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 Find Me A Cure

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PostSubject: Find Me A Cure   Wed Dec 24, 2014 10:48 pm

Homosexuality is sin.

God said, Adam and Eve.

You just need to find a right girl.

Abomination…

Poison to our family…

Disgrace…

Those sentences and words in my head. In my body. In my bones. Like a reminder. A guide. A golden string around my neck, strangling me. It's either this, or drowning.

***

Once, I prefered drowning. When the shouting got too loud, when the words got too harsh, I let go of the golden string and I drowned. Drowning sent me away.

***

The building was dark as the mood of my parents. I couldn't wait for them to leave, and I never wanted them to go.

There were different types of 'alone'. Back home, as a sophomore, I went by unnoticed. Here, as a junior, joining the classes in the middle of January, nobody was there to greet me, show me around, even give me directions to my room. Alone in a crowd, and truly alone. Nothing but the cold English air and me.

I watched my parents' car turn into a fleck of paint in the distance, too miniscule to be noticed.

I stood in front of the building, my new school, with a backpack and a suitcase full of my life and what I had to become. What I was supposed to become. What I would never become.

When I walked into the building, it felt like everything was pushing me away. The walls were too cold, the halls were too big, the rooms to which the chipped wooden doors led were too loud, everything was too, too… Unfamiliar. Threatening. Claustrophobic.

I was painfully aware of my overly light clothing and the silver cross necklace. It burned circles into my skin.

Not worthy.

I somehow found my room with my number plate on it before I broke into tears.

Not worthy.

***

Once I calmed myself down, and the tears dried, I unpacked. My backpack contained things as my phone, which I won't need; my notebook, half empty; two pencils, an eraser and a sharpener; extra t-shirt. Stinging lack of a note. Not even a proper goodbye. It made me lose myself again, but nothing a few deep breaths could't cure. No, the cure I needed was so much more complicated than that. What got me here isn't as easily treated.

I put the rest of my luggage, the clothes, into a small dresser. It was upsetting, the fact that all the clothes I owned barely filled a quarter of the wooden object. The books I needed for class were stacked up beside the dresser, as neat as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, like the one who stacked them had other worries or dreams in their mind.

There were two beds in the room. I then remembered the conversation I heard not so long ago, but in a world far away. Conversing were my mother and the silent shine of the phone pressed between her shoukder blade and her unpierced ear.

She said, 'you mustn't put him in a room with one of your boys'. She said, 'never leave him alone with any of your boys'. She said, 'don't let him shower with your boys'. She said, 'he is poison'. She isolated me in all ways she was able to.

The bed which wasn't mine belonged to a girl. I already saw her blushing and giggling at the testosterone supplement to her life. I didn't know what she expected, but I certainly wasn't that. I was half human, half nothing.

***

The classes lasted for an hour after I arrived, which left me in my solitude of thoughts.

I remembered the look on my dad's face, I remembered the way my mum clutched her cross necklace, identical to mine, I remembered the boy, whose name was lost, forgotten, washed away by the tide of my mind. I never saw him after.

I wanted to tell him I'm sorry, I was just curious, I didn't want it to end up like it did.

He was probably sent to a place like this, too, away from his parents.

Searching for a cure.

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did u mean "my writing at 2 am"


Last edited by magz on Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Fri Dec 26, 2014 11:36 pm

I heard her before I saw her. I heard her low-positioned mezzo-soprano, I heard the clicking of chains in the rhythm of walking. He entered the room opening the door with the thick sole of her covered-in-chains black military boot. She had bright, red dyed hair, bay coloured skin and choking black lace necklaces, too much makeup around her eyes, one eyebrow raised and lost in the red, flattened fringe.

"Who do you consider yourself to be?" Her tone was not necessarily of an enemy, not necessarily of a friend. I got up, towering over her, unsure whether to offer her my hand to shake or not.

"James", I introduced myself, deciding just to stand. Her eyebrow didn't lower. Maybe it wasn't there.

"No, no names. For now you're a bloke who's in my room. The question you should be answering is 'why am I here?'."

"I'm a t-transfer. The number they gave me-- it's on the door." In this school, students didn't go by their names, they went by their numbers. The anonimity, though strange and new, was welcome. Her eyebrow appeared.

"Ah. Okay. Good. Great. I'm Cayla." She threw — yes, threw, from across the room — her bag onto the bed.

"James", I repeated. She nodded, as if in confirmation.

"Nice to meet you, James. Welcome to Hell. Enjoy your stay." She said that with a smirk and it was difficult to determine whether was he joking or not. I didn't know which one I preferred.

***

The rest of the day was spent on Cayla's explanation dedicated to the rooms in which we had our classes — luckily, we were in the same class. She even drew me a sketchy blueprint of the two parts of the school building and inscripted the subjects we had in them in her rebellious, all-caps handwriting. She gave up soon after.

"You know what, you just follow me everwhere you go and you should be fine. I hope you're not stupid otherwise you're on your own, kid." It was difficult to protest with no backing evidence.

It scared me, the fact that she took me under her wing without more information than my name. Too soon. Didn't she need to know where I came from, why I was here? Didn't she need to know who I was?

Nevertheless, I appreciated her help. It was like being thrown into a cage with lions, but with a sword. I couldn't win, but at least I could go down in a fight. In my case, a silent fight, a fight for the freedom of unknown, yet to be discovered.

***

She showed me the bathrooms in the very back of the building. She showed me the gym (not appealing), the music room (caused a sting of sorrow. I used to sing in a church choir when I was a child), the drama theatre (miniscule, irrelevant. Never acted, never watched any plays). She didn't ask any questions about me, I didn't tell her anything she didn't ask.

She liked drawing, I learned. She liked drawing flowers and she liked writing poems about wolves and the woods. She had a voice for reading poems, I thought. Deep, melodious, rich, interesting to listen to. But when she started musing about the football scores of the school team, I zoned out. Her soothing voice was nothing more than background music.

"James!" The uproar of her voice suprised me, kicked me out of the scene in my head, where I stood in the woods, with her voice pretending to be wind amongst the tree branches.

"Hm? Yes, sorry?"

"I said if you wanted to meet my friends, I mean, sit with us during lunch. Or breakfast, whatever comes first."

"I'd rather stay alone, if it's the same with you." I don't know why I refused. Cayla was, despite her clothes which could put you off, friendly, and her friends could have been nice. Maybe later, once I got my position figured out. Besides, if I appeared among people who weren't my roommate, my mother would be reported about it. I just couldn't take my chances. Not now, when the situation was already so tense.

"It is, but I have a friend who could use someone like you." That could have meant many things, but before I could think it through, I nodded.

"Okay." I threw everything to the wind. Maybe this was my alternative to drowning. Falling. Which is just flying, with a different perspective.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Fri Dec 26, 2014 11:53 pm

"Why exactly did you want me to meet your friend?" I asked once we, on the morning after my first day, sat down in the eating hall. (I don't think that was its real name. Cayla said it with a huff. Maybe I could call it cafeteria.) None of her friends had arrived, so we sat alone. It was not as uncomfortable as I thought. Cayla never made me feel exposed, and let me ask her questions without any restraint.

"James, my friend, I read you like your parents read the Bible." Her look went over my necklace as she leaned towards me, confidentially. "See, I know why you're here. Our school's full of those people whose parents are religious and end up like you, like me, or like Sam/Samantha", she nodded towards the person with chin-lenght hair a couple of tables away from us.

"You mean-"

"Yeah. But when they aren't like us, they are tattle-tale Christian goodies. It's a fifty-fifty thing." She sighed.

"You're-" she shushed me down before I began.

"Quiet. They have ears on their backs. Let's say, while I was sent here to get a boy, or a girl, anyone really, you were sent to be away from them." I decided then that I want to be around Cayla all the time, not only but also as protection. She looked like she could kill a man with hands or words, whichever is at hand first.

"Does… Do people know about this?"

"Teachers do", her explanation became quicker as the students started filling the tables close to us. "Some students, but not many. I'd say five to six, not more. And now you too. People just don't seem to connect the dots." People who aren't Cayla. I could see a younger version of her first arriving into this school and pulling people over with conspiracy questions. "But then again. People never do."

***

Her friends, whose names I didn't even bother to remember, started occupying the table we were at not ten minutes after. There was a muscly jock with a military crop, a Korean girl with a red streak in her hair which looked like it was the same dye as Cayla's and a tall brunette with light grey eyes, cold light skin and black lipstick. Someone's name began with an A, but that's all I could recall. When they all arrived, after introducing me Cayla went to get herself food and l was left alone with the trio.

"Is Miles asleep or what?" Grey Eyes asked. I immediately tuned in, because they haven't mentioned that name, Miles, I was sure about that.

"Riss, you look like you're asleep. You're in your PJs", Military Crop said with a smirk, and he didn't look like he particularly cared.

"Bugger off, no one asked for your imput", she didn't look offended. They were either dating or cousins, because that specific banter is usual with people who are around each other a lot. Not in my household, but elsewhere.

"Oh yeah, did anybody do English homework? I videochatted with Lawrence, I was tricked by time", said the Red Streak, who would from then on be called The Poet, based on her choice of words.

"Yeah, stop at my room, I got it all but the first, didn't get it", Military Crop offered as he returned to his butter toast.

"I only got the first, was too lazy to do the rest", Grey Eyes smiled. I was glad they didn't try to suck me in their conversation when I obviously had no clue what they had for English homework and who are Lawrence and Miles. I had a feeling I'd meet Miles soon enough, but I decided to ask Cayla when she returned about him anyway.

"Miles? Why did you want to meet me with him, I still haven't caught your answer."

"He's happy, he's a cheerful person, while you aren't. Well, mostly. Miles is a person who talks so you don't have to. I think you need that." I didn't wish to know just how exactly did she get to that point, but I was grateful nevertheless, because someone who talks was just what I need right now. A some kind of a psychologist. A friend.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:32 pm

I didn't realise we had an addition to the group until Poet pointed him out.

"Of course Miles won't fail Geography."

"Hm, why?" Military Crop asked finishing off his second toast.

"We're doing North America." A new, warmer voice joined the quiet murmor of people. He had an accent which was unlike the usual posh/chav separation. It was like oil, smooth and runny, dripping down my spine.

"Oh, yeah, Mr. Maple Leaf", Grey Eyes laughed a throaty chuckle.

"If you ever call me that I'll… I don't know, I'll think of something." The small boy who joined us had honey-blond hair, flushed skin and a friendly smile on his face, though his clothes had a different thing going on. He wore combat boots, not unlike Cayla's, but without the chains. Denim jacket , dark, with at least a dozen pockets, was buttoned till his chest bone, where a part of his printed t-shirt and a necklace with dogtags and a ring on the string appeared. His leather jeans might have once been skinny, but now they were ripped and well worn. But what was most interesting were the piercings on his face, one on his nose, one on the side of his lips and one in his mouth, on his tongue, which was more than clearly visible through his open-mouthed grin.

"Oh, yeah, Miles, this is James", Cayla changed the topic of the conversation as easily as people change shirts. Fast, trained.

"Hi James." He had dark brown eyes, which smiled up at me.

"Hello." Something inside of me kindled to an open fire, eating me up. Miles. The name I'll repeat because it's the name everyone should remember. Miles, with a personality of a friend. Whose words leaked out 'comradeship'. Whose smile I wanted to memorise, because it's a sun. Miles was a sun.

***

"So where did Cayla dig you up, huh?" We were left alone after a quick apology which made no sense and a theatrical, simoultaneous session of getting up and marching away.

"Cayla didn't dig me up", I replied not looking up, because I was afraid I might flush in the same colour as Cayla's hair if I did.

"It's an expression", and who was I to speak back to that. Even though the conversation could have ended there, Miles continued. "What did you do to end up here? Or was it your choice?"

"Why did YOU end up here?" Self defense up. Remembered what Cayla told me; walls have ears. But Miles seemed like he didn't know.

"Oh, you know, why does anyone end up in a religious school. I have sinned." He laughed at those words. In fact, he always laughed, or at least smiled. Involountarily, I smiled back. He looked delighted.

"Do you think they'll give me all the tests as soon as I get into the classroom or are the teachers less strict?" A lousy conversation building block, but Miles wouldn't speak, and when he didn't speak, he just smiled at me, and I couldn't handle looking at that smile.

"Most probably. But worry not, my new-aquainted friend, you can sit next to me, in the back, so you can copy."

"Thanks." We continued talking irrelevancies until the bell rang, calling students to class. Miles swore under his breath and shoot up.

"Think you can beat me to classroom 7?" There was a hint of challenge in his voice, just a hint, but it had me up on my feet in no time.

"Certainly not, mainly because I don't really know the location of classroom 7, but-"

"Quit yapping, we'll be late for class!" And I found myself being pulled by Miles, his hand gripping my wrist, in a direction into unknown. We reached the class in not more than two minutes, but it still got us gasping for breath.

"Wow, you're in such shape", I told him, at which he started laughing, nearly falling on top of me.

"You're no Hercules either, mister." I should have listened to his words, but all I could focus on was the way his fingers were still around my wrist, the sides of our hips touching, his body fully leant on mine. So this was it, what I've been warned about. What I should have avoided at all costs. But there was something in his smile. Something new.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Sun Dec 28, 2014 4:21 pm

The classes barely finished, and I was already talked into a 'small get-together' Cayla and her friends had planned.

"It's going to be fun, you're going to learn a lot about us and we'll learn even more about you", they said.

"If you start learning about me, I can assure you it won't be fun." And they all laughed. Me too, with them. Maybe, if I succeed to forget my parents, I could have fun. But fun is a relative concept.

But, nevertheless, the get-together was held in mine and Cayla's room, so I couldn't escape. And, honestly? I didn't want to. The flavour of restriction is so sweet you can taste it before you open your mouth.

***

They started entering our room around nine in the evening, first Poet and Grey Eyes, then Military Crop, and (finally), Miles, arriving at twenty to ten, in button flannel pajamas and blonde curls wet from wash. Admittedly, the forty minutes until his arrival were fidgety and nervous, so blame me for paying so much attention.

"So, Jamie", Miles was in a good mood. He placed his small body between me and Poet (who was trying to unsuccessfully talk to me) and leaned back, supported my his hands. To look him in the face meant looking over his whole body, which made my throat dry. I coughed.

"Yes?"

"How do you like the school so far?" Why, why did that boy, with the dogtags and a ring still on, with checkered pajamas, with an uneven grin, with hair in curls even when wet, why did that boy talk to me about school? About weather? I wanted him to talk about himself, to answer my quirky little questions about the shampoo he used and the undid cuff buttons on the shirt.

"It's… Nice. Yes, nice. Not bad, but not extraordinary, either."

"I beg to differ." Cayla merged into our private conversation, dripping like water from one person to another. "I think all of us, Clarissa, Austin, Eva, Miles and I, are extra extraordinary."

"Yes, of course. That's what I meant."

"Cay, leave them alone", Austin (Military Crop) laughed and pulled her into a brotherly hug. "You always stick your big nose everywhere, don't you?" She snorted as he ruffled her red hair.

"My nose is not big, your nose is big."

"Nuh uh." They started bickering, and it was amusing to watch for a while, but soon after there was an elbow in my ribs.

"They're the best of friends", Miles explained. When I returned my eyes on him, he curled his legs beneath him. Once I started looking at him, I couldn't look away. Suddenly I wasn't interested in the size of Austin and Cayla's noses or their friendship (which was, admittedly, heart-warming). I cared about the boy who had his hands in his lap, holding his ankles.

"When did you move to England?"

"At the end of summer. Why?"

"Why not?" We stood in silence. Miles' grin grew and grew until I could see the tongue stud in his mouth. He took the nose and the lip ones out, but not the silver pearl on his tongue. Was it a sign of something?

"Jamie, I think I like you more and more with every sentence you speak."

"Good? Bad?"

"Both." The grin lived for a few seconds longer until dissolving into fragments of happiness.

"Why did your parents send you here?"

"They didn't."

"You chose to be here?"

"No, I don't have parents." Fragments of happiness went dark.

"I'm sorry."

"Yeah." I leaned forward and took the dogtags and the ring in my hand, my fingers brushing over the fabric of his skin for a second.

"A reminder?"

"Yes." We stood close to each other for a minute as I studied the engravings of the metal objects in my hands, I traced the letters with my fingers. The dogtags had an unknown name, an unknown number and Miles' surname.

"I'd like to learn more about you."

"If you'd like, we can do homework together after class and you can learn everything you want about me and I can learn everything about you." That proposition sounded very reasonable.

"I don't see why not." Then we returned to the regular current of the conversation.

But I never stopped being aware of the flannel sleeve sometimes brushing against mine, of the ghostly smile on the back of my neck, of the breath that exited his mouth when he laughed at the stories Cayla had. Good? Bad?

Both.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:43 pm

That night, the dreams started. I dreamt of Miles' family, about his childhood, about the friends he had had, about his birthdays and the funeral of his parents. I dreamt of his eyes growing old, but his smile never faultering. I dreamt of his smile, of his thin lips, of the tip of his slightly upturned nose, the circles of his cheeks.

I woke up hoping.

***

The 'study session', a period of time between lunch and dinner, was spent in Miles' room.

His room was a bit bigger than mine and Cayla's, but it filled the space exactly the same due to the wider beds and a wardrobe, not a dresser. It didn't have a desk, so Miles' books and notebooks (and some wild notes on the margins of Russian classics) were on one of the beds, opened somewhere in the middle of the lessons.

"Sorry, I forgot about lunch, I went directly here, to study." I skipped lunch too, but a) I knew Cayla would feed me with left overs when I returned and b) I spent half an hour trying to find his room.

"No worries, you weren't missed."

"Rude." He grinned. I smiled back. "So, geography. Cayla says you suck big time at geography." My cheeks gained some colour and I coughed.

"Geography's not my favourite subject", I explained quickly and sat down on the bed, when a memory appeared on the back of my eyelids.

"Have you… Have you done this before?"

"Erm, no." Kisses on a jaw didn't stop. "Doesn't stop us from trying, though."


I shook it off.

"Lucky for you, it is mine. And even luckier for you, we're doing North America. And the luckest for you, I'm your study partner." If you'd taken a sun and shoved it down his throat, his smile wouldn't be as warm as this one.

It wasn't lucky.

It wasn't a study in geography, it was a study in human anatomy. Specifically, the anatomy of Miles.

If I was an illustrator, I would have been able to sketch just the way cold winter sun fell into the knots of curls of which his hair was made up with. I would have been able to pick the perfect shade of blue for his perfect eyes the colour of drowning in an ocean. The glimmer of the ring on the faint light from the lamp on the nightstand. The way the leather of the jeans fit to his legs so snugly it looked like it wasn't there. The double knot on his combat boot shoestrings.

But one key point was missing.

I wanted to touch.

Just to trail my hands across the plain of his cheek, to feel the fabric of the skin wrinkle and smoothen, to rise and to fall. To feel his blinking eyelashes on the inside of my wrist. To warm up by his exhaled breath. To check if the jeans were skin tight or not.

To run my fingers through his hair, to untangle every knot which appeared in it, to move the curls in a different direction, to twirl a curl around my finger, like a ring.

I needed to touch.

Unfortunately, I couldn't.

I had to remind myself that this was studying, that if it happened every day I'd turn into a full teenage-boy, with hormones and all, and, the most painful reminder but also the harsh reality, that he didn't look at me like that. Even if he did, once (but not at me. Some other boy), he'd been in this school for so long the guilt must have devoured his emotions. If he ever had them.

"I appreciate your staring and all, but I have nothing on my face and you have a test tomorrow", his soft voice broke my veil, pulled me back. To harsh reality.

"Oh, yeah, sorry, got distracted." At which he flashed me a distracting smile (unhelpful) that made me weak at the back of my legs, made my fingers tremble.

I hoped it was a temporary stage, that soon I'd get rid of these thoughts (like Miles did, after all), and I'd be able to focus on Cayla, her other friends and our friendship. I told myself that for a very long time. A month and a half, to be precise.

A month and a half of fantasies, of wobbly knees, dry throats and constant, eternal staring. It was enough to make anyone go insane.

But not Miles. Always casual, but professional. And so, so blind.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:53 pm

At the the end of January, on one cold Saturday, it snowed.

"I bet it doesnt snow like this in Canada", said Grey Eyes as she sat on a snow-covered bench in what I guessed was a park in spring, summer, and autumn, but in winter was just a base for a snowman. And that was just what we did.

Poet found an old top hat in the fashion design class (I didn't know we had that) and Military Crop (who worked as punishment in the kitchen), snatched a carrot out of the eating hall. Cayla had been rolling a single snowball for half an hour but with no visible success, since the snow layer was not even five centimetres thick and the actual snow was, well…

"Of course it doesn't snow like this in Canada. This isn't snow, this is frozen shattered rain."

"Rude! Don't insult British snow!" Military Crop picked through the buttons Poet had shoved into the top hat and took out the shiniest and the darkest ones.

"It's not snow, it's squishy cold muddy water!"

"Okay, okay, Miles, don't use all adjectives you know in one sentence, calm down", Cayla teased and put her gloved hands on the waist of her warm, fluffy jacket. "Okay this ball isn't working."

"That's what she said." That's how the snowball fight started, and it didn't end until the girls cornered us boys and pushed us into the snow to make snow angels.

Miles' small angel was close to my big one. Their wings touched.

***

On the fourteenth of February, on Valentine's day, I sat down and wrote a letter.

My mother taught me that. Each year, on St. Valentines, one of your friends, family members or your girl crush should get a letter. During the previous ten years, not counting the time before learning how to write, I wrote only letters to my family and best friends. Last year I wrote a letter to my grandma.

This year I tried writing to Cayla.

It started off wrong and I couldn't finish it. I just had nothing to say that could be worded.

How can I explain just how grateful I was for her sometimes harsh, but always clear instructions, for her friends who knew nothing about me but accepted me as a part of the whole. For all the homework and exams I copied from her, for all the times she whispered answers to me. For all the explanations and for meeting me with Miles.

Miles.

I tried writing to Miles.

It started off perfectly and I couldn't finish it. I just had too many things to say, but there were only so many words in the English language, and everything I wrote ended sappy, cheesy, whiny. To be read by soap opera heroines in their monologues.

I took Cayla's lighter (no idea why she had it) and watched the words merge with flames.

***

In the middle of March, on a Sunday, sun appeared and invited all the students out. Our little group sat beneath a tree, where most flowers were. Poet and Military Crop made flowercrowns out of daisies and dandelions.

"It's so beautiful outside when the sun decides to show up", Grey Eyes had got a bit of tan so she looked less like a ghost. But sun didn't affect only her.

Miles wore a grey t-shirt, with his dogtag ring necklace and everpresent ripped leather probably-once-were-skinny jeans. I had theories on whether he had doubles of those jeans or if he washed them frequently, because they seemed to be the only part of his clothing he never changed. I even had reasons to believe he sleeped in them.

But, oh, that was not the part of him that fascinated me the most.

In the sun, his hair was gold. Liquid gold, melted in the warm sun. His slight stubble and hair on his arms were made of gold also. His blue eyes reflected the sunlight.

One part of me required to place my fingers on his arms, his chin, his head, to try to feel the sun on him.

The other, rational part of me restricted me from even making a step closer to him.

"Flower crowns for all!" Poet announced. My crown was made of only white daisies. Miles' crown was made of yellow dandelions, burning a bright yellow flame in his sun-kissed, honey blonde hair.

I guess that's life. You crave for someone for a long time, and when you have no more power left, they turn out to be more beautiful then what you remember them. But they stay unreachable. Untouchable.

And that's what Miles was. The god of Sun, with flowers instead of a crown.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:12 pm

"Can't believe I got an A. In geography." As soon as the lunch ended, I rushed in the direction of Miles' room, only to see his smile. And I did.

"D'aw, you know it's only because you have the best possible geography teacher."

"Yes, I do." His smile didn't fade, but it changed. With the added redness to his cheeks.

"Want to come in?"

"Sure." The door closed behind me, and I was greeted by an unfamiliar sight. Miles' room, usually impeccably clean, had haphazard stacks of maps, papers with unparagraphed writing, and a big map of the world pinned to the wall, with small flags in red and blue colours on different parts of the world. The blue ones were comically outnumbered by the red ones.

"Sorry, I usually clean up before we study here, you caught me by surprise."

"Planning a trip?" He blushed harder.

"No, not really. It's just… The places I've been and the places I want to go." I got closer to the map. Most of Canada's bigger cities were blue-flagged, as well as the city the school was in and some cities in the near. I noticed a little lonesome blue flag in upper Michigan, also.

"You go with your foster parents?" It was a part of him I never explored, never asked about, and he asked no questions about my parents in return.

"I didn't have proper foster parents until this June."

"You were alone?" I followed him with a look as he sat in beween of all the papers on his bed and started organizing them. He looked smaller than usual. "Isn't that illegal?"

"It's not like they keep track of every kid who ran away from his foster parents. Especially not if the aforementioned parents couldn't give less shits about their friends' child they adopted." His words were bitten out, bitter, and his nose wrinkled up. His tidying up stopped for a second before he returned to it, shoving the papers below his bed. When I said nothing for a curious amount of time, he raised his head. "Oh, no, please don't give me the whole pity party, I heard it all in September, with Cayla."

"You ran away?"

"When I was nine."

"And… What happened?" The look Miles gave me was the 'do you really want to know' look. "I haven't given you any reasons not to trust me, haven't I?"

"Nothing really happened", he paused, but continued talking when I sat down on the bed, near him. "Nothing big. No real change. I don't even know what to say, it was a series of small incidents, eight years of mishaps and stumbling over my own shadow. I'm going to be eighteen this July and then I will continue to be what I know the best and nobody will stop me." I gulped.

"What stopped you the first time?" I didn't even want to ask, but I wanted to know.

"Well", he put on a cynic smile, a disgusting little thing. It looked wrong on his face. "It seems like people care after all." He crossed his legs and rearranged the papers one last time. "Falsely accused of theft. Nearly sent to prison, but they figured out I was underage then shoved me in with some rich couple who couldn't have childen on their own. I was sent here not a week after. I'm guessing I was too problematic."

"Why here? Why not some place in Canada?" I was aware that I asked too many questions, but I needed to know.

"They picked the farthest and the cheapest boarding school they could find." That was where my questions ended.

"I'm sorry, Miles. I'm really sorry."

"People keep saying they're sorry when it's not their fault."

"How about this: I wish you had a better life." A smile. A small one, but it was there.

"That's certainly the first. I congratulate you on that." I smiled back. "You should start smiling more. It suits you."

"You should never smile when you aren't happy. It doesn't suit you."

"Is that a deal?"

"Yeah."

I discovered a few things that day after school. Miles was homeless, not by his fault. He liked geography because he wanted to travel. And, the thing I was the least sure about, I had a crush. The worst, chick flick, purple prose, crush.

Huh. At least it was someone with whom I might have had a chance. In any other world, I might have dared to ask him out. But, in this world, I kept silent. I continued to do what I know the best.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:50 pm

But somebody stopped me.

"Could you two just stop already", Cayla said in a tone which resembled recitating a well learnt song. It was late at night, I was writing my English essay and Cayla was reading a book, brand new, with uncracked spine and flashy white pages. I finished my sentence before replying.

"Could I two what?"

"Hmpf." It was a small school, so it had small classrooms, small bathrooms, and, ultimately, small rooms, in which two beds couldn't fit, so we managed on one big bed and compromises when it came to sleeping. ("You can sleep in whatever position you wish, James, I couldn't care less, you can even cuddle with me, but if you plan on sexual fantasies you might as well sleep in the bathroom.")

"What? What did I do?" Cayla crawled over to me and yanked my notebook out of my grip.

"It's not what you did, it's what you didn't!" She sat across me, nearly shattering my toes. I pulled my legs closer to me and raised my eyebrows at her.

"Please explain, I'm puzzled."

"I'm not going to word it out for you. Walls have ears." She looked at me for a couple of moments. "If you want to do something but you're waiting for a sign, this is your sign."

I nodded. I didn't plan on sticking to her advice, but I understood.

***

It happened one evening, when we'd accidentally stayed in Miles' room the whole day because he got so over-enthusiastic he explained the whole of Asian tourism to me in two and a half hours, all in rapid, where-do-you-breathe voice.

"I'm sorry, I had sugar", he explained, with a light pant. "I'm probably going to drop and fall asleep in ten minutes, all my batteries are drained. I must be so boring to you." He ran his fingers through his liquid, golden curly hair.

"No, actually quite the opposite", I reassured him. I was paying attention to every part of Indian historical turist attractions. Well. Paid attention, but didn't listen, I just tuned in every once in a while. It was hard to focus when he kept glancing at me with a glimmer in his eyes which were the colour of the sea on the maps he had placed all over the bed we were sprawled on, on my knees, on his knees, under our legs which touched, from thighs to knees. It felt like my legs were cut off knees down.

"Is it- crap, it's seven already. Did I keep you out of your surely grandious social life?" He said grandious. That boy.

"You're, at the moment, all the social life you have. Well. You and Cayla and her crew."

"Really?" Miles'd crawled to the bottom of the
bed, somehow fit between his books and everything else, and fell face first into the sheets. "You have a lousy social life, then."

"Isn't it…" I coughed and stretched my legs out, closer to him. "Grandious?" His accent on that word was ridiculous, and mimicking it got me a half-annoyed groan.

"Rude, Jamie, rude." I blushed a bit. I did that an awful lot of that in the time I've been in the school, considering that I never blushed before coming here. Before Miles. Miles, who played with the lip ring between his teeth, who made me uneasy in my stomach. "What?"

"What what?"

"Why are you blushing?"

"I don't know. It's a thing I do." Miles smiled and muttered something under his breath. "Hm?"

"Huh?" This whole conversation was a mess. Miles, being distracting, and me, being distracted.

"You said something."

"Oh. Yeah. I said that was cute", he shrugged and started tidying away the maps. I raised my legs and he removed the one under it, and when he got to the one on my knees, his fingers lingered on my jeans. Our eyes met.

"Er." If I had anything smart to say, it vapourised, turned into air under his eyes and his smile.

"You have green eyes. I never noticed." While I'd known the colour of his eyes from the minute I saw them.

"They're hazel, actually."

"Green." I didn't want to argue. If he said my eyes were they green, they were green. If he said my eyes were orange, then they were orange. Silence. "Ugh. I'm so tired. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to use you as a pillow." He spidered up to me and nuzzled into my chest.

I stared at him in bewilderment.

Was it the ache on the place where his head lay, was it the fact that I could feel his smirk through my shirt, the way he called me cute, or what Cayla said, something in me decided to forget what I thought I knew and what my parents believed.

"Miles?"

"Mhm?"

"Can I kiss you?"

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:16 pm

I'd've never said that, those words, in that order, until then.

He went rigid. His stomach muscles were tense against my hip.

"Jamie. James." He coughed a bit, clearing his throat. "Hm." Pause. When he finally spoke, his words were as delicate as glass. "Have you ever kissed anyone?"

"Yes."

"Who? …Name?" He didn't mention any gender pronouns, and I was grateful for that.

"I don't know. I don't remember his name." Another pause.

"And… Have you…?"

"Yes."

"With?"

If it was anyone else, I wouldn't have answered. But it was Miles, who was sneaking his hand around my waist. Miles. And of course I told.

"Are you sure you want to know?"

"Of course."

I told him about the boy's smile, quirky, cheshire-cat-like, and about his pulling my hand to my bedroom, and his a bit too low laugh every time I placed a sloppy kiss on his lips. I stopped there, skipped a few bits, and finished.

The bits I skipped were those I pretended that they didn't exist. Like the way he bit on my lower lip and tugged, and I liked it. How his hands felt on my ribs, fingers between them. Or the way he sucked on my neck. Those things never happened.

"And my parents walked in on us that morning. The next week I was sent here. And that's it. The whole story." I didn't realise I was crying until Miles pulled himself away from my chest and sat on my knees, facing me. He used his thumb to wipe off a tear on my cheek. "Oh, damnit, I'm a mess. Sorry."

"No, don't be."

"It's just, I wish it never happened." He looked at me with big, sad eyes.

"Don't be. It lead you to meeting me, didn't it?"

"Yes. But-"

"Shh. Shh, you can only make it worse." I rested my hands on his legs, giving up.

"And… You?"

"No."

"Not even a kiss?"

"No, never." I opened my mouth to speak, but he cut me off before I even formed the words in my head. "Hadn't had a chance."

"Oh." He spent his teenage life on the streets or in this school. "Right."

We went quiet for ten minutes. Maybe more, maybe less. Then I traced the rips on the leather of his lower thigh area with my fingers.

"Where did you rip these? Did you buy them ripped?"

"No, I… I fell out of a car, so the fabric broke." When he saw the look on my face, he reassured me. "It's fine, no, really. I wasn't seriously hurt, but there was a lot of blood, so…" He put his noticeably shorter fingers next to mine and flipped the inside of the jeans out from where they ripped. The inside had rust-like stains.

"How…? Why-"

"It's nothing. A… Someone I knew drove, and the car was old, so when I leant against the door it fell out and I did with it. Oh, come on!" He held my chin in his hands and forced me to look at him. "Nothing happened. I'm here today, aren't I?"

"You could have died."

"The car was slow, I fell on the door, not the ground." Looking at him wasn't as awkward as it should have been.

"Why didn't you get new jeans?" I corrected myself quickly. "Why didn't your foster parents get you new ones?"

"They did. I have a closet full of new clothes. But they're all shirts and baggy jeans which require a belt which I don't have. Also, they look awful."

"I like these jeans you're wearing. And what's wrong with shirts?" I glanced at the one I was wearing.

"Oh, they look good on you, but on me not so much. I prefer tees."

"Mhm", I agreed. He looked good in tees. Miles yawned, not five minutes after.

"I think I should sleep. Stay, if you wish. I'm not kidding, you're a pretty good pillow."

"I think I'll stay. But", I gulped. But if I could ask once, I could ask twice. "You haven't answered my question. Can I kiss you?"

"Yes." I deflated like a broken bubblegum balloon, exhaling all air in my lungs. "But not now. You've been crying, I'm tired, my roommate will return soon, and if I kiss you now, I'm afraid we'd have to take it the whole way. Not tonight." He placed his lips under my eyelashes, kissing the leftover tears away. "Just, when we do, remember my name after." I fell asleep leaned on him, repeating his name in my head, determined never to forget.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:35 pm

I didn't dream that night. I had nothing to dream about.

Throughout my sleep, there was this strange feeling all over my skin, under my skin, between my fingers. Feeling which I can't describe, but it sounded like bells and felt like glitter, some particles scratching against me, some leftover in my hair and eyelashes, some on my lips. Sparkly.

***

Something had been taped to my hand when I woke up. A note, in a not really messy, not really neat half cursive, which looked like it was from Miles.

'I woke up today and I wanted to kiss you. You looked so peaceful, half smiling, while you were sleeping. It's a sunny weekend, Cayla made us go out and soak up the vitamin D. Join us as soon as your pretty green eyes open, we're in the back garden.'

No signature, but I didn't need any.

I arrived and sat next to Miles all in the following ten minutes.

***

Cayla talked to her friends while Miles and I had silent finger twines.

We turned it into a game: when nobody was looking, our fingers were on top of each other's, and when someone looked, we'd curl our fingers inside our palm, still close, but not touching. Just a bit innocent. Just a bit sinful.

It wasn't wrong, was it? His smiles whenever I'd returned my fingerprints on top of his palm. The way the tip of his fingers tickled the inside of my thumb. The couple Celcius of temperature which arose from each point of contact we had.

He'd smiled, I'd smiled.

Actually, I don't know why we kept the not-really hand holding a secret. Just by the smugness of our faces you could tell we were hiding something.

***

The crew had left us out of the conversation, and I was grateful for that. I found it hard to concentrate while I imagined how I would kiss Miles, how he would kiss me, how I'd pull him closer, how he'd taste of air and spring around us, and how he might look at me.

In all honesty, the look which he had then wasn't very different than the any time he smiled at me. I guess it was my brain, hoping Miles had also had a crush for as long as I have.

Hopes were hopes, dreams were dreams, and reality was reality. Some things must be separated.

But, hopefully, not Miles and I. I don't want that kind of separation.

***

"Well that was an interesting rant Cayla had", Miles said when we were walking back to the school.

"Erm… Yeah, it really was."

"You didn't hear a word she said, did you."

"Not a single one." He smiled at me.

"Neither. I wasn't even trying to listen. Where are we headed?" he asked once we passed his room.

"My room? Cayla being my roomate can be a very useful weapon."

"Shame on you, using people as weapons." I began to complain, but he just bumped me with his hip. "I'm kidding, I get what you're trying to say. I get you, Jamie."

"I'm glad you do. Since when do you call me Jamie?"

"Since always."

"But why?" He thought about that for a few seconds.

"James is too common, too boring. You aren't boring. James makes you think of forty-something-year-olds in suits with coffee in to-go cups and running late for their meetings. Jamie is the cute boy who likes art of any kind, socialises and likes to have friends." He shrugged. "That's just how I see it."

"But I'm none, I'm not a business man, I don't socialise."

"Yes you do." When I raised my eyebrows at him, he explained a bit more in depth. "Why did you tell Cayla you wanted to meet her friends in the first place?"

"Because she said she had a special friend with whom she wanted me to meet." It was his turn to raise his eyebrows.

"So, I…"

"Seems so."

"She's insane, that girl. Playing queer matchmaker in a Christian school."

"I realised from the very beginning I liked her." I glossed over his comment. We were not a match. Not yet, at least.

Hopes are hopes, dreams are dreams, and reality is reality.

We entered the room.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:38 pm

Not a second after we closed the door, the same moment my hand raised up in the air to touch his face, there was a knock.

"Universe hates us", Miles noticed.

We went to open the door, and the whole delegation called Cayla and co. entered the room.

"What up?" Cayla asked as they all stationed on the big bed. "We have Chem on Monday, we haven't done the equations."

"And I'm stupid, I don't get any of that", Poet said. And with that quick explanation, they, as if on cue, took out the chemistry books and started solving homework. Miles and I shared a look.

"Somewhere else…?"

"No." I replied and sat down on the bed. "Not today, they'll think we're hiding something."

"Aren't we?"

And we hid. We hid for a week, never able to find a proper time.

***

The week was full of tests, full of near all-nighters, and stress. I was a fairly good student, but not good enough for an A. I didn't give my grades much thought, since I never planned to become a doctor or any similar profession.

I spent my study time not in Miles' room, but in my own, to the unspoken agreement we had. Our grades were at stake, and I'd (and he'd) only get distracted by him if we studied together.

I saw him during our classes together, when we'd share glances and half smirks. During breakfast, lunch and dinner we'd sit across each other with knees touching, and I could feel every move of his bones, every flex of his muscles. Every gulp, every hitch of his breath and every draw of blood from his lip when he bit on it and the metal ring cut into sensitive flesh.

And I'd pretend I didn't feel any of it also.

***

You can explain love. It's somewhere between the lines of 'I'd do anything for him or her' and 'He or she makes me laugh' or 'we know each other so well' or dig out another truckload of cliches and sticky metaphors. You can explain attraction. You hang out with someone because they're labeled as 'hot' and you can't wait to try what everyone else has.

But this.

I watched his every move when he was near me. From him scratching his eyebrow to the clicking his tongue piercing against his teeth, from crossing his legs to unrhythmic taps of his toes when he was nervous, which was often, at least when he was close to me.

You couldn't compare this feeling to a drug, because you never got your fix, you lived off of withdrawals; nor could you compare it to a fire, because it burned, but without eating anything in its flames. It kindled and left my throat dry and dusty, and world tasted like ashes.

I wondered what he tasted like.

I wondered how might my body react to our kiss, how will he pull me closer, how will I relax against him. I wondered why he got all those piercings, and how would his metal lip ring feel under my lips. I wondered where he got his denim jacket, the one which he wore when it was too hot for rain and too cold for sun. I wondered what did his necklace mean.

I craved knowledge about his life. I craved touch, just a touch of fingers.

I was a creator of maps, and Miles was a new country, unsearched by anyone until now, until me. I wanted to map every plain of his body, every fall and every peak. I wanted to know why he lived, how his organs worked. And I wanted to finally figure out his brain.

He lived on the streets, for goodness sake! And yet, the first thing he does when he sees me? Smiles. Was it true, that the saddest people
smile the brightest? Because I didn't want Miles to be sad. His name was not meant for a sad person.

Miles, the one who smiles.

***

It is possible that God has created Miles just to show me how wrong was I actually, how wrong I am. It is possible that this is just a cruel joke, that he isn't interested, or is too religious.

But God knows that I wasn't in that for physical gain, or for someone to debate with intellectually.

Cayla'd said. I needed a friend. And Miles was just that.

And, so hopeful it's making me light-headed, more.

***

And, dear Lord, did I want to kiss him. It hurt how much I wanted. And it hurt how much I thought of my parents every time I imagined him.

And as each second passed, it hurt more.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:24 am

On Friday, we agreed. No more wait. Tomorrow.

***

"This is more than ridiculous. This is absurd", he said as I threw him the key from his nightstand.

"What is?" I started counting the absurdities as I leant against the headboard, legs stretched in front of me. "Locking the door just to be able to kiss?" He left the key in the lock. "The fact that we're about to kiss?" He crawled towards me over the bed until he sat down on my lower thighs, the same height as me. We shared a smile. "Or, possibly, the fact that I've imagined this moment so many times…"

"Not as many as I did."

"Wouldn't bet on it."

"I would."

And, just like that, we kissed.

There was no fireworks, no planet alignment, no crescendoing rise of background music. It was just a kiss, a soft touch of lips.

But the reaction it caused was unexpected. My stomach dropped, it felt like all air was sucked out of the small room.

"Well, this is…" his voice was shaky, a bit confused.

"Yeah."

It was as if he decided that that kiss wasn't proper, that it didn't work, so he kissed me again. And again.

Until I felt it. Fireworks.

"This… Is how people usually feel after kissing someone?"

"In a nutshell", I replied, my voice strained and breathy. There was an unknown weight pressing my chest, forcing air out.

"Christ."

"Yeah." He pushed himself closer to me and wrapped his legs around my waist, which gave me an opportunity to hide my fingers in his hair, our foreheads touching.

"Worth the wait?"

"Oh, no. Definitely not. The wait was mind-numbing. Excrutiating."

"Horrific."

"We're not playing adjective battle, are we?" He just smiled at me, a small, secretive smile. Meant only for me. "Because if we are-"

"Cuz if we are…" he stopped me with a light kiss, as light as it got, but it left me gasping. It felt like, with every kiss, I wanted him more, I became more sensitive to the places our bodies touched. "I'd never run out of adjectives to describe your eyes when you smile. Well, either that, or… You now."

"Me now? What's wrong with me now?"

"Nothing's wrong, just... Ah." We collided in a kiss which left us both craving air. My hand in his hair tightened, and he let out a quiet, held-back whimper.

"Shh, shh, they can't hear us. Shh." He looked at me, with a fragile lining of fear in his eyes, colour of the darkest depths of an ocean. We sat looking at each other for a minute. "Miles, you..."

"I…?"

"You beautiful, beautiful thing." He went light pink, colour fading his skin tone. He connected our foreheads again, and grinned, all teeth.

"Never have I ever been called beautiful."

"If you continue to spend time with me, you'll be getting lots of that."

I felt awfully inadequate. There were simply no words to describe exactly what I felt.

The only word which came close to the feeling, was a name. His name.

***

We kissed for ten minutes, and it was the longest time I spent kissing someone. My lips went numb, but still sent electricity to the farthest parts of my body. My hands went weak, but still held onto his hair like I was holding to the last strings of my life. But the pace had changed when Miles pulled me closer to himself, when our chests crashed against each other's.

"James…" There was an unmistakeable strain in his voice.

"I-I know." I leant away. "We have to stop, otherwise…"

"Yes, yes, I get it. They'll find us, send me to Africa and you to Syberia and we'll never see each other again." I couldn't help but smile.

There was a knock on the door.

A swear from Miles, and I was pushed down under the bed in less then five seconds.

"Yes?" His voice was squeaky and high, so he coughed. "Yes?"

"C'mon, Miles, open up, it's me."

"It's my roommate", Miles knelt down to me.

"Well yeah, get rid of him!" I hissed. He stuck his tongue out at me.

"I'm in the middle of something!" Miles said, loudly, to his roommate. "Could you come back later?"

"Alright." The roommate didn't seem delighted. When he was sure the roommate was gone, he pulled me out from under the bed.

"Go! I'll see you on Monday, I have to think about this." He kissed me one last time."And… James?"

"Yes?"

"Thanks."

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:12 pm

I have nothing to say about that Sunday which followed, because nothing happened. Nothing, but questioning, denial, regret, paranoia, and, lastly, hope.

Hope was definitely the most powerful feeling.

***

I was woken up incredibly early in the morning (in the most awkward position with Cayla, but who can blame us, she was an odd sleeper) by a knock on the door. Cayla let out a grunt and rolled away from me.

"No, go away", she said into the pillow. But, the door clicked, and opened.

"I stole Jamie's keys on Saturday", Miles informed us entering the room. My eyes immediately flung open.

"Miles?"

"No, shh", he was soon crawling up on our bed, setting off all the alarms in my head. "It's half past five, you don't have to wake up just yet."

"James, if you plan to bring your boyfriends at half past FIVE", Cayla rolled to the far end of the bed, taking one of the blankets with her, "you notify me twenty four hours prior so I can scatter rose petals on the bed, light a hundred candles and buy a plane ticket to America." Miles lay in the middle, so I turned around to face him. "I don't care what you do, I'm not looking, but don't you make any kind of noise, or else."

"Or else what?" Miles asked, incredibly content, with his body pressed against mine. My chin ended on top of his hair.

"Or else is usually a good enough threat. I now sleep", I could hear her rolling her eyes.

"So", Miles then looked up to me with a huge smile on his face.

"So", I replied in the same way, using my hand on his waist to pull him close.

"I thought about this."

"And?"

"I decided."

"And?"

"And." He smiled at me. "This is my last year in this school. Last year as a minor. I'll be eighteen soon, and that means I'll be free from the people that call themselves my foster parents. And, I… Have a plan. Brilliant, plausible and completely and utterly doable."

"I'm willing to listen to your plan which you described with many words."

"Please", came a growl from Cayla. "I'm on my period, my stomach hurts like hell, and I'm writing extra Chem exam. Please, and I'm saying that in the nicest way possible, shut up."

"Mm", Miles pressed his nose against my cheek, whispering in my ear: "I'll tell you about it tomorrow, after the Biology test, okay, love?"

I started at his hair, the only part of him I could see, in disbelief.

"Mil-" I choked. He pulled away with a faint flush on his cheeks.

"Sorry. Did I just say that? It just came out of me. Sorry. Doesn't mean I didn't mean it, though." He seemed fidgety.

I've never thought that one day, I'd end up like this. Head over heels for a boy who said he loved me. Not replied to, but said. My jaw released itself from my face.

"I-"

"No, no, no", he pressed a finger against my lips. "Don't say it if you don't mean it. Don't say if you don't think it's fully, absolutely true. Please don't."

"But-"

"If you don't mean it, just shut up. Don't do this to me."

"It's fully, absolutely true."

He looked at me blankly for a while. Like he'd shut down.

"Why?" When he spoke, his voice was innocent. Confused. Childish.

"I-I don't know. Need there be a reason?"

"No." Then he smiled.

The brightest, sunniest, widest smile.

I remembered that I had the approval to kiss him any time I wished. So I did.

When I pulled back, there was a single tear on his face. He audibly sniffed.

"Gah. I'm sorry", he said and pulled himself together. "I just thought… That it is impossible."

"What is?" I asked.

"Loving me."

"It's not. You're the most loveable person I met."

"You two", Cayla grumbled, "when you get married and have adopted babies, they will have cavities because you are just to sweet." I laughed a bit and returned Miles to the place where he belonged. In my arms.

I'll forever regret I didn't tell him I loved him then.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:36 pm

No matter in what God you believe or don't believe, what happened at 16:04 that Monday, wasn't fair.

I know, because that's the exact moment Cayla called me.

***

A bit of a prologue.

1. During the last class of the day, English, our teacher forgot our corrected exams in her flat, in the city where she lived, an hour's ride away from here. One hand shot up in the air.

"I can get it, I have a car."

Cayla, Miles, Military Crop, Poet and Grey Eyes were sent off for exams.

2. I wanted to go with them, but there was no more room in the car.

3. For an hour and a half, there was a horrific feeling in my stomach. An hour and a half in which I paced around the room, did homework on which I gave up on twice a minute, and tapped my feet.

4. I should have went with them, it dawned on me once the phone rang.

***

16:04.

My phone woke up from its long hibernation.

"Hello?"

"James? Oh, my God, James!"

Cayla was half screaming into the phone over the sound of muted crying and drunk banter.

"Cayla? What's going on?"

"I-I-I-" she started hyperventilating, speaking rapidly. "I went to dial 999, but it went to speed dial to you- Austin, Austin, no, no-" that's where her phone hit the ground and I was left in silence. Petrifying, breathtaking silence. I listened to indecipherable voices for about ten minutes, when I heard an ambulance in the background.

"Hello?" Unknown, male voice. "Is anybody here?" I didn't reply. Something in me protested against my own will. "Hey, Harry", the voice called someone on the other side.

"Yeah?" Another voice. It wasn't any of the ones I wanted to hear.

"Talk to this kid." Whispers, lasting for a minute or so. Scrunching noise as the phone was being handed over.

"Hey… James." 'Harry' must had looked at caller ID. "Are you there? Is everything alright?"

"No." My voice sounded like a choke. I felt light, as if I may float away.

"Don't worry, the ambulance came, it's going to be just fine." His voice had a similar quality like Cayla's, and it made me float in forests. Stars played tag in my eyes.

"What happened." He was a psychologist of sorts, specialised in kids for PTSD. I could feel his calm voice drugging me like morphine.

"Your… Friends were in a car accident. A drunk driver, we can see, and it was not theur fault."

That wasn't happening. I was already floating away, to the sky, to the gates of Heaven. But a sound of quiet sobs, familiar, crashed me down. Into the dirt of life.

"What do you mean it's just fine??" I snapped at Harry.

No.

No, no, no.

"Calm down. It's okay, they're going to be okay. Look, one of them is conscious. I'll give you to her."

My cheeks felt hot and flooded.

"James?" Poet's soft voice came to me through the dirt.

"Eva", I let out a breath. Silence. I heard her breathing, and that was enough.

"Oh no", lastly she let out a sob. "Austin… Riss… They're covered in glass, no…" Her breathing went fast and hyper. "Blood, everywhere, colour of Cayla's stupid hair dye, no, no…"

"Please, talk to me, I-I- don't know what to do, I-" They hang up. The medics, not Poet. She would have never hung up on me like that.

It took me a long time to fill my lungs with oxygen, and even longer to process what I had just witnessed happen.

And then, I cried. Silently.

Each moment felt like a punch in the stomach, and it kept on hitting me.

My friends were in a car accident. There was glass, blood, drunk drivers, medics, psychologists, probably metal and engine parts everywhere, and I couldn't imagine it.

And I didn't get a word about Miles. Air was a rarity again.

What if.

What if he fainted.

What if he stayed disabled.

What if he forgot.

What if he died.

I didn't feel my limbs, I couldn't move. What about Cayla? What happened to her after she dropped the phone?

It hurt just thinking about that, and the waves of pain just kept hitting. The tide rose, the tide fell.

I remember it all so vividly.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:36 pm

I remember being in a hospital, but I don't remember getting there. It was an experience which I don't wish to anyone, not even my worst enemies.

The first out of five unlucky friends I saw was Eva, who seemed to be very bruised, scratched and patched up, but, gratefully, alive.

"James!" She rushed towards me and hugged me tightly, not what you'd expect from a girl so petite like her. "I-I- I thought I was going to die, and I don't know where the others are, oh my god…"

"Calm down", I told her as we both sat down on the uncomfortable hospital chairs. I didn't know what to do, because I never ended up in situations like that one, and I never want to end up again.

"That's what the doctors keep on telling me, but it's hard when you don't know if your friends are alive or not." It was hard to talk to her after that because she couldn't stop crying. And, honestly, neither could I.

***

The next person I saw was Cayla.

"Your red haired friend is in room 23", the nurse who looked bored sent us in the right direction. Eva and I immediately stood up.

"Was she driving?" I asked once we were walking to the room 23; slowly, because her leg started hurting from the bruises.

"No, Clarissa was", Eva sniffed quietly as she limped towards the room. "She and Austin were on front seats, they got injured the worst."

We opened the door, and Cayla was there, with a ticked off look in her eyes.

"I'm eighty percent sure this is a dream, but if it's not, I'm going to become a lawyer to sue that fucking moron who crashed himself into us and I'm not even joking." She wasn't. I knew she was fully capable of doing that.

"Cayla, thank goodness you're alive!" Eva said, getting emotional again.

"Of course I'm alive", Cayla's expression softened. "It takes more than that to kill me, ya know. I have a broken leg, though, so you'll have to carry me around school, so how's that. How are the others?" How typical of her, trying to minimalise the amount of damage the accident caused. She'd be a perfect mother, if she decides for kids one day.

"We don't know", I said. "They didn't let us see them, they didn't even tell us how they were doing."

"Hm." She made a face. "I guess they're contacting their parents, to check if it's okay for you to know about their children's state. Whilst I", she proudly squared her shoulders, "have annoyed the nurses to the depths of hell to let anybody in. And you two show up", she smiled, the most comforting thing in the world at that moment.

"Oh, I just hope they're all okay", Eva sniffed once again.

"Hope is the only thing we have right now", I looked down.

***

Others weren't as lucky as we are.

"Hello?" A young nurse appeared at the door. She seemed to be too sweet to be the bearer of good news. I didn't trust her. "Are you guys the ones in the car accident today?"

"Yeah." I felt Cayla's arm tighten under my arm. She sensed something wasn't right. "What's wrong?"

"Why does everything have to be wrong, Cayla?" Eva asked biting on her lip. It was painful, to see her in so much pain.

"I'm sorry to inform you, but"

Three names.

Clarissa.

Austin.

Miles.

It was the most selfish milisecond of my life.

Don't let Miles die, anyone but him. Austin, even, no matter what happened to Cayla after that, but not Miles.

I hate myself for those thoughts.

"Your friend, Clarissa, she was suffering through internal and external bleeding, so a couple of minutes ago-"

"No!" Eva let out a loud whimper. "No, don't even say it, saying it will only make it real, oh no, no-" she tried to continue, but couldn't. A choke swallowed her words.

"I'm sorry", the nurse said. This time she meant it.

And she left.

Cayla and Eva cried in silence, curled up in a tight hug. I didn't have any more tears left. It was just a dream, and I'd wake up soon. But one part refused to accept the illusion.

One soul fell, and we had two more to lose.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:57 pm

It might have been hours, it might have been minutes, but someone else entered the room. I didn't bother looking up.

"Is anybody here named James?" The voice was a soft, childlike soprano, and it only made me want to cry more.

"I'm James", I looked up. The woman was petite and brittle, with hands of a worker and makeup of an innocent, small creature, what I guess she was.

"Somebody asked for you. What was his name…"

"Austin?"

"Miles?"

Two hopeful voices called out, one mine, one Cayla's.

Selfishness is directly proportional to the value of what you're going to lose.

"Oh, yes, Miles, yes." My heart rose, and Cayla's fell.

"He… He asked for me? He's awake? Is he okay?"

"Just a concussion, we hope it's not a big deal, yes, he asked for you. He wants to see you."

And I'm forever grateful for Cayla.

"Go", she said. "Go on, I know you want to get rid of us, weepy girls. Go and check if he's okay, tell him what happened. I'm not letting Eva out of my sight today." What did I do to deserve such a good friend?

I followed the doctor into a different section of the hospital.

"He's not entirely coherent, I'm afraid, he'd been medicated for a while and his brain has been heavily beaten up." I must have looked worried, because the doctor replied in a faster and squeakier voice. "He's okay, don't worry! He'll be like new in less than a week."

"What if he won't?" She gave me a gloomy look.

"He will."

We came to a stop in front of a room, and the doctor turned to me.

"Be… Gentle with him. Slow. He might not understand everything you're saying, at first, but with time…" I nodded hastily. Just let me see him, I thought.

"Yes, yes, okay, alright." She noticed my tone.

"Go in, I'm keeping you out for too long. Sorry." She apologised and walked away.

I opened the door.

***

I remember, when I was a kid, that people told me I always expected the worse.

I used to tell them that I won't get disappointed.

And life until that point was nothing but disappointing.

***

I believe everyone has a couple of miracles they can use in a lifetime.

You collect your good deeds, and once you collect enough, you get a miracle.

Just one miracle. Just this once.

***

There are moments in life when time collapses on itself, pauses, and you reflect on your thoughts and your choices. Your hopes, dreams and the reality.

I thought about Cayla and Eva. Eva, who lost all hope, and Cayla, who was on pins and needles. I didn't know what was worse.

I hoped Miles would be okay and I hoped that we'd be able to go over all this. The death and loss and pain.

I dreamed that this never happened, that the world was a different place, and that Clarissa was alive.

I'd always said she was a ghost.

It fractured me just to think about it. I'd barely known the girl. How must it feel for Cayla and Eva, who knew her for years? Eva, more than Cayla. What Austin was to Cayla, Clarissa was to Eva. And, that was what Miles was to me.

This was the reality. Every choice I made lead up to this very point, and it will form my future.

***

I didn't know what would I encounter when I opened the door, I didn't know if he was aware of his surroundings.

But what I knew was:

No matter in what state I found him, I'd be there for him. If he ended up with memory loss, I'd help him remember every detail about himself, every detail I loved and treasured. I'd tell him about the placement of his piercings, about his bloody ripped jeans, about his ever curly blond hair, about the half smirk he has on all the time and the full grin he breaks into when he's happier than usual. I'd tell him how his lips taste like, how his arms felt around my neck. Or, better yet. I'd show him.

If he only decides to trust me.

I opened the door.

I entered.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:10 pm

"Jamie?"

His voice was unmistakably clear, and I felt like falling.

"Miles. You gave me quite a fright."

"I feel like shit. I probably look like shit, too."

"No you don't." I walked over to him. The only change on his face was a small plaster on his temple, but that was it. He made it out unflawed.

"What happened?" he asked. I couldn't help myself; I tangled my hand into his curly hair, just to check if it's still real. "Is-is everything okay? Is everyone okay?"

The guilt in his voice, even though he was completely innocent, gutted me.

"No." I gulped as worry filled his expression.

"Oh…" he took a shaky breath. "I-I remember glass- oh no."

His hand gripped on my wrist.

"Clarissa… And- and Austin. Are they…?"

"Clarissa, she…" Tears appeared on his face. Hadn't I promised never to let him cry ever again? "And we still don't know about Austin."

"No… Cayla, she-"

"She's got a broken leg, but she's fine."

"No." Miles shook his head. "She won't be okay until she can see Austin." I could see all the information settling in, and as each second passed, I saw Miles getting more and more helpless.

"He'll be okay. He has to."

"Eva?"

"She's got the lightest injuries, she's okay."

"And…" His blue eyes were fixed on mine. "You?"

I just shook my head, remembering.

I felt like falling again.

"It's okay now." He said when I sat down next to his bed, trembling.

"No", my words sounded forced. "I never told you…"

"You never told me what?"

"That I love you." Silence.

"But you did."

"Not in those words."

"Well, in that case", he gave me his best smile. And everything seemed right for a second. "I love you."

"I love you."

***

Austin came from his operation, but didn't wake up, so it felt like nothing had happened at all. Eva and Cayla'd stayed in Cayla's room, Miles and I'd stayed in Miles's room. Time passed, day faded into night, and tiredness caught up to all of us. Even though Miles and I kept on talking, most of the conversation wasn't connected.

"You never told me about your necklace." They took off his necklace and piercings (which I discovered were gang signs. I didn't want to go further into that) and put them on his nightstand, so I played with the jewelry half of the time, and the other half I smoothened the honey blonde curls on his head. "But I think I figured it out, listen."

"Mm." He was only half awake by this point.

"This ring, it belonged to your mother, and these dogtags belong to your father, who was in the military, but he passed them onto you."

"Mm", another noncommittal sound from him as  he pushed himself up so he could talk. "Yes and no."

"It can't be both yes and no, stop being so bipolar in your answers."

"Okay." A small smile appeared on his face.

"Okay? No, I want answers", I said as I examined the dogtags.

"When I was a kid, I decided I wanted a reminder of my parents, so I took a ring out of my foster mum's jewelry box", just a thought of toddler Miles stealing was enough to make me smile, "and these dogtags, well. Long story."

"I don't have all the time of the world, but what I have, I'm glad to spend with you."

"I love you." We had said that quite a lot during those long hours. A reminder, just like the necklace. "I just found it one day, on the fence, left alone. So I took it and created a story about my parents. Yes", he glanced at me, "according to my story, my dad went to war, and when he died there, my mum's heart broke so she died soon after. It was just a story, but I had convinved myself then that it was real."

"I'm sorry", I said. A glare from Miles, so I corrected myself. "I wish you'd known your parents."

"Mhm. No, wait." He thought for a few seconds. "I don't want to change anything."

"But-"

"No, really. Yes, I had a shitty life, but I'm still alive, see? Still alive, still healthy. And if I changed just one thing, maybe I wouldn't have met you."

It was hard to argue with his logic.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:21 pm

"He's okay. A bit of confused, but, good God, he's okay." Eva came into the room panting.

"Who, Austin?" Miles asked, instantly going from slightly sleepy to fully alarmed.

"Yes." It was more of a gasp than a word.

And that was it.

That was all the loss we had experienced.

It was a painful blow, but we took it standing.

Well. We did. Not Cayla. She took it sitting, but with just as much valour.

***

Returning back to the way too big halls, way too cold lighting, small rooms and wide beds felt like returning home.

***

Eva left us as soon as we entered the building. She was roommates with Clarissa, and she couldn't imagine how the room looks like, with all Clarissa's things still in there, waiting. Waiting for someone who will never come.

And that's the most hurtful thing about death. The things they left behind. The people who they left behind. The things left unfinished, and which will always stay unfinished.

***

First night when we returned to school we all grouped up in a circle on the big bed in Cayla's room and mine. Cayla hadn't left Austin's side since he woke up, Eva hadn't left Cayla's side since they first saw each other, and I hadn't left Miles' side since I entered that room.

You could feel the silence, heavy on your bones, dusty on your tongue.

None of us dared to speak for a long time, but when we did speak, it was Cayla.

"Huh. Four out of five. We still got it pretty good. The policemen I saw said that none of us should have survived."

"That's not helping, Cay", Austin warned her, but she pushed him away, carefully, since he was covered in stitches.

"I'm saying the truth! And, if we're going to be brutally honest-"

"Please don't", Eva's voice was impossibly small.

"It was for the best. Somebody had to die, if we already got into that situation. Let's look at it this way. Evvie, you have family back home. Austin, you have me, I have you. Miles, he has James. And we're talking important things here. Who did Riss have, except us?" Cayla looked around the room. Eva closed her eyes and let out a soft exhale.

"Nobody. She left her family, they hated her. But, I still wish she was here", she whimpered. Cayla bit down on her lip, as if she was regretting her words.

"I know. I wish so, too. But. The odds were against us."

And I couldn't help looking at Miles and Cayla and thinking about how I'd feel if it was them who lost their lives.

***

"You told me you had a plan", I said. Cayla, Austin and Eva had moved to Eva's room in the morning, to help Eva clear our Clarissa's things.

"Did I?" Miles asked into the fabric of my shirt.

"Yes."

"Hmm…" He pulled the blanket over us and crawled so that he was on my eye level. "I thought, that after this school year, we move in together."

"Wha-"

"Let me finish." He put his finger over my lips. "I know Cayla has a big flat in London which her dad bought for her, and I know she plans on moving in with Austin. What if we move in all together?" His eyes gleamed from the idea. "We'll all be eighteen then, I'll be free of my foster parents, you won't be restricted to yours, we could work and or study in London, it all checks out!"

"I… I don't know what to say. That seems too perfect to be real."

"I spent that entire Sunday coming up with this plan."

"And…" I looked into his eyes. "Does Cayla agree?"

"Yes, she says she'd love to have us there but only if we don't be too noisy."

"So…"

"So?"

"Yes. Let's do that. We're doing that."

"June, here we come.

Where God closes a door, he opens a window.

Ah, that sounds awfully cliche.

Where God takes a soul, he gives an opportunity.

And our opportunity was this:

Move to London.

Finish college.

Live without any boundaries or limitations.

All that, with Miles.

It was breathtakingly easy.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:31 pm

And that's the story of how I fell. Falling for the first boy who smiled at me, who had great hair and a cute smile, plus his personality quirks, unique from person to person. Never fully different, but never fully same. We were not unique, Miles and I. We were just two boys, guided by their hormones and a microscopic part of brain, wanting to be together without boundries. There were others like us. They may have looked like us, they may have had parents like us, but one thing I know for sure:

I'm glad we're not unique, and I'm glad we're imperfect. That's what makes life so interesting, and even though history always repeats itself, life is always so new. Miles never stopped being new to me.

And for his poison, I never needed a cure.

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PostSubject: Re: Find Me A Cure   Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:34 pm

The opportunity proved to be a good one that July.

"Cayla, this would be so much easier if you helped", Austin had informed her.

"Yeah, no, shh", she waved her hand at him and answered her phone. "Hi, dad! Yes, the flat is great, thank you!" And she walked past us, into the unfurnished flat, leaving Austin and me carrying a sofa through the door.

The flat was just big enough for three, but Miles was ridiculously small, so we managed. The only problem was, it was empty, apart from the bathroom and the kitchen, so Cayla had pulled some strings in furnishing the place. (If I hadn't known better, I'd say that she was a mafia member. The furniture came rather quickly ((In all honesty, she probably used her 'evil' voice on the salesmen.)) )

Miles was out. What was he doing? Well, he said he was going out to 'send a postcard to Canada as a personal fuck you. Oh, and I put a great picture of us kissing in it. Let's just sit and wait for reactions.'

And that's how my life is now. What's next, only God knows.

But I hope it's good.

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