I'd like to wish a warm happy birthday to Justin, and also to my close dear friend Benji, who has the (mis?)fortune to be born on the same day.
Thanks for all your wonderful comments, people! When I posted the first two chapters I thought it was gonna be boring as hell and for sure no one was gonna read my shit, but I guess I should have had more faith in you readers!
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Chasing Chasez Part 3 by Will Ang
Just when you think you know someone pretty well. And not just anyone, it's the best friend you've ever had in the whole world. Someone you've lived, breathed, danced, sang, laughed and cried with only every day for the past six years, give or take a few weekends. You're very sure you know him inside out. You know how he takes his coffee (black, no sugar), what position he assumes before sleeping (flat on back, hands on chest--kind of like the coffin position), which is his favourite designer (Abercrombie, on good days--anything hideous on the bad days), any number of things, really. You know him better than you know the back of your hand.
Or do you?
When JC made the announcement that Dylan-the-deceased was his boyfriend of three years, the first words that inscribed themselves on the inside of my skull were OH, MY and GOD. In that order.
They were quickly replaced, however, by various profanities like , JOSH YOU FUCKING PRICK NITWIT DUMBASS SHIT SHIT SHIT.
And it stayed that way for quite some time as I fell back onto the couch beneath me, dazed beyond words. A small part of my mind kept track of my surroundings, though, perhaps to preserve the moment for posterity. The moment before I'd SEND JOSH TO HIS FUCKING GRAVE DAMMIT HE CAN ROT WITH HIS FUCKING BOYFRIEND.
The other three were still seated, but equally as stunned, even though JC only gave voice to what they'd already been suspecting for the past half hour. But I guess that hearing it spoken, as opposed to pure speculation, was another thing entirely. From the horse's mouth, no less.
Not surprisingly, it was Lance who spoke first--after all, he was the one who'd brought the subject up in the first place. Not that he said anything useful either.
"God, Josh, I--we--I don't know what to say. It's...unexpected to say the least."
The fucker merely shrugged nonchalantly. "I'm sorry it had to come out like this."
He didn't sound sorry in the least, in my opinion.
He continued, "I--we--never planned to tell anyone at all, actually."
I couldn't stand it anymore. There he stood, as unapologetic as hell, telling us, his best friends, his virtual brothers in all but blood, that he had no intention of telling us this, ever?
"Three years!" I burst out, between clenched teeth. "Oh my god Josh, three fucking years, and not a word, not a single word--" I choked, standing up again. I balled my fists, keeping them by my side, because I knew, best friends be damned, that I was gonna beat the living daylights out of him.
So I turned on my heel and stomped out the front door, oblivious to the other guys' attempts to call me back.
I slammed the door behind me as hard as I could, taking petty satisfaction from the way the windows rattled violently. I fumbled for my car keys, and looked up just to realize that Lance's Explorer was blocking my car on the driveway.
I looked back at the doorway. Nobody seemed to have followed me out--of course they'd rather be talking to him. And I didn't want to go back in and see his face. So I sat down on one of the porch chairs and sulked, crossing my arms.
"--changes nothing, Josh. You're still our friend."
Chris' voice. Faint, but his, alright. I grunted, glancing at the open windows leading to the living room. I could hear them almost as clearly as I had when sitting on the couch. I contemplated just walking away, but logic overruled childish temper. Where would I go? Besides, I was dying to know what the others thought as well.
"Okay. So what a way to tell us that you're gay, huh? Well, I'm cool with it, man. And I'm sorry for your loss, Josh."
Trust Joey to come up with something as sappy as that. I could just imagine the rest nodding along.
"It's just that--shit, Josh, why couldn't you have told us sooner?" Lance's voice held just the barest tinge of resentment. This time I heard two distinct, defiant Yeah's. I tensed a bit, feeling guilty. JC's sudden revelation had hurt us all, and wasn't directed only at me. We were all best friends with one another, and I should've known I wasn't the only one who felt betrayed like this.
But dammit JC and I went way back! He's the one who showed me the ropes back on MMC, he's the one who dried my tears when we were told it had been canceled, he's the one I ran to when I had my first wet dream dammit!
I chuckled a bit at that memory. Hey, funny story!...and then I remembered I was supposed to be angry at him.
His voice came next. "Well, we had our own reasons, guys. But I don't think I want to go into that now, please? I don't even know why I told you guys. There was once I would've been perfectly happy to take this secret into my grave."
Oh, that stung, it really did. It meant that he'd never trust us enough, didn't it?
"But I overheard you guys talking, and Justin...oh god, Jus--"
I felt a fierce sort of satisfaction well up in me at JC's words. So he did care about what I thought, did he? Well, screw him! He serves to stew in his own--
"Don't worry Josh, he'll get over it. Eventually. But I think he--well, all of us, actually--need some time to get used to the idea," said Chris.
"Josh I don't think that he's angry 'coz you're gay. I think I pretty much speak for us all--Justin included--that it hurts more because you didn't tell us about Dylan, about this. And Justin--well, he refused to believe you wouldn't tell him everything about your life. And that's gotta hurt way more."
There was an aching silence. I barely breathed, because Lance had hit the nail right on the head. I mean, fuck he could screw monkeys for all I care, but at least tell me he had a special monkey in his life.
"Okay, Josh, I think you've got a lot on your mind right now. We can sort this out some other time. Right now I think we need a group hug."
Fuck. It was all I could do to keep myself from dashing in and participating. I loved our group hugs! It felt as if the world could end, and you'd know, you'd just know you've got four sweaty guys there to help you ride it out. I stood up, dancing on one foot to the other in uncertainty.
"It doesn't feel the same without Jus," came a small voice.
I tore the door open and streaked into the house. I flung myself into the knot of arms and shoulders, squeezing my arms as hard as I could, squirming determinedly until I felt my face press against the back of JC's head.
And even though I gasped at my chest being crushed and cursed silently at Lance's needle-sharp hair poking my cheeks, I felt JC's smile, and I knew that I was smiling too. And do you know? I didn't even feel angry anymore.
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