May 23rd 2015
I woke with a start, falling out of the bed and tumbling in the thicket of blankets that had been carefully placed around me. I thrashed for a moment, unaware of my surroundings, in the bedroom of some unfamiliar place.
“Well good morning sunshine,” A voice snickered, “Finally awake are we?
Lily was propped in the doorway staring down at me with amusement. Her smile was tiny and showed the small pearls for teeth that glowed from within her mouth, her dark curls falling to the side of her cheek. She had on no make-up but she was absolutely gorgeous all the same. My mouth was still slightly open when she bent down over me with an arm extended, holding something out to me.
“Figured you’d need this back,” She said, plopping my wallet on my chest, “Had a hell of a time getting it back from Rose.”
“What do you mean?” I asked in a daze, still not fully comprehending the situation.
“She danced with you Casanova,” She said, “And while you were busy thinking you were hot shit while you were making out, she slipped her hand into your pocket and stole your wallet.”
I sat in silence for a moment, not fully sure what to feel at that moment in time. I knew how I should feel: angry and heartbroken. Instead though, all I could bring myself to acknowledge was how sad it was that she thought she had to steal to make a living, what an empty, hollow feeling that must be.
“She wasn’t just touching your ass for pleasure,” Lily said, “She was looking for your wallet, and when she found it, she moved on to the next poor victim.”
“Thanks for getting it back for me.” I finally managed to stutter out.
“Rose and I used to be semi-close when we were kids,” She said, the words seeming like bitterness in her mouth, “She still remembers that, doesn’t mean she wasn’t a bitch over giving it back. But I know her better than a lot of people do.”
I sighed and nodded with a smile, when drunken memories resurfaced again, smashing me in the head. Michael and I… Oh god. Memories of being laid out on him like a Raggedy Anne doll, and then having him kiss me. My face turned the color of a ruby as it gleamed
“The night finally coming back to you?” Lily asked with a knowing look
“I-we-we were drunk and-” My eyes welled up as I thought about it.
“And you acted on the feelings you’ve been suppressing,” Lily said, looking at me with slight annoyance, “For oh, I’d say about four or five years now.”
I looked at her in shock and she just looked back at me. There was no anger, no rejection, just… A blank, open ended stare. She knew, but she didn’t seem very interested in making me feel bad for it or telling anyone. I tried to speak and she held up her finger to her lips as a few people passed outside the door and down the hall.
“Austin,” She said slowly, “You and I both know you like girls, you and I both also know that you like boys.”
“There’s nothing wrong with either,” She said, “But you also need to give yourself time to adjust and figure things out.”
“I, I was just drunk,” I said, trying to convince myself, “And, and so was Michael, even if I did like guys he does-”
“He does too, yes.” She said, interrupting me, “I've known about that one for a while as well."
My jaw was close to falling off at this point, not just at this revelation, but the fact that Michael not only threw all this at Lily, but that he made it a point to mention me as an interest. I didn’t know if I was feeling butterflies flapping in my stomach, or if it was bees stinging my entrails. Either way, I was still flabbergasted.
“Did he say what all we?..” I asked, fearing the answer.
“I saw it all,” Lily said quietly, “You kissed for a few minutes and then you passed out, and he brought you up here and tucked you in. No one else saw you all, and I helped him fake us both dragging you up instead of just him. So no one caught on.”
“Thank you,” I said, sitting up and hugging her, “Thank you so much Lily.”
She held my embrace for a moment, she smelled of sweet lavender and a hint of lilacs. Her grasp was firm yet soft, and I felt her fingers run down my back for a moment to soothe me as a few uncontrollable tears leaked down the side of my face. She finally let me go with a swift movement and pulled me to my feet, rather wobbly and I plopped on the bed for support.
“Also, your brothers caught a ride home,” She said, “Darrian took them both back to your house and your mom knows you’re still here, she’s not mad.”
I nodded silently, and jumbled around in my pockets for my keys, pulling them out with swiftly, and making sure that all of them were still there. I smiled at Lily, and she returned it as the door creaked open. I turned to see Michael standing there, looking me over, and then looking at Lily questioningly.
“He knows everything already.” She said, as she padded out of the room, “He deserves to, since he can’t remember it all himself.”
Michael nodded, a strange look coming over his face and his features scrunched for a minute and he closed his eyes. He finally looked up at me as the door closed behind Lily. His honey gold eyes got a gleam of sunshine caught from the shades on the window, making them sparkle and shine.
“I just wanted to check on you,” He said, running a hand over his head, “You were kind of out of it last night.”
“‘Kind of’ is one way to put it, I guess.” I responded uncomfortably.
“Yeah,” he said, staring awkwardly at the floor, “Can I-”. He pointed at a spot next to me on the bed. I nodded nervously as he came incredibly to my side.
“I understand you’re confused,” He said gently, “Hell, I’m pretty confused right now. I just don’t want you to-"
He stopped and searched for the words while I searched for mine. Yes, I liked women, and yes, I had liked men too, for all I could tell. I was terrified though, everyone but he and Lily were in the dark, and I didn’t know whether or not this was a good thing.
“I just don’t want you to think I'm weird or anything,” He said, “I don’t want this to come between us as friends and-"”
“Michael,” I said, turning to look at him, “It's fine.”
“Austin,” He said, draping an arm around my shoulder, making me shiver, “I like you a lot. Maybe as more than ever just a friend. I just wanted you to know, so I wouldn't be holding anything back. I understand you're probably confused though.”
"Incredibly so." I murmured.
I looked over at him, those blasted tears welling in my eyes again. I leaned into his shirt and sobbed, the wet staining his fabric and my voice muffled. He ran a hand down my back without a word. Everything was just so fast. Graduation, now this, all of the looming family problems in the back of my mind.
It was all suffocating, I felt the weight of it around my throat and it only caused the sobs to deepen. He raised my head out of his shirt and kissed me, pulling me fully into him and he continued to kiss me. When he stopped, he looked at me and wiped away the tears on both sides of my face and then smiled.
“Just think about it,” he said, “You have my number, just call me and we can go sit somewhere and talk more about it. And… try not to cry anymore, you look so much more handsome when you smile.”
I gave him a smile, and I held him in a death grip of a hug for a good five minutes before I kissed his cheek and let him walk out of the room.
I moved down the stairs and past the other hungover teenagers and out the door to my car. The engine started and I pulled out with an ounce of care and headed back towards our house. The radio played the top ten alternative tracks that were out, and I bobbed my head and tapped my hand on the wheel.
About ten minutes and three miles later, I was near the outskirts of town, and parked behind my Mother’s SUV and another car I didn’t recognize. I got out of the car with a plunk and headed up the sidewalk to the beige colored home with the small rectangle windows. I opened the door to see my brothers sitting on the couch staring at me with a look of pure hurt before they returned their gaze to the two people facing each other in the cushioned chairs.
“Austin,” Mom said, her voice strained, “Your father is here. He came back and he wants to talk."