The Journey of Jacob and Kyle
by Andrew Davis
Chapter 15: This Cold Heart (Cont.)
Time line: Monday
Mr. Morris couldn’t stop himself from giving a cheeky grin towards Jacob. He felt a deep affection for this young lad, and he didn’t quite understand why, but he felt like a proud father, and as any father would’ve done he rubbed Jacob’s hair and tousled it until it was a knotted mess. A nod quickly followed and he casually let himself out, leaving Jacob devoid of another word.
Jacob was now by his lonesome with nobody around to observe as he attempted to take a shower. This was the first time Jacob had ever considered showering at school, especially when he’d never had the need to. But today was going to be a time of many firsts as he soon came to realize.
Since it wasn’t a requirement for anyone to shower after gym, and hadn’t been since the late seventies, Jacob never thought of bringing soap, shampoo, or even a towel. Ultimately, this left him in a bit of a quandary with no clear way to dry himself or get clean. Because of his lack of proper toiletries, his mind became filled with thoughts while he attempted to figure out how he was going to rid himself of the black soot and burnt smell that lay firmly over his body.
Ultimately, Jacob couldn’t help the thoughts that filled his mind as he sought for a solution to his problems. These thoughts although subtle at first, quickly grew into a deep concern that took hold of him like a bear hug. With every passing second, he became increasingly uneasy and more worried. He couldn’t help but wonder at the chances, or even the odds, of being seen naked in his current state of disarray. Although, he could care less what others thought of him, as any rebellious teen would proudly proclaim, he still wondered what they might think if they saw him, or even smelled how badly he reeked.
With all of these problems compounding heavily on his mind, and him not wanting to look like a freak to the general populous of his fellow student body, he began pacing back and forth desperately hoping for a solution to pop into his mind. Even while he continued walking around aimlessly, he took quick glances at himself in the large mirror that hung over the marble sinks.
He couldn’t help but notice the traces of black under his eyes from the occasional scratch here and there, and by the looks of it, he appeared to be wearing Eye Black under his eyes, just like a pro football player. The sight of this broke his worrisome mindset and he began giggling uncontrollably.
As the seconds continued to flutter by, Jacob’s mind took him away from the reality of his surroundings and brought to mind a fond memory from the week prior. He could see himself standing in front of his bathroom mirror staring at the hair upon his head; it looked like a tornado had had its way with it. This had been a time of pure innocence; he was carefree without a problem in the world, this was also a time in his life where he was without the worries that now lay heavily upon his heart. It was silly to think, but this moment in time reminded him of that, possibly it was due to Mr. Morris, or possibly more. In both instances, he looked out of place, not the cultural acceptance of the word normal. It might have been juvenile, but it brought a joy to Jacob that no one could step on and put out.
By the time Jacob returned back to reality, he was grinning from ear to ear. In fact, he was no longer pacing and had stopped dead in his tracks. He was now directly in front of the hand soap dispenser, staring curiously towards it, almost as if he’d just spotted a solid piece of gold. In that moment, he began wondering if this was something that he could use to wash with, and without any forethought, he began pumping soap into his hand.
After inspecting the substance, he concluded that it was as good as anything and would be sufficient to his needs. He quickly wiped off the residue and casually began looking around for a way to dry off and glanced upon the hand dryer. He would soon conclude that if he crouched underneath, then it might be possible to get dry enough by the time he was supposed to meet Kyle.
Now only one problem remained lingering in Jacob’s mind. What if someone were to walk in on him? Would he be found naked and get mocked?
The mere thought of this happening sent chills straight down Jacob spine; he couldn’t stand the thought of being confronted by such a dilemma, and quickly devised a plan. The simplest course of action, at least in Jacob’s mind, was to shower in his tighty-whiteys and then remove them following his shower. He would then need to go commando until he got home.
With his problems now seemingly solved, at least to some extent, he made his way towards the showers and turned the water on full blast. After adjusting the water temperature to a satisfactory level, he returned to the change room and stripped down to his underwear. In hindsight, he thought it would’ve been a good idea to have taken a final look around before disrobing himself, but after hearing nothing but the running water hitting the tile floor, he placed his clothes down onto the bench and breathed a sigh of relief.
Now he was ready for his shower, and quickly made his way over to the sink, pumped some hand soap into his open palm, and returned to the shower room. As he entered, he took a second glance around and was quick to notice how old the showers seemed; they looked ancient and appeared to be long out of use. He could see large stains of limescale buildup over the faucets, including all over the lime-green tiles that had layers upon layers of grime; everything looked neglected, almost like it had been left over these many decades. Even though he was deeply disgusted by the current disrepair of his school, he knew that he needed to get clean as soon as possible and swiftly forced himself under the running water.
With a quick lathering of the soap, he began rubbing it all over his body and began removing the dark matter from his silky smooth skin. After washing his body and scalp, he moved himself back under the faucet and felt as the warm water entered into his ear cannel and made him deaf to the world around him. During this time the school bell rang announcing the end of the day. But Jacob neither heard, nor was he aware of this fact. Had he been more alert to his surroundings, he would’ve heard, or even noticed, that he was no longer alone. His worst fears had now become a reality; someone had walked in on him. This person watched him with keen eyes, carefully and calculated. Jacob meanwhile casually rubbed his hands all over his body, and used his nails to scrub away the dirt.
Jacob enjoyed it as the water streamed across his skin, it felt soothing and yet so satisfying. The warmth of the water covered his body like a glove and made him feel happy. It was almost as if someone had wrapped their arms around him in a tight loving embrace, and for the first time in a long while he felt whole in every way imaginable. In that short blissful moment, he no longer had to worry what his mother, or his fellow students, believed him to be because even that was now out in the open; there weren’t any secrets that needed to be withheld, he was now an open book for all to see, and because of that, he was all the happier.
After giving his scalp a good once over, he opened his eyes and immediately spotted a blurry figure standing out in front of him. This frightened him, and he was deeply distraught to find someone watching him, let alone holding him in their tight grasp. In a split second decision, he struggled to break free and distance himself, and with a quick upward thrust from his arms, he pushed the figure away and swiftly lost his footing on the wet floor. The next thing Jacob knew, he was falling backwards and bracing himself for the inevitable thud, but had it not been for these unknown hands, he surely would’ve hit his head on the wall.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,” a voice said. “I just wanted you to promise that you’d keep my secret. It’s very important that you do.” The boy spoke rapidly, moving his lips ever forward to kiss Jacob on the mouth.
In the moment the boy’s lips touched his, Jacob pulled away as fast as he possible could, but in the process his head came in contact with the wall and he fell into unconsciousness.
“Jacob? Jacob? Are you okay? Jacob? Please wake up!” a familiar voice begged and pleaded. Jacob could feel someone grasping his hand firmly, and even as the pressure continued to constrain his hand even further, he didn’t move. “Jacob? Open your eyes, please!” the voice called out once more.
Jacob’s head throbbed and the pain intensified the more he attempted to open his eyes; just by the sheer force that his fragile noggin had made contact with the wall, made his eyes water profusely. He just couldn’t force them open no matter how hard he tried. “Who are you? Cause by all that is holy, my head fucking hurts, bro.”
“It’s Thomas … I’m sorry that I startled you. I’m stupid. I didn’t mean for this to happen, I only came here to buy your silence, to make you promise not to tell anyone what I told you earlier.” Thomas leaned forward once again, kissed Jacob on the lips and begged for him to keep his mouth silent. “I don’t want you to tell anyone. I’m sorry; I just need you to promise me this one thing.”
Jacob pulled his hand away from Thomas so fast that he ended up punching the shower wall behind him. “Jesus fucking Christ, would you please stop kissing me? I promise, I promise, I promise. But only if you stop trying to kiss me, because in all fucking honesty only Kyle is allowed to do that to me. Like seriously, you’re freaking me out. Like … if I’m being honest here… and I am, it’s really weird that you, a straight kid, would be kissing me and trying to keep me quiet. And second of all, I’m not the type to go around telling everyone about your own personal business, no matter how much your situation bothers me.”
Jacob struggled to open his eyes while the throbbing pain radiated throughout his skull and hand. Although the pain was severe and caused great discomfort, he forced his eyes open to see Thomas. But what he saw surprised him; Thomas was hovering directly over him, crying something fierce. This wasn’t what he’d expected to find at all.
“Thomas? Why … can you tell me why you’re crying?” Jacob questioned, his voice spiking upward in concern.
“Because I hurt you and I don’t want you telling anyone my secret,” Thomas replied, trying to move his head forward to kiss Jacob once more.
“I SAID fuck off with the kissing!” Jacob demanded. “Your secret’s safe with Kyle and me, so please stop trying to kiss me already. And seriously, what the fuck are you doing in here? Especially considering that I’m damn near naked. Is that what you’re after! To see me naked?”
Thomas stuttered, paused to collect his words, and tried to speak again. “No! Honestly, I didn’t know you were in here; I just happened to stumble in on you. At first I heard the water, so I came to investigate and then I saw you washing, and then I just couldn’t take my eyes off of you. Sorry to say, but I was worried that you might see me, and then I thought maybe if I hugged you then you’d see that I want to be your friend and that I really need you to keep my secret, well, between us.”
“Well, why did you come in here then?”
“Well, I’ve been showering in here for the past three weeks.”
“And why can’t you have a shower at home?” Jacob demanded to know.
Thomas’ head fell forward, his eyes unable to look directly into Jacob’s. “Well my father’s an alcoholic as I’m sure you already know. His drinking has always been more important than buying food, or paying for the water bill so that I can shower. But that’s not to say he doesn’t pay for some things…. because the only luxury that I do have is the electricity, but that’s only so he can watch his TV shows. He’s always too busy for me; he’s either watching TV, drinking, or doing his drugs. And when he gives me attention, it’s never the good kind. But I’m sure you already realize what that means just by my bruises. And if he’s not home, then I know I’m safe. But there are some things that just shouldn’t be said, so I’ll do my best to keep those personal secrets private …”
Jacob looked Thomas in the eye. “Listen, we can help you if you’d only let us. We told you all of this earlier, but you need help Thomas, and we’re willing to help you, but you need to say the word and we’ll be there, and until then, your secret is safe with us and always will be.”
“Thank you Jacob, really … I appreciate that I can trust you.” Thomas paused, and looked Jacob over once more. “So, do you need help getting up? I feel a little weird having you lying in my arms. Although, I can’t deny that I’m not enjoying it.”
“You know … It’s really weird that you’d say you’re enjoying it … because that would make me think you’re gay, especially with all the kisses you’ve been trying to give me. So are you gay?”
“Me? Uh, no, I’m not gay…….”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m sure. So can you please hurry up and finish so I can take a shower?”
“Well, this isn’t the only shower you know. You can always leave your boxers/undies on like I am and shower over there.” Jacob pointed at the furthest showerhead. “That is, unless you’re afraid that I’ll see your bruises again.”
“Nah, I think I’ll wait until you’re done.”
“Fine, have it your way.”
Thomas then helped Jacob to his feet, gave him a hug, and went to sit in the change room. Jacob quickly shrugged off this semi-affectionate gesture and reached for the back of his head. When his fingers found the spot where it had made contact with the wall, he winced when he felt the goose egg that now rested firmly upon his noggin.
Kyle stood rather impatiently against Jacob’s locker as he waited for his beloved to make an appearance. It had been ten minutes since the clock had struck three, and now he’d really begun to worry. ‘What could be taking him so long?’ Kyle couldn’t help muttering to himself for the umpteenth time.
He was growing impatient as each tick of the second hand made its way around his watch. At the very least, he was eager to head home to spend some well-deserved time alone with his one and only. But because Jacob was being extremely tardy it was dampening his spirits that they would actually get to hang out. ‘Did something happen to him? And why in hell would he keep me waiting like this if something hadn’t happened? SOMETHING HAS TO BE WRONG!’ Kyle thought after considerable reasoning in his head.
It wasn’t until a familiar face walked past that he finally stopped his pondering.
“What are you still doing here?” Amanda questioned, stopping in her tracks, looking upon her friend who looked rather aggravated.
“Err, I’m just waiting for Jacob to show the fuck up. He should’ve been here by now, and yet here I stand. I guess that’s somewhat obvious since I’m still standing here though, huh? I don’t know if I should worry, or just be pissed. What do you think?”
Amanda pondered for a moment, raised her hand to her chin, and thought. “Hmmm, is he usually this late?”
“No, never, well, never late for me that is. Late for class, yes, totally. But never for me.”
“Maybe he got delayed by his teacher or something, so try not to worry so much – but if you want some help, I can always look for him with you. But that’s up to you I suppose.”
“Would you mind just staying here until I get back? And if he happens to come, could you tell him to wait here for me? You wouldn’t mind doing that for me would you?”
“Not at all, honey. I’ll always have your back, no matter what, you just remember that.”
Kyle smiled ever so politely, thanked Amanda for her kindness, and darted off towards the gym. However, once he was by his lonesome again and was clear from Amanda’s view, he soon discovered that his mind was rather hyperactive and wouldn’t remain silent, and once again had become filled with endless thought.
As if it hadn’t already been blatantly obvious, Kyle was excited to leave school for the day. But as he considered the day’s events, he stopped to reflect how much fun the day had been. There was still much to be told and heard between Jacob and himself; this Kyle was sure of. All of the things that had transpired had not only lifted their spirits, but actually had liberated them from the bonds that held their hearts at bay. Today was a day of freedom from the powers that be, freedom from their past, and evidently brought a new hope for the future. Kyle knew this, he could feel it in his bones, and he believed it with every breath that he took, but did Jacob know this too? This was the simplest joy he’d ever felt in his fifteen short years. It was serene, almost like a heightened state of consciousness, and this he was certain of all the way down to the heart that beat deep in his chest.
Kyle finally entered the boys’ change room and found Thomas sitting on one of the benches. “Hey Thomas, I’m glad to see you here. What’s happening, bro?” Kyle questioned, as a distant trickle of water splashing across the floor entered his ears. “Is Jacob here? He never showed up to meet me.”
“Yeah, he’s taking a shower.”
“Really? That’s really freaking odd. I don’t understand why he didn’t come and tell me. But he must have a good reason, at least, I hope he does, otherwise I’m going to be pissed,” Kyle said mostly to himself. “Anyway, what are you doing in here anyhow?”
“I’m just waiting for Jacob to finish so I can have a shower.”
“Well, why aren’t you taking one?”
“If I’m being honest, I normally take one naked, and I wouldn’t want Jacob to see me like that.”
“Fair enough I suppose. So, do you know if he’s almost done?”
“Uh, he’s been in there for a while. So I can only guess? But since we’re talking, do you think I can tell you something without you getting mad at me?”
“I kissed Jacob,” Thomas spit out from his lips and then flinched in anticipation of a punch. But Kyle didn’t move, he had no intent on hitting Thomas, but his eyes spoke of an anger that deeply frightened Thomas. “I’m sorry, but I tried to buy his silence and Jacob threw a fit. So, if you want to hit me for that then you can.”
Kyle continued to stare at Thomas, still undecided of what he was going to say and do. He didn’t want to jump to any conclusions without all of the facts, and finally he proceeded. “I see … well, first you need to explain to me why you kissed him and how all of this happened, because I sure as hell expect some answers from you.”
Thomas’ eyes were blood shot while looking Kyle straight in the eye. “I’m a failure Kyle. I’m something that should be dead. I’ve broken something that should’ve been special between you two and now I’ve wrecked it. I’m sorry Kyle, but I fucked up, big time!” he said in a mere whisper, all the while hoping that his anxiety wouldn’t take his voice from him.
“Continue on … let me hear what you have to say before I decide if I’m going to punch you or not,” Kyle lied, but he wanted all the facts, and all his questions answered.
This comment took Thomas by surprise. He’d expected such a reaction from Jacob, but never from Kyle who he always thought of as a kind person. In fact, this frightened him a bit. After a pause to take in how he was going to word everything, he decided to just let it flow. “I kissed Jacob because what I told you guys this afternoon; I really need for you guys to keep it a secret. But I didn’t come in here to find him; it just happened that he was here too. I came in here like I have for these past three weeks. At first, I was scared when I saw him, his eyes were closed and he was washing his hair. And then I thought that maybe I should go over and hug him. Maybe, if I’m being honest I think I needed a hug more than he did. But he didn’t flinch when I touched him; his eyes were still closed, doing whatever he was doing. And so, like the fool that I am, I hugged him, touched him, and kissed him. I’m sorry that I did that, I broke your trust, per se, even though I never promised anything to you.
“I’m an idiot and I’m sorry Kyle. But Jacob bitched at me about it and told me that you were the only one allowed to kiss him, and I agree with him. He loves you, I can see that. Just please, please, please, don’t tell anyone about my secret.”
“Well, first of all, I never was going tell anyone. Second of all, don’t you ever touch Jacob again, and I don’t mean that to be cruel, but we’re dedicated to one another and your forcing yourself upon him makes me extremely angry. But I won’t hit you; that’s not who I am. But I’ll give you a hug if you need one, because in all honesty, I think you most of all people need someone to pour their love on you. And don’t try and lie, because you do, I know you do.”
Thomas looked into Kyle’s eyes and sighed before continuing on. “I love you Kyle, really I do, and that includes Jacob as well. I don’t know why, let alone understand my own personal feelings right now, it’s like, I don’t know. I’m really not that smart, but you’re like brothers to me. Even if it’s only for today that you guys are nice to me, you’ve given me more support than I’ve ever received in my entire life. I honestly don’t know why you two are treating me like this, especially after what I’d done. But I just want to thank you, really. I love you like my brother, although I don’t have a brother, so I can only guess this is what it feels like.”
Kyle’s stance eased. He couldn’t believe what Thomas had said. They had given him more support than anyone else? ‘What kind of world do we live in?’ Kyle thought momentarily, before opening his mouth and showing his astonishment. “Wow man, you have no idea. When we say that we have your back, you better recognize that I’ll kick anyone’s ass that tries to hurt you. Dude, you deserve better than this, and I think you know it too!” Kyle sat down beside Thomas, touched his shoulder, and reassured him further. “Have you ever heard the saying, ‘friends don’t let friends drive drunk?’ How about, ‘friends never let friends stand alone’. That’s Jacob and me; we’ll never let you stand alone, we’re here to help you, I hope you know that. Because when there’s more than one, we can stick together and be a force to be reckoned with. But, please understand that Jacob and I, although we may look weak, we’ll still protect you no matter what, no matter the cost, we’ll always find a way.”
“I don’t deserve you guys.”
“Yes, you do, because let me state this here and now; I’m going to be the friend you never knew you had, but the one you’ve always needed.” Kyle smiled, hugged Thomas, and rubbed his back. “Tomorrow’s going to be a better day, trust me on this.”
“Thanks for everything Kyle, I really mean that.”
“HEY! WHAT’S GOING ON HERE!?!?!” Jacob bellowed from out of nowhere. “HA! Just kidding. Sorry about making you wait baby, shit happened … don’t ask, but I’ll tell you later. I’m glad to see the two of you talking.”
“Yeah, he told me what happened. I’ll give it to him … he’s got some balls that’s for sure.”
“You think?” Jacob laughed. “But, let me say this. I warned him that if he did it again….”
“Yeah, yeah, you’re a tough little boy. We get it.” Kyle smiled. “Now hurry the hell up so we can leave.”
“And what will you do to me if I don’t rush to be at your command?”
“Don’t test me …”
“What’s the sum of all fears, baby cakes? This is a test…. You have five seconds to answer.”
“For the love of God… move your ass. Amanda is waiting for you to arrive and I don’t want to waste her entire afternoon.”
“Oh. Well, in that case, give me a few minutes. I just need to dry off with the hand dryer.”
“Here, you can use my towel,” Thomas piped in. “It’s the least I can do considering all the shit I’ve caused.”
“Thanks man, I really appreciate that.” Jacob then pointed down, and shifted his eyes slightly. “You don’t mind if I wrap the towel around me after I get dry do you? I really need to take these soaking wet undies off.”
“Yeah, that’s fine.”
Jacob continued to listen in on Kyle and Thomas’ conversation as he dried off. As the two of them continued to ramble on about the day, and how important Thomas felt that his secret was to be kept, Jacob slyly slid his underwear down to the floor and replaced them with his pants using the towel to shield his naked body from Thomas’ prying eyes.
Jacob knew he couldn’t possibly understand everything there was to know, but in his heart, he suspected Thomas was still withholding something from him. What that was, he couldn’t quite grasp, but with the way Thomas’ lips touched his own only cemented this suspicious nature further within his mind; Thomas had to be gay, or desperate enough to do anything at any cost for his secrecy. All of these things remained to be seen in Jacob’s eyes.
Following his quick change and the buttoning of his pants around his waist, he let the towel fall to the floor and then stared at Thomas curiously. “Shit you were going to use this weren’t you? Here let me fold it back up for you.”
“That’s okay, I’m sure it’s going to get fucked up again. Dirt or no dirt, but thanks for being thoughtful.”
Thomas could see Jacob looking at him, and he returned a smile while gazing at Jacob’s body from top to bottom. “Looking good home boy,” he proclaimed by saying. “I think you look pretty good, and smell nice too.”
“So, are you coming onto me now?” Jacob requested to know this very instant. “I mean, you know, all this kissing, kind words; it’s really got me thinking …”
“No, not at all, you just need to learn to take a compliment is all.”
“Yeah Jacob, learn to take a compliment for once,” Kyle suggested slyly, getting up from the bench and taking Jacob’s hand into his own.
“I suppose, but shouldn’t we get going, Kyle?”
“Indeed. I think Amanda’s still waiting at your locker. I’d really hate to keep her waiting.”
“Well Thomas, thanks for the kisses, or rather the molestation,” Jacob mentioned off the cuff. “No, seriously, if you ever do that again, the chalkboard will feel like a charley horse. Do you fucking understand me? I don’t want to repeat myself again.”
“Fully—” Thomas looked left, then right, unable to hide his shame. “I’m sorry, I really am … I’m just so … just so stupid. That’s me, stupid is as stupid does, stupid as I’ll ever be. I’m a moron who deserves these bruises; I’m a moron who deserves everything that’s coming to him. Now, please hit me, hit me so I can feel better for betraying Kyle and you.”
“You haven’t betrayed me, Thomas,” Kyle explained, before his eyes deceived him and he watched Jacob raise a fist and hit Thomas directly in the arm. Kyle couldn’t believe his eyes; he thought they were on the same page, regardless of what Thomas had done. A swift evil eye leapt from Kyle’s face to Jacob’s fearful eyes.
“What? I didn’t hit him hard. It was like a charley horse, nothing more. I swear.”
“I don’t give a fuck! He doesn’t deserve that shit, especially when you know the crap he’s gone through at home. To say I’m pissed off isn’t enough, because I’m absolutely furious with you!”
“I – um, I’m sorry Thomas, just like you, I’m an idiot. I thought it would be funny, but I guess I was wrong…”
“Fucking right you’re wrong. I’m usually not the type to say something, but this is bullshit. How would you like it if I kicked you when you were down? I know Thomas feels like shit, I can see it, at least I can forgive him for what he’s done, so why can’t you?” Kyle paused for a nanosecond, looked Jacob in the eye and blasted him further. “THAT’S RIGHT! You’re so fucking self-centered and unless it affects you, you could care less. I’m tired of this shit. You make decisions for me, and you never consult me. What if I wanted to fool around with those boys at the camp? But do you know what? I didn’t want that, but the fact remains that you never asked me in the first place. You think you’re large n’ in charge and I’m sick and tired of it. I love you baby, but this shit needs to stop, and NOW! Now fucking apologize to Thomas, because I think he deserves more than your pitiful excuse. He’s a nice kid, and I for one like him as he is, was, and ever will be.”
Jacob was taken aback by Kyle’s swift and justified comments; he felt terribly guilty, and in the process had lost his ability to stand firmly on his own feet. Quickly, he sat himself down onto the bench and began staring towards the floor. “Thomas, I, um, I’m sorry that I said those things and hit you, I thought it would be hilarious, but now I can see that it wasn’t. I’m sorry that I didn’t think it through as my mother would’ve said.”
“You know, it’s okay Jacob, I don’t blame you for doing that, I really don’t. I deserve it, after all. I deserve everything that’s come to me because I’m stupid, dumb, and I broke my father’s trust.”
“And what trust would that be?” Jacob inquired further, feeling increasing angry with himself for what he’d done. He knew he was wrong now, even if he meant it as a joke. Regardless, no one deserved to be hit. “Because I highly doubt you broke his trust, period, enough said. What could you possibly have done to cause those bruises? What could you have possible done to make him so angry? What could you possibly have done to make him, make him, hit … you?” Jacob began to cry by the very thought of someone being hit, beaten, for no reason or fault of their own. He knew he didn’t have the answers to all of these questions, but it upset him knowing that Thomas was hurt, or had been hurting deep down inside where he felt he couldn’t tell anyone about his afflictions.
“I think I should go for my shower now. I feel really dirty,” Thomas finally said to break the blistering silence that followed.
“Okay Thomas, you do that. We’ll see you later, okay?” Kyle said, giving Thomas a pat on the back and trying to bring some sense of support to his heart. “We’ll always be here for you, so please just remember that.”
“I will,” he concluded before running towards the showers.
Kyle grabbed Jacob’s hand and dragged him out of the change room towards the lockers. During this time Kyle didn’t speak a single solitary word. He was furious and wanted nothing but silence hit his ears as he attempted to work out this situation in his mind.
“Baby? Please say something. I feel guilty.”
“And guilty you shall remain; now keep your fucking mouth shut so I can damn well think,” Kyle demanded, continuing to drag Jacob towards Amanda.
In the moments that passed by, time came to a standstill; it was as if they were walking in slow motion. For Kyle this was relatively positive since in his mind’s eye, it gave him more time to think and play out the days events. After all, Kyle wasn’t like Jacob and had never been the type to jump out and say what was on his mind; but even still, he meant every single word of it. Jacob, as usual, was out of line, and even had the gall to hit Thomas, not once, but twice in a single day. This was unacceptable in his eyes and he wouldn’t have any part of this behavior. In some ways, he felt like Jacob; like a hot head that was quick to anger, quick to judge, quick to jump at unproven facts, and yet his mind was made up.
By the time they made it to Jacob’s locker, Amanda was still waiting, leaning up against the hardened steel, keeping a watchful eye. She was a bit preoccupied by Kyle’s evaluation, because even when they stood beside her, she said nothing. Not until a tap upon the shoulder did she break her concentration.
“Hey Amanda, I found him. Thanks for staying and keeping an eye out for him. I really appreciate it.”
“It was my pleasure, babe. So what do you guys have planned for the rest of the day?”
“Well, Jacob’s coming to my house for a change. I usually go to his place to hang out, but we’re trying to change it up a little, and you know what? We’d really like it if you came to hang with us too. If you’re willing, then this would really give us the chance to get to know you better, so would you be so kind to join us?”
“I’d be honored. Just let me get a few things from my locker and then we can leave. Is that cool?”
“Okay, so we’ll see you in just a few minutes then?” Kyle questioned, before returning his attention back to Jacob who looked like a stray dog who was about to make a run for it.
Jacob could see Kyle’s disappointment, no further words needed to be said. “I’m sorry Kyle; I know that I fucked up, again. I’m just … a fucking mental reject.”
“Hey, you just shut up and give me a kiss,” Kyle demanded, tugging Jacob closer to his own body.
Jacob would never deny Kyle this one simple pleasure, no matter how bad he felt, no matter how insignificant he was, and especially no matter how angry at himself he was; after all, Kyle was his everything and that meant he’d do anything for him. “I love you Kyle, even if you’re angry with me. I love you with everything that I am,” he spoke softly, moving his lips ever closer, and gripping Kyle’s hand with all the strength he could muster.
As their lips approached one another, ever so gently and brisk, they began kissing with sensual pecks before finally becoming fully engulfed into a passionate lip-lock with the lashing of tongues. In a second of total liberation and freedom, there was a moment in Jacob’s mind that made him feel as free as a bird, flying high up in the sky with no visible obstacle in his path. There was no denying the simple fact of his shame for his actions, and since he had no clear way of explaining just how stupid he felt inside to his one and only beloved, he let this tender loving moment consume his every waking thought. But in this moment of pure emotional bliss, they heard a voice beckon towards them and they swiftly broke away from their lip-lock.
“Oh my God, that was so … so cute. I wish I could’ve recorded that scene on my phone, too bad it’s still in my locker; I would love seeing that over and over again. You guys really are a cute couple. It was to say the very least, absolutely exciting to watch. And shit, I think you’ve managed to make me wet!”
“Wet? What’s that supposed to mean?” Jacob asked, totally clueless to the implication of his question.
“Jacob, never mind!” Kyle directed. He then turned to face Amanda, and gave her a look of total astonishment. “He’s obviously clueless. Anyway, where’s your backpack and stuff? Weren’t you supposed to have gone to get those already?”
“HA! Indeed,” Amanda belted out in a laugh, losing her train of thought. “Anyway, since you’ve invited me to your house Kyle, shall we get going?”
“Don’t you need to get your things still?”
“You’re so smart Kyle, of course, I need to do that! I go a little stupid sometimes. I’ll be right back.”
Bill had taken his fill of sherry; five tall glasses full upon the couch of which he’d long struggled to battle this addiction. But now it was time to get some work done and get the bathroom clean, which looked filthy from where he was sitting. He filled his glass once more, brought the remainder of the bottle with him and grabbed some cleaning supplies from under the kitchen sink. With everything he needed now in hand, including his sherry, he ascended the stairs and entered the bathroom. He gently placed his glass down on the counter, sprayed some Windex onto the rag in his hand and began cleaning the mirror.
After wiping the glass clean, he looked at himself, and contemplated about how he looked. His eyes were low-lying, looking full of alcohol; his smile, if there had ever been one, had since disappeared into his saddened mug with a lost look glaring across his face.
This deeply infuriated him and filled his heart with rage. Had it not been for Sarah’s absolute disapproval, he wouldn’t have come down this road once again. He’d already managed to be five years sober, and had fought it with every ounce of his being since then, and until this day, this time, and this place, he hadn’t taken to the drink.
His anger was apparent even in his fragile state of drunkenness. He could see his reflection slowly changing from the saddened look that was drawn across his face to a red-faced man, filled with anger, and one that was at the end of his rope.
In a quick movement of his hand, he grabbed the bottle of sherry and threw it at his reflection. The mirror took the brunt of the hit and shattered into a million pieces, and caused shards to be sent flying in every possible direction. In that simple moment, he grabbed his glass of sherry and dumped it down the drain. Bill didn’t know where he found the strength, but as the sherry flowed down the walls, all over the counter, and down into the sink, his need for the bottle had diminished.
‘I need to be strong for Matthew and Jacob. Drinking this shit isn’t the answer, not anymore. This is no way to deal with the situation.’ Bill looked at the mirror again, then down into the sink. He wasn’t impressed by his actions, but this was something that he needed to do. He then turned the tap on and washed down the sherry that lingered in the sink. ‘What am I saying? Nicolas and Kyle need me too! I need to show them all what a real man is. I’ll be the man that stands by them no matter what. I’m that man, the real deal, I’ll show them strength, I’ll be their coach and I’ll guide them through all of this. This I promise.’ Bill made this pact with himself right there in the bathroom, right where Jacob’s dream was.
Bill gathered his thoughts and started cleaning the glass that surrounded him, sweeping it into a dustpan, picking out the remaining glass that sat in the mirrors frame, and washing down everything to wipe the sherry from existence.
When Bill had finally finished cleaning, he went to his room, and began writing a note of his own.
Amanda quickly returned with her backpack already on her back and her phone in hand.
“Finally ready, Amanda? Or did you manage to forget something?” Kyle laughed.
“Nope, this is everything. Shall we head out then?”
“No, we need to go to the office to get Jacob’s letter from the principal first, then we can go.”
“Alrighty then, let’s go do that and while you’re doing that I’ll call my mom and tell her that I’m hanging with you two wonderful people.”
They all made their way down the hallway and towards the office. When they arrived, they found Mr. Matthews standing at the front counter beside the secretary. “About time you came by. I thought you had forgotten to get this note,” Mr. Matthews said, dangling the note addressed for Jacob’s father, aptly named ‘Mr. Carlson’, across the envelope.
“Sorry about that Mr. Matthews, I got a little behind after school and needed to grab a shower.”
“Is that so, well, I guess now that you have my letter, I’ll be seeing you tomorrow with that signed by your father?”
“Yes sir, and thanks again for not suspending me.”
“You’re very welcome. Now keep your nose clean, or else,” Mr. Matthews laughed. “Anyway, I have some things I still need to do, so have a good night.”
“Okay, bye sir.”
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