This is a work of fiction. Any similarities between the characters in this story and real people (appearances, names, etc.) are purely coincidental. This story may contain homosexual material, including love and sex, so if material like this is illegal in your region or if it discomforts you, please leave.

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Strawberry Wine

Chapter I

'They came on a Monday.'

'Everything changed that day.'


'Even at the tender age of seventeen years, I knew that nothing would ever be the same around the world.'

'I remember every single detail from that day. I remember the warmth of the shower. I remember the taste of the scrambled egg whites that my mom had made for breakfast. I remember the coolness in the Indiana air. I remember the bored, tired tone in my biology teacher's voice.'

06 February 2017

"Hello," said Mrs. Havisher stoically as she entered the classroom. "Today we carry on from where we left off on Friday afternoon. Turn to page eighty-three.
"When two people come together, we have a variety of possibilities, and how do we determine the probability of an offspring having a particular trait? We are talking about your eye and hair colour, or if you have an extra digit, or your senses. Are you hard of hearing like your mom? Are you near-sighted like your dad?"

I had read the chapter a couple of weeks prior, because I was a nerd. So I droned Mrs. Havisher out and drew abstract images in the back of my notebook. The rest of the class passed without event.

After the bell rang, my friend Wendy asked, "Wanna go to the mall with me and Loren and Katie?"

"Sure," I'd answered while slipping my books into my backpack. "I'll ask Darwin if he wants to come, but he might have to pick up his sisters from gymnastics."

Wendy responded, "Meet us out in the parking lot in ten minutes?"

Darwin was standing at his locker when I got there. I snuck up behind him and slid my hands over his eyes.

I felt Darwin's smile form before he said, "Ollie, stop before my boyfriend sees us."

I chuckled sarcastically as I removed my hands from his face, and replied, "You are so fuckin' funny, Dar."

Darwin smiled widely, pleased with himself, and kissed me. He drove his fingers through his short, wavy brown hair as I opened my own locker, which was right beside his.

"What's up?" Darwin asked. "We still on for tonight?"

"Yeah of course," I quickly answered. "I'm meeting the girls out front and we're going to the mall. I thought maybe you could take the twins and meet us there?"

"Yeah," Darwin agreed. "I'll be there in, like, half an hour."

I finished replacing textbooks, so I gave my boyfriend another chaste kiss on the lips. Loren was standing beside Katie's car, leaning against it with her phone in her hands.

"Hey," I greeted.

Loren looked up from her phone and replied, "Yo. Guess what? Zane asked me out. Douchebag."

"Zane Ryers?" I asked, shocked. "How many times this year has he and Britney broken up now? Three?"

"I dunno," Loren responded and tucked a lock of her blonde hair behind her ear. "But I am not getting in the middle of that disaster."

"Smart," I commented. "Britney is fuckin' crazy, so messing with Zane would definitely get you on her shit list."

"Get in, bitches!" Katie shouted as she and Wendy entered the parking lot. "We're going shopping!"

We left our jackets and backpacks in Katie's car and ran into the mall. Loren bought us all Starbucks to warm up.

The male barista said, "Here is your venti triple-shot one-pump mocha salted caramel mocha," with a wink.

I scrunched my eyebrows in displeasure. I mean the black-haired young man was handsome, but he looked to be mid-twenties, which was much too old for me.

"He's sixteen, creep," Wendy told the barista and pulled me away.

"That was mean," I told Wendy.

"Whatever," Wendy waved me off. "He's, like, thirty."

Loren said, "He's kinda hot, though."

"Yeah, well, you have daddy issues," Katie replied.

Before Loren could retaliate, I asked the three girls, "Where to first?"

"American Eagle!" Wendy cried. "I saw this cute top online while I was in physics today!"

"Which would explain why you're so dumb," Katie jokingly said.

"'Scuse you?" Wendy said with a dramatic hand wave. "Who copied whose chemistry homework last night?"

"Only because you said that Eric and Shawn were picking us up in ten minutes!" Katie said in faux-defense. "You just wanted me to Dutch-braid your hair!"

Wendy laughed freely, and responded, "I did look stunning, though, right? I looked amazing!"

I separated from the girls inside American Eagle to roam through the guys section. A sales associate helped me by going into the stock room for a pair of skinny jeans in my size. It was while I leafed through a rack of hoodies that my phone chirped with a text message.

The sales associate came back with the grey jeans, so I handed her a blue short-sleeved polo and a purple hoodie, and asked her to get a fitting room started.

I continued to leaf and card through clothing racks and piles of neatly folded garments. I carried a pair of black skinny jeans, and was holding a thick faux-fur-lined coat that was on sale.

"Hey," Darwin's voice said from behind me.

"Hello, Beautiful," I greeted back and kissed him. "Catriona. Chantel. How are you?"

"Good," they both replied, and then continued to sip from their strawed drinks.

"My mom texted," Darwin told me. "She's working a double. And my dad will be back from the oil rig on Thursday."

"That's awesome!" I responded jovially. "Are you guys having a party for him?"

Darwin answered, "Yeah, she asked me to go shopping for all his favourites tomorrow. That means a huge turkey and we'll be having leftovers for a week."

Darwin and I continued to roam through the store with his seven-year-old sisters following behind.

Holding a pair of black joggers, Darwin asked, "What do you think? They'll be good for running track."

"Yeah," I responded. "I like those."

Darwin and I made our way to the fitting rooms with his sister's close behind. The first things I tried on were the grey skinny jeans and a pink vee neck tee. Darwin tried on a pair dark wash skinny jeans and a purple crew neck sweater. The sweater was a nice smaller than he usually wore, which accentuated his big, muscular chest and his nipples that were always in a perky, erect state.

I combed my long fingers through Darwin's wavy brown hair and said, "I have the sexiest boyfriend."

Darwin laughed softly in embarrassment and kissed my chin. I bent my neck down slightly and kissed his perfect nose.

From behind me, Katie said, "That shirt looks great on you! Oh, my god, it makes your dark eyes look even darker!"

Darwin's green eyes gazed deeply into my own, and he agreed, "It does. You look so hot."

Darwin and I were still embraced snugly, so I leant down down and captured his soft lips in a sweet kiss.

I didn't buy the black skinny jeans at Darwin's request because I had a pair that were basically the same. My purchases from American Eagle included the grey jeans, pink vee, blue polo, purple hoodie, and various briefs in vibrant colours.

Aldo is where our group next went. I bought a pair of dark brown leather boots while Darwin bought a scarf and a necklace. Loren bought a pair of wedge heels and Wendy bought pumps that she said would be perfect for her cousin's wedding.

Chantel complained, "Dar, I'm hungry."

"So am I," Loren told the little girl. "Let's go eat, guys!"

In the food court, the girls ordered from Sushi Cafe, while I ordered from K.F.C. with my boyfriend and his sisters.

While waiting for our order, I laid my arm over Darwin's shoulders and he commented, "You know all that fast food will erase any evidence of your abs sooner or later."

I laughed softly and replied, "Luckily I know that when we're in our forties, you'll still love me and our kids won't give a fuck whether I've got abs still."

Darwin stared at me with shock, frozen. His green eyes were wide, but they also shone with excitement.

"Order number one-forty-seven!" the cashier called.

I booped Darwin's nose and went over to the counter to pick the tray of food. Darwin smiled awkwardly at me as I walked back toward him. I smiled brightly back, settle the tray on my right forearm, and held my left hand out. Darwin grabbed my hand and carded our fingers together.

While taking a seat at a table, I looked toward Sushi Cafe. Katie was looking around the dozens of tables, looking for us. I waved to tell her where we were, and she waved her acknowledgement back.

While handing the twins their chicken salads, I asked, "How was gymnastics, girls?"

"It was so awesome!" one twin answered.

The other twin immediately chimed in, "We learned how to do the splits!"

"Coach Batolin said we have to keep practicing the splits every single day!"

"And if we don't, we have to clean all the apparatuses after class!"

Darwin and I looked at each other, he was obviously fighting off a smile, as was I. Linda Batolin was notorious for using fear of punishment as motivation.

"How's your chicken burger?" Darwin asked while piercing some lettuce and chicken onto his fork.

With a bite of my chicken in my mouth, I answered obscenely, "Oh, my god, it's ssooo good!"

"Who says I wanna marry you and have kids with you?" Darwin asked with his face showing disgust. "You'll just die of a heart attack and stick me with the kids."

"Who says we'll marry?" I retorted. "You're bi, I'm bi. We'll just have drunken relations with women, and have all parental rights to any children conceived. We'll only be ghetto married. I'll go to work and you'll look after the home and the kids."

Darwin laughed boisterously and replied, "Easier that way. When you come home early and find me with Mr. Johnson, no lawyers will be needed."

"I'll need a lawyer," I responded. "Because I'll have kissed Mr. Johnson. With my steel baseball bat. To death."

"How do you kiss someone with a bat?" one of the twins asked.

"Never you mind," Wendy said as she and the other two sat down.

"What are we talking about?" Katie asked.

Smiling wryly, Darwin answered, "We'll only be ghetto married and having drunken relations when we're craving a woman's affections and raising any bastard children without the women."

"Are all bi guys this fucked up?" Loren asked, her brow quirked.

"What are bastard children?" one twin asked.

We giggled, and Darwin told his sisters, "You cuss any more and I'll tell mom that you girls give Charlie the catnip when you're bored."

"Catnip is for cats!" one twin retorted defensively.

The other twin replied, "Yeah! That's why it's called that!"

My phone chirped when Darwin responded, "But doing it just to watch Charlie be stupid is bad."

It was clear that Gavin wouldn't tell me what was going on, so I quickly stood. I walked over to Best Buy, which was right next to the food court.

"Babe?" Darwin asked. "What- Babe?"

I called back, "Gavin said to check the news!" while quickly walking.

I entered the tech store and my companions were running to catch up. We all made a beeline for the televisions, and there were a dozen people standing before them.

What was playing on the televisions was the furthest thing from my mind. I would not have guessed it in a billion years. It something straight out of a science fiction film.

Anderson Cooper, the news anchor, asked, "Jim, how many more aircrafts does the armed forces plan to dispatch?"

"As you can see, Anderson," Jim Acosta began, obviously distressed, "the U.S. Air Force has eighteen F-twenty-twos on site with four Globemasters en route. President Trump is also in talks with Canadian and Mexican leaders, but about what we do not yet know. Anderson."

On each of the television screens was an otherwise sunny sky. But there was a huge aircraft floating in the air. I'm talking the size of a country big. And it was a grey-purple iridescent colour with a dozen giant yellow-white lights on the bottom.

Anderson Cooper's voice carried on, "Ladies, gentlemen, if you are just joining us, breaking news. About fifteen minutes ago, this unidentified flying aircraft appeared in the skies over much of the United States and Northern Mexico. There is another of the exact same aircraft located over Eastern Europe and Asian, and another over South America. Experts approximate that each of the aircrafts measures twenty-one thousand square miles, and they are currently discussing ways to attempt to establish peaceful communication. No movement--"

My phone began ringing in my hand. It startled me so badly that I whimpered and dropped the device. I didn't even know that I had been crying, or that my whole body was trembling.

I looked down at the floor where my cell phone laid. I quickly bent down and grabbed it.

"Dad?" I answered the call, fearful and allowing the tears to fall from my eyes.

"Oh, thank fuck," my dad's deep, strong voice said. "My boy. I called the school and your teacher told me that journalism club was cancelled. Get home. Right now."

"Dad?" I asked brokenly. "Is this real? Is this- is this really happening?"

"Get home. Now. I will do my best to keep you safe. Just come home, son. Please."

"I- I- I'm on my way."

All of my friends were on phone calls as well. I quickly wiped my eyes dry.

"My mom asked me to ask if me and girls could spend the night with the Spencers." Darwin stated, fighting his tears as well. "Her boss asked her to work a triple in case- in case anything happens. Mind if- if we spend the night at your house instead."

A tear spilled from Darwin's green eye, so I stepped up to him. I pressed our foreheads together, and we hugged tightly.

A twin asked with concern, "Dar, what's going on?"

Darwin quickly wiped his tears and answered, "Mom has to work until six o'clock in the morning, and asked that you sleep with your friend Deedee for the night."

Wendy, Loren, and Katie were all crying silently as they continued to watch the news coverage. I bid them a safe night, and they grabbed me in a group hug. We all sniffled, and then Darwin joined the group hug as well.

"This won't be the last time we see each other," I said by way of promise. "Everything is gonna be okay."

"Yeah," Loren agreed tearily. "They just- they just made a wrong turn or something... right?"

None of us said anything else. We just stared at each other, hoping that we'd wake up from this dream.

And then the sirens blared, the tornado sirens. I had feeling that there was no tornado.

Darwin and I left the mall with our shopping bags in one hand and the twins in another. The drive to my house was filled with anxiety and silence. Darwin's aux cord laid forgotten and cold from his dash. We didn't even listen to the radio either. The roads were filled with parked cars and their passengers standing about. They were staring off in the distance at the U.F.O.. It was far, far away, but due to its size it was very visible.

Driving just ten miles per hour and weaving through the vehicles and people, Darwin said, "Please tell me this is all a dream."

I didn't respond. Tears fell from my eyes as I stared out ahead. The U.F.O. was very large. It was tall, too. I'd guess the edges of it alone were as tall as the Seattle Space Needle.

Darwin parked his dad's truck on the curb. Before we could even open the doors to exit the vehicle, my parents came out of the house. I jumped out of the truck and ran to them. I hugged my mom so tight, and cried silently on her shoulder. As I did so, my dad wrapped his arms around us both.

After the hug, my mom said, "Darwin. Girls. Are you guys hangin' out? Your mom at work?"

Darwin answered, "Yes to both, ma'am."

"They're sleeping over," I told my mom. "Mrs. Horner is working a triple."

"Mom wants us with adult supervision," Darwin told my parents. "She's not working tomorrow, so..."

"Well let's get inside," my dad strongly urged. "C'mon."

My two older brothers Jason and Vance were both sitting on the sofa watching the news when we got inside. They both got up and hugged me. I could hear my two younger sisters Kayla and Deanna laughing upstairs, probably watching cartoons. Darwin told the twins go upstairs.

C.N.N. broadcasted the U.F.O. live. The federal government had issued a nationwide warning, to be on the highest alert. The Air Force had tried establishing communication with the aliens by audio transmissions, aircraft formations, lights, painting on the ground, and video and image projections.

Nothing worked.

The U.F.O. remained still and quiet, save for the quiet whir of unseen engines.

My mom even tried ordering takeout, but said, "Everything is closed."

But that wasn't surprising to hear at all. Neither was hearing from Darwin that his mom told him the hospital was busy as fuck. Neither was hearing from my friend Marie that the police station was a hazard from all the distraught citizens, as told by her dad who was the sheriff.

My mom and Jason busied themselves in the kitchen. They prepared a chicken stir fry with wild rice. This was a very rare occasion during which we were allowed to sit on the sofa to eat, as we watched the newscast. Except the young-uns ate at the kitchen table with my mom. My mom was too nauseous to eat much.

After dinner, I told my parents, "Dar and I are gonna go see Ollie."

"I don't think that's a good idea," my mom cautioned.

"It's just next door, mom," I softly said. "Forty feet away."

My dad said, "They'll be fine, Trish. If anything happens, they'll be here in two seconds."

So Darwin and I donned our jackets. We went out the sliding back door and climbed the A.T.V. quad to hop over the fence. Darwin was the one that knocked on the black door.

Mr. Pennington opened their sliding door and said, "Boys. I'm not letting Oliver leave the house, just to the backyard."

"More than understandable, Mr. Pennington," I responded. "Just thought Ollie might need some... medicating."

"Oliver, you've got friends at the back door!" Mr. Pennington called. He then asked me, "Got a blunt I could buy? I could use some medicating myself."

I took my Ziploc baggie out of my jacket and told the man, "On the house. Special circumstances, and stuff."

Ollie came down the staircase, so I waved the baggie of joints. Ollie quickly grabbed his jacket and we went out to their backyard.

"This is all a little fucked up, right?" Ollie asked as I sparked a joint. "Yeah, it's a little- no it's a lot fucked up. There are fucking aliens hovering in the air all over the world."

Despondent, I replied, "Yeah."

"This is..." Ollie began, but had to swallow to try keeping his emotions at bay. "What's gonna happen?"

Darwin took a long drag of the joint and answered, "Who the fuck knows, man."

The three of us actually shared three joints that early evening. I didn't wanna worry my parents any more than necessary, so Darwin and I went back to my house. My dad was in Deanna's room where he read Dr. Seuss. Kayla and Deanna laid on Kayla's full-sized bed, and Catriona and Chantel laid on an air mattress on the floor.

After closing the book, my dad kissed my sisters' foreheads and told them, "I love you girls. I'll always love you."

Hearing the forced strength in my dad's voice was enough to choke me up. Tears prickled at my eyes, more so because I could still hear the uncertainty and fear in his words.

On his way out of the bedroom, my dad affectionately laid his hand on my shoulder. So Darwin and I kissed our respective sisters foreheads and went back downstairs.

"--still no movement from either of the three alien aircrafts," Anderson Cooper continued to report. "President Trump landed in New York about ten minutes ago and is promptly on his way to the United Nations headquarters where world leaders will be discussing in length options for peaceful interactions, and protocols if peace is unattainable."

Darwin leant his back against my chest as we watched the live feed of the U.F.O.'s on the news. Three hours later, we went out from Jason's bedroom window up to the roof. We sat up there staring off in the distance in the night sky. The U.F.O. was clearly visible by its dozens of lights.

I laid my head on Darwin's shoulder, and he asked, "Do you remember that time we broke up for, like, two hours?"

I laughed and wiped a tear away, and answered, "You broke up with me."

"I'd never cried so much in my short life," Darwin responded with amusement. "But fuck was I so happy when you found me at the skate park and kissed me like there was no tomorrow. Now there may be no tomorrow."

"We'll get through this, Dar," I promised. "One day, I will propose to you. Will you say 'Yes'?"

Darwin laughed emotionally and asked, "Are you pre-proposing?"

Instead of answering, I said, "We will live in a four bedroom house. It'll be a bitch to clean. Especially with the three kids we'll raise."

"Three sounds excessive."

I lightly smacked Darwin's thigh and retorted, "I want five. You want two. So we compromise on three."

"Okay," Darwin agreed with a giggle.

"And we will have both a dog and a cat. I'm thinking a collie, and definitely not one of those hairless cats."

"But there will already be too much pet hair from the dog."

"No hairless pets of any kind."


"And no carpets or rugs of any kind. Like, at all. I hate vacuuming."

Darwin giggled and teased, "I thought I was gonna be looking after the house?"

"That was my attempt at making you my bitch. But you ain't nobody's bitch."

Just then, my poked his head of Jason's window and said, "Boys, I made a fruit salad with vanilla yogurt if you're hungry."

Only the children slept that night. We were all too worried and anxious and scared to sleep. Darwin and I spent the night cuddled on the sofa watching the live broadcasts of the three U.F.O.'s, which just hovered in the air motionless and quiet.

Around six o'clock in the morning, our landline rang. My dad answered the call and said that it was the school district's automated message saying that the schools were closed due to weather.

The first of the girls to wake were Chantel and Kayla. While my mom fried bacon and scrambled eggs, Catriona and Deanna came downstairs.

As we all ate, Vance looked up from his phone and said with urgency, "People are starting to drive north to Canada. It's all over Facebook and Twitter!"

Jason looked to my dad and anxiously asked, "Do you think we should?"

I laughed darkly and stated, "It's not gonna make a difference. Three U.F.O.'s are here."

"Don't you think we know that!?" my dad demanded. "If we go up north, we can try to outrun them. And that's if the aliens even attack. They've been here for, what, thirteen or fourteen hours? And they haven't done anything. We will pack up and leave."

I had supposed that it wasn't a bad idea. It was certainly better than sitting on our asses. It wasn't a good idea to freaky out in the first place.

Our doorbell rang, so my dad answered it. He and Mrs. Horner walked into the kitchen. Darwin immediately stood and went to hug his mom. Catriona and Chantel joined them, it was a beautiful family embrace.

"D'you think we can pick dad up?" Darwin asked his mom with hope.

"And drive up to Canada?" Mrs. Horner asked softly. "I talked to your dad a few minutes ago. The rig is sending everybody on land. Your dad will be home tonight. He said to ask somebody if they'd be willing to have you and your sisters as passengers. I'll ask Dom and Rose."

My dad offered, "Darwin and the girls can come up with us. We'll be leaving in an hour."

Mrs. Horner looked relieved, and said, "Thank you, Jack. I'll be driving to New York to pick Eddie up. We will text every hour, and meet you guys up north."

My mom asked, "Susan, would you like something to eat before you guys go pack?"

"No thanks," Mrs. Horner replied. "Haven't been able to eat much since..."

So the Horners donned their jackets. Near the front door, I embraced Darwin tightly, not wanting to let him go, even though he would be back in a half hour. We shared a lingering, warm kiss, and he brushed his thumb across my cheek.

Darwin rested our foreheads together, and promised in a whisper, "I'll see you in forty-five minutes. Fifty, tops."

To Be Continued...

Hope 'Strawberry Wine' is to your liking so far. If you want to check out my other fictions, they will be listed below.


Do Not Go Gentle

Near Wild Heaven

The Other Half of Me Unknown

A Quick Fall

Some You Give Away

Somewhere A Clock is Ticking

Tearing Me Apart

The Trick is to Keep Breathing

You Call it Madness

You Don't Mean to Hurt Me