My dad owned a family business way up North where the blueberries grow. You know, blueberries for watermelons and smaller things for bigger things. A real backwoods kinda place by some lake by some nowhere town. You get the picture. A real goddamn nowhere town. Anyway, he had this business re-siding the houses of all the rich girls and boys who live on the southern end of the lake and have nothing better to do with their dirty money than throw it around on stupid pointless things.
You know. Wind-surfers, jet-skis, sun-houses, two-door-garages, pontoon boats, speedboats, Ralph Lauren bikinis and garden gnomes. And while I'm not even fucking sure if Ralph Lauren makes bikinis, I do have to admit that I am a sucker for the occasional well-place garden gnome. But these people with their manicured lawns-- seriously, the grass looks like it was painted on the goddamn ground-- have no concept of priority or garden gnome placement, so really, they just don't make the cut in my book.
Getting down to business, that's how I found my ass tacking up new siding on this one place-- this one place down on the south end with the pure green lawn and the luxury pontoon boat and all. It wasn't even as though their previous siding had anything wrong with it, they just felt like coughing up a couple thousand to make the goddamn thing Burnt White instead of Puke Tan. Not that I was complaining or anything, mind you. On a regular basis, I make it my business not to talk to whatever asshole's hiring me. Not because I hate talking to them (though I do) and not because I think their conversation isn't worth my while (though it isn't)-- but just because if I really got the chance to have a good cup of java and a five-minute chat time, I'd probably convince them not to go through getting their siding redone.
Because, really, I'm persuasive as hell and they're all pushovers anyway.
Well there I was, up in the air, just me and the side of this big ass house, chilling in the summer heat. I remember it all so damn clearly because it's pretty difficult to forget, really. Because there I was, hammering down another nail, putting up another slab of pseudo slate siding when right there in front of me appears this gloriously naked blonde kid.
Okay, so he wasn't completely stark raving naked-- he had on a pair of boxers. What do you want. So I exaggerate. All the cool kids are doing it.
He just sort of stared at me for a minute with this 'What the fuck?' expression that half hovered between wakefulness and full-blown unconsciousness. And I just sort of stared back because I mean, hell, if you'd seen the kid-- what am I saying. You hadn't seen the kid. Never will. You don't know. You can't possibly begin to know.
This kid was like no goddamn other and I'm not being mushy-- can't be mushy, for crying out loud, it's physically impossible for me. His hair was all bent out of shape and sticking up on one side, some dirty-but-bleachy-blonde that looked as thought it'd seen a heck of a rough battle between him and a bottle of peroxide. But those eyes made up for it, for I swear I have yet to see another pair of big baby blues quite as blue as those, quite as bright as those, and maybe, just maybe for one half of a second, I went a little blind because they were so bright and so blue and so not Burnt White.
And then the kid let out this kind of grunted howl as he probably realized he was standing there (again, practically naked) in front of a total stranger suspended outside his second-story window.
I tell you, it's moments like that which make the whole damn job worth doing.
His room went dead silent after I heard the door slam, though really, the kid shouldn't have felt like he needed to race out of his entire goddamn room. Closing the curtain would've been sufficient enough, I mean. But oh well. Who knows what was on his mind-- I never really did find out. I always just got to figuring-- got to picturing in my own happy little head-- that he'd just woken up, just rolled out of bed, still clawing to hold onto the sheets and the dreams and the whateverthehell he had going on before morning. It was a nice thought, actually, that little squirt all curled up in a mass of sheets and pillows and sleepyhead dreams.
Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh your fucking ass off. I'm just telling it like it was.
Anyway, as the story goes, I got maybe about another half-hour's worth of work in before the sky ripped a bitch and started pouring down all over my moron head. I just sort of stood out there-- up there, rather-- out on the ladder, just begging to be struck by a divine bolt of lightning. Nothing like a good old fashion redemption convention to mellow the hell out of you. I probably would've, too-- gotten struck by lightning, that is-- if old man what's-his-face (the asshole who hired me) hadn't stuck his grey old mop out the window and told me to come on inside.
"Nah, I'm fine," I said. What an idiot.
"No you're not! You'll die!" he hollered. ...What an idiot.
I could've gone on arguing, but really, I didn't have too hot of an argument working for me there. By the time I made it down the ladder and into Old Geezer's house, I was soaked to the bone and that's no exaggeration or goddamn joke. Didn't help that the fucker had the air conditioning on full blast so it was practically like crossing the goddamn Arctic peninsula to follow him into his fancy ass kitchen. ...I don't even know if the Arctic has a fucking peninsula.
And that, kids, is why I tack up house siding for a living.
But of course, wouldn't you know it. Just who should be sitting at the kitchen table when I walk in? None other than the prime specimen of blonde male youth I'd gotten an eyeful of just earlier. God, I swear it was all I could do to keep from laughing in the poor squirt's face right then and there. The minute I entered the room, you could just tell he was freaking the hell out on the inside, but trying to play it cool. You know. Trying to play like it happened every day, like he wasn't embarrassed. Bull. Shit.
"Roxas, this is The Help, Axel." I just love it when people turn housework into something worthy of a title. THE HELP. It almost makes it sound important, wouldn't you say?
Clearly, this Roxas kid wasn't in the same state of idol worship (laughing my ass off) as his pops, because the kid just muttered some sort of weird and half-assed "Hello" before cramming more Rice Krispies in his mouth. He was a speed demon all of a sudden, seeing how fast he could eat his goddamn cereal so he could bolt outta there like nobody's business. It's a wonder he didn't choke on the spoon, really.
"Like a drink, Axel?"
"No thanks. I'm good."
I still haven't figured out if the man was half deaf or just stupid, because he just grinned like a moron and nodded his big head up and down, up and down. He went, "That you are. Those shingles look absolutely marvelous."
For the first time since I entered the room, Roxas looked up from his cereal bowl. You could tell the poor kid was even more embarrassed by his old man saying a stupid word like 'marvelous' in that stupid way he did. 'Those shingles look absolutely marvelous!' Poor kid. I started feeling really damn sorry for him right about then. That was why I tried to avoid talking to the people who hired me, see. Aside from the fact that I had this lame habit of talking people out of a sale, I also got to find out what total assholes they were and then got to feeling sorry for anyone who had to know them.
"Say, Rox. Whaddya say you go grab our buddy here a towel, huh? 'Atta boy!" He clapped the kid on the back so hard that Roxas nearly went flying face first into his empty cereal bowl, but he didn't say anything. Just disappeared into some hallway somewhere, off to fetch some thing. "You old enough for a beer?" his dad asked. I guess he hadn't been paying too much attention earlier when I'd said I was damn good and didn't want a damn drink, but hey, at that particular moment, alcohol was starting to look good. But was I old enough for a beer?
"Just last month." ...Annnd that would be a lie, ladies and gentlemen.
"Happy belated birthday, then. Here's to success." He pulled out some fancy looking beer and poured it in these two fancy looking tumblers. Who the hell does that, anyway? Beer is a manly drink-- you're supposed to drink it like a man. From the bottle, you know. Clearly he didn't know this, because he slid one of the tumblers on over to me-- ice in it and everything. Ugh. "So what're your plans, huh? Young man like you-- you're bound to have plans outside of a family business, huh? You go to college?"
"Haven't really given it much thought."
"Well I tell ya, the medical field is always a safe zone. I tell ya. That's where Rox is headed. Ain't that right, boy?"
I hadn't even noticed that Roxas had come back, holding this massive green towel in his arms and still looking flustered, for all that he tried to cover it up. I couldn't help it. I had to laugh. Sadly, it just ended up looking like I was choking on a stray ice cube from my girly beer.
"Here." He handed me the towel with a look which almost expressed his desire to erase me from his head forever.
"Thanks." I took the towel with a look which almost conveyed my absolute delight at his ruined day and his complete humiliation.
"Roxas is headin' into med school once he graduates next year. Just like his old man!" his dad said. Roxas took his bowl to the sink, but I couldn't miss the wince he gave at his pops' words. "That boy-- that boy's got plans. Sure, he's a bit of slacker from time to time-- not like you, Axel. Surely an ambitious fella like yourself has some goal, huh?"
I thought of telling him that I wanted to a persue a career in physical education, just to see what the look on the old man's face would be. Thankfully, I picked that moment to put the drink aside on account of I'm not an angry or a depressed drunk-- I'm a goddamn happy drunk and happy drunks are liable to say just about anything for kicks. I was about to make up some lame-ass sap story about some law-degree that went wrong, but thankfully I was cut off before I could really get rolling. Roxas' dad forgot everything we were talking about as the door to the kitchen swung open and in strolled his supermodel bride from hell, all giggles and all, all girl. ...Well, that and plastic.
"Jane-y!" I could see Roxas flinch again when his dad said her name. Damn that kid was twitchy. But I guess that if my dad was that hooked on something so bad for him, I'd be the same. Young women are like drugs to older men.
I wonder how the kid felt about his old man getting himself a trophy wife. I mean, there was no way around it, really. I'm not exactly being nasty when I say it. I'd seen the thing-- the woman out back from time to time. This real long-legged thing with these huge tits and a perm that made her head look almost as big as her jugs, at least. The way she tanned herself, you could just tell she'd be forking over more money for plastic surgery later on in life. Keep your healthy youthful glow, keep your ancient moneybags husband. Simple formula. Got it memorized yet?
And just then, for no real reason, I felt this goddamn urge to comfort the kid. I can't explain it and it's cheesy as hell to say. I hated myself the moment after I thought it-- wanted to drive my skull into a wall fifty times for the thought alone. But I'm not about to deny it was ever there. I just couldn't imagine being in this kids' shoes.
I guess I must have been staring, because Roxas turned around and-- bam!-- there was blue.
"Jane, this is Axel. You've seen him."
"Oh yeah! Of course I have! You're doing a wonderful job, Axel! Absolutely wonderful!" She was one of those real perky kinds of people. The kind who smiles real big, who talks down to you and slows her words down so you can understand just how goddamn happy she really is. I just nodded, smiled, and suddenly my drink was back in my hand because I had to drown her out of my head forever. Good lord, that annoying woman sitting on that ancient guy's lap.
When I looked up again, Roxas wasn't there. I couldn't really blame him, either.
After that it was pretty simple. The rain died down and I was back out on the ladder, but the curtains to the kid's room were shut tight. I knew he was in there because I could hear music coming through the walls, something French, something familiar. I'd heard it before, but I didn't know where.
'Ou est mon maitre le prince rebelle...?'
But all I could do was listen and the window stayed shut. And at the time, it wasn't a big deal. I had work to do and the kid had nothing to do with me. But still... somehow, it felt like a rip-off.
x x x
Some days later and I was still working on the same stupid mansion house down on the same south end of the lake. The man of the house was out with his wife for the day, probably getting it on in some cheap and easy motel somewhere where his son couldn't hear them hitting the headboard against the wall. No kid ever likes to hear their parents having sex. Especially when one of them isn't your parent. Anyway, that fact aside, it looked like rain again. I knew this, I saw it coming, I swear, but I was nearly done with this one damn side of the house. I was being a stubborn shit and wanted to get it finished so I wouldn't have to look at that kid's window anymore, hoping it would open again.
I never said I wasn't a perverted freak, come on now.
Well, I nearly was done, but the rain just wouldn't hold back any longer. Down it all came, light at first but with a rumble of thunder way off somewhere giving the nod and wicked grin that promised it would get so much worse. I figured I could put in a few more nails, put up a few more pieces, at least get this end done. At least. But then.
I looked to the left and there was Roxas, leaning out his window like it was the easiest, most natural thing in the world. He was wearing this black button-up that made him look older, more serious, more stable. More mature than his old man, that's for sure. But his hair was still messy, still sticking up all weird. And his eyes were still blue and his skin was still the same shade it had been before, but darker in the clouds and stormlight.
Yeah, okay, I can be a pervert and a bit of a romantic sap. It was lust, plain and simple. The kid looked fuckable. You don't even know, remember?
"It's raining," he said.
"Yeah, really." He was less than a foot away. I could've just leaned right over, claimed I was falling or something equally stupid and craptastic-- just fallen right over and on top of him. He was staring right at me, for crying out loud, the minor with the attitude and the expression that said he wanted it, even if he didn't damn well know it. And he stepped aside, waiting for me to follow. To follow him through the goddamn window.
Once I got my eyes off the back of Roxas'... head, I could take in the room itself. First impression? Movie posters. Everywhere. You would not believe this kid's collection of posters, for crying out loud. He had the classics-- The Birds, Psycho, From Russia With Love, North by Northwest, even Gone With The Wind, for crying out loud. But more than that, he had these contemporary ones, too. Broken Flowers, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction. The kid had it all. ...Which was surprising, because really, he didn't strike me as the kinda kid who would appreciate a Quentin Tarantino jumpsuit bloodfest. But hell, what did I know anyway?
But because I couldn't keep my big mouth shut, I just had to pop the question.
"Uma Thurman? You like 'em old, huh?"
"She's not old. Have you seen the cinematography in that movie? The colors..."
Okay, I don't know about the rest of the world, but I wasn't exactly paying attention to the camera art when there was a serious amount of ass-kicking going down up on the screen. But he trailed off, tossed me a towel that had been lying on his bed, then made himself at home at the chair by his desk. Posters aside, the room was simple enough. Bed, bookshelf, TV in the corner beside the desk, the sleeping computer. But the towel already pointed out the fact that Roxas had something planned. On a regular basis, people don't leave fresh towels lying in wait on their bed.
While I was drying off my hair, I couldn't help but have another look around. Just walking a little, looking a little. A stack of CDs, some of the artists I knew and some of them I didn't. Roxas didn't seem to mind, he just sat back and looked. I just leaned down and looked at his music. Probably safer than looking at him directly, anyway.
Even if I wasn't looking, I could still hear the smile on Roxas' voice. "Have you heard that guy sing?"
"Yeah. He's also the most flamingly queer male to ever get his eyebrows waxed."
"...I like his eyebrows."
"So do I." Insert awkward silence here. "Sooo." And in fishing for something to say, I just had to pull up the sore topic. Butterfingers me. "Med school kid, huh?"
"Better than being a club kid." That was when I made the mistake of looking up. I caught the smirk, that knowing something that made Roxas seem older than me, even though he sure as hell wasn't built like it. Maybe it was the Atomic Red hair that gave it away. I didn't smell like drugs-- I'd given them up a hell of a long time ago. But still, I was impressed that he knew what he was talking about.
"You can tell?" I asked.
"Well, you do have the look of a raver."
"Your old man doesn't seem to think so."
Roxas' face twitched a little at that, his mouth curled into a pouty frown. I was shocked at how easy it was for this kid to change emotions with the flip of a switch-- such a damn expressive face-- voice, even, sad when he said it, not really bitter when he admitted it-- "He's an idiot." Just a sorry statement of fact.
"Oh. Well. That's lovely." I could tell he was getting bummed really fast about it, so I tried to lighten the mood. Always trying to lighten the mood. "Do you at least like medicine... things? I mean. Hell, is it any fun dissecting crap? You get to do that, right? Like, cut open pigs and cats and stuff?"
"Oh yeah. It's about as much fun as pissing in the wind." He leaned back in the chair and I could see a gap between the shirttail and the waistband of his pants-- the skin there, small patch that it was. I got to wondering when I turned into such a horny bastard, but I covered it up, moved right along. If you keep up in conversation, people can't tell the difference.
"You're a goddamn poet, kid."
"Poet, maybe. Kid, no."
"And how old are you, anyway?"
"Eighteen in December."
"You're still a kid."
"Yeah, and you're really twenty-one."
"Gimme a month and a half and I'll make it the truth."
I sat on the edge of his bed and I couldn't help it-- I was fidgety. One of us had to be and it didn't look like it was going to be him-- just sitting there at his desk chair, moved again, bent over, elbows on his knees, all cool, collected, and calm as anything you've never seen before. I had to talk, had to keep covering it up. "So if you don't want to go be a big bad doctor, what the hell do you want to do anyway, huh?" I laughed-- it sounded stressed-- I didn't know what the hell was wrong with me. "Be an actor or something?"
"No way. I'd suck at acting." Roxas smiled, hesitated for all of half a second, then said, "But I do want to work in the movies."
"No. Directing." And then, just as he said it, I swear to God, he got that look in his goddamn eyes. You know the one. They use it in all those real shitty teen chick flicks. The One True Love Look. The Simpering Female Dream and Glory Look. God, it was something. Just as he said that one freaking word.
"I want it so bad. I wanna make people cry their fucking eyes out, I wanna make them laugh until they piss themselves, think until they're so fucking tired of thinking that it's all they can do to walk out the door without reading deep into it." He was out of his chair then, he was totally wild-- to hell with self-control, he was pacing the room like a damn madman. And when he turned around his smile was a grin. "It's the next best thing to mind control."
"Well, I must say, you seem to be quite the controlling little bastard there."
"You never know."
"So what's stopping you?"
"Hello? Does the word med school mean anything to you?"
"Thaaat's two words."
I stood up again, talking as I went, towel hung around my shoulders, walking around this kid's room, gloves still on, boots still one, probably tracking rainwater everywhere. Still trying to take it all in, still trying not to look at him. I was beginning to think this entire thing was just one big bad idea. "Look," I said, "your dad's got a good run of it. He had his time in the spotlight of wealth and glory and now he's retired, right? Key word there. Retired. He's not in the business anymore and he shouldn't feel compelled to stick you into it in his place. I mean, don't take this the wrong way or anything, but how the hell did your dad become a surgeon in the first place?"
"I honestly don't know."
Roxas sat down again, his Directing High fading fast. I was looking for something, anything to get me going on something I could talk about. And then I found it. Sitting right there on his dresser, innocent and condemning at the very same time. "Chapstick?"
"Everyone's lips get chapped," he said quickly. Oh, but I'd gotten it. Roxas tensed when he said it.
"A girly boy-- I see." Finally with the upper hand, I had to grin, smirk, rub it in his face and see if it was true. "Rufus, eyebrows and Burt's Bees. The ever-living poet as the bodaceous blonde bottom."
"Who said I was a bottom?" Priceless! I couldn't believe it and it was a laugh if I ever saw one-- that is, if the poor kid hadn't looked about ready to melt into his chair and die right then and there. His mouth hung open for a few moments and he made a few noises that didn't make much sense. The only thing I could really get out of it was a stuttered "I mean." But even then, he didn't get very far.
Laughing on the inside-- laughing my ass off on the inside, I just had to say it. For some weird reason I wanted to rip apart his calmness and bring him right down to by level so I could climb up. "Well just look at you, kid," I remember telling him. "You couldn't hold your own in a fight against a three year old, let alone a verbal one-on-one with your old man. Spine. Less. Am I right or am I right?" And then to ease the burn, I gave him this little pat on the back, nothing smacking like his old man, but just friendly. I'm a friendly person, I swear. "There's nothing wrong with being a bit of pansy. Someone's gotta fill the role."
"So what the hell are you then, huh?" Of course I knew what he meant, but he was too flustered by then to get it across well enough.
"I am a delightfully open-minded youth existing in the post-modern sleaze that is today's America."
Roxas just stared for a moment like it was the most profound thing he'd heard in his entire sad little life. Then he let out this half-laugh, gave this half-smile. Nothing really total right then-- you could tell he was still jittered. "You're full of shit." He was quiet for a minute, then hesitantly spoke up again. "Are you?"
"Am I full of shit? Well, it's been debated. Heated topic of conversation, that."
"No, I meant..."
"And look where our polite and refined conversation has turned to." I almost felt bad for doing it to the poor guy-- he was flaming red and humiliated to hell and back sitting right there in his desk chair. "Do I bang guys? It depends."
"And how about you, with your chapstick and your Rufus and your well-groomed eyebrows?"
"I don't know," he insisted.
"So you're a virgin."
"I never said that."
"No shame in it kid. Well, not really, you know."
"I never said I was a virgin."
But I wanted to hear this one because I knew he was telling the truth. I sat down on his bed again, right across from him in his desk chair and his embarrassment and his look that asked me not to make him spill the gory details. But I wanted to hear them anyway. Come to think of it, there were an awful lot of things I wanted to do right at that particular moment of time, but finding out about Roxas' troubled sex life was most definitely the most innocent option. I figured he'd thank me later.
"So who'd you bone?"
"It was... traumatic." Roxas groaned-- yeah, okay, I had to try and not be turned on by it-- and buried his face in his hands. "Why am I even telling you this crap?"
"It's easier to spill your goddamn life story to a total stranger."
"I dunno." I laughed, he just made another noise that sounded like I was killing him slowly. But I had to press the issue because pressing the issue meant I wasn't raping the kid in his desk chair, so that was that. "So, traumatic sex, huh?"
"It didn't really, uh..."
"Get you off?"
"God, would you shut up?" Damn, but I sure could pick 'em.
"Aww, poor lil blondie bear just couldn't get some on top. What'd I tell ya? It's fixable, yanno." Roxas had stood up and I just kept talking because in my head, I figured that he was probably coming closer. Or if not actually moving, than considering moving. In reality, he was just bending over to tie his shoelace, but he stopped halfway when he actually processed what I'd said. And that's when I actually processed what I'd said and realized what an ass I was making myself-- what a damn deep hole I was digging myself.
"Huh?" was all he could say.
"Not all sex is traumatic. Not all sex is without orgasm." Yep, the idiotic words just wouldn't stop coming. Completely not my fault. "Trust me."
I guess there was something about those last two words, maybe. Maybe something about everything I had just said overall. Who knows. Whatever it was, Roxas stood back up fully, his shoelace still untied, his head tilted to one side just slightly more than the other. It was obvious he was trying to figure something out, something that should've been more than obvious in itself by that point.
And I wasn't imagining it by then because I saw his feet move. He was closer. He was closing the gap and, really, there was nothing I could do about it, not even if I'd wanted to. Or so I told myself at the time.
So you know how you're about to kiss someone and they get that simpering little look in their eye? That 'I know it's coming' look? They're so goddamn expectant and they just know you're a sucker enough to make the moves on them. Yeah. Well. Roxas didn't... get that look. I waited for it. Waited until it was damn awkward, I waited. The room was so damn silent I got to wondering if he'd just died on me right there, but I could hear him breathing and there wasn't much else. Then there was thunder. There was more rain.
And I pretty much said screw it and went in anyway. Yep. Pure-hearted me, grabbing him by the belt-loops and pulling him right down on top of me.
It took the kid a minute-- he hadn't been expecting it, I guess-- but he knew what he was doing. I couldn't tell if I was amused as all hell or kinda disappointed that he wasn't a clumsy-ass kisser, but either way I wasn't exactly complaining or anything. He sighed, he smiled, he squirmed around until he was comfortable, really, until he had his fingers all buried in my hair, one thumb beneath my ear and I swear to God he could feel my pulse. You know that vein you have, right beneath your jaw, right beneath your ear. He was completely in control-- not of the whole contact-kiss-thing itself, but of himself. You just knew that he knew exactly what he was doing and how to do it.
In retrospect, I should've started having my doubts about the kid's history right about then. But no one actually bothers to think about crap like that when you've got an adorable guy suddenly in your lap, driving you backwards onto his damn bed. It wasn't like he was demanding or anything. Just smooth. Just controlled, like I said. When I shoved him off, rolled him over, made him understand what a submissive little pansy he really was, he took it. When I moved from his mouth to his neck in a less-than-exactly-gentle way, he took it. He sighed again, breathed again, and moved to take off his own shirt.
It was something pleasantly different, something that I sure as hell wasn't used to. I was used to having to wrestle people out of their clothes-- and that gets embarrassing because if they've got fifty million buttons or zippers or clips or pins, they're left staring at you wondering just what in the hell is taking so long and you feel like a complete idiot fumbling with all their damn clothing. But not Roxas. Thank God not Roxas. He took care of it himself-- smiled, even, as he did it.
I didn't know how far I was taking it, I didn't know how far he was willing to take it. But it was a good feeling-- in a weird way-- to see Roxas the way I'd seen him the first time. Eyes half closed and body half clothed. There was no better way.
Fate being what it was, that was when the front door opened downstairs and Roxas pushed me off him with this crazy shove that nearly sent me flying into the goddamn wall. Who the hell would've guessed a wimpy little kid like that could really do that?
"Roxas!" It was the old man. He sounded pissed. I didn't hear his giggly wife and I didn't have a clue what had happened.
"My dad'll flip."
And just like that we were off the bed, Roxas pulling his shirt back on, me pulling the towel off my shoulder and getting back to the window and ladder I knew so damn well. It felt more and more like a bad teeny bopper movie with every second and the though made me want to puke a little. Just a little though. More than anything I really just wanted for Roxas' dad to go back to wherever he'd come from so we could go back to whatever it was we were doing, wherever it was we were going.
"Coming!" Roxas called out the door. He turned back to me-- he looked worried, thoughtful, and stressed-- a big ball of nerves all rolled into this electrical fury of something that needed to do something. "Hurry."
I was halfway out the window. "I'm workin' on it!"
He was halfway up the stairs. "Roxas, you in there?"
Roxas was panicking and he didn't panic too well. "Uh, y-yeah, one sex!" God, this kid had class. "Sec, I mean, sec, one second, please!" He looked back and me, moved halfway across the room and stood there, not knowing whether to close the gap or run back towards the door. "Sorry," he said. Talk about awkward.
"Rox--" He was at the door and Roxas was at the window and I'd had to drag my ladder over at a weird angle in order to make it out. The way Roxas' window opened, it swung open to the side. It was weird, but quite convenient if you think about it. Sort of like a small door that dropped you off in the middle of space. And that small, convenient door was jarred out of my grasp as Roxas tried to slam it shut and I was left with one foot on the ladder and one in the air, some curse or another right at the tip of my tongue, damn what Roxas' old man had to say about that.
And that was the last thing I heard before I was struck by lightning.
Now, you already know I didn't die, seeing as I am the asshole telling this story and all that crap. Technically, I guess I could be a friggin' angel palling around with some other friggin' angels somewhere and then I could be telling this story, but you know, that's just not the case. The case and the point of the entire matter is that "Dad! Uh," were the last words of my first life. My goddamn perfect and easy-like-you-never-had-it life.
Anyway, it's a bit of pain to have to describe what it was like. You know, being struck by lightning and all. I don't think it really hurt, exactly, and I guess it wasn't anywhere near as bad as it could've been-- just a tiny little electrical splurge, surge, and down you go, you know. According to the docs at the hospital, if it hadn't been for my rubber-soled shoes and the fact that I still had my gloves on, well, I probably would've been rather toasted. So really, if you think about it, me getting it on with Roxas on that one goddamn evening probably would've resulted in a gloveless, bootless death.
Well, I was not a pansy like the little blonde squirt who'd just shoved me out a window and into said near death experience, but I did close my eyes after the strike and the fall and it took me a minute to get them open again. It's a miracle that I didn't break my back with the friggin' ladder landing on top of me. Roxas' pops was hollering something awful from the kid's window and all it took was one look at Roxas to know the kid was probably scarred for life. I almost felt guilty, somehow, which is really complete bullshit because it was entirely his fault in the first place that any of this crap ever happened to begin with.
He'd lured me into his room out of the storm, turned those buggy blue eyes on me and practically jumped me right then and there. Naturally. His fault. Completely and entirely.
But still. The kid looked like he was about to burst into tears and never stop crying for the rest of his years (who's a poet now, Roxas?).
I sort of tried to hold up my hand and wave it around a little to let them both know I was okay-- the old guy so he wouldn't have a heart attack hanging out the window and screaming like he was, and Roxas so he wouldn't feel too bad-- but my goddamn arm was dislocated so I had to untangle the other one from under the ladder.
The rest of it gets a little boring. I don't know how long I was on my back, but Roxas and his dad came out of the house, pulled the ladder off me and just stared at me like I was a goddamn corpse or something. His dad started asking questions-- dumb ones, of course-- "How many fingers am I holding up? What's your name? Are you okay? Christ, boy, are you okay?"-- but Roxas just stood and stared. You'd think the kid would've at least apologized for pushing me to my doom, but nope. Not a single frickin' word left his stupid frickin' mouth.
There was a hospital, a lot of noise, a lot of quiet. Something about my old man nagging me, lecturing me, shaking his finger and bitching up a storm. Storm. Haha, how goddamn punny.
So there I was the next day, fast on the road to recovery with a pint of cake batter ice cream and a mixing spoon, minding my own business on the living room sofa. ...Really, it wasn't the living room. It was more like the only room outside of the bedroom and bathroom of my lame apartment, but you know, it worked for me. Right. So the couch. I was there on the couch, like I said, and someone buzzed up to my room and I sort of let it go for a while because I figured I'd let whatever poor sap was down there rethink his plan of action and figure out if he really wanted to speak to me or not. You'd be amazed by how many people get to rethinking like that. Just damn amazed.
But apparently not this guy. The buzzer kept going and going and I just cursed and rolled off the couch.
"Hello." That was me. I'm friendly, remember?
"Axel?" And that... was Roxas.
"JESUS, Roxas? What in the hell are you doing here?"
"Can I come up?"
"Hell no, you cannot come up! Are you crazy?" I had no idea what was going on. He hadn't answered me before, so I decided to play the patient guy and ask again. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"I need to come up."
"No, you don't. Why. Are. You. Here?"
"My dad kicked me out."
"I told him... about..."
"No way. You're shitting me. You've got to be shitting me."
"No, no-- you're lying. Honestly, next you'll be telling me that Al Gore got his idea for the internet from you, for crying out loud." He was serious. I could tell. It was bad news. Can't blame me for trying to lighten the mood a little. But the kid wouldn't buy it. He sighed-- not the happy, sexy little sigh I'd heard the night before, but one of those emo kid sighs, one of those Damn-but-my-life-is-so-over sighs. It was depressing.
"Axel, Al Gore didn't invent the internet."
"I knew you'd say that. ...But... Why the fuck did you tell him, for crying out loud?"
"Can I come up now or what?"
I looked around the apartment. Total hellhole for sure, dirty dishes stacked in the sink and a day-old pizza lying half-eaten on the counter. Old socks, filled laundry baskets, and lord-knows how many soda cans and beer cans and water bottles. ...Well, it was his funeral, not mine. Even though I was the sap who he'd practically-- okay, I'd put that behind me, really. I was just bitter and confused and territorial.
So I let him up. I pulled on some jeans (because some people are prude like that-- who knows) and was just getting a shirt over my head when the knock happened. I hid the ice cream, tossed the spoon in the sink, and threw open the door.
There was Roxas. With a duffel bag on one arm and that blonde haired blue eyed masterpiece of an expression, fit to kill. Or molest. Or something. Hell, I don't even know.
"I can explain," he said. And that... was when I really knew it was bad.
"...Hoo boy. I can't wait to hear this one."
(x) (x) (x)
Bleh, don't kill me. I haven't forgotten any of my other fics. Quoshoopy will be updated in a matter of days and Suburbia right after that. This was originally going to be a oneshot, buuut. Well, you know how it goes. First-person POV is still new for me, but as of now my plan is to have it alternating between Roxas and Axel by chapters, unless I find that Roxas has absolutely no voice going for him! Erm. Right. Rufus Wainwright's 'Rebel Prince' is this fic's song (think 'Wish I Was Your Lover' and 'Angels Would Fall' from WIWYL and OftB, respectively) and the one mentioned in French earlier in the chapter. It's a damn good song and I tell you all to give it a listen!
...Right after, you know, you maybe drop a review. ...If you're feeling kind and generous and beautiful and lovely and marrrvelous. Which I'm sure you are. XD