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The Unfortunate Occurence at Shenandoah High 2020 - 23. Chapter 23

Chapter 23 marks the switch from First Person POV to Third Person POV. I hope you all remain patient with me as we traverse this literary journey together. I know the change from First Person POV to Third Person POV will be quite jarring for some but I hope you remain in love with these characters and this story. Your readership has meant the world to me! Thank You For Your Patience!!!

PS: Writing in First Person POV is hard!!!

"You're home late."

Tristan had noticed his dad's rusty pickup truck parked in the driveway when Keisha dropped him at home moments earlier but hearing his voice coming from the living room still made him jump. He placed his keys and wallet on the small table in the glass bowl on the table through he front door and strode into the next room like a death row inmate.

He plopped down on the ancient plaid sofa opposite his dad. The television was on and tuned to one of his dad's favorite shows. Aside from football and the occasional documentary on Netflix, Jason Goolsby loved Perry Mason. Tristan wasn't a fan of most black and white TV shows but even he had to admit Perry Mason was pretty awesome. The guy never lost a case.

"How was practice?"

The glow coming from the TV screen was the only light in the room. Tristan noticed the older man was still wearing his light blue hospital scrubs. His dad was also looking every second of his 52 years. His hair had gotten considerably longer over the last several weeks, nearly grazing his broad shoulders and flecked with gray. The natty beard shrouding the lower half of his face certainly was not helping matters. Tristan would have normally sent the man upstairs to shave while he booked an appointment with his favorite hairstylist at the salon by the mall but tonight he simply did not have the energy.

"It was okay."

Jason polished off the last of the Rolling Rock sitting next to his chair and looked over at his son, his face contorted in a mask of worry.

"You sure?" You're awful quiet tonight."

Tristan shrugged his shoulders as he slipped further into the squishy dips and folds of the sofa. All he would need to do is kick off his shoes and he would be asleep in three minutes top. He had never been so exhausted in all his life. He wanted to sleep forever. Well, maybe not forever but for a really long time. Maybe he would fall asleep and the day would start over just like it did in that movie he watched with Keisha. He wouldn't be able to keep Finn from ending up with Leah but maybe he would be able to save Nick.

"Just tired is all."

It wasn't exactly a lie. But it was not the truth either. It wasn't even a fraction of the truth. Tristan wanted to tell his old man it wasn't the two and a half hours of rigorous choreography that had him feeling so weary but there was no way he could go into detail in regards to the other events of the evening. Not that his dad wouldn't understand. Tristan would like to think since coming out, there was nothing he could not tell his dad. Besides, it wasn't like he was the one who accidentally pushed his friend off stage.

Thinking about Nick Ramirez's body laying at the bottom of a six-feet deep orchestra pit and then shoved inside a musty, old costume trunk made Tristan sick to his stomach. He thought about running upstairs and unburdening his gut but remembered he had not had anything to eat since lunch.

"Everett called."

Tristan had not talked to his brother in three, maybe four days which was strange considering they talked at least once a day. While they had exchanged a few text messages since then, their preferred communication was hearing each other's voices.

"Everything okay?"

He tried not to think too much about Everett being on the other side of the country. If he did, it would be an endless spiral of unnecessary worry. Soon he would have to learn how to live on his own. Sooner than he would like.

"Yeah - everything's good. We was calling to let me know he'd managed to get some time off so he could come with us next week."

Fall Break. Shit, Tristan thought. With everything going on in his life, he had completely forgotten about the trip to see his grandparents during fall break Prior to all hell breaking loose, he'd been looking forward to getting away from school and theater and Finn. Now that he had the whole covering up his friend's death hanging around his neck like the fattest of albatrosses, he needed that trip more than ever.

"That's awesome," he lamely replied.

"He'll be flying into Atlanta this Saturday so I figured we'd pick him up and maybe grab dinner at The Varsity."

Not even the thought of having chili dogs at his favorite restaurant could temporarily lift him from his current funk but Tristan still managed to muster a smile that did not quite reach his eyes. He decided it was time to call it tonight. Maybe he would feel slightly better about things in the morning.

"Sounds like a plan," he said to his dad.

Tristan made a show of looking at the time on his phone. It was nearly eleven and he reckoned he could work on his homework during homeroom tomorrow morning. Right now, all he wanted was a quick, hot shower and to climb into bed.

He feigned a yawn and said, "It's getting late. Think I'm gonna turn in."

"Won't be too far behind you. Promised Delores I'd pick up her evening shift tomorrow as well."

Tristan wrestled himself out of the sofa's grasp and walked over to his dad.

"You work too hard," he said pressing a kiss to the older man's forehead.

"I'll sleep when I'm dead."

"That's what you think," Tristan said. "What if heaven is like one big factory where you work forever and you don't get time off."

"Well - at least I'd be prepared," his dad chuckled.

"Goodnight, Dad," he said.

"Night, son. Love you."

Tristan is already at the foot of the staircase when he hears his dad's pronouncement.

"Love you, too, Dad."

Tristan somehow managed to make it to the top of the stairs shouldering the weight of too many worlds. Once inside the bathroom he used to share with Everett, he shed his clothes and vowed to throw them in the trash bin outside the next morning.

After a brief tango with the best shower head in the world, he padded, barefoot, across the hall and into his bedroom. Tristan had never been happier to see his bed made. There was nothing better than pulling back the quilt his grandmother's grandmother made and settling underneath those crisp, cool sheets.

After changing into an old Spider-Man T-shirt and a pair of gray shorts that barely covered his backside, he reached for his phone which was sitting on the table next to his bed. He fired off a quick text to Keisha and waited five minutes before checking his phone for her response. Keisha not texting him back meant she was asleep. Or too depressed for conversation. Either way, he didn't blame her for not messaging him back.

After settling into his bed, Tristan almost reached for his lamp. Instead he grabbed his phone again and scrolled through his list of text conversations.

Hi there.

He hit send and waited for the reply which came a few seconds later.

How's it going? How was your Monday? Blue or manic?

Despite the darkness churning inside of him like a category 5 hurricane, Tristan found himself giggling.

How about both, he asked.

Boyfriend problems or other assorted angsty teenage problems?

How about both, he asked again.

Since I suck at the whole other assorted angsty teenage problems, I'll take Boyfriend Problems for $500, Alex.

The last thing Tristan wanted to talk about was Finn. Then again, maybe talking about Finn would lessen the weight of the stupid dead bird hanging around his neck. He quickly sent a text being as succinct as possible.

The problem is he never was my boyfriend and now he is someone else's boyfriend.

Well, shit. That sucks.

I do believe that's the understatement of the decade. Maybe even the century, Tristan responded.

Well - good news is we're only nineteen years into this century so we still have 81 years to turn things around.

Too bad we'll be dead for at least 30 of those years.

Speak for yourself, Mr. Opposite of Optimistic. I plan on taking the Olivia de Havilland route. I plan on riding my bicycle around Rodeo Drive at 104.

Well, good luck with that.

I'm sorry you have boyfriend problems with a guy that wasn't even your boyfriend.

Thanks, Tristan says.

As cliché as it sounds, it does get better. I mean guys don't change. Like ever. But how you handle them will. And eventually it gets easier.

I can't believe I was stupid enough to fall in love with the straight-ish guy.

Hey, don't beat yourself up over it. We've all been there. Think of it as a rite of passage. You came. You saw. You didn't quite conquer. But at least you'll be wiser the next time. How does the saying go? Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Tristan sighed and frowned and responded with, Wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to see him every single day. Even weekends now that Sheldon wants us to start doing Saturday morning rehearsals.

Well, the play will be here before you know it. Just hang in there and it'll all be over soon.

Maybe the being in love with Finn Montgomery part would be over but other things wouldn't go away so easily.

I'm glad you texted me.

You are?

Yeah - today's been one of those days for me as well. Really missing home right about now.

Tristan bit his lip and asked, When's the next time you'll be home?

Christmas and even then it'll only be for a few days. Hardly enough time.

Well, Christmas will be here before you know it. Next week is our fall break. Then the play and then the holidays.

Any special plans for your break?

Me, my dad and my brother are heading to Savannah to visit my grandparents.

OMG that's too adorable. Sounds fun.

I'm looking forward to getting away for a bit. Ever get that feeling everything's closing in around you?

All the time. Los Angeles is freakin' huge but some days it might as well be a shoebox.

Note to self, never coming to LA.

Not even to see me?

Tristan felt something familiar flutter inside of him.

Too much traffic and too many earthquakes. Plus you have all those Santa Ana winds to deal with.

Yeah there's the whole California could fall off into the Pacific Ocean at any moment but that's part of the charm of living here.

Maybe we could meet halfway or something. Like in Nebraska.

I think I'd rather fall off into the Pacific Ocean than willingly travel to Nebraska. What's there besides corn and regret?

Tristan snorted and looked over at the clock on top of his chest of drawers. It was nearing midnight and he had to be up early.

I would reply back with something witty and just a tad bit shady but it's about to be a new day and someone needs their beauty rest.

Well - I wouldn't want you to get any bags underneath your eyes. I heard they're really cracking down on how much luggage you can travel with these days.

I'm deleting your number as soon as I wake up in the morning.

I kid. I kid. Please don't delete me. Especially since we have plans to meet in Nebraska.

Goodnight. Talk soon.

Goodnight, sir. May you have nothing but pleasant dreams.

"From your lips to God's ears," Tristan said as he connected his phone to it's charger.

He leaned over and turned off the light casting his bedroom into darkness. Tristan turned on his side and pulled his covers up to his chin. Colin was absolutely right. Now that he knew what it felt like to be the jilted lover, he would be way smarter the next go round. If there was a next go round.

Tomorrow was a new day and while the reality of what happened today would still be the same, the only thing he could control was his own actions.

Come hell or high water, he was going to have a good night's sleep and a good day tomorrow.

Even if it killed him.

As always, thank you so much for your readership. Your comments have really helped to boost my confidence in my writing skills.

Copyright © 2020 imperfect _pisces; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

The burden of carrying secrets takes a lot out of you and it has barely started. How long before it all begins to unravel?

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2 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

The burden of carrying secrets takes a lot out of you and it has barely started. How long before it all begins to unravel?

No truer words have ever been spoken. And to answer your question, not very long. BLW

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Colin is such a breath of fresh air, especially compared to Finnishia.  (That line about Nebraska was hilarious!) Every gay boy (and girl) needs a good learning experience, and he provided that for Tristan.  Great job on switching from 1st to 3rd person; it was was seamless and easy to read.

I feel badly for these kids who are shouldering a burden far too heavy for their years.


Edited by tesao
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1 minute ago, tesao said:

Colin is such a breath of fresh air, especially compared to Finnishia.  (That line about Nebraska was hilarious!) Every gay boy (and girl) needs a good learning experience, and he provided that for Tristan.  Great job on switching from 1st to 3rd person; it was was seamless and easy to read.

I feel badly for these kids who are shouldering a burden far too heavy for their years.


Finnishia - that is so hilarious to me! PS: Hope no one from Nebraska is offended. 
I'm glad you thought the switching from 1st to 3rd person was seamless. That makes me so happy because I was so worried about how this would affect how the story reads.

You are right. At 17/18 years old, something like this would have sent me into a deep, dark depression. Not sure if I would've been able to handle it.

Thank you so much for reading!


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So true Chris 191070 - the burden of carrying secrets will eventfully become too much to bear!!!

Also, I agree, switching from 1st to 3rd person has been seamless.   Great chapter!!

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