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Be sure to keep on reading "Billy Chase"...
...While I finish greasing up Noah Urrea to see if he can 'wiggle' his way out of your naked bear hug!!!*
*(Previous Statement May Not Be True)
- Ok, sooooo....things kinda got out of hand in a way that I didn't expect today.
Maybe I should have seen this coming, but I honestly didn't. And when Sam came up to my front door today, I was glad that he asked to talk to me outside instead of in the house where my mom might overhear us.
So basically, Sam came by with this subtle smirk on his face this morning, and he's shaking his head at me. I didn't know if he was joking around or what, but after saying hi to my mom, he was like, "Come outside for a minute. We need to talk." He seemed pretty serious about it, even while he was grinning. So I went out there with him, and the first words out of his mouth were, "You big liar!"
Confused, I was like, "What are you talking about?"
He's all like, "Jimmy LaPlane! I asked you, plain and simple, if you guys were having sex. And you looked me right in the eye and lied your ASS off! Didn't you?"
My jaw dropped slightly, and I think the light bulb lit up over my head. I was like, "Omigod, he TOLD you that???"
Sam said, "Ohhhh, Jimmy and I had a very interesting conversation about you last night. Yes we did." He had a slight grin on his face, but something tells me he wasn't going to let me off that easy. He was like, "Why, Billy? Seriously, dude. Why?"
I said, "I know what you're thinking, and I swear to you it was all an accident. Ok? I didn't mean for any of this to happen. I specifically told him no, in the beginning."
Sam was like, "In the beginning? But not after that, right?"
I said, "You don't understand, ok." And Sam just folded his arms. Same smirk. Same penetrating stare, basically telling me not to bother bullshitting him, because he knew better. So I was like, "I was ANGRY at him at first. I was sooooo angry! I mean, I was really trying to make things better between me and Brandon. We were just beginning to talk again. We were taking steps towards maybe...working things out, you know? So we could be together. And then I find out that Jimmy's going behind my back and filling his head with all of this utter GARBAGE! Telling Brandon that it was over between us. That I had 'moved on' and it was useless for him to try. One negative little nugget of brainwashing after another. He ruined everything, Sam..."
But Sam was like, "Right. Ok. So I'm still waiting for the part where you thought it would be a good idea to sleep with Jimmy and get him all emotionally involved just so you could totally destroy his heart like that. Because I don't see the off ramp that leads to that conclusion just yet."
Feeling a bit ashamed, I lowered my eyes and I said, "I didn't have anybody, Sam. Nobody. The school year was coming to an end, Summer was only a few days away...Brandon certainly wasn't going to show me any love and attention after whatever pessimistic trash Jimmy had drilled into his head. You had a new girlfriend. Bobby and Ian had gotten together. Trace and Simon were hanging out more. I thought I was going to spend my whole Summer hearing about how much fun everybody else was having while sitting at home watching TV. And then...Jimmy comes along, and he loves me. I mean, REALLY loves me, Sam. He's the only person making an effort to make me feel loved and wanted and special. And that day that he came over to my house...we just...things just 'happened', you know? And it felt so good that I kinda....I kinda thought that maybe I could turn it into something. Something better."
Sam sighed out loud. He's like, "Annnnnnd, let me guess...Brandon came back to talk to you himself. Didn't he?" I nodded, and Sam ran his fingers through his hair. He said, "You know, Billy...I wouldn't be a true friend if I didn't tell you this...but you FUCKED UP with Jimmy. BIG time."
I'm like, "I told you, it was an accident..."
He said, "No. It wasn't. And you know it." He was all like, "Don't you remember what I told you before? If you want to go for Brandon, then go for Brandon. Period. What the heck are you screwing around with Jimmy's emotions for?"
I said, "Those weren't my intentions..."
But he said, "I know what your intentions were. You used him to get off. Whether just in a sexual way or an emotional way...you used Jimmy to get off. And that's fine. I get it. I've got a dick swinging between my legs too, dude. But as much as I can understand where you're coming from, Jimmy is at home crying his eyes out right now. He is really hurt. And if it's one person's feelings that you shouldn't be messing around with, it's Jimmy LaPlane's."
Sam wasn't trying to be mean. I knew that. But we've both been known to set each other straight on occasion when we see the other veering off the road and heading towards the canyon.
I said, "Yeah. You're right. You're totally right. I should have cut things off with Jimmy much much sooner than I did..."
But Sam was like, "No. What you SHOULD'VE done is communicated your true feelings and worked to patch things up with Brandon right from the very beginning of this mess, instead of always taking the coward's way out and trying to hop on the next best thing. ME included, Billy. Your best friend. Or have you forgotten how that worked out for you?" It was getting harder to look Sam in the eye, but he put an arm over my shoulder and said, "You know I love you dude. I really do. But you keep doing stuff like this and you're going to end up in a very bad place. Believe me. What you need to do is stand up, take responsibility for your actions, and make a genuine effort to try to repair some of the damage that YOU caused in all of this. And, when the dust settles...if Brandon is still there waiting for you with his arms wide open, then you've got a shot at being truly happy. And that's a shot a lot of people don't get in this life. Especially the second time around. It would be a slap in the face if you had a chance to grab something real and you tossed it out the window over a few horny afternoons with Jimmy LaPlane."
I felt bad about it, and I said, "I'm sorry, Sam. I didn't want to drag you into the middle of this. Ok?"
He said, "I know. It's no problem. Jimmy's just feeling really alone right now. I'm on my way over there now to see if he wants to talk." That struck me as...I dunno...odd. When I asked him what he meant, he said, "Well, considering our short history together, the fact that Jimmy had to call on me for emotional support shows that he must have pretty much hit rock bottom." He giggled for a second, but then, in a more serious tone, he said, "Do you remember what you said to me that day...shortly after Jimmy's...well, his 'accident'? You know, about me being partially responsible. About it being just as much my fault as all of the other people who mistreated him in school?"
With a gasp, I told him, "Sam, dude...I was just hurt and angry and...confused. I didn't really mean any of that stuff."
He was like, "No. No, I know. But, to be brutally honest...you were right. I was a total jerk to Jimmy LaPlane, and I know it. I threw his shoe on the roof, for crying out loud. But...when my mom and I were going through our issues, Jimmy pushed all that aside. And he was there for me. I figure, now it's my turn." I asked Sam if he was sure, and he said, "Look...after all the pain and suffering that I've caused Jimmy in his life, it's actually going to feel good to do something right by him for a change. I figure I at least owe him that much. I just wanted to let you know. Cool?"
I said, "Thanks, Sam. Take care of him, ok? It's not like I was trying to be cold to him or anything. I just...I didn't want to make things worse." Then I added, "When you get there? Can you tell Jimmy that..."
But he cut me off, like, "Ack! Nooo! La la la la! Don't want to hear it. I am not the mailman. You know how to reach Jimmy. You tell him yourself. And believe me, I'll be telling him the same thing. The last thing I need is the job of playing 'messenger' between you two sad sons of bitches. Hehehe!"
I'm glad that Sam gave me a hug before leaving. Like I said, I know that he wasn't really 'pissed' at me or anything...but the added affection helped to make me feel like less of a loser at that particular moment.
I wonder what they'll talk about. What will Sam tell him? What will Jimmy tell Sam? It messed with my head for most of the evening. After the things that Jimmy must have said to Brandon to get him to walk away from me, I can't imagine what he'll tell Sam in the midst of a heartbroken rant about what a cold-blooded asshole I was. I mean, what if Sam comes back tomorrow and totally hates me? Or at least stays angry with me for the next couple of weeks.
This whole thing is just so fucked up....
My mom did make a nice dinner for us today, but sitting at the table with her was the most uncomfortable experience in the world. I washed the dishes and helped clean up and all, but my mom seemed so fragile. So distant. It was like living with a ghost.
And later on, I heard the TV in the living room. It was pretty late at night, so when I finally noticed it, I went to go check it out. And there was my mom...sitting on the couch in the dark, with only the light of the TV to give me a hint of her silhouette.
I don't know what it was today about her behavior that seemed so much worse than any of the other days, but the whole feeling in the air was different. I could swear that she was actually sucking the visible light right out of the television to make the room seem even darker than it was. She had made herself a small bowl of cornflakes and milk, and she had a small plastic bag full of used tissues sitting next to her feet.
Was I scared? I think maybe a little bit. I didn't have much of a strategy in mind as to what to do or what to say to her. But I slowly made my way over to the couch anyway.
She turned her head the moment she saw me coming, attempting to clear her throat and wipe her eyes free of tears. I don't know how long she expected to hide these mini breakdowns from me, but I figured that it might help to let her know that she didn't have to.
Enough running and hiding. If Sam can be the bigger man and go over to talk to Jimmy LaPlane...then I can sit down and offer my own mother a shoulder to lean on. Might as well learn something today.
She attempted to turn me away by saying, "It's late, Billy. Don't you have to work tomorrow?"
I said, "I don't have to go in until 2 o'clock. It's fine."
She kept her back to me, saying, "Well, it's still a good habit to keep getting up at a decent time of morning. Sleep schedules go haywire during the Summer if you don't." And she wiped her eyes again.
Moving closer by a few steps in the dark, I was like, "Hey. You ok?" It's not that I didn't know the answer, I just didn't know what else to say.
As another tear fell, she grabbed another tissue and sniffled, "I'm ok, honey. I was just...watching a sad movie on TV. That's all."
I looked at the TV, and I was like, "Mom? You're watching 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen'. I'm not the biggest Michael Bay fan either, but I can't say that he's ever reduced me to actual tears before."
That got a bit of a chuckle out of her, and she blew her nose. She said, "Heh...alright, wise-ass. You caught me."
There was a moment of silence between us. I could hear her straining to hold back from crying again. I almost felt bad for sitting there. Was I making things even worse? If I had acted on impulse, I probably would have gotten up and left her alone. It wasn't my intention to embarrass her, you know?
I was trembling inside, but I sat down behind her on the sofa with her still turned towards the TV...and I softly put my hand on her shoulder. Just...to lay it there. And, I have to admit that it made me feel better when she reached up to place her own hand on top of mine.
I heard a few soft sobs, and more sniffles. I think she was shaking too. So, very quietly, I said, "Dad really screwed us both, didn't he?"
She was like, "Oh, Billy...no. Don't say things like that about your father."
I'm like, "You don't have to defend him, you know? He totally bailed on us and he's running around like that's ok. To hell with him..."
She turned to me with a determined look in her sad and tired eyes. And she says, "Billy Chase, you stop right there. Your father is a good man. And he loves you. He loves you very much. Do you understand me?"
I wasn't buying it. Why should I? Look at my MOM. Just look at her. I've got to spend the rest of my life without a father now because he wanted to fly the coop? Loves me very much, my ass.
I didn't think this was the time to argue about it. Ever since he moved out of the house I've been trying to keep a majority of my own thoughts and emotions at bay. I've been pushing them way down into the pit of my stomach, hoping for some kind of miracle that would put my family back together again. But it was mostly because thinking about him just made me angry. Seriously, I don't know why my mom has a single good thing to say about the guy.
My wasn't really hiding her tears as well as before. I don't think she was trying anymore. She whimpered, "Your father is going to finish his big move in a few weeks. He'll get that Trace boy and his little brother back home...and once he gets himself settled in to his new place, he said he'd be able to send money to help out with the bills and all. He doesn't want you to hesitate to ever ask him for anything if you need it, ok?" I rolled my eyes, but kept my mouth shut. She tried to give me a weak smile, and she was like, "He said something about...taking you to open up your own bank account next week. Your first paycheck is coming, huh? Are you excited?"
I said, "I can open up an account all by myself. I don't need him there for that."
But, again, she's like, "Billy...I really think you and your father need to spend as much time together as you can over the next few weeks." But when I asked why, she said, "You have no idea how much you might regret it someday if you don't. That's why. Billy, just give him a chance, ok?"
I said, "Give him a chance? Mom, he ABANDONED us!"
She said, "Your father would never abandon you, Billy. Not ever."
I'm like, "So, it's ok if he just abandons YOU, then???"
The moment I said it, she shut her eyes tight and the tears began to flow freely as the soft wail of unfathomable pain murmured from the back of her throat. Ugh! DAMMIT, Billy! THAT certainly wasn't the right thing to say!
I instantly apologized for it and scooted in close to just hold her for a moment. My arms wrapped around her shoulders as she tried to regain her composure. I don't know why I said what I said, it's just...I feel like I have such an 'explosion' sitting dormant in the very center of me just waiting to happen. That's why I try not to be around him. That's why I try not to think about him. Talk about him. Because the second someone pulls the wrong emotional string, I feel like I want to vomit up all the hatred and misery in the world. And I don't know if I can handle that. I'm terrified of it. Really terrified.
We held each other for a few minutes. I could feel my mom's warm tears as they dripped off of her chin and down onto the back of my hand or wrist. It felt like my throat was closing up on me. My eyes got a bit watery. But I didn't cry. I won't cry. If my mom needs strength from me then that's exactly what she's going to get.
I think things calmed down a bit, and my mom said, "It's hard, Billy. Marriage. So hard. Second hardest job in the world, next to parenting." She sorta smiled, but not really. Then she's like, "The funny thing is, your grandmother told me this would happen years ago. And I didn't believe her."
Surprised, I was like, "She did?"
My mom said, "In no uncertain terms, yes. She warned me. Told me what to look for. And I kept saying, 'Not my William. My William is the best there is.' And he was." She sniffled some more, and was like, "Then...well, he turned 40. He thought 40 years old was the end of the world. Heh...a midlife crisis, your grandmother called it. He started rambling about what he hadn't done with his life. How much he wished he had done when he was younger. He used to say, 'What kind of footprint am I going to leave on the world? What am I going to leave to Billy when I die?' He always made it sound like he only had two weeks left to live, and he wanted to climb Mt. Everest before it was too late. It just seemed like such a little thing at the time."
I said, "What the heck was he worried about?"
My mom shrugged her shoulders at first, then gave me a squeeze and said, "Well, you may not be anywhere near realizing it now...but there comes a time when people worry about getting old. Makes them do strange things. Foolish things. Every marriage goes through it, happy or otherwise. Do you know that I actually had to talk your father out of buying this RIDICULOUS cherry red sports car two years ago?" She laughed at the memory, and even though a few more tears slid down her cheeks, the laugh seemed much more genuine this time. She said, "I told him that if he put us in debt by buying that silly contraption that I was going to drive it right into the middle of the lake." It made me smile. I wasn't laughing, but I smiled. She was like, "He wanted to wear his hair different. Buy new clothes. Started looking up old classmates from high school. Anything to not be 40. But...40 comes for us anyway. Then 50. Then 60. And hopefully a lot more after that, if you're lucky."
I couldn't really understand fully. I said, "Dad's not THAT old."
She was like, "No. No he isn't. But he's not your age either. I think he misses it. And...unfortunately, your mom isn't a part of helping him recover that feeling again." Then she smiled at me and said, "Unless of course you want to help me out with that. You said you were going to a party this weekend. Maybe you can take me with you." She heard me giggle and gave me a bit of a tickle under my ribs. "What? You don't want to take your mom to a high school party with you?"
I'm like, "GOD, no! Hehehe!"
She said, "I could wear one of my old short skirts, and a tank top with my belly exposed. Chew some bubblegum. Overdo my make up a little bit...that won't look too silly, will it?"
I'm like, "Mom! Stop!"
She said, "Maybe you can get one of your young friends to make out with me on the front porch. Bring out the cougar in me. Raaaaawwwwr!"
I sat up and said, "Ok, that's it! You have now officially scared me off to bed!" We shared a few more snickers over it as I got back up on my feet. But before walking away, I looked her in the eyes, and I said, "Are you...are you sure that you're going to be ok? With everything, I mean."
With a sad grin, she said, "In time, sweetie. In time." Then she took my hand and pulled me in for a tight hug. One that made a few tears of my own roll down my cheeks. She took a proud look at me, and she says, "Thank you, Billy. Thank you for being my little man of the house."
I was quick to wipe my eyes and said, "Yeah, well...I doubt I did much good. It's not like I actually 'solved' anything."
But that's when my mom told me, "Being a good man...a good person...it's not all about solving problems. It's about facing them." I don't know why that resonated so deeply within me, but it did. She's like, "As long as you keep that in your head and your heart, you'll turn out just fine."
I wanted to hug her again. But I thought that might be overkill. Besides, hugging your mom? That's so not gangsta.
So I said goodnight, and I went back to my room. Had my little visit really helped? You know...I actually think it did. I did something good for my mom...and the feeling inside was immeasurable. Now that I was alone, I let the overwhelming emotion take effect, and I felt a few more tears stain my cheeks. Not from sadness. Just...I don't know what caused them, to be honest. But I felt that I had done some good, and it left me feeling almost the same way I do when I see Brandon's smile. It was just like falling in love. Except...this time...the person I had fallen in love with...
So I'm going to bed now. I'm still feeling a bit anxious and jittery inside, but I'm going to try to sleep anyway. I think I might have just grown a little wiser today than I was yesterday. Part of growing up, I suppose.
My dad and I really are alike. Maybe he feels about Mom the same way I feel about Jimmy. Maybe it's just a big mess for him too. Who knows? I'm just guessing.
Being a good person isn't about solving problems. It's about facing them. Hmmm...I think I like that.
Maybe it's time that Jimmy and I had that talk...
Ps- Why the heck, out of all the channels that we have on that TV, would my mom stop on 'Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen'? Honestly. Parents...I swear...