Chapter 14: Travesty Versus Lacerated
Lace honestly had to try his best not to strut down the hallways of the school. He was finished his suspension, and had already nearly gotten a second-beating from his parents. He'd made sure to drag Colby along with him when he'd at last gone home. He told his mom that he'd been staying at Colby's, shamefaced and unable to show himself in front of her until the suspension was finished.
Through Colby's occasional eyelash bat and Lace's own sad, sad tone, his mother had eventually let up. She just kept reminding Lace how scared she'd been. He felt like a jackass for having made her worry, but. . . he wouldn't do it again. He wouldn't be influenced by a certain flashy coloured boy in the future.
In any case, he felt good. For the first time in forever, his smile was true.
He caught sight of Raoul and Jared staring at him at one point during class, but ignored them. He breezed through History and English, meeting up with Colby at first break. The two involved each other in a rather intense game of "what-are-you-looking-at?", where one person would stare at an object, and the other would guess exactly what the other was staring at. It was actually harder than Lace expected.
He then passed through Chemistry, and met with Colby at lunch.
Their conversation was cut short when a certain black-clad individual stepped up to them, blocking the rays of the sun. Lace knew, without looking, that it was Rad who was there. Rad was, after all, the type of person to take away sunny rays.
"Hey, faggot," came the ever so distinctive voice of the makeup-wearing boy.
"Yes, keep standing there and giving us shade," Lace said with a polite smile.
The next thing he knew, he was being pressed against the tree behind him. Rad's hand was at his throat, tight and painful, but not blocking off all his air intake. Lace's eyes flashed while Rad smirked.
"I'm gonna keep comin'," Rad whispered.
Colby was prying the dark boy off. He eventually succeeded, but not until Rad released Lace to swing at Colby. Lace intercepted in an instant, swiping Rad's arm and yanking him back.
"Fuck off!" Lace snapped, using his grip on Rad's arm to shove him away. "Seriously, you obsessed psychopath, fuck off."
Rad's lips pulled back into a rather animalistic snarl.
"Is this that dude who got you suspended?" Colby asked.
Rad literally spit on Colby. Colby yelped and wiped at his chest, where the gob had landed.
"You—you too. You're this guy's faggy lover, aren't you?" Rad sneered.
Colby awkwardly scratched his head. "Wow, you're so. . . emotional."
Rad paused, before slithering out, "You little shit."
"I don't even know you," Lace said. "Why don't you just go away?"
Rad eyed the brunet down. His posture was so aggressive. He was like a time-bomb—was he going to spontaneously combust or what? He sure looked about ready to.
"I hate you people," he whispered, before turning and storming off. "I'll fucking get you, when you least expect it!" he shouted over his shoulder, and then turned into the school.
Lace stared after him. Seriously, why did the kid hold so much hatred? It wasn't just to him, either. It was to everyone.
"Well isn't he Captain Whee?" Colby murmured.
Lace sighed. Despite how utterly insane Rad had made him last time, when they'd fought, he couldn't conjure up any of that rage this time. He felt no hatred for the somewhat crazy kid. He felt nothing at all.
"Did he hurt you?" Lace asked.
Colby slowly shook his head. "No, he just spit on me like a little girl."
Lace grimaced. The two sat back down. Sometime during the miniature tussle, one of the boy's hand stepped on the sandwiches they'd been eating. Colby and Lace shared a moment of eye-contact before laughing.
"I hope he doesn't come after you, now," Lace said, solemn all of the sudden.
Colby scoffed. "Oh, whatever."
"No, not 'whatever'. Can you even defend yourself?"
Colby stiffened, and then slid his friend a dark look. "Are you saying I'm fragile?" When Lace didn't reply, Colby's eyes narrowed even more. "You know I'm not a pushover. Come on, tackle me, I bet I could flip you around."
Lace arched an eyebrow. He'd love to tackle him, just not for innocent reasons. To suggest he pin him down was—was—
He did it. He had Colby flat on his back. Colby cringed, not having expected it, before peeking an eye open at the brunet. Lace had him pretty secure, his weight pressing down, the position somewhat flawless. It could never really be completely flawless, unless he actually used his hips against Colby, but—hell no would he do something so awkward to his friend. . . at least in public.
Either way, they were getting quite a few stares.
"Okay," Colby said, in a very reasonable tone, before emitting a trying sound. Lace had no idea how it had happened, but he was being thrown down. The sight of grass behind Colby was replaced by the sky behind Colby. Lace gawked, his back aching somewhat. He then began to blink, before clenching his teeth and—
The position was once again reversed.
"Hah!" he sneered.
Colby's pretty blue eyes narrowed for a quick second, before he again rolled his friend over. The two began to tussle. They struggled and rolled, laughing and swearing. The onlookers could only exchange glances, and Lace could only not care.
"Where are you going?"
Travis gave Ashley a shunning look, as if to say, don't ask questions!
She rolled her eyes as she said, "Well, just don't get into any trouble."
Travis feigned an innocent look, and swung himself out the door.
The two boys barreled into Colby's house.
"Did you see the look on Jared's face?" Colby howled, leading his best friend into the kitchen. Lace found himself comfortable at the kitchen table as Colby pulled out some apple crisp.
Lace felt a warmth invade. "Yeah," he said, smiling. All day, Jared and Raoul had sat back, watching the two boys bicker, play, laugh. It was almost as if they'd been disappointed that the two were getting along so famously, like they used to. Lace knew them better now, though. He knew Raoul especially would drag others down.
Lace had at one point been like that. If I'm not happy, he would think, then why are you?
How can you flaunt your happiness in front of me like this? So shamelessly, when all I do is hurt?
"Raoul, too," Colby added. "Lace, I'm sorry I didn't realize this before, but. . . what exactly do they have against you?"
"Well, you thought they were your friends, and so you confided in them. They humiliated you in return."
Lace averted his gaze as Colby handed him a piece of the apple crisp.
"I love apple crisp," Colby enthused as he got his own piece.
"You love pizza more, I bet," Lace drawled.
Colby slowly turned to face Lace. Lace frowned a little. Why was Colby looking at him like that?
Colby's lips pulled into a smile, though such a tentative one. "Maybe," he said, shoving the dessert back into the fridge.
Lace could only keep frowning. He took a bite. "Your mom kills at making this," he said.
"I made it."
Lace spluttered and then took to blinking at his friend.
"Hey!" Colby scowled, or tried to. "What's with the shocked reaction?"
"I just—" he cut himself off with a laugh, and then tried again, "I just didn't think you could cook, is all."
"I can't. I bake."
"I'm very homely."
"You'd make a good wife."
Colby's eyes narrowed. Lace grinned brilliantly in response.
They quieted down and finished their desserts.
"What now?" Lace inquired as he washed his plate.
"Mm, let's head to my room," Colby suggested. Lace faltered a little. He'd heard that said so many times, and every time, he'd get the same perverse thoughts. He felt himself smile. There was just something wrong about the words, but wrong in a very pleasing way.
He followed Colby into his bedroom and closed the door.
He wondered, as Colby seated himself on the bed, if Colby would freak out if he tried anything. It was an understatement to say he wanted to touch him. He just wanted to try, but would that—ruin this?
He was so comfortable. He was so damned comfortable that he was contemplating making Colby uncomfortable to satisfy himself.
He would never know the boy's reaction unless he tried. Still, he couldn't help but hold himself back. He felt himself lean against the door. This would be his temporary position.
The doorbell rang.
"Weird," Colby said, making a move to stand up.
"I'll get it," Lace said. He was closest, anyways. He left the room, crossed the kitchen, and opened the front door. He hesitated at the sight of the vibrant boy who stood on the outside mat. Travis was decked out in a baggy attire, but somehow managed to make his presence seem. . . professional, almost. How unnerving.
"What?" was all he could utter.
Travis pushed Lace aside, inviting himself in, and closed the door. He then proceeded to take off his gloves—which he was wearing for whatever reason—and graced Lace with a very suspicious smile.
"Uh," he said, "what are you doing here?"
Travis's smile grew a little. "Oh, just came for some chit-chatting. Where's our friend Colby?"
Lace arched an eyebrow.
"In his room, you say? Okay, let's head on in there, then."
Lace watched as Travis flashed him one more smile, and then start on his way. Although reluctant, he felt he had no other choice but to follow Travis into Colby's room, and so he did.
"Travis?" Colby cocked his head. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, just in the neighbourhood, thought I'd stop by."
Lace resumed his position against the door. Travis plopped himself down next to Colby and draped his arm around the blond boy's shoulders. Buddy-buddy style. He then changed the gesture by idly grazing Colby's far shoulder with his fingertips.
"Ah, Colby, I remember being in here with you like it was yesterday," Travis said in a sing-song voice. He then nudged the smaller boy with an impish little smile. "I see you're not sick anymore. Odd that I found you so delectable in that state." He removed his arm from around Colby, expression closed all of the sudden. "Now, you're rather bland, don't you think?"
Colby started. "Jeez, how rude." Lace noted that there wasn't even a blush on Colby's face. This, actually, made him wonder. Normally, wouldn't Colby be shy and awkward about it? Why was he acting so nonchalant, as if expecting this?
Did Colby know Travis better than Lace thought?
Travis cocked his head, and then looked at Lace. "But, Colbs, it isn't just me who thinks you're bland."
Lace arched an eyebrow.
Colby looked back and forth from Travis to Lace. "Oh?" he peeped.
"Yeah," Travis nodded, and then stood up. He crossed to Lace and set a hand atop his head, leaned down so his face was level with the brunet's, and smirked. "You think he's bland, too, don't you?"
Lace knew he had to be careful. He couldn't say Colby made him weak and excited at the same time, that would just be awkward as all hell. However, he couldn't say Colby was tasteless, because for one, that wasn't true at all, and for two, he didn't want Colby to feel insulted. "I wouldn't say—"
"After all," Travis cut him off, "you're with him all the time. If you really wanted him, you'd have let him know." He then offered a rather sleazy wink.
"Uh," Lace stalled. Goddamn, Travis was trying to corner him! He was trying to make him either admit he wanted Colby, or to lie and say he didn't. This wasn't good. He truly wanted to say he wanted Colby, but he didn't want to risk their friendship. No, he valued his friendship with Colby far too much.
"Bland?" Colby spoke up. "Travis, did you come here to put me down for some mystical reason?"
Lace slid his gaze past Travis and rested it on Colby. Colby had changed, though he was only noticing it now, in the presence of Travis. Was it just how Colby acted towards Travis? What had happened between them? It couldn't have been just a kiss—how had Colby gained such confidence around the vibrant boy? Colby was supposed to be timid and cute, not. . . assertive and annoyed.
But, wait. He wasn't annoyed, or at least didn't seem to be. No, he was completely and utterly diffident.
Lace didn't understand.
Lace started, bringing his attention back to Travis, when the older boy began to move the hand he'd placed on his head. He dragged it through Lace's hair, fisting a little when he got to the back of his head. Lace winced.
"You've known Colbs all your life."
"Colby," Lace absently said.
Travis gave him a pointed look. "Yet," he continued, "you've never made a move. You meet me once and you want me." He withdrew his hand and started to grin.
"Curiosity," Lace replied.
"Oh? Was it curiosity at the club?" Travis inquired.
Damn him. Lace felt his jaw tighten. He didn't want Colby to know this, and Travis was well aware.
"Colbs," Travis said, glancing back at the blond boy, "your friend is quite greedy."
"That night, I jerked him off, and right after, he went running to you."
Colby paused, and then frowned. He looked rather uncomfortable at hearing that.
Lace tried to keep the redness from his face. Damn it, he never blushed! Well, not really!
"I—thought you were. . ."
"Though I was what?" Travis drawled.
Lace hesitated. "Driving me home."
"With my hand down your pants?"
Travis laughed. "So, you're not denying it?"
Lace shrugged. "I don't know what you're trying to gain here, but no. We did. . . do shit."
"Do shit?" Travis echoed, and then barked out a laugh. "Ah, that's why I like you so fuckin' much, Lace. You're stupid."
Lace's eyebrows furrowed. "Wow, thanks."
Colby stood up, all of the sudden. "I could do without the soap opera action," he said, turning to Travis. "In fact, I don't remember inviting you in."
Travis just gazed back at Colby with a small, knowing smile.
"I think that's your cue to leave," Lace decided to add.
Travis did just that, but not before blowing Lace a kiss. Once he slid out the door, Lace closed it, and glanced at his best friend with a mixture of uncertainty and aloofness.
"So, you do like him?" Colby asked.
"Oh?" Lace started. "Oh, no. I've just. . . never. . . been in a situation like that before. As I said, I improvised."
Colby just looked at him.
"I, uh, obviously didn't say no." He averted his gaze. Well, he'd struggled, but not enough. "I mean, I guess it was like. . . when you and him kissed. I don't know if you wanted to or not, but. . . that's how I felt, I guess. I didn't know if I wanted to or not."
"How did you feel, anyway?" Lace asked, gracing Colby with a curious look. He couldn't help the bite in his tone, but he knew clueless little Colby would most likely overlook it.
"Huh?" Colby jerked back a little, as if the question had literally shoved him back. "Oh, I don't know." His face became a rather obvious shade of red. He recalled the memory well, and recalled why he'd done it. Travis hadn't initiated the kiss. Colby had. He looked off to the side. "I actually kissed him."
Lace's lips parted in shock.
"Well, it was a test," Colby added.
"A. . . test?"
Colby only nodded. He took a few steps, but didn't appear to be heading anywhere. He then turned on his heel to face Lace. "Well, in any case, why else would Travis barge on in here and say all that crap?"
"He's obsessed with you!" Colby exclaimed, jabbing a finger in the air at his discovery.
Lace smiled at Colby's theatrics. "I think he's just. . . fucking with us. Both of us."
Colby shook his head, and then crossed his arms over his chest. "Nay. He only touches me to make you jealous."
Lace was jealous, but not that Travis was touching someone else. He was jealous that Travis was touching Colby. His Colby.
"Either way, he freaks me out," Colby admitted.
"You sure know how to deal with him."
Colby tapped his head with a sly grin. "I guess I do. It only took that one day to figure his insanity out."
"He's not that crazy."
Colby dropped his hand. "I know. He's just kind of. . . the type of person to powerhouse his way through people to get what he wants." He shrugged his shoulders. "I'm not a fan of him, I'm not gonna lie."
That was why Colby could act so distant and handle Travis so well. To be honest, Lace didn't know of anyone Colby truly disliked. Well, aside from Rad, and maybe Raoul and Jared now.
Lace hesitated. Shit, man. Because of him, Colby was beginning to dislike people. It wasn't like Colby to be like that. Although naive, or perhaps because he was naive, he usually gave people millions of chances, or made excuses for them.
Rad, Raoul, Jared, Travis. . . Colby was aloof to all of them.
Just, with Travis, it was the most prominent to Lace, because he was hypersensitive to their interactions.
Colby looked at him with a small, absent smile.
"Don't hate Raoul and Jared, okay?"
"I mean, they're still good guys."
Lace felt himself grin. "I mean, I learned that from you."
"Is that why you haven't done much to get back at them?"
Lace chuckled and shrugged. "I guess so."
Colby made a sound in the back of his throat, and then seated himself on his bed. "I don't hate them, I'm just kind of annoyed at them. Just like you are."
"And Rad. . .? Don't hate him, either."
Colby started. He then narrowed his eyes. "Lace, I sense a pattern. Do you think I'm a spitfire?"
Shaking his head, Lace replied, "Not at all. I just feel somewhat responsible for you disliking people. Before, you were so. . . carefree."
"Oh, wow. Get your ego out of the way."
Lace started, while Colby grinned. Right, a joke, yet he'd sounded so serious.
Colby continued, "Though, really, I'm doing this because of my opinion about the situation. I can't just like someone unconditionally, like I used to. I used to give people a lot of chances, you know? However, that just keeps getting people hurt."
"What do you mean?"
"You, for example."
"I don't get it."
Colby shook his head with a smile. "It doesn't matter. It's over with." He suddenly shot up and rushed over to Lace, shoved his shoulder, and then exclaimed, "I'm craving pizza! Let's get some pizza!" He went for the doorknob, so Lace moved away and allowed him to open the door. He then flung himself out into the hall, yelling, "Mom! Pizza! Order some pizza!"
Lace blinked, thrown. What the—?
He shook his head.
Judging from their conversation, Colby wasn't as naive as Lace thought. Maybe he'd never really been.
Though, as he watched his best friend dance around his mom and ramble off toppings, he knew he was still as adorable as he'd ever been.
A/N: yo yo cheeeeee! and other nonsensical things!
MAGICALNARRATOR: haha, ooh, a little pocket colby :p
Keiko Yuki: hmm, maybe this chapter will reflect your life too. In some magical way. Hehe thanks for reviewing hon :)
Night Innocence: ooh thank-you! And yeah this story is very character-driven as opposed to plot-driven. LOL at the letter suggestion :p