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Loner: The Moment

"Caleb! Can you and your friends cut the noise just a little, please?!" Aroha yelled up to her son's room. She liked the new house, its size, and that even though it was large sound carried through it very easily. The noise of what she assumed to be wrestling 11-year-olds ceased above her. She stood at the bottom of the stairs and listened. She took a deep breath. "Ahh, silence," she sighed to her self. She headed over to the couch in her darkly colored living room to sit and relax but then realized she hadn't tended to her plants in the family room. Plants -- trees, herbs, roots -- were what she knew. She had a green thumb passed down to her by her mother and grandmother and was proud the she had successfully instilled the same skill in her twins Jas and Dal.

She rounded the corner inspecting the dirt underneath her nails and walked into the family. She jumped when hearing the word shit exclaimed by her son. She looked up and got her wits about her to find Dal and some girl reclining quite snugly on the chaise. She blinked a couple of times and put a hand to her forehead allowing Dal and the girl to sit up and scoot away from each other.

"Mum, this-this is um . . . N-nokomis," Dal said nervously, smiling up at his mother.

Aroha surveyed the girl who smiled bashfully and looked at her fleetingly. She was pretty, she had to admit with long, long hair. Aroha took another look at her and thought out loud, "Indian? Rather, Native American?" Nokomis flashed her a "Who? Me?" sort of look to which Aroha shook her head again, "I'm sorry . . . Nokomis was it? Are you Indian --er-- Native American?"

"Yes, Mrs...?" Nokomis found it startling that she had yet to learn Dal and Jas's last name.

"Aroha. That's my name. Aroha," Aroha filled in holding out her hand. "Nice to meet you." Nokomis shook her hand, and Aroha cast a quick glance at Dal. "Well, Nokomis, judging by the looks my son seems to be flashing me--" she sent a harsh glare at Dal while trying to conceal her smile "--and seeing the . . . condition you and he were in when I entered . . . it was nice meeting you." She began to leave the room. Once she rounded the corner she said loud enough for Dal to hear, "We will have a nice chat later, Dal."

With his mother gone, Dal sidled back next to Nokomis and slowly wrapped an arm around her waist. "So?" he began leaning in closely to her. She pushed him back. "What? My mum?" he asked her incredulously.

Nokomis laughed, "No, we have to go." She looked at her watch and then at Dal, "You have to take me home, and we've gotta pick up Jas."

"He's with Hunter and Salene. He wouldn't care if I was a bit late," Dal smiled leaning forward again.

"Exactly," Nokomis agreed, but to Dal's chagrin, she pushed him back once more. "Exactly why we need to go. We gotta rescue your brother."

"From Hunter? What's he gonna do? It's not like he's gonna root for Jas," Dal responded.

"Root?" Nokomis asked, confused.

"Fuck him," Dal answered bluntly, "After what happened at your cookout thing, Hunter's gone from seeming as if he's gonna waste Jas to just plain ignoring him. I thought you had talked to him."

"Hunter's just a bit guarded."

"A bit?! He has titanium walls up to Jas! He won't let him or anyone in. He goes to school. Sits quietly. Gets in fights with random people who try to get at him and goes home. He's now willing to let Jas hang out with him, but then he won't speak to him or if he does it's severely limited. Then I have to watch Jas mope around looking pathetic and act real pissy just cos of Hunter."

"Well Hunter has good reason to be guarded. Anyone who went through what he did would," Nokomis defended. All that Dal had said was true, but she still felt that she had to defend her best friend.

Dal found himself growing more annoyed, "What did he go through? No one will answer that question!"

"Just trust me. I met Hunter when his family first moved here right after the incident. The Hunter you know now is no where near the guy I met, but according to his parents and Salene, he still hasn't fully returned to his old self. Now let's go!" With that she stood and began to leave the room, leaving Dal to silently follow behind her.


"Admit it, Hunter, you were having fun," Salene smiled as she and Hunter sat on the ground in front of a large tree.

"Yeah so?" he smiled back. "What do I do about him?"

Salene looked over to the frozen yogurt shop, A Touch of Yogurt, where Jas stood pointing at various flavors, getting his, her, and Hunter's desserts. She turned back to her brother and asked, "What do you wanna do?"

"I like him, Salene," Hunter said softly.

"Well duh -- you just don't kiss anyone," Salene through back with a smile.

"No, I mean like him as a friend now. . . I just--I don't know how to have friends anymore," he sighed.

"You got Nokomis. You got me, and you got Jas. That's a good start."

"Yeah, but I used to be so--"

"But does that really matter anymore? Does that matter now? No. That life's behind us, Hunter. It's behind all of us. Let it go," Salene interrupted softly.

At that moment Jas came out of the shop with three cups of frozen yogurt. He bent down, "Alright. Strawberry with hundred and thousands for you, Sal--" he handed her the cup of frozen yogurt --"Smoothie for you Hunter, and root beer with pistachio and peanut butter cups for me." Hunter screwed up his face after Jas mentioned his yogurt-topping combo.

"Don't knock it," Jas smiled, "It's good." He sat down on the other side of Hunter. "This was a good idea, Salene. To skip today."

Salene shrugged, "I think it's about time for a break."

Jas thought about the recent weeks.

After the incident at Nokomis's cookout, Hunter completely ignored Jas. At lunch Hunter sat mostly silently, only speaking to Nokomis if she spoke to him directly. Nokomis tried to get him to talk to Jas, but it never happened. Finally Jas just gave up on it.

Jas then began to sit with Dal and his friends at lunch. He came to find that they were not the jocks of the school but were a group of them. Dal's friend Sean and Kraze got the twins to try out for the swim team. Coach Anderson, after seeing who easily the brothers cut through the water told them both that they were on the team first day of tryouts.

After putting them on the team, the young coach asked, "Can either of you dive?" The answer was yes; so he had them dive too. After seeing what they could do, he told them, "Jas, you're the faster swimmer. Dal, you're the better diver. I want you here bright and early to get a swim in before class start. Six a.m. Got it?" Both Jas and Dal knew that it wasn't a request but an order.

Jas liked Dal's friends. Krazy -- he found out -- had been nicknamed that by his mom cos of his erratic yet almost always cheerful behavior. He agreed. The kid wouldn't stop; he was a fireball of energy and had a bad habit of not knowing when to censor himself. Sean on the other hand was mostly quiet, but when he did talk it was either about swimming or diving.

All of Dal's friends were fun to hang with, but Jas missed being with Hunter and Nokomis -- even with Hunter's silence. About two weeks later during lunch, Hunter walked up to Jas and Dal's table. He said nothing. He just stood there. Most of the guys at the table stopped talking. Sean's girlfriend, Amy whispered, "Why is `Crusher' just standing there?"

Another guy on the swim team, Dan -- who constantly tried to fight Hunter -- chimed in, "God, he looks crazier than usual."

Jas was about to get up and confront Dan, but Dal softly put a hand on his shoulder. He leaned over, "It may not've been nice, but Dan is right. He looks bad." Jas looked up at Hunter seeing that Dal was right. Hunter's hair had grown shaggier since the first day of school. He slouched more and his skin had taken that sallow color again. Jas looked into his eyes, which were clear and focused. Hunter shrugged so slightly it almost went unnoticed. With that, he went back to his and Nokomis's table.

"Okay, he is crazy," Amy muttered, shaking her head.

"Of course he is," Dan joined in. "You guys heard about the two cops he took out, right?"

"Cops?" Krazy asked. "I thought it was just some kid."

"Dan's right," someone else answered, "While he was fighting the kid, a cop tried to stop him, and he took the guy out! And then another cop came in to help and he almost took him out too."

"Wait. Who told you that?" Amy asked.

"My sister's boyfriend went to his old school. He was there when it happened..."

Jas stood and left the table.

"Where's he goin'?" Sean asked.

"Back to Hunter's table," Dal answered.

"Who's Hunt--" Sean began and then it dawned on him. "Oh."

Jas was happy that after that day Hunter was no longer silent with him, but he was by no means very talkative and ignored about as much as before. All that mattered to him is that at least Hunter invited him back, not Nokomis but Hunter. As for today, Jas was seeing a different Hunter -- mostly when it came to Salene. It was almost as if he had become. . . .normal; however, he soon realized that Salene got a sort of "special treatment" from Hunter.

"...thinking about?" Jas heard Hunter ask.

"Wha...?" he responded.

"You were deep in thought. You barely ate any of your yogurt," Hunter answered.

"Oh sorry," Jas said bashfully. He looked past Hunter. "Where's Salene?"

Hunter laughed, "I told you you were out of it." Jas smiled and Hunter just gazed at him. Jas went back to eating his frozen yogurt. Hunter closed his eyes and shook his head, mentally chastising himself for finding Jas's action so . . . sensual.

Jas noticed Hunter's staring, "What? The toppings?" Hunter lied and nodded a `yes'. Jas held the cup out to him. "Try it. You'll like it. I promise."

"No thanks. That just doesn't look good at all," Hunter declined.

"No really. It's a good combination of flavors," he gathered a spoonful, "Try it." Hunter shook his head no, and Jas pushed the spoonful towards his mouth. "C'mon. Just try it, okay?" He pushed the spoonful towards Hunter's mouth again. Hunter turned, fell back onto his elbows, and turned his head away. Jas hovered slightly over him. The yogurt started to melt, dripping onto Hunter's cheek. Jas laughed and ate the spoonful quickly. He got out a napkin and wiped the yogurt off Hunter's face. After all the yogurt was cleaned off, Jas's hand lingered there still wiping Jas's face. He got caught in Hunter's gaze. "You have nice eyes Hunter," he mentioned softly.

Hunter felt a blush rise over his face. "Thanks."

Jas didn't care that they were on the sidewalk downtown. He knew what he wanted to do. He began to lean in closer to Hunter, who quickly looked away and saw Salene walking towards them holding a small flower pot. He blinked for a moment and looked back at Jas who was even closer. He figured Jas was going to try to kiss him and was surprised when Jas went for his neck instead. He pushed Jas away roughly. Jas glared at him accusingly.

"I'm sorry," Hunter whispered, looking away. "We-we can't be like that."

"Why not?!" Jas demanded. "We both want it."

Hunter shook his head, "No we don't."

Salene looked down at the two of them. Having seen the situation play out before her, she decided to change the subject. "You guys like my flower? It's a brown rose and red one. I'm hoping to get one of those really dark brown ones. I had them pot both. Maybe it'll cross breed or something?"

Jas had fallen silent and stuck to eating his now melted frozen yogurt.

"Maybe?" Hunter offered back to Salene.

The three heard a honking horn when Dal and Nokomis pulled up in his and Jas's car. Jas got up immediately. "Look. It's our ride." He hurried to the car and went around to the backseat on the driver's side and got in slamming his door shut. Both Nokomis and Dal jumped. Dal turned around. "What happened?"

Salene climbed in the backseat, purposely sitting between Hunter and Jas. "He's letting you drive without a license, Nokomis?" she asked with concern.

"She has a partial one," Dal defended and asked, "So you guys have fun?"

Jas and Hunter both stayed silent, an angry expression written across Jas's face; a sad one across Hunter's. Salene answered him, "It was good. Look at the flower I bought."

Next one to be here almost immediately! (It's 3/4 written!!!) Thanks for sticking with me and reading after the long waits.