In the first installment of "A Lost Cause," Chris has to face his fear of going to Carrie's house to find out what has been going on with her. While at her house, he discovers that he has a crush on her brother, Jared. When Chris goes to leave, Jared embraces him in a hug that Chris thinks is more than just a friendly jester.

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"Where the hell have you been boy?" I sighed as soon as I walked in the door. My mother always has to question everything I do. "I was out." "Boy you know it's a school night and you know how I am about being home before dinner." "Yeah whatever." "Don't whatever me Chris; I brought you up better than that." "Mom you can keep bitching all you want, but I found out that Carrie is in the hospital." "What did I tell you about swearing in this house? She's in the hospital? What has the poor girl gotten herself into now?" "You always have to be so negative about things mom. She could be in the hospital because she's sick, not because she tried to hurt herself."

My mom and I continued to debate on why Carrie was in the hospital over dinner. By the time I was done eating, I wanted to kill her.

To eradicate some stress, I decided to take a shower. While in there, I thought back to the hug that Jared and I shared. I didn't want to think too much about it, because he probably did it out of the kindness of his heart, nothing more and he's most likely straight. I was trying to understand why he was extra nice to me today. Usually when I go over Carrie's house, he never pays much attention to me. Come to think of it though, the last few times I was over Carrie's to study with her, he started talking to me more and being friendly like.

Before I go to bed, I listen to my iPod to de-stress and calm myself down so I can have a more effective sleep. As soon as I closed my eyes, my cell phone started ringing. Mind you, it was 11:35 at night and no one usually calls me after 9. I didn't recognize the number and I let it ring a few more times, but then I finally decided on answering the call.

"Hello," I said in an apparent groggy voice. "Is this Chris?"

When the person asked if it was me that answered the phone, I thought their voice sounded familiar but I couldn't match the voice to a face.

"Yeah, this is him. Who is this?" "It's um Jared. I, uh, umm... wanted to tell you that Carrie came home tonight."

I thought it was weird that he had my phone number, because I didn't remember giving it to him. I won't complain though. I was very happy when he called and my mood went from being aggravated to recognizably happy.

"Oh she did? How's she feeling? Is she going to be in school tomorrow?" "She's doing alright and she decided after a long fight with mom, to withdraw from school for the rest of the year."

As soon as I heard that it felt like my heart stopped beating. I thought about how I was going to survive the rest of senior year without her. She is my twin, she is there for me when I need her and I am always there for her when she needs me. Now, it felt like she was bailing out on me and our friendship.

"Withdraw from school?" I said in a worrisome voice. "Yeah she said that she needs time off, time to regain her strength. I told her that you came by today looking for her and she seemed pretty upset that she couldn't see you. I also told her that you helped me with my math homework."

I didn't like the idea of Carrie being upset and I was trying to think of a way to make her happy.

"Is she able to talk on the phone now?" "No. Well, yeah she is, but she's sleeping right now." "Oh okay. Well thanks for letting me know that she's alright." "No problem. I owe it to you for the help that you gave me today. I was also wondering if you'd like to hang out some time, ya know just kind of catch up on things?"

I wonder what he means by "catch up on things?" I don't ever recall us talking about or doing anything that needed to be updated but I told him that I would like to get together anyways, being that I did develop feelings for him. Jared and I continued talking about our plans for the upcoming weekend, but while talking to him I couldn't help but think back to Carrie. After he and I hung up, I cried myself to sleep.

It felt like only 10 minutes went by when I heard my alarm sounding for me to wake up. "New message." I turned to look at my phone that just told me I had a new message of some kind. "Have a good day at school. I can't wait to hang out with you on Friday." I was rather surprised when I found out that Jared sent me a text message saying for me to have a good day. My mood instantly dropped when I heard my mother's footsteps out in the hall.

"Chris! Is your ass up to go to school?" "Why do you always do this? I am so sick and tired of going through this shit every morning with you."

My mother burst into my room and started yelling more than I could ever imagine. I tried to push her out of my room, but it wasn't working. She just kept yelling and yelling. She attempted to hit me a few times to keep me from pushing her out of my room. It was then I decided that I had had enough. I started yelling back and telling her that I was done with this. I was tired of going through hell with her. Ever since I was younger I've had to deal with my mom doing drugs, partying and being selfish. She finally withdrew from the fight and went into her room. My sister came out of her room and started crying because she hated seeing my mom and I fight. I thought things were over when she yelled out "faggot!" Rage just started building up inside me and I ran into her room and I started punching her, kicking her. I threw her on the floor and just kept hitting her. I have never hit anyone in my life, but when she called me a faggot, that set me off. I was tired of letting others win. My sister kept crying and trying to break the fight up. It seemed like we were fighting forever, when I decided to give up. I ran into my room and picked up anything I could find and threw it. I couldn't wait till Friday so I could get out of my house.