I've been struggling with this story for the longest, it changed plots like five thousand different times and even now as I write this I don't know if it's all the way there. It's like at 99.9%, idk I'm dumb. Anyways, this story is probably going to be very boring but I just sorta want to do a character story, if that makes sense. And IDK if this story will remain T for good because I'm indecisive, but for now, it's T. Blergh de blergh, hope you all enjoy this story anyways cause now I'm not sure what it is to explain it here.
Part I: The Idle Teen
In the small town of New PalmWood, resting along a coast that welcomed sunlight and harsh storms alike, was the smallest population that could possibly be imagined. At least, that was what Kendall Knight believed. Their town was about sixteen miles long, with old and cracked paved roads that ran through never busy streets, and the air always smelled of the fresh creeks that ran through the golden fields. Every Sunday, right after Mrs. Knight prepared breakfast for her eldest child and three little boys, Kendall would strap his guitar on his back and take a walk. The houses in New PalmWood were very much alike, building structure reminiscent of 1965. It always felt like Kendall was walking through a postcard, waiting to find out just who it was that his story was going to be told.
The sidewalk was hot, the air blowing light as he continued his way down the street. He'd walk all the way down to Summer's End, then turn around and head back to his home if not down to the shoreline and watch those two old men fish off the dock that always grumbled and argued about what bait to use. Kendall breathed in the fresh air, sighing as he stuffed his hands into the pockets of his ripped jeans. A few more steps and Kendall rounded the corner of Summer's End, walking slowly down the street and pass the row of houses.
Something about this place made Kendall's heart tight, slowing his pace slightly to stop in front of a large red wooden house with white trimming and an old wishing well in the front yard. No one has lived in the homes on Summer's End for years, Kendall didn't really know what the reason that was for though. He figured because the homes were so close to the water, it would have been a storm hazard. But the sea air breeze was absolutely beautiful to feel over your skin and breathe in the moment you woke up. He stood there for about a couple of seconds, maybe minutes, as if he was trying to recollect a memory that was long forgotten about something he didn't know. The significance of a house that's been empty for more than ten years, Kendall stood there and puzzled and puzzled until the furrow of his eyebrows grew sore.
Sighing, Kendall turned on his heel and continued his walk down the road, towards the grey waters that washed up onto the sandy shores. The sand moved and sifted over his black Converse, kicking and uprooting some shells and rocks as he moved in closer and closer to the shoreline. Finally, Kendall stopped and sat down on the sand, pulling his guitar into his lap as he took in a breath and let his fingers drift over the nylon strings. Warmth filled Kendall's vein despite the chill of sea breeze, plucking notes and strumming chords as he sung 'Moon River' underneath his breath. Quiet and intimate, like the lullaby his father would sing to him and his little brothers when he was so small and New PalmWood seemed to encase the entire world instead of a small portion of it.
New PalmWood was definitely too small for Kendall now. Too small for his mind to drift off and wonder just what lied beyond the ocean's edge. What was past the golden fields of wheat and dry grass, past the tall forested areas of old oak and pine that were too tall for him to soar over. Out there, past New PalmWood and over the criss-cross creeks was his somewhere, his rainbow's end. He wasn't sure where it was, or how he would get there or who he would find, but he just knew he had to be there.
And he'd get to be there all in due time.
Mrs. Knight blew a stream of smoke from her lips, slipping the cigarette back in between her ruby red lips as she began to type out over her typewriter. Mrs. Knight wasn't a fan of new technology, without a husband to explain to her how the gizmos and whoo-dads and whatzits worked, what point would there be to fill up her little abode underneath the largest of apple trees with gadgets that belonged to the Jetsons.
She heard a door open and then closed, adusting her cat eye glasses. "Wipe your feet, I don't want you trailing any sand," she called out, Kendall shuffling in a few moments later with his shoes toed off and the bottom of his jeans wet with water. "Went to the beach?"
"Like to think there. More quiet," Kendall said and his mother gave him a look. He shrugged, reaching over to grab a red apple to bite into. "I'll be upstairs," he mumbled through chewed up bites and his mother gave a small grunt at that. Kendall ran his fingers up the cherrywood banister, each step bending underneath his weight and making a creaking noise. A couple more steps upwards, he could hear the orchestra section playing a piece from Madame Butterfly from one of his father's old records. Kendall reached the top of the steps, looking down at his brothers sprawled out onto the floor with their chins propped up by their hands.
Colin, Rudy, and Lionel, all three of them around the ages of six to eight years old. And all of them were in their bathrobes and pajamas, mixtures of honey blond and auburn hair ruffled from sleep that weren't even bothered to be combed. Their eyes glanced up at Kendall walking past them, a mixture of a sickly sea blue green, before focusing attention back on the record. Kendall figured as much as no words exchanged, his little brothers never liked to talk over the orchestra section since their father always said it was rude to not give the fullest of attention to performers.
Kendall felt his heart sink a little the more he thought of him, wishing that he was here now.
He stepped inside his room, taking his guitar off and setting it down by his dresser. He flopped down on his bed, face down on the plaid sheets before he turned over onto his side, reaching out for his journal. He overturned a novel that his father gave him right before he passed away, stating how it was growing to be his favorite. Kendall read up to the part where the southern girl Delilah met Sampson, and Sampson saw something in the rearview mirror but Kendall never knew what, since that was as far as his father read up to and Kendall wouldn't dare remove the leather bookmark that still held his fingerprints and his scent.
Kendall flipped open his journal, looking over his song lyrics that he's been writing for a while. He placed the tip of his pen to the white paper before he stopped, hearing his mother shout out "Kendall!" and he scowled.
"I need you to run down to the market! We're out of eggs and paper!"
"Why couldn't you have told me that before I left?!"
"Cause I knew you were going to forget!"
"Well I wouldn't have if you told me!"
There was a collective groan from down the hall, Kendall knowing his brothers were getting annoyed and he groaned himself. He tucked his journal into his coat pocket before he slung the fabric over his shoulders, quickly rushing out of his bedroom and past the three boys turning up the miniature record player volume. He hurried down the stairs and into the kitchen, fanning away his mother's cigarette smoke. "I really wish you wouldn't smoke in here, it really stinks up the kitchen," Kendall said and his mother puffed out a smoke ring.
"I know, it's a nasty habit but. . .it's how I relieve stress," she said and Kendall bit the inside of his cheek. She shook her head, adjusting her glasses and pushing a few strands of bright red hair freshly done out of her face as she reached for her purse. "Get two dozen eggs, for breakfast and for that pee wee hockey picnic. I'm in charge of baking so I need to have as many ingredients that I need. And stationary paper for letters and simple white paper for my typewriter, understand?" she asked and Kendall nodded his head. She stuffed a couple of dollars into her hand, Kendall shoving the money into his pocket before he rubbed the back of his neck.
He turned on his heel, grabbing the car keys on the way out before he walked out the front door. He stepped in the driveway, unlocking the front door to the old Chevy Impala and slid into the leather seat. He started the engine with a little rumble, pulling out the driveway and onto the cracked streets before hooking a right and heading to the town square. Everything wasn't too far away from each other, the forests and the town were all intertwined with each other. Kendall was driving past the golden fields of straw and dry grass, spotting a couple of horseback riders heading off into the woodland area. The windows were rolled down, welcoming warm heat and a cool breeze that made Kendall sigh in relief and his grip on the steering wheel loosen.
He drove over the bridge with a slowly drying up creek beneath it, moving onto more paved roads and past the old white church his mother and father got married at. Kendall made a right, and there he was in the town square. On his right was the old red brick malt shop, a few blocks down was the movie theater and supermarket. To his left was the music store Kendall loved to waste time away inside, next to it a bookstore with a built in café and the floral shop that no matter what, always had barely living flowers.
He pulled in front of the market, putting the car into park and turned off the engine. He climbed out, swinging the key around his finger before he slipped it into his pocket. But before he walked inside the market, he paused and did a double take. Next to the market was a jeweler, finest jewelry Kendall had ever seen in his life. Diamonds and pearls and gorgeous gold watches that didn't belong in New PalmWoods, but in a Tiffany's in New York or Beverly Hills, where the somebodies were that could actually afford such a piece. And standing in front of the display looking from the outside was a tall and rather gorgeous looking brunet.
Kendall never seen the boy before, surely wasn't in the graduating class from the high school but he looked about the same age. He was wearing sunglasses even though the clouds slightly made it dreary out, his clothes were elegant and fancy and Kendall was sure if he breathed hard enough, he could inhale the sweetest cologne that lingered on the boy's sun-kissed skin. He had a coffee in one hand, one croissant in a white paper bag in one hand while a half-eaten one was in his mouth. It was rather charming, Kendall couldn't help but stare and be entranced by this boy. He didn't look a thing like the citizens in New PalmWoods, he looked new and up to date and beautiful.
That was the most important thing, he was beautiful.
The boy paused and then turned, Kendall quickly turning away with a blush on his cheeks and embarrassment flowing into his veins at being caught. He gave a nervous cough, not sure if the boy was watching him still but he walked inside the market. Kendall sucked in a breath of stale air and made his walk down the aisle to get the eggs. Only, halfway down the aisle did Kendall feel strange. He gave a casual glance over his shoulder and sure enough, there was the brunet following him with the half eaten croissant still in his mouth. Kendall turned away, confused and a little freaked out. He wasn't going to jump to conclusions, absolutely not. If anything, the boy wanted to buy something too and just happened to go down the same aisle Kendall was going down. He sucked in a breath, yes that had to be the reason. So Kendall walked down and made a right, heart beating a little bit faster when the boy made a right too.
He wasn't going to look back at him, he wasn't going to see him. But Kendall felt himself tensing and growing nervous under the boy's gaze behind those shades he still didn't take off. What does he want? Was he stalking him? What did Kendall do? Kendall passed the eggs from being too deep in thought and he cursed under his breath, turning around and kept his head lowered. He walked past the boy, who turned around and Kendall gave a huff.
He spun on his heel and blurted out, "I'm sorry for staring!". As if that was what the boy wanted. The brunet paused, then pulled the croissant from his mouth and slipped it into the white paper bag.
"Is that what you thought I wanted? An apology?"
"Well you're following me so I don't know."
"What if I wanted to know your name?"
Kendall raised an eyebrow. "I'd ask why."
The boy smiled. "Cause I think you're cute and that it was cute how you were staring at me."
Kendall blushed and the boy laughed. It was light and like honey, sweet and smooth. Kendall swallowed hard, clearing his throat and tried to show he wasn't at all affected.
"It's Kendall. Kendall Knight," Kendall introduced and the boy took off his shades, revealing big and bright hazel eyes that did all the smiling for him.
"I'm James. James Diamond."
"James Diamond. . .I never heard of you around here before," Kendall said. Which was saying something since everyone knew everyone in this little town. James shrugged.
"I'm not from around here."
"Are you visiting?"
"Maybe. Or maybe I'm just passing through. Or maybe I'm staying here, I haven't really made up my mind," James said and looked over at the eggs. "Are you getting your breakfast?"
"No," Kendall said, remembering the task at hand and grabbed two cartons. "My mom wanted some eggs for breakfast and baking. And paper, she writes a lot and it keeps her busy."
James nodded and it didn't take Kendall by that much surprise when James began to walk with him towards the office supplies. "What about your father?" James asked and Kendall bit his tongue, almost dropping all of the eggs in his hand.
". . .He doesn't do much."
James nodded at that too and Kendall quirked an eyebrow. "If you're not here visiting and you don't know if you're going to stay, how did you get here? I mean, if you were only passing through, you would have just stayed on the highway since it pretty much bypasses this place. You'd have to want to get off-"
"Look at these masks!" James chirped, ignoring Kendall's questions as he moved to the animal masks on sale. He put one up to his face, a fox and gave a playful growl. "I always liked dressing up when I was a child, did you?"
Kendall paused, not sure of what to say. "I suppose?"
James pulled the fox mask away and smiled. He then picked up a hound mask, placing it in front of Kendall's face. "This one fits you perfectly," he said and pulled it away. "And it's none of your concern how I got here. What matters is that I'm here, doesn't it?"
"Well. . .if you're passing through, where are you going? If you're staying, where have you been?" Kendall asked.
"I'm undecided if I want to stay, I just told you that. And if you're so curious about where I'm going, I'm going to give you a good punch if you don't be quiet."
Kendall frowned and continued down the aisle, quickly grabbing the stationary paper and the normal blank paper. "Do you like to write too?"
"Maybe I do, maybe I don't," Kendall said, since two could play at that game. James scoffed.
"I can see a journal in your pocket, don't need to get cryptic on something so obvious," James said rather snappily and Kendall gave a furrow of his eyebrows. He turned to look over his shoulder at James, the boy now sipping from his coffee cup and Kendall rolled his eyes.
"None of your business if I write, just like it's none of my business about why you're here."
"I'll tell you why I'm here if you tell me what you write about in that journal," James said with a warm smile that made Kendall shiver. He shook his head, holding his things tight to his chest and James shrugged. "Course you don't have to-"
"Let me pay for my things-"
"Why pay?" James asked with a mischievous little glimmer and Kendall's eyes widened. "No one would really notice, would they? There's barely anyone here to stop you."
"I'm not going to steal eggs and paper! And since you're not from around here, you should know that my mom is friends with the store owner and I'll get into so much trouble for shoplifting!"
"Have you ever shoplifted before?"
"Didn't need to," Kendall said with a frown and James finished off his cup of coffee. He placed it down idly on one of the shelves and pulled the dog mask out from his pocket, holding it up to Kendall's face.
"Such a loyal and responsible boy," James said with a flirty smile and Kendall swatted the mask away.
"I'm not a dog."
"You're adorable like one," James said with a pout that Kendall tried his hardest to ignore. "Come on, it's thrilling when you do it. And it's only eggs and paper, it's not like you're robbing a bank or anything." James stepped closer and there it was, the rich cologne of cinnamon and spice and sex lingering on his skin that floated upwards into Kendall's nose. His eyes fluttered, breath taken away as James cocked his head to the side. "Come on, it'll be fun," he purred, voice silky and lips ever so soft that Kendall wanted to only spend his days lazily kissing James between the bedsheets.
". . .Okay," Kendall murmured and James smiled, licking his lower lip and Kendall did the same. James wrapped an arm around his frame, strong and warm and Kendall shuddered. The brunet walked him down the aisle, Kendall's heart beating too fast for his own good. What if he gets caught? What if his mother finds out. It's only eggs and paper, he should pay for this. He shouldn't be doing this, but James rubbed his hand up the side of Kendall's arm, positively trembling underneath his touch.
Kendall's eyes wildly darted up for any security cameras, finding none in the corners or in front of the door. Mr. Milken never really felt the need for security, other than a safe to put the money in. He trusted the citizens and Kendall had to swallow down the guilt and nerves. No one was up front, like James had said, and the boy snagged a bag before he rushed Kendall outside. James opened the bag for Kendall and the blond stuck his stolen goods inside, James grinning brightly. "Good boy!"
"I'm not a dog," Kendall said and took his items. "Now I still have twelve dollars that I need to explain to my mother why it's not gone."
"Spend it on a milkshake," James said. "I like mint."
"Buy me a milkshake, I didn't stutter."
Kendall frowned, gesturing to James's person. "Don't you have any money?"
"Yes, but asking cute humble boys to buy my things is much more enjoyable," James said with a smile and Kendall bit the inside of his cheek. "I like a mint shake with lots of whipped cream and a cherry."
". . .Fine."
James insisted on them sharing a milkshake and fries in the parlor, Kendall rubbing his face as if he could somehow wipe the blush from his skin. He's already gotten a few confused looks and curious glances from some teens that were enjoying the first day of summer break. Kendall wasn't known to be a romancer or even date people, yet here he was sitting with a stranger drinking out of the same milkshake. James took a sip from his red straw and hummed in delight before he gestured to Kendall's pocket.
"Are you going to show me what you write in there?" James asked and Kendall frowned.
"Not so fast, what about where you came from?" Kendall asked and James gave a groan. He drummed his fingers on the counter before he took another sip.
"It's not a really important place, some little smudge on the map."
Kendall raised an eyebrow and James sighed. "I'm just here on vacation, is that a good enough answer for you?" James asked and Kendall gave a shrug. He tilted his head to the side. "I didn't know I was dealing with the town sheriff. Concerned about the stranger showing his face in your town?"
"It's not like that, just. . .I've been dying to get out of here for the longest and when I saw you-"
"I'm something different?" James asked, bright hazel eyes wide and Kendall nodded. "Is different a good thing to you?"
"It's a wonderful thing."
James smiled. He ate some fries before he pointed at Kendall's pocket. "Now will you show me?" he asked and Kendall sighed, slipping his journal out.
"Just don't laugh. But these are some song lyrics that I wrote," Kendall said, sliding the book over the counter and James beamed.
"Song lyrics? You sing?"
"Not really, I play guitar though."
"I sing," James murmured, flipping through the pages. "I love to sing," he said, and Kendall didn't know if he was saying that to him or to himself. It was quieter, softer, like he was trying to convince himself of something and give a gentle urge that it was alright to say. Kendall leaned on his hand, watching James mouth the words on the paper, voice coming out in only a whispery breath too hard for Kendall to hear. James bit his lower lip, looking up to Kendall before he slid the journal back.
"You're quite a romantic in these lyrics," James said and Kendall gave a small shrug. "Are they for your girlfriend? Or boyfriend, however way you swing."
"I swing both ways and I got out of my last relationship before summer so the songs aren't for anyone."
James raised an eyebrow. "Wanted a new start?"
"Guess you could say that," Kendall murmured, pushing around his straw in the slowly melting shake.
"What was their name?" James asked and Kendall paused.
"Her name was Jo. . .I should be heading home. My mom is going to be wondering what's taking me so long," Kendall said with a shake of his head and grabbed a couple of fries to shove into his mouth. "Do you have a place to stay?"
"Yeah," James said, his turn to now stir his straw in the shake.
"Someplace cozy, stop worrying about me so much," James said with a sharp look and Kendall rubbed the back of his neck. "Just because I'm not from around here doesn't mean I'm helpless, you know."
"I never said you were, but fine," Kendall snapped and James turned away. Kendall grabbed his things and gave a small huff. "Welcome to New PalmsWood," he said off-handed, but before he could walk away, a hand grabbed the sleeve of his coat. He turned, eyes wide in shock as James was leaning in and kissed the corner of his mouth, Kendall barely tasting the salt and sweet. He pulled away, warm gaze in his eyes.
"Thanks for the shake," he murmured and in a quick dash, ran out of the parlor. Kendall blinked, before he found himself turning on his heel and running after him. James was half way down the street, intent on not looking back to see if Kendall was following him and Kendall only stared at the boy's retreating figure, confused and intrigued. No doubt, James Diamond was different.
Different was what Kendall wanted for the longest.
Dinner was always eaten in silence, conversation over the dinner table ended when Mr. Knight passed away. They left his chair out, and set the table as if he was going to walk down the stairs and plop right down to ask for some food to be passed over to him. Kendall often just stared at that empty spot where his father once sat, before he swallowed down his food and hoped that the thought wouldn't come up again.
"So have you decided about school yet?" his mother asked in between chewed bites of green beans and mashed potatoes and Kendall pushed around his food. He shook his head and his mother sighed. "Kendall, this is important. You can't slack off on this anymore, don't you want a future and a good education and a good job?"
"I just want to get out of this town and travel, I don't know what I want to do with my life."
"Well you can't waste it travelling," Mrs. Knight said sharply and Kendall frowned. "Also, you should get a job for the summer. I can't raise all four of you on the money that I'm earning. Mr. Bitters is hiring from what I heard in town."
"Yeah, like I want to spend my summer vacation surrounded by almost dead flowers and a sour cheapskate," Kendall said with a sarcastic laugh and now it was his mother's turn to frown. "I don't want to talk about it, I'll figure a way to earn money my way."
"Music isn't a strong support for money, Kendall. There are such things as starving artists," she said and Kendall looked at her with wide and upset eyes.
"Well if smoking is your way of relieving stress and making you happy, then music is mine and I have every right to do it."
"Don't talk to me like that," she whispered, slim and bony hands gripping her silverware tight. Kendall's little brothers were idly eating, nervous eyes darting between Kendall and their mother as they slurped up some pasta. Kendall leaned down, cutting some potatoes up with a frown.
"Not my fault that you wouldn't understand. Dad always understood how we all felt about music anyways," he mumbled and heard his mother drop her utensils onto her plate. Kendall knew that was a low blow, it always was to mention his father only to spite his mother. He looked up at her, seeing the woman staring at him with hurt eyes and swallowing down a curse or a yell or a sob. Kendall pushed his half-eaten plate away. "I'll go to my room," he muttered, quickly excusing himself from the table. His mother didn't stop him, his brothers only watched his retreating back as he ran up the stairs. Kendall went into Colin's room, grabbing the record player and a record of Elvis before he went into his own room and kicked the door shut behind him.
Kendall took the record out, placed it on the player and dropped the needle. He fell onto his bed, looking up at the ceiling as Elvis crooned and sung, as if he was waiting for a message to appear to him. Somewhere to go, his father always said that they needed to look close and listen closer in order to find the things that are hidden before their eyes. He dug into his pocket, pulling out his journal and grabbed his pen off the nightstand. But as soon as he opened the pages, his nostrils were hit with the scent of James' cologne that somehow managed to be caught in the pages. His mind grew hazy with half mint kisses and the thought of lazy afternoons wasted away with the stranger.
Kendall fell asleep with absolute no idea of where his life was going to go after this, but comforted from the scent of James and the sounds of the King.