This is gay-oriented fiction. I don't like writing `bout sex, so you won't find it here. I might suggest some of it, but no hardcore. This story is not about my life, although certain people portrayed in the story may be real. There is no sex... blah, blah, blah. You know the rest. If you've come this far, I can't stop you anymore.

Kayden II

by Ryan Keith

Chapter 2 - Job Hunt


"And why the hell would you want to get a job?" Scott demanded. His body lay stretched on the cafeteria bench where my friends had all gathered.

"Because I want to. My dad and I talked about it. If I want a good job in the future I should build experience. Plus, it'll look good on my resume. If I start now I'll get a crap job, but by the time I finish high school I might actually get some references from good companies. It works totally to my advantage."

The whole crew had hijacked a table in the cafeteria and we were just idly talking before our first class. We ended up talking about future jobs and I said I was looking for work right now.

Scott pondered the thought, I could tell, but Mai was the next to speak. "But Zac, you're only in grade ten. Who'd hire you? And why not just work summers instead?"

"She's right, you know," Maya joined her. "Right now we just need to focus on school. You'll be stressed if you take on work hours with your school work and swimming."

"Well, I won't be working all week," I said, a bit annoyed. I thought my friends would be the first ones to support me. "Probably just weekends, maybe some Fridays."

They all gave me uncertain looks. Jett and Kayden shared concerned looks between them.

"And they'll be small hours, like two or three, four hours max," I said, trying to gain some support.

"Well, if you really want it, Zac, we can't stop you." That was Jett. I turned to him and beamed a smile. Finally, some support. The look on his face didn't really seem to agree with his words.

Kayden briefly brushed his hand over mine. "Just don't over do it, buddy. We'll be watching you. If things get out of hand, we're going to step in. I'm not going to let you fail because of a job you don't even need."

"Yeah, dude. You start messing up now, it could hurt you a lot. What's the point of having a good job resume if you don't get your high school diploma?" Scott said curtly. "If you start failing, I'm done in history. Don't fuck me over now, `cause no way in hell can I pass without your help."

"If you weren't such a dumbass that skips class, you might just pass," Maya said harshly. "Not like it would do any good. If you didn't skip, you'd end up sleeping in class anyways."

"What's it to you? Last time I checked I was Scott KENDEL, not Scott CLAIRE. You ain't my mom, lady..." There goes Scott. See Scott run...see Scott screw up, yet again.

"You are so!" Maya said through clenched teeth. And again, Maya lost herself to Scott's attitude. She's usually the quiet, collected type, but around Scott she's less controlled. I saw their relationship growing more intense, but neither of them wanted to admit it. Kayden had told me about Maya's feelings for Scott, and I was very much surprised. I knew Jett might be a bit sad about that, but I knew he'd recover. But now this was too much. Their bickering got worse every day. It was as if the stronger they felt about each other, the worse the bickering became. I wished someone would just smack them both over the head so they could get on with it.

Shin obviously thought the exchange between Scott and Maya was the funniest thing he had ever heard, because he broke out his laugh. Everyone within a ten-meter radius turned towards our table as our Asian friend clutched his stomach.

Mai spun her head to face her boy and easily silenced him with a quick peck on the lips. As she pulled back and returned to her original position, she wore a satisfied smile. Shin had a grin of him own.

I turned to Kayden and he winked at me. He brushed his foot against my leg and smiled. I knew he wished we could do the same as Shin and Mai. Hell, I wished we could do it. Yet, under the circumstances, we knew it was impossible.

"You're smart in math and the sciences, though," Jett commented, his hands behind his head as he leant back. "What's up with that?"

Scott switched his glare from Maya to Jett almost immediately. "That stuff's fun and easy. But things like English and history... Fuck, they're only words. How can anyone stand seeing words, words and even more words? You don't even use your brain when you read them. Equations and shit are easier to deal with."

Kayden leaned forward. "Actually, Scott, even reading works the brain. I read that it uses a different part of..."

"Okay, Pierce, shut it. I don't care!" Scott said with his tone.

Kayden grinned, and his was soon followed by Scott's own grin. They gave each other props and nodded like they shared their own secret joke.

I was happy that Scott finally broke that wall down between Kayden and him. I guess after finding out he wouldn't be replaced, he gave Kayden a chance. I was glad they actually were getting along better than I had hoped they would.

"Complicated minds like yours, Scott, always go for those equations and problems. You're a scientist in the brewing," Mai praised the boy.

"Well, he does want to be an engineer, right?" asked Shin.

"Fuck yeah!"

Our group of friends shared a gentle laugh. I turned to Maya and saw a little twinkle in her eye. I knew she respected Scott for knowing what he wants in life. He always did, he's just very lazy at reaching his goals. I knew that Maya would make sure he got there, if they ever decided to hook up.

"By the way, Zac," Maya said, turning to me, "how was the swim meet?"

I rolled my eyes as I answered. "Some kid got sick in the pool before we started. The meet was cancelled, so Jett, Kayden and I spent all Sunday at the mall.

"Yeah, and I swear I felt like the third wheel. These two had a serious case of the love bug. Shit, talk about embarrassing. I tried leaving like twenty times, but they kept dragging me back," Jett said, shaking his head.

Our friends laughed while Kayden and I tried to hide our embarrassment. We were still getting used to the fact that we were dating. It was weird. Sometimes we'd be silent around each other and it would be nice and enjoyable. Sometimes I wanted to grab him in public and just make out. It was those times we needed someone like Jett around to take our minds off each other. I knew Kade felt the same way; we just never talked about it.

"So are you guys going to come out in school anytime soon?" Scott asked in a quiet voice.

Everyone turned to us, looking for an answer.

"No, not yet. We don't need to make high school any more difficult," I said.

"Well, just so you know, I have your back," Scott offered. Our friends each contributed to the support of Kayden's and my relationship. I was happy.

"It might be a good thing to wait," Jett said. "We don't want pricks like Ted messing up our high school lives. Speak of the devil... Holy shit! Check out that eye," Jett said, pointing towards the cafeteria doors.

We all turned to see where he was pointing. Ted walked in looking completely messed up. He had a swollen black eye as well as other cuts around his face. It looked like he was walking strangely. Like he was trying to keep pressure off his left leg.

"Fuck, what do you think happened to him?" Scott wondered.

Ted turned to us and stopped for a moment before turning away and walking off.

"I don't know, hon, but I think he deserves it. Maybe now he'll know what it's like to be picked on. Most likely shattered that ego of his. I wanna shake the hand of whoever did that to him," Mai said strongly.

"Mai!" Maya turned to her with surprise.

"Well, he does deserve it. Bullies like him need to know there's always someone stronger. I think now he'll have more respect for people," Scott said, turning to Maya.

"But still..." Maya said worriedly.

I agreed with Maya. Bullies are bullies, but learning things the hard way like that seems a bit too much.

I turned to Kayden who sat staring at the table with his hands folded before him. He looked as if he was deep in thought. I guess the encounter with Ted that morning last week still bothered him.

"Hey, don't worry about it, Kade." I smiled as he looked up to me. "He won't bother you anymore."
My boyfriend just nodded as he turned his gaze back to the table.

Looking for a job was a lot harder than I thought. Everywhere I went, people were looking for students who could put in more hours than I possibly can. I was offered a job at the Whitby Press; something about organizing articles and stuff. I would have gone for that, but they needed someone who could work every day for about two hours. That was way too much time. I wanted a place that hired only for weekends.

Scott and Shin went with me after school on Friday. Jett had hockey practice and Kayden had his kickboxing and karate. It amazes me how he takes both. It impresses me how he practices hard, and on Fridays he has one class right after the other. No wonder my babe can kick ass so well.

I wanted to see if I could land a job in the mall. Now, our mall is pretty sad. I never go in there unless I really have to. The only stores I ever get stuff from are Wal-Mart and Business Depot. All the other shops at the Whitby Mall are crap. They don't have any brand name stores. I wonder why such a place hasn't been bulldozed. Instead, my friends and I go to the Oshawa Center, a mall about five minutes drive from the Whitby Mall. They have everything there. GAP, Stitches, Electronics Boutique, and more. That's the mall Kayden and I went to to watch that movie last week. I tried applying to GAP and HMV, but they said I was too young. Bastards!
So here we were, back in Whitby in line to grab Ice Cappuccinos from Tim Hortons. I love Tim's, and I love Ice Caps.

"It's because you dressed like a preppy that you didn't get hired at HMV. It looks like you want to work in some office, not a music store," Scott teased.

I gave him a look before opening my mouth. "Hey, quit it. I thought maybe if I went for a more professional look they might think I was older."

"Yeah, but all you did was make them think you were some high-society rich brat. Good job, Hunter!" Scott exaggerated, rolling his eyes.

Shin was laughing as usual. Once in a while it looked like he wanted to say something, but either forgot or started laughing.

"Whatever..." I mumbled. "What do you guys want? It's on me. We're meeting up with Kayden and Jett later at that new Thai restaurant, so let's just get something light."

"I'll just have a donut and an Ice Cap. Thanks, Zac," Scott said.

"I'll have the chili and sandwich deal! Get me some donuts, too, bud?" Shin almost hollered.

"Will you stop being so fucking loud?" Scott whispered angrily at Shin as some people turned in our direction.

"Haha, whoops...sorry!" Shin said in his regular voice. When I say regular, I mean so that it was like he was talking to someone a few meters away. He talks pretty loud even when he's trying to be quiet.

"Shin, we're going out for dinner later. Save it until then," I said, chuckling at my friends.

"You dumbass, just get something small," Scott said, getting annoyed.

Shin just grinned at him and looked up at the menu, slowly thinking of what to get.

I hoped he hurried up because we were next. I stepped up and smiled at the girl. "Hey, can I get two medium Ice Caps, one honey cruller," Scott's favorite donut, "and...umm, Shin?"

I turned to my side and found him missing.

What the f-?

Scott looked around and almost swore out loud. I turned to where he pointed and Shin was behind us talking on his cell phone.

"So what should I get, Mai?"

"I can't fucking believe this," Scott said, throwing his head back. I thought it was pretty funny, but I opted to just get Shin's regular order.

"And one medium French vanilla cappuccino, please," I said to the girl.

She smiled and giggled a bit to herself at our little scene.

"I swear, you don't need a job, Zac," Scott said to me. "Babysitting Shin is too much. We should start charging his parents."

I followed along with the joke as I turned and looked at Shin.

"That's what I said. But then she deducted marks anyways..." Shin said to Mai.

It's amazing how short our friend's attention span is.

"Nah, I told you. I wanna minimize my hours to weekends only, maybe just Fridays. Plus, babysitting is hardly a job," I joked.

"Um, excuse me?"

I turned to the girl. I'd forgotten completely about her. "Oh, sorry. How much is it all together?" I said apologetically.

"Well, actually I couldn't help but overhear you're looking for a job," she said with a shy smile. "We're looking for students to work weekends and some Fridays."

It took me a moment to figure out what she was saying. Then it hit me.

"Where do I sign up?" I said enthusiastically.

It was a dream job. If I worked at Tim's I could have unlimited Ice Cappuccinos.

"Are you serious, Zac?" Scott asked.

"Hell yeah! It's perfect, man!"

"Well, I'll just finish this order and then I'll call my manager. I'm sure she's looking to hire."

"Great! You don't understand what this does for me. Thank you so much!" I told her.

"I'm happy to help... But umm, the total is $5.89. I need to hurry up with this; the lineup is growing."

I quickly paid and pulled Scott and Shin over to where she told me to wait. Within a few minutes, an older lady showed up behind the counter. Thirty minutes later, I was an employee of Tim Hortons.

Everything went by so fast. My training began the very next day from eight in the morning until six. Those weren't going to be my normal hours, but I had to work a bit longer over the first weekend so I could learn the basics. I went in smiling, in my uniform, and noticed the faces of some of the people who came in for coffee that morning. Surprisingly, the girl who had taken our order the day before was the same girl who was going to train me. Her name is Nikki. I found it odd that she was doing the training, because she is actually my age. But I found out she's been working there since grade nine, so she knows the trade well.

Everything turned out fine. I made coffee, took orders, made sandwiches, and basically took every job there was. They wanted me to experience what each job required. I was told that almost everyone had to work cleanup duty as well. I hadn't thought about that part of the job and I hated it the most. Right after I cleaned a spill that someone had left, a little girl thought it was funny to drop her muffin on the same spot. Being the cool guy I am, I simply smiled, but I really did feel like ripping her head off.

Overall, the first day was good. I even got myself a free Ice Cappuccino.


How did I come to this place? My life has taken one turn after another. Where do I begin? I thought I had myself figured out, but then life threw me a curve ball. I guess it began with just my mom and me. It was always just the two of us.

I remember the early years of my childhood were hard. My mom worked all the time so she could provide for me. She was a young mom, I guess. She had to drop out from university because she was having me. She never blamed me; she called me a pleasant surprise. God, I miss her. Most people would have looked down on my mom for screwing up her life so early. I say screw 'em. They know shit. If they looked past their ignorance they'd know my mom was happily married. Mom used to tell me all about Dad. He was a medical student graduate...well, was finishing his last year, when he met Mom. He was a TA -- teacher's assistant -- for a course she was taking.

One thing led to another, and they went out. They married before Mom's third year in university. David, my dad, was an only child, like me. His parents sort of pushed him out of the house when he turned eighteen. He worked hard and got through university and got his medical degree. I always got sad when Mom talked about Dad; he was really a great guy. When Dad married Mom, he was going to help pay her way through university. Mom ran away from home after high school. She had only enough money plus financial aid to get through almost two years of university. She used to tell me everyone looked down at their relationship. Mom was only twenty when she married Dad, who was almost twenty-nine. No one believed them, but the way Mom talked about him, I know they were truly in love.

The two of them were proud when they found out they were going to have a child. My aunt was the happiest, apparently. My mom had a sister who lived with them. Mom decided to take her in when she ran away from home. Mom didn't talk about it much, but her only family was her sister and their father, who was a drunk. No wonder Mom and my aunt both ran away from home.

Those years were the happiest for Mom. It was her and Dad, and my aunt and her boyfriend. My aunt and her boyfriend were still in high school, but I guess they were in love; that's how Mom described them. We could have been a really happy family. I still have a picture of all four of them. Mom was hugging Dad, and my aunt was holding hands with her boyfriend. My mom and aunt both had excellent taste. My dad and my aunt's boyfriend were amazingly hot. Mom and my aunt looked amazingly alike. I guess my mother just looked a bit older. With Dad's job they all could have made it, but it never happened.

Dad was mugged one day coming home from work. He was beaten pretty badly and left to die. That changed everything.

Mom was two months into pregnancy, and she lost the financial support she was getting from Dad. There was life insurance, but it was not enough to live on. She also had to drop out of school. She lost the financial aid from the university. After she finally had me, she and my aunt moved to a smaller apartment. Times were hard for the three of us.

One day Mom and my aunt had a shitty argument, and my mom said something nasty to my aunt. My aunt left and I never saw her again. Mom blamed herself for chasing away her only blood relation. She truly loved my aunt as a sister, but even siblings fight. It was just Mom and me. We were okay I guess. We didn't have anything fancy. Actually, we were borderline poor. Even though we were poor, she always encouraged me to be the best I could be. Mom worked three jobs while I went to school. I was nine when mom got really sick. I was by her side in the hospital when she died. She was crying, and I was too. She kept telling me she didn't want to leave me alone. Hell, I didn't want to be left alone. I loved my mom so much. She was my best friend, my mother, my father, and the only relation I had. Before she died, she told me I was born to be great like Dad. She gave me the photo of the four of them. She told me to keep it close to me, and that she would always watch over me. I cried a lot when she died.

A lot of things happened, and suddenly I was at someone's house. They were my foster parents. When I finally got over my mourning, I discovered I was in a jail. Well, almost a jail. My foster parents were in their early forties, and they had all these rules and 'requests' that kept me in line. Most of the time I felt like screaming.

The ringing bell grabbed my attention. When I realized where I was, the computer screen was staring back at me.

"Aw, fuck!" I swore.

I heard a gasp behind me and saw our librarian covering her mouth with a shocked expression.

"Sorry, ma'am," I said sincerely. "I sorta dazed out reading this article and I missed my lunch."

I knew I said that too fast. The librarian looked like she understood...a bit.

"I'm really sorry. It won't happen again," I said, smiling.

"Dear, I really can't get mad after a smile like that," she said, giggling. "I guess I'll let it slide this time. But not again, missy. It's not proper for a lady to speak profanity."

She was one of those old-fashion women with the traditional simple long dress that old women wear. I felt like laughing. She thought I had a bad mouth... Well, I guess she hadn't heard some of the other girls I've talked to.

"I've seen you come here often during lunch," she said, her hands on her hips. "You're new."

"Yeah, I just moved here this summer. The Internet is like my life, but I haven't hooked up my computer at home yet. Mom hasn't called the Internet company yet."

Actually she's not my real mom. My real mom is dead. I was adopted. So she's my adopted mom I guess, but I don't need to tell a stranger that.

"Well, I'm always here. I guess I might see quite a bit of you, young lady. Now off you go, classes are going to start soon." She smiled.

"Right you are, ma'am," I said as I got up. She gave a crackling laugh that I didn't comment on. My God was it a laugh, but I kept my mouth shut. "I'll see you again tomorrow, Mrs... uh..."

"Lisp. I'm the librarian here. I'm Mrs. Lisp. Have a good day, Lenne."

It took everything I had not to burst out laughing. What a name!

"Nice to meet you Mrs. Lisp, but how do you know my name?"

She held her head high as if she was proud. "I know all the children who come into my paradise. This truly is a paradise of art and knowledge."

I guess she was referring to the library. A bit weird, but I guess everyone has their own taste.

"Well, I really should get going, ma'am. Have a good day."

"You too, dear."

And I was outta that place.

Economics was next. I don't mind that course. I really don't know what I want in life. My new mom told me I'd figure it out sooner or later and to just take a variety of courses. So I took economics. It was either that or settle for an arts course. Whatever I decide to do in the future, it definitely won't be in the arts. I have almost no appreciation for any of the arts. I like music well enough, but I couldn't play an instrument if my life depended on it.

I was the first one in class, as usual. I took my seat and watched the other students file in. I'm still pretty new, so I get the odd look sometimes around school. I guess people think I'm older than I actually am. Everyone is friendly to me. There is one girl I relate well with. She`s blunt with everything and I love it. I greeted Mai with a wave as she entered class and saw me.

"Another hour of useless information," she grumbled as she tossed her bag on the desk beside me.

"Tell me about it. I almost feel like I'd accomplish more in the library twiddling my thumbs," I replied sarcastically.

I really like Mai. I was wondering if maybe me and her could be friends. It was nearing the end of October and I was still pretty much friendless. People talk to me, but it's all idle chat between classmates. I want to make plans again where my friends and I go shopping or watch a movie. I never had a problem with making friends, but being in three different schools in two years had started to irritate me. I make some friends, I leave them. Not really Mom Number Two's fault. She was offered a great deal in Markham, but she chose a house in Whitby. It's about a twenty-minute drive for her to get to work everyday.

Why am I dazing out like this!

The main point was I wanted to be friends with Mai, but she hangs around another group of friends. Her boyfriend is quite the hunk. I wouldn't mind finding myself a nice guy, but I need to take it one step at a time. I've seen them all laughing in the cafeteria sometimes, and I envy them all. I guess they were friends since elementary school.

Mai hangs around the mystery kid. I don't know his name, but there's something very odd about him. It's like we have some kind of connection. I know I've seen him somewhere, but I can't put my finger on it. That really fucks up my mind, because I know I'd remember him if I'd met him before. There isn't anything distinct about him; he seems to be an average guy... Well, he has the boyish look that is really hot, but I'm interested in guys older than me; by two years, max.

"Well, no one is stopping you. Go right ahead. If you run you might just make it before the teacher gets in. I'll be sleeping this period, so don't be asking me for the notes later on," Mai said in total deadpan.

We laughed a bit more before the Mrs. Rudler walked in. The moment she stepped in, class began. No bullshit.


I arrived at work ready to serve coffee. It was my third day, but on the second weekend since I got hired. I was able to work out a schedule with Sally, my boss. I work weekends, and every other Friday. During exam time, I'd have the option of not working, but would make up for it during the Christmas holidays. The same will apply for next semester.

I greeted the other people I work with. There's Jeff, a college dropout, or so I thought. I figured he was because he was like twenty, but it turned out he's heading off to university next fall. He looks like the typical party guy who really doesn't have a goal to work with. It shows in the way he`s really laid back and easygoing. He's easy to get along with.

There's Nikki, the girl who got me the job in the first place and who trained me. We chatted a bit and I got to know her better. She goes to Anderson High and is the same grade as me. She hinted she's single, but I'm pretty sure she was just playing with me. We joked about it once or twice during training; we get along great. There were not only young people working that day. There was this very kind Italian lady . She has the smallest voice and is the type you can never get angry with. She was always with a smile and talked about her grandchildren all the time. She was real easy to get with.

Another guy was working at the back. He had told me his name, but I couldn't remember it. So I just greeted him sorta like, "Hey, buddy! What's happening?"

Then there was Tim. Funny how his name is Tim and he works at Tim Hortons. He was cold towards me since I started working. I don't know what I did to deserve the trash treatment, but he was really a jackass towards me. I tried several times to just talk with him but he cut our conversations short with a few words. He was always around Nikki and would give me a glare if I was anywhere near her.

"Do I strike you as a bad person?" I asked Jeff as I hung my coat.

Jeff was carrying a tray of donuts as he yawned over them. I made a mental note not to get donuts here anymore. If Sally saw him, she'd give him hell. I don't think he did it on purpose, he just didn't seem to be aware of it.

"Not at all. Why, someone giving you shit?" he mumbled.

"Well, it seems like Tim doesn't like me. I can't remember if I did something to piss him off."

Jeff tossed the tray on a countertop as he turned to me.

"Yeah, I think I know why. I think he feels threatened by you," he said thoughtfully.

"What? I've worked two days, and that was last week. How could I already piss him off?"

"Nikki noticed you, dude," he said with a smile. He looked cute, but way too old for me. Plus, I have Kayden. "He's almost made it public that Nikki is the girl he wants to marry. Which I think is kinda freaky. Anyways, he thinks he's got a rival now."

That was pure comedy. Tim thinks I'm a threat? I'm freakin' gay!

"That's kinda weird. Isn't he like twenty-something?" I asked.

"Twenty-two, and he lives in his parents' basement. I feel sorry for the dude. I don't see how he's ever going to find someone unless they're blind. Not only is he as skinny as a twig, but he also has an acne colony on his face, a crap personality, and he does nothing but bitch. I'm just glad that I'm not the one he hates. He seems a bit crazy."

"He can't be that bad," I said, trying to defend some guy who apparently hates my guts. "He'll probably see he can't get with Nikki sooner or later. He can't change who he is."

"Yeah, well, his mood swings are what he could change. But he's the type of guy who is full of himself," Jeff said.

"What about you?" I said with a smile. "You'd think he'd be more concerned about you than me."

"I'm no threat, dude," he grinned. "More like it's you who should be careful around me. I'm gay, dude."

I was deep in thought as he said that. I did a double take at him when I realized what he had said.


"I'm gay," he replied again. "I don't hide it anymore since I came out to my family in grade eleven. It's not a problem is it?"

His tone turned serious and his features seemed to harden.

"Not at all, man," I replied quickly. "I have nothing against gays. I actually have a friend who's gay."

I lied...kinda. The friend I was referring to is Kayden, but I didn't have to tell him that. I don't know what came over me. I had completely denied being gay in front of someone who is gay.

What am I scared of? He doesn't go to my school.

I guess I realized my secret could spread pretty fast if it did get out. If I came out to him, I'm sure Nikki would find out. Some guys on my swimming team go to Anderson High, and that could cause plenty of problems for me. I'm glad my mind took over my mouth and kept me from saying, "Hey, guess what, I'm gay too!"

"That's great," he said, returning to his easygoing persona. "I like to get this stuff out of the way. A few people here were really uncomfortable around me when they found out. I just didn't want you finding out from someone else. I really won't make a move on you, dude. Unless you want, that don't worry."

"Not a prob. I'll tell you when you're at borderline sexual harassment," I joked.

That was it for us. We laughed until Sally same by and scooted us out. She was really playful about it; like telling kids to go out to play in the sand. Work day number three started that moment.

I was working cashier. I didn't mind much. Last week on Sunday I was cleaning the Ice Cappuccino machine. That was an experience and a half. It was busy this morning; I guess families who got up and didn't want to cook breakfast ran to Tim's to pick up muffins and bagels. Dad and I do that quite a bit when we don't feel like making anything. I realized how important it is to serve the food fast. I didn't actually serve the food, though. I took the orders, punched them in, grabbed the customers' money, and directed them where to pick them up.

I thanked a customer and greeted the next. He was someone I had already served, and he looked pissed.

"Hi, could I help you?" I asked.

"What the hell is this?" he said loudly.

He pushed a bagel into my face and carelessly slammed a large cup down on my counter.

I looked at him and answered, unaware what his point was, "Looks like a bagel and a large tea."

"I ordered a sesame bagel with cream cheese. This is some kind of raisin shit with butter," he spat angrily. "And what the hell kind of tea is this? It's garbage!"

I could understand why he'd be upset about the bagel, but he was drawing more attention than he needed. "Buddy, I'll take care of it but you need to lower your voice; there are children around. We could do without the swearing, man," I said, a bit on edge.

The guy really just wanted to yell at someone. There really was no reason for him to be an asshole about everything. What did he want me to do? Cry? I could see someone like Nikki getting upset around a customer like this, but I wasn't about to give him the satisfaction of pushing me around.

"I'll swear wherever I damn well please!" he said even louder. I noticed Sally step out of the kitchen to see what was happening.

"Fine, whatever. Someone probably gave you the wrong order. I'm sorry about that and I'll fix it, but the tea is the way it is. It's just hot water and the tea packet," I told him. I noticed the tea was too dark, meaning it was really strong. "Most customers dip the tea bag once or twice. The longer you leave it in there the stronger it will be. I've seen people put milk and sugar in there too, that might..."

"You think I don't know how to make tea?"

Well, if you fuck up doing it, what the hell am I supposed to think, asshole?

I gave a tight-lipped smile. "Of course you do. I just don't see how we're responsible for the way the tea tastes since you made it. But if you want, I'll give you another one."

I didn't wait for him to answer. I grabbed the tea and dumped it into the sink next to me and asked Jeff to make him another one. He had an angry face like he was pissed at the customer. I gave him an encouraging smile as if trying to tell him it didn't matter. He turned away shaking his head.

I turned to the customer as he was badmouthing our service to the customers in line behind him.

"Can you believe they think I'm at fault here? All I want is my damn bagel!" he said to the old lady behind him. She just stared at him with raised eyebrows, shook her head and looked away; probably embarrassed the guy tried justifying his actions to her.

"That was a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese, right?" I asked him.

"I want double cream cheese," he ordered.

"Sir, it's a bit more if you want extra cream cheese."

"I waited in this fucking line again just to get my damn order and you want to charge me more? It should be free!" he yelled.

I was so close to grabbing the guy by the shirt and knocking him out. Instead, I took a deep breath while I clenched my fists.

"Zac, just give it to him," Sally said with a gentle voice. "And sir, if you swear one more time, I'm going to ask you to leave, with or without your order. It's for public courtesy; there are children around." Her voice was a bit more threatening, almost intimidating, which was weird coming from a soft-spoken little women like her.

The man glowered at me as I looked at him after I punched in the order.

"You can pick up your order over there, sir," I said, emphasizing "sir". "And I hope you have a VERY nice day."

It took some effort to say the last part without telling him to fuck off, but I did, and he moved on. It was then I noticed that mostly everyone there was looking at me. I felt so embarrassed and angry that I had let some fuckup mess with my mind. My hands were hurting and they were trembling like I'd never seen them do before.

A gentle hand was over my own, suddenly, and I turned to see Sally smiling at me.

"You did great, Zac. It takes a lot of patience and guts to take a customer like him," she said sincerely. "I'm sorry you had to, but you were great. If there's anyone like that again, just call me and I'll deal with it. Just because their life is shit doesn't mean they have to take it out on my team. Don't let it bother you. The next customer is waiting."

She smiled encouragingly as she walked to the back room. Whatever she said had its effect on me; I wasn't pissed off anymore.

"I'm really sorry about that, ma'am," I said looking to my next customer. "How can I help you?"

"You take your time, dear. I'm in no hurry. It's all right, that man said horrible things. His mother probably never smacked his bottom for swearing like that," she said, smiling a warm smile.

I chuckled a bit and felt more at ease. "No, I guess not." I took a breath and was ready. "Alright, how can I help you?"

"I felt like jumping over the counter and smashing his face in," I bitched. "I could have done it, too. He was this arrogant jerk who had nothing on me. I would have mopped the floor with him."

"I bet you could have, Zac," Kayden said, rubbing my chest. "I'd help you do it if I was there."

I smiled, knowing he would have.

We were in my room on my bed. I was lying on the edge with my arms crossed behind my head. Kade was looking at me while resting his head on my stomach. I looked at him and watched as his perfect smile melted my anger away.

"Dad said it was good experience and that I'll get better at dealing with people like that. Said it builds character. He wasn't the one being yelled at..."

Kade looked at me and frowned. "Aww, my poor baby..."

I couldn't tell if he was joking or serious. His fingers started unbuttoning my shirt and I didn't refuse him.

"I'll take care of you. You've had a rough day," he whispered, sitting up and rubbing his hands over my crotch. "I want to make you feel good."

I gasped as he took hold of me. My shirt was opened and he released me from my constricting pants. Swallowing, I started breathing hard. Just being touched by Kayden has that effect on me. He didn't even do much and I was ready to explode.

He leaned forward and kissed me, making his way to my ear. "Just relax and enjoy."

He gave me a playful squeeze and I let out a groan. He smiled and moved toward Zac Junior.

I only lasted about two minutes. I was ecstatic. Never had I felt so good. It wasn't our first time, but every time he gives me his undivided attention, it's like heaven.

"How do you feel now?" he asked, kissing me after his loving act.

"God, I feel amazing. You made me feel so good," I said, smiling at him. "I want to make you feel that good, too."
"Today is just for you..."
"Hell no. It's your turn and I want you," I whispered seductively.

I silenced him with a kiss, and in one swift movement, we swapped places. I kissed him deeply and I pulled at his shirt. We broke the kiss for a moment to remove his shirt. I was in the mood, and I wanted him to enjoy this to the max.

It took three minutes to get him down to his boxers, and it took about another two minutes before he was gasping for air. I was glad Dad had a business dinner and wouldn't be home until much later.


"Mom, do you know where my jeans are?" I yelled from my room.

"They're in the wash, honey. They were filthy," she said, walking into my room. "I didn't realize how fast you're growing. We need to go shopping next weekend to buy you some new clothes."

The moment she said shopping, I perked up.

"Really? Thanks, Mom. I didn't think you'd notice. I didn't know how to bring it up. I mean, you've already given me so much..." I said quietly.

"Hon, look at me," she said, stepping forward. "You are my daughter. You are now, anyways. You're exactly like my sister. You even have the same personality. I don't tell you this enough, but I'm so happy to have you in my life."

I could feel tears building up in my eyes, so I looked away.

"Look at me, sweetie. I'm still getting used to that fact that I'm your mother now. I'm really sorry I wasn't there when Julie died. We were really close..."

"It's all behind us now," I said encouragingly.

"Yeah, but you had to go through so much, with your foster parents and all. I can't believe how they treated you the way they did over something as small as that. You don't need to be afraid here. You ask me or tell me whatever you want, okay? No secrets between us," my new mom said tearfully.

I too started crying and just nodded.

"It's amazing how much you look like her. I miss her, but I'm glad I found you," I said.

"You look like a mix between your dad and mom. You have your mom's spirit, and your father's confidence. They'd be so proud of you. I sure am."

That did it. I bawled like I never had before.

Mom took me in her arms and I sort of just stood around crying as she rubbed my back and tried to soothe me with some words. I wondered what my parents would think if they saw me today. I always wonder if I'm living up to their expectations. Having my real mom's sister tell me something like that was too much to take in.

"No more crying, okay? From here on, we smile. And don't be afraid to ask for anything. Okay, honey?" Mom whispered, wiping my tears away.

"Yeah, thanks. Mom?"


"When is the cable guy coming? I really need the Internet."

"They haven't come yet? Argh!" she bellowed. "I can't believe this. It's been almost two weeks since we called them. I'll go in after work and make sure they do it this week, okay?"

"Yeah, thanks. This means a lot to me. Just don't stress yourself," I warned.

"For you, I'd do anything. Now, I've got to get going. I have to meet a patient this morning. She's expecting twins."

"Okay, I'll see you later," I said, kissing her on the cheek.

"Have fun at school. Make some friends."

"I will. No problem there. It's just everyone already has their own group of friends and stuff. It's hard to just show up out of nowhere."

She smiled and sighed. "You're a great person, and people will see that soon enough. I really need to go. Lock up, okay?"

"I will. Love you."

"Love you too."


"I felt like jumping over the counter and smashing his face in. I could have done it, too. He was this arrogant jerk who had nothing on me. I would have mopped the floor with him."

"Why didn't you? I'd do it." Scott smiled, crossing his arms in front of himself.

"Because Zac's not some kind of barbaric idiot." Maya shook her head at Scott. "Unlike you, he has manners and patience."

"What the hell crawled up your ass? Why are you always on my case?" Scott said, angrily raising his voice.

"B- because you're an idiot, that's why!" Maya retorted, her voice wavering.

Good job, Maya. Geez, this is really getting old.

The other four of us sighed and rolled our eyes as the two continued to throw insults at each other. It was Kayden, Shin, Mai, Maya, Scott and me, in the cafeteria. Jett still hadn't made his morning appearance, which was weird since he's usually one of the earlybirds in our group.

"Don't worry, Zac," Mai said, raising her voice over Scott's and Maya's. "Your boss is right, you won't deal with too many of those. I've had my share before."

I remembered Mai's mother used to own an Asian grocery shop. Mai had worked cashier, starting at a young age so she could help out her family. I guess she did have to deal with the occasional asshole. Her father's business picked up soon after and her mom was able to sell the store for a fair amount. Her dad is in some kind of banking business.

"You should have like pretended to trip or something and spilled it on him. That'd have been nice." Shin grinned.

We gave a light chuckle but Shin released a hearty laugh. That was humor all on its own; he was laughing at his own joke.

Mai turned and silenced him with a kiss. Shin just grinned like and idiot while Mai leaned against him.

A moment ago Scott and Maya were tearing at each other, but now it was like nothing had ever happened; Maya was back to her calm state.

"Hey, did you guys buy tickets for the Halloween dance?" she asked.

"Dance?" my boyfriend asked.

"Yeah, this Friday. Remember? We said we'd all go to it," Mai said to us.

"This is news to me," I said. "I didn't plan on going. I didn't even know you guys wanted to go to it."

"Same, this is the first time I've heard of it," Kayden answered.

"They weren't there when we talked about it, remember?" Shin said. "Jett was supposed to tell them."

Kayden shrugged. "He must have forgotten."

"Oh well, it's this Friday, and all of us are going," Maya announced.

"Yes ma'am," Kayden and I replied. We turned to each other and chuckled.

"Are you guys going to dance together?" Scott asked with his voice lowered.

I looked painfully at Kayden, and he had the same stricken face I probably had.

"Well, I'm not the best dancer, so I'm probably..." Kade started.

I nodded. "Same. I can't dance worth crap..."

"That's bullshit and you know it, Zac," Scott stated. "You dance better than Jett and me, and a hell a lot better than Shin."

Thanks a lot, asshole...

We all knew that wasn't true. Shin's a break dancer by reputation, and we knew Scott was kidding him. I'm a better dancer than Scott, at least. I don't know about Jett.

"There's going to be like two or three slow songs, max," Maya said. "Everyone mostly just dances to fast music. You know, hiphop, techno, and house music. Not my choices, which is a good thing. If it were up to me, we'd be dancing to Led Zeppelin."

We laughed.

"She's right," Mai said, "It's going to be just people dancing in groups. We can do that."

"But guys, I seriously can't dance. I've never been to a dance before," Kayden said, embarrassed.

We all looked at him like he was from Mars. It suddenly hit me that Kayden never had the opportunity to go to a dance. It would have been weird for a guy who was known to be a quiet, dangerous loner at his old high school to go to a school dance. I knew that, but the others didn't.

"I'll teach you," I smiled.

He grinned at me and I felt him brush his leg against mine.

"Remember, it's mostly my type of music," Shin grinned. "So you boys won't need to be doing any grinding, a.k.a. dirty dancing."

"You can dirty dance to hiphop," Mai said, brushing up against her boyfriend.

Shin cleared his throat and said, "I guess you're right." He grinned after a moment.

While our friends laughed, I felt my cheeks burn right off my face.

"So did the rest of you get your tickets?" Maya asked.

"We got ours already," Mai answered for Shin and herself.

"I still need to buy mine," Scott grumbled.

"Well, they're going to be sold out soon," Maya said, annoyed. "Don't worry about it, I'll get yours for you. I can get one for free since I'm in the student council."

"Really? Thanks, that's nice of you!" Scott smiled at her. It looked like more than a smile, though.

I saw her blush and turn away. Scott looked at her, turned to us, then looked back at her, probably wondering what was wrong with her.

I looked at Kayden who just chuckled, shaking his head. Mai and Shin were too busy in each other's eyes to notice anything.

Jett showed up a few moments later. He looked a bit weird. Just the way he approached us. He looked hesitant, and a lot quieter than he usually is.

"Hey, guy," Jett said, taking a seat beside me.

We all greeted him. I saw Jett look at Kayden for a moment, and I sensed a weird vibe but shrugged it off immediately.

"Oh, Zac, I forgot to tell you and Kayden we're all going to the dance this Friday. I forgot to tell you both. Sorry about that," Jett said sheepishly.

"We know, dude," Kayden said. "Thanks, though."


That was very weird of Jett to do. He seemed out of it. I hoped no one else noticed it. When something is bothering him, he hates for people to try to pry it out of him.

I was glad the bell rang. It split us up and we all headed to our first class.


The place was packed. The dance was held in the cafeteria, but they opened the back walls so the room spilled out to La Place. Altogether it was as large as our three gymnasiums when the walls were open. It could easily hold everyone who goes to our school, but there were probably only maybe four hundred people there. Our school has a little more than a thousand people.

Our group arrived in clusters. None of us can drive, so we had a few parents drive us there. It was semi formal, so the guys wore dress pants and nice shirts. Everyone dressed a little different. Scott actually looked pretty sharp. He had everything tucked, a nice tie and a cool belt. He's one of those guys who has clothes that always fit him perfectly. If it wasn't for his attitude and the fact I'm totally in love with Zac, I could have liked him, as a boyfriend I mean.

Jett wore a nice shirt with no tie. The neck was exposed and he wore a cool surfer's necklace, one of those white ones. His sleeves were folded a little past his elbows and it looked great. His large upper body filled the shirt well, and it made him look very muscular. His broad shoulders gave him that jock look. He had the same pants as everyone, but when he bent over, you could tell he had a nice ass. I knew I shouldn't be looking, but I knew Zac saw it too. He grinned at me when we saw each other looking at the same thing.

Shin was a total surprise. He went in his own style. The laid back Shin style. He had fairly baggy pants and a blood-red shirt that had three buttons undone from the top. He had a nice gold necklace. The cuffs of the sleeves were undone and folded once, so they hung around his wrist and exposed his cool gold bracelet. He wore a tie, but is was very loose and hung around his neck. His shirt was partially tucked, giving him a rebellious look. Of course his hair was spiked, so he looked great. If anyone could pull off making sloppy pass for great style, it was Shin. I know if Scott, Jett or I tried anything like that, we'd look like fools.

Zac just looked perfect. Maybe I was biased, but he was looking excellent. He wore a nice dark blue shirt with no tie, a cool white gold necklace, and he had his sleeves rolled. Not as high as Jett's, but just enough to show his nice arms. His shirt was tucked around his fit body. I was afraid I was going to pop out in the open when I saw him. He was that perfect.

We were graced by the presence of the ladies. There were Mai, Maya, and some other girl Mai brought along. I think her name was Lenne. She was cool. She was really outgoing and social. Not overly enthusiastic like that Alicia girl. Just right, with a bit of a spunky attitude. She fit in just right. I didn't feel a threat from her at all. She was just great. If I were straight, I wouldn't mind dating a girl like that. She might have been a bit too much for me, but damn, would I be interested in a body like that. She had this light green dress with a cool broach of a green dragon. It looked like an Asian dress, so I guess Mai hooked her up. They were talking about it a bit, but I wasn't interested. I'm pretty sure it was Mai's.

Mai was as beautiful as usual. She wore a gorgeous long red dress. It fit her form perfectly. She had the great skin, hot legs, and the bosom. She was hot and on fire. She was a perfect match with Shin.

Maya wore a simple black dress, but she looked amazing. It was like her own beauty drew attention away from her dress. It looked like she had spent a long time on her hair, but it was probably worth it.

When we got into the dance area, we quickly grabbed a table for just us and claimed it. In no time, we were all on the dance floor. Zac and I had a few practice dances during the week, and it was fun. I couldn't believe how great he danced, but he showed me, and I learned. When I went with everyone to the floor, I was a bit self-conscious to begin with, but quickly just got into the music. Shin even showed a bit of his break dancing moves, which were very impressive. When a slow song came on, Lenne quickly grabbed me and had me dance with her. I really liked her but I hoped to God she didn't have a crush on me. Not only did I not want to hurt her feelings, but I felt like if I told her, she'd gut me. Jett and Zac sat out, but I noticed Shin and Mai dancing rather closely. It reminded me of the night during the week when I asked Zac to dance dirty with me the way Shin and Mai had talked about. We got pretty hot doing it and were in his room in no time, ready to explode. I was happy to see Scott and Maya dancing. It was about time one of them made the move.

There was a second slow song, and my dance partner left me to dance with Jett. I was a bit relieved; I guess she's one of those girls who likes having fun in groups. She just wanted to dance. Zac and me just talked and played footsies while the rest of our group danced. Scott and Maya still danced together. Maya's head lay on Scott's shoulder, and Scott rested his head against hers. They looked great.

We danced for a couple more hours. During some songs we just sat out and talked among ourselves. We learned more about Lenne. She had just recently moved to Whitby with her adoptive mom. Recently adopted, too. It made me think of Rick, but I wasn't sad. In no time it was the last dance, and it was a slow one. Scott pulled Maya again to the floor. She acted like she didn't want to go, but I knew as well as everyone she was more than willing to go up with him. Shin took Mai, and so Lenne was left to choose out of the three of us. I was right; she was looking for friends and fun, not a relationship. She chose Zac.

Jett and I were left at the table. I tried talking with him a few times, but he was a bit distant. It was weird. I tried not to think anything of it and watched Zac and Lenne. When I felt a pair of eyes on me, I turned to Jett and found him staring at me intently.

"What?" I asked.

He hesitated for a moment but then leaned forward. "Follow me."

I got up and followed his lead. I didn't know what was on his mind, but I sure wanted to know if there was anything I could do to help him.


Kayden and I made our way through the empty hallway. I needed to talk to him alone. I guided him to the furthest area from the Cafeteria, the west end. As we walked, we didn't say a thing.

I recalled the events that made me a bit untrusting of Kayden:

I was walking towards the cafeteria last week when Ted approached me.

"Hey," Ted said, blocking my way.

"Yeah, what's up?" I said nonchalantly.

He looked a bit hesitant. "You know what's up. I got the shit kicked out of me. Me and two other guys."

"Yeah, I heard. But no one really knows anything about it. You haven't said anything," I told him.

"That's because he threatened to kill me if it got out..." Ted said, a bit weary.

That got my attention. "Fuck, then don't tell me, dude. Shit, what if he's serious?"

"Which makes me obligated to tell you," he said fiercely. "You and your friends hang out with Kayden, but the dude is fucked up. He's like a demon or something. I know my limits. Bullying is one thing, but when lives are on the line...shit I don't even want to go there. Just be careful around him and don't piss him off. It was three on one, Jett. One of my friends is twice my size and was hospitalized. The other one doesn't want to hang out with me."

I was speechless. "You're...shitting me, right?"

"You think I'd admit it? Fuck, man, I know when I'm beat, and that Kayden guy did it. I just want to forget about it. But I knew I had to tell you. If something happens to the next captain, it's my ass in the air."

I didn't care about being captain; I was just worried about my friends. I like Kayden; my best friend is dating him. What the hell am I supposed to do?

"Thanks, man. I appreciate it. Don't tell anyone else, okay?" I said as nicely as I could. I was pissed, so I don't know how I sounded when I said that. "Just forget it ever happened. I just hope you know not to pick on people smaller than you."

"Fuck, man, I'm all over that. I ain't touching anyone ever unless they attack me first."

I believed him, and watched him walk off.

"You there, dude?" Kayden said.

I was suddenly brought back to where we were; the west end of school, the new area that was added last summer.

"There's something that needs to be cleared up," I said coldly. I had to be cold. If I showed fear, it'd be over. "I know about Ted."

My legs were stiff. I was suddenly afraid I'd piss myself. I don't know if it was the dim lighting in the area or something, but I think Kayden's eyes changed colour. They were a pale grey; cold and deadly. I felt like if I made any sudden movement I was dead. I pushed on.

"What's up with that, man? You went a little too far didn't you?" I asked.

"He deserved it. If he thinks he can fuck with me then he has another think coming. Him and anyone else who thinks they can get away with it," he said, with more edge than he needed.

It was taking everything in me to not fall over from the trembling in my legs.

"You can't do that, man. Dude, get a grip. What if something happens to you?"

"Nothing will happen to me. What's it to you?" he said angrily.

I'd never seen Kayden angry; he was always smiling and kind. I didn't know this person.

I knew the real reason I was worried. "If something happens to you, it'll kill Zac. You know that, right? He's my best friend, Kade, and I don't want him to be hurt."

"I won't die," he said as surely as saying stop signs are red.

"But what if something happens and someone does come after you, or even worse, after Zac?" I yelled.

He was quiet for a moment, but the dangerous look in his eyes didn't waver. "I'll protect him. No one will hurt him."

I was desperately looking for a way to get through to him. ", don't do this. You can't do this. You put someone in the hospital. I bet you this isn't the first time. That night in Toronto, I know you took those guys out. Does Zac know?"

He just stared at me for a moment. For a second I thought he was going to pull his fists back.

"He saw the end of it. He stopped me, though. Those guys won't hurt Zac anymore. I made sure of it." He smiled evilly. "Did Ted tell you about me?"

"You won't touch any of them, Kade. If something happens to them, I'm exposing you to Zac and the police."

"Are you threatening me?" he asked, taking a step forward.

I was a second away from just taking off. I was afraid he was going to kill me, but I pushed on again. "I won't stand around and let you hurt Zac. It would hurt him more to know this side of you. I don't know what happened to you back where you came from, but you need to let it go. You have a clean break here, man; don't ruin it. I really like you, and you make my best friend happy. I just don't want to see him hurt." I emphasized the last part.

Kayden turned around and started to walk off. "You can't touch me, so don't even try. Nothing will happen to Zac. I'll die before I let anyone hurt him again. I swear it." He started walking off but stopped again. "You can tell Ted not to worry, I won't kill him. A beaten bulldog won't be too enthusiastic to tell about his beating. He's not a threat to me." He turned around with his hands in his pockets, his grey eyes cutting me like a sword. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't mention any of this to anyone." With that he walked off.

The moment he turned the corner, I fell. My legs buckled beneath me.

I'd appreciate it my ass.

That was a threat.


Copyright 2004 Ryan Keith

Editor's note: The coffee shops in this chapter are actually Tim Hortons, not Tim Horton's, and they do capitalize "Ice Cappuccino" and "Ice Cap".

Wow! Did you guys expect that? I bet you didn't^^. So what the f*** is up with Lenne. She suddenly shows up. Ah well, must be someone. Ol' Ryan must be up to no good, eh? Friend or foe? Kayden pretty much spelled it out for you, so don't need to speculate too much^. But Kayden, wow, I scared myself when I wrote this one. I'd never want to cross someone like him. Be sure none of you are bullying, wouldn't want some kid in an advance calculus class breaking out his protractor and taking you out. Hehe jokes^. Yeah I'm not too big on bullies, I never let them get away with things when I'm around. I'm glad I didn't need to bring it to University, everyone there is there for a reason^^.

Anyways, that's enough about my life. You guys have a good one. Remember, its

And thank Aaron too, he makes these chapters make sense. Check him and the crew out at


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