Summary: Aiden is an unlucky guy. He is a gay teenager who has fallen in love with his best friend, Jake. But things get worse for him when Jake is heart-broken by a break-up, and when he has to work with his personal bully, Zack. But even an unlucky guy like him can find love…eventually.
Warning: Mild violence, mentions of smoking and drinking, swearing, homoerotic themes/homosexuality. Also beware of supreme cheesiness, high school/love triangle romance clichés, dark humor/sarcasm, dirty thoughts, an unoriginal title, a typical and flamboyant gay guy who is friends with the main character, and a straight, female teenager writing about gay love. If you're not afraid you should be.
Rated M for Mature: I'm not sure if I'd consider this "Mature" material, just because I'm pretty lenient on ratings, but it might get there. That and I want to stay on the safe side. All I know is that this is not for the kiddies.
Author's Note: Okay, so this is my first story that I've posted on fictionpress. I actually took over the account of a friend of mine who used to have it because she never used it… Technically it is mine though, because she signed up with my e-mail address. /
Anyways, I'm writing on this site mostly because I want writing to be a learning experience for me and this is the best way to get feedback from writers. That and I just want to have fun. : )
As for critiquing my story, I'm pretty open about it. Just make sure that it's actually constructive—in other words, don't just flame for the sake of flaming.
There might be quite a few mistakes in the first section. When I first wrote this story I wanted to do it in present tense, but I changed tenses later on. I edited most of it, but if you see mistakes, let me know where to edit them. Don't just say "yeah, there were a couple of mistakes concerning present/past tenses". If you can't tell me where they are, just don't say anything at all because… well, technically you're not helping me and just telling me something I already know. If you've never had someone tell you something you already know, then you have no idea how annoying it can be.
You don't have to critique my writing. I still enjoy comments that simply say you enjoy the story—why? Because I know someone's listening and I get to hear how they feel about it. I did this for fun, too. However, I do love comments that help me with my writing…
Also, there might be a few mistakes at the end because I did not focus on editing that as much as I did in the beginning.
…Please do not correct mistakes in my author's notes.
So please read and I hope you enjoy.
I always knew I had bad luck. I was an unlucky failure, to put it simply. I didn't understand what I did to deserve my bad luck and chain of losses, exactly. After all, I was a polite guy. I never got in fist fights (unless it was necessary), I never yelled at my parents (unless they deserved it) and I didn't drink or smoke (as long as no one else was around). Sure, I might have been a little rough around the corners, but that didn't mean I had to be punished for it. I really was a nice guy, I kept reminding myself that. I was not a hero, but I knew I was a good friend and a nice person, at least. Everyone told me that my entire life. So why did I deserve to be so unlucky? And why did I deserve to go through that?
I was, of course, upset. I don't think I had ever been so assured that I was being tortured in my seventeen years of life as I did that moment. My unfortunate luck was forcing me to stare at Jake, the person that I was pretty damn sure was the love of my life, try not to bawl his eyes out.
Oh yeah, I'm being punished.
Being gay was fucking hard enough. I hated having to listen to my peers and other members of society talking some shit about gay guys and how we were all fruity, gross or whatever (which wasn't true). But having the guy I loved come up to me, coming ever-so-close to crying his eyes out over his recently-turned-ex girlfriend (he's straight—I had be sure to add that to my "bad luck" list) was too much for me. It was torture, in fact. Torture: plain and simple.
Jake is a great friend of mine, which didn't make my attraction to him any better. We were friends even though we were so different. We ran with two totally different crowds. I suppose I could say Jake was popular. He was funny and charming, and he hung out with "the popular crowd". Labeling Jake as "popular" was weird for me, though, because he doesn't seem like the guy who'd be popular—even with his personality and nice looks. He wasn't the type of "popular" guy that you saw portrayed in the movies and stories. Looking at him, you wouldn't think he'd be comfortable hanging out with jocks and cheerleaders, since he never played sports. But he did. That still is unfathomable to me. It's almost unfathomable as him being friends with me—despite our different friends.
I was just average. I was a totally and completely average who hung out with totally and completely average people. I wasn't popular, but I wasn't at the bottom of the popularity chart either. A lot of people assume that being in the middle is just right, but I think that's a load of crap. Being in the middle is boring. When one is in the middle, they are not exceptional, nor are they a complete failure. Sure, Average Joe felt like a failure—but he wasn't. My opinion was that if I had to be someone I wanted to go all the way or stay at the bottom. One way, or the other—but I would never want to be in-between. Yet I was.
I guess it was our childhood bonds that kept Jake and I together. Whenever I reminded myself that we were childhood friends, I would try not to scoff. For some reason, I decided to fall in love with my best friend—the person who I've been buddies with since I was a kid. If I somehow did not get the "unluckiest guy in the world" title, I'd at least be the "dumbest guy on the planet".
"Fuck, Aiden…" he swore underneath his breath. At the sound of my name, I looked up, and I immediately wished I hadn't. The way my heart practically split apart in two made me feel like I had just committed suicide. I had just committed suicide by looking at him and his expression which was filled with misery over his ex-girlfriend. The look on his face was just heart-wrenching. His eyes were brimmed with tears as he tried not to cry (at which I wanted to say, "Fuck it! Just let me hold you in my arms and cry!"). His face had become slightly flushed. There was no doubt in my mind that not only was he frustrated with holding in his emotions, he was also embarrassed. Leave it to Jake to be embarrassed about crying.
He had nothing to be embarrassed about, anyway. I had seen him cry before, mostly when we were children. But I knew he hated crying. He was like me—he hated crying. He hated people worrying over him, even if it was inevitable. I remembered us going to the park for a birthday party when we were children. It was his younger brother's birthday. A part of the park grounds were covered in forest, but we were warned not to go there. Instead, we stood as close to the forest as we could without getting yelled at by the adults. One thing led to another and a playful-yet-careless argument over a present caused us to fall down a hiking trail into the forest. All I saw was a swirl of autumn colors as I fell down the steep path, so I didn't even realize Jake had seriously hurt himself until I saw a branch from a fallen tree had penetrated into his calf, and blood was spilling out from his wound.
Of course, even after that wound, even though we were still very young, and even though his mom was leaning over him and freaking out, he never cried. He came close—I could tell since his eyes were brimmed with tears, but he never cried. We had both been raised the same way: parents telling us to "suck it up" constantly until it was burned into our brains and we became too stubborn to cry.
We weren't insensitive. We just couldn't cry.
Kill me now. I was positive that thought was going to be burned into my head for the rest of my life. It was the only thing I could think. I always felt the need to protect Jake, even when we were children. I've known the kid since first grade and every time he became upset in the least, I'd be crying on the inside right next to him. It was like the time the branch had stabbed itself into his leg. I'd stare, mesmerized and shocked, and I'd want nothing more than to tell him that he was okay and I'd be there for him, but I'd just stand there. I was too afraid to tell him I was concerned about him. I am still afraid to tell him I am concerned about him.
"I feel like shit right now, you don't even know," he said. He sniffed. I could tell holding in his emotions was becoming increasingly harder for him. "I just don't get it! What the fuck did I do wrong? Beth broke up with me and I don't even know why. We were together for eight months. What the hell did I do to make her hate me?"
I was just as confused. Jake was perfect. I wouldn't be afraid to cry tears of happiness if he just agreed to date me. But dating Jake for eight months was unfathomable to me. It seemed to unrealistic. It seemed like a dream. Hell, just having him in my room seemed like a dream, and we were next door neighbors! I couldn't think of a single thing that was dumber than throwing him away.
Jake and I had so much in common. We were soul mates, I was sure of it. Not long after I had accepted that I was gay (though I would never admit it aloud) I decided I loved Jake. There was no person I'd rather be with.
If I wasn't the dumbest person in the world, Beth most certainly was. She's an idiot for letting him go.
As selfish as it sounded, though, I couldn't help but feel a little happy. I must've imagined myself stabbing Beth over a thousand times in my head while she and Jake were dating. I hated her enough just for dating Jake, and I hated her even more for how unappreciative she was while dating him. If I was dating him, I'd worship the ground he walked on. Hell, I was already there!
I was surprised that Beth broke up with Jake, instead of the other way around, albeit Jake was absolutely infatuated with her even before they were dating. My head was starting to ache as I tried to ask myself why she even dumped him. Even though she was more ungrateful than she should've been, it'd be a lie to say she didn't care for him. As much as I wanted them to split up, I still had no reason for why Beth would leave Jake. If anyone deserved to be humiliated, it was Beth. Not Jake—never Jake. He was too flawless.
I heard Jake sigh heavily. His tone was mixed with frustration and exhaustion.
"I guess I should stop complaining. She probably broke up with me because she was sick of me," he said. He laughed dryly. "It's understandable, actually. I'm so fucking pathetic. Even after she dumped me I can do nothing but cling to her. Jesus fucking Christ…"
I felt another tug at my heart and a small sense of rage build up inside of me. I hate listening to him talk about himself like that. I hate that Beth made him feel like that. I hate that he was so perfect and that I was the only one who could see that. I hate that expression of self-hate that was so clearly written on his face.
And then I felt sorrow. I wish I could hold him and tell him how perfect he was. I wish I could tell him that he didn't need Beth and was better off without her. I wish I could tell him that I'd be better than Beth ever was. But I couldn't, and nothing else was left in me but regret.
I sighed heavily, my tone mixed with frustration and exhaustion.
I went to school the next day, tired as hell. I didn't even realize how late it was when Jake had snuck over last night. We were neighbors, which made "sneaking over" simple. Still, I was surprised my parents hadn't noticed. They would've had a heart attack and yell at me, telling me a burglar could've just as easily snuck in my window or some shit like that. They were paranoid and overprotective. Nothing felt more suffocating to me than having my parents over my shoulder, constantly watching my every move. School, surprisingly, was a haven to me. It was the only place my parents couldn't follow me, although if they found a way, they would stalk me there too.
I lazily went up to my locker, did my combination, and stuffed my backpack inside. I started shuffling through the top shelf of my locker, looking for my supplies for my first period class: math. I didn't even notice my friend Damien approach me until he had tapped me on the back.
I instinctively jumped and turned around. He laughed.
"Did you think I was Mike Myers or something?" he asked, grinning. I rolled my eyes, but I couldn't help but smile anyways. Damien had a happy, bubbly kind of personality and I couldn't help but like that.
Next to Jake, I considered Damien my closest friend. Aside from being friendly and generous, he was confident in himself and brave. I admired that a lot. Damien was gay too, so I confided in him a lot. Damien is the only person I came out to. He was proud to be gay and didn't hide it, so he was the only person I could connect to through that. He also knew about my infatuation with Jake, and after my talk with Jake last night, I was grateful that I had someone to talk to.
"You look like you had one hell of a night," Damien observed. As though reading my mind, he guessed, "Is this about Jake?"
"Yeah," I admitted bitterly. I glanced around, as if someone was going to pop out from a locker. I was being paranoid. My locker was in the worst area in the school—no one would come by unless they were crazy. My locker not only sat between the janitor's closet and the men's bathroom (it fucking reeked), but my locker was also next to Zack's locker. It wouldn't be a lie to say Zack was a bully. He had no problem pulling pranks on people and hurting others mentally and/or physically. Most people feared him, but I was just annoyed by him. He seemed to like picking on me the most. That was just one of the many examples of my terrible luck.
"What happened?" Damien asked, looking concerned. At the tone of his voice, I reminded myself how nice it was to have friends who cared.
"Jake and Beth broke up," I decided to start with. Damien's eyebrows rose, showing that he was clearly surprised. I understood where he was coming from—I had done the same thing when Jake told me.
"How'd you find out? Why'd they break up?" Damien was a curious person, so I suppose it was a good thing for him that I trusted him so much. Besides, Damien liked to hear gossip, not spread it. That and we were close friends and I know that anything I said stayed between us and no one else. Damien had done nothing but look out for me in the past, and he would never change that. Even with my luck, I would never question his loyalty. Damien was the type of guy who'd always have a friend's back and would always protect him or her. I knew from experience.
"Well, he told me last night," I said, before Damien could throw a million more questions at me. He would've too, I could tell by the way his eyes flared with interest. "He snuck in through my window last night. At first it was sort of awkward, and we kind of made small talk, and I knew something was wrong. Jake never makes 'small talk' unless something is bothering him. So I asked him straight out what was wrong, and he told me the news. He was so fucking miserable. I haven't heard him speak like that in a long time."
Damien seemed to flinch.
"Wow. I never expected that. So what happened?"
"I'm not sure," I admitted. "All I really know is that Beth broke up with him. I thought that was bullshit. Jake would've given her the world if he could, and Beth wouldn't even fucking care. If they broke up, I wanted Jake to be the one who dumped her, not the other way around."
"Does that really sound like Jake?" Damien said, smiling grimly. I pondered the question without really having to. I knew the answer. Jake breaking up with Beth was just wishful thinking on my part. As I said before, Jake practically worshipped the ground Beth walked on. He would never willingly break up with her. I ached a little inside thinking about it, so I pushed the thought aside.
"Stop thinking about it," said Damien, sensing my unease. "Let's talk about something else."
I closed my locker. Damien and I talked about this and that as we headed off to our classes, which was in the same direction. It's amazing how just talking to your friends can comfort you. I was feeling better in no time.
I went to math. I hated math, and I hated the class and teacher just as much, but I tried to stay optimistic. I sat down at my assigned desk. A few problems were posted on the board in the front, and I wondered if I was back in elementary school since they were 'warm-up' problems. I shook my head, amused, before opening up my notebook and taking out a pencil.
The pencil scratched against the paper as I copied down the problems. Someone passed my desk and took the seat behind me. I knew who it was without looking. It was Zack, the asshole whose locker was next to me. I heard him sit down and felt him kick the back of my chair. I rolled my eyes but said nothing. He did the same thing every day—or at least, the days he decided to come.
Zack was nothing but a punk—he had the attitude, the black clothes, the converse, the piercings, the chains and everything in-between. He wasn't worth my time. He was just a carbon copy of every other bully. There was nothing original about him, and he was just annoying as hell. Besides, I was used to it. Zack's locker was next to mine, after all, for three years.
The kid was constantly defensive whenever he was with authority. A teacher couldn't say a fucking thing to him without him complaining about it, even if it was a simple matter. I remember him fighting with a teacher freshman year after she asked him to shut the door. It was unbelievable. He was so fucking angry and appalled that the school's security officers had to eventually lead him out of the classroom. He was swearing and everything. At the time I was pretty annoyed and pissed off, but looking back at it, I thought it was hilarious. It was such a pointless thing to fight over, but to Zack, everything was a serious matter.
I was beginning to solve the first problem when I felt Zack kick the back of my chair. I ignored it. He did it again, and it was painfully obvious he was trying to get my attention. I knew he was just trying to piss me off. I have no idea why he got off on annoying me. I remember this time where I was yelling at him and all he did was stand there with his stupid trademark smirk and laugh that hissy laugh under his breath. When he did that, it only pissed me off more. After a certain amount of time, I finally just admitted he was a sadistic jerk who got off on other people's anger and pain and he wasn't going to change.
"Fag!" he hissed. "Fag" wasn't an insult, really, it's just that he never remembered my name (or at least, he pretended not to) so he called me "Fag" instead of "Aiden". I was pissed off the first time he called me "Fag", and I was still irritated by it, but it wasn't worth fighting over. He'd keep calling me it, just like how he'd still kick the back of my chair and insult me and get defensive every time I glanced at him, and he'd never stop until he got his way.
He kept calling me by "my name" until I was eventually fed up with it. I hated how I lost my patience sometimes. I turned around and glared at him. I didn't even ask him what was wrong. I was angry as hell, but I refused to argue with him.
"You got a pen?" he asked. I scoffed and rolled my eyes. Even with his shaggy, dark brown hair that covered most of his face I could see his eyebrows furrow. "What? I just asked you for a fucking pen!"
I at least got some sense of pride knowing I made him upset. I just turned around. He kicked the back of my chair again, but this time, it wasn't to get my attention. I just shook my head and tried to find where I left off on my problem.
"Fag, what's your deal today?" he said. I suppose he was trying to imitate a psychiatrist or something, with that mocked concern in his tone. With an annoyed sigh, I turned around to look at him again. "All I asked was for a fucking pen."
"I don't have one," I spat bitterly. "And even if I did, what are you going to do with it?"
I laughed dryly to myself. Zack did not seem fazed.
"I'm going to take notes. I'm trying to make the honor roll," he said, displaying that smirk of his. He laughed quietly at his own joke. I suppose he was trying to become a comedian as well.
Realizing I wasn't going to give him shit, he borrowed a pen from the girl next to him, who gave it to him obediently without looking him in the eye. I narrowed my eyes, disgusted that he'd push people around like that. I was also annoyed by the fact that I was one of the few people who wasn't intimidated by him. Then again, he probably bullied me further because I wasn't afraid of him.
It's annoying how my luck works out, and I never get tired of cursing it
He started writing on his arm, and I almost slapped myself for not guessing he'd do that. Zack's purpose for using a pen was either to write and draw on himself or to break it apart and flick the caps and other pieces at people (usually me). He intentionally let me see him write Aiden Miles is a fucking fag on his arm and, tired with his antics, I turned around. I tried to go back to my work, but I was so riled up I couldn't concentrate. I hated myself for letting him get to me.
I heard someone approach Zack's desk from behind me. It was the teacher. I could tell without even looking.
"Zack, we're not going to have a problem today, are we?"
"No sir," he said. I easily envisioned him sitting there, his smirk spreading across his lips as he said that. I had no doubt that he was doing that now, but I was so pissed off I didn't feel like finding out for myself. "I'm a good boy. I won't make any trouble."
"I hope you're right," I heard the teacher say. I could tell by the slight edge in his voice that he was annoyed by Zack's sarcasm. I wanted to warn him to not let it get to his head, but Mr. Patterson was relatively new to the school and didn't understand how Zack's mind worked. "I don't want to have to send you out of this class again."
"Whatever," I heard Zack mutter. I couldn't help but smile when I heard that familiar annoyed and defensive tone in Zack's voice. "I don't even want to fucking be here anyways. I don't care if you kick me out."
"I don't want to have to kick you out again, though. You need to pass this class to get your credit. Now stop writing on your arm and get your hair out of your face."
Mr. Patterson went up to the front of the class, greeted everyone, and then started to solve and explain the problems on the board. I felt a familiar thump on the back of my chair.
After math I had English, science and then history. I like English a lot. It was my favorite subject, and I liked to write, even though it was embarrassing for me to let people read my stories and essays. Sometimes I'd end up turning in my papers late, just because I was reluctant to let the teacher read it.
After my morning classes, I went down to the cafeteria for lunch. In the lunchroom, I saw Jake. My heart skipped a beat, and the second he glanced at me, I waved. He waved back, but his smile was rather unenthusiastic, and I figured that he still upset over Beth. Once in awhile we'd sit together for lunch, but considering how upset he was, I decided I should leave him alone. I noticed his other friends talking to him animatedly, and I was a bit annoyed. They didn't even seem to notice he was semi-depressed. That or they did know and were trying to comfort him. However, that irritated me as well. If they were really his friends, they would've known that Jake hated it went people worried about him and that when he was upset, he liked his space.
I just sighed in disappointment, shook my head and then picked up my lunch from the lunch line. I paid for my food and took a seat at the first empty table I could find. I was eating nonchalantly; still troubled that Jake was still hung up over Beth, when Damien came over to sit at my table.
"I officially hate people in lunch lines," he said as he sat down. He was looking really aggravated, and I found some comfort in the fact that I wasn't the only person who was having a bad day. "I don't understand why people move so fucking slowly. Our school is huge! You think they'd hurry the fuck up instead of complaining about how the food is gross!"
"I know," I said, nodding in agreement. "If it's such a big deal to them, they should bring their own lunch."
"Exactly!" he exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air. I grinned. "It's not even that big of a deal! Just eat the damn food! It's not going to kill you!"
I couldn't help but laugh, because it was so true. It was amazing to me how picky some people could be. I wish people would stop worrying over everything and just go with the flow.
Damien and I just talked over some nonsense when we both heard a loud crash from another side of the lunchroom. We, and several others, looked. Upon recognizing one of the people at the site of the ruckus, I was not surprised. It was Zack and his annoying punk friends. From the looks of it, one of his blond punk friends had fallen on the floor for some reason, and Zack and the rest of his buddies were laughing their asses off as if it was the most hilarious thing they had ever seen.
Remembering the morning I had with Zack, I didn't find it entertaining at all and, annoyed, I turned around and continued to pick at my food. I heard a chuckle from Damien and I looked up at him disbelievingly. Upon noticing my irritated astonishment, Damien immediately stopped laughing.
"What? It was funny," he said innocently. I gave him an unimpressed look. He laughed. "You still hate that guy?"
"Why shouldn't I?" I said, rolling my eyes. "He still hasn't failed to annoy the fuck out of me."
"Oh come on, Aiden," Damien said, smiling. "People aren't that bad once you get to know them. You see that guy next to Zack?" I looked and saw a guy with short, natural red hair, with the same matching black clothing as his buddies. It amazed me how clone-like they all were. "I used to think he was such an annoying little fuck in my theater class. But then I got to know him during a project, and he turned out to be really talented and smart."
I considered what he said with careful thought. But then I realized something that was rather off-topic, but humorous nonetheless. I looked at him for a moment and then began to laugh. He blinked, completely oblivious.
"What? What's wrong?" he asked, clearly concerned.
"You're taking a theater class?" I asked, still laughing. He nodded, still confused. He asked what was wrong. "Dude, just when I thought you were already gay enough you decide to jump around on stage in tights. That's hilarious!"
He blinked, and then, after processing what I said, he began to laugh. Damien was a bit slow when it came to jokes, and I could only laugh harder at his naïveté.
"That's not funny," he said, while laughing hypocritically. "The class isn't like that at all!"
We were cracking up over it for awhile and I left the cafeteria, still grinning. Lunch had ended on a good note, and that was something I had needed.
My final three classes were all electives and went by pretty quickly. I was more than ready to get the hell out of my school. The hallways were buzzing with students who were thinking the same exact thought. I practically shoved my homework and notebooks in my backpack before shutting my locker and taking off.
I usually walked home with Jake, but when I went to his locker, he wasn't there. Disheartened, I left the school and headed home. I had to push through a crowd of people just to reach the sidewalk.
I was walking down the path when I recognized a familiar figure ahead of me. It was Jake. He was about a block away. I debated about whether or not to meet with him. I figured he was probably still upset about his break-up. I finally decided to go up to him. It was too awkward walking right behind him and not speaking to him.
"Hey!" I said. I was breathless, from both anxiety and from running to catch up. It's not that I was in bad shape—I was pretty healthy, actually. It was because of my damned backpack that was heavy, the cold air and the fact that my stalling let him slip away even further from me.
"Disappointed" was an understatement for how I felt when I was responded with nothing more than a wry smile from Jake. I expected him to be upset, of course, but I had no idea that he'd still be distraught at this time of day.
However, an unexpected expression of concern spread across his face. I supposed he saw that I was pretty heartbroken by his indifference. It was a comfort to see some emotion from him, but I felt even worse that I had made him feel guilty. I decided to start a topic so he would feel better.
"Did you see what happened at lunch?" I asked him. The last thing I wanted to talk about was Zack, but it was the only thing I could think of to bring up. I thought I had seen a faint smile, but I assumed that it was just wishful thinking.
I liked it when Jake smiled, but I suppose I was biased since I liked him. But I still believed it was truly a beautiful smile, because Jake was beautiful. It surprised me how great-looking he was, albeit his looks were slightly effeminate. His hair was a light brown, almost blond, and his eyes were a dark blue. His stature was slightly smaller than mine, but it suited him well. Jake was a neat person, so he always took good care of his looks (which I teased him about, from time to time). But I suppose those are only physical appeals. What made Jake genuinely beautiful, I guess, was just the way he carried himself. He was sure of himself but at the same time, he was humble.
Jake gave off this aura that just made you feel like you could be friends for the rest of your life. Being around him gave you this sense that he wasn't judgmental of others and that he was an understanding person. And in some cases, he was.
I felt a little pathetic by the way I coveted every little thing about him—I was mesmerized by a smile that might not have even happened. But I couldn't help it. He was just everything to me. My mind was constantly filled with Jake. Even when I wasn't looking at him, I not only pictured his face but I framed it as well. Even when I was nowhere near him, I would imagine his touch. Even when he wasn't in the same room as me, I could sense his presence in my mind.
My obsession with him practically drove me mad, and I could've been thrown in rehab for my Jake-addiction. But even if I was thrown in rehab, I wouldn't mind. I was so hooked on love I wouldn't even care.
"Yeah, that was pretty crazy," said Jake. I was so stunned by him that I didn't even remember what the topic was. Wasn't I the one who brought it up, though? I stared at him blankly, searching for an answer as to what we were talking about. Jake must've noticed. He grinned. "Do you even know what we're talking about?" I shook my head. He laughed. "Ha-ha. Maybe if you paid attention to what I was saying for once instead of staring dumbly, you wouldn't always have to ask me what was going on. Staring—you always do that!"
I did? That was when I realized my actions were more transparent than I thought. I was a little worried, but Jake didn't seem to be annoyed about it. He was more amused than anything else, really. However, I was skeptical and couldn't help but think he was a little vexed out about it. I never fully knew what was going on in Jake's head. He never fully opened up to anyone, which is something I desperately wanted but knew I would never get. The hopeful side of me prayed that maybe I would be the one he opens up to and trusts full-heartedly.
My wishful thinking was beginning to speak again, so the pessimist in me decided to shut it up, bring me back to reality and remind me that with my luck, it would never happen in a million years.
Jake's murky behavior hadn't progressed over the week. His isolation from me and the rest of the world left me moody over the weekend. Jake's gloominess was like an aftertaste you'd get from a bad meal—it, depressingly enough, stuck with you and reminded you of a bad occasion.
Since Jake clearly didn't give a shit about anything but Beth at the time, I decided to invite Damien over so he could listen to me complain about my misery. I usually didn't pour my heart out to others, but Damien had a way of figuring out how I felt anyway. It was a bad excuse, but deep down, I didn't mind talking about my feelings—to Damien, that is. Damien wasn't the type who'd judge you. He wasn't like other people in my life, such as my parents, who were brainwashed by everything they heard on news stations and television and thought the outside world was evil and corrupt as a result.
Damien also seemed to have the best advice. He didn't have the best advice, that I could be sure of, but it was certainly the best advice that I had available. I was grateful for him being such a good friend who'd listen and give advice.
When Damien came over, my mom was home, sitting on the couch in the living room. She was watching some news channel or whatever, which was pretty predictable. I didn't feel like dealing with her paranoia, so I practically pulled Damien up the steps and to my room.
Damien squeaked out a greeting to my mother just as I had gripped his wrist, to which he was greeted with a meek "hello", before I had dragged him up the stairs. My mother thought that "Damien was a sweet boy", but I doubted she would ever fully accept him. Damien practically flaunted his gayness to the world, and I think my mother was a bit intimidated by that fact. I didn't know what my mother's stance was when it came to homosexuality, which is probably why I never came out to her and my dad. However, I think my mother was just overwhelmed by Damien's gay pride (and I couldn't blame her—Damien was practically a rainbow colored banner on a PrideFest float).
"Jeez. What's the rush?" Damien said when I practically slammed the door behind me. When I turned around to look at him, he was smiling. "Then again, if a guy's so eager to get me in his bedroom, I suppose I shouldn't complain."
"I don't want to have to deal with my parents right now," I explained, too aggravated by the terrible week to even force a smile on my face at his joke (which was, admittedly, pretty funny).
"I doubt that's the case. I think it's something else. Don't tell me you're still weeping about Jake."
I couldn't understand his skepticism. Damien knew perfectly well that I never got along with my parents and I never liked them to be around my friends. In fact I never liked it when my friends came over to my house. I'd rather leave my home to hang out with them than having to be around my parents. But of course my parents only got more paranoid when I was out of the house. There was no escape from them.
"Yeah, I am, actually. Is there a problem with that?" I said, sounding agitated. My eyes narrowed and I frowned crossly. His doubt annoyed me, but I felt more offended by what he said about me and Jake. It was like he didn't give a shit that I was having a lousy week. I had expected him to be there for me which was why I invited him over, despite my nosey and overprotective parents that I abhorred. Instead it seemed to me like he was telling me to shut the hell up. He never had a problem with talking about my feelings before, I felt more hurt than ever that he actually decided to shun me.
I could've talked to him about a million pointless things and he'd listen. Now, when I needed his listening ears more than ever, he didn't feel like hearing a thing. I felt abandoned.
"No, there's no problem," said Damien. He rolled his eyes. "It's just that you've been upset about this whole thing all week, and frankly, you have no right to be upset. Jake should be upset, not you. It's his relationship that ended, after all. You're almost taking this as bad as he is and you have no right to be."
"I'm upset because he's upset," I said, frowning. "Is it wrong to be concerned about someone I care about? You know how I feel about Jake."
"That's not what I was saying," said Damien dryly, raising an eyebrow. "I'm just trying to figure out what's going on with you."
"Nothing's wrong with me," I said earnestly. "What's bothering me is Jake. He's just miserable and hung up over Beth. You haven't seen him like I have. He's a mess. It's terrible."
"Jake's been upset before, yet somehow now you're more upset than ever," he said. "Somehow I get this feeling that you're not concerned about Jake. I get this sense that you're actually jealous."
I stared, bewildered. What could I have possibly been jealous of? Jake's misery? That's how I interpreted Damien's words. I stared at him with an expression mixed of astonishment and puzzlement. The idea was ridiculous.
"You're jealous because Jake is crying over Beth, not you," he explained. My confusion did not lessen. Instead, rage filled me and a million thoughts buzzed around in my heads. Questions and retorts filled my head and I couldn't think straight.
I hated it when people got to me like that.
"How selfish do you think I am?" I snapped. I demanded an answer. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe that Damien would think so poorly of me. "I don't want Jake to cry over me, ever! And I certainly do not want him to cry over me just so I can feel attended to! I'm not a horrible person!"
"I never said you were a horrible person," said Damien. "It'd be a lie if I said you were. You're a good person. I've said it a million times before and I can still say it now. But Aiden, you've been obsessing over Jake so fervently this week. Every time I heard you speak about Jake it was about him and his speeches and mourning over Beth. I'm not going to lie when I say it's pathetic. You're focusing so much on this break-up and you don't even have to. I think you're just jealous because Jake is upset over Beth and his mind is entirely focused on her."
I wanted to argue, but words and coherent thought failed me. Damien sighed heavily. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and glanced around the room. My mind still drew up a blank and I couldn't focus on anything intelligent to say.
"Look," said Damien, rubbing the back of his neck worriedly. "I didn't come here to argue. Let's just do something and not talk about this anymore."
I could only nod. I hated arguing with Damien, yet somehow, I sensed a truth behind his words.
Maybe I was being selfish. Maybe I was being greedy. Throughout this entire week, half the time I was moping was because Jake wasn't paying attention to me. It had little to do with Beth. Even while Jake was dating Beth he still focused a lot of time with me. But now it's like he didn't care. He just wanted to be alone to drown in his own misery. He wanted to drown alone so no one could save him. He wanted help from no one, including me.
It was that final thought that made me feel the worst. I had to face reality and realize that I couldn't save him.
Damien's words had truly spoken to me. When Monday came, I decided to leave Jake alone. He would figure things out on his own. In fact, I'm sure that was what he wanted. It was what he needed. If I hovered over him constantly, he would only become more distant. It was ironic. With my parents, I should've known better than anyone that privacy was a virtue, yet I continued to pester him like a mosquito. I would miss him, but when he came to his senses and accepted his ended relationship, I'm sure he'd be fine again. Then we could hang out again.
The morning was a bit of a bore, and school was just miserable. Surprisingly enough, Zack had decided to come to math that day. He decided to show up two days in a row. Even though there was a weekend in the middle of that timeline, it was still a surprise, and I had no problem letting him know that.
I had entered the room and saw Zack sitting at his desk (he was there early, which was another surprise). I could only let my eyebrows rise. It was the only trace of personality on my face. The rest of my expression was rather wry. Upon seeing my reaction, he sneered.
"What are you looking at, Fag?"
He was defensive. I could say it a million times and it'd still be true.
People expected Zack to be pretty unpredictable, and at times he could be, but to me it was the same routine everyday. There was nothing new about it. He wasn't unpredictable. He was the opposite, in fact. In my eyes, he was easier to read than a fucking book.
"Boring" was the word that fitted the rest of my morning. It was absolutely boring. I didn't even seem motivated in the least that day. I couldn't even focus enough to take notes. I just leaned over my notebook and doodled stick figures all over the page. It was a typical Monday.
I didn't buy lunch that day. I didn't feel like fighting with people in the lunch line just to get some fucking food. I wasn't that hungry anyways. I was just tired. So I crossed my arms on the table and let my head rest upon it. It wasn't very comfortable. My arms were kind of bony. I was kind of bony. I might as well have been called "Captain Anorexia", I was that scrawny. But I sort of made up for it in my height. I was taller than most guys in my grade. Not freakishly tall, just tall enough that guys wouldn't make fun of me for the way I was built.
After all, if you're tall everything else has to be in proportion. Although I supposed I would never know. I was gay but I wasn't that gay. Or, at least, that was my excuse since I wasn't brave enough to find out, because I most certainly had thought about it.
I thought about it a lot, actually.
One thing led to another and my notice in my scrawny arms had led to a whole different thought about somewhere else on the male body. I wasn't even really aware of what I was thinking until Damien had sat down next to me and pointed out that my face was red. I self-consciously touched my face, and my embarrassment did not save me from my rose-red appearance.
Disgruntled, I buried my face in my arms as Damien laughed. He didn't ask what I was thinking about. I think he sensed that I was tired and didn't feel like talking because he didn't say a word to me, which was unlike him. A thought occurred to me that maybe I might've worried him when I didn't even laugh back, but when I glanced up at Damien; I noticed his drowsy expression as well.
I hated Mondays.
After lunch I ended up going to my computer class. I wasn't entirely sure what career I was going into. I didn't have a particular skill or interest. I ended up taking a bunch of diverse classes for my electives. Besides my computer class, I was also attending Spanish III and a photography class.
They didn't match at all. I could envision myself walking into a job interview and have the employer stare at my resume like a child had just scribbled over it in crayon. Then he'd lean over, look me in the eye and say, "Are you sure you want to be here?"
It was pretty depressing. I was a senior and I wasn't sure what I was going to do with my life. Going to college was a given. I had to do that. But other than that, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. The only thing I could think of was to get my requirements down and anything I needed to get accepted into a college.
Freshmen were supposed to experiment. Seniors were supposed to be already prepared and ready to go. I couldn't think of a damn thing I wanted to be. I didn't even have an idea. All I knew was that I wanted to get a job where I made a lot of money. I was a money-fiend.
My computer class was okay. I was pretty distracted with work and whatnot. Spanish III was a bore, and I ended up doodling in my notebook again.
I wasn't looking forward to photography class, but at the same time, I wasn't exactly dreading it either. I wasn't sure what I was going to be doing for photography, but then I remembered asking Al earlier that morning.
Al and I weren't exactly the closest of friends, but we got along just fine. We just weren't close enough to hang out outside of school and stuff. He was the only person I knew in my photography class. We also shared a history class together. In history I asked him what we would be doing in photography, and he reminded me that we were going to start a new project with partners. We agreed to be partners for the project. After all, he was the only one I knew in the class.
I sat down at my assigned seat. The seat worked out perfectly, because it was at the table closest to the door. That was what I had needed that day. Every so often, a few people would shuffle into the room. Everyone was in the classroom and sat down at their seats.
I noticed something. Al wasn't in the class. In fact, quite a few people were missing. In their places were new faces. I could only stare, astounded. The classroom had changed, and yet, there was still no one I recognized. I realized with a panic that I would have to be paired with someone I didn't know for my project.
While I was in the middle of panicking, Mr. Davis, the photography teacher, had walked to the front of the room. The class settled. Fortunately, I wasn't the only one who noticed that our class wasn't the same.
"Good afternoon, class," he greeted with a smile. "You may have noticed a few new faces in a here as well as a few missing ones. That's because certain schedules have been rearranged. I know we're the midst of the term, but I'm sure we can all deal with this maturely. I will be getting a new seating chart tomorrow for the new students. For now, let's talk about our next project.
"Now, for this project, we will be working with partners. You will be choosing your partner. I know that may be difficult for most of you, considering the class has changed." No shit. "However, I had planned our project to be this way and I will keep it that way. This project will be done outside of class. For this project we will be taking photos in black and white. I want this class to use shadows and light to create contrast and value for this piece. Also, I want you and your partner to decide on a theme for your project. The set you decide to photograph may be set up to work accordingly with your theme. The subject matter does not have to be found in nature."
Rubrics were eventually passed out to the class. Mr. Davis went on to talk about the rules of the project and so forth, and even showed examples of value and talked about some photographer who was an expert at black-and-white photos or something. I could barely pay attention. I had no one to partner with.
He eventually came to the moment I dreaded most. He told us to split up and find a partner. By the time he decided to do that, we had about twenty minutes left in class. In that time period, we were supposed to find a partner and think of a theme.
"The project won't be due for awhile," he said. "This is an important project, and you'll be working on most of it outside of class. In the meantime we'll be working on different projects inside of class. Take a look at the rubric so you can sort out when everything is due. Since this is the case, you can afford to take time to really think of a theme. However, it shouldn't take that long. You should, at the very least, be ready on Wednesday."
The entire room scattered. The room was as though I had dropped a mirror and every fragment flew in different directions. The pieces flew away from me and all I could do was stand in shock. While Mr. Davis was talking, half the class had already chosen their partners by whispering across the room.
After I got over my initial surprise I got up and tried to find a partner. I may not have known anyone, but I wasn't going to be a sitting duck. "Failure" didn't even begin to describe how I felt. No one was available. They all had partners. I felt like a complete idiot wandering around aimlessly in the classroom.
They were all sitting in their groups, chatting animatedly. I walked up to Mr. Davis and explained to him my situation. It was completely embarrassing. I felt like such a loser for being the only one left without a partner.
"I guess you're just going to have to be assigned to a partner tomorrow," he said. He scratched his head, not sure of what to say. "Someone might've been absent today. You can just wait for now. I'm sure tomorrow there'll be a person you can work together with."
Again, I felt like a total loser. On top of not having a partner, I would also have to spend the rest of the class sitting around like an idiot. Everyone will probably turn around and look at me and notice that I was alone.
I prayed for some sort of miracle that someone I knew would just walk in the door. I wasn't much of a believer in God, but it was my last chance at some sort of hope. I wanted to be saved from, at the very least, boredom for the rest of the hour.
"Hey! Mr. Davis! I know, I'm late, but I have an excuse this time!" I heard a voice scream from the hallways.
To my astonishment my prayers were answered. I recognized the voice without even having to turn around to look. Unfortunately, the fates liked to play games on me and God hated my guts, because it was the last person I wanted to be paired up with—especially for a school project.
I took a deep breath and made another prayer that it wasn't who I thought it was. My prayer didn't work as well this time, because when I turned around I saw the person I dreaded most standing at the door. It was Zack.
Just my fucking luck.
End of Chapter
The room was as though I had dropped a mirror and every fragment flew in different directions. I didn't realize it at the time I was writing it, but that line is pretty ironic. The story revolves around a guy who constantly curses his bad luck, and then he talks about breaking a mirror. If you guys don't know the superstition, breaking a mirror is supposed to give you seven years of bad luck. Anyways, I just thought the people who were weird like me would get a little humor out of that once I pointed it out.
Please review. It doesn't have to be super-thoughtful (although I do like super-thoughtful comments… hint-hint-wink-wink).
Tell me what you liked. Tell me what you didn't like. Tell me what you thought was funny. Tell me what you didn't understand. Tell me what you think about the characters and the pace of the story. Tell me what you think is going to happen next. Tell me about any mistakes you saw that distracted you. Tell me that I'm starting sentences with "tell me" too much. Tell me something that's more than just "i liek it continu plz".
…But thanks for reading it. I'm genuinely honored, even if you didn't like it.
Edit 12/9/07: I edited a few mistakes.