I wrote this story a few years ago and it started off as a short story but as the years went by I started adding more and more scenes, dialogue and other stuff. Before I knew it, I had a full length novel on my hands. It wasn't the first novel I've written but it was the first one that I paid the most attention to. I worked REALLY hard on it. It has my blood sweat and tears in it. I hope you enjoy these chapters and if you want to read more, I'll post more chapters! Thanks for reading!
Fifteen-year-old Ethan Price stood in front of the bathroom mirror,wiping away the steam from the glass to see his reflection. He didn't like what he saw staring back at him. The reflection showed a skinny, plain-looking boy with long, brown hair that went a little past the shoulders. If you were to walk by him on the streets, you may mistake him for a girl.
He ran his fingers under his chin, feeling the tiny hairs poking out of his flesh, along with a small batch of pimples beginning to form. He opened the medicine cabinet and got the skin medicine. He removed the lid and dropped a small glop of it in his hand and dabbed it on his face.
He rinsed it off before it could sting and he lifted up his head from the sink and studied his face in the mirror. If he had to choose, his lips would be his best feature. He made a face and pouted his lips. His eyes moved from the mirror to the make-up bag sitting on the counter top next to the sink. He stared at it; his curiosity was tempting him to go through it. The last time he went through his mother's things, he had gotten in trouble and vowed to never do that again. But before he could stop himself, he was already unzipping the bag.
He pulled out a black pencil, rolling it back and forth between his fingers. He held it up in front of his face and touched the tip, leaving a tiny black spot on his finger. He leaned over the sink and put the tip of the pencil underneath his left eye and started moving it back and forth until the skin around his eye started to get dark. He then used his finger to smear it. He repeated the same steps to the other eye. When he was done, he put down the pencil and checked his out his new look. The black seem to bring out the gray in eyes, but he knew he needed to see more. He picked up the tube of lipstick and removed the lid. He licked his lips as he pushed red lipstick out. The tip of the lipstick was about to touch his lips when he was interrupted by a knock at the door.
" Ethan," his mother said, "are you done with your shower yet?"
The knocked had caught him by surprise, and the lipstick fumbled out of his hand and rolled into the sink, leaving a long, red streak on the white porcelain.
" Shit," he whispered.
" Ethan?" She knocked harder on the door.
" Y-yeah. I'm almost done," he said, turning on the faucet and washing his hands. " I'm just brushing my teeth."
" You better get a move on. You don't wanna be late for School."
" What a tragedy that would be," he muttered. He tore off a piece of toilet paper, ran it under the water and scrubbed off the red streak. He put everything back into the bag, hoping she would not noticed anything was touched. He looked at himself in the mirror, holding up a wad of paper in his hand. He said goodbye to that face as he wiped it all away. With his face clean, he stuffed the paper deep into the trash can and erased any evidence of what he had just done.
He peeked out from behind the bathroom door and saw nobody in the Hall. His mother must had gone back downstairs. He left the bathroom and went to his bedroom to finish getting dressed.
It's been four months since he and his family moved into their new house. It was a nice house located in a decent, cozy neighborhood. It was about the same size as their last one, but the backyard was smaller and there was a little more than a brick wall to separate them from their neighbors. Ethan's bedroom was a lot bigger in the last house but it may look smaller due to the boxes littered in the room. It was a real mess. Most of the boxes were still sealed and contained books and other things Ethan had collected over the years despite the fact they had been living here for three months now. He tip-toed his way through the maze of cardboard to his reach his closet. He looked at all the t-shirts that hung in there, unsure of what he wanted to wear. He had a lot to pick from but was still undecided. None of his clothes appealed to him. When he put them on, it wasn't the person he wanted to be. Then again, he wasn't sure who he was anymore. Eventually, he picked out a plain, gray shirt and dark blue jeans to go with his converse shoes.
He came downstairs, leaving his backpack on the banister while he headed into the kitchen to get some breakfast. His mother, Susan, and his older brother, Mark, were already seated at the table when he entered.
" Morning," he said.
" Morning, honey," she said, smiling at him. " Oh, someone is looking extra handsome today."
He smiled. It wasn't every day his mother threw him a compliment. He noticed one family member was missing from the table.
" Is dad not eating with us this morning?"
" No," she said, filling up his plate with scrambled eggs and bacon. " He had to get up extra early to make it to work on time."
" Oh," he said. He had completely forgot that since they had to move, his father was forced to drive further to get to work. He was a manager at a sporting goods store.
" Anyway, eat up or you'll breakfast will get cold."
Ethan pulled out the chair next to his brother and sat down. Mark, who was reading the back of a cereal box, or pretending to read it as a way of ignoring his brother, shifting his body and chair away.
" Are you boys excited about starting a new High School?"
" Nope," Mark said, still reading the back of the box, though his eyes still on the box.
Susan seemed unprepared for his answer by pretending she didn't hear him. " You boys will have nothing to worry about. The first days are always the scariest cause you're new but, eventually, that all wears off and you will just be another one of the kids."
Mark made a noise from inside his throat. Ethan wasn't sure if his mother heard or not, but if she did, she made no mention of it.
" You'll fit right in," she said.
" What was wrong with our old School?" Mark said, suddenly.
Susan seemed surprised by the question asked. She looked to Ethan as if he had the answer, but all he could do was stare at his food.
"Mark, I don't think we should be discussing that right now..."
" Why not talk about it? You were just talking about High School and I thought it might be a good time to ask why we had to leave our old one in the first place?"
" Mark, can you please not do this right now?"
" Fine, lets just ignore the fact that we had to change Schools and live in a different house because of him!" he spat at Ethan.
" Mark, stop this right now!" she ordered.
" I'm only speaking the truth, mom," he said, getting up off his chair. " I don't see why our lives had to change just because he is a fag!"
Ethan flinched at his brother's hateful words.
Susan rose from her chair, looking furious and pointing a threatening finger at her oldest son." Mark, I don't ever wanna hear you speak like that again, do you hear me? Now, apologize to your brother."
" Come on, Mom. You and I both know it's the the truth. I'm the only one around here with the guts to say it."
Mark angrily left the table and stormed out of the kitchen. Susan marched after him, leaving Ethan alone to finish his breakfast. He could hear them arguing on the other side of the door.
" Mark, if I ever hear you using that word again, so help me God, you will never borrow the Car again," she threatened. " He is already having a hard time as it is. He doesn't need you making it worse."
" What about me, mom? I had to leave everything behind – my School and friends...
" I know, Mark. Its not easy for any of us either but we have to make it work. You have to be there for him. He's your brother. I want you to watch out for him."
" I'm not his babysitter, mom."
The conversation between them ended with a door slamming. Ethan was no longer hungry. His Mother came
back into the kitchen and resumed her seat. He looked up at her and she forced herself to smile, but the pain in her eyes was quite real. She cleared her throat.
" You better eat up or you'll be late," she said, poking her fork around her plate but never putting any food in her mouth.
" Actually, I think I better get to School now," he said, getting up.
" Are you not hungry?"
" I'll buy something on the way."
" Do you want me to drive you?"
" No. I'll walk."
He placed his hand on the doorknob and was about to leave, when he heard his mother call his name.
" Are you sure you are up for this?" she asked, carefully.
" I have no choice, do I?" he said, exiting the kitchen. He grabbed his backpack off the banister and threw it over his shoulder He half-expected Mark to be waiting for him on the porch, but when he opened the front door and he was not surprised Mark was nowhere in sight.
" Great," Ethan muttered.
Ethan was now going to face his first day of High School on his own.
At this very moment, there was nothing more terrifying for Ethan than starting over at a new School.
There he stood across the street, holding onto the straps of his backpack, watching the kids being dropped off by their parents and greeting their friends that waited for them by the entrance before they all headed inside together.
His first thought was to runaway and find a place to hide and wait there until the day was over. He doubted anyone would miss him.
" Is that your plan for the next four years?" his own voice said in his head. It was no use. This was his life whether he liked it or not.
" All right," he sighed, " everything is going to be fine."
He had created his own set of rules for him in order to survive the School year. It went something like this: The first rule was Don't act weird and try to act like a normal person. Second was don't do anything or say anything stupid and don't draw attention to yourself. Finally, the last but certainly not least, and probably the most important one of all: Leave people alone and they will leave you alone. He follows these rules and everything else is gravy.
He replayed the rules in his head as he crossed the street. He walked through the building and suddenly all eyes were on him. He had broken one of his rules: Don't draw attention to yourself. He couldn't help it though, being the new kid and all. Naturally, they were curious that a new face was now roaming their halls ( two new faces, including Mark) and their eyes were locked on him.
He tried not making any contact with anyone; he kept his head down and avoid bumping into people. When he walked by someone, they started whispering behind their hands, especially from the girls. It made him feel uncomfortable and brought back the unpleasant memories of his days at his old school. He shook them off causing hair to fall in his face. He kept it there, thinking it somehow made him invisible to everyone else. He went to the Administers Office and did what he needed to do. Not many questions were asked and nobody guided him around. He was really on his own now.
The first bell rang and he was headed to his first class. He walked through the sea of curious students, taking one of the empty seats in the back row.
He tried to blend in with the others but the Teacher spotted him and forced him to stand up and introduce himself. All the heads turned in his direction.
" M-my name is Ethan Price," he said, not trying to focus on their faces, " my family and I moved here a few months ago. I haven't really got a chance to check out anything."
" Why don't you tell us about yourself?"
" I like to read a lot. I think I read over a hundred books last Summer."
" Nerd," one of the boys coughed under his breath. The remark was followed by low laughter from some students. The Teacher gave the students a disapproving look and proceeded Ethan continue.
" That's about it really," he said, "
" Well, welcome to our School, Ethan. We hope you enjoy you're new home."
He was glad to finally sit down again. The Teacher started handing out assignments and all eyes were momentarily off of him.
It was strange to Ethan, but he couldn't help to feel that every time they turned to him to gawk at him, they would see through him, past the skin and bones, right into his heart and soul. It was almost like they knew he wore lipstick and eyeliner that morning and it was written all over his face.
He rubbed his hands furiously across his lips.
" Stop it, will you?" the voice in his head coming back. " These people know nothing about you. They are strangers to you as you are to them. Now, cut the crap."
" Right," he said, out loud. One of the students overheard him talking to himself and gave him a funny look. He tried playing it off by smiling at her, but that just made things more awkward.
" Here is another rule: Don't talk to yourself in public."
He noticed Mark among the faces in the crowd, and like Ethan, he was drawing in looks and whispers as well. Judging by the look on his face, he he looked like he wanted to disappear too. Ethan thought about going up to him to show support, but decided against it. It was best to stay away from each other for a while, at least until Mark graduates and heads off to College, that way neither one has to deal with the other. Ethan forgot about him and headed to his next class.
It was the middle of the School day, which meant lunch was approaching. Ethan was dying to get something in his stomach since he didn't eat much at breakfast.
He got in line with the other students and hungrily watched the Lunch Lady fill his empty plate with a slab of meat loaf and a ball of mashed potatoes.
He carried his tray through the crowded cafeteria, careful not to fall flat on his face in front of everyone. This was the last place he wanted to make any mistakes. He hurried and claimed an empty table and started cutting up his meat loaf and popping a piece of it into his mouth. He regretted that after tasting it. The meat was stale and hard he was sure he might break a tooth or two. He spat it out and rolled it up in his napkin. He didn't wanna take any chances with the potatoes. He pushed his plate aside and stuck with the soda.
He put his elbow on the table and took his free time to observe the other students. He saw Mark again.
He was sitting by himself at the end of one of the tables. Ethan guessed he had tasted the meat loaf too, as he wasn't eating either. He wondered how Mark was doing on his first day. Had he spoken to anyone? Did the Teacher make him introduce himself to class?
He tore away from his brother and went back to watching the kids interacting with each other. They all sat together at their tables, laughing and talking, some were even taking pictures of each other. It was too painful for Ethan to see, but he couldn't turn away. He was once like them. It felt so long ago that he was laughing and chatting with his friends. He missed that. He missed having friends. Sure, he could find some new friends but the thought of going up and trying to get someone to be your friend wasn't as easy as it sounded, especially for a shy guy like Ethan. Socializing didn't come easy for him.
" What makes you think they would wanna be your friend? And even if they were your friend, what makes you think they would wanna stay friends after they find out what kind of freak you really are?" There was that voice again.
" True," he said, sadly. He moved his eyes from the table full of friendship, and that is when he laid his eyes on him.
Three tables down, there was a large group of kids, among those in the group, was a boy. He was right in the middle of them. He was extremely good-looking with a head full of wavy brown hair that hung in his face until he swept aside with the brush of his hand. He was laughing and smiling but it wasn't just any smile, it was a captivating one.
" He's beautiful," Ethan sighed under his breath.
He gazed at the boy's features, admiring them from afar. He was drawn into them for some strange reason. It was like they were pulling him in. The noises and chatter of the cafeteria faded and there was complete silence all around him. The world had disappeared and the only thing left was Ethan and his boy. He hadn't realized how long he had been staring; the bell nearly made him jump out of his own skin when it rang.
Everyone started getting up from their tables and Ethan followed their lead. He tossed his food away
and gulped down the last drops of soda from the can. He joined the other students in the Hall and looked around in hopes of catching another glimpse of that beautiful boy, but there was just too many people around to make that an easy task. Disappointed, and figuring the boy was nothing more than a figment of his overactive imagination, he went to his locker to grab some books out. As luck would have it, Ethan saw a gray movement from the corner of his eye. Several lockers down, he saw a piece of gray sweater, reaching into a locker, but there was someone in the way he couldn't see their face. The person moved and the arm belonged to that " Beautiful boy." He was at his own locker and Ethan couldn't tear his eyes away. He just kept staring at him. It may have been rude and impolite, and he hated it when people stared at him, but he just couldn't help it. The boy must have Ethan's watching him as he turned his head to the side and looked right back at Ethan. He didn't have time to pretend he wasn't looking.
" Shit!" He had been caught.
Ethan hurried and stuffed his head into the locker. He held on to the door, wanting to slam it many times against the side of his head. He peeked behind the door and the boy was no longer looking back at him. .The boy started walking toward where Ethan was and smiled at him as he walked. He noticed something about the boy that he can't believe he didn't see before. The boy had a set of bright green eyes. And like the rest of his facial features, they were beautiful
" Hey," the boy kindly greeted to him.
Ethan became flustered by their brief contact and tried to response back but no words were coming out, only small hiccuping noises.
" Hi!" he said, finally finding his voice, but the boy was already out of earshot. He had been acknowledged and the best he could come up with were throat noises.
" Nice first impression," he said, shaking his head and shutting the locker door.
The School day was coming to an end at four fifteen. Ethan had survived his first day.
" Only a few thousands days to go," he thought, trying to figure out the math in his head. It wasn't as bad as he thought it was gonna be. It was actually enjoyable.
" I wonder why?"
Ethan saw the boy one more time after their encounter in the Hall. He was standing on the sidewalk, where only hours before, Ethan himself was standing. He was alone and playing on his phone.
" Why don't you go over there and introduce yourself? Or you afraid you'll freeze up again? And don't forget those stupid rules you made up for yourself. No contact with anyone. You almost broke another."
" I know, I know," he said to himself. Thankfully, there was no one around this time. A part of him did want to go over and say hi and try to make conversation with him, but the other half was scared to death. By the time, he found the courage to go up to him, a car came driving up the road and stopped in front of the boy. He got into the backseat of the vehicle and drove away
" There goes that," he said, disappointed. He headed on him.
The four members of the Price family all gathered in the dining room for tonight's dinner of spaghetti with meatballs and garlic bread on the side. It was a quiet dinner with no one really speaking. The only sounds that can be heard was the clinking of utensils against the plate and the ice cubes in their glasses hitting each other.
Susan was the first to break the silence.
" So," she began, serving herself more spaghetti, " why don't you boys tell us how your first day of School went?"
Ethan looked to Mark to see if he was gonna answer but he just kept on eating.
" Boys," Dan, their Father, said, " your Mother asked you a question."
" It went okay," Ethan answered, directed more to his Father than his Mother. He always found his
Father to be an imitating man and the way their relationship has been lately, he could barely look at his own son.
Dan looked from his youngest son to his oldest.
Mark's eyes shifted up and without fear, he spoke: " Yeah, it was okay."
" How are the classes? What are the Teachers like? Are they nice?" Susan said, pursuing to ask more questions. " You have got to give us more than okay."
" The classes are all right," Ethan said, pushing around a lone meatball with his fork." the Teachers are pretty cool, I guess, some of them are kind of old and boring."
Susan chuckled. " See, now, was that so hard?"
" No. Guess not."
" Did anyone give you a hard time or bother you?"
Ethan was started to get annoyed with all the questions. He felt like was being interrogated. " Nobody bothered me and nobody gave me a hard time."
" That's good."
" Someone did talk to me though," he said. " A boy."
If the dining room was quiet before, it had gone dead silent now.
" A boy, huh?" Susan said, taking a sip from her ice tea and forcing it down. " What did he say to you?"
Ethan glanced at his Father, who had a sour look on his face.
" He just said hi to me in the hall. That's it," he said, wishing he hadn't mentioned it at all. " Other than that, people pretty much left me alone."
" He is gonna be your date for Friday night?"" Mark said to him.
" Shut up!" Ethan snapped back.
" Mark, stop it."
" Aw, what's the matter? He doesn't like freaks."
" SHUT UP!"
" All right, that's it!" Dan said, his voice booming. " We are trying to have a nice family dinner here and if you two keep this up, then I suggest you both go upstairs to your rooms and stay there the rest of the night."
Mark didn't need anyone telling him twice. He got up from the table without protest.
There was a brief moment of silence until his Father asked Ethan if he was gonna stay and eat his dinner or go to his room?"
" He's the one who started it," Ethan argued.
" I don't care who started it. Now, do you wanna stay or do you wanna leave?"
Ethan looked to his Mother to come to his defense, for once, but all she did was stare, hopelessly, at her food. He excused himself from the table and left without another word from either parent. He looked back at them just as his Father was putting a comforting arm around his upset Mother. He wanted to go up to her and comfort her himself, after all, this was his fault, but, it was best to leave her alone
Once dinner was over, Ethan, who missed lunch and barely eat his dinner, went into the kitchen and fixed himself a sandwich and went back in his room. He figured since he had a few hours to kill until bedtime, he thought he would this opportunity to unpack the boxes the piled up in his room. He was surprised his Mother hadn't already yelled at him for unpacking them soon, then again, she hadn't set foot in this room since they moved in. None of his family had, except for his dad, but that was only to set up the bookshelves and bed frame. He actually didn't mind that. He liked being alone in his bedroom and escaping the realities of the World around him. And there was a lot he was escaping from these days. Another thing he liked to do while in his room was catch up on his reading. He loved books. He had hardcovers; paperbacks; some with covers; some without. He collected so many his father had
to built him a second bookshelf. He read would read the books over and over until the pages fell apart right in his hands as he read them. While everyone else was out at parties and on dates, he loved staying home, and engaged in a good book, especially ones that fall into the categories of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
He got a good kick out of reading about different worlds, strange and unusual characters; heroes that were brave and weren't afraid of being themselves. He only wished he have the same courage as they did.
He opened one of the boxes and found it full of action figures from his childhood. Most of them were superheroes. He picked one of them up and painful memories started to come back of him and his brother playing with these toys in the living room floor. He drop the toy and dug further into the box and found a small red bag. He shook it and dumped whatever was inside into his hand. They were marbles.
He pushed them around in his palm with his finger and noticed one of the marbles was a dark green. He picked it up and looked at it, smiling. The color reminded him of a certain boy's eye color. He had never seen such a beautiful shade of green before. He rolled the marble around in his hand, wondering if the boy had collected anything? Did he have a set of marbles? Did he enjoy reading as much as Ethan did? A crazy thought entered his head. He wondered if the boy was in his own bedroom right now, wondering about him?
" How can he wonder about you if he barely knows you exist?" he thought. He stuffed the marble into his pocket and finished unpacking the rest of the boxes.