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    Thirdly
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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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Distant Calls - 4. Chapter 4- Bonding

Warning: Non-consensual moments.

The food we ate at Garnet Thursday did wonders to calm everyone's initial nerves and tension regarding the tumultuous couple that sat across from us. Even though all the parties involved were gone, we couldn't help but talk more about the gay college couple that stepped in to help. I had no doubt that Leo and Zoey were similar to Kane and Gyro in the sense of 'standing up for injustice.' Rick was also against violence, even if he hadn't reacted as quickly. Though he was similar in stature and build as I was, Kane was fierce and brave. I wanted to be just like him someday.

On the drive back to the school campus, our conversation was lighter, and we fell back to the comfortable joking and laughter as the day before. The warmth of Leo's arm around my shoulders and the lack of tension in the car filled me with relief. So, the second half of the school day was calm and normal.

When we were finally dismissed for the day, the four of us met once again at the parking lot. Rick was eager to drop us all off. As we arrived in front of Leo's house, the amber-eyed teen next to me hesitated. I already knew what Leo would ask before the words were out of his mouth.

"Can you hang out with me for a while today?" Leo asked. "I understand if you'd rather go home, instead."

I took a deep breath. Going to an empty home so early in the afternoon wasn't as appealing as eating anything prepared by Mrs. Kenari's hands. But, going into the Kenari household meant having to face her after yesterday's spook. For a moment, I felt the ghost of Leo's mom's fingers gently brushing my hair back. She was kind and warm...she was everything I imagined my own mom must have been like. If anyone deserved an explanation for my having run off so rudely, it was Mrs. Kenari.

"I'll stay for a bit," I decided aloud. The smile that formed on Leo's lovely face sparked a bit of bravado within me. At the very least, I wouldn't be facing this alone.

As we stepped out of the car, Zoey dropped down her window. "Listen, you still owe me a moment to talk alone…" she warned. "But, you've gotta apologize to Miss Paulina. So, I'm taking a rain check. Just know that I'll still be cashing that check at some point."

"I got it," I replied. Zoey nodded, seemingly satisfied with my answer. Leo and I looked on as they drove away before threading our hands together and walking inside.

Paulina Kenari had baked up a storm in the kitchen. The scent of pastries wafted throughout the house. It drew forth a loud rumbling from my stomach, which was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life to date.

She rushed out toward us at the sound. "Boys! Welcome home," she greeted. "I'm glad you're hungry because I need you both to be my helpers and tasters today."

In a matter of minutes, she had us stuffing cream puffs with chocolate while she glazed the filled puffs with a layer of darker chocolate. She set nine aside, three for each of us to eat after we finished our sandwiches. By the time I took a bite of the first cream puff, all of my shields were down.

"Momo, tell me more about your extended family," Mrs. Kenari asked in a soft voice. "Do you have any aunts or uncles? Cousins?"

I wiped off some of the chocolate residues from my mouth with the back of my hand before responding. "N-no...I mean, I do have a grandfather, Grandpa Genbu. But, I haven't been in contact with him for a very long time."

"His name is Genbu, as well…" Paulina murmured to herself, and I frowned. I didn't remember ever mentioning my dad's name to her before. Just how much had Zoey told her?

"Grandpa Genbu's a kind soul," I assured. "But, my father and grandfather aren't exactly on speaking terms."

"When was the last time you saw him?" She asked.

"When I was five or six?" I said. "Though I kept asking to see him, my father refused. I never found out exactly why."

"Oh, I can imagine," Leo's mom commented in a testy tone. But, when she glanced my way, the anger in her eyes dissipated. She exchanged a glance with Leo before sending me a rueful smile. "Momo, I'm going to ask you something, and I want you to take enough time to think it over. Don't give me a response right away."

"Okay?" I questioned.

"Zoey told me your birthday is coming up soon," she prompted. "When you turn 18, you have the choice as to where you'd like to live, whether your father likes it or not. How would you like to come live with us from now on? We can try to get into contact with your grandfather if you'd prefer to go live with him instead."

My mind spaced out for a good moment. In my own home, I generally felt like I was trapped in a deep hole with walls made of quicksand that dropped me back down every time I tried to climb back up. Mrs. Kenari and Leo seemed to be offering me a rescue ladder. But, wouldn't that mean leaving my father alone?

The fingers that brushed my hair back snapped me out of the imagery, and I realized I was crying. I don't know how the petite woman managed to do it, but I was then swept into her arms and rocked like a child, my cheek resting against her shoulder as the tears continued to fall. Leo's warm hand rubbed my back in soothing circles. I reached out blindly to clasp his other hand, and the touches seemed to center me. Was that what life with the Kenaris would be like?

Leo helped me with my homework and drew me into a few games in his room after that. I was grateful for any kind of distraction. For years, the only person that knew enough about me to figure out my home environment was Zoey. She must have told her suspicions to Mrs. Kenari, and I had mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, Zoey was a caring best friend who worried about me enough to provide that information. However, now at least three people knew about a life I had hidden away like a dirty secret. Part of me felt exposed and vulnerable.

"Have you noticed?" Leo asked, scattering my thoughts. We had just packed away a deck of cards and were seated on the floor across from one another. "Our symptoms have been steadily settling down with every passing day. I think the more time we spend together helps."

Even with everything out in the open as it was, I was still reluctant to tell the taller teen anything personal. For example, I couldn't really tell whether our symptoms were lessening or not on a grander scale because of all the other pain I had been nursing day after day. He'd only look at me with pity, and I'd ruin the mood.

"Could it be that you want to spend even more time together?" I asked him instead. "What are your thoughts on all this, of the possibility of me living here?"

"Momo," Leo began. He reached out to thread our hands together as if this time it was him who needed the courage. "I don't know if you'll believe me when I say that even though we seem to have had more downs than ups since competition day, I just want to know more about you. I want to be as close to you as you seem to be with Zoey...more, even."

I gave his hand a tight squeeze as I shook my head. "But, Leo, I don't know enough about myself to be able to give you that," I explained. "I've lived most of my life full of fear and desperately hiding that fear from others. I can't even say with certainty that I enjoy being in the chorus. When I first joined, it had been for Zoey…."

"Then, let me tell you what I know thus far," the amber-eyed teen suggested. "You are a loyal friend to one Zoey Shy, a girl that isn't very shy at all despite her name."

"Good point." The very thought caused me to snicker. He was absolutely right. I never really thought of how her last name didn't really suit Zoey's personality.

"You enjoy chocolate cream puffs and quesadillas," Leo continued. "You were the first to react with empathy towards a stranger."

I was about to deny that until I realized that he said "react" and not "act." While I hadn't been the first to act on it, I think I really was the first to sense the abuser's hostile intentions toward that poor woman. Hadn't I grasped Leo's hand the moment I realized she was being attacked?

"And you've been kind enough to spend all this time with me to help curb the symptoms we both feel," he concluded. "Despite being the stronger of the two regarding any kind of physical discomfort."

"Well, it's not something I'd have wished on anyone," I replied. "Aren't you just interpreting everything the way you want?" Regret nagged at me when I saw the hurt I had caused in his eyes before he collected himself again.

"Maybe I am," Leo admitted as he inched closer to me. "Maybe I do want these small gestures of yours to mean more than they do. The blond guy who seemed offended because he believed I thought he wasn't kissable enough...the guy who said my mom was amazing, and who stroked the back of my neck when I looked as green as I felt…."

His face was so close that I could pick out the gold in his amber eyes. My heartbeat stuttered. Way too close. The proximity made me nervous. However, a small part of me was eager and excited to find out what he'd do next.

"I am very interested in that guy," he insisted as he closed the distance.

I immediately closed my eyes. Leo's lips were softer than I remembered. Warmer, too. If our touches calmed the separation symptoms, then a kiss...a kiss was downright euphoric. Did Leo feel as uplifted and energetic as I did?

He pulled away for a moment, but it was to give me another kiss and then a third. Each time, the angle was slightly different. I was the one who met him for the fourth, and suddenly, something soft and gentle became firmer and warmer. Our lips parted, and our tongues met as if we had longed for it.

Though I had never kissed anyone in such a manner, my body seemed to move on its own.

The next thing I knew, I was straddling Leo's lap with my arms wrapped around his upper shoulders while his tongue tried to dominate every inch of my mouth. Was he the one fervently trying to get closer, or was I? With complete and utter reluctance, I forced myself to retreat. I placed my hands on Leo's chest as his dazed eyes sought mine.

"This is not us," I breathed as I tried to clear my head. "This can't be us…."

Leo looked confused for a moment until recognition showed in his eyes. "Momoiro, as difficult as you might find it to believe," he stated as he tugged me close enough to feel the hardness beneath his pants. "I, Leonard James Kenari, definitely want this...not once did I think of Raemka or Nevis when we kissed."

My face exploded in a blush. "I-I'm sorry," I stammered. "It's just that I know I've never kissed anyone like that, and it makes no sense for it to have been so…."

"Satisfying?" Leo supplied, but I shook my head.

"Perfect…"

"And that scares you? The idea of Raemka and Nevis making out instead of us?"

"..."

"I'm just trying to understand what you feel hesitant about," Leo confessed. "Am I not allowed to kiss you?"

"You are!" I refuted far too quickly for my own good. "I just don't want to lose myself...my sense of self...to some Egyptian prince with supposed unfinished business."

I couldn't figure out what the expression on Leo's face meant. Was he upset? Befuddled?

"You seem to like Prince Raemka less than you even like yourself."

"Yes."

"The problem is that I feel our past lives are but another part of us. I've already accepted that I once lived a life as Nevis, a man devoted to a prince. The me who was Nevis and the Leo that I am now are one and the same," he divulged. "But, you seem to be at odds with yourself if you still consider Raemka as a separate entity."

"Yes, that," I agreed. "Exactly that."

With an aggravated groan, the taller teen dropped back until he laid flat on the floor. "So, we can't be too intimate until you sort things out and are comfortable enough to do those kinds of things without the thought of the ghost of Raemka haunting you," he decided.

"Y-You'd be okay with that?"

"Yes, I'll be okay with that," Leo affirmed with a half-smile. "Because I really want to be with you."

At that moment, I knew I was in trouble. I couldn't deny that I craved the same. Leo was someone I wanted to get closer to. My life was complete and utter chaos. But I really did want to be with him. I could hardly believe the offer the Kenaris had given me about living with them.

Leo seemed like he didn't want to pressure me. Mrs. Kenari also hadn't demanded an answer from me, which I was grateful for. When I got home, I had a lot to think about.

Wait, home!

I stood up with a loud gasp, and Leo rose to his feet, as well. How could I have been so stupid to have lost track of time? My arms wrapped around Leo in a good-bye hug that I also hoped would give me a boost of courage for what I needed to face. Though I had intended it to be a quick one, he held me tightly as if he didn't want to let me go. Feeling our bodies flushed together caused another warm blush to rise to my face.

But Leo let me go a moment before I said anything. His face was as sad as mine when he realized I had to part from him. I held a hand to his cheek. "Hey, I'll think seriously about your offer," I comforted despite feeling no comfort myself. "Pass on my thanks to your mom. I never did get to say I was sorry for running out on her yesterday."

"Then tell her yourself," Leo insisted. "It's yet another reason for you to come back to us."

"Okay, I will," I agreed before grabbing my things and heading home.

Not only was I late getting back home, but I had also forgotten to stop by the pizzeria to pick dinner up for my father. I had no idea what to expect when I walked through the door. But, the rising fear had me trembling again. Why was it that I felt like I could set off a landmine with every hesitant step?

"D-dad?"

I found my father in the kitchen with a random array of junk food torn open and strewn across the table. He was leaning back precariously in the chair, rocking on the back two pegs. When he caught sight of me, he rushed over, and the chair clattered onto the floor behind him. The sound made me flinch.

"Edlene, you've come back?" He drawled as he took hold of me by the arms. His eyes darted about, the pupils dilated. The last time I saw him like this, I thought he had been close to death and was talking to the ghost of my mother.

With a bit of research throughout the years, I realized that he was merely high off some sort of drug, likely Ketamine or some other kind of hallucinogen. When I was a kid, I felt heartbroken over how much he seemed to miss his wife, to the point of wanting to escape reality for a bit. As an older teen, I was angry that he hadn't chosen better ways of coping.

"I'm not Edlene," I countered through clenched teeth. "I'm your son, Momoiro."

"Momo…" The taller Takiwa shoved me back until I was slammed against the wall of the hallway. "You hid him from me, Edlene. Why?"

His words were partially slurred, but the forearm he pressed against my collarbone pinched so tightly that it hurt. I curled my hands around the limb and tried to tug it free without much success. My breathing hastened. Was I entering a panicked state? Now was not the time to hyperventilate!

I then felt the disturbing sensation of my father's hand sliding suggestively along my upper chest.

"What the- Dad! Stop it!" I cried out.

"Have you lost weight, Edlene?" He whispered as he leaned down to press a kiss to the crook of my neck. "Are you trying to leave me again? It doesn't matter. Clever of you to hide him in plain sight, but it's too late."

After a sharp tug, my father gave the side of my neck a vicious bite. "Stop!" I shrieked. With a strength I didn't know I possessed, I shoved him back with all my might. He stumbled back, lost his footing, and hit the back of his head against the wall.

I hadn't realized it was raining outside until I bolted out the front door. Fear, anger, and an invasive amount of sadness fought for dominance within me as I ran. Shame, guilt, and hesitancy followed when I reached the front steps of the Kenari household. My gasps of air didn't seem to be helping me get enough oxygen to my dizzy head.

The expression on Mrs. Kenari's face when she opened the door to a drenched, trembling teen was one I would never forget. Despite the initial surprise, she ushered me in and looked absolutely livid. I knew that none of it was aimed at me. That's why I was floored by it. She took one look at the bite on my neck and looked like she was ready to march right into hell on my behalf.

Was that what my own mother did? Had she taken me to Grandpa Genbu to keep me hidden, safe? Had she been trying to protect me?

In a state of shock, I took no notice of what the Kenaris were yelling back and forth to one another.

When they ushered me to sit down, I did it as if on automatic.

But, when I felt Leo drape the large, warm towel over me, that's when the floodgates were opened. I clung to him as I wept, unsure of when we had wrapped our arms around each other. My bawling was endless and ugly. Yet, the Kenaris remained right there beside me until the hiccups and sniffling subsided.

Copyright © 2021 Thirdly, Toma; 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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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At least Momo has escaped before anything more could happen to him, hopefully he will now stay away from his dad and stay with the Kenari's.

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Wow, I was about to say it's a cliffhanger  but I'm not even sure what's happening!  It's a hanger!

When the next episode? How long are you going to leave us like this?

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2 hours ago, Mancunian said:

At least Momo has escaped before anything more could happen to him, hopefully he will now stay away from his dad and stay with the Kenari's.

He’s safer with the Kenaris.

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2 hours ago, Mattyboy said:

Wow, I was about to say it's a cliffhanger  but I'm not even sure what's happening!  It's a hanger!

When the next episode? How long are you going to leave us like this?

I think it’s every Sunday or Monday? Not too long.

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Dont.Go.Back!

Not sure words can rightfully express what I'm thinking but here goes...Go^&*mnFu%#^ngSon*^abi%#&. Honey..go find my burdizzo bloodless castrator!!!

 

Burdizo_9in.jpg

Edited by drsawzall
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10 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Dont.Go.Back!

Not sure words can rightfully express what I'm thinking but here goes...Go^&*mnFu%#^ngSon*^abi%#&. Honey..go find my burdizzo bloodless castrator!!!

 

Burdizo_9in.jpg

If only!

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