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*(Previous Statement May Not Be True)


- Sweet!!! I got my work schedule today for the rest of the week! And it's pretty cool, I think. They want me to work on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Which means that I've got tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday, all to myself! This 'working' thing isn't all that hard at all. In fact, I had a lot of fun today! I think some of the others are starting to warm up to me a little bit more too. Which is what I've been looking forward to since my first day there.

Calleigh and Ollie almost always work the register. And the weird thing is, they almost always work it together. You'd think they were Siamese twins or something the way they stick together like that. But I like them. They make me laugh. Hehehe! I was (unfortunately) put on bag detail again today. Which...if you thought that was boring on a WEEKDAY...try doing it on a Sunday afternoon. MAJOR snoozefest! The only plus side to doing it today was being close to Ollie and Calleigh, basically. But I consider that a bonus, nonetheless.

I do remember listening to them joke around a bit, and found out that Ollie has a steady boyfriend. So that solves that question. He seems to complain about his quirky habits and all during their conversation, but he does it with real love in his heart, you know? I mean, you can tell that he's super happy and totally in love. Just by the fact that he thinks and talks about him so much. I remember a time when I had to try to monitor my own thoughts and hold back from talking about Brandon nonstop. Hehehe, it wasn't easy. I just thought about him soooooo much, that having him slip into every loose nook and cranny of my casual conversation just seemed like the most normal thing in the world to me. It was completely involuntary. I imagine that Ollie is the same way. I wonder what his boyfriend looks like. Ollie's pretty cute. I'll bet his special guy is at least a solid 8 out of 10, if not more. Not that it matters. Hehehe, but I can't help it, I'm curious.

Apparently, I almost made a huge mistake today when Taylor came up and randomly engaged me in some small talk. I didn't think much of it at first. I was kinda thrilled by it, to be honest. He was being friendly, ya know? But, at one point, he was like, "So, Billy...what kind of stuff do you listen to?"

And suddenly, both Ollie and Calleigh shouted out in unison, "NOOOOOO!!!! DON'T!!!! Just don't!"

It startled me at first. I jumped and was a bit amused at their reaction. Ollie was like, "Whatever you do, do NOT tell Taylor what kind of music you listen to. Never tell him when you like a new single, never tell him when you want to take home a CD promo...just...never. Trust us on this!"

Taylor was like, "You guys are full of it. I was just ASKING, for crying out loud!"

Calleigh told me, "Don't you believe it, Billy. He's going to rip your musical tastes to shreds! It's best if you simply change the subject."

I said, "It's ok. I mean, I don't think my tastes are all that bad..."

But Ollie says, "It doesn't matter. If ANYBODY on the planet Earth knows the actual name of the band or artist that you like, then Taylor's gonna treat you like some kind of mindless spoonfed idiot. According to him, only broke, hopeless, brooding, angry artists who play in dark basements at the same sad café week after week are worthy of any recognition of talent whatsoever. Everybody else is an exploited corporate tool as far as he's concerned. You can't win, dude. Don't even play."

They seemed to be quite serious about it, and Calleigh nodded at me in agreement.

Taylor was like, "Don't listen to them. They're just mad because they have HORRIBLE taste in music! That's all. Come on, seriously...teach me something. What do you like? It's cool, you can tell me. Maybe I've got some CDs that you can listen to. Turn you onto something new."

With a smile, I said, "I dunno. I just listen to...everything, I guess." Hehehe, yeah, I was being a chicken, but Ollie and Calleigh instantly cried out in joy.

Ollie was like, "YES! High fives, kid! You learn fast!"

Taylor didn't really take offense or anything, he just said, "Man, fuck you guys. Peasants, the whole lot of you. Psh!" And he walked back out on the floor to help customers.

From that moment on, Ollie and Calleigh made sure to include me in their talks for the rest of the afternoon. So that was cool.

Terell came into work about two hours after I did. He was always so smooth and mellow whenever I saw him. Like he didn't have a care in the world. There was something about him that was just really magnetic to me. You couldn't help but to be drawn to him. Something about him just made you feel safe. Or maybe just...'cool' by association. At one point Ollie turned to Terrell and said, "Will you please inform Billy about the dangers of discussing music with Taylor in this place?"

Terrell smiled at me, and he was like, "Yeah, you need to just leave that whole situation alone. I don't even tell that mother fucker where I'm going for lunch. Whatever it is, he'll hate it just because you like it. Tread lightly, newbie." Terrell kinda gave me a little shoulder bump, and...yeah, like I said, something about having him around just made me feel cool. I wish I could explain it, but I can't.

The biggest surprise came not long after my lunch break today. Believe it or not, I was collecting bags from some customers, and I turned around to see Stevie standing there behind me with the biggest grin on his face! Hehehe, to say that it took me by surprise would be the understatement of the year. That's for sure.

I hope that I didn't look TOO shocked, hehehe, but I was like, "Whoah! Hey! Hi! Dude...what's up?"

Stevie was like, "I figured that, since you were so excited about the new job, that I'd come by and see you in action. I came by yesterday, but I think you had the day off or something."

I'm like, "Oh, yeah. I think they're gonna keep me on a four or five day a week schedule. It'll still be part time, but at least I get some time to enjoy the Summer. Probably even more so, now that I'll have some pocket money to go along with it."

Stevie gave me a grin, but then there was a slight pause. One that was subtle enough, but I noticed it anyway. He must have had something on his mind. He was like, "So...what are you doing?"

I said, "Oh...the first couple of days, I just kinda check in bags and stuff. That's all."

He's like, "Can you move around a little bit?"

I told him, "Ummm...not really. I just have to stay up here by the front."

But Stevie asked, "I mean, just for like two minutes? Can we, It can wait if you can't."

Hmmmm...ok, that was different. I told Stevie to hold on for a second while I went up to the register. Calleigh and Ollie were bantering back and forth at the time, and I cleared my throat meekly to get their attention. I was like, " you guys mind if my friend something in the rock section really quick? Can you watch bags for me? It will only take a minute."

Ollie was like, "Hell no! Go back to your square and stay there. I'm not doing your job, rookie." I was frozen for a moment, and then this big smile broke out on his face. He's like, "Dude...I'm kidding. Hehehe! There's like five people in the entire store. Go. Walk around. Bags suck anyway. Don't sweat it."

With a sigh of relief, I said, "I thought you were serious..."

Calleigh added, "Well, that was your first mistake right there. We're a record store, not the C.I.A., ya weirdo. Relax."

I should have known that they'd be more casual about things, know...first job and all. I'm still not sure what to expect from working for a living. Hell, if I had been helping my dad clean out the gutters on the house, and asked to take a break, he'd practically time me with a stopwatch and tell me to gulp down some water and hurry back in a totally 'non-relaxing' amount of time.

Not to self...REAL jobs rock!

So Stevie and I went to a far end of the store where nobody else was, and pretended that he was looking for some smooth jazz or something. And he was speaking just barely above a whisper when he said, "You know...the original plan wasn't for me to come here alone. I know that, right?"

I said, "I don't know what you mean."

He's like, "Well..." And he looked around to see if anyone was listening before adding, "I was kind of hoping know..."

I grinned a bit, like, "Just tell me already before my boss comes out here and sees me slacking."

Stevie looked down at his feet for a moment, and he said, "I asked Brandon if he just...wanted to hang out at the mall for a while. I know...since you were working here now and all..."

I gasped a bit, but tried to hold it back as much as I could without warning. I'm like, "STEVIE! You didn't! Don't...ok? I'm serious!"

Stevie was like, "I know it sounds like I'm meddling, Billy, but I PROMISE you...I'm really not. Brandon misses you. Right now, he's so miserable that it's almost hard to look him in the eye anymore."

I sighed in frustration, and said, "Stevie...look, I tried to talk to him again. I really did. I tried to apologize and mend things between us, but he's just not interested. Brandon totally HATES me. For all I know, he may very well hate me for the rest of his natural life. And that...I hurts. But there's nothing that I can do about it. I fucked up. ME. He has no reason to so much as spit in my direction ever again. I just want...I want to detach myself from that whole mess and forget it ever happened. Ok?"

Stevie raised an eyebrow, and pretended to rummage through CDs as we continued our talk. He's like, "The whole reason that he stopped talking to you in the first place wasn't his fault. And you know that. That was your 'friend', Jimmy's, fault. Something that he wasn't aware of at the time. I think he regrets being misled. To be honest, I think he regrets how long this whole silly argument has been drawing out over time."

I'm like, "Whatever. Look, I know that you mean well, and I appreciate it. I really do. But...I'm just not lost in that fantasy of the perfect guy anymore. I tried, and I got shot down. It is what it is. I have to deal with it. The last thing I need is to remember how much it hurts to have lost someone so..."

Stevie waited a second, and then asked, "Someone so what?"

I think I blanked out for a moment, but I heard myself mumble, "So perfect for me...." Maybe it was a subconscious thing, who knows? But it was there, and I felt it. I felt that tiny hole in my heart, the one that was trying so desperately to heal...suddenly being stretched and torn and ripped open again. God...I thought that heartache was gone. I thought I had dealt with it like a maturing adult and had moved on. But the second Stevie touched that nerve hurt me all over again. Like a fresh stab in the gut with a rusty screwdriver. Why did he even have to mention Brandon's name? Why? I don't want my heart to break all over again. I can't take it.

Stevie gave me a moment to reflect, I guess. But then he said, "You know...if you really and truthfully want me to stay out of the way, I will. You have my word, Billy. I promise. But...before you make up your mind, do you want to know what Brandon told me when I asked him out to the mall yesterday?"

I rolled my eyes, like, "Stevie, it doesn't even matter at this point..."

But he's like, "Go ahead. Guess. It's nothing super special or anything...but do you want to know what he said?"

I sighed out loud, and I said, "Fine. Whatever. What did he say?"

Stevie told me, "He said almost the exact same thing that you did just now."

I'm like, "What?"

He says, "He knows that you work here now, Billy. I don't know how he knows, because I didn't tell him. But he knows. He's interested enough to want to know what's going on with you, right? He had to have asked somebody."

I'm like, "That doesn't mean anything. That could just be some high school gossip stuff or something."

He's all like, "During the Summer?" Then he says, "He's convinced that you hate him with such a passion that he's afraid to even cross your path at this point. I honestly think he's more embarrassed than angry. And if he know...that you were willing to talk....mabe he'd be willing to talk too."

I'm like, "You don't understand. I cheated on him, Stevie. That's, like, the most despicable thing you can do to another person."

Stevie said, "Come on now, I'm sure it's not all that bad."

I'm like, "Are you kidding me? It's horrible. It's the ultimate betrayal. It's so bad that God, Himself, added it to the Bible as a part of his top ten things not to ever EVER do. Right there between blasphemy and murder."

Stevie grinned and said, "I thought I saw you worshipping a golden calf in your locker right before finals."

But I told him, "Stevie, I'm being serious here. Ok? It''s just over."

He's like, "Well, you may be surprised at how things can iron themselves out over time."

I'm like, "Really?" Then I said, "Try telling that to my 'parents'. Somehow, I doubt my mom would agree with you." It was about this time that I realized how focused our conversation must have looked to the other people at work. Because they started paying more attention to what Stevie and I were doing while talking in an empty corner. I figured that I should wrap things up before they start eavesdropping. So I said, "Look...I should get back to work..."

Stevie said, "He might just swing by and see you. I'm not going to push him, but I can tell that he's thinking about it. Just don't let him know that you know. He's probably going to try to make it look like he just wandered in on accident." Heh...yeah, that's something Brandon would do alright. That would know...cute.

I shook myself free from the idea, and I said, "It won't do any good. Ok? I'm sorta...I'm with somebody. I don't plan to make the same mistake twice."

Stevie said, "Do you love him?"

I said, "We have a really good time together..."

And he's like, "That's not what I asked you." Unfortunately, at that point, I saw Ollie walking over to pretend to be putting CDs away on a few shelves close to us. So the spying had already begun. Stevie knew what was going on, and he said, "Well...just something to think about. I'm gonna go find myself something fun to do in this place. Hey, I want a discount the next time I come in here."

I smiled, like, "Whatever. Get out, before I have to get mall security involved." And he left, but his little conversation lingered with me for a bit. For the rest of the day, to be honest.

Anyway, my dad called the house looking for Trace tonight. Apparently, Simon's parents called him and both of them have suddenly come up missing. I would actually be a bit worried if I wasn't so used to Trace's little surprise field trips. They could be anywhere, knowing him. Honestly, if Simon and Trace turned up in a South American hotel next to a pile of money and a dead hooker I don't see how that would be any different from an average Tuesday in Trace's life. Hehehe! I hope they didn't get into TOO much trouble. My dad'll freak out. that I'm getting ready to go to bed...I just remember my mom standing over the sink...just sort of staring down at the dirty dishes in silence. I could tell from the slump in her shoulders that she was sad. And I didn't want to say anything. Some misery is just meant to be left alone, I guess. Her heart...her heart is just broken. Drained of all its life. All it's hope. I looked at her, and I couldn't get it out of my head. This is what I've done. What my mom is going through, is what Brandon was going through. Why would Stevie think that this is something that can just be 'ironed out' ever again? It destroyed my family. Am I really prepared to possibly go through that on my own? What if it happens to me?

Weird thoughts to go to sleep on. But I have tomorrow off, so I'm sure I'll find all of the proper distractions to keep my head on straight. Maybe I'll call Sam up and see if he can hang out or something. He's gotta take a break from his girlfriend every ONCE in a while, right?

I gotta message from Jimmy tonight. Nothing major. It just said, "Thinking about you, hon. I love you." I stared at those words for a moment. I knew they were sincere. I knew they were romantic. What I didn't know was what they meant to me. I knew what all of the appropriate associations with the words should be, and I knew what I wanted it to mean...but there was a missing connection. A loose wire. A dam in the rapidly flowing river of emotion that used to sweep me along so helplessly when Brandon was involved. I didn't know where to go from there, so I just turned everything off, and now I'm going to bed. I just want to shut my brain off for a while and not...think so much.

Until next time...


- Billy

Thanks soooo much for reading, and for all of your feedback and support! And be sure to grab a copy of the eBook versions at the COMICALITY KINDLE STORIES link!!! More ebooks being posted every month! So keep an eye out!



- Trace missing, dad calls, mom upset. dad is leaving in a few weeks, should really spend more time over there, don't realize how much you miss someone until they're gone for good, broke her heart, fighting, I thought they hated each other, but maybe not. Who knows how divorce works? Sometimes things are right, and sometimes they're not.