Chapter Two: Number One Crush
"Hey Josh do me a favor sweetie and wake sleeping beauty up," said Loraine as she pulled the bus in front of AP Prep.
"Umm, Ok," the red head stammered.
"Is Joshy boy scared of mean old Johnston?" said David Greene, Josh's best friend.
"Please bitch I aint scared of shit," Josh said then flipped David off and strutted to the back of the bus. Along the way he exchanged hive fives and fist bumps with various people and even stopped to tell a few corny jokes, but the fun ended when he got to Travis' seat. Josh hesitated then took a deep breath and shook the boy. Getting no response he shook Travis harder and got the shock of his fourteen year old life when the sleeping boy shifted and latched on his arm.
"God, let go already would ya. The bus driver just wanted me to wake you up. Anybody got a crowbar I can barrow `cuz this kid has some serious retard strength, "Josh said drawing a round of laughter.
"Isn't that cute, our little Joshykins has a boyfriend. My they grow up so fast, "David said and laughed his head off.
"Please I wouldn't hit that with yours dude," Josh shoot back to him.
"Ooh burn man," Jason Miller, David's partner in crime said from the seat next to him.
"Hey fuck you."
"We've been through this before numb nuts, I'm exit only and you're so not my type."
"Right, we both know you want this dick. Ouch," David said after Jason elbowed him in the ribs.
Meanwhile in the back of the bus Josh was the weirdest day of his life. The eighth grader was usually brass and commanded respect where ever he went, but he found himself griped with a crippling shyness. He began fidgeting the moment Travis grabbed his arm and he never noticed how dirty the floor was until that morning. Josh knew he should have protested or made up an excuse not to wake the boy, but that would have drawn undue questions from his friends, and that was the last thing he wanted right now. He schooled his nerves and put on the mask of bravado he wore so well and hopped no one noticed his sweaty palms or the blush he felt creeping across his pale cheeks. He nodded to David and Jason as they exited the bus and laughed at his current predicament all the way inside school. He guffawed at himself as people streamed past and stared at the pair. He glanced at Travis and wondered if he was ever going to budge. Once the others left his hazel eyes drank in the brunette and honed in on the boy's gapping mouth and thick lips. His breath hitched and averted his eyes.
No he can't think like that about Johnston. Not here, not now, it was too dangerous. OK yeah so Travis wasn't an Abercrombie boy like Josh. And maybe he was younger than the red head and kind of chunky. He had to stop perving on him before someone noticed. Why was this so hard, why couldn't he just talk to Travis like the other guys. It sucked, Josh couldn't stop thinking about him but Travis didn't even know Josh exists.
He kept saying today was the day he'd finally go up to him and say hi, but he just couldn't do it. Josh was such a pussy. He lived ten minutes from Travis and he'd been there a lot of times just to watch him read or watch TV from his hiding spot in the bushes. Josh knew he was messed up in the head, but he can't help himself. Josh didn't know if the other boy batted for the same team, and even if he did it wasn't like he'd be into him. Hell Travis probably took shits bigger than him. Ugh, he couldn't keep doing this to himself. If Josh didn't talk to him today he was going to go insane.
Josh was pulled out of his thoughts by the warning chime. However Travis was still sleeping with his vice grip on Josh's poor wrist. The awkward situation came to an end when Travis let out a huge yawn then finally woke up and released him. He off the bus without sparing the shorter boy one glance. Josh flexed his arm trying to get the circulation going again then watched Travis head inside. He followed behind the other boy and thought. You're such an asshole. Travis turned and stared at Josh as if he heard the ginger's thought. Caught off guard Josh mumbled, "Um, you know if we don't hurry we're gonna be late to home room and you know what an ass Mr. Rosh is. So, um yeah let's hoof it, bye."
Well that was peculiar. First he insults me then acts sociable, Travis thought to himself.
"Oh come on you know you want to kiss him," his inner voice said. Travis put up his mental barriers again the link closed. He sleep walked to home room and snoozed through the morning announcements. Josh hesitated when homeroom ended then saw his chance, gathered up his courage and woke the brunette up. Still half asleep Travis walked right past him again, but this only strengthened Josh's resolve.
After he waded through the sea of students Travis made his way to his locker. As he was about to open it, a hand slammed it shut. Jordan Maxwell towered over him: the brain dead jock made it his mission to torment the brunette at every turn and today was no different.
"How's my favorite freak today? Oh, can't wait to blow me you say. OK, just this once since I'm such a nice guy," Jordan said.
"Move it," came Travis' cold reply.
"It speaks, I'm shocked."
"I can talk, just not very well. Ergo I don't that often, especially not to meatheads like you. Now move it."
"Make me queer bait."
Any other day Travis would have sat through Jordan's crap until he got bored and left him alone. Instead he shoved the blond away and sent him flying a yard down the hallway, much to everyone's surprise. A small crowd gathered to watch the potential fight, but before things had a chance to escalate the chime for first period sounded and everyone rushed off. Seeing his opening Travis got his English notebook and math text, and then raced off to Art with one thing on his mind, what the hell just happened?
He loved free period art class; perfect for napping or doing homework he should have done earlier. He had almost nodded off when the commotion of other students roused him. The rumor mill had worked overtime and the minor incident in the hall had morphed into him putting Jordan in hospital. Resigning all hope of getting some sleep, he began to doodle.
Their teacher walked through the room surveying her students, offering a complement here and constructive criticism there, but always with a positive attitude. She had never seen Travis produce anything above crude contour line drawings and so was quite surprised with the level of detail in his current sketch.
"Travis dear, this is an interesting piece. I suggest you use a larger medium to capture more of the fine details. Oh and when did you start drawing with your left hand?"
Joy, I get to use the canvas like a big boys, was his thought as he dismissed her questions with a nod. He was half done sketching the outline when a familiar scene took shape: Oblivion's domain. Travis felt a head ache coming on as he packed up. He was halfway down the hall when someone called to him.
"Hey guy wait up, Ms. Molly wanted me to ask you where you thought up that painting. Oh, and Mr. Martin's subbing for Ms. Campbell's English class today. Um and like that fight you had with Jordan was so sweet. The look on his face when you pushed him was fucking priceless. I'm so glad someone finally put that douche in his place," Josh rambled out in his squeaky voice.
"Um, OK. It was a dream; there was no fight and thanks," Travis said in a rush.
"Ugh," Travis replied and hastily scrawled his message on a piece of loose leaf paper.
"Oh ok, um you're welcome and see you in gym."
"I have Campbell for English too."
Class with Mr. Martin meant a one way ticket to the bleachers for Travis. Stupid Asthma, he thought to himself. And knowing his luck Maxwell and his cronies would also be there. Letting out a sigh he and Josh sprinted to the athletic block. Well fuck me sideways with a foot long dildo, he thought surprised he hadn't started wheezing yet.
"Ha, now I'd pay to see that," Josh replied to Travis' unspoken comment. Yep, it was official: Travis was losing his mind. There was no way Josh heard his thoughts. He felt a full blown migraine coming on and they were nowhere near the gym yet. They broke into a full run, but it was Josh who struggled to keep up. They made it into the gym ten seconds apart, just as the tardy signal chimed. Josh glared daggers at the other boy when Mr. Martin ordered him to run laps. Once he was done, Mr. Martin told the class they were to work in pairs and write a twenty page report on Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, due at the end of the month. He then passed out the assignment packet and dismissed them to the locker room while he went to his office. There was much groaning all around, but what did they expect from Honors English. They'd already covered Of Mice and Men, Romeo & Juliet, and a module on Greek Mythology this year.
Since he had no social life, Travis had read most of the book over Easter and figured it wouldn't take long to finish the last hundred or so odd pages. The only problem was the partner part of the equation. He pulled his post-it leaden book out and dug right in where he left off. A few minutes passed when Josh plopped down beside him.
"Hey, you're Travis Johnston right? Umm, I meant to introduce myself earlier. Joshua Giovanni, resident smartass and the dude you had a kung fu action grip on this morning. Uh, um you want to do the Shelly paper together or what?"
Josh couldn't believe he had the guts to finally introduce himself to his number one biggest crush. He felt a smile tugging at the corners of his lips, and his cheeks flushed crimson when he finally let it cement itself on his cherubic face. He couldn't remember ever feeling this ecstatic or alive. His heart raced a thousand miles a second as sweat trickled down his palms. His breath quickened as josh felt a familiar hardness tent his athletic shorts. And then the boy beside him spoke:
"No. Nein. Niet."
"Me thinks thou dost protest too much," baited Travis' inner voice.
"What?" Josh said as he came crashing down from cloud nine.
"Leave!" Travis said, drawing several people's attention.
"But I was just trying to be friendly, I just thought maybe..."
"You just thought maybe you'd say a few kind words to the freak and he'd be duped into doing your work for you? That you'd come work that cocky little smile of yours on me and I'd bow down to you like everyone else does?" Travis replied advancing on the smaller boy.
"Why are you so mad at me, I just thought you could use someone to talk to. You're not the person I thought you were," Josh said and took a step back, on the verge of tears.
"Fuck you. Don't ever assume you know me! You don't know the first damn thing about me and don't have the right to speak on me. Hold your tongue," Travis said and stared down the other boy.
"What did I ever do to make you hate me so much huh? All I did was treat you nice and try to talk to you. You don't know how hard it was just to say hi to you. You don't even know the first damn thing about me!" Josh said and got right in Travis' face. On the other side of the room David and Jason were rolling on the floor laughing their asses off.
"Dude who knew Travis could talk much less curse. Like it's the funny shit ever, I'm so posting this to YouTube as When Angry Black Attacks," David said cell in hand.
" The Weasley Twins aint got shit on you. Damn well I heard that, ya think him and Josh are gonna fight?"
"Hmm, could be. $20 says Travis wipes the floor with Joshy-boy over there."
"Bull shit I've seen Josh scrap and that kid aint no joke," David said.
"Whatever man we have a bet or what?"
"Yeah, this'll be the easiest twenty bucks I've ever made."
"Aside from blowing me you mean."
"Cut. Print. Gay."
"Well you would be the expert in that area mister switch hitter."
"Hey David don't blow up my spot like that."
"Sorry du—Oh shit!" Jason said in response to the scene across the room.
Josh's fist slammed into Travis' jaw, catching him underneath his right eye. The red-head pulled back his fist to deliver another blow, but doubled over from a gut shot. Travis followed up with a vicious upper cut and blood gushed from Josh's nose as the fist made contact. Then all hell broke loose as several of Josh's friends piled onto Travis. And then there was only pain and darkness.
Travis felt a tingling sensation run up his spine and his vision blurred. And then the screaming began. He felt the presence of something pull him deeper and deeper under its influence As though underwater he watched himself bash Josh's face in then take a blow to back of the head from Jordan. Travis stumbled but caught himself and then charged forward. The two collided and he was pushed backwards by the force of the impact. He fell but executed a back flip to right himself. Travis charged Jordan again and drilled his knee into the blonde's chest. Jordan went down hard and was out.
A brown haired sophomore caught him from behind. David Mitchell crashed his massive frame into Travis, and sent him head first into the bleachers. The boy's forehead split open, however the presence that controlled his body compelled him to get up. He smiled then wiped the blood out of his eyes. David made to strike but Travis caught his wrist and tossed the muscle bound teen over his shoulder. He straddled David's hips and rained down blow after blow on the boy's lanky frame until Jason's muscular arms forced him face down. His eyes closed and everything faded to black.
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