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Chapter Forty Seven (Ayla)

            Unlike my friends, I have no problem coming to my parents with my problems. For the most part, at least. I have never found them to be judging towards me and they have never dismissed anything I have had to say because of my age. They have always treated me as an adult, even when I was a kid, and I believe that is the reason I respect them so much today. Not only because I am supposed too, but also because it comes easily. I know that both my mother and father are profoundly disappointed in my grades, but I strive to make sure that my grades are my only flaw as their daughter.

            As I entered the den, I found my father reading in his chair that faced the fireplace. He bought a new chair every year. His "thinking chair" he called it. This year's chair looked like it had been used for far too long already. My father brought it at a yard sale and it stood out horribly with all the other expensive things in the room. However, the chair seemed to be just like my father because while he is a well-respected lawyer at work, the second he comes home he is Alex, the wannabe rock star who never takes anything seriously. His personality in that sense is almost opposite from my mother because while my mother was born to be well liked and to fit in, my father was made to stick out like a sore thumb.

            Like father like daughter.

            He was reading the newspaper with his feet propped up and his glasses on, staring intently at the words as if the words themselves were teachers, and he the student. When I was young, and practically attached to my father at the hip, I used to always sit in his lap as he read. He was gone so often, due to his need to make a name for himself at the firm he was now a partner of that I wanted to spend every waking moment with him. I would read the paper too, trying to scrunch up my face like my fathers, as if that would help me better comprehend the stories. Sometimes I would fall asleep in his lap and awake in my bed. We never talked while reading the paper, since that was for later.

            My father, though a clown, had a strong view about anything political. At first, I didn't care about his words exactly, but I was addicted to the sound of his voice. By the time I reached ten, we wouldn't let each other finish sentences and we had a tendency to run into debates. When the debates started, my mother would have to call us to dinner several times. My mother thought it impolite to speak about such things at the table so my father and I would eat quickly to continue our discussion and then she would sometimes join in. Surprisingly, she seemed to have opinions just as detailed as my father's, however she severely lacked the passion. I only discussed things like that with my father. With my mother, I discussed boys and other girly things. "Chick talk" as my father called it,

            "Hey Daddy," I said as I sat in Indian style on the floor facing him.

            "Hey, La- La," he said.

            "I have to ask you a question," I said.

            I watched as he folded up his paper, took off his glasses, and tucked them away in his pocket. "I'm listening." His face got serious and he leaned forward. "Are people bothering you at school, Ayla?"

I immediately decided to ignore the question. I know my mother and father feel some blame due to the situation I am put in, and although I would like very much like to offer them some type of reassurance that they are not to blame, I can't. I can't ever talk about it with them. When I was little, I could, but not anymore. Not ever again.

I don't know why.

"Was Mom everything you'd hope she be?"

I know the question surprised him. He leaned back again and looked up at the ceiling, considering my question. He looked me in the eyes. "What exactly do you mean?"

In truth, I didn't know. "I know that you are a guy in everything–"

"Obviously," my father said with a smirk.

I smiled. "Obviously. But like… well first off, had you planned on getting married before mom?"

  He nodded. "Not nearly as soon as we did, but eventually, yes. I thought I would be a lot older though."

I nodded. "So like, when you thought of your future wife, was she anything like mom?"

He laughed, his eyes crinkling at the corners. "No, definitely not."

"Well what was she like?"

He sighed and moved to sit next to me on the floor, in Indian-style like me. I had picked the habit up from him. I asked my mother stuff like this all the time, but never my father. By nature, males aren't usually into mushy stuff.

"Well, for one, she was white," I nodded. I expected that. "Actually, I expected to marry Mary Jane Whitmore." I raised an eyebrow. "Her family was close friends with my family and she lived right across the street. I hated her damn brother though, he was an ass." I laughed. It all made sense though. My father came from a wealthy family, due to just about all of the males in his family being doctors. On the few occasions that I did visit my grandparents, I was always on my best behavior. It felt strange to be in a house with actual maids and butlers, more than one fork at the table, and so many rooms that one could get lost just trying to go to the bathroom. Once when I was five, I slept in the same bed as my older cousin, Ashley, because my big room that had a horrible echo scared the crap out of me. " She was a nice girl. Very pretty and likeable. We grew up together and became friends. Everyone was convinced that she and I would marry after I finished medical school, and I would be the workaholic doctor, and she the pleasant housewife."

"Except much to grandpa's dismay, you became a workaholic lawyer instead."

He smiled. "Yes. And I married your mother. Which didn't please my parents or hers either." He nodded to himself and got a faraway look. "You know, I thought she was absolutely beautiful. The first day I met her, I mean. As soon as I looked at her I thought that."

"And that's it? You just forgot about Ashley Whitmore?"

"Well, I hadn't even dated her. Did I plan to marry her, yes. But just because I had never thought of anything different. Plus your mother…your mother," I knew he was no longer here, but somewhere in the past. Somewhere before I was born. "I was addicted to every word that she said. I knew that it would be stupid to ask her to marry me before I was even done with law school, but I loved her so much that I wanted to claim her as my own, and I knew that money would never be a problem for me."

"And just like that you decided to forget about the woman you thought you were meant for?"

"I wouldn't put it like that exactly, but yes."

I huffed and leaned backed on my wrist. "You make it sound so easy."

"Well, isn't it?"

I shook my head. "No."

Despite the fact that Randy was one of my best friends, I was nervous.

We were lying on my bed, watching cartoons, as we often did. But it was so different now.

I watched from the corner of my eye as he laughed at something and absentmindedly threw his arm around my neck, tracing my arms with his fingers.

I closed my eyes. It was just too easy.

It was so easy to think that the two nights we had shared while my parents were in Bermuda celebrating their anniversary were real. Like they were nights shared with two intimate lovers instead of two best friends caught up in the moment.

I didn't even have to concentrate to remember the sound of his voice as he whispered how beautiful I was while kissing me and every inch of exposed skin that he could find. When by myself I found myself daydreaming about the fact that when in bed, Randy did not touch, he simply caressed as if every part of my body was something to be cherished.

And it was so damn easy to pretend that he was boyfriend.

But he wasn't. He was Randy Morris. The most popular boy in my grade and arguably my school. He was my best friend and if I settled for anything less than my dream again, I would only get hurt and maybe end up hating him as well. I didn't want that.

But oh, how I missed his lips sometimes.

"Hey, guess what?" he said as he moved to sit up now that the cartoon we were watching went on a commercial break.

I moved to sit up too. "What?"

"I got into an argument with Teddy Renner today."

I raised an eyebrow. "A verbal one, I am assuming."

He nodded with a smile. "Yeah, I wasn't trying to get my ass kicked." Teddy was a twenty-year-old senior who scared people just by looking at them. He was big, very big.

 "But why?"

"Because he said that he heard that Jace was gay."

I didn't falter, but only because my mind was too busy thinking. Not how this piece of information was leaked out, for I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later, but by how Randy would take it. Remembering I was supposed to respond, I opened my mouth. "That's fucked up," I said.

"Yeah, and completely crazy, I mean it's Jace!"

I moved my head up and down. "Yeah, it's Jace. Our friend."

"And the most religious boy I know of If there's one person I can never see taking it up the ass, and becoming a fag, it's Jace."

Although the situation was weird and was definitely something to worry about, his statement still reminded me of something that I had been meaning to ask him. Something that I am sure in our years of friendship I had asked him before.

"Why aren't you religious?" I asked. "And I am not asking why you don't go to church, but why don't you have any faith?"

He shrugged nonchalantly. "'Cause I can't see God. I can't touch him, and can't hear him."

I shook my head. "And that's it? That's why you don't have faith?" I found it strange that he would completely dismiss God because of the reasons he had stated.

"'Cause there is too much bad shit, and too many fucked up people in the world for one guy to just sit and watch it happen."

I nodded, not liking his reason, but unable to do anything about it. I wasn't Jace. I couldn't preach verses from the Bible. "But like, who do you pray to when you get scared? If put an a life or death situation, who do you pray to for comfort?"

He shrugged again. "Just hope for the best, I guess."

"So when you die you just…."

"I'm dead."

I shook my head. "I think everyone has to have faith in something."

He reached up and stroked my hair. "Sometimes, I wish I could see the things the way that you do," he said honestly. He kissed me and once again I felt that feeling return. I sighed in satisfaction of finally having his lips on mine again.

His kiss, as it often did, left me barely aware of anything else and I felt myself getting light headed. Finally I broke apart from him. "We can't do this. My parents are home, Randy."

He stared at me. "I wasn't trying to start anything."

"Yeah, right. Then what were you trying to have us do, if not the obvious?"

He got a funny look on his face as if he didn't understand what I was saying, or couldn't believe it. "I just wanted to kiss you."

I know that my forehead wrinkled in confusion. "But why?"

Instead of answering me he turned his head around to look at the clock . "It's getting late," he said. "I better head home."

"Okay," I said. "I'll walk you to the door."

"No, that's okay," he said. "The show will be back on soon. Goodnight, Ayla."

"Goodnight, Randy," I said as he reached the door. "Hey, Randy?"

He turned his head around over his shoulder. "Yeah."

"Think about what I said. Try to have a little faith. In something at least. Just as long as it's not Satan."

He laughed and closed the door.