A/N? Woah, woah, a timely update!?! YES!!! I’m really trying! Also, I’d like to know what people think about this generation so far, so if you have some time and some thoughts, let me know in the comments! ^_^ But more than anything, enjoy!!
So…I think I have friends now.
I realize that’s a pretty pathetic thing to say, but seeing as prior to this point in my life the only people I really spoke to were members of my immediate family, having people who I can finally label as such is fairly remarkable.
I mean, Mitch and I get along great, joking around and even discussing everything from literature to what shows on TV now were particularly bad; Maddie and I have a blast together, as she’s so full of life and energetic all the time; Chris is actually not as boring as he appears to be, being a pretty decent guy; and Candice…well, at least she wasn’t glaring at me anymore whenever she saw me come over, and that was a win in my book.
Since the day they invited me out, we’ve been hanging out pretty reguarly. I mean, not a ton or anything and typically only on the weekends, but it’s great to have that and people to text when something funny happens or I find out something interesting. Mitch and Maddie have even taken to reading some of my writing and they seem pretty impressed.
I mean, they could just be bullshitting me in order to not hurt my feelings, but I don’t think so because they’re usually pretty blunt—like when Mitch told me I looked gayer than him because of all the fuchsia I wear. I told him in annoyance that it was actually “spiceberry,” but that just caused him to crack up harder and then I did as well, realizing just how ridiculous I sounded. He at least sobered up a bit though when I pointed out that he wore a rainbow belt, and nothing could actually be gayer than that. “Touché, James, touché,” he’d responded with a grin.
For once in my life, I can finally say that I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got.
I can even say the same about my sister, who’d recently become pretty close friends with a guy at our school named Nolan Meyers. Not actually my first choice for a first name, but he seemed cool enough. Or at least, he wasn’t one of the douche bags at school that liked to pick on me for no reason.
Kira really seemed to like him, always brightening up and getting this helpless puppy dog face whenever she was around him.
But there was a catch….
Nolan was currently dating a girl at our school named Leilani, and they didn’t seem to show any indication of breaking up anytime soon, a fact that I could see was secretly killing my sister.
The thing was, Nolan always got this helpless puppy dog face whenever he was around Kira too, so honestly this was all just a disaster waiting to happen.
My feeling was that Nolan should just break up with Leilani now, before things really go to hell, but it seemed they were both just content riding the path to implosion for now, each afraid to really say what was on their minds and each insisting that they were just “really good friends.”
Right. And Mitch is just “really metrosexual.”
The only part of my life that I still wasn’t so thrilled with was one Damian Ayres, who still viewed me as his favorite punching bag. I tried to avoid him as much as possible, but the fact of the matter is, this isn’t really a large town, so the school isn’t so large either, and well, that means running into him no matter how hard I tried not to.
“Hey fairy, heard you got a boyfriend!” he jeered at me one afternoon right before the end of the day. Ugh, really? I’d been so close to going through the entire day without seeing his stupid ass self.
“That’s funny, I heard the same about you,” I responded coolly, and then immediately regretted opening my mouth as Damian’s eyebrows furrowed angrily.
“Hey, shut it Janet, I ain’t no fairy,” he growled, his fists balled up at his side.
“Woah, hey now….that much is clear. I’d imagine a fairy would be much more clever to be honest.” Ah fuck, my stupid mouth!!!
“Stupid, fucker!” he finally yelled, losing his patience and grabbing me by the front of my shirt so tightly that I actually found myself unable to breathe. I choked, trying to say something to get him to let go of me, but before I could say anything a familiar female’s voice rang out from the crowd.
“Hey shit head, let him go!” Maddie snapped, more angry than I had ever heard her before. Damian’s eyes went to Maddie, the look on his face flickering from pissed, to surprised, to confused in an instant. I might have found that interesting, if you know, I’d been able to breathe.
“Well lookie here, Janet has to have a little girl come save him,” Damian said with a hearty laugh, as if he’d never seen anything funnier in his life. Meanwhile, I was beginning to see black spots before my eyes and began trying to jerk away, but to no avail.
“I am NOT a little girl!” Maddie shrieked, and then to both Damian and I’s complete and utter surprise, she stomped right up to Damian and kicked him in the shin with her big ol’ combat boots. It was enough to make him howl in pain and let go off me, which was good because I was pretty sure I’d been about to pass out. I took in great gasps of air as Damian rounded on Maddie, looking unsure of what to do because she was a female.
“You stupid BITCH!” he shouted instead. “I’m gonna-” but what he was going to do, I’ll never know, because Chris took that moment to come out of nowhere, fling himself onto Damian, and beat the shit out of him.
This, of course, caused a frenzy in the school, with guys jeering, girls screaming, Maddie shouting at Chris to “KICK HIM IN THE BALLS!”and me still rubbing my neck and gasping. It was all over quickly though as security suddenly ran over and promptly grabbed up Damian and Chris, both of whom got an out of school suspension; Damian for five days, and Chris for three. Maddie, meanwhile, got a one day suspension, and I had to go back to seeing the counselor again.
I could at least say one thing though….since that day, we’ve never been closer. Even Mitch, who almost pissed himself cracking up when we told him the story over beers and a campfire, our typical weekend get together.
So yeah, I guess I can finally truly say I have friends….and you know what? There’s really no better feeling than that.
In other perhaps less exciting, but no less important news, Amelia was growing up really fast, which was pretty jarring. I guess I was just so used to her being my baby sister that it was kind of weird to see her walking around, using the potty all on her own, and even talking up a storm. We’ve even already started making plans for her birthday, which is right around the corner. So crazy.
She’ll be five years old and starting school, which I have difficulties imagining. In my head, babies don’t go to school, but then again I have to remind myself, hey, she isn’t exactly a baby anymore.
Even crazier was the fact that Kira was rapidly approaching 18. I mean, there was still some time before then, but just thinking about it made my heart sink, because I knew she’d probably be leaving soon. She hadn’t said as much, but I figured she would…probably to some fancy art school in France or something because she was really freaking good, but who knows? All I knew was that even with Mitch, Maddie, Candice, and Chris, she was honestly my best friend, and I didn’t know what I’d do without her. Especially because she’s always been there for me.
Perhaps the reason she hadn’t been talking about this though was because of prom, which she’s been all excited about. It’s all really sketchy though, because she’s going with Nolan. …yeah, you read that right, Nolan Meyers, the guy who is supposed to be dating Leilani? Yeah. I didn’t even know if Leilani knew about this, seeing as she was away at college, and that made it even more sketchy.
Kira insisted that they were going “as friends,” which I could totally buy because hey, Maddie and I were going to the prom as friends and Candice was even inviting Mitch so he’d be there too despite his home-schooled status, but I couldn’t because of the fact that they still gave each other those puppy dog looks all the time.
I still don’t know why he doesn’t just call it off and go out with Kira instead. It’s so obvious that’s what they both want, and yet they continue to go on with this.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I didn’t have much time to lecture her about it though, because before I knew it Amelia’s birthday was upon us. It was a quiet celebration at home, but it still took a lot of coordinating to make sure we were all home at the same time and that we ordered the cake far enough in advance that it’d be ready for the celebration.
It was slightly depressing, again because I was so used to her baby status, but such is life. We all grow up eventually.
It turned out to be a successful party though. The whole family was together, and even the cats joined in on the fun…or maybe they were just all riled up because a lizard had gotten into the house, but regardless, it looked like they joined too!
Amelia kind of became more annoying as a five year old, as it was now way easier for her to follow us around, beg us to play with her, and talk our ears off, but I’d still do anything for her. After all, she would always be my baby sister, no matter how old she was.
Plus it didn’t hurt that she was freaking adorable. I mean, really, who could refuse that face?!?! Good thing she was just my sister, because I’d suck at being a parent to her.
Focusing on my own life though, I’m getting better at writing. I even finished my first book and I’m kind of debating whether or not I should try and get it published. Maddie and Mitch are all for it, stating that I have nothing to lose, while Candice scoffed that you’d have to be REALLY good to get published (THANKS), and Chris just shrugged noncommittally, having made some sort of weird pledge that he’d only read when absolutely necessary due to his hatred for the hobby.
In the end, I figured I would at least try. After all, it’s like Maddie and Mitch said….what do I have to lose?
Despite their support of my hobbies, my friends sometimes get frustrated with me because I’m always locked away in my own little world working on this or that. I’ve tried to be more available, but when that creative spark hits me I just can’t stop it…..
On the night of the prom though I made sure that I focused on my friends. Of course, for awhile I thought I’d never get there, because Mom insisted on taking 5,000 pictures of Kira and I before we left. So annoying!!
“Okay, smile guys!” my mom cried, lining up her pictures perfectly.
“We are! In fact, my cheeks hurt because I’m smiling so hard. Nolan is waiting!” Kira complained, but then quickly put on another smile as the flash of my mom’s camera went off.
“Okay, okay, I got it. Be safe and have fun, guys!”
“We will!” we called out, before practically running out the door to where our limousine was waiting for us. …and before you ask, it was Kira’s idea.
Anyway, we finally did get to prom and there I actually enjoyed myself. I was pretty afraid that I’d feel awkward and just kind of sit around the whole time, but everyone else was dancing, so I actually would have felt more awkward if I had sat around!
The crowd was something I wasn’t a fan of, of course, but if I just focused on my friends, it was as if we were the only ones there.
“Is that a smile on your face, James? While DANCING?”
“No, of course not,” I said hastily, trying to force a neutral look on my face, but I couldn’t. The atmosphere was too contagious…and to be honest, it was kind of difficult to keep a neutral look on my face when looking at Maddie…she really did look like something else. I couldn’t even describe it. Quirky, maybe….vintage…. “Beautiful,” I suddenly blurted out.
“What?” Maddie asked, giving me a perplexed look. I immediately blushed crimson, suddenly wishing that one of the speakers would blow out or catch on fire or something to distract her attention from me, but nothing of the sort happened.
“Uh, everyone. Everyone looks great,” I finally stammered, about ready to kick myself in the face.
“Oh,” she said, looking slightly crestfallen. “Er…yeah, they do.”
“Hey guys! Mind if I join in?” Candice suddenly asked, coming up to us and dancing beside Maddie. “This prom isn’t actually too bad, eh?”
“Not at all!” Maddie agreed enthusiastically, linking her arm with Candice. “Look at you now, James! Quite the ladies man!” she grinned as the two of them fell into step to dance with me. My face was literally burning at this point, and all I could manage was an awkward, crooked grin.
“I think we’re embarrassing him,” Maddie giggled.
“Why?” Candice scoffed. “He should be happy. He went from being beat up every other day to having two gorgeous girls on his arms,” she said, but with a smile, so I knew she meant it in good humor.
“Uh two gorgeous girls who are talking about this guy like he’s not here!” I pointed out, finally finding my voice, although it sounded a little higher than usual…fuck my life.
“So are you! You just referred to yourself in third person!” Maddie laughed.
“Wait, so you admit we’re gorgeous?” Candice asked mischievously.
“Oh! Uhhhh….well….I mean…I guess…..”
“BAHAHAHA look how red he’s turning!”
“Kind of like your dress!”
“Ugh, you guys are awful,” I groaned, actually feeling pained at this point.
“You mean girls!”
“No, no, young women,” Maddie added primly….followed by a chorus of giggles from the both of them. Ughhhh.
“Hey, Candice, do you see what I see?” Maddie suddenly announced with an amused smile.
“Errr yeah…that’s uh, kind of gross.”
“Hey, I’m not that bad,” I said with a frown.
“No, no, your sister…and that guy. Totally sucking face.”
I wheeled around and lo and behold, there was indeed my sister “sucking face” with Nolan. Hell, it was such an intense kiss in fact that I had half a mind to go over there and hit him upside the head. I might have too, if it weren’t for two things. One, Kira would never have spoken to me ever again; and two, a blonde girl by the name of LEILANI was suddenly storming toward the couple and looked about ready to do that herself.
“WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!?” Leilani screamed, causing Kira and Nolan to jump apart and scream as well, only in pure fear. “I come halfway across the goddamn state to surprise you on your prom night and what do I fucking get for it?! Seeing YOU shoving your TONGUE down this mother fucking slut’s THROAT!”
“Run! Woman scorned at 8 o’ clock! RUN!” Candice cried out, running away dramatically.
“I-I-I-” Nolan stammered.
“Don’t hurt him!” Kira squeaked.
“You WHAT?” Leilani growled, completely ignoring my sister. “You’re a two-timing MAN WHORE!?”
“Shit going down, shit going down!” Candice continued yelling.
“Would you quit it?!” I hissed.
“I’m sorry!” Nolan finally managed to get out. “I tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen! You told me it was a phase! But it’s not,” he said, and to my surprise suddenly started crying. “I love her, Leilani. I tried to tell you. I love her!”
Oh god. Just pretend not to notice.
“This is better than television!”
“Shut UP, Candice!”
“I’M GOING TO RIP YOUR FUCKING DICK OFF, SHITHEAD!”
“DO IT! RIP IT!”
“What the FUCK, Candice!?”
It was at that moment though, amidst all the screaming, cheering, and gasps that a few staff members made it over and immediately escorted the three of them out of the dance, leaving me wondering whether or not Nolan actually got to keep his dick. And I did actually try to find out, but they told me that if I left prom I wasn’t allowed back in, and I didn’t want to desert my friends, so I just stuck around.
Wow, just wow.
“I’m so glad none of us are in a relationship,” I heard Candice say as I walked up, dancing now with just Maddie.
“Haha…yeah….” Maddie answered with an awkward smile, glancing at me and then looking away. Wait, what? What was that!? I opened my mouth to say something, but suddenly Maddie’s eyes became locked on something on the other side of the room.
“Woah,” she stated simply.
Candice whipped her head in the same direction and had much the same reaction, a “woah” escaping her mouth as well as her eyes opened wide.
“What are you guys-”
And so that, my friends, was prom.
Talk about a night to remember!
I got home late that night and hastily went upstairs to go find Kira, expecting her to be sobbing in her bed and lamenting the loss of her boyfriend’s penis, but instead, I nearly saw, well, her boyfriend’s penis.
“Holy shit!,” I yelled as Kira and Nolan, naked except for their skivvies, jumped away from each other and gasped.
“SHHH!” both of them hissed, looking behind me in a panic as if expecting my parents to come barreling around the corner with torches and pitchforks.
“Sorry!” I whispered, also glancing back. We were still and dead silent for about the next minute then, just listening, but the only sound we heard was one of the cats terrorizing the scratching post downstairs. “Are you okay?” I asked, forgetting for the moment the situation I’d just caught them in.
“Yeah. We all talked it out. Now…err…if you’d mind…..” Kira said awkwardly, her hands trying to cover herself as she looked meaningfully from me to Nolan.
“Ahh, right. Er, yeah. Enjoy. I MEAN, uh, good night!” I corrected, my face red as I quickly vacated the room. Fuck…my life.
After I left my sister’s room it dawned on me that Mom and Dad probably truly had no idea that Nolan was in the house, let alone half naked inside their daughter’s bedroom, and I debated telling them, but I decided not to.
That might seem kind of weird, but I don’t know. Kira and I…we just had this understanding…we were there for each other even when no one else was, so I kept my mouth shut. Besides, Kira just got accepted to a prestigious art school in France (one that I actually desperately wanted to get into too), so I knew she wouldn’t do anything to fuck that up.
Plus, me barging in on them kind of cooled down the temperature anyway….LOL.
The next morning, Nolan was long gone, but him and Kira were officially a couple and Leilani had returned to college, apparently confessing that she was actually kind of happy this happened. Mitch had also texted me a bunch of winking faces when I asked him how he was, so I assumed his new found relationship with Chris was going swimmingly, and Maddie had already called all of us up to hang out tonight at the usual place.
All in all, things were going pretty damn well.
“So how was prom?”
“It was okay.”
Yep….things were going pretty damn well.
“You know, prom was pretty fuckin awesome,” Maddie said that night as we sat around the campfire, roasting some food and tipping back beers.
“Especially for these two over here,” Candice remarked, nodding her head in Chris and Mitch’s direction. “I always did wonder why you always hung around us, Chris. Turns out it was for the dick!”
“You’re so crude, Candice,” Chris stated flatly, his eyes never leaving the fire as it crackled and burned before us.
“Maybe,” she responded with a shrug, “but you secretly like it.”
“Well we keep you around, don’t we?” Mitch pointed out with a smirk.
“Pfft. Ass. I keep YOU guys around,” Candice said with a roll of her eyes, but she looked pleased with the comment. Although she came across as the kind of person who didn’t give a damn about anything, I had noticed that there were a few exceptions—and the opinions of her friends was one of them.
Mitch chuckled in response, merely shaking his head as our group fell quiet. It was a natural thing to happen and it never felt uncomfortable when it did. We just enjoyed each others company to be honest. Eventually though Candice got up, deciding to go skip some stones on the lake while Mitch and Chris ran after her and then got caught in a game of “try to throw the other one into the water,” leaving Maddie and I alone.
Somehow, when it was just us two, the silence felt a little more awkward, but I didn’t know what to say.
Luckily, Maddie came to the rescue on that front though.
“So did you think prom was fun, James?” Maddie asked, looking up at me with shining eyes. “I didn’t hear you say anything.”
“Huh? Oh uh, yeah, sure,” I answered, feeling something awkward. “Things even worked out with Kira and Nolan,” I added slowly, scrambling to think of something to say.
“Oh. Well that’s good, right?”
“Yeah, I guess,” I said with a small shrug of my shoulders. “Even caught them afterward in my sister’s room actually, if you catch my drift…..”
“HA! Talk about awkward!” Maddie exclaimed with a laugh, a large smile on her face. “Wow, though. Their story…it’s actually kind of romantic,” she mused, sobering up some.
“Is it?” I asked, not really seeing it. “I kind of just see it as sketchy, but you know, whatever. She’s happy.”
“Right,” she responded. Maddie was quiet for a moment as she stared into the fire, but then finally, she spoke. “You know…I have a confession to make,” she admitted, completely avoiding my gaze. “A post-couple beers confession.”
“What is it?”
“I…well…I asked Mitch to invite you that day.”
“The day by the grocery store. I asked him to call you over.”
“You did?” I asked, blinking for a moment and suddenly trying to figure out how much I’d really drank at this point. After all, I never imagined that the reason I ended up friends with these guys was because they actually wanted me around. I’d always thought they’d just taken pity on my pathetic ass.
“Yyyyep. I wanted to get to know you, but I was too embarrassed to ask you out,” she said, a touch of pink darkening her cheeks.
“Whoa whoa whoa, the ‘down with the helpless female,’ ‘go woman empowerment,’ extraordinarily vocal feminist from English class was afraid to ask a guy to hang out?” I asked, both eyebrows raised. Maddie rolled her eyes and turned her head away from me.
“Feminists can feel nervous too when they like a guy, you know.”
“To be honest, I’m nervous right now.”
“I guess I’m afraid of looking stupid in front of you or something,” she added with a quiet laugh.
“….or um, killing you. The fuck?”
“Sorry,” I finally managed to sputter, forcing myself to speak and trying to calm my suddenly pounding heart. “I uh, thought I heard you say you liked me, so my brain was punching my ears for picking up the vibrations of your voice so incorrectly.”
“That sounds painful.”
“It kind of was. Made me go brain dead for a few moments. Again, I apologize. Now was that about the book we’re reading in English?”
Maddie looked at me for a long moment and then furrowed her eyebrows, glaring at me. “I can’t tell if you’re just joking around with me, or if you’re trying to pretend I didn’t say I liked you because you are totally, 100% uninterested in me. ….you’re not gay like Mitch, are you? I’d call him over if he weren’t currently sucking on Chris’s tongue. He did say you were cute.”
“He did?” I asked, feeling briefly surprised. “I mean NO I am not gay!” I added hastily, feeling stupid. “I am interested. Very interested, actually, I just…really?” I finally asked, giving Maddie a helpless look. Please don’t be fucking with me right now, please don’t be fucking with me right now…..
Maddie laughed, a soft sound that sent a shiver down my spine. “Yeah, really. Although you worried me for a second there. Seemed like you were really interested in the fact that Mitch thinks you’re cute.”
“I’m more interested in just the sheer fact that anyone finds me cute.”
“I think you’re cute.”
I stared at Maddie for a long moment, my heart pounding. I looked at her deep green eyes, the curve of her lips, the sprinkle of freckles across her nose, the way her sandy blonde hair fell just into her eyes, but nowhere on her face could I see hints of a cruel joke….only…hopefulness, I guessed. “I…think you are too,” I finally said. “Pretty, actually. I think you’re pretty.”
We both exchanged looks and then laughed nervously before looking into the fire. We were lame, and yet at that moment I felt like the coolest guy that had ever existed.
“Talented?” I asked finally, glancing over at her.
“Mmmhmm. I know that was your poem Ms. Fitz read. And your paintings are always hung up in the gallery.”
“My sister’s get the places of honor though,” I admitted, my cheeks reddening.
“So? My paintings end up in the trash,” Maddie laughed, shaking her head. “No, you’re very talented and I should like to kiss you now.”
“Oh I’m sure they’re not tra-…wait, what?”
And then her lips were on mine.