These Are Dramatics

"Hey!" Jack whispers loudly, trying to get the attention of a boy in the front row. "Hey, Adrian!"

"Shhh," a girl near the back says, trying to concentrate. She gestures angrily towards the stage, where an older woman dressed in black wasn't doing anything. Or anything Jack can see, at least, but he isn't a drama freak, so maybe he's not allowed to see it.

She doesn't matter anyway, so Jack ignores her. He has something important to tell Adrian, so Jack calls again. "Adrian!"

Adrian isn't turning around, as intent on the woman as the girl in the back is trying to be. She glares at Jack again and he takes this as a sign to get closer to Adrian so he doesn't need to be so loud. Also he would be out of her reach in case she was violent. It was possible with drama freaks. Anything was possible, according to his observations.

Stepping carefully on top of the blue plastic chairs to climb towards the front, noisily Jack plops down in front of his friend, hand on Adrian's knee.

"Jack?" Adrian is startled into saying at normal volume, and most of the class turns to him and shushes. Jack snarls at most of the class, and they go back to pretending to understand the interpretive sitting.

Leaning into Adrian's lap, Jack keeps his voice down now. "Listen, Adrian, I gotta tell you something."

"Um, can't it wait?" Adrian nods towards the stage. "We're in the middle of a test, you know."

"What?" Jack turns quickly to the stage. "This…freak show?"

"Yes," Adrian says, "we're drama freaks, you know."

Jack rolls his eyes and sighs. "I know. But seriously, I need a hand."

"Fine," Adrian sighs then, putting too much emphasis into it. "Give me a second."

Nodding, Jack waits and all the kids clap at some unseen cue that it was the end, and Adrian goes to talk to the woman—Jack supposes that was his teacher.

Which is odder than it seems. She wears black and blends into the drama room, all black except for a blond wood floor that reminds Jack of someone's pubic hair but he can't remember who.

Just as well.

"Okay," Adrian comes back and says, "we're done anyways."

"Good," Jack says, standing up and takes Adrian's hand, holds it but doesn't take a step in any one direction. "Come on, where can I talk to you in private?"

"Here, the dressing room," Adrian leads Jack to an unmarked door, painted black like the rest of the room. Jack wonders if there is a casting couch. It excites him but at the same time he isn't sure it would be considered clean even by his low standards. They were low, after all, this is high school.

"Okay," Jack follows Adrian closely, afraid of being separated and left to the dogs, finding the room a lot smaller than he'd figures and with no couch. It's painted white in sharp contrast to the dark outside. He assumes it is for some reason but doesn't care enough to ask.

"Um, Jack?" Adrian starts hesitantly, leaning back against the closed door.

"What?" Jack sits down on the desk, puts his feet up on the white painted chair.

"Are you wearing lipstick?" Adrian asks, looking at Jack's cheek not his eyes.

"No," Jack says, turning around to look at himself in the mirror. "That's your bit."

"No, seriously," Adrian says, looking closer, at his shoulder now a hand on his leg. "You are, aren't you?"

"Fuck off," Jack's reflection says to Adrian's, but neither of him mean it.

Adrian brings a finger to trace the reflection's lips. "Then what is it?"

"Is what?" Jack looks closer, still not seeing anything other than the almost sexual impression of Adrian's fingers on his mouth but he can't feel it. It makes him feel powerless but at the same time in control. This scares him.

"This red stuff," Adrian turns Jack's face towards him, running a finger around a faint red stain. Touch makes it real and he isn't scared anymore because he knows that there is nothing to be afraid of from Adrian, who is his best friend since they met in seventh grade.

"That…oh, that's from when my pen exploded," Jack says, shrugging. "I was chewing on it in English and then I was going to the water fountain and then I got bored and went to find you."

"Oh," Adrian says, the long and vague explanation customary. "It doesn't look like you got all of it. You look debauched."

"Debauched?" Jack repeats, looking at it again. "And that is…"

"You're the one in English," Adrian says with a laugh. He is not really a walking thesaurus; he merely knows more words than Jack who at best can be called lazy. At worse he could be called an uneducated slut. "You look—well fucked."

"Don't I always?" Jack asks, eyeing the supposed red from different angles. "I don't see it."

"It's right there," Adrian says. "Fine, I'll be one of the few people that notices. It looks like your lipstick is smeared."

"Yours isn't," Jack points it out, eyeing his friend's immaculate black mouth. It is always like this even on mornings when Adrian claims to be disillusioned with the world and fairer sex and wants it hard and rough. Or so Jack has heard. He hasn't quite had the pleasure of tasting Adrian for himself.

"I've had practice," Adrian says. "Speaking of which, I've got to start going over my lines. We got assigned a new play for exams."

Jack eyes him and wonders if he's joking. He considers that he should have taken drama rather than marketing. It may have been more useful. Then again Adrian could be joking and besides, Jack can't act. "Who do you play?"

"I'm Elizabeth," Adrian says, sitting down beside Jack and crossing his legs, graceful with the right over the left and his pale ankles dangling.

Coughing, Jack tries unsuccessfully to hide his laughter. "You're a woman?"

Adrian isn't offended. "There aren't enough man parts to go around. I'm this pregnant woman who isn't really pregnant, and I already have the first part memorized."

Jack blinks. "Really."

"Yeah. See, I'm sitting at this coffee shop—where everything takes place, and we all do our own soliloquy before this big dance number," Adrian says, smoothing the fabric of his shiny pants—they were shinier than should be allowed on a teenaged boy still in high school drama.

"Dance number?" Jack raises his eyebrows, either in awe or disbelief. Maybe both. This is Jack dealing with Adrian. "I don't see how that's going to work. Seeing as you can't sing."

"Okay, it's not really," Adrian isn't ashamed at being caught in a lie, "it's more like I go on and on for three minutes about how I'm glad I'm an ex-pregnant whore and then I get the spotlight taken off me and put onto Cassidy."

Jack is startled into laughing, even though it's not funny. "What?"

"Like this," Adrian says, pushing Jack off of the desk and assuming a prim position, legs crossed and hands resting neatly in his lap, left in his right, like he's posing for pictures or praying to Buddha. "When I lost the baby, I felt guilty. Not because I'd lost the thing, no, because I was glad I had."

He holds up a hand, even though Jack hadn't made to speak. "No, don't. I have to get through this on my own. It's been me on my own since the beginning, you know, your part was small. Small indeed," Adrian's eyes shift to Jack's crotch, "but large enough in the whole…scheme of things."

Adrian sighs then. "I mean, I lose this baby and I'm happy because it's gone and I don't have to have this…this…dependent creature on me for eighteen years—eighteen years, you know how long that is? I'm not ready for eighteen years. It's not like I can just…turn it back in when I'm bored. Except…I kind of did," Adrian finishes with an odd look on his face.

Jack is silent, not sure if Adrian's through.

"I can't remember anymore," Adrian says suddenly, breaks the silence.

Jack bursts out laughing, convinced that yes it is over because Adrian says it is. "Sometimes I can't believe you."

"Neither can I," Adrian says, rests his back against the mirror and pats the desk beside him again.

This is Jack's signal to come and sit next to him, because sometimes he's not allowed and gets pushed away and other times he gets pulled towards and those times are the best, even though they rarely occur. They are just often enough to make him want them more.

This hurts, just a little.

But he would never admit it because Jack doesn't get hurt. He hurts.

Jack slides up next to him, and waits until Adrian puts all his attention towards him. Or at least his regular allotment. Jack is pretty sure that Adrian keeps about sixteen percent for sexual deviance and pornographic acts. He keeps thirty-five, himself. Minutes worth of clips and pictures in rapid succession. "Have you seen your brother today?"

"In the shower," Adrian says, "why?"

A moment is all it takes for Jack to draw a rather lewd and steamy picture of Adrian and his brother in the shower—together. Then he blinks and it goes away. "No, I mean, have you seen him. Lately. Dressed."

"No. He left before me this morning." Adrian rolls his eyes. "Is there a reason you brought my brother up?"

Other than to irritate me, is left unsaid. They both know it.

See, Will Jordy is Adrian's younger brother. He is only younger by a year and three months and two days, but he will fail a class this year because he was too busy with extracurricular activities in the back of someone's car.

Adrian says that Will Jordy is the way he is because he used to sleep in the car when he was four. He would stretch out on the backseat when his mother went grocery shopping and get warm from the sun. He would drink spoiled milk from a mug and keep the windows rolled.

Jack isn't sure if this is true or not, but it is a sensitive subject with Will Jordy. Jack doesn't tell Adrian this; he takes far too much joy in telling the story. He also doesn't tell Adrian about the time he fucked Will Jordy in the master bathroom's walk-in closet.

"He's wearing a dress, Adrian. A fucking dress!" Jack says, shaking his head.

Adrian shrugs. "So?"

Jack is disturbed by his apparent lack of concern. He knows there is no love lost between the two—and he's not too fond of Will Jordy himself, but he believes if the situation were reversed—and if he actually had a brother, maybe—that he would have felt more than apathy.

"It's not right," Jack says, sounding sulky.

Adrian sighs. "A lot of things are not right. The fact my brother wears a dress is the least of our concerns."

"Is it?" Jack asks. "The fact is…"

"Listen," Adrian shakes his head, despairing that Jack won't let it go and that he is a failure as an older brother and role model. At least in the Hollywood view of things. "Will Jordy does whatever the fuck he wants anyway, and more often does the things I tell him not to."

"Then maybe I'll beat some sense into that fucking faggot," Jack says, making a threatening fist.

"Hypocrite," Adrian says, putting his hand high on Jack's thigh, close enough to turn dangerous or intimate. It would depend on how Jack behaved. "You can't hurt my brother."

"I can try," Jack relaxes under Adrian's hand. He would be good and hope for a taste of Adrian's lips.

"Please," Adrian says, actually meaning it—towards his behaviour. "It's not his fault. He doesn't mean any harm."

Jack snorts. "No harm? How about the embarrassment of association?"

"He's my brother, Jack," Adrian reminds him.

"And you're my friend," Jack says, then decides to drop it. It isn't actually that important. He just… "I just thought you should know."

Adrian sighs, he does know that Jack means well. Just fails miserably. "Thank you."

"Have you seen the dress, though?" Jack asks, eyes flickering with something Adrian could recognize as trouble. Carefully disguised as casual banter.

"Let me guess, a satin evening gown? In wine red?" Adrian says, with more intuition than actual guess.

"No!" Jack says, thrilled to be the bearer of revelation. "It's a fucking sack dress. Like from the twenties. With tassels and everything. He looks like shit."

"What colour is it?" Adrian asks, deeper in thought and less outraged than Jack figured.

"Blue," Jack says, wondering why it matters. Does it matter? Maybe in the land where both Adrian and Will Jordy seemed to spend their time.

"Blue's your favourite colour," Adrian says unnecessarily.

Jack makes a face. "Not when your brother wears it."

"True," Adrian says. "But see how unbothered I am?"

"Yeah," Jack says. "Your point?"

"Point being that you shouldn't presume." Adrian wets his lips, just a little, not enough to rub off the colour from them. Is black a color? No, it isn't. Then, he didn't bring colour to his lips.

"Why not?" Jack asks.

"Most people are hurt when they presume too much," Adrian says. "So I presume not to."

"That sounds philosophical enough to be written by Bright Eyes," Jack says.

"Who?" Adrian asks.

"Never mind," Jack says. "Let's just leave it at you're being pretentious."

"And late for last period," Adrian says, standing up. "Coming, Jack?"

"No, unfortunately," he says, stands as well, presses himself against Adrian for a brief moment.

Adrian smiles, presses a short kiss to Jack's lips, smudging them black. "At least I can count on you for something."

Jack smiles, but it's hard, he's only a little hard, and he doesn't know if they will always share kisses like this, and never anything else. Or maybe they'll stop someday and he'll be left waiting, or it could be Adrian, although he doubts that either of them could ever leave the other.

Right now, Adrian is waiting for him in the open door the bright lights making his hair turn blue and he is reminded why it is his favourite colour.

He shrugs off the melancholy and decides to help Adrian find Will Jordy and knock some sense into him. If the boy had to wear a dress he should at least wear one that fit.