A/N: This is technically the sequel to my other FP fic "Sorry". But I don't think it matters whether you've read that or not.
This is (hopefully) a pretty different piece but it is also a SLASH story, so if you don't like that, don't say I didn't warn you.
Chapter 1: Palm Sunday
I am wearing a collared shirt and leather shoes. And no, I'm not going to a job interview. Hi my name is Stetson Spitz, and I think I'm whipped.
I'm worse than whipped, actually. Because usually when a guy is whipped, he gets something back in return. But what do I get? Nothing but the pleasure of his company. Yeah, that's right, I like a guy. Got a problem with that? I didn't think so. Anyway, you don't want to hear me wax on poetic about this guy, so I'll just tell you why I'm wearing the damn shirt with the damn collar.
He's Catholic, which is frickin' hilarious since he's gay. But he says they don't even talk about things like that at his church. Maybe they don't talk much about that, but I know that his parents would not be cool about it. They might not seem all that devout either, but they'd refuse to speak to him ever again. Which is why James would never tell them.
Point being, he's going to church. And I'm following him because today is Palm Sunday, he's informed me. And because it's Palm Sunday (and possibly the anniversary of the day of his conception if his parents are to be believed), he's going to church and no amount of sleeping in or lying is going to convince him that he shouldn't go. So I've decided to take one for the team and go with him. Especially since Uncle AJ (his uncle, not mine) is going with him.
He laughs at me when he sees me wearing the shirt, then I realise that apparently to him, church is not such a big deal. He's wearing what he'd usually wear on any given day: t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. I'm mortified beyond belief, but pretend it's nothing.
"Some of us have standards," I state.
"Some of us," he retorts. "Live in the twenty-first century."
The worst part about this is that this isn't the first time it's happened. How could I have forgotten that he never wears a shirt to church?
I shrug, and follow him out to Uncle AJ's car. I guess you might wonder why I call his uncle 'Uncle', but since I'm living in his house, and he's basically letting me mooch off him for free, it seems a bit wrong to just call the guy AJ. If you're wondering why I'm living with something else's uncle, I guess now's the time to explain my relationship with James.
We met the day before our first day of kindergarten. My parents had confused the starting days, so I was there a day early, and rather disappointed. His parents had done no such thing. They'd just been on holiday to Sydney to see his grandparents, so there were still something registration issues they needed to get sorted out. His parents were nice enough to drop me home that first day, and well, you can see that the relationship really hasn't changed too much in thirteen years. It's just that instead of his parents it's his uncle, and instead of a lift home, it's permanent residency in his house.
Some days I feel guilty about it, but I know that I'd never be able to support myself in Sydney without their help. Not if I want to get passing grades. With my HECS debt as much as it is without the addition of me failing a class or two, I need all the help I can get. And James' family is happy enough to provide it. I'd probably feel more guilty if I hadn't been doing it all my life. These days I feel like that his family is practically mine anyway.
And of course, I don't think I could bear to be separated from James… ever. I'd long forgotten what it was like for him to not be right there whenever I wanted him… and even when I didn't. I know it's not fair. But sometimes I hate him because I need him so much.
x X X x
The church service is as boring as I remember it being the last time I followed James to one. This is, however, the first time I've been to Uncle AJ's church, so at least I can distract myself with the different stained glass windows and statues and portraits. Unfortunately, the plain wooden pews do nothing to make my ass feel comfortable. The church back home in East Peaks didn't have pews. It was merely lines of cushioned chairs that were perpetually rearranged for different occasions. Or so they tell me. I can't say I have any experience with that first hand.
This is the last time I follow James to this particular church. Next time, I'm sleeping in. I'd like to say that it's the last time I follow James to a church ever, but I don't like to make promises I can't keep.
x X X x
"Are you still up for tonight?" I ask James as we sit beside each other on the back seat of the car on the way home.
"I said I'd go, didn't I?" he shoots at me, while peering out his window.
Tonight's party is a bit of a sore spot for James. We got into a huge argument about it last week when I mentioned where we'd be going. It's only three weeks into semester, so we haven't yet crashed a single party, being too busy getting into our new life. Apparently James thought I was going to leave gatecrashing behind. But all I can see and imagine are bigger parties, with people who really won't recognise me. It's all kinds of freeing to party with people who have no idea who you are or where to find you tomorrow.
Party crashing in Sydney seems like it'll be twice as thrilling, so I've been waiting for the perfect opportunity to make our debut. Samantha Morris' 21st seems like the perfect place. Not to mention it's fancy dress, which is always amusing.
I've decided to go as Zorro, and have yet to convince James that he should go as Catherine Zeta Jones' character. Arguing that their last names were almost but not quite the same hasn't worked so far. Instead he's planning on going as Indiana Jones… again. I like to come up with a different costume for each party. He doesn't. The last time I'd gone as Aladdin (and he'd refused to go as Princess Jasmine), and before that as Robin Hood (with James refusing to be maid Marian). Come to think of it, I can't believe I didn't work out the guy was gay sooner. Clearly my subconscious had always known.
It's still a sore spot for me. He told my own little sister before he told me. I mean sure, I can act a little homophobic at times, but I wasn't about to abandon just about my only friend in the world. I mean, we both have more friends and acquaintances, but my world, especially these days, consists of me and James. Back in high school, we'd run as a foursome with Kelvin and Jackson. But before that it was just me and him. The way I always thought it was supposed to be.
The three of us have pho for lunch at a little Vietnamese place not far from Uncle AJ's place. I've always reckoned that pho is about the best value fill you can get; even if it is mostly water. Fast, too. Five dollar steaks come a very close second. In the six months since I'd turned eighteen I've learnt the beauty of pub food and know I'll never be looking back.
A few hours later I'm in my masked vigilante outfit, waiting for James to emerge from our room. Yes, I know, we share a room – there's not much space at Uncle AJ's so I'm more of a sub-leaser… except, of course, that I don't pay rent. But it's more like I'm not paying rent to James than to Uncle AJ. He has the bigger half of the room – the door opens into mine taking up valuable space.
Anyway, as soon as I dressed I left the room. After all there isn't anything to be said about seeing him change into an outfit I'd seen a million times before. He'd actually packed it, so I can't really believe him when he says he thought we were going to quit the gatecrashing scene. Not to mention I like to avoid being in the same room as him when he's changing since I always wind up hard. I tried to avoid erections in his presence unless I can blame them on a pretty girl. An ugly one if I'm desperate.
But recently, it's only James who turns me on. A bit of a surprise since I've always thought I was straight. But suddenly the ever-present desire for him to be near me became a need. I had to be around him. I had to see him. I was jealous when he was out of my sight. I was jealous when he commented on how hot some celebrity looked. And I was beyond jealous every time I saw him with Caden Bloody Laurence. Thankfully that wasn't particularly often. It took a month before I was able to get used to my feelings, to not ruin our friendship by jumping him one day, but for the most part, I'm keeping quiet and to myself.
I told Friedy about my feelings, but that was mostly because one day she'd joked at me and just known. She insisted that James returned my feelings and that I should go for it, but I was too much of a coward to take my little sister's advice.
A moment later James emerges from the bedroom. I've never seen him look more gay in my life. Seriously. He's not wearing his Indiana Jones outfit (which always sent little thrills down my spine since it comes with a whip). Instead, he's dressed in a police uniform that kind of makes him look like one of the Village People. If they were Australian.
"Wow," I state, barely containing my laughter.
He looks up at me oddly, and perhaps a little self-conscious. He isn't usually embarrassed to be seen in costume, since he doesn't see the costume as himself.
"What?" he asks defensively.
"You look so gay," I state and let my laughter rip.
He crosses his arms over his chest and flushes. I have to laugh. If I don't, then little Stetson will start calling all the shots.
"This is all they had at the costume shop."
"I didn't want to go as a rubber chicken or a clown."
"What happened to Indy?" I ask.
"His hat was crushed beyond repair in my bag. Without the hat I'm just a random."
"Yeah," I agree. "Remember the time that one guy thought you were Steve Irwin?"
James shakes his head at that guy's lack of comprehension. "As if Steve Irwin ever wore pants."
"You would know," I tease with a grin.
"Let's just get this over with, okay?" James gives me a look.
"Alright," I state as he grabs Uncle AJ's motorcycle helmet to complete his costume. "Your chariot awaits."
x X X x
The party is absolutely rockin' by the time we get there. Exactly the way I like it. It's most difficult to go to a backup party when you're in fancy dress. James also hates me more on those days. But today's back up party is cocktail attire and to be attended by a bunch of people I'll actually recognise from my philosophy lectures. I'm not big on getting to know people I'll see again. That probably makes me sound like a manslut, but maybe I am.
James puts on his most charming fake smile – one that would make me cream my pants if I thought it was real – and we head out into the mass of party. We attract the attention of a few girls pretty quickly. While I won't say that I'm the sexiest guy in the room, the girls are always quick to latch on to fresh meat. Not to mention the Zorro mask certainly lends an air of mystery. The heat is suddenly worth it. I don't know how Antonio Banderas managed to film in the middle of the desert… maybe he didn't.
We start chatting. They introduce themselves as science students, with majors yet to be determined. The redhead thinks she might major in physics, the blonde thinks she might major in some sort of maths. And they both need to decide soon or spend extra semesters at uni just to graduate. Eventually we manage to find the room with the drinks, and I pull out a couple of beers for James and I, and some Smirnoffs for the girls.
I can tell that James is uncomfortable with the female attention, so I let slip that the boy is gay. After that both girls focus their attention on me and as I drink more, I sink into that delightful haze of numbed sensation where everything does and doesn't make sense at the same time. It didn't matter that James was gone because two very responsive bodies were with me.
It didn't matter, that is, until I saw him out of the corner of my eye. And he looked distressed. Immediately, and without thinking I stand, and head directly toward him, the cloud that had descended on my mind evaporates completely.
A second later I notice the cause of his distress.
Amy Roosevelt. Hardcore bitch and probably the cause of James' gayness. Their six-month stint together where she tried her best to eradicate me from James' life left me despising her. Even more so when she just dumped James without a care. Only telling him it was over after he'd caught her having sex with Andrew Dickson. Suffice to say I hate her, and she's the only girl James doesn't know how to behave himself around.
"Roosevelt," I state coldly as we reach James at the same time.
He looks up at me thankfully, and that stupid romantic part of myself wishes I really was his Prince Charming.
"Spitz," she practically spits at me. I wince as she says it. I hate that name, and she knows it. "James," the bitch practically coos at my friend.
"Amy," he says, and I can't tell what he's feeling.
"What do you want?" I ask her.
"I want," she begins, glancing at James. "To speak to him alone for a second."
James seems to visibly pale at the thought.
"Permission denied," I state with what I hope is a menacing glare.
"Perhaps," she says, sending her own version of a menacing glare my way. "We should let James decide that for himself."
We turn to look at James, and he sighs as he stares between us. Finally, his gaze rests on me. "Just two minutes, Stets," he states finally.
I grimace. "Fine," I growl. "Two minutes," I repeat into Amy's face.
The pair of them find a shadowy corner in which to hold a conference. I don't know what she's trying to pull, but it can't be good. I can't hear what they're saying over the sounds of the music, but I can see that the bitch is trying to convince him of something. Thankfully, it doesn't look like James is budging. I count down the seconds on my watch.
Five. Four. Three. Two.
And just as time runs out, James shakes his head violently and walks toward me.
"Let's go," he says.
I nod, and follow him outside. We walk to the corner where James sits down in the gutter while I call a cab. When I'm assured that someone will be round in the next ten minutes or so, I join my best friend in the gutter.
"So?" I ask, wondering if I should pry, but figuring he probably needs to talk about it.
"I'm going to dye my hair," he states.
"What?" I ask. That was definitely not the response I was thinking.
"It's Lent," he states. "I should do something penitential."
"But there's like a week left. Not even," I state. I know that much about religion at least.
"Might as well celebrate the week in which I was conceived," he states.
I laugh. For whatever reason, he doesn't want to talk about whatever happened with Amy Roosevelt. It shouldn't matter to me so much that he doesn't want to talk about it. He's entitled to his own secrets after all. It doesn't mean he doesn't trust me. But somewhere inside it stings that he won't tell me. Especially when it's something that's affected him so much.
"I feel dirty just thinking about this week," I state. "Where did they have sex on Palm Sunday?"
"Grandma's back porch," James states. "I kind of miss them, you know."
"Yeah," I nod. I mean, I don't really miss my parents any more than when I was living at home since they were never around, but I do miss Friedy. I guess I miss James' parents, too.
"What's Palm Sunday without a disturbing recount of the day I was possibly conceived?" James asks.
He laughs and I'm glad to hear it. Maybe his parents haven't scarred him for life. At least one of us shouldn't be.
x X X x
A/N: Argh. This chapter sucks. That does not bode well for the rest of the fic. Does anyone want to beta? The rest of this story is unwritten since the first chapter was hard enough to write. So hard to write, and yet, still a story that I want to tell.