Chapter 3: Long versus Ser

"Here," Ser handed Kaya a warm towel and sat down beside her on the couch. His house was closer to school than Kaya’s house, three miles away from school. Ser was only a few blocks. "Your arm," Ser noticed the scrapes on her forearm from when she fell. Being considerate Ser had lent her a button-up collar shirt and gym shorts, which were more like knickerbockers on her.

Kaya pulled down the warm white cotton towel from her wet head, and she looked down at her arm. She’d forgotten about her scrapes when she got cleaned up in the bathroom. Clueless as always she’d rolled up the long sleeves without even noticing. "…Thanks…" Kaya spoke softly, her voice a little shaky and hoarse.

It was easy for Ser to sense the fear in her through the hesitant shuttering of her voice. She hadn’t spoken up until then, and it was to thank a boy. After thinking about it, Ser was surprised she could still trust a boy. After an experience of nearly being violated and ravaged, Kaya could still trust another human being—she could still trust men.

"I told you to wait for me, why did you leave the school?" Ser growled out his question, turning away from looking at her. He really wasn’t mad, but he had to seem that way to her. How else would she learn? "No wonder everyone says you’re so clueless, you never understand a thing someone says to you," this comment was said to try and show his annoyance. He wasn’t really annoyed with her either. It was frustrating trying to be against someone as gullible and clueless as her.

There was no reply from Kaya. Ser looked over just as she leaned on his shoulder and held his arm. "Thanks for being a friend," Kaya said in her soft tone, her voice beginning to return to normal. She still couldn’t bring out much confidence. The fear and the dark experience had completely shattered her at the core.

She tightly grasped to Ser’s unexpected arm, missing that someone she used to hold when she was younger. The one whose arm she could hold tightly whenever she was upset and whenever she was happy. Their arms that supported and watched over her… For that moment, it was the ‘dark’ guy Ser that took their place. Just for that moment.

Even so, she had not spent a moment to ponder the thought—why had she substituted Ser for that someone? Ser caused her to drift into that old sad memory, yet still be so stabled, without her realization.

"Kaya," Ser patted her head after a moment. She pulled away from his arm then, and their warmth that had intertwined together segregated once more. "Next time wait for me," he leaned towards her, elbow to knee. He said it sincerely, and it caused the hidden guilt in Kaya to deepen. Ser could see her eyes waver but he wanted her to promise. "Promise me you’ll do what I tell you the next time something occurs," he said next, reaching out a gentle hand and caressing her cheek. Kaya turned her head away in her quietness. The volunteered touch of a male still frightened her. "If you don’t trust me, who else is there to trust?" he asked.

Then suddenly, ruining the mood of the moment, a thought came to Kaya. Why would she distrust the help of a homosexual teenager? So Kaya looked up, the fear and the disorientation gone from her eyes. She was her usual self again, clueless and careless as ever. With a bright grin Kaya nodded to him.

For some reason Ser had a feeling of distrust in her sudden change of mood. Well, you could say Ser had the feeling that some strange thought came to Kaya. That is, if she was acting like herself again. We, of course, know what that thought was.

To move on from feeling the strange change of mood in the atmosphere, Ser took her hand and pulled her arm out to him. "Ow!" Kaya moaned when Ser’s hand grasped at her scrapes. "What are you doing?" she cried out as Ser examined her left forearm. "You’re hurting me."

"Minor bruises," Ser said examining her right arm and pulling her towards him as he did it. While she thought about her hard fall she recalled the rough hand that had yanked at her ankle. When Ser gave back her arms to her, someone slammed closed the front door of the house. Ser stood up and met the character in the hallway seething with anger and rage. Kaya quickly pulled up her right ankle and found the red mark on her ankle. Touching it sent a burst of vibrating pain through her calf.

"Ser, I can’t believe you ditched me!" Ser’s cousin snapped at him in anger. "What the heck is your problem? I coulda died in the f***** snow you freak-" his words stop short when he noticed Kaya on the couch. Being noticed Kaya quickly pulled down her leg. Ser turned his head and looked down at Kaya where his cousin’s eyes were directed. "Kaya."

"You ditched me for a girl? Nice," Ser’s cousin looked at Ser and said in an annoyed way. "And how does Trace feel about you hanging out with girls like this?"

"Does Trace get jealous easily?" Kaya asked.

"No."

"Yeah he does," Ser’s cousin argued matter-of-factly, "When Ser hangs out with other guys Trace would cuddle him all over, the same with girls. He’s so protective of Ser."

"Long," Ser looked his cousin in the eyes. There was a silent threat in his eyes. His business and Trace’s business weren’t Long’s to blurt out about. Don’t we all hate it when people blurt out our business? "Just because you live here doesn’t mean I can’t kick your ass," he said with a lethal dagger in the tone of his voice.

Long looked over at Kaya again. He was too enraged to care for Ser’s threat. "Trace and Ser were best friends before they started dating. Really, Ser doesn’t even know if he’s gay, bi or likes girls. When Trace came back he confessed to Ser, and because they were best friends Ser said he would date Trace. It’s really just to keep Trace happy. Ser doesn’t really lov-" before his words were finished Ser slammed Long against the wall of the hallway where he stood. The look of a killer shone in Ser’s eyes, his muscles tightened as he seemed ready to crush Long’s bones.

"Ser," Kaya called out. "Don’t hurt him."

"Why not?" Ser questioned, his lethal eyes on his cousin alone. Fear ran through Long again. Ser was crushing down on his bicep, and for the first time Long finally realized how dangerous Ser really was. "He ran away from home after he knocked up a girl. He didn’t want to get marry so he came and lived here, because his parents said if he wasn’t going to take responsibility he wasn’t their son. You really think a low-life jerk like him deserves to live?"

"You talk big but it isn’t like you’re any better," Long growled while in his pain. Ser tightened his crushing hand on Long’s bicep. His cousin squirm through the crushing pain trying to withstand it. "At least I like girls. Your parents won’t even talk to you anymore because you’re f***ing a guy."

"You really want to make this a point game?" Ser asked, knowing Long would back down. The one thing Ser had ever done wrong in his family was choosing to date a guy. Whereas the rest of his cousins had all done drugs, gang-bang, rape, knock up a girl and not marry, kill, steal, ran away, gone to jail and prison, even child harassment. Ser was always told countless times never to be like his cousins no matter how much they told him to do those things. No matter if it was to fit in and seem like he would be a ‘man’. So Ser had never done it, but when he decided to be branded homosexual his parents never looked him in the face, they never spoke a word to him, they didn’t answer the phone when Trace called, or spoke to Trace at all. It was amazing they could still acknowledge that Ser was alive. So, Long’s countless mishaps and actions versus Ser’s one decision, whose were worse?

"Let go!" Kaya stripped Ser’s arm from Long. The two had so intensely glared at each other in silent battle they hadn’t realized Kaya had approached them. Long darkly turned away and walked down the hall and entered a room, leaving them alone. There was despair in his face, Kaya clearly saw that as wCommunity as Ser. "What’s wrong with you two? Don’t you know you learn from your mistakes?" she scolded Ser.

"Learn?" Ser scoffed, treating it as a less-humorous joke. He laughed for a moment or two and turned back to Kaya. "Kaya, you’re as clueless as everyone says. Learn what? To wear a condom when you’re having sex, or you’ll end up with a pregnant Hmong girl? Do you know he raped that girl at a party? My cousins threw that party so they could have sex with drunk girls. That girl came to get her sister and Long pulled her into a room and raped her, she wasn’t the first he raped but she sure was the first he knocked up." Ser pulled away from Kaya and leaned on the wall of the hallway. He looked her directly in the eyes. Kaya never forgot that look of disgust in his eyes. It was as if he’d promised himself that he would never do something so despicable. "Afterwards he was confronted with her family, and because he wouldn’t marry her he was kicked out. If my dad and mom hadn’t felt pity they would had kicked him out of our house just like all our cousins did. The same cousins who made him the way he was wouldn’t even shelter him when something like this happens." Ser laughed at the irony and walked over to the couch, sitting down and leaning back in its comfort. For a brief moment his eyes seemed to show sympathy towards Long, but it quickly turned back into rage. "It was around the same time I started dating Trace when he came to us—my parents figured they’ll try to change him and make him ‘good‘. At the same time they ignore their ‘gay’ son."

Speechlessness struck Kaya. There were no response, how could there be? After such things happened, our little heroine had no idea what to say to comfort our hero. So she walked over to Ser and patted his semi-wet blond hair. Ser looked up at her and pulled her down on his lap, hugging her tightly. The simple clueless Kaya Cheng in his Creative Writing class was more than that.

The End

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