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A SIDE NOTE;

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I have fallen behind a tad on the schedule, there are two more chapters to come. They are already partially written. They just need to be cleaned up. So please stick around for the conclusion.

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This story has a soundtrack, songs below are featured in this chapter.

Hovering over the selected song, right click and choose open a new tab to listen, or alternatively click on the hyperlink and you'll be redirected from the story to YouTube.

 

 

Rescuing Asher By Trevor Morris

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Chasing Christmas

By D.K. Daniels

 

 

Chapter Five

 

Reaching the frosted crystallized stop sign at the converging point of Summit Street and Lincoln Avenue. I glanced both ways to make sure there were no cars coming before stepping out onto the street. In sync, the boys did the same as me, all except Ben who rambled on animatedly, waving his hands about as an amplifier and totally oblivious to the road we were now crossing. Surrounded by numerous red brick, and wooden colonial houses we started to slowly trail through the intersection, leaving my home territory behind we trudged further down the sidewalk Lincoln Avenue.

 

After Ben stopped rambling on about YouTube rewind. `Thank God,' why did Lucas have to start a conversation about something so lucrative. Elijah broken in with a soft amused smile on his face, it is as if he has never seen anything like this before. Or at the very least, ever encountered anyone with his amount of corrupt energy.

 

"Are you guys always like this," Elijah asked.

 

With me in the middle, and Lucas on my right and Elijah to the left. I felt at home, and at the center of the discussion. The twins each sprint-walked in order to keep up with us on either side of the group. Lucas glanced at me and over to Elijah. "Yeah, why," Lucas asked?

 

"Oh nothing," he stammered "I just like the wittiness," Elijah added.

`I guess that would make Lucas more popular than me in Elijah's sense. I'll never understand how he can just take a random conversation and run away with it on me. That's not fair, I had dibs on Elijah first. Is that how it works now: setting dibs on who you want to be friends with, or can't be friends with. I think it's gotten to a point that I'm getting jealous of every little thing that Lucas is starting to do. I feel bad about it, it's not my fault or maybe it is my fault. Thinking of a witty response, `yes witty' he said he likes witty so I have to be witty like Lucas. `If I want him to like me, I have to be like Lucas, ugh.... That's what's making him like Lucas. It's his funny, weird and obnoxious side. Though I'm not obnoxious, sadly. I don't think I am anyway.'

 

"Wittiness is not the only thing Lucas is full of," I jokingly added, with a nudge to Elijah's arm.

 

Elijah sniggered at the joke. But when I glanced back over to Lucas, he didn't find it all that amusing. He stared at me snidely, opened his mouth and said "yeah screw you too, "in a hardy-har-har-har manner.

 

A moment of silence took place. The only thing remotely making itself known is the fine crunch of crystallized snow beneath our feet and of course the mumbling, contortion of the two twins behind us. Cars in pass bye yards, sat sleeping with an equivalent to a small sandpit of snow-drenched lazily across the hood and the windscreen of the abandoned the vehicles. And running from house to house is the freshly built-up power cables, covered in a powdery flour which gloated down like dust with each traction of wind. The only source of color came from the faded blanketed homes nestled under the bleak white sky and the worn slushed road.

 

Lucas glanced at me and then looked straight ahead again. He seemed to be contemplating something. He then glanced behind us to see where the two younger boys where they were trailing behind, lost in their own conversation. They have always been this way. I and Lucas, have somehow managed to not really care anymore. We just made sure they were still following us. If they were to miraculously disappear I can only imagine what our mothers would say. "How can you lose them." Hell, I think I'd even be a little disappointed if I lost them. They mean no harm but they are annoying as hell sometimes. Which can be expected from two twins. It is their mission to drive us crazy if anything has ever been learned from motion picture history, it is that twins are always sneaky little bastards.

 

"Come on will use keep up, "Lucas bellowed back to the twins. Looking over my shoulder, the two of them broke eye contact with each other. They came gallivanting up to us in a jog. With Ben beside Lucas, and Adam on Elijah's side. The group became over capacity. Three is the perfect number. At least we could all fit on the path, though now: not so much. Instead, Adam walked on lawns and brushed up against walls passed houses. Ben on other hand sloppily trudged on the verge of the road and the path, covered in snow. Eventually, he complained about how cold his feet were getting, and we just told them to get back onto the path in front of us and he did.

 

He has this really weird kind of stance. Every time he's talking to us, he turns momentarily and walks backward to initiate conversation. Personally, I'm more afraid that he'll fall over a jutting incline in the path. Then `bam' he'd go falling to his inevitable broken arm or crack the side of his skill from the fall. Though up to now, he hasn't fallen. For which I am eternally grateful. If anything, my nervous' watching younger kids doing stuff like this, stresses me the fuck out. They just don't have any sense of safety, they just do and don't think.

 

Ben fumbled around again for possibly the tenth time in the short distance we had walked and asked, "are you really staying with us for Christmas? ... My mom said you're staying with us for Christmas." Continuing backward so he could observe Elijah's reaction he preceded to walk backward. Everyone went a little quiet and nobody dared to say anything. It is quite evident that Elijah is trying to think of what to say, he just doesn't exactly have the word so he settled with, "yeah I think so."

 

Then silence came again; a car passed and that roused everyone to a point that we all just glanced out to the road to what it was passing. Crossing another intersection, Ben finished his little interrogation. He asked, "can I ask why." It is suited to Ben. He is, after all, a how- should I say - an inquisitive child. Yeah, one of those sounds about right. Though there was no silence this time instead Lucas blurted in, "his crib burnt down."

 

`God' there was no malice or any sort of bad in what Lucas had said, he just simply said it without thinking it. It came out a lot harsher than he actually realized. `For fuck's sake. Can't he ever keep his mouth shut? If he can't think before he acts, can he at least keep his trap shut? Adam fell behind and he bent down to tie his laces after it had come loose. We all stopped to let him do it, and I looked over at Lucas. Giving him a small nudge on the side of his hip, I asked, "what the hell was that for." Lucas just looked at me skeptically and probably thought what is he talking about. I have no idea why I asked. I just said it and I didn't think all that much about it. Someone's home just burned down and Lucas handles the pain of such thing like he was passing the salt at the dinner table. I didn't tell Lucas about the house indecent. Maybe mom must've told Aunt Annie and his mom told him while he was downstairs or something at some point.

 

Though the silence, nor the awkward statement last very long because Lucas announced straight off "sorry, "and Adam shot up from his crouched position and sprinted up beside us again.

 

Truly Elijah is so far, the nicest person I have had ever came across. If Lucas were as humble as Elijah I don't think I'd know what to do because I think Elijah has been the only person I've ever met so far and that is truly humble. He said it's okay as if it were no big deal that his house just burnt down. And my cousin is a stupid retard for bringing it back up when he shouldn't have. Elijah doesn't want to keep remembering what had just happened. He want's try and make the most of the Christmas holidays, or what's left of it. Sorry, it's ridiculous, I wish I had the patience to stand through all of Lucas's is bullshit. Thank God, I only get to see him once a year, I guarantee if I had him on my case all year I would've probably tried punching him by now regardless if he's my cousin or not. He really does need to think what he says before he actually says it. I don't think he has grasped the concept or the scenario just yet. Even though I have explained to him hundreds, possibly thousands of times and his mom has probably said the same thing when he's not even with me.

 

Did Lucas have to say that? Now Elijah looks a little sad, again. I spent all morning trying to cheer him up and then it takes one goddamn bloody statement from Lucas's behalf to put him in a bad or sad mood again. `Okay just calm down no need for this to get out of proportion and hit the roof, it wasn't that big of a deal but still what can I say; Lucas is an asshole for saying even such a thing. Though to make matters worse he asked, "so does that mean you don't have any clothes or anything like that."

 

`Like seriously do you need to be a mind reader to understand that his house burned down and that he has no other stuff. I think I'm going mad just enough listing to the stupid things he comes out. He has no consideration for other people's misfortunes. Does he have a content filter inside his head that controls the amount of shit that comes out of his mouth because he never ever takes into consideration how others may be feeling? I wonder if any sells something like that. Something that controls the amount of horseshit that comes out of someone's mouth before they decide to even waver their tongue to talk.

 

"Christ Lucas! Why do you always come off so harsh, "I said in frustration.

 

Lucas became offended, `that's rich because he's the one that's doing all the offending.'

 

Lucas blurted back, "I not, I'm trying to say I'm sorry for whatever happened." Everyone just stared in amazement. Noone spoke a word really, everybody knew that something was about to happen or something is happening. Though nobody has got the balls to say anything. Am I the only one that has the guts, the balls to say something when Lucas is being a jerk or lacks empathy.

 

Yeah, maybe his reasoning did have some common sense to it and maybe he is trying to be friendly. Maybe he is trying to get to know the kid, but does he have to phrase it like that. It's probably the most of noxious way to phrase it of course. The person is going to be sad and he's not gonna have anything if his house burnt down. Hell, he's come to stay with us, that's just common sense. I guess that's the problem with Lucas nobody gives him a chance. Everybody just leaps into his wrong choice of words or decisions. They think he's cold and callous, that he doesn't care about anybody other than himself. When all he really means is that he cares but he just doesn't know how to show that he cares. I might as well let him off the hook. But he such, urgh...

 

"I know but could you say it a little less stupid or something the next time," I fumed.

 

"Next time," he mumbled. "I'm not stupid,"

 

Closing the small distance between us, he gave me a forceful shove, that I almost lost my balance. Stumbling backward, I put my fighting hands out and dropped Jack's present. A moment later I hit a tree behind me in one of the front yards without a boundary wall. All the boys around us and didn't really intervene. For some reason, I felt sad and bitter. I'm only trying to look out for Elijah. Standing up for him seems like the logical thing to do, but he didn't do anything he was more in shock. The boys around us didn't intervene, I cant be going crazy surly someone has to see the reasoning behind my motives. I don't want to fight but Lucas appears to want to fight. The two twins look like they are slightly intimidated, they don't want to mess with Lucas because they know that if they do. Lucas would be like a shit storm until they go back home to NYC. Or until he actually subsides and leaves the huff he'd be in, behind.

 

Two older lads brushed through us on the sidewalk. Remembering we were in the middle of the street, and that we were not the only ones out and about, I moved aside so they could pass, as did Lucas. The kids look to be about fifteen or sixteen. Two or three years old than us max.

 

Blondie haired with a smug looking face and a slim build came through with his friend. Who had a green snapback on, a hearty face and a little faint offering of black facial hair. The kid with the blond hair almost looks like the spitting image of Lucas. I'd bet my money on it, that that would or could be the same resemblance four years down the road for Lucas. Minus the smug face. He could possibly, compete as a double with the teenager. The only difference was that he had blue eyes and Lucas has green.

 

Though from experience and knowledge that most of the kids in my school are jackasses especially the older ones, who always torment the younger kids for general amusement. It is inevitable that our little situation, scuffed didn't go unnoticed while the boys passed. Even though they were minding their own business, and we our own. Nothing exactly went down, yet. Though I somehow knew that these kids would stick around to watch a fight if it were bound to happen. I'm quite confident though that it won't get as far.

 

They brushed past twins on the outer perimeter of our group. overhearing the boy with the green snapback, "check it..." he teased to his friend. "Two midget's fighting."

 

Lucas could not turn down a feud so he decided to shout back at them, "fuck off." It kind of scared me a little because I didn't want to upset the older boys. I just prayed they wouldn't retaliate. The boys turned around and said, "Jesus chill spaz," before beginning to walk off.

 

Slowly before the situation got any worse through a heated exchange of words. Lucas held his anticipation to say something. He didn't drive further in an argument because he knew that if he was to start an argument that he would most likely be killed in the process. So, he chose wisely instead. Out of frustration, he shoved me again, he remained quiet but let his anger be expressed in a scream which could only happen by letting loose a scream from within himself. He didn't open his mouth, he just let it go as if you were screaming into a pillow. Deciding to shove back I ask, "why do you always do this?" Feeling worried that the both of us would end up in a scuff on the first day that they only arrived, on the ground pulling each other's hair and kneeing each other in the stomach over something so stupid. I decided to take my approach down a notch or two.

 

Lucas is a fiery one, so he just pushed right on back and shouted in my face. To what was almost as if he was demanding an answer from me. He possibly presumed he had complete control over the in entire situation and that I should answer him. I have never actually witnessed Lucas in a fight, but I guarantee he is not a person who exactly plays fair.

 

I guarantee he would kick someone in the balls when they're not looking. Realistically that's pretty much her every war that has ever been fought. I guess if Lucas was on an opposing team he'd we somehow manage to win. He'd cheat, because after it either you or them.

 

Lucas has never dared to actually take a kick to me on the sly. I guess it's a mutual respect that I wouldn't do it to him if he didn't do it to me. I guess everything being out in the open is better. This way, if we have a disagreement or problem, we can talk it out instead of punching the heads off each other or not talking for months. Somehow that makes better sense to me rather than not talking at all, or punching the head off each other. I don't exactly think that's how it should be handled. I don't like violence, I'd rather talk it out as much as possible before it has to alternate into a fight between my cousin, or just anyone. Though course not everyone will listen to reason.

 

I'll agree that the situation was getting to a boiling point. Ben shouted, "don't fight guy's."

 

Somehow his voice made us of backed down a small bit. We remembered where we are and who we are. The situation is a little stupid to even be bickering over. Elijah then cut in, "yeah it's okay dude, chill it's okay. I'm getting used to your style,"

 

Lucas retorted, "style," as if he were even more offended than what I had said. Though I think Elijah means he's most likely getting used to his witty sarcasm and antics which come as baggage when you get to know him, unfortunately. It's true what they say; you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. If I could trade him for Elijah, I probably would do so. But then again, I'd miss the poor sap.

 

I'll agree, fighting is not my most strong point. I guess reasoning and trying to work out a solution between the both of us is probably my best form of reserve. I've always been one to try and talk it out. So, I'm going to try and talk it out. I'm gonna try and reason with him even if he is beyond reasoning because Lucas is beyond reasoning.

 

Attempting to reason with him somewhat and stifle the moment I said, "you always act like a dickhead when you offend someone and when they bring it up but you, you act all shitty."

 

And yes, that could have done it all for me. I guess we could be walking onto Jack's right about now but instead, Lucas just blew up into a little tantrum.

 

"Fine, I'm going home. Screw you guys," he roared. With that, he turned away from the group and started walking on back the way we had come. Trudging through the snow, he lifted his legs higher and higher. With each little stomp, his angry would leave the scene. He treats the situation as if I'm solely to blame. I'll never be able to get through to him, I'm being easy here on him. If I were another person, I would have just given him a punch by now. Still, I still don't like violence. My decision not to use violence still stands. If I can use words to the defuse the situation before violence is needed, then I will. He's almost 14, he needs to grow a pair if anything "fine run off like you always do," I shouted after him.

 

Trying to take a reasonable approach in calming down, I returned back to the guys and said, "alright come on guys." Glancing over at the two teenagers who stood looking at me, I marched over and plucked up Jack's present. I was trying with him' you have to least give me that. I was trying to calm him down but it is so hard to calm Lucas down. When you're riled up the last thing you want to hear, is calm down. But Lucas can't expect me to just stand there take his garbage. The twins, actually not just the twins but the life in the group died. I don't' really have much to say at the moment, I decided to just keep going. After all, I had a present to give to Jack and I wanted to get something to Elijah. If Lucas didn't want to come along, then screw him who is he to spoil my evening. He's not gonna be here after the holidays but maybe Elijah will, if I can be a cool friend or something, maybe he will stick around. Maybe someday he'll like me that. Though that dream is hopeful.

 

Do you know what really broke my heart, hearing Elijah say, "I'm sorry."

 

Did he just really say sorry to me, he doesn't have anything to say sorry about. To me it's Lucas, he's the one that has done at all the damage. He's the one that's acting like a stupid idiot. I still love him but he needs to know that he can't just run his mouth like that.

 

I'm not against hurting people. I wonder if he'd ever understand. Just once I'd like him to say something that's not offending when he's in the heat of the moment. Mom always says think before you act. I guess you should really say that as well when it comes to saying stuff. `You should really think before you say something to someone because that could either change someone's life for a good but also potentially hurt someone to the point that they'd feel that their life is no longer worth living. That they'll feel shitty, just like bullying. Bullying is possibly the most common indicator of this idea. Not that I have ever been bullied, I don't think I can comprehend how it would feel to be in someone else's shoes, who has gone through it.

 

Getting back on the sidewalk, placing my parcel for Jack under my arm. I hoped and secretly wished that it was broken. I'll only find out when he opens it `if the dickhead did break it. Okay, I need to stop calling him a dickhead, just move on and stop bitching about it already.'

 

I gave Elijah a little nudge on the shoulder to indicate that no matter what it was okay and that I wasn't mad at him for one. Thinking of what to say I decided to just go with, "it's not your fault," and left it at that.

 

Feeling my feet sink in the powdery snow a voice called out. Turning to the sound of Lucas's voice, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. "Hey shithead," the voice called. Turning slowly, Lucas hurled a snowball at me and stepping back, I stumble backward off the path. Following the snowball in midair, it shot down the center of me and Elijah and clobbered the blond teenager in the back of the head. The kid turned around and had this horrible looking frown upon his face. I heard Lucas announce loudly, "oh shit. " I glanced back at Lucas and then back to the boy. They didn't look at all impressed. A matter of fact, they seemed as if they were about to pounce on us if anything. Ben glanced from me to Elijah and then back to the big kids.

 

"Now what," he gravelly said. Elijah shifted his attention to me. Knowingly, I looked at him with ever-increasing tension. My heart began to throb harder in my chest. Then out of nowhere, Elijah belted out at the top of his lungs, "run."

 

I shouted at him and a series of shockwave hit Lucas. He set off running, and I started after him. Jumping over the small clump of snow back onto the path. Elijah darted ahead, though kept beside me. Pushing Ben along the fear that the all the boys would not come to the ground and start pounding on him I shouted at him. "Move.... Go," I belted in panic.

 

The two boys initiated into chase behind us. I not exactly sure who is going to get a beat down first but it's not exactly something I want to see. I would love to see Lucas getting a good whopping, thought as much as I want that to happen because he is an idiot, I can't exactly let that happen. Guiding Ben by the hips I narrowly pushed him along the path, continuing to drive him forward as if to tell him to hurry up and run faster. Standing upright again, I started to break into a sprint alongside Elijah. Lucas neared the end of the street and automatically slow down a small bit get his bearings which even more so terrified me.

 

"Where are we going?" he shouted back to us as he looked over his shoulder and then back at the road Elijah called it from side me right he said.

 

Adam began to approach Lucas and he stopped suddenly, all hesitantly for a second. Glancing to his left in distress and then to the right. He pointed to the left across the road. I shouted, "turn right." Wanting the two boys to stray from our optimum route. Lucas latched onto Adam's arm and dragged him with him as if his life depended on it. He didn't really look back for Ben but Ben was right in front to me and he was starting to scream like a little schoolgirl from panic.

 

I think the fear is really starting to really intensify. I'm certainly sure, actually positive that Ben has pissed his pants. I can't exactly stop and check to see if that idea had fallen through so I just kept on running. Turning at the natural curvature in the in the path we encircled back onto Somerset Street. Passing a house that we had just surpassed moments briefly before, and by hedges covered in fresh powder.

 

Turning onto a shrouded side-street which didn't have houses facing out in our direction. We drove out to the outer perimeter, bypassing backyards. I feel a little more nervous considering that we are heading to a place that does not have much footfall, with two larger kids trailing behind. They are most likely going to kill us or something, something as simple as a stray snowball could cause all of this. I thought it was fun for a moment but this is no longer fun. Lucas stepped over onto the curb and jumped over a fire hydrant and he hollered woo-hoo. Lucas's voice injected life into the dead street, though not even a soul in sight presumably heard us or as much as lifted the curtain to see what was going on in the street outside. `That's it- where all going die here. I'm going to die on this street.' Why did I tell everyone to turn this way, we should've stayed on the main road but no... this is the best way to go considering we want to get back around to Jack's.

 

Every step I took my feet pound down against the snow, I can't decide which is worse. The cold soaking its way up through my shoes, or if it is the harsh implosion being made under them every one of the panicked steps I'm taking. Lucas doesn't appear to be afraid of rational fear. I think he gains energy or momentum from being in danger. He seems to absorb the predicament that we are in and adapt to it because of the thrill of it.

 

The twins didn't usher a word, they just kept running. I and Elijah likewise both ran and we didn't dare look back. We knew we could hear the both of them chasing after us. The fear of glancing back and we tripping over made reality sink in.

 

Approaching a break in the path, a car came flying out of the driveway at a concealed entrance to a house. The entrance had been well hidden concealed: even because of the trees covered in the snow. The only thing that offered a hint of human life was the lanterns on each pillar, where the car came from. My heart leaped out of my chest. `Lucas is going to get run over by the car.'

 

But it didn't happen, he narrowly avoided it and bumped off the hood of the car, stumbling out into the side of the street. No, he didn't stop at all he just got back onto the sidewalk and kept on running. He glanced back at us to make sure that we were still behind him and he didn't really think any else about it. A moment later I flew past the car, the person inside the car sounded the horn. Glancing as I passed, the woman looked a little rattled.

 

Panting from all that panicking, a stitch started to develop in my gut. Nonetheless, I pushed on regardless of how much it was beginning to sting.

A menacing voice called from behind, "your all dead," the voice bellowed. As if them chasing us wasn't clear-cut enough of what was going to happen when they finally caught up with us. Though now I definitely know, that I have to keep running. I increased my efforts and pushed through the soreness of the stitch.

 

Catching up to Lucas he breathlessly added, "agh my heart."

 

"Your heart, you bloody done this, " I cried out in absolute pain from the experience I was feeling in my stomach. A carving pain which slowly made its way from the bottom of my hip and started to slowly descend up towards my armpit. On the road, we naturally circled ourselves back around onto another road which lead down the backs of all the houses that we had just spent our time walking down the front of, before having to run back up them.

 

Eventually, we got to the end of the side street that we thought would never, and they were keeping up with is quite well as well. `There persistent little bastards,' well not so little. They are actually a lot bigger than us.

 

Not knowing exactly where I was, though I had a brief idea we came to a crossroad. Darting out of the alleyway, without looking to see if there was any road traffic we made ourselves scarcely across the road. Just like that, we went from one side of the road to the other, flooding back onto the path on the opposite side.' It's not far to Jack's house now,' I contemplated. Not realizing that Lucas slipped, we bypassed him in fear. Though something clicked in my mind, glancing back I noticed he had fallen on a patch of black ice. Running back, me and Elijah are risking out bloody lives to get the bloody asshole up off the ground. Glancing over my shoulder nervously, the two older boys drew near. They appeared tired, yet persistent.

 

Screaming, "get up, "at Lucas on the ground. He latched onto both me and Elijah's arms and we pull him to his feet. Practically dragging him along we all stumbled back towards the two twins.

 

Running away from the bullies. The crunch of the granular crystalized snow cracked with each panicked step we took sprinting down the descent of Foxdale Avenue. Popping up onto the sidewalk just shy of a storm drain, we funneled under a cluster of trees and then pushed through an iron gate to the right of us. If Jack hadn't of heard us by now he must be deaf. All the hustle and bustle and shouting we were making were possibly, absurdly, and most definitely, could be taken as a noise complaint from the grumpy old man next door. We trudged up the center of an un-shoveled pathway to Jack's door and then hit the spot that had been freshly shoveled which led to the driveway from the door. Flying up the porch steps with the boys, all of us didn't really wait for one of the other to knock ahead of us. We all began pounding on the front door with our fists. I for one' am not going to wait around to find out what is going to happen.

 

Pummeling the oak door. The wreath on the front door of the old brick and wooden house rattled with each pound to the blockade. Lucas screamed out in panic part haste. I've never been so glad to see Jack open a door in his entire life. I felt like I could reach out and take him into a hug. His face is such a rejuvenating thing to see. The boys from the street could be heard coming to a complete stop outside the fence.

 

"What the hell is your problem," Jack annoyingly lambasted. He genuinely looked annoyed but then when he noticed it was us his facial reaction of a scrunched up quizzical expression changed to a soft restful status. His posture which had been tense when he opened the door slumped and the door wobbled a little as he let relief supply his emotions.

 

Somewhere amidst the panic and the confusion, I glanced around over Lucas. The boys didn't enter Jacks yard, they stood apprehensively outside the boundary. They didn't cross the threshold for maybe many reasons but the best reason could be that they are aware the front door is opened. Out of nowhere, a snowball hit the wreath on the door and its contents discharged. Fragments of tiny little snowflake crystals shattered all over the door and showered Jack in tiny splotches. Without getting a minute to exactly do anything all the boys at the door just shoved all at once in the tiny door slot and I brush past the door frame and into the hallway of Jack's house. Jack immediately protested to the display of boy power. If I must say I think it's rather amusing to think of it this way but in retrospect, we did stampede, Jack. Pushing through as Jack found his way back to the front door and he shouted out the front door, "what the hell was that for." Quickly turning around to face Jack, I watched in anticipation and part nervousness of what was about to transpire. Latching onto Jack's wrist I tried pulling him back in the door gently by saying, "come on... it's not worth it, quickly close the door." When Jack got riled up he was a little stubborn but he was a lot better than Lucas when it came to problem-solving. I guarantee if things quickly when sidewards Jack wouldn't have a problem of retreating, whereas Lucas would have a problem with retreating because he does not take the defeat as a welcoming.

 

I stop pulling Jack when I heard a man's husky voice calling from the dining room. It is, of course, Jack's dad. He came all the way up from the kitchen, made his way through the living room via the archway into the dining room and came out into the foyer. "What's going on, "he asked. His face suggested a mixture of confusion and part seriousness to the question, just like every parent should be when they don't know exactly what is going on but they know that they should somehow approach the topic with caution. He came out into the middle of the hallway and brush through the confusion of boys and glanced at them in part disbelief and then glanced out the door onto the driveway. He didn't even have to say a word he just slowly sauntered out onto the doorstep. Glancing at the boys on the street he then looked back at us. It is quite obvious were taking refuge from those two older boys and he stepped back in the door slightly. Naturally being caught off guard from looking at us, Jacks dad turned away from the opposing attackers, and a snowball hit him in the back of the shoulder.

 

Though the display from the two teenagers seemed to somehow make him even more alert. Flipping around as if he were going to run out the door like a madman and just kill someone.

"Go on get out of here, "he shouted at the two boys, from the door. The two boys didn't seem to listen they just stood there and smirked at the display of Jack's father. `They weren't going anywhere, 'he was delusional to even think that.

 

When he saw that the two younger boys, teenagers. Where not budging, he decided to swiftly come back inside the door pluck up a baseball bat from inside an umbrella stand and he marched right back out the door. Raising it, waving it at them he shouted in protest, "go on... get out of here now!" His voice wasn't sweet anymore it was demanding like a military voice. I wonder if Jack's dad had ever been in the military because the way he is speaking. It is kinda like giving direct orders to a group of privates or something. The boy with the beanie hunkered down and picked up a snowball from the ground. Compressed it together in his hands tightly and then hurled it at Jack's father. Jack's dad took his first steps down the pathway to strike some fear into the older teenagers. Hoping that they would somehow start to walk or run off because he was coming down the driveway.

 

The blond headed boy slowly backed away from the gate, but the boy with the green beanie stayed put, he was daring and presumably a little problematic. If I had known better it was probably the boy with the green beanie that has persuaded his friend to chase us all down. I guarantee that the older boy with the blond hair would have just left well enough alone.

 

Crowding around the front door, we all huddled closely together to see what was transpiring outside. Jacks dad waved the bat intently, "piss off, "he roared. Almost instantaneously after he had said that everybody went into a bit of a snicker including myself, I guess it was the way he phrased it and Jack's dad did look like a bit of a psycho waving the baseball bat around out there. I can only imagine the neighbors looking out the windows of their houses. To find a very sober man waving a bat in the front yard, though I can only imagine that Mr. Wilkinson of presumably eighty years would somehow find it within himself to report this to the local police or report his findings to rest of the neighbors on the street that don't mind their own business. `Funny. I have never seen the resemblance between him and Mr. Wilson from Denis the Menis before.' Brushing the thought, I decided to dedicate my short attention span to what is on hand, not the next-door neighbor. It is after all not a time to think about movies when Jack's dad is out on the firing line.

 

The two teenagers backed away from the iron gate and into the middle of the street. With an antsy attitude, the boy with the blond hair tried to reason with Jack's dad. "We just want the one who threw the snowball at me." and as if to add some persuasion to the situation the boy with the green beanie ducked down and retrieved another snowball but before he could throw at his friends latched onto his wrist and told him to drop it. it was quite evident that Jack's dad's remained firm on his decision. The two boys obviously saw that they were not going to get Lucas or near any of us as long as Jack's dad was around so they glanced either way on the street. "This is not over," the green beanied boy retorted. The two teenagers became a bit flustered when a car came up the center of the street and they had across to the very far side of the road. Standing on the footpath on the far side of the street they glanced over at us and then they finally called it quits to start walking off and the direction town. To make sure that they were not coming back Jack's dad remained outside in the front yard intently watching them fade off into the distance.

 

When Jack's dad was content that the two boys were gone from sight and mind he made his way back up the driveway and into the house. Automatically we pushed back from the door and allowed room for him to get in. Without overthinking it he shut the door behind him and asked, "who are they," with a scrunched up facial expression. He directed the question to me because he obviously didn't exactly know anybody else here who is with me.

 

And just like a parrot, Jack repeated himself and asked the same repeat question his father asked. "Yeah who? "I can't exactly lie, I don't know who the hell they are so deciding to go with the truth I lay all the blame on Lucas. Gazing over at him, "how am I supposed to know. It was this Bozo here who drew the attention, "I fumed.

 

I guess I'm just about ready to tear into him. He is after all more of a liability than he is a help. Just look at is decision-making and what it cost us. One wrong move and he almost cost all of us a beating. But the thought was a little foreshadowed when I heard Elijah wheezing beside me. Pivoting my head towards him he slung his hand into his pocket and pulled out an inhaler. Giving it a couple of like shakes, he then lifted it to his mouth and pressed the release valve and took three sucks of whatever is on the inside of that plastic device.

 

Though I couldn't exactly get a minute to ask if he was okay because Lucas blurted in over me. "I'm not a Bozo: you dickhead, " he scoffed. Things began to get a little heated in the midst of the moment, me and Lucas come in close quarters of each other. I could practically smell his breath and the warmth coming from within inside the cavity. His eyes are like an extravagant moon. But before we could shove at each other get into another debate about who was in the right or who was in the wrong. Of course, I know I am in the right, everything that Lucas does is a fucking disgrace to humanity. As I'm saying before I could even contemplate of throwing a swing at him. Jacks dad scolded us for our heavy produce of bad language.

 

"Lads," he said in a stern tone. "Language, "he then further added softly. Glancing at each other we looked at that Jack's dad, I immediately felt sorry for even getting this heated in the first place. So, I offered up a sorry but as I offered my apology Lucas also said, "sorry." Which resulted in the two of us saying "sorry" at the same time. without needing to say anything the two of us glanced from Jack's dad back to each other and we studied each other's facial expression either one of us I'm sure exactly what to make of the timing. A slight crack began to form on my face and soon it started to turn into a grin, seconds after that Lucas began to smile. But then as quickest this little interaction happened the two of us completely shut down again. Remembering where enemies at the moment we can't be smiling at each other he's in the wrong and I'm in the right so I cannot be friendly to him right now.

 

Lifting my hands up to my chest I held my left-hand palm up, slapping the back of my right hand against the palm of my left I added sarcastically. "It's not my fault he is a stupid." I got a bit of a grinning from a couple of the boys around me and even Jacks dad kind of smirked.

I felt like I was winning the argument or at least coming out a little more superior than Lucas is coming out.

 

Mimicking what I had done Lucas lifted his hands in the same way that I had done and he slapped them dumbly together like it was someone with a disability. I guess the boy's kind of smiled a little more than they had done when I did it. I never liked when people took advantage to make fun of people with a disability or a speech impediment or a person who is blind or handicapped in any way. But as quick as the funny side drew in with all the boys, and I wasn't smiling about the display of stupidness. Jacks dad didn't find it funny either so least someone was on my side but as quick as it happened it passed.

 

I somehow felt a little betrayed by everyone. Everyone was finding his jokes and his mockery funnier than mine. And the way he is smiling at me is like he knows that he has got the better of me. Okay, I can't help it, I need to give him a punch or shove or something. Taking a step closer to him I put my forehead to him, grinding it towards him he ground back. Double before the heated exchange could lift off the ground and fester in a big pot of bubbles Jack's dad cut in "alright boys -- that's enough display of alpha ego." And like that the two of us stopped. Jack's dad put his hands between the two of us, placing his hands at the top of our chests and slowly applied pressure to edge us apart. After a second I stopped resisting and just ease away. But that didn't stop us from given each other some dirty looks. Jacks dad came in with some advice, "I suggest the both of you sit on opposite sides of the room until you calm down."

 

"Fine, "I huffed. If anything gains me any peace during this holiday then I will just call it quits. I let my stiff posture set in a little bit and I began to relax. "Alright, "I agreed.

 

Though as much as I was willing to try and forget the moment, Lucas is the type to continue hampering on until people grow so tired and sick of the bullshit that they end of cracking. I guess that is how Lucas ends up in most trouble because he does not let things go as easily as others. Instead Lucas as always, he offered up a snide remark, "Great advice, who wants to sit beside a stupid, "he said. He snapped the back of his hand again like he done so a couple of moments ago to add effect and then he finally retreated into himself and went quiet. Sometimes just hearing the quietness when Lucas is around is golden, when he is aggravating and nitpicking the silence is like heaven.

 

A Disgruntled sigh of frustration escaped Ben. "Gawh.......," dropping is head back, upward to the ceiling he let out a gasp at it. Even though I'm miserable, Lucas is miserable and Ben is now miserable. The best thing about it all is that Elijah is smiling at our dysfunctional show of feng shui. Elijah held his hand out for Jack and in doing so Jack looked at his hand for a second, almost in a trance.

 

"Hi I'm Elijah, we've never talked before, "Elijah said.

 

Though he got control back of himself, he shuck himself about and then shot his hand out to take the handshake. Daydreaming is nothing new for Jack, I remember the first time he and I met. When I said hello to him. When I offered my hand, just the same way as Elijah has done so. He looked at it for a moment before actually giving me a handshake.

 

"Ha... Hey...," Jack offered nervously and a bit bluntly. Yeah, I know you. But like you said with never talked before, "he offered with a chuckle.

 

The two of them shook hands proudly on the boat of them erupted into a soft warm chuckle that even made my heart tingle on the inside. It is kind of cool to see the two of them are getting on. Elijah then broke contact with Jack and turned to Jacks dad and offered him a very formal, polished greeting.

 

"Good day sir, "he held out his hand and gripped the man's hand not to tighten not too lightly either. Uncle Andy always says you can judge a man by his handshake. If it's too weak then he's not a natural born leader, if it's firm then he has some good traits in there to be a leader. I'm not exactly sure if Uncle Andy actually has any common sense to the deed but I guess it's good manners to have some sort of a firm handshake, right. Because I kind of hate when people take my hand for a handshake and they grip it lightly, they don't any effort in welcoming you. I try and welcome them the way I learned to do so. It takes energy in the form of voice and firmness with my hand shaking, that it should be common courtesy to return the favor.

 

Though I have never seen Jack's dad face light up like this before, his face lit up like that literally. He glowed a warm smile before offering Elijah a compliment which might I add is not something you get every day from Jack's dad. It took me all but nearly two years to get a compliment from Jack's dad. And here is Elijah getting a compliment from Jack's dad and he's only here like ten minutes, `I'm telling you, Noah... there is something special about that boy.

 

"You have quite a grip their son, "Jack's dad offered. He let Elijah's hand lose and Elijah turned a soft pink. He obviously wasn't expecting to be praised for something that he was doing naturally. It's the cute little things like that which is making him irresistibly cute. My stomach is feeling funny, and my heart is beginning to race in my chest just looking at him.

 

Gracefully he looked down at the ground and back up to Jack's father offered, "thank you."

 

Realizing why I was even here in the first place I lifted up the present I had gotten for Jack and waved it in front of his face. His eyes turned from Ben who he was having a little natter with. It's funny how one of the twins always manage to get on with someone they have never met before, it's like people are naturally drawn to them. I wonder if they release a chemical or something so that people become fixated on them and they must talk to them. Or maybe, maybe Elijah releases some sort of weird potent chemical that makes me want to just kiss him all of a sudden makes my heart go faster my chest... ahhh I'm confused. Though Jack's attention was drawn to me waving in the present in front of him. "I have you're present here," I teasingly offered. He broke whatever conversation he was having with Ben and he turned and snatch the present out of my hand. Well he didn't exactly snatch it out of my hand he took it gently but just like any child or any person getting you gift from someone else they take it and they're like `oooh it's for me.' well that's how I feel when I get a present from someone, am I weird.'

 

Though remembering all of the shit that the present had just gone through outside I offered sheepishly, "it's been through hell though, " I said. With that, I swiveled my head around to Lucas as if to say that it was all his fault that the present may or may not be broke. But fingers crossed that it is not broke, superstition and all that fun shit.

 

Lucas just grumbled on his side a little moodily, before brooding his eyes and folding his arms. Though the displeasure of knowing that the present maybe broke didn't stop Jack from taking it out of my hands. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders as if to say. It's cool if it were broken and if it was intact then that would be okay too. In taking the present for my hands, he ushered for all of us to come towards the living room. He effortlessly glided across the floor in socked feet toward the living room. "Thanks, man, "he said warmly. "Come on into the living room," he said as he lead the way. In doing so everyone kind of followed him without really thinking and Jack's dad cut over all of us before we even made it to the trash hold of the living room. "Shoes boys -- that's expensive rug in there," he said enthusiastically. Glancing from the sitting room back to Jack's dad and then back to the sitting room we all noticed a couple of rugs lying about the room, most notably the one in the center of the room which sat underneath the sofa's and coffee table.

 

Just us boys know how to fix a problem, everyone turned around and darted back for the front door in a stampede fashion. I slowly and surely walked back to the door but Lucas, Ben, Adam all pushed and shoved each other as this done by the door unhitching the shoes in an unorderly fashion. Kicking off their shoes they let them drop to the floor in a racket and sloppily too. By the time I got over and started to unlace my snow boots, the boys had already finished.

 

Ben has a hole in his left sock and his big toe is sticking out through the obtruding hole. I don't know why I was watching his feet, it's just something that somehow happens when you're from time to time, you just notice it for no apparent reason exactly, it just becomes noticeable. As I watched Ben walk away, Lucas slowly trail behind him and the impressions of his footprints were the left coating the surface the wooden floor all the way into the sitting room.

 

Jack had already taken his place on a loveseat in the living room. As I slowly hitched one boot off and let it drop with a thud, I noticed Elijah unlacing his shoes quite close to me and quite carefully too. He wasn't rushing like the other boys he wasn't overly enthusiastic to get his shoes off he was being presentable. I somehow began to smile at him and as he unlaced his shoes he smiled back at me in an awkward way. It was just the two of us in the hall now because Jack's dad had disappeared back into the kitchen.

 

It was just the two of us in the dark and the washed-out light coming from the living room through the narrow opening of the archway gracefully illuminated us. When he finally took both his shoes off, these cute little socks with a Christmassy tone came to light. There definitely not mine so maybe there his. I guess he is wearing something that actually belongs to him. They have these cute little reindeers on them, they're so green and plenty of red, they're so cheerful. In doing so he plucked up his shoes and placed them down beside me and I kicked off my second shoe. The two of us hesitate for a moment then locked eyes with each other. We didn't say anything we just stared at each other, something about the moment seems powerful. It's like he's trying to tell me something but he's not trying to tell me something. The moment was broken, Jack called from the sitting room, "are you coming, "he said.

 

Glancing from Jack back to Elijah, Elijah turned a soft pink again and he seemed to be a little flushed with embarrassment or shyness. He became all shy. He looked nervously then from me and the living room before he started on ahead of me and doing so I shoved my foot against my snow boots into the unsorted pile of shoes before heading for the living room.

 

Jack's house is a lot like mine, of course, there are different ornaments and a slightly different layout but the whole general organization of the house is the exact same as my house. Heading into the sitting room his overly decorated sitting room. His mom loved to have family portraits, warm tonal colors. A couple of end tables, bookcases and candlestick holders surrounding the inner circle of two loveseats, and coffee table in the center of the rug. Plopping down beside Jack he asked, "so can I open it now." Giving him a tooted smile back I sarcastically said, "well it has your name on it," and with that, he gave a little chuckle and he started to tear the festive colorful paper which had little snowmen with a blue background with little droplets of snow falling around them.

 

"True, "Jack said, he lowered his neck a tiny bit and give me a kind of growl like response. he gave a snide sort of smirk, he took a single tear from the present and then he stopped.

 

He said, "give me a minute to get yours, "he said. Shoot up from his seat and started out of the living room and up the stairs adjacent to the room.

 

I hope he does like what I got him, I decided to just get in the game of course and since the two of us game all the time I think that getting him a game is most likely the best idea or way of going about things. Glancing around the room while waiting for Jack to come back down I locked eyes and Lucas who sat with his arms folded in the corner of the loveseat opposite. I still don't know exactly what his problem is he gets so goddamn moody for the little list of reasons, I'm just trying to move on right now and he's still sulking. He can be such a baby at times. Thank God I have a little bit more maturity even him. Rolling my eyes to the left of him and I'm sat on the armrest beside him and directly behind the loveseat, send stud observing a couple of pictures on the wall beside the archway.

 

Swiveling my head back to the right Elijah sat on the same couch as the other two boys and he just seems to be observing and taking in everything around him. He didn't seem to be too distraught or out of place. And the way he was sitting patiently and quietly made him even cuter. While his eyes were wandering around the room just finding anything really to lock onto his eyes somehow crossed in front of mine and the two of us cut side of each other and for a moment we both looked at each other and then we broke the contact and became embarrassed.

 

I shot my attention down to the armrest, `why did I get caught,' I scolded myself for even looking at him and for being caught. A couple of questions rose to mind. Why is he getting so embarrassed when I look at him. I can't help it he is just too pretty to look at is that a crime or something bad, he's too pretty to look at that I cannot help but look at him. Every time I do he can't even make eye contact with me, and I can't make eye contact with him because the fear is so immense that he'll figure out my secret from the way I'm looking at him.

 

Thank God that I didn't have to think about it much more because Jack came thundering down the stairs again and back into the sitting room. Plopping down again beside me, with a bit of a sniffle he said, "okay I got it, "in a breathless way.

 

Taking the present from Jack I proceeded to open it at the same time that he opened his. He got me a DualShock, just what I was hoping for and partially ask for. When Jack opened his present, the smile on his face on answered everything. He has always been a fan of Star Wars so I couldn't resist getting him the new Star Wars Battlefront to collector's edition. It felt like the most reasonable thing to do. Since he has practically dragged me to every premier of every film and played every game that has Star Wars written on it. I thought it was probably the best thing to do and what's than buying him a Star Wars game, even though now I know I'm going to be driven crazy for the next month or two about it.

 

Immediately he ripped the wrapping paper off the present and with a childlike wonder he gripped the PS4 game in both hands and said, "oh thanks, man." Without expecting it he leaned over with the game in his hand and wrapped both his arms around me. Pulling me into a hug, immediately dropped my present to my lap and returned a hug. I Feel good getting a hug from Jack, he's been my best friend for `jeez' I have no idea how long we've been friends but it never gets old receiving a hug from Jack when he is appreciative of a gift that you've gotten him.

 

Smiling I whispered in his ear and more or less spoke not whispered, "you're welcome, "I said. I started chuckling afterward and he started chuckling too. The two of us finally broke our hug. I reverted to my attention to the present on my lap I plucked up then admired my present. Glancing over at him I said, "thanks, Jack I need at this."

 

Though with all the eyes observing us having some sort of pent-up Christmas time. I started to feel a little guilty that I and Jack are indulging in something so nice when they're not included. It's not that I haven't decided to include them, their presents are at home and well I won't see Jack tomorrow, or probably for a couple.

 

Which reminds me I really need to get something for Elijah. Deciding that it was about time to maybe go out somewhere, I turned and looked at Jack and then out to the group. I asked, "hey do you wanna go down to the mall now or did you already go." I recall him asking me earlier on in the day that you wanted to go to the mall to pick up a present for Samantha, and I sure hope you didn't just yet because if you didn't then that means we can all go together.

 

He glanced at me to the group and then back to me and said, "no I didn't go yet," he said gently.

 

Standing animatedly, I sprung to my feet and shouted out with enthusiasm, "then let's go..."

 

Everyone thought that that was a good idea. We huddled towards the door, replaced our shoes and jackets. I asked Jack could I leave my controller with him until we got back and he said, "yeah, no problem." In doing so we told Jack's dad that we were heading to the mall and with that we left Jack's house.

 

As I'm walking along with the boys there are two things running through my head. One I need to get Elijah a Christmas present and two- I hope we don't run into those two boys again.

 

The End Of Chapter 5

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. Please, comments are welcome. Stick around as there's more to come

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Danny (Your Writerly Friend)

 

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Bibliography; of LGBTQ stories by D.K. Daniels, on Nifty.

Even If We Tried

Spring Tide

As They Say

Our Little Darlings

Ghouls, Goblins & Ghastly Boys

Light The Night

Who We Are

Chasing Christmas

 

Bibliography; of LGBTQ stories by D.K. Daniels, on Iomfats

Who We Are

Bibliography; of LGBTQ stories by D.K. Daniels, On Cornercafe.us

 

Ghouls, Goblins & Ghastly Boys

Light The Night

Who We Are

Chasing Christmas