Started / Finished
August 16, 2016 / Currently ongoing
Ardan Blaire's expectation has flipped upside down.
Coming back after two years living in the other side of the country, he has to be faced by what's worse than just a bitter past of his ex-boyfriend he left behind. Not everything that's broken meant to be fixed. Except, Ardan feels like he will do anything to attach all the broken pieces. What he doesn't know is that his effort to do that has led him into another mistake. And unfortunately, a bigger one.
Blind stabbing, fatal misperceptions and deceits, also the corollaries, they all go before his eyes.
But everything is just the matter of perspective, isn't it? So is he making a mistake if what he does feels right?
Welcome to this story!
I would like to say a massive thank you for everyone who's reading this. This is my first novel ever and I'm more than excited to write it (even though it takes kind of long for me to write), and with English being my second language, I'm nowhere near perfection, I'm still learning, I would never stop. So, criticism and ideas are welcome!
Much love, Ric.
It was not easy for him.
The boy’s feet stepped on the concrete sidewalk, traipsed inertly, heading to the only place he could only think of right now.
With something felt like it was embedded inside his lungs and pounding at his chest ceaselessly, He knew this was the point where everything was just pointing it’s sharp ends right in front of his face. The pains that could have been spearing were imaginable. But he felt nothing. It was just the pressures. No pain, no aches, it was all stresses. Like all the air inside of him deflated yet he managed to breathe.
Have you ever just felt like the burdens, every single one of them, was just there, burdening you? And then you just wish that you could take some times off of life─for a minute or two, to just feel how would it be to finally respire without lumps in your throat?
Because that was the closest description of how he felt.
The wind blew cold, even with double jackets on, he still could feel the air gnawing his pallid skin. He shoved his hands into the pocket of the apparel, slipping his fingers together, prompted to give him a slight warm on the palms. Even a little, they still helped.
It was almost one in the morning, and the only sound his ears could hear was the sound of his own footsteps. Most lights from the houses he passed by were on, but they didn’t bright enough to glide through where he walked. So there he was, taking step by step, with the dim street lamps casting pale light over his sight.
His life was cluttered. Every little fragment that used to build each other was now on shards, laying there inside like dust. He couldn’t see it but he could feel it filling in him, like it’s reminding him that it was there, it existed, he had to do something with it. and yet he didn’t know exactly what should could he do.
Never in this world would someone imagine what would the worst thing that could happen on their lives be, because your imagination will run feral, and they can’t be tamed nor encaged, they will still go worse as long as you still have the space for fear. There were a lot of things that would come after, but it’s safe to say that this was the worse thing he had ever suffered.
It seemed to take forever for his mind to process what was happening, or at least he made his mind slacken to.
He stopped his step, and lifted his sight to the tallest building among the arrayed rest.
Taking a quite breath, he continued walking across the dead street, and within a minute, he found himself standing in an elevator with beclouded light, eyeing the elevator doors closing, showing a sliver of an equally dimmed glow from the other side, for a mere second before it completely shut.
His eyes, the color of chartreuse, wandered between the numbers, but when it stopped on the button ‘9’, He knew he would go for the other option instead. So with a gentle pace, his fingers hovered over, and stopped on 20. Without any hesitation but limply, he pressed it.
The floor beneath him jolted. For the next two minutes, the four times four feet or so elevator ascended. The digital digits on the small black square right above the buttons increased slowly, as the little room going up. His fingers were lingering on the numbers, feeling the cold from the metal material.
The elevator dinged, and then it’s doors revealed a narrow and short hall that led to a five-leveled staircase, and another door at the end of it. All the lamps in the building were probably never been replaced. For the countless of time he had been here, they went nothing but dulling. How the building could afford an elevator was impressive.
He loved to be alone when he needed to think. He loved having his personal spot, his own spot. It was not like he owned the place or anything, but coming constantly with different rationales, and looked like him, being the only person who did, this rooftop might be that his personal spot.
His body reclined on the waist-height wall that supposed to be the barricade so people wouldn’t fall free from the twentieth level. The frigid wind ruffled his hair, pushing it aside under the hoodie that clutched on his head.
Although, as his body leaned on poorly painted bricks, it felt like his soul persist to force pass through it, falling hard to the ground. And the second that it collided with the surface of the earth, the pain started to devour.
He stood still, like a statue. The temperature seemed to go down a degree on every assortment of air exhaled from his numb, and slightly travailed nostrils caused by the arctic air.
What was wrong?
The question was too naive. Credulous if an answer received, you could fix it. But the truth, or at least what he deduced, it was irreparable.
He strained his slender hands from his sides and hugged himself with a fit as if his body and his upper limbs were puzzles. They clenched under his arms, convecting the lukewarmness as the atmosphere tightening around him.
His conscious recollected all the pictures he depicted when he made his way to the tenement, gave rise to a feud of his mind. Opposite sides, when one told him to flee from, and the other one demanded to face it.
And he didn’t know which one to listen.
The ebony ambience in front of him was an abyssal mirror. With bestrewed lights from people’s houses, he had created an embodied reflection of himself. Vacant and empty, yet mirrored so much inside he never laid his fingers on.
He might be on the city’s Everest’s top, but he found himself drowning deep and breathless in the Pacific Ocean.
1. First Day, Kind Of
If someone told you they didn't care about how they looked, you knew it's a total lie. Because I could assure you, even the slightest, they did. Like me, trying to find anything that might look wrong for a solid minute now.
''You're good. Today will be good.'' I flattered myself under my breath. Stupid. I felt like a five-year-old on his first day of school. Which was completely risible because one, I was already sixteen years old, in fact eleven years older than five. And two, this wasn't exactly my first day of school.
Maybe deciding to start going to school straight after coming back from New York to the vapid Lake City was a bad idea. My feet still felt soar from a six hours flight yesterday, not to mention how long I waited in the airport because the flight got delayed and another long drive after my plane landed that made it a complete calamity. And now I had to go to school, meant spending eight hours of similarities of draining your brain and cracking your neck.
On the bright side, I was so sure that I would be greeted by the same faces from middle school─right before I left. Because when it came to school, people didn't really have any other alternatives. I lived at the periphery of the city and the only other school that was around our neighborhood was this excessively expensive private school that was full of smart nerds. My mom probably should sell our car to afford me to get in there. So since I was not that smart and my family wasn't wallowed with wealth, It's safe to say I was going to the public school instead, like the others would also likely.
I slumped my bag on my right shoulder, and walked out of my room. The repetitious sound of my soles tapping against the wooden stairs was echoing throughout the house. And after saying an unrequited goodbye to my mom, since I couldn't even spot the presence of her being, I strolled out the house, to the car, to find that the person I was looking for was sitting on the driver's seat.
She didn't notice I was standing there until I called her out, ''Mom?''
Her face turned to me with a huge thrilled smile, ''Hey, you're ready?''
''Mom you don't have to drive us, seriously.'' I ducked into her window, propping myself with my forearms and glanced to my sister, who was playing with her phone, curled onto the door on her side.
Mom chuckled, ''But I want to. This is your first day back home. Perhaps I'm treating you like a prince today.''
''That's utterly weird Mom, I can drive by my own, I'm sixteen!''
She sighed with an exasperated look on her face, and tighten her grip on the wheel, ''You're sixteen? Yes, have you got your license yet? No. Now don't talk anymore, get in or you're going to be late.''
Our conversation seemed to attract Aleisha's attention. She shoved her phone to her bag and sat up straight, switching look between me and Mom. I gave her a questioning look, which only returned by a careless shrug and a turn-away.
''I'm taking the bike.''
''It'll take twice the time,'' Aleisha stated with an obscure hint of her mocking me for being stupid. And she was right. Taking the bike would be such a stupid choice. Despite the fact that it would really take twice the time, I wasn't going to make my feet even soarer than it had already been.
''You're making it such a big deal,'' she added. With an annoyed sigh slipped out my mouth, reluctantly, I slid in to the back seat.
After selecting random song from my phone, I stuffed the earphone into my ear, thinking this would be such a long drive─despite the fact that my school was less than fifteen minutes away, my mom decided to make it felt elongated by starting a conversation.
''So...'' she paused to make sure she had our attentions, ''How's Aunt Karla?''
She gave me a brief look from the rear view, ''I meant her marriage.''
I was stuttered, didn't really know what to say.
Aleisha snorted, she definitely knew what was going on. I shot her a quick glance, giving her a warning look. But fortunately, Mom ignored that snort.
''Uh... It's going well, I think. She already had the wedding date,'' I looked back at Aleisha, who was now looking back at me quizzically.
A smile curved up on Mom's face, seemed satisfied by the news, ''Really? That's great! When is it?''
''I don't know, she didn't tell me.''
''I think I should give her a call,'' she murmured to herself.
Aleisha was still looking confused, like she had just seen a flying pig. Because the truth was there was no marriage. For Aleisha, my words were a blatant lie. The main reason I moved to New York was because Aunt Karla was having such a mental breakdown caused by the bereavement of the lost of her husband on a car accident, that I didn't veritably know the exact detail of how it happened. What I─we─ knew was my uncle had gone, and Aunt Karla wouldn't take it easy remembering how much they loved each other. Tragic, I knew.
So the best way my mom had come up with to presumably help the poor Aunt Karla was to send me to live with her, on the thought of Aleisha who was not really of an amiable person to her own family, excluding me.
My first week living in Aunt Karla's flat was a tailspin. I woke up and slept to the sound of her sobbing, dissolved into sadness with blue in her face, which inescapably affected me too. No matter whosesoever it was, death always saddened me. And now that it occurred in my own family, I just didn't know how to feel. She tried to move on, but not to forget, she told me. She said everyone has bad fates, some of them are worse than the others, but if we fathom about it, they are all truly beautiful. Which I thought was a great line coming from an humorless office-worker like Aunt Karla, but that was not the right time for random thoughts like that.
Mom didn't talk again after that, when eventually after fifteen minutes of silence, our car finally took a turn to the school's street. There was not much I could say about my new school, If you ask me, I'd say 'your typical high school', it was true.
Jocks practicing soccer on the field─which likely to make their shirts drenched with sweat and smell. Yeah, they didn't bother to change clothes for people's sake. Like seriously? Couldn't they wait until the periods ended?. Loud gossips on the hallway talking nonsense about the party last week and the upcoming one next weekend, and the frivolous background characters weaving through them all. As I said, typical.
''Let's get your schedule,'' Aleisha drawled once we set our feet into the door. She turned to the hall on the left. I followed her like a lost puppy, eyes skimming every edge on the building.
Then, as usual, the train of thoughts hit in. The fact that this is the first day of the third year for me, I would spend two years being a student here, and no-need-to-tell, the following life surrounded by these people. Which also meant prom and finals. In the moment, I was sure if I could vanish to the nearest wall, I would. But I overlooked those worries and the advancing chimeras, innate of the brain, you just couldn't escape from nervousness.
Aleisha glanced at me, ''You're nervous?''
''Uh, not really''
She turned to me completely this time, walking backward, ''Not even a bit?''
''Well, maybe, a bit. This is like, first day, kind of.'' I shrugged.
Aleisha chuckled and stopped walking for a moment, looking for the administration room. From what I saw, she was clearly almost as clueless as I was. Which wasn't something new because Aleisha was a heedless girl like that.
Her eyes lit up once she spotted the room with one side of the wall had glass from the end to the other end, displaying the staffs inside, occupied with their computers or papers.
She continued her steps strutting, while I strolled, tailing.
''Isn't it cute when guys get nervous?''
I frowned, ''What?''
Aleisha paid my question dust, ''Isn't it?''
Sometimes she could be so dense too.
''What makes you think so?''
She grinned, ''I don't know. Girls seem to find it adorable when guys get feeling-y like that.''
I rolled my eyes, ''How could looking like you just being chased by a vampire is adorable? You girls are delusional.''
Her tiny hand shoved me playfully, ''Hey! And being chased by a vampire is not exactly a bad thing. Have you seen vampires on shows?''
I chose to ignore her and approached the window with the small hole on it and knocked on it several times, trying to catch the closest person's attention, which was a lady with a blond hair and glasses on. But the sound wasn't loud enough, muffled by the crammed voices of people's to reach her ears.
I knocked again, amain.
''Let me,'' Aleisha sighed watching my failed attempts to get the lady's attention. She strode twice so her face was inches away from the thick glass. She raised her right clenched hand, and started knocking, or more likely banging because the force she put onto her hand made the glass quake every time it met the material.
I swatted her hand from the glass right as the lady walked towards us with a scowl. She lowered her head to the small hole, ''You're going to break the glass, miss.''
My eyes went to Aleisha with a blaming look. But Aleisha was only showing a careless expression, either for me or the lady, or allegedly, both.
''I'm sorry, but I just moved here and I haven't─''
A smile grew on the lady's face, hearing how politely I was talking to her. They were gone once Aleisha disrupted and clung her hand on my neck, ''He wants his schedule.''
''What's your name?'' she sighed and went back to her computer screen.
I followed her inside through the opened door. ''It's Ardan. Ardan Blaire.''
She scrolled through what seemed of thousands of names while murmuring my name on repeat under her breath. It was kind of hard for her to find my name, since for what reason I didn't comprehend, the school system had the names listed not alphabetically. And it was completely not helping with rimmed coke bottle's bottom as her glasses. But eventually, with my help, we found my name.
She clicked on the name twice. I let her do what she had to do after that, loitering while she waited for her turn to use the printer. Yes, somehow this wide room only had one printer in it.
She handed me the print-out five minutes later. Without my realization, Aleisha was already standing beside me, clunging her hand again on my neck like she did earlier. All of our eyes scanning on the print-out.
The lady's voice spoke up with pure annoyance in her voice, ''No students allowed in here.''
Aleisha's brows furrowed. ''That's stupid. He's also a student!'' she gestured to me.
The lady cleared her throat, ''Well, students without occasions.''
''Perhaps wanting to know his schedule is my occasion.'' Aleisha said flatly.
I couldn't help but snicker.
The lady didn't give anything in response. She just turned and left to another room that was connected to the one we were in. As the door shut, Aleisha looked up to me with bright eyes.
''Who you got first?''
I glanced on the colorful table on the paper. In the box on top-right, was written Biology, Mr. Starl, 209 2C, which I read out loud so the person in front of me could hear it, without the chance of me forgetting the words I just saw the next second with the memory of a goldfish like mine.
And as Aleisha tried to recollect her mind, probably about the teacher I was about to have, an obnoxious sound wailed throughout the entire school. Already annoying enough, fate put me to stand right below the speaker. I was sure I went deaf for mere seconds.
''See you at three.'' Aleisha pulled a halfhearted smile, and jogged out of the room.
Biology wasn't a problem.
Much of a surprise, it didn't turn to be some move-an-inch-and-you-are-expelled teacher or plain boring old man like people in American teenage dramas seemed to have in their first day of school. The teacher actually was nice and talked a lot─though that didn't change the fact that the subject was still on the bottom of my favorite list.
But something sure was a problem. The unexpected ones always were.
Caire was there.
Caire Robin Carson was there.
I knew at some point, I would be meeting him. Sooner or later. But it was too soon. And thinking about that, it would always be 'too soon'. Seeing him sitting at the very back of the class, two tables horizontally from mine, my brain seemed to think that he was unreal. But there he was, sitting limply, taking notes, and closing his book every five seconds. He didn't notice me, at least it was how it looked like. Or maybe he did, but chose to ignore me, like I did to him at the time.
My eyes were traitorous. Every time they catch the figure shifted or moved a part of his body, they would turn to see what he was doing, and unintentionally noticing the small features that hadn't changed since the last time I saw him, two years ago. His brown hair was cut short, exactly how he liked it. Yeah, my memories decided to cooperate with my eyes. His orb was still physically the same blue, but there was something I couldn't read with only glimpses and nerve taking over. Looking at him opened this part on the back of my mind. And like an over-heaped closet, the things inside it starting to falling out. And those things contained forgotten reminiscences. Now, they were allover the place.
How we started to be friends, which I couldn't remember when because he was always there in every piece of memory I had since I was little, How we started to become close, How he confessed he had a thing for me back in middle school, How we started to have a relationship that we kept unspoken.
And how that it all ended.
The heat deep inside my stomach started to twist and raise to my throat. Unconsciously, my upper teeth were biting my bottom lip. My muscles were tensing with something felt like anger. But when it reached it's upmost, it started to become unsteady.
The tense soon became languid, it felt like my blood finally could flow normally. Caire did nothing but blinking and looking blankly to his book, yet so much emotion rushed inside of my system.
Was he still angry at me?
Because there wasn't any hint he showed that he knew I was there, which was obviously impossible. I was ten feet away from him, there was no way he had not noticed me. So what could I conclude was he was still mad at me. Though, the question remained on my mind.
Was I still angry at him?
That one, I couldn't answer with anything. Because technically, I hadn't forgiven him. I never said to myself that I forgave him, so I hadn't right? But if you ask me was I still angry at him, the honest answer was no, I wasn't. I didn't harbor any feelings on him anymore. Not hate, not the others I had on the past, it was nothing.
But my mind was a tangled mess.
So when the last period before lunch ended, I bolted out of the room with none of the things that the teacher said in my brain, to find a familiar figure waiting for me with a huge grin on his face. His eyes were bright with excitement despite the fact that they were dark axinites.
''Dude-'' he launched himself on me and hugged me with his right hand- ''So you're really here?''
I chuckled as he pulled away, ''How did you know?''
''The whole school was talking about you! a lot of them said that they saw you in the front office, I didn't believe them at first but now you're here! No one expected you to be here─neither did I! Woah, this is crazy, why didn't you tell me anything?'' Jordan ran on in one breath. I couldn't even make all the words.
''Didn't plan on coming back this soon. I'm also surprised myself.'' I shoved him playfully, which made him laugh, a little harder than he should. But that was Jordan. He was all the bright daisies in the sunny meadow.
''Wanna grab some lunch?'' he asked with the same smile still.
I nodded and followed his lead. The hallway was a sea full of people, so it was slightly hard for me to follow his steps remembering Jordan's long legs made what's more like strides instead of steps.
Right before we reached cafeteria, Jordan slowed his walk and looked back to me. ''Grace was crazed when she heard about you. I told her that she was stupid for believing rumors but turns out you're really back. I think I owe her extra fries.''
The thought of Grace freaking out would never be not funny. Once she screamed so loud when our math teacher told her she got A+ for the pre-algebra test that the kid who sat next to her cried (don't ask me why. People said that the kid had something that made him easily surprised). Though her bliss had to be smashed because the teacher misread her name as the one under hers.
''How about Rose?'' I asked, while Jordan was I supposed finding where Grace and Rose sat.
Jordan looked uneasy for a second if I didn't take it wrong, but he replaced it with a frown, ''Rose? Don't know. Didn't meet her this morning. We would see soon, though.''
And as the words left Jordan's lips, we spotted the girls we were looking for sitting on the table near the window.
Jordan smiled, and grabbed me by my arm, pulling me toward the table where I could see Grace talking briskly when her hand snatched the pile of fries on the tray every time her mouth was empty. Sitting across of her was Rose, listening to her while typing things on her phone.
''Where's Kevan?'' Kevan was one of our friends who should be on the scene right now.
''He moved to Idaho. His dad works there now,'' Jordan replied.
''Yeah. He said he'll move back next year but I don't know.''
Jordan pulled one of the chairs, making a sound that successfully attracted the attentions of both's. Grace looked like me with her jaw dropped. Rose did the same, except she covered hers with her hand. I always imagined to run and hug them tightly if we ever met again. And the time was now. But somehow, I just stood there, waiting for them to give any reaction.
Grace lifted herself from her chair, and raised her hand, which I though she was going to hug me. But it was Grace, I shouldn't have expected more than a forceful shove that almost made me stumble on my feet, ''Oh my God! You're really here!''
I just laughed along with Jordan seeing Grace's expression. Rose, on the other hand, was standing behind Grace. Her face also showed a clear excitement. Out of all of them, Rose was the closest one to me. And that was the problem. When I moved to New York, I also shut Rose along the people I left. I couldn't help but feeling guilty. Rose must be so upset because I left just like that.
I took a sit. For the next forty minutes, I was eating my lunch with Grace furiously asking me questions about basically everything, Jordan making witty jokes, and Rose who was just laughing dryly when the others did, or eating her lunch in silence. Awkwardness was adhesively felt with Rose not saying anything. She was not a talky one but she never stayed silent. And I knew it was because of me.
But life being life, that was not the end. From the window, I could see someone sitting on the bleachers, all by himself. His fingers were gripping a pen, scribbling on what seemed to be a thin book.
For the second time today, my mind wandered back to the past.
Back to the days we were together, either as friends or boyfriends, it was not only once or twice I caught Caire writing. He loved writing, anything he could express through his pen or pencil on a paper. A story, school notes, or random messy writing of him ranting over how bad the restaurant's orange juice tasted. His bright colored eyes followed every movement of the tip of his pen. His cheekbones moving faintly, as if he was mouthing the words he wrote with his lips closed. His legs were splayed out. I wondered what did Caire write about. He always kept the messes he wrote under his table in his room. And whenever I got the chance, I'd always sneak in and read all of them, yeah, I might act like a creep but his writings never failed to make me smile.
After times, Caire eventually caught me sneaking in his room to steal his papers. Which was inconvenience because I had to sit in his bed listening to him burning, advising me about not to what he called 'privacy invading'. Caire advised me about a lot of things. Mostly, between his talks. About how I should start arranging time to do works, about how I should pay more attention in classes, about how eating chocolate after working out could keep up the shape, or how I should try to leave my smoking habit because a cig could take eleven minutes of your life. He said he wanted to keep everyone he loved as long as he could, even if it was just eleven minutes longer.
But as he put his pen down, his left hand went to his mouth and with a deep breath, he smoked nicotine between his fingers.