Title: Pretty Shade of Grey
Author: Alyn Drasil
Genre: romance/humor/coming-of-age?, m/m content
A note for new readers: This story was written over a period of eight years, with a several year hiatus in the middle. So naturally the quality fluctuates pretty wildly, there are lots of continuity errors, and overall it's an extremely rough draft. I'm planning on cleaning it up, editing it heavily, and trying to publish it in some way, and because of that I'm not going to make any updates/changes to the form the story is in here on fictionpress. So if you read this version, please keep in mind this is not a finalized draft nor has it really been edited!
My name is Vaan. Pronounced just like "Vaughn", except without all the extra fancy g's and h's and other shit people tack on to nearly every word of the English language. I mean, what the hell? Take 'through', for instance. Fast-food restaurants have got it right. Thru. Why do you need three silent letters? In case of an accident or something? And how do you end up with through, tough, bough, and though all looking like they should rhyme but they fucking don't?
Anyway. So I'm Vaan. Vaan Bauer, if you really want to know. And most people don't. I have opinions, and you will hear about them. All of them. I'm so blunt you couldn't cut butter with me. You know, if you used people to cut butter. Or whatever. Metaphors, man. And because I say what I think, this turns people off. God forbid someone actually be honest once in a while.
You can call me what you like. Goth, punk, rebel, or just plain out-of-the-clique. Truly, I'm not trying to be any of these things. I'm me. I wear that because I like that, or I own that because I think it's cool, not because the rest of the teens in the world like it and an actress slutted herself around on TV to sell it. No. Throw me in the river and I wouldn't float upstream, I'd probably flounder off down a tributary. I do my own thing. Other people do theirs.
And then people look at me and think, "oh, he's probably just misunderstood. He's probably a tortured artist or angstful writer or soulful musician, and is just hiding his true self from the world, afraid of rejection…." Well fuck that. I can't draw worth shit. My music generating capabilities are none. My grammar is so terrible you'd think I was an ESL student. I'm not hiding some deep, thoughtful part of me. I'm not a gothic poet nor mysterious writer nor any of those trendy things. Everything about me is there, on the surface, beating you with a big fucking stick.
Or, they think, "he's out robbing convenience stores, he's spraying paint all over freeway overpasses, he's flunking school…" Fuck that as well. Firstly, I wouldn't have slightestidea how get writing on a freeway over-pass. How the fuck do they do it? Power of levitation? And the rest of it…
My parents are loaded. I would have no reason to rob a convenience store, if I even thought I had the capability. Which I don't. And I am not flunking school, I'm going to college for fuck's sake, so stop staring at me like I've beamed down from another planet and let me make my fucking check deposit, thank you.
Which is what I'm trying to do at the moment. With a prim blonde woman giving me a look like she expects me to whip out a gun at any second and start taking people out. Right. How many guys come and make a deposit before robbing a bank, which includes signing their name? Only people who really desperately want to be locked away.
And because this chick is staring at me, I purposefully tongue the silver ring in my lower lip, wiggling it around. It's worth it just to see her thinly penciled eyebrows shoot up and her cherry-glossed lips press together. I think she's one of those people who pull all their eyebrows out and then draw them back in. Damn, is that ever freaky. Imagining waking up next to that person in the morning. No eyebrows. Good God.
"Thank you, Mr. Bauer," Ms. Eyebrowless says as I finish, the way all these people have been trained to politely use your last name, reading it off the check or the computer or wherever. Like they know you or something. Nothing freaks me out more than the checker at the grocery store thanking you for coming by name. I mean, damn. I don't knowyour name. Sure, it's pinned to your shirt but who reads those? Who goes up to the guy stocking vegetables and says, "yo, Maurice, where's the mixed salad greens at?"
"Thank you," I intone, winking exaggeratedly at the blonde teller. That ought to palpitate her heart a little bit. And then I leave, back out into the bright sun of Southern California. Instantly blinded, I make my way back to campus. It's not a long walk from the bank, maybe five or ten minutes, and I have to get back by 2:00 for some asinine counseling appointment. My mother set it up. She thinks I have "issues".
No, actually. What I have is a bad case of individuality. My mother thinks that it's "repressed anger". But what the hell do I have to be angry about? It's not my fault, nor my problem, that the rest of the world is so fucked up. I am handling everything fine. Well, I am a little bitter that I can't manage to get a girlfriend, but I'm not angry about it. I don't know why everyone thinks I'm so angry. So I'm sarcastic and cynical…that doesn't make me angry.
Well, whatever. 2:00 appointment. First one. My mother hopes I will go to them all year. Not a fucking chance in hell, but…I can appease her once. With any luck I will scare the counselor so badly he won't want me back.
Now there's a something to aim for. Scaring the psychologist. This I can do.