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  1. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 11: Love for Children

    “You’re not too upset about this trip, right?” Jack asked Arty, carrying their bags into the hotel room. Arty rolled his eyes and shrugged, although he was behind Jack and therefore, the other man couldn’t see. Arty slipped by Jack to sit on the bed. “I’m upset we didn’t get to tell them “bye” first,” the brunette said and crossed his arms in his lap. Jack glanced over from where he put the bags down. The man sighed. “Well, I asked you if we could leave early.” “I know. But I didn’t think you meant five in the morning. I mean, besides not telling the kids bye or good morning, Jessica was probably bored out of her mind!” Jack laughed, “If Jessica was bored, that’s on her.” Arty frowned, giving Jack a look. Then he just shook his head and lay down on the bed. He was tired. It was a four hour drive to the city, and then they had to meet the board, which consisted of five hours talking to strangers, having a tour around the giant building, and sitting out while Jack talked to the “Big man”. It was about time the kids got out of school, and Arty was more than ready to just pass out. Jack was still awake as always, probably from being used to working all day like this. “Okay, I’m sorry,” Jack said and walked to the bed, sitting on it beside Arty. The younger brunette looked up at Jack, who’s grey eyes were on him. “What’s really wrong?” he asked. Arty shook his head. “Nothing. ...Ugh, it’s my fucking necklace. You said you’d help me look but you haven’t, and I still haven’t found it.” He sat back up on the bed, watching Jack for an answer. His husband sighed. “You know I’m always busy, you could have reminded me while we were home instead of four hours away. You still can’t find it?” “No. I’ve look in your office, in our bed, the bathroom- pretty much everywhere.” Jack shook his head with a single shrug, exhaling. “I don’t know what to say; maybe it fell under a dresser or something.” Arty gave him a look and stood up to go to the bathroom, but Jack grabbed his wrist, making the brunette look at him. “Come here,” the man pulled Arty into his lap, wrapping his arms around the brunette’s waist. Arty looked back at his husband. “You’d better seriously help me find it. I mean it,” he said. Jack nodded. “I will.” l.l “Your parents will be here tomorrow night,” Jessica said to Geil, stirring some cookie dough in a bowl. That was the only part of the conversation Daniel had heard, walking into the kitchen to get a bottle of water. Hearing him come in, Jessica looked over and smiled. “Hi, Daniel.” “Jessie’s making cookies,” Geil said to Daniel as the teen walked passed. He shrugged. “Good. You call her “Jessie”?” he asked, glancing over. Geil smiled and nodded. “She says I can call her Jessie.” “”She” is right here, and you can call me whatever you want, too, Daniel,” Jessica said, looking at Daniel. The teen watched her for a moment before turning away to get the water. “Do you want to lick the spoon?” she asked Geil while Daniel walked by to leave the kitchen, but he paused when he got a whiff of peanuts. Turning back to Jessica and Geil, he pointed at the woman. “Geil is allergic to peanuts- are those peanut biscuits?” Jessica laughed, but it sounded as though she were embarrassed. “Well-” “No “well”. Get that stuff away from him.” Daniel looked at Geil, who was sitting on the counter beside Jessica. “And get him down from there- don’t you watch kids for a living?” He walked back to Geil, picking him up from the counter. The child was extremely devastated about not eating the cookie dough. Jessica cleared her throat and smiled at the two, forcibly. Daniel concluded that she didn’t like being put in her place. “Alright then,” she said, “How about I make some chocolate chip, or something?” Daniel shrugged. “As long as they aren’t peanuts, I don’t care what you do.” “Oh Daniel...” Jessica put a hand on the teen’s shoulder, looking into his eyes. “He’s just your brother, not your son; lighten up.” She caressed her hand over his shoulder, and he tried reading what was in her eyes. Unhappy contentment. She wasn’t happy with the fact that she was upset with Daniel. Could it be that she had something wrong with her mind? A psychopath, maybe? ...Like him? “I’m your paycheck, not your play toy,” Daniel said before turning out of the room with Geil, taking him upstairs to his own bedroom. “Are we still getting cookies?” Geil asked when Daniel put the boy on his bed. Daniel nodded. “Yes, I’m sure.” He went to sit in his desk, looking out the window before him that showed the snowy outside. “Geil,” he said, “Be honest. Do you like me or Jack better? Your older daddy.” He could hear Geil getting comfy on his bed. “Mm, I don’t know.” “You don’t know?” “No, I don’t know.” “Alright, then. And how much do you like Jessica? Does she ever touch you like your parents touch each other?” Daniel asked, looking at the boy. Geil was lying on his side, his back to his adoptive brother. Daniel could tell that Geil was having another one of his silent episodes, so the teen stood from his desk and went to his backpack, opening it and pulling out the recorder. “Testing,” he spoke into it and pressed PLAY, his voice being spit back out to him. “Testing.” So it works. Daniel put the recorder in his pocket and left to Geil, covering the boy up with the blanket before leaving the bedroom to the bathroom. If Jessica was how he thought she was, she would come looking for Daniel. How he would go looking for Arty. Sitting on the rim of the bathtub, Daniel waited to hear Jessica. It took a little longer, maybe fifteen minutes, before he heard her voice down the hallway. “Daniel, Geil, the cookies are done!” she called down the hall. Daniel pulled out the recorder and pressed RECORD before walking to the toilet. Opening the lid to the tank, he put the recorder inside so that it would balance on a rod and hopefully not fall into the water. Putting the lid back on, he left to open the bathroom door. “What is it, Jessica?” he asked, seeing the woman walking down the hall. She turned when she heard him and smiled. “Oh, well, the cookies are done. Do you guys want some?” “Geil is asleep, and I was just about to hop into the shower.” This seemed to peek Jessica’s interest, as the woman approached the bathroom, looking at Daniel. “Hm… Geil is asleep?” “He is. He wanted to nap, so I let him into my room. Why?” Jessica held her hands in front of her, smiling innocently. “Well, because the cookies are still warm. Come down and get some.” She motioned to the stairs, but Daniel hummed. “I’m not too big a fan of sweets. If you don’t mind, I’m going to shower and do my homework; clear my head.” “You know Daniel, I’m sorry about the peanuts; I didn’t know.” Jessica reached out, putting a hand on Daniel’s shoulder. The teen held back his discomfort. “It’s alright, I apologize for telling you as I did.” “It’s okay Daniel. Do you know how sweet your face is? Your girlfriend is really lucky.” Jessica smiled, stepping closer to the teen. Daniel tilted his head, furrowing his eyebrows. “I don’t have a girlfriend, though.” Jessica gasped, watching Daniel’s seemingly confused face. “Why? If you smiled just a little more, all the girls in your school would be all over you.” “I was told to wait until adulthood for that sort of stuff.” “So you’ve never even… had your first kiss?” “No, I haven’t. When did you have yours?” Jessica giggled some and bit her lip. “I was a little younger than you. Do you want to do it? Kiss someone?” “Well, I guess everyone does, don’t they?” With Jessica’s pressing steps, the two ended up in the center of the bathroom, something Daniel noticed was happening but let it, for the sake of acting. “Well, how about I take your first kiss, then?” she asked, putting her arms over Daniel’s shoulders and moving closer to him, until he could smell peanut butter on her breath, meaning she had probably decided to lick the spoon. He really didn’t want her to kiss him; not that it was going to be his first or anything, but because she was just so… disturbing. “I don’t think my parents would be happy,” Daniel said. Jessica just smiled, though. “They don’t have to know.” She pressed forward and kissed him, and it was just as long and gross as he imagined it would be. When she finally ended it, she hummed. “Why don’t we take this a little step forward?” she whispered. Daniel cleared his throat. “I just don’t know if I’m… comfortable with this, though.” “Oh Daniel, since when are bathrooms comfortable? Lets… take this to the master bedroom.” Daniel couldn’t let her leave, because the recorder was in the toilet. He cleared his throat again. “I don’t know if I-” “Alright, we’ll just make this quick, okay?” After that was all done, Daniel actually did take a shower. A very good one. And he brushed his teeth roughly until there was blood when he spat into the sink. He decided that Geil didn’t have to leave his room, because the child actually did end up falling asleep, so Daniel just put the recorder under his mattress and climbed into bed with Geil. Then at school, Daniel got the new cellphone. “It’s kind of cheap, but it should work alright,” Joe said, watching Daniel as the teen looked the phone over. It was a prepaid phone, so it didn’t have a server, just minutes to pay for as you go. “It’s perfect, thank you. Will you be paying for the minutes, then?” Joe shrugged. “Yeah, they aren’t that much. I already put my number in it, so you can text me and stuff.” Danile nodded while putting the phone in his pocket. “Thank you.” Looking Daniel over, Joe furrowed his eyebrows. “Is that a hickey?” he asked, reaching out and poking the brunette’s collarbone. Daniel rolled his eyes. “Probably.” “Well, why?” “I told you, the sitter’s love for children is a little disturbing.” Joe gawked and shook his head. “Are you serious?” his voice came a little louder, making a few students look over from where they stood in the hallway. Daniel gave Joe a look. “Don’t attract attention, I’m already dealing with it.” “Is that why you need the phone?” “Oh, no. I just need that to contact you. In case anything goes awry, but I may not if you get me noticed,” Daniel said, making Joe cross his arms in discomfort. “...Okay, sorry. Is she picking you up after school, then?” “Yeah, my parents are coming home tonight; I’m stuck with her until then.” Joe sighed. “That sucks. What are you planning on doing?” l.l “Oh my god, I’m so happy to be home,” Arty got out of the car, stretching. Jack also got out of the car, heading to the trunk to get their luggage, but Arty beckoned him. “Come on, we’ll unpack in the morning or something- I want to see Geil!” Jack made a U-turn from the trunk to walk to Arty, putting an arm around the brunette’s waist. “Can we talk about how happy the board was, though?” Jack said in excitement, making Arty look at him and smile. “You make everyone happy,” he said and kissed the man before walking to the front door, trying the doorknob but finding it to be locked. Jack quirked an eyebrow. “Did you tell her we were back yet?” he asked. Arty nodded, holding out a hand to the blonde. “Here, hand me the keys.” Jack handed them over and Arty found the house key, unlocking the door and opening it. The lights were on, but the living room was empty. “Jessica! Kids!” Arty called, looking at Jack as the man shut the door behind them. Jessica came running down the stairs, smiling big. “Hey, you guys are back!” she said happily. Arty huffed and smiled. “Yeah, after a long ride. Where are the kids?” he asked, taking off his coat. Jessica waved at the stairs. “Oh, they’re painting and stuff. How was the meeting and all that?” she asked, looking at the two of them. Jack smiled. “It was great.” Arty motioned to Jessica. “You have a little lipstick smeared,” he said, making her flush and laugh it off. “I wouldn’t doubt it, I was roughhousing with Geil,” she replied, making Arty nod in reply. Said child came down the stairs with Daniel, breaking off and running to Arty and Jack to hug them. “You’re back!” he squealed. Arty picked him up, hugging him. “I know!” Jessica clapped her hands. “Here, let me get you guys something to drink, that must have been a rough ride.” She left to the kitchen and Daniel waited until Geil had both Jack and Arty’s attention before going to the coat rack, where Jessica’s purse hung. Pulling the pair of Geil’s underwear he had hidden a few days ago out of his pocket, he stuffed the cotton into her purse; just before Jack looked at him. “Hey, how was the sitter?” he asked. Daniel reached up to rub his neck awkwardly. “...Come here,” he whispered, walking off to a separate room. Jack raised an eyebrow in question before following him. “What’s up?” he asked while shutting the door behind them. Daniel shifted uncomfortably, taking in a hiss of air. “...Jessica… did something,” he said. Jack gave him a look. “Like what?” When Daniel didn’t answer, Jack motioned lightly with a hand. “Whatever happened, you can tell me,” he said. Daniel sighed and reached into his pocket, pulling out the recorder. Jack watched him in confusion, but then Daniel pressed PLAY. “I was a little younger than you. Do you want to do it? Kiss someone?” Jack heard Jessica’s voice come from the recorder, followed by Daniel’s. “Well, I guess everyone does, don’t they?” “Well, how about I take your first kiss, then?” “I don’t think my parents would be happy,” Daniel said. “They don’t have to know.” The voices were too muffled to hear what happened, but because there was a pause in Jessica and Daniel’s conversation, he assumed it was the kiss they talked of. “Why don’t we take this a little step forward?” “I just don’t know if I’m… comfortable with this, though.” “Oh Daniel, since when are bathrooms comfortable? Lets… take this to the master bedroom.” “I don’t know if I-” “Alright, we’ll just make this quick, okay?” There was shuffling in the audio, but then Jessica’s voice sounded again, with a giggle and some vulgar words, and Daniel stopped playing the recording. Jack was… disgusted, to say the least. “When did this happen? Why didn’t you call-” “It was yesterday after school. ...I wanted to ring you, but she wouldn’t let me.” Jack shook his head. “I can’t believe this. Did she do anything else? After that?” “...Yes.” Jack turned to leave the room, but Daniel grabbed his shirt, making the man look back at him. “It wasn’t just me. ...I saw her put Geil’s pants in her purse.” Jack left the room, leaving Daniel alone. The teen stifled his laughter and followed after Jack when he heard Jessica’s voice greet him. “Oh, here’s your drink, Jack,” she said, holding the glass out to the man. He didn’t take it, pointing at her purse instead. “Can I look in that?” Jessica shrugged, confused. “…Sure?” “Jack, what are you...” Arty watched Jack as the man pulled the sitter’s purse from the coat hanger, opening it. Reaching inside, he felt cotton and shook his head, pulling the fabric out. It was Geil’s underwear. “What is this doing in here?” Jack asked Jessica, stern. Arty looked from Jack to the sitter, confused. Jessica pointed, chuckling nervously. “That- I actually don’t know why those are in there.” “What’s going on?” Arty asked, looking back at Jack. The man scowled and looked at Jessica. “Please explain, Jessica,” he said. She just watched them in light confusion, swallowing. “Do you like it if I touch you here?” “I… I’m not sure.” Jessica and Daniel’s voices sounded and the adults looked at Daniel, who held up the recorder. Jessica’s expression dropped and she glared at the teen before dropping Jack’s drink and running at him. Screaming in anger, she slapped Daniel and pushed him onto the ground, getting on top of him and hitting him, grabbing him by the hair and slamming his head into the ground. “I’m going to kill you!” Jessica screamed, her voice breaking as Jack ran over and grabbed her, throwing her off of Daniel. Arty brought Geil to Daniel, trying to see if the teen was alright. “What the hell is wrong with you?” he asked her. Jack grabbed her when she tried getting up to attack Daniel again. “She raped them!” Jack tried holding Jessica, but she wretched an arm free and scratched him on the side of his face, making him let her go in shock. She took off for the front door and the man ran right after, yelling at her to stop. Arty got out his phone to call the police, Geil asking him what was happening, and Daniel wiping blood from his mouth. l.l “Can we do a rape kit or something? How long is she going to be in jail?” Jack asked an Officer Davies. Davies shook his head, glancing at the cop car that held a screaming Jessica. “Well, she’s obviously assaulted your family, so I’ll make sure we can hold her as long as we can. ‘Thing about that is, we have to let her go if she gets bail. She will go to court though, and I’m absolutely sure the judge is gonna see what… sort of person she is. If you guys press charges, that is,” he said. Jack scoffed. “We’re absolutely pressing charges,” he muttered. Officer Davies nodded, putting his hands on his belt. “Well, as far as a rape kit, those things take time and leave everyone feeling uncomfortable. Honestly, they don’t always show. And as for the fact it’s a woman assaulting two boys, I don’t thing anything would show. ‘Best thing to do is make your kids feel comfortable, maybe try and forget some of it.” “Is he going to be okay?” Arty asked the medic, who just finished patching Daniel up in the back of the ambulance. The woman nodded. “Yes, he’ll probably just be a little sore. I don’t think that cut on his forehead will need stitches, as long as he doesn’t do anything to pull it open,” she said, offering the man a smile. Then she left, to throw away her gloves, and Arty looked at Daniel, who sat on the back of the ambulance, legs dangling out. The man sighed. “You okay?” he asked. Daniel nodded, licking his busted lip. “I’m alright.” “...I’m sorry, about her. I didn’t know she was-” “It’s alright, Arty. I’m just thankful you guys care so much.” Daniel smiled a little, his face battered with a red cheek, split lip, and cut on his forehead. Arty sighed again. “...I mean, damn. Do you want to stay home tomorrow? I’ll let you,” Arty pet Daniel’s head, watching him sadly. The teen laughed some. “I’m truly alright, Arty. It wouldn’t be fair to Geil, I’ll go to school.” Arty puffed. “Okay, okay. ...You sure you’re okay? Normal kids don’t want to go to school.” “Yeah, I want to see my friends,” Daniel said, smiling to Arty. The man clicked his tongue and nodded, smiling. “Okay, then. Let’s have like, pizza for dinner, yeah?” Daniel chuckled. “Okay.”
  2. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 10: Jessica

    Daniel had gotten Arty’s signature from some mail he found around and sitting in bed, he painted over the black scribble on the bottom of the man’s thermos. Sitting against his wall, his knees up, he looked at the signature and painted r in white paint, matching the writing. A-r-t-y. The thermos read Arty again, in the man’s nice penmanship that Daniel had copied. The teen climbed out of bed, putting the paint and paintbrush on his desk before taking the thermos to his closet, where he set it upside down on the top shelf to dry. He shut his closet doors and turned back to his desk, walking over to take up the paint supplies and take them back to the art room. It was almost dinner time. Johnathon and Shelly had come in the morning and left at noon, and since then Arty had been cleaning the storage room, a little uncomfortable with its state after what Johnathon had said. Daniel left the art room downstairs, going to the kitchen. When he was there, he grabbed the loaf of bread and some peanut butter; walking to the fridge, he got the grape jelly before snagging a butter knife and plate from the strainer. Taking everything to the table, he opened the bread bag and got two slices, putting them on the plate. He opened the peanut butter jar and started smearing it on a slice of bread with the dull knife. Then he wiped the blade clean with a paper towel before getting some jelly and spreading it over the other bread slice. Twisting the bread bag to wrap it closed, he looked at the kitchen doorway when he heard soft pitterpattying. Geil came into the room, walking straight to the table like he was on a mission. Daniel raised an eyebrow at him. “Hi, Danul,” Geil said, climbing into his chair. Daniel watched him while closing the bread bag. He ultimately decided not to answer, putting the bread down and closing the peanut butter and jelly jars. “I’m hungry,” the boy sounded again. Daniel picked up the bread and jars, walking away to put them all up. “And?” “Can I have a sandich?” “Sandwich.” Daniel looked back at Geil, who was looking at the teen’s sandwich. The dark brunette rolled his eyes and put the stuff up before going back to the table, sitting down. “Are you wanting mine?” he asked the child, looking at the boy’s light hair. Geil looked up at Daniel and smiled, showing his growing teeth. “Can it have it?” Daniel put his cheek on his hand, shrugging. “Are you allergic to peanuts?” Geil nodded, his face getting sour. “Daddy says I can’t have peanuts.” “Okay then, you can have it.” Daniel slid the plate to Geil, the boy perking up. “Thank you, Daniel,” he said through a child’s smile before picking up the sandwich. Daniel watched him open his mouth to take a bite, bringing the food to his lips. Geil almost took a bite when Daniel suddenly put his hand out, putting his fingers against the child’s mouth to stop the sandwich from being eaten. Geil laughed like he was being messed with. “You can’t have this one, it’s mine,” Daniel said, taking the sandwich from the child. Now Geil was confused. “...I can’t have it?” “No, not this one.” Daniel took the sandwich with him while he left the table to get the bread again, opening the fridge for some ham and cheese. “You’re still sick, you need something warm,” the teen said, getting some butter. Geil lay his head on the table with a pout. Putting everything down on the counter, Daniel took a bite of his sandwich, using one hand to get two slices of bread. He finished his own sandwich before buttering the new slices and putting them on a hot skillet to fry, butter side up. When the slices were toasted, he flipped them, the butter against the hot pan making a loud sizzling sound that made Geil sit up. Putting the cheese on the hot bread, Daniel pulled some ham from the container and lay it over the shredded cheese. Then he put one bread over the other and cooked them, flipping the sandwich once, making sure the outside was dark and golden. Turning the stove off, Daniel picked the sandwich up with his spatula and put it on a fresh plate, taking it to Geil, who bounced in his seat with a squeal of excitement. “Sit still or you’ll fall. Don’t choke, either.” Daniel grabbed his own plate, taking it to the sink to wash it and the knife before putting them in the strainer to dry. Leaving to put up everything else, he could hear Geil humming and eating the sandwich at the table. He decided to make another ham and cheese sandwich, taking it and a glass of of lemonade upstairs to the storage room, where Arty was making noises inside. Knocking, Daniel peeked inside. “Arty?” Arty looked at him from the table, which he was cleaning up. He had a few boxes empty and sitting flat against a wall, the room becoming more spacious. “Hey,” he smiled at Daniel, “What’s up?” Daniel stepped into the room with the food and drink, taking them to Arty. “I thought you’d be hungry,” the teen said. Arty ruffled Daniel’s hair, smiling at him. “Well thanks, Daniel! It looks good,” the man took the dishes and put them on the table, dusting his hands on his pants. Looking at Daniel, he motioned. “Do you want to hang out in here with me?” he asked, leaning his back against the table. Daniel shrugged and sat on a box. “Sure.” Arty took the sandwich to take a bite, waving it at Daniel. “That’s good!” he said through his bite. Daniel smiled. “You’re welcome.” Daniel sat quietly, watching Arty as the man ate. The older brunette crossed his legs at his ankles, looking around the room while eating, seeing how much work really needed to be done. “This is all stuff from my childhood home; I didn’t want to leave anything with my mom,” Arty stated, glancing at Daniel. The teen looked around at things. “Why did you never unpack it?” “I was in college, and then I was working. And then we adopted Geil.” “When did you adopt him?” Daniel asked, leaning forward on his knees. Arty tapped his chin. “Hm… he was almost two. Don’t be upset about your first day with my mom, she did that when we adopted Geil, too.” “Could I ask you something of your parents?” Daniel asked and Arty nodded, shrugging. “Sure.” Daniel stood up and left the room, prompting Arty to follow him. They ended up walking to Geil’s room, which confused Arty just a bit, until Daniel continued to the child’s bed, where the photo of Arty and his dad was on the nightstand. Arty hummed. “You want to ask me about my dad?” “Only if you don’t mind,” Daniel said, sitting on Geil’s bed. Arty exhaled before going after and sitting beside Daniel on the bed. “My dad...” he reached out to grab the photo, looking at it. Daniel watched the nightstand, Arty sitting close enough for the teen to feel his body warmth. “Can you guess how old I am in this picture?” Arty asked. Daniel looked at the photo. “Thirteen.” Arty laughed a little. “No, but close. Twelve. This was taken a few months before my dad died- car crash.” “...I’m sorry.” “It’s okay, it was a long time ago. Here,” Arty tapped Daniel’s knee before turning on the bed and lying on his stomach. Daniel followed pursuit, lying on his stomach beside Arty. The man held the picture over the edge of the bed, looking at it again. “I don’t think my mom ever really cared about him, and my little brother was too young to know him that much. He was nice, though. He’d take me around on his motorcycle and we’d get free drinks from the town quick-stop. ...What about your family? Have any stories for me?” Arty looked at Daniel, who watched him. “...My dad let me search for the basil, but I couldn’t find it.” Arty smiled. “That’s a no, then, huh? Mysterious Daniel, so… mysterious.” “Why do you think your mom didn’t like your father?” “He liked to drink, among other things. My mom wanted to be noticed. I’m… glad he wasn’t around to see my brother. He really liked him, you know? ‘Little baby of the family…” He set the picture on the floor, the frame standing it up. Then he looked at Daniel, ruffling the teen’s hair. “Don’t let me get you down, sorry about that. I just don’t talk about my family often,” the man said and offered Daniel a smile. The teen looked into Arty’s blue eyes. “Why did you adopt me?” he asked. Arty shook his head lightly. “To give someone a chance. It was really sad here, with all of our family history. Jack said once that it’s like we’re cursed, or something,” the man rolled onto his back, looking at Daniel, “I guess I wanted to prove him wrong.” Daniel lightly touched Arty’s shoulder, looking over the man’s light face. The teen dipped down a little bit, looking at Arty’s lips. The man smiled some. “What are you doing?” he asked, feeling Daniel’s breath ghosting over his face. Daniel looked back into Arty’s eyes, that were watching his in wonder. Then the bedroom door opened. “Arty, are you in here?” Jack sounded, coming into the bedroom. Daniel reached off of the bed to grab the picture, sitting up on the mattress and putting it on the nightstand, as though that’s what he were doing the whole time. Arty sat up, looking at Jack. “Hey, you’re home early,” he said as the man walked over, a little quickly. “I got the promotion,” Jack said, smiling. Arty jumped up from the bed, throwing his arms around Jack’s neck. “Congratulations, babe!” Daniel watched the two kiss, Arty obviously excited. “No more working all night!” “Well, there is one thing,” Jack said. Arty groaned. “A business trip- two days, come with me?” Arty blinked, clearly taken aback. Daniel looked at the wall, putting his chin in his hand. Jack grabbed Arty’s arms, watching him. “two days. We leave tomorrow morning, stay in a hotel; they want me to represent the company at a board meeting.” He caressed Arty’s skin lightly when the man didn’t say anything. “It’s just a few days, please?” “You want us to leave the kids alone for two days?” “No, we’ll hire that sitter- Jenny.” “Jessica.” “We’ll hire Jessica. She’s good, right? Don’t you like her?” Daniel stood up, stretching his arms. “You two should go,” he said, looking over at the two. “It’s a good impression, Arty; you want him to keep the promotion, don’t you?” Arty sighed, looking at Daniel. Then he rolled his gaze back to Jack before nodding. “Okay.” l.l Sitting at the lunch table consisted of Laura, Daniel, and Joe. Joe didn’t do or say anything, just eating his mashed potatoes and chicken steak. Laura looked at Daniel, obviously confused. She mouthed “What’s he doing here” to Daniel, the brunette watching her. He simply shrugged. “Joe, do you want my juice?” he asked, looking at the dark haired teen. Joe looked at him and shrugged, reaching over the table to take it. “Sure.” Daniel looked back at Laura, who was even more confused now. “Okay!” She leaned on the table, looking at the two. “What’s going on here?” Joe opened the bottle of juice, drinking from it. “Can I sit with you guys?” “Well… yeah, but-” “He just wants to sit with us, now,” Daniel said. Laura huffed. “Okay, but-” “Joe, I was looking for you!” Kaiden sounded, walking over to the table. He stopped once there and looked at Daniel and Laura before looking back at Joe. “What are you doing over here?” “Sitting,” Joe answered. “...Well, come on; Lonnie brought some stuff from his house we can look at.” Joe raised an eyebrow at him, closing the lid of the juice. “Like what?” Kaiden looked at the other two before just motioning to Joe. “...Stuff. Are you coming?” “No.” Kaiden scoffed. “What are you even doing over here? You know he’s a fag, right?” He pointed at Daniel, who crossed his legs under the table. Laura shook her head. “Kaiden, he’s not gay! Even if he was, why don’t you just go away!” She snapped at Kaiden, who laughed in response, although he sounded unsure, or embarrassed. “Like, why are you sticking up for him?” he asked. This time, Joe spoke up. “It’s annoying, Kaiden. Morrison is in the hospital and I don’t want to hang out with you guys when he’s still sick.” Glancing at Daniel, he could see the brunette looking Kaiden over, like he were reading him. Joe looked back at Kaiden. “We’re getting too old to be doing that “fag” shit anymore, anyway.” Kaiden snorted. “So like, you want to hang out with the freaks now?” Joe crossed his arms on the table, looking into Kaiden’s hazel eyes. “They’re only freaks if you don’t understand them.” Kaiden watched Joe for a long time before turning and leaving the table. Once he was out of earshot, Laura gave a long breath. “Wow. That was… something,” she said, looking at the table. Bringing her gaze up to Joe, she smiled, kindly. “So you’re not gonna be an asshole with them anymore?” Joe shrugged. “Only if you want me to.” He laughed, making her smile a little more, because despite being smart, kind, and of average appearance, it wasn’t enough to attract many friends. Daniel stood from the table. “Bell’s about to ring.” Laura nodded, watching as Joe also got up, picking up his plate. She waved. “I’ll see you guys later.” “See you,” Daniel said, tapping Joe’s arm for the teen to follow him. Joe waved to Laura. “Later.” l.l “Hey man, how was the weekend?” Joe asked Daniel, putting his stuff beside him in art. Daniel shrugged. “Twas alright.” “That’s it? Who was that dude you had me call? He called me back yesterday.” “Mm. Did you answer it?” Joe laughed. “Hell no, why would I?” Daniel shrugged again before slumping in his seat, something that Joe immediately marked as out-of-character. The raven haired teen leaned over in his seat to Daniel. “What’s up?” he asked the brunette. Daniel rolled his eyes to look at Joe. He sighed. “I have a sitter staying at my house for two days.” Joe raised an eyebrow. “Why? You’re old enough to watch things.” “Yes, but I can’t drive to school, now can I?” “Oh, yeah, I guess not. Do you not like her or something? “Her fondness for watching children is a little disturbing. Driving Geil and I to school, she got a ticket for speeding. And texting.” “Hm.” Joe looked over Daniel’s pale face before looking at his hair, still dripping at the tips from his shower after gym. He reached out to touch some of the curly locks. “You hair looks black when it’s wet,” he said, dropping his gaze to Daniel’s dark eyes. The brunette moved Joe’s hand away. “I know.” “Oh, hey!” Joe sort of scared Daniel from how loud he was, but the brunette kept himself and just sighed. “What?” Joe laughed. “Sorry, I just remembered. I can drive. Like, I have my driver’s permit.” Daniel gave him a look. “What?” “Yeah, I have a permit. I don’t have a car, but my sister let’s me drive around with hers. I could like, drive you to school and stuff.” “A permit doesn’t mean you can drive when or where you want.” “So?” Daniel shook his head. “It doesn’t matter, she’s already been paid.” Joe clicked his tongue and shrugged. “Okay. Well, should I come over?” “Why would you?” “Support, I guess.” “It’s fine.” Joe turned in his seat and crossed his arms, looking at the table. He exhaled through his nose, making Daniel give him a look. “What’s got you, now?” he asked. “Nothing. I guess I just… Do you remember last Friday?” Joe looked at Daniel with his blue eyes and the other teen nodded simply. “I do.” “...Then, are we not gonna talk about it?” “Talk of what, Joe? I don’t like riddles.” Joe huffed, giving Daniel a look of annoyance. The other teen broke into a smile at the noirette’s misfortune. He ended up giving in. “And what is it you need to talk about? Were the details not clear?” “No, not that,” Joe leaned close to whisper to Daniel. “...That.” Daniel closed his eyes for a moment, contemplating. He opened them again and spoke, “You mean, what I did for you, is that it?” Seeing the way Joe looked away shyly, he knew that that’s what the teen was trying to talk about. “What exactly are you asking about that? If it will happen again?” he asked, nudging the noirette when he didn’t look at him. Joe glanced back at Daniel, lips pressed together. He reached up to run a hand through his dark locks. “...I guess, yeah.” “Was it really that appealing?” Daniel laughed, making a girl look over from a craft she was working on. Joe gave Daniel a look. “Daniel, I’m serious,” Joe whispered, looking at the girl. Upon being seen, she looked away. Daniel cleared his throat. “I don’t know what to make of you. Are you shy, or aggressive, or lost?” “Daniel.” “Alright, I’ll stop teasing you. I need a cellphone.” “Why?” “So I can talk to people. Get me a phone, hm?” Joe gave Daniel a confused look, so Daniel added, “Oh, I forgot: Get me a cellphone, and I’ll treat you.” Joe seemed to understand that, because he looked away and nodded. Daniel rolled his eyes to himself and looked ahead at the classroom. He’d have after school and tomorrow with Jessica.
  3. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 9: When You Were Young

    Daniel scrolled through Arty’s emails, looking through the names that rolled by. He continued like that until he found Richard Cavloski, where he clicked the email to look at the messages. Richard Cavloski: From what we’re working with, your father’s will is still in place for your mother. If you want another chance to fight for it, you would have to go back to court. I can arrange for a date this coming Monday, but I think the courts are still in favor of your mother. Arty Mason: I still don’t understand why. His inheritance was supposed to go to me when I turned eighteen. What changed that? Richard Cavloski: Your mother has a very good lawyer, and I can say from personally looking at this will that it isn’t entirely clear of who takes the inheritance. A few days go by before the next email, by Arty. Arty Mason: That guy Henry I told you about, he still won’t leave me alone. He keeps calling me and texting. Richard Cavloski: Like before, you said that you don’t want your husband knowing about this. The only way you can stop this is to take it into court for a restraining order, or try and settle it civilly between the two of you. Taking it to court would mean that your husband would know. The real way to stop this would be to save the messages and calls, and report it as blackmail. Richard Cabloski: I know that isn’t what you want to do, but there’s really no way to stop it unless you take it to a judge. Or find a way to settle it between each other. Before Daniel could read Arty’s response or any further messages, he heard footsteps approaching behind him. Quickly closing the tab, he opened up his backup tab: a page on biology. A hand rest on his shoulder and he looked up at Arty. “Hey, how’s the computer treating you?” the man asked. Daniel looked back at the screen. “It’s fine; thank you for letting me use it. “No problem.” Arty walked around the couch to sit on it, beside the teen. Daniel looked at him again. “Is something up?” the teen asked, grabbing the top of the laptop to close it, but Arty pushed it back up, keeping it open. “Um...” he huffed and looked at Daniel. “Jack’s oldest son, Johnathon, is coming over with his girlfriend Shelly.” Daniel quirked an eyebrow. “Is that bad?” “...No, but he isn’t too happy about… me, so just don’t let him bother you if he says anything.” “Well, why is he coming over, then?” Daniel asked, shutting the computer now. Arty crossed his legs, sitting back in the couch. “They’re having a baby, so I said that they could have some of Geil’s old stuff. Toys, and such. They shouldn’t be here long, but I thought I’d tell you. Just to make sure.” Daniel nodded in understanding, looking at the closed laptop on his lap. “...Do you like Johnathon?” Arty laughed, but it sounded a little fake. “Yeah, I mean, he’s a smart guy.” “Jack told me he’s twenty eight. That means he’s your same age and your stepson,” Daniel said after noticing it, and Arty shifted on the couch, furrowing his eyebrows. “...Yeah, it’s a weird thought.” “Did you know Jack had children when you met him?” Arty didn’t reply, kicking his leg on the other. He pressed his lips together like he was thinking about something, before he uncrossed his legs and stood up. Looking at Daniel again, he motioned. “Come here, let me show you something.” Daniel stood, putting the laptop on the couch. He followed Arty when the man started walking off, up the stairs and to the storage room. “I found this earlier,” Arty said, kneeling to dig in one of the boxes. “I was looking for some stuff you might like and found this old music player I got as a kid.” He grabbed something and laughed, pulling it out. It looked a little heavy, because he struggled a little, but he managed to get it from the box, setting it on the cluttered table in the room. Stepping aside, he let Daniel look at it. It was an old music player, silver, Sony. Arty patted it. “I know it looks like, old, but it’s just 2005. The good part though, is...” He grabbed the cord, plugging it into a plugin underneath the table. Then he turned the player on, Daniel walking over to look closer. “It has an old CD in it!” Arty continued happily. The screen’s light came on, blue, and Arty pressed play once it said ready. The disc inside whirred before the song started, with a guitar and drums. Arty turned up the volume, grinning, and then he looked at Daniel. “You can’t live without this- The Killers were the bomb when I was a kid! Especially this song!” It was When You Were Young, and once the singing came in, Arty started dancing. Snapping his fingers to the beat of the drums, he swayed his hips from side to side, eyes closed like he was living in the moment. Daniel watched him, smiling softly as the older brunette danced to himself. “...old ways. You play forgiveness, watch it now, here he comes-” Arty looked at Daniel, biting his lip in excitement. He reached out, taking the teen’s hands. “Come on, you know you want to dance! This is a great song!” “...Talks like a gentleman, like you imagined when you were young...” “No, no, I’m fine, Arty,” Daniel said, laughing despite himself as Arty tried bringing him into the music. Arty laughed. “Please, Daniel? It’s fun!” Daniel groaned, stepping forward to Arty, the man crying out in excitement that he managed to persuade him. “Can we climb this mountain, I don’t know. Higher now than ever before I-” Letting go of Daniel’s hands, Arty danced again, mostly with his hips and arms because the music just made you want to jump around. Daniel shook his head before moving some, the most he really could without embarrassing himself. “Know we can make it if we take it slow. Let’s take it easy, easy now, watch it go!” “We’re burning down the highway skyline,” Arty laughed at Daniel, motioning to him. “Come on!” “On the back of a hurricane, that started turning when you were young-” Daniel rolled his eyes with a smile, pausing and watching Arty, because he didn’t know how to have that much energy. “When you were yo-ung!” The music broke into a short instrumental break and the door opened, to Geil in some sweat pants. He looked confused as to what was going on, but he didn’t mind it when Arty went over to grab him, picking him up and dancing with the boy; making the child laugh and squeal happily. “And sometimes you close your eyes and see the place where you used to live… when you were young.” Daniel stepped back to watch the two, smiling as Arty dipped Geil down before bringing him back up, the child screaming with laughter. Arty and Geil were too busy dancing to notice, but Daniel caught it: the door opening wide. It wasn’t Jack, since he was at work. Daniel went to the player, pressing stop as the song grew quiet for a good part. Arty stopped dancing to look at him, with a confused smile on his face, but then Daniel pointed at the door and the man looked over. There was a handsome man with neatly combed dark brown hair, leaning on the doorway with his arms crossed. He would look even more handsome if he didn’t look mad. “You can hear that shit all the way from downstairs, what’s wrong with you?” he asked as Arty put Geil down, clearing his throat. Arty rubbed his neck. “Sorry… Come on kids, let’s get out of here.” He glanced at Daniel, the teen looking at the man in the doorway. He most certainly looked like Jack; he had the man’s square jaw and sharp nose, but his eyes were green and different, hair brown unlike Jack’s blonde. “This room is a hazard,” the man said, pushing off of the doorway and stepping away so that Arty and Geil could leave. “Come on, Daniel,” Arty motioned the teen over, standing in the hallway. When Daniel came out of the room, shutting the door behind him, Arty started introducing. “Johnathon, this is Daniel. Daniel, this is Johnathon,” he said. Johnathon looked at Daniel, his eyes narrowed like he was permanently angry. He probably was. He didn’t say anything, so Daniel didn’t say anything, either. Geil also didn’t. Arty cleared his throat. “Where’s Shelly?” “Downstairs. I don’t want her tripping on anything.” “...Wise.” Arty motioned for Johnathon and started walking down the hall, the other man following him. Geil held his arms up for Daniel and the teen looked at him. “You don’t like Johnathon?” he asked, flatly. Geil didn’t answer, meaning he just didn’t want to, or he didn’t personally remember Johnathon enough to like or dislike him. Daniel picked Geil up, taking the boy with him after Arty and Johnathon. “Where’s my dad?” The dark brunette asked. Arty exhaled. “Work.” Johnathon scoffed. “Work, work, work. When is he here?” He didn’t look at Arty, walking beside him and looking everywhere else. It was as though something had happened between them once. There are a number of things for that, though, Daniel thought. A: it’s the fact that they’re both the same age despite being step-father and son. B: it’s the fact that Johnathon’s baby brother died in this house, under Arty and Jack’s care. 😄 the fact that his father divorced his mother and married a young man. Or the special of 😧 all of the above. “...I have the stuff boxed up near the backdoor,” Arty said, leading Johnathon and the boys downstairs. When they got down there, there was a red-haired woman with freckled skin sitting on the couch. She looked over when hearing the men and stood up, smiling. She looked breathless, though, and she had to hold her stomach to get up; her stomach was humongous. “Hi, Art. Sorry to drop by this early,” she said, walking around the couch to go to them. Johnathon shook his head at her. “Go and sit down, the boxes are too far,” he said. Shelly leaned against the couch, holding her stomach. She looked like she wanted to complain, but she didn’t. Arty looked at Daniel. “Hey kiddo, can you help her out? And watch Geil?” Daniel wasn’t fond of leaving Arty alone with Johnathon, but he didn’t protest. Carrying Geil to Shelly, he put him on the couch. “Stay there,” he said to the boy, who huffed. Shelly laughed, her air breathy. Daniel walked around to her, unconsciously looking her over. She was pale, like she was sick. Her body was thin, making her stomach look bigger than it probably was, while she wore a black dress with different flowers over it. Her lips were shiny from chapstick and her brown eyes were lined with grey. She smiled at Daniel. “Hi, are you the new addition? You’re cute,” she breathed. Daniel pressed his lips together. “...Here, let me help you,” he said, reaching out to her. The woman put an arm over his shoulders and let him help her back to the couch, which she gripped the back of for further support. “Do you have a baby?” Geil asked, sitting on his knees on the couch, watching her as Daniel helped her to sit. She hummed, sitting back in the cushions. “Not yet. It’s in here,” she pointed at her stomach, and Geil reached out to touch it. Daniel caught him first, sticking his arm out and grabbing Geil’s wrist. “No, Geil.” “Aww, but I want to see the baby...” “You can’t see it yet,” Shelly said, smiling at the boy. “You’ll get to when it’s born, though.” “When will it born?” Daniel didn’t correct him, sitting down in another chair. “One more month,” the woman replied. Geil slipped off of the couch, hurrying off to the stairs. Daniel exhaled. “Geil, where are you going?” “To show her my toys!” “No, come here.” Daniel looked around for the TV remote, finding it on the coffee table. Getting up from his seat, he snatched it up and turned on the television, which was already set to a cartoon show. Geil came back. Shelly smiled softly at Daniel. “Do you like being a brother?” she asked, lightly. Daniel glanced at Geil, who climbed back onto the couch. “...I suppose so, yes.” “That’s good. Is it good here? Are you happy?” “I am, yes.” Shelly closed her eyes while smiling. “Good.” “...You’re ill, are you?” Daniel asked, watching her. She opened her eyes to look at him. She nodded, but she didn’t look sad or anything. “I have ovarian cancer. It’s hard a lot.” “...Are you getting treatment?” “No, not right now. Radiation could hurt the baby, so we’re waiting until it’s born.” Daniel looked at her hair and she nodded, noticing. “It’s a wig from the treatments before,” she said. “I don’t want people worrying.” “...You’re very mindful,” Daniel said to her, making her laugh. “A little too much, Johnathon tells me. I’m sorry if he’s a little mean, he’s just stressed out.” “I’m stressed,” Geil said, looking at Shelly, only catching those words of the conversation. She laughed again, but it looked like it hurt. “Are you? Is it because your brother has his eyes on you?” “Yeah, I’m stressed because his hair.” Daniel rolled his eyes. “I can’t help it’s dark. I also don’t think you know what that word means.” Shelly laughed again. “Shelly,” Johnathon sounded, making them all look over. He approached from the back of the house, with Arty behind him. “We’re gonna eat something here before we go.” Shelly nodded. “Okay.” Daniel looked at Arty, who turned to leave to the kitchen, silent. Johnathon walked to the couch, sitting beside Shelly so that Geil was on the other, because he didn’t want anything to do with the boy. Geil didn’t mind either, his attention back on the TV. Daniel got up from his seat, looking at Geil briefly to make sure that he was still occupied, because if he ran off anywhere he wasn’t supposed to, Shelly couldn’t get him, and Johnathon sure as hell wouldn’t. When he saw that Geil was particularly interested in this show, he left to the kitchen, to Arty. The man was at the counter, leaning on it by his elbows. He exhaled deeply, looking at the marble top. “Is something wrong?” Daniel asked, starling the other brunette. Arty looked at him, heaving a low laugh. “You scared me,” he said, getting up from the counter. Daniel walked to him, giving him a look. “What’s wrong?” he asked again. Arty puffed his cheeks, shaking his head. “...I don’t know what to make for Shelly. Johnathon said she needs-” “A shake.” “Excuse me?” “My mother used to do shakes,” Daniel said, brushing passed Arty to the fridge. Opening it, he grabbed the carton of strawberries, and then he went to the counter to get a banana. Arty just watched him, quiet. Daniel put the fruits on the cutting board and then opened the freezer, where he got the blueberries he had seen in there a while back. Then he opened the fridge again, getting some cream. Arty didn’t want to stop him, because he looked like he knew what he was doing, so the man just went to start cutting the fruits. “Thank you,” Shelly said, holding the smoothie in her lap, “But I’m really full now,” she continued, smiling at Arty and Daniel in thanks. Johnathon looked from her face to the smoothie, which was still full; she had only taken a few sips from it. Geil had tried drinking some of it, but Arty convinced him to leave it alone. Shelly looked at Johnathon with her tired eyes. “I think it’s time to go home,” she said. He stood up immediately, helping her up after putting the cup on the table. Arty also stood, so that he could see them out. “We took everything out ahead of time, so you don’t need to worry about that,” he said to her and she clicked her tongue. “Darn, I wanted to see some of it.” “You’ll see it all at home,” Johnathon said. They walked with her to the front door, Arty opening it so that Johnathon could help her to the car. Before they got onto the porch, though, Shelly doubled over in his arms and vomited on the floor. Daniel went off to the kitchen, getting the roll of paper towels and bringing it to the three. He tore one off, handing it to Shelly so that she could wipe her mouth, and then he knelt so that he could start picking up the mess on the floor. Arty rushed off to get a bag for in case she started puking again and Johnathon held her, watching as she swallowed down more puke from rising up. “...I think I’m okay,” she murmured softly, her voice shaky. Johnathon didn’t let her go, watching her as though she was going to do it again. Arty came back with a puke bag and a cold bottle of water, bringing them over. “Here, Johnathon.” Johnathon took them, keeping his arms around Shelly. He breathed through his nose. “Come on,” he started walking with her again, taking her outside. “Geil, get me a trash bag,” Arty called to the boy, kneeling beside Daniel to help him. “How long has she been like that?” Daniel asked quietly, putting the used paper towels in a pile to the side. Arty sighed. “I don’t know. They only came here once, a few years ago.” “...Tell me something. Just something else.” Arty looked at Daniel, who was looking at the mess on the floor. “Earlier when you asked if I knew Jack had kids before… I knew Johnathon back in high school. I didn’t know who his dad was until a long time later, when I went to his house once. It was after Jack and I had already started seeing each other, and it was so embarrassing.” He chuckled lightly. “I remember it really well, too. School finals were coming up, so John had asked me to come over for dinner, so that we could wind down and stuff. When we got there, it smelled like fresh barbecue- we were so excited. You can imagine the horror of when I saw it was Jack cooking.” “Is that why Johnathon doesn’t like you?” “Yeah. We were both twenty when Jack left his mom, so he was really mad. I wouldn’t blame him; it must have felt terrible.” Geil came with a bag, not knowing that another was stuck to it. “Thanks, babe.” Arty took the bag, tearing the other from it and putting it aside. Opening the chosen bag, the man started putting the trash in it. Daniel put his own in. “Do you ever regret this life?” Daniel asked Arty, making the man look at him. He shook his head and put more trash in. “No, why would you ask that?” “I don’t know. You could have a different life right now. Do you think of that?” “No, not really. Now you’ve got that on my mind, though,” Arty laughed. “Are you saying I could be married to some model and live by the sea?” “Maybe.” “Well, my husband is hot enough to be a model, and I like this sea of snow better- get it?” He nudged Daniel with his elbow, making the teen smirk and roll his eyes at the cheesy, not so punny pun. Arty stood up with the bag, leaving to throw it away. Daniel left to the kitchen to wash his hands, where Arty came in to do the same a moment later, so that he could get some cleaning spray to pick the mess up better. As Arty washed his hands, Daniel walked up behind him and wrapped his arms around the man’s waist, hugging him. Arty paused to look back at the teen. “What’s wrong?” he asked. Daniel didn’t say anything for a long while, just letting the running sink sound the kitchen. Then he did speak, quietly. “Thank you for taking me in.”
  4. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 7: To Impress

    This story delves into the mind of a teenage psychopath. Daniel is supposed to be a shit.
  5. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 8: Unlikely Friendship

    “Come on, move it, Daniel!” Mr. Long called out, making Daniel run a little quicker to get the ball. Kaiden had it, and he was making damn sure that Daniel couldn’t get it. It was practice, with Joe and Kaiden on a team together, and Daniel with some nobodies on the other. The floor was full of running bodies and squeaking shoes, and Kaiden taunting Daniel. “You can’t try any harder?” he asked, bouncing the ball at half court. Daniel stood in front of him, blocking. He didn’t talk back, because he thought it would be stupid to exchange conversation with someone like Kaiden. He just reached out to try snagging the ball, but Kaiden moved and took it with him, limbs skinny and long like a spider. He ran around Daniel, bouncing the ball and going to his team’s hoop. Daniel fell behind because he was tired and knew that Kaiden would get it in regardless. The ball whisked in and Mr. Long blew his whistle. “Alright, kiddos, head on to the showers and get ready for your next class,” he said. Some students groaned because they wanted to play more, and others walked slowly to the locker rooms because they were tired. Daniel was a tired one, dragging his forearm across his forehead to wipe away sweat. He huffed and walked to the locker room, a hand on his hip because he needed to stretch, but he didn’t want to waste time for a shower. Going to the room, he dodged the door being thrust open by a kid in a rush, and went inside to a shower. There were two already occupied and running, curtains drawn; leaving three more empty. Since they were all freshman, and hygiene isn’t on their top priority, most of the kids just left on to class, so the showers weren’t really at risk of being taken. Daniel picked the farthest one, near the emergency exit, and started stripping his clothes. Pulling off his shirt, he stuffed it into his gym bag. Then he heard Kaiden. “’Girls made a dick list! Look who’s at the top,” he sounded, from where he was surrounded by other boys. Daniel finished undressing, not caring for whatever they were doing. Stepping into the shower, he pulled the curtain shut and started washing up with the bar soap. Scrubbing his hair, the curtain was pulled open. Looking at who it was, Daniel’s eyes found Kaiden and a few students, Joe amongst them. “What do you want?” Daniel asked, bringing his hands down to cover himself. It left the running water to assault the bubbles in his hair, making the suds drip down his face and try getting into his eyes. Kaiden crossed his arms, frowning. “The girls made a list of who has the biggest dick- we want to see where you are.” Daniel quirked an eyebrow, looking at the boys. “And what if I say no?” he asked, annoyed. Kaiden scoffed. “You’re probably the smallest; we just want to prove them wrong,” he said, the list crumbled in his hand. Daniel almost laughed. “Does that mean I’m high on the list?” Kaiden’s face got red and he threw the wad of paper at Daniel, hitting the teen in the face. Daniel gave him a look. “Alright, show us- since you’re so high and mighty,” Kaiden said, and some other kid also spoke up. Daniel exhaled, watching them. He shook his head before moving his hands back to his hair, tilting his head underneath the water to wash away the soap. Some kid started laughing and Kaiden yelled at them, so Daniel must have been high on the list. That must mean that Kaiden was lower, which also means that the list was probably right. Daniel looked at the boys while rinsing his hair, one boy’s cheeks pink while he looked away, a few boys murmuring to each other- Kaiden’s cheeks were red with frustration. Then one kid pointed and asked, “What’s that.” Two scars on Daniel’s left hip bone, long and thin. Now all the kids seemed to be looking at it. Daniel reached out to grab the shower curtain, looking at the kids. Joe was the only one who was looking at his face, eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Daniel pulled the curtain shut. l.l Again, Laura waited for Daniel outside of the gym, holding a library book in her arms. She smiled at him. “Hey!” Daniel glanced at her, walking by. “Do you always greet people with “Hey”?” Laura laughed, walking after him. She cleared her throat a little excessively, for dramatic effect. “I heard… you’re number one on the list.” “What list?” “The list- why do you always act so clueless?” Daniel smiled. “I am clueless.” Laura rolled her eyes. “The dick list. Look,” she elbowed him and he looked at her before looking around. There were girls talking and giggling, looking at them. He rolled his eyes. “Whoever made such a list needs something to do in life.” “Hey, don’t say that- she could end up a politician!” “I didn’t know you were into politics.” “Eh, my parents are.” Laura followed Daniel to his art class before parting to go to the office, where she went every seventh hour to help out. Daniel typically had Morrison in Science, Kaiden and Joe in PE, and Joe again in Art. That meant that stepping into class now, he would be stuck with Joe. The teen walked inside, where he sat at one of the tables. Mrs. Gayle, the teacher, spoke up from the front of the room. “We all know that Morrison is still in the hospital, yes? Because this is my most talented class of the day, we’re going to send a Get Well card to his family. You can draw on it if you want, or you can sign it- just remember your manners.” It was a giant piece of poster board at the front of the room that everyone was signing, but Daniel decided to just wait for it to be passed back instead of getting up and going over. Not that he would sign it. Instead, he opened his sketchbook to… sketch. He was working on the anatomy of hands, something that no one would really take his book to look at. Because he had other things in there that he didn’t want to be seen. The kid sitting beside him stood up to go to the card, and someone else sat down in their stead. Daniel didn’t look or anything, because he had a feeling of who it could be. “Hey,” said Joe, who Daniel figured it was. The brunette didn’t reply, running his pencil lightly over the line of a wrist. “Dan, hey,” Joe nudged Daniel’s arm, making the teen mess up his line. Now he looked at him. “What?” he asked. “I just… want to apologize.” Joe watched Daniel, who gave him a look. “You have. Yesterday.” Daniel looked back down at his paper. He started erasing the mistake. “Well, I don’t think you’re accepting it.” “Because I’m not, to be frankly honest with you.” “Well… why?” “Because my name is Daniel, not Dan or Danny. And because I don’t want your apologies,” Daniel glanced back at Joe, who was pressing his lips together in thought. “...Why, though?” he asked. Daniel put his pencil down, giving Joe his full attention. “Because as I mentioned yesterday: you’ll just forget it all when Morrison comes back. Besides, I don’t want any friends.” “What do you want? Like, a cheat sheet for a test? Do you want me to hit Kaiden?” Daniel raised his eyebrows, watching Joe, who just kept looking at him. “What is this, a game? Joe, I don’t want anything from you. Maybe for you to go away. Will you go away?” Joe reached over the table to grab Daniel’s sketchbook, where he pulled it into his own lap. Daniel sat up straight in his chair, looking at Joe’s hands before looking back at his blue eyes. “Give me my book.” “Just accept my apology, first.” “Joe-” “I’ll give it back, I promise- just like, what do you want? To talk to me, what do you want so that you’ll talk to me?” Daniel crossed his arms, staring at Joe. “Your phone.” Joe blinked, tilting his head. “Huh?” “Your phone,” Daniel held out his hand to the teen. “Let me borrow it.” Joe slowly, confused, reached into his pants pocket for his phone, pulling it out and handing it to Daniel. “What for?” “A phone call.” Putting the phone on the table, Daniel reached into his own pocket and pulled out Arty’s necklace, opening it. Inside, he had crammed the phone number, and there were still a few pills of Ambien inside. He took the note out and closed the necklace before Joe could see the pills, and then he took the phone again to dial the number in. The phone was locked, so Daniel looked at Joe for the password. The noirette cleared his throat. “...It’s 102418.” His lunch number. Daniel put the numbers in and once given access to call, dialed the number on the paper. Looking around, Mrs. Gayle was busy chatting with some preppy students. Daniel suddenly remembered his accent, so he handed the phone to Joe while it rang. “Just ask who it is- give them a fake name if they ask,” he said, and Joe nodded despite looking deeply confused. “Hello?” he asked, his phone to his ear. Daniel watched him. “...Uh, no? Who is this?” Joe looked at Daniel, looking even more confused. He hung up the phone, raising an eyebrow at the teen. “His name is Richard. I guess he’s a lawyer.” “Hm.” “...That’s it? You’re not gonna tell me what that was about?” “No. Can I have my book back?” Joe put Daniel’s book back on the table and the teen shut it, putting it in his bag. There was a long moment of silence before Daniel looked at Joe, who was messing on his phone. “...Joe,” Daniel said, getting the teen’s attention. “Do you want to come to my house after school?” l.l “You kids aren’t very talkative, are you?” Arty asked while driving, Daniel in the front seat and Joe in the back with Geil. Joe was too awkward to talk. To talk, he would have to talk loud so that Daniel could hear him. That meant that Arty could hear. And, Arty was gay, right? Joe was a little uncomfortable in the car, especially with Geil trying to talk to him about nonsense. “So, how’d you two meet? Basketball team?” Arty asked, looking at Joe through the rear view mirror. Joe looked at Daniel, who just watched the road ahead. “No, he’s in my art class. Now we’re in basketball together, though,” Daniel spoke up and Arty nodded. “Ah- well, we have an art room if you want to mess around in there. My husband has a lot of paintings in there, though, so you might be careful.” “We won’t go in there,” Daniel said. When they got home, Arty took Geil inside to give him some medicine because he still had a little bit of a cough. Daniel waited until the two were in the house before motioning to Joe. “Come,” he said, walking around the house to the woods. Joe followed him, his hands in his pockets and looking around. “...You live here?” he asked, glancing at Daniel, who walked ahead of him. “Yes,” Daniel said like it was obvious. It sort of was. “Uh, why’d you come here? Like, from the UK.” “I was transferred from an orphanage there to this one. I was too old for that one.” “Do you miss it?” “Not particularly.” “...Do you… like having two dads?” Daniel paused in the snow and looked at Joe. “It’s normal.” Joe looked away, at the trees. “...Where are we going?” he finally thought to ask. Daniel shrugged. “I found something here the other day. Hurry up, it’s cold.” He started walking again, his legs long and thin. Joe continued after him. They walked until they got to the abandoned shed Daniel had found a few days ago, stopping just before it. Joe looked at Daniel. “...This?” The ceiling had large holes in it, where snow was no doubt collecting inside. The windowpanes were missing their glasses, and the front door was rotted with holes in it. Daniel nodded. “Yeah.” He pressed on, pushing the door open and going inside. After a small moment, he peeked back out at Joe. “Come on, don’t puss.” Joe blinked, completely taken back by Daniel… being normal. Wasn’t he just some wimp? “Joe!” Joe followed Daniel inside, closing the door behind him. It didn’t have a doorknob, so he had to grab it by the wood, which was soft and damp from the snow. Once inside, the place was empty. There were piles of snow from the holes in the roof, and there were spots where some of the floor had been pulled away; dead grass sticking up in some places. The place was small, with an old gas stove and sink, and a short hallway off to the side. He couldn’t see Daniel. “Daniel,” Joe called out, looking around. He was really… nervous. Walking down the hall, it was only long enough for two doors, one being an empty bathroom with only a toilet and sink, and the other being a bedroom with a rusty metal box spring. Daniel wasn’t in there, either. “...Daniel?” Joe walked further into the room, looking around. It was very bright because of the glassless window and missing ceiling that allowed the sky to shine in. “Boo.” Joe jumped and quickly turned around, where Daniel was standing with his hands in his pockets, breath puffing out like smoke from the cold. Joe pushed him. “Dude!” “You scare too easy,” Daniel said after catching himself, stumbling back some. He looked around with his dark eyes, cheeks pink from the biting cold. ‘What do you think of the place?” Joe huffed and looked around. “...It looks like a shithole.” “Do you think they would find a body in here?” “...Probably.” Joe looked at Daniel, who was looking at him. The brunette broke into a smile. “You scare too easy.” “Are we here for a reason? I thought you didn’t like me.” “You’re right. I don’t.” Daniel turned from Joe to start walking down the hall. “But I can tolerate you.” Joe rolled his eyes, walking after Daniel. “So what are we here for?” he asked, putting his hands in his coat pockets because his fingers started getting cold. Daniel shrugged. “...A change of place is always nice.” Turning, he looked at Joe again. “Do you smoke?” “..Not really.” “You don’t have to lie, I don’t care about telling.” “Well, why do you want to know?” “Because I want to know. Do you smoke?” Joe sighed. “Kind of. I mean, I have a pack.” “Could I have a fag?” Joe gave Daniel a look. “...What?” Daniel held out a hand. “A fag- can I have one?” “...Are you calling me a fag?” “Ugh, a fag: cigarette. Can I have a cigarette?” Daniel waved his hand. “Please?” Joe started pulling the pack from his pants pocket, watching Daniel. “...What do you call them?” Daniel rolled his eyes. “Fags, we call them fags. I forgot you’re very simpleminded.” Joe held the pack out but pulled it away just when Daniel reached for it. The brunette raised an eyebrow. “What’s wrong with you? Why are you acting different?” Joe asked. “This is how all the other boys at your school would act. What’s wrong? Do you see how unappealing it is, now?” “...Is this some kind of test?” “It could be. We’re all alone out here; you can tell me what you really want from me now.” Daniel reached out, taking the pack of cigarettes from Joe. Pulling the top open, there was a lighter crammed in with four cigarettes. He slipped one out, putting it between his lips before getting the lighter. He flicked the lighter, watching Joe to wait for his response. Joe pressed his lips together, watching Daniel light the cigarette and take a puff. He followed that with three quick drags before pulling the stick from his lips and holding it between his fingers at his side. He quirked an eyebrow at Joe, exhaling the smoke. “Well?” he asked, forcing more smoke to glide from his lips, some coming out of his nose. Joe crossed his arms. “Back in the locker room, you have some scars or something. What are they from?” he asked. Daniel held the cigarette out to the teen. “What do you really want from me? Are you gay? Do you just not know how to say it?” the brunette asked, watching Joe. Joe glared at Daniel, crossing his arms. “No. I’m not a fag.” “It’s not a bad thing. Maybe it is depending on your friends. Is that why you want to apologize? For Kaiden spreading that I’m a fag at school, with gay parents? Because you’re gay?” Joe didn’t say anything, and he didn’t take the cigarette, so Daniel brought it back to his lips to take another drag. “You asked me what you had to do to be my friend. I have something in mind now, if you’re interested.” l.l Arty looked at the side door when it opened, Daniel and Joe stepping inside. The man waved from where he sat on the couch, a laptop in his lap. “Hey, you guys hungry? I’m thinking omelets- yeah?” Daniel looked at Joe. “Do you want to stay for dinner?” he asked. Joe pressed his lips together. “...Yeah, I’ll take an omelet.” “Sweet!” Arty shut the laptop and put it on the coffee table before heading to the kitchen. Daniel walked to the stairs, motioning for Joe, who followed him. The two went to Daniel’s room, where they took off their coats and shoes. “Are you cold?” Daniel asked Joe, who nodded because they had been out there for a long time. Daniel pointed at his closet. “You can change your pants if they’re wet, there may be a pair to fit you.” “It’s okay.” “Alright.” Daniel walked to his bed before climbing onto it and laying down, pulling the blanket over himself to get warm. He looked at Joe. “Come on if you’re cold.” Joe hesitated for a long time before going over, climbing in and laying down beside Daniel. Daniel tossed the blanket over Joe so that he was also covered, and then he rolled so that his back was to the teen. “...I sort of like Kaiden. As a friend,” Joe said. Daniel turned to looked at him. “No you don’t.” He turned back around. Joe scoffed. “You don’t know that.” “I do. Because you wouldn’t have agreed otherwise.”
  6. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 7: To Impress

    “My aunt said that whatever he took didn’t react right with the medication he takes for his eye, and that’s why he had that reaction. He honestly could have died,” Laura said, following Daniel down the hallway. The teen looked at her. “But it left him comatose?” “Yeah, he’s still in the ICU. I feel so bad for his mom..” Daniel stopped when at his locker, but he paused before opening it. On the locker door was FAG, in fat marker. Laura gasped. “What the hell? Who did that?” she exclaimed, looking around. Daniel ignored it, opening his locker. It didn’t just end with FAG, though. A bunch of photos came tumbling from his locker of dicks and gay men having sex. This made Daniel look around, to see if anyone was looking. There were bystanders who had been watching from the beginning, snickering, and more people stopped walking in the hall to murmur. Kaiden was laughing. “Look, he’s a faggot!” Kaiden called, and people started laughing. Laura got red faced. “I’m getting Mr. Grey,” she said, turning and storming off in the hallway. Mr. Grey was Muscle Head’s real name, which Daniel almost didn’t remember. A few teachers seemed to be coming out of their rooms already, and some of the crowd started to disperse. Just some, though; most stayed and had to be ushered away by the teachers. Daniel knelt to start picking up the fallen photos. There was a distant voice that said “I’ll stay and help” and then there were footsteps that approached before someone knelt in front of Daniel. Looking up, it was Joe. He had black hair and blue eyes, and he gave Daniel a nervous smile. “...Sorry for the bird thing.” Daniel quirked an eyebrow, watching him. He tilted his head slightly. “Why be sorry? You seemed to be having fun.” His words made Joe look down. “..Well, you're not really a… bad guy.” “You're wanting me to be your friend, is that it?” Daniel asked. Joe gave an awkward nod, shrugging slightly. “Yeah.. I guess.” “Would you make Morrison or Kaiden eat a dead animal with diseases?” Joe looked back up at Daniel, eyebrows furrowed and eyes saying he was confused. He didn't answer. “Would you kick them in the head?” Daniel asked, watching as Joe paused while picking up a picture. “...No.” Daniel leaned forward on his knees. “Then are you sure friendship is what you want from me?” Joe cleared his throat. “Daniel, I'm sorry about… kicking you and stuff, but-” He grabbed another photo, but his hand jerked from his nerves and he accidentally touched Daniel’s wrist. Daniel didn’t seem to notice. “You want to be nice to me because Morrison is gone and you don't really like Kaiden, but what would happen when Morrison gets discharged? You would go back to doing silly things to me and all the other boys you hurt, just to please him.” Daniel looked Joe in the eye. “Right?” Joe pressed his lips together, staring at Daniel like the teen had read his whole life. He dropped his gaze down to the photo in his hand, of someone giving fellatio. Daniel stood up with what pictures he had. “Thank you for staying to help, but I don't want to be late for class.” The brunette walked to a trash can, dumping the photos in it before going to class, leaving Joe to clean up the rest. l.l The day to lunch was peaceful. Apart from the fact that Mr. Grey had pestered him all second hour about the locker incident. After telling him that he was fine, and that he didn't know or care who had messed with his locker, Mr. Grey let him go on with his day. Laura met Daniel at the lunch table, with a plate of spaghetti. “What did Mr. Grey want?” she asked, making Daniel look at her. It was annoying, because she knew full well what he wanted. A snitch. He shrugged. “Who I thought did it.” “Well, did you tell him?” “No. I don't know who did it.” “Daniel! It was Kaiden!” “Hm.” Daniel took a bite of his PB&j. “I didn't even suspect.” Laura narrowed her eyes. “Are you being sarcastic right now?” Daniel didn't reply, just looking at her. He took another bite. Laura shook her head. “I don't even know why they started with you,” she muttered. Daniel swallowed his bite. “Because Morrison likes you,” he said, watching her. She blinked at him before gawking. “What?” “He likes you. Have you not realized?” “N-no, Morrison's a bully!” “With a crush. He probably didn't like me sitting with you.” “Daniel, you're too crazy for your own good.” “I'd say you full well that like him, too,” Daniel said, raising an eyebrow at her. She gave an exaggerated scoff. Yeah, she did like him. And Daniel wasn't lying about Morrison, it seemed like he had a school grade crush on her. “Mm,” he motioned to her, to get her head out of the clouds. “I may join basketball.” Laura laughed. “Bullshit, basketball season already started.” “We're only a month in, it's not too late.” “Wait, you're serious? Daniel, look at you,” Laura giggled. “You're pale and skinny, do you know how weird that is?” “The point is to not be pale, and to get bigger,” Daniel drank some water. Laura furrowed her eyebrows. “...Why?” “I have someone I want to impress.” “So you do have a crush!” Daniel shrugged. “It's not for you to know.” “Danny!” Laura pushed his shoulder, grinning in excitement. l.l Gym was after science and before art. The teacher was a dark man who looked just as big as Mr. Grey. They probably go to the gym together. “Mr. Long,” Daniel said to him, as the other students started coming in after dressing. Mr. Long looked at him. “Yes…” “Daniel.” “Right. Yes, Daniel?” “I'd like to join the basketball team.” “Hm. Well, I have a few jerseys left; you wanna be #68?” “It doesn't matter to me.” Mr. Long nodded. “Okay, we'll get it for you after class. Until then, get dressed and line up.” Daniel turned away from the man, leaving to the locker room to change into his gym clothes. There were still a bunch of students in there, Kaiden and Joe included. Usually they didn’t notice or pay attention to Daniel in gym class, because Morrison wasn’t around to start anything. He had a different class for gym because of his eye. That would probably change now, though, since Kaiden had taken a liking to messing with Daniel about being a “fag”. Dressing for class, Daniel took off his shirt and pants to slip on his shorts and other t shirt. He could feel a set of eyes on him, but didn’t do anything and just got changed. Then he turned and left the locker room, heading back into the gym and getting in line for a scrimmage. Once school was finished without any incidents, Laura met Daniel outside, following the teen while he went out to look for Arty. “Did you make it?” she asked, walking beside him on the front steps. Daniel nodded, looking at the parked parents. “I did.” “What number are you?” “68.” “Yay! You made it!” “It’s not hard to join sports,” Daniel said as he started walking away after spotting Arty’s car. The man was on his phone inside, and he looked to be arguing. Laura followed Daniel. “Hey, do you think that we can hang out sometime? Like, outside of school. I live just a few blocks-” “I live forty minutes away,” Daniel cut her off. She frowned. “Oh. Well, I want to meet your parents!” As soon as Daniel was going to protest, Arty got off of his call and got out of the car. He looked at the teens and waved, smiling. “Hey, is that Laura?” he called, and Daniel glanced at her. She was grinning. “You told them about me? Aw!” Hurrying ahead of Daniel, Laura ran to Arty to greet herself. Daniel lagged behind, breathing through his nose. “Hi, Mr...” Laura looked at Daniel for support, just realizing that she didn’t even know the teen’s last name. He didn’t help her, just putting his hands in his pockets. She got herself into it. “Mason,” Arty said, smiling to Laura. “So, are you the infamous Laura?” Laura laughed. “Infamous?” “Well, being his friend on the first day.” Arty looked at Daniel, winking to the teen. Daniel broke a small smile. “Oh trust me, Mr. Mason, Daniel can have a lot of friends- people are always talking about him.” “Well come on, Daniel, no need to be shy, right?” It was true. People were starting to talk about Daniel to and around Laura; girls calling him cute and some boys just mentioning him. Their opinions would probably change, though, since the stunt that Kaiden pulled with his locker. “And just call me Arty, or Art- that “Mr. Mason” thing is for my husband,” Arty chuckled, rubbing his neck. Laura looked at Daniel, gawking slightly. When he didn’t acknowledge her, she looked back at his father. “Are you gay?” she asked before waving a hand in excitement. “My aunt just got a new girlfriend!” Arty laughed softly. “Well, that’s always nice. Would you like to hang out with Daniel sometime? I can always give you a ride- if it’s alright with your parents.” Laura was going to say something, but Daniel cut in first. “I actually have something I want to tell you and Jack at home tonight. If that’s alright.” Laura cleared her throat, pointing off. “Yeah, I also have like, chores to do.. But I’ll ask my parents for some other time!” she said, smiling although feeling dejected. Arty nodded, waving to her. “Okay, I guess another time, then,” he said, smiling to her to help cheer her up. She gave a small smile back and looked at Daniel. “Bye, Daniel. See you tomorrow?” Daniel nodded. “Yeah, tomorrow.” He watched her leave, the girl waving goodbye to the two as she headed for the sidewalk. Arty looked at Daniel. “Why do I get the feeling I’m missing something?” he asked. Daniel shrugged. “You must be looking too hard.” Arty laughed, getting back into the car. “I know you didn’t just say that to me.” His laughter made Daniel break a smile, the teen keeping it away into a smirk. He got into the passenger’s seat so that they could go home. l.l At the house, it was Geil and Jessica, since the boy was still sick and Jack was working out at the gym. Jessica opened the front door. Smiling, she looked at the two. “Hey, welcome back!” “Yeah, how was Geil?” Arty asked, stepping inside of the house. He looked at her, pointing off at the stairs. “I’ll go and get the money real fast, too,” he said. Jessica put on her best smile and shook her head, patting Arty’s shoulder. “Oh, you don’t need to rush or anything. He was fine, though! I think he’ll be alright for school tomorrow.” “Wow, really? That’s great- he has a tough time with schoolwork at home.” Arty left for the staircase, so that he could get some money from he and Jack’s room. He left Daniel alone, with Jessica. The teen tried walking passed her, but she made a noise and caught him by the jacket. “You don’t want to get sick wearing this in the house- let me take it for you,” she said. Daniel closed his eyes in contempt. He could feel her taking his jacket, slipping it off of his shoulders and down his arms. She ran her fingers down his arms as she took his coat. “There you go, you don’t want to end up sick like Geil.” Daniel stepped away from her when his coat was off, making a good distance between them. Jessica acted like nothing happened, hanging the teen’s jacket on the coat rack as Arty ran back down the stairs. “Okay!” he ran to the two, stopping in front of Jessica; the woman smiling at him. He held out the cash, offering a smile. “Thanks again, Jessica- you really are a lifesaver.” “It’s alright, Geil is a nice enough kid to keep me coming back,” Jessica shrugged, like a boy with attention difficulties wasn’t a big problem. Arty seemed to fall for it, though. “Well, you’re always welcome- I’ll take all the help I can get...” Daniel toned their voices out, walking away from them and to the large windows in the living room, that showed off the outside land. The snowy ground was covered by layers of trees that went far off, into a forest. Glancing back at Arty and Jessica, the two seemed to still be talking, distracted. Daniel went to the side door of the house, opening the glass and stepping outside. He was struck immediately by goosebumps when the chilly air hit him, because Jessica had taken his jacket. He didn’t let that stop him though, and he started walking to the trees. Stepping into the woods, there seemed to be nothing of much interest. Then, the farther he went, there seemed to be an abandoned shed- far off in the woods. l.l “You did what?” Arty laughed, carrying a steaming dish of chicken to the dinner table. Putting it down, he hurried to Daniel, grabbing the teen’s head into an excited hug. “Oh my god, the basketball team!” Daniel laughed a little in Ary’s embrace, smothered in the man’s arms. Jack raised his eyebrows. “Really?” “Really, Jack- yay, Daniel!” Arty let the teen go to look at him, already forgetting about talking to Jack. The other man didn’t mind, though, reaching over the table to start making Geil’s plate. “It wasn’t hard or anything,” Daniel stated, looking at Arty, who’s eyes were on his. The man smiled. “But it’s a great way to make friends! Being in a new family, and a new country- this is a good start for you.” “I wanna play baseball!” Geil called out, watching Jack cut his chicken. The man nodded to him. “You will one day. Eat this, first,” he said. Arty sat in his chair with a heavy sigh, looking at Daniel again. “Gah, I’m just so proud! I mean, now we can drag Jack away from work more often!” He looked at Jack, his husband giving a single laugh. “You can try, but Sandra wants to suck more work hours out of me,” Jack said, sitting back in his seat when done making Geil’s plate. The boy started eating. Arty glanced over at Daniel. “Sandra’s not his boss; she just thinks she’s in charge.” Daniel smiled, looking at Jack, who rolled his light brown eyes. “When I get my next promotion, I’ll stop treating her like a queen.” Arty stuck a greenbean onto a fork before flicking it at his husband. “I’m the queen.” It smacked Jack’s shoulder and the man gave him a look. “Don’t throw food or Geil-” Geil threw a piece of his chicken, off in some random direction, and Jack groaned. Daniel smirked, watching them. “You don’t have to go to the games or anything; I just joined for the sport,” he said, taking a bite of his food. Arty clicked his tongue, shaking his head. “Nope- I don’t care if you joined the chess team; I gotta go. Jack’ll come too, won’t you babe?” Jack gave an honest shrug, picking up the tossed food that fell into his lap. “I’ll seriously try.” Geil threw some more food and Arty got up to pick up the mess, bending over. Daniel watched him, eating a piece of meat. Arty suddenly stood back up, looking at Jack. “A-nd, I met Daniel’s friend today! A girl, named Laura,” he smiled. Jack looked at Daniel, who was already speaking in his own defense. “She’s only my friend. Speaking of,” he looked at Arty, “Could I borrow your phone for a call? We agreed to share history notes,” he lied. Arty looked hesitant, which meant that he probably didn’t want Daniel snooping through his phone. Which was precisely what the teen wanted to do. “Let him call her, babe; my phone’s on the charger,” Jack spoke up before drinking his water. Daniel watched Arty patiently. “...Sure, you can use it,” Arty smiled to Daniel, pulling his phone from his pocket. Daniel noticed that Arty seemed to be doing something, maybe hiding something first, so the teen hooked his foot on Geil’s chair leg and pulled. The chair came falling over- with Geil in it. Jack and Arty immediately rushed over, Jack being a little quicker and grabbing Geil’s arm, but it didn’t particularly stop the fall. Geil still hit the floor, and he started bawling, reaching his other hand up to touch his head. “What happened!” Arty sounded, kneeling beside Jack and Geil, Jack sitting on the floor and pulling Geil into his lap. “He just fell,” he said. Daniel looked at where Arty had been with his phone. During the excitement, Arty had left it on the table. Daniel got up, heading over and picking it up. He put it in his pocket before pointing at the fridge. “I can get an ice pack,” he said. Jack shook his head. “No, it’s not that bad or anything- just go on and we’ll take care of him.” Arty was looking at the chair, trying to figure out how Geil had fallen; his phone gone from his mind. Daniel nodded to Jack and left to his bedroom, where he shut himself inside before getting on Arty’s phone. Daniel had originally meant to look at the phone calls, but seeing the messaging app got the better of him, so he decided on that, first. There were texts from his mom, Jack, some people who appeared to just be friends; Cameron, July, Fargo, and Andy, and some texts from Henry, that seemed to be casual. Daniel knew, though, that there had been some deleted messages, because the content in the thread sounded like it had some things missing. Moving on to the calls, Daniel expected to see Henry’s name at the top, but it instead was an unknown number. He wrote the number on a piece of paper and folded it, sticking it under his bed with his other things, for later.
  7. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 6: Blue Lips

    “Eat it! Get down there!” Joe shoved Daniel down, the foreign teen keeping his mouth shut. “Go on, eat it.” Morrison stood in front of Daniel, holding Arty's thermos. “Wait, am I supposed to record this?” the third wheel, Kaiden, asked. Joe scoffed from over Daniel, his foot on the teen's back, keeping him grounded. “Yeah!” he exclaimed. Daniel brushed his teeth at home, brushing so hard that it was the only thing he could hear. Daniel looked down, at the dead bird that lay beneath him, for him to “eat”. Then he looked up at Morrison, who was watching him with a sneer, his fake eye making his expression look off. “Go on,” he said. “Eat it.” He rose the thermos, drinking whatever it was that he had in it. There was a laugh, and then Daniel was kicked in the head. Daniel spat into the sink, bracing his hands on the porcelain. He stayed like that for a second, just breathing, the toothpaste in his mouth burning. Then he turned on the sink faucet, running his toothbrush under the water to rinse it before putting it up. Scooping water into his hand, he brought it to his mouth, rinsing it and spitting into the sink. He looked at himself in the mirror, his eyes grey underneath. “I'm sorry, Daniel- I didn't mean to get up so late; I meant to be on time!” Arty said to Daniel as he drove him home, the teen looking out the windshield. He didn't let Arty know what happened, just that he was upset for being left. “I was supposed to be there,” Arty sighed, shaking his head and mentally strangling himself. Daniel tilted his head, watching his reflection. There was a forming bruise on his skull beneath his left ear, spreading to his neck. Leaving the bathroom to the storage room, he could hear Arty and Jack in their bedroom. “It was his second day, Jack- I promised I wouldn't be late and I was,” Arty sounded, distressed. “Hey, you didn't mean it, I'm sure Daniel knows you didn't mean it. That is a very specific promise, though. It's bad luck, I'm telling you.” Jack knew from experience that the phrase “I promise I won't be late” was a wedding ring for misfortune. He had to be late seven times before he deemed it evil and stopped promising it. Now, he said “I'll try”. “But I just-” Arty's words stopped, meaning that Jack was probably trying to calm him down. Instead of listening further, Daniel went into the storage room and flipped on the light, looking at the boxes. The box that the recorder came out of said “old tech”, so the teen knelt to look inside. There was an old typewriter, some video cassette tapes, old speakers, and what Daniel was looking for. A camera. It wasn't digital, but a Polaroid would do. Pulling it out of the box, he checked it to see if it was working. Taking a picture of the room, the camera shot out a picture, and he looked at it after waiting for it to appear. It worked. Walking back to the bathroom, Daniel took a photograph of the bruise. l.l Arty knocked on Daniel's bedroom door, the teen rolling in bed to look at him. “Hey, it's uh, time for school,” the man said. Daniel sat up in bed. “It's Wednesday?” “Yeah.. I'm thinking…” Arty walked into the room, sitting on the edge of Daniel's bed. “We're gonna tell Jack to skip working out, and that way we can all… watch a movie or something. Like, at the theaters.” He smiled at Daniel, his eyes saying that he was still upset about yesterday. Daniel smiled. “That sounds nice,” he said, his smile already making Arty perk up. “Really? We aren't harboring grudges, or anything?” “I'd never hate you, Arty.” “Thanks, bud.” Arty stood, holding out a hand to the teen. “Come on, let's get going.” Daniel took the hand, looking up into Arty's shining blue eyes. “Alright.” l.l The sitter was there, knocking on the door. Arty looked back at Daniel while opening it. “Did you finish your breakfast? We're about to head out.” He opened the front door, looking at the babysitter. “Hi!” he greeted. Daniel turned into the kitchen, walking to his lunch bag and peeking inside. There was a grilled cheese sandwich wrapped in tin foil to stay warm, strawberries, orange slices, a bottle of fruit juice, and a yogurt. He could hear Arty chatting with the sitter, laughing at something. Walking away from the bag, Daniel went and grabbed a water bottle, opening it and setting it on the kitchen counter. Pulling Arty's necklace from his pants pocket, the teen opened it and pulled out a pill. Putting the small pill on the counter, Daniel placed the water bottle’s cap flat over it before smashing it down, breaking the pill into crumbs. He then grabbed the water bottle and brought it to the side of the counter, so that he could dust the pill into the nozzle. Once he got it all in, he put the lid back on and shook the bottle, mixing the powder and water together. “Okay, thank you again for coming,” Arty said the to sitter from the living room. “Daniel, hurry up!” Daniel took the bottle to his lunch bag, putting it inside and taking it with him to the front door. The sitter was currently taking her jacket off, hanging it up. She had dark hair and looked young, like a college student. “Oh, I thought he was younger!” she said to Arty after looking at Daniel. The man shook his head, patting Daniel's head. “Nope, he's the big brother.” Jessica looked at Daniel again, her gaze dropping down his body. He looked at Arty. “We should go,” he said, aware of the girl's gaze. Arty blinked and nodded, patting his pocket for the car keys. “Yep, we should! Alright, I'll be back in a bit to pay you,” he waved to Jessica, heading outside. Daniel followed, Jessica calling after them a “Bye, see you then!” Once they were in the car, Daniel looked at Arty, who had just put the key in and was turning it in the ignition to start it. “I don’t think I like her,” the teen said and Arty immediately burst into a sputtering laugh. “What?” he looked at Daniel, an eyebrow quirked. Daniel simply repeated. “I don’t think I like her.” “Well, I heard what you said, but… really? She’s so nice.” “Yeah. I don’t like her.” “...Alright. I’m sorry about that,” Arty looked out the windshield and started pulling out of the driveway, “But she’s the only one who comes on short notice. I’ve needed to hire babysitters before, but they don’t like the risk of driving on these roads at night, or when it’s-” Daniel toned the man out, looking out the passenger side window. He didn’t like her, the way she looked. But he also didn’t like Morrison. They got to the school and Arty decided to walk Daniel to the front doors, because he still felt a bit guilty about yesterday. “I’ll be on time,” he said, looking at Daniel. The teen nodded, looking through the doors’ glass inside the school, to where he could see Morrison and his crew teasing a boy. “Hey,” Arty tapped Daniel’s chin, making the teen look at him. The man smiled. “Okay? Third day’s the charm.” “I think it’s “time’s”. “See? Okay, I’ll be back on time, and then we’ll all go to the theaters when Jack gets home.” Daniel nodded, offering a smile to ease the man. “Okay.” Arty pat Daniel’s head, ruffling his hair before leaving back to the car. Then Daniel walked into the school, where Laura was waiting. “Daniel!” she exclaimed, running up to him. She walked him to class, where everything went fine: until noon. Laura got a hamburger for lunch. “I like cheeseburgers, but I can’t have them because I’m lactosintolerant,” she said, Daniel watching her as she took a bite. He looked at his own bag, contemplating. He wanted to eat it, but he was waiting for Morrison. And since yesterday’s charade, he would be sure to mess with Daniel some more. Laura looked over the table at Daniel and pressed her lips together. “...Hey, I heard about what happened yesterday.” Daniel looked at her with his dark eyes. He gave a light shrug. “It wasn’t that bad.” “I heard it was rotten.” “It was. But we’re just teenagers.” Morrison sat down as if on que, thudding into the seat next to Daniel. “Yeah, just kids being kids,” he said, flashing a grin across the table at Laura, who didn’t flinch even as his ruined expression made her uncomfortable. Then he looked at Daniel. “How you doing, Danny?” his eye looked down at Daniel’s lunch bag. “Oh, what’s this? Brought me some lunch?” Daniel didn’t say anything, watching as Joe grabbed the bag and tossed it to Morrison, the teen catching it before dumping it onthe table. Sifting through the contents, he spoke to Daniel some more. “So, who’s that faggy dude ‘dropped you off at school? Boyfriend?” “Morrison, stop it,” Laura glared at the teen, scoffing at Kaiden when the boy flicked a piece of broccoli from his plate at her. “You guys are assholes.” “Hey, we may be assholes, but at least we don’t like ‘em. Ain’t that right, Dan?” Joe elbowed Daniel, who looked at him. “Seriously though, who was that dude?” “My dad,” Daniel said, looking at Morrison as the teen grabbed the bottle of water, popping the cap off. The bigger teen laughed. “You’re fucking kidding.” “No. He’s my father.” “Then you’ve got one fucked up family.” Morrison drank the water, watching Daniel like he was just a peasant, while Daniel watched him, because he knew that Morrison was just an idiot. l.l In science, Daniel followed Morrison inside. The bigger teen stumbled in his steps and shook his head, like he was fighting sleep. Walking to his desk, he grasped the table top for support when he doubled over, almost falling to the floor. He caught himself, though, and just shook his head again before sitting down. Daniel sat in the desk next to Morrison, the student that normally sat there too shy to do anything and simply moving to another seat. Class had yet to begin, the teacher out and running copies of an assignment. Looking at Morrison, Daniel could see that the teen’s body was trembling, the brunette staring at the chalkboard and struggling to stay awake. A problem that Daniel noticed, though, was that the shaking got a little more violent, the bully’s body racking with tremors like he was cold. Looking down from Morrison, Daniel found the teen’s bag on the floor beside him, Arty’s thermos in a side slot. Leaning in his seat, Daniel reached over to the bag and grabbed the thermos, slipping it from the pocket and putting it in his paper lunch bag. Then he heard a thunk and looked back at Morrison. The teen passed out, his head hitting his desk. His body was still shaking, though. Someone seemed to notice, because they spoke up, “Is he okay?” and then more students started talking, standing up and looking over. It got severe enough that someone ran out to get the teacher, who hurried to Morrison. Sitting him up in his seat, the teacher looked at his face, patting his cheek. “Morrison, can you hear me?” they asked, but the teen didn’t respond, trembling in their hold. A girl student called out, “His lips are purple!” The teacher immediately pulled Morrison from his desk, laying him on the floor. “Emily, call the nurse in!” the teacher called and the girl ran to the classroom’s phone. Looking Morrison over, Daniel could see that his lips were gradually turning blue, the same with the tips of his fingers. His body hadn’t stopped shaking. l.l Daniel walked to the car, Arty being right on time and standing outside of it, waving to the teen. “Hey!” the man greeted, smiling. “Third day’s the charm!” Daniel nodded, getting inside of the car, to which Arty also got in. The man looked at Daniel, raising an eyebrow. “Did I see an ambulance here?” he asked. Daniel shrugged. “I don’t know, but probably. A kid in my science class got hurt.” “Well jeez, how? I knew a kid back in college who lost an eye from a bad chemical reaction.” “It wasn’t that kind of hurt, I think he overdosed.” Arty blinked. “What?” The man shook his head. “Wow. You’d better be careful then, huh? As in: no drugs or alcohol. Ever.” “I know.” “Good.” Arty drove them home, the two walking inside to find Jack already there. Sitting on the couch and looking at a magazine, he looked over when he heard the front door open. Then he smiled. “Hey, you two.” Arty took off his coat, hanging it up before heading to the couch, where he sat on it and leaned against Jack. “Ah, my handsome husband whom I never get to see,” the brunette sighed, smiling at Jack. Jack chuckled. “You find a lot of ways for me to make that up.” Arty laughed and looked at Daniel, who stood at the front door, watching them. “What time are we going to the theaters?” the teen asked. Arty looked back at Jack. “Yeah, what time are we going, babe.” “Probably at six. Babe,” Jack said and rolled his eyes at Arty’s teasing. Daniel nodded, going to the kitchen. “I’m going to paint then, while I have time,” he called, walking to the fridge; out of sight. Once hidden, he took Arty’s thermos from his bag and looked it over, to find the man’s name. If it were ever there, it was gone, now. There was a scribble of black permanent marker, and Morrison’s name written above it; on the bottom of the thermos. “Damn.” Daniel put the cup back in his bag before leaving the kitchen, going upstairs to the art room. Before he could start painting, the door opened and he looked over. Geil stood there, with a pencil and paper in hand, sniffling from his pink nose. He gave Daniel an open mouthed smile, the teen quirking an eyebrow. “Yes?” he asked the child. “Can you help me?” Geil asked, Daniel’s dark eyes slipping down to the paper. “...With what?” “Homerk.” “Homework.” Daniel took his canvas from the easel, hiding it where he usually did, and walked to Geil. The blonde boy walked Daniel to his room, where he went to his desk and sat in his chair, putting the paper on the table top. Daniel got on his knees to look. It was a paper of matching, words to things. Daniel looked at Geil. “You can’t do this?” Geil shook his head. “No.” “Well, that’s a little silly, isn’t it?” Geil looked at Daniel, confused by his words. Then he looked back to the paper. “I need help,” he murmured softly. Daniel gave him a look. “What’s this?” he pointed at a snake. “A snake.” “Okay, now where does it say “snake”?” “There,” Geil pointed, but it it wasn’t the right word. “No, that’s “soup”. This is snake.” “...Oh.” Daniel got back up, walking away from the desk. “Keep working,” he said, looking around at Geil’s room. There were child things; toys, clothes, play sets. “I can’t spell “elephant”,” Geil sounded. Daniel walked to the boy’s bed, sitting on it and looking at his bedside table. “Sound it out,” the teen said, looking at a photograph. It was framed, of a young Arty and an older man. The man’s hair was dark, and he had a hand on Arty’s shoulder. “El-e-fent,” Geil said. “No. It’s a tricky word: E-L-E-P-H-A-N-T.” Daniel took the photo out of the frame, flipping it over to look at the back. It said “Grandpa” in black ink, but down in the corner, there was a faded penning of “Dad, 2005”. “Where’s Daddy’s father, Geil?” he asked, looking at the child. Geil didn’t look at him. Daniel had to repeat it. “I don’t know,” he finally answered. Daniel put the photograph back and got up from Geil’s bed, going to his dresser. Opening the top drawer, he started sifting through the child’s socks and underwear. Grabbing a pair of underwear, Daniel put it in his pants pocket before looking back at Geil. “Are you done yet?” he asked, stepping over to look. Geil had two more, but he looked like he wasn’t paying attention to it anymore. Daniel took the pencil and matched the problems before leaving the room, to his own. Taking out the underwear, he shoved it and Arty’s necklace between his mattress and box-spring, far back so that they wouldn’t fall out or be found. Then he went back to the art room to paint. l.l At the movie theaters, Geil wanted to watch a children’s movie, but Daniel didn’t. Arty must have noticed, because he laughed and looked at Jack. “I don’t think the vote is unanimous,” he said. Jack looked at Daniel. “Well, do you have something in mind?” Daniel looked at the movie posters. There were different genres: romance, horror, suspense/thriller, drama, comedy- children’s. Jack spoke up again, to Arty. “I’m not really one for kid’s shows, I can take Daniel to another movie box while you take Geil.” Daniel was quick to save himself from being with Jack. “It’s alright, I can stay with you guys.” “Well, it could be some bonding time between you two- since Jack’s always gone,” Arty said, and Jack rubbed his neck. Daniel repeated, “I’ll watch it”, but Arty had already walked to the ticket booth. “I’d like two tickets for Coco, and two more for It.” Jack looked at Daniel. “I’d say: it’s too late to stop him.” Daniel just watched Arty come back with the tickets, smiling. The four split their own ways and Daniel was left with Jack to lead him for their horror movie of the evening. The two had Skittles and popcorn, and separate drinks of Dr. Pepper and Coke. Once inside the theater box for It, they sat in the back. And had to wait for the previews to pass. Jack gave an exhale, the typical father breath that dads do before trying to start some sort of talk. “So…” The typical starting line. “How was school? I heard a kid had an accident.” Daniel looked at Jack, who was looking at him with that typical dad look. The teen nodded, turning his gaze to the popcorn that sat between them. “He had an overdose; they called an ambulance for him.” “Hm. A freshman?” “Yes.” “Well, I guess kids are still as adventurous as they were back in my day,” Jack sighed, leaning on his chair’s arm. Daniel looked at him again, a sudden thought for talk coming into mind. “Jack,” he said, making his father look at him, “How many children do you have? From your previous marriage.” Jack cleared his throat, like he didn’t want to talk about it. There wasn’t particularly a reason as to why he couldn’t, though, so he answered. “Three. Johnathon, Laurence, and Avery.” “How old are they now?” Daniel asked, his voice sounding of pure curiosity. Jack brought a hand up to rub his mouth and chin uncomfortably. “Johnathon and Laurence should be twenty eight and twenty five now. And Avery would be twenty one.” “...Is he the one who came to stay for college?” Jack gave Daniel a look at this and the teen motioned slightly. “Arty told me- we were talking about the art room.” Jack sighed. “Yeah. ...He came to stay. Mathilda, his mother, wouldn’t fund him anymore because he had a substance abuse problem. I brought him in, so that we could help him; so that he could have a nice environment to thrive in, but I just didn’t know he was so… depressed.” Jack rubbed his eyes, like they were irritated. Then he sat back in his seat and looked off at the chairs in front of them. “You must have made him feel at peace,” Daniel spoke after a moment. Jack shook his head. “I should had found him… I...” He sighed and looked at Daniel. “You’re a really good kid, Daniel. I’m sorry for not being around much, but I just… It’s been so long since I’ve raised a teenager that I don’t really remember how.” “It’s alright, Jack. Could I ask you something else, though? Where is Arty’s brother? The one who gave him the necklace?” Jack cleared his throat, wanting to get off of the morbid conversation but not knowing how to say no. “He passed away four years ago, from meningitis. He and Arty were really close, so it took its toll. That may be why my son’s death affects him so much: they both passed at nineteen, and Arty was the one who… found Avery.” Thankfully, the movie started before Daniel could ask anything else. When it was over, the two still had popcorn left that they gave to Arty when the four met back up, the man happy because he loved popcorn. “How was your movie?” he asked, eating a piece. Jack nodded. “It was good, I just… like the original more.” Arty laughed and looked at Daniel, Jack picking up Geil because he wanted him to. “And you? Did you like it?” he asked. “It was good, but I also like the original better.” “Woah, you’ve seen that? You really are too good to be true!” Arty ruffled Daniel's hair before looking at Jack. “Ready to go home? Geil got tuckered out from singing too much.” Jack nodded, letting Geil rest his head on his shoulder. “Yeah, let’s go on.” He held Geil with one arm so that he could hold Arty’s hand. Daniel looked elsewhere so that he didn’t have to see that, but his eyes found Kaiden; one of Morrison’s friends. He was looking over, mouth gawking open. He saw that Daniel’s “parents” were gay. Daniel followed his family out of the theater before Kaiden could laugh or call out at them.
  8. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 5: Tired Eyes

    Since it was only Monday, Jack would be home late. Only on Wednesdays and Thursdays could he be early. “Daniel, could you get the front door?” Arty asked, unbuckling Geil so that he could carry him inside. The teen nodded, walking to the front door and opening it. Waiting at the porch, Daniel didn't go inside until Arty did, following the man in and shutting the door to keep out the cold. “What time does he get out of school?” he asked Arty of Geil, and the man glanced at him while walking to the stairs. “About three fifteen. I decided that I would just take him to the park until your school ends, and that way I won't be late picking you up or anything. That's why he's so tuckered out,” the man replied with a smile. Daniel nodded, understanding. Then, he raced Arty to the stairs. “Let me help you with him,” he said, on the second step. Arty laughed softly. “Okay.” Daniel kept up the stairs, turning down the hall to Geil's room and opening the door for Arty. The man came eventually, taking Geil to his bed and laying him down. “Would you mind pulling his shoes off?” Arty asked while undoing the child's jacket. Daniel nodded, walking to the foot of the bed. Geil's shoes were Velcro, so the teen just slipped the off; to avoid waking the child up. Looking up at Arty, the man had undone the jacket's buttons and was onto the zipper. His face was soft, his expression kind. He was truly beautiful. His lips were full, naturally, and his nose was long and straight, untouched by any damage, and his eyelashes were long. Then he looked at Daniel and smiled, his mouth wrinkling slightly at the ages from when he would smoke as a teen. “Thank you,” he said happily before pulling one of Geil's small arms out of his jacket. Then he did the other and pulled the coat from underneath the boy, balling it in his arms. Daniel grabbed the blanket and pulled it up over Geil, covering him up before looking at Arty again. He really didn't stop moving, already going to a small drawing table of Geil's and draping the cost over the back of the chair. Then he grabbed some stray pencils and put them in the pencil cup. This seemed to spark a thought in Arty, and he looked at Daniel. “Have you started painting yet?” he asked. Daniel gave a slight shake of his head. “No, I don't feel… right.” “What do you mean? This is your house, do what you want! Here, let's go and check it out.” Arty waved Daniel over, walking to the bedroom door to leave. The teen followed. Walking to the art room, Arty opened the door wide before stepping inside, allowing Daniel to stand next to him. The teen stepped close enough that he could smell Arty, the adult smelling briefly like soft Axe and soap. It was light, airy. Then Arty left him, though, walking further into the room and looking around at the supplies. There were two easels, one with a canvas, covered by a white sheet, and the other empty and slightly dusty. Besides those, the room was cluttered with canvases leaning against each other and the walls, backwards so that what was painted on them couldn't be seen. There was a glass shelf full of different paints- acrylic, oil, water based, and there was even some pastel chalks. There were two pallets, one filled in paint, and the other slightly used. Arty looked at Daniel, grinning excitedly. “Jack hasn't been in here since his last promotion and it's been driving me insane. Come on in, take a look at things!” Daniel stepped further inside, looking around. It was an impressive room- disorganized in an artist's excessiveness. Walking to the covered easel, the teen pulled the sheet off to look at the canvas underneath. It was an abstract art, full of dark and dull colors. It looked as though there was a pale sky, with dark scratch marks and lines all over it. Daniel looked at Arty, who was already looking over. “... Jack's youngest son came to stay with us, to help with his college fees. Then he, uh…” Arty pressed his lips together, bringing a hand up to rub his neck as he looked at the unfinished work. Daniel simply watched him, the man looking… distressed. “It's alright, Arty,” the teen said, turning his gaze back to the painting. It felt like it was… screaming. Daniel covered it back up, cutting their view of it short. Then he spoke up, “I'll paint in here.” l.l Arty made chicken soup for dinner, since Geil seemed to be getting a cold. Daniel hadn't left the art room since Arty talked him into it, so the man was cooking alone while Geil lay on the living room couch watching television. For dinner, Arty used egg noodles and fresh vegetables that he bought when last shopping. While stirring the soup, his phone went off and he pulled it from his pocket to look. It was a text from Sandra. Mom: I have some clothes for the boys. Arty: ok. Mom: I'll bring them tomorrow. Arty didn’t answer, because she was frustrating. Instead, he put his phone back in his pocket and looked at the soup again. “Just a little longer!” he called to Geil, giving the soup another stir before putting the lid over. Then he walked to the living room, going to the couch to peer over at his son. The boy was watching TV with an arm under his head, lying on his side. Arty grabbed some stray hair from the child’s cheek and pulled it back, tucking it behind his ear. Geil didn’t respond or anything, blinking while watching television. Upstairs, Daniel peeked at a few other paintings by Jack. There was a variety: impressionism, abstract, portrait. There was a portrait of Arty, hidden far behind a stack of canvases. He looked innocent and angelic- young. He looked to be in his early twenties, looking off while covered in white drapes. It was an oil painting, and it looked as fresh as when it was first made: Aug. 2nd, according to the date at the bottom right corner. Looking back at his own work in progress, it was a rough sketch of Arty now, the way Daniel had seen him in Geil's room- a replica of his expression. He didn't look too different from his younger self, besides his hair and eyes, the orbs appearing to age with worry that he mastered concealing. Walking back to his sketch, Daniel started painting the background; pale, light colors. “Daniel! Dinner's ready!” Arty called up the stairs from the bottom. He looked at Geil when he heard the boy get up, and then the blonde stumbled, so Arty ran over to pick him up. “Hurry!” he called again, looking at Geil. “You okay, kiddo?” Geil nodded, despite his puffy eyes of sneezing and coughing. “Yeah.” “Well, let's just eat in here.” Arty took Geil back to the couch, sitting the boy and covering him up again. After petting the child's head, he left to the kitchen to get their bowls. “Dan-iel!” The man called once more, walking to Geil and placing his bowl in his lap. He went back to the kitchen, grabbing a few ice cubes and taking them to drop them into Geil's bowl, to help cool the soup down some. Geil pushed the ice under the broth with his spoon. “I'm gonna go get Daniel-” “No, stay,” Geil whined, his voice hoarse. Arty sighed. “Okay, baby.” Arty sat beside Geil with his own bowl, putting a hand on the boys head and smiling to him. “What are we watching?” l.l Jack came home. Usually, he went to the kitchen first to get dinner, but this time, he got stopped by the television flashing. Raising an eyebrow, the man took his cost off, hanging it up, before walking to the TV to turn it off. Then he heard a snore and looked at the couch. Arty and Geil were asleep, Arty slumped against the arm and Geil lying down with his head in his dad's lap. Their soup bowls were empty beside them. Laughing silently to himself, Jack shook his head and grabbed the bowls, taking them to the kitchen sink. The pot of soup was still on the oven, staying warm, so Jack turned the stove off and poured the soup into a plastic container before putting it in the fridge. Then he took the pot to the sink, filling it with hot water to soak. Stretching, he groaned to himself, rolling his stiff neck to work out the kinks. Working twelve hours a day at the law firm was exhausting. He would get some soup, would love to because Arty was skilled in cooking, but he was too tired. There was a birthday that had to be celebrated at work today, and just looking at all of the junk food made him sick. He never was a fan of sweets, not since his kids lived off of them from his ex-wife back in the day. Turning from the kitchen, he went back to the living room and picked Geil up, wrapping him in his blanket. “Arty,” he whispered to the sleeping man, who didn't stir. “Arty, wake up.” He nudged his spouse's leg with his knee and the brunette moaned in sleepiness, his eyes opening slightly and looking at Jack. He groaned. “What time is it?” “Almost eleven. Come on to bed.” Arty drowsily pat the couch beside him and Jack chuckled. “I've got him. Come on.” He turned from Arty, going to the stairs with Geil. Stepping up with his tired feet, he carried Geil to his room and put him in bed, covering him up with another blanket. Then he left the bedroom, shutting the door. He knew from his years of marriage to Arty that the man was probably still asleep on the couch. Heading to the stairs, he heard a soft sound from inside the art room and looked at the door. Through the door’s under, he could see a light on inside. Knocking on the door, Jack put his ear to it. “Yes?” Daniel sounded from inside. Jack cleared his throat. “Painting?” “Yes.” “Well, don't stay up too late.” “I won't.” Jack nodded, because he just wasn't that talkative. He was… socially awkward. He turned from the room and left back downstairs, to the couch where Arty hadn't moved from. “Art, get up.” He flicked some hair from the brunette's face, making him open his eyes again, tiredly. Arty held his hands out and Jack took them, pulling the younger man to his feet. “Carry me,” Arty whined, making Jack roll his eyes. “You're old enough, walk.” “Ba-be..” Jack sighed but gave in, picking his husband up bridal style. “There's no way you're really this tired.” “I am though.” From inside the art room, Daniel could hear Arty and Jack's distinct voices. “You've gained weight, haven't you?” Jack joked, and Arty scoffed. “Jacob Laurence Mason, I know you didn't just say that!” “I know you didn't just say that.” Arty's laugh echoed down the hall as their voices trailed away, and Daniel looked at the art door from his painting. He could hear a bedroom door shut, and he was sure they were probably going to have sex. The teen turned his gaze back to his painting, sighing while looking at Arty's painted eyes. l.l In the morning, Daniel wasn't in bed. “Daniel! Where are you?” Arty called, walking down the hallway. He looked in the bathroom, downstairs, the kitchen, outside- then, he checked the art room. Opening the door, the man peered inside with his blue eyes. “Daniel?” he asked. “Yes?” Daniel looked at the door from his canvas and Arty sighed in relief. “Jeez, you scared me! You didn't stay up all night, did you?” Daniel smiled. “No, that wouldn’t necessarily be wise.” He had, though. He had lost track of time. He was a good liar, despit. Arty huffed and waved the teen over. “Well, come on for school- Geil's sick, so he'll be staying home.” “Does that mean you'll be late?” Daniel tossed a sheet over his painting, walking to Arty. The older man blinked and furrowed his eyebrows. “Late for what?” “Picking me up. Since you aren't going to stay in the city with Geil.” “Oh, no! No, I'll be right on time, I promise.” Arty pat Daniel's head, his fingers long and slender, but soft. It was a comforting feeling. “Come on, I made your lunch.” The comfort was quick to leave as Arty turned from Daniel, hurrying to the stairs. It made the teen a little upset. “I'll be there in a minute,” he called after his “father”, going to his bedroom. Once in there, he changed his clothes and put on his shoes and jacket before looking at his reflection in a mirror. His eyes looked wide from his night of no sleep, and he had some paint on his fingers. “Damn.” l.l “Daniel-” “Leave the boy alone, he's probably in the bathroom,” Jack said from the kitchen table, where he ate a slice of toast. Arty frowned. “I just don't want him to be late.” “He'll be fine.” Jack said to Arty, waving his toast slightly. Then he looked at his watch, and he breathed through his nose. “Speaking of late-” he put the toast down, standing and hurrying to Arty, who pouted. “Someday that law firm is going to burn.” Jack laughed, pecking Arty on the mouth. “Hopefully when I'm not in it. Hey,” he touched the brunette's chin lightly. “Tomorrow's Wednesday.” Arty seemed to visibly perk up. “Alright, go on to work then.” He kissed Jack, who smiled into it. Then he turned, leaving for work. Since he left his toast and Daniel was taking his time, Arty walked to the table and took the warm slice, finishing it while leaning on the wooden top. “Kiddo!” He called through a mouth of toast, looking at the kitchen doorway. After a moment, Daniel came into the kitchen, ready for school. Arty pointed. “Here's your breakfast, and your lunch is on the counter.” Daniel nodded, stepping to his breakfast of an omelet and bacon. “Is Geil staying home while you drive me?” he asked, since Geil wasn't present. Arty shook his head. “I hired a babysitter, she should be here in a little bit.” “Oh. Arty, can I ask you for something?” Daniel looked at the man, who perked up at the opportunity to give. “Sure! Ask away.” “Could I have an audio recorder? Or a video recorder?” Arty laughed. “Um, why?” “It helps me study, hearing things again.” “Oh. Well, yeah! I think I have a voice recorder from college,” Arty wandered out of the kitchen and Daniel ultimately followed, wanting to talk to him more. “What did you go to college for?” he asked, following Arty to the room that Geil didn't know what was. It became apparent as Arty opened it though, that it was storage. “Oh, this and that. Nursing, some teaching, business.” “...Why aren't you doing any of those, then?’ “Because,” Arty strained as he tried moving a heavy box, “It didn't work out. I did tutoring and nursing for a while, but kids aren't really… fond of homosexuals. And nursing was stressful, seeing people sad all of the time, and in pain.” He managed to move the box, and he started looking in the one that it was covering. It upset Daniel, because Arty looked like he would love those things. Then he was startled, though, when the man cackled. “I found it!” He raised his hand, holding an old recorder. Daniel laughed. “You scared me.” “Oh, did I? Whoops. Here!” Arty stood from the floor, walking to Daniel and holding it out. “I used it to record seminars in college- have fun with it!” Daniel took it, looking it over. It looked a little older, but it was in fine condition otherwise. Daniel smiled. “Thank you, Arty.” “It's nothing. Hey, do you want me to put it in your bag?” Arty stepped behind Daniel, unzipping his backpack. Since it seemed wrong to tell him no, Daniel held the recorder back, letting Arty take it. Their fingers touched. Daniel held the recorder a moment longer, to savor the moment. Arty didn't notice, because his mind was stuck on the idea of just helping out. Daniel finally let him have it. Putting the recorder in the bag, Arty zipped it shut before patting the teen’s head. “There we go! Come on, let's see if the sitter's here.” Daniel turned to face Arty. “I do mean it, thank you, for this,” he said. Arty waved him off. “You live here now- if you ever want something, I probably already have it in here. Just take a look sometime!” A box seemed to fall over on que, making Arty get meek. “Just uh, don't let anything fall on you. I'm a clutter.” Clearing his throat to make a show out of the whole thing, the man spun on his heel to leave the room. If he was so energetic now, what was he like as a teenager? Daniel followed the man out, walking down the stairs. He lied and told Arty that he had finished his breakfast, so that they could leave earlier. The sitter came while Arty was heating up the car, so he and Daniel left after Arty greeted and thanked the woman for coming. Then they drove to school. The drive was quiet, because neither really knew what to say, so Arty turned on the radio. The music must have sparked something in Arty, because then, the man spoke up. “What do you like listening to?” he asked. Daniel glanced at him. “Nothing much.” “...Oh.” “Well, I fancy your singing.” Arty laughed. “Daniel, that's not music- trust me.” “I beg to differ. You're just being modest.” This made Arty laugh even more, leaning on the wheel and looking at Daniel. “What's with you today? Jokester much? That girl's in for something, I'll tell you that!” Daniel furrowed his eyebrows, looking at Arty. “What girl?” Arty motioned. “That Laura girl. Laura, right? Your new potential girlfriend.” He nudged Daniel with his elbow, who just watched him. “I don't want to date her.” “Okay, mister Macho, forget I said anything. I'm just teasing, kiddo.” Arty smiled to Daniel, the teen looking back to the road. “Okay.” When the got to the school, they were early. “I'll be here when you're out,” Arty said, waving to Daniel as the teen got out of the car. He nodded, shutting his door and going up the front steps to the doors. Immediately as soon as he got inside, Laura was on his hip. “Hey! You're back!” she said like he had moved. “Who was in the car back there? Your brother?” Daniel looked at her with his tired eyes, quirking an eyebrow. “What?” “The...guy- hey, what's wrong with your eyes? Sleep much?” She brought a hand up to poke his face, but he pushed her hand away before she could. “I've got to go to class,” he said and she nodded, crossing her arms. “...Okay. I'll see you at lunch!” Daniel waved to her, walking to his first hour. In the left hall, he could hear Morrison and his goons. “Hey, this thing says “Arty”,” one of Morrison's friends said, and Daniel stopped walking. “What? Bullshit,” Morrison sounded. “Give it to me.” “What the hell kinda name is that?” One asked. “Fuck if I know. Joe, get me a marker,” Morrison. “You're keeping it?” The first asked, Joe. “Yeah, it's a nice thermos,” Morrison said. Daniel dropped his head back to look up at the ceiling. He hadn't known it was Arty's thermos. Damn. l.l When Arty got home, he paid the sitter, Jessica, seventy dollars. “Thanks again,” he said to her as she walked outside. She smiled and waved. “I can come again!” “Well, I'm counting on it,” Arty laughed. He was, because Geil would probably have to stay home tomorrow, too. When the front door was shut, Arty flopped onto the couch, putting an arm over his forehead and looking up at the ceiling. He hadn't really gotten much sleep last night. Mainly because of his nap with Geil. That, and the fact that he always had a hard time sleeping after nine o'clock. He sighed and pulled his phone from his pocket, texting his mom. Arty: what time are you coming? Mom: About noon Arty: can you bring some milk Mom: Yes. Arty closed his eyes. She's coming at noon. He would nap until noon, so that he could get some rest in for the day. He always hated being tired more than he hated being an insomniac. That was why he didn't take his medicine- it made him groggy, and then he couldn't wake up. “Arthur, wake up.” Sandra set her bags of clothes on the floor beside the couch, looking at her son. She inhaled deeply through her nose and put a hand on her hip. “Arthur Grey, get up.” Arty opened his eyes, giving her a look. His grogginess made him look upset. Sandra clicked her tongue and looked at the bags. “I brought the clothes for the boys, and I put the milk in your refrigerator.” “What time is it?” Sandra looked at him again, spurned, as though he had said something wrong. Because he had- he didn't say “thank you” first. She shook her head and looked at her wrist watch. “It's three fifteen, why?” Arty's eyes went wide. “You're fucking kidding me.” “Language.” Arty jumped up from the couch, looking at his phone’s time. His mom was no liar, it was three fifteen. “Mom, why didn't you wake me up!” “I just got here, Arthur. I had a meeting with a client, and there was a detour; I know, I'm very late.” “No, Mom! Daniel gets out at three forty- it's a forty minute drive there- shit!” Arty ran for the front door. “Watch Geil, please!” l.l School went well, besides Daniel's body trying to shut down for sleep mode. He managed to stay awake, though, and didn't see Morrison besides science class, but they were in groups and he didn't see Daniel. Stepping outside of school after the bell rang, Daniel looked around for Arty's car. He looked three times, because he thought he may have overlooked it. It became apparent after a while, though, that he hadn't. Arty wasn't there. After ten minutes of waiting, the school doors opened and Morrison and his friends came out. They saw him.
  9. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 4: The First Day

    “That was good spaghetti last night,” Jack spoke up while pulling on his jacket in the kitchen, Arty leaning against the counter beside him and drinking coffee while the kids ate scrambled eggs and toast. Arty smiled and motioned to the table with his mug. “The kids agreed on it, Daniel picked the basil.” Jack nodded, eyebrows raised. “Wow, that must have been some trip.” “We saw Uncle Henry!” Geil called through a mouth of eggs and Daniel glanced away so that he wouldn’t see the mushed food. Jack looked at Arty. “Really?” “Yeah, he just said hi.” Arty finished his coffee, pushing off of the counter to walk to the sink and put it in. “Well, he’s always nice,” Jack said before looking down at his watch. He clapped his hands together before walking after Arty, grabbing him around the waist and pulling his body to him so that he could kiss him. “I’m gonna be late to work.” Arty nodded, giving a small smile to Jack before pecking him on the lips. “Okay. Have a good day at work.” His voice was soft as he watched Jack, still being held by the man. His spouse seemed to notice, though, and he quirked an eyebrow. “Are you okay?” Arty nodded again, dropping his gaze. “I just… It’s my necklace.” “You’ll find it, babe. I’ll even,” Jack let Arty go, patting his head and kissing his cheek, “Look when I get back. Okay?” “...Okay.” Jack watched Arty for a moment before sighing and dropping his hand from the brunette’s head to his butt, patting it. Arty laughed and swatted the man’s hand away. “Okay, I won’t mope.” “Good.” Jack kissed Arty’s cheek again, the brunette turning his head so that their lips met. Then Jack walked to the kitchen table to pat Geil’s head. “I’m off to work, kids,” he said, Geil turning in his seat to hug his dad. Daniel just looked over, smiling to the man. “Good luck,” he said, making Jack laugh. “Me? Good luck to you- it’s your first day of school, you know.” The man kissed Geil’s cheek before working himself away from the child’s hugging arms to Daniel, so that he could pat the teen’s head. Daniel’s smile didn’t falter, the teen looking down at his plate. “I’m ready for it.” “Good, because Arty has to take you in a few minutes unless you want to be tardy,” Jack said, stepping away from the table. “Alright, have a good day, kids.” “You too, Daddy!” “We’ll see you tonight,” Arty said, Jack nodding and waving to them all before turning and leaving so that he wouldn’t be too late. Arty went to the kids, taking their plates. “Go on and get your coats and shoes.” Daniel helped Geil out of his seat and the two walked off, to their separate rooms. Daniel pulled on his coat and boots before looking at the backpack his new parents had gotten him. It was black with some green, just a normal pack. Putting it on his shoulders, he knelt in front of his bed and stuck his hand between the mattresses and grabbed the locket, pulling it out and stuffing it into his pants pocket. “Come on, Danul,” Geil passed by Daniel’s room, some light books in his bag bouncing as he hurried. “Daniel,” Daniel muttered to himself as he stood, turning to his bedroom door. l.l Downstairs, Arty helped Geil zip and button his jacket. He glanced at the staircase passed the child to see if Daniel was coming down yet. He wasn’t. “Come on, Daniel, you don’t want to be late!” he called, looking back at Geil and smiling. “Does he?” The blonde child shook his head, smiling big in return. “Nope!” “Daniel, I’m putting Geil in his car-seat! Come out when you’re ready!” Arty picked Geil up, looking at the staircase again before taking the younger son out. The air was bitter, nipping their faces immediately as they walked outside. Hurrying to the family car, Arty opened the back door and put Geil in the back, in his seat so that he could start buckling him in. “It’s cold!” Geil complained, shuddering in his seat. Arty chuckled lightly. “I know- Daniel’s taking his time.” Making sure that the buckles were secure, Arty climbed out of the back seat and shut the door, moving to the driver’s so that he could start the car and turn on the heater. The air ran cold for a few minutes before getting hot, Arty sighing at the warmth. He almost got out of the car again to get Daniel, but the teen suddenly came outside, a paper bag in his hand at his side. Walking to the car, Daniel got in the passenger’s side, shutting his door and putting the bag in his lap. Arty looked at him, surprised. “Did you make your own lunch?” “Yes.” “...Wow. Sorry- I thought you would want to eat the school’s lunch.” Arty started the car, pulling out and onto the road. Daniel shifted in his seat. “I thought I was supposed to,” the teen said quietly. “Well, not really. But if you want to start taking your own lunch, then I can start packing it.” Arty glanced at Daniel while driving. The teen seemed to just be watching the road. After a moment of them driving, he nodded. “Alright, I’d like to take my own lunches.” “I want to take mine!” Geil called from the back seat and Arty chuckled at them both. “Okay, we can do that. Right now, let’s try and get to school on time.” Since they were out in the country, Arty accelerated the car's speed, which prompted Geil to get excited. Daniel made sure that his seat belt was secure. “How long of a drive is it to the school?” Daniel asked. “Well, it's about fifteen minutes to the city, and then a little over ten more for the school because of morning traffic.” The teen looked back at Geil, who was now looking out the side window. Looking back at Arty, Daniel asked, “Geil doesn't pay much attention to things, does he?” Arty glanced at Daniel, an eyebrow raised, and he shrugged. “Mm, no, not really. He has some attention difficulties, so he sort of goes in and out when he wants,” he answered. “Oh.” “Yeah.. You like the radio?” l.l Parking in front of the high school, Arty turned in his seat to Daniel, smiling. “Ready for your first day?” Daniel looked outside, at all of the kids hurrying to classes and play fighting- roughhousing. Then he looked back at Arty, pointing back at Geil. “Is he not coming?” he asked. “Uh, no- he has a special school he goes to. But hey, you'll be okay,” Arty reached out to pat Daniel's shoulder, the teen watching him. “...Are you sure?” He hadn't been to school in two years- the orphanage had its own learning program. Daniel would be a freshman, going into his ninth year… here. Arty scoffed and ruffled Daniel's hair. “Of course! I mean, who doesn't love accents! You're gonna have all sorts of girls after you, trust me. I'm gonna have to spray them with the water hose, they'll be following you home.” He smiled, softly. “You're gonna be okay.” Daniel looked out the car again, at the students. A bigger kid grabbed another's shirt, pulling it up over their head and blinding them. Daniel let out a breath and looked back at Arty. “Alright. Where do I go, exactly?” “Well, see those front doors? To the right is the office, and I already talked to the school about giving you a guide. Do you need me to come with you? I can grab Geil-” “No, it's fine.” Daniel opened his door, stepping out and holding his lunch. “Okay, well, good luck. Say “Bye, Daniel”,” Arty said to Geil, looking back at the boy. The child leaned forward in his car-seat. “Bye bye, Danul!” Daniel didn't bother forcing a smile to the child, simply waving to both and smiling at Arty. “Bye.” He shut his door, leaving the car to walk up to the front doors. “To the right is the office..” Once inside, Daniel looked to the right. There was a hallway that, above, said MAIN OFFICE. Walking to it, the teen looked around. The school seemed to be under construction, the walls bare with dusty plastic on the floor beside them. There was an unattended ladder beside an open ceiling, surrounded by CAUTION tape. Walking down a slight curve in the hallway, Daniel finally came across the office, which had windows with closed blinds and a few chairs outside. The office door was closed. Stepping to the chairs, the teen sat in one to wait. There was indistinct talking from inside the office, like someone was in trouble and begging for their parents to not be called. After about ten minutes, the door finally opened to a man and teen, the younger wiping his damp eyes. Daniel looked up at the man as the teen left down the hallway. “Hello,” he spoke, getting the man's attention. The man snapped his fingers and pointed. “Mason kid, right?” “Yes, sir.” “Come on in, then.” The man looked like he went to the gym regularly, like an angry muscle head gym coach. His attitude was charismatic, though, and he smiled to Daniel when sitting at the principal's desk. This was the principal. A muscle head. “Go on, take a seat,” he said, his voice sort of loud. He should be the gym coach. Daniel sat in the chair before the desk. “So, what's your name?” Muscle Head asked, putting his hands on his desk and lacing his fingers together. “Daniel. Mason. Daniel Mason.” “Okay…” Muscle Head unlinked his fingers, grabbing some glasses from the edge of the desk and putting them on before looking at a file in front of him. Grabbing it and looking at it, he put it aside and looked at the one under it. This one, he opened. “Ah. Freshman.” He pointed at the file, reading it. Daniel just watched him, his lunch in his lap. Looking up, Muscle Head looked at Daniel through squinty eyes, like he couldn't see even with the glasses on. “Know why they call them Freshman, freshman?” “No, sir.” “Because their fresh meat. Freshmeat.” Muscle Head pointed at him. “That's why, if anyone says anything wrong, or does anything wrong, you come here and tell me. I don't like bully's, more than they don't like snitches. Understand?” No, Daniel didn't understand. Muscle Head spoke in riddles and Daniel didn't care to understand. He simply nodded. “I will,” he replied. Then Muscle Head put a thick finger onto a button, and he spoke into a speaker. “Laura Givens, come to the office.” He let go of the button, crossing his fingers again and looking at Daniel. “Miss Givens is gonna walk through that door in a few minutes, and she's gonna give you a tour of the high school. She's a top student, so you'll have a good time. Right?” “Yes.” “Good. Now, other than that, this is your list of classes- don't lose it, since it has your classroom numbers.” Uncrossing his fingers once again, Muscle Head grabbed a paper from the folder and held it out. Daniel took it, looking at it. It listed English, mathematics, science, foreign language, history, and… art. “I understand you haven't been around long, so your parent picked your classes for you. School starts at eight; if you're late, you come here and get a late pass. Lunch is at noon, but I see you brought your own. And, school ends at three forty. Any questions?” “...No, sir.” “Good. Now, my principal always used to tell me: “Early is on time, and on time is-”” “Late.” “Very good, Mason. You'll fit in fine, here.” A minute later, Laura came in. She was blonde, but her hair wasn't as pale as Geil’s Norwegian. Looking at Daniel with brown eyes, she smiled. “Hi, are you the new student?” l.l The tour went well. A few of Daniel's classes were all in hallway L, which was great. The others, art and science, were in M, which was a building outside. History was in H, a single building outside. The only thing annoying, was that Laura seemed to grow to Daniel's hip. She walked incessantly close to him and she would say something and giggle, like she wanted him to laugh with her. He stayed straight faced, though, memorizing the hallways. “So, you're from the UK?” she asked, peering at Daniel. The male teen glanced at her. “Yes,” he said simply. “Where?” “Scotland.” “Where in Scotland?” “Edinburgh.” Laura gasped before laughing in amazement. “That's so cool! Can you say it again?” Daniel closed his eyes for a moment, calming himself, before looking back down the hall and repeating it. “Edinburgh.” “Wow, you have a really lovely voice.” He knew it wasn't necessarily his voice, but his accent, rather. He had a relatively normal voice besides it's slightly lower pitch, his body already passing through puberty. “So, why did you move here? Oh, and there's the student lounge, you can go there if you finish lunch early and don't have anything to do. I don't recommend it though, because Morrison and his friends hang out there,” the girl pointed to an empty area with chairs and a phone charging station. Daniel quirked an eyebrow. “Morrison?” “Oh yeah, he's a bully. I would just… stay away, if I was you.” “Why? What does he do?” Daniel looked at Laura. She flushed at his gaze, but shrugged. “He just, beats kids up. I think it's because of his eye, he's probably really self conscious about it.” Daniel furrowed his eyebrows. “What's wrong with his eye?” “Well, it's still up for debate, but my aunt is a nurse and helped with the surgery. His uncle attacked his mom and he intervened- lost his eyeball from head damage.” Laura shook her head. “He won't even tell his friends.” “Do you like him?” Daniel asked, making the girl stop in her tracks and gawk. “What?” Daniel stopped walking to look at the girl. “Do you like him,” he repeated. “No, no I heard you, but what? What gave you that idea?” She laughed. “You just seem to know some about him. Like, an investment.” “An investment? Wow, you have some vocabulary. Do you like someone?” she countered, crossing her arms while smiling at him. “No,” he replied. She scoffed. “You don't have any “investments”?” “No. I invest in secrets.” “You're… odd. What kind of secrets?” “I imagine what sort of secrets people are hiding.” “Hm. What secrets do I have?” “You won't be happy,” Daniel warned simply. Laura laughed and pushed him playfully. “Come on, give me a guess.” Daniel watched her for a moment before shrugging. “Okay.” He looked her over, from head to toe. Her hair was yellow, from how blonde it was. She had some light freckles that she was probably born with, because the sun didn't come around these parts. Her nose had a slight crook in it, as though she had been struck once and it stayed. And her lips were uneven, but still natural and pink. Her clothes looked nice, but they had their own niceness to them- probably from a thrift shop. Looking into her eyes, Daniel watched the brown orbs that switched from both of his. Her eyes looked small, like there was something haunting her deep inside. “I think you secretly want a nose job,” Daniel finally spoke, and it took a quiet moment before Laura laughed, like she had been holding her breath. “You're a bullshitter, you know that?” Daniel shrugged. Of course, he didn't tell her what he really thought, because then she wouldn't talk to him again; and he thought he could use her. Once the tour was over, it was lunch. The reason it took so long, was because Laura extended the tour to the football field and the theater room. And, because she wanted to skip a few hours, so she used the tour as an excuse- and time to connect with Daniel, though he was relatively quiet. Now, in the lunchroom, Daniel sat at a table with her, who had a plate of the school's lunch. “This is a sloppy joe,” she said to him, pointing at her sandwich, and he gave her a look. “I know.” Laura rose her hands in defense with a smile. “Just making sure. So, what did you bring?” She looked at Daniel's bag, the teen setting it in front of him so that he could open it. Before he did, though, there was a voice from behind him, that made him pause. “Who's this, huh? New kid?” the voice spoke. Laura frowned. “Leave him alone, Morrison. How did you even find us?” She looked around the full cafeteria, actually amazed, since she had never sat at this table before. Morrison moved to sit beside Daniel and two more boys followed pursuit. One of the three stank, and Daniel lost his appetite. “What'd you bring, new kid?” Morrison grabbed Daniel's bag, tilting it upside down and shaking out the contents. It was: a PB&J sandwich, an apple, a banana, a bottle of water, some pretzels, a thermos of tea, and some butter crackers. “What the hell’s in here?” Morrison grabbed the thermos, shaking it. Daniel didn't answer him, just looking off in the cafeteria. Until he was smacked upside the head. “I said what's in this!” Morrison yelled at him, and Laura reached out to try grabbing it. “It's his, leave him alone!” “Tea,” Daniel finally replied, looking at Morrison. Laura wasn't lying about his eye- its Iris was smaller than his natural, and it didn't exactly follow the other as it moved to look at Daniel. Morrison grinned in excitement. “Say that again?” “It. Is. Tea.” “What's wrong with your voice? You got a stutter or some shit?” “He's Scottish! From Scotland?” Laura scoffed, looking at Morrison like he was an idiot. The bully just scoffed himself. “What the hell is he doing here? What are you doing here, huh?” He looked at Daniel. The foreign teen moved to stand up, but one of the other boys kept him down. Morrison grabbed the water and opened it, drinking it. “That's good,” he commented, and Laura just looked at Daniel in apology. “And this is a nice thermos.” He grabbed the thermos, opening it and dumping the tea on the floor, the liquid coming back up and splashing the teens’ feet. l.l Morrison stole the thermos and turned out to be in Daniel's science class after lunch. That meant two hours with the bully. Laura wasn't in any of Daniel's classes, but she vowed to go to his house sometime and sit with him at lunch. Finally, though, school was over. Daniel walked outside, getting shoved for the umpteenth time by a kid running to the bus. He really was, relatively tired. This school day was exhausting. Stepping down the front steps, the teen looked for Arty's car, a silver Honda. After a few minutes, it finally came into view and Arty got out, looking around for Daniel. The teen spotted him first and started walking over, his footsteps getting Arty's attention. “Daniel!” The man smiled. “How was it?” “Alright, like you said.” “That's good- very good. Did you make any friends?” Arty asked as they both got into the car. Geil was asleep in the back, a blanket draped over his lap. Daniel nodded. “I did.” Arty waited, giving Daniel time to tell him more, but when the teen didn't, he motioned. “A-nd what's their name!” “Um, Laura.” Daniel did his seat belt. Arty gave a sly smile, patting Daniel's shoulder. “I told you I'd need the waterhose.” Daniel sat back in his seat, closing his eyes. He was tired.
  10. Guys, chapters 1 - 14 of The Good Son are on AO3 if anyone wants to catch up fully.


  11. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 3: True Colors

    Chapters 1 - 14 are on archiveofourown.org, if anyone wants to full catch up.
  12. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 3: True Colors

    Daniel sat with Geil, watching the younger boy play with his toys. It was boring, but if Geil said something, Daniel replied, and if Geil asked a question, he answered it. Then he suddenly got up, and Daniel watched him from where he sat crisscross on the child’s bedroom floor. “Where are you going?” he asked, watching Geil as he walked to the door. “Potty.” Daniel stood up, walking after the boy. As they left the room, Daniel pat a door to his left in the hallway, Geil looking back at him. “What’s this room?” Daniel asked, looking down at Geil. The child gave a small, confused expression before turning back and continuing down the hallway. Daniel associated it with the boy probably not knowing. Then he knocked on the next door. “What’s this room, Geil?” He got the boy’s attention again, the blonde looking back at him with his blue eyes. Then his eyes slipped to the door and he walked to it to slap his hand against it, to mimic Daniel’s knocks. “That’s the big boy potty!” “So it’s for the daddies?” “Uh huh.” Geil turned so that he could keep walking, but Daniel caught him by the arm, making the blond look back at him. “Why don’t we use it?” Geil stared at Daniel with his wide blue eyes, his lips pursed. “...It’s a no-no.” Daniel shrugged. “That’s alright.” Dipping down to Geil’s ear, he whispered, “Just keep it a secret.” Then he let the boy go and stood straight, pushing the bathroom door open. The room was big and white, clean. It had an exceptionally large bathtub and two sinks with mirrors. It also smelled like cologne and shampoo. “I can’t reach the toilet,” Geil said from behind Daniel and the tall brunette looked back. “...You will.” He waved the boy in, shutting the door after, and then he helped Geil unbutton his shorts. When the blonde pulled his underwear down, Daniel picked him up under his arms and lifted him up over the tall toilet, sitting him onto it. The young boy had to hold the sides of the toilet so he wouldn’t fall in and his eyes looked wide with fear. Daniel let him go once he had a good grip on the toilet, and then he smiled at him. “See? It’s alright.” “I-I need help,” Geil whispered, but Daniel turned away from him, looking at the rest of the bathroom. “Just don’t make a mess, hm?” He walked to the bath, where two sets of shampoo and conditioner rest in a rack on the wall. Grabbing a bottle of shampoo, he pulled the cap up and sniffed it, his nose filling with the bitter, spicy fragrance that most men used. Recapping it, the teen put it back and grabbed the other, pulling its cap up and sniffing it, too. It made him smile a little, and he smelled it again. “Danul-” “Daniel.” It smelled fresh and light; beautiful. Placing it back, Daniel turned from the tub to the sinks, walking passed the struggling child so that he could look at them. There was a cup between the two, holding a blue toothbrush and a green, and there was some red cinnamon toothpaste beside it. Glancing up, Daniel looked at the mirrors. The right mirror had a small handle on the side. Reaching out, Daniel grabbed the handle and pulled it open to look inside. He found prescription pill bottles, and he took one out to look at it. “Danul, I’m done,” Geil wiggled on the toilet, his arms getting tired and his palms sweaty. AMBIEN: Take one pill only when needed, do not take with food or alcohol, effects may last up to eight hours. Looking the bottle over, it looked pretty full, like it hadn’t been used much. Then on the label, it read Mason, Arthur: Insomnia. “Danul!” Daniel opened the case, taking a few capsules and sticking them into his pants pocket. Then he shut the lid back on and- Geil started crying. Put the bottle back in the mirror, shutting it. “Daniel!” Daniel ran to the toilet, snatching Geil up from the seat just as one of his hands slipped from the porcelain. Putting Geil on the floor, Daniel smiled at him. “I wasn’t going to let you fall, silly.” He knelt down so that he could pull up Geil’s underwear and shorts, the boy wiping his wet eyes with a small hand. He didn’t say anything, pouting at his adoptive brother, who just smiled at him again. “Come on, you aren’t a girl, are you? Only girls cry,” he stood up, patting Geil’s blonde head of hair. Then he leaned over the toilet to flush it before grabbing Geil’s arm and taking him out of the bathroom. In his bedroom, Daniel sat on his bed, looking at Arty’s necklace that rest in his lap. It must really be something, because it looked perfect; in the best condition. Opening the locket, Daniel dropped the pills inside, over a boy’s portrait. Then he shut it again before climbing off of his bed, shoving the necklace between his mattress and box-spring. The bedroom door opened and Daniel looked over, patting his bed. His eyes landed on Arty, the man standing in the doorway with an indifferent expression. “Hello Arty, I was just fixing my bed,” Daniel got back up, sitting on his mattress. Then he tilted his head at Arty, furrowing his eyebrows in concern. “...Is something wrong?” Arty stood with his lips pressed together, like he had planned out what to say, but then he just sighed and shook his head. “Er, Geil mentioned that you scared him or something, but I’m sure it was nothing. ...Can I come in?” he asked. Daniel nodded, watching the older brunette come into the room. Smiling softly, Daniel leaned forward on his bed. “Have you found your necklace?” Arty shook his head. “No, not yet.” He walked to Daniel’s desk, putting a pencil upside-down like the others, in the pencil cup. “It must be special to you.” “...Yeah, it was a gift from my younger brother.” Arty glanced at Daniel, the teen offering him a smile. Then Arty gave a breath and motioned with a hand. “Do you want to go out? Jack comes home late from work and I don’t have the right things for dinner,” he leaned on the desk’s chair and Daniel stood up. “Yeah, that sounds nice!” Arty laughed softly. “Great. Don’t forget a coat; I’m gonna go and get Geil ready.” He pushed off of the chair and left the room to Geil’s, shutting Daniel’s bedroom door behind him. In Geil’s room, he got the boy’s coat from the closet, putting it on him while the child stared at him, lips pursed in a child’s frustration. Arty sighed. “I talked to him, Geil, and I think you’re overreacting.” He zipped the coat up, snapping the buttons over the zipper. Geil pouted but didn’t say anything. Grabbing Geil around his little torso, Arty stuffed his face into the boy’s neck, attacking his flesh in playful kisses that made the blonde squeal in laughter. l.l “What do you boys want for dinner?” Arty asked, strolling the grocery cart through the store with Geil strapped into the seat. Daniel didn’t say anything, watching Geil to see what the child would say. “Spaghetti!” he cried out, kicking his legs in the cart. Arty looked at Daniel. “Do you want spaghetti, too?” Daniel nodded, walking beside him. “Yes, I fancy it.” Arty huffed a little laugh, nodding. “Alright, spaghetti it is. So, we need to get some fresh basil and tomatoes,” he clicked his tongue while pushing the cart, looking around at the aisles. Daniel couldn’t help but smirk at the man. “...Can you say that again?” he asked, looking at the brunette. Arty looked at him and furrowed his eyebrows. “Hm? ...Basil?” Daniel laughed. “Yes, you say it different. It’s basil.” “Well now you’re saying it funny,” Arty laughed. “Is that how you say it in Scotland? Basil?” Daniel nodded, looking forward with a big smile as he listened to Arty. “Yes, we both say it different. I like how you say it, though.” Looking at Daniel, Arty gasped and pat the teen’s cheek. “You have dimples! Oh, that’s so cute! Are they on both cheeks?” Daniel was going to look at Arty so that the man could see, but he dropped his smile when he noticed someone down the aisle staring at them. He seemed to be looking at Arty, though, so Daniel glanced at the man. “Who’s that?” he asked, pointing. Arty looked in the direction. The other man tried to turn so that Arty couldn’t see him, but once he knew he was caught, he pulled a smile and started walking over. “Er… that’s Uncle Henry; Jack’s brother,” Arty replied somewhat hesitantly, and Geil turned in the cart to look. “Uncle Henry!” he squealed. The man came over to grab him, pulling him out of the cart. “Well, if it isn’t my favorite nephew!” Henry hugged Geil to him, the boy laughing in his arms. Then the man looked at Arty, his eyes grey and his hair blonde with fair skin. He must be Jack’s younger brother, because he looked almost as old as Arty. Reaching out to take Geil, Arty gave a little smile. “Yeah, but we’ve got to get some basil-” “I’ll get it,” Daniel cut in, looking at the men. Henry looked at the teen, raising his eyebrows. “Are you the new adoptee? How cute,” he reached out to ruffle Daniel’s hair, but the teen ducked away, glancing at Arty. “Can I get the basil?” he asked, looking at Arty’s hesitant blue eyes. “...But you don’t know where it is.” “I can find it.” “Yeah Arty, he can find it,” Henry said through a smile, watching Arty while he held Geil. Arty glanced at the blonde before looking back at Daniel. “...Okay.” Daniel smiled at Arty to calm him before leaving down the aisle, keeping a distance from Henry. When he was out of the aisle, he turned into the next, walking to a spot with cereal boxes. Grabbing some, he moved them from the shelf and put them on the floor until there was just a single box blocking him from the adults. “Here, Geil, go and find your brother,” Daniel could hear Henry say, but then Arty sounded, his voice harsh. “No Geil, come here.” Then he gave a heavy sigh. “What do you want this time?” “The same as every other time,” Henry laughed. “Come over again, I miss you.” “It was once-” “I remember twice, especially that time at Halloween.” Henry sounded snarky, like he always got his way. Daniel moved the last cereal box and he could see Geil looking at some things on the shelf, a few steps behind Arty as the man talked to Henry, who was a little too close. “When you drug me-” Henry stepped closer and Arty tried pushing him back, but the blonde grabbed the other man’s wrist, making the brunette cry out and Geil look over. “Daddy,” he turned to walk over and Arty pulled on his wrist, Henry letting him go with a smile. “And two weeks ago. How’s the floor? Should I come over again?” Henry smirked at Arty but it was short-lived, the brunette spitting in Henry’s face and picking up Geil while the other man wiped his face with his coat sleeve. Slipping Geil into the cart, Arty started pushing it and Daniel quickly started putting the boxes up before walking down the aisle. When he reached the end, Arty accidentally bumped him with the cart, stopping and apologizing. “Are you hurt?” Arty asked. Daniel shook his head, holding up his empty hands after a moment. “I couldn’t find the basil,” he said. Arty watched Daniel in confusion for a second before laughing and patting the teen’s head, shaking his own. “It’s okay, we’ll find it.” l.l Jack was still at work, so Arty put his plate in the microwave, washing the dishes that he and the kids had used and putting them in the strainer to dry. Then he put Geil to bed, Daniel already asleep when he peeked into the teen’s bedroom. Walking to his and Jack’s room, he stripped his shirt and tossed it into the laundry hamper, doing the same with his pants and boxers before taking a towel from the dresser and wrapping it around his waist, leaving the room and turning into the bathroom. Once inside, he pulled the towel off and hung it on the rack before stepping to the bathtub and sitting on the cold porcelain, reaching over to turn on the water. He gave a deep sigh, running a hand through his hair. After a short moment of thinking, he took the bath plug from the hanger and putting it over the drain, the water running over it warm. Then he stood up and walked to his sink while the water filled up, looking at his reflection in the mirror. His hair was growing out and he didn’t like his eyes. He dropped his gaze from the mirror, but in the sink he could see something near the drain. Reaching down, he picked up the white and looked at it. It was one of his pills. He exhaled through his nose and dropped it back into the sink, turning on the water and running the pill down into the drain. Shutting off the water, he turned from the sink to see the bathroom door open, but there was no one there. Furrowing his eyebrows, he walked over to peer out. “Jack?” he called, to no response. Walking back to his towel, he wrapped it around himself again and left the bathroom, walking to Geil’s room and peeking inside. The boy was asleep in his bed, his body sprawled and quiet snores coming from him. Arty glanced down the empty hallway, at Daniel’s room. Shutting Geil’s door, he walked to the other room and cracked the door open, looking inside. Daniel was lying on his side, his back to Arty as he slept facing the wall, blanket brought up to his shoulder. “Daniel,” Arty whispered, watching the teen to see if he moved. “Are you awake?” Daniel rolled onto his back, pulling his arm out of the blanket and resting it above his head as he slept, the only movements coming from his chest as he breathed. Arty backed out of the room, slowly shutting the door again and looking down the hall in confusion. He turned from Daniel’s room and left back to the bathroom, shutting the door and locking it once inside, before hanging his towel back up and turning off the bath water, having risen a bit too much. Daniel opened his eyes, looking up at his ceiling and smiling to himself, biting his lip.
  13. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 2: Getting to Know

    Chapter Two Arty dragged his tongue over Jack’s lips before taking the bottom in his teeth, biting and pulling lightly. Jack gave a low growl and thrust his hips roughly against his husband, burying himself deep inside and making the younger man let go of him with a moan, tossing his head back and cursing. Jack brought his mouth to Arty’s jaw, where he nibbled the skin lightly before dipping his head down into the crook of the brunette’s neck, biting the tender skin and sucking it raw. Arty let go of his own dick to wrap his arms around Jack’s neck, moaning quietly as the other man fucked him. Jack licked his bites before trailing his tongue up the brunette’s neck back to his jaw, where he placed a light kiss before being caught in another kiss when Arty slipped his hands down the man’s neck to his cheeks, turning his face so that he could kiss him. Jack wrapped an arm around Arty’s torso, holding his slick body of sweat as he fucked him more before pulling his dick out and pushing it back inside, Arty moaning into the kiss at the feeling of Jack’s cock raking against his nerves, grazing his prostate as it went inside. Then he pulled out and pushed back in again, to the hilt, and Arty broke the kiss to put his forehead against Jack’s, dropping a hand back down to stroke his dick. “Fuck,” he whispered sharply. Jack reached around Arty to his desk, where he swiped things to the side and a handful clambered to the floor, eliciting a hearty laugh from Arty. Then the brunette lay back on the desk’s top when Jack pushed him down. He moaned as Jack pushed into him slowly, his girth grazing Arty’s insides. Arty opened his legs more and Jack lifted one, placing it over his shoulder and pulling himself out again. Then he shoved himself back in and made a rhythm, thrusting quickly into Arty, his balls slapping against the younger man’s ass. “Harder,” Arty groaned, jerking his cock and looking up into Jack’s brown eyes, dark in the darkness of the room. The only light came from outside, where the porch light barely reached the single window and dared to shine in through the thin curtain. Jack slammed himself into Arty and the brunette cried out, reached up to touch Jack’s cheek. The blonde leaned over to kiss Arty, thrusting roughly inside and barely pulling out, staying with his rhythm that made Arty’s air hitch in the kiss. Arty moved his leg from Jack’s shoulder to wrap his legs around his husband’s thick waist, crossing them and forcing the blonde to fuck him deeper. Then he brought a hand up to Jack’s hair, so that he could run his fingers through the sweaty locks. He gave an airy laugh into the kiss and broke it to turn his head to the side. “Your beard is so sharp,” he breathed through a wince when hot pins gathered in his gut and traveled down to his cock as he stroked it. Jack rolled his eyes and grabbed the other man’s chin so that he could bring his face back, Arty’s mouth fell agape, his fingers curling tightly in Jack’s hair. “I’m gonna come,” he moaned, looking at Jack with his bright blue eyes. Jack closed his own eyes and kissed Arty, slipping his tongue into the man’s mouth and dragging it over the latter’s. He thrust himself into the brunette harder, the desk creaking at the force that made Arty shiver beneath him, his teeth clacking against the older man’s as he slipped his own tongue over his husband’s. Arty moaned deeply into the kiss, jerking his cock roughly as the hot pins carved their way into his dick again, exiting as pale cum that dripped down his hand to his warm groin. He shivered against Jack, tugging his cum out of his dick. Jack fucked Arty harder, the desk rapping against the wall just underneath the window, and he broke the kiss so that he could dip down Arty’s body and bite his collarbone, the brunette crying out and laying back against the desk, slipping his fingers from Jack’s hair so that he could bring his arm back and rest it under his head. With his other hand, he reached up to touch his husband’s chest, dragging his slick hand of sweat and cum down his chest of light hair and muscle to his toned stomach, where he had a dark trail of hair that dipped from his naval down to the between of Arty’s legs. Jack let out a breath and pushed off of Arty, where he dragged his dark eyes down the man’s face to his slim body, covered in a sheen of sweat and cum dripping down his stomach. The blonde dropped his head back with a light curse before looking back down at Arty’s body, his cock getting hot as it grazed against Arty’s tight walls, his tip striking against the tight nerves that rest inside as he picked up the pace, losing his rhythm. Arty winced as Jack fucked him, his spine dragging across the desk. “I love you,” he whispered, looking up into Jack’s eyes that were already on his. Then the brunette lightly touched Jack’s arm, sliding his hand down until he met his husband’s and he tangled their fingers together, the blonde’s grip getting tight as he shut his eyes and pushed deep inside Arty; grunting as he pulled out and pushed back in, flush to the hilt- his mouth dropping open slightly as he thrust inside again, roughly. Then he sighed heavily and loosened his grip, leaning down to kiss Arty, to whom brought a hand up to Jack’s cheek as he kissed him softly in return. Arty gave him a long kiss before pecking down Jack’s lips to his jaw, where he pressed a gentle kiss to the scar that carved up the left side of Jack’s jawbone, buried underneath his facial scruff. Then he gave a light exhale. “I don’t want you to go to work tomorrow,” he mumbled. Jack clicked his tongue, pushing up to stand straight as Arty dropped his legs from the man’s waist, resting on the desk. “I don’t want you to go to bed,” Jack replied, a little smirk as he looked down at Arty. “But you have to.” He pulled himself out of his husband with a hiss at the tightness of the brunette’s hole around his cock. “We could go again,” Arty spoke, pushing up onto his elbows so that he could look at his spouse. He could see Jack’s eyes drop down to his hole, and he lifted a leg up onto the desk, showing it off more as Jack’s cum dripped out of it’s little gape. Jack bit his cheek and dipped over the desk, leaning over Arty so that he could kiss him, the brunette making it longer by bringing a hand up to Jack’s neck and keeping him there. The older man rolled his hips over Arty’s, biting his lip at the twitch in his cock when Arty whined. Jack dipped his face into the crook of Arty’s neck, resting his forehead on the brunettte’s shoulder with an exhale. “I gotta pay the bills, and you’ve gotta watch the kids tomorrow,” the blonde said, nuzzling himself into Arty. The brunette sighed and rolled his eyes. “I know, I just hate the city. They really work you, you know?” “Yeah, I know. Come on,” Jack pushed off of Arty and pulled the brunette up off of the desk by his hand that he held. Arty wrapped his arms around Jack’s neck and kissed him, pressing their bare bodies together as he tried deepening the kiss, but Jack knew better and pat the brunette’s butt, making him break the kiss to laugh. Jack ducked out of Arty’s arms to kneel down, where he started grabbing their clothes. “Here, we gotta get to bed so we can sleep for at least an hour.” He tossed Arty the man’s shirt and he caught it, giving the blonde a quick raspberry. After getting dressed, the two left Jack’s office, but Arty spun away from the other man. “I’ll be up in a minute, I want a glass of water,” he said, pointing off to the kitchen. Jack nodded, continuing to the stairs. Arty headed to the kitchen and flipped the lights on after walking through the arch, where he then he went to the sink. “We know full well there’s just time,” he lightly sang to himself, reaching above the sink to open a cupboard, where he grabbed a small glass. “So is it wrong,” he turned on the water faucet, “to toss this line?” He leaned against the sink, dipping the cup under the water flow and watching it gather. “If your heart was full of love...” He turned off the faucet after a moment, but he stayed leaning over the sink, looking down into his glass. “Could you give it up?” “What are you singing?” The new, sudden voice startled Arty enough to almost drop his cup, but he held it firmly and looked behind him. Daniel sat at the kitchen table, an empty plate in front of him and jars of peanut butter and jelly beside it, closed. There was a used butter knife, though, so he must have just finished eating. Arty gave an awkward laugh. “Wow, you scared me. How long have you been in here?” the brunette asked, turning from the sink to lean his back against it, holding his drink because he was too startled to drink from it yet. Daniel smiled. “I came in here a little bit ago, but I suppose I fell asleep, because I woke up to your singing.” “Oh, well, jeez... sorry,” Arty laughed softly. “What was that song?” Daniel asked again, putting his arms on the table to lay on them, watching Arty. Arty reached up with his free hand to rub his neck. “It’s uh, Not About Angels, by Birdy,” he replied meekly. Daniel simply blinked while watching him, like he was expecting more to be said. “It’s a really good song-” “You sang it really well.” Arty laughed, abashed. He dropped his hand from his neck and looked down at his glass. “No, I really can’t sing, trust me.” He looked up from the cup to Daniel, tilting his head slightly. “Do you go to school… no, you guys are gonna be here with me tomorrow, right?” Daniel nodded in response. “Alright, well, let’s go on to bed; it’s really late,” Arty took a sip from his cup before turning slightly to dump the water back into the sink, placing the glass upside down in the ceramic as the drain sucked the water down. Daniel stood up from the table, taking up his plate and knife and walking over to the sink, where he went to put the dishes inside. His arm brushed Arty’s and the brunette man slipped passed Daniel so that he could take the jars and put them away. “Do you like your room?” he asked as he put the jelly in the fridge. Daniel nodded. “The bed’s very soft, and it’s quiet.” “I bet it wasn’t too quiet at the orphanage, huh?” “No,” Daniel said with so much truth that Arty laughed. He put the peanut butter away on the counter before heading to the kitchen’s arch. “Come on, I’ll walk you to your room.” Daniel made his way over and the two silently made their way upstairs. It was almost like Daniel saved his questions for the hallway because when they hit the top of the stairs, Daniel looked at Arty. “Can I ask you a question?” he asked. Arty nodded while walking the teen to his room. “Sure.” “How long have you and Jack been married?” Arty laughed before covering his mouth to muffle the sound from waking Geil, and then he shook his head. “Where do kids come up with these questions?” he asked jokingly before giving a hefty sigh. “Well, seven years. It’ll be eight in exactly three months.” “March 23rd?” “Yep, March 23rd. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since we got married; it still feels like yesterday,” Arty said softly, and Daniel could see the fondness in the man’s eyes. But then Arty laughed. “I know that’s what all married couples say, but I’m being honest.” Daniel nodded with a smile. “I can tell. Can you come into my room?” He looked at Arty, who feigned thinking it over before giving a nod. “Yeah, I’ll come inside.” Daniel opened his bedroom door and walked inside. Then he went to his bed and sat, and Arty stepped into the room before walking to Daniel’s desk, where he pulled the chair out to sit in it. He looked at Daniel and raised his eyebrows. “Is something wrong?” he asked. Daniel shook his head. “Can you tell me how you two met?” “Me and Jack?” “Yes.” Arty huffed and gave a little laugh. “Well, uh… when I was sixteen, I was working at a grocery store and he’d always go there with his wife; but they were always arguing about what kind of bread, or who had the car keys, or who even paid me. Then one day, he came alone, and we just started talking.” “So he’s been married before?” “Yeah, he was maybe… his early forties? We got married on my twenty first birthday.” “Your birthday is March 23rd?” Daniel asked, sitting forward on his bed. Arty nodded with a little smile. “Yep, that’s it.” “How long did you date before getting married?” “Daniel, it’s really getting late,” Arty said softly, standing up from the desk chair. Daniel pressed his lips together and watched Arty as the man pushed the chair back in. “...Goodnight, then,” Daniel spoke up and Arty looked over at him. The man gave a soft smile. “Goodnight, Daniel. You’re lucky it’s Saturday, that means you don’t have school tomorrow,” Arty said before stretching, arching his back. This time, Daniel didn’t say anything, watching Arty stretch and then letting him pat his head as he left the room. l.l “Wait, wait! Jack!” Arty jumped up from the kitchen table to run after Jack, who had just passed the kitchen with his work suit on, in the process of doing his tie. “Dammit, Arty, I’m already running late!” Jack stopped to look at Arty, who hurried to him. Daniel watched them through the arch for a moment before looking beside himself, where Geil ate his omelet with his hands, his little fingers coated in ketchup. Hearing Arty and Jack talk in the background, Daniel leaned on the table with an elbow, watching Geil as he ate. The blonde boy didn’t look like he was aware of the dark eyes, touching his plate with his dirty fingers. Then Daniel tapped the table in front of Geil, getting his attention. The boy looked at Daniel with his big blue eyes, his lips full with youth. “Why is your hair so long?” Daniel asked, looking at Geil’s feathery hair that touched his shoulders. Geil stared at Daniel, so the teen stayed silent for a moment before asking again. “Why is your hair so long?” He asked. Geil spoke up this time. “Because Daddy likes it!” the boy squealed with a grin and Daniel glanced back out the archway, where Jack was motioning off and Arty was waving his hands. He looked back at Geil. “Which daddy?” “My daddy!” “Nice daddy, or old daddy?” “Nice daddy,” Geil took a bite of his omelet with his little teeth and Daniel turned back to his own plate when he heard the front door shut, pulling his arm off of the table and taking up his fork. Arty came back inside with a sigh, taking things and putting them back up from cooking. “What’s wrong?” Daniel asked after taking a bite of his omelet. Arty looked at the two from where he stood at the fridge, and he huffed. “I had a necklace and I can’t find it. I know I had it yesterday,” he muttered to himself, trying to think of where he could have lost it. “What did it look like?” Daniel asked, putting his fork down and giving Arty his full attention. The adult just hook his head and leaned back against the fridge. “It’s silver, and it has a little locket on it.” “I have a locket!” Geil called out, but Arty ignored him, exhaling deeply. Then the man pushed off of the fridge and started leaving the room, but Daniel called out after him. “Where are you going?” “I’m gonna look in Jack’s office. Would you mind watching Geil?” Arty looked back at Daniel and the teen looked at Geil before nodding. “Sure.”
  14. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 1: New Addition

    I didn't even know there was a movie with the same name, but thanks haha.
  15. AmosLee1023

    Chapter 1: New Addition

    Chapter One “You like to paint, Daniel?” Arty turned in the passenger’s seat to look back at the boy, the teen’s dark eyes looking out of the car window. They flickered to Arty when the man spoke, and the teen smiled. “I do.” Arty smiled big, reaching out to pat Jack’s arm, his husband looking out at the road while driving. “I told you he’d be a painter! He’s going to love it at home, isn’t he?” Jack gave a single nod, keeping his eyes on the passing pavement. Arty looked back at Daniel, his smile turning meek. “You’ll like it at the house,” he said to the teen. “Jack used to paint, so we have everything you’ll need and more. Does that sound good?” Daniel nodded, sitting back in his seat with his legs crossed, his smile innocent. “It does, thank you.” Jack turned into the driveway a little later, when they arrived at home. Arty was the first to get out, unbuckling his seat-belt and climbing out of the car. Then Daniel got out, just a slight moment before Jack, and the teenager looked at Arty with his dark eyes. “You have another son?” he asked, shutting his door. Jack was the one to answer, walking around the car to Arty and putting a thick arm around the younger man’s shoulders. “We sure do,” he spoke up and kissed Arty’s cheek. The brunette let out a breath with a small smile, looking over at Daniel, who stood beside the car. “His name is Geil,” Arty said, a soft fondness in his blue eyes. “Do you want to meet him? Come on, babe, it’s cold out here,” he brought a hand up to pat Jack’s chest and the older man gave the light brunette a smile before letting him go. Arty gave Jack a quick smile in return before stepping to Daniel in the snow. “Ready? Come on.” He put a hand on the dark haired teen’s shoulder and they started walking to the front door of the house while Jack headed to the trunk of the car to get Daniel’s belongings. Walking up to the front porch, Arty started stomping his feet of the snow, and in the corner of his eye could see Daniel copy the action after a second. Chuckling, the man spoke up, “Jack’s brother just finished the floor inside and I don’t want him to come all the way back here to do it again.” Looking up at Arty, Daniel furrowed his eyebrows just a bit, his dark bangs covering them. “Why do you live so far away?” he asked. Arty twisted his lips and hummed, reaching out to the door to grab the doorknob. “Well, I guess for the privacy. Jack works a lot in the city and he doesn’t like work coming into our home life,” the brunette said and turned the doorknob. He smiled again at Daniel. “We’re… here~” He pushed the door open, stepping inside the house that Daniel could already see was big. When the teenager didn’t move, Arty sighed, looking around the big living room. “I know, I know, it’s a bit much. We really need a bigger chandelier, don’t we?” he rolled his eyes back from the bright room to Daniel, whose dark eyes looked at Arty from the staircase; wide. Arty laughed and shook his head before starting to pull his coat off. “I’m kidding. My dad left me an inheritance when he passed away, and my old job helped, too.” He leaned over just a bit so that he could meet Daniel’s ear, the teen almost his height. “Jack just likes ornate things,” he whispered before pulling away with a little laugh. “Almost as much as my mother,” he added and pat Daniel’s shoulder. “Go ahead and take off your coat; you can just put it here,” the man turned from the teen to the coat hanger that stood behind the door, Daniel doing the same just a moment after. Then Arty grew quiet a little second after, and he looked at Daniel. “Is this all too much?” he asked quietly, his blue eyes looking as though they were born soaked in emotion. Any time anyone looked into his eyes, it was either like eating a piece of cake for the first time or kicking a puppy. Daniel shook his head. “No. It’s more than I’ve seen before.” “And that’s a good thing?” Arty chortled. Daniel gave a single shouldered shrug and nodded, a little smile pulling his lips. “Yeah.” Arty smiled softly at the teen, but then there was a child’s yell that got his attention and he looked off towards the kitchen, which was just passed one of the sofas and beside the staircase, with a big arch that now had a little boy running out of it. “Daddy!” Geil squealed, his arms open wide and voice vibrating as he quickly ran on two small legs. Arty gave an open-mouthed grin to appeal to the boy and knelt, holding out his arms. “Well hello, little baby!” Geil ran into Arty’s arms and the man hugged the boy, standing up so that he could hold him, the blonde child wrapping his legs around his father’s waist. “This is Geil, Daniel. Geil, this is your new brother, Daniel! Go ahead and say hello.” Arty held Geil with one arm so that he could smooth out the boy’s hair with his other hand, the blonde strands sticking about like he had been rolling around all morning. Geil looked at Daniel but didn’t say anything, a little smile on the boy’s face that showed his tiny teeth. His eyes were wide and blue and he was smiling, but he didn’t look like he knew what to do. Daniel didn’t, either, as he stood with his arms at his sides. “Hello, Geil,” the teen said after a moment and Geil opened his mouth wide before turning his face to Arty and grinning big. “He sounds weird!” Arty laughed and gave a little nod, glancing passed Geil’s blonde head to Daniel. “Yeah, he’s from Scotland, isn’t that cool?” Arty looked back at Geil and the boy squealed, shaking in Arty’s arms. The front door opened and Jack came in, carrying four suitcases in what looked to be a difficult manner. He knelt to the ground and let them fall lightly from his arms, to be respectful of Daniel’s belongings, and then he stood straight with a little cough; his nose and cheeks pink from the cold. “Did you get stuck?” Arty asked in what seemed to be a teasing voice and Daniel smiled at it, standing beside the brunette and looking at Jack. The older man had sandy blonde hair that was lined with grey, and he had grey and brown facial scruff that Arty liked looking at but hated touching. Jack gave a shake of his head, because he was a strong man who took pride in doing things himself, and then he glanced at Arty while taking off his coat. “Where’s your mother?” Arty shrugged, taking Jack’s coat and handing him Geil when the boy wanted him. “I can hang it up,” Daniel said, looking at Arty. The man smiled and pat the teen’s upper arm. “Thank you, Daniel,” he replied and handed the coat to the dark haired brunette, who turned to hang the coat up with a little smile. “Boys, are you here?” A woman called out from the kitchen and Jack mumbled a “Speak of the devil” under his breath as he held Geil, letting the boy try shutting the front door from his hold. Daniel glanced to the kitchen as Arty’s mother walked out, blonde hair that was tied up in a swirled bun. She wore clothes that looked more expensive than the house, and was thin with jewelry that should weigh her down. “Oh, Arthur, there you are!” The older woman made her way across the pale wooden floor, her heels clacking against the floor more loud than they should have been. Daniel watched her approach Arty, putting her jeweled hands on the man’s cheeks as she smiled to him with perfect red lips. “You took so long getting here, I thought I would have to take Geil home with me!” ahe said and laughed, but neither Arty or Jack laughed with her. She dropped a hand down Arty’s face to his neck, where she toyed with a silver chain that hung around him. But then she quickly turned her attention to Daniel after her gaze wandered and found him behind Arty. “Well, you must be my new grandson.” She reached her hand out to the boy, placing it on his head. He could feel her rings tap his head through his hair, and he just looked up at her with his dark eyes. Arty cleared his throat. “Mom, this is Daniel; Daniel, this is my mom, Sandra,” he announced, looking at the two. Jack put Geil down when the boy made noises of wanting down, and then the man followed him after the boy announced he had something to show him. Sandra didn’t seem to mind Jack’s leaving, keeping her attention on Daniel. “Hm, Daniel. How old are you?” she asked, her brown eyes looking the teen over. “Fifteen,” Daniel answered, and Sandra let out a breath before dropping her hand from the teen’s head and looking at Arty. “A twenty-eight year old adopting a fifteen year old. That sounds funny. It’s a, what, thirteen year difference?” She had a fine eyebrow quirked and the slight of an amused smirk. Arty just motioned lightly with a hand before sighing and looking at Daniel. “Daniel… I was going to ask if you would mind getting yourself a snack, but I just realized you haven’t been shown around yet. Excuse us, Mother,” Arty looked at Daniel like he wanted the teen to go, and the teen looked at Sandra. “It was nice to meet you, Sandra.” He held out a hand to her, but she just watched him; thinking. Then Arty motioned. “Come on, Daniel- I think you’ll really love your room!” The man smiled at Daniel, a mask that the teen saw through, and he stepped passed Sandra so that he could go with him. Looking passed Daniel, Arty looked at his mom. “We’ll see you later?” Sandra didn’t say anything. She turned to the front door, opening it. “Thank you for watching Geil-” She left the house before Arty could finish, shutting the door to cut him off. Arty let out a little hum before putting his hand on one of Daniel’s shoulders. “Let’s go, kiddo.” The two walked through the living room, where Arty showed Daniel the side doors that led out to the side of the house, where there would be a garden in summer, and he showed him where the closets and bathroom were. There was one bathroom downstairs and two upstairs that Arty hadn’t shown Daniel yet. He did, though, take Daniel into the kitchen, where it was tidy besides a plastic plate with bread crust scattered off of it and onto the dark marble counter. As Arty walked over to pick the mess up, Daniel stepped aside to look at a large, beige china cabinet. “Do you and your mum not get along?” Daniel asked, a hand raised and brushing lightly over the carvings in the wood. Arty laughed from behind him, at the counter with the mess, and Daniel looked into the cabinet’s glass to see Arty’s reflection shaking its head. “Well, I like her and all, but she’s just apprehensive about some things. I mean, I think it has to do with-” “Your relationship with Jack?” Daniel watched Arty look up at him before looking away as he scooped crumbs onto the plate. “Yeah. You’re very smart, aren’t you? I mean, it’s not hard to tell our age difference, but still,” Arty laughed and walked away from the counter to the trash can, where he dumped the plate inside. “How old is Jack?” Daniel asked, turning around so that he could look fully at Arty. The older brunette turned from the trash, looking up at the ceiling. He twisted his lips in thought before looking at Daniel. “Seventy five!” “You’re lying,” Daniel spoke up and Arty laughed, nodding. He dropped his gaze to the floor before looking back to Daniel. “He’s fifty four. Shocking, isn’t it?” Arty chortled and Daniel shook his head. “You two look happy.” “Ah, you’re smart and insightful!” Daniel huffed a smile and Arty motioned to him. “Come on, let’s go upstairs.” There were two sets of stairs, and they had a beautiful carpet that lined down them. And then there was the hallway, with the two bathrooms, four bedrooms, Jack’s old art room, and a playroom. Jack’s study was downstairs in a room just south of the kitchen, which was in the east. “Are you ready to see your room?” Arty asked, when they stopped before a bedroom door. “Will I share it with Geil?” Arty laughed. “Not unless you want to.” “Okay then, I’m ready,” Daniel said through a grin and Arty laughed again. “Alright, go ahead and open the door, then!” Daniel gripped the doorknob with his pale hand and turned it slowly before pushing the door open. It was clean inside, impeccably. The bed was made, with grey and pale blue bedding, and there was a dresser and closet, with a desk in front of the window. The walls were bright and pale, the floor pale wood like downstairs, but with a soft carpet covering a majority of it. Daniel stepped inside and Arty followed, looking around at the room. “We didn’t really know what you’d like, so a lot of it’s up to you. And since you like to paint, you can even use the walls,” the man said, smiling lightly at the room he had put together. Then he walked to the closet, where he pat the door, getting Daniel’s attention. “It’s a walk-in closet! They’re really neat, I always used to throw my shoes in mine when I was a kid,” Arty laughed. Daniel walked to Arty and hugged him. “...Thank you,” he said, hugging Arty around his torso. The man let out a breath and wrapped his arms around Daniel in return, hugging him softly. “It’s nothing, Daniel. Thank you for deciding to come here.” Daniel reached a hand up to Arty’s neck.

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