I walk into the
bathroom. Greg looks like he just saw a ghost when he sees me
“Wow...” is all I can say.
“Were you spying on us?” Greg asks at that moment.
“No...but I did hear everything you just had to say,” I respond.
Jax looks at me with
a disgruntled face. I can't take it to be honest. When was Jax
planning on breaking the news to me that he was already in a GAY
Jax shakes his head, “You can't just come barging in on conversations.”
They are trying to change the subject.
“You two are gay.”
Jax looks at Greg. Greg looks at Jax.
This has blown my fucking mind.
Jax shakes his head,
“I was going to tell you. I was going to let you know
everything. I just needed to talk to Greg first.”
“Jax you ruined everything,” Greg lets his friend know.
I”m sitting there completely surprised.
“Greg now is
not the time to be pointing the fucking finger.”
“You brought this dude around!” Greg responds all of a sudden, “Everything was fine. Everything. We could have our cakes and eat it too. But now look ---everything is falling apart.”
“Is that why you lied to Dre?” I asked Greg at that moment, “It was you. Wasn't it Greg? Hell...it was you who planned that party. It was you who made Dre come in there acting all crazy.”
“I don't owe you an explanation fag,” Greg tells me all of a sudden.
“Fag? The self hate is real,” I laugh at that moment.
Greg is heated. I can tell he is.
Jax turns to Greg, “Is it true?”
I don't understand why he has to ask him. It was almost like he wasn't willing to believe this guilty ass expression that Greg had on his face so far. I wasn't saying Pia was some angel but I was saying that this had Greg written all over it.
Greg hesitates in
answering, “I did it...for all of us. Jax you know what I mean
when I say that.”
I'm not sure what Greg means by “all of us” when he says that. But right at this moment he's just odd. He's just standing there with this strange look on his face and I can tell he's not mad at Greg. I don't get it! Greg literally put the battery in Dre's back for Dre to attack Jax. Now Jax was acting like he wasn't mad at him.
“Mario, can I have a minute...alone with Greg?” Jax asks at that moment.
joking? This guy is a liar...”
“MARIO. Please...” Jax states again.
I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe Jax wasn't as mad at Greg as I was. I didn't know how deep their relationship was. I didn't care. It didn't excuse the fact that Greg was sitting here lying at this moment.
I head to bed that night. Everything is on my mind. I can't stop thinking about how upset Dre was about Jax and I. Dre was in jail right now. He was locked up in god knows where and I wasn't able to help him. Then there is Greg and Jax.
The next day everyone is walking on egg shells. No one seems to know what's happening. Jae Jae hasn't shown up for lunch. Kaysha is barely eating. Chyna and Bambi are the only ones talking. Then there is Greg and Jax.
I watch as they keep looking at each other and then at me...and then at each other again at the lunch table the next day.
I can't take it anymore.
I get up at that moment and start walking away.
“Mario?” I hear Kaysha call out.
I ignore her and walk out into the hallway. Before I know it I am on the star bridge staring out into space. I can hear the footsteps after me and I know it's just more drama headed my way.
“Kaysha I just
need to figure things out...”
“Maybe I can help you,” Jax's voice responds.
He's walking up to me. Handsome sexy Jax with his custom swagger and his irresistibly coy smile. He's gorgeous at that moment as the light from the stars reflects against his face. He comes and stands right next to me on the star bridge. He looks out and holds onto the railings with me.
Within a matter of seconds his left pink gently brushes against my pinky.
“You not going to get in trouble with your boyfriend or your girlfriend...or both?” I ask at that moment.
“Pia is not my
girlfriend,” Jax responds, “And with Greg...it's
“Love is always complicated,” I respond.
He laughs at that moment and stares up at the stars, “I told you not to get involved with us. Didn't I? I warned you. Stars burn you when you get close. Man----I tried to warn you that the Dollhouse was trouble.”
“Is this supposed to make me feel better?”
“Listen. You have Kaysha and Jae Jae to make you feel better. I'm always going to keep it 100 with you,” Jax responds and faces me, “It's clear I should have been honest with you from the beginning and I apologize. And I'm to keep it 100 with you. Anything you want to ask...I'll answer...”
“Just like that?”
Jax leans in at that moment. He squints. His sexy eye penetrate me as though they were a thick long dick mindfucking me at every turn.
He whispers with the sexiness only Jax can muster, “Just like that.”
it 100. What's going on between you and Greg?”
“Fuck. All the time,” Jax responds.
Why the fuck does this hurt my chest at that moment? I can't hold a fucking candle to Greg. Besides Jax Greg was one of the sexiest men I've met. His body was carved out all perfectly. I could only imagine the two of them having sex. This grinding of muscle and pure sexiness. I can feel jealousy all over my body.
“Years,” Jax responds.
“Do you love him?” I ask.
Jax takes a deep breath. Fuck. Here we go. Here is that drama that I was trying to avoid. Here was that confusion that I saw so many times in Dre's eyes.
“In our own
“You're beating around the bush,” I warn Jax.
right. I promised to keep it 100,” Jax straightens up and
crosses his arms before answering a cold, solemn, “Yes.”
It comes as another stab to me.
I am just laughing
at this point, “Wow...”
“Something funny?” Jax asks.
funny how you were blasting me for Dre but you were doing the same
thing this entire time. Fucking hypocritical really.”
“Yo watch your mouth.”
Jax grabs me at that moment. He pulls me close to him. He shakes me up at that moment. It's not the way you would shake up another guy. It's the way you would shake up a lover. It's gentle and when he's done being aggressive, his face lingers close to mine.
Several students walk past at that moment. They must recognize us. If they don't recognize me they had to recognize Jax. All the students on the spaceship knew Jax.
“Sure you want
to be this close to me,” I state at that moment, “People
“You think I care about what people say?” Jax asks.
His breath is fresh as always. He's close to me. He's not moving. Feeling Jax so close to me right now brights all those feelings back. It brings all that happiness back.
“Are you going
to keep sleeping with Greg?” I ask Jax.
“I mean that's Greg Hampton. He's probably the MAN in bed.”
I remember how Chyna was screaming. Other questions come into my mind just thinking about Greg in bed. Was Greg the top? Was Jax the top? Did it matter? Were they versatile? Did they kiss? Did it all matter? This jealousy and this feeling that I am not the first man that Jax is thinking about in this way is blowing my mind.
“Do you really want to know how Greg Hampton is in bed---bro?” Jax asks.
“Did he fuck you?” I ask out of no where.
“No I'm not
waiting. Those aren't the questions you need to be asking. I am
telling you I'm done with Greg! Done! You should be here asking
better questions: What's up with you and me? Where do you and I go
from here? How do you really feel about me? But instead we are
making this all about Greg.”
Jax is annoyed. I can tell he's annoyed. He doesn't get it though. Jax was beautiful. He was one of the perfect men...just like Greg. No amount of makeover was going to give me a body like Jax and Greg had. No amount of clothing was going to make me as confident as they were.
“I'm not Greg Hampton. Pia was hard enough...I can't COMPETE with that...” I say at that moment.
“I never said you had to...” Jax responds.
ok?” Bambi asks, “I feel like everyone's so down.”
“Well Dre has been locked up,” I respond to her.
“Yeah. I heard the prison on the ship is a real hell hole too,” Bambi responds.
“I don't think you're making this much better,” Kaysha tells her.
There is an awkwardness at the table. Jax still hasn't returned to the table after our blow out. Greg is there though. From time to time he just looks up at us. He doesn't say anything.
“Ohh shit...look who it is,” Bambi all of a sudden says.
The attention turns to Pia, who humbly walks up to the table. She has a smile on her face that seems as fake as her body parts. She attempts to keep the smile even while Bambi is rolling her eyes at her. Pia has been outcast almost by everyone at this point. You know when even Chyna starts ignoring you that you are no longer the IT girl around.
Chyna finds herself
sighing at that moment, “What do you want---”
Pia shuffles at that moment, “White flag. I want to invite all of you to the Mars party.”
“Is someone talking?” Bambi asks me.
I sit there and look back at Bambi. I want to feel bad for Pia but she's shady. I had enough shady business going on without Pia being around. I actually liked the idea that she wasn't around.
I shrug to Bambi.
“I don't hear anything,” Chyna responds.
Pia sighs at that
moment and leaves a bunch of fliers on the table, “I hope you
guys attend. All of you. I miss you guys. And if you do I'll give
you all a special VIP section.”
“With bottles?” Greg asks.
I can see that Bambi has kicked Greg underneath the table. It's not hard to see why.
“Of course. Ciroc. Jae Jae is going to hook me up,” Pia smiles.
“10 bottles and we might think about it,” Bambi responds.
Pia looks over at
us, “There isn't even 10 of you...”
“Sometimes we like extra...” Chyna responds.
“Like she said---” Bambi tells Pia, “Make it happen or we won't show up at your party. And hunny if we don't show up at your dance, we'll make sure no one will.”
Pia sighs heavily and forces a smile through clenched teeth, “I'll make it happen.”
“Fix your face bitch. I can't hear you through the attitude...” Bambi checks Pia.
“Bambi c`mon,” I reply, “Be nice...”
I don't know why I feel so bad for Pia. She is standing there looking pretty pathetic. It's clear the members of the Dollhouse don't want her around anymore. It's also clear that she is struggling to fit in to the only group of friends she has on this ship.
Bambi softens her face, “Fine. Just because my beloved ex boyfriend says so. I'll go. For Mario.”
Pia actually fixes
her face at that moment, “I'll see you guys at the
“Don't see us for too long hunny---you can't with us,” Bambi makes sure to let Pia know.
There is laughter by the time that Pia starts to walk away. I have to admit it is kind of good to see a bitch like Pia be humbled a little bit. She was finally getting treated the way she's probably always treated people before.
“Are we really going to this thing?” Chyna asks Bambi as though she doesn't have a mind of her own.
“Of course,” Bambi responds, “How else are we going to let Pia know that she's been replaced by Kaysha?”
“Me?” Kaysha asks, “Listen ----I'm kind of basic.”
“Right now you are,” Bambi smiles, “When I'm done with you'll be the belle of the ball.”
Kaysha shutters a little, “Actually I don't know if I'm going to make it...”
I look over at Kaysha, “You ok?”
She gets up from the table, “I just need to go check on Jae Jae...”
I don't have time to ask Kaysha what's wrong with Jae Jae. I don't have time to figure out anything about Jae Jae. Before I know it Kaysha is completely gone and I don't have anything to say to her.
Jax and I are sitting in Astrology. He's sat next to me today. He doesn't say a word. I look at him in the corner of my eye. I can tell that he's looking at me in the corner of his eye.
I lean over at that moment desperate to say something. My mouth even opens but I quickly shut it. I don't know how to start.
going to say something?” Jax catches me.
I hesitate at that moment. Luckily Peter gets to talking and the class begins. The entire time in class Jax and I are looking at each other. We are staring so hard.
By the time the class ends the tension is so thick between Jax and I that everyone leaves the class but Jax, Peter and I. We are just awkwardly sitting there. Both Jax and I are waiting for the next person to start talking.
“Just spit it out Mario. Did you have something else to ask me...”
Something else. Something else to ask him.
“Are you more attracted to me than Greg?
“Oh my fuckin' god.”
Jax gets up. He is so annoyed that he doesn't answer my question. He walks out of the room.
I'm left there just in my thoughts. Greg did look nice today. He looked way better than I could ever look.
“You should go after him,” Peter says.
I'm looking at Peter and I'm confused at what the fuck I'm hearing, “`Scuse me?”
“You heard what I said,” Peter replies, “Don't play dumb with me like you are with him. I've spent my life studying the stars. That boy wants you. You wants him.”
“You know we are gay?” I ask.
Peter laughs, “I've
known since the very first day. The stars were aligned. Love was in
the air. It's beautiful to be young and in love. I saw it the very
first day I met you. I saw how he looked at you. I saw this longing
I shake my head at that moment, “Impossible. I looked like shit my first day.”
The first day I was in the class was before Bambi had given me a makeover. It was before she had fixed me. It was impossible for her to have sit here and acted like it wasn't.
“Do you sell
him so low?” Peter asks, “Do you sell yourself that
“I don't sell myself low...”
“Sure you do. You care about Jax...don't you?” Peter asks me.
I can't believe a teacher is actually getting in my personal business right now. I can't believe that he's so unprofessional. But at the same time I can't believe I'm sitting here listening to him so intently as he gives me advice.
I nod, “Yeah
but he can have anyone else that he wants. He can have people that
look a million times better than me.”
“And that's why I ask you. Why sell him short? Why think that he is so shallow? Why sell yourself short? Why think that you would care about someone so shallow? Don't you think he's deeper than that. I've seen it.”
“The deepness in his eyes when he looks at you. He sees past the shallow parts. He looks deep into you like you are the universe. You see when someone looks at the sky they can just see a black sky with white sparks on it...or they can realize that there is a universe deeper and more romantic than anything a human mind can ever imagine. Don't take my word for it. He told you himself. He said it front of the class. He's searching for the answers to the universe when he stares at you. He's searching for the answers to his life. Because all answers are written in the stars...”
Written in the stars.
My heart is beating
heavy at that moment. I remember the words that Jax told the class
about me right in front of Peter.
“What should I do?”
Peter stares at me and smiles, “Run...”
I do what Peter
says. I'm running. I'm running as fast as I can. My heart paces.
I run until I catch up to Jax. He's surprised when I run up to him.
He turns around. People are walking back and forth in the hallways.
“I do have a question...”
“About Greg?” Jax asks.
I shake my head,
“No. I want to know...is this real? No shady business. No
funny business. Is this real?”
Jax grabs me at that moment. He pulls me close.
Mind you people are walking past us. They are stopping at this moment. They are staring. People are noticing what the fuck is going on. At that moment Jax does something that I don't expect in a million years.
Jax kisses me. He just...kisses me.
His lips are soft. He slowly pulls my lips apart and inserts his warm tongue into my mouth. He closes his eyes. His hands slowly climbs the smalls of my back. They find their way under my shirt. I allow my tongue to enter into his mouth. Our tongues collide over and over. 10 seconds turn into 20 seconds. We stop kissing but he doesn't stop holding me. He doesn't stop kissing me.
“That's the right question,” he assures me.
I get back to my room later that day. I'm not surprised to see Kaysha and Jae Jae standing there. When I walk in I have a smile on my face. I don't realize how hard I'm smiling.
won't believe what just happened?”
“Jax kissed you in front of everyone,” Kaysha responds.
“You guys heard?” I say raising my eyebrow.
heard,” Jae Jae responds to me at that moment, “Congratulations
man. I'm happy for you. So what does this mean...are you two like
together or something...”
I shrug, “He asked me to go to the Mars ball with him.”
Kaysha looks over at Jae. The two exchange glances.
“Like a date?” Kaysha asks.
“Yeah. I mean, it's not us being a couple but I'm pretty sure if we show up everyone on the space station is about to know about us,” I state.
“That's great...” Jae Jae responds, flatly.
“I thought you
guys would be happy for me. Thought you guys supported it.”
Jae Jae smiles immediately, “No of course we do. It's just...got a lot on my mind man. Sorry if it came across that way.”
I realize just how selfish I'm being. Here I am barging in the room smiling and counting my rainbows and I'm not realizing the grimace that Jae Jae and Kaysha are sharing. It looks like a goddam funeral in here for some reason.
“Just been thinking about what happened with Dre man,” Jae Jae responds.
feel bad for Dre,” I respond to them, “I really do. He
understood the risks though. C`mon. Sneaking on a ship. Maybe it
won't be that bad. I don't know.”
“They are talking about years in prison for that,” Kaysha argues.
I shake my head at that moment. Fuck. They were right.
“Dre has gotten out of worse,” I try to assure them.
Truth is though. I'm worried. I'm really worried.
Jae Jae shakes his
head, “You don't get it. What about me?”
“What about you?”
“They are asking around about me Mario. I think Mia LaPerla is beginning to suspect that I helped Dre sneak on this ship. This is big shit man. I may be heading to jail...”
All of a sudden I'm not on cloud 9 anymore. Dre and Jae Jae were friends of mine. They were two really good friends of mine. Now both of them were possibly going to charged with some serious crimes.
My mood is disgusting by the next day. Jae Jae is right. Mia LaPerla is investigating him. The staff is around pulling students into offices. They are asking students where they get their shit. It isn't until I'm pulled into an office that I realize they are building a case against Jae Jae. They actually use his name.
Jae Jae spends his time alone in his room hiding out. He's basically counting down his last days at this point. It's clear why Kaysha has been out of it too.
“It'll be alright,” I tell Kaysha at lunch.
“Exactly,” Bambi agrees with me.
think so?” Chyna asks like the idiot she is, “I thought
messing with this kind of stuff is a felony? I mean he's a minor but
he's an old minor. Jae Jae might get charged as an adult. He may be
going to jail for a long---”
I see Kaysha get up at the table at that moment. She's crying. She's breaking down. I'm not surprised when Jax gets up to go after her. Jax seems like he's honestly good at that kind of stuff. A part of me thinks it should be me comforting her though. I'm the closest one to her at the table but if anyone would comfort Kaysha I'm glad it was Jax. It is just showing me how good of a person he is.
Kaysha looks distraught. She's kept it on the low but it's becoming clearer than ever that she has something going on with Jae Jae even if they don't come out and admit it. It's clear they at least deeply care about one another.
Greg is sitting
there and taps me on my shoulder, “Hey...can I talk to
I'm suspicious of it. I'm not really expecting him to want to talk to me at all.
“What's with all the secrecy?”
“Girl mind your business,” Greg tells his sister, “Can I talk to you or naw---Mario?”
Greg pulls me aside where no one else is. Being so close to him I can't help but to realize how sexy Greg is. I mean this guy oozes sex appeal. He is handsome but in this strong, masculine, gritty way. I find myself having to think about Peter's advice to stop me from getting insecure about Greg's relationship with Jax all over again.
“Where are we
“I'm going to help you solve your issue,” Greg states.
“You---helping me?” I ask.
Greg responds, “I have no beef with you. I want to see Jax
happy and if you make him happy that's fine with me. And honestly
any friend of Jax is a friend of mine. So I decided I was going to
give you an idea. A way to help Jae Jae...”
I realize where he's leading me way too late.
The door opens.
Pia is standing behind it.
“Help Jae Jae huh?” I ask Greg.
Greg smiles, “I'll
let the two of you talk.”
There is something behind his smile. There is something that I just can't fucking put my finger on...
Pia smiles at me
when she sees me standing there, “Hello...”
“What the hell do you want? Why did he bring me here?”
“Don't be so uptight,” Pia responds.
“I don't trust you,” I tell her.
asking for you to trust me,” Pia states at that moment, “You
have something that you want me to do. And I have something that I
would like YOU to do. Tit for tat. You understand that much don't
Pia smiles. Her smile isn't secretive like Greg. It doesn't hide intention. No. Pia is showing her intention. She's never been the cobra Pia has ALWAYS been the anaconda. She comes like a huge serpent ready to strangle her pray and eat it whole.
“What the fuck
could I possibly want from you?”
“Greg tells me that your friend is pretty upset...”
“Greg. Hilarious!” I respond, “You and Greg friends now? If only you knew what Greg was really doing behind your back.”
Pia shakes her head.
“Behind my back? What makes you think it was behind my back?” Pia asks.
“I know about Greg and Jax. I knew about them all along. Hell...I joined in from time to time,” Pia lets me know confidently in this sick way.
I'm disgusted at that moment.
shared your boyfriend.”
“The three of us had an understanding,” Pia alerts me, “You see...Greg had Jax in private and I had Jax in public. It worked out for us. We used one another to fulfill our needs. No love required. No love. But here comes this wide-eyed boy. Yes. I'm talking about you. Here you come...Mario...ready to fuck shit up. Ready to lead Jax out of the closet.”
“I'm not leading Jax anywhere he doesn't want to be bitch.”
“Clearly. Within a few months of knowing you he's ready to abandon everything we've built. He's kissing you in PUBLIC. Do you know how hard it's going to be to repair this?”
“You want to repair Jax coming out of the closet?”
“I do,” she smiles, “And you're going to help me.”
I was actually feeling BAD for her when Bambi was treating her like shit. For a little while I was actually feeling upset. I was thinking about letting her sit at the table and maybe talk to her old friends again. This girl was the devil. She was the fucking devil.
“Listen Pia. I don't have time for your fucking games. I don't trust you and I dam sure don't need you---”
“Not so fast,” Pia states, “You may not need me. But Jae Jae does.”
Pia stops me dead in my tracks.
“What are you saying?” I ask her, “Be real fucking precise or I walk out of this door.”
I have the door open. I leave it open ready to walk out.
“I'll tell my mother to back off,” Pia states, “She'll do what I say. I'll tell my mother not to investigate Jae Jae and to let him off the hook. I can't promise anything for Dre. It's too late for him, but I can save Jae Jae.”
I close the door.
But I'm still in the room.
Why the fuck am I such a good fucking friend? Why the fuck am I so willing to do anything to save my friend? At this moment I actually am wishing I was more like Bambi right now. I am wishing I just didn't have a heart. But here it was. Thump. Thump. Thump. My heart was beating hard in myc hest.
“What do you want in return?” I ask Pia.
Pia smiles... “I knew we would come to an arrangement. Come close. I'm going to need you to do EXACTLY what I say...”
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com