Chapter One: The Stranger

Saturday February 6th 2010

Ryan Gabriel Tramblay

When someone's watching you, it's almost like you can feel it. That weightless beam of curiosity resting on you. The person's glare is so strong, you're forced to look up and find where the gaze is coming from. For me, I looked up into the eyes of The Stranger.

"So, dude, what are you getting?" Damon Falconer my best friend asked me, his green eyes bright with excitement. "The lip piercing, the tongue or the industrial? The lip piercing is mega cool, but it's impossible to hide. The tongue piercing is cool, but not as cool as the lip, but it's easier to hide. The industrial's not really cool at all, but your Mom would probably accept it way more than the other two."

Damon and I were sitting in the waiting room of the well-known town tattoo parlour X-Inkz. The room was dim with red walls and black accents. There were pictures of tattoos and people with piercings all over the walls. There was only one girl who worked there that I knew of; Piper Geoff. She was the older sister of Kristoff (who had somehow attained a mono-nym), the latest victim of TJ's cheating.

"I think I'm going to get the tongue piercing. It's cool and easy to hide." I looked over at Damon who was gazing at me in such a way under his eyelashes, it made me extra nervous. Ever since he admitted he was gay, I was a little jumpy about how he looked at me and the way he acted around me. I didn't want to have to tell off my best friend because he had a crush on me. Without even knowing it, I had become a Stag Hag; the male equivalent of a Flame Dame; A guy with a gay friend.

"Do you think it's going to hurt?" I asked stupidly. I felt immature for asking that question, but come on we areimmature. We're two fourteen year old boys planning on getting piercing only to have them ripped out of our faces once our parents set eyes on them. Knowingly going into it knowing that a large sum of money was about to be paid and we would have to go through needless pain and painful healing. My plan was to hide the piercing until it was fully healed, and keep a spare stud on me. So when Mom found out and took away the original one, I could still wear the spare one to school without her knowing.

Silence fell over my ears; that's when I really noticed The Stranger. It is not polite to notice someone while they're noticing you, but I couldn't help it. It was like someone slipped glasses over my eyes, magnifying his gaze and finally allowing me to face the fact without distraction. He waswatching me.

The stranger had grey hair the colour of sterling silver. It gleamed in the grey light, and hung in front of his eyes in wisps. I know he had dyed it, because his eyebrows were a dark blonde and his eyelashes were long. His face was so interesting, I couldn't look away. I just wanted to run my fingers over the smooth angular contours of his face. He had bright green irises, hidden behind his lids. He looked bored, un-amused, but amazing. His skin was pale and almost ghost white. The angles in his face were sharp and it gave him an edge. The way his nose sloped softly and his high cheek bones. He had thin shapely lips, which turned down slightly at the corners.
The odd thing about him was the long jagged scar on his left cheek. I could tell he had tried to cover it up because I could see the powder clinging to the nearly miniscule hairs on his cheek.

As soon as he noticed me noticing him noticing me his lips turned into a small smile. "Boy," He whistled loudly, sending the whole parlour to turn and look at him. His green eyes were traveling from the top of my unkempt and messy hair to the bottom of my feet. Up and down, just like an elevator "You look exactly like your brother."
The Strangerwas behind the counter. He looked to be roughly eighteen, just about to graduate from high school are already moving onto College or University. He was leaned over the counter, gazing at me with those eyes. Those intense green eyes flicking across my body like flames. The way he smiled wasn't just with his lips but with his eyes and his whole being. He was just beaming at me. There was something about him that attracted me, drew me in. He was just so different I wanted him to know about me and I wanted to know about him. His gaze was captivating. Was being a Stag Hag making me this way? Was this true attraction? Or was I acting like this because I was giving into the people who assumed I was gay just like TJ.

"You know TJ? TJ Tramblay?" I asked, tensing slightly in my chair. I found myself wondering if I looked like a fool in my baggy skinny jeans, green and blue high necked hoodie and green chucks. I smoothed out my sweater, no need to have odd lumps appearing all over my body. I was even beginning to touch my hair when I gave myself a mental slap.

"Oh jah, oh jah!" The boy was putting on a German accent now. I could tell because this was exactly how my relatives from Bavaria talked when they visited us in the summer. His eyes were dancing behind his silver bangs. "Ve vere very good friends."

Damon was almost crying now with laughter. He had to wipe tears from the corners of his eyes. What little pride he had, he was forcing himself too much on Holiday. Laughing at every word that came out of his mouth like a desperate teenage girl.

"No really. TJ tried to hook me up with this person I didn't really like too much. I see you and TJ in the hallways sometimes, but TJ never says 'hi' to me. The whole school knows he's gay now, and nothing really changed. For TJ, being so damn good-looking and popular – nothing - not even homosexuality is going to drive away people. His football friends even joke with him about them liking him and all that crap." The boy continued. He rolled his eyes at some parts, smiling a sad smile.

"He's cute funny and not a slave to the popular authority? Damon likey!" Damon whispered in my ear. Damon looked at the boy with those eyes filled with infatuation. He growled and made purring noises.

Do you see this? Is this really my life?

"I'm Holiday Boulstridge by the way. I know you. You're Ryan Tramblay." He walked out from behind the counter and grasped my hands in his. They were warm and slightly chalky. It's hard for me to admit this, but I liked the way his hands felt. Smooth but just a little rugged, probably from doing manual work. He gave me a strong firm handshake.

Holiday. What a name. It was different and unusual just like the way he looked. Holiday's face is one that you never forget.

"This is my best friend, uh…what's your name again?" I joked. Damon looked like he wanted to sit on my head and let a knee-trembling fart fly.
Holiday started giggling.

"I'm joking. He's Damon Falconer," I said gesturing loosely to Damon, who was absolutely fuming. His bottom teeth covered the top set and his eyes were narrowed to the point where his eyes were hardly even open.

Holiday shook Damon's hand with as much warmth and kindness as he did to me. "So what can I do for you little kids?"

It was the first time I noticed Holiday didn't have any piercing or tattoos visible. Maybe he had them hidden under his clothes? Good glob, I was thinking about Holiday in nothing but his underwear now.

"We want to get our tongues pierced." Damon told Holiday. He folded his arms across his chest as if he was cold, and looked over at me.

Holiday grinned and stuck out his tongue. Revealing a silver stud in the middle of his tongue. "I have two other piercings you can't see right now."
My face was burning now. I looked over at Damon and he looked over at me grinning. He was fixing his shirt and inspecting his popped collar like Holiday was going to ask him out on a date right at this very moment.

"I'd get you guys all set up, but there's one problem. No parental permission." Holiday crossed his arms over his chest and looked at Damon with those green eyes, then he looked over at me.

"My mom drove me here. She knew I was coming here, and I wouldn't just fly over to somewhere with 100 dollars in my pocket for no reason." I lied. Damon and I had trucked through the snow all by ourselves. By the time we got here, Damon and I had to hold hands to warm each other up. You can imagine all that was going through my head.

Damon kicked me in a completely oblivious way and gave me those eyes. The eyes that were screaming at me that I cannot tell a lie if it was to save my life.
Holiday chuckled, covering his mouth as if he was letting out a huge cackle. "Do you really think I'm that dense? I'm sorry, kiddos, you need permission. Come back with your Mommies and Daddies, and I'll be happy to help you. Ryan, just bring your mom. She's sex on fire."

I rolled my eyes as the two fools (Holiday and Damon) chuckled into chuckle city. How gross can you get? She gave birth to me and she could easily have given birth to Holiday as well.

"Please, Holiday! My mom will never let me get it, please, please!" Damon was begging now. Clasping his hands together like a bum on the curb-side.
Holiday shook his head. "Now you two run along, I have customers to attend to. Come back with permission and I would be happy - no - thrilled to put a hole in your body." Holiday giggled along with the last part, smiling like he was actually amused with kicking two teenage boys out of a tattoo parlour.

Damon and I climbed out of the chairs and prodded over to the exit and slowly dragging our feet. Damon and I looked behind us at Holiday, who was still standing in the same place with his hands in his pockets. Begging him silently with our eyes to beckon us back and pierce our tongues. Holiday wasn't about to give in.
I could feel it again. Holiday's eyes on me. I knew he was watching me again. I turned around to see him disappear behind a door. I was coming back to this tattoo parlour if it was the last thing I did. Permission or not. I was coming back.

Hello again! Some of the readers that have been with me since 2010 might recognize this first chapter as it was the first chapter of an old story of mine: The Boys Across The Road. One day I deleted that story off of fictionpress because I had accidentally deleted the story off of my computer and I was totally heart-broken.

Earlier this year I happened upon the beginning of this first chapter and re-ignited my interest in this story. I decided to re-tell the story of Ryan and Holiday in a prequel to my story

Follies and out came Love and War.

Anyways, I wrote this book for all of the people that have read my previous work and enjoy my writing as much as I enjoy writing it. Enjoy!