Inhibitions is a sequel to Abstinence, a story co-written by Dysphemism and jdxx. This mature teen drama continues to depict the life of some of the characters from its prequel as well as some new ones. Their weekend is over, and the aftermath of Joshua's party is eventually eclipsed by entirely new events.
Author's Note: This is the sequel to the story Abstinence, which can be found at http://www.protagonize.com/story/abstinence and thus, if you are reading this it is expected that you have already read Abstinence.
Chapter 1: Casual Slander
Narrator: Frith Gryms
My eyes were far from my body. They were combing through the conifers as they swayed in the wind. The evergreens seemed bright in the morning light, and that was nice to see. It was better than the sun-scarred lawns and the leaves that threatened to burn with colour, only to fall to the dirty ground.
I wished I was an evergreen. In the sense that, I wouldn't lose my colour. I'd remain happy throughout the year. I wouldn't have to start spending more and more time beneath the lamp. The lamp that might as well be shackled to my arm, all winter long.
They call it Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD for short. But when they're not around, I call it Canada Affective Disorder. Yup, the winter blues. Forty-five minutes every morning, just me and my lamp. My lamp. Yet, it is the darkness in my life.
My parents would tell you a different story. A less ironic story. One in which the disorder is just a fabricated crutch, and the darkness in my life is the colour of my hair, the music in my ears and paint on my nails. Dark to the extreme.
They've got it all wrong. That's not what has me in a state of despair. It's that they won't move to somewhere sunnier. They could both find work. I know they could. They just choose not to. I'm not worth it. One child was more than enough.
If only I could spend those forty-five minutes on this bus. It's the same amount of time, damn this regional arts program and its fucked up busing system. It would make my day go by much more quickly, if I could run that lamp beside me. It's not as if anybody ever sits beside me.
I mean, why would they? I'm new, as of a month ago. Nobody talks to me. Nobody even knows my name... and I love it. Just watch this. There are four other empty spots, and it's the last stop. Two in front of me, and two behind me.
I made my first mistake, by trying to prove this point. It's a point I could prove, any day of the week, if I hadn't been trying. I wouldn't have noticed him otherwise.
Blue eyes, always shifty. Browning blond hair held in tight submission at the nape of his neck, where a ponytail hung. A mountaineer's backpack hung from his back, strapped around his hips, God knows why.
He walked up the steep steps and exchanged a few words with our driver, barely even smiling, then turned down the aisle. His long face fell instantly into a glowering state that I couldn't help but envy. That's when I noticed two slender strands of blond that deliberately hung in front of his face, from just above his forehead. It was the eccentric final touch to what was otherwise a simple and effeminate social statement of a hairstyle. They made it a thing of beauty, juxtaposed against his modestly bristling goatee.
That was when the back third of the bus stood up and cheered in an indiscernible cacophony of voices, as must have been planned.
He stepped back in surprise, and then I could see his face again. It contorted from shock to horror. His upper lip twitched, and he audibly drew breath in a way that made me feel cold.
"I did no such thing!" he yelled at them. For some reason or another, he was quite disgusted.
And then he swung that giant pack off one shoulder and dropped it right in the aisle beside me.
"Shuffle over, s'il vous plait," he requested in a low, solemn voice that betrayed an inner despair.
I moved to the side, wondering where my reluctant frown was. I seemed to have misplaced it. No, I think a part of me had hidden it from myself.
He leaned his folded legs against the seat in front of us, and slouched back.
My legs were folded too, but I was huddled into the corner against the window. And my head was quickly out the window again.
"Uhh... m-my name's CJ."
I kept starting out the window.
"My name's CJ."
I turned to see long, thin bony fingers offering a handshake. A silver ring glistened in the sunlight from the window. Instead, I wiped a tear from his cheek, "Why are you crying?"
"Will you tell me your name if I tell you why I'm feeling sad?"
"No," I said delicately, trying not to upset him further. "My name is not important. I doubt we'll speak again."
"I guess I'll listen, then, next time, after my name has been called for attendance in English." Then he turned away from me to stare at the seat in front of him.
"Y-you-you're in my English class?" And you noticed me?
"That I am."
"Then maybe this won't be our last conversation," I told the window. I saw in the translucent reflection, that he had turned to look at me again.
"Are you planning to kill yourself?" He left one hand gripping the enormous backpack, pulling it against the seat.
"No more or less than you are," I answered.
"That's unfortunate," he told me, and then quickly looked away into the aisle.
We didn't say anything else for the rest of the bus ride. At some point, he wiped his tears upon his sleeve. Twice, he blew his nose into tissues from his pockets.
After that, I watched the window, but never the scenery.