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917 I Make This Look Easy

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

    Enter the Sorcerer

    Ohhh, it was a big sacrifice, I assure you. Proves that the walk of shame remains the one constant between universes. Haha The characters just come to life off your page, even that douchebag Fendrel and especially that gorgeous Rulf & beautiful Esthor! The chapter's pretty much perfect ❤️ I can't wait to nag you for an update! Thank you
  2. AusGlitterati

    Topher - "False Witness"

    Both excellent questions - is there even a correct answer? Who knows Thank you friend ❤️ sincerely, the support means a lot!
  3. AusGlitterati

    Topher - "False Witness"

    I mean - if Dom were the one "narrating" the scene, I'm sure he would see Maverick much differently. Topher is naive and believes people are inherently good.
  4. AusGlitterati

    Topher - "False Witness"

    Snickers? Who even eats Snickers but a sociopath? Yes we do, in a way! Just remember whose POV it is. Yeah, what a jerk, right? Good thing we only have Maverick's word for that. Jon loves his kid, but he has a lot of problems and has no idea what he's doing. Topher's realising some ugly truths for the first time. Oh good! I was worried about this one ❤️ Thank you very much friend! I appreciate it!
  5. AusGlitterati

    Topher - "False Witness"

    It was the first morning he'd slept in since he was very young. Five o'clock came and went, as did six, seven and eight. No running on the beach today. It was getting increasingly upsetting to have Kevin fail to show up every single time. He was no stranger to going for a run on his own. He enjoyed it in the past. But now, the salty taste of sea air on his lips only reminded him that he wanted Kevin in ways he shouldn't, and Kevin was rejecting him. Okay, Dad, Topher thought glumly with his covers pulled up over his head. You win. You did everything you could to tear us apart, and now he doesn't want to see me anymore. Not even as a friend. If this is the Lord's will, then who am I to question it? There's no doubt what it means. It's not supposed to be. Thank you, Jesus. I get it now. Perhaps I should just let Harper call me her boyfriend after all. It had been a strange couple of days. Peatsland was such a sweet, beautiful place, but he didn't realise how ugly it could be. Maverick Matsuda, the peculiar but intriguing classmate in English Literature, had been beaten so severely he stayed in the hospital overnight with a concussion. Topher was scared. It was a godless place, and he was in over his head. No witnesses and nobody charged with assault, even when the police came to investigate. Maverick reportedly took a bad knock to the head and didn't remember who did it, either that, or he was too scared of his attackers to name them. They should be expelled and jailed! Who could do that to another person? Knowing that people like that were in his classes and around him during lunch periods... he did not know if he could face it again. Waiting for his turn to be interviewed by the police and the principal... this would never happen at Saint Joseph's. I should visit him, Topher thought guiltily as he clutched Percy bear closer to his chest. He has no friends. Nobody to be there for him. Perhaps I could make his day better. Would he even want to see me? Dom: < hey what u doing 2day? > Topher: < Praying for Maverick. I didn't sleep well. How are you? > Dom: < tru that was brutal shit 😕 dont waste ur prayers on him lol im ok, working soon zzz > Topher: < Who did that to him? > Dom: < tbh it could b anyone, he's a horrible person and a lot of ppl hate him. he probably deserved it > Topher: < Why hasn't anybody said anything? I don't get it. I don't feel safe anymore. > Dom: < sorry man, ill keep u safe nobody fucks with a mutant like me lol > That's so sweet of him, Topher thought with a smile. It didn't make him feel like he wouldn't be beaten mercilessly when he went to the school bathroom, but it did make him feel less alone. The transition between schools had been smooth until yesterday. He was losing Kevin. Zack, as much as Topher remained sour on him, was leaving, and Harper was already spreading the word that the two were an item now. Unfortunately, everyone saw them kiss, so they took her word for it. Selena and Reima were quite lovely, of course, but they were still strangers. Gwen was dissolving in front of his very eyes, and Father Jon was weak of both mind and heart. Dominic was the only person Topher felt he could count on, and that awful boy was continually torturing him. The blond boy clenched his fists as he thought about Veikko. A creature fueled by little more than spite and malice whose only intent was to hurt those who cared about him. Jon and Gwen, as well as his friends and church community, all warned him to stay away from Veikko. Topher was surprised when he saw that Veikko wasn't the monster they all believed him to be. He was so much worse than that! They hated him because he was an unrepentant homosexual, but that wasn't why Topher disliked him. Dom was a pure soul, kind and gentle, and Veikko had never done anything but take advantage of him. People like that don't deserve friends. His soul carried the taint of Lucifer's touch; there was no doubt about that. "Are you still in bed?" Jon's voice stirred him, and Topher meekly peeked above the covers. He'd been worried his father would chastise him for his laziness, but the man was smiling. Oh, okay. Jon had been impossible to work out since they confirmed that Gwen was on her way to Heaven. He was still the funny, loving father he'd always known, but the shock of losing her had damaged their relationship in so many ways. "You are!" Jon laughed, sitting on the edge of the bed. "I thought you hadn't come back from the beach yet." "I didn't feel like going to the beach," Topher replied glumly, curling into a ball. "And you feel like spending all your daylight under these covers?" Jon shook his head. "This is about what happened yesterday, isn't it?" "Yes," Topher, wary that he was naked under his sheets and that he'd been cuddling Percy bear all night and morning long, both things disapproved of by his father. "That boy is in hospital. I don't know how you could make me go to a place like that." "I thought you were enjoying yourself," Jon frowned in confusion. "You were beside yourself talking about the classes and the teachers. Are you going to let one little incident ruin all that?" "It's not one little incident!" Topher covered his eyes with his golden tanned arm. "He's in hospital, Dad! With a concussion. Someone hurt him so badly that he had to go away in an ambulance!" "He would have brought it on himself," Jon stated bluntly, reaching over and smoothly petting his son's fair hair. "You look just like your mother, you lucky son of a gun. It looks like the Lord saw fit not to give you my nose and ears." "Don't change the subject!" Topher pleaded. "You always change the subject when I'm trying to talk to you." "What do you want me to say?" Jon sighed. "Maverick Matsuda is a cocaine baby born out of sin to a heathen family. Do you expect anything better from him?" "Nobody deserves to be beaten up like that!" Topher snapped, causing his father to recoil in surprise and take his hand away. "Nobody, Dad! And it could happen to me! " "It would never happen to you," Jon stood up and stood over his boy. "And I don't appreciate this new attitude of yours." "So let me go back to Saint Joseph's!" Topher sulked, snuggling into his cocoon and turning on his side away from his father. "I was happy there. I had friends and I had the Church. Why are you trying so hard to ruin everything for me?" "That's not what I'm doing," Jon put his hand on his son's shoulder to pull him back. "Look at me when I'm talking to you, please." "Sorry," Topher immediately apologised, his sorrowful blue eyes meeting with the dark green-brown of his father's. "This is all temporary, Chris," Jon continued, and Topher felt his heart grow heavy. He calls me Chris when he's mad. When I've misbehaved or sinned. When I'm not being the role model I was raised to be. I hate being Chris. "You're a very privileged young man. You know that. Your mother and I learned there was no chance we'd ever have children, and we accepted that for twenty long years--" "I'm not some miracle baby, okay!" Topher slithered back under his covers, his face pink with the shame of his tantrum. He expects me to be some secular saint, as though my birth was divine intervention. Let's face it. If our Lord did have a hand in that, he would have given my parents a son they could be proud of. Not me. Not some... awful gay boy. Nobody likes a sissy boy after all. "You are," Jon threw the covers off his son's face. Topher made an effort to kill his frown - and what an effort. All he wanted was to sulk and brood and cry. Just one day. For one day he wanted only to be Topher. Not Chris. That perfect holy son. He dresses perfectly, he's kind and respectful, he sets a positive example to not just the community, but the world as we know it, and most importantly he is a pious Catholic who dreams of dating Harper and will wait until marriage to even see her naked. Christopher Lynch? No, all of that was a lie. Everything seemed to be a lie. His budding relationship with Harper - false. His image as Chris Lynch - false. His friendship with Dominic - false, now that he lied to put that drama he caused behind him. "You're also a teenager," Jon managed to revert to a smile, and Topher narrowed his round eyes in confusion. "Things are rough for you, junior. I understand, and I'm sorry if I'm pushing you too hard. I need to be hard on you so that you can be the best Topher you can be - and I'm always going to be proud of you. Just hold on, okay? Things will get easier. Things will work out." "Okay," Topher replied quietly. What was the point of arguing? His father never listened anyway. Only six months ago, Topher idolised him. He wanted to be just like him. A man of the cloth. Now, all he saw was the frailty and ugliness in his father's heart. Jon preached that tragedy made the heart grow stronger, but that was yet another lie. Topher watched his father wither and buckle from the moment Gwen started getting sick, and he resented him for it. All those sermons and lectures about building character from the tests of the Lord, and he went to pieces the first time something went wrong for him. How easy it was to preach about sacrifice and loss when it wasn't happening to him. Look at him now. Who was he to call anyone a sissy boy? "I love you, Junior," Jon kissed his son on the forehead. "Make sure you're out by noon, alright? It's not a good look for a fit, young boy to stay in his bed all day long." "Soon," Topher agreed and swallowed the ill feeling that bubbled in his throat at his father's words. "I love you too." One day I'm going to have to stop lying to him, Topher thought as his father left the room, leaving the door wide open. He's going to hate me when he sees me for who I really am. Topher. Not Chris. Topher: < Have a great day Dom > Dom: < u too ❤️ > It was perhaps half an hour later when Topher slunk out of his bed, threw a fresh pair of pyjama bottoms into his wash basket and hopped in the shower. As had become standard these days, he slipped his hand between his legs and jerked himself to thoughts of Kevin. In here, there was no shame. No guilt. He and Kevin were allowed to kiss. To touch each other and just... be with each other. In here, Kevin was not afraid of his feelings. Neither was Topher. There was no reason to be, after all. It was only the love they had between them, and love is the Holiest thing of all. Above all, let your love for one another be intense because love covers a multitude of sins. Peter 4:8. And yet, as he approached orgasm, he couldn't help but think of Dominic. That goofy smile, the broad, flat nose and that intoxicating tā moko on his shoulder. Those lovely brown eyes that crinkled in the corners and... those biceps and pectorals. The tanned brown legs. He is... quite attractive, isn't he? Ahh... ahh! Oh, my gosh. Topher panted in the wake of his intense climax, the lovely hot water pelting him and poaching his tanned body. Oh. Oh. It was terrific, one of the best he'd had, but he did suddenly feel guilty. It was as though he'd been unfaithful to Kevin Zhang. But why? Kevin doesn't want anything to do with me after all. I want my friend back. "Oh, come on Junior, I think you can do better," Jon looked disapprovingly at his son. "You're not going into town dressed like that, are you?" "It's forty degrees outside," Topher looked down at his slim-fitting azure tanktop, loose purple shorts and blue flipflops. He rarely got to wear any of these clothes because it was unbecoming and immodest. "I don't want to sweat in my nice clothes all day. I want to visit the hospital; then I want to spend some time at the beach." "You have a reputation to protect. Proper clothes and fix your hair, please," Jon lectured him, sipping from his cup of iced tea. He was having a rare Saturday off, so he would be dealing with Gwen today. Good. Topher had seen his real mother one last time a few days ago, and he'd finally said everything he needed to tell her. I love you. I'll miss you. Goodbye. That woman disappeared again after he'd fallen asleep in her embrace. He... he was okay with that. He was at peace. Jon was not, though. "Okay," Topher glumly nodded his head and sidled away as his father gave him an approving smile, his mouth full of his cold beverage. Topher was angry and miserable at the same time as he stripped off. He put on his ivory coloured button shirt over his tank top and a pair of black slacks over his shorts, then slipped his bare feet into his loafers. After fixing up his hair in the mirror with mousse and hairspray, he then presented himself for his father's approval, a hug and a kiss before ducking his way outside before he and his father could argue any more than they already had. It wasn't happy, free Topher who made his way to the bus stop. It was sad, repressed Chris. The Royal was a pretty nice hospital. The Catholic Church did not fund it, so he had never been in here as a patient. Several times though, he'd come to visit friends, members of the community and strangers alike. Often on Christmas and Easter, he would donate some of his time to visit those who were unable to make it home to be with their families, particularly in the pediatric ward. He felt a twinge of guilt as he passed the fork that would lead him to the psychiatric ward. He was not intimidated by the stigma and reputation of that area of the hospital. When all is said and done, the brain is still just an organ, and it can fail in the same way a kidney can. It was because he was here during Christmas, and Dominic was in there, alone and miserable. Topher decided to skip that unit this time because he wanted to spend more time with his sick mother. If only I'd known. I would have told him that he wasn't alone. That I'd pray for him. We didn't know each other back then, but maybe I could have helped him. Maverick Matsuda looked dreadful. It was all mostly superficial, according to a nurse. No broken bones, but he had a lot of bruises and a concussion, as well as a loss of memory. After the barbarians savaged him, that was a lucky result for him - it could have been a lot worse. Topher didn't care what his father thought. Jesus was smiling down on Maverick. Keeping him safe. Perhaps he is rough around the edges, but that doesn't mean his heart is in the wrong place. By Maverick's side, two girls looked up at Topher. One he recognised - Ember, the brilliant girl who was looking to graduate high school and move into university by the end of this year. The other he didn't recognise, but she looked much like the Maverick and Ember. They were both beautiful. The older girl had a cross on a golden chain around her neck that caught Topher's eye. "Can we help you?" The older girl asked, holding Maverick's hand. He was shirtless in his bed, and purple and black welts and bruises marked his pale skin. "Hello," Topher shyly waved over to them. Ember's eyes softened in recognition and she beckoned him over. "Hi, Chris, right?" She asked, a smile opening up her narrow face. Maverick looked at him with a blank face. Oh, he doesn't know who I am right now, Topher thought sadly. That's a shame. "Hi, it's Topher if you don't mind," he replied, flashing the warm smile he was used to wearing to make his father and community happy. "I'm in Maverick's year, and I wanted to come and make sure he's okay." "You could try askin' me," Maverick quipped with that smirk and hoarse voice Topher recognised. "What are you doin' here?" "I was worried," Topher approached the bed, in awe of the intricate tattoo all over the boy's body. "I wanted to see that you're alright. How are you?" "I'm fantastic!" Maverick gave a thumbs up and managed a chuckle. "Toph, meet my sisters! You know Em, and this is Sera. They're both single, by the way." Ember grinned. She shared her brother's sense of humour. Sera didn't look as impressed, though. Still, both girls shook his hands. Sera spoke something briefly in another language - presumably Japanese - and Ember replied before the two girls giggled and began making their way out. "We'll be back after lunch, alright?" Ember reached across to pinch her brother's nose before leaving, and he playfully glared at her. "Nice meeting you, Topher." "Take care of him while we're away!" Sera winked from the doorway. "Oh mate, you are so in," Maverick winced and grunted as he sat up in his bed. How can someone do that to you? Could they do that to me? "What?" Topher sat down in the newly vacated seat and blushed pink. "That's what Sera said," Maverick snickered. "She thinks you're hot. So does Em." "They did not!" Topher looked away, putting his face into his hands. "Stop teasing me!" "Oh, you are just adorable, ay?" Maverick continued teasing him. Topher laughed. "Why are you here, though? You don't know me. You don't owe me anything." "It was a horrible thing that happened to you," Topher drew the chair up so he was closer. Maverick didn't look nearly so intimidating here. Up close, covered in bruises and snug in his hospital bed, he was smaller and even vulnerable. "What happened, Maverick? Who would do something like that to you? Why haven't you told anybody about it?" "I don't remember," Maverick's small eyes glossed over and they softened. "I... I have no idea. I don't know what happened. I was at school. I gave Veikko a sketch and... then I was here. Do you know anything? Does anyone? I... I don't fuckin' remember. I'm sorry." He gave a hard laugh. "Oh, my gosh," Topher's eyes misted up, and he scooted close in his chair. The poor guy. Imagine waking up in hospital, bruised and battered, with no recollection of how or why. Nobody deserves this. "I don't think anybody knows anything. The police questioned everybody in both the Eleventh and Twelfth year, but... nobody saw anything, I think. I'm sorry." "Well, I s'pose that's not a surprise," Maverick croaked in his unique voice. "I'm not what you'd call a popular person. Even if peeps knew about it, I don't reckon they'd say anything or do anything to help me out. Not for some worthless little delinquent like me. I'm just... a fuck up." Maverick sniffed sadly and brought a hand to his eye, and Topher's heart broke in two. He reached across and put his hand on Maverick's bare shoulder, and fought back his own tears. Maverick looked down at Topher's bronzed hand, and the blond boy felt shaky, pale fingers gently place themselves on it and squeeze. "I have no idea what say," Topher told him, looking into his eyes. Maverick had his long hair tied back, and for the first time, Topher saw his whole face. His was an austere kind of handsome. His features were unusually sharp, in particular, his eyes, nose and his heart-shaped face with a widow's peak hairline. That being said, he looked so vulnerable for the first time. He was smaller than Topher was, slighter in build and shorter too. He was pale all over, his skin coloured by angry bruises and welts. His lips, although they introduced a level of softness to a stern face, were split and bloody. Topher had been intimidated by him in their classes together that week, but now, in this bed with tears in his eyes and shame on his face, he was but a forlorn, lonely puppy. "Thanks for coming, Toph," Maverick said after a long pause. "It means a lot." Maverick released Topher's hand and winced as he repositioned himself. This is inhumane. He couldn't believe what some people were capable of doing to one another. "I don't have a lot o' mates to come 'n' check on me. This is the best surprise, man." "Good!" Topher smiled warmly down at him. "I'm gonna pray for you as hard as I can, okay? I hope you get your memory back soon. Whoever did this to you needs to be punished." "I'm sure karma will give 'em exactly what they deserve," Maverick shrugged nonchalantly, then he looked to his hands. "Probably best I blacked it out. It probably wasn't pretty, ay." "That's why I hope you do," Topher uncomfortably hugged himself. "Whoever beat you up needs to be expelled and prosecuted! What if it happens again? What if someone else gets hurt?" "Don't be a drama queen," Maverick laughed and winced in pain. "I'm the freak of Peatsland, didn't ya know? Shit happens. You're safe. Even if you weren't a harmless little cutie pie, you've got Dom Faye watchin' yer back. In both the figurative and literal sense, I mean. He checks out that arse of yours every chance he gets." "What?" Topher's eyes bugged, and he nearly choked on his surprise. "Yeah, man! He's got it bad, and don't think I haven't seen you sneakin' a peek at him when he's not lookin'," Maverick teased him cheekily, making Topher turn a shade of deep red and look nervously at his shoes. "He's so into you, man. He's just scared of tellin' you because of the whole religion thing." "I don't think I want to talk about this if that's alright," Topher pulled a Snickers bar out of his bag, and Maverick gave a cry of pure joy, one that cheered Topher up considerably. "I saw you with one of these the other day at school, so I thought you might appreciate something to make you feel better." "Mate, you've put me on top of the fuckin' world!" Maverick exclaimed, gratefully taking the king-sized bar of chocolate from his new friend. "Veikko was around earlier, but he didn't bring me shit." "Veikko Carlisle?" Topher was stunned. What was he doing here? Seeing Maverick? Dominic was in the hospital for nearly a month and Veikko never once visited. Dom can't know about this. That little... cretin! "Unless you know another Veikko, yeah that's him," Maverick grinned, slowly unwrapping his prize. "Thanks for coming, Toph. Can I say one more thing before ya head off?" "Uh--" Topher nodded. "Sure." "If you wanna fuck boys, just do it," Maverick shrugged, and Topher flinched at his bluntness. "There ain't a reason to feel bad about it. You won't be alive long enough to waste it feeling shit for no reason. Yer heart knows what it wants, so fuck what everyone else thinks. If you like big man Faye, you can probably be out with him as early as tomorrow." "I hope you feel better soon, Maverick," Topher smiled down at him and passed down a piece of paper. "If you're ever lonely or you need someone to talk with, give me a text or a call, okay? I hope you're back in school by next week." "Cheers, friend," Maverick waved happily, cramming an obscene length of Snickers into his mouth. He's not a mellow guy, Topher thought shyly. But it's nice to be around someone like him. The three things Topher's life seemed to be consist of were lies, deception and diplomacy. Some plain truths were incredibly refreshing. Topher: < Hey Dom, would you like to see me tomorrow? We could hang out. Just the two of us. > Dom: < ye sure, when and where? > Topher: < I'm free from around one o'clock. Would you like to come to the beach like we planned a week ago? > Dom: < yessss im not working 2morrow, got the day off! best way 2 spend it! > Oh, good. Topher smiled brightly when he saw his friend's reply. He did not yet know what he intended to do, whether he wanted to pursue Maverick's advice or not, but he did know one thing. He missed Dominic. He wanted to see him. Nobody had ever been generous and kind to him the way the Maori boy had. As much as he adored Kevin Zhang, his best friend always had a habit of criticising Topher's more... feminine characteristics - putting him down for being a sissy boy. Dominic didn't just tolerate those parts of Topher. He embraced them. But... he isn't Kevin. Kevin and I got baptised together. We got all our communions together. We've been together from the very beginning, and I've always... loved him. Even when he hurts me like this, I still love him. Oh, dear. No matter what I do, what I choose, somebody has to be let down. For every choice, it will always be my father who ends up most upset. He will not forgive me. He felt a twinge of resentment in his heart. He will not even do right by me. Or Mum. Why should I keep compromising myself for him? Why does it matter what he thinks? Deep in thoughts, was not quite ready for the reception he received when he made it home. "Oh! Harper?" Topher nearly choked on his tongue when she galloped towards him and greeted him with a hug and a happy laugh. It wasn't a good idea, in his mind. Because of the clothes he'd been forced to wear, he was sweating even through his antiperspirant. He can't have smelled great. "Took you long enough! Didn't you get my message?" Harper asked into his ear, before pulling back to kiss him briefly on the lips. Jon and Gertie Peterson, Harper's mother, both chuckled at the display. Topher was so embarrassed. He'd just been thinking about whether he wanted to kiss Dominic or Kevin. Harper had come up sporadically in his thoughts during the day, but at no point did he think about kissing her. She did look lovely today, though. She was wearing an elegant white sundress, and she'd woven her hair into a chestnut plait underneath the white hairband. "I haven't looked at my phone, I'm sorry!" He put on his show-business smile and weaselled out of her grip. This sucked. He was looking very forward to taking off his clothes and running down to the waves by himself. "I wanted to wish one of my classmates well in the hospital." "You're a terrific lad," Gertie complimented him from behind thick glasses and a trendy white and red haircut. "Conscientious. Spiritual. Handsome, as well. My Harper's had her eye on you for such a long time." "Mum!" Harper scoffed at her, turning pink and causing more condescending laughs from the two parents in the kitchen. "What are you kids planning for the rest of the day, hmm?" Jon asked with a cheerful smile on his wrinkling face. He'd been forty-five when Topher was born, and Gwen at forty-three. The miracle baby. Another lie. "If you're going out in the sun, remember to wear your hats and your sunscreen." "Maverick's doing well, by the way," Topher's reply was tinged with bitterness, even though he did his best to hide it. "He should be back at school by Tuesday." "Oh, yes, I heard about that on the news!" Gertie exclaimed, putting her hands over her face. "Topher, darling, how are you feeling about that? Are you alright?" Why can't my Dad do that? Why can't he recognise that I'm unhappy, or even listen to me when I tell him, and why can't he just be there for me? Why does he pretend everything's okay when it's not? "I'm not feeling great about it," Topher admitted, and Jon's eyes looked at him. They were full of guilt, he saw. Well... good! "I'll feel better when Maverick remembers who beat him up so they can be expelled and arrested!" "Oh, boys will be boys," Jon waved him off, and Topher felt his resentment amplify in the pit of his stomach. That was always his excuse when someone, usually Zack, harassed or picked on Topher, who was raised always to turn the other cheek. Don't be a sissy boy, Jon would tell him. Nobody likes a sissy boy. I'm not okay, Dad. I'm not a sissy boy. I'm scared! I'm allowed to be scared! "I don't know, Jon, that sounds like it could have been scary," Gertie shook her head. "Well, sweetie, you've always been family to me, even before you started courting my girl. If you ever want to talk about it, you know where to find me, okay?" "Ew, Mum!" Harper rolled her eyes, embarrassed at her mother's sappiness in front of her new hot stud boyfriend. "Topher isn't some pansy, you know." "It's appreciated, Mrs Peterson," Topher smiled sweetly. I need to keep up appearances for now. "I'm sure I'll be just fine, but thank you very much for that offer." "Do you head to the beach?" Harper asked excitedly, and Topher feigned interest. He did. But not with her. Not today. "Sure, I'll go and change," Topher smiled amiably, looking cautiously at the watchful adults. He was in over his head. I don't want this relationship, but if I say so, they'll all be so angry at me for leading her on. Oh, bother. "You stay right here, missy!" Jon teased young Harper, who looked as though she was going to follow him. "No girls upstairs!" Or Kevin, Topher thought miserably as he scaled up the stairs. Those long days of watching television on Topher's bed, the terrific chats and the sleepovers. We'll never be allowed to have those again. Was it worth it? Losing everything for those kisses? Topher thought so. Kissing Kevin ignited fires within him that he'd never felt before in his life. Harper didn't come close. He shed his clothes and wore only his boardshorts. For a trip to the beach, that was all he needed. He let his hair loose on his face the way he liked it. What's wrong with you? Topher sighed heavily. Why are you such a problem? Why can't you be happy as Chris? Why can't that be good enough for you? On his way downstairs, he heard his mother gently snoring in her room and quietly poked his head inside. Her greying hair matted itself to her head, and she looked peaceful. Oh, Mama. Why can't you go to Heaven? You'll be so much happier there. We'll all be so much happier when you're there and not suffering anymore. I hate seeing you like this. I hate seeing Dad like this. "Wow, what are you doing?" Jon frowned as Topher re-emerged, clad only in his shorts and a cap to shield his face. "We have guests, junior! I think you should cover up a little, don't you? Especially in front of Harper!" "It's nothing we haven't seen before," Gertie broke in with her cheesy grin. "It's just down the road to the beach; I don't see any harm in it! Do you think you can keep your hands off him, Harp?" "Mum!" Harper once again scolded her mother for embarrassing her. "I'm not some slut. He has his shirt off all the time!" "We've been friends since Harper was born," Topher shrugged, now shyly hiding his chest behind his arms. Harper often wore her swimsuit under her dress on the weekends in Summer in case plans took her to a swimming pool or the beach. She was clever and prepared like that. "I don't see why it would be awkward now where it wasn't before." "You don't?" Gertie teased them both. Jon grinned. Oh, adults think the worst of everything. Why do they think we wouldn't be able to keep our hands off each other? They were the ones who brought us up to respect our bodies and wait for marriage. Besides, we're both too young to do that. I will be seventeen in five months, and Harper will be fifteen in three. "Hey, girls, I just want to have a quick talk with junior," Jon got up and walked out to the hallway, beckoning his son to come along. Topher shot an angsty look towards his girlfriend and Gertie, who had that now irritating grin still on her face, and joined his father before shutting the door behind him. "I'm happy that you're ready to start dating, don't get me wrong," Jon put a hand on his son's shoulder. "But you need to remember that Harper is younger than you and she hasn't matured as far as you have." "What do you mean?" Topher asked. Harper, if anything, was lightyears ahead of him. She had initiated everything so far. The kiss, the relationship and even the visit today. "Heh," Jon gave a nervous laugh. "She's going through hormones, okay? And you're a strapping young man. You've got the muscles and the abs that drive girls crazy, and Harper is going through that stage. I think perhaps it would be better to avoid temptation altogether by wearing a shirt when she's around, don't you think? I know you're a good, respectful young man and you will do the right thing by her, but while she's still getting used to the changes in her body, she might be wanting to be... physical. Do you understand?" "Oh!" Topher blushed and giggled. "I see. I won't be tempted, Dad. I promise." There were underlying reasons for that, but his father didn't need to know about them just yet. Not until Topher had finished working everything out. "I will do that from now on unless we're going swimming." "You're a good lad," Jon kissed him on the forehead and drew him into a hug. "I knew you would be. Now, go and have fun. Remember, sharing a kiss or two is harmless fun, but don't get too carried away. I love you, Junior!" "I love you too, Dad," Topher pulled away and returned to the kitchen where Harper was lathering a generous amount of sunscreen on her face, arms and legs. Going out with Harper wasn't going to be awful, after all. He just really wished it was Kevin instead of her. A reassuring thought brought a happy smile to his face. Tomorrow, it's Dominic.
  6. AusGlitterati

    Maverick - "Spider Lily"

    Maverick's chapters are a hell of a ride for me. I love the challenge that comes with them, but it gets exhausting! I'm glad you enjoyed it! Even if you feel dirty doing it. Haha The age old argument of nature vs nurture? It also implies why Maverick is so desperate to beat his sister at chess to prove he's every bit as smart as her, but he can't quite get there. The eight headed serpent monster? Dunno what you're talking about. An important distinction he feels things indeed, but not the same way as the others. They're both dangerous, but at least one way is legal. let's find out together! Good! I'm trying my best to make it feel authentic, but unfortunately I'm not a psychopath so... we'll see! lol (that sounds like something a psychopath would say ) In spite of what a rotten person he is, I do think it's sad. While his actions as a result of his condition are unforgivable, the condition itself is not his fault. I'm hoping this chapter adds some layers to Maverick's character & background that make him more than "just a psycho." Me, too! 😃 You can share him! If anyone else were telling Maverick's story, I'm sure they'd discuss what a pure, kind-hearted teenager he is before his wicked brother broke his spirit. ❤️ He could desperately use some love! Thank you so much for the comment It gives me much joy and I cant thank you enough! ❤️
  7. AusGlitterati

    Cruel Moon

    Ooh it is every bit as intriguing the second time around! Esthor sounds like such a cutie!! Great stuff and i look forward to the next one!
  8. AusGlitterati

    Maverick - "Spider Lily"

    Thank you! Especially since there are so, so many warts! Haha ❤️ thank you too!
  9. AusGlitterati

    Veikko - "The Dark Angel"

    I love writing them! He's not my favourite person, but he's my favourite character* at this point. He's challenging. I love it. Oh my gosh I forgot about those! Haha Ahaha perhaps it's a twin thing? It sure was for me! Yeah - lending into the point that Vilma insists that the boys are to sit next to each other. It appears to everyone, Veikko included, like it's for Reima's benefit, but that's a red herring - it's for Veikko's peace of mind. Good observation! Right? It seems like an uncharacteristically dick move for Topher to twist the knife. Why would he do that? You think it might have done more harm than good? Is that the kind of thing I would do to my characters?? 😜 I'll let you decide that for yourself He seems to know when it's a convenient time to appear - he did it in the last chapter as well. Awwwww ❤️ he's a damaged boy, but I promise he won't spend the whole story miserable. There's method to my madness! Ugh me too. He's so much fun to write about! Probably my favourite comment thus far your Veikko insights are sheer brilliance! Thank you for taking the time to comment ❤️ I had a flattered smile on my face the whole time!
  10. AusGlitterati

    Maverick - "Spider Lily"

    He might not be the smartypants he thinks he is. Lacking fear makes him impulsive and reckless. ... Frankly, yes. He's kind, honest and meek. He's a total sweetheart and Maverick is lucky to have a brother like him, but you'd never know it through his eyes. Thank you ❤️❤️❤️ it means so much.
  11. AusGlitterati

    Veikko - "The Dark Angel"

    Ahahah aww! Then I've done a great job! 😮You'll have to ask him! 😜 I figured you might like that! It was my pleasure, friend! Thank you for the R, R & R! ❤️
  12. AusGlitterati

    Maverick - "Spider Lily"

    - Watches a lot of gossip girl, basically obsessed. - Terrified of concept of death - Faye's suicide maybe? - "Life drama," problems with Faye and Lynch? - Nightmares again - what about? - Likes guys who make the first move - that's me. That was an informative video, Maverick though to himself. He had a hard candy from his stash tucked away in the corner of his mouth, slowly letting it dissolve and fill his mouth with sweet, sugary raspberry and leaving his lips and tongue a deep red. Veikko loved to talk about himself and current events every day or two and upload the videos. Initially, when he ran across the channel, he'd been amazed that tens and eventually hundreds of thousands of people gave up five or ten minutes of their lives to watch the diary of a little queer boy, but he was as hooked as anyone else. Veikko was intoxicating. Like a drug. With every fix, he only wanted more. He needed it. I like you, Veikko. Fucked if I know why, but I want you. Maverick flicked through the notes he'd accumulated on Veikko in the last couple of years. There was so much he knew, whether through observation, his videos, his social media or through gossip, but there were so many more questions he needed answers to. Whenever he learned something relevant, he added it to his spreadsheet. He had tabs for everyone who interested him. Rain was the first person Maverick began documenting, recording everything that he deemed intriguing or noteworthy. Insecurities, problems, strengths, weaknesses - but there were so many insecurities, problems and weaknesses with him. No strengths. Hinako should have aborted him. A worthless, abhorrent creation. Maverick looked across with resentment in his eyes to his little brother, who was peacefully and silently sleeping in his bed like a corpse. What does Ember see in him? Hinako and the three stooges have biased genetic loyalty to him, so they're forced to love him in spite of what a waste of time he is, but Ember? She has no such excuse. She wastes her intellect and potential on someone who has no hope. On the chessboard, she's a queen. Rain is a pawn, and that's more than he deserves. Maybe Wolf is a pawn too, but there's potential and use in him. Maybe one day he'll hit the opposite side of the board and promote into something useful. But Rain? He lived only to function as a human stepladder. Ember knows that. She has to. So what's her deal? For someone allegedly so brilliant, she makes a lot of questionable decisions. It's gonna cost her. It was only a quarter to five in the morning. He thought about trying for more sleep, but that wasn't a promising idea. He'd woken up an hour ago for seemingly no reason at all to the sound of water hitting the roof, wind whistling through the windows and walls, and thunderclaps booming through the clouds. If it hadn't been raining so heavily, Maverick would have slipped out into the night and gone for a BMX ride. Perhaps he'd turn his back on his stupid health crazy hippie family by getting a burger or some fried chicken. He didn't get it. To Hinako, a sausage in bread was toxic, but she dropped acid like an after dinner mint. She hoovered up cocaine her entire pregnancy with her eldest son and continued while breastfeeding - according to Essence, his first few months of life were a mess of drug withdrawal. Where exactly is the line? Is there a line at all? It's okay for me to be born addicted to cocaine, but not to enjoy processed sugar? Maybe Hinako would approve if snorted it up his nose instead. Quietly, so as not to disturb his brothers, Maverick slid off his bed and unlocked his cupboard to retrieve one of his sketchbooks, and popped another candy into his mouth. The rain was coming down even harder now. Water trickled down the window, and he made sure to shut the blind. He saw Rain again, sleeping in his bed. Animosity flooded him. Hatred. Real, ugly hatred. He gently approached Rain, not making a sound on the carpet underfoot and gazed down at him. He was a sweet looking boy; there was no denying it. He had jet-black hair like all of the children - though Maverick had been colouring his hair for years. His eyes were colossal and much rounder than Wolf and Maverick's. His nose was short and flat, and he had a few small pimples on his forehead. Maverick reached down to him and went to touch his brother's throat, but decided at the last minute to leave him alone. Rain would stir, and Maverick was enjoying the rare time alone that he had. He had all day to put Rain in his place but only a couple of hours of solitude. He looked at the sketches he hadn't finished yet. Essence at Aokigahara - the suicide forest - was one he'd been working on for a while. Japan was beautiful, and he couldn't believe that his mother wouldn't take him to visit, nor would Essence let him stay. Not long now, Maverick thought. Twenty-two months until I turn eighteen. I'll be gone that same day - and Carlisle is coming with me. It was a beautiful sketch, one that he'd spent many hours drawing. He planned on mailing it to her for her twenty-third birthday. She hated him, but he wasn't going to let her have the joy of forgetting him. Seraphina, his other big sister, was looking forward to the sketch of her by the Blue Lake in South Australia. It seemed redundant to him. Blue Lake was marvellous because of its intense cobalt colour, and Maverick only liked to sketch in black and white. Still, it was a paid commission, so it was her loss in the end. More and more people were willing to pay for a sketch. It was gradually becoming a source of income. Nowhere near as lucrative as heroin and crystal methamphetamines, but it was neat to have people pay him for what he considered his hobby. His favourite sketch though was the one he'd started Tuesday at school during recess. Perched up atop the lockers, he had a terrific vantage point of Veikko Carlisle, who insisted he was only spending his free time in the room with him because he had nowhere else to go. What bullshit, Maverick thought with a smile. He gently traced Veikko's beautiful face with his finger, careful not to smudge the shading. What are you doing to me, Carlisle? Why am I always thinking about you? I'm not sure if I like this, but I like you. I want you in a way I've never wanted anyone before. Not wanting to continue this particular sketch of the boy he admired without having him there for reference, Maverick turned to a blank page and began sketching him all over again, this time from memory. I can't get you out of my head. Maybe this will help. Wolf always woke up first, unless Maverick had a sleepless night. He was a funny kid. Hyperactive, impertinent and he worshipped his eldest brother, ready to do anything he wanted. It was interesting to see how easily Wolf would turn on Rain when they'd been so close only a year ago. With some gentle guidance and operant conditioning techniques, Wolf now went out of his way to harass and bully his big brother, who was far too weak and cowardly to defend himself, even without the promise of reward. If Maverick targeted Rain, their parents would come to the boy's rescue - however, if Wolf were the one who made Rain miserable, it was dismissed as boys being boys. It had been an exciting experiment, and Maverick was always curious to see how far he could take it. How much would little Wolfie ostracise and hurt Rain for a taste of chocolate? He meant to find out. "Mav!" Wolf might have woken up the whole house on his eight-foot journey from his bed to his brother's. He was so full of energy from the moment his eyes shot open that Maverick almost expected him to do somersaults. It must be all the sugar he's getting. Tony had floated the idea that young Wolf may be struggling with attention deficit disorder, but Maverick was feeding him a lot of treats. He was even starting to get a bit chubby, which was as good as a sin in the Matsuda house, where everybody was lean and healthy. We're vegetarian and we're organic. Hah. Not in this room, we're not. "Whaddya want?" Maverick was irritated both because Wolf was insufferably chipper and because his loudness woke Rain, whose eyes looked like little round moons in his face. "It's Friday!" Wolf beamed up at him. "And then the weekend! And we can go for rides and stuff! Just the two of us!" "I dunno about that," Maverick was amused, though. It was habit now for Wolf to exclude Rain from things, whether he was doing it consciously or not - but this was new. Inviting me to do stuff without Rain right in front of his face? Hahaha. You're a good kid, Wolfy. "Why don't you invite Rain? Yeah?" He looked to Rain and presented him with a dazzling, warm smile. "Do ya wanna come for a ride tomorrow, maybe? Go down the river?" "Why are you inviting him?" Wolf huffed, his little face pouting. There's method to my madness, Wolfy. How many times do I have to remind you? "He's one of us," Maverick smiled at Rain, who was looking between them as though they were planning something. "Aren't you, Rain?" "Y--ah..." Rain stammered, wiping his hair out of his face. "Mmm... y-yes." "I don't want him to come!" Wolf demanded, flopping onto his brother's chest with an angry sigh. "He's a little bitch." "Aww come on, Wolfie," Maverick disliked most kinds of physical affection but Wolf ate it up, so he scratched his brother behind the ears almost as though he were petting a dog. "It'll be nice. The three of us! Just the boys." Maverick had no intention of spending any more time than necessary with his brothers. He noticed that Reima and Veikko never spent much time apart until recently. How could that be? Don't they see enough of each other at home? Ember was in a few of his classes, and while he got along with her and even found her company pleasant most of the time, he had no desire at all to sit with her. Maybe that's not a fair comparison, he thought to himself as he slipped into the ensuite the boys shared and began to shower. I don't have the desire to sit with anyone. Well... maybe Veikko. He was looking forward to sharing another lunchtime with him, and he was looking more forward to seeing how Veikko would react to the surprise he had in store for him this morning. It took him a long time to fix his hair in the morning. To dry it and tease it and throw hairspray in it to make it feathery and wild. Blue was only the latest of colours. Maverick liked to rotate between green, blue, purple and red, but perhaps he'd go silver next time. Or pink. Something different. He admired his tattoos in the mirror. The Yamata-no-Orochi was his pride and joy, its eight heads circling most of the front of his lithe, slim body. The Mizuchi crawled up his spine, and several kanji characters decorated his shoulder. The red spider lilies began on the top of his foot and came halfway up his leg. His nipples were both pierced, as was his belly button. None of that ever seemed to bother his parents. Any of them. No matter how much he coloured and decorated his body, they were all far too busy tending to Ember. All of them. She's so smart. She's so successful. She's got a future. Maverick's a lost cause, so we'll push him to the side and hedge our bets on the genius girl. "I'm getting the earlier bus," Maverick gruffly warned both Ember and Rain as the two of them spooned cereal into their mouths. "If you need an escort, you better finish up, ay." "Why are you so keen to get to school early?" Ember asked, putting her spoon down. "What are you up to?" "I'm not up to anything!" Maverick clapped his hands at her. "I just don't feel like gettin' squashed in by every Peatsland kid who lives around here. Since you're apparently too young 'n' stupid to get a bus by yourselves, you gotta work with my schedule." "You have never wanted to go to school early in your life," Ember remarked, her eyes studying him. Little sister, stay in your lane. "You've never got the early bus. The peak hour traffic never bothered you before." "It bothers me now," he replied coldly and shifted his eyes to Rain, who averted his gaze immediately. "If you guys can avoid getting kidnapped or some shit, that would be great. It ain't like you gotta walk through paedophile district between school and the bus stop; you get me?" "But Mum says--" Rain whined, and Maverick turned on him. "But Mum says!" He mocked him before picking up his bag. "Wolf is right. You really are a little bitch." Rain, dejected and hurt, looked at his cereal. Oh, come on! Why don't you even try to stand up for yourself? "Oh, shut your face, Maverick," Ember hissed at him. "Whatever, just go. I can't deal with you today!" "Good, so we do get each other, fuckin' took you long enough," Maverick loved getting his way. The only thing better than defying someone was to have them submit - and they always did. "I'll see you in advanced maths, widdle Em. And you?" He stood over Rain, who seemed to shrink in his chair. "Have a grouse day, okay little buddy?" Maverick smiled inwardly as Rain stiffened at his touch, gently patting his brother on the back and letting his hand linger there. "You're gonna miss your bus if you don't leave right now," Ember reminded him. She wasn't quite telling the truth, though. She only wanted to be rid of him. Well, please yourselves. Those Carlisle twins were in their homeroom when Maverick arrived. He knew they would be, and unfortunately for him, they were often joined at the hip. They seemed to love each other a lot - which was inconvenient. From the resentful, angry look Reima shot him, he was going to be a problem in the endeavour to win Veikko's heart. Dominic Faye was easily managed, though. The suicide attempt rocked the core of the friendship as Maverick understood it. There was so much distrust on both sides that he barely had to do anything to drive the wedge between them once and for all, and better yet - it was going to crush the big man's spirit. Dom. The name boiled Maverick's blood. Nobody puts me at risk, you piece of shit. Nobody leaves me open like that. To pussy out and use my gear to do it? If you wanted to die, all you had to do was ask. Free of charge. Veikko though, he was marvellous. Maverick smiled immediately when he saw the older boy, eyes buried in his phone. Aesthetically pleasing, of course. For a physical partner, Maverick demanded no less. Even though Veikko wore caps on many of his teeth, had a nose bent out of shape - Maverick's handiwork - and scars in addition to being underweight, he was still a beauty. Reima was aesthetically sexier, but Veikko's imperfections were what made him so intoxicating. Life had thrown everything it could at Veikko Carlisle, and the tiny, weak looking gayboy stood up every time and told life "you hit like a bitch." He was an outcast. People shunned him because they didn't understand him. He's stronger than them, and they resented him for it. Not me, though. I admire him. "G'day, Carlisle and Carlisle," Maverick put on his most charming smile. He studied Veikko's stoic face for a reaction, and he got one. A flicker of a smile. Ooh baby, are you ever in check right now. Reima didn't seem impressed, but that didn't matter. The smile wasn't for him. "Hi?" Reima seemed confused to see Maverick at school so early and more perplexed by the fact that he was pleasant to them. You don't have any lines in this play, Reima. Stay in your lane. "Aw Veikko, are you tryin' to make me beg?" Maverick asked, and Veikko naturally grinned and looked up at him. So you're in a good mood this morning. I wonder why that is. "MMM yes. I am," Veikko poked his tongue out merrily. "What do you want, Matsuda? Another kiss?" "Ya know I do, but you won't let me!" Maverick laughed and approached. Reima looked like someone punched him in the face. "What the hell?" He babbled, looking between them. "Did I miss something?" "You don't need to worry," Veikko reassured him, gently playing with the cowlick in his fringe. "Matsuda's my biggest fan. He loves tuning in to the channel, didn't you know?" "How could I resist? You always get desserts mashed in your face," Maverick chuckled, and Reima's hard expression softened. "Hey, I just beat him every time we play something," Reima reached across to poke his brother's ticklish neck. "It's not my fault he keeps coming back!" "Ew! Don't touch me, you queer," Veikko squirmed away and slapped Reima's hand away from him. "What are you holding behind your back, anyway? Are you here to kill us?" "Ahh," Maverick's shy look wasn't entirely put on for the benefit of his audience. He didn't know if this would go well or not. "I thought I'd bring you some flowers, ay." "AHH... come again, cupcake?" Veikko looked baffled, and his eyes flickered to Reima's. He seemed similarly confused. Maverick revealed the sketchbook he'd been hiding and pulled out a page he'd been keeping safe between the covers so it wouldn't get crinkled, lost or damaged. He held it up for Veikko to see, and the cutie pie blushed so hard that Maverick wondered if he'd pass out. It was a drawing that he'd worked on for quite a few hours last night while he watched television and prowled social media. A sketch of himself, shy and humble, holding a handful of Japanese spider lilies as though he were offering them to whoever was looking at it. He'd drawn it with a lot of care, effort and attention to detail. It was a product he could have sold for fifty to eighty dollars. "Ah... a drawing?" Veikko asked, peeking temporarily out of his prickly armoured shell. He's adorable when he's all flustered like this. "For me?" "I saw ya liking the spider lily I was drawing in physics," Maverick shrugged with a smile, hiding half his face behind the paper so only his eye was peeking out. "I thought you might like some of your own or somethin'." "That's fuckin' amazing!" Reima was blushing as well. Cheers, mate. You're not the one I'm trying to seduce, but I'll take the compliment where I can get it. "You did that since yesterday? I didn't know you were an artsy person!" "I'm willin' to bet there's a lot you don't know about me," Maverick pointed out. He could make sure Veikko and Dom drifted apart for good. He was pretty sure he could do the same for Veikko and Selena if she ever became a pain. Reima was a whole different class, though. Where Dom and Selena went home for the night, Reima was with Veikko pretty much all the time. It was just far more pragmatic to get on his good side, and what better way of doing that than publicly treating Veikko like a prince? "So you drew some flowers instead of buying them for me?" Veikko smirked up at him. "That's sweet, Matsuda. Very cheap and tacky, but so sweet!" "Any wanker can throw cash at a stall," Maverick shrugged. He was expecting resistance - how could one not, when their opponent was Veikko? He was prepared. "I made this for you. Do ya want it or nah?" "Oh," Veikko's normally pale face was red, and he put his fingers to his mouth. "What do I have to do for it?" "Urgh," Maverick sighed and let his eyes fall and his lips droop. "Nothin'! I did it because I like you and I thought you might like it. That's all. If ya don't like it, that's cool, I--" "I do!" Veikko broke in, and Maverick's genuine smile returned. Good! Excellent. "I do, I love it! I just can't believe you'd do something so nice for me, that's all." "Well, maybe you'll forgive me one day for everythin' I did, ay?" Maverick sheepishly offered the A3 portrait to the humbled and glowing boy, who took it with the biggest smile Maverick had ever seen on him. He wasn't sure if he'd gotten into Veikko's head before today. The boy gave precious little away. Well, I've planted my flag there now, that's for sure. "Not yet, cupcake!" Veikko's fascination with the drawing was starting to give Maverick a measure of pride. I'm damn good. I wasn't aware I was this damn good. "But this is a great start. Thank you so much, Mav!" He's never called me Mav before. Oh, this went even better than I was expecting. "Heya... Maverick, mind if we have a quick talk?" Reima asked. Haha. He's getting his protective brother pants on. Perhaps they'll fit better than anything else he wears. Maverick gave a slight shrug. "I'll see you at recess?" He asked Veikko as he bit his lip nervously. It was a ruse. Nervous was a feeling he had never experienced. He understood it well enough. He was reading it on Reima's face right now. Reima was scared of him. Distrusted him. Disliked him. I can change all that, though. Wolfy loved and respected Rain, and I changed that. "MMM I'll think about it," Veikko grinned, and Maverick beamed at him before giving him a coy wave and beckoning with a toss of his head to the other boy, who followed him to the corridor. "Hey, so... can you please just catch me up?" Reima asked, almost putting his chest up to the other boy's. This is cute, Rei. You're a little shrimp. I could break you in half if I wanted to, and you're giving me the talk? Maybe you're not as much of a wanker as I thought. "Why don'tcha ask him?" Maverick replied, teasing his feathery hair with his hand. Reima shrugged and folded his arms. "He tells me everything," the Finnish kid declared. "Whether I wanna know or not." He gave a small chuckle. "I wanna hear it from you. What's your deal? You're getting all cosy with him, but you basically destroyed his life back then." "And you made it so easy," Maverick pointed out, speaking quietly just in case Veikko would overhear. "For so long you watched it happening and you never stopped me. Doesn't that keep you up at night?" Reima looked shocked and hurt. Whew. Nailed it. That wasn't even hard. "Look, it's in the past, okay?" Maverick turned the charm straight back on. After making him feel like shit, comforting him would be a shortcut to getting into his good books. Basic stuff. He did it with Rain all the time. "I made a lotta mistakes. I know that, kay? I like him, though. I wanna fix the shit I did. Maybe it's not with one sketch; I get that, but... I dunno. I think he's cute." "Please don't hurt him again," Reima sighed, unfolding his arms and looking sadly over at his brother. "I don't think I can see him take another hit." "I'll make sure of it," Maverick nodded. "It was lucky I found him yesterday." "Huh?" Reima's face dropped. "What happened yesterday?" "McLeod was ready to have a go at him in the toilets," Maverick tilted his head to the side. "He didn't tell you about that?" "Uh... no, no he didn't," Reima went red. Yeah, I'd be embarrassed too. All that bragging about his brother telling him everything and now this? Haha. "No big deal, I just broke it up and gave Kellan a warning he won't forget," Maverick pursed his lips into a smirk. He meant to smile, but he was feeling too good about that. It felt terrific, grabbing McLeod by the hair and smashing his face against the porcelain. The thud it made. The squeak of pain and the look of horror in his eyes. All the chocolate and candy in the world didn't taste sweeter than that moment, particularly the way Veikko looked at him as though he were some hero. The rush. The endorphins. Heroin doesn't come close. Nothing does. "Fuck," Reima's eyes were cloudy and distant. "I had no idea. Thanks for looking out for him. You're already doing a better job of it than I am." "I'm never gonna hurt him again," Maverick promised. He meant that. "I'm gonna make it right by him. And you." "Uh... okay," Reima turned away and skulked back to his brother like the little irrelevant pest that he was. He did right by Veikko, of course, but he was impotent. He couldn't protect him even if he tried. Maverick watched them for a moment longer as he popped another candy drop into his mouth and went on his way to 11-B. How long did Veikko's father beat him before he went for the kill? How long did Reima let it go on? You're not fit to take care of Veikko, but I am. On a Friday morning, as a condition of his probation, Maverick was supposed to spend the first hour with the school counsellor. Talking. Tedious bullshit. Not today, though. Francine Daivari, after their discussion on Monday, decided she couldn't deal with him anymore. This reflected poorly on both of them, Maverick was aware. He was hanging on by only a few threads, and a vote of no confidence in him by Daivari could very well have lopped them off, but due to her witch hunt against him last year, he was given the benefit of the doubt. While she retained her position with a big asterisk next to it, a psychiatrist and their understudy would be seeing him as of next week. It was to make sure that the professional would be 'objective', but Maverick didn't believe it for a second. The only way they would agree to come to some snotty private school every Friday at minimal cost would be for the opportunity to study someone like him. That meant they were already throwing 'objective' in the fuckin' trash. He had English Literature for the first two periods. It was a class he enjoyed, and there were only six students in the course this year. The geeks, Ava and Eddie, as well as that vapid whore from 11-A, Janet, and Selena van de Kamp with Topher Lynch. Maverick wasn't much impressed with any of them. Ava and Eddie had all the flavour of an unsalted cracker and Janet was a mindless drone of Madison's and had not even read The Crucible although they were studying it right off the bat. The fat, blind bitch Selena letting Reima get between her legs made sense because they were both inferior human specimens. Topher was a bit of fresh air, though. A religious nutcase who couldn't even bear to tarnish his halo with a bit of profanity. There was indeed fun to have, but Maverick liked him where he was. His budding friendship with that pathetic troll Faye was doing a lot of Maverick's work for him. The closer they got the more they alienated Veikko, who needed love and comfort that he was all too happy to provide. Recess began the same way it usually did. Maverick made a point of baiting Kellan McLeod with but a glint in the eye and a smirk on the lips. While they were both responsible for much of the bullying Veikko faced at Peatsland; they despised each other. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, isn't that the proverb? By making an example of McLeod, Maverick was a knight in shining armour in Veikko's eyes. Stay in your lane, McLeod, or I will annihilate you. He couldn't help but notice, as the teenagers grabbed their snacks, put their books away and left, Jordan Pringle forgot to take his phone with him. Tsk tsk. Finders, keepers, isn't that the adage? When nobody was around to see him, Maverick slipped the phone into his pocket. He'd be able to trade it for something, no doubt. Pringle was a friend of McLeod's, so he deserved it. Veikko wasn't in the 11-A room when Maverick slipped in there and closed the door. It was empty, as usual, but Veikko usually waited for him. Perhaps he got held up with something. Maverick used his considerable strength and agility to heave his light body on top of the lockers. He was fit and slim but deceptively full of lean muscle from his years of BMX and delving into parkour. It was nice up here. Isolated and peaceful, the way he liked it. Well... maybe it was too isolated and peaceful without that sassy little shit here to annoy him. He'd grown used to Veikko's company, he knew. He was even enjoying it. This is all so weird, he thought to himself, waiting patiently for his new crush. I've never needed friends before, and certainly never needed someone to like me back. I wanna see where it leads. Jordan's phone buzzed in Maverick's pocket, to his surprise. He flicked it open, further surprise that it wasn't password protected, and his eyes narrowed when he read the message. Kel: < veiks in the 4th floor bathroom, come and help me out > Maverick's eyes narrowed when he realised that was why Veikko wasn't here. It sounded very much like they'd ambushed him. The fourth floor was barren during recess and lunch periods, particularly in the summer. It wasn't uncommon for people to confront or ambush people without a member of Peatsland staff present up there. Well, Maverick hadn't expected to be the saviour twice in two days. He wouldn't be surprised if he managed to get a blowjob out of this at least, especially after the picture he'd gifted him. Maverick leapt gracefully from his perch and quickly made his way down the empty corridor to the men's toilets. There wasn't even a lookout. Pathetic. Anyone could walk in and interrupt. And I will. Expecting to see his buddy at the mercy of McLeod, Maverick was surprised when he stepped inside and Veikko wasn't there. McLeod was, and Pringle too. Anger filled Maverick's heart when he realised they'd hoodwinked him. He hadn't expected them to go down this path. No doubt there's-- yep. He turned around and Jayce Di Napoli, the beefcake of 11-B, had already moved to block the exit. "Fuck you're a dumbarse," Kellan laughed. "You can't help yourself, can you? You see something shiny, and you take it. Shit man, you're so fuckin' predictable. I knew you turned queer for that little fuck." "Is that why you're three up?" Maverick asked. He had an ace up his sleeve. He always did. That's why he always won. "Because I'm capable of putting up a fight, ay?" "Can I have my phone back now?" Jordan asked, stretching out his hand. Maverick smiled at him, aware that Jayce was behind him. He could feel the bigger guy's heat. He knew that the three of them could tear him apart if they chose to. So let's make sure they don't. "It's a nice phone, Pringle," Maverick pulled it out of his pocket. "Must've cost you a shit ton. I'm sure you don't want it broken, ay?" Jordan hesitated as Maverick held it high above his head. Where he was breathing rapidly and uncomfortable about this situation, Maverick was not. No shakes. No increase in heart rate and breathing. No fear. I'm gonna get out of this one way or another. He was at a disadvantage, but he could turn this around like his sister would when they played chess together. Her sage words echoed through his head. Don't battle unless you have control of the situation. "You have the phone, I walk outta here," Maverick shrugged, ready to bargain. "Or you can lose the phone, see if I care. But if you lay a hand on me, you're gonna regret it. I promise you that." Kellan laughed in Maverick's face, then he pointed and Jayce lashed out to immediately snatch the phone from Maverick's hand. Shit. Jordan and Kellan pounced. Maverick stood no chance. He was fit and scrappy and unafraid of a fight, but they took him very quickly to the ground. Jordan stood watch while Kellan and Jayce stuck their boots in his guts, on his back, to his head. It hurt. Oh, it hurt like a bitch. It's only pain, he reminded himself. It'll pass. Half a hundred times or more they struck him. His body was in agony, of course, but Maverick didn't focus on that. Veikko is going to feel so sorry for me, he thought as blood pooled in his mouth. I'm getting bashed because I was trying to protect him. How will that make him feel? This is only going to bring us together. In spite of the injuries his body was suffering, Maverick's bloody lips curled into a satisfied smile. Even when I lose, I still win.
  13. AusGlitterati

    Dom - "Best Friend"

    Oh that's good to hear!! It was certainly a poignant scene, but it had a happy ending. Yeah the fight was probably good for them making some real progress. They're both really hurt by each other. I think it was the first time all four boys were together! The first of many. Thank you for the feedback friend ❤️ always a pleasure!
  14. AusGlitterati

    Chapter Twenty: Finale

    Does this imply that Daniel also killed Joe to keep him quiet/tie up loose ends? Joe is absolutely going to take the fall for the murders of Kaiden and Laura. This way he can't implicate Daniel. ... or am I looking too much into it? That ending is open and sinister! I love it! It was a terrific story, friend. I kinda hope you entertain the idea of a sequel some time!
  15. AusGlitterati

    Veikko - "The Dark Angel"

    Thank you!! That means a lot I'm ecstatic to hear that you're enjoying it!

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