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1,310 I'm Unstoppable

About AusGlitterati

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    Books, shows, games, movies, writing. I like to spend as much of my free time as I can in another universe.

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  1. AusGlitterati

    Bad Romance

    Hey I'm so glad to hear that! He's my pride and joy, pretty much! Don't worry, TTS is still ongoing! A little bit of writer's block here and there, so Love, Lance has done its job and got me keen to write about our old crew! Have a great day ❤️
  2. AusGlitterati

    April, 2018

    Thank you very much! Although to be honest i had to remember firstly which chapter this was :p in hindsight, going by months was a bad idea! I'm glad lance is growing on you! He was intended to be the antagonist of the story! It was around this point I pulled the plug on that I'm glad you're having a good read! I hope it doesn't end up being disappointing :x have a terrific day!
  3. AusGlitterati

    Bad Romance

    Oh darling, even when Lance was poised to be the arrogant, asshole antagonist of TTS, one of his defining/redeeming characteristics was how much being true to himself meant to him ❤️ Oh yeah ;\ it's pretty savage in the community, and it's harder still during such an important developmental stage. I'm glad you enjoy it! I enjoy writing it! Ugh yeah. I know who you're talking about! That one gay kid whose sexuality managed to turn everything into a positive and seems free from all discrimination and stigma. Blaaaaah! Thank you for commenting! ❤️
  4. AusGlitterati

    Bad Romance

    "Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh-oh-oooh-oh-oh-oh! Caught in a bad romance!" Lance and Janey sang together at the top of their lungs. "Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh-oh-oooh-oh-oh-oh! Caught in a bad romance!" It was a Thursday, so the two of them went to Janey's house once the school day finished. Ballet at seven, so Lance would spend the afternoon and evening with his best friend, have dinner and they'd go to their dance class together. They had homework, but neither one was interested in doing it yet. Ballet night was an excuse to do makeup, hair and bring the house down with their favourite tunes. Lance ran the straightening iron through Janey's curly auburn locks and gyrated his hips to the rhythm of the music. He didn't even notice that he did that most of the time. He just did. His body lived for music. It lived to dance. It was all purely instinct at this point. No matter where he was or whether the music was pumping through his ears or only his head, he danced. Janey thought it was terrific. Most people thought it was strange. "Rah rah ah-ah-ah! Ro mah ro-mah-mah Gaga oh-la-la! Want your bad romance!" The two of them shouted together as Lance continued to straighten his friend's thick, pretty hair while she played the role of DJ. Oh, it's gorgeous! I wish I had her hair. The things I could do with it! "Hey baby boy," Janey caught his attention and lowered the volume of the music for a brief period. "You ready to lose your weave?" "Oooh, you got some of that goss?" Lance asked, still repeatedly moving to the music while carefully ironing Janey's wavy, curly red hair. Gaga was his favourite right now. "C'mon then, you tart! Spill!" "So, you know Bobby? From ballet?" Janey asked him excitedly. "Honey please!" Lance gave her a brazen grin in the reflection of the mirror. "Everyone knows Bobby." Bobby Petrović was a beautiful fifteen-year-old guy. A proficient ballet dancer with a delicious-looking body, precious brown eyes and a wide smile that melted Lance's heart. "Well, guess who's single!" Janey announced in a sing-song voice and Lance felt flutters inside. "Apparently he just broke up with his boyfriend! Facebook official!" "Janey if you're lying to me I swear I will burn your ears!" Lance leaned over her shoulder to see for himself, and yes. Bobby Petrović is now single. "Aww, how sad for him! I better send him my sympathies!" "And some nudes," Janey teased, and Lance giggled. "I couldn't!" He blushed underneath his full face foundation. "He's masc for masc. A little femboy like me isn't even a blip on his radar!" "You don't know that," Janey reminded him, looking at him through their reflections in the mirror. "Just because he was hooking up with Damien Hall? Pshh. That doesn't mean he doesn't want a taste of the Lovecraft! So tonight, we're gonna go and talk to Bobby and let him know just how available you are! "And you'd have me sound like some desperate hoe, right? I think not!" Lance talked himself out of it. Bobby's too high up on the food chain for someone like me. He was straight-acting. Femboys just... aren't desirable in the community. Everyone likes manly guys. Masc for masc. No fems. A relationship or even a fling with Bobby was fun to think about, but the key to achieving dreams is to make them realistic. Bobby likes sports and all that shit. I'd bet ten quid he wouldn't know Cher from Madonna. "C'mon Lance! You have to start dating eventually," Janey reached back over her head, and her hand clumsily gave him a comforting pat right on the right nipple. "Imagine being Bobby's next boyfriend instead of watching some other cheating knobhead breaking his heart. You'd be perfect!" "It's not that easy!" Lance told her. He was getting anxious already. "Janey, honey, you're making me shake! Girl, you want your weave nice and straight or burned to a bloody crisp?" "I'll be your wing woman! I mean it, Lance. All you do is pine and moan for a boyfriend, but you have a chance here! You're taking it!" Janey refused to drop the subject. He wished she'd leave it alone. Although Lance was a charismatic and experienced performer, great with people and incredibly talented at dancing, anything romance related was strictly off the books. He'd never dated. He'd never even kissed anyone. It was too scary. Being vulnerable just... it couldn't happen. Every time Lance dared to venture into society with the look he liked on himself, he was in danger. People beat femboys up. People beat him up. I don't want to take that chance. I've got too much to lose. Heartbreak is the last thing I need. "Maybe next week," Lance shrugged, looking at himself in the mirror. He didn't intend to act on his feelings, of course. He locked eyes with himself. They glittered like emerald cut amythests in the light. These contact lenses are fantastic. I'm never going anywhere without them again! Look at you, Lance. Yeah, you're fierce! But... you're wonky. You're a freak. A chimaera. An anomaly. People can love you, but people will never be in love with you. Especially someone like Bobby Petrović. You don't need to look like more of a fool, especially in a place as contentious as ballet class. Stay strong, baby! We're not gonna have a good time for the next few years, but you and I, we have plans. Big plans! High School might not be our time to shine, but when we're famous, honey, we're going all the way! That's when it's our turn to get the Bobbys. That's our reward for hanging in there! "I want your love and I want your revenge, you and me could write a bad romance," he sang loudly so that those thoughts would leave him alone. It didn't take long for Janey to join in while he brushed and straightened her hair. She was crushing on David Lau, another boy in their ballet class. David was certainly a cutie pie, but he was a straight boy, unfortunately - well, unfortunate for Lance, but not her. Janey was so smitten! Maybe Lance couldn't sink his claws into David, but Janey was going to have a go at it, and he was going to help her look her best. "I want your love and your lover's revenge, you and me could write a bad romance!" Janey sang even louder than him, and the two laughed and moved their bodies together. They were two peas in a pod. Best friends for a very long time. Alison Stefanov, Janey's mother, drove the two to their class at seven. Lance liked Alison. She had a wicked sense of humour that her daughter inherited, but her support of Lance as a gay ally bordered on creepy. She fancied herself a "fag hag" but Lance would rather she'd limit herself to a "queer peer" at most. Before they left, she and the two athletes enjoyed a light caesar salad for their dinner. Dieting was something Lance needed to do more of, but Sue tended to stuff all the food she cooked with as much love as she could. "Love" loosely translated to high amounts of sugar, salt and fat. Lance loved his mother to pieces and would never hurt her feelings, but she was a big woman with a big appetite and a big addiction to all the unhealthy food. "Love." No, honey, more like diabetes. We'll be changing our family name to Diabetescraft. Making his own meals wasn't uncommon, but it did alienate his family somewhat. He didn't understand why it was a big deal. Lance chomped on his greens and snacked on treats sparingly - he was aspiring to be a professional dancer. He couldn't exactly do that on a diet of deep fried fish and chips, could he? Dance Corner. Ahh, how Lance loved it there. Very high standards and very selective of its students. Dancers had to be pretty advanced to impress Camilla, the old, fire-breathing tart who ran the joint. Camilla was a mess. Her salt and pepper roots underneath her faded red dye job were almost two inches long, and her eyebrow game was so weak. It was a measure of comfort to both Lance and Janey, who took immense pride in their appearance. If Camilla could rise to a prestigious position being an ugly, cantankerous slag, then they could do the same. Andrea was the primary ballet tutor, though. She wasn't easily dazzled, but she was far easier on the eyes and generally more supportive than Bitch Features. "David!" Lance cooed in the guys' locker room. Lance wasn't entirely sure he was a boy. He certainly wasn't a girl, but the word "boy" fit with him like two pieces of a jigsaw with the right edges, but pictures didn't quite match. It was something that sometimes nagged at the back of his mind. David Lau, tall and broad-shouldered with a shiny black faux-hawk often fashioned into a spiky bun, looked awkwardly over at him. Yeah. David was awkward around Lance, but it was no big deal. All the boys were. Gay or straight. "What's going on?" He replied politely. Uncomfortably. "Doesn't Janey look super gorgeous today?" Lance asked him, wondering if he'd be less skittish if he made it immediately clear he wasn't about to molest the Chinese boy. He was right. David immediately relaxed. This could be helpful in the long run, Lance thought. If Janey and David get together, then that's another area in my life where I don't have to be scared. Being in the men's locker room for ballet was scary. Even though several of the males were gay in this room, that did not mean they weren't homophobic, and Lance quite often received verbal assaults on his choice of self-representation. It was not a safe place, but having an ally, even just one, would make that so much easier. If David likes Janey, I can lead the horse to the water. Whether the horse drinks or not is out of my hands. Lawd that sounded filthy. "Yeah, she's a bit ace," David replied, slipping a tight-fitting tank top over his visible abs and toned pecs. He was sixteen - two years older than Lance. Janey girl, you are missing out right now. "She's also a bit single," Lance's purple eyes scanned David's body language. Straight boys are super blasé - an act, of course, but that didn't mean he couldn't find information in the way the pretty boy acted. "Oh, yeah?" David asked, and he gave the briefest of smiles, packing his bag back into the locker he always used. "Just letting you know, honey!" Lance winked at him, and to his surprise, David did not freak out. Call him names. Look away. "Are you saying she's like, liking me? Like, you know?" David's inarticulation was cute, and Lance smiled with his pink lips. He did not put his full face on today - that included his purple lip gloss. He only did his hair, contact lenses and a subtle level of foundation. A full face was fun for school or at home - places where he was safe. Coming to a place like this, though, Lance preferred to err on the side of security - toning it down, but never going without, though. Never. Having no makeup felt like having no clothes on. Like he wasn't himself. That would not do. Be Lance, no matter the cost. "She might be! But that depends on a little something," Lance winked at David, who seemed to panic on the spot. "No, you berk! I want you to scout Bobby for me. If he could use someone to dry his tears or a friend or... you know. Something Lovecraft could do." "Oh, right," David settled down once more. Straight boys, I tell you! So terrified of the dreaded homosexuality. Scared of their own shadow lest it tries to gay them up. "Seriously," Lance put on his shirt - a purple, sequin-covered tanktop - and clasped his hands together. "Janey is so up for it! All you have to do is ask her out. I promise! But would you mind doing me that solid?" "That's a bit weird for me," David had a sweet, tenor voice. The two had similar hobbies and interests, so they ran into each other quite often. There was a rivalry, of course. The competition between them wasn't necessarily unfriendly, but it was fierce. Where David was the more athletic and better singer of the two, Lance excelled in general charisma and acting. However, where dancing was concerned, neither boy had ever been able to show up the other. They won tit for tat. Lance by a tiny margin, then David. "C'mon! It's not fair that I set you up with my BFF and you don't wanna return the favour!" Lance complained but retained his smile. He was used to smiling all the time. "It's not weird if you ask him how he's doing after the breakup!" "We don't talk about that stuff," David bit his lip. "The gay stuff, I mean." "Rrrrgh," Lance grimaced, raking his purple nails through his purple hair. "Don't worry about it, then. Just treat Janey nice, alright? Or you'll be answering to me." "Yeah?" David chuckled. "What will you do about it?" "Well, out of Janey and I, I'm the one who doesn't kiss nice," Lance winked, knowing that David was only playing around. "You're a weirdo," David slapped Lance on the shoulder on his way past. "I'll talk to Bobby after class, alright? I'll tell him that you don't kiss nice." "That's not what I said!" Lance shouted after him, blushing red underneath his foundation. Oh dear. I may have fucked up here. Oh well. The show must go on. There were fourteen of them in this class. Five boys and nine girls. Aside from Lance, David and Bobby, there were two other gay boys - Darren and Seamus. Lance was pretty sure those two were more than just friends, but neither one of them liked Lance much. In Darren's words, Lance was "making a mockery of the gay community" by "pandering to stereotypes." Seamus was nicer when Darren wasn't around, but if he was, he was always so fast to leap to Darren's side. Bobby often hung out with them. The masc gays. The boy who currently held Lance's heart captive. Oh, gosh. Bobby and Seamus both liked to be topless during the class, and it was almost too much eye candy to bear. Lance preferred to wear a shirt - while he was incredibly fit, toned and slender even at the age of fourteen, he did not like to expose his body. It wasn't necessarily shyness, but the chavs in the neighbourhood did want to target Lance when an opportunity arose, and he was often hiding welts and bruises from attacks. He was too self-conscious to go topless the way he'd like to. The way the other boys did. If Garth found out, he would not rest until he settled the score with whoever hurt his son. As they were in every other aspect of their lives, Lance and Janey were inseparable. They stretched together, trained together and danced together. Ballroom, contemporary, tap and, of course, ballet. The drills were reasonably intense today. Lance had incredible stamina, though. More than David. But he wasn't quite as precise as David was. Where David could complete a sequence correctly, Lance might have needed to try it three, four or five times more before he got it right. That was incredibly annoying to him, and he found himself getting right bloody angry. "Don't," Janey was always there. Perceptive and supportive. Knowing what he was feeling. "You're just having an off day, that's all." "I'm dancing like shit!" Lance grumbled and folded his arms. "Worse, Bobby can see everything I screw up. I don't feel like I can do anything right!" "Keep the pity party up, Lance!" Janey tutted to him with a wry smile. "I'm sure Bobby finds it hot." "You're a proper slag!" Lance hissed at her, but he smiled. She was right. "I mean, you're right, but you're still a slag." "Yeah, yeah. Come on! Back in the game, or I'll take your place as the queen," Janey teased him, pulling him by the hand. "Like hell, you will!" Lance, after the brief break and self-deprecation, eagerly thrust himself back into the exercise. He performed slightly better this time around, but still not quite as well as David and Bobby, who did not even look in his direction. How do I even feel about that? I want him to notice me, but only when I'm looking great. Not when I'm dancing with the grace of a powerlifter with diarrhoea. It was a hell of a lesson! Everyone, Andrea included, was buggered by the end and trudged back to the locker rooms. "Oh hey, Bobby!" David panted as he stripped off his shirt, everybody feeling the burn from the intense workout. Lance's ears pricked up as he wiped the sweat from his body and under his arms with his towel. "Lance wants to know if you're ready to date and stuff." Oh my god, David. You absolute plonker. Are all straight men so tactless and fucking stupid? Lance didn't even look at either of them. He packed his clothes up, feeling like a total knob, and decided not to change until he got home. He didn't want to be around right now, and he waited for Sue to pick him up outside the building. It was freezing out, primarily due to how sweaty he was, but he couldn't face Bobby right now. See, Janey? This is why I don't try to date. It's stupid, and it never works. "Lance, hey!" Andrea caught him before Sue showed up. "You took off quick! I have something you might be interested in." "Ooh, are you giving me a medal?" Lance swallowed his insecurities and miseries to smile up at her. "Not quite! At least, not quite yet," she smiled at him, still clad in her workout clothes. "No, I thought I'd hand this out to you!" "What is it?" He asked, taking a handout sheet from her. An advertisement for a teenage male model. Underwear! "Oh! You think I have a shot with something like this?" "Sure, I do! You've got the perfect body for this kind of thing," Andrea put a wet hand on his wet shoulder. "And that pretty face of yours! If you can bear to leave the makeup at home for a day, I'm sure you'd win out if you gave them a bell." Modelling? He'd thought about it of course, but that would mean he would have to take his shirt off. Underwear modelling at least. Maybe he could work something out. Perhaps they could summon him if they needed someone's face or something. His bruises were ugly. "Thanks! I mean it!" Lance hopped up to give her a full body hug. Although Andrea loved his hugs, the two of them were too wet for it to be a pleasant one. "Hey, if you find anything like this, can you let me know? I'm keen to get into modelling and stuff." I wanna be famous. I don't care how I get there. "If you promise to work on your grand jeté, I'll keep my eyes out," she promised. "I'll see you again on Monday, alright? Have a good night, Lance!" She released and waved as she re-entered the building. Lance had a few minutes to think it over. He remembered the bruises he currently had - a few brown-purple welts on his back and one on his side. Well, he thought with a sense of humour, as long as they take photos of me from the exact angle every single time, it should be peachy. "Hey," a deep voice broke Lance's thoughts, and he stiffened. Why is Bobby talking to me? Is he here to make fun of me? Lance was too shy and humiliated to answer him. "Hey, you okay?" Bobby asked a second time. Wow. Okay. Once is polite. Twice is considerate or interest. "Ahh, yes," Lance looked up into those beautiful brown eyes of Bobby Petrović. "Flustered and embarrassed, but I'm okay. Thanks." "Don't be," Bobby reassured him with a small grin. His light brown skin, slicked with sweat, shone in the street lights, and his teeth were so, so white. "David's a moron." "I know, right? He had one job!" Lance was almost shaking with nerves. Give me a dance sequence, a scene on stage or even an impromptu interview, and I will smash it nearly every time. But get me to talk to boys? I fall to pieces. It's hard. "Dave and Jane look like they're hitting it off," Bobby replied after nearly ten seconds of awkward silence. "Well I hope they don't hit it off too well," Lance joked. "I'm her ride home and I will leave that hoe behind." He wasn't stupid. He knew Bobby would only bother to make this much effort to talk to him if he wanted to do so, but Lance was... argh. It was frustrating. He had no idea what to say or do. Whatever confidence he'd managed to build throughout the evening was just gone. "Yeah, well, I'll see you Monday, alright?" Bobby smiled and turned with his bag. He'd be catching the bus home. "Thanks for talking to me," Lance caught him before he left earshot, and the boy turned around. "I was feeling like a total bellend. Thanks." "Hey, that's fine," Bobby nodded. He had a Yorkshire accent. It was cute. Lance, Lola and Nicky spoke the queen's English - received pronunciation they learned at school - but their parents had a comically strong Cockney accent. Lance, when he was emotional for whatever reason, tended to drift back to his Cockney roots. "I'll inbox you some time," Bobby then added, and Lance realised again that he'd been silent for far too long. "Oh! Yeah, that'd be great," Lance's heart fluttered. Maybe this was nothing more than Bobby being sweet after David's faux pas. Perhaps he was just friendly. Don't get your hopes up. You're good at entertaining, but you are indeed terrible at this stuff. Bobby smiled once more before dawdling down the street to the bus stop. Lance's eyes never drifted from him, but Bobby did not ever turn back to look. Bollocks. "Hey!" Janey sat down on the concrete stairs next to him. He could already feel the vibrations of young teen love coming from her. "Well, well!" Lance teased her. "Look who decided to show up!" "I'm sorry! David and I got talking and stuff. Whatever you said to him worked, Lancey!" She threw her arms around him and squeezed. He laughed. "Seriously! He asked me out for this weekend and everything." "You work fast," Lance commented with a smile. Hopefully, he's far less of a clueless twat with you than he is with me. "If you stop hanging out with me because you've got a boy on a leash, then you're so never getting your weave done again!" "How is Bobby?" Janey asked, still squeezing him and the two rocking back and forth. "Did it go well?" "There were a few spanners in the works, but he was nice to me earlier, and it didn't look like he was taking the piss," Lance replied uneasily. He put his hand on hers and enjoyed the hug. Their hugs could last an insanely long time. "So Bob's your uncle!" Janey told him excitedly, but Lance wasn't so convinced. "I have no bloody idea!" He frowned, but then he pulled out the folded advertisement Andrea gave him earlier. "But I might have a shot at being a model if nothing else. Check it out!" "Shut the front door!" Janey avoided swearing where she could. "You wanna do it?" "I dunno!" Lance sighed. The whole day was filled with uncertainty, and he hated uncertainty. He liked to know where he stood with everything. Where he stood with David and Bobby. Where he stood with Garth, who often took the side of the other kids in the house. The uncertainty spread like a disease, and he doubted his ability to model. "Hey, queen!" Janey snapped her fingers in an arc, the way the two often did to each other. "I've had enough of this pity party rubbish! Apply! The worst thing they can do is tell you no!" "Don't you ever get tired of being right about everything all the time?" Lance sulked playfully before turned and kissing her on the cheek. "Yes, okay. You're a slag, but you're my favourite slag." "You'll be my favourite slag if Mama Sue ever bothers to pick us up," Janey grumbled in return, kissing him back. "What's taking her so long?" "Probably bailing Nick out of the bird," he rolled his eyes. "Oh, my lawd. Janey. Janey! This is not a drill!" He showed her the screen of his phone. Bobby Petrović has sent you a message. They were friends on Facebook, sure, but they'd never actively engaged with each other before. Lance was too shy, and Bobby was too busy being in relationships to notice him. "Open it!" She ordered him, so Lance did. They had no secrets from each other. Lance was often the judge and jury of every dick pic Janey received from the horny boys in their school and neighbourhood. Bobby Petrović: < Hey. Btw I saw Andrea giving you the model ad. You should do it! > "Okay, I have no idea if that's flirting or not! Janey, help me!" Lance spoke a mile a minute, his accent ricocheting between the queen's English and his native Cockney. "What does it mean? Am I in?" "Yes, he's flirting!" Janey squeezed him harder as punishment for his density. "You say it's straight boys who are clueless, but I think it's just that Y chromosome. It makes you into idiots!" "Don't be a bitch," Lance told her, but she kissed him on the cheek again, and he smiled. What would I do without her?
  5. AusGlitterati


    Lance is my favourite OC! Oh boy, do I have plans for him! Nawww I was hoping you'd enjoy it! You're my number one Lance fan! Yeah his parents are good (but always worrying) and his brother and sister are miserable bastards. There is always TTS CH6 if you wanna revisit that flashback of his. I'm glad! Lance seems to be by far my most popular character on GA (myself included!) Yes I thought I'd flip the script (I like doing that it seems!) with Lance. In To The Stars it's often assumed Lance had abusive parents or a broken family and it offends him. :p Hahahaha! I'm glad you enjoyed that little joke. I was drunk when I wrote that and kept it. Yep! Lance isn't Veikko :p he is incredibly fit and a decent height. hahaha yeah! Lance singing to Paparazzi is no accident he is a born entertainer! Thank you all for the generous comments! They mean a lot Lance is my baby!
  6. AusGlitterati

    Love, Lance

    Before he became a professional wrestler, androgynous, effeminate Lance Lovecraft was like any other teenager... well, sort of. Many teenagers dream of being famous, but there is only one Lance, and nobody can tell him otherwise.
  7. AusGlitterati


    He tied up his long, violet coloured hair into a knot on the top of his head. He was in front of his mirror, everything he needed on his desk. Lights on. Playlist blaring. Showtime. "We are the crowd. We're c-coming out." Primer first. We want that make-up to stick! "Got my flash on, it's true. Need that picture of you. It's so magical. We'd be so fantastical. Leather and jeans. We're rock glamorous. Not sure what it means. But this photo of us," Foundation next. "It don't have a price. Ready for those flashing lights. Cause you know that baby I..." Yas! The chorus! "I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you 'til you love me," Lance happily sang along with the music blaring from his laptop, using his duo fibre brush to cover the imperfections on his face. "Papa-paparazzi!" "Shut the fuck up!" Lola banged on the wall that separated their bedrooms. "Baby there's no other superstar. You know that I'll be your papa-paparazzi," Lance continued singing, ignoring his little sister, making especially sure to blend into his neck so he didn't look like Oompa Tricia from Form Five. If I stop singing, she'd only find another way to pick on me. Too gay. Too weird. Too embarrassing. And apparently, if this morning was any indication, too happy. It must be exhausting being as dour as Lola. No wonder she was cranky all the time. Concealer. Hmm. I think we could go for a little more than that, but let's not overdo it. Better safe than sorry! Under the eyes. Draw attention to your eyes. They're going to pop with these new purple contact lenses! "Promise I'll be kind, but I won't stop until that boy is mine!" Lance tried his best to match the high notes, but his voice was too deep. Still, he dreamed of being the one to give that performance. Up on that stage, dazzling thousands of fans who all loved him. That's the life for me. "Oh my god!" Lola thumped the wall again. "Stop!" "Baby you'll be famous! Chase you down until you love me! Papa-paparazzi!" Lance continued, but this time his bedroom door flew open. "Oi, save it for the shower," Garth warned him, and Lance laughed. "I thought I was doing well!" He smiled, his eyes fixed on his reflection while he put his face on. Well, it was fun while it lasted. "You're okay," Garth agreed, joining his second son in the mirror, putting his hands on the chair. "But you need to stop winding your brother and sister up." "My whole existence winds them up," Lance replied, unable to keep the bitterness from his voice. "I may as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb." "Can you please try not to make it worse?" Garth asked him gently, but Lance did not respond well. "That's unfair!" He frowned and raised his voice. "You make it sound like everything I do is designed to spite them when all they do is try to tear me down." "Because you're a freak?" Nicky shouted from across the hall, and Lance shook his head. "My point exactly," Lance made eye contact with his father through the mirror. "Why aren't you in there telling him not to make things worse? How come it's always my fault, Dad?" "Oh he's getting a hiding for that, don't you worry," Garth told him quietly. "I'm not in here to pick on you, Lance. I'm just telling you that the singing isn't necessary." "Hmm," Lance moved from the foundation to the highlighter. "How can you even compare Nicky, Lola and me? How can you tell me that what I'm doing is on the same level as them? Singing along in my room to the music I love, is that the same as when Lola spreads fake rumours about me at school or Nicky dumps his porridge on my head? When they call me poof, fag, freak, all of those things. It's unfair, and you know it. I don't know why you let them treat me like rubbish." "I'll talk to them," Garth promised, crouching down so that his face was level with his son's. Without the glamour and makeup, Lance would look a lot like him. Nicky, too. But that wasn't how the fourteen-year-old rolled. He liked to dazzle. To create. To be someone entirely his own. Purple hair. Purple nails. Soon, his pink lips would be glittery purple too, and his eyelids and eyebrows as well. "Are you sure you want to go to school like this, Lance?" "Yes!" Lance felt like being rude to his father, but he chose not to. He was tired of answering this question every day. Every week. It came from caring, though. Lance did not have an easy time being himself. Garth only wanted to ease his burden, but it's not that simple, Lance thought. To choose between homophobic hate and dysphoria was like choosing to be blind or deaf. He figured he might as well take the option that allowed him to feel comfortable in his own skin. "Alright, my lad!" Garth nodded after a pause. "You be careful, though, you hear? Those chavs down the road are gonna give you a lotta grief. Stay with your girls." "I'll be okay!" Lance reassured him, moving to the eyeliner next. "I'm friends with all their girlfriends! If they make a move on me, they won't get laid for a month. I'll make sure of it." "Bloody Lance," Garth shook his head, chuckling at his little boy's humour. Lance laughed too. "You're making me age so fast, kid, but you're worth every hair that falls out of my head. If anyone gives you trouble, you let me know." "Lola and Nicky, for a start," Lance replied uncomfortably. "I know they hate me, but they don't have to be so obvious about it. You know?" "I'll give them both a talking to, don't you worry about that, young man," Garth kissed Lance on top of his violet coloured hair. "You're the bravest kid I know, Lance. Don't let the others drag you down. You're perfect the way you are, and I'll give anyone who tells you otherwise a slap." "No!" Lance laughed, spinning around in his comfortable computer chair and hugging his father - careful to avoid letting his face touch his father's vest. "No more nights in the nick! You're getting a reputation!" "I'd spend every night in the nick if it meant you were safe," Garth's hands, rough and calloused from years of bricklaying, rubbed his son's back, soft and supple from years of moisturising and dance. "I'm off now, but I promise I'll give your brother and sister the business when I get home from work. You focus on having a good day, alright?" "Love you, Dad," Lance smiled at him. While he felt as though he was the black sheep of the family and his father could do more to bridge the gap between the children, he was grateful for the father he had. This man protected him as best he could. He loved his eccentric, gay son. So did Sue. It was just a shame that Nicky and Lola had so much trouble accepting him. Nicky was a football jock, so his hatred of Lance stemmed much from homophobia and toxic masculinity issues. Lola's reputation as Lance's sister damaged her social life, so she resented him as well. Oh, well, Lance thought. Two family members out of four isn't a bad hand, per se. It could have been a lot worse. Let's get that contour going. We've got a fierce cheekbone game. We'd have to be a nutter not to bring it out! Twenty minutes later, Lance was satisfied with his appearance. Androgynous. Purple. Lovecraft. I love it. It doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. The girls are jealous of my skills, and the boys are uncomfortable because I'm prettier than their girlfriends. "Nope! No fucking way," Nicky greeted him with more animosity than usual when Lance, dressed in his tacky school uniform of a robin's egg polo shirt underneath a navy jumper and blazer with grey pants and black shoes, joined his big brother at the kitchen table. "You're gonna get it so hard from the lads looking like that. Take it off." "I'm gonna get it?" Lance smirked and played with his straightened, purple hair. "Are you threatening me with a bad day or a good day, Nick? I never quite know with you." "Stop being so bent!" Nick complained, shaking his head with shame and returning to his cocoa puffs. "You're such a tosser. Everyone in Sixth Form laughs about you. You know that, right? And I have to hear it. I get shit all day long because you want to be a freak." "That sounds like your problem, not mine," Lance replied, tapping his long, violet-painted nails on the table. He didn't feel much like breakfast today. Maybe he'd gnaw on an apple on his way to school. "If you're so insecure about what everyone in your class thinks, maybe you should stop listening or remove the pole from your arse." "You're the one to talk about a pole in the arse," Nicky sniped, but Lance didn't care. He heard it all day long from his sister, brother and neighbours. Most of the people in the street. Nicky was the least of his worries. "You're a waste of space, and I wish you were never born." "Oh, sorry, I didn't realise I was wasting so much space," Lance taunted his brother. "I should have followed your example instead." Lance gestured with his hand to the trophy case across the room to the living area. He had over a dozen medals, ribbons and trophies in there. Dancing, mostly. Lance loved to dance. He'd been doing it since before he had his first birthday - Sue still had the video of him wagging his little bum to Cyndi Lauper before comically falling backwards into the dog's water dish. He won several competitions. Ballet and ballroom were his specialities. Lola, to her credit, was doing very well for herself too. She was an intellectual and won several spelling bees and oral presentations. Nicky's most prestigious awards were participation ribbons and a B+ on a physics test he took two years ago. If they handed out awards for beating up nerds and queers or underage drinking, then he'd well ahead of the pack. "What? You're not even going to threaten to sock me?" Lance asked. Nicky shrugged. He looked like such a chav. Hair buzzed short and a piercing in his nose. When I'm rich and famous, I'm not going to be the one who pays bail for Nicky when he gets arrested for smoking meth and killing a prostitute. "Why would I? Everyone at school is gonna do it for me," he slurped the rest of his chocolatey milk out of the bowl and left it on the table. "Have fun with that, other sister." Other sister. That was what Nicky called him. It was intended to be an insult, of course, but Lance chose not to think of it that way. Nicky's casual misogyny was something Lance did not put energy into. The perpetual homophobia and hate. Ugh. Who has the time? I have dreams. Places I want to see. People I want to meet. Things I want to do. Letting Nicky drag me down to his level is only ever going to hold me back, and I plan on going all the way to the stars. "Oh, my heavens!" Sue was the next one in the kitchen. A plump lady with dark brown hair and big oval glasses dressed in her fluffy pink dressing gown. "You're going all out today!" "I woke up early so I thought I'd have some fun," Lance smiled with glittery violet lips at his mother. He had indeed gone the full mile. "Do you like it?" "Of course!" Sue crept up and squeezed him from behind. "You look gorgeous, love! You always do. Are you sure you want to go to school like that, though?" "I want to go everywhere like this," Lance told her stiffly. She was still hugging him, and it calmed him down. "If I could tattoo my face this way, I would." "What happens if you decide you like red better?" Sue asked, running her fingers through his violet hair. "You'd be buggered, my lad. How about you tone it down a bit for school?" "There are no rules saying I can't wear makeup at school," Lance replied stubbornly. No. I like it. I'm going to wear it. I don't care who has anything to say about it. "I'm just saying, love," Sue knelt so they were at the same eye level. "We love and support you in everything you do, but you make yourself a target for the psychos out there who don't... understand you." "I'll be okay!" Lance reassured her. He was growing tired of having this conversation several times a week. "I'm the queen of England." "Yes," Sue laughed. "Yes, you are. Alright, I'll be in the car in ten minutes." "You don't have to keep driving me," Lance stood up and stretched. He needed to brush his teeth, and then he'd be on his way to school. Sitting next to Lola. Such fun. "I can walk." "I'll let you wear all that on your face," Sue's stern voice warned him and she pointed at him. "But no way are you walking through this neighbourhood like that." "Okay," Lance took that compromise. It wasn't really a compromise though, was it? He didn't intend to walk to school at all, but he knew his mother would freak if he threatened to do so. It didn't feel right to manipulate her, but if that was what it took to put an end to the discussions about his appearance, that was what he would do. Be Lance - at any cost. Sue was more firm than Garth, and neither Nicky nor Lola were brave enough to snipe at him while they were in the car with her. Sue's rapier tongue could strike at a moment's notice. Once parked, Lola and Nicky were always fast to abandon their freak brother as soon as they could, and Lance usually walked the last of the block on his own. Nobody shouted anything at him, which was a pleasant surprise. There was pointing, staring and snickering, but no audible abuse. It must be gearing up to be a good day, Lance thought. "Janey!" Lance caught his friend's attention the moment he saw her. While alone, he was vulnerable. With a friend by his side, he was safer. Simple survival. Janey adored him. He adored her. "Oh my gosh, you look fierce as fuck!" Janey squealed in joy when she saw the work he'd put into his look this morning and ran up to meet him. She was a pretty girl, slim with hourglass hips and a generous bra size. She had curly auburn hair and brilliant green eyes, but the scar from a cleft lip at birth took a heavy toll on her self-confidence. Lance loved her, though. All of her. "Thank you, my darling!" Lance fluffed his hair with his hand and fluttered his eyelashes, heavy with thick mascara. "I put the masc in mascara." "I feel frumpy next to you!" Janey complained, taking everything in. "Ew, no, we can't be seen together. You're showing me up." "Your two quid lip gloss not doing the job you were hoping for?" Lance teased her, and she laughed. "You look beautiful." He took her hands in his. "If I were a straight boy I'd be all over you." "You're already all over me," she yanked her hands away. "I don't wanna imagine if you were straight!" "Hey! We'd make some beautiful babies!" Lance smirked, and the two giggled as they walked into the school together. Settling into the class wasn't so difficult. Lance had several friends. While Janey was his favourite, Narelle and Amber were dear to him. The four of them had been close since kindergarten. Very few boys spoke to Lance unless absolutely necessary, though. It ruined their facade, he thought with a wry smile as his male classmates actively avoided engaging with him. To speak to me is to brand yourself a potential queer. How sad it must be to be so fragile. They think their machismo protects them, but it's the most brittle force in the world. It'll work to their detriment in the long run. I don't have self-imposed limitations. It's a waste of time. That's why their words can't hurt me. It's nothing but thinly veiled insecurity, and I'm Lance. "So most of you know me already, but I'm Mr Bell," the teacher introduced himself at the beginning of the lesson. "Welcome to the Third Form, everyone! The year went pretty bloody fast, didn't it? Then this one's lasted all of three hours, too." Lance already decided he was a fan of Mr Bell. He was a funny man, and he seemed to enjoy his job. Mrs Dwyer, the librarian, was possibly the sourest old tart Lance had ever met in his life, and it was a mystery as to why she didn't just piss off if she hated the job and children so much. He was convinced many of his teachers were in a similar boat - they hated their job, but the market was rough, and they had no other options. Mr Bell wasn't like that, though. He was smart and witty, and that brand of optimistic that didn't get tiresome or downright creepy. "So," Mr Bell continued and Lance realised he'd zoned out into his own thoughts. "This is the stage of your education where we want you to start putting thought into where you want to end up. What do you want out of life? Are you ready to work for it? Anything is possible for you. All of you. So, Kajol, what do you want to do when you leave school? Do you have any ideas?" "Oh," Kajol, an Indian-Australian girl with the least amount of personality Lance had ever seen before in his life, stood up shyly. "I don't know." "You know what?" Mr Bell tilted his head, and his light brown curls flopped with it. "That's absolutely fine. That's why we're starting to put some thought into it! You don't have to have the answers yet. Most of us still don't have those answers until after we're thirty!" A light chuckle spread throughout the room, and Lance smiled. "How about you, Francesca? Do you have any thoughts on what you want to do when you graduate?" "I want to study abroad," Francesca didn't stand up, but she replied with confidence. "Maybe a year or two in America, then I want to be a nurse." "Wow!" Mr Bell laughed and so did several classmates. His laugh was infectious. "So some of us have our futures planned out better than others, and that's okay! That doesn't mean the rest of us are getting left behind. It's not about knowing where you want to be thirty years from now right away. Heck, you guys are only fourteen or fifteen! But it is something to start thinking about. You, Lance!" Mr Bell pointed to Lance, and the boy stood up. Chuckles and snickers circled the room, but Mr Bell stopped them. "No, keep it to yourself, guys and girls. Now, Lance. Knowing that anything is possible for you, what comes to mind? What do you want to do when you're older?" There was only one answer to that question. That one dream he'd always had. All the dancing, singing and acting. He knew what he wanted more than anything. He wanted to be an entertainer. A celebrity. "Dance, sing, act, I'm not sure yet!" Lance told him with a grin. There was one thing he was certain of, though. "I'm going to be famous."
  8. AusGlitterati

    Heavy Branches

    I like what you've done with this one! ❤️ Who doesn't love them some Terryn?
  9. AusGlitterati

    Truth Or Dare

    Vladimir thinks they will work something out and Tyson is starting to believe him Nyaw! ❤️ There's been a lot of sad in the story thus far so both of our boys deserved a nice chapter! Yes, Vlad's family is supportive and kind, and that was important for me - anyone can struggle with mental illness. Ahaha aww Charlie! Yeah, more Aus slang for you to chew on. Thank you!! Terrific! That's a lot of praise, and I appreciate it a lot! Hmm the intention was slowly have Tyson grow aware of how privileged and spoiled (in some ways) he is compared to Vladimir's family, but I think you're spot on with that one. It does seem odd now that you mention it. Ergh I'm so sorry! I intended to put the translations in the chapter notes at the end, but it was late and I forgot. ZZ. Better off in the text now that you mention it anyway. The bits and bobs of Russian were given to me by a friend who speaks the language - that word you mentioned means "dear" but I guess it has more than one translation. I'm sorry about that. I'll edit this chapter soon to include the translations in brackets. Thanks for the feedback ❤️ I'm sure they'd love you back!!
  10. AusGlitterati

    Truth Or Dare

    "Truth!" Tyson decided after a short moment of consideration. "Hmm, okay," Vladimir rubbed his hands together, and Charlie giggled from next to him. "When did you first masturbate?" "Ewww!" Charlie laughed, and Tyson looked away with a shy grin. "Thirteen," Tyson was embarrassed to reveal how old he was when he ejaculated for the first time. "Last year." "Really? So late?" Vladimir asked curiously. His blue eyes twinkled when he was happy. "Didn't you learn in sex ed? Or watch porn?" "Ahh well..." Tyson mumbled as he turned red. "I have parent locks on everything, and I never have any sleepovers or anything. Sex ed never taught us stuff like that. I just kind of heard about it from other guys. How about--" he immediately stopped himself. He was going to ask Charlie what age he learned how to masturbate, but he remembered in the nick of time that Charlie had been raped and molested by his foster parents since he was very young. The last thing he wanted to do was to trigger the younger boy in some way. "You, Vlady! When did you?" "Hey! It's not my turn to answer a truth!" Vladimir's smile shone like a beacon of light. "But I have an older brother, so I knew about it before we even learned about it at school." Tyson smirked. He only had Isabelle, and he wasn't sure she even knew what her vagina did. Sex was not discussed in the Belmont-Lovett household, and neither Tyson nor Isabelle were permitted to date. Education and extra-curricular activities came first. What Tyson wouldn't do to have a brother to hang around with. Or even Isabelle, if she weren't such a stuck-up cow. He missed her, he supposed. All the two ever seemed to do was argue, but it was strange not having her around. Even though they couldn't give each other the time of day without quarrelling, it brought comfort to know that if Isabelle could endure their parents, so could Tyson. Yet here I am, he thought, and she's pretending I don't exist. "Your turn, Charlie!" Vladimir sipped from his polystyrene cup. He drank a lot of tea. "Tys, you've gotta ask him." "Okay, Charlie!" Tyson squeezed his ankle in its compression bandage to feel a jolt of pain. Relief. "Truth or dare?" "Ahhh... dare!" Charlie replied, his voice muffled by the fingers he was suckling on. When was the last time that kid had a haircut or even brushed those tangled curls? "I dare you to knick knock the nurses!" Tyson decided. It wasn't a thrilling dare - none of them were. The last thing the boys wanted was to get into trouble. "Ahhh?" Charlie grunted, indicating he didn't understand what Tyson meant. Fascinating, Tyson thought. Charlie was a bright kid. He tested better than kids a grade or two ahead of him, but when it came to communication and behaviour, it was like conversing with a young toddler. "Knick knock. Like, you go to the door of the nurses' station, knock on it and run away so that nobody's there when they open it," Tyson explained, and Vladimir nodded. "Ok!" Charlie hopped up, tossing his curls from his eyes and, head always on his pillow, crept up to the nurses' station, rapped on the door three times and slunk away underneath the window. Sure enough, one nurse Tyson was not familiar with opened the door. "Hello?" She asked, confused and irritated. She saw Tyson and Vladimir laughing and rolled her eyes before closing the door again. "Charlie, you're a legend!" Vladimir congratulated him with a high five on his dry hand when the boy, a smile plastered on his face, made it back from the corridor. "She's cross," Charlie looked nervously back to the station, but no nurses were looking for him through the window. That nurse probably just figured they were playing a joke. "Okay Charlie, now you ask Vlad!" Tyson encouraged him. He hadn't been excited about including Charlie in their game, but he was surprised at how much he liked the weirdo. Once Tyson saw past the strange behaviours, he was a nice guy. "Truth or dare?" Charlie asked, a mischievous grin on his face. "Truth! I don't trust you to give me a dare," Vladimir hugged his knees and rested his face against them, cautiously eyeing the young boy off. "Ok! Are you boyfriends?" Charlie asked, pointing between Vladimir and Tyson. Tyson felt himself go red. We're not. Are we? I don't think so. We haven't talked about it yet. We've just been doing what we're doing. "Ahm," Vladimir looked shyly across to Tyson, who shrugged. "No, Charlie. We're just friends for now. Once we both get out, who knows? I might ask Tyson to come on a date with me." "That'd be sweet," Tyson replied. "If my parents ever let me." "Aww, we'll work something out!" Vladimir promised, and Tyson's heart fluttered again. "Maybe we'll do our outpatient programs together. Won't that be romantic?" Tyson laughed, but he hadn't thought about that yet. In order to be released, Cynthia explained, he would have to participate and comply with an outpatient treatment program. He would come to the hospital twice a week for appointments with her. Maybe Vladimir could do his visits at the same time, and we could see each other like that. "That's nice," Charlie affirmed, his eyes droopy as his head rested against his precious pillow. He took some heavy medication for anxiety and it often made him drowsy. "Big Vlad!" A middle-aged man with too many earrings in his left ear and gelled up grey hair caught the boys' attention. It was pretty ugly, Tyson thought. "You've got a whole tribe of people wanting to see you. Are you ready?" Oh, that must be Dale. Vladimir's getting his visits. "Awesome!" Vladimir beamed, hopping immediately to his feet. "Do you wanna come with me?" He extended his hand to Tyson, who took little convincing. He let Vladimir pull him to his feet and grabbed his crutch to lean on. "Okay, sure," Tyson was excited to be a part of Vladimir's visit, even though he'd never admit that. When his parents visited, usually Edith, Tyson hated it. They always told him he wasn't getting better fast enough. That he was wasting precious time by being unwell and making them look like bad parents. They rarely asked him if he was okay. Will did. Will often made sure his son was doing well enough before he took a sledgehammer to his self-esteem. Edith didn't usually bother before she went for the jugular. Vladimir had been excited to see his family all day long, though. Tyson wanted to see why. To witness it for himself. "Am I okay to come?" Tyson asked Dale, who played with a fidget spinner and wore sandals to work. An ageing hipster. Is there anything more offputting? "Yeah, man! If Vlad gives you the go-ahead, you're welcome to go as well!" Dale beamed. Ugh. He already hated Dale. Petra couldn't come back fast enough. When she engaged with him, it felt authentic. Dale had to be fifty or so, and this attitude was too weird. Midlife crisis, much? No surprise, when you're that old and only a social worker. Tyson didn't know what to expect when he hobbled alongside a joy-filled Vladimir into the visitor's room, but the energy was overwhelming. There was a pretty woman, pale-skinned and with long, curly chestnut hair. Although Vladimir's hair was black, she was definitely his mother. They had the same facial features, especially the cheekbones. Then three other boys. Three! All of them light-skinned and dark-haired as well. They must have been Vladimir's three brothers. That's so many brothers! "мой мальчик!" (My boy!) Vladimir's mother had the same smile as her son and she hopped up out of the couch. "Hey!" Vladimir first went straight to his mother, who kissed him three times on the cheek and cuddled him. All of the boys piled on and joined the group hug. Tyson was in awe. They were all so happy to see him, and Vladimir was glad to see them. It was beautiful, but also made Tyson sad. He remembered his visit yesterday. Edith barely looked at him. She certainly didn't want to hug him and she wasn't excited to see him, either. Vladimir, though... his family adored him. They all spoke at the same time. Even if they were speaking in English, he doubted he would understand them. Although he wasn't surprised that Vladimir was of Russian descent due to his name, he didn't know that his friend was fluent in the language and spoke it with his family. "Я пропустил всех вас!" (I missed all of you!) Vladimir told his horde of family members, breaking their chatter and pointed over at Tyson, who shrunk as he felt all the attention of the boys and woman focus on him. "This is my new friend Tyson!" "Hi," Tyson waved meekly, and everybody waved back at him and greeted him happily. "This is Masha, my Mum!" Vladimir introduced Tyson to the woman who had not yet let go of him. "And here we have..." Vladimir decided to introduce his brothers from the oldest to the youngest. "Dmitry, Sasha, and Ilya. I'm the second kid. So yeah, let's speak in English while Tyson's around, okay?" "It's great to meet you all," Tyson couldn't wait to get the heat off himself. There was too much attention. It was scary. He wanted to say more, but the words didn't come to him. "It's our pleasure, Tyson!" Masha reached out. Tyson thought she wanted to shake his hand, but she pulled him into the group hug instead. It was sweet of her, but he was not ready for that kind of intimacy and quickly pulled away. "If my Vlad loves you, then so do we!" Wow. This is overwhelming, Tyson thought, running his hand over his face. I'm not sure I can do this. "How did you hurt your foot?" The littlest one - Ilya? - asked immediately, and Masha shushed him. "Не будь грубым," (Don't be rude,) she whispered, before remembering what her son had asked of her. "Sorry! I told him not to be rude. He should be more respectful of your privacy. He wants to know everything, this one!" "Oh it's okay," Tyson pulled up the sleeves of his jacket to cover his arms. He didn't mind talking about his ankle, but he liked Vladimir a lot. He didn't want his brothers or mother to see the ugly scars on his wrists. They might judge him. They might tell Vladimir not to talk to someone who wants to kill themselves. "I fell down the hill near Red Vale station and twisted it. It's not a fun story." "Does it hurt?" Ilya asked, and as Vladimir began to talk to his other brothers and mother, Ilya seemed more interested in Tyson. "Yeah," Tyson nodded. Ilya looked to be six or so, judging by the number of baby teeth he was missing. It was strange to see all of these boys here at the same time. They looked so similar, and he could almost imagine Vladimir at different ages based on the appearance of his brothers. Dmitry, the oldest, looked to be in his early twenties, and he was hot! Like Vladimir, but... older, bulkier and more manly. Sasha - a name Tyson thought to be unfit for a guy - was also quite cute, even though he was chubbier than the rest. He looked twelve or thirteen. Ilya was the spitting image of his brothers. Vladimir was the best-looking one, though. Easily! "That's why I need to use the crutch," Tyson added. "Can I play with the crutch?" Sasha asked excitedly, and Tyson laughed. "Yeah, go nuts. Just don't forget to give it back before you leave," he handed it over, and Sasha had fun pretending he was injured the way Tyson was. "How old are you?" Ilya asked, jumping onto the back of the couch and swinging off it. A ball of energy. "I'm nearly seven!" "Oh, nice," Tyson replied uncomfortably. "I'm fourteen. I'll be fifteen in November." "Vlad is fifteen!" Ilya reminded him. "When do you get to go home?" "I dunno yet," Tyson answered, but Ilya didn't dwell on the topic. He seemed to be used to talking about things like this. Vladimir, as Tyson recalled, had been coming to inpatient units since before Ilya was even born. This must be the norm for him. "Okay! Can I have a turn with the crutch?" Ilya pleaded, smiling big with those significant gaps between his teeth. It was difficult not to like Ilya. Young and spirited. "Yeah man, but don't hurt yourself. It's a bit bigger than you," he warned Ilya, and the boy took off after Sasha. Tyson looked over to Vladimir, who was smiling so warmly at him and beckoned him over. "I can't!" Tyson laughed, sitting on his own on the couch. "Your brother stole my crutch!" "Oh, sorry!" Vladimir laughed, and he came over with his older brother Dmitry and his mother. Masha, he reminded himself. Her name is Masha. Vladimir took the seat next to Tyson, and to his surprise, immediately grabbed his hand. Right in front of his older brother and his mother. "Ahh--" Tyson mumbled, looking horrified, but Vladimir squeezed, and the fear vanished. Just like that. "You look so happy, Vlad!" Masha exclaimed, sitting on Vladimir's other side and putting her arm around him, kissing him once more on the cheek. "We're ready to have you home again soon, darling. How do you feel?" "I am happy!" Vladimir smiled at her. "I mean, I'm still having a lot of trouble, but I'm feeling okay about everything. Tyson's a big help. He's been here for me when I get spaced out or see things." "You're here for my son?" Masha asked, her intensely blue eyes making contact with him. She was dressed in a lovely black attire - shirt, jacket and jeans with black boots adorned with many buckles. "You've been helping him?" "Oh," Tyson nodded. "He's been here for me, too. I don't know. We're in it together. So I help him, and he helps me." "Well, thank you, darling!" Masha reached across to put her white hand on top of the boys' hands. "You don't know what it means for me for my boy to have your support. I appreciate it! We all do." "So are you boys like... you know," Dmitry raised his eyebrows mischievously, and Tyson blushed. "Boyfriends?" "Вы уверены что готовы к этому? После Алексея?" (Are you sure you are ready for this? After Alexey?) Masha asked him. What did she say? Obviously, he was not meant to know what she was saying. Is she talking about me? Why couldn't they speak in a language he understood? It was rude. "Не говори о нем. (Don't talk about him.) Tys and I are just friends, okay?" Vladimir explained, embarrassed and laughing at the same time. "Tyson lives in Red Vale! So we're gonna keep hanging out when we both get discharged then... we'll work it out!" "Oh, because we're in Cook Bay!" Dmitry exclaimed, reaching over and shaking Tyson's free hand. He was a nice fellow! Tyson decided he already liked all of Vladimir's family. They were warm and social and funny. What I wouldn't give to have a family like this, he thought. Isabelle was a proper bitch, and his parents had one spark of warmth between them. No way would he ever bring Vladimir to one of his visits with his family. In fact, Tyson decided that when his family did come today, he did not want to see them. He was having the first good day in a long time. He didn't want to spoil it by seeing his stupid parents. "So you boys like each other?" Masha asked with that familiar grin on her face. "Yes?" Her eyes glittered like her son's. Vladimir's were just a little bit more beautiful, though. Maybe I'm biased. "Uh... oh..." Tyson was too shy to talk about it, but Vladimir was not. "Maybe a bit," he gripped Tyson's hand tighter. "But we're focusing on getting back to our lives first." "That's sick, man!" Dmitry exclaimed. "You guys will be out in no time. Trust. Especially since you're just down the road from us, Tyson. You should come and hang out when you're all better, man!" "So you're a good boy for the nurses?" Masha asked Vladimir, warm and loving. "Tell me, Tyson, is he a good boy? You're behaving and taking your medication? How are your voices?" "One question at a time!" Vladimir laughed, his thumb brushing over the back of Tyson's hand. Tyson was too shy to answer. "Yes, I've been having all my meds! Alice, Neil and Sue have been good to me, Mum. And Tyson, too. They're always there for me when I get weird." "Good work, little brother!" Dmitry gave Vladimir's free hand a high five. "You kick that three-headed fucker's arse for me." "Watch your language, Милая!" (Dear!) Masha tutted at him, but both of them were grinning together. Wow. If I said anything like that, Mum would flip her shit at me. "Ilya and Sasha, please don't break that!" She massaged her pretty face with her fingers as the two younger lads pole-vaulted onto a couch with Tyson's crutch. Bloody hell. They're all crazy. Tyson couldn't help but smile. They were nice. All of them. And they loved Vladimir. The visit lasted nearly forty minutes. Dmitry, Sasha, Ilya and Masha all spoke to Tyson one on one while the others swarmed their brother. Dmitry was an avid gamer and was studying video game design at University. Sasha was a gamer as well, but he was also fanatic about hockey and cartoons. Ilya bounced randomly from topic to topic, bouncing off the walls with the joy of seeing his big brother and making a new friend in Tyson. Masha spoke about Vladimir's earlier years. The doctors, the hospitalisations and the meltdowns. She also talked about how tender he was with his pet rabbit, and how he liked to be the one who tucked in his little brothers and sometimes read them stories before bed. She loved him so much even though he was sick. He's in good hands, Tyson thought. No matter what happens to me, at least Vladimir has his family. Eventually, Masha gathered up the boys and took them home. Dmitry, Sasha and Ilya wasted no time in hugging their brother and wishing him well, telling him how much they missed having him at home and how much they loved him. Then something weird happened. "Goodbye, darling!" Masha blew a kiss to Tyson, likely aware that he was not quite comfortable with her level of affection just yet. "I hope things work out for you, okay? We'll come again tomorrow evening, so be here and say hello, won't you?" "Yeah! I wouldn't miss it!" Tyson was stoked about the prospect of being a part of another of Vladimir's visits. The Russian boy had promised that his family would accept and embrace Tyson, and he had been right. Ilya threw himself on Tyson and hugged him, promising to bring his Pokémon cards for their next visit. Dmitry and Sasha both shook his hand goodbye and wished him well. As he waved them off, Vladimir turned to look at him. "Wow, they love you so much!" Vladimir giggled when the two began to walk back towards the main hall. "I think they were happier to see you than they were to see me!" "I'm surprised at how open you all are about the... you know," Tyson tapped his forehead with his fingers. "Your Mum just talks about it like it's normal." "Oh! It's nothing they haven't seen before. I've been having psychotic episodes since I was very young," Vladimir replied, mimicking Tyson and touching his forehead. Whether he heard things or not was unclear. It seemed to be a good day for him thus far, but Tyson knew by now that just because Vladimir wasn't in a trance or curled into a frightened little ball, it did not mean he didn't hear, see or feel scary things. "What about your Dad? Does he visit?" Tyson asked, mentally exhausted from the demanding job of keeping Ilya and Sasha entertained while Vladimir discussed the darker things with his older brother and mother. "No," Vladimir replied shortly. There was nothing else for him to say, it seemed. Tyson was curious as to why that was. A messy divorce? Was it because Vladimir was unwell? Or even because he was gay? What happened? "Well, you can have mine if you like," Tyson kidded. "I don't want him." "From what you've told me, I think I'm okay, thanks!" Vladimir leapt up to hit the sign above them with his fingers. "Dmitry's still living at home, though. He helps out a lot." "Oh," Tyson wasn't sure how to respond. The second Isabelle finished High School, she was expected to leave and be entirely independent. The same went for him. Nobody did chores at the Belmont-Lovett house. It was beneath them. Judy cleaned and cooked while Quentin did the gardening. Tyson knew everything about atoms and calculus, but he had never even cooked noodles for himself. "I mean it, Tys. I want you there when we get out," Vladimir turned and stopped. Tyson sighed. This conversation again. "My family loves you! We'll hang out, and we'll do our treatments together, and it'll be awesome. Maybe I'll get a scholarship for Murdoch Grammar! Haha!" "You know that's basically impossible though, don't you?" Tyson glumly replied, and Vladimir's cheerful smile faded. "Like, I want to, Vlady! So bad. But I can't! I have no control over anything. I'm a glorified poodle. My parents will never let me hang out with you. They think we're just crazy bastards." "Don't give up so quickly," Vladimir pleaded, stepping forward and holding his friend's hand. "We'll work everything out. We have time. Okay?" "Yeah, but you don't get it," Tyson sniffed. "Your family is awesome, Vlady. Mine thinks they're better off if I'm dead. They're telling everyone I'm visiting family in Sri Lanka because they're so fucking embarrassed by me. And even if we got past all that shit, I still want to kill myself. Every day. I'm always thinking about it. Always." "Even when I'm here?" Vladimir asked, putting the younger boy's hand on his chest. Tyson could feel Vladimir's heart beating through his chest. "Not as much," Tyson didn't lie when he answered. Vladimir had this sweet way of making things seem better. "So when you're thinking of hurting yourself," Vladimir ran his fingers along the raw, painful skin where Tyson had scratched himself. It hurt like a bitch! "You come to me, and I'll cheer you up! And then when I see things and stuff, I'll come to you, because you always make me feel better. Is that fair?" "Yeah. Okay. That's fair," Tyson smiled. "Can I come to your next family visit?" Even though it was not his visit, he felt loved and accepted by people who were more or less complete strangers. He wanted to experience that again. "Duh! Of course!" Vladimir was too beautiful at that moment. Tyson felt so strongly for him, and he leaned forward to kiss his friend. Vladimir kissed him back. It was so nice. So warm. "Tys, your Mum's here!" Dale called from down the hall, interrupting their moment. Seriously. Dale's a douche. "Tell her to fuck off!" Tyson shouted back at him before returning to the boy who planted the seed of hope in his heart and perpetually nurtured it with love and affection. "I've already had my visit today."
  11. AusGlitterati


    I don't want to spoil the story! But although there will be setbacks for our boys, Heart is not now nor will it ever be a tragedy there's enough tragedy around already! And after all, the heart is the strongest muscle.
  12. AusGlitterati


    He absolutely would if he could! ❤️ And the feeling would be mutual, I'm sure. Thank you for the read, react & comment!
  13. AusGlitterati


    Pretty well said! He feels the burden of the responsibility rather than the opportunity to excel in anything and everything. Well this is an AusGlitterati story so... Awww I'm sure they'll come and visit! No! Thank you ❤️ CH6 coming up soon! #RoadTo300K
  14. AusGlitterati


    It's one of those darn songs that always comes up in my head!!
  15. AusGlitterati


    Tyson's schedule was quite a full one. On a given school day, he would start the day off with a six o'clock wake-up call. Then he would go through the morning routine - exercise group, then shower, breakfast, brushing teeth and off to private school. Following that, he would either play a sport or learn an instrument, then he would do his homework and assignments, have dinner, then an hour of tutoring. That left very little free time before bed, and Tyson spent that time planning his suicide. He did not have the privilege of watching much television or many movies, so he was seeing Shrek for the first time today. In fact, today was the first day in a very long time where - outside medication - he had no responsibilities at all. He could spend his time how he wanted to. He, Vladimir and sometimes Charlie had fun watching movies and playing board games. Now, he was on the couch next to Vladimir, snuggled up and resting his head against the older boy's chest. Vladimir had one arm around Tyson's slim shoulders and his other hand gently stroking his hair. He was happy, safe and warm where he was. Vladimir heard voices, though. Tyson could hear him muttering under his breath. "Children, have you ever met the boogeyman before?" Vladimir whispered in an eerie sing-song voice. "No, of course you haven't, for you're much too good I'm sure. Don't you be afraid of him if he should visit you. He's a great big coward, so I'll tell you what to do. Hush hush hush. Here comes the Boogeyman." "Vlady?" Tyson asked him, turning his head and keeping his voice low so that nobody would hear them. He snapped his fingers in his friend's face as he'd learned to do to snap him out of his dissociative trance. "Are you okay?" "Mmm? I'm okay," Vladimir reassured him and stroked his fingers down the boy's neck. Tyson shivered with ecstasy at the touch. "Sorry. Ignore me." "What is it you're singing?" Tyson asked him, and Vladimir shrugged. "She's singing," he touched his fingers to his forehead. "I'm just repeating it. I didn't even notice I was doing it. Sorry." "Don't be sorry. I think it's nice," Tyson smiled and nuzzled in closer. "Does it make you feel better?" "You make me feel better," Vladimir cooed in his ear, and Tyson felt his skin grow hot with joy and desire. He wanted to kiss Vladimir again. He wanted to go into his room with Vladimir and touch him and play with him and do those naughty things he heard about from the other boys at school. With the amount of supervision he and Vladimir both had though, as high-risk patients even in the low-dependency unit, there was little chance of that happening. When we're discharged, Tyson thought. We'll do all those things when we get released. He had to adjust the way he was sitting on the couch, so his erection wasn't quite so visible. The thoughts were arousing. "Fuck off, bitch," Tyson whispered to whoever was bothering Vladimir. "He's my friend, not yours." He beamed from ear to ear when Vladimir giggled and played with the boy's fingers. Tyson loved it when their fingers locked together. Brown, white, brown, white. The contrast was pretty. Vladimir's skin was so fair, and Tyson's so dark. Although his father was a Caucasian man, Edith had Sri Lankan heritage and he shared her skin tone. Tyson tended to be self-conscious about his skin colour. Many people had made it clear that they were not attracted to South Asians. They called it a preference, but to Tyson, it was nothing more than thinly veiled racism. The discrimination hurt. It damaged his self-esteem, and although his parents encouraged him to be proud of his heritage, he often wished he was Caucasian like his father was. Vladimir didn't, though. He liked Tyson the way he was. He thinks I'm cute! He kissed me! Oh my gosh. He kissed me. Shrek was an excellent movie. Tyson thoroughly enjoyed it. In some ways, he could relate to the angry, lonely ogre. Shrek only wanted to be loved in the end, didn't he? For who he was. He didn't mean to be so mad all the time. He just... he was tired. Then he found Fiona, the princess who had issues of her own. She changed between day and night like Vladimir sometimes did. It wasn't easy, but the two of them worked everything out. Shrek and Fiona fell in love, and even though their romance didn't solve their problems, it didn't matter. Those problems didn't seem to be important anymore. They still lived happily ever after, flawed as they were. Can that happen to me? And Vladimir, maybe? If we... maybe... oh, I don't know. Every time Vladimir's thumb stroked Tyson's hand or the fingers of his other hand played with the boy's hair, it stoked the fire in the boy's heart. "Hey boys, do you mind if I have a quick chat with you?" Neil was quick to make his presence felt when he descended upon them the moment the credits hit. His shift must have started. "Hmm?" Vladimir separated his hand from Tyson's and turned his neck. "What about?" Tyson asked, a little annoyed that he dared to interrupt them. "Come to the group room with me for just a second, okay?" He squeezed both of them on their shoulders and waited for them to respond. "Why?" Tyson asked, suspicious and paranoid, but Vladimir got to his feet right away. "You're not in trouble," he reassured him, and he smiled. Neil was cute and Tyson's heart tended to flutter when he saw him. He'd tied his long blond hair into a loose bun, with a few strands of hair free and falling to his chin. He still had braces on his white, slightly crooked teeth, even though he was a young man. He was fit and strong. Kind, but very firm. "Come along, please." "Here." Vladimir handed the crutch to Tyson and used his other hand to help the younger boy painfully stand up on his sturdy left foot. His right one was in as much pain as ever, and he still refused the painkillers. It was too useful as a method of hurting himself. The group therapy room was colourful and bright. The carpet was vibrant and red, the walls covered in paintings created by kids during art therapy and origami swans of every colour hung from the ceiling. Why are we the only two here? Group therapy isn't until later on in the day. Neil waited for them to sit in the three-quarter-egg shaped plastic chairs before he joined them. He always wore gloves and sanitised his hands quite often. Word around the ward was that he was terrified of germs. "Tyson and Vladimir!" Neil clasped his hands in front of him, speaking enthusiastically in his deep voice. "You two boys have become quite good friends, haven't you?" "I guess," Tyson replied with a casual shrug. "Ah-huh," Vladimir responded at the same time. Tyson caught those blue eyes twinkling behind the raven-coloured fringe and the merry mouth curling into an involuntary smile. It made his own caramel coloured lips smile as well. "That's fantastic," Neil grinned. "It's always good to make friends, isn't it? I'm just letting you know that we staff have noticed that you boys are especially close. Do you know what I'm talking about?" "Handholding and stuff?" Vladimir answered that question. Good. It was probably better if he did. He was much more level-headed. Tyson tended to be impertinent and rude in situations where criticism could be on the table. All he ever faced was criticism, especially when being compared to his big sister and his parents. "That's right. You're very cuddlesome and affectionate," Neil nodded, sitting forward and bracing his elbows on his knees. "So I would like to ask you why that is? Are you good friends or is there something more there?" "What do you mean?" Vladimir asked after a pause, and Tyson watched him intently. He wanted to see his friend answer the questions. Body language accounts for up to fifty-five per cent of effective communication. Right now, Tyson could see that Vladimir was nervous and shy. And gorgeous, of course. "Well, do you like each other more than most friends like each other?" Neil chose his words carefully. Tyson didn't think it was any of his fucking business and almost told him just that, but once again, Vladimir answered before he did. Was he doing it on purpose? "Maybe. I'm not sure. Tys, what do you think?" Vladimir turned to look at him, and he turned pink. Cute! "Yeah?" Tyson certainly thought so, but he didn't want to appear too eager. He might scare Vladimir off if he did that. Neil might want to separate them. He better fucking not. "There's nothing wrong with that at all," Neil even laughed. "That's rather sweet, I think. But the reason I'm asking is that we have rules here. You know?" He exhaled. It mustn't have been an easy discussion for him. "If you two want to hold hands and hug and cuddle on the couch, then you're welcome to. That being said, please be mindful of where you are and why you're here. Being in each other's room or hands anywhere underneath clothes is strictly not on, do you understand?" "Oh! I wasn't-- um!" Vladimir was embarrassed by his words and covered his face with his hands. "No, Neil! No!" "Does it... is it okay if we kiss sometimes?" Tyson asked shyly, and Vladimir giggled to himself. Neil grimaced. "You're really not supposed to," he admitted, and Tyson huffed in disappointment. "Look, you boys have been honest with me, and I appreciate that. So, kissing is sort of a grey area, you see? If your girlfriend or boyfriend came to visit you here, you're welcome to kiss them hello and goodbye. But since you're both under our care, it's inappropriate. Those are the rules. But... you know what I think? I think if you boys can behave responsibly and respectfully, then you can have a kiss now and then. Just make sure you don't get carried away, alright? I reckon this is going to be good for both of you. Don't make me split you up by doing anything silly. Okay?" "Okay, Neil!" Tyson was thrilled that he had Neil's blessing and reached across to grab Vladimir's arm. "I promise we'll be good!" "Yeah!" Vladimir nodded in agreement, still embarrassed and skittish about the topic. "Thank you for the warning. I'm sorry. This is probably weird for you." "Not as weird as you might think!" Neil winked as he stood up, indicating that the conversation was over. "I have a boyfriend of my own. So if either of you guys ever wants to talk about this kind of thing, you know where to find me. I'm on your side. It wasn't that long ago that I was working it all out for myself, you know." Neil is gay? Tyson and Vladimir looked at each other at the same time, their mouths hanging open. That was a surprise. Sure, he looked a bit effeminate with the long blond hair tied into a neat bun, but he was a masculine guy. It came as a surprise. Now, Tyson looked at him anew. He wasn't just the cute but stern afternoon nurse. He was an ally. "Okay young Vlad, it's time for your two o'clock meds, can you follow me to the nurse's station please?" Neil beckoned with a latex coated finger. Tyson had never seen his hands before. He always wore gloves. "Tyson mate, you chill out today, alright? You haven't got anything booked until dinner time. Do you want to see any visitors today?" "No thanks," Tyson shook his head, heaving himself up. "They make me angry." "Fair enough. Let me know if you change your mind, okay buddy?" Neil smiled and took Vladimir with him in the other direction. Wow. Vlady has a nice butt, Tyson noted with a cheeky smile. Those purple jeans hugged it so tightly, and the boy tended to swivel his hips ever so slightly with every step. He wondered what Vladimir would look like without his shirt. He'd seen him clad in a sleeveless shirt and his underwear, though. That was nice. Admiring him wasn't a priority at that moment, though. Vladimir was hearing and seeing terrifying stuff last night, and making sure he was okay was the most important thing. That must be so hard for him, Tyson thought sadly as he hobbled back to the living area. He couldn't imagine what it was like not to hear things that weren't real. To see some freaky three-headed monster that he thought was trying to kill him. To know that it's not real and to keep seeing them anyway. The way Vladimir dissociated from reality and went into a trance. I hope he'll be okay. Emre and Derrick were having fun kicking a little inflatable ball around together. Tyson wished he could join them. He loved soccer. Stupid foot - although it did come with some benefits. The sprain was a convenient excuse to get out of the dumb exercise groups he was supposed to go to. Although there were plenty of ways to keep himself active without the use of his bad ankle, he still liked to use the sprain to get out of it. He used it to get out of a lot of things. He got so used to the sprained ankle excuse that while on his second day, after being heavily medicated for both his fall and his anger issues, according to Sue, he groggily demanded that she exchange his white bread sandwich for wholegrain because white bread would hurt his foot. Sue still made fun of him for that one, and it made the rounds among the nursing staff. Tyson didn't remember anything about it, but everybody else refused to forget! It wouldn't take long for his friend to return from the nurses' station, so Tyson sat down on the corner couch with his sprained ankle elevated. It still throbbed. It hurt. It was good. Sure enough, Vladimir sprung over the back of the couch and landed with no grace whatsoever in the spot next to Tyson. "What are we doing?" Vladimir asked, and Tyson flushed. That word. 'We.' "What do you want to do?" Tyson asked with a shrug. "I'm pretty bored." "Wow. Thanks," Vladimir sat cross-legged. It didn't look comfortable. "I know!" He sprung up and as good as ran over to the shelf stacked full of games and puzzles for everyone to enjoy and came back with a Jenga tower. "Jenga!" "Vlady, we're not six," Tyson rolled his eyes. Blocks are for children. "It doesn't say ages six and under," Vladimir quipped back at him. "Give it a go!" "I don't want to play Jenga!" Tyson snapped at him, and Vladimir shrugged. "You'd rather be bored than play a game? So what do you want to do then?" Vladimir asked, ignoring the rudeness in his friend's reply. "I dunno!" Tyson felt himself getting frustrated. "Not Jenga!" "Okay," Vladimir walked back and put the packet down before returning. There wasn't a bounce in his step this time. "Do you want me to go?" "No," Tyson pleaded. I don't know what I want anymore. I'm tired. I'm restless. I want to die. I want to live. I don't know. "Can we just sit for a minute? Is that okay?" "Sure," Vladimir sat back down. "What's wrong, Tys? You can talk to me." "Ahh I dunno," Tyson admitted, absent-mindedly scratching his forearm. "It's this place, y'know? Like, I'm used to being so busy that I don't have any time to think about stuff. Now that I'm here, I'm thinking all the time, and it's... I don't like it, but I don't want to go back to my life. Do you understand?" "Well, not really," Vladimir replied after a short pause. "I don't know what you deal with in here or out there, so I can't judge. What do you think about?" "Dying, mostly," Tyson replied with a heavy sigh. "Hurting myself. Hurting my family. Sometimes you." "You want to hurt me?" Vladimir asked, a little shocked, but Tyson shook his head. "No. No no no. I think about you. Not hurting you," he smiled and reached over to put his fingers on Vladimir's arm. "You're the only one who makes me feel good in here. Well, maybe the nurses and Cynthia sometimes, but I'm happy you're here." "I'm glad you're here too," Vladimir smiled and rested his head on Tyson's shoulder. "Do you know how long you'll be here until discharge?" "Indefinite right now," Tyson sighed. "When Cynthia reckons I'm not gonna hurt myself again." "Good. If you're safe here, then I don't want you to go," Vladimir reached across and kissed Tyson on the cheek. "I'd miss you so much." Tyson wasn't sure how he felt about Vladimir's sweet words. The kiss certainly took some of the sting out of them. I want to die. I will die. But I don't want to leave Vladimir alone, especially after I made a promise to him that I'll be there for him when we both get out. "How long will you be here?" Tyson asked him, and Vladimir shrugged. "At the moment, I'll be discharged a week from Monday. It depends on how I go, I guess," he stated, brushing his black hair with his fingers. "So if you get out first, you have to promise to be here when it's my turn!" "Okay! I promise!" Tyson giggled. "Will you do the same for me if you're out first?" "Damn straight I will! And we'll go down to Olivine Lake and do picnics and stuff!" Vladimir was getting excited thinking about what the two could do when they left the hospital. "And we'll hang out all the time, right?" "Sure," Tyson nodded. He couldn't imagine life without Vladimir right now. It was his first major crush. All he could think about was this beautiful boy who made him feel like there was something worth living for. If he thought about dying, he could see Vladimir's smile in front of him. If he thought about hurting himself, he could feel Vladimir's lips on his. "So stop doing that!" Vladimir grabbed his hand and tore it away from his forearm. "It's not good for you." "I didn't even notice," Tyson replied, looking down at the inside of his forearm. He'd scratched some of the skin off. While it wasn't bleeding, it sure did sting! "Damn. I think maybe I'm a bit unwell, Vlady. A bit mental." "You don't say!" Vladimir gasped, and the two laughed. "Maybe you should get Neil to have a look at that." "Later. I just want to be here with you for a bit," Tyson compromised, and Vladimir shrugged and nuzzled closer. The two cuddled for a while until some yelling and shrieking and swearing caught their attention. A girl coming through, and she was having one hell of a fit! Escorted by two strong members of the security team, followed by two nurses. She was abusing everyone, screaming and kicking while the men almost carried her through the living area towards the quiet room. He couldn't believe how aggressive she was. The girl looked to be around his age, and she had freckles, orange-red curls tied into a ponytail and a red plaid shirt with blue jeans. She was barefoot. He did not recognise her. She must be a new admission. "Is that what I look like?" Tyson asked, gobsmacked. He couldn't believe the aggression coming from her. That's not me, though. Is it? I'm not like that! "I haven't seen you flip your shit," Vladimir reminded him. "I've only heard about it. Have you gone to seclusion yet?" "Yeah. Once," Tyson shuddered, thinking of that cold, barren room. The restraints. It was horrifying. "Have you?" "Oh, yeah," Vladimir was surprisingly blasé about it. "Not here, though. They're pretty good here, I reckon. They're switched on, and they know when I'm starting to lose the plot, you know? The last hospital was shit. I was in seclusion and restraints a lot over there." "They tied you down?" Tyson asked him in horror, thinking again of those cuffs on the bed. He couldn't imagine being strapped to that bed. It scared him. "Yeah, when I got bad," Vladimir replied quietly, putting Tyson's arm around his shoulders and hugging himself with it. "That's why my Mum moved me here. It's good, man. The nurses are great here. If I'm having a bad day, they always take care of me. I haven't seen seclusion at all, even in the HDU." "Right," Tyson replied thoughtfully. Seeing that girl like that reminded him of himself when he went into a rage. He wondered what the other inpatients must think of him. What Vladimir must think. One thing's for sure, he thought. I'm definitely going to do like Vladimir and make sure I have the calming down pill before I flip out next time. "Just pretend he isn't really there. You will find that Boogeyman will vanish in thin air. Here's one way to catch him without fail. Just keep a little salt with you and put it on his tail." Tyson snapped his fingers a few times in front of Vladimir's eyes and managed to bring him out of his weird dissociative trance. Vladimir looked blankly around for a couple of seconds, then up at Tyson. He smiled, and they kissed.

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