Micah O'Neil, the Smooth Doll. He was dark chocolate, muscular and looked just like his dad who used to be an NFL Running Back. He was just a few days hours older than me. Our mothers were pregnant at the same time. They were sisters. He has these big lips and a perfect nose. He is smooth shaven. Micah isn't into sports though. He's not muscular because he's athletic. He could care less about that kind of stuff. He wants to look good naked. That's the only reason he spends so much time in the gym. He's into girls. Even now while we're in this car Micah is on his phone smiling at what I know is a girl. Micah was into girls and girls were into Micah. I'd seen Micah on dating shows, reality shows and celebrity girls even used him as their love interest in music videos. It made sense. Micah was a socialite. He was already famous. He already had it made. The fact that he was even finishing high school at this point was just a wonder of the world.
And he was my cousin.
"We used to be so close," I state in the car.
I can tell this is something that Micah doesn't want to talk about. He lowers his phone. I see a slight twitch though in his breathing. He inhales deeply and probably thinks I don't notice.
"Shit changes, Yogi bear," he tells me still looking down on his phone, "We grow up."
No one in school knew we were related. Hell, his sister Serena pretended like she didn't even remember my name half the time. It would ruin Micah if people knew he was related to a loser like me. I knew it and he knew it.
"You used to be nice," I state, "Until Fat Matt."
"Let's not talk about Fat Matt..."
I thought I got bullied growing up but no one got it worse than Fat Matt. In middle school, Fat Matt didn't have many friends. I was nice to him and so was Micah. The three of us hung around each other all the time. Soon Micah started to hit the gym. My Aunt paid for him to get veneers. He even got his hairline fixed, which I didn't even know was a thing until I saw how perfect it looked. As Micah became popular, Serena made him stop hanging around us. I didn't care but Matt did. They were best friends, after all, I was just the little cousin who tagged along.
Matt tried to befriend the popular kids in my classes, and the Dollhouse would pretend to be nice to him, but I knew better. I tried to warn Fat Matt. I knew it was suspicious when Serena asked Fat Matt to be her boyfriend. She paraded him around the school and the whole time it was just a joke to her. What was the worst part was that I think he fell in love with her. It was his first love. He admitted it to me one time. It was so fucking sad. All the while he was a running joke. People talked about him behind his back. It was my cousin Micah who created the website: FollowFatMatt.com. People who weren't in our middle school joined the website. Serena being so close to Matt posted his nudes. She took videos of him while he was sleeping showing off his rolls and pretending to puke on cam. The videos went viral which was a big thing back then. It was an ongoing joke that Fat Matt was in a fake relationship and everyone knew but Fat Matt.
And every time I tried to tell Fat Matt, Micah told me to trust him. Micah told me it was harmless fun.
One night, Serena tells Fat Matt that they were having a party at an old warehouse. Everyone had to dress like an animal. She tells him to dress like a pig. Says it would be funny. She tells him everyone will be dressed up like farm animals. She has a matching pig outfit just to make him comfortable. I went to the mall with Fat Matt and got material to sew a pig outfit from the costume shop (we couldn't find one already made that fit him), and then we went to the store and bought snacks and drinks for the party. I wasn't invited, of course, so I stayed home. Fat Matt had spent that whole week messaging me telling me how nervous he was. I didn't trust any of it. I didn't say anything though.
"Fat Matt came to that party and no one was dressed in animal costumes but Fat Matt," I remind Micah, "You guys forced him to roll around in mud while people poured pig's blood all over him. 500 people were there that night. It was the biggest party of the year. You recorded it all and showed him, didn't you? Fat Matt was your best friend Micah."
For a moment I think Micah can hear what I'm saying. For a moment I hope he understands what I'm saying. I should know better.
"We didn't mean anything by it," Micah defends himself, "We were kids. We were just trying to be funny."
"His family reported that Fat Matt killed himself that night. Hung himself. I apologize if I missed the joke," I state.
Fat Matt's death had hit me hard. It had hit me really hard. Micah had taken down the website but the damage was already done. That was when I realized how hard bullying hit people. I wished Micah would have noticed then too. He didn't though. He followed Serena's lead, like always. They made excuses. They made it seem like they had nothing to do with it.
Serena was a bad person, she always had been. Micah wasn't. The problem with Micah was that he was a fucking follower.
"I never bullied you, have I?" Micah asked.
"I know you haven't, but Braden..."
"I'm not Braden," Micah responds, "Who is in here right now saving you from getting your ass beat by Braden? It's me. Your big cousin. What happened with Fat Matt is done. He's dead and gone."
"Yeah, I guess."
We were just going to sweep it under the rug as usual. It wasn't a big deal, right? I blamed myself for years about what happened with Fat Matt. I wished I had warned him. Back then I was out of the loop but even I had an idea that Serena's relationship with Fat Matt was fake. The worst part is I couldn't go get counseling after Fat Matt died. My dad couldn't afford it.
So I just lived with it. It just built up.
I notice Micah looking at my face. He's finally out of the car.
"Hey, stop looking like that. I hate when you look like that," Micah states, "You know that face is my weakness."
I don't know what face he's talking about. Micah's said it since we were little kids though. I guess I made a face that I wasn't aware I was making at times. I just feel like shit right now thinking about Fat Matt and it was showing.
"Hey. Yogi. You wanna come over?" Micah asks me out of nowhere, "Play video games? Everyone else is at a charity event I think. Serena is at cheerleading practice. No one should be home."
"You want to hang out with me?"
This hasn't happened since we were kids. This hasn't happened since before Fat Matt died.
"Yeah," Micah states, "I do."
The house is big when we walk in. It's a different house than the one I had seen growing up. Supposedly 38,000 square feet the home spans four levels, has 10 bedrooms, 17 baths, seven staffers, two gourmet kitchens, five bars, two commercial elevators, a massage studio/wellness spa, a fitness center and a James Bond-themed, 40-seat Dolby Theatre.
We are in the James bond themed theatre playing video games before we know it. From the theater, I can look over and see the main outdoor deck. The main outdoor deck features an 85-foot Italian glass infinity pool, a swim-up bar and a pair of mini Sea-Doos.
"From the main deck, I see a car coming."
"Damn forgot Adonis was coming over," Micah states.
My heart drops. Adonis? As in Adonis Fallon. My mouth gets dry. Aw shit.
"You OK? You look nervous."
"I just thought it was going to be us two," I state.
"Adonis is cool. Trust me," Micah states, "But can you just not let him know we are related."
Wow. Just at that moment I just feel weird as hell. Micah was embarrassed to be my cousin. I mean I knew it but he'd never specifically gone out of his way to hide the fact that we are related.
"I probably should leave."
"What's the problem?" Micah asks, "You don't have to leave man."
Micah tries to grab my arm but I pull away.
"You wouldn't understand," I state.
I start to leave. Or at least I try to. Like an idiot, I'm lost in the fucking house walking around like an idiot. I make my way out the back or at least try to. Somehow the maze of a house takes me towards the front and I run right into him.
I stand there like a statue. My heart is beating so fast. I don't know what the hell to do. I feel like I'm in the twilight zone. If I knew I was going to be in the presence of Adonis Fallon, I would have done something different. I don't know. Worn something different. I don't know. I'm hype when he walks in.
"Aren't you that kid from school?" he asks.
He remembers me. I'm shocked. I mean we did go to school since we were kids but he'd never said my name. He never addressed me. Not until now.
He looks me up and down, "Well?"
"Well what are you doing here?" he asks me.
I stand there like an idiot, "Uh? Era...ehrm...er..."
"You...OK dude?" he asks.
I'm literally choking on my tongue. It never happened to me before, but then again I was Yogi Luthor. I'm the only one who could meet the sexiest man in the world and just get tongue-tied. That's when Micah walks out. He literally saves me from the most awkward few seconds of my life by greeting Micah. It's not a big deal to Micah. They shake hands. Adonis has this swag though. The type of swag of a man who has effortless attraction and knows it. He's confident.
"What's up man?" he states, "You jetted out of school earlier."
"I had to meet up with Yogi," Micah states.
Adonis is confused. I wasn't the kind of guy who would hang out with a guy like Micah. Adonis had to know that their friend Braden was trying to fight me just earlier today. Maybe he doesn't remember. I kind of feel like Adonis is that kind of guy who is above all the bullshit.
"We were working on a school thing."
"What school thing?" Adonis asks.
Adonis looks suspicious.
"Man, it doesn't matter. It's over now. Let's just hang," Micah states.
Micah has a way of talking that just makes things...cool. He leads us into the room. Adonis looks at me. This beautiful eyes set on me like some sort of painting or something. Damn, he's handsome. His pearl colored eyes look like cream. He is so tall that he domes over me. I can smell his cologne from here. It's subtle and strong. He doesn't have any facial hair. He looks almost like some sort of...well, Ken Doll.
As we are playing the game I notice staffers repeatedly asking me if I need something. Do I need this or do I need that? It's a little overwhelming but Micah is completely used to it.
"You cheating," Micah growls at me.
He attempts to reach over and smash the buttons on my controller. I pull away manage to land the finishing move on Tekken 7 and beat him right before the large GREAT sign shows up on his huge projector.
"You just mad cause you lost man. I don't know what to tell you. You rich boys just don't get it. All my life I had to fight," I laugh.
Micah is laughing, "You lucky I don't play video games like that anymore."
"You got this set up and you don't play?"
"I'm working out all the time or doing appearances. I'm always booked."
I shake my head, "That sucks."
That's when I see Adonis look my way and interrupt us, "What sucks about it? Micah has an agent now. He's going to be a star."
Damn, I spoke too soon.
"I didn't mean it like that," I correct myself.
Micah is all smiles though, "Man, I miss this. It's like... I never get to be myself anymore. Not like when I used to hang out with you. Can't remember the last time I skipped the gym to just play video games."
"Fuck video games," Adonis interrupts, "I'm horny as hell."
That's when I notice Adonis grab his junk. He's so confident. He's so manly. He's not scared to give his dick a big hard squeeze in the middle of the room. I can see the print from here. Fuck. It's amazing. It's the biggest I've ever seen.
"Adonis you know you have all the hoes," Micah states, "Why don't you go visit one of em."
Adonis shrugs, "I'm tired of the same old Lionsdale girls. You know how it is."
Micah laughs, "Yeah I know how it is."
That's when I laugh, "Yeah, it gets boring."
I don't know why I say it. Maybe I just don't want to get forgotten in the conversation. Maybe I'm nervous. Micah looks at me like I have two heads. That's when Adonis just looks over at me too.
"Oh, you get pussy like that bro?" Adonis asks me.
He looks at me again. He's definitely more interested in this conversation then the video games.
"Oh yeah. All the time," I state.
"I don't kiss and tell," I state.
Adonis laughs. I can tell he doesn't believe me.
Micah just looks at me. He looks a little embarrassed, "Come on Yogi. You sound crazy. Kiss and tell. You don't have to front. I know you're a virgin."
I'm pissed. He just says it. He just says it in front of Adonis at that! I look at Micah and I'm beyond irritated that he would just fucking spill that.
"I'm not a fucking virgin. How the fuck would you know? We don't even talk," I interrupt.
"You can lower your voice," Micah replies, "This is my house."
"Relax Micah. You calling the kid a virgin. He's defending himself," Adonis interrupts, "I don't think he's a virgin...I believe him when he says he's not."
"You do?" I ask.
"Yeah. I mean you're a nice looking guy. I'm sure one of these Lionsdale girls had sex with you."
Micah rolls his eyes, "Yogi isn't about that life, Adonis."
Micah was talking about me as though I'm not there. He keeps rolling his eyes. He does it so hard that I get annoyed.
"Stop sleeping on the kid," Adonis states, "The kid isn't ugly. If he said he gets girls then he gets girls. I don't get what the big deal is."
"He's..." Micah starts, before looking over at me and saying, "Nevermind."
"Say it. I'm what?" I ask.
"You're...socially awkward," he responds.
I knew Micah. He wanted to say something else. He wanted to call me a loser. He wanted to call me corny. He wanted to say something a lot harsher than just "socially awkward" but he also isn't the type to say it to my face. Regardless of whether I was a virgin or not it, it wasn't his place to speak on my sexual history. Truth is Micah knew nothing about me. This was the first time we were hanging out for the longest time.
"I had sex with someone. At Lionsdale."
Micah rolls his eyes, "Bullshit. Who?"
"Yeah, you might as well shut this guy up and tell him who," Adonis tells me.
Fuck. Here I was. I was stuck between a lie and my pride. A part of me just wanted to admit that I was lying. Another part of me looks over at Adonis who is literally taking up for me to prove to my own cousin that I wasn't a fucking loser. And I didn't want to let him down. I wanted to show Adonis that I wasn't some weird, socially awkward asshole like Micah wanted to make me seem.
I need someone. Anyone.
Someone not popular enough to talk to these guys but also someone who wasn't ugly. Someone who flew under the radar. There was one girl. One girl that I knew who fit those criteria.
"Marisol Cruz," I state.
The name just flies out. Marisol Cruz. She was literally the quietest girl in school but she was pretty. Guys didn't talk to her because she was awkward.
"You serious?" Micah asks me.
I nod, "Yeah."
Adonis all of a sudden seems interested leaning in, "You got that pussy man. How was it?"
That's when I do the same thing Adonis does. I don't know why. I grab my dick through my jeans. I look over at Adonis as I do it, "I went to her house to study one night. And then I just made my move man. Just started licking her nipples. I was all up in there. My dick was deep in her..."
"Damn...keep going," Adonis states.
Adonis bites his lip. It drives me crazy how he does it. He's so fuckin' sexy.
"I started licking her lip," I tell him, "She had the sexiest lips in the world."
"Yeah? Were they soft?" he asks.
"So fucking soft. I licked her lips. Down to her nipples. Down her stomach. I got lower and lower. And then I started to taste her. It tasted so good man. And then I entered her. You should have heard the screaming. Then she puts me in her mouth. Man my man juice is sliding down her chin. Then she fucking swallows."
"Fuck...bro...look what you did to me."
Adonis stands and that's when I see it. Micah laughs when he sees it but I'm just speechless. Adonis is rock hard. His dick is showing through his jeans and it's MASSIVE. He has this huge smirk on his face finding it funny. Truth is I find it funny that my little story managed to turn him off so much.
"Yo put that fuckin' Anaconda away before you blind someone," Micah tells him.
"True. I'm probably going to go home and deal with this?"
"You inviting someone over?" I ask.
I don't know why I ask it. A guy like Adonis could have a million girls over. All at once if he wanted. He was that goddam sexy. He grabs his dick and tries to settle it a little right in front of us. The man had NO shame and it was sexy as hell. It was almost like he had no idea how sexy he was. Sure it was a bunch of guys around so he probably thought it wasn't a big deal. I'd seen weirder shit in the locker rooms all the time. But this was different. This was Adonis.
"Nah. Your story definitely gave me enough material," he states, biting his lip again.
"Glad I could help."
He laughs, "Yeah, it's getting late. See you guys in school though alright."
With that, he just turns and starts leaving. I'm shocked when he does something. After shaking Micah's hand, he does the same thing to me. Right before he leaves he stops and says, "Yogi right?"
He knew my name. Adonis Fallon knew my fucking name! I watch as he mutters, "Dope." With that, he turns and walks away. I stand there looking at the door after he leaves. I'm star struck.
As he leaves I see more lights coming. That's when I see Micah sort of panic.
"Oh FUCK! I had no idea it was getting this late."
It's night time outside. Time literally flew hanging out with Micah and Adonis. I can see the look on his face that tells me he's concerned with the time. I know why he's panicking. His family was going to start getting home. To say he starts to rush me at that moment is an understatement. We start getting ready and everything like that.
That's when we head to the door. As we get to the door I notice it is opening.
"Fuck," I hear Micah whispering underneath his breath.
That's when Aunt Caroline walks in. Aunt Caroline is a tall, striking beauty. She has long beautiful hair that is all hers that flows down her back. She has a beautiful expensive looking coat and a bag that looks like it's more expensive than anything I've ever owned in my life combined. As she sees me her eyes dwindle down.
She's not alone. Her husband Uncle Brett is with her and so is my mother. I look at my mother's face. My mother is just as pretty as Aunt Caroline. She's just as polished as well. She has short hair however and seems to be a lot slimmer than I remember her. Her nose has been done. Her cheekbones have been done. I hardly recognize her. I notice how she just stares at me. She's shocked to see me. She's beyond shocked. It's been years since I've looked at my mother.
"Yogi..." my mother whispers.
She looks like she is about to take a step forward but my Aunt loudly clears her throat, "Er-erm."
That's when my mother does the unthinkable. My mother puts her head down and she walks right past. She walks RIGHT past me. As though I'm nothing. As though I don't exist.
"Mom---I can explain," Micah starts off.
"Your grandfather is coming to visit soon and this is what you do?" Aunt Caroline asks, "This is what the hell you're up to behind my back."
I feel so awkward. You would think Micah was having an orgy in the house by just inviting his only cousin over to play video games.
It's Uncle Brett who looks over at me, "Come on Yogi. I'll get you a ride home."
I look over at Micah. I feel bad. I can see how Aunt Caroline looks at me. She doesn't even speak to me. She doesn't even acknowledge me. It hurts but not as bad as it hurt to see my own mother walk past me in the way that she did.
Uncle Brett smiles at me when we get outside. He's not a bad guy. He's always been cordial at least. He looks a lot like how Serena used to look before all the surgeries. I know he wants to say something as he calls one of his drivers to pull the car up but he doesn't say anything. He doesn't say a fucking word. It's almost as though he's banned from speaking to me on a personal level.
No "how have you been?" No. Nothing like that.
He calls his driver and they take me home.
By the time I get home I'm full out in tears like a teenage girl who just got her heart broken for the first time. I can't even hide it from my dad. As soon as I get in the door he tries to grab me up and talk to me.
"You saw her didn't you?" he asks me.
He knows that's the only thing in the world that could make me break up like this. The only thing in the world was seeing my mother again.
"I don't want to talk about it."
"I'm sorry this is happening to you," he states.
I just walk past him and get to my room. I lay in my bed. This wasn't some grand house like the one my mother had abandoned our family to live in. From outside my window, I can hear the train going by, mixed with sounds of crackheads fighting, prostitutes trying to wave down tricks, and ambulances responding to some sort of emergency.
I go to sleep thinking about her. I go to sleep just angry.
The next day I have my dad drop me off a little distance from Lionsdale High and start walking up. It's about a half a mile. I just don't want anyone to see me in the same situation as I was yesterday. My first day was already embarrassing enough. The last thing I wanted was the same sort of situation to happen to me like before.
As I'm walking I hear a car pull up beside me.
"Hey, you know the way to Lionsdale High?" the voice says from the car.
It's a nice car. It's an even nicer looking guy in the car. He's a handsome brown-skinned boy with eyes as black as the moon. At first, I think he's Diggy Simmons. He looks a lot like him. It must be his oval eyes or his sandy brown skin complexion. His skin is smooth. At first, I think he's one of the members of the dollhouse. He's so fucking handsome. As he asks me, he flashes me this deep smile. His teeth were amazingly white. They were that Hollywood white. The one that doesn't naturally appear. He has on all black and has this cool looking vibe to him.
"It's two blocks that way," I state, pointing into the distance, "You can't miss it."
"You headed there?"
I look at the guy. This was rare. People weren't really all that nice to me at the school. Hearing him be this nice was just different, to say the least. He continues to a flash a smile. At first, I think he has that Braden thing going on where his smile was concealed in something else. You can't trust someone who smiles too much.
"Nah...I'm good," I state.
"Get in. I insist man. You don't want to be late like me," he says extending his smile.
I nod at that moment. I guess there was no hurt in getting a ride. I get in the car. I look down at the leather seats. This car was expensive. He was one of the typical Lionsdale students. I'd never seen him around though. He had a face that you would remember too. He had a real pretty boy vibe about him. He looked just like Diggy Simmons.
"You new here?" I ask.
"Yeah. The name is Thorn Michaelson."
It's rare that we get transfers into Lionsdale. The school was so goddam exclusive and hard to get into. It's also rare to see someone that looked like Thorn Michaelson. I keep looking at his pink lips and his perfect swag. I want to ask him if he's famous or something. He's one of those guys who just seems like he should be famous. I feel like maybe I should be taking a selfie with this guy or asking for his autograph, but I don't want to be weird about it because I don't know if I really remember him from anything.
"You going to let me get your name too?" Thorn asks.
I'm embarrassed almost immediately, "I'm Yogi."
"Like the bear?" he asks.
"Yeah. Just like the bear."
I expect him to make a joke at that moment but I'm surprised when Thorn just nods and adds, "Cool name."
We pull up to the school and I swear almost immediately people are staring over to see who the hell this guy is pulling out the car with me. Thorn definitely has a presence about him. As we pull up I see the Dollhouse. They've taken their normal spots in front of the school. I get out of the car and I can see that a few people are looking over my way. I get immediately nervous.
Braden is one of those people looking over my way. Just yesterday I literally knew he was about to come kick my ass or something.
I'm frozen when I get out of the car.
"You good man?" a voice states.
I turn behind me and notice Thorn is still standing there.
I notice how Braden sees me standing next to Thorn. Thorn was taller than me. I notice Braden was approaching me fast. He was going to say something but when he notices I'm walking with Thorn things just stop. I'm not imagining it. He just turns around and seems like he changes his mind or something. I let out a big sigh.
"I think I am now," I respond.
I didn't want to get my ass beat before school even started. I'm pretty sure Braden thought about it again based on the fact that there was this new guy in school.
Thorn smiles, "Good. Cause you looked like you were real nervous just a minute ago. Shouldn't I be the one nervous. It's my first day of school and I don't know anyone."
"Well trust me...you'll have no trouble fitting in."
Thorn was attractive enough to be in the Dollhouse. There would be no problems for him. Ever. I could already see heads turning. People were wondering who the pretty boy with the perfect skin, sparkling eyes and attractive look was. They were interested.
"Well then that means you won't have an issue showing me where my first class is?" he suggests.
"I can do that."
Thorn Michaelson moved here from New York. He looks like a New Yorker. He has that New York attitude. He has that New York drive. He looks like he has a lot of money too. The look on his face just seems completely confident. I walk him to class and we make small talk. It's nothing too serious. You would think that Thorn being the new guy, he would be looking around the school, but when he talks he just stares right into me. It's almost like he's staring right into my soul or something. He doesn't take out his cellphone. He doesn't do any of that. He gives me his undivided attention and acts like he's actually interested in what I'm saying.
I drop him off at his first class and that's when Thorn touches me for the first time. It's something dumb. It's just a pat on the shoulder but I swear I feel fireworks.
"Thanks, man. You made my first day not so bad," he tells me.
He smiles when he says that and winks at me. It's weird how he does it. I just feel comfortable around this guy and I don't have any idea why.
I can't stop thinking about him all the way through class. This was a big deal. The guy looked just as sexy as Adonis but he was approachable. That kind of shit didn't happen. In my life, guys that looked like that were basically stars in the school. You damn near had to make an appointment to talk to Adonis. I don't think Adonis said two words to me since I've been in the school. All Adonis usually does was stare at you with those pretty eyes of his and make you feel nervous as all fuck. It was almost as though he looked right through you.
It was different with Thorn.
It seemed like Thorn actually saw me. And it turned me the fuck on.
It's lunchtime before I know it. That is when I realize I don't have my lunch. I feel like shit. I walk over to the lunchline. The food looks amazing.
"Who was that sexy guy you were walking with earlier?" Candice asks me almost immediately.
I knew it was coming. Candice was the kind of girl who knew everyone's business as soon as it happened. She wasn't popular but she was just super nosy. It didn't even embarrass her not one little bit to be like that either. That was just how she was.
"New kid," I state.
"Is he related to one of the perfects?" she asks.
I know who she means by the perfects. She means the Dollhouse. I find it ironic she's wondering if someone is related to them while she's talking to someone who was related to both Serena and Micah. Of course, Candice had no idea that I was related to them though. I felt bad that she didn't know that part of my life but if they didn't claim me then why should I claim them?
"I doubt it. He says he doesn't know anyone."
"He looks familiar, no?" Candice asks.
"Like from TV?" I ask.
"Maybe. God. You should see if he likes nerds," she asks, "He's so goddamn fine. My panties are getting wet just thinking about him."
"Aren't you obsessed with Micah?" I ask.
"I can be obsessed with two people at once. I'm a teenage girl, OK. Don't border me in," she laughs.
I roll my eyes. She wasn't alone. People in this school were obsessed with just being perfect. If you weren't perfect then you just worshipped the people who were. I start thinking about it though and trying to act like it's not a big deal. Truth is that it was. Thorn was throwing off a lot of the energy in this place. I am so distracted that by the time I get my food I don't realize that I'm pretty broke. But it isn't until I get to the front of the line that I realize I don't have any enough money on me.
"The total is 35 dollars."
"For lunch?" I ask.
It was ridiculous. I'm about to just get off the line when I see someone slide up beside me. The person hands me a card. I turn and notice that it's my cousin Micah. He is silent about it as he slides the lunch lady his card silently.
"Micah..." I start to say.
Micah doesn't respond to me. He just nods and walks away. I know why he does it. Micah is torn. He wants to be my big cousin but it's not a good look for him.
"Did Micah O'Neil just pay for your food?" Candice asks.
"What? No..." I respond.
Candice gives me a weird stare. I can tell she saw what just happened but didn't want to admit to it. I look over at Micah and mouth the words "thank you" without saying anything. He gets what I'm trying to say though and gives a slight nod. I don't think anyone catches it but then I see Serena. Her eyes shoot from her brother to me and back to her brother.
Then I feel it. I feel the presence of her coming over to me at that moment. My heart settles in my fucking stomach as she makes her way over to me.
"Braden says you ran away from him yesterday," Candice states.
"I don't want to fight. I have no beef with him."
"Well he wants to fight you so stop being a bitch," she tells me.
"Is there a problem here?" a voice states.
I turn and notice Thorn standing there. I'm shocked to see him walk over to us in the way that he is. People normally didn't interrupt Serena when she was talking. When Serena looks over at him I can tell that he doesn't seem to be too concerned about it.
Serena surprisingly doesn't go off on him. She actually smiles a little bit.
"You must be the new boy. Everyone's talking about," she states, "I'm Serena."
She offers Thorn her hand to shake at that moment.
I'm shocked when Thorn doesn't take it.
"You good here Yogi?" he asks.
Candice and I look at one another. I think we are both thinking the same thing. No one treated Serena like that. Ever. We'd all seen what happened with Fat Matt. We'd all seen how Serena could ruin someone's life as though it was some sort of game. It was always just some sort of game for her. I look over at the others in the Dollhouse. Their table was in the middle of the lunchroom. They sat there so they could get attention. They aren't too far from us right now. I look over at Braden. Him and Serena have had an on again, off again relationship for quite some time. He looks curious why Serena is talking to the new guy.
"I'm great," I state in a low whisper.
Serena clears her throat trying to get the attention on her again. It's rare. Normally she didn't need anything to get attention. All she did was walk into a place and demand all attention be placed on her.
"So, I decided, I'd like you to eat lunch with us new boy."
It was huge. No one ate lunch at the Dollhouse table. For years I had wondered what they talked about at that table. I wondered if it was some secret plan to take over the world. The table was exclusive as fuck. Even the groupies who hung around Braden and laughed at everything he said weren't allowed to sit with him during lunch. This was huge and it was all based on how Thorn looked. I mean Thorn looked like one of them. He was perfect. It wasn't only that he was perfect either. It was the fact that he was...new.
"No," Thorn states.
I swear I hear Candice gasp a little bit and grab her right tit out of shock. I'm not sure everyone is close enough to hear what we are talking about but people are looking our way. Serena walking up to someone at lunch usually got that reaction. But Serena is the one who looks a little embarrassed now.
She looks around all of a sudden very self-aware.
"No," Thorn states, "I'm going to go sit with Yogi."
I don't think I'm hearing it right. I feel bad for Thorn at that moment. He doesn't get it. He doesn't get Lionsdale.
"Thorn you can go ahead..." I state, "It won't hurt my feelings trust me."
"So you don't want to eat with me?" he asks.
"Of course I do, it just..."
"Fine. Then it's settled. Let's eat together."
Candice looks at me. She looks like she's in full panic. I look over at Serena. Serena is embarrassed. I'd known Serena all my life and I don't think she's ever been embarrassed before. She was always given exactly what she wanted. She always got more than she wanted actually. Right now I can see things have changed.
All it takes was one person and now things are put into perspective.
The Gods can bleed.
We start walking and I just feel weird.
"Candice can you put our food down, I'm going to go talk to Thorn for a second."
"Now?" Thorn asks.
I grab Thorn. I literally pull him into the bathroom and thankfully there is no one in there. I'm in panic. I remember the look on Serena's face. She wasn't going to let this go. I knew my cousin. I knew she was sitting there right now just cooking in her brewing angst.
He had no idea what he'd just done.
"Listen. I know you are new here," I tell him, "I know you don't know how this school works. And I like you Thorn so I think it's my responsibility to tell you."
"You sound really serious right now," Thorn laughs.
"I'm life or death serious. What you do in the next few minutes is going to make or break the rest of your high school experience. You can go back in the room, take Serena's offer and pray she forgives you...or you have a miserable experience to the point that you will contemplate suicide at least 3 times out of the week."
I knew this first hand.
"I don't plan on either of those things happening, Yogi," he smiles.
Thorn looks so cool, calm and collected. He was new. He didn't understand what I was trying to tell him.
"Serena has connections. One time she did a hit and run while she was driving drunk. The person who she hit got arrested for three years."
He looks at me and raises a suspicious eyebrow, "That sounds like bullshit."
"Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. I don't know. What I'm telling you is that you don't want to find out."
"I get it. You're terrified of the popular kids in school," he states, "You've spent your whole life being brainwashed by them to believe that just because they look a certain way they are up there and you are down here."
For a moment this guy seems really mature. It sounds like something an adult would say. Not my dad. No, my dad would result in violence but I'd heard Candice's mother say something like that the one day that Serena and Ivy outed Candice in 9th grade for stuffing tissue down her bra. I had sat there watching in pure fear as Ivy pulled the tissue out of Candice's bra, blew her nose and put the tissue right back in. This was all to Serena's delight. It also happened to be in front of Micah who was Candice's crush since forever. I'd never seen Micah laugh so hard in my life. Candice literally couldn't show her face for a whole week.
"Listen this world we live in isn't...normal. The Dollhouse...they aren't normal popular kids. They aren't normal bullies. This is just..."
"More than that?" he asks.
He wouldn't get it. I had millions of stories. Millions. Fat Matt might have been the worst of it because he died but there were thousands of stories. The Dollhouse lived to make everyone's life a living hell and remind everyone where their position was in life. The worst part about it all was these people were destined for greatness. Serena had an internship at the White House over the summer.
There was no such thing as Karma. These kids were going to skate into happiness for the rest of their lives. They were spoiled brats who became successful, entitled adults.
I nod at Thorn, "I'm trying to warn you."
"So things haven't changed."
"You don't recognize me do you?" he asks, "That's so crazy Yogi. I assume maybe it's a good thing that you don't though."
"You are famous then?"
He laughs at the thought, "Nah. Far from it. Look at me. Look at me real hard, Yogi. Tell me you remember me even a little bit."
"Yogi, it's me," Thorn states, "It's Fat Matt."
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