In case the summary wasn't fully read, this is a response to Freak of Spade's fantastic challenge.
Theme is 'rebound'. Main character gets ditched, gets into a rebound relationship. Whether the rebound relationship succeeds or fails or the MC gets back with the person who ditches him at first or finds another person or ends up with their rebound is all up to you.
Main action must be set in September.
Must use the words: ocean, reverie, smoke, sulky, nowhere, absurdity and frost in any way you want so long they're in the story.
One character must say: "The thing about Georgette is that she's…she's a widespread kind of woman, you know?"
MUST BE SLASH (duh!)
A kiss that makes the reader go 'WTF?!' (whether in surprise or delight or horror is all up to you)
No excessive angst.
No obvious mention of love by a character. Therefore, no 'I like you,' 'I love you' 'My heart belongs to you' etc. If you need a character to let another character know of his love, find a super-subtle/obscure way to put it.
And without any further ado...
The summer closed with a heavy plopping noise as I dropped my brand new backpack in the soggy, groggy, unhappy August mud. The third to last day of the month, three notebooks, four binders, two wet shoes, the morning of senior year, a messy breakup, and a massive army of wet and vaguely familiar teenagers rushed past me to get through the now open double doors. Earthquake.
I had absolutely zero desire to pick up my cross – excuse me, backpack – and continue through to my first class of the morning. I spent a few seconds wondering whether it was AP Chemistry or American Government, couldn't remember, reached into my back pocket, and…
"Shit! Where's my schedule?"
As I scavenged around in my freshly organized backpack for my schedule, the tardy bell resounded painfully in my ears, signaling the miserable start of a certainly miserable morning. I soon found myself totally alone in the hallway, save for a few freshman and one or two transfers, confused and apparently unprepared. Honestly, I really didn't care.
I walked back out the doors, down the road that fronted my school, took a left at McDowell, and sat back down on my front porch, head in my hands. After about five minutes of self pity and re-evaluating why Darren dumped me, I got over it and went into my house. My brother, a 21 year-old former lay about with a new job, looked up at me with surprise from his toaster strudel breakfast. It was amusing to see his morning brain try to make sense of my early appearance in the kitchen.
"Hey. Greg. Oh. What are you doing up? Want some uh, toaster strudel? No. It's mine. Wait. Why are you here? Isn't today the first day of school?"
"Oh. Good point. Go back to bed."
"Yeah," I replied, "You're funny. Actually, I'm just grabbing schedule and going back."
He looked at me approvingly. "Good kid. Gotta go. Bye." With that, he chucked his napkin in the trash, grabbed the comics and went into the garage.
My room was a disaster. Evidence of my ten minutes of searching for the perfect combination first-day-of-school-I'm-over-you-Darren outfit was everywhere – my bed, my floor, my computer, my chair. It was funny. My schedule lay innocent and uncrumpled on my desk next to my lavender vest. American Government with Mrs. Hannidy.
I walked back to school in time for second period. I went up to the front of the classroom to check the overhead projector for a seating chart, and to no surprise the alphabet put myself, Greg Disco, directly next to the one and only Darren Dixon. Of course he would be in my AP Chemistry class. We compared schedules a week ago together over ice cream when we first got them. That was the day before our breakup.
I hate being horny in science, especially when I'm wearing well fitting jeans. It makes me wiggle. And when I wiggle, the jeans fabric rubs against my briefs, and the friction of my briefs and my jeans make me chafe, because it's right at the zipper. And it chafes and feels good at the same time. And I don't know which feeling is more powerful, except that my urge to wiggle is stronger than my will to stay still so I don't stop and solve the problem.
The teacher's voice pops me out of my chafing reverie, as she introduces herself, her subject, and her teaching format. I sneak a look over at Darren, who hasn't said a word to me, or in any way acknowledged my presence. Or maybe he has, but I was too busy analyzing my propensity to wiggle to notice. Oh well, it's all for the better. He still looks nice. Marla Cartwright is biting her nails to my left, James Jukes is staring at the 70's floral print on my shirt behind me, and the rest of the class is also occupied with various uninteresting tasks that have to do with not listening to the teacher.
You'd think that in an AP class, there would be a bunch of overachievers hanging on to every word from the teacher's succulent mouth. Eww, succulent teachers. But not at my school, at my school, apathy reigns supreme, and anyone who acts like they care about anything at all gets the boot. We'd sabotage their grades too, just so they don't think they're above the pattern and can ignore it. It is impossible to have passion at this school, because it will be shut down the instant it rears its misguided head. Apathy is our only passion.
I think this gives us gay kids a distinct advantage over other schools. We don't have to hide or feel embarrassed because, quite frankly, no one gives a shit. Or, if they do, they can't show it because it would imply that they cared about something and no one would like them. Hah. I can be as gay as I want – heck, I could even fuck monkeys and no one would mind, so long as I don't start monkey-fucking activist groups and shout about it all the time. The absurdity of the world really gets to me sometimes.
You should see our football games. Everyone sits in the bleachers looking around at everyone else, trying to figure out what level of excitement is appropriate when we score or make a good play. Usually, people figure if they get naked and streak around, it shows that they don't care, so most of our games end up getting canceled because we all get naked and run around hooting pretending we're not excited about the game, but instead just showing the world how much we don't care. We're a pretty bottled up crowd.
By the time I've finished the day, I've successfully navigated my way to the rest of my classes, nodded at a few of my acquaintances, ate my lunch with a bunch of kids I kind of know from parties over the summer, done the miniscule amount of homework assigned, and retreated to the frosty outskirts of my mind. At about 5:30 I realize that thought I have started school; it doesn't mean that I don't have to go to work. Luckily, I don't have to be there until 6.
I work at an ice cream parlor three blocks from the school that specializes in neon lights and classy ice cream dishes in a variety of depression-era colored glass. We also have an exciting jukebox with all the hits from 1975. There are always clusters of sulky eight-year-old soccer players that come in tow with three or four pony-tailed soccer moms and their purses, and order either bubblegum or rainbow sherbet depending on which flavor the pretty blonde kid wants.
They always mean a lot of cleanup for me, so I am always really nice to the moms so they feel bad and try to clean up the best they can before they leave. My favorite part of work is figuring out the best and most ridiculous ways to minimize effort for myself. Once I almost offered to sleep with Carl the pudgy, soft, sort of wet looking fellow that gets to leave at 8 on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get him to do the close up for me. I hate removing all the giant tubs at the end of the day and cleaning it all up by myself. But then I realized that I actually preferred to work than have sex with him.
Luckily, today is Monday, which means that Jimmy is working. Jimmy. Yay. I like Jimmy. He wears suspenders and white dress shirts with no undershirt so I can see his muscles moving directly under the parts that the suspenders pull. He has the most beautiful skin, too. It's creamy and smooth and a little tan and looks delicious, especially compared to the praline ice cream, which chases me around like Godzilla in my dreams at night. I hate praline ice cream. And what kind of name is praline, anyway? It sounds like a turn of the century racist southern belle. Not my type.
But I think Jimmy has a girlfriend. And she's cute, too. She has short blonde hair, is named Ann, always wears little vintage dresses and red lipstick and brings him coffee from the place adjacent to our work. She's not very spunky, but she's sweet just like Jimmy, and makes fabulous cookies. They go to my school too, but we don't hang out. I don't know why. I think I want to be friends with them. Lord knows I need new friends this year.
I can see the smoke coming out of Darren's ears when he walks in with a couple of our friends. He's angry like the beast. I wonder why, but I'm not curious enough to risk humiliation so I tell Jimmy I'm going to go wash the ocean of dishes in back and let him handle our new customers. A few minutes later Jimmy comes back and says that they're asking for me, so I walk back out into the shop.
"Hey Darren. Lydia. Mandy. What's up?" I say with as much calm as I can muster and an extra shot of apathy.
"Well, we just haven't seen you around in a couple days, we didn't see you at school today, and we're wondering why…" said Mandy with perfect apathy – the tone suggested she really didn't care, but the words invited me to respond with emotion.
"Umm.." I said, "Well, I've been kind of busy lately. Give me a call after work, and we'll figure something out. I'm actually kind of busy right now. I get off at ten, ok?" It's ok to show emotion one on one with another, just never in public. I figured if they had anything to say to me, they could say privately, without an audience to make me overanalyze everything I say. I wanted to make sure this wasn't just an attempt to humiliate me.
"Yeah, of course," replied Mandy smoothly, "Is 10:30 good?"
"Yeah, uh, bye."
"Nice friends," said Jimmy.
"Was that sarcasm?"
"No. It's cool that they're concerned."
"Oh. Sure. Thanks? I'll, um... I'm going to go finish putting the dishes through. See you in a minute."
There weren't any customers after nine, so Jimmy and I just hung out for an hour. I was distracted the entire time by the way he swung his legs from the counter, the smile he gave when he talked about rock collecting, and I could hardly stop wiggling when he adjusted his suspenders and I could see his nipple through his shirt. Ugh. Horny again.
We closed up, said adios, and I went home to go to bed and dream about more praline ice cream coming to get me.
But just as I was sliding between the sheets, the sound of polyphonic crickets called to me from across the room. Mandy.
"What the fuck, Greg? You haven't talked to us since Georgie's house, and it's starting to get annoying." Mandy's voice sounds remarkably like an angry mother whose kid just pooped in the sandbox.
"Don't patronize me. Us? Come on, Mandy. You know that there's no 'us'"?
"Me, Lydia and Darren. Us. It's like you don't want to be part of our group anymore."
"Not really, it's just you guys are acting weird, and it's still weird to be around Darren."
"Aww, poor baby."
After that, I just hang up. The conversation was going into the nowhere land that signifies that the clique matters more than the individual. "Baby"? Really? Was she trying to make me stop being friends with her? Just because I'm gay doesn't make me a woman. Don't call me baby. So that's over. Goodnight. There goes three years of carefully cultivated cliqueing. Take that.
I wake up the next morning with the realization that I still have no idea where the American Government classroom is, so I make it a mission to rush getting ready so I can get to school in time to find it. I pull on some old cutoffs, a zebra polyester polo, a white vest, some loafers and run out the door, bagel in hand.
I find the classroom, after realizing that classroom 7 although it's a history course, is actually located in the science building. I get there about nine or ten minutes early, set down my backpack and begin to wait. Haha. Begin to wait. I've been waiting all my life – when did I stop waiting to begin again? When I woke up?
I stop breathing for about ten seconds when I realize that the dude walking towards me is wearing a Charlie Brown sweater and brown cords that I can see are attached to suspenders when he lifts up his hand to wave at me. Jimmy. Now, I get a little tense and awkward around people I want to impress, so usually I just stay quiet and listen to them, so they don't have to find out how shallow I am by opening my mouth. So when Jimmy says, "How are you on this fine morning, Mr. Disco?" I just nod my head and give a pinched smile, trying to contain my reaction.
He takes this as an invitation and tells me about how he's decided that our sun just ain't good enough for him, so he's going to submit a letter to the government to try and get our planet relocated to more attractive star.
I say, "Like which one?"
He laughs and says, "Now would be a time for an awesome pickup line. I could point at you and say like – our planet should orbit around you. That's a good one." He looks down, and then at me again, in the eyes, fake sexy. "Like you, gorgeous. So, did it work?"
The bell rang, the classroom door opened, and we walked in. Unfortunately, Jimmy's last name is Vossel, so I don't sit anywhere near him. I looked over my shoulder at him anyway, and said, "Sure, it's a great pickup line."
Mrs. Hannidy is officially the most ridiculous teacher on campus. I want her. Like, I want to take her little fiery person, take a shrink gun to her, get a hamster cage and make her do aerobics for me. She's amazing. Fat, massive and curly 80's rocker hair, a funky shoulder-padded turquoise suit, and a crazy passion about the constitution of the United States of America. If I were a woman, I'd want to be her.
There's a new guy in fourth period jazz band. He plays the saxophone, just like me, so I got to meet him first. New friend number one. He's cute and pleasant, but he's not nice. He's angry, in that angry nerd way that most people never see, only he's way too cute to be enough of a nerd to be nerd-angry, so he must think he's a philosopher. All the angry guys do, unless they're into sports. I forgot his name, but I think it's Phil. Or Jason.
The greatest thing about band is Georgette. Georgie, as we often call her. She's the only person anyone's ever met that genuinely doesn't care. I think she's why our school pretends to be apathetic ; because they want to be her. As Darren once said, "The thing about Georgette is that she's…she's a widespread kind of woman, you know?" Everyone subconsciously follows her lead. She's got four boyfriends and one girlfriend, and she says she only sleeps with two of them, just to keep them on their toes. None of them refute her claim. She plays the French horn, and she has absolutely zero talent and fucks up all our shows, but she won't drop band and the teacher's too afraid of her to force her to quit.
I think that Jason and/or Phil wants Georgie. At the same time, I'm pretty sure he wants me too. I have tan calves and he asked me to hang out today after school. I said sure, so long as I'm not late for work. Though I wouldn't mind, because pasty-face Carl is working tonight. I think Carl might also go to our school, though I've never cared enough about him to find out before. Either he goes here, or his drooling doppelganger is in AP Literature and Comp with me.
After school I meet Phil/Jason in the senior parking lot and he asks me what there is to do around this town. I said, "Ice cream. TuesBlues in the park. Umm, we might have a roller skating rink."
He queried, "What the fuck is TuesBlues? A coloring camp for toddlers?"
"Nah. There are live blues jam sessions on Tuesday nights in the park downtown."
"Sounds cool, let's go."
"It doesn't start until five, but we could hang out in the park for a while anyway."
I found out his name was actually Jack, while we sat on a park bench, staring at the middle school stoners trying to out-smoke each other, talking about stuff.
He asked me out, ten minutes before my shift at the ice cream shop started. I said, "Sure, why not," and he walked me to the back door of the parlor and asked for my phone number. I walked in, and instead of Carl looming over the pair of six year olds at the counter, Jimmy was leaning on one elbow flirting with the poor little things as he took their convoluted order. The mother was clearly flustered, shoveling around in her purse, trying to find her parlor stamp card so she could BUY TEN DELICIOUS ICE CREAMS GET ONE FREE.
I was disappointed to note that he wasn't wearing an almost see through white dress shirt tonight, but instead a nice red plaid. Still, a sight much more welcome than Carl. After the lady and her kids went to go sit down at the parlor chairs by the window, Jimmy greeted me with a, "Hello! Carl was sick and asked me to cover for him, so how are you?"
"I'm good. Thanks. How are you? Pretty slow-looking today?"
"Yep, pretty slow. Um, I'm doing better than a rat on a first date with some cheese."
"Sounds like a real good time, Jimmy." I like his name. The word Jimmy just makes me happy. He's officially a big dork, though.
"So who is that fellow that I saw peeking through the back?"
"Oh. Jack? Well, he's new. He's in jazz band. Umm, plays sax."
"Where's he from?"
I realized suddenly that I hadn't bothered to find out anything about Jack other than his name, his apparent liking for blues and myself, and a few other random things we talked about. Luckily, the rush from the TuesBlues hit us, so I didn't have to look like an asshole and say "I don't know." While I served ice cream in to a variety of blue and pink and green cups and watched as the frost began to grow on the outside, I tried to figure out how to change the topic smoothly.
I was exhausted when I got home. I passed my brother on my way to my bathroom; he was reading the first book of the Foundation series, and for some reason it made me think of Jimmy. Maybe because Jimmy likes rocks and planets.
I dreamed about Jimmy. We were at the Barn, seeing a show, but the band sucked so we went outside. The part I remember best is that we hugged goodbye, and he kissed me right below my ear, through my hair. I even remember the way he smelled and felt, pressed so close against me. I think he might be taller than me. I'm 5'10''.
I didn't see Jack again until band the next day, and he told me he was going to buy me lunch. I'm not sure how I feel about that. He's a little awkward and demanding. Darren was smooth, even when he was demanding, but hey, Jack's not Darren, and at least I'm not the one paying. We sat with Georgette and her girlfriend during lunch, Jack caught in between staring at me and her, alternating as if captivated by both. It was funny, and I wasn't jealous.
He asked us what we thought about the universe, and Georgette was the only one with an answer.
Her girlfriend responded with, "I have an uncle who doesn't like me. So when I was eight, and he came over to babysit me, I made cookies to try and please him. They were all shaped like penises." Georgette laughed raucously, and I just felt uncomfortable. I wiggled a bit. Jack made his angry nerd face, and I think he was upset because he thought they weren't taking him seriously. But I think they were, just in their own way.
Jack invited me to spend the night at his house on Friday, to meet his sister who he thought I would like, and to watch this movie he thinks is deep. I agreed, and said I'd bring a movie of my own.
The rest of the week passed without incident – on Wednesday morning, I woke up, realized it was the first of September and said "Rabbit Rabbit" in my usual suspicious first of the month fashion, so I can pretty much guarantee a good month. On the first of August, my brother had come into my room and said, "Greg-O, I got a Job-O."
So I said, "What the fuck?"
He snorted, "I'm going to go take a shower for work."
I fell off the bed in surprise, hit my head on my nightstand and pleaded with the spirit world, "Rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit, damnit!"
And that's why I had such a terrible August. My brother sabotaged me, and the first thing out of my mouth was not Rabbit Rabbit, but instead a sacrilegious "wtf". I could have at least dignified he world with something profound.
On Friday, Jack drove me to my house to pick up some stuff to sleep over in, and I wrote a note to my parents with his address in case my body was found mutilated in a dumpster somewhere, and they wanted to know the last place I was seen alive. I also spotted Foundation on the toilet seat in the bathroom, so I took it. Maybe I could read it this weekend and have something to talk about with Jimmy on Monday.
Jack has a green VW Rabbit. Endearing, much?
We sat down on his burgundy leather couch to watch a movie at about 5:15, and he sat down right next to me, our arms overlapping. It was warm, but not quite sexy. The movie he thought I would like turned out to be some movie about Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine, and there was even a gay scene with Timothy Dalton in it. I think Jack tried to hold my hand, but my hand was itching really badly so I moved it.
When the movie was over, he asked me if I liked it, then if I was hungry, and finally if he could kiss me.
I replied, "Which question do you want me to answer first?"
He said, "Umm…"
"I'm very hungry, yes I enjoyed the movie, and yes you can kiss me." I didn't give him a specified time, so he awkwardly stared at me for a little bit, looked like he was about to lean in for one, and then instead led me to the kitchen. It was then that I noted with some satisfaction that I am at least an inch and a half taller than Jack.
He made some macaroni and cheese with extra grated cheddar on top, and we talked about the movie, school, and band for a while. Then he started in on his angry man philosophy again. Fight Club, Nietzsche, Ayn Rand… I wasn't in the mood.
"…capitalists are the last ones left – "
So I kissed him to shut him up. Just a small one; I leaned over, and pressed my lips gently over his, trying to seal his words in. I think he got it into his head that his philosophy talk turned me on, so he started talking faster and more passionately, giving me these kind of intense looks interspersed with looking at the ground, and then into my eyes, then at the ground – so I kissed him again because it was driving me insane. It was so awkward, and he was obviously looking for someone to understand him in a deep way, but I was not in the mood to provide intelligent conversation.
He took the second kiss as a sign. He kissed me back, harder, fiercer. I figured that this was a transition and that he might stop thinking about all of his anger, so I pulled away and asked about dessert.
Frustrated by my obvious lack of passion, he went to the freezer – an obvious counterpoint to his heated and delusional mind.
"Raspberry sherbet or mint chip?"
"I work at an ice cream parlor." I instantly regretted saying that. He was being nice.
"Oh, right. Sorry, so do you want something else?"
"No, thanks, actually we don't have raspberry sherbet, so I'd love to have some. Please?"
We went back to the living room, and played Super Smash Brothers Brawl. I tried to figure out a way to tell him that I didn't think that we were going to work out as a couple. We really have absolutely nothing in common except gayness and saxophones, which are arguably the same thing.
Anyway, I figured it could wait until the morning, and we could at least make out before I broke up with him. I owed it to both of us. Well, anyway, his parents were home at about 9, nice people who both looked exactly like Jack. Eerily like Jack – the entire family was about 5'9", shaggy haired, and thin but not skinny. Surreal. His Dad's name was also Jack.
And then it all went to hell.
It started with the bathroom. It always starts with a bathroom. I had to go, so I asked Jack where a bathroom was, and he pointed up some stairs and the second door on the left. So I mosey up the stairs, fling open the bathroom door, take a couple steps forward, and find out that the parent I had assumed was Jack's mom was actually Jack's dad, who, in surprise, had turned around and finished peeing all over my bare feet.
"Oh. Knock first next time m'boy." A pat on the head, a quick rinse of his hands, and he was gone. I just saw Jack's mom's dick. Jack's dad's dick. Huh. Weird. Eww, my feet.
Now what I should have done at that point is finish washing my feet and then kindly asked Jack to take me home. But no, I had to be polite. I decided that I was going to move past the weirdness, and go back downstairs and surprise Jack by kissing him again, hopefully putting the episode out of my mind. In my defense, he's a good kisser and he tastes nice. He's got soft lips, and his skin isn't too rough.
I get back to the T.V room, and I can see his head from where I am behind the sofa. He's playing some video game. So I sneak around the sofa, sit on the arm, push his hair out of his face with one hand so I can see him better, brace the other arm on his other side and lean in for a kiss. It all happened very quickly. My lips barely touch his when I hear Jack's voice from somewhere across the room, "Mom? Holy shit, Greg, that's my mom!"
"AHHHHHHH!" I pull back as quickly as I humanly can, fall off the arm of the sofa and lay on the ground, looking up at Jack.
"Oh shit." I got up, gracelessly, and ran out the door.
No wonder Jack's such an angry person.
So I called my parents, and told them to make my brother come get me. I went home, scrubbed my mouth raw, gave up superstition, hated on the month of September, and went to sleep and dreamed about Jimmy again.
And I never did get to meet his sister. At least, I hope I didn't meet her.