Well, I totally fooled you guys and if you thought that was going to be the end of Jailbait you haven't seen my little (Season One) note next to my progress. I'm kind of amazed that I just made an 8,000 word chapter because it's probably longer than some of my stories on here. I hope to continue with this as my main challenge in terms of writing and main focus. Thanks to my time off, I've had the opportunity to get back to it, and it's fairly therapeutic for me...in some way I hope it is for you too. Anyway...I am going to go back and edit Jailbait because it's a grammatical atrocity. If you catch anything that I have missed or have any criticism please don't be afraid to speak up because I would like to improve my writing as much as possible and I want this story to represent that. I hope everyone is well and look forward to hearing your REVIEWS...hint hint. Questions are always welcome, too! I will try to answer them in messages or author's notes. Also please add me on Facebook: facebook.com/jackthespade. Love love love.
PS. I hope that scene between the little boys isn't too creepy...erm. A couple of people said they felt weird reading it and to be honest I did feel a little weird writing it. Haha, I thought it was fairly innocent but I guess I go on 420chan a little too much...anyway, enjoy!
Chapter 1: Mechanisms of Betrayal
Big people, always talking to one another about things like money and jobs...asking each other the same thing over and over again day to day and doing boring things. Their faces became all wrinkled and saggy like a sock drooping from a laundry basket and when they talked it wasn't about adventures or cool toys or even pretty girls. They didn't touch each other out of curiosity or chase each other around, not that I did either - but I saw all the other kids do it. I didn't talk much with them because they didn't seem like they wanted to talk to me - when I reached out or said something it usually went by unnoticed and so I didn't do anything to change it. That way, no one would get angry or hurt me...if I had no friends it was just because I wasn't one of the lucky ones or one of the pretty or smart ones. For a long time I just existed to go to school, to wait for lunch when I would run circles on the playground and lose all track of time until once again the bell screamed across the grounds. From an outsider's glance, it was simple and seamless, free of much stress, whatever that was. It wasn't until the adults began to point out what was missing from my childhood that the fibres of my being began to rise out of my cloudy self.
"Mister Miura, I don't wish to offend you, but your son's behaviour seems to be the type that is learned or encouraged, and he seems fairly unaware of this notion. Do you spend much time with your son?"
"Please, you offend me greatly by asking such a thing. I care for my son or I would not be sitting in your office paying your help!"
Ten years after my parents' arrival into North America and seven years after my birth, my mother insisted that my father was just stuck on his Eastern values. Despite that the dawn of the nineties meant Japan striving further to adopt Western ideals, it meant little other than an altered dress code in most establishments and an attitude that businessmen were to be even more respected in society. Of course, this was all somehow tied into the recession going on in North America. Until I was into my teens, it took a lot of explaining to understand why we hadn't stayed in Japan. My father wanted me under the impression that the move was a sacrifice made to our family and my mother claimed that it had much more to do with money than security or loyalty. Coming from a place where my father had everything, they had decided to move to my mother's home in New York where they would have even more.
From whichever standpoint you looked at it, all I knew was that we were there to stay and Japan remained some imaginary place in my head that was only solidified by books and a few TV programs. The closest I ever got to the country were certain mannerisms or behaviours my father had adopted, because when my parents moved, my father really didn't intend on integrating his culture into the family. Needless to say, I had never met my family members from Japan, and was rarely in contact with them beyond an age where family was of little meaning to me.
The extent of my childhood was as simple as a collection of memories that more or less encapsulated the beginning of my downfall as a human being. Of my mother, the most notable memories were all the parties she hosted in our penthouse suite. Surrounded every weekend by my mother's drunken co-workers, appetizers that no one ate and frequently replaced, simple Japanese-aesthetic inspired household decorations, my introduction to the adult world came earlier than most. Much like the subdued emotions of my school life, I didn't hold any stock in it - after a few parties and laughable incidents, socializing became instinctive.
For instance, when you're a kid and you've got a room of people all keen on your pretty little face and appear to be fascinated by your resounding youth, you feel taken aback, but flattered at the same time. You're not insecure enough to refuse the compliments, but you don't know yourself well enough to agree, either. My point is, the social situations around these adults held the same notion except that with alcohol bringing those awful, tense barriers down, there was always attached emotional context. Instead of ogling me and gripping at my cheeks or complimenting my cute little face, they would say things like,
"Oh, look how fantastic that little outfit is on you. Your mother must have paid an arm and a leg for it...oh, but don't worry, you'll have your chance to pay her back when you're bound to a thousand years of a career you can't stand," or
"Hey, if you really want to get ahead of the game I'd suggest you just have yourself a drink now and prepare yourself for what's to come. After all, you don't want your Father to drink you under the table when you start growing hair on your handsome round face!"
Most of these statements were followed by hysterical, drunken laughter. I developed the feeling that they were half serious and sometimes I went as far as to believe them. So, sure, the odd morning or two I would wake up with unexplained headaches and since mother was already dosing herself up with aspirin I learned to do the same. The household was a vicious cycle of cause and effect - a sad and pathetic passing of habits that no one could have saved me from because everyone in the city was too wrapped up in their own unfortunate mess.
Later on in the year, within the mayhem of the city, my father had the perfect opportunity to go on vacation. Rather than actually leave New York, he spent the majority of his time at home. Before I knew what his vacation would be like, I was excited and imagined that each day he would want to leave the smothering environment to spend time with me - maybe he would pick me up after school and take me out to eat somewhere I had never been. Instead, every day, he ordered all of his meals from the building's room service and just as quickly had the garbage disposed of. We endured several quiet meals together that left me feeling deflated, bored and disappointed.
When my mother wasn't working, a rift slowly crept its way into their relationship. Most of what I had seen of the two was how they behaved together in front of their company; that is to say, the only conversation that resembled arguments were tiny off hand comments about this or that, and while I noticed the tension, it didn't appear to be anything crucial. Before the divorce papers, before the arguments became progressively worse, my father began to realize the full extent of my mother's habits as far as substances went, and he took a final stab at fixing the corrupted New York lifestyle we had all fallen under. While my mother attended a rehab facility in Florida, my father hired a nanny to look after me during busy work hours. For the most part, the nanny, Deborah, one of my mother's co-workers and best friends was someone that I felt I could trust. Just like my mother, however, she was a New York socialite and having her around only made me more frustrated that I was stuck in the penthouse with her instead of my own mother who shared her twisted habits and sense of humour with me.
When she was looking after me one day, I snuck onto Deborah's laptop as she was busy making friends with some man who was definitely not her husband in my parents' bedroom. Although my original intent had been to rummage around and reveal her true nature to the world, I instead found a photo of her and her family at a classy New York restaurant. Held under her wing was someone I saw to be a potential friend, a young boy like myself dressed in formal attire with a sideways grin and rusty blonde hair. I was so eager and desperate for a friend that I turned the tables on my plans for sabotage and instead opted for blackmail. Using one of my father's cell phones, I quickly dialled the house number and pretended to answer. Without hesitation, I barged into my parents' spacious bedroom to find that, as expected, the two were engaged in an act that as far as I knew only couples were supposed to partake in. Despite my mother's problems, she really did want to keep the family together and so she channelled her promiscuity in other strange ways, hammering into my head that it was wrong to commit adultery.
"The phone is for...oh."
Startled, Deborah flung away from the bed and onto the floor as her partner covered himself with my parents' two hundred billion thread count sheets. Pretending to be just as stunned, I stood in the doorway until she clambered to replace her clothing and reassured me that they were just 'playing'.
"Well, it was lovely to play with you, but, uh, maybe we should find other friends!" she said.
Looking just as surprised, the gentleman gathered up his clothing and leapt out of bed. Before darting to the bathroom, he paused and gave me an odd glance that may or may not have been due to her claiming that I, a boy who looked nothing like her and whose father was Japanese was in fact her son. I just assumed at the time that there was something I was not meant to know and so I continued to wait until Deborah was fully clothed. As her partner dressed himself in my parents' washroom, she rushed me into the living room and sat me down on the cream colored couch.
As I tried not to laugh at Deborah's bird's nest up-do and the fake lashes on her left cheekbone, I listened like a sweet, frightened boy would listen, chewing on my lip and fiddling with my fingers.
"Now, Kami...sweetheart, I don't know if your parents have explained this to you, but sometimes adults play just like you or your friends would...!"
"I don't have any friends," I retorted quickly.
"Oh, you don't...? Well, I'm sure you must have some! You're always such a talkative boy!"
Now I had to try really hard not to laugh, because the only time Deborah and I had conversed, the both of us had been under the influence. As soon as my mother left, the amount of words that came out of my mouth dropped off the radar almost completely.
"Do you have kids, Deborah?" I asked.
When she glanced up into my searching eyes and pursed her lips, I knew that she knew that she couldn't say no and that her cold heart secretly ached for a little kid who still had a chance at not becoming a complete fuck-up loner. Nodding slowly, she held my hand and lowered her eyes, probably feeling guilty that she had performed thoughtless acts that those kids of hers would be appalled to know about.
"Yes...I have a young boy who's about your age, and a boy and a girl who are attending University right now."
"Deborah," I started, "where's your youngest son?"
"Well, he's probably at home eating dinner right now. But Kami, I really just want to explain to you..."
"Why don't you bring him over some time? I would like to have a friend to play with. I'm sorry that your friendship didn't work out."
"Oh, well, that's okay..."
While the two of us were caught up in conversation, I could hear her partner sneak out of the penthouse through the front door. Twisting her head in his direction, she once again lowered her eyes and released a heavy sigh.
"Sure, I'll bring him over. I would like it if you two could meet. But Kami, I'm just so embarrassed that I would really like if we could just forget about that supposed to be friend of mine. It would make me even sadder if anyone were to find out that I had a friend and lost him!"
Grinning, I agreed and pointed to the center of my face, a gesture that I had seen from my father in the odd conversation with my mother. Whenever I performed the simple movement, it made the hearts of adults all over the world swell.
When my father arrived home to find me smiling up at him, he immediately asked Deborah what was wrong. Before he came home, I was kind enough to point out that her appearance was less than socialite worthy and showed her where my mother kept most of her cosmetics. My knowing where they were was another story in itself that she didn't care to ask about and I didn't care to explain. With a pale face, Deborah assured my father that it was nothing and explained that, granted his permission, I would meet with her son the next time she watched over me.
"I don't see why not...it would be good for Kami to make a friend his age. In fact, if you'd like to spend the next couple of days at home I think it would be even better for him to get out of the house. I will add a bonus to your payment for food and any other costs, and call you when I am done at work. What do you think?"
Quickly, she nodded, waved goodbye, and rushed out the door. I imagined that hanging around for conversation was not on her agenda after all that had happened that day.
Before I could begin to think about sleeping that night, I spent no less than an hour deciding exactly what I was going to wear and forced my dad to condition my hair an ungodly amount of times. Picturing Deborah's family photo in my mind, I wondered if her son and I were really going to become friends or if he would be some snotty brat who got away with everything he wanted because his parents' relationship was also on the fritz and no one felt like dealing with him. The fact that Deborah had looked after me a few times and never even spoke of her children was enough to hint at a family not so different from my own.
Finally I was able to meet him, the same short blondie with a soft round face and suspenders that I had seen in the photo, he was friendly and didn't seem to think I was annoying like most of the kids I had met from school. When he saw me, instead of shaking my hand like an adult would, he wrapped his arms around me and squished his face into my collarbone.
"Hi, Kami. Mom told me you're really nice! And she's friends with your mom, too!"
Sheepishly, I nodded my head and hugged him back while pushing the memory of this poor child's mother straddling some stranger from my mind. When at first we were introduced, I had trouble his name. Instead of calling him 'Rae' like it was said, I insisted on pronouncing it 'Rai,' sounding like a solid e at the end, which would have been another piece of Japanese influence that my father had passed onto me.
"It's okay, you can call me whatever you want! I don't mind."
With that, he grabbed my hand with his tiny hand and hurried me upstairs to show me his bedroom. Unlike my penthouse, his home was a two-floor deck house in a rich suburban area just outside of the immediate city. Not only did I find the parks and trees to be a relief from the smell and general mood of the city, but the home to be much more spacious and casual than our crisp and prim penthouse setting. Deborah may have adopted more of a money spending, designer wearing, clutch clutching, perfumed socialite attitude than my mother, but she didn't appear to be as much of an entertainer and from what Rai had told me, they didn't hold parties at their house, ever, because his father would never allow it.
All across Rai's floor were stacks and piles of paper, and a few books shoved off to the corner. The mess didn't bother me, but I was just surprised to see so much writing coming from someone my age. If I could avoid homework or writing at all costs, I would, and crammed my face in front of our modern TV set at home. When I picked up one of the odd pieces, and looked to him for permission to read, he did little other than hop onto his bed and produce a wooden box from somewhere behind his mattress.
"You can read that, but this one's way better. I haven't showed anyone!"
My curiosity was instantly piqued, and I sprung myself up onto the bed beside him. In a quiet voice, he saved me the dread of having to scan each of his papers and read me the first story of hundreds that I would hear from his rounded lips. Although I spent a lot of time with Rai after that day, I wish there was more that I remembered because he taught me some of the most valuable life lessons out of anyone I knew, including my parents. Not only was he my first real crush, but the first person that I ever made sacrifices for, and the first person that encouraged me to have a heart and mind that were both understanding of others. Unfortunately, we never really got to the part where I learned to be understanding and accepting of myself.
Even as a young child, besides the fact that I had finally made a friend who understood and accepted me, there were a lot of things that I still couldn't grasp - my mother had been away for just under six months, and I felt whatever shell I had created for myself beginning to thicken because my father rarely talked to me and although he thought he hid it well, I knew he was drinking heavily. Stuck with another destructive parent, my own bad habits manifested themselves again.
Whenever I could, I fled to Rai's place, but he and I and his mother all knew that she never signed up for another kid, so my overnight stays were limited to once a week. Whether or not she knew about my father's drinking, I couldn't say; his personality changed little other than becoming a watered down version of himself and I knew that telling anyone other than Rai would only cause trouble for me. At Rai's place, I would smuggle pharmaceuticals and pills from their cupboards that I couldn't even pronounce the name of at that age, and brought them home with me to take later on. No one knew why, but my aggression would spin and out of rapid cycles until my mom finally came home and saw the pain that I had endured.
Every day, I made sure to let her know that she had made a big mistake by leaving. I'm sure that it wasn't making her sobriety easier, but I couldn't have cared less. For six months, she had abandoned me and left me with a soulless businessman that I could hardly call my father anymore and some lady who was everything short of what I considered to be a mother. For weeks, she was the sweetest, most beautiful lady and took every beating that I threw at her until I softened up and began to feel like things were okay again.
Just as soon as I felt my sores begin to heal, my father's alcoholism slipped under my mother's radar and she went ballistic. Perhaps she was afraid that I wouldn't take well to him leaving, so she never demanded that he separate himself from his job or the city to attend rehab. Instead, she pressed everything she had learned in rehab on him in passive aggressive ways. At eleven years old, I could recite the lines from the twelve step program in my sleep. At breakfast, she would slip little notes in front of his plate with different steps on them or tape them to the TV only for me to find them later and tear them off. The longer these silly charades went on, the more I heard off-handed, passive comments exchanged between the two.
After the weak attempts dragged on for a month or two, my mom finally became fed up and left me with my alcoholic father so that she could go live with my Auntie Bethany in Hampton. Claiming that the lifestyle was a threat to her sobriety, she quit her job, along with what social life she had left, to escape my father's poisonous habitat. Sure, I saw her on the odd weekend, but I felt little other than mortified that my one day a week over at Rai's had been marked off of the chopping block and in my spare time I drew him pictures and letters to make up for the lack of time spent together which he always returned.
Stupidly, in one of the letters I confessed to Rai that I had been taking pills from his parents. For months, I had been keeping it a secret both in fear that my own mother would disown me and because I didn't want to lose what precious time I had at Rai's house. Of course, my mother found the letter, read it, and demanded that I apologize to Rai's family instead of offering me any support for the habit she had obviously taught me. If anyone had given me a giant taste of denial in life besides Luke, my mother had to take the cake.
Because my mother refused to take responsibility for the damage she had done, I lashed out at my father and demanded that he do something. While she was away, he had carelessly formed himself a hypocritical addiction that had destroyed our family and I wasn't going to settle for that. Someone had to pay attention to me; someone had to think about what I was going through and what they had made me. In my fit of rage, I smashed a hole through our expensive TV set and nearly set the penthouse on fire before he called my mother, of all people, for help.
All the trouble I'd caused had been entirely successful; for my sake, my parents attempted to rekindle the flame of their former love, moved back in together, slept in the same bed, and worked on dad's addiction with the help of a local rehabilitation centre. Our family was so peaceful for once that I was able to have Rai over at our place and invite him over for sleepovers, something I had always been too embarrassed to do before. In the mornings, instead of sending me to school in a cab, my father came along with me. With the help of the rehabilitation centre and the support of my mother, in time, he was sober, and I had not only my old father back, but someone even better. He was calm, relaxed, and when he wasn't at work, he was finally in the mind frame where could focus on his family. Mother and he got along famously and when they wanted to go out for dates, it meant that I got to spend the night at Rai's.
Or at least, that was what I had hoped for when I nearly turned the entire building into a lit match. Yes, my father did make an attempt to help me out and pay me more attention at my mother's request. I accepted the fact that my mother had acknowledged her part in my behaviour, even though deep down all I wanted was for her to fix everything she had started. Because I was attending private school already, I was given the privilege of my own free counsellor, and my father attended meetings with me at least once a week. When we met him, I wasn't eager to talk to him at all about everything that was going on. My father's name being well known in the city, he made me promise that I wouldn't tell the counsellor of his alcoholism, and unfortunately it wasn't until our sessions were complete that my mother realized that.
"Well, I'm sorry to offend you, but I'm afraid we won't make much progress with Kami unless you and your wife contribute more effort into repairing your relationship as a family. I don't doubt that you care for Kami, but he's at a very sensitive age where he needs his parents - not a nanny, to be spending time with him. If it is truly in your best interest to help your son, I would suggest that you take some time to get to know him a little better and spend some quality time together away from home or at the very least working on a productive project together."
When my father and I spent time together, the only problem was that he was always drunk. Every time we went somewhere, he smelled heavily of alcohol and everyone around us seemed to notice whether we were at the park, a restaurant or out shopping. In the papers, articles questioned his sobriety and as soon as that hit home, our visits into the city were over. When all of this was going on, I couldn't decide if I liked being at home or outside better, because either way, I was still stuck with a sorry business man who had destined himself to hide from the general public eye. Finally, I was able to tell my counsellor. If everyone knew my father was an alcoholic, after all, what did it matter if I accidentally let slip that he had been drinking?
Devastated, partially because my father had begun to hide his drinking from her, my mother was quick to remove me from his care. That week, my father dialled the number of my aunt's Hampton home incessantly, begging and pleading to talk to me, but no thanks to the public, his custody battle had basically already been lost. Of course, at my age, there was little to understand and any questions I asked went unanswered. Most of my time in Hampton was spent distressed and bored; all I wanted was to go back to school and visit with Rai but my mother insisted that I take the time off as we needed to "heal after all that your father has done to us." Convinced that this was all some kind of faze my parents were going through, I wrote letters to Rai promising to see him soon and saying that I didn't know what was going on. In the most confusing time of my childhood, he showed me a kind of love that my parents couldn't give me.
Every night, when I was left alone in an unfamiliar bedroom with a large window showcasing the stretch of green land behind my aunt's chalet, I read Rai's letters and prayed that soon I would return to the city. Despite the entire trauma I had experienced there, I could imagine no place better to be than with Rai. Somehow, he understood that my parents were going through a hard time and he told me that I had to forgive them; he said that soon everything would be okay. In some of the letters, he drew little montages of city or school life in which I made guest appearances. One of them, a surprisingly detailed sketch, showed him and I as adults, holding hands and sitting in Central Park. I wish I had kept it, because it was certainly the one I enjoyed most and it made me smile when everything else had failed to instil any emotion other than frustration.
Wrapped in turmoil and disgust that my parents' relationship had soured, I spent most of my time for the next couple of years trying to stay out of trouble and stay in the foolish private school my mother insisted I attend. Jocelyn's Crown was full of over-privileged, bratty kids like me who couldn't keep their noses clean and whose priorities were to put their hands up first in class as well as finding the prettiest girls to bring to winter formal. Personally, I couldn't have cared less; I guess you could say I was a bit of a class clown comparatively. I believe that when I was forced onto the cricket team, my aggressive side began to show...to put it simply, mallets were flying and if I remember correctly, some shorts were pulled down. Part of my behaviour was definitely because I hoped it would end up with me getting kicked out and having to attend a school in the city, but knowing my mother she would have found another alternative even if I had.
In the end, my mother raising me to be a cunning young person who was familiar with adult lingo worked against her, because I devised a plan that I knew she couldn't refuse. Although he was still an alcoholic and the words spoken between us were few, I demanded that she let me see my father. Obviously, her guilt over their failed relationship was enough for her to allow it, and I was even able to extend my visit for a few days because the Hampton life was "torture" and I deserved a "break from the countryside." Of course, this was all a plot to go see Rai, and after a day spent with my father, who did little other than offer me access to his liquor cabinet, I was quick to ask for a taxi ride to Rai's place. Both my mother and his had already discussed the idea that I might stay there during my visit to the city, so soon enough I found myself on his doorstep. I didn't know it at the time, but it would be my last visit to Rai's house and the last time we would be together as good friends.
When I was with him, I was finally able to let go and relax, something that I hadn't done at all in Hampton or at that stupid private school I attended. None of the kids there were interesting, creative or friendly and I didn't want to get to know them one bit.
"Rai, I need your help," I said, "with getting out of Hampton, but I can't do it by myself!"
Sitting with him on his bed, I reached out for his hand and put it on my chest. With his little black eyes he searched mine for an explanation and furrowed his brow as he listened to me. The longer I told him about the school, and my father, and my delusional mother, the more his expression sank like an anchor into a seabed. Something was wrong, and it wasn't whatever I was going through. Rai was never this quiet, was he? He always grinned at me with his little gapped teeth and reassured me that everything was okay, that he was here for me...I began to wonder if he still was.
"Well, maybe we can...no. No, Kami, I can't help you. Did you notice anything different around here?" he asked.
"Well, no, I mean, a couple of things but nothing really stood out."
"My dad is gone. My parents broke up just like yours and now he lives closer to the city. I've been going back and forth almost every other day...he's very angry at her."
Tight-lipped, I nodded my head. I suppose he didn't understand; he didn't know about his mother's promiscuity and it was probably something better left unknown to him. When I walked in, the cold glance she shot me was something I assumed to be more about her having to stay home and look after us instead of being 'out on the town' as they say. Maybe she thought it was me that whispered her betrayal to someone else, but why would I go miles within her home if that was the case? I was mature enough to know that an angry woman was a woman not to mess with.
"I'm sorry, Rai..."
For a few minutes, we sat on his bed with our legs crossed just holding each other in complete silence. Most of our night together was quiet and we spent it playing video games and making our last stories together on his bedroom floor. When it was bed time, I snuck underneath his quilt and wrapped my arms around him.
"Kami, is that you?"
Feeling guilty that I had woke him up, I tucked Binky, his violet teddy bear, under his arm and told him to go back to sleep. Sometime during the night, I woke up to him breathing heavily beside me and lifted my head to see what was going on. Underneath the quilt, his arm moved back and forth in a repetitive motion and I quickly grabbed it and asked what was up.
"Ahh!" he squealed.
When I released him, he held still and continued to pant into the pillow underneath his head. Curious, I reached around his small body only to find his pants pulled down beneath his ass cheeks. At first, I was startled and pulled my hand away. What was he doing? It didn't appear that he was playing any games and from the sound of his breathing my first thought had been that something was wrong or that he was asleep.
"What are you doing?"
"Well I was just playing...haven't you ever seen them do it on TV?" he asked.
Innocently, I shook my head.
"Like, on cartoons? What do you mean?"
As he giggled, I felt ashamed and as if I was missing out on something important that I should've known about at the young age of eleven. I had been around enough adults to know or understand most of the things they talked about, so what wasn't I getting?
"Well, you know when you see things or feel things that make your bird feel funny?"
I didn't have to call my dick a 'bird' to know what he meant, and a smile grew across my face.
"Yeah...did I make you feel funny, Rai?"
"A little, so I started playing with it. You should try it!"
Quickly, he twisted his body around and without having to do a thing myself; he tugged my pants off and worked my tiny member until it was hard like his own. Amazed and overwhelmed at the incredible sensations I had been missing out on, I continued to enjoy the first and quickest masturbatory experience I'd ever have. Both of us were fairly innocent to the fact that we had done a rather adult thing, but we knew that the idea of two boys together was not one that society was ready for at the time.
During our last couple of days together, both of us adopted a somewhat shy attitude after what we had done. Neither of us was ashamed, but I was uncertain of whether it was something that we should continue. What would his mother think if she were to find out? I didn't want to risk losing my only friend, so I spent the last two nights in my cot across from his bed wondering if things would always be different. That night, I made a decision not to care because even if we had done the unspeakable, it didn't mean we cared any less or that our relationship had changed, right? I was too young to understand most of it and so I continued as though nothing was wrong even though my eyes saw him differently and my heart had a new yearning for him. I guess you could say he was my first love, and probably the least damaging because it was taken from me so soon.
At the young age of fifteen, Rai was diagnosed with a lethal brain tumour. By then, he had moved out of the country with his mother and the only communication we retained was through letters that were forgotten more often and delivered less as time went on. When my mother told me the news, Deborah and her weren't speaking and Rai and I rarely heard from each other anymore...there were no more stories and my heart was broken. By then, I had made a few friends and although I carried a ton of emotional baggage and felt as though I had to hide my sexuality from my mother completely, I was functioning well at school for the first time and for once, I had a social life.
Returning to New York City was the strangest feeling, because when surrounded by those millions of strangers, I felt as though I was fifteen again, riding the subway on my way to visit my father. This time, I was not there to visit; I was there to find a place to reside among the bright lights, the maze of pedestrians, vehicles and tall, gray building blocks of what we call society. I was not completely free of the bonds of my childhood, I felt, because I was living off of the three million my father had suddenly bestowed upon me. I wasn't sure when I received the money if it was in exchange for the time he never spent with me during my teens or if he wanted me to go to school, or suffer the same fate that he did because the brief letter he wrote to me never signified any direction he wished me to go in.
My son, I wish to hear from you again and apologize for how I now realize I have caused you great distress in your youth. Your mother and I have not spoken in years and I have found a new partner. However, I have contacted her in hopes that she will accept an apology from me as well as a similar gift to what I have left you with. I hope this does not cause you any more grief and I assure you that my new partner would love to meet you...in fact she is much of the reason why I have contacted you today, for she has reminded me that a son is a very special gift. Business is going very well and I have made great progress. I leave you with this money so that you may live a secure life and do as you choose, go where you wish to go. All I ask is that you speak to me one day in the future as I would like to hear where life has taken you and apologize for what I may have done to you and your mother. Believe it or not, it was never my intention to destroy the relationship of our family and I would like to be a father to you if you can accept my apologies and trust me when I say that my use of alcohol is now limited to one drink a day. Please consider my attempt to reach out to you and use some of this money to come visit me in the city. I would love to come visit you at your address; however this season finds me caught up in a heavy work load that I must attend to. My address is the same as always, and we will provide you with your own room to stay in. I do hope you will understand and accept this gift.
On the taxi ride to the penthouse suite that I spent the larger part of my childhood in, my stomach was twisted up into knots. I hadn't had any blow all week in preparation for the visit, and being thrust into the city added greatly to my nerves as well as my desire to find some grade a powder. However, I knew that I couldn't accept my father's money if I wasn't at least going to pay him a visit. When I left the suburbs outside of the city, I left my ex boyfriend's one-floor, two-bedroom house empty despite that I had planned to rent it out to a couple or a family. I still felt as though I wasn't done with that house and that I would one day return, but for now all I wanted was to escape the secluded neighbourhood where running into Luke, my never-ending infatuation, was a common occurrence.
Oddly enough, the last time I had run into Luke, we were both out at the same bar, me alone, him alone. In a tight v-neck t-shirt, I noticed that he wasn't covering up any bruises and so I felt it was safe to assume that his lawsuit against his abusive boyfriend landed well on his side of the matter. Neither of us made attempts to speak to one another and both of us acknowledged the invisible line across the middle of the room. To say the least, his appearance left a sour taste in my mouth that had very little to do with the alcohol I was drinking. Halfway through the evening, I had downed enough shots and paid for enough songs on the jukebox to have me forgetting that he was even there, mingling with groups of our drunken peers or playing pool.
Having been alone for roughly an hour, finally someone came along who must have been attracted to the silent, brooding type. Although I didn't make much of him at the time, in retrospect he was rather attractive; he looked to be Persian and had dark hair, brown skin, light wash jeans and an adorable collared shirt. I remember that his lips, when I finally had him cornered, tasted of pineapples and that his tight grip on my hair sent shivers down my spine.
Something about my brief encounter must have erased whatever line was drawn across the room, because Luke found his way over to us and said aloud, "Well, I'm surprised to see you here with all of us adults instead of creeping around the high school. What made you change your mind?"
Was I drunk enough to be hearing things? Had Luke really crawled that deep into my head that I could hear his voice like some crazy apparition while I was macking on some guy at a bar? Sadly, no, and when I pulled my lips away from the gorgeous brown twenty-something in my arms, that horrible apparition was standing in front of me with his arms folded across his chest, smirking. When the Persian backed away to give Luke the 'what for', I wasn't sure who to defend, and then I was hit with the "Who's this," which was infinitely worse. If I didn't know it would've ended with more money in Luke's pockets and him never speaking to me again, I would've shoved him off and told him to go ruin his own life, but part of me wasn't quite over him yet, and that part of me couldn't bear to hurt him when he had let himself become hurt over and over.
"Look, won't your friends over there be wondering why you're over here with us homos?" I shot back.
"Wow, you must be trashed...those are my employees and they're actually wondering why my friend is over here making out with some random dude instead of socializing with us. What do you think I should tell them, that you just got a little too drunk and didn't realize I was here? That I had no clue you were a fag? 'Cause right now I'm not really sure what to say."
At this point, the dark and handsome one had his own arms folded across his chest and was looking unimpressed both at me and Luke, too. Barely sober enough to keep my head on straight, I was squinting across the room at the group of Luke's employees who served at his new cafe. A few months ago, I had stopped in while the two of us were on as good of terms as our relationship ever could be, and most of his employees acted friendly towards me, but they didn't know anything about what went on between us.
"...You two are friends?"
"No, sweetheart, we used to be, but I don't really know who the hell he is anymore. As you can see, he has some trouble focusing on his own life," I said.
As he stared me down, I could see that Luke was becoming increasingly frustrated. You know what lions look like when they're stalking through the grass on Discovery Channel ready to sneak up on an ignorant zebra? Yeah, kind of like that.
"This has more to do with me thank you think, Kami. I wouldn't like my employees to think I'm someone who spends their time with a bar slut who's hopping on the AIDS train."
"Well, God, I'm sorry you're so bloody insecure, and so homophobic, too! Please, let me go and explain to them that I'm a lowly sodomite and that I'm unworthy of your friendship!" I shouted.
At this point, the bartender was clearing his throat and clinking bottles down against the bar as if to give us some kind of signal to settle down or resolve matters elsewhere so that he didn't have to stop serving us.
"Look, I gotta go. It was lovely to meet you both, but I have better things to do with my time than get in between some pathetic cat fight."
The gorgeous Persian let his hand slip from mine and shot me a quick glance with his big, dark eyes before pushing the bar's heavy doors open and disappearing from my sight. Pissed off that Luke had gotten what he'd come for, I pursed my lips and took one step towards him, my face growing closer to his. I spoke in a low but seething voice, hoping that he would feel the impact of every single word.
"Fuck you, Luke. You can have this pathetic little neighbourhood if that's what you want. I guess you've just forgotten that you were the one toying with me this whole time, and now that you sued your ex you have just what you always wanted...a little cafe run by a bunch of lackeys who will never really know you or give a damn. Do you think they're here because they enjoy your company? They're here because they need to get drunk after spending a week working under a greedy, narcissistic owner like you. I didn't want it to have to come to this, but since you seem to take a sick sort of pride in doing this to me, I'm glad to get well out of your way. I hope you're happy that you've turned away the only person left in your life who might have loved you."
"Is that what you told him?"
The taxi driver, a middle aged woman with curly yellow hair and harsh American accent turned her head sideways in the front seat as I finished explaining all of this to her. She said she was sorry that everything had to end that way, and that if I ever needed someone in the city to talk to, she would leave me with her card. Hesitantly, I took it and pocketed it before my phone began to vibrate in my pocket. The message was from my father, asking if I was nearby.
"Yeah...you should have seen his face. I feel shitty about it, but I've burned my bridges now so there's no reason to go back. It's time to move on from him..."
"Gotta do what ya gotta do," she said. "Well, here we are...I hope everything goes well for you, I really do. You have my blessings at the very least. Now, before you forget, will you be paying with credit today?"