Title: Games Without Frontiers 1?
Author: Jacob M. Bosch
Spoilers: season 4, but not much else.
Rated: Comparable to an R-rating for drug use and Alex's mouth.
Summery: Alex even felt like she could forgive him someday. And that was all kinds of fucked up—made her feel fucked up in the head—made her feel like her mother.
Disclaimer: I don't own a single character in this story, some Canadian does so don't even think about suing me. Okay?
Author's Note: Nunez was listed as Alex's last name at Wikipedia. You got a problem with that take it up with them. Okay, that was pissy. How about this then: I searched for weeks to find Alex's surname on the internet and found nothing until Wikipedia so I used their site as a reference since they're pretty accurate most of the time.
Get good grades, turn in the homework and do what the teachers' say and nobody looks twice. No one needs to look at you to pat you on the back. And doing all that was easy, so easy Toby sometimes felt like what he did wasn't wrong at all. If drugs and alcohol weren't messing up the straight parts of his life, like all the after school specials and pamphlets say, then how bad could they be? Toby was doing just fine.
Keeping everything secret was simple, too. He went out and smoked with a few guys he knew, it was risky, sure, but these guys are insular. They don't talk about what they do to people who aren't into the same stuff. And they don't talk to people who used to be down with the same stuff—a person like Alex Nunez.
Toby was sure she didn't recognize him when she first scanned the rag-tag group of losers scattered on top of the tar-graveled roof.
It was cold out and someone brought a couple of rusty beat up oil drums and lit fires in them. Small groups warmed themselves by the drums, but not Toby, he was dressed for the cold. Preparedness was a slice of geek he couldn't discard, even now. Besides, he knew how cold the top of Degrassi Community School could be, especially at night.
Toby was lying on his back; the fur-lined hood of his parka covered his head and protected his skull from the bits of broken glass and gravel on the roof. He nursed a nice fat joint, refrained from beer because he wasn't looking for a buzz that harsh. He wanted a calm, smooth mellow tonight.
Toby pulled on the joint and stared at the stars. His hood and the wind sweeping over the rooftop blocked out the chatter from the others and Toby was able to lounge in his own private world. Every now and then a kid would come and stand over him to express their appreciation—since Toby snatched the janitor's key to the roof's maintenance door and provided a new hang out—then left Toby alone.
Toby didn't see Alex march militantly onto the roof. His coat obscured his face and she didn't see him either, but then Alex wasn't looking for people, she was looking to get high. No one was sharing though, not with her. Alex was out of the lifestyle too long. Went straight. Got a job, was vice-president of student council and turned her back on her old stoner pals. She might be a Narc for all they knew. It was the dumbest thing she ever heard.
It was a smart idea, whose ever it was, to party on Degrassi's roof. Out in the open air the wind carried the smell of weed away. Alex imagined somewhere to the east, miles away, someone was catching the scent wondering where it came from. And cops couldn't see them this far up and bust them.
Alex surveyed the rooftop and spotted Towerz huddled around a barrel fire with a couple other guys, toking away. She walked up to him and asked if he had a little extra on him. Towerz knew she wasn't undercover but he still gave her a look when he passed her a baggie, like she'd shout into a hidden microphone and call down a S.W.A.T. unit on him. She could have cussed him out but turned away and found herself a secluded corner about ten feet away from some guy in a green parka with wisps of smoke curling up out of the opening of his, Oh My God They Killed Kenny! hood, and settled in.
Alex unsealed the zip-lock bag held it to her nose and inhaled the distinct heavy scent coming from the pot. God, she missed the smell, it'd been too long. Towerz always carried good shit and tonight was no exception. Setting the bag to the side, Alex pulled out cigarette paper from her coat, tore out a slip from the packet and began the careful ritual of sprinkling the thin sheet with weed.
While she rolled the joint together Alex's thoughts turned to Jay. She was no saint before she hooked up with Jay, but he introduced her to the wonders of marijuana. Jay showed her how to pepper the paper and roll it and how to lick the sheet just right—wet it enough to make it stick but not so soggy the joint fell apart.
Alex missed Jay. Missed how he made her laugh when she felt like a raging bitch-monster from hell. There were times she thought she loved him. Alex even felt like she could forgive him someday. And that was all kinds of fucked up—made her feel fucked up in the head—made her feel like her mother.
And Jay? He didn't feel anything but A-Fucking-OK. No guilt or some stupid shit like that, Jay was real good at not recognizing remorse and giving it power. Alex liked that about him, too, because she didn't like people who moped and whined about their mistakes and various shortcomings. Who had time to listen to that crap? Not Alex, she had her own shit to deal with. But as much as she liked Jay's ability to basically not give a flying fuck about much of anything, she hated that she usually topped his list of things he didn't give a flying fuck about. At least he was honest about it though.
She was mostly pissed because from day one she thought if he ever got tired of her he'd drop her. Make a clean break so he could nail the next girl to catch his fancy with as few hassles as possible. He'd done it before. No skin off her nose, and she found another guy quick enough. A few months later they got back together and stayed together until he decided he needed to deposit his sperm down the throats of as many girls as humanly possible.
Including her best friend. Then to make everything really fucked up, Jay gave her a wonderful STD to remember him by. Followed by a dozen trips to the free clinic and a fun conversation with her mother about what a dumb slut her little girl is.
The strange outcome of her cutting Jay loose was that Alex somehow began hanging out with Marco's goody two-shoes pals. It was bad enough she made nice with the queen of school council, but to willingly hang out with his friends was almost more than Alex could bear. Still, most of her friends were Jay's friends and Alex didn't need to see fuck-face even by accident, which was likely to happen if she associated with her old crew.
The problem with walking the straight and narrow was that losing your balance led you to rooftops smoking dope with people you'd rather avoid. Alex got to the point where she couldn't take Marco's world anymore. Being nice and buddy-buddy with his friends wore on her nerves like nothing else could. Ellie Nash was okay, but Alex could smell desperation on the girl. Ellie was Goth on the outside, but on the inside there was a teenybopper just waiting to get out. And desperation? Was not cool in Alex's book. For one, desperation had a tendency to spread.
Nut-job Craig Manning was a fucking drama queen. Alex didn't care if the gaunt little pussy had a mental defect; he still got on her nerves, especially when his friends went around wiping his ass for him. And Jimmy Brooks… Jimmy… fuck.
Alex twisted the joint between lips moist enough to bind the paper, took it away and let it dry some in the cool breeze before she lit up with a plastic 99 cent lighter. The first few puffs were like coming home, kicking off her shoes and curling up on the sofa with a cold beer, and Alex's mom was spending the weekend with Uncle Meat-stick. Alex kept her eyes closed while she inhaled and enjoyed. It was too bad she couldn't totally get back into the habit. Alex knew her self well enough to admit she couldn't maintain regular sessions like this.
She tended to dive head first into pot and didn't like coming up again. She can't afford that attitude now, now that she had a job to keep and schooling to make an effort at. Both of which was going to get her into a decent community college and out of her mother's house after she graduated from Degrassi. It was okay though, as long as she stayed far, far away from primos and sherm Alex would be okay. So long as she kept it casual, tonight would be just a onetime deviation from her path of righteousness.
The approaching sound of shoes sinking into the tar gravel made Alex open her eyes, and she watched as Towerz and two other guys walked up to green parka kid. Towerz knelt beside Parka murmured something unintelligible to him and initiated a stupid macho, but complex hi-five, or whatever the fuck those are called. Towerz stood and looked over at her and seemed to hesitate before hiking his chin at her. Alex returned the gesture and watched him and his new pals leave the rooftop.
Alex finished her first joint and made a second. She was half done with the sequal when the Parka rose to his feet. The kid was short, even the parka's hood didn't add much to his height, big as it was. The kid brushed gravel from his pants, stretched by bending backwards and extending his arms out to his sides. The hood slipped off his head revealing his face. It was really dark but Alex still recognized the half-familiar features; Toby's glasses helped Alex clinch his identity.
Well, shit, first Princess Emma develops a predilection for getting her tonsils tickled, now this guy! Toby scrubbed his hand through his straight brown hair then lazily scratched his scalp and started walking towards the maintenance door. A girl pierced within an inch of her life was sitting cross-legged by the door and Toby handed her something that the girl took without much acknowledging him as she chugged on a silver-plated flask. Toby was a few minutes gone before Alex's fuzzy brain figured out Toby gave the studded girl the key to the rooftop. Alex clumsily got to her feet and staggered after Toby.
Alex was high and feeling mean and wanted to have words with Jewboy.
School was creepy after it closed.
The empty halls echoed expressly to make you look behind you constantly, and it was worse for Toby because he was one of those potheads who got paranoid. Toby stepped lightly as he made his way to the emergency exit near the Principal's Office. It was the only stealthy way out of the school because it didn't have a functioning alarm. Toby let himself out and started walking home.
It was after ten, an hour past his curfew but he had a believable cover story involving the public library and a history test. It was true about the test and Toby did need to study for it. Tomorrow he'd spend all Friday afternoon in the library and do some heavy duty studying until midnight if he had to. Not only would it let him ace the test but cramming on a Friday night helped foster his good boy image.
Toby stopped at a crosswalk and waited for the red Don't Walk signal to change to the green Walk signal. Traffic was light and if Toby hadn't been half-loopy he would have ran across the street, but he didn't trust his judgment or his motor functions after he smoked. Toby had just stuffed his hands in his parka's pockets when he heard someone call his name from behind him.
He turned and saw Alex coming to a stop about three feet apart from him. He stared at her, utterly shocked she knew his name, or, frankly, knew he existed at all. He continued to stare at her in silence because he hadn't a clue how to open a dialog with the upper classman. Besides, she called out to him so she's the one who should spit something out, not him. They stood more or less eye-to-eye. Alex was one of the few girls at Degrassi who didn't tower above him. She was stoned if the glassy look in her eyes and the slack expression on her face was any indication.
"Hey!" Alex yelled and Toby's eyes widened. He honestly thought Alex would take a swing at him going by the tone of her voice, but Alex didn't follow her angry outburst with either words or action. She swayed in place and went silent, confirming Toby's belief she was high because the anger he heard never reached her face. All Alex really looked like was bewildered.
"Hey! Hey, you! Who the fuck do you think you are?" Alex continued after a few moments, her voice just thick with condemnation.
"Could have sworn you said my name before," Toby said.
Alex's confused expression deepened; Toby's sardonic reply went completely over her head. Toby almost laughed at her but stopped himself before he did. It's impossible to predict how she'd react to that, Alex was the kind of intense weed might not mellow. And he saw Emma after her and Alex's dustup and Toby knew even if he was willing to strike a girl Alex would probably kick his ass. Maybe he'd get in a good blow or two, but he'd still end up bruised and bloody and afraid to show his face at school—and he was half way to that already.
"I guess you think you're cool now, huh?" Alex said after rousing herself enough to snarl at Toby.
Toby continued to stare at her and said nothing. First, Alex sounded way more pissed at him than was possible—well, more than was reasonably possible, since she really didn't know Toby. Secondly, if either of them was going to be pissed at the other he had the legitimate gripe, not her.
Alex snickered at Toby and said, "Fuck, Martha Stewart has more street cred than you, loser!"
It was the loser part that got Toby's blood boiling and made him take a step toward Alex with his hands squeezed into fists. Made him hiss, "You rotten bitch!" at her face. Anger overwhelmed him and ate up his warm buzz. He could learn to hate Alex for that alone.
Alex flinched. The glassy eyed expression on her face momentarily replaced by fear. Toby immediately felt embarrassed and guilty he scared her. When pot wasn't making him high, it made him less able to control his temper. Thank God he decided not to drink, too, he might have ended up doing exactly what he didn't want, like fight a girl; because it turns out he's a mean drunk.
Toby's shame was short-lived, however, and he turned away in disgust—at himself or Alex, he didn't know. Seeing the Don't Walk signal flashing on the other side of the crosswalk, Toby took off running across the street and kept on running until he was several blocks from where he left Alex.