Bobby's sleep was tormented with nightmares. He woke up sweaty and bit his lower lip to not scream out loud as the last shadows of the bad dreams vanished to the deepest corners of his mind, where he could no longer remember them. The sheets lay on the floor and somehow, he had managed to throw his pillow to the other side of the room. He sat up, rubbing his eyes tiredly and cast a glance at the digital watch. The yellow, glowing numbers told him it was still late at night. He sighed and went out of bed. Right across the room he could see the silhouette of Max's back.
Bobby walked towards it and looked down at his snoring friend. The friend the he had known since he had helped Max with lip-syncing Powerline. He smiled at the memory. It had been freaking amazing and worth every extra summer assignment 'The man' had given him. The red-head's smile diminished. Was that friendship under threat? Mocha Girl's words rang through his brain: This is something you guys need to work out for yourselves, got it? No shortcuts.
"Yeah… right…" Bobby whispered. "But how?"
And was it even necessary to work it out? He had kept quiet for so long that he had sort of forgotten all about it. The fact that he was homosexual had never really disturbed him. It was a detail he had just accepted and without any extra thoughts, he had let it be. According to him, it wasn't something to make a huge fuzz about. And when the day came and (against any odds, Bobby wasn't sure he actually cared about finding 'The one') he would fall in love, well, he just had to deal with it when and if it happened. But he had never thought that the subject for his…emotions would come to be Maximillian Goof!
Named teen suddenly let out a dull grunt and turned around, now facing Bobby. The hipster held his breath, but Max didn't wake up. The red-haired boy sighed in relief.
No, Bobby had not thought much about how he would 'deal' with his 'gay-ness'. He was a person who took days as they came by. But he could not overlook the conversation with Mocha and deep inside he knew she was right. He needed to confront himself and in time, confront Max…
"Heck…" he spitted out and let his eyes drop to the floor.
"Bobby? Buddy, are you okay?"
Bobby twitched at the sound of PJ's slumberous voice and turned around hastily with wide eyes. The big student in the upper bed eyed him questioningly.
"Man, you look like you've been caught with the hand in the cookie jar." PJ stated and looked at Max who was still sleeping, unaware of the conversation around him.
"You're not planning to strangle Maxie, are you?" PJ asked with a tired smile. Bobby smiled back.
"No. I was just…eh…sleepwalking! That's what I did!"
PJ looked at his friend little convinced. Bobby ignored him and went to the bathroom. He locked the door and studied himself in the cupboard mirror. His eyes were red edged due to the lack of sleep and underlined with dark shadows. In other words; he looked like crap. He broke the eye contact with his own reflection and opened the cupboard. He started to look for something hidden at the back of it. After a few seconds he pulled out a small plastic bag filled with ready-made joints and a lighter.
"I got serious problems…" he murmured to himself. Something was wrong when he hid those things even from his friends. He knew it but did nothing to change it.
He lit one of the cigarettes, hid the others and sat down on the toilette as he let the smoke fill the air. Soon he felt the numbness take hold of his body and the troublesome thoughts left his mind. He flushed what was left of the joint and then sprayed the bathroom with an air cleaner, (PJ had insisted that they needed one).
Bobby went back to the naked bed with a body that felt both heavy as a stone and light as a feather at the same time. He didn't even care to pick up the pillow and sheets. Above him he could hear the loud snoring of Pete Junior. Somehow the sound felt comforting and soon Bobby drifted off into deep, dreamless slumber.
The next day passed by as the college days used to. Lessons at noon, lunch, more lessons and everything rounded up with the three friends' regular touch of humor. Bobby had totally forgotten about last night's happenings. At least until the evening when the three as usual visited the Bean Scene.
"Fear is but a bird
A bird with wings as black as the sky
And a heart like the dawn's treacherous lie
Crush this heart with the spear of your righteousness
Spread your wings and fly
Even though fear is an inevitable curse
The bird will be no more."
"Oooh… Deeep!" Bobby stated when Mocha Girl bowed to the snapping audience. "Care to tell me what it means, you wise B-boy?" he continued with a mischievously grin and looked at PJ. The black haired student gave him a look that told him to shut up, tipped his beret dramatically and followed Max to order some coffee.
"I thought you would lie low with your inappropriate insults, taken out of thin air. Especially after what I did for you." Bobby turned around to face the dark haired girl, whose smooth movements made it look like she was floating through the room. Bobby just shrugged and went to look for a table. Sudden discomfort came over him and he sank down at a table in one of the corners. The poet graciously sat down and looked at him. Bobby tried to look everywhere but at her.
"You've been thinking", she suddenly said and pointed at his head with her long finger.
"And that surprises you? Babe, I feel offended." The red-head smiled widely and laughed, trying to ease up the tension and get the conversation on another trail then the inevitable one. Mocha Girl raised an eyebrow.
"You've been thinking about our tal…"
"Woa! Hush, brah! Keep it down!" Bobby burst out and waved his arms in a 'downwards' movement, like he was trying to lift of. Mocha rolled her eyes and then closed them. She rubbed her forehead slightly with her fingertips before she looked at the boy before her.
"Look," she said. "You can't keep going like this. I can see in your eyes that they are screaming out for help, even though your lips and actions keep telling people that you're fine. And it's not just about Max, it's…"
"What isn't 'bout me?" the slim teen sat down besides Bobby with a steamy cup of coffee and a plate with some sort of pie.
"The universe, the meaning of life, all the mysteries of cosmos," Bobby said with a voice that cracked at the end. The other three looked at him with big, confused eyes.
"Oookey…" PJ started and cleared his throat. "Anyway… Because the purpose of art is the arousal of emotions, I brought you a cup of delicious latte, my little Wiener mélange." He handed over a white cup to the black dressed poet and received a kiss on the cheek in return. Max ignored them and took a big bite out of his pie.
"That was a great performance by the way. A bit darker than your usual work," Max said with his mouth filled with dough and something that looked like strawberries. Mocha Girl put her elbows on the table and rested her head on her linked hands.
"Let's just say… Yesterday, I got the inspiration for writing something like that." A little smile appeared on her perfectly painted lips. Bobby wasn't sure, but he could almost swear that her eyes for a moment were resting on him. He wished the floor to open up under him and swallow him whole.
They sat at the Bean for a while, laughing and talking. People eventually started to find their ways home and close to closing time, Bobby and his friends were the only one left.
"I'm gonna get another one. You want something, my macchiato?" PJ asked his girlfriend as he sat down his empty cup and stood up.
"Sure," Mocha answered and pulled out her chair.
"You sit down. I get it for you," PJ responded with a light bow.
"No. It is better I get it myself. I must look at the menu to be sure of what I want." PJ looked at her questioningly but she stood up and walked over to him. Before they went to get their orders she looked at Bobby with a meaningful gaze.
"Bobby," she said quietly and then looked at Max, who was eyeing the decoration intimately. Mocha could not see the red-head's eyes behind his shades, but she guessed he was about to panic. She knew this was something he had to take care of without her involving. The step over the threshold from insecurity towards knowledge was the hardest, and that he had to do on his own, no matter how much she wanted to help him.
So she let him be and followed PJ to the bar. Bobby sat quiet for a moment before clearing his throat to get Max's attention. The black-haired boy turned wondering to face his friend. Bobby opened and closed his mouth like a fish a few times before he started.
"Well…eh… Maxie… man! I eh… There's something I… like..." He pinched his shirt nervously. "That I, like, wanna… tell ya…" Max interrupted him with a huge grin.
"What is it, Bobby?" he asked. Bobby's face turned to his knees and he kept staring at his hands. He was sweating and he felt like he was going to throw up any minute.
"It's like… I…" he kept mumbling but Max once again cut him short.
"Dude, have you been smoking again?" The hipster stopped eyeing his fingers and looked straight at Max's suspicious look.
"No!" he said hastily. "Well, yes… but that's not the point!" Max rolled his eyes before placing a gentle hand on Bobby's shoulder. The touch made the other student shiver against his own will.
"You have to stop that! It's…" Max started but this time, Bobby was the one to interrupt.
"Can you please listen to me!" he yelled. The staff at the bar turned to look what was happening and PJ started to walk towards the table, but was stopped by his girlfriend's gentle but firm grip around his elbow. Bobby didn't remember he had risen from the seat, but there he stood, looking down at Max who was staring at him in disorientation. The slim boy's coffee had been spilled all over the table and the cup lay rolling on the polished surface. Bobby scratched the back of his neck in discomfort.
"What I wonder is… have you, like..." He paused and sighed in resignation. "Have you heard anything from Roxanne, lately?" he eventually ended with a forced smile. He was all too aware of Mocha's looks upon him. Max stood up, slowly.
"Roxanne? Bobby, we broke up two years ago. Why would I?" he asked, still in confusion.
"I, no… right. I just wonder if there's any lo-ove goin' on in your life-a, brah!" Bobby boxed Max's shoulder playfully and grinned heavily. He was acting out as his own self again and Max felt some sort of relief, even though he was still deeply confounded.
"I, eh… I need a smoke…" Bobby stated and left the room as quickly as he could without running. PJ walked up to Max.
"Man, what was all that about?" he asked, feeling as confused as Max looked.
"I have no idea, PJ," the other teen said. Still at the bar, the female poet worriedly eyed the doors, which Bobby had disappeared through.
"Boys…" she whispered to herself before taking a sip of her coffee.
Here it is! Finally, the first chapter all written by me for u/4328333/Nick-ed 's story. Hope you liked it!
Well, probably as much angst in this one as in the previous but hopefully I can ease up the tension soon enough. Bobby is way OOC here but I guess that's how it's going to be when he is put in these kinds of situations. So I guess you (and I) just have to deal with it. But it's fun too, right? ;)
And hopefully I will manage to keep up this drama.
-Sleepwalking: A person who is sleepwalking usually can't tell for themselves that they are. Lucky for Bobby, PJ was too tired to realize that the excuse was an obvious lie.
-Mocha Girl's performance: I usually write poems myself but this was hard. Making something that's not rubbish but still not too understandable, and at the same time make it sound like she had written it, was quite the challenge... Hope I didn't mess up too much.
-Coffee (again): I still don't know anything about coffee. All those names I just snatched from *drumroll* Wikipedia!