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    Mark Arbour
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Black Widow - 28. Chapter 28

August 17, 2003

Escorial

JJ

 

I sat on the patio, totally pissed off, watching everyone else have a good time. Ella told Darius that I was harmless, just bitchy? Seriously? What was I, some fucking freak show, this temperamental person who went around snarling at people but never bit back? I was really getting sick and fucking tired of people thinking I was that pathetic. It’s like when the deal with Alex went down, and Will thought he had to fly to England and save my sorry ass, because I couldn’t get myself home. And how all of them were so surprised that I’d figured out a way to really fuck Mary Ellen over, and that it had worked. I was starting to understand why Bellona was such a bitch. She probably had to be that way just to get people to treat her with respect. I had a lot of work to do if I was going to change my reputation.

I looked around the table and the looks I caught only made me angrier. Everyone was ignoring me except Will. He was staring at me with that fucking mother hen worried look on his face. I was so tempted to just rip into him. If I made him mad, at least he wouldn’t look like such an idiot with that stupid expression he was wearing. Only that would bring Darius into the equation. He’d give me that condescending look of his, launch a few nasty verbal swipes at me, and leave me sitting here looking exactly like everyone thought I was: bitchy but harmless. Then, after he did that, Will would give me his smarmy look, and that was even worse than this caring one. I decided that the best solution was to beat a hasty retreat.

I stood up, and that of course brought a comment from Will. “Where are you going?”

“To the bathroom,” I lied. “Want to come wipe my ass for me?”

“Sure,” he said, annoying me. I rolled my eyes and walked inside, then headed straight to the sanctuary of my room. I lay on my bed, on my back, with my arms crossed behind my head, staring at the ceiling, only this was almost worse. I could not be this still and angry at the same time. The only way to bust out of this funk was to exercise. I forced my pissed-off self to put on my work-out clothes, and then I headed down to the gym, taking the back way to make sure I didn’t run into anyone else.

I got on the recumbent bike and started my routine, even as I thought about this shit. I was going to have to get a lot meaner, and a lot nastier, if people were going to take me seriously. I hadn’t really been able to do that when I was skating. Well, I could be mean and bitchy, but I also had to project that pure-as-the-fucking-driven-snow image. Shit, I was damn near a virgin, I’d been so good. That thought only got me angrier, making me realize how pathetic I actually was, especially when I thought about how worldly my brothers were.

I calmed myself down enough to think clearly, even as the pedals whirled away and the sweat poured off my body. It had been skating that had kept me locked up in a box, and kept me from enjoying life. My image had meant I couldn’t really show that I was attracted to another guy, and even if I found a girl hot, I had to act like a fucking Mormon in public. And that was the core issue, and why what they said had bothered me. I needed to make the call, to decide whether to keep on skating or not. I’d left that decision on the back burner, not really addressing it at all, but it had simmered, and my lack of direction was making me look like a total tool. I slowed my pace down so it was more moderate, and weighed the pros and cons.

If I went back to the skating world, I’d still have those shackles on me, only they’d be worse than before. There would be all this suspicion that the story about Alex and me was true, so people would watch me more closely. I’d be on virtual lockdown, just like Shane had been. Thinking of him made me really sad, and threatened to derail my calm introspection, but I managed to push past it. The judges could try and fuck me over, but since I was the National champion, that made it tougher for them, and it meant their marks would be more subject to question. Being able to do that, to basically dare them to fuck me over, especially after the nightmare that was the Salt Lake Olympics, had some appeal. And that was the other thing…if I got back on track, maybe I could win an Olympic gold medal! I felt the adrenaline surge that came with that vision, the thrill of victory on the global stage, the chance to be better than anyone else in the entire world. Only that was a big ‘if’, and I had a lot of obstacles to tackle. First of all, I was under no illusions that I’d won in Dallas because I was the best; I’d pretty much only won because everyone else had totally fucked up. My ability to come back from this injury and surge back onto the ice and still be even better was a huge challenge. Add to that the fact that I didn’t have people to support me anymore: I didn’t have a coach, and my trainer and costume designer had bailed to go work with other people. And even if I could put a team together again, I’d still have to deal with those fucking diva bitches like Johnny Weir. That was enough to make me want to puke.

If I ended my skating career now, I’d go out on top. I’d be able to declare victory and seal my legacy. I had the beginnings of a pretty cool life in New York City. I liked the school I was going to, and even though it wouldn’t be a cakewalk, they were willing to work with my schedule. And I liked going to the shows and being part of the fashion world. I had Bellona as a guardian angel and a guide, and while it wasn’t smart to trust her completely, I could rely on her to back me up unless her own ass was on the line. My skating success let me walk into the fashion world as a quasi-celebrity, even though I probably could have gotten that entrée just because of how fucking rich I was.

And then the true reality of my situation and my choice blazed through. If I quit skating, I could do whatever the fuck I wanted. I could sleep with whoever I wanted, I could smoke weed with my brothers (even though it seemed pretty gross), I could go to wild parties and I could be seen with people, men or women, in public. I could be as big of a slut as Will and Darius if I wanted to. Only that was the coolest thing. I didn’t have to do that, but I could do it if I wanted to. I was completely free, with the world at my feet. And if someone messed with me, I could pound them into the ground, and no one could stop me. Now that was power. That was an adrenaline rush. Fuck skating.

My phone rang at that point, and it was pretty ironic to see that it was Alex. I was tempted to let it go to voicemail, but with all the shit going on with Mary Ellen and her mother, I decided to answer it. If those assholes could potentially have my father thrown in jail forever, it was my job to help fight the battle. “Hello,” I said neutrally, to not give away my mood.

“Jays!” he said enthusiastically, making me cringe. “It’s good to hear your voice.”

“It’s good to hear yours,” I said, trying to sound cheerful.

“You sound out of breath?”

I was tempted to tell him I’d just finished fucking someone, but that was just too crass. “I’m working out,” I told him.

“I think, when you are working out, that is one of the times you are most attractive,” he said, flirting. What a liar.

“I feel sweaty and gross,” I said, pretending like I was a princess, just to fire him up. He liked that.

“You may be sweaty, but you are never gross,” he said. When I didn’t reply, he got to the reason he called. “I’ve got to make a trip out to Boston to collect my things. I know you’re busy, but if you have time, I’d love to see you.”

My mind was whirling with this new opportunity, but I managed to wrestle it under control. “When will you be there?”

“I was of a mind to fly out tomorrow, and I planned to head home on August 20,” he said.

“I have something I need to do tomorrow night,” I said, remembering John’s gig. “I can fly out on the 19th and meet you there.”

“That will be spectacular,” he said. “I’ll see you then.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” I said. And then, as I peddled on, I began to think of ways to get back at him and his wife for having played me so badly. I’d been such a nice guy, such a sap. Skating had kept my hands tied, and it had been the tool Mary Ellen had used to separate us, by threatening my career and exposing me as being bisexual. That was what was stopping me from being a total dick to Alex, and to Ella, for that matter. But now the shackles were off. Fuck skating.

My introspection was interrupted when I was joined in the gym by Tiffany, Wade, and Buzz Dalby. Since Buzz was with them, I would have been pleasant anyway, but after my epiphany, I was genuinely in a good mood. “I finally found someone to show me the gym, and I get an extra bonus by finding you here!” Buzz said in his somewhat bombastic way.

“I’m sorry, I should have tracked you down to see if you wanted me to show you this place,” I said, even though I wasn’t sorry.

“You got nothin’ to be sorry about,” he said. He was wearing loose fitting shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt that showed off his big biceps, but the sexiest part of him was his thick underarm hair that was the same golden color as the hair on his head.

“That recumbent bike is a good choice,” Tiffany said to me. She was trying to be nice, but that just pissed me off.

“Yeah, I figured that out,” I said in a way that only sounded a little snarky. Like I didn’t know what kind of exercises I could and couldn’t do.

“How long do you think it will take you to get back on the ice?” Tiffany asked me, which was a pretty daring question, and it was also pretty funny that it came after all my thought on the subject.

“I’m not going back on the ice,” I said firmly. “I’m done.”

She got a worried look on her face. No, not worry, guilt. “Are you sure?”

“I have never been more sure of anything,” I said, and I said it with such conviction even Wade raised his eyebrow in surprise.

“Well congratulations!” Buzz said. “Now show me how that funky bike works.” I ended up having a really good time. I paired off with Buzz, and worked out with him. Since my ACL was still recovering, I focused on my upper body, and he did the same thing, probably to humor me.

We’d just moved over to the bench press when Wade and Tiffany announced they were leaving. I was polite, but glad to see them go. Tiffany would probably always remind me of my injury, and I’d probably always blame her for missing the Worlds. Maybe I’d ease up on her if my life turned out alright. With my new plan, things were looking better. Then I remembered my conversation with Alex, and stopped them right before they left.

“When are you going back to Boston?”

“Probably tomorrow,” Wade said. “Why?”

“Alex called and told me he was flying out to pack up his stuff,” I said. “I told him I’d give him a hand.”

Wade looked at me, as if he was going to give me a bunch of shit about that, but my eyebrows narrowed enough to shut him up. “Aren’t you going to see John play tomorrow night?”

“I am,” I said, and shot him a huge grin. “That’s why I was going to see if you could wait until the day after tomorrow to go back, and if you could take me with you.”

“We can probably do that,” Wade said with a slight grin, and then they left. I refocused on working out with Buzz.

“Man, you can sure lift some weight,” Buzz said to me with his handsome grin.

“Sometimes big things come in small packages,” I said, playfully flirting with him, and making him chuckle. We finished our lifting, and I was about to go back to my room and take a shower, when he stopped me with a question.

“What’s that?”

“That’s the steam room and sauna,” I said. “The sauna usually takes a little time to heat up, but you could hit the steam room if you want to.”

“Will you join me?” he asked.

“Sure,” I said with a smile. We went into the shower and rinsed off. There were stalls and an open area. I always picked the stalls, because I was a little more modest than most members of my family. By the time I came out, Buzz was standing there waiting for me with a towel wrapped around his waist. I led him into the steam room, hit the button, and kicked back on the lower step. He took the step above mine.

“I can’t thank you enough for showing me around and making me feel so welcome,” he said, with his sexy drawl. What was it about guys with accents that seemed to attract me? That reminded me of Alex, and almost busted up my good mood, until Buzz leaned back against the wall and spread out more.

“It was my pleasure,” I said, but as I did, I looked back at him, and noticed that he’d spread his legs wide enough to part the towel, and gave me a perfect view right at his groin. God, he was sexy. That same golden hair was like a forest around his dick and balls. It had almost the same effect as if he’d had lighting there. That almost made me laugh, then I realized I’d been staring at his dick. I looked up at him and he smiled at me, raised an eyebrow to let me know I’d been busted, and then closed his eyes to enjoy the steam.

“I need to get another towel,” he said, and made to get up.

“So do I,” I lied. “I’ll get it for you.” I was so glad to escape from the steam room, and my embarrassment. I grabbed a couple of towels along with some bottles of water, and then went back in. It was really steamy now. I went back to the same place, and noticed that he hadn’t moved. “Here’s a towel, and some water.”

“Thanks!” he said enthusiastically. He opened the water and took a big swig, then leaned back again. Only this time, he put the other towel over his head, as if to corral the steam. Regardless, that blocked his vision, and gave me the chance to stare straight at his groin. If anything, his towel was looser, and his dick was definitely bigger. I watched in amazement as it got bigger and bigger, until he was fully hard. It was probably about six inches long, with a strong upward curve, but the coolest thing was that it seemed to have huge tubes that looked like muscles along the base. I was totally transfixed, but something finally pulled me out of my cock coma. I looked up and saw Buzz staring at me with a sexy leer on his face. “It won’t hurt you.”

I was freaking out with embarrassment, but he undid his towel and pulled it apart, totally exposing his beautiful groin. “You sure about that?” I asked suggestively. “It’s pretty big.”

“I’m sure,” he said. I ran my hand up his legs; reveling in the feel of how furry they were, until I reached his nice dick. I stroked it gently, in an exploratory way. He moaned and leaned back, as if to let me know I was in charge. I’d never been this forward, this slutty, but I decided to tell those voices to shut the fuck up as I knelt between his legs and absorbed his cock in my mouth. “That’s so good,” he purred.

I didn’t say anything, because there was a dick in my mouth, and because I was focused. I went slowly, building up my speed gradually, trying to gauge his body and his reaction as I did. His smell was unique, a really tart but sweet odor, one that was like an aphrodisiac. But even though he was hot, and even though this was fun, I felt kind of strange, like I wasn’t doing something right. Maybe I wasn’t going fast enough? I picked up my pace, but that didn’t seem to do the trick. Instead, I slowed down, but that didn’t seem to work either. It was getting really hot, and I was kind of wondering how to end things before I passed out, when he pushed me gently off his dick, stroked it a few times, and then shot his load. It landed on the step I was sitting on, and I watched it accumulate into pretty large blops. “Wow,” I said, for some reason.

“Now that was an unexpected bonus,” he said, even as he wrapped his towel around himself. “Thanks.” He seemed sincere, but I felt like I’d done something wrong, not in a moral way, but in a technical way. I’d blown him, but I got the distinct impression that I hadn’t done a very good job of it.

“My pleasure,” I said, making the best of it. He got up and walked out of the steam room, and only then did I realize I was so hot I was about to pass out. I hastily wiped up his load, and then followed him into the shower. I went back to my stall and took my time washing off; giving my dick a chance to deflate a bit, and then I dried off, grabbed my gym clothes, and started to head back to my room. He was gone before I even came out of the shower.

                 

August 18, 2003

Los Altos Hills, CA

 

Will

 

“Relax,” I said to Ryan, as he, Darius, JJ and I walked up to the front door. I could tell he was nervous at this, his first big social event at Menlo.

“Fuck you,” he snapped.

“Dude, maybe later,” I teased. “Maybe.” Darius rolled his eyes at me.

“Whatever,” he said dismissively.

“Whose house is this?” JJ asked.

“Cam Gabriel’s,” I said. “He plays keyboard in the band.”

“Is he any good?” Darius asked.

“Hard to tell,” I said evasively. This was a nice house, a sprawling, single level home on pretty big lot, even though it looked like most of it was hilly. I rang the doorbell and an older guy answered.

“Welcome,” he said in a friendly way. “You must be here for Cam’s party.”

“Yes, sir,” I said politely.

“I’m Cam’s father, Bill Gabriel, but you can call me Gabe,” he said. Cam was a little heartthrob, with dark brown hair, and it was easy to see that he got his good looks from his father.

“I’m Jeremy Schluter,” JJ said, and shook his hand.

“I’m Will Schluter, and this is my other brother Darius, and Ryan Grafton,” I said, completing the introductions.

“Well let me show you where they are,” he said, and led us down a hallway, then down a half-flight of stairs. This was one of those California houses that had been built on multiple levels, where it seemed like to go into every room you had to go up or down at least two steps. We heard the band warming up long before we got to the room. “Enjoy yourselves,” he said, and then left us.

We walked into the room and I surveyed the social landscape. Before I could really get my bearings, John rushed up to greet us. “Dude, you came,” he said to JJ enthusiastically.

“I said I would,” JJ replied, but in a slightly flirtatious way. John just nodded at Darius, who nodded back. It was their way.

“This is Ryan Grafton,” I said, introducing them. “This is my cousin, John Hobart.”

“I’ve heard a lot about you,” John said, pouring on the charm.

“I’m not as big of an asshole as you’ve probably been told,” Ryan said.

“Yeah, he is,” I said, giving him shit.

“I have to get set up,” John said urgently. “Make sure you catch the end.”

“Why?” I asked, wondering what he was going to do.

“You won’t want to miss it,” he said in a seductive way, and then he hurried back over to where the band was getting ready. JJ wandered off with him, which was funny, and so typical that JJ would end up being one of the groupies. I was kind of surprised that Darius wandered off with them.

“What’s he play?” Ryan asked.

“Guitar,” I said.

“Starphish? What’s that?” He was referring to the big banner hung up behind the ‘stage’, such as it was.

“That’s the name of their band,” I said.

“Why?” he asked, as if there may actually be a good reason for such a lame name.

“It’s a family badge,” I said. “We found out about this when we got our coat of arms drawn up.”

“Dude, you have a coat of arms? You really are a princess.”

“Fuck you,” I said. “It’s the Hobart symbol, so the band made it cooler by changing the ‘F’ to a ‘PH’.”

“Yeah, that worked,” he said sarcastically.

“Sometimes we call Marie that, starfish. She hates it.” As if by mentioning her we summoned her, Marie walked up to us but focused completely on me.

“Is this him?” she asked me, barely deigning to look at Ryan.

“This is him,” I said, as if he were cargo. “Ryan Grafton, this is my other cousin, Marie Hobart.”

“You were supposed to be hot,” Marie said to Ryan.

“I am,” he said, being cocky, then got more flirtatious. “So are you.”

“He’s not as dumb as you said he was,” she said to me.

“Yes he is,” I teased back.

“It was nice to meet you, Starfish,” Ryan said, winking at her, and grinning at her frown. I led him over to the wet bar area, where there were soft drinks set out. Someone had put a couple of bottles of rum on the counter, so I added a fifth of vodka to the party, and poured drinks using that. I introduced Ryan to a bunch of people, and then we wandered off, just the two of us, and checked out the crowd. Darius was flirting with a chick who had graduated in May, which was pretty funny.

“All of the dudes in the band are juniors,” I explained. “You know John. That brown-haired guy on keyboard is Cam.”

“This is his house,” Ryan recalled.

“Yep,” I confirmed. I gestured toward a guy setting up a saxophone. “The dude over there, that’s Mike.”

“The Asian dude?” he asked.

“Yeah. And the other dude, that’s Chris. He’s the drummer.” Chris was kind of cute, but totally shy. He was also the worst member of the band.

Then Ryan froze up and stared across the room. “Who’s that?”

I chuckled. “That is Kayla Liu.”

“Dude, she’s fucking gorgeous,” he said.

“Her father is Chinese, and her mother is African-American,” I explained. Ryan seemed to go for women of mixed race. “She’s a senior.”

“What’s her deal?”

“She dated that dude over there,” I said, gesturing to where Logan Hannity was hanging out with some friends. He was a really handsome redhead.

“Dated?”

I shrugged. “Heard they were over, heard they weren’t. Who the fuck knows.”

“She does,” Ryan said, gesturing toward Kayla.

“Come on,” I said, and started walking toward her.

“What the fuck are you doing?” he demanded, even as he followed me.

“I’m going to say hi,” I said. “We’re friends. If you’re nice, I’ll introduce you.”

He nodded and walked with me. “Then I’ll probably be nice.”

“Hey Kayla,” I said, and gave her a monster hug. “How was summer?”

“Shoots!” she said, hugging me back, and using my unofficial nickname. I knew I’d get shit from Ryan about that later. “It was awesome. What about you?”

“Had fun,” I said casually. “This is my good friend Ryan Grafton. He’s transferring to Menlo.”

“Nice to meet you Ryan,” she said, in a mildly coquettish way. “Where are you from?”

“LA,” he said casually. She stared at him, because LA was a big place, and most of us knew the basic geography of Southern California. “Westwood.”

“Cool,” she said, and then began rambling on about parts of Westwood she’d been to. Didn’t take me long to feel like a third wheel in that party, so I wandered over and talked to Logan.

“Who’s the dude talking to Kayla?” he asked me, and not all that nicely.

“Good friend of mine. Ryan Grafton,” I said. “You two still together?”

“Not really,” he said, but seemed annoyed, which meant they probably still hooked up once in a while.

“Dude, I’ve been waiting for you to dump her so I could tempt you over to the dark side,” I said, flirting with him to get him out of his grumpy mood. It worked. “Now’s my big chance.”

“Dude, go hit on Daniel,” he replied with a smile.

“He’s not my type,” I said, which was true. There were some gay guys at Menlo, but Daniel was the most flamboyant of them. He was a junior, and usually hung around with his chick posse, a group of the hottest junior girls. It was obvious, at least to me, that he had a major crush on John.

“You don’t like flashy gay dudes?” he asked. Daniel was pretty effeminate, and while no one gave him shit about it, he was still pretty over the top for this crowd.

“I like dudes with deep voices,” I said. He probably thought I was bullshitting, and flirting with him, since his voice was deep and melodic, but that was actually a deal-killer for me. It wasn’t the lisp, it wasn’t whether a guy was butch or not, but if he had a squeaky voice, it was like a dick shrinker.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said, shooting his voice up a couple of octaves. After that, we all sort of grouped together and listened to the band play. The juniors, mostly girls and Daniel, were all up front, swooning mostly over John and Cam, while the rest of us hung out more in the back, drinking.

The guys in the band all dressed like Eminem, and that was their big deal. They thought they were young white rap stars. “What a bunch of badasses,” Darius said sarcastically, since they were trying to be all street tough, and they so weren’t.

“Don’t piss them off,” I warned, acting afraid. Darius rolled his eyes. They started out with a pretty bad version of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” which John had told me was one of their ‘signature’ songs.

After that, Ryan looked at me, pretty amazed. “Dude, they are not good,” he said, in a drawn out fashion to emphasize his point.

“Duh,” I said. But John was my cousin, and my friend, and that trumped whether he had any talent or not, and guaranteed that I’d be supportive.

“It would help if their drummer could keep the fucking beat,” Darius said.

“He’s pretty much their weakest link,” I agreed, then did a bad imitation of that British bitch that was on the game show. “You are the weakest link!”

We listened to a series of rap songs, and just drank more alcohol to dull the pain. They did ‘Suga Suga’ and John focused on the chicks when he sang, making them all freak out. “Dude, they want to be Nelly, but they’re more like Vanilla Ice,” Darius said, cracking me up.

“After this one, we’re going to take a break,” John announced, then looked at all the girls in front. “You won’t want to miss the ending.”

I took that as my cue to get out my camera. They did a painful version of “Shake Ya Tailfeather”, and then at the end, all four of the guys walked up front. They grouped together, as if in a huddle, and shouted, “We are…STARPHISH!” As soon as they yelled ‘Starphish’, John pivoted around, pumping his fist in the air, while Mike and Cam pulled down his pants. And there, on his naked ass, was a pretty big tattoo of a starfish. I took about three pictures, and then I had to stop because I was laughing so hard.

“Dude,” Darius said, shaking his head even as he laughed.

Marie walked over to us, shaking her head like Darius. “Holy shit. My parents are going to lose it.” But then we started laughing some more.

John dealt with his fans, and then came over to where Ryan, Kayla, Marie, and I were hanging out. “What’d you think?” John asked Ryan.

“Dude, I am having a blast,” Ryan said enthusiastically, which made John beam.

“Yep,” Darius agreed, in his clipped way.

“You have a cute ass,” I teased.

“Duh,” he said, then focused on his sister. “We are going to win the talent show this year.” The talent show was one of the two big fund raising events we did at Menlo. It was in the fall, and then there was a play in the spring. It was a tradition that the seniors would win, and this year, Marie was in charge of the committee putting the thing together. What John had just done to her was a major challenge. This was the Menlo equivalent of those times in the old days when a guy would slap another guy to challenge him to a duel.

Marie kept her cool and just looked at John and raised an eyebrow. She looked so much like Aunt Claire when she did that. “I think not,” she said with disdain.

“The seniors are going down. Starphish will win for the juniors,” John said, being cocky. The seniors always won; it was like a tradition. There was no way Marie was going to let the seniors lose when she was in charge.

“Alright, I’ll make you a bet,” she said.

“Go on,” John said.

“You perform at the talent show, and you do your ending just like you did there, and if the juniors win, I’ll get a tattoo to match yours,” she said.

John grinned, and then stuck out his hand. “Deal.” They shook on it, while Ryan looked at me, mildly confused.

“Dude, you’re going down,” I said to John. There was no way he would beat Marie. She was too organized, and too fucking smart.

“Nope,” he said, being all cocky. “This one is in the bag.”

“You know that the talent show has a theme,” Marie said to John.

“So,” John replied suspiciously.

“This year, the theme is ‘Hairspray’, since that’s the play the drama department is putting on,” she announced with a shit-eating grin.

“Doesn’t mean we have to sing ‘Hairspray’ songs,” he objected.

“No, it means you have to perform songs from the late ’50s or early ’60s,” she said.

“As if,” he disagreed.

“Those are the rules,” she affirmed. “And I know, because I made them.”

“Fuck you,” John said, all pissed off.

“You’re not that versatile?” I taunted him, just for fun. “You guys aren’t talented enough to win with something besides Chingy?”

“You’re not going to puss out on your bet, are you?” Darius challenged.

John glared at us, then smiled. “Nope. We’ll win anyway.”

“Sure you will,” Marie taunted, so pleased with herself.

John walked back up onto the stage. “This is our last song tonight. We did this one for Tricia, because Chris made us.”

“Who’s that?” Ryan whispered.

“That chick,” I said, pointing at some blond with teased up hair. “She’s from Tennessee or someplace like that. Chris keeps trying to go out with her, but he’s so fucking shy, it’s not working.”

“Christ,” Ryan said, shaking his head. They totally changed their genre, and started singing John Mayer’s ‘Your body is a wonderland.’ John Mayer was totally lame, but they nailed the song. They were really good when they weren’t trying to be rap stars.

“They actually did that one pretty well,” Ryan said when it was done.

“Dude, they’re only good if they do John Mayer?” Darius asked sarcastically.

“Seems like it,” I agreed. I looked over at Marie. “They sing like this at the talent show, you better get your ass ready for that tattoo.”

Copyright © 2018 Mark Arbour; All Rights Reserved.

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Chapter Comments

Are we going to see a complete new make over of JJ for the better for him and the rest of the family
I think that Seff's confidence in him will prove correct
It will be interesting to see how Alex plays his hand and the charges against ME
Buzz's action not sure if this is an added string or just adding to the mystery
Good one Mark

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Fantastic chapter, Mark! I love how JJ figured out how much skating fucked up his life. Looking forward to the reunion (for a given value thereof) with Alex.

 

Also, the whole situation with Buzz is getting weirder and weirder. Is Brad going to end up hooking up with yet another guy who's been with one of his sons? :unsure:

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Buzz is a player?
JJ is done skating, but is he really ready for Alex or whatever else he decides to mess with?
John doing John Mayer and nailing it?
So many questions and hopefully some answers in about a week. Please!

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That was so not cool of Buzz. It seemed like an echo of Alex in a small way. HIs hosts are JJ's grandfathers and father, and I'm trying to wrap my head around why he would think this appropriate? At JJ's condo, sure, if he's not going to be working closely with his father... I don't know... I get the feeling he's up to something, and JJ's a pawn of sorts.
It'll be interesting to see the reunion between JJ and Alex. I loved that JJ pitched skating. It seemed like the right reasons for him. Now he has no restrictions to worry about, and he's on a mission to help his dad? Using Alex would be awesome, especially if he gets the last laugh for the way he was treated.
Maybe John will find the right genre, and go on to be a big star... the music business could be cool to explore. Thanks for another great chapter, Mark... cheers... Gary...

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On 04/15/2016 08:55 AM, prklux said:

Are we going to see a complete new make over of JJ for the better for him and the rest of the family

I think that Seff's confidence in him will prove correct

It will be interesting to see how Alex plays his hand and the charges against ME

Buzz's action not sure if this is an added string or just adding to the mystery

Good one Mark

Glad you liked the chapter.

 

JJ is a tortured soul, and destined to remain that way in my evil hands.

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On 04/15/2016 10:25 AM, impunity said:

Fantastic chapter, Mark! I love how JJ figured out how much skating fucked up his life. Looking forward to the reunion (for a given value thereof) with Alex.

 

Also, the whole situation with Buzz is getting weirder and weirder. Is Brad going to end up hooking up with yet another guy who's been with one of his sons? :unsure:

JJ is pretty good at working things out, and that can't have been an easy decision. It was probably sitting under the surface, rubbing against his subconscious

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On 04/15/2016 11:24 AM, Daddydavek said:

Buzz is a player?

JJ is done skating, but is he really ready for Alex or whatever else he decides to mess with?

John doing John Mayer and nailing it?

So many questions and hopefully some answers in about a week. Please!

I visualize John and his group and laugh. They're so white-upper-class trying so hard to be rappers...and it's just not working.

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On 04/15/2016 11:44 AM, Headstall said:

That was so not cool of Buzz. It seemed like an echo of Alex in a small way. HIs hosts are JJ's grandfathers and father, and I'm trying to wrap my head around why he would think this appropriate? At JJ's condo, sure, if he's not going to be working closely with his father... I don't know... I get the feeling he's up to something, and JJ's a pawn of sorts.

It'll be interesting to see the reunion between JJ and Alex. I loved that JJ pitched skating. It seemed like the right reasons for him. Now he has no restrictions to worry about, and he's on a mission to help his dad? Using Alex would be awesome, especially if he gets the last laugh for the way he was treated.

Maybe John will find the right genre, and go on to be a big star... the music business could be cool to explore. Thanks for another great chapter, Mark... cheers... Gary...

Thanks for the review!

 

I think it's safe to say that Buzz is being sleazy by damn near any definition of things. It will be interesting to see inside his mind (to the degree that we can) and find out what's going on.

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I'm not totally sure what to think of this chapter. It seems to me that this "thing" with Buzz came out of left field. Why now? Why with JJ? I had sort of imagined him hooking up with Brad. Can't really see Stef misreading Buzz. And then, of course, Alex rears his ugly head. Will JJ exact his well deserved revenge?
Well...no matter what to think, the chapter was, as usual, well written and thought provoking. Thanks, Mark! Next?

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Well, damn. There went my timeline for JJ's career up to 2006. Oh, well.
Seriously, it made sense. I believed it. And I always got the feeling that you were a little annoyed that we had to work his career in hence always forcing us to change the timeline, and we also had to have him maintain his Disney virginal image. I get why you did away with those restrictions, and it really doesn't feel like it came out of nowhere. Skating really stopped being JJ's entire life during the Streak.

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Shit..... I hope JJ doesn't kill anyone....

 

On the bright side.... I saw a house in Los Altos in today'S WSJ that is for sell for $88 million. As if I'd ever pay that to live freakin' inland in Nor Cal.

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Not often I am totally caught off guard but this chapter did it for me... So loving that we are getting a glimpse into this world again, Mark, you are a genius...

 

JJ is working into one of my favorite people in this story. Loved the thought process he was going through and how he was weighting every option. So glad that he decided to move on past the skating; going out on top as the U.S. National Champion will always give him a certain cache. Being forced out because of an injury also gives him a certain sympathy vibe that could help him as well. His celebrity, his family, and his money will give in an entrance into fashion that few others could ever match; that with his inbreed sense of style and taste will make him a player in his own right faster than most but then you through Bellona in as his mentor and watch out... I sort of think he is going to go after Alex, Mary Ellen, and even Elizabeth to some extent. Wouldn't it be a hoot for him to be the one to bring the Black Widow to heel???? Makes me want to go hmmmm....

 

Will handled everything fairly well in this chapter; but I do think that even Will under estimates JJ and that may come back to bite him and the rest of them... So glad that Ryan is coming up; Will so needed a new wingman, well at least to the point that he needs one at all. The interaction at the party was interesting on a few levels.

 

Damn, could John and his group switch genres and end up being actually good? You know the music business has never really had a staring role in the CAP series; could this be a good entrance to that world?

 

Have never been sure of Buzz and have to say that after this chapter; I am way more unsure of him than ever. When he was asking Will about showing him the gym; I actually had a picture of something similar to what happened occurring but with Will, but this with JJ just really caught be totally off guard. Color me confused...

 

Keep up the Great Wonderful Inspired work, Mark...

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Just wow. :o

 

Of all the characters in play, Buzz was not on my radar. It should of been.

 

And now I wonder how bad Buzz's son is going to be.

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