Things are Different - Chapter 4


Thanks for being patient. Life got in the way of writing. But I am moved now and things have settled down for the most part. I hope you enjoy this chapter and there is more on the way. Like always feel free to contact with comments or whatever at

Things Are Different - Chapter 4

I spent my freshman year standing in a corner, literally.

I left my only sort-of friend behind in middle school when we moved again. He was a self styled outsider, but for different reasons. I entered the Texas high school on the first day of my freshman year, staring at my shoes. They were at least two sizes too small and the seams were split and my socks were spilling out of them. If I kept my head down I could avoid making eye contact with anyone. My hair was longer and hung down in front of my face, it made it easier to surreptitiously glance up to keep from walking into anything.

I made my plans. I would not talk to anyone. I would sit towards the back of the room, but not in the very back with the jocks and troublemakers. I would just bury myself in my books. Fortunately school books and library books are still free. As I walked in that first day, I just made myself as small as possible. I could be Cliff Evans, "The Cipher in the Snow". That made me briefly wonder what was in my permanent record. "Timid but eager?" "Dull?" It didn't matter. I did not see it mattering in the world I inhabited.

I preferred to live in the world of words that could always take me to different places and make me into a different person.

At lunch I ate whatever food I had. If I was lucky Mr. Chang will have handed me some sort of leftover as I walked by the office. There was no chance of a free lunch ticket for me, which would have required my mom to take some sort of responsibility or a teacher to notice me. Whether I had anything to eat or not, I always retreated to the same corner of the lunch room and hid behind any one of a number of text books or fiction that I had checked out of the school library.

Once, just once, someone came over to me and talked to me.


I was reading, like usual and ignored the sound. Besides, who would be talking to me? Please, I don't want anyone talking to me.

"Hey." Someone nudged my foot. I looked up from my position on the floor, my back wedged into the corner and my legs drawn up to support my history book. I could barely see him, the bright ceiling lights haloing his head, so I squinted and tried to focus on him.

"What?" I don't think there was any way to keep the annoyance out of my voice.

"What's your name?" It was still mostly just a silhouette.


"Geez, what's wrong with you?" He squatted down and I could see him clearly now. I had noticed him before, but I ignored him too, just like I did everyone. He had brown hair that curled out from underneath a John Deere green ball cap, hazel eyes and a pouty bottom lip.

"I'm reading."

"Yeah, I see that," it was clear he was getting visibly annoyed with me, which was my goal, "Anyway, I'm only here because my girlfriend sent me over." He indicated a table not far off with a lot kids staring my way. I tried to guess which one of the several girls watching us was his girlfriend. Was it the red head, the brunette one or the ditzy blond looking one? When I did not respond he continued.

"See, her best friend thinks you're cute," I could tell that made him very uncomfortable and he glanced back at table. I noticed the red head glaring at him now. "She wants to know if you want to come over and meet her and maybe hang out."

I looked over to the table again and saw the girl with long brown haired one hiding her face behind her hand. That had to be the friend. I felt bad for her. She was very pretty, but I did not want this, or her for that matter. I just wanted to be left alone.

"Thanks, but I can't."

"You can't hang out with a hot girl? Why not?"

Yeah, why not? I thought to myself. You know why. He was squatting in front of me on his heels, his knees pointing out and his arms resting on his thighs. His jeans were tight and faded, like many of the sons of the self described Texas cowboy types, though most had never seen a horse, much less ridden one. I could see the testacies pushed to either side of the seam and his cock off to one side. It looked like he wore boxers or freeballed it.

"My religion doesn't allow it." Try to argue against that one.

"What kind of fucked up religion is that?" He stood up and I tried not to follow his crotch as he rose.

I squinted up at the lights behind him again, "My religion."

"Fucking faggot weirdo," he said dismissively as he turned back to his compatriots holding his arms out helplessly and shrugging for the benefit his friends. I could just imagine him trying to explain his conversation with me.

I watched his ass recede before returning to the adventures of Kosinki's Chance the Gardner, but his face and more lingered at the edge of my thoughts.


This was not my freshman year, but the plan remained same; avoid everyone as much as possible. Just go to class, do the work and go home again.

Home. What was home now?

Of course everything would be different now. Home was different. Was it home? I kept asking myself. Was this more than just a temporary shelter?

Things would be different for the simple fact that my grandmother drove me to school and she was going to accompany me into the office to finish my registration.

My first big surprise was the location of the school. We had driven through the high rises of downtown Portland from the airport and we had gone to the western suburbs on the other side of the West Hills and it was there that I had assumed the school would be located. No, it was right smack in downtown Portland. The only thing separating it from thirty and forty story skyscrapers was a stretch of highway that was in fact below street level and easily crossed by any number of bridges.

The high school was a typical abode of education constructed of red and tan brick without any architectural merit what-so-ever. It was a hodge-podge of construction as if whenever an extra room was needed a new one was built without any idea or plan or even an attempt to fit it into the original design of the building.

I was dressed in my new clothes. In fact I had been trying on different combinations of the clothes since getting home Saturday night. In the privacy of my room (MY ROOM! What an alien idea.) I had no reason to think that I was particularly hot looking, except for Dani's slip of the tongue, but the clothes made me feel sexy. There was no rock hard six pack or bulging biceps, it was an average sixteen year old body, but I wasn't fat at all, perhaps helped by the fact that I never sat around playing video games. The jeans fit tight in all the right places and it was kind of obvious that I wore boxers. I hate to admit it but looking at myself dressed in the jeans and a body hugging shirt got me hard and I jacked off more than once, my jeans pulled to just below my nut sack and my shirt pulled up to my chest. I had even applied a couple shots of cologne before leaving the house. Not the one Dani had picked up for her boyfriend, but a nice one from Hollister. Yes, Dani did pick it out.

The one concession to my new wardrobe was SpongeBob. Under my button down shirt I wore one of my old SpongeBob shirts. Despite the fact that I tried to act nonchalant about the first day of my sophomore year in a new school, new state, and new life -- I was still nervous. Having that t-shirt on made me feel better, a little more grounded. As much as I hated my life in Texas, I did learn to grow comfortable in it. I did not know if I could be comfortable here or if this was going to last -- or hell, if was even real. How could it all be real? In any case like the music, SpongeBob helped me relax.

The SpongeBob lyrics ran through my head and it made me smile a little as I walked to the front of the school.

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea
SpongeBob SquarePants
Absorbent and yellow and porous is he
SpongeBob SquarePants

If nautical nonsense be something you wish
SpongeBob SquarePants
Then drop on the deck and flop like a fish
SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants
SpongeBob SquarePants
SpongeBob SquarePants

It was too hot to wear a t-shirt and a shirt, but I didn't care. Where was the rain that Devon had warned me about? It was cooler and the air was damper in the forest at night at my grandmother's house, but when we got out of the car in at the school it was another hot sunny day without a cloud in the sky. I noticed many of the students were in shorts and t-shirts.

We were early, of course, but there were already a lot of students in their various clique clusters. There were occasional glances my way, but nothing more than idle curiosity. I felt like I should be able to fade into the background here, it seemed as if the school was pretty large. Despite myself I caught myself searching the crowds for Dani. I silently chided myself. Did I really want to know her?

Everyone in the office was very nice, though it reminded me of the social workers office in Texas. In fact, Ms. Washington had been busy and made sure all of my school records got transferred. Unfortunately, that put me in some honors courses. I think my grandmother liked to see that. Normally I would have avoided them. The classes are smaller and everyone knows who the geeks are in the advanced placement courses. That runs counter to my usual attempts to stay invisible. But I didn't want to cause waves with my grandmother, considering how indebted I was to her for everything she had bought for me. A feeling I do not like.

"And here you go -- schedule, locker, everything. Mr. Williamson is your homeroom; which is second period and Ms. Ross is your guidance counselor. I am sure she will want to see you soon. You are all set!" The secretary handed me a stack of papers with my schedule and a map of the school on top. Of course, the teacher I had been warned about would teach AP math.

"I will get out of your way now, but I will be here to pick you up after school, okay?" My grandmother gave me a hug. No matter what I do, I involuntary stiffen, become defensive as it were, when anyone hugs me. Not that I had been hugged very much. That is until the last few days.

"Oh, Devon! Devon!" The secretary shouted into the passing throngs in the hallway.

"This is Devon. He is one of the student body leaders, a junior. I'll have him show you around."

And in walked Airplane Devon, dressed like he just walked off a yacht; wearing white shorts, Docksiders and lime green polo with the collar turned up. Has anyone dressed like that since the eighties? That neon white smile flashed when he saw me and it was as if he really was glad to see me.

"Dude! You going to school here?" He put out his hand for that politicians pump of a handshake that he had.

"You know each other?" The secretary and my grandmother said in unison.

"Jay here sat next me on the flight home." Devon beamed. I didn't know if I felt good about knowing him or if I felt somehow endangered. He was obviously one of the "A" crowd in this school, while I put myself in the "Z" crowd.

"That's wonderful. Well, I will see you after school. And nice to meet you Devon." And with another quick embrace my grandmother exited.

"Excellent. Devon would you show Mr. Westwood to his locker and first class. Here are hall passes if you run late."

"Come on dude, your locker will be over here." Devon led me to the banks of sophomore lockers, high fiving or shouting greetings to at least a dozen students or teachers on the way.

"This is so cool that you are going to school here. I can't wait to show you around. Was that your grandmother?"

"Yeah." Fortunately I was able to get my locker open without any difficulty and put all my new supplies away quickly. I did not want to get to class late. It would be bad enough to arrive at the last minute and have to take whatever seat was available.

"What's your first class?" Devon asked as I closed my locker.

"English with Digianto."

"Digiantomaso, his name is too long for the space on the schedule." Devon explained, "So, you're smart huh? He only teaches honors English. I never had him."

"Okay." I hate being in situations that I think require some sort of response and I have no idea how to properly give it.

"You got other smart classes there, dude?"

"A couple."

"I may be a year ahead of you, but I've never been a great studier. Maybe you can help me with that. I've got to get my grades up this year and keep them there to get into the college I want."

"Maybe, but I've never done anything like that before. I just go to class and do the homework."

"Homework? I'll have to try that, but it sounds boring." He laughed and clapped me on my shoulder. I almost shied away from his touch, but forced myself to relax. "Here's your classroom. Want me to meet you afterwards to show you to your next class?"

"I've got a map. I think I can find it." Devon looked really disappointed when I said that, but I felt that I needed to distant myself from Devon. I didn't know if that would be very easy.

"That's cool, I see we have the same lunch. I'll meet up with you there."

"Okay." With that he raced down the hall and I slipped into the classroom and hopefully back into anonymity.

I found an empty table and sat down avoiding the eyes of all the other students, who obviously all knew each other from their chatter. Unfortunately the classroom had those tables with two chairs, so I knew it was quite likely I would have to share the table. Right before the bell rang somebody did sit next to me, but I didn't even get a glance at him before the teacher came in.

"Buon giorno class." For a minute I thought I as in the wrong class. Would Devon have led me to the wrong room? On purpose maybe? But no, the teacher was a short fireplug of a man with wild black curly hair and chest hair that stuck out of the top of his sweater and gorilla hairy hands. He had five o'clock shadow at 8AM and was really Italian, from Italy with an accent and all.

Okay, I thought, that was a little weird; my English teacher is Italian.

"I hope you got your summer reading done, because we are going to jump right in." Of course I did not even know what the summer reading was. This was going to be fun. I groaned inwardly to myself, but the person next me very audibly groaned.

Mr. Dig (as he told us to call him) wrote "The Grass Harp" on the board and I breathed a sigh of relief. Yes, I had read the book just last year! I hid out a lot in the library and what else is there to do in a library but read. Besides I loved reading. However my table mate let out an even louder groan.

"Pop quiz" Mr. Dig said as he whirled around from the board. This time the kid next to me dropped his head to the table with another moan and a thud as his forehead met the desk top. I finally looked at him, but all I saw was short blond hair gelled into soft spikes on a head attached to a trim shoulders and a gracefully curving back.

Quiz sheets were being handed out and I hand to nudge him to get him to raise his head and take the paper. When he looked up my heart felt like it skipped a beat and dropped to my crotch. He was too hot. His skin was on the fair side but with the darkest brown eyes I had ever seen, almost black. It was easy to disappear into them, like the dark background of the night sky.

He's looking back at me. Okay, snap out of it don't stare too much. You will freak him out.

"Um, here you go." Um, um, um.

"Yeah, great thanks." He did not look happy.

"Okay class. It is an easy quiz. If you read the book like you were suppose too. You have ten minutes."

I dove right in, but Midnight Eyes was holding the paper just staring blankly at and I did something I have never done before. I nudged him with my elbow and moved my paper so he could easily see it. He looked at me briefly, or maybe it was longer than that before trying very surreptitiously to copy off my quiz.

When the quizzes were collected he mouthed a silent "thank you" to me. I just acted as if it was no big deal and shrugged. He just gave me the cutest smile, not the radiant "vote for me smile" of Devon, but a real mischievous smile. I liked it a lot more than Devon's, it seemed a lot more genuine. I could feel myself looking at him too much again so I mentally kicked myself and turned to the front of the room where the teacher was going over the questions. Better to distract myself with class work.

"What is the Grass Harp?" Mr. Dig asked

A girl answered, "The sound of the wind in the grass."

"And . . .?"

Nobody answered. I never volunteer, but he looked at me and said "You there, what's your name?"

"Um, Jay."

"What is the Grass Harp?"

"Um, it's more than just the sound that the wind makes in the grass or that it sounds like human voices. It is best described I think in the passage about Dolly remembering her father:

"Dolly said that when she was a girl she'd liked to wake up winter mornings and hear her father singing as he went about the house building fires; after he was old, after he'd died, she sometimes heard his songs in the field of Indian grass. Wind, Catherine said; and Dolly told her: But the wind is us--it gathers and remembers all our voices, then sends them talking and telling through the leaves and the fields--I've heard Papa clear as day."

The class was silent and the teacher just stared at me. Shit I thought, what did I do wrong?

"Well it is obvious that you have read the book. I swear I have been teaching that book for years and I can't quote a single passage out of it. Bravo."

I just slumped down as far as I could and I am sure my face was crimson. Great way to be anonymous, you dumb shit! I avoided looking at Midnight Eyes again or anyone else for the rest of the class, fortunately it did not last much longer. When the bell rang I tried to get my stuff together and get out of there as fast as possible, but a hand on my brought me up short and I dropped my notebook.

"Shit, I'm sorry." Midnight Eyes bent over to pick up my notebook at the same time as I reached for it and we knocked heads.

"Ow! Shit, god I'm sorry." He said again.

"Ow, it's cool" I rubbed my forehead.

"I just want to say thanks for letting me . . . you know . . ."

"No problem, probably best not to make it a habit though." I was still rubbing my forehead, not because it really hurt, but I was just, I don't know, I was enjoying the thought that of the contact we had there. Fuck! That sounds fucked up.

"Yeah, I have to catch up on my reading I guess. You don't apparently. That was pretty impressive. You memorized the book?"

"I read it and I just remember it, I guess. I'm glad I did, because I just moved here and I don't have the summer reading list." Okay, normally I don't string more than two words together, now I can't shut up. What is wrong with me? Is it this place?

"I'll get you a copy."

"Uh, okay." That's more like it.

"By the way my name is Scott." He put his hand out to shake.

"Jay." He had a firm handshake, but nothing like Devon's. Why am I always comparing him to Devon?

"So you are new here?"


"Cool, maybe we can have lunch. What period do you have lunch?"

I had to look at my schedule, "Fourth."

"Great me too." Great, two hot guys to have lunch with. I had a feeling Scott was probably a part of the "A" crowd as well.

"Hey Scott!" A girl bounded up to Scott wrapping her arms around his neck she kissed him on the lips.

Thank god he is straight. I can keep him safely in my fantasies.

"Hey Vanessa. This is Jay." His arm was wrapped around her waist as he introduced me.

"Hi there." Vanessa was very cute with very short raven colored hair spiked up stiffly, green eyes -- but I think they were contacts with just a little bit of rouge to highlight her cheeks and her lips were accented with an almost burgundy lipstick. I have never understood why girls wear makeup.

I decided I really had to get to my next class and looked at my schedule and map to figure out where I was supposed to be, thinking that I was probably going to get there late. Despite what I told Devon with confidence -- I had no idea where I was going.

"What is your next class?" Scott asked. Vanessa was hanging on him.

"Calc with Williamson."

"Me too. I will lead the way. See you later Vanessa." He put his hand on my shoulder and started to turn me around to lead me down the hall in the right direction. I wanted to shy away from his touch as I usually do. Despite the brief accidental thrill of bumping heads this was too close for me. I may have tensed up a bit, as I always do, but I didn't do anything to make him move his hand.

"AP Calc and English . . . Do we have any other classes together?" It turned out we shared all of the same AP classes. So far my usual plan of complete anonymity was a complete failure. I really doubted that I would be able to slip away to some quiet corner at lunch.

I love math, more than reading and it was easy to lose myself in the Mr. Williamson's lesson and ignore Scott. Though the couple times I did look his way I thought I caught me looking my way too. At least this room had separate desks so we weren't sitting together, though he did sit in the desk next to me.

Third period was some ridicules class called Wellnes and it passed without incident or distraction the way it is suppose too. I didn't talk to anyone and nobody talked to me. I was almost invisible there.

Of course that all ended when I walked into the lunch room when I heard a girl squeal my name. All I could think was, "God, could this get any worse?

Dani ran up to me and put her arm around me as I was exiting the line with my tray of grub.

"Jay, I've been looking all over for you. Come on I want you to meet my boyfriend." With that she clasped onto me leading away.

"Mmmm," she purred when she leaned into the crook of my neck taking a deep breath, "that cologne smells so good on you."

Of course she led me to the most boisterous table in the place.

"Jay this is . . ."

"Devon." I finished.

"Jay!" Devon turned on his game show host smile.

"Wait, you know each other?" Dani stopped, her mouth hung open.

"We shared a flight from Texas together." Devon explained as he guided Dani to his lap. I was glad he didn't see a need to elaborate on my condition during the flight.

"Well, shit, how am I supposed to make you jealous with my A&F boy?" Dani pouted.

"And how do you know Jay?" Devon asked Dani giving her a peck on the cheek. I have never been able to appreciate public displays of affection. Especially straight ones.

"We met at the mall and I helped him and his really amazing grandmother buy him those awesome clothes. He got the greatest laptop and iPhone too."

Okay, this just kept getting worse and more bizarre. It was like I had entered Bizarro World where any attempt to disappear or go unnoticed produces the exact opposite result. I was seriously thing of running away back to Texas. I thought maybe I could, in fact, go live with Mr. Chang.

"Hey there you are." Oh great, of course, it was Scott. Next I just need the fucking queen of fucking England to come up and say "How the fuck are you Jay?" This day was not going well.

"Oh, hey Scott." I put on what I call my "party face." My happy smiley, totally fake face I use when I am trapped in agonizing social situations. One of Dory Previn's songs always runs through my head at these times.

Friends were fooled
by the fact
I still breathed
And I spoke
And I smiled
And I lied
in my handy dandy
imitation life disguise kit

Nobody would know what was going on inside me. Even Midnight Eyes. As much I was dreading the situation I was in, I kind of welcomed his presence too, even though it made me uncomfortable too. I am a mess.

"Scott . . .Ford . . . I remember you." Devon put out his hand to shake, "I'm Devon and this is Dani. How do you know Jay?" Scott put down his tray to shake Devon's hand. Everyone scooted over to make room for Scott and myself. There were a few more introductions around the table, but I didn't really pay attention.

"We share some classes together." Scott responded

"AP classes I bet." Dani playfully swatted at Devon when he said that.

"So is everything going good for you this year Scott?" Dani asked.

"So far so good. A lot better than last year."

What were they talking about? I was really curious, but I don't ask questions. That way I don't have to answer them.

"If you need need anything just let me know. I'm on the student council now." Scott offered. I just watched the exchange silently wondering.

"Weren't you on the swim team last year? Going out again this year" Dani pursued Scott with questions. I was glad she did not do the same with me.

"Yeah, but I don't know about this year." Scott responded through mouthfuls of lunch, "I still swim almost every day, but I don't know about competing."

I took sidelong glances at Scott. Swimming.

"What about you Jay? Any sports or just the academic decathlon?" Devon actually asked that question.

"Nah, never really got that chance to join any sports or other stuff." Not that I would have if I could have. Any of those activities require money I never had . . . before. "I used to swim all the time though." Why did I have to add that? I did not mention that it was when I was ten years old and we were living in Hawaii.

"Really? You should join me at the pool sometime." Scott offered me with that mischievous grin of his. It made him look like he was up to something.

"Um, yeah." Whoa, now let's keep the fantasies under control . . . until I get home that is.

"What are you doing after school today?" Scott asked.

"Um, my grandmother is picking me up."

"Oh." Scott looked a little disappointed.

"His grandmother is unbelievablely cool." Dani chimed in, "And I think she's loaded." I just looked down. I didn't blush, but it was embarrassing. I hated be the poor kid, but I didn't want to a spoiled rich kid either.

"Uh, what about tomorrow? I will get you that reading list and we can go to Powell's after school." Scott tried again.


"You don't know about Powell's? Everybody knows Powell's. People travel from around the world just to go to Powell's." That was from someone else at the table. I didn't really pay attention to the names, but he had red hair and freckles.

"Yeah, it's the City of Books." Dani added.

"I don't know what the big deal is." Devon commented.

"That's because the last book you read started out 'see spot run'." Dani chided him.

"A Classic." Devon retorted.

"Well I've only been in Portland for four days and before that I can't say that I had even heard of it." There had to be a way to get out of this. "I'll have to see if it is okay with my grandmother."

Fortunately the rest of the conversation revolved around most of the other people at the table and of course Devon. I was mostly able to just eat my lunch without having to contribute anything more. It was interesting though that Scott really did not partake in much of the conversation though I at first thought for sure that he was part of the "A" crowd that Devon was obviously a dominate member of. I wondered how Devon knew who he was. Was a star swimmer? If so, what did he look like in that Lycra swim gear? Crap, stop that.

I wondered who he was. There was something about him . . . He wasn't built like Devon, but he seemed to have a nice body. Nor was he as outgoing as Devon, but he didn't seem shy either. Then there was that smirk and those Midnight Eyes.

I needed to find some inaccessible celebrity to crush on. Like Zayn Malik. I had just discovered One Direction over the weekend online. The music sucked, but they were fun to watch.

I didn't realize I was staring when his dark eyes caught mine. He cocked his head to one side and a lopsided grin turned the corner of his mouth up. I nearly fell over backward when the bell rang and I could not get myself to my locker and next class fast enough. In hindsight I am sure it was rude, but I did not even say a "see ya" to anyone.

Fortunately Scott was not in my next class, though we did have one more class together. The AP history teacher sat us in alphabetical order and Ford is nowhere near Westwood. Avoiding him and Devon and Dani and I guess Vanessa too was easy the rest of the day. Maybe, I thought this just might work out. Scott is the only one I have class with and I can always bring my lunch with me and eat it in the john. I will find the back hallways to the different classes. Yeah, I can make this work. I'm an idiot.

I don't know if I was grateful or embarrassed by my grandmother's SUV waiting for me in front of the school. If made a nice escape route, but I felt a little like the little mama's boy, though nothing could be further from the truth.

The idea of being a 'mama's boy' brought with it a flash of an image of my own mother. I don't think I had even thought of here once since I left Texas. It was not the kind of memory I wanted either. It wasn't her strung out, passed out on soiled sheets or puking in the sink. It was easy to recall those images and dismiss them as readily. This was different; I didn't know where it came from or even when it came from. It was just her, she was smiling, no missing teeth. Her blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail and her eyes were bright. Eyes that I realized mirrored my own.

The memory caught me unguarded as I walked to the curb and tripped on what at the moment seemed like the edge of a rapidly tilting planet causing me to drop and spill the contents of my new notebook.

"Shit," slick move Ex-Lax I thought to myself. Everyone will be sure to notice that. I bent to gather the scattered papers.

"Ow, crap!" I exclaimed as my head collided with another for the second time that day.

Looking up I saw it was the same head again. Scott clutched his head with a hand.

"We have to stop meeting like this." When he laughed he squinted his eyes and he looked almost Asian.

"Good idea. I don't think I have insurance to cover a concussion." Since when was I capable of any sort of witticism? Scott's laughter must have meant that it was not a bad joke either.

"Let's get this gathered up." He said and this time we carefully bent down keeping an eye on each other. When we realized what we were doing it produced giggles from both of us.

When everything was again where it should be we were left with an awkward silence.

"Well," I paused and, god damn it, I actually shuffled my feet, "my grandmother is waiting, I better get going." and started towards he car again.

"Oh, yeah," he seemed struck by the same awkward pause, "oh, I wanted to get your number so we can make plans for tomorrow." He followed me to the car.

"Um, right." I tried to juggle my stuff to pull out my phone and almost dropped my notebook again. Scott deftly grabbed it before it could spill again.

"Here, call me and we will have each other's number." He gave me his number and I dialed it, eliciting a buzz from his own phone.

"Jayson, is everything alright?" My grandmother had powered down the passenger side window.

"Um, yeah."

"Who do we have here?" She asked looking at Scott.

"Um, this Scott. Scott my grandmother Sue Westwood." At least I could handle a formal introduction. It had to be the first time in my life I had made such an introduction.

"Nice to meet you ma'am." Scott extended his hand through the window and my grandmother gave him a solid handshake.

"The pleasure is mine I am sure."

"Okay, I guess you will call me." I was getting more and more uncomfortable by the minute.

"Yeah, talk to you later." Scott waved as he turned away and I got in the car. I just watched his receding back and his butt until my grandmother pulled away.

"Well, he seems like a nice young man." It was just the sort of comment a grandmother would make.

"Yeah." Things were not turning out the way they were I'm too. My stomach cramped at the thought of Scott calling, of hanging out with Devon and Dani . . . and Vanessa . . . and who knows who else. What to do? What to do?

"Jayson . . . Jayson?"


"I asked you how your day went."

"Fine." I responded. I was fine. Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Exhausted.