Far From Home

Chapter One: Cri de Coeur

Until I met him, I had everything going for me. I was the star of my high school football team, for starters. Guys envied me and girls loved me. I had just started my senior year at the same school I had gone to for all four years of my high school education, and I made good grades. My teachers loved me. My parents doted on me. My younger brother looked up to me. I was a shoo-in for prom king and for the sake of my college applications I was running for student body president, a title I was sure to win.

I was dating the head cheerleader, but mostly because it was expected of me. Andrea Graham was pretty, popular, and ditzy; the stereotype of a cheerleader, which I suppose is what made her so good at it. But it was kind of a chore to date her. She wanted constant attention, and she was always creating some sort of drama. But like I said, it was expected of me so I dated her for two years. One year into our relationship I even lost my virginity to her.

But maybe my story doesn't really start with her. I think it actually started in the hospital.

It was pretty routine, what I was there for. I had felt really ill for a couple of days and went to the Doctor's ImmediCare where they told me I had appendicitis. Two days later and there I was, recovering from surgery and bored out of my skull.

And then he came in. He was a candy-striper at the time. You know, one of the people who read to elderly patients and play with children and deliver flowers and all that junk? He was one of them, complete with the red-and-white striped apron. Underneath that he wore a pair of faded blue jeans that looked comfortable but nonetheless as though they had seen better days. A tight black tee shirt covered his lithe torso and his beautiful blonde hair was tipped with red.

Even if I was raised in the south, I've never had any problem with admitting guys are hot. It's not that I was gay, I was turned on by Andrea and all, but there's something about the male body that I find striking. And in this boy's case the lovely difference between his lithe but still noticeably masculine form was enchanting. He moved with elegant grace across the room to sit a vase of flowers by my bed.

I plucked the card from the little holder thing and opened it. The message was short and sweet: Miss you. Get better soon. Andrea.

We had stopped trying to fool ourselves into believing we loved each other long ago. We were more companions than soul mates or whatever.

"Um, do you need anything while I'm here?" the boy asked sweetly, fixing his sea-green eyes on me.

Yes. I want a better look at what's under your apron. And the rest of your clothes, for that matter.

Whoa, where did that come from?

"Um, no, not right now," I said finally. He turned to leave and I called after him, "Wait! What's your name?"

I don't know what possessed me to ask it, but he didn't seem fussed. He turned to smile at me, at any rate.

"Harold Crass," he said. I nodded. There was something about the name that either appealed to me or puzzled me, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

"My name's Tom Kalish," I said. He smiled coolly.

"I know who you are," he said. "I watched you play football last season. You're very good." When he said that his cool demeanour vanished, leaving him blushing horribly.

"I know." I've always been very smug about my athletic ability. It took me a few minutes to recognize something suggestive in his voice.

"Okay, well, Tom Kalish, call if you need anything," Harold said, smiling shyly before ducking out of the room.

XxX

"Tom-meee!" Andrea squealed, bounce-walking into the room with two of her giggly friends, Andrea-clones who wanted to be just like her.

"Hey," I said, trying not to sound as entirely bored with their presence as I was. "You didn't have to come."

"Aww, baby, I wanted to. How are you feeling?" she asked, leaning down to kiss me on the cheek.

"Like they ripped an organ out of my body," I said dryly. Andrea and her clones giggled and she gestured to the flowers by my bed.

"These are pretty. Who sent them?" she asked slyly.

"I don't know, some girl. You know how sexy I am," I said.

"Oh yeah, irresistible," she said, rolling her eyes and laughing. Her clones quickly followed suit. I honestly don't know how she deals with them. I would have to slap them silly. Of course, I didn't require constant attention like she did, but still.

"But baby, we've got to go now, I just wanted to drop by and make sure you're doing okay. Do you need anything before we go?" Andrea asked, adjusting her sequined purse on her shoulder.

About those purses, I'm sorry but they are the ugliest things on the planet. It was beyond me why anyone would buy one, much less a matching belt and shoes like Andrea and her clones had.

Anyway, as a matter of fact, I wanted some water. But I was vaguely aware that if I had told Andrea, I wouldn't have had an excuse to talk to Harold again.

Wait, when did that start being a factor for me? It wasn't like I was queer or something.

"No, I'm fine. You guys can just go and do whatever it is you're doing." And far away from me with your giggling selves, I added in my mind.

"Okies, sweetie. I'll talk to you later. You have your cell, yeah? Okay, bye!" She blew a kiss on her way out and finally she was gone. I collapsed against my pillows, relieved beyond belief. I knew the entire time that that had just been a token visit, but sometimes I wished she just wouldn't bother.

Not five minutes after the sound of her giggling faded away down the hall, Harold stuck his head into the room.

"You doing okay?" he asked with a sweet smile. I nodded. "You need anything?"

"I could use some water," I said. He smiled and walked further into the room, picking up the water pitcher that was, thank God, just out of my own reach.

"Here you go," he said quietly, handing me a glass of water. As I took it from him my fingers brushed his and he jerked his hand back before I truly had a grip on the glass, causing it to fall to the floor. He blushed and stuttered an apology before bending over quickly to pick up the shattered pieces of the glass and wiping the water up with a rag he pulled from the pocket of his apron.

God, what was his problem?

"Ouch!" he suddenly yelped, dropping the glass and the rag and bringing his finger to his mouth.

"What's wrong?" I asked. He dropped his finger from his lips to show the blood that now tinted the soft skin.

"I cut my finger on the damned glass," he said quietly and despite his harsh language he sounded close to tears.

"C'mere," I said softly. He stood up and walked slowly over to me, holding his injured hand tightly. When he was right beside my bed I reached out to touch his arm and he jerked it away. I laughed lightly. "Calm down, I'm not going to hurt you. Just let me see your hand."

He held it out almost reluctantly. The cut wasn't deep but it was still bleeding a bit. I looked up to see him biting his reddened lip and his eyes watering slightly.

I don't know what possessed me then to do it, but I brought his finger to my lips and licked it gently, tasting bittersweet metallic blood I watched in amusement as he seemed to be trying to decide what to do before kissing the cut and releasing his hand. I licked my lips, smirking at him. I've always had a thing for blood. Andrea hates it.

He slapped me then, hard. He spun on his heel and stalked from the room. A few minutes later a janitor came in to clean up the rest of the mess.

I really didn't know what made me do that. It wasn't like I was gay or anything.

Then why did the thought of touching Harold seem so much more appealing than even seeing Andrea?

XxX

AN: The first chappy of my TomXHarold spin-off!

Yeah, cause I don't have enough stories going at once. I have… five… wow. I just want to know if people would be interested in, after I finish the three (soon to be two) from the original series, reading this one. So please review!

♥'s and X-Rated Thoughts—Luci-chan