So, this is my first attempt at writing an original work decent enough to go on the Internet. Before you even start reading, please note that not all of the opinions of my characters are my opinions, so don't go accusing me of anything. I don't want to lose any readers with a long intro, so I'll try to keep it short.
Title: Lead Us Not
Content warnings: Some mild language, and a few adult themes, religious themes and hints at slash. They're all important to the story though, so just bear with them. If you're halfway intelligent, they won't bother you.
Summary: Zach Trent's life isn't easy. His parents have split up, he's falling for his best friend and he's falling away from God. What's more, a sociopath who believes he's to blame for his parents' divorce has added him to his hit list.
If you're reading this, please take just half a minute to tell me what you think, even if you hate it. Thanks for your time! ^.^
Lead Us Not - Chapter 1
Lead Us Not - Chapter 1
Zach Trent walked out of the school gates, trying not to cry. He'd promised his mother to stay strong, but it wasn't as easy as he'd first thought.
"Aww c'mon, it's not like you'll never see her again. She's not dead or anything," said Josh, putting an arm around him.
"Yeah, I know."
His best friend Josh was a few months younger than him, but he acted much older.
"When did it happen?" Josh always acted like this; loving and caring. Zach's youth pastor often said that non-Christians were incapable of compassion. He'd obviously never met this one.
"Don't wanna talk about it." He pulled away, turning the corner in the street.
"You've got to now you've said that!" said Josh, smiling.
Zach stopped walking and turned to Josh, blinking back tears. One look and his friend raised his hands up in surrender.
"Sorry." He didn't sound sorry though, and he was still smiling.
He lifted his rucksack further up his back, looking down. His only problem with Josh was that he was too persistent.
"What happened though?" asked Josh.
Wiping his eyes, Zach looked up. To his surprise, his hand came away wet. "He cheated on her."
"Sorry," said Josh again. This time he looked it.
The 'sorry' look was so out of place on his face that Zach had to laugh. Somewhere between a pout and a frown, with that cute button nose stuck in the middle. No, not cute, he chided himself.
"Are you alright?" asked Josh, patting his shoulder.
Zach winced, wondering if his friend had guessed what he'd been thinking "Yeah. Parents just split up and I'm feeling brilliant."
"You'll live." Josh put his arm around him and Zach let him, enjoying the moment. He'd be kicking himself for this later, but he didn't care. Right now he didn't care about anything.
They walked like that for a while longer, hugging. Zach barely noticed as they passed Josh's house. He didn't want to go home. It felt so big and empty without his mum. His dad was great but he was never there, he never listened. Most of the time he was busy making out with his new girlfriend.
"You must be feeling bad," said Josh, pulling his arm away.
"That's your house back there, isn't it?"
"Crap," muttered Zach, turning around.
"Come round mine."
Zach was spared answering by a group of younger kids walking past. One of them wolfwhistled and called out, "Get in there!"
Josh stuck his finger up at them and turned back to Zach. "So how about it then?"
"Yeah, okay," sighed Zach. Anything was better than going back to Dad, really.
"It's a date then." Josh skipped over to him and took his arm, leading him back along the street. The younger kids looked at them, making a show of laughing.
"Yeah. Could you, uh, stop pretending we're gay? Dad's asking awkward questions."
"I was rather enjoying it, old chum," said Josh the posh voice he used when he was joking.
Me too, and that's why, he tried to say, but the words got stuck. Instead, he said, "Can I have my arm back then?"
"Anything for you, my love." Josh made a big show of spinning away.
Zach turned red and tried to cover it with a laugh, all too aware of the strange looks he was getting from across the road.
"What are we gonna do at yours?" he said in an attempt to change the subject.
"Whatever you want, darlin'." This time Josh used an American drawl.
"No, seriously." Zach was getting tired of this. Josh was always like this, even when they spoke about serious things, like God.
"Whatever you want, mate."
Zach couldn't help but laugh. For the moment, he didn't care about his parents, or about school work.
"Here," said Josh, turning and walking up his driveway. Zach followed, hanging back as his friend opened the door and went into his house.
"What are you waiting for, a formal invitation? You're allowed to eat with heathens like me, right?"
Zach smiled. "Not if you ask my bloody youth pastor."
Josh screwed up his eyes and shook his head violently, making his short black hair move from side to side. "I've heard enough of his God crap to last me the eternity I'm meant to spend in Hell."
Zach gulped. His mum would know how to respond to this. Maybe even his dad. He, however, had let himself slip so far in his friends' eyes that nothing he said made any difference.
Josh seemed to know he'd hit a soft spot, because he took Zach by the arm and led him upstairs without saying anything.
When they'd reached Josh's room, Josh turned on his PS2 and started getting changed. Zach looked away, partly out of politeness and partly from embarrassment. As he turned, he caught sight of Josh's calendar on the wall. A woman was lying on a beach, wearing a bikini. She was staring up at the camera with lust in her eyes.
Zach's heart skipped a beat, then started beating overtime. It almost felt like someone had drenched him in freezing water, but he was warm. The edges of the bra were very defined, if he looked hard enough he could almost see-
"Nice, isn't it?"
"Uh, what?" Zach whipped around, feeling himself turn red.
Josh pointed to the calendar, pulling on a pair of trousers and sitting next to Zach on the bed.
"Yeah. It's awesome," he said, trying to look somewhere else. "You mind putting a shirt on?"
"Aww, am I making you jealous?" said Josh. Zach could almost feel the sarcasm in his voice.
"Yeah. Put it away," he said, trying to turn it into a joke.
"Does your religion always tell you to be this boring?" asked Josh, flexing his muscles. But he pulled on a shirt anyway.
Zach flinched, turning to look at his friend. His face felt like it was burning up.
"Oh, yeah…" Zach could feel more blood rushing to his face. Eager to change the subject, he pointed at the PS2. "What games you got?"
Josh leant forward and put a disk in, handing Zach a controller.
They played for almost two hours. Josh made several obvious attempts to cheer Zach up, but he didn't feel like smiling. Between his parents and Josh, he was feeling terrible now.
Josh's dad stuck his head around the door to shout them down for dinner. Zach walked down the stairs, feeling awkward. Josh must have told his parents about the divorce, because everyone was nice to him, making sure he had extra food.
Yeah, he thought. Because that's going to make everything okay. He didn't say anything though, just politely smiling and trying to join in the conversation.
At about five o'clock, Josh walked him home.
Zach tried to smile through his friend's attempts at conversation, but it just didn't feel right. He wasn't sure how long it would be before he could smile properly.
Zach looked up and realised he'd been staring at the floor. "Um, what?"
"This is your house. Do you remember what it looks like?" Josh spoke slowly, trying to hide a grin.
Zach nodded and walked up the driveway. "See you!"
He tried the door; it was unlocked. That was strange; his dad always kept it locked. He'd been robbed once at University, and was now a safety freak.
"Dad?" called Josh, looking around a bit. The TV was on in the sitting room, and there were strange sounds coming from the master bedroom. He didn't investigate.
Sighing, he turned off the TV and made his way up to his room. Once he got there, he had to clear his Bible off the desk to make room for his laptop. Part of him didn't know why he still had that old thing; he hadn't touched it since the divorce.
As soon as he'd signed in to msn, Josh started talking to him. He sighed, looking down at the Bible by his feet. Up until recently, he'd worn a WWJD band as a last ditch attempt to get people to see he was different. Sometimes he wondered what Jesus would do in his position. Sometimes he wondered if Jesus even existed.
The speakers buzzed and Zach jerked back to the present. Five conversations were open; people asking if he was okay. Funny how they all cared now it was too late to help.
heyy, he typed to Josh.
yeah, Im fine. dad and his fling r in th bedroom. :(
Zach looked up from the screen, poking his head out of the door to see if his dad was still busy. He was.
so bored now, he wrote.
cum bak over
cant, got h/w
A line of asterisks appeared on the screen. Zach rolled his eyes. His parents didn't want him learning bad habits from his friends, so they'd installed a swearing filter.
LMAO filter, he wrote. G2G now, by. C u 2moz.
Ok enjoy th hw. :p
Zach closed msn. "Yeah," he muttered to himself, "So much fun."
He reached into the bag and took out the Maths homework he was supposed to be doing. None of it made sense to him. He tried the first few questions, gave up, and got out a calculator.
The door to his dad's bedroom opened, and a young woman walked out. She had to be at least fifteen years younger than his dad.
"Hi!" she said, waving at Zach. "David, you didn't say you had kids."
"He's back now, is he?" His dad's gruff voice drifted out of the room. "About bloody time."
Zach hid a smile; they didn't want him learning bad habits from other kids, but it was fine if he learnt them from his own parents.
"I was at Josh's."
"Oh, that makes it all okay. We'll talk later."
Zach gritted his teeth and closed his door. His father always did this, but he never did 'talk'. And why should he? It wasn't like he was responsible for how his son turned out. It wasn't like he was responsible at all. All this talk about living a godly life, and here he was swearing and making out with women nearly half his age. Great example.
He sat down on the edge of his bed and put his head in his hands, praying. When he'd finished, there were tears on his hands. Why did he always cry so much? He was weak, just like his dad said. Weak and useless; he couldn't even pray without breaking down into tears.
His dad never cried. Not even when Mum had left. The night after she'd pulled out of the driveway for the last time, he'd opened a bottle of champagne and made a toast to freedom. Zach hadn't said anything, but he'd wanted to ask how freedom was going. He had, on several occasions. All he'd got was a slap and a gruff, "go to your room."
More tears were rolling down Zach's face. He wiped them on his sleeve and looked at the clock. Nine thirty already. He must have been out longer than he'd thought. His dad had been right to be angry. There's a first time for everything.
Zach stood up, stripped down to his boxers and got into bed. He pressed play on his CD player, letting the music wash over him. It was Christian music, a fact that most of his friends found funny, but most secular music just sounded fake to him. The music was the last thing he heard before he fell asleep.
Your failing words once moved Heaven and Earth,
But now they can't make me believe.
I hope you enjoyed that. I don't own the song lyrics at the end, they're owned by Emery. Please review?