Warnings: Underage SLASH (in future chapters). If you don't like the idea of male/male slash, then don't bother reading, and for goodness sake, don't bother reviewing! Also, implied het and non-happy situations to come. Oh, and I hate QuickEdit and its lack of asterisk use. Breaks are denoted by: /./././
Disclaimer: The characters therein do not belong to me, but rather Ann M. Martin (who'd probably fillet me if she read what I do to her kids on a regular basis). I make no profit off this.
The distance between us isn't much, and before my brain can tell me what to do, my body is reacting. I kiss him. I just lean forward, and I kiss him, and I can feel him stiffen for a second - in surprise or shock, I don't know, my eyes are closed - before he starts to kiss me back.
Travel back in time a few months and tell me I'd be doing this. Go ahead. I dare you. I'd laugh. No, scratch that. I'd punch you right in the face, then laugh. I mean, the idea's just too ridiculous. I'm a guy. I like girls. Duh.
But that's not stopping me right now. My arms are around him; he's leaner than a girl, firmer - and the kiss is getting stronger, confident, insistent. I'm pressing against him, and he's pressing back, and sweet Jesus, he's almost in my lap -
Okay. I'm getting distracted here. What was I going on about? Oh yeah - in just a few short months, how did I get from normal, everyday, female-appreciating Jeff Schafer to the kind of confused and very excited boy-macker I am right now?
Strangely, this story starts with my dad.
"Get on the damn plane, Jeff," Dad said, his arms folded in front of him like the stern taskmaster he is when not trying to be Awesome-Fun Dad, who's fucking annoying but was really missed at that moment.
"C'mon," I pleaded, right there in the middle of LAX, like a tool. "Let's not do anything drastic. I swear, you won't have to worry about me anymore! Nose to the grindstone, Dad. Totally. And I won't see Mandy anymore, I promise. Just like you said."
Okay, Mandy would've killed me if she heard me say that. Or, more realistically, she would've started crying and threatening to kill herself, because by golly, she will, just watch her, she will. Only she doesn't. What she does do is assure me she's on the pill and everything's safe, but not read the fucking safety manual or whatever that would have told her explicitly that you can't just take it and magically be infertile that same day. It takes a while to kick in. Obviously.
Only not obviously. She missed a period, and I spent who knows how many nights awake and freaking out over what to do. I mean, we're only sixteen. God. Then she told her parents, who told Dad, who told Mom, and to make a long story short here I was, at LAX airport, in front of the gate that would lead me to the plane that would then carry me to Stamford, just a few short miles from my final destination.
Yeah, you guessed. Stoneybrook, Connecticut. Borington. Snoozeville. Dumbass Falls, USA. For the rest of the school year. Jesus Christ.
"She's not even pregnant, Dad. False alarm! Is it really this big a deal?
Dad just shook his head.
"It's not just that, Jeff. There're the detentions, which you skip, which lead to Saturday school work days, which you skip, which lead to referrals, which build up, which lead to suspension. There're the classes you're failing. There're all your other idiot friends, and you being an idiot with them. You haven't responded to the threats, so maybe reality will do you some good."
"I'll do better."
"How many times have you sung that song?"
He had a point.
"Please, Dad." My voice was quivering, embarrassing me. "Stoneybrook sucks. It's the worst town in the world. I mean, it's so...boring."
But it was more than that, and how could I explain? It was about leaving him and Gracie and Mrs. Bruen, and even Carol, goddamn her, and those same idiot friends he was talking about, and idiot Mandy, goddamn her more. Everything familiar, that made me feel like myself, that was in California. The beach, the ocean, the palm trees. Everything. But how could I explain?
"Maybe you need boredom in your life. Now get on the damn plane."
"Dad - "
"Now boarding for Flight 269, nonstop to Stamford, Connecticut," said some chirpy stewardess over the loudspeaker.
So I went. I got on the damn plane, as Dad so eloquently put it, and listened to the most depressing CD I had in my carryon bag. Blue by Third Eye Blind, even though it had nothing to do with anything.
"JEFF!" my mom screeched halfway across the terminal, and then two seconds later she was hugging me so hard it hurt.
"Mom," I just said.
At least someone still liked me.
Richard hovered behind her, standing around like the stick-up-the-ass he is, not saying anything.
"How as your flight?" he asked.
"All right. A little bumpy."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
By now, Mom was letting me go and crying, digging around in her purse for a tissue. Richard, of course, unfurled a gleaming white linen handkerchief from her pocket like he was a magician and this was the bouquet of flowers up his sleeve, and handed it to her.
"We're so happy you're here, Jeff," she said as she dabbed her eyes. "Even if..."
Even if I'm here because I almost knocked up my girlfriend. No, I didn't say it.
"The circumstances are not ideal," Richard finished.
"Yeah, thanks," I mumbled.
"And we certainly hope," he went on. "That we will not have similar problems here. You may be more accustomed to a...permissive lifestyle, but while you are here there are rules, and you will obey them. Am I clear?"
Yeah, he was clear. Clear as the hole in his head would be once I finished kicking his skull in. But my mom looked up at me, begging with her eyes, and I caved.
"Yes," was all I said.
He nodded once.
"Good. Then let's go get your bags."
Mom linked her arm through mine, and we followed him.
For God's sake, I still had X-Men sheets on my bed. Every time I'd come to visit this house, the once upon a time barn-house, I saw those sheets, and immediately forgot about them once I'd left. Even when I'd gotten older and not really into the whole superhero, macho, vaguely gay, pat-on-the-ass world of comic books, they just weren't a big enough deal to request new ones. I mean, whoop de do, I'd be in Stoneybrook for like three days, a week, tops. Who cared?
And now, I had to care, because I'd be seeing those stupid sheets every night for...how many months? It was October. The end of the school year was June. It was too many to count.
"I need new sheets," I said, staring at them.
Mom looked down at the bed, the sheets and blankets folded back carefully. Obviously, this was Richard's work, especially since Dawn and Mary Anne, the neat freak twins, are both away at college now. She shrugged.
"I thought you liked the X-Men."
"Mom, I'm sixteen."
So, only virgin dorks were sixteen-years-old and still read comics, but try telling that to your mother.
"So they're like six years old."
"Oh yeah...okay, sure. We'll go to the Washington Mall tomorrow." She was pulling clothes out of my suitcase - and I was letting her, since I didn't have anything incriminating in there, all that was in my carry-on bag - and putting them away in her own special way. Dress pants folded four times and stuffed in a drawer, Stussy shirts just dropped on the ground, the socks and jeans all mixed together. That's my mom. I still love her.
"But first, about school," she went on as she did what she did. "You're all registered at Stoneybrook High."
"What's my schedule like?"
"Hm? Oh, I don't know. They were going to look at your schedule and put you in classes you still needed. They'll give that to you when you start on Monday."
It was Friday night. No rest for the wicked, I guess.
"How'll I get there? Walk? I don't know where it is."
"Oh, you don't have to worry about that! I called Dee Pike and explained the situation to her, and she's sending the triplets out to pick you up. Isn't that nice?"
I groaned. "Moooom..."
She looked clueless. "What? You're friends with them."
Yeah, like when I was ten. When we still all jumped on the bed together and wrestled and played with army men. Then, yeah, we were friends. But once my visits got shorter and shorter, and I didn't have time to play and build forts anymore, we lost contact. She should know this. I mean, I couldn't pick any one of them out of a lineup if you asked me.
If all three of them were in the lineup together, then maybe.
"I can get there myself, Mom," was all I said.
"Well, it's just for the first day. Afterwards, you'll be able to figure out things." She looked at me. "How're you feeling?"
"Tired." And I wasn't lying just to be left alone. I swear.
"I'll leave you alone then so you can rest." Mom kissed me on the forehead. "Goodnight sweetie. I really am glad you're here."
She left the room, and I stood up to sort through the mess of clothes. It looked like my suitcase had thrown up.
"Night," I sighed.
I really hate Stoneybrook.
/./././Author's Note: Forgive me if this doesn't proceed rapidly, but yes, there is more to come. I appreciate constructive criticism and praise (who doesn't?), but not flames.
Shameless plug - the original Baby-sitters Club, Babysit, is currently looking for more players. If you're interested, come check it out at: www . livejournal . com / community / babysit