unlock it.
“JASON!” He yelled as soon as he turned around after closing my door trying to be quiet. “The fuck? You scared me.”
“how the hell did you open my front door?” I asked immediately not giving him any time to calm down.
“I knew about the key in the plant outside months ago. I just didn’t think it was right to use it until now.” He explained as he made his way over. “Are you ok? What are you doing up?”
“I slept too long after I talked to you.” I answered rolling my eyes and opening the door to my basement. “So I woke up half an hour ago.”
“That sucks.” He caught up to me and hugged me as we made our way down. “I haven’t slept.”
“Is that why you’re here? You thought you could sneak into bed with me?”
“I couldn’t stop thinking about you.” He nuzzled into my neck. “You worried me when I came and checked in on you this afternoon.”
“Laying it on thick don’t you think?” I said breaking off from him and getting back in my bed
“Nope. I got this from my dad. He did this shit with my mom all the time and she constantly begged off.” He chuckled as he joined me. “I figure we have like two hours before we have to actually do anything. Wanna sleep?”
“I’m wide awake but I understand if you want to get some rest.” I went back to playing with his chest like I did the other night.
“Don’t worry. We don’t have practice today so I can just come here and sleep after my third class.” He ran his fingers through my hair. ‘You need a haircut badly.”
“I thought you liked the dumb emo kid look.”
“Yeah, but your hair could be shorter and you’d look a lot better.”
“You just want to change everything about me don’t you.” I asked to not let the thought linger in the back of my head.
He shrugged and rubbed my shoulder. “You don’t have to get a haircut. It was just an observation. Anything you don’t like about me? Besides my wonderful attitude of course.”
“I’ll get back to you about that.” I said after thinking for a bit. “I’m still getting used to you.”
“Well what are we doing tommorow?”
‘What do you mean what are we doing?” I asked playing dumb.
“Come on. I know you hate it but it is your birthday tommorow.” He continued on unphased. “You don’t have any idea what you want to do?”
“You said it. I don’t want to celebrate.”
“You’re turning 18, surely that means something. You seriously have no plans?”
“It’s just another day Jon.” I sighed into his chest. “We can get dinner but nothing else ok?”
“You have absolutely nothing planned?” He asked again brushing my hair.
“You’re so annoying.” I huffed as I turned away.
“You love it.” I said right back as he brought me in close to spoon me. “If you need to get up don’t worry about it.”
We managed to get an hour of rest before Jon made to call to go to school despite my protesting. I made another big deal about being seen together so he drove in. He surprised me with a kiss once again before reminding me he would be over after school and I sat there on my steps looking like an idiot until Jenna showed up.
“So, we can do that battle of the bands in Scranton.” She said texting someone.
“I don’t see why not.”
“I think Steve’s band is playing in it. Probably should…buy…tickets…” She said very slowly causing me to look ahead and realizing who was waiting for us.
“Finally.” Mark said standing up from the side of the road. “I thought you were taking the day off because of tommorow.”
“Houston what the FUCK do you want?” I yelled as he approached.
“It’s time to tell him.” He looked at Jenna expectantly.
“You’re seriously doing this before his birthday?” She yelled at the same volume.
“Jenna…please tell me you’re not dating the guy that outed me in middle school...” I said not wanting to believe what I was witnessing.
“We aren’t dating.” She answered giving Mark the side-eye. “THAT just went out the window.”
“Oh shut up you’ve been over my place every day this week. We’re dating.” He shot right back crossing his arms. Mark just had to have his way. He hadn’t changed one bit since we were friends in middle school.
“WHY couldn’t you just wait?” She stomped her foot and was going into rage mode. “It’s like you WANT him to hate you even more!”
“Still making the same dumb decisions like when we were kids huh?” I chuckled as Jenna continued to get angrier. “Whatever, good luck with her. I’m out.”
“Look I’m sorry for…” He started.
“Don’t FUCKING TALK TO HIM.” She shoved mark with ease interrupting him as I walked away. Jenna was known for her anger management issues and this time was looking to not be an exception. I couldn’t help but laugh as she went full mental on him as I walked away.
It’s weird. I’m not mad that she’s dating that idiot. She’s her own person after all. It’s like…a combination of my current situation with Jon and me knowing that if that idiot does anything that slightly pisses princess Jenna off, she’s gonna go full nuclear. It’s like kind of annoying that she waited to tell me because she knew it would piss me off but that’s just how Jenna is. Even if I protested, we would just bicker until we got over it. I love Jenna like a sister really; we get along a little too well. No guy is gonna change that. Especially not Mark Houston.
After a short smoke, I walked through the halls in the morning with more free time than I anticipated. I also couldn’t help but notice people pointing at me and whispering. I guess some of Jon’s friends let the word spread. Whatever, it’s high school. Everyone gossips because there’s nothing better to do. It was bound to happen eventually.
“Jason!” I heard yet again. I swear my names been called more times this first week of school than it has my entire high school career.
“What?” I said as I turned in the direction that the voice came from. “Steven?”
“Hey man. How’s it going this morning?” Steven Walker’s ears must have been ringing or something. We knew of each other and even bummed smokes off each other at concerts but we rarely interacted at school.
“It’s been a morning.” I answered not hiding my attitude. “You need something? Sure seems like everyone wants something out of me lately.”
“Yeah man. Grats on landing the point guard by the way.” He winked as if being in on the “secret” was cool or something. “I was wondering if you were coming to the battle of the bands this weekend. My bands performing and I’ll take any ticket sale I can get.”
“Oh. Right. Yeah we’re going. I’ll buy two.”
“SWEET!” He said a bit too loud for this morning. “Sorry. Man, it’s been rough getting off the ground you have no idea how much this means to me.”
“Whatever man. I’m happy to help.” I said as I handed him 80 bucks.
“I thought you were buying two?” He asked confused.
“However, many this buys. I don’t care man.” Steven was a chill dude and I know every ticket sale to this thing matters so I just pulled a fist of bills out of my wallet and didn’t think much past it.
“You’re the best man!” He said as he handed me five before running off. “Have a great day!”
I took a deep breath after he walked away, grateful that the conversation was over. My moment of peace would be interrupted by the warning bell for homeroom.
Class was more whispers and fingers in my direction. Attention has never been a good thing for me. It’s always lead to bad places like in middle school. I just couldn’t wait to get out of this god forsaken place and start over where nobody knows me. After a day of stares I decided to find Jon and figure out what the fuck was actually going on. As I approached Ken Wilker alerted Jon. Jon shook his head, told everyone to stay put and met me halfway out in the courtyard.
“I know what you’re going to say” He said trying to get the first word in.
“I’ve had the entire school staring at me all fucking day. What the fuck happened?” I interrupted.
“Eric told Mark and from there it spread.” He said looking back at Eric who just shrugged unapologetically. “I did what I could. Hopefully it’ll blow over by Monday.”
“So I’m just stuck with the school watching my every move?” I raised my voice in frustration.
“If I could stop them I would I swear.” He brought me in close and looked me in the eyes. “I’ll make it up to you tommorow.”
“I’m going to Scranton with Jenna tommorow.” I responded looking away.
“Nope. We’re going to Philly.” He said confidently with that dumb grin on his face. “Talked about it with her. Cash Cash is playing, I even got the tickets already.”
“You think a stupid weekend trip is gonna make up for this?” I asked refusing to cool down.
“No, but it’s the best I can do.” He pecked me on the lips before letting me go. “Go pack your bags. I’ll be over at like six so we can get dinner in the city tonight.”
“You’re such an idiot.” I said rolling my eyes and walking away.
“Yup, I’m YOUR idiot though” He yelled as I walked away.
“No you’re not!” I yelled refusing to turn around.
On the walk home I contemplated getting an answer out of Jenna but I decided I didn’t want to deal with it. I was willing to put a good amount of money that she felt the same way which is why she let Jon have whatever he wanted. Despite our combative nature, both of us were really good at avoiding arguments with each other until it all blew over.
I picked a beer out of the fridge and right after I opened it my phone rang. I looked at it and groaned as I picked it up.
“Yes Uncle?” I said trying to put on a better disposition.
“How is school Jace?” He asked with sincerity. If I had to give him anyone in my life credit, it was him. He was probably the only person who gave a damn about me and welcomed me with open arms when my parents dumped me on him during the summer.
“Fine Uncle.” I fibbed not wanting to hear his advice about my current situation.
“How’s that lad that was pursuing you? He smart enough to take you out for your birthday tommorow?”
I had forgotten I told my uncle about Jon. The moments of silence that followed answered the question for him.
“Jace, I told you. He’s not an asshole. Stop being so stuck on what Mark did to you.” He explained as he saw right through my thoughts. “You will regret being this way when you’re older and you’ll most certainly regret all the bloody substances you’re abusing.”
“How do you know?” I shot back offended.
“Let’s see…was it my liquor vanishing when you stayed over? Or was it when you would go to the bar on the weekends and stomp in trashed at 3 in the morning? Oh, there’s also the fact that my rocks for brains of a brother told me he just leaves the cabinet open…”
“Alright. I drink a bit I get it.” I said cutting him off.
“It’s not just a bit Jace. We’ll be dealing with that when I visit for Holiday next month.”
“What do you mean visit next month?” I asked. “I’m not free of you after three months?”
“I have holiday time I need to burn and someone needs to make sure your boyfriend is worth of dating an Andrews.” I could hear the sinister grin on his face.
“Absolutely not.” I protested.
“Tough kiddo. It’s not just that, we need to figure out where you’re going for college and make the arrangements.”
“Whatever.” I scoffed.
“Alright then. Have him ready for me at the end of the month. I’ll be there on the 29th exactly. Oh, and If you lose it this weekend make sure he wraps it.”
“UNCLE!” I shouted aghast at what he implied.
“That’s exactly how you should shout if he suggests otherwise.” My uncle had an HIV scare when he was a freshman in college and is hellbent making sure I don’t experience the same thing. “Very good. Alright, I’m going to go and walk the dog. Love you.”
“Yes sir. Goodbye.” As soon as the call ended I took a large drink from the beer and started a dart.
I probably had to clean up my act before he showed up. If my uncle had his way, he would have me kick all these habits and pick up a gym routine. Thankfully when I visit him over the summer he’s so busy running the family trust that he doesn’t completely control my life. I can’t imagine it’s going to bode well for me when he’s here on holiday.
I moved to my basement knowing that Jon would probably be on his way soon. I hadn’t unpacked my carry-on since I came back so I just took a quick look at what was in there and added the toiletries from my suitcase and i was sufficiently packed for the weekend.
After I picked up my carry-on I realize that my guitar was behind it. I got the dumb thing as a Christmas present a few years ago and promptly gave up on it after realizing I didn’t have any idea what I was doing. I always had fleeting thoughts about learning but I just always gave up. There’s that chill again. Funny how I could be doing anything and it just appears. I decided to get on my computer and see what was circulating around on facebook to distract myself with music. Normally I would spend most of my time checking out and listening to new bands I hadn’t heard of but today I found myself paying to my inbox instead.
The dozens of friend requests that flooded my notifications was just another consequence of whatever Jon and I were. It was just so strange being so popular so suddenly. These people will stop giving a shit about me as soon as me and Jon are through so whats the point?
As I processed the waves of denials, the acne scarred face of Ken Wilker stood out. I guess this was a better time than any to figure out what his friends were about so I added him and I took a peak at his profile.
There was the normal shit, pictures of his friends and their various antics. I made my way down to the comments and saw the most recent ones were from his friends. They were all cheering him on and wishing his family the best and assuring him that everything would work out. It must be really awesome to have a support system like this. Fuck. There it is again.
“Babe?” Jon called from upstairs snapping me out of my self-loathing.
“Downstairs.” I answered. “And don’t call me Babe.”
“Sorry, you didn’t respond again so I was just making sure you didn’t fall asleep.” He said as he took off his jacket and made his way over to me.
“Sorry. I didn’t want to touch my phone after my uncle called.” I looked around the immediate area for it. “Ah fuck. I left it upstairs.”
“Ah it’s fine.” He assured me scratching the back of his head. “You all packed and everything?”
“You don’t need to do this.” I said once again trying to get out of celebrating my birthday.
“But I want to and I know you want me to.” He walked over to my carry-on and grabbed it. “I’m not taking no for an answer.”
I turned around to argue but he had that stupid sorry look on his face.
“Come on.” He knelt down to look at me face to face. “I’ll bring you back here if tonight goes poorly I promise. Just give me a chance.”
I looked away thinking about what my uncle said. I was being unreasonable and I hated myself for it. “Sorry.”
“Hey.” He called to get me to look at him. “Stop it. Those thoughts aren’t true.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I see what you’re thinking.” He stated confidently. “Well not actually but I can tell when your brains going off and doing it’s own thing. My sisters the same way.”
“I’m not doing this because I feel sorry for you. I’m doing this because I like you. I’m going to keep telling you this until you believe me.”
“And what if I don’t like you?” I asked.
He chuckled before leaning in. He does it so perfectly. The way his lips press against mine. This time it was very brief but he made his point clear. If I wasn’t the first hand witness I wouldn’t believe that Jon Han was this smooth. His reputation truly did proceed him.
“There’s your answer.” He said before turning around to get my bag. “I have to get my stuff from home first.”
“Fine.” I said blushing and I collected myself and got up.
“I figure we’ll drop our things off at my uncles place and then we’ll get dinner.”
“And tommorow?” I asked curious was his plan at large was.
“Haven’t thought that far ahead.” He shrugged “But it’s a day in Philly. We’ll figure something out.”
All I could do was shake my head. I was actually going to Philly for the weekend with the point guard of Wilson High for my birthday.
Earlier than I thought. I swore the last time I looked at this one there was more editing to be done but apparently not. Yay.
Another huge misstep I took in the original was writing the "Honeymoon" trip terribly. What I have planned for this one was much better.
Thank you for reading and please anticipate the next chapter. I looked at it before posting this one and I know for a fact it needs a bit more work than this one did. I won't give an exact time frame this time just in case but expect a bit of a wait.