Moving Over - 1. Chapter 1
Boy meets boy
Stepping out into the mid morning sun, Zane felt like he was some prehistoric creature crawling out from it's cave for the first time in millennia being blinded by the light. In a way it was kind of true. He had been cooped up in his house ever since the summer had started and after an entire week of laying on his bed, in his underwear, binge watching shows on his laptop, he was getting a little stir crazy. Today, on a whim, he decided to get dressed and go walking around the neighborhood. Who goes walking? Old people? People with dogs go walking, people who exercise go walking, and now apparently half crazed teenage boys with literally nothing else to do go walking too.
At first Zane had decided he was going to wander around aimlessly like a little lost child looking for anything even mildly interesting to do. Then he spotted the moving truck a few houses down and thought he'd see what all of the fuss was about. As he slowly made his way down their cozy little street he remembered who's house it was; or rather, who's it used to be. That was Old Man Jenkins' house. He died. From what Zane had heard, apparently he died of a heart attack while talking Mrs. Hennessy. She told a joke, he laughed, he died. Laughing wasn't really a bad way to go, Zane guessed, but needless to say Mrs. Hennessy wasn't going to be telling anyone that joke anytime soon. It was cursed now. Still, Old Man Jenkins lived alone with no one to inherit the house and so it was only a matter of time before someone else moved in. Zane wondered what kind of people they would be. Would they be old, like a lot of the other residents? Would they be boring like his family? Or maybe, just maybe, they'd be fun and interesting.
Zane looked around at the other houses in this quiet little slice of suburbia. There weren't that many interesting people around, mostly your typical elderly couple or middle class family. There weren't really many other kids around his age he could hang out with, or wanted to hang out with, and although he didn't mind baby sitting younger ones from time to time, he didn't really want to spend all of his time around those babies. Basically he was by himself a lot and that was becoming incredibly boring. Zane hoped beyond hope that he would find a kid his age. In fact, just in case that scenario came up, he pulled out his phone to use as a mirror so he could look himself over. He sighed and pulled his beanie lower over most of the scraggly mess of hair he had. He hadn't though about styling it today and now he was regretting it a bit. Overall he was…satisfactory? It wasn't like he was Creature From the Black Lagoon ugly, but people weren't exactly lining up to date him. I mean, there were a few girls and a few rumors of "she thinks you're cute" and "OMG she was totally staring at your butt" but Zane brushed those off. It wasn't his thing. Still, it wouldn't hurt to look on-point when meeting new neighbors. First impressions and all that.
Zane eventually came up to the house with the moving truck parked out in front of the yard. At first he couldn't see anyone around, which he thought was weird, until he saw what looked like a rather drunk stack of boxes, wobbling around on two very shaky, very scrawny legs. For a moment Zane could only stare until he realized there was a person under there and that person was about to drop the top few boxes. Quickly he swooped in and caught them just as they toppled and the other person gave a little yelp.
"S***! Oh! Wait, what?" said a little voice. Zane readjusted his grip on the boxes and looked up to the biggest, bluest pair of eyes he'd ever seen. Connected to them was an angelic looking face, slim, smooth, and free of blemishes. It was a boy, maybe a bit younger than Zane's age, and he was magnificent. It was like staring at a unicorn next to a pristine lake, under a rainbow, with the sunrise shining in the background, and doves rising into the air, and-I mean, if Bambi turned into a human, this is what he'd look like. His big fawn eyes, wide with confusion, were nestled below a curly bramble of dirty blonde hair giving him a very messy, boyish look. Zane's heart nearly stopped.
"Umm" came barely a whisper and Zane shook himself out of his trance. Dang, he was caught staring.
"Thank you" peeped the boy, shyly, looking down at the one box that he didn't drop. He was so quiet, like he was afraid some one might actually hear him. Instantly Zane felt kind of sorry for him.
"No problem," Zane said and shook himself again. This was it. It was now or never to make a new friend, and so cute too. "My name is Zane."
The boy looked up then quickly back down again and whispered a quick "hi."
Zane waited, the moments ticking by before saying "and what's your name?"
The other boy's eyes widened in panic "Oh! Sorry, s***! Umm I'm-my name is Jack."
Zane chuckled a bit to himself. Jack was adorable, stumbling over his introductions like that and-wait, was he blushing? No way, this kid was not-I mean, it would be too perfect. As Zane was telling himself not to jinx it, the weight in his arms suddenly reasserted itself.
"Ssso," he said "about these boxes?" Jack looked up again in a mini panic.
"OMG! ****! I'm sorry! Umm you can just stack them back on top here." Jack wanted Zane to stack the boxes back up again, but for some reason he just didn't trust those toothpick arms of Jack's. Zane looked at him
"Because that totally worked out well the first time." Goodness, he didn't mean to sound so sarcastic but it was kind of funny, kind of true.
"Oh…" Jack's voice was just barely audible.
"I'll help you bring it in, but can we, you know, hurry a little. These are kind of heavy."
"S***! Sorry!" That seemed to be Jack's favorite two words today. Such a potty mouth for someone who looked so innocent. Jack told Zane to follow him and together they walked down the driveway into the house. They entered the living room and Zane saw that it was pretty vacant. Someone did a very good job of cleaning out Old Man Jenkins' clutter and now it seemed so empty with only stacks of boxes here and there taking up the space. Jack literally dropped his box on the floor with a thud.
"You can stack them here" he said and Zane gently laid them down, his arms grateful at last. It wasn't like he was much of a lightweight. Zane had done his fair share of sports like running, soccer, and swimming, and although he didn't really classify himself as an athlete, per se, he was at least fit. Still, those boxes were heavier than he expected and he tried not to show how much he had actually had to work. Jack turned to him and Zane finally took a good look at the boy. He was a few inches shorter than he, but so thin you could have fit him through the mail slot in the front door. His arms and legs were like twigs and he was a big gangly. It didn't really help that he was wearing the skinniest pair of jeans he' ever seen and an oversized V-neck t-shirt, it just made him look all the more scrawny. Not that Zane minded, of course, he didn't mind it at all. Zane looked back up into Jack's lovely eyes before he noticed he was being given a weird look. Zane shook himself
"I'm sorry, what?" said Zane.
"I said thanks" Jack said, a little louder this time.
Dang, he was caught staring again. Jack opened his mouth and looked as if he were about to say something when suddenly heavy footsteps stomped down the nearby staircase.
"Hey Jack-off, you little ****, what are you-" a girl's harsh voice cut off as she came into view.
She was older than Jack, maybe the same age as he was, and was very pretty. She had the same bright baby blue eyes and long, blonde hair like you see flipping about in shampoo commercials. She wore a very low cut tank top and an extremely short skirt. Zane instantly knew what he was dealing with.
"Oh" came a soft coo from her lips. In a blink she changed her tone, trying to be cute and perky. "And who are you?" she asked.
Zane looked at Jack but he merely stared at his shoes with a disgusted look on his face. Zane turned back to the girl now draping herself down the stairs. "I'm Zane, I was helping Jack carry in boxes."
"Oh you're so sweet" she cooed, flowing down the stairs into the living room. "And so strong! Thank you for helping the little twig carry those heavy, heavy boxes."
This was kind of gross. Dang, girl, have you no shame? Zane only smiled awkwardly as she sauntered over to him.
"Well, they were heavy" said Zane and he looked over at the poor boy melting into his shoes "I give him props for carrying them so far. I don't think I could have done that alone."
Jack peeked up and Zane could just barely see the beginnings of a smile. His sister, on the other hand glared at him menacingly.
"Please, that little prick can't do anything right."
"Shut up, Meg!" said Jack. Zane was shocked he piped up and smiled. That kid had spunk after all.
"What did you say, you piece of s***!?"
Okay, now it was getting dicey. Jack glared back and said "This is all your s***, you should've been carrying it! I already brought in all my stuff!"
"F*** you, you f***ing rat!" Meg was yelling.
Zane was about to step in between them when a voice came down the stairs.
"What in heaven's name is going on here?" An middle-aged woman, Zane was guessing their mother, quickly made her way down the steps and her eyes lighted on him. "Who are you?" she asked, skeptical concern painted her face.
"Mom," said Meg in her sweetest voice, "This is-umm…"
She suddenly realized she didn't even know his name and Zane spoke up as politely as he could.
"Hi, my name is Zane. I helped Jack bring in some boxes, I'm sorry if I'm intruding."
"Yeah, mom, isn't he so sweet?" A disappointing look flashed over her face. Zane guessed this wasn't the first time she had a strange boy in their house, and he could only guess Meg had everything to do with it. Still his politeness paid off and their mother turned to Zane.
"Thank you for helping out, Zane, and it's okay. Now what is with all the yelling down here? I thought we talked about you two getting along."
Jack piped up almost to everyone's shock. "I had to carry in all of Meg's boxes!"
"Not all of my boxes, you little liar!"
"Alright, alright," their mother interjected. "That's enough!"
Both children were silent.
"Jack," said their mother calmly, "was that the last of the boxes from the truck?"
Jack nodded, staring at his shoes again.
"Good. Now that that's done, we can all take a little break if your two can stop fighting for one second, please." Both were silent. "Okay, Zane thank you again, you're welcome to-" she looked over at Meg a bit disapprovingly, "to make yourself at home."
Meg's eyes lit up and she turned to him "Oh, come on Zane, you can help me bring those boxes up and unpack!"
Zane could almost feel their mother rolling her eyes. She must have seen this happen many times before. He looked over at Jack, dying, shrinking, trying to take up as little space as he could.
"No," he said. Meg stopped in her tracks and he could feel everyone's eyes on him, stunned. "Sorry, I think I'm going to go. I don't want to be any more of a bother."
The astonishment in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife. He guessed that no one had ever said "no" to her before. Zane turned to Jack who was staring at him, wide-eyed. "Jack, I was going for a walk around the neighborhood if you were done unpacking, or whatever."
That was uncomfortable. It was awkward and the silence that followed was even more so, but Zane couldn't help it, he felt so bad for the poor boy. Jack, however, looked down and only shrugged.
Meg blurted out, "Well, I'm free, so we can go for a walk together, Zane."
He could hear the shock and denial in her voice. He would bet that no boy has ever spurned her advances before, but he wasn't like most boys. Their mother butted in "No, Meg, I believe those are your boxes on the floor and so you need to bring them up to your room."
"But, moooooom!" Meg whined.
"I said no. Start going now, young lady."
Meg huffed and gave Zane sad, puppy dog eyes, but he merely said "Sorry," and she huffed again, grabbing the smallest, lightest box and trudging up the stairs. Zane turned to see their mother looking at him inquisitively.
"It was nice to meet you, Mrs.-" he began.
"Finley" she replied, "Mrs. Finley."
"It was nice to meet you, Mrs. Finley." said Zane and she smiled back at him. He turned to face Jack who quickly looked back down at his shoes. "I guess I'll see you later?"
The small boy only shrugged again, to Zane's dismay and so with a final goodbye he left.
As Zane continued his walk he thought about the Finley family. They certainly were interesting, to say the least. That Jack. Zane couldn't get Jack out of his head. He had really wanted the boy to come with him, but maybe he just wasn't comfortable enough around him yet.
"Hey!" shouted a small voice and Zane nearly jumped into the road.
"****, I'm sorry! Jack said quickly. He had a look in his eyes like he had just ruined his chance of making a friend by scaring him to death.
Zane could only laugh and told him it was okay.
"You almost gave me a heart-attack" Zane joked.
"I'm sorry…" Jack muttered to his shoes.
"It wouldn't be the first one." Zane said.
"You mean you've already had a heart attack?!"
"What? No, no, no. Old Man Jenkins, the guy who owned your house before, he died of a heart attack."
"…You called someone 'Old Man Jenkins?'"
"Well, he was old, he was a man, and his last name was Jenkins so-yeah."
"How original." Jack muttered.
Zane looked over at him, laughed, and said "Shut up."
Jack's lips curled into a little smile and as they walked alongside each other. Together they walked along the street, watching people go about their day, and Zane explained who lived in each house and what they were like. Jack asked a few questions here and there but he mostly stayed quiet. Still, Zane felt like he was slowly warming up to him bit by bit. When they reached the end of the street Zane pointed out the quaint little shopping center across the busy main road. It was small and usually very slow compared to the ones in the big cities, but it was a close convenience. Zane himself would walk over to the mall sometimes if he got really bored, but growing up here, he had seen most of what they had to offer there. He offered to take Jack there but the boy said he really didn't want to go, and that he had to be home by lunch, and so they turned back.
On their return Zane started asking Jack about his family. They were your typical family; husband, wife, and two children, but their father was often on the road. He worked as some tech guy for a lot of different companies so he was always on the move from one place to the next and hardly home. Just recently their father had acquired a bunch of new clients in the area and so they all packed their bags and moved to the suburbs. Zane guessed the house was sold at a cheaper price because Old Man Jenkins was a messy person and no one exactly want to move into the house of a dead guy. Mrs. Finley was a writer who worked from home. She was also rather busy all of the time writing columns and articles for different news prints and magazines. That left Jack and his older sister, Meg pretty much to themselves. Meg, as Zane had guessed it, was a slut. She ran through boyfriends like a chain smoker through cigarette packs, and was often bringing home random guys to their house. Zane could see by how Jack talked about her that they never did get along. In fact, she treated him like trash and no one would ever do anything about it because they were busy, or not even there. When Zane pressed Jack to talk about himself, all the boy said was something about staying at home, keeping to himself, and would speak no more.
"Alright, well, here we are." Zane said as they reached Jack's house again. The other boy glanced up at him before quickly looking back down at his feet. Goodness was he adorable.
"Thank you for-umm that? Yeah..." Jack's voice trailed off and he shifted uncomfortably in his shoes. Zane smiled.
"It's cool. Sooo I'll see you again tomorrow? Are you busy?"
Jack looked up, a bit confused. It was like he hadn't expected Zane to want to spend time with him a second time. Zane guessed that Jack thought he was doing this only out of politeness, which certainly wasn't the case. If only the boy knew.
"Tomorrow?" asked Jack.
"Yeah, tomorrow" said Zane, "like, the day that comes after today? It's summer so you shouldn't have school. Are you busy?"
"I know what 'tomorrow' means" Jack shot him a little look and Zane laughed.
"Alright, so are you busy?" asked Zane once more.
"Umm no, I don't think so" said Jack.
"Good!" said Zane, "I'll see you tomorrow then."
Jack paused for a second then nodded and looked up at Zane. Those big blue eyes of his; Zane could get lost in them forever. A little smile graced the boy's lips before he quickly looked down and ran off towards his house, waving goodbye behind him. Zane smiled and chuckled to himself. Oh goodness this boy really was something. On the way home all he did was think about Jack and what they would do tomorrow, and the day after, and they day after that. He vowed that somehow, some day he would get Jack out of his shell, then maybe-maybe it might lead to something amazing. Until then, however, Zane could only dream.
This is what I have so far but there's more to come! If it seems very...vanilla, don't worry, I promise things get a little more interesting from here.
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