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 vae soli {wip}

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PostSubject: vae soli {wip}   Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:27 pm

songs:
 

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PostSubject: Re: vae soli {wip}   Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:42 pm

2009.

One day, Sylvie's volunteering is going to end us all. Maybe not us all, but at least me, and I find that a good enough reason to worry.

It's bad enough that Clary joined in. By the end of that spiral, I ended up with a lawyer who brings homeless children home, and a pet shop employee, all under my roof. Listen, I never asked for this.

When I was buying a flat, I specifically searched for something big, but for two people. Big because I could afford it with my salary, and for two people because a man has his needs in shape of company during long nights. Not only did that backfire, but it backfired twice.

I met Sylvie in a library. It wasn't a surprise, because she was a law student and I was a philosophy major, and both those colleges fed on insomnia and baby tears apparently. We studied together, in silence, and one thing lead to another, and she moved in. Clary came afterwards, quite naturally, actually, because the our flat was above the pet shop she worked in.

But hey, more people means less chores. At least one good thing ever came out of social interaction.

Judging by what I already told you, you can guess I am not a people person. And that's why I was pissed at Sylvie.

"Syl, I can't understand what you're saying. Slow down. Meditate." I was at work, and it was just before my first class. There were some kids gathering up in the classroom, and I waved at them.

"Is our sofa free?" she narrowed her twittered speech down into something more reasonable to me.

"Why the eff do you need our sofa?" I learned to censor myself near minors. They will learn to swear when the time is right for them.

"Listen… a guy got shot, and they called me in because they don't know his name, so they can't keep him here."

"Shot?? … Wait, he doesn't know his name?"

"Piss off, Frank. He's completely out of it, they found him like passed out and he's still like that." Her voice usually gets quite pitchy when she's nervous, so I recognised that and didn't push it. However, I wasn't thrilled by the fact that a man I've never seen before is going to stay on my sofa. A man who has holes in his body.

"I'll nag you about it later, I've class… who's helping you get the guy to our flat?"

"I knew you were busy so I called up Clary, she's on her way."

"I want that guy out of my flat before I come home, mkay?"

"Ciao, Francesco."

She hung up on me, which I think it's a bit rude. I ignored it though, because I had a history lesson which I should've planned a day before, but I'm me, so that didn't happen. I'm lucky I have a class of nerds who does all my work for me.

Being a teacher is the easiest job in the world. That is, of course, if you're teaching a subject you love to children who are polite and calm, and know the subject you're teaching before you even open your mouth. That never happens, though.

I didn't wake up one day with a burning desire to show mini-humans how to do basic things in their life. Nobody I know has known what they wanted to be since they were young. Are you kidding me, nobody grows up wanting to be a lawyer. No, your parents force you into law school. Although, granted, Clary has liked animals all her life. Maybe I'm wrong. God knows that I was wrong many times throughout my life.

I couldn't concentrate the entire day because of that phonecall. It wouldn't be the first time someone spent the night in our flat, because the volounteering centre Sylvie worked for didn't have much room, and there are more and more people who needed help every day. But it would certainly be the first time anyone got shot.

I can't even imagine getting shot. Just needles terrify me, and I can't watch gory tv shows Clary and Sylvie watch every weekday from ten until they're asleep. During the day I asked Clary if they patched the guy up so I wouldn't come home to a bloody sofa, and the only answer I got was insufficient.

'If I wasn't gay, he'd be real hot', she wrote down. It's fascinating how all of my friends think that I should get laid as soon as possible, but I'm under an impression everybody gets that from their friends who are dating each other.

'That's such a nice thing to say about a guy who GOT SHOT. What's up with that, anyway?' I texted back while my pupils were working on an equation task. I don't know how it goes in the other schools, but in this one that I'm working in, private school, you had one teacher for one class, but all subjects, at least until your class is fifth grade. It pays well, so I'm not complaining.

'They don't know. Syl just said that they found him on the street after they heart a gunshot. Next to the police station. Possibly homeless.' I sighed and put down my phone. Through Sylvie I've encountered many cases like that, but it doesn't make them any less sad.

I mostly try to ignore it. It's like most people with dying, or World War Two. I know that people are working on curing illnesses and eliminating poverty, but it doesn't seem to be enough. And it's never going to be enough. But, we can still help one person at the time, like Sylvie. Or, like me, shape young minds or whatever. I'm trying, okay? I might not be the best teacher, or the best person, but I am making an effort, and I teach my pupils that trying is the most important thing. Maybe I should start listening to my own words.

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PostSubject: Re: vae soli {wip}   Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:22 pm

I went home a little later than usual. This kid in my class, Georgia, has troubles with capital letters, and all of her homework assignments lOok liKE tHis. Her poor little head looked it might let out steam as I was explaining that only the first letters in sentences get the privledge of being 'big letters'. Of course, that only means that she'll write her name in lower caps, but I'll deal with that later.

Jacket on, backpack in my hand, and I'm off to catch a bus. It doesn't pay off to have a car in big city like this one, even though Sylvie really likes driving, she gets her kicks when she travels to her family first in an aeroplane, and then in a rent-a-car. Once she took Clary, and even though her family was surprisingly accepting, Clary said she is never going to be in the same car as Sylvie because she drived like a maniac all the way through France and only cooled down when they reached Italy. Maybe she was just excited to see her folks. And maybe she's just a bad driver.

I don't know. Even though I got driving licence and all that jazz, I used to want to drive a motorbike, but my family would hang me if they ever knew.

In the meantime, buses and I became… maybe not best friends, but work colleagues. I tolerate them, and they don't kill me in return. And I'd still always pick buses over walking, because what would take me two hours walking, takes half an hour by bus. And, you know, I'm lazy, so that's always a factor to consider.

And all the way home, my mind was buzzing with bullet holes and blood and ew. But Clary was just as creeped out by blood in real life, so I trusted her judgement. She would be the first one to faint, and considering she was texting me, there was no organs showing.

I arrived home around three. What's specific about my flat is that, once Sylvie and Clary began dating, we renovated the house, and now the main entry is through the pet shop. We did that because the original entry was in a dark alleyway, which was spooky for me and Sylvie, but downright dangerous for Clary. It's safer for all of us to get in on the main road.

So the procedure is: get out a huge bunch of keys with all sorts of keychains. First, you unlock the pet shop door. Then you wander through the pet shop to reach the counter, and behind the counter there are two doors. You unlock the left one, and go in. Inside, there are stairs. Go upstairs. At the top of the stairs, there's a door. Guess what, you unlock that door too. And you're in! Congrats! In all honesty, I'll pick that any day than that alleyway.

"Hey, Clary", I said when I opened that one final door. Sylvie has work until five, and Clary wasn't in the shop, so the only place where she'd be is in our flat. I'm so smart, no wonder I am a teacher.

"Hey there, pal", she greeted me from the kitchen, where she's probably cooking. Since she has the most flexible work schedule, she's the one in charge of food around here. It's probably for the best, because I wouldn't trust Sylvie with fire.

"Where's our guest?" I asked as I took my shoes and jacket off. It wasn't really that cold outside, but it's better to be safe than frozen to death.

"Right where Syl left him", she said peeking out of the kitchen. "Ya know, I was tempted to cut his hair off."

That's not a strange thing to say, at all. I made an expression which I believe showed Clary just how strange I found that sentence.

"It's ginger. I've always wanted red hair."

"And cutting his hair off will help you how…?" She shook her hair at me and opened the fridge.

"It's just a saying", she said. And then I started laughing, because she sounded like she was genuinely sure of her words.

"No… no, it's not. Clary, it's really not."

"Well, I think it is. And that's all that matters."

It was my turn to shake my head, because Clary was Clary.

You know, if the situation was different in all ways possible, I would feel envious of Sylvie for dating someone so unique and sweet. Of course, I'm not, I just said it like that, but if I was going to begin dating again, I'm definitely going to search the Clary type. For now, I'm happy that I have friends, at least. That's more than most people can say.

"What are you making, Mrs. Clarice?" I asked, as if forgetting about the man on my sofa. Sometimes a brain chooses to block out everything that isn't a part of a routine.

"Food to feed the the kingdom, sir." She closed the fridge so that she make a face at me. "After all, I have to feed an extra peasant today."

"Syl's work is going to end me, I swear." Here we go, full circle. "He's still asleep?"

"Dead as your ambitions." I shoved her playfully, careful so that she won't cut herself. "Out of my kitchen, Franklin."

I listened to her, because she had a knife.

I headed towards my room to prepare for the next day. I can't expect my pupils to know everything, now, can I? But something caught my eye. Red hair on the sofa, like Clary said.

I couldn't stop myself from gasping, because it wasn't just red hair.

"What is it, Frank?" Clary asked. "You know him?"

I know that red hair, because I used to comb through it when it was wet from the sea. I know those freckles, because I counted them once, when it was early in the morning. And I know that cut that separates the right eyebrow in half, because I was the cause of it.

"Call Sylvie", I stuttered, just like he used to. "Tell her to come home as soon as possible."

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PostSubject: Re: vae soli {wip}   Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:35 pm

I was sat down across of him, occupying Clary's chair, staring at the body of January Newton Fryeman. You either say his name as a whole, or you don't say it at all. And I haven't been saying it for a long time.

It hurts, okay? Seeing someone for the first time in years, and seeing that they haven't moved from the point where you left them hurts even more.

And I couldn't do anything until he woke up. I asked Clary if she could make me a cup of tea, and waited.

I wonder if he remembered how I drank my tea.

Sylvie came an hour later and after stealing some of the food Clary already had put on the table, she went to sit next to me.

"Hey. Clary said you knew him."

I kept quiet from the moment I saw him, sipping my tea and trying not to think about it, which was extremely hard.

"Syl, I…"

How do you explain it? I couldn't explain it to myself, let alone to anyone else.

"How bad is he hurt?" Ignore the past, concentrate on now.

"I mean, he did get shot, near his lung, but it missed it." She ruffled my hair and leaned against my shoulder. "They do have mercy, you know. They stitched him up before saying that he can't stay in the hospital. I was just visiting Krissy", a girl in her volunteering place who got a cold, "and I offered to take him to my flat. What did you say his name was again?"

"January."

She laughed, because that's what people usually did when they heard his name.

"No it's not."

"He has a sister named November and a brother named August."

"Okay… you seem really sad."

And I really didn't want to talk about it, so I got up and headed to my room. Thankfully, Sylvie knows that she shouldn't push it, so she didn't follow me.

The last time I saw January was eight years ago, when we were dumb teens, and he did something I couldn't forgive. You tend to avoid people after something like that. Parting like that left me with frayed edges, and I think that I'm still not the same as I was at eighteen. As more and more time passed, I managed to stop thinking about what could have been and what should have been, and focus on more important things

But he was so important to me. Eight years ago.

I must have spent half an hour in my room when there was a soft knock on the door. Clary, of course, because Sylvie would just come in without asking.

"Lunch", she said, softly, like she didn't want to scare me.

"I'll... I'll eat later, I'm not hungry. I'm sorry."

She kept her gaze on me, and then she came in, closing the door behind her.

"Is he an ex?"

"He's…"

Clary knew better than anybody what's it like to have a past. And she was the best shoulder to cry on. A shoulder that doesn't ask useless questions.

She crossed the room in two steps and sat next to me. Not even a second after that I melted into her, reliving images of him in my mind.

Only when Sylvie barged into my room and rolled her eyes at us, I dared to get up and face the world.

"Lunch, before I kill you for dinner."

My chair was in the perfect position to watch if January wakes up, and if the girls noticed, they didn't say a word.

They talked about ordinary things, masterfully avoiding the subject. I didn't say a word. I didn't even listen to them, and even if they tried to get me into the conversation, all their attempts failed.

Then he moved, and it felt like my heart will stop.

Sylvie immediately pushed me back in my chair, because I wanted to run to him, to shake him, to ask him why—and she could read it off my face.

"Help Clary with the dishes."

I struggled against her hand for a second and she groaned.

"Frank, listen for once."

I didn't want to, but I did anyway, because Sylvie can be scary if you oppose her, so I tried not to do that too often.

"Hey there, sleepy head", she said as she walked into the living room.

"W-where am I? …ow."

Hearing his accent and his stutter broke my heart all over again, and if Clary didn't put the plates in my hands, I would've ran after Sylvie.

Sylvie told him the whole story again, she must have gotten sick of repeating herself, and he listened carefully, without interrupting, trying to position himself so that it didn't hurt.

"Where do you live, is there anyone I can call?" she asked him, keeping careful distance, like she does. Out of all of us, she has the most tact, and she knows how to behave herself around strangers. Clary would seem assertive, and I would be ineloquent. "They didn't find a phone or a wallet on you so they didn't know what to do."

"They?" He cocked his chin to the left, like he always does when he asks questions.

"The doctors."

"And who are you?"

"I'm Sylvie, and that's my girlfriend Clary, in the kitchen, doing the dishes."

Sylvie probably pointed at the kitchen for him to look, and since Clary pushed me to the side, he couldn't see me because of the kitchen wall.

"The doctors told me you shouldn't move at all these first two days, and then as little as possible for a week. You still didn't tell me where I could take you."

Nowhere, I wanted to shout at her, because he's still in my dad's old clothes, like when I left him, and he's still the same, can't she see that the rip on both of his knees is caused by me?

"I'm... Homeless", he said, in another painful attempt to raise his torso so he can sit down, and it was that change of point of view that made me visible to him.

He looked me up and down, as if he thought I was a hallucination.

"Franks?"

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PostSubject: Re: vae soli {wip}   Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:57 pm

"Don't call me that", I said. I don't know whether I was angry, or sad, or a mix of two. Mostly tired.

"What are you doing here?" He still had that pause in his speech, in the middle of the sentence, the caesura he's had since he was a child and his parents tried all ways to get rid of his stutter.

"This is my flat", I looked around, because I didn't realise until now just how much I missed his red hair and the freckles on his nose, and his collarbone.

"That's a—"

"Coincidence." I wasn't going to even think about allowing him to say the word miracle. No, this was far from a miracle. My miracle happened when I was fifteen, and it disappeared when I was eighteen.

We stared at each other in silence for a couple of seconds, and then we seemingly realised there were other people in the room who were waiting for answers.

"You… live with him?" he looked first at Sylvie, she was closer, and then at Clary, who decided that she should really continue doing the dishes, because nobody else would help her.

"Yeah, not by choice, though." For once I was glad for Sylvie and her interrupting.

"It's been—"

"Eight years. I know."

Sylvie grabbed a decorative pillow from the sofa and punched me with it.

"Shut up, Frank, let the man speak! You're impossible! Clary, leave the dishes and go take him out, because he obviously can't control himself."

I wanted to protest, but when I thought about it, I needed to get out and breathe. If I stayed any longer, I would have punched him.

I can't deal with borderline emotions. When I'm angry, I'm pissed. When I'm happy, I'm ecstatic. I don't have a light feelings, because I always feel them at full strenght. Bites me in the ass more often than not.

"I was just out an hour ago", I said, but my voice wasn't convincing enough.

"Out! Otherwise I'm telling your Christian mother you live with a trans lesbian and a mafia member."

There's nothing I could say to that, so I let Clary gently drag me away.

"Eccolo. Thanks, darling." She smiled at Clary, and turned back to January. "I don't care about your issues with Frank, I just need to keep you on this sofa until your stitches heal."

But I couldn't keep my eyes off of him as Clary handed me my shoes, and he disappeared behind the wall.

"I don't work for the mafia, I'm joking", Sylvie said, and I didn't hear January's reply because the door closed.

Clary and I walked in silence until we reached the main road, and the wind blew the cold into our jackets.

"Ah, shit, I didn't… Do you have gloves or something?" she asked. It's a well known fact that I am a creature of cold, that I thrive in winter, and sit under the air conditioning in summer. I went through the pockets of my jacket anyway, and fished out a a woolly striped hat that Sylvie gave me god knows when, and handed it to Clary.

"It's your girlfriend's. Tell her to stop leaving stuff in my jacket."

"Comes in handy when it's cold. Gimme", she reached out for the hat, and I pulled it onto her head. She laughed, because I had to tiptoe up to reach her. "You're such a jerk."

"I'm a jerk? Sylvie is a jerk for leaving clothes everywhere."

"Yeah, but I can't tell her that she is a jerk, she'll kill me."

"I don't know you put up with her." I shook my head, but I think I knew the answer.

"I love her, I have no choice."

Throughout the years, I wished that I could feel the same way about somebody. One time I thought I felt it, it was a mistake.

The city was too fast for my liking. Heaps of people moving without a single direction I can fathom. I've thought about moving out into the suburbs, maybe there it would be quieter, but I never had a reason apart from the noise. Maybe, to give the lovebirds some room. Or, to make an effort of moving as far as I possibly could from January.

If I could put that one night aside, he played an incredible role. He tricked me. And I loved him. But, how hard it is for a teen to love somebody? After all, I was just a mess of hormones, I just wanted to be accepted, to have friends. I always had issues with my saviour complex, and that's probably why I'm so bitter about Sylvie now.

I can blame him just as much as I can blame myself. How can you expect someone not to take a chance you so painfully gave them? And I was stupid enough to take him in and open myself up to him. There's no use crying about it now, and it's not like I can wish that I was smarter, because I was only fifteen. Maybe I needed someone like him. Maybe I think too much.

"What are you thinking about, Franklin", Clary asked, playfully elbowing my chest. "You're unusually quiet."

"Stuff. I don't know."

Clary sat down and ordered a coffee for her and tea for me. The coffee shop was small and cozy, just the way Clary likes things. She took of the hat and stuffed it into the pocket of her coat, probably to return it to Sylvie later.

"Now." She put her hands on the table, and I knew she meant business. "We're alone now, and you can tell everything, okay? No. You must tell me everything. Only if I know everything that's happening or has happened I can help you, and pick a side, his or yours."

And I wanted to tell her everything, but I didn't know where to start, and what to tell her, and what to keep to myself. But Clary will accept me with open arms and an open heart. Right?

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PostSubject: Re: vae soli {wip}   Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:04 pm

"There's not much to say", I started, holding my tea like it could protect me from the world, and if not the world, only from the cold, which I didn't mind anyway. "We were… together, I guess, but, it was probably not real."

"It was real if you felt it", she told me, and it hit hard.

"Maybe I feel all the wrong things. It would explain a lot."

"I've known you for threeish years now, and I can tell you that you don't feel all the wrong things, but a little too much of things."

I sipped my tea and shook my head.

"Yeah, that's how I am now." Clary crossed her legs and looked at me like she knew I was hiding something from her. "He changed me."

"For the better?"

I allow myself to love him for a second, because it wasn't all bad.

"Mostly. But then he did something I can't forgive, and I haven't seen him since."

"What?"

"…I'm sorry, I can't."

She reached out and put her hand on my shoulder. Shook me a bit, to show she means no harm. And she never does, that's why I prefer talking to her. Sylvie helps more, but Clary is gentler.

"It's okay, Frank. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, but it's harder if you keep it on the inside."

"Well, it's been on the inside for years, I think I can handle it."

She looked like she wasn't so sure, but she was going to let it slide anyway.

"How do I… treat him? I mean… I don't know what I mean." She laughed and moved her hair away from her face. "I'm a mess, you'll have to excuse me. I wanted to ask, what is he to you now?"

Everything and nothing at all.

"Treat him like he's my ex, I guess. He is…" I had to force myself to say it, but it came out anyway, "he's a good person with wrong morals. It's not his fault. The world shaped him." I knew it made no sense to her, but if I told her what happened, she wouldn't understand the whole situation, all the feelings and all the hormones, and the way he physically took my breath away.

"Okay. I will."

We drank quietly, with our thoughts, for a couple of minutes when Clary's phone rang.

"Hey, Syl", she answered, so I knew who she was talking with. "Yeah, he's with me. Mhm. He's calm. Yeah. Just let us finish our drinks first, okay, sweetie? Oh, fuck you." Clary hung up and downed her drink. "We 'have to get here' because she doesn't understand social interactions. C'mon."

I paid for our drinks and we were back in our flat in ten minutes.

"Now, listen." Clary stopped me before we entered. "Best behaviour, otherwise we'll be sent out again."

"I'm always on my best behaviour, I don't know what you're talking about."

She stuck her tongue out and opened the door.

"Clary hates me now", I heard Sylvie trying to keep her voice down, but she could never whisper. I only realised how loud she was when I walked away from her. But I appreciate her here. Without her, Clary and I would never get anything done.

"We're back", Clary announced. "Mr Fryeman—can I call you January?—I'll have you known that Sylvie called us back because she—"

"Shh! Clarice, I swear!"

It's nice to know some things never change.

Our flat was still the same, with the same weird hall and its two bedrooms, even though now there was someone else in it. The old sofa Sylvie brought in when she moved in had a new body laid on it. Everything is the same, but different with January.

I took off my jacket and my shoes for the second time that day and, with a deep breath, I went to the living room.

He was still on the sofa, following me with his caramel eyes.

"Hi", he said, and that was enough for me.

"Can… you two leave us alone?" I asked Clary and Sylvie, and they nodded. Once they were in their room, I sat down across him, and he turned to me wincing.

"I swear I never… meant to be here. Near you."

"I know." And silence always made me angry near him, so I kept on talking. "How did you get shot? Why."

"I don't know. I guess there was a gang fight", he moved his hair from his face, and I could see his face as a whole for the first time. I wondered if his skin would feel the same against my lips. "A stray bullet caught me, and they ran away before the ambulance came, I guess."

"So you're still on the streets."

"Where else could I go?"

He wasn't sad, like his words were. He wasn't saying that to make me feel guilty, it was just a statement.

"Couldn't you call Ember or Gus?" They're his siblings after all. He couldn't count on his parents, that I knew, but some family had to be of help.

"I didn't want to bother them. They were starting their own families and careers, they didn't need another worry on their mind. And they still don't."

"Goddamnit." I shouldn't have tried to help him, to somehow find a solution. But I did it anyway. "And a job, do you have a job?"

"With only high school finished? You tell me."

"Does nobody on this fucking world want to help you?"

"You did."

I opened my mouth to speak, but I didn't know what to say to him. Yes, I helped him. But maybe I shouldn't have.

"If you… want", I started, while most of my brain screamed 'stop', "there's a job in the school I work, I could ask them to interview you when your wound heals." His expression didn't change, but his eyes got warmer.

"Thanks." Thanks, but you've already done enough. "You're a teacher?"

"Yes."

And I already felt myself falling.

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PostSubject: Re: vae soli {wip}   Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:56 pm

"I've never pictured you as a teacher", January said when I returned from the kitchen with a glass of water for him.

"You've never seen me with kids", I sat down, but this time on the on the sofa, across of him.

The sofa is actually a bed for two, when you remove the big pillows, and with him lying next to the wall, and with him being as thin as a stick, there was plenty of room for me next to him. Not touching.

There was music from Sylvie and Clary's room, and January seemed confused, but I knew the girls too well.

"Ugh", I leaned my head back in disappointment. He raised his eyebrows, and I felt a guilty kick in my stomach because of that one cut that didn't heal properly. "They think we're going to bang, and they're giving us some privacy."

But that kick was nothing compared to the breathlessness because of his quiet laughter.

"I like them, where did you find them?"

My usual response, 'I found them on the streets', wasn't appropriate for this situation.

"Sylvie I met while studying, and Clary was Sylvie's crush for an entire year before she asked her out. Been nagging me ever since."

"Do they feed you well?" He asked with a smile.

"Clary's an excellent cook. You'll exit this flat heavier than when you—"

"Were carried in?"

I folded my knee and put my chin on it, keeping my eyes on him.

"You weak shit, goin' out and gettin' yourself killed." I even nailed the accent and everything. He tried not to laugh, but he did anyway, even if just briefly because it hurt.

"I can't believe you remember that."

"How could I forget? It made my mother cry."

"Shh, Mrs Holbrook always knew there was something going on in her house."

"It seemed like that, but I don't think so."

My mother always sets me up with daughters of her church friends, so I think that she really didn't suspect a thing. I don't mind it, though. I'm a good son and go on dates with those girls, and none of them so far wanted to date me. Three out of six had boyfriends their mothers didn't know about, and one of them was a lesbian. Needless to say, we went to a gay bar and had a great time.

"Do you teach in a high school, or?"

"I teach small kids. God forbid I teach teenagers, that would require maximum effort and dealing with emo music and tantrums."

"That was just you and your era, the end of the nineties, I believe teens nowadays are into pop and electronic music, that's what's on the radio."

"At least when we listened to one CD for years, it was a quality album. God knows just how many CDs I had", I agreed.

"You still have 'em?" he asked, with something resembling hope in his voice.

"Under my desk, buried safely from the world." God forbid Sylvie went through my room to find them.

"Who'd think music like that wouldn't be popular now that we're older."

It felt like he was trying to make me talk about what happened and about us, but if I were to talk about it then, I would've yelled at him, and that's the least he deserved.

"Things… change, J.J., even though we want them to stay the same." He bit his lip to keep himself from saying anything rash. I realised, too late, what I did wrong. "Sorry. I'm sorry."

"It's just… been a while since you called me that."

"I know."

Then I got up and took the glass from him. Our fingers touched for a brief second.

"Anything else I can get you? I have to go prepare my classes for tomorrow, and get the girls some fresh air. Their room doesn't have a window."

He nodded and pulled the hand I touched closer to himself.

"Okay."

"Clary is great company. Sylvie, not so much, but she tries. You can feel free to ask them anything."

I knocked on their bedroom door, just in case. You can never be too careful around them.

"You can come out now, I checked and he doesn't bite."

"Great, thanks, great."

"Your literacy is on point." Sylvie can talk fast, but that doesn't mean that what she says is very well thought out.

I closed myself in my room and, before doing what I told January I'd do, I dug out the CDs from under my desk. All the classics were there, ranging from the 80s to the late 90s, and they were all worn, but not damaged. We took good care of those CDs, and I probably still know them by heart. To test my theory, I put one of few playlist CDs we made into my laptop, and plugged my headphones in.

I sank into the familiarity of Basket Case, and an image appeared of him, in my old bedroom, on my bed, shaking his head in the rhythm, and my vision was full of his burgundy hair and the shine of the bedlamp against his teeth.

Why is was it so easy to forget all the good things he's ever done for me? My mind immediately goes to the bad, and forgets the way he kissed my neck, that he folded my clothes and slowly unbuttoned the shirts I wore. That time he hid under my bed when my mother returned from her work early. That I folded his shirtsleeves because the shirt belonged to my father and it was too long for him. And most of all things, that one specific way he made me feel like my life was meant for something more than teenage angst.

I fell asleep, with the playlist still playing songs I could sing along to even in my dreams, where January had a starring role again, and where I never left, and he never lied. Why wasn't the world perfect like that? Or better yet, why were we so flawed?

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PostSubject: Re: vae soli {wip}   Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:03 pm

After school tomorrow, before Sylvie came home, I made some lunch (successfully), and Clary dug through some old clothes because January's shirt was bloody, and I hadn't noticed it yesterday. I eyeballed it, and he was near Clary's height. Luckily, she had clothes to spare.

"I hope you like T-shirts", I heard Clary's voice echo through the hall, "because I wore nothing else."

"I really don't mind."

Sylvie had put a blanket on the sofa for him sometime in the evening, which I appreciated, because as much as I didn't like warmth, he embraced it, almost attracted it, like a reverse sun.

He still didn't look well enough to get up, even shifting on the sofa made him exhale in pain, trying to hide it, but as soon as Clary found a shirt deemed not horrible by her, he had to maneuver his way out of his bloody shirt. And I didn't have enough strength in me not to help him.

I was sitting on my knees, unbuttoning his cuffs.

"I feel like I'm three… ow."

"Two and a half", I told him. God bless my father and his tendency to have long cuffs. I spent at least five minutes on one of the sides, touching his arm softly, and it felt like it was 1999. again.

"Should've just pulled on the collar and hoped for the best."

"Ending in suffocation." I wanted to say that I just got him back, but that wouldn't be a wise thing to say.

"Murder by death." A pause.

"Murder by killing." I had to let go of his sleeve because I was laughing so hard. "For fuck's sake", I shook my head.

"If I didn't know better", Clary entered the living room. "Here you go, all shirts I have. I'm more into dresses nowadays."

She put the shirts on the sofa, not questioning our position. To redeem myself, I unbuttoned his other sleeve in record time.

"Remind me to burn this shirt", Clary said, taking the ruined shirt and carrying it to the bathroom. "Dried blood with this fabric. Sorry, January."

"It's fine. It was old anyway."

It wasn't fine on my side. That shirt was my father's, and it was one of the few things that was his, and mine before. But I let it go and didn't say a thing.

"Hello, everybody", I heard Sylvie from the front door. "I am home and I'm hungry and I smell Frank's cooking. Clary, why must you disappoint me like this."

"I was otherwise occupied."

She approached Sylvie from the back, hugged her and planted a kiss into the skin of her neck.

"I'm still disappointed."

January fixed the shirt which, on him, looked baggy, and I went to the kitchen to finish up lunch. Sylvie let go of Clary and dropped onto the armchair, her legs dangling from the side.

"What do you want to watch, January?" she asked, making true, honest to God attempts to socialise.

"Anything's fine by me", he said, visibly confused. I didn't have the heart to tell her. Sylvie put on some police show with bones and flesh, and I frowned. I knew that she'd put something like that. She feeds off of gore like I from Ancient Greek tragedies. "But maybe something less bloody, if possible."

He never had a problem with it like me, so I looked at him, and he looked back with a faint smile.

Did no time at all pass? Do eight years mean nothing in our time? Because it seemed like I was eighteen again, and he was nineteen. Add a couple of inches in height and a couple of pounds, maybe a couple of scars and cracks on our hearts, and that's where we were standing. I then realised just how well I knew him.

"Sure. This is a rerun of a rerun", Sylvie shrugged and grabbed the remote.

Clary checked out what I was doing in the kitchen and immediately shooed me away, because I was probably going to burn everything or something, so I went to join the living room party. Since we only have that one armchair and one sofa, it was either floor or sofa, next to January's legs, so I did that

I expected some commentary from the girls, Clary kept on cooking, Sylvie kept on playing with the remote, and January didn't move an inch. Maybe he didn't notice. God knows we were big fans of casual touches back in the day, a hand on the knee, pushing shoulders against each other's, and some less decent ones.

"Did you record the series?" Sylvie asked, no one in particular. "I missed the season finale. Also, not that I'm complaining, but Mr. Guest is wearing one of your pre-transition shirts that I used to wear. I still like Ramones, you know."

"Yeah", I nodded, just when January said, "Me too."

"Late nineties, man", Clary said and plugged her phone into the speaker we have on the shelf above the tv. I Don't Want to Grow Up played. "Who'd knew that I'd be still listening to the same songs I listened to when I was a preteen."

I do have most of the CDs by the Ramones under my desk. If it was punk or hard in the nineties, I probably had it, and I probably listened to it at one point with January.

It doesn't have to be all bad with him. If I could forget our last day, and maybe the events that lead me to him, we had a good run. I was grateful for all that he had done for me. Even though it that meant that I couldn't listen to most of my favourite music without thinking about him, and the image of him forever burned into my mind was of him, was of him in my dad's old plaid shirt, with hair always a bit too long, and with freckles absolutely everywhere.

He looked at me and I think we were thinking about the same time.

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