Welcome To Fake Paradise!

This is the personal writing blog for Joana Hill, creative writing major extraordinaire! Here you'll find the random ramblings and occasional writings of a girl obsessed with gay romance and the yaoi manga FAKE. You've been warned.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Short Story: Keeping Secrets

If you've known me from my days at FictionPress, you'll recognize this. It's the edited version of a short story I had up there for a long time. I recently entered it into Figment.com's LGBTQ contest and I thought I'd share it with you all :) Enjoy!


Keeping Secrets

It happens every day at three without fail. I walk by the boy’s bathroom on the first floor, thinking I’d actually catch the bus home today. Quick glance around, not looking suspicious at all. And then the bathroom door opens discreetly and I’m pulled in. Again.

Thanks to Jason Wolfe, I haven’t been able to ride the bus home for almost two months now.

“Aren’t you afraid someone is going to catch us?” I ask him.

He has me pressed up against the wall, sucking at my neck. He actually stops and looks up at me, looking almost hurt.

This throws me for a loop. The only time I ever thought there was some kind of emotional connection in our relationship was when we met. I got hit on the head with a baseball, and he volunteered to drag me to the nurse’s office. I’m not sure how we went from good deeds out of pity to… this.

As his answer, Jason leans down and kisses me. This is his way of keeping me quiet. He doesn’t like things too complicated.
x
Mom always looks at me suspiciously when I come home almost a half hour after the bus would’ve dropped me off. Being a housewife with only one teenage boy to take care of, she has nothing better to do than wonder why I seem to have taken a sudden disliking to the bus.

“How was school today, Isaac?” she says instead. I guess even she’s realized that asking why I’m late is useless by now.

I see she’s set out graham crackers and milk for me. It almost makes me laugh; I’m fifteen, and my mother sets out an afterschool snack for me every day. I can’t complain, though. “Okay,” I say, sitting down at the table and picking up a cracker.

My mother is picking up her purse from where she keeps it. It reminds me that it’s Friday. Mom always does all the shopping on Friday.

“Feel like going to the store?” she asks, jingling the keys in my face.

I wanted to finish my snack, but I need the driving practice, so I nod.
x
I’m standing at the magazine rack, glancing through a gaming magazine I read sometimes. Mom was gracious enough to let me drive over so I could add the time to my driving record, but damned if she’ll let me follow her around. Not that I’d want to. It still feels sort of weird to feel like your mother is embarrassed by you, though.

I glance up for some reason, and I jump back. Jason is standing not even five feet away, pulling open a freezer containing frozen fries and other lazy-man’s cooking essentials. I’ve never seen him outside of school. Has he noticed me yet?

“Cathy, I know Mom and Dad are away for the weekend, but we should at least have something resembling food tonight,” he says, taking out one of the bags and glancing at it.

It takes me a second, but I realize that he has a cell phone propped against his shoulder. I put the magazine back on the rack. I’m fully ready to make my retreat, but Jason suddenly turns around.

His mouth is slightly open in surprise, and he disregards his phone as he stares at me.

“Isaac, we need to get going!”

I hear my mother’s voice, and I tear my eyes away from Jason to see she’s pushing a cart full of groceries towards us. She looks between the two of us. “Who’s this?”

“Um, one of the senior helpers in my gym class,” I say quietly.

He watches me as I follow my mother down the aisle and towards the check-out.
x
I have gym first thing on Monday. I change in the locker room quickly, and during the standard warm-up laps around the gym, I notice something off.

“Is Jason not here today?” I ask of a girl with long blonde hair tied in a ponytail.

She glances over to where Jason usually stands with the other senior helpers to make sure we’re doing the warm-up exercises. “I heard something went on at the football game on Friday,” she says.

I hadn’t felt particularly up to going to our last home game, so I had just stayed home and watched some Austin Powers movies with my father while my mother complained about scarring my young mind.

We’re soon called to gather at the front of the gym, and so I just stand there in the crowd of students as the teacher calls for attention.

“As some of you may know, our friend Jason got into a bit of a scuffle last Friday at the game,” she says. “A suspension has been issued for both parties, and Jason won’t be joining us for a few days. I’ll take over being the captain of his softball team until he gets back.” She signals for us to follow her outside onto the baseball field.

I just stand there, dumbfounded, as my classmates shuffle out.
x
It’s Wednesday. I’m standing outside a blue house with a mailbox displaying the name Wolfe. After making the excruciating walk up the driveway, looking into the windows just in case someone in the house sees me first, I press the doorbell.

“Yes?” asks a girl who has come to the door. I don’t recognize her, even though she’s probably around my age.

“Is Jason home?” I say.

The girl looks at me suspiciously, but then she turns to the stairs, which are right near the door. “He’s up in his room,” she says. “Second door on the left. Knock first, though; he’s been in a bad mood lately.”

I nod my thanks, and she lets me through.

Jason’s bedroom door is closed, and there’s a Warning: Disaster Area sign hung by a nail right at eye level. I take the girl’s advice and knock. There’s a long silence, and I knock again.

“Cathy, I told you to leave me alone,” comes Jason’s voice. It doesn’t sound like him at all, though; he’s always so confident and in-charge. He just sounds pitiful now.

“Jason, it’s me, Isaac,” I say.

There are various shuffling sounds, and the door opens. We just stare at each other for a while before he nods his head towards the inside. I take that as a signal for me to come in, and he closes the door behind me.

“Come to laugh at me like everyone else?” he says, his tone bitter.

I shake my head, feeling nervous about the fact that I’m alone with him. This scenario never leads anywhere G-rated. “I don’t even fully know what happened,” I say. “I guess I kind of… missed you.”

Jason laughs, sitting down on his bed. “Didn’t look like that when your mother met me on Friday,” he says.

My face flames-up at the memory. I couldn’t blame him for taking that personally, but what else was I supposed to do, with my mother standing right there?

“Some guys saw me pull you into the bathroom on Friday, and they were giving me shit for it,” he says. “And we ended up in a fight.”

I roll my eyes. “Because violence solves everything.”

“Well, what would you have done?” he says. He’s got me there. “Maybe we should just… end it. This is stupid.” He lies down on his bed, gazing up at the ceiling.

I don’t know what to say to that for a while, so I just stare at him.

“Or maybe we should begin it properly?” I suddenly ask.

He’s silent.

“Just an idea.” I say a quiet good-bye and leave.
x
It’s Monday again, and Jason’s suspension is supposed to end today. I haven’t talked to him since Wednesday, though, so I have no idea where we even stand.

I’m kneeling down, taking the books for my morning classes out of the bottom of my locker. As I stand up, I hear quiet murmuring. I look down the hall.

Jason is heading my way, walking casually with his backpack slung over his shoulder. Someone says something to him, but he just gives the person a smile, running a hand through his dark-brown hair.

He’s the picture of perfect, or that’s what I think every time I see him come through the hall in the morning. He’d never even met my eyes, so I don’t expect him to do what he does next.

He stops there at my locker. And with half the hall watching, Jason places a cautious kiss on my lips.

“Good morning,” he says.

I can’t help but smile.

“Good morning.”