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    Parker Owens
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

A to Z - 32. Chapter 32: Seasons

Seasons

No special warnings needed for this chapter.

Go to the A to Z story thread for further discussion of issues or ideas or questions raised by this or any other chapter. See you there.

October 30

I spent the weekend cleaning gutters for Mrs. M and doing light housework for the Abbotts. I’m OK with ladders and heights. You just have to be careful. Still, the ladder to get to the second floor gutters at Mrs. M’s is pretty long, and a bit wobbly. I was glad to be done.

It’s a nasty, wet job. I can only be happy that the weather was clear and a little warmer than earlier in the month. Is this what they call ‘Indian summer?’

Mrs. Marjorie is giving me winter prep jobs every weekend because she’s leaving for a while just before Thanksgiving. I don’t remember exactly when that is – the end of the month, sometime. She told me on Saturday after I’d finished with the gutters.

“Andrew, I have to give you some news.”

Startled, I was all attention. “Yes, ma’am.”

“I’m going to go visit my sister in Arizona right before Thanksgiving. I won’t have work for you – at least, not regular work – after that.”

I took a second to digest this. No work. I’d come to rely on the steady income from Mrs. M and the Abbotts. It had kept me from digging into the money I’d earned this summer. I should have known it couldn’t last forever. Now I’d have to think about how long my summer cash stash would last if I had to live off it through the winter and spring.

“Yes, ma’am. Thanks for letting me know.”

“Of course, if it snows, I might need some help clearing it out. But you’ve got school, and you can’t be taking time from your studies every day during the winter. It’s bad enough that I ruin your weekends.”

“That’s OK, Mrs. M. I don’t mind.”

“You don’t mind the money, either, do you?” she asked, chuckling.

I shrugged at that one.

“And speaking of your studies, I’ll expect to hear about your report card next week.”

I was startled at that one. “How did you know it’s due this week?”

“You work in that school for thirty years, and you’ll know when everything happens, too.”

I hated to break it to her, but if they mailed my report card home, I’d never get a look at it. My report card was never going to make it home. It would arrive at the law office of Garret A. Stevenson, Esq., the address I’d had to give at the beginning of the school year. I just hoped the lawyer wasn’t going to puzzle too hard over it.

After work, I made my weekly trek to the grocery store to cash my checks and buy supplies for the week. One of the good things about going back to school is the two meals a day available at school. Breakfast is OK, but it’s important to make lunch at Blackburn High School into a Eustace Whitley ‘dinner,’ because supper is always a pretty lean affair in the Library supply closet.

I usually get some dried fruit, fresh fruit, hard salami or pepperoni, cereal, crackers, peanut butter, and that kind of thing. Basically, I’ll get anything that is cheap and which will last the week in the closet. I tried getting some veggies once, but that didn’t work out too well. Celery and carrots are about the only things that will last more than a day or two. If I had access to a microwave or a stove, I could get ramen noodles cheap. Too bad I can't get into the faculty room.

The store displays were full of Halloween Candy – I’d forgotten that Halloween was tomorrow. The halls were decorated with posters of witches and black cats and ghosts and such. Funny that I didn't really pick up on it.

We never did anything for Halloween back home in Carlsberg. Our house was menacing enough to me without imagining further horrors just for kicks. When Terry asked me what I was going to be for Halloween, I looked at her blankly.

Maybe I should dress up as my Dad – but the only person getting scared would be me. Anyways, I wasn’t going to buy any candy. Too expensive.

My budget for the week is pretty tight – I figure I can afford about $25 a week, which has to feed me through all of Saturday and Sunday, plus supper for every other day, plus laundry and the occasional haircut. And then there’s the problem of clothes. It’s getting clearer that I’m actually growing a little. Some things are tighter than they used to be. Maybe I’m just getting fat. If I work harder, or if I don’t eat so much, maybe I won’t need to buy new clothes.

Mrs. M’s news that she was letting me go meant that I’d have to make do on whatever work the Abbots could give me, plus my summer cash stash. I thought uneasily about that. The way I figured it, I might – maybe – have enough summer cash to last me until May.

Well, I’ll worry about that when the time comes. School tomorrow is worry enough for tonight.

 

November 1

Halloween passed pretty uneventfully yesterday. Student Council encouraged people to dress up, and a lot of people did their best. Kaz and Terry came to school dressed as space aliens – don’t know how or where they got the costumes – and Terry looked pretty cute, for a space creature.

Zander didn’t dress up, and neither did I. Kaz gave us both a hard time about not being in costume.

At lunch, Terry quizzed me about my grades.

“I haven’t seen them yet,” I answered, in response to her query.

“What? How can you not bear to look at least?”

Kaz and Zander smirked at her.

“She just wants to know how you did in Physics,” her boyfriend put in.

Terry made a face.

“My report card hasn’t gotten to my house yet.” And it never will, either.

“Didn’t you look online?”

I shrugged.

“Andy, didn’t they tell you about the school web portal?” asked Zander, disbelieving.

I shook my head.

“Figures. Look, I can show you how that works later. Then miss busybody can get all her answers.”

That felt good. I’d have another excuse to hang out with Zander, even as the after school art stuff was coming to a close.

The conversation shifted. A voice from farther down the table asked:

“So Zander, are you doing anything for your birthday?”

Birthday? Zander had a birthday? When?

“No. We’ve got regionals coming up the day after, so I didn’t want to plan anything. I think my parents are taking me out to dinner.”

Kaz nodded sagely, and Terry rolled her eyes at that.

It took me a second to remember that ‘regionals’ meant the regional qualifying races for cross-country runners.

“Are you and Kaz both running on Saturday?” I asked.

“Yup,” answered Kaz. “I’ve got a shot at a slot at states, and my partner here just might pull off an upset, too.”

This earned him a punch in the arm from Zander and laughter from everyone, even though I didn’t get the whole joke. Zander could see I was a little lost, so he explained.

“Kaz is the hot-shot runner, Andy. I tag along with him all season. I’m lucky to go to regionals, really. Once I’m done, I can start swimming.”

Swimming? I could see that. Zander looked like he could be a great swimmer. He was gorgeous without a shirt on…stop that. I can’t think like that. Can’t give myself away.

“Are you a swimmer?” asked Terry.

“No,” I said shortly. “I suck at swimming.”

Terry didn’t see the look of disappointment flash in Zander’s eyes, but I did. Shit.

“You really have to see Zander at some of his meets this season,” she went on, “he’s incredibly fast.”

I nodded, unable to get the image of Zander in a bathing suit out of my mind.

Today at lunch, Kaz and Zander were missing. Some kind of team meeting. Another girl, Alyssa, occupied Kaz’s usual seat across from Terry. I hesitated for a second before setting my tray down.

“Hey, Andy, come on sit down,” urged Terry. “We’re trying to plan a party for Zander’s birthday on Saturday.”

I nodded, warily.

“So Alyssa’s parents are willing to host a surprise party. I think that’s pretty cool of them,” she continued.

Alyssa smiled coyly. I wondered if something was up. Were she and Zander a couple?

“So you and Kaz will get the cake. I can manage the ‘beverages,’” Alyssa simpered, making air quotes, “and we’ll just ask people to bring snacks and munchies.”

I kind of zoned out, as they talked about times and how to surprise Zander and all that. I was getting uncomfortable, really. I mean, parties and I don’t mix. I don't want any part of the small talk that might get me into trouble. My Fourth of July Adventure was a disaster. No point in repeating that.

In the end, I raced through my lunch and left them to their planning.

Today, Zander and I met again after school in the art room. I waited patiently for the room to clear. I watched him get out his drawing tools and his sketchbook. Mr. Karpus emerged from his office and approached.

“Zander, I’ve looked at your sketches from last week. They’re pretty good.” He looked over at me. “And I think you owe your friend here for doing so many poses.”

Zander smiled at me. That was all the thanks I needed.

Mr. Karpus went on. “I think you can develop this one, and maybe that one,” pointing out two sketches in the book from last week. “I know I said only one, but these are good enough that it would be a shame not to do them both, don’t you agree?”

“Sure, Mr. K.,” Zander assented, nodding.

“OK, so I’ll let you two get on with it.”

The office door closed.

“Andy, could you get curled up on the chair again like you did last week?”

Once again, I found myself staring out the window, trying hard not to be aware of Zander. Not just his eyes, but the fluid way his body moved, the look of concentration on his face, and the sound of the way he breathed. Zander moved around, trying to catch an angle, some detail. I did my best not to think about it. I wonder if Zander will let me see the drawings when they’re done?

Eventually, Zander broke the silence.

“OK, now I need you to lie down on the tables again. And Andy, can you take off your boots this time?”

We pushed the tables together again, and I complied. I decided to take off my socks, too. No need to advertise how ratty my clothes are. Then again, Zander probably has a pretty good idea about that already. Maybe he thinks they add character, or something.

This time, lying down, it was easier to zone out. I closed my eyes and started thinking about swimming. I began to daydream about Luis and Ignacio from this summer. My daydreams must have turned to real dreams, as I drifted off. I saw those beautiful, golden, naked boys in the stream. We were playing again, horsing around in the summer heat. And then, somehow, in the dream, Zander was there, too. In my fantasy, I felt myself being tackled from behind again, like before, but in the dream, I was feeling Zander’s cock wedged perfectly in my ass.

And this time, I wasn’t afraid, or ashamed. In the dream, I turned to him and smiled.

“Nice dream, Andy?” Zander’s hand was on my shoulder again.

I sat bolt upright. Shit. Was I hard? Did he see? I blinked and tried to focus. Yes, I was hard. Very hard. No, I don’t think he saw. I got up facing away from him so that he wouldn’t. I felt incredibly embarrassed.

“How do you know what I was dreaming?” I challenged.

“I don’t. But the smile on your face was…really beautiful.” His voice trailed off.

I turned. His eyes met mine for an instant. I couldn’t take it. It was too much. I looked away.

“Anyways, I got what I needed. Thanks for your help.” He shifted awkwardly.

I shrugged. “No problem.”

I looked around for my backpack.

“So, you gonna go home barefoot, or what?” Zander asked, grinning.

“Shit. I forgot about that.”

“Forgot? How can you forget your own shoes?”

Easy to do when you live at school. Cover up. Give nothing away. A simple shrug was a good enough response. But I couldn't help a small smile of my own.

Zander looked at his watch. “Hell, I’m way late for running. I gotta go. See you tomorrow?”

“Sure,” I nodded and watched him leave.

Craftingmom edited this chapter and all the others. I am profoundly grateful for her help and encouragement.

Please leave a review. Your comments and reflections of all stripes and varieties are most welcome.

Copyright © 2016 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

Well the address thing may bite him on the ass. ...return mail? He can't afford a po box. And how often can you move or make a mistake. Do they really mail them? I always took mine home.

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On 11/28/2015 01:41 AM, Mikiesboy said:

Well the address thing may bite him on the ass. ...return mail? He can't afford a po box. And how often can you move or make a mistake. Do they really mail them? I always took mine home.

Yup, it's common enough to mail them. Too many kids intercepting their not-too-good marks on the way to mom and dad. And the address thing? Andy really is hoping the lawyer is too busy to read his mail. Who knows if that's going to be the case....glad you read this!

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Andy is getting caught up in the swirl that is Zander. He seems to be getting a little careless with it too.
I think Zander is getting a little lost in the swirl that is Andy.

 

Zander should invite him to the dinner rather than the party ...as if!

 

The lawyer is not going to ignore the card. Not with Andy having his last name. Not if he's any kind of lawyer. Maybe it'll be a break for Andy in the long run.

 

Great chapter Parker!

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Holy, you know I hadn't considered the mailing of the report card. My school goes up to 6th grade and I guess we trust the kids we still just put it in their backpacks. Totally forgot high school is another animal.. So yeah, the lawyer will have questions.. Oh boy! Trying not to think too far, but I've lost my train of thought..
The party for Zander sounds like a disaster to Andy, but I bet it will turn out good. If he goes. You're going to let him go right...
Good chapter Parker..

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Oh, they are ever so slowly inching towards each other. It's a good thing Zander is as inexperienced as Andy, so they both move at a snail's pace. Anything faster and either boy might bolt...

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Zanders birthday, what is Andy going to do for him? Mailing of his report card to his unknown lawer! Winter work coming to a halt. Lots to look forward to in upcoming chapters. Good work Parker!

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On 11/28/2015 07:41 AM, slapshot said:

Zanders birthday, what is Andy going to do for him? Mailing of his report card to his unknown lawer! Winter work coming to a halt. Lots to look forward to in upcoming chapters. Good work Parker!

There is so much for speculation. But the constant is Andy's conditioned caution and wariness. He's been hurt and battered by ill fortune too often to think otherwise. But it has bee fun to write about Zander and Andy's coming together so far. That you so much for reading to this point, and hope you enjoy what's coming - next chapter comes up on Sunday.

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On 11/28/2015 05:48 AM, Puppilull said:

Oh, they are ever so slowly inching towards each other. It's a good thing Zander is as inexperienced as Andy, so they both move at a snail's pace. Anything faster and either boy might bolt...

Inching is the right word, Zander is inexperienced and Andy is wary and both are shy. Very perceptive of you to remark that too much too soon could unnerve either one. But they clearly seem to get along so far, though Andy is the one who is most inexperienced at the whole friendship thing. Zander isn't as dangerous as Andy thought he was....not yet, at least.

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On 11/28/2015 05:25 AM, Defiance19 said:

Holy, you know I hadn't considered the mailing of the report card. My school goes up to 6th grade and I guess we trust the kids we still just put it in their backpacks. Totally forgot high school is another animal.. So yeah, the lawyer will have questions.. Oh boy! Trying not to think too far, but I've lost my train of thought..

The party for Zander sounds like a disaster to Andy, but I bet it will turn out good. If he goes. You're going to let him go right...

Good chapter Parker..

Thinking too far ahead and who knows what could happen? Andy's track record has not been good. He is surely hoping that his grades will go into the junk mail or returned mail pile, and then nobody will notice. There isn't much he can do about that now. Andy clearly is unhappy with the idea of the party; and after his fiasco at Toby's who can blame him? That you for your perceptive reading, and hope it is enjoyable. Next chapter comes up Sunday!

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On 11/28/2015 04:11 AM, skinnydragon said:

Andy is getting caught up in the swirl that is Zander. He seems to be getting a little careless with it too.

I think Zander is getting a little lost in the swirl that is Andy.

 

Zander should invite him to the dinner rather than the party ...as if!

 

The lawyer is not going to ignore the card. Not with Andy having his last name. Not if he's any kind of lawyer. Maybe it'll be a break for Andy in the long run.

 

Great chapter Parker!

Glad you liked this chapter. It was fun to write. Zander is definitely getting drawn to Andy; Andy is attracted and scared at the same time. The party for Zander might turn out very badly, and he knows it. Zander is being a typical teenager: committed to so much, and sometimes hard for him to see outside his own little box. He has no idea what's going on in Andy's head, and they're not really friends enough for him to ask. Thanks so much for staying with the story so far. Next chapter is on Sunday!

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It's a good thing it's a surprise party, because I don't think Andy could say no if Zander invited him. But I'm sure, in fact I hope, he'll say no to Terry, or at least shrug her off. His gut instincts about such an event being much too dangerous is spot on.
But Zander is going to be pretty upset when Andy isn't there - or maybe not, since he's still in the closet (to everyone but Kaz and Terry perhaps). So he probably prefers seeing Andy on his own and not at a party.

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On 11/28/2015 11:28 PM, Timothy M. said:

It's a good thing it's a surprise party, because I don't think Andy could say no if Zander invited him. But I'm sure, in fact I hope, he'll say no to Terry, or at least shrug her off. His gut instincts about such an event being much too dangerous is spot on.

But Zander is going to be pretty upset when Andy isn't there - or maybe not, since he's still in the closet (to everyone but Kaz and Terry perhaps). So he probably prefers seeing Andy on his own and not at a party.

Andy is torn between wanting to feel included, and the fear of yet another disaster at a party. He feels like a social mess, and he may be right. Of course, he really can't explain can he? There is always the option of withdrawal or flight, but the stakes are so much higher this time....Thanks for your review and for sticking with the story!

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I think Andy has made a mistake with the address, it will come back to bite him. I wonder what Andy will do for Zander birthday.

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35 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

I think Andy has made a mistake with the address, it will come back to bite him. I wonder what Andy will do for Zander birthday.

Oh it's so hard to reply to your comments without giving anything away except to say the address thing will come up again...I'm dangerously close to saying too much I'll stop here lol.

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2 hours ago, chris191070 said:

I think Andy has made a mistake with the address, it will come back to bite him. I wonder what Andy will do for Zander birthday.

You will have a chance later to judge whether Andy made a mistake or not. I'm glad there was something you wondered about when you finished the chapter.

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