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A Lifetime (Chapter Four)

by Lethargic


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.


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Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:45 pm
Holysocks wrote a review...



Hey there!

Just so you know, I have not read the previous chapters- I'm just going off of what's in this one, and trying to keep my critique relevant to that! c:

I thought this was kinda a cute chapter! I love the whole "it's raining out so we're trapped here together, ooooh dearrrr" concept that (I mean it's used fairly often, but I love the feeling of plans cancelled due to rain, and just that lovely feeling of being comfy inside while it pours outside) is in here. It definitely sets a nice tone- but you could honestly play up this vibe a bit more and it would make me feel even MORE squishy. Like, mention Jamie's soaking wet bangs, or have them shiver next to a fire place (I guess most places don't have fire places anymore though ;-; ), they could sip on some hot chocolate before bed, etc. Maybe just some more descriptions of the rain ambience-- or just the environment in general to set the mood of the scene, because I noticed there wasn't a ton of this. And you don't need a lot of description, just the right amount- which is sometimes hard to gauge, but I think this could use a little more.

Another thing I wanted to bring up was the dialogue in here! I think sometimes it doesn't feel as realistic as it could be. And honestly, dialogue is a tough puppy to tame. But here's some things you can do to try to improve dialogue a bit: 1. Read your dialogue out loud, and try to picture someone actually saying it. 2. Listen to how people talk- I know that sounds weird like "Holy, I'm a human that uses language every day- you think I don't listen to people??!" but seriously, listen to how people talk. Listen to people on the bus, in the grocery store, listen to how your family interacts at the dinner table, to how your friends interact at school, etc, etc, etc. You'd be surprised how people actually talk!


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—”


I'm a little surprised at how willing the grandmother is to letting him stay over-- without like, mentioning where Jamie should sleep. I'm assuming here because Evan mentioned he'd come out already, that the grandmother knows- though I suppose he might not have come out to her. But like, if she DOES know, this is like letting your grandson and some girl have a sleep over in the same room if they were heterosexual- so this part seems a little TOO quick on the grandmother's part to let Jamie stay overnight--- in Evan's room.

“So, what do you do in your free time?” the brunette asked.


I get that sometimes when saying character's names for the "he said/she said" stuff, it can sometimes feel like it's being overused. But I feel like it ends up being a little odder when it's something else replacing that. So in this case, "Brunette" and "Redhead" are used instead of their names- and that can be kinda cute- sometimes! But when it's used quite often, it starts looking kind of odd. Whereas, the character's name doesn't get old because the reader realises that it's just being said to help them keep track of who's talking, and they just read right over it and don't give it a second thought. So my advice is to stick to their names, primarily (and if you're dealing with a conversation with people in different sexes, then "he/she said" is also incredibly useful). Trust me, it doesn't get old- people don't really think about dialogue tags, they just want to get to the juicy part of the dialogue itself! :D

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!”


I thought this was a pretty forward thing to say!! It's one thing to offer your bed to your guest, and you go sleep on the floor, but it's another thing entirely to say "Yo, my bed's big enough for the two of us ;) " when they don't even know each other very well? Like, I even have friends that I wouldn't want to share a bed with, simply because it would be WAY too awkward. So this part just didn't feel very realistic to me. Maybe further into the story, after they get to know each other a bit and are showing more signs of mutually liking each other? But not just like this.

Anyway, I thought this was a pretty cool chapter! I think your characters are really sweet! ALSO: April's mood change since her parent's death is interestingly enough, rather accurate! My boyfriend's sister went a similar route after their dad died. She just turned into a really angry, mean person. :/ Which is really sad. Anyway, I hope you continue to write it and have a good time! C: Also I apologise for my rambling!




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Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:47 pm
AndName wrote a review...



Hi!

This chapter cleared up so much stuff but at the same time you threw curve balls in! So what prompted him to become a germaphobe was his parents dying from germs! Woah you tied that together epically. I hadn't picked up on Aprils bad attitude towards Evan, so that was a little weird. Is it a new plot development? Either way, it really characterizes her and how she's struggling with the loss of her parents still.

There was a couple areas that seemed off, nothing to big.

The thing right after Evan tells Jamie about April, and he goes down the rabbit hole it suddenly switches to his first person thoughts. It's easy to tell it's him but I thought it could be structured better for max impact. Usually, I'd say put a 'he thought' before it but since it's so long a section I think it should be it's own separate paragraph. And this book has a sort of wonderully quirky feel to it, so you could even play around with it to where it's sort of like how you ended the one Jamie chapter. I really liked that bit by the way :)

Twice I think in this chapter Jamie and Evan have said something surprising and you don't explain! When Jamie says 'You're just strong' and neither Evan or him think anything of it. I really like that dialogue though so please don't cut it!
The other is where Evan says 'Let's change that!' Even Jamie thinks its off. I think it would make better sense of Evans spazzy behavior if instead of putting how he hadn't really thought of the hot brunette Jamie, but instead how he felt flustered because of him. I think you put something along those lines as they were going down the stairs (The rag lol) but I think it could be emphasized. He wants to include Jamie in a mall trip, thinks about how he's melted Jamie's icy heart, and insists Jamie sleep in his bed XD, he is most definitely thinking about him.

Oh, about the hall trip, I think you left out how Evan had his phone out. He was just suddenly typing.

Wonderful chapter! Your characters play along so well and I'm looking forward to the next bit!

AndName




Lethargic says...


Sorry for the late reply, but thanks! I ended going back and making some changes, mostly based on Evan%u2019s thoughts about Jamie, haha. Evan%u2019s normally a little bit of a spazz, but mysterious attractive brunettes make it even worse, haha.




When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
— Eric Hoffer