Pretty Poison

Chapter 1

Waking up to thoughts of him was the best part of my day. Always was. Kevin was such a wonderful rainbow in my world, such a glorious piece of life's puzzle for me. That's what made me give him as much as I did, and that's what always hurt me so mercilessly in the end. At this point, I should probably be used to it by now.

Kevin and I had been friends for a while, maybe a year or two. And it was such a blessing, having him there. He was such a genuine individual, with these beautiful thoughts, such beautiful ambitions for his life. He used to say that he admired me, but I don't think he ever realized how much I admired him in return. To a level of wishing that I could have the things that he had. He was so special to me. But me? I was an idiot. Can I just make that statement right here and now so the whole world can hear me? "Chris was a complete and total IDIOT!!!" It feels good to get that out, now that I know it for sure. There's a long story of how I came to this conclusion, but if I'm going to start it, I should probably start it at school. That's where the illusion first manifested, and brought it to the point where I'm just too damn scared to care anymore. This is the story of how I loved a boy who would much rather be ALONE...than be with me.

The boy was a piece of my heart from day one. Kevin didn't have to do much of anything to impress me, but he tried from time to time. I liked that. Despite his insecurities, he had an aura about him that was probably more pure than anything that I had ever seen before in another person. Something so incredibly attractive that it went beyond any shortcoming that he could possibly be self conscious about. He was the blond with the green eyes that captured my attention from the moment that he crossed my path. And what can I say? I loved him with all I had to give. ALL I had to give. In my eyes, he could do no wrong. He was beautiful, he was sweet, he was friendly, we had things in common...and when I found out he liked boys just as much as I heart nearly drowned me in an ocean of feelings that I never thought I'd have in my entire life. That was both my best memory, and my biggest mistake. Me falling in love with Kevin wasn't written in the 'script'...and it wasn't going to change. Not for me. Not for anybody.

"So what's going on with you this weekend, Chris?" He asked me, always the friendly one.

"I don't know. I'm probably going to end up not doing much of anything in the long run. I'm feeling kinda tired right now, and for some reason I think that's going to last for the rest of the weekend." I answered. I usually drop by a party every now and then, but not this weekend. I wasn't in the mood. Why? Because I already knew what my 'favorite crush' was going to say next.

"Too bad, dude. But I'll be out this Friday night." He smiled wickedly. "I've got a date. A real heartbreaker too!" Yeah...HE'S one to talk. I often wondered if he could see me pouting behind that fake smile of mine. "His name is Mike, and he's soooooo cute! Dude, I can't WAIT!" And so the story continued. I already knew that Kevin was dating guys, and even though we were both only 15 years old, he was getting laid pretty regularly. Some days more than others. I've been stuck on 'The Virgin Islands' myself, so I have yet to taste the forbidden fruit. Somehow, being around Kevin made it hard to find anyone else who matched up in the same way. Or maybe I was just being stubborn. Who knows? I don't know why the hell I'm waiting for HIM to come around. He certainly doesn't have any plans to wait for me. Still...there's no way in hell I'd ever be able to walk away from him. No way I'd ever be able to just stop talking to him. He was the best thing in my life, and I loved him on more levels than either one of us would ever understand. But we've been 'friends' forever, and one of these days my heart will drop it and let me get back to being cool around him again.

" this the guy you told me about? The one that looks like Hayden Christensen?" I asked, the words tasting like a rock of salt on my tongue as I thought about him sleeping with some of the most gorgeous boys on the planet. All while I sit here and pine away for him like some puppy left home alone for the first time. "Yeah, that's the one! God, he's hot! We've been talking online for about a week now, traded pics, liked what we saw, had a little cybersex...hehehe...he's great. And he's hot for some action too! I think I'm gonna get me some!" He reached up for a high five, but I was too busy looking down at the floor to notice right away. "Wake up, bud. Hellooo? I said, I'm gonna GET some!"

I met Kevin during some wacky assembly about drugs, believe it or not. We just happened to be sitting together, and hit it off from the very beginning. One joke passed back and forth between us about the guest speaker, and we were a duo. Since then, we have shared some great times, some intimate moments, and lots of tears. But it felt good, because I knew that I had someone in this world to trust, and to really be myself around. Someone I could laugh with all the time and look up to when I needed inspiration to keep going. To me, Kevin was all that and more. God, I miss the days when his presence in my life didn't hurt so much.

I gave Kevin his high five to help him celebrate yet another defeat for my emotions. "Great. Good. I'm happy for you." How many times have I told THAT lie? Over and over again. Did he know how much it hurt to see him giving his love away to other people while I sat here and chased behind him like a starstruck cheerleader? Or did he even give a fuck? Why would he? There were cuter boys out there. Brainless, yes. Rude, sure. Non-committal, self centered, hurtful BASTARDS, definitely! But cute. Cuter than ME anyway. And this may shock you, but that means more to a gay boy than my love, my friendship, and a mountain of gold combined.

So...I watch. In anger. In disgust. I watch him date other people, I watch him fall in love, and I watch those same thoughtless assholes break his heart time and time again over trivial BULLSHIT!!! Without any conscience at ALL! And the gorgeous boys hat he falls for and sleeps with...they never once care about him, elevate his spirits, or make him laugh the way that I do. Never ONCE! They don't even know what kind of priceless treasure they're holding right there in the palm of their FUCKING HANDS!!! So they just toss Kevin aside and they move on. They hurt him to the point of depression, and then they go find someone else to screw while he cries himself to sleep at night. When he starts to honestly believe that he's ugly, that he's stupid or did something to screw it up, or that he's unworthy of love. Over, and over, and over again. And when Kevin gets hurt, when he gets to the point where the pain is eating him alive, when he's alone and cold and needs a true friend to listen to his woes....where do you think he's going to go? That's right. STRAIGHT to me. And you know what the sad part is? I'm gonna listen. I'm going to be sitting right here, the big fucking IDIOT that I am, and I'll listen. In person, on the phone, online, in the mail, however he decides to contact me, I'm going to be right here, using my heart as a sponge to sop up every tear that he releases from his broken heart. I'll put in the work, I'll spend the time, I'll give him the energy to move on. And that's EXACTLY what he'll do. He'll move on.

He'll move on to the NEXT beautiful boy who has ambitions of breaking his heart and treating him like shit, and then the cycle will continue. I suppose that makes me a complete moron, doesn't it? Go can laugh if you want to. If I wasn't so busted up about it, I'd probably laugh too. It IS pretty pathetic if you think about it. Don't think I don't hate myself for falling into the same quicksand, because I do. I really do.

"I'm gonna run over to the mall tomorrow to pick up something sexy to wear. You wanna come?" He asked me.

Hell NO I don't want to come with you to help you get laid by somebody ELSE!!! "Yeah...sure." Dammit! Where the hell did THAT come from??? Oh yeah, I forgot...I'm in LOVE! I'd probably go if he asked me to run my grandmother down with a truck. This is so ridiculous.

"Cool. I'll meet you by your last class and we'll catch the first bus over there. Gotta run, I'll be late for English. Catch ya later!"

"Sure. Later." I mumbled. That's when he stopped.

"You ok? You look like you're down about something."

"No. Not really." What? You didn't think I actually had the balls to TELL him, did you? Well, I don't. And if I did, it wouldn't make a bit of difference. I'm not his type. Or so he says, jokingly, as though it's not supposed to cut a hole in my chest everytime.

"You sure?"

"Pretty sure, yeah."

"Ok. See ya later." He said, and ran off down the hall to his next class. To another classroom full of people that will probably be gawking at him the same way I always do. Blonds...I swear, they are all taking on the form of Satan himself these days.

I remember sitting in my study hall, doodling in the back of my notebook while waiting for Julie to show up. Julie was another friend of mine, and my personal therapist in most cases. Especially when it came to gay stuff...which was almost always completely centered around Kevin from beginning to end. I knew that she was getting sick of it, she HAD to be. There were many times when she told me to just put him out of my mind and find myself someone to love on my own. But it's never that easy, is it? It wasn't a physical scar that would just heal up on it's own over the period of a few days. This was so emotionally deep. I could get it on by the most gorgeous boy on the PLANET...and he wouldn't do HALF as much for me as Kevin's smile did. That's the one string attached that I seem to keep hanging myself with. And when Julie walked into the room, she could already tell that I was left dangling from it helplessly, once again.

"Let me's 'Paige' again, right?" She said, her short brown hair settling around her ears as she sat down.

"Yeah...'Paige'..." I replied. You see, since nobody knows I'm gay except for Julie and Kevin, I can't neccessarily go talking about this 'guy' that I'm so very much in love with. Not in the middle of a study hall, that's for sure. So we call him 'Paige' when we're talking about him in public. Julie came up with the name after seeing an entire 'page' of my notebook dedicated to his name, written out over and over again. Hehehe...I believe she suggested that I should either 'go all the way and just become a crazed psycho stalker, or get some serious help' at that point. Yeah...I have it THAT bad.

"You know, Chris, you should really go out looking for a new girl. This Paige thing isn't making you the happiest person in the world, you know?" She could see in my eyes that her advice was accepted, but it couldn't help me. I was so lost in love.

"I'm trying..."

"No. No, you're not. In fact, you're getting WORSE!" She said in a loud whisper. " the beginning I was happy for you, and even though you were a little heartbroken, you were still smiling and blushing whenever she came into the room. THAT was fine. THAT was great." Julie put her hand on my shoulder, "But this isn't fun anymore. Is it?"

"You don't understand..."

"I know. And you're right. I probably would have let go a long time ago, myself. But this isn't about me, it's about you and her. I mean LOOK at you. You can't honestly enjoy feeling like this all the time."

"No...I don't." I answered sadly. My mind trying soooo hard to let her words sink in far enough for it to all make sense. But my heart was hard at work, trying to block it out. My soul was telling me to wait it out. That he'll see me for who I am someday, and he can't HELP but fall for me. I mean, I'm not terribly ugly, and I'm not one of those shallow 'fuck 'em and forget 'em' types. We get along, we laugh together, we have everything in common, I know everything there is to know about him, and I've shared more with him than I have with anyone else on Earth. Including Julie...who was still trying to get my brain to stand up and take control of the rest of me again. "I know what you're saying, Julie. Really...I do. I just...I wish I could understand why I'm such a 'loser' in her eyes. Why? How could I be just so distant from her desires? So NOT what she's looking for."

"You're NOT a loser, Chris. So get that out of your head. Dude...maybe it's just not meant to BE. Not for everyone." The hurt look that I gave was enough to let her know that she shouldn't even go DOWN that road with me. I could already see her frustration building over what she could and could not say about the situation. She didn't have too many options with me being as sensitive as I was. "I'm just saying's not out of the question, and MAYBE you'll get lucky and he'll come around someday. But if he DOESN' this turns out to be a waste..." She started to say 'a waste of my time', but she knew better. "...a difficult persuit...then it might be time that you open yourself up to another possibility or two. You know what I mean?"

I guess she was trying to be helpful, and I can respect that. I'll give her credit for trying. Still...the best I could come back with was, "Whatever. I'll keep trying."

"No you won't." She smiled. "But I love ya anyway." And she lightly tapped me on the side of the head in a playful smack that brought the weakest of grins to my face.

The rest of our study hall went without mention of the 'lady in my life', but she could tell that this was one of my more sorrowful days. I knew Kevin was going out on his date soon, and I knew that it would carry him further away from me. He'd be enraptured with one of his beautiful lovers, totally captivated by the fact that they appear to be everything that he could ever wish for, and then have his heart stolen by their passionate lovemaking. Over and over again. They'd have sex in every position, in every room of the house, and kiss until they could hardly breathe anymore. My God...what I wouldn't give to be one of those boys that he looks at with such desire. Such a painful wanting. Then, before the week was over, he'd call me up on the phone and tell me he was in love. And it would hurt me just as much this time as it had all the other times before. The relationship might last for a while, maybe for another week or so, and Kevin would stop talking about them as much. Distance would occur between them, and the next thing I know...Kevin would have his heartbroken. This cute, sexually potent, seemingly PERFECT beauty of his...would do something hurtful, or cheat on him, or just leave him behind without saying another word. Kevin will completely DIE inside, and he'll feel so bad, so hurt, and no matter what I did or what I said to comfort matter what I did to...'love' him...he wouldn't smile again until his eye had been captured by yet ANOTHER cute babyface, waiting to put him through the same shit all over again. Why do I even CARE anymore? Why do I continually allow him to put me through this time and time again? WHY CAN'T I JUST LET GO???


Because I happen to LOVE the ungrateful sonovabitch! That's why.

I took to the computer lab after school to do a little research for my homework, and ran into the usual crew of boys and girls that seemed to take up residence in the place. They were about 5 or 6 of them that always there whenever I went in, I could have sworn that they were tracking me by the way they seemed to have a perfect attendence in that respect. I don't think that I could really call them 'friends' so much, but they were buds in an everyday acquaintence sort of way. I liked talking to them, hardly concentrating on my work at all, and it was cool to share a few laughs every now and then. It kept my mind off of things, you know? Doug, usually one of the goofiest of the bunch, kept throwing tiny paper balls at me, while his best friend Jessica cheered him on. She even kept a score board with different points for different parts of my anatomy that he could hit from a certain distance. Bonus points added if he could keep a straight face for a full thirty seconds afterwards. He never made it though. The rest of the lab found it pretty entertaining too, sharing a giggle with our little group when a particularly high score was reached. It was the most fun I had experienced all day. You know...considering.

The bad thing is, when I left the lab at 4:30...thoughts of Kevin and his pretty boy of a date hit me before I even reached the door to leave. "You ok?" One of the girls asked.

Oh don't mind me, just picturing the boy I love more than anything in the world rolling around naked with someone I couldn't even aspire to be with the best efforts that plastic surgery could provide. That's all. "Yeah...I'm fine. Just stuff on my mind, that's all."

Jessica walked over and said, "I take it that this is one of your more moody days, then?"

"Yeah, I guess you could say that." I mumbled.

"You've been having a lot of those lately. Are you sure? I and Doug were going to run over and grab a few donut minis and maybe just hang out for a while. You wanna come?" She asked. But even though I had turned her down a bunch of times before, I didn't have the strength to make today an exception.

"Sorry. You guys go ahead, have fun. I think I'm just gonna crash at home and build up a nice fake smile for tomorrow." I said, jokingly...and yet NOT so jokingly.

"Ok, but you'll be missing out. Maybe another time, ok?"

"Sure, one of these days I'll join you guys."

"Promise?" Jessica made sure that she looked me in the eye.

"Hehehe, yeah, I promise. Really. K?" I grinned.

"Good. I'm gonna hold you to that. Take it easy bud." And with that Jessica walked out, and Josh, who had been hanging back a little bit while we talked, followed her.

"See ya." He mumbled, not knowing exactly what to say to me when I was down. I don't think his mind goes too far past being silly. He usually leaves the serious stuff to the rest of us.

I said goodbye to the rest of them, and took the long walk home. Wondering if I should expect an excited message on my answering machine from Kevin, telling me how juiced up he was about his date and what he was going to do to him the second they got to be alone. You know...I'm starting to think that if you scrape a fork savagely accross your heart enough times, it really does get to be a bit of a 'bad habit'.

Sure enough, the message light on my machine was blinking with three messages. I just KNEW that there was no way in hell that I'd be able to get past all three without having Kevin's voice seep into my skin like a quick acting poison to finish me off for the night. I was almost scared to hit the play button. It was a bad game of Russian roulette, with three bullets in the chamber. Ah screw goes nothing. I hit play.

"Message 1.......'Chris, this is Kevin. Give me a holler when you get in, man! Just a little antsy and wanted to talk for a bit. Kewl? One more day, bro! One more day! See ya!'"

The first message pretty much meant that I had lost the game. Just ONCE I'd love for it to be a telemarketer! Instead I get taken out with the first bullet. Wonderful. But who knows? Maybe this will be the bullet that'll kill me for sure, or at least my love for him, and I can get on with the rest of my life. I highly doubt it, but maybe.

"Message 2......." I heard some weird snorting noises, pig noises, then monkey sounds on the answering machine. They were coming from more than one person, and they were getting louder and louder, and soon farm animals were added into the fray, and I couldn't help but smile at the weirdness of it all. This went on for almost an entire MINUTE, and then one of the voices, obviously out of animals to imitate, just made up some kind of ridiculous sound that sounded so incredibly silly that he couldn't help but crack up and double over laughing at it. Then I heard a girl's voice laughing just as hard, and I knew that it was Doug and Jessica cutting up as usual. "Hey! Chris! CHEER UP DUDE!!!" They both shouted at once, and I heard some more snickers as they clicked off the message. Hehehehe! I stood there in my room, giggling to myself, and hit rewind to play the message again, trying to picture the two of them huddled over their speaker phone and trying to keep from bursting out laughing. Then I laughed outloud to myself as I heard them break down into a fit of hysteria over a sound that resembled more an animal getting strangled with a brick being pushed up its ass then anything else. God...those two, I swear...

"Message 3.......'Hey Chris. It's me again. I guess you stopped by the computer lab after school, huh? Well, give me a holler, ok? I've got awesome news...he said he's gonna have the house all to himself. And you know what THAT means!" And then I heard Kevin make sounds that imitated the music from a porno movie, and he hung up. Somehow...this particular message didn't make me smile as much. In fact, it sucked the other smile right off of my face and out of my heart.

Great. Just great. An empty house, two cue gay teenagers, and a history of hot cybersex sessions that would make the POPE wanna polish his knob! I suppose that there wasn't anything short of an act of God that would keep this from happening tomorrow night. It looks like I should get ready to survive another cycle of Kevin's love life, and the lack of my own. Sighhhhh...what are you doing, Chris? NO, Chris! Don't walk over to the phone! DON'T pick it up! What are you doing? STOP! You're not actually dialing his NUMBER are you??? Aw are such an IDIOT! What are you doing? Stop this! It's only gonna hurt worse to hear him talking about it! Don't let him rub it in your FACE, you dork! What's the matter with you? "Hello?" Came Kevin's voice over the phone.

" called?" I mumbled slowly.

"DUDE! Have I got stuff to tell YOU...." That's how it started. That's how it always started. And I spent the next hour hearing how cool this boy was, and how cute he looked, and how sexy his voice sounded, and how he was soooo right for him. I knew he couldn't feel my pain, and he couldn't see the beginning of tears from my end of the phone. I just hope he didn't hear the misery in my voice. I disguised it as best as I could, I even went so far as to try to sound excited for him. Which, by the way, is like trying to swim with heavy cynder blocks tied to your wrists and have to push REALLY hard to get that to come up to the surface, even for a second. But somehow...I wonder if I tricked him into believing that this wasn't another emotional hot poker being jabbed in my eye. Then I began to wonder why tricking him was so important to me. I suppose that somewhere, deep deep DEEP down inside of me where even the pain can't reach it, there's a part of me that wants Kevin to be happy. Even if it's not with me.

A STUPID part of me, but a part of me nonetheless.

When I woke up the next morning, I just kinda laid in my bed and stared at the ceiling for a little while. I almost didn't want to leave the warm comfort of my sheets. It was 'safe' in here somehow. I could hear myself sighing outloud, and the countdown began to the time when I'd see Kevin again...and to when he'd look right past me to be with someone else. At least I knew someone would be having sex tonight. You know, there was a hint of possibility in my mind that this other kid wouldn't like Kevin at all. Or maybe Kevin would decided that he wasn't as interested, afterall. Or maybe the picture he sent was a fake, and the guy was really 80 years old and trapped in an iron lung. But those possible scenarios were drowned out by a history of me being proven wrong. They were ALWAYS gorgeous, even cuter in real life than the pictures they sent, and they were ALWAYS so sexed up after getting one look at Kevin that sex was a definite course of action...even on the first date. I knew that this boy, this 'Hayden-Christensen' look-alike package of teenage passion and lust, would jump on Kevin the first chance he got.'d be having some of the most mindblowing sex that two boys could create. And...I'd never cross his mind. Not even briefly. Because he's happier with that one moment of release with a boy he hardly knows, than he would be with a two year friendship and a lifetime of love that I could offer him. Thinking of it, made me sigh outloud again, and this dull ache in the center of my stomach caused me to close my eyes and roll over onto my side. Drawing up into an almost fetal position, as though it would somehow shift the winds of fate and keep this date from happening. Or at the very least, cause something to go horribly wrong.

Sometimes I feel so damn silly for even thinking that I had the power to change such things.

My mind separated itself into two equal parts. The side that couldn't bare to imagine Kevin being with anyone else but me, the side that wanted to keep him close to my heart and fight off any thoughts of him and his model boyfriends. Then...there was the other side, the side that was incredibly turned on by the idea of Kevin having sex. About someone getting the chance to hold him, and kiss those delicate lips of his, and wrap their legs around his tightly....whimpering from the seductive friction of his smooth, warm, skin. The two sides fought for control of my thoughts in the moments that I lay there wrapped up in my bedsheets. Exploring the naked sensuality of the act, and feeling the pain of it not being me at the same time.

What would they do with each other? Maybe 'everything'. Kevin must taste soooo good. At this point, he must know how to use his body in the most beautiful ways. So many feelings, so many positions, so many sexy words to be moaned outloud as he sank his body into your embrace. For his lips to touch mine would cause my eyes to roll back, and my lungs to collapse. The poison that I would gladly die for, the poison whose taste I would beg for. I felt myself getting hard, painfully so, under the covers, and rolled further over on my stomach to give it some relief by pushing it into the mattress. My back muscles tensed as I pushed harder forward with my hips, feeling my erection throb and tighten, my mind surrounding the six inch organ with the imaginary rose red lips of my favorite green eyed blond. I could feel the hot slippery wetness of his mouth as I slid across the tastebud texture of his tongue. I could feel his breath on the soft patch of my pubic hair. I could feel his hands running up and down my sides. I could feel the softness of his cheeks on the inside of my thighs, bringing new sensations with his rhythmic motions. I could feel my fingers entangled in the golden locks of his hair. Jesus...if I can create something so explosive with my dreams alone...I can't IMAGINE how it would be in real life. "This boy has NO idea how lucky he is!" I thought to myself, feeling the pain creep back into my chest and almost forcing a sob up into the back of my throat. "How...How FUCKING LUCKY HE IS!!!"

Then, the crash. No more dreams, no more visions, no more sexual fantasies. The images stopped immediately, and only the misery was left. Misery from a broken love that was stuck on an eternal one way street with no turn off switch. Angered, frustrated, I got out of bed and snatched some clothes out of my closet. It was yet another practice that I had grown accostomed to...being enraged. It was one of those inspirational feelings when you just get pissed and tell yourself that you're DONE with feeling like shit all the time.'re NOT gonna take it anymore, and you're NOT gonna talk to him, don't give a SHIT about who he's fucking or how 'good' it was! You tell yourself that you're going to march up to that school and get mad, and give him the cold shoulder that you know he deserves for doing this to you more times than you care to remember. But...I'm not capable of doing that, am I? Chances are, I'll be falling for his smile all over again by lunch time. Still, right now, it feels better to pretend that I have some control over what I'm going to feel once his boy toy gets to taste an experience that I can only dream about. At least it will keep it from hurting for a little while.

I got to school with the determination of a pit bull, hoping that my strength would hold out long enough to at least make Kevin THINK about taking my feelings into consideration when he's talking about his good times with other boys. know, those deep feelings of mine that I'm too chicken to tell him about? The ones he doesn't even recognize? THOSE feelings. Yeah, well they're pretty fucked up right now and I'm tired of him wiping his cleats off on them. So I'm just going to avoid him today, and when he comes home with the taste of his new 'boyfriend' still lingering in his mouth...I won't be there. He can keep it to himself. I just don't care anymore.

"Now THERE'S a 'Paige' look if ever I saw one." Came Julie's voice from over my shoulder. I hadn't even noticed that I had passed her in the hallway. "You look like a man ready to shank his roommate in prison." She smiled.

"It's not funny, Julie. Seriously, this is it. I'm FINISHED! I think I've taken all I can take, and I'm gonna drop it as of right now."

"Good." She said.

"FUCK 'Paige'! She's a jerk, she's an asshole, she's..."

"The love of your life?"

"Yeah..." I whimpered, feeling the deflation already beginning in my attempts to forget about him. "Didn't fool you for a minute, did I?"

"No, not really. But it was better than usual this time. I could almost say that you're on your way to a genuine dismissal sometime in the near future."

"Yeah, sure. At least ONE of us believes it." I mumbled.

"'re trying right? Don't worry Chris, it'll get easier." She ruffled my hair a little bit. "You're cute and sweet and God knows you've got enough love for an entire city to rest easy for the rest of their lives. There's plenty of 'Paiges' out there that would fall for you." Julie, always the optimist.

"I'm sure there are. They just all live in Bulgaria, they're blind, and can't speak a lick of English. Maybe I should save up for a trip."

"Maybe you should quit bein' a smartass, and let a little bit of that bitterness go, pumpkin head." She giggled, giving me a gentle smack in the head.

"Heh...I'm sorry. Look, I'm just not in the best of moods today. Ok?"

"Yeah..I know, hon. Just take a break from the pain for a little bit. Have some fun tonight, for crying outloud."

"I don't know, Julie..."

"GO! Do something outside of the house. If I wasn't going out of town this weekend, I'd probably drag you out myself."

"But..." Julie put her hand over my mouth, and gave me a stern look, telling me to just shut up and go. "Sigh...fine. I'll hit a movie or something. Ok?"

"Yes, good, go. And NOT alone, take somebody with you. Otherwise you'll just sit there and brood and pout by yourself in the theater. You can do that at home, you don't have to pay $8.50 for it." Julie had put her foot down, and gave me a kiss n the cheek before taking off fo her class. "See you in study hall. And you better have at least three quarters of a smile on that pretty face of yours, or I'm gonna carve one in permanently an exacto knife."

I flashed her a mediocre grin as she rounded the corner, but it faded the second she was out of sight. I going to go back to being angry, or do I just stay depressed? They're the only emotions I have in my arsenal at the moment. Ahh whatever...I'll just go to class. Maybe my feelings will surprise me or something. I'll have to find a way out of my class early so Kevin doesn't find me there and drag me to lunch with him. I'll hide out somewhere and then hit the lab after school...he won't be able to find me then. And I won't be subjected to more kissy faces made about him and the boy he 'loves' so much these days. God that puts a bitter and salty taste in my mouth...'LOVE'....psh! Whatever.

I was able to skip out of class about five minutes early, provided that I got a hall pass and went directly to the computer lab. Not my choice for a lunch time evasion tactic, but it'll do. I grabbed my bags and walked the empty hall, a jittery feeling inside, hoping that I didn't accidently run into Kevin and have him ask me where I was going. Just my luck he'd follow me there and ruin the whole idea behind avoiding him in the first place. Besides, in a weird, illogical, way...I was hoping that he would figure out that I was mad at him and hurt by him...but without actually telling him so. Does that strategy EVER work? For ANYBODY? It's like, you get so hurt that you just stop talking to them, and then you get hurt ten times worse because they don't seem to give a damn whether you talk to them or not. THEN you get even worse because you realize that your absence hasn't done much damage at all, and by the time you open your mouth to say how much that sudden 'betrayal' cut you deep and how much you're suffering because of it...the other person gets to put on an innocent face and say, "I didn't know." Then you feel like a complete idiot because you know deep down inside that they DIDN'T know, because you never came right out and told them, and therefore have no right to be mad at them. Yeah...doesn't it SUCK? Anyway, whether that course of action works or not is beside the point, it's what I'm using today. Maybe this time he'll get it. Or...maybe he'll be too busy enjoying a healthy love and sexlife to give me a second thought. Who knows? Maybe that's what I need.

I got to the computer lab, and sure enough, a couple of the usual 'crew' was right there like I expected them to be. Just like furniture, there they were, greeting me with a smile. Doug asked, "What the heck are YOU doing here at this time of day?"

"I dunno, just figured I'd stop in for a while." I lied, and took a seat next to him. I really didn't have anything to do, but I figured that I could fool around for a litle bit and maybe enjoy a laugh or two while I was in hiding.

"Well, at least you look a LITTLE happier than you did yesterday." Jessica said, and I could hear Doug snicker a bit to himself.

"Yeah, well I got some help from some 'animal' friends of mine." I grinned. And that got Doug to chuckle outloud. "You guys are SICK, you know that?"

"Hey, it was Doug's idea. I was merely a pawn." Jessica smiled. I turned to see Doug's face turning red, probably from trying to hold in his laughter.

"You looked so down, dude. That's not cool." He said.

I giggled a bit to myself, and answered, "Actually...hehehe it WAS pretty funny."

"Really? So you laughed?" He asked.

"Hehehe of course I did! I lost it when you guys started cracking up!" I laughed at the memory and all three of us tried to keep our giggles down so we wouldn't get kicked out of there. I have to admit though, it felt good to let go of that biting misery of mine for a few minutes as we tried to keep from engaging in any uncontrollable outbursts.

Then, Doug put his hand on my shoulder and he said..."Good. I'm glad."

"Thanks, you guys. Really. I needed it, believe me." I said, then saw Jessica look over my shoulder at Doug briefly, as he removed his hand from my shoulder.

" know, me and Doug here were thinking about going out for a little coffee or something at this place over on Main St. after school..." She said.

"We are?" Doug asked. "I don't remember that."

"Yes you do." She said quickly back to him to shut him up. "So....whaddya say? We could always use a third." A hopeful look crossed Jessica's face, and I guess that I DID kinda promise that I'd hang out with them one of these days. Anyway, I knew that Julie would probably kick my ass if I didn't make it out of the house tonight. It might actually work out for the best. If anybody could make me forget about Kevin giving and getting the blowjob of his's these two cut ups.

"Um...well...." I started.

"You don't HAVE to, if you don't want to, you know? I mean, it's no biggie if you have something else to do..." Doug sounded a bit nervous all of the sudden. It was one of the few times in my life that I hadn't seen a big smile on his face.

"Don't be silly, Doug. Chris would love to join us. Wouldn't you, Chris?" Jessica said.

"Um...yeah. Why not. I mean...if you guys don't mind me tagging along or anything." I wanted to make sure I wasn't tresspassing.

"We don't mind at all! It'll be great. We'll meet you outside after last class, cool?" Jessica seemed so happy to finally get me to accept an invitation out after so many requests. Requests that have been getting increasingly more frequent over the past few weeks. I guess it would be cool to have a few more friends on my side. Especially if I find out that I have to avoid Kevin for longer than just this one night.

"Ok...I'll see you then." I said, then thought twice about it. " know what?" I remembered that I was technically 'undercover' for the rest of the day, and the last thing I wanted was to have Kevin see me waiting outside after school. Not if I was going to get away with this plan flawlessly. "How about you just give me some directions and I'll meet you two there?"

"That sounds like a plan. Doug, write it down for him." I looked back over at Doug, and saw the strangest expression on his face.

"You ok, dude?" I asked.

"Yeah. Yeah. I'm fine." He scribbled down the address of the place and how to get there. It wasn't too far away, and then he ripped the page out of his notebook and handed it to me. "I guess...we'll see you there." He said in a low voice, then smiled weakly in my direction. This was...odd. Especially for Doug. His grin was more permanent than the one on any clown in the circus. His whole face almost looked different without it. "Hey, Jessica, I'll be back. I need to grab something out of my locker really quick." Doug pushed some of his light brown hair back behind his ears, and he got up to leave.

"I'll see you later, k?" I said.

"Sure...later." He whispered, and he bashfully turned around, bumping his leg into the table and then leaving the room.

"Is he cool with me going out with you guys? I mean, I don't want to be a bother or anything..."

"Doug is just fine, trust me. And don't you DARE ditch us tonight for any reason. You're already locked in." She grinned. That was that, my escape from everything was going to come in the form of a cappuccino and two smiling faces....considering Doug gets himself back to normal by then.

The lunch period went by faster than usual, and we all shared the usual amount of laughs while I was in the lab, but Doug removed himself from so much of it. It was so weird. He giggled a little here and there, and made a joke or two, but it was so unlike him to not be the ring leader of the whole thing. Instead, he seemed to be doing some 'hiding' of his own. Whatever. I suppose that I have my own quirky days every now and then too. When I left, making sure that the coast was clear, I felt a lot better...knowing that I was going to be doing something more productive than sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. It wouldn't last forever, but for right now I'd be comfortable.

I was able to escape without seeing Kevin at the end of the day. I'm sure that he was looking for me at lunch, he'd probably double his efforts after school. But I wasn't about to let him win that easy. I know I'm going to have to deal with it eventually, just not tonight. Tonight, it's all about Jessica, the sweetheart with a silly grin, and Doug, the doll faced goofball. I like that option a lot better.

I walked down some alleys and stayed out of sight while looking for the coffee shop that they told me about, just in case Kevin came driving by me or something, and I went in to find the place practically empty. All except for two tables, one of which had Jessica sitting there alone, snuffing down a brownie from the counter. I walked over and said hello, greeted by a smile filled with chocolate. "Hehehe, beautiful, just beautiful." I said, as she tried to get the brownie out of her teeth and laugh at the same time. "So where's Doug? Did he chicken out?"

"No way. He'll be here. I think he went home to change his shirt or something first." She answered.

"Ok, whatever's clever. I'm gonna get a caapuccino, you want something?"

"You buying?"

"Hell no."

"I'm fine, thanks." She grinned, and I got myself something to drink.

On my way back to the table, I heard the bell on the door ring as Doug walked in. But I think he did a lot more than just 'change his shirt'. He changed all of his clothes, and his hair was shiny and perfect, even his FINGERNAILS were clean. He sorta stumbled his way over to the table and sat down. "Look at you! Watch out girls, hot stuff coming through." I grinned, and he blushed.

"Shut up. What are you talking about?" He giggled, and I watched as Jessica smiled over at him.

"I'm gonna go grab a lemon square. I've got such a sweet tooth today." Jessica started to stand up, when Doug jumped up to his feet and pushed her back down into her seat.

"I'll get it!" He said sharply. "I haven't gotten anything to drink yet, anyway." And he hurried over to the counter while Jessica and I remained at the table.

"He's being awfully strange today." I said.

"You have no idea, Chris." When he came back, she quickly jumped up and said, "Bathroom. I'll be right back." And she took a step back before Doug could say anything.

He gritted his teeth and mumbled, "Don't fall in...that would be 'tragic'." And she stuck her tongue out at him before walking away. So there we were, just me and him...and even though he kept his nose buried in that cup of coffee, I couldn't help but notice something.

You know.....he's actually kinda cute.