Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
Evan rushed out to Jamie, a towel gripped tightly in his hands. “Are you okay?!”
Jamie looked up at Evan hoping the cross-eyed boy would just think his tears were raindrops. Evan kneeled down and wrapped the faded mint green towel around the other teen. “Let’s get you inside,” Evan said. Jamie sat, motionless before silently getting up.
“T-T-Thank you…” Jamie said, teeth chattering.
“Don’t mention it,” Evan replied. He guided Jamie into the house. April was sitting in the living room. She looked up, but didn’t say anything. Evan quietly lead Jamie up the stairs. It was very awkward, since Jamie refused to talk. Evan looked down, then opened the door to his room. Jamie stood outside. “What are you waiting for?” Evan asked, “Come on in?”
Jamie once again hesitated. Why was this boy being so kind when their sole interaction had involved a screaming match between himself and that one girl? Evan tilted his head. Jamie once again swallowed his pride and slowly waddled into the brightly lit room. The redhead smiled, nervously. The vibe in the room was decidedly awkward.
“Take a seat on the bed…” Evan’s voice trailed off. “Jordan, right?”
“Jamie,” the brunette replied, curtly. Jamie sat down.
“Evan, who is this guy?!” a young, female voice asked. April. The young girl stood in the doorway, dark red hair tied up into a high pony.
“That’s no way to greet a guest,” Evan said, sternly. He was beyond angry with his sister’s hostility.
April scoffed. “Dumb queer,” she said as she stormed off. Evan made a fist with his right hand.
Evan stood in a furious silence for a second. That damn April. Jamie was taken aback. How did his classmate stay so positive when that was his home life?
Evan plopped down on the opposite end of the bed from Jamie. There was an oppressive silence hanging above their heads. Sensing that he needed to clear the air, Evan opened his mouth to speak. “I’m sorry you had to see that. April used to be a lot nicer when we were kids. Not anymore though.” Evan sighed. His sister had been prone to random bouts of anger since their parents had passed. But Evan wasn’t going to make Jamie listen to all of his problems and frustrations.
“I… I see…” Jamie replied, playing with his thumbs. “Why’d she call you ‘dumb queer’ anyways?”
“Ever since I came out, she’s used my sexuality as something to ridicule me for. She’s got a lot of pent up anger,” Evan explained. He was going down the rabbit hole again. “And I’m the one who has to be her punching bag. Even though we’re going through the same thing.” Evan looked down. Fuck. I’ve let it all spill out again. Why can’t I ever control it? And why am I dumping all my feelings onto a guy I’ve barely ever talked to? Damn it. He must feel so uncomfortable. But it’s not like I can tell him this much without telling him everything, right? “See, we lost both our parents a few years ago. We went on a cruise and they picked up some infectious disease whose name I can’t even pronounce along the way. They both got extremely sick during the last few days on the boat. By the time we got to the hospital on the mainland, it was too late for my dad. A few days later, my mom died of the illness, too. Gah! Why am I telling this to a complete freaking stranger?! I’m really sorry for dumpling this all onto you!”
“It’s fine,” Jamie replied. His voice was caring and compassionate, which surprised Evan. He gave Evan a genuine smile. “I think I misunderstood you.”
“What do you mean?” Evan asked, tilting his head.
“I just assumed that you and your friends had gotten to live normal lives without anything awful happening, and that’s why you’re always so happy. But I was dead wrong,” Jamie explained. “You’re just strong.” The brunette stood up. “I’m gonna get going. I don’t want to burden you.”
“Wait!” Evan exclaimed. “Like hell I’m gonna let you go in that awful rain. You can stay here for the night. It’s not supposed to clear up till tomorrow.” Evan got up, as well. “Let’s go talk to my grandma. I’m sure she’ll let you stay.” Evan grabbed a rag off of his wardrobe and used it to open his bedroom door. Jamie followed behind. Evan kept the rag in his grip and used it to hold onto the guardrail as he made his way down the stairs. While Evan was usually a bit more lax about germs when he was at home or with friends, the excitement from the prior events had made him a little more anxious than usual. Jamie observed and made a mental note of Evan’s behavior.
Evan led Jamie to the kitchen. Sitting at the table was Evan’s grandmother, who was working on a jigsaw puzzle. Puzzles were one of Ida McBride’s many, many hobbies. The older woman looked up from her puzzle. “Ah, Evan, you brought a friend home?”
“My name is Jamie, ma’am. Nice to meet you,” Jamie said.
“Jamie’s car broke down outside, so he’s stuck here until the rain stops. Is it okay if he stays over tonight?” Evan asked.
The old woman smiled. “Of course. Now, Jamie, take care of Evan please. The boy scares easily. Jumps at the smallest of sounds I tell yo—”
“We’ll be going back upstairs now,” Evan interrupted, blushing. He walked away, Jamie following close behind him. The old lady smiled. She was always glad to see Evan make new friends.
Evan closed the door behind Jamie. He set the rag down and sat back down where he was sitting before. Jamie joined him. Wanting to make conversation, Jamie spoke up. “So, what do you do in your free time?” the brunette asked.
“Well, I mostly hang out with Marie and Htee. Besides that, I don’t really do anything else. I don’t have any hobbies or anything,” Evan replied. He scratched his orange hair. His abnormal eyes looked to his right, where Jamie was. After a few seconds of looking, he looked away. He had no clue why this only donned on him then and there, but he was about to spend the night with another guy.
“Same here. I just like to watch movies, and that’s about it,” Jamie said. “Though, I don’t have any friends to hang out with—”
“Let’s change that!” Evan interjected. Jamie was taken aback. Evan had always seemed to Jamie to be the least assertive member of his group. He was probably right, but, considering how loud the other two were, that wasn’t saying much. Jamie was just content to let the redhead do his thing. After some extremely fast typing, Evan looked back to Jamie. “Looks like we’re going to the mall tomorrow,” Evan said.
“And if I refuse?” Jamie asked.
“You’re, um… contractually obligated to not refuse,” Evan replied.
Something told Jamie he didn’t want to refuse. “Fine then,” Jamie replied. “I guess I don’t have a choice in the matter.”
Evan was proud of himself. As he saw it, he had just succeeded in melting Jamie’s heart of ice. The cross-eyed boy checked his phone. It was already half past eleven. How the hell is it already so late?! Evan thought to himself. He got up. “I think we should head to bed,” Evan said. “We have a big day tomorrow.”
“I’ll sleep on the floor. I just need a pillow and a blanket,” Jamie said.
Evan shook his head. “That won’t do,” he replied. “My bed can easily fit two. No guest of mine will be sleeping on the carpet!”
Jamie sighed. I thought this kid was a germaphobe or something? he thought to himself. Honestly, Evan was still a bit of an enigma to the brunette.
“I’m going to get changed,” Evan announced, before going to do exactly that. The redhead went into the bathroom. He examined himself in the mirror before giving in to his feelings. “Jesus Christ! A hot guy is at my house, sleeping in my bed, is gonna hang out with me and my friends tomorrow, and I’m acting all neurotic!” After some more ranting to himself, Evan sighed and got changed. When he returned to his room, Jamie was already fast asleep.