Epilogue: An End of Sorts.
The sun baked us, or at least attempted to, in its heat. Of course in NZ, summer wasn't extremely hot, but hot enough to warrant the donning of singlets, shorts and jandals.
My eyes squinted as I stared up into the sun's glare, my body was strewn across the University Library benches, the ones situated just outside the sliding doors, whilst my books saved my seat on level six. I had been in a deep zone of study, my Zen was its peak, but my phone kept vibrating, causing the 'buzzing' noise that was still loud enough to warrant a 'shushing' from the most reclusive lot in the library, who I'm sure found a way to hide themselves and sleep there in order to get a good study spot the next day.
I was ready to stay in the library the whole day and study-study-study, considering I'd worked out my timetable to allow me at least one day off, and since tutorials weren't due to start for another week I had quite a lot of time to start the set readings. However I wound up answering the incessant messages from Jay, eventually joining him for lunch.
Lunch, of course, consisted of getting a butter chicken friends' combo from the University Food Quad, and eating it outside on the benches, in the sweltering (by New Zealand standards) heat.
As though ordained by God himself, a light drizzle began to water down despite the sun, and as people began to disperse Jay and I continued to sit outside, he took a swig from his bottle of coke.
"Jakkalstrou." I murmured, earning me a chuckle of familiarity. I had earlier come to the realisation that it was after the strange trip to the cemetery that I gained a different perspective of Jay. Even if I hadn't noticed it then... I had begun, in my own unconventional (as if anything in my life thus far was conventional by anyone's standards) way, to- I wouldn't say like, but in some sense 'not mind' his company as much as before. Even if I had still been under the impression he was concocting a plan to relieve my body of its soul. And yes, I'm very much of the belief nowadays that he does not want to kill me, although some days it felt like he did.
Like yesterday when he jumped out from behind the huge stone wall as I was walking through and scared Jesus, Mary and Joseph out of me.
I still couldn't believe, however, that he let all of that money go to waste because he felt the need to come clean about his feelings. Listen to me; I make the word sound despicable and unclean. But in my defence he forfeited the whole thing, breached the contract, and all because he refused to humiliate me (and it was a staged humiliation) because he... liked me?
I can't say I handled it very well either, leaving him in the lions' den and running off in blind anger, and then avoiding him a good week afterwards.
But could you blame me? Argh. Don't mind me, just trying to wrap my head around the fact that we had that money in the palm of my hand, and he had to go all noble and soft. I thought this over as I chewed on my naan bread.
The drops of rain drizzled on, cool little droplets on my previously too hot skin. I'd finished my butter chicken and Jay was yet to even get half way. Jeez, I had to teach that boy the art of eating butter chicken the right way.
I'd once told Jessica that what happened in college didn't matter here at Uni, and for the most part I was right. But I had made some good friends there, and that was something I couldn't deny.
I sighed as I thought about them, my group of friends and even acquaintances. Will was picked up for some Australian team, offering him heaps to play league for them. I knew he'd make it as a professional league player, it was all only ever about whether he'd choose to play for a New Zealand team or not.
Deacon left at the beginning of the year for Wellington, and I had to admit it was sad to see him go. Even if he was a stupid dickhead with shit for brains, just kidding, he was rather intelligent, but calling him dumb always made me feel good. Last I heard he was living it up in the capital, not at all interested in the fact that he could go visit parliament, or even the Beehive, which was designed by Sir Basil Spence on the back of a dinner napkin. Oh no, Deacon's not interested in that at all. He was interested in the female student body of Victoria University, rather than the business degree he was supposed to be getting. It made sense I guess, after all if he was serious about his degree, especially business, he would have stayed here in Auckland.
You'd think that with Deacon gone, Jay wouldn't have a reason to just randomly turn up to my house… wrong. I think my mum's adopted a new palagi (white) kid in the absence of her precious Deacon, even if she yelled at Jay more than three times a day, he even had lunch with us last Sunday because he'd come over to look at the plants and got yelled at because according to my mum who got word (ha pun) from the Bible, no one was to work on the 'Lord's day'. I don't think it occurred to mum that yelling took quite a lot of work, but I wasn't going to point it out.
And if anyone was wondering… the answer is no. My mother did not know about us, I didn't want her knowing, and Jay respected that my relationship with my parents was something completely different of that of his relationship with his father and his new step mother.
I don't know, maybe I'd grow a pair soon, but for now keeping my parents in the dark about me and Jay seemed like the best idea since Twinkies.
Jess decided she wanted to have a gap year, travelling, by herself because she needed to 'find herself'? I wasn't too clued up on what exactly that meant, how would she find herself somewhere in Europe? She's a Kiwi! But like Will, she wasn't big on National pride. They would both be travelling a lot, and I bet they were already syncing itineraries. Jess was throwing one last big party this week before her flight to, London? Or was it France, I'm not sure one of the countries that revolted against their monarch at one stage in their history.
We were all attending, as required in my case, and Jay by association, he and Will still don't see eye to eye, but I had a feeling it was more to the fact that Will was going to be playing for an Australian league team.
"Kara, Jacob!" I raised my head, seeing Erin walk out of the library struggling with her books, before Burr, coming up from under the stonewall probably from his weird Elam class, grabbed the books she was struggling to hold whilst texting with her free hand at the same time. I grinned,
"Ahoy." I greeted, a huge megawatt smile aimed at Burr, who placed the books beside my legs before shaking his head at me. I frowned, but gasped and hooted when he chucked a Twinkie onto my lap.
"I love you!" I tore it open, before looking over to see Jay's raised eyebrow, "What?" I asked; mouth full of Twinkie.
I was so glad they were with us at Auckland, Erin studying business, whilst Burr did Fine Arts. I didn't know he was an artist, well until he showed me his portfolio, it was brilliant.
I was impressed and envious, I wish I could draw, let along paint, or anything creative, best creative things I did were schemes, and half the time they fell through.
I'll give you one guess as to the best scheme that fell through.
I doubt I'll ever get over it, leave me be.
"Aw, you guys already had lunch?" Erin plopped down beside me, pushing my legs off so that I had to sit up.
"Yeah, gumpy pants Edwards couldn't wait." I explained,
"Well we're done for the day. How about we go Albert?" Erin asked, and just as she said that, as if by some Devine intervention, the drizzle stopped and the sun shined on its own without the supporting sun shower.
"Albert Park has been the fall of many a student, you know." I pointed out, pointing my fork at some guy sitting on one of the benches in front of the stone wall having a smoke. "Take him for example, I walked past him in Albert the other day, twelve o'clock in the afternoon and he was sitting in Albert sunbathing with his girlfriend and getting high, or something equally dodgy. It's going to take him eighteen years to complete his degree, just you watch."
I yelped when an arm slid around my waist, pulling me towards Jay, "we're going to Albert Park." He murmured into my ear, I made to pinch his arm, but his fingers grabbed hold of mine before I could do damage. "It has a turbulent past that I'll tell you all about, if you just go up, get your things and go."
"Turbulent?" I asked already interested, "How so?" I hadn't learnt anything about the Park just yet, I know, that's new.
"Well for one it became a defence post when 'the Albert Barracks' was built in 1845." I was up and out of his arms before he could finish,
"I'll be right back." I informed the amused trio, poking my tongue out at Jay who chuckled, arrogantly pleased with himself.
Damn him and his ability to sway me.
The rest of the week went by in a blur, Orientation week was supposed to be like that apparently. All the stalls with people trying to get you to sign up to different clubs and banks trying to get you to utilize their tertiary plans, it was hectic and I was glad it was done. It meant actual study could commence.
However at the moment we were neither studying nor being barraged by stalls and reps, we were however, just as busy.
"You taste like cinnamon." I informed him; he leaned in softly pressing his mouth to mine. The space shuttle Challenger in disaster in 1986 which killed all seven STS-51-L crew members, resulted in a 32-month hiatus in the shuttle program and the formation of the Rogers Commission, a special commission appointed by United States President Ronald Reagan to investigate the accident. My brain tended to malfunction in fact burning ways when he kissed me.
He eventually pulled away, grinning at the fact that I was slightly out of breath, "I used to think you would taste like sulphur, what with your home originally being hell." I made to poke his eye, but he caught my hand. "But-"
I opened my mouth, "You know that sulphur is in fact odourless, right? The "smell of sulphur" usually refers to either the odour of hydrogen sulphide, e.g. from rotten egg, or of burning sulphur, which produces sulphur dioxide-" I knew he only kissed me again to shut me up, but goddamn it, I didn't mind. Because it brought with it a certain exhilaration, liking standing beside Mount Ruepehu as it erupted, was it normal to liken his kisses to natural disasters? When he stopped I blinked and looked around, party? Oh, right Jessica's going away shindig. So why were we outside? Jay's voice caught my attention,
"What I was going to say, before you rudely interrupted me," he murmured, green eyes heavy lidded.
"You rudely interrupted me!" I bristled, he leaned in again and I shushed.
"Before you rudely interrupted me," he reiterated, "was that you taste-" argh, he didn't even finish his sentence. In fact, he just rudely interrupted himself! I tried to pull away in order to point this out, but his arms slid around me, pulling me closer.
My fingers dug into his shoulder, before I gave up and allowed myself to get lost in the debris, see? Fragments of wreckage metaphors. Oh well, as Jacques Lacan argued, desire is neither the appetite for satisfaction nor the demand for love, but the difference that results from the subtraction of the first from the second. Whatever he meant by that, I had a feeling it related in some way to our intertwinement.
My face felt feverish against his, and I decided that it was crazy, this was crazy. He was crazy, mental, and brilliant and I liked, that's right, liked being around him. Rude interruptions and all.
It's not like I've ever been right in the head myself. Besides, he spoke my language, "A man should live if only to satisfy his curiosity." He'd murmured in my ear, I turned my head slightly,
"Yiddish proverb?" I said a little confused, and then I remembered. "You remember that?" I chuckled at the memory, "That was a year ago," I paused, "I called you a homo."
He pulled back, "And then you kissed me, you wanted me even then." My jaw dropped at the sheer arrogance in his tone, some things never change. My hands around his neck grabbed hold of his hair and yanked, eliciting a pained growl.
"Oh I wanted something alright; I wanted to yank your hair out of its roots."
"Let go." He said through his teeth, I bared my teeth. "Kara." He bit out, but I could, until he tightened his hold around me, the air whooshed out of me. I tugged harder, and it felt like he was going to crush me, and then suddenly, I don't know who let up first, but his lips were pressed against mine once more.
Guess you could say he was cracked like me. Who would ever think that there could be more than hostility between us? I'm not very positive that what Edwards and I had was'affection' per se, what with our continued snide remarks, and bursts of violence, but it suited me, I guess.
His hand slid down my back, eliciting slight tingles and the ends of my mouth turned up as I grinned against him. My own hands had slid down so that they were flat against his chest, making sure that this stays somewhat PG13, we were outside, after all. The United States Motion Picture Production Code of 1930, otherwise known as the Hays Code, had a provision that "Scenes of Passion" were not to be introduced when not essential to the plot, but as Jay's mouth practically turned mine to jelly, his teeth grazing my bottom lip I remembered that the Hays Code was abandoned in 1968. To hell with the stupid code anyway.
Just as my hands snaked their way up to wrap themselves around his neck again there was a wolf whistle from a car speeding by, we broke apart and turned to see the guy hanging out the passenger side window give Jay a huge thumbs up shouting, "Hit it! I'd tap that! Woohoo!" They then did something very, very, stupid, they slowed down.
Jay coughed, trying to hide a laugh and when I glared up at him, as we parted, he shrugged. "Well, I'm flattered on your behalf."
"By the horn of Baphomet," I exclaimed unimpressed, my anger mounting as the guy in the passenger seat hooted and flicked his tongue in and out of his mouth. I thought Uni students were supposed to be smarter, but one must be aware of the fact that there are smart and dumb people everywhere.
The idiot wolf whistled again, he was asking for it.
No, Kara… remain calm, I really should have learnt my lesson from past actions, think before you act. Look at what happened last time I automatically acted?
Hmph, come to think of it I didn't end up that bad off…
"Kara…" Jay must have seen something in my expression that I wasn't aware of myself, because his arm around my waist tightened and his utterance of my name was drenched in warning.
I grinned up at him, trying to project innocence with every fiber of my being, but my hands grabbed the sides of his face and tugged him towards me for a feverish kiss. It was over before it began, for as I felt his hold slacken I broke away from him. Having scanned before, I grabbed the nearest decent sized rock and made a dash for the street.
"Kara, don't!" Jay shouted after me, but you all know what happened next.