If you are offended by male/male relationships, or male/male sexual relationships, then you shouldn't be here in the first place. If this conduct is illegal in your area, you must EXIT NOW. This story is not to be copied or posted elsewhere without permission from the author. If you are interested in a story about gay teenage males, then please take your time and enjoy. Feedback/comments/suggestions and even complaints are welcome at DomLuka@aol.com

The Ordinary Us

Chapter Twenty: Turn Around 03/03: You win some...

I'm not sure who was more surprised with my behavior, Marissa or me, when I grabbed her arm and abruptly pulled her into my house.

"Hey!" she started to protest, but didn't get much out after that after I clasped a firm hand over her mouth and continued to drag her along.

I'll be honest, I really had no idea what I planned to do with her. I liked to think of my actions as productive panicking, because I was panicking. I just refused to do it outside of my front door, considering the last time didn't work out so well for me. I figured my room would be safer. After all, I had my door back, lock and everything. I just didn't anticipate that Marissa would be so uncooperative in getting there that she'd actually go as far that she'd bite my hand before we even reached the bottom of the stairs.

"Ouch!" I frowned, releasing her.

"What is your problem?" she snapped, looking at me as if I'd lost my mind.

"Shh!" I hushed her. The last thing I wanted her to do was wake my mom up...if she wasn't already.

"Oh, don't you dare, Quinn! First you avoid me and now you want me to shut up? Not to mention you're acting like a neanderthal! I'm beginning to wonder what I ever saw in you in the first place!"

I flashed her an incredulous look as I stepped forward, lowering my voice.

"What did you see, Marissa?" I demanded.

"In you? Well, I always did think you were cute, and you were always..."

"No! Tonight! What did you see tonight?"

"Do you really want me to repeat it?" she replied, placing her perfectly manicured hands on her waist.

I paused.

No. I didn't want her to repeat it. I didn't want her to say anything. I just wanted her to go away. I was almost ready to say that I wanted to erase the whole night, especially the part where she saw Jude kissing me at that damn stop light, and me letting him. This was such a fucking disaster.

"What are you going to do?" I asked, attempting and failing to remain calm. I thought that it was a fair question. After what Marissa did to Trina, it wasn't like I was in a hurry to trust her with this information, and unfortunately, she already had it.

"What am I going to do?" she demanded, her eyes widening on me. "I swear to God, Quinn Moore, you're such an..."

"Quinn?" I jumped at the sound of my mother's voice coming from the top of the stairs and looked at Marissa, who looked as wide eyed as I was, and to my surprise, she actually ducked behind a closet door before my mom came into view.

"Is someone here?" my mom asked, descending the stairs, looking like she just woke up. Actually, she probably had. I'd bet that she set her alarm to make sure that I got home on time, and something about that irritated me. In response to her question, I simply shook my head. "Huh." she yawned. "I thought I heard voices. Did you enjoy your movie?"

"Um... yeah." I nodded as she reached me and kissed my cheek.

"Are you going to bed? It's kind of late."

"Um, yeah. I'm on my way up now."

"Okay. Goodnight sweetheart." My mom patted my shoulder as she passed me, still yawning. I watched her head for the kitchen and as soon as she was out of sight I looked back to the closet, where Marissa was peering out from behind the door. I think we had a silent understanding that we were going to finish this conversation and it wasn't going to wait, so when I held out my hand for her she took it and together we silently but quickly headed up the stairs, no struggling involved.

Once we were safely in my room, I made sure to lock it. By the time I made it up the stairs Marissa had seated herself on my bed, her legs crossed and her hands neatly placed in her lap.

"Quinn, you're an idiot." she immediately informed me.

"I'm not in the mood for games, Marissa." I said as I crossed the room. "If you haven't noticed, this is my life we're dealing with, so if you don't mind, I'd like to know whether or not I should bother going to school on Monday."

"And what is that supposed to mean?"

"Damn it, Marissa, you know exactly what it means!" I said, feeling exasperated. "Who's going to know I'm a fag before school starts on Monday?"

"You think I'm going to tell?" she demanded. "You really are an idiot, you know that? If I wanted to tell anyone I would have done that weeks ago."

"What?" I blanched.

"Oh, please." she scoffed. "It's not like it wasn't completely obvious. Actually, I'm surprised I didn't figure it out while we were dating. I usually have a pretty good sense about those things."

"Marissa! You can't even say the word gay! How the hell would you even know..."

"Well if you'll shut up I'll explain it to you." she cut me off. "And you know, you make it sound like I have something against those people and I..."

"Are you kidding me, Mar? Look what happened when everyone was saying that you're a Lesbian!"

"So? It's not like you want anyone to find out about you... and with me it wasn't even true. There's no way you can blame me for that. You're the one who's been acting like a jerk... so is this why?"

"What do you think?"

"Honestly, Quinn, I don't know what to think. You know, when we broke up you said we'd still be friends. We've always been friends. It's not like you couldn't have told me the truth. I would have understood."

"Just like you understood with Trina?" I demanded. "You outed her to the whole school!"

"I just told a few..." Marissa started, put I raised a challenging eyebrow at her. "Okay, so it was my fault everyone found out about her-but that was different."

"How?" I demanded.

"Because I hate her!" Marissa replied, as if it were obvious. "I mean, she's such a... well, I really hate her. You... you're the boy who I fell for when I was twelve years old."

I stared at her for a full minute, shaking my head.

"You are... such a bitch, Mar."

"Huh?" her eyes widened on me, mouth agape.

"Do you have any idea what you did to her?" I demanded. "Sure, Trina's... Trina, but you have no idea what her life is like. What you did..."

"So I made a mistake!" Marissa frowned, standing up. "It's not like I'd do anything like that to you, though, and you know it... besides, like I said, if I was going to say something it would have been weeks ago. I figured it out when you started hanging out with Trina and her friends."

"Right." I rolled my eyes. "And you didn't think that I was dating her?"

"Okay, maybe for... like a day." Marissa admitted. "I thought you were trying to get even with me because of all of the rumors about you and me breaking up. But, it's not like Trina would go out with you, anyway. She's... well, you're a boy, and she just thinks she's one."

"Marissa..." I frowned. For some reason, I really didn't like her talking bad about Trina.

"Fine," she sighed. "Look, all I'm saying is that I'm not going to say anything, okay? So can we just get past that? I still want to be friends, Quinn." I regarded her skeptically as she sat down on my bed again and pouted, and continued to regard her that way until she let out a breath and lost the expression that she wanted pity for. "Look, I don't exactly go around bragging about it, but my cousin's gay, okay? I mean, he's not really my cousin, sort of like a second cousin or something like that, I don't know. Anyway, I found out about him when we went on vacation a few years ago, and we get along just fine... so, maybe I can understand you."

"Understand me?" was she out of her damned mind?

"Yeah, you know... if you want to talk about it or something. I mean, I'll bet you're not talking to Brad about it. I went to see him today, he's pretty mad at you, you know? So, you told him, right? That's why he's so upset?"

I frowned as I thought of Brad. It was hard to even think about, and being reminded of it didn't help. It was definitely a sore spot for me, and I really had no idea how much of it I wanted to tell Marissa. I was still under the impression that saying anything to her would make it worse.

"Well?" she demanded, obviously expecting a response. I frowned at that, but didn't have the chance to say anything before my cell phone started to ring from my pocket. Marissa looked absolutely offended when I decided to answer it.

"Hello?" I said irritably.

"Hey." it was strange, how as frustrated and terrified as I felt, my entire demeanor seemed to soften at the sound of Jude's voice. "I was calling to say goodnight."

"Oh." I said blankly.

"Quinn? Everything okay?" That was probably the wrong question for him to ask.

"Marissa's here." I explained, as she regarded me and the phone curiously. "She saw us." That got her attention.

"That's him?" Marissa whispered, but I ignored her as I heard Jude curse on the other end of the line.

"The girlfriend?" he asked, lowering his voice.

"Ex." I corrected him.

"You're sure?"

"Positive." I said.

"Shit, Quinn... I'm sorry. Do you need me over there?"

I blinked at his question and pondered it for a moment. I was actually a little surprised, and touched that he'd offer.

"I don't think that's a good idea." I said honestly.

"Shit." he cursed again.

"I have to go." I said, and I heard him sigh.

"Let me know what happens, Quinn. Please."

"So who is he?" Marissa wanted to know as I hung up. I completely hesitated in answering. "Come on, Quinn, I said I wouldn't say anything about you and I promise I won't say anything about him, either."

"You don't know him."

"So? Then tell me who he is."

I crossed my arms at that. Telling Marissa about Jude just didn't seem like a good idea to me. Besides, even if she was telling the truth, and had no intention of starting trouble, she probably wouldn't be completely happy if she found out that Jude was related to Trina.

Marissa frowned when it became obvious that I wasn't going to answer her question. "Is it really that hard to talk to me, Quinn?"

"Yes." I stated, and she looked hurt.

"Since when can't you talk to me? I mean, how long have we known each other? Quinn, you're..."

"I don't know you at all." I cut her off, feeling a little annoyed. After all, her question seemed ridiculous to me, considering that throughout most of our relationship she did the talking. I was the one she expected to do the listening and the doing. "Yeah, Mar, we were friends-once. But that was before you stopped caring about everything but you. I can't trust you. How the hell do you expect me to talk to you? Come on... let's be honest here. The only reason you're not going to say anything is because you don't want anyone to know that you're boyfriend was gay!"

"Quinn, I've never stopped caring about you, you're..."

"When it came to me, Marissa, the only thing you ever cared about was how I made you look. Look me in the eye and tell me that's changed."

She did look me in the eye, but she didn't say anything. Instead, she stood up and silently walked to the stairs, and I'll admit that I was relieved to see her going. She wasn't finished yet, though, as she paused and turned back to look at me.

"No wonder Brad's not speaking to you. You're impossible, Quinn...and silly me, I still want to be your friend."


I took in a deep breath and draped my arm over my eyes. It was Saturday morning. I knew that much. That meant I could sleep in, which I fully intended to do, especially since I didn't fall asleep until three in the morning, all because I was up worrying about Marissa and whether or not she'd leave me alone. But, as I lay there, trying to sink back into the lovely world of unconsciousness, the feeling of something soft fluttering over my stomach drew my attention. I was too tired for it to be considered alarming, so I took in a breath, concentrating on the way that it sent slightly arousing sensations through my skin as it seemed to move up my chest, where it stopped all together. It didn't occur to me what it was at all until I felt lips over mine, kissing me.

That got my attention.

My eyes snapped open just as Jude pulled back, regarding me with a sly smile, one which faded as soon as I started to sit up, feeling more than a little worried.

"Shh, I locked your door," he informed me, "and your mom's not even here. She said to tell you that she's going shopping and she'll call in a few hours."

Maybe I was just tired, and still half asleep, but none of this was making sense to me. Jude was in my room.

"Bree?" I said groggily.

"Still asleep, I think. I didn't see her."

"What are you doing here?" I demanded, not that I wasn't happy to see him.

"You never called back last night." he informed me, looking a little annoyed. "I was worried... and curious, so I came here. I hope you're not mad, I mean, I did talk your mom into letting you out today... I told her I'd help you with your chores."


"Yeah." he smiled. "Out. I mean, last night did have it's moments but... I don't know. I wasn't ready to say goodbye."

I smiled back at him for a moment, blushing slightly over memories of last night. All of those good feelings that I'd had when he dropped me off came back to me for a moment, and I felt the exact same way as he did. We just hadn't had enough time together. But...

"Bree's here." I frowned, pushing the covers away and standing up. "I didn't even have a chance to talk to her last night because of Marissa. I think we're working things out, Jude... but she never did give the impression that she's okay with me and... me and you."Jude frowned at that, and stood to follow me as I went to my closet.

"You never told me what happened with her."

I let out a breath as I grabbed a pair of pants and pulled them on over my boxers before I turned to face Jude. He looked a little worried now, probably because I'd left him with the impression that he wasn't welcome in my house because of my sister. So, as I continued to get dressed and run a comb through my hair I explained to him how Bree had come to see me at school, how we'd talked, and how I'd let her read my journal, but hadn't heard from her since. Then, I moved on to tell him what had happened with Brad. I wasn't exactly expecting the reaction I got.

"He called you that? Fucking asshole." Jude spat, shaking his head. I couldn't help laughing, and Jude looked up questioningly. "What? The guy's a prick. You just wanted to talk to him, right?"

"Yeah... but weren't you the one who kept telling me that everything would work out with him?" I remarked. "I guess I just expected you to take his side, is all."

"After that? I would have hit him." Jude said, matter of factly, and I found myself frowning and looking towards the floor.

"I'm not that pissed about it." I admitted. "I mean, I'm mad... but I hit him, Jude. Getting a little water thrown on me... I think I might have deserved it."

"Bullshit." Jude said, moving closer until I lifted my eyes to face him. "You didn't deserve that, Quinn."

"Hmm... maybe not." I shrugged, but I wasn't so sure. Every time I replayed that conversation with Brad I couldn't help wondering if I'd pushed him too hard. I mean, he had told me that he wasn't in the mood to talk, and I'd ignored it. I knew first hand how annoying that could be. I'd just wanted to get it over with, I think. Things had gone well enough with my sister, so I'd assumed that it would be a good time to fix things with Brad, too.

Jude watched me silently as I went about making my bed and straightening any of the little things in my room that needed straightening. He looked like he wanted to say something else, but when I flashed him a small smile, indicating that I was fine, he simply shrugged and changed the subject.

"So what's going on with your girlfriend?" he asked, and I turned to glare at him for that.

"She's not..."

"I know. Sorry." he said. "I didn't mean it like that, Quinn. I think... I just got sick of hearing about her when we first met."

"She just came by to say she saw us." I shrugged, taking a moment to wonder if Jude was jealous of Marissa. "She was in her mom's car... I'm guessing she was on her way home from somewhere and saw us when you..."

"I'm really sorry about that."

"It's not like I stopped you." I pointed out. "Anyway, I think she just came by to make sure that no one else was going to find out... she wouldn't want it to make her look bad."

"You don't think she'll be a problem?" Jude asked skeptically. "I mean, isn't this the same girl who outted Trina?"

"She wouldn't do anything to ruin her reputation." I said bitterly.

"If you say so." Jude sighed. "So... since your sister's here, and you're trying to work things out, do you think I should try to talk to her again? Maybe..."

"I don't know, Jude." I said honestly, and then changed the subject. I didn't want to think about Bree until I had to. "Hey... you said you talked my mom into letting me out..."

"Yeah." he smiled. "I told her we'd just be at the park or the mall or something. She wants you to call and let her know... but I was wondering if you wanted to go check on Trina with me. We could go do something afterwards..."

"Sure... but I have to do a few things around here first."

"I know." he said, moving a few steps closer. "I said I'd help you... just..." I closed my eyes as he suddenly leaned forward and kissed me. It was just a small, soft kiss, but it left me smiling. "I wanted to do that first."


I objected to Jude helping me with my chores, but he wasn't willing to stand around, and I had to admit that mowing the lawn went a lot faster with him. That, and it was less lonely, even if we didn't do much talking. I think I was a little nervous the whole time, wondering when Bree would wake up, and how she'd react to Jude being there. I didn't get my answer until after we finished cleaning my mom's car, since she had taken mine to go shopping-likely because it had more space in it. She and Bree really did think alike in that sense. Jude and I returned to the house so I could call my mom and tell her we were leaving, but as soon as we reached the kitchen, I think we were both taken off guard to find Bree there, working on making a late breakfast. I couldn't help noticing the way that Jude actually tried to fade behind me as she glanced over her shoulder at us.

"Morning." she said simply, before she went back to her cooking.

Jude and I exchanged glances before I decided to respond to my sister.

"I didn't know you were up, Bree."

"I slept in late." she replied, and I could feel knots forming in my stomach when she suddenly left the food unattended and picked up a familiar black book that I was eager to have back in my hands. I met her half way, but as she passed my journal back to me, I realized she was holding something else on top of it, and as I got a closer look, a whole new world of worry crept up on me as I wondered how I could have been so careless.

I met my sister's eyes, but didn't have any idea what to say to her.

"You kept this?" I wasn't expecting Jude to be directly behind me, or for him to reach around and take the single picture I'd kept of the night that we first met, the one of us together.

"Hey!" I frowned, reaching for it, but he held it away and continued to expect it with a small, teasing smile on his face.

"You kept it." he said again, meeting my eyes.

"Jude." I frowned. I doubted that this was the time to tease me, even if he did look genuinely pleased.

"It's a good picture." Bree remarked, drawing our attention back to her. Jude at least had the decency to look ashamed of himself.

"Hey, Bree..." he started.

"Are you staying for breakfast?" she cut him off, and she actually smiled. "I'm making pancakes."

"Um... sure." Jude agreed, looking about as confused as I felt, and then he looked at me. "Can I use your phone? I should call Trina."

"My cell's in my room." I replied, and watched him walk away before I turned back to my sister, intending to ask her if she was upset that Jude was there. But, before I could, she was lifting herself up on her toes and throwing her arms around my neck. For my part I just froze and accepted the hug.

"There are still things I don't understand, Quinn." she said quietly. "But I'm sorry. I had no idea you were going through all that. I must have been acting like such a bitch."

I sighed and gradually returned her hug.

"You weren't that bad. . ." I remarked. "I'm sorry I didn't think I could tell you, Bree. It's just..."

"I know. You were freaked out. I think I get that now."

"Thanks." I smiled, pulling back to look at her. "And about Jude..."

"That's still weird, and I need some time to get used to everything." she said crossly. "But...I guess I can live with it... I've never seen two guys kissing before. If you weren't my brother I'd actually say..."

"Don't." I cut her off. I knew the look on her face well enough. She just laughed at me, and then became serious again.

"Are things really that bad with Brad?"

"They're not great." I frowned.

"Maybe if I talked to him..."

"Bree, no." I stated. "Look, it's not a good idea, okay? I don't know if he's ever even going to talk to me again, but if there's a chance that he will, he needs to cool off first."

"Fine." she frowned. "But don't give him too much time, Quinn. You guys can't fight forever... and, if you need help with mom..."

"Bree, don't." I stated, probably a little harshly. "I can't talk to mom about this."

"Okay." she said defensively. "I'm just saying...if you did... I'd be on your side."

"Thanks." I sighed, convinced that she wouldn't be saying anything to my mother.

"Quinn?" I looked up as Jude entered the kitchen and handed me my phone. "I'm gonna head over in about an hour. Taylor's just getting her up. You still wanna go?"

"Um...yeah." I said, but found myself looking to Bree for approval. She just rolled her eyes at me. "I've gotta call my mom first, though."

"Where are you going?" Bree asked, but the question was directed at Jude. That didn't escape my attention, or his, and he seemed pleased enough that she was making an effort to talk to him.

"My cousin's got herself into a little trouble." Jude explained as he followed Bree to the counter, where she handed him a spoon in a silent order for him to stir the pancake batter. I only observed them for a moment as Jude began to explain what happened with Trina the night before, and then I did something that I never thought I'd willingly do. I left Jude and my sister alone together, unattended. I couldn't have felt better about it.

I took my phone into the living room and dialed my mother's cell number. It only took her a couple rings to answer.

"Hey mom."

"Good morning, sweetheart. I hope you're not just waking up."

"Nope, I've been up for a while... Jude helped me with the chores. Thanks for letting him hang out."

"No problem. Are you guys still going out?"

"Yeah, probably just to the mall."

"Oh? Just make sure you're home in time for dinner... what size are you now, sweetie? I've got Bree's, but..."

"Mom, you haven't done my shopping for me since I was six." I said, feeling a little concerned. "I don't need..."

"I'll just guess, then." she sighed, sounding exasperated, but not necessarily annoyed.

"Can you do me a favor and make sure your sister's up? Her light was on late last night and I don't want her sleeping all day. She's supposed to meet me for lunch."

"She's already up, mom." I replied. "Do you want to talk to her?"


I went back to the kitchen and paused for a moment when I saw that Jude and Bree were talking silently to each other, and Jude was having the obnoxious effect of making her blush. I guess some things would never change.

"Bree, it's mom." I said, holding up my phone.

"Don't burn anything." Bree ordered Jude as she turned the job of cooking over to him and came to retrieve the phone from me. When she left the room I approached Jude and found myself staring down at the food with a blank stare as I wondered if things were going to stay as good as they'd felt for the last fifteen minutes.

"You okay?" Jude nudged me.

"Yeah... things are just... weird."

I jumped when I suddenly felt his teeth close over my earlobe, but when I pulled away I was confronted with a set of blue eyes regarding me rather seriously. I was becoming accustomed to that look. I liked it, too. I'm not sure it ever would have been welcome in my kitchen before, or if it even was now, but when he leaned forward just enough so that our lips brushed together and waited for me to take the initiative, I did, if not a little slowly and awkwardly as I opened and hesitantly allowed my tongue to brush against his mouth. I even found myself putting an arm around him and pulling him in closer as he closed his eyes and he deepened the kiss that suddenly had me wanting to disappear with him and continue everything that we'd started last night. Or, that could have been because of the way that his hand found it's way down my back and over my ass. I wasn't sure, but I was definitely beginning to like the whole kissing thing. It ended abruptly, though, as soon as I heard my sister coming back, at which point I had to walk to the back door and look out the window, just to hide the blush creeping into my cheeks and the blood creeping into certain other places. I stayed like that until we sat down for breakfast.

Things were a little awkward. I wasn't sure if Jude, or Bree felt it, but I did. Now that everything was out in the open, sitting down to eat together just felt... surreal. I remained mostly quiet, but I couldn't help it. I wasn't really used to everything feeling this-right. I had no doubt in my mind that something was going to happen and it would all disappear, especially with my luck lately. I guess it was a good thing that Bree and Jude seemed capable of carrying on a conversation without me.

"What are you guys doing after you go see your cousin?" Bree asked Jude.

"I don't know." Jude admitted. "You wanna come?"

I looked up at that question, which had taken both me and my sister completely off guard. We looked at each other, Bree wondering if it was okay with me and me wondering what Jude was thinking.

"Come on, guys." Jude shrugged. "Look, I know it's kind of weird, but..."

"I'll go." Bree stated, almost determinedly, and looked at me. "If it's okay with Quinn."

"Um... sure." I said. It wasn't like I could say no to her now that we were actually getting along.

"But, I have to meet my mom for lunch in a few hours." Bree added. "She wants to have some kind of girls day out."

"I'll drop you off whenever you want." Jude offered.

"Alright." Bree shrugged. "Just... let me clean a few things up first."

I remained silent as my sister cleared the plates from the table and then left me alone to glare at Jude.

"Don't look at me like that." Jude stated. "the biggest reason why your sister was so upset with you was because you weren't being honest with her. Asking her to come along is at least including her. Trust me, Quinn. I'm doing you a favor."


I watched my sister's reaction as we entered Trina Ashpock's house behind Jude and found it to be similar to my own, the first time I entered that mess. But, at least I'd gotten some of it clean the night before and it no longer smelled like vomit. I was a little nervous, though, when Taylor looked Bree and me over as we entered. He was good at giving people a hard time, and I was already prepared to jump on him for it if he started with Bree. But, I never had to.

"Oh, hi." Bree said as she nearly walked into Taylor, and he regarded her cautiously until she held up the tubawear full of left over breakfast that she'd brought along. "Are you hungry?"

Taylor took the containers from her but looked at me.

"I love her." he said simply, before he took the food to the kitchen.

I rolled my eyes because Bree looked a little too pleased with herself and I whispered in her ear. "Forget it, he's gay." It was better to kill any notion that she might have about Taylor right then and there. In response, she flashed me a dirty look.

"I'm going to go see if I can talk to Trina." Jude announced. "It shouldn't take very long."

I nodded and let out a breath as he left me alone with my sister, who was looking around curiously.

"Are you over here a lot?" Bree asked.

"Not really... just a few times."

"Huh." was her only response before she headed in the same direction that Taylor had gone in. I wasn't sure that I liked that idea, but I followed her anyway, until she reached the kitchen and flashed Taylor, who was picking at her food with his fingers, a friendly smile.

"I'm Bree." she said. "I think I've seen you around school."

" Probably." Taylor replied. "You're a better cook than your brother."

"Tell me about it." she snorted, and Taylor gave her a curious smile.

"Wanna sit?" he asked her, shoving some books out of the chair next to him, and Bree gladly took the seat. This was a nightmare that I wasn't willing to stay for, so I shook my head and walked away, disgusted by the way that I heard Bree laughing over something he obviously said behind my back.

I planned to go to the living room to wait for Jude, but I wasn't expecting him to already be there, removing a few hidden liquor bottles from shelves and in between couch cushions, disposing of them into a garbage bag. He somehow looked a lot more tired than he had about three minutes ago. It didn't take long for him to notice me, and he looked up with a small smile.

"Where's Trina?" I asked.

"Hung over." he shrugged. "Swearing she's never going to drink again..." he sighed and held up a half full bottle. "At least she asked me to get rid of these for her. Now, if we could just get her to go to school every day, then maybe she'll start cleaning up her act... she just gets like this every once in a while, you know?"

"I don't know what to say." I admitted. I really had no idea how to help at all in this situation.

"There's nothing to say. It's Trina's problem. Whether or not she wants help with it is up to her."

"Can I help with anything?" I asked.

"Liquor cabinet." Jude pointed, so I went to it and began to clear it out as he brought me the bag.

"My sister's getting along with Taylor." I complained, and smiled when Jude actually laughed.

"I'm sure it's not as bad as you think." he remarked. "So, any idea what you want to do when we get out of here? I mean, we should probably do something before your sister has to meet your mom, and then we can..."

He stopped talking and I frowned as my phone started to ring. I was more interested in hearing about what he wanted to do after we dropped off my sister than answering it, but I did anyway.


"Quinn? Is your sister with you?" my mom asked. "I can't get a hold of her at the house."

"Um, yeah. She's with me and Jude." I explained.

"Oh, that's nice. What are you guys up to?"

"Um... we're still trying to figure that out." I admitted. "We'll probably just go..."

"You know what?" she asked, suddenly sounding excited. "Why don't the three of you come down to Union Street, you know where that Itallian place is?"

"Yeah, but..."

"I'll buy everyone lunch." My mother stated. "The reason I was trying to find your sister is because her hair appointment was moved up and this way we can all have lunch together if you come now."

"Um... I don't know, mom."I replied. "Maybe we could just drop Bree off..."

"Oh, Quinn, just take thirty minutes out of your day and come have lunch with your mother. It's not like I'm asking you to ditch your friend."


"I'll see you soon." she cut me off, right before she hung up.

I groaned as I put my phone back in my pocket and looked up at Jude.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"My mom wants us to have lunch with her... all of us."

I was a little annoyed when he actually smiled at that.

"No problem." he said as I stood up and dropped the last of the bottles into the trash bag. "We can go do that and then afterwards... we can always go see a movie."

"A movie?" I think I was more than a little annoyed at the suggestion.

"At my place." he smirked.


"So, where does she want to have lunch at?"

"An Italian place on Union." I sighed. I still didn't like the idea, but the idea of getting to be alone with Jude afterwards did make it somewhat better.

"Union?" he repeated, his smile faltering.

"Yeah, is something wrong?"

Jude looked down for a moment, but then just shrugged.

"Nope. I'll get Bree and we'll go."


Even as we reached the restaurant, I didn't see the point in having lunch with my mother. I'm sure part of that had to do with the fact that we had only eaten breakfast a short time ago, but a lot of it had to do with the fact that I still didn't like Jude and my mother anywhere in the same vicinity. That didn't stop Jude from handling the situation as perfectly as always, though.

My mom had taken a table out on the patio, and within five minutes of sitting down Jude was complimenting her complexion and nails. Apparently, she'd just had her make up and nails done, something I would never notice. I guess the important thing was that he did, and she loved him for it. He then proceeded to hold her chair when she excused herself to the ladies room, and when she came back he had the impatient waiter waiting to take her order. I guess the whole thing wasn't too bad. Actually, it kind of helped having Bree there, and on my side for once. Each time my mother got too nosey about what Jude and I planned to do for the rest of the day, Bree would jump in and efficiently change the subject. I guess I had to admit, that things were actually going pretty good... until Jude started looking nervous.

I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point Jude's entire demeanor began to look completely unnerved. I first noticed it when I started picking at my salad. I'd looked up to find him looking past me with a worried knot in his brow, but when he met my eyes he just looked away, as if it were nothing. Bree noticed it too, and we both exchanged glances and looked back, but saw nothing that we thought would upset him. The meal continued from there, but Jude was becoming less talkative and more pale, until my mother actually noticed something was wrong.

"Jude, is everything alright?" she asked. "You're not touching your food."

"I'm alright." he replied with a forced smile. "I think I'm just getting spoiled today. Bree cooked a great breakfast."

"Well, if you're not hungry now you can always take it to go." my mother replied. "No need to force yourself."

"Thanks." Jude nodded, as I continued to look at him, waiting for him to meet my eyes. I had a bad feeling about this and I wanted to know what was wrong. Unfortunately, he seemed to be avoiding me on purpose, and that I just didn't understand. It was like he'd look past me every few seconds and each time shrink back in his chair even more.

"Jude, didn't you say that your parents owned a restaurant on Union?" my mother suddenly asked, and I nearly choked on my food.

Shit. I'd completely forgotten. I suddenly found myself looking around, realizing exactly what it was that had Jude looking like he wanted to retreat. Of course he was uncomfortable here. Why he hadn't said anything, completely escaped me. So did the reason why he seemed fine through the first half of the meal, until I looked back again and froze when I saw a woman walking in out direction. But, it wasn't any woman. She was tall, and thin, and had a very familiar set of blue eyes. They were a lot colder than Jude's, but they were still his. Even the short style her hair was in looked like Jude.

"Yes, they do." Jude responded to my mother in a blank voice that matched his blank expression. He was staring at the woman approaching now, his eyes refusing to leave her.

"Mom," I said quickly, starting to stand, "I think we're going to get going now." I had to get him out of there. This wasn't good. Actually, it was fucking disastrous.


I jumped at the sound of the unfamiliar voice and looked at Jude just as he stood, finally meeting my eyes with an apologetic look. "Sorry." he whispered.

"And who is..." my mom started to ask as she looked towards the woman who could only be Jude's mother.

"You changed your number again." Jude's mom said disapprovingly as he quickly left the table in an attempt to keep her from reaching us, but even when she stopped, it was easy to hear what was being said. "You've also been avoiding your father at the shop."

"Can we go talk somewhere else?" I heard Jude ask, and frankly, I was as confused as my mother looked. I was under the impression that Jude's parents wanted nothing to do with him. The way that his mom was approaching him now didn't make any sense.

"I don't have time for that." his mother responded dryly. "I came to tell you that you need to get the rest of your things out of the house. We're renting out the room and we need the space."

"I don't have anything left there!" he said incredulously, "and anything I left you wouldn't let me take."

"Well, I've found some of your things and your father and I decided not to throw them out. If you pick them up tonight we won't."

"I don't care about anything that's there." Jude frowned, and I noticed that his mother was regarding me and my family now, and something about the way that she was looking at us suddenly made the reason she was there make sense. She was checking us out. Maybe she wanted nothing to do with her own son, but obviously, curiosity kept her wanting to know what he'd been up to. I guess the same held true for his father, if he was still giving Murphy business.

"Try to be a little more grateful, Jude. I didn't have to keep anything around at all... you look well. I take it you changed your number because you moved, too?"

"No." he said flatly. I took a quick glance at my mother, terrified of what she must be thinking now, only to find that her look of confusion had turned to concern. "And it's not really any of your business, anyways."

His mother frowned at that, and I felt a chill run down my spine as she directed her cold look towards me. It was a pointed look, one I didn't like at all. "Well, I probably wouldn't want to know your business anyway, would I? If you pick up your things do it before six tonight. I'll have your boxes outside. We'd prefer it if you didn't come in the house."

She started to walk away then, leaving Jude to stare after her. I felt sick to my stomach watching him, he seemed so angry but more than that, hurt. It didn't take me long to go to him as soon as she was gone.

"Jude?" I said.

"What was that all about?" my mother suddenly demanded, leaving her chair as Jude as I both turned towards her. My sister was still seated, looking more than a little worried.

"Mom..." I started.

"Who was that?" she asked. "Jude?"

Jude sighed and looked at me first, shaking his head.

"I'm sorry, Quinn." I didn't like the sound of that, or the way that he began to look determined as he faced my mom. "That... was my mother, Mrs. Moore, and yes, my parents own a place on Union... that one." he happened to point to one of the only three strip clubs in the city, and I felt my stomach sink a little more at that. "Please don't be mad at Bree or Quinn, they only lied for me because I asked them to."

"Sweetheart, what are you talking about?" my mom frowned.

"I don't live with my parents because... well, you've met my mother and my dad's no better." he replied, sounding annoyed that my mom was slow to catch on. "That's also why I didn't want you to meet them. I'm sorry I lied to you...I've gotta go."

"Jude." I frowned. I didn't care if my mother was there or not, I didn't want him to walk away, but when I placed a hand on his shoulder, he actually shrugged me off.

"I'm sorry, Quinn... I can't be here."

I looked back at Bree, desperate for a little help as Jude started to walk away. But unfortunately, my sister looked just as lost as I did.

"Quinn, go bring him back here." I looked at my mother, a little surprised to hear this coming from her. Even more surprised that it sounded like an order. But, she didn't have to tell me twice. The idea of Jude walking away from me after an incident like that, scared me, quite frankly. I hadn't been the only one who hadn't want my mother to encounter his parents. I think we'd always agreed on that point, and now that it had happened, I had no idea what it meant. I just hoped to god that it didn't mean that he was walking away permanently.

I caught him just as he got into his car. At least he paused to face me. That was at least a good sign.

"Don't ask me to stay here." he said, before I even had a chance to speak. "Please, Quinn. If I stay here, there are going to be questions, ones that you probably don't want answered. I can't stay here. I'm sorry."

"Jude, you don't have to tell my mom..."

"Quinn... this is why I don't lie, okay? It's just a matter of time until the truth comes out...and this time when it comes out, it could actually hurt you. Look, you told me that in your gut, you know how your mom's going to react. Will she react any differently if the next time someone comes along to fuck everything up tells her the truth about me? I can't deal with that, not unless it's me doing the telling...and I won't do that until you're ready for me to."

I shook my head, hating the situation. Yes, I knew that my mom was going to have questions. She was going to want to know why Jude's parents were the way they were, and why he wasn't living with them. I even knew that if he stayed and answered those questions there was a better possibility that the truth would come out. He was just trying to get away from it. I could understand that. Maybe I'd even do the same thing in his situation. But, that didn't mean that I didn't hate it.

"Will I hear from you?" I asked. That question needed an answer. Unfortunately, I didn't exactly get a reassuring one.

"Yeah... sure. We'll see, okay?"

I opened my mouth to demand a better answer than that, but he was already slamming his door and I had to step back as he pulled out of the parking spot, leaving me helpless and watching. I probably wouldn't have taken my eyes off the car until he was completely gone, either, if two people leaving a restaurant across the street hadn't caught my eye. I frowned as I watched Brad pause and look directly at me, and that frown turned into a scowl as Marissa hooked her arm with his and pulled him on his way. I just stood there, feeling sick to my stomach. Now, I not only had to worry about whether or not I'd ever see Jude again, I also had to worry about what it was that Marissa was up to. That bitch.

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