Hey again. Next chapter is up so hope you like it. Can't believe this story is still being followed by so many people even after all this time. Every time I get an email about anything related to this it surprises me heaps.
Until next time, have a good read while I write the next bit for you fellas.
The house was quiet. There were drink cups laying around everywhere, food left out had turned stale and he didn't dare look at the floor.
Standing in the doorway to the kitchen, to best survey the mess, TJ wished things had gone differently for a party the was meant to the one of the best. Being 18 now mean he was an adult and responsible for his own choices.
Was it his fault?
TJ grabbed the garbage bags from under his sink and started with the kitchen bench. Most things passed the test for being thrown in the trash and that meant that the bag filled up quickly in his hands.
He dragged the bag outside to throw it in the bin and almost thanked God for letting his front yard stay clean. His time allowed to steal glances at the house a few doors down that seemed as quiet as his house.
Sadness was replaced with anger. TJ threw the bag at the bin, knocking it over, and ran his hands through his hair. His better judgement forced him to pick it back up again, force the rubbish bag into it and slam the bin back against the wall that it usually sat in front of.
He stormed back inside, mumbling to himself the whole way, find Mikey coming downstairs after clearly just getting out of bed, they both went back to sleep after Mikey first tried explaining the situation. He was the only one to stay the night out of the gang. TJ didn't know when people left but he knew who stayed.
"I'm sorry, Mikey."
"Oh, TJ, it is not a fault of your own. I saw what Francis did. I'm sorry I could not have helped sooner. I tried but you had vanished before I could do anything."
"No, it was me." TJ was determined to set things straight. "I trusted him enough to let him stay. I let him walk around. I should have kicked him out the moment he knocked on the door. Hell, I should've kicked the shit out of him for what he did."
Mikey took pity on his friend. "Violence is never the answer. It is best if…"
"Are you joking?" TJ only stared at the tranquil giant. "He fucked up everything. Look around. Where is everyone?"
Mikey took a step back at the harshness of TJ's voice. "They are most likely processing everything about last night…"
"Look, Mikey. Don't feel like you have to stay. I'm just gonna clean up the rest of the house."
"I can help, if you want. I'm not leaving today until..."
"It's just cleaning, Mikey. It will be fine."
Mikey figured it best to give TJ some space. Sometimes people need their space to work through things on their own. If he's wrong, it could be even more damaging to leave him alone. What else could he do but leave?
"I'll go find my stuff."
Of course the way he was handling it wasn't right. TJ needed a friend but he didn't know what good they'd be at this moment. He went to gather another bag for more rubbish and started clearing out the living room, which didn't last long.
Before he knew it, TJ was sitting on the couch, hunched over with his head in his hands, waiting for some sort of answer to his problems to enter his head. He would have to be honest. Like Mikey said, it wasn't really his fault. He can just explain it to them and it would be fine.
What if that didn't work. TJ changed positions so that he was lying stretched out on the couch and looking up at the ceiling, still a plain white. How lucky the roof was to be so high up above the mess of the party to come out looking as good as it did the night before.
The sound of the door closing brought TJ back to reality. Did Mikey just leave? How could he not have seen him pass him and how long was he waiting for him to acknowledge him?
He was getting out of touch. He needed to finish cleaning so he can fix other messes in his personal life.
What was worst? Sure, school was a complete drag sometimes but it was always manageable. TJ had woken up late so he had missed getting his name marked off on the roll and got an earful from the teacher about how 'learning to be punctual will help him in his future career.' Again, it was manageable.
It was when his friends didn't talk to him that ticked him off. Not in P.E. class with Vince, not in science with Gretchen or Gus and definitely not with any of them during English. Out at recess and lunch he couldn't even find them at their usual spot.
Now that the day was over he knew they would have to leave through the main gate. He practically threw his stuff in his locker to make sure he was there before they would be. He picked his spot and waited for his friends to appear.
"Hey, cool party last weekend."
"TJ, my man."
"Drinks on me next time."
TJ remained unmoving as people passed him. He didn't even know some of the people that were saying he had a good party. Did that many people actually sneak in.
Who cares… Here they come, Vince and Gus.
"Hey guys what's…" TJ watched them absentmindedly walk straight past him as he shrank back into himself slowly, at the lack of a response. "... up?"
TJ looked on as they just kept walking away from the school. In a flash back to reality, TJ ran to catch back up to the two of them. Not that they were running to get away from him.
"What's the deal you guys?"
If the voice wasn't so recognisable then you wouldn't have realised Vince started speaking by how little effort he put into it. "Don't act like you don't know."
He jumped in front of them so that they had to stop and talk to him.
"What are you guys on about?"
TJ looked at them individually and saw a look of complete and utter sadness written all over Gus. The guy refused to look TJ in the eye while he was forced to deal with whatever this was.
No one seemed to want to answer him. Surely someone had something to say otherwise this was all pointless.
"We all saw you with your hustler friend."
Was Vince saying what he thought he was saying. Did they really think he was friends with that lying drug dealer. TJ wanted to laugh but was stopped at the blank stares he was receiving from the people he thought he was closest to, both of them unmoving from their position.
"Guys, I didn't do anything. I was spiked."
"You went back on your word." Gus moved forward towards TJ, pushing past the taller Vince. "You promised all of us and now we are right back where we started. If you were our friend you would tell us the truth, right now."
"I promise, Gus. I promise to all of the gang. He put something in my drink. Mikey saw it all."
Vince cut in. "Of course Mikey is going to try help. Stop taking advantage of his friendship and own up to what you did."
TJ wanted so badly to either ignore it all or just walk away but his feet felt as if they had fused to the ground beneath him. If there was ever a master plan needed then this was definitely the time for it to come popping out of his head.
"I can prove it. I will show you that it was never meant to happen. Hell, I didn't even want him in my house."
"But he was. You let him in and then disappeared with him." Vince sounded so hurt at having to say those words.
"Guys…" TJ pleaded with them. "I wouldn't do that."
"Just go, Teej. We're leaving."
There was nowhere to go but back home. He didn't even have the motivation to make it to his room, but instead collapsed on the couch as he tried to process everything. Thoughts raced around his head as he tried desperately to focus on one thing at a time. Eventually exhaustion hit him and he slowly felt the comfort of sleep take over him.
A new day brought a new determination. TJ has slept for what felt like weeks and when he woke up, it was all so clear to him now. He just needed to wait. Mikey would tell all of them the truth. They mustn't of had time to talk together yet and the more that TJ tried to intervene, the more they would distrust what Mikey would say. It was a fair point that Mikey would stick up for TJ even if he was wrong, but he wasn't, and Mikey doesn't need to lie at all.
The rest of the morning followed the normal routine. It was going to be a bit lonelier for a day or two but that was nothing in the grand scheme of things. Normally, Spin would drive him in to school and they would talk until they were completely caught up on everything in their lives, even if they last saw each other the night before. Nothing was too much for them.
TJ left for school a bit earlier due to the current situation between them. Her car was still parked in her driveway and that was fine for now. It was as he was walking through the carpark out the front of the school that he saw that same car again, with the driver still in it. He has to say something, right? If he didn't then he would definitely look guilty. And he was not.
As TJ walked up to her at the car he was greeted with nothing but a quick glare.
"So, uhh… I guess you got the car working again?"
TJ shuffled under her watch. "Only temporary. I give it another couple hours."
"Well, I can help out if…"
"Don't." TJ quickly took a step back at being cut off. "Just don't, TJ."
"You know that I wouldn't…"
"What do I know?" She paused, looking around as if the words she wanted were floating in the sky around her head. "I know I saw you drugged after you were with Hustler kid. I know I forgave you for this type of thing once already, and I know that was a mistake. I thought I knew you wouldn't have done that ever, especially when it involved lying to me, but you surprised me there.?
TJ's eyes began to water up. "I promise. It wasn't my fault, Spin."
Spinelli huffed with a puzzled expression. "Empty promises. It's all I heard for so long. I cared for you, really. I thought we were actually going to end up together like how everyone always said we would. You're an asshole."
"No. You think you can use some tragic story to make people feel sorry for you. Fuck you. Grow up. You brought most of your problems onto yourself. You could have carried on as you were but you were too busy feeling sorry for yourself. It's pathetic."
TJ watched as her lips moved, speaking words he thought he'd never hear from her, unable to stop it.
"How many times have I helped you? I wasted so much time. I was there for you. Every. Single. Day. Everything that is happening to you is your fault. Do not come crying to me next time your parents die."
Suddenly it was quiet. The anger that just filled the air froze in an instant.
Spinelli focused on TJ again, unsure when it was that she forgot his presence right in front of her. She saw him, exposed and broken. When did he start crying? It didn't matter, did it?
"I didn't mean that last part, Teej."
TJ stood slouched with his hands tucked inside his pockets. He nodded to himself for a few seconds, avoiding eye contact until he was ready to give a reply.
"Yeah." He said with his head lowered, but still looking up at her. "You did."
TJ left the way he came, leaving Spin to walk the opposite direction into the school. She couldn't turn back, he was still in the wrong. If she did, it would only prove the point she was trying to make.
She reached her locker to find her books completely disorganised. She tensed briefly before punching the locker door.
"Fuck..." The rest of her words only came out as mumbles before she slammed the door shut and went to class.
Spinelli was lost in her head all day. She was surprised she even heard the bell to go out for lunch.
"Stupid idiot. Can't believe he… dickhead."
"Are you alright over there?"
"Beat it, Butch."
Spinelli had become closer to Butch over the years, although no one really noticed. They had a lot more in common than even they realised. They didn't see each other often, and they didn't need to, but they remained as close as they were the last time they saw each other. If anything, it was almost as if he had taken her in as a little sister.
"C'mon. Your secrets are safe with me."
Spinelli laughed to herself. "Still don't know how that ever became true. You used to always tell any story that you could."
"Oh no. It's worse than I thought."
Spinelli furrowed her eyebrows. "What?"
"You are reminiscing, which means something bad has happened now that you want to forget." Butch said matter-of-factly.
"Well…" Butch simply looked at her. "Go on."
With a sigh of defeat, Spinelli began to let everything off of her chest. TJ, the drugs, HK, the party. It was nice to offload everything she had been holding in.
When she was finally done, Butch was almost shocked. "That's pretty heavy."
"Yeah." Spinelli kept her eyes on her boots. "It's shit. Thanks for listening though."
"You have two options in my opinion. One, fuck him off completely and get on with your life. Or two, try and get more facts until you know what you want to do. Although, this isn't the first time he's lied about this habit so I'd go option one."
She wanted so badly to be friends with TJ but she had never felt worse in her life after what he has done. Finally, the confidence in her posture returned to her as if she had been told she in immortal.
"You're right, Butch. He can handle his own shit."
"You have the power."
Her shoulders began to dip slightly. "I did say some pretty bad things though."
"Just forget it. Please."
Spinelli was torn. "No. I have to apologise for it otherwise I'm just as bad as he is."
"Well, hey. As long as you stay your ground then you will win."
"Don't worry. I got this. See ya round." Spinelli waved goodbye to her friend to go looking across the school grounds.
TJ was sitting in the canteen over in the far back corner. People seemed to give him the space that he wanted. He wasn't so much as upset more than processing what happened. He first went to go home but Becky's car was in the driveway and he didn't want to have to explain himself. After a couple hours he eventually went back to school for the day.
Maybe he should have stayed away for the day.
TJ looked up. "Hey, Spin."
"Look, I uhh… I wanted to say that… that I am s-sorry about what I said about your parents. It was wrong to go that far."
"Don't worry about it." TJ didn't want this talk. That wasn't even that part that upset him the most.
"Look I just wanted to clear that bit up. I still don't forgive you though."
"Whatever, Spin." TJ got up to leave but she stood in his way just enough to keep him there, without seeming too aggressive.
"Aren't you going to say anything?"
"Like what. Sorry? Look, I don't want to waste your time so let's just forget it."
Spinelli's jaw tensed up as her breathing got heavier.
"Oh no. You are not getting off so easily this time. You have to own up to your actions."
Trust me. I am paying.
"Stop playing the victim. Just admit you were in the wrong."
"I told you the truth. It wasn't me."
The two were eying each other up and down as if sizing up a potential fight. There was a time when such a scene seemed impossible.
"You are the biggest shit talker."
"I'm only a shit talker to you because you don't like what you hear. It would be easier for you if I did do it but I didn't. I can't promise you that more than I am."
"How could I ever stand being around you? You are never ending. And to think I was trying to apologise to you."
TJ found the situation so ironic. She should be apologising. Either way, he needed to get away.
"Now that we know that we are fighting with each other, let's just drop it."
This only seemed to anger the small girl even more. "Unbelievable. You can go to hell. It would be better for everyone if we didn't see you again. Pfft, I feel bad for Becky for being stuck looking after you."
"If you came her to pick a fight, you won."
"It's so much easier for you to back down and play hurt, isn't it?"
With that, TJ moved past her and headed for his locker. The bell was about to go anyway so he may as well get a headstart on heading to class.
Spinelli only watched him walk away. "Asshole."
Across the school a bus was pulling in to the school after returning from a drama camp. Mikey walked off happy to be home. It couldn't have come at a better time. After TJ's party he definitely needed a break from all the drama. Hopefully they worked it all out while he was away.
Time to find out.