“There has to be some sort of explanation for it,” Jae Jae is saying.
We are back in our dorms after the initial excitement of Jax and the others returning had subsided. Captain LaPerla took the students away without anyone being able to talk to them. I had no doubt the Captain wanted to let talk to them on her own. It was the new Captain LaPerla. Since the riots, she's been extremely secretive. A part of me didn't blame her for a while. I mean her sharing with the rest of the ship is what caused the riots in the first place. So she started keeping things within the staff.
However, the secrets were getting out of hand and the fact that she wouldn't even let us say hi to our friends who we haven't seen in a year blows my mind.
“Jax is a very...attractive guy,” I respond.
Jae Jae is tripping. I'm looking down on the ground. I'm defeated. It's so crazy when you sit there and really think what just happened. Jax and Kaysha? Seriously!
“Bullshit, Kaysha always thought Jax was handsome. The two of them were always friendly towards one another,” I respond.
“Jax wouldn't...then. I mean that dude loved you,” Jae Jae stated.
Jae Jae shakes his head, “Jax would come up to me. He would talk to me about you. He was in love with you man. Even after, you played him to the left. He didn't care. He was still in love with you...”
I couldn't keep hearing it. My heart was racing. I was breaking down. I had basically run away from my friends when I saw Jax and Kaysha holding hands. Jae Jae pursued me back to the rooms. It was clear that he was just as upset about this as I was. This was the worst case scenario.
“They are together,” I cut Jae Jae off.
“We don't know that,” Jae Jae states, “They were holding hands. That's all. That could mean anything. That could mean he was just looking out for her as a friend...”
Jae Jae was pacing around the room. We were dealing with this in completely different ways. Jae Jae was frantically looking for excuses to prove that he was wrong. I was out of excuses. I was out of hope. I was completely defeated.
“You know better than that,” I respond, “They are together. I should have known. Jax and I are star-crossed. We aren't meant to be together...”
My heart is drained from thinking about it.
A part of me just wants to roll under these comforters and cry. I don't though. I'm just staring at the ground thinking and wondering.
For a moment, I thought everything in the world was right again. Jax was alive. He would be back here. He would be back in my arms. That wasn't the case though. Jax wasn't back in my arms, and Kaysha wasn't back in Jae Jae's arms.
We sit there for an hour with Jae Jae pacing back and forth. The more he talks the more he is coming to the realization that Jax and Kaysha are together. I can tell when he starts to get emotional that things are breaking for him. I want to be there for him. Jae Jae and I are close. He's literally my best friend in the universe.
“You guys should come up to my room,” a knock came on the door.
It's Greg. I'm actually surprised to see Greg. He and I weren't enemies but we also weren't best of friends. Jae Jae didn't like him because of how Greg used Chyna's body back in the day for his own personal gains. Greg and I always had this unspoken tension because I knew about him and Jax. Regardless of the tension, we were still somewhat social. The fact that he is at my door right now however blows my mind.
“What's happening?” I ask.
“Captain LaPerla released the students that were on board the shuttle...they are all back now.”
Strange, I would have thought Kaysha would have come to see Jae Jae and me. We were her closest friends. However, she's released and the first place she goes is to Greg's room. The room he shares with Jax.
It's clear now more than ever that what I saw wasn't just my imagination. Jax and Kaysha had to be together.
We get to Greg's room. Someone opens the door and I'm more surprised than ever to see Dre standing behind the door. Dre holds the door open and lets me in.
“Figured I'd find you here,” Dre states.
He gives me a hard look before walking back into the dorm.
“He's been waiting here for hours,” Greg explains to me, “I didn't know how to tell him to go away or anything...
“It's fine...” I tell Greg.
Greg is being nice. I know how hard headed Dre could be. I have no doubt he's been staking out this room for a reason. Regardless if we don't talk about it, he knows that I used to love Jax. Maybe he thinks I don't love him anymore. I don't know how much Dre knows, but I know there is a reason he staked out in Jax's room. He's threatened by Jax and he has every right to be.
Jae Jae and I follow Greg into the room.
“They are acting a little weird,” Greg warns us, “Be patient with them ok?”
Neither Jae Jae nor I are in the mood to really respond. There are butterflies rolling in my stomach. I can't believe I'm about to talk to Jax. I can't believe I'm about to see him. I'm beyond nervous as we walk into the living room.
Chyna is there. She walks over to Jae Jae as soon as he enters. Dre is standing up against the wall. He's staring at me...he's looking at my expression. Our eyes connect and shit is just awkward as fuck.
Then there is Bambi. She is smiling. She's the only one who doesn't seem awkward as FUCK. She's the only one acting normal in all of this.
Kaysha is sitting. She's sitting with Jax. Jax has had time to shave. He looks like himself again. They have had time to shower. They look a little fragile but they are alive and well. I can't believe I'm looking at Jax. My eyes dart back and forth as I look at Kaysha and Jax holding hands on the couch. They are still holding FUCKING hands.
Jax is looking at me. Our eyes connect. Fuck this shit hurts. Kaysha was a good friend of mine and Jax was the man of my dreams.
Kaysha gets up at that moment, “I missed you guys so...much...”
Neither Jae Jae nor I move to hug her. The awkwardness in the room builds at that moment. Kaysha must feel it. We all do. The room is so quiet that you can hear a needle drop on a carpet.
This love triangle has turned into some polygon type shape that I can't even describe.
Chyna is vying for Jae Jae's attention but Jae Jae is too busying staring at Kaysha. Kaysha is attempting to put on a fake smile but it's not working. Greg is looking at Jax. Jax is looking nervous. Dre is studying my expression. I'm struggling to look at anything in the room but Jax because I can feel Dre's eyes studying me.
Then there is Bambi...smiling.
“We should pop a bottle guys!” she announces, “Our friends are alive. We should be celebrating!”
She jumps up. No one reacts save Kaysha who puts on a smile. I am struggling not to be angry with her. Kaysha was my friend. She knew how I felt about Jax.
“How are you guys alive?” I ask.
“You seem disappointed,” Jax states.
Our eyes connect. I take a deep breath inhaling the air. He is so sexy even after being lost in space on a tiny shuttle. When he says what he says he seems disappointed himself. Jax isn't saving face right now. He is staring at me trying to figure something out. I wonder what it is.
I refuse to beat around the bush, “Of course I'm not disappointed. This is the best day I've had since you left...”
“Are you being sarcastic?” Jax asks.
“I'm dead serious,” I reply making sure my face is straight so he doesn't think I'm trying to take a jab at him.
Jax is about to respond but he's cut off. I'm not surprised by who cuts him off either.
Dre shakes sighs a little bit, “Can you just answer the question...”
It's almost as though Dre wants to limit the communication between Jax and me. Does he not realize Jax is on the couch holding Kaysha's hand?
“Since when do you hang around with everyone?” Jax asks Dre.
“Well my man's friends are my friends...” Dre responds clearly putting emphasis on our relationship status. In addition, if that's not enough Dre walks across the room. He is making it clear by grabbing me up at that moment. He kisses me on the neck in front of Jax.
Dre is not playing any games right now. He's not even trying to throw subtle shade. Anyone could read between his lines.
Greg jumps in, “Mario does have a point. How did you guys survive on a small space shuttle for over a year in space with no supplies?”
Jax starts talking, “We were sucked into the same wormhole as you guys and then...”
Kaysha pulls at him. All of a sudden, Jax stops talking.
“What happened after the wormhole?” I ask confused on why Kaysha stopped Jax from talking.
“We can't...say,” Kaysha tells me, “Captain LaPerla told us we aren't allowed to share the story with the rest of the space station.”
“The fuck?” I ask.
Chyna takes it even further looking over at Kaysha, “Bitch are you really trying to keep secrets...”
“She's not a bitch,” Jae Jae responds sticking up for Kaysha.
He pulls away from Chyna.
“Baby...you really going to stick up for her...”
I look at Jae Jae's face. I can tell Jae Jae is about to crack. He isn't holding back any longer. At that moment, he walks forward.
“Fuck this,” Jae Jae tells us, “Kaysha...what the fuck are you doing holding that dude's hand. That's what we all want to fucking know...WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!”
Jae Jae's jealousy is getting the best of him. I kind of feel bad for Chyna but hell I have to worry about my own love issues right now. It's sad to say but Chyna was kind of used to being shaded. I look over at Jax when Jae Jae is going off. Jax looks hesitant to say anything. Kaysha and Jax look at each other.
It's Kaysha who decides to respond to Jae Jae. Her voice shakes.
“We never knew we'd see you guys again,” Kaysha tells Jae Jae, “We never knew we'd come back to this space station. And we just...we...”
“Fell for each other...” Jax explains.
Bambi steps in at that moment, “I for one think its great Jax has found love. We all understand...”
“Speak for yourself,” Greg tells Bambi.
“Exactly,” Chyna responds.
At that moment Jax gets up, “Whoa...what the fuck. Stop being fucking haters. Greg I know WHY the fuck you're hating. You and I both know. And unless you want me to tell EVERYONE else I suggest you shut the fuck up...”
Greg shuts up at that moment.
Not everyone knows that Greg is in the closet. Not everyone knows about his relationship with Jax. Its clear Jax is willing to use this against him.
“Jax calm down,” Kaysha tells him.
It's no calming Jax down right now though.
“Chyna you sound stupid. Instead of being upset with Kaysha why don't you look into yourself and find out why you allow people to treat you like shit all the time. Explain why the real reason you're with Jae Jae is. Do you really even like him or are you just with him because he's the first person who doesn't treat you like your name is Felicia.”
“Who the fuck is Felicia?” Chyna asks.
I roll my eyes. Chyna is so dumb that she doesn't get the reference. Jax waves at her as though saying Bye Felicia. At this point, I'm seeing veins in Jax's neck.
He turns to me but then stops and looks right next to me at Jae Jae.
His eyes corner on Jae Jae... “Jae Jae...you can't sit here and fucking get mad at Kaysha when you never told her how you felt about her when you had the chance. Put yourself in her shoes. She comes back and you're with Chyna. You both moved on. That's how love works...”
Jae Jae isn't taking this laying down, “Motherfucker! Don't go around preaching to me about this complicated love shit with what's going on with you and Mario.”
“Fuck Jae Jae,” I say embarrassed Jae Jae pulled me into this.
Did he just throw me under the bus like that?
“What?” Dre asks.
Jax looks down at Kaysha, “I never said that.”
Kaysha looks away.
Jae Jae shakes his head, “Since we are getting everything out on the table.”
“If I won't tell him, will you?” Jae Jae asks me.
Dre looks over at me, “What the FUCK is he talking about Mario?”
“Yo----ya'll need to stop pressuring him,” Jax tells Jae Jae and Dre almost in a tone that seems more like a threat.
Shit is getting heated and I remember what happened last time shit got heated with all of us together. This time we didn't even have Pia here to instigate shit. We were doing it all on our own.
“Why don't you stop telling me what I need to do with my man?” Dre responds to Jax.
Jax doesn't back down, “You all are in MY dorm. Throwing out these crazy allegations getting Kaysha all upset.”
Kaysha isn't the one upset though. Kaysha is quiet. She is looking down at the ground. She looks like she wants to bury herself under the rug. It's Jax that is upset. Jax is going OFF right now. Emotions are high with everyone.
“You know what?” Dre responds, “You're right. I don't know what the fuck we are doing here in the fucking first place. C`mon...Mario...we out.”
Dre walks over to me.
He attempts to grab my hand. He is trying to pull me out of the room. But I don't go. I don't move. I don't budge. I just stand there and after a second I pull my arm away from Dre.
Dre seems confused at that moment, “What?”
“No,” I tell Dre.
Dre is breathing heavy, “Fuck is wrong with you?”
“I don't want to leave.”
“What are you saying?” Dre asks me, “You have something you want to tell me?”
This was my time. This was the best time to tell Dre. It was the best time to tell everyone how I really felt about Jax. It was the time for me to tell Jax what happened with Pia. It was the time for me to tell everyone that I never stopped caring about Jax.
I stop, “I have something I want to tell Jax.”
“Curious minds want to know,” Bambi states.
Shit at this point she might as well be eating popcorn. Everyone is involved in this drama going on BUT Bambi. She's sitting back enjoying this shit.
I don't care about Bambi though. I don't care about anyone in this room right now except Jax. My eyes turn to Jax. He isn't looking at me. Jax is looking on the floor.
“Jax can you look at me?” I ask him.
The room gets quiet. I can't hear anything but Dre breathing extremely heavy. Dre is damn near panting behind me like a raging bull. I wonder if he suspects what I'm about to say. I wonder if he has any idea that I am going to reveal to Jax about Pia's plan a year ago. I never stopped loving Jax. I was tricked into this.
I did it to save Dre and Jae Jae. I still loved him. I needed to tell him before it’s too late.
Jax doesn't look up at me. He reaches down and grabs Kaysha's hand.
“You should go with your boyfriend Mario,” Jax tells me.
“Mario let him say what he has to say,” Bambi surprisingly comes to my defense.
“Mind your fuckin' business for once Bambi!” Jax goes off on her.
“You gonna go off on me like that too?” I ask.
“What?” Jax asks.
“You've gone off on everyone else tonight. When's my turn?” I ask Jax, “For some reason I think your anger is misplaced isn't it.”
Jax is avoiding eye contact, “I don't know what you're talking about.”
I start walking towards him, “Oh you don't?”
Dre tries to stop me, “Mario...what are you doing?”
Jax is uncomfortable. He is so uncomfortable as I get close to him that I can see it coming off of him in waves.
“Don't you have anything you want to say to me Jax?” I ask him.
“I'm not mad at you,” Jax replies.
He's shaking. His leg is shaking.
“Bullshit...then why won't you look at me?” I ask.
Dre is getting more and more upset, “I swear to God...Mario. I love you but if you don't leave that boy alone and come with me right now.”
Dre is threatening me. What's he going to do break up with me? I was fine with that. It would be so easy if he were the one who did it.
I ignore Dre.
“Jax...can you hear me...”
“I can hear you, Jax states.
At that moment there is no one else in the room. There isn't a closeted Greg who desperately wants to get involved but also wants to keep his sexuality a secret. There isn't Chyna who is so in her feelings about what Jax told her all of a sudden she seems to be contemplating her life. There isn't a sad Kaysha. There isn't a panicking Jae Jae looking for a way to get Kaysha's attention. There isn't Dre pressing me to leave with him. There isn't Bambi who seems extremely entertained by all of it.
It's just Jax and I, alone in the stars.
I grab his head. I move it to mine so we are directly facing one another. I'm trying to make his eyes move. I'm trying to find them. His eyes circle around the room struggling not to make eye contact with me.
Is that...a tear in them?
Is Jax slightly tearing up?
“GET THE FUCK OFF ME!” Jax goes off all of a sudden.
There it goes. There is that anger. There is that emotion that he was giving to everyone else but the one person he really wanted to give it to in the room.
“Tell me how you really feel?” I explain.
Tears start to flow like waterfalls cascading down his cheeks.
He's crying. He's not holding back.
“I fucking hate you!” Jax tells me, “You selfish piece of FUCKING SHIT! I Fucking hate you. I'll never forgive you for the bullshit you did to me motherfucker! You left me! You abandoned me. EVERYONE DOES!”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Get the fuck out of my room, before I knock you the fuck out!”
My heart breaks a little bit seeing him in tears like this.
“Ok, ok break it up. This is enough,” Jae Jae states.
“He's not going to hit me.”
“GET THE FUCK OUT! GET THE FUCK OUT MOTHERFUCKER!” Jax starts going off.
I am starting to see a point that I've never seen before. Jax's anger is something that I've awaken that doesn't make sense. Everyone leaves him. What the fuck is he talking about?
Dre comes up from behind me, “Let's go...this is the last time.”
Dre warning falls on deaf ears. I'm busy looking at Jax.
“Go. Go with your boyfriend. The one you fell in love with,” Jax tells me spitefully before looking away.
“Go to bed...” Dre responds.
It's later that night. Dre walks me to my room. He hasn't said anything about what happened back in Jax's room. He's avoiding it. It's clear as day.
“Dre we should talk.”
“Nothing to talk about,” Dre explains, “It's been a long day. Everyone is confused. Everyone is mixing up their emotions getting things mixed up. It's all good. Go to bed. I'll talk to you tomorrow morning.”
Dre kisses me on the forehead. The way he is shutting me down is annoying. I'm not mixing up shit. I'm not confused. He is patronizing me and I hate it.
Before I even get the chance to say anything else to Dre he walks away quickly.
“Everyone is avoiding you tonight huh?”
I'm surprised when I turn and see Greg there. He's standing there. Did he follow Dre and me all the way back to the room? I have to admit this isn't the person that I wanted to see. This isn't the person that comes to the front of my mind.
“Greg man...not now.”
“C`mon. Now...” he responds, “Trust me you'll want to hear what I have to tell you.”
“About what? Do you know how Jax and Kaysha survived or something? That is the only thing I need to figure out.”
“Unfortunately no, I don't have that information.”
“You and I have something in common,” Greg explains to me.
He walks up next to me. He is up against the wall. It's just like the closet gay guy to have SO much to fucking say now that we were in private. He was silent as a mouse when Jax threatened to tell everyone.
“We both don't want Jax with that bitch,” Greg explains.
“Because we are both in love with him,” I tell Greg.
“I didn't say that...”
I roll my eyes, “Greg. I wasn't born yesterday. You didn't have to say it. You're in love with Jax and it's clear as fuckin' day.”
Greg won't admit it. The closet guys never admit it. He's standing here pretending like he never had feelings for Jax in the same way that he did when Jax was trying to be with me. He's acting so cool. This is all TOO easy for Greg. It's annoying really. Greg is frontin'.
“Jax just needs my help,” Greg explains, “He needs our help.”
“What are you talking about?”
“We work together,” Greg explains, “To break them up.”
“You been around your sister too much with all this plotting and scheming bullshit,” I respond to Greg, “I'm not getting involved with that sneaky shit.”
“You already are involved,” Greg argues, “Look. You ever wonder how Jax got his OCD?”
“He's just super clean. I didn't think it came with a fuckin' reason.”
“Jax is a perfectionist. That's how I met him. We were in therapy dealing with our issues...”
“Ok he told me that,” I explain, “That's nothing new.”
“Well did he tell you the reason he became a perfectionist?” Greg explains, “Jax and I met because we both had abandonment issues. We both developed obsessive personalities because of it. See Jax feels like he needs to be perfect. He feels like that's why his parents left him.”
“Yeah. Jax's parents abandoned him. So did mine,” Greg explains.
I had no idea.
“Wait you and Bambi aren't really related?”
Greg shakes his head, “Nope. Bambi's family adopted me. Jax...he was adopted too by a wealthy family. The thing is though. Jax never got over the idea of being abandoned. And maybe that's what's leading us to the situation we have now.”
“The situation with me and him?” I ask.
Greg shakes his head, “Not exactly. The situation with him and Kaysha...”
Greg was speaking in riddles.
“Greg, yo---- spit it the fuck out.”
“I overheard them talking. And I put two and two together. The real reason they are staying together. The real reason they are trying to make it work is because Jax doesn't want to abandon someone in the same way that he was abandoned.”
“What do you mean?”
Greg smiles slyly, “Kaysha is pregnant with Jax's baby...”
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com