[Insert elaborate excuse for why this chapter took so long here]

Seriously though, I’m REALLY sorry it took me so long to update this. But I’m here now and that’s what matters. Group hug? No? I understand. You’ve been hurt before.

As usual, I have done my best to self-edit this, so I'm very sorry if any grammatical or spelling errors went un-noticed by me and I will correct them as soon as possible. 

 In contrast to the last chapter, this one is smut-free. On with the show! 

“Travis?” Noah said softly.
“Mmm-hmm?” I replied, lying on my back with my eyes closed and the blanket covering us both.

“Don’t get me wrong, this is nice,” he said, toying with my hair, “There are few things in life I would rather have than a sexy, naked, 18 year old boy in my bed...”

“Thank you,” I replied contently.

“But…” he continued, “We have been laying here for a really, really, REALLY long time. I think it’s time to get up.”

“I disagree,” I yawned as I rolled onto my side and wrapped my arm around his waist, “Getting up means getting dressed, getting dressed means going home and going home means dealing with my stupid family. Besides, I’m way too comfortable to entertain the thought of moving.”

“Your family isn’t stupid,” Noah replied, rolling over to face me, “Actually, that’s not true, one quarter of your family is stupid. But your mom and sister are nice.”

“And Tom?” I asked, snuggling up to him more.

“Total ass-hat. But he’s not your real family, so he doesn’t count. There’s no way he could be related to someone as dope as you,” Noah said, putting his hand on my cheek, glancing down at his new tattoo before looking back in my eyes, “Why does he hate tattoos so much? Did a tattoo kill his parents?”

 I shook my head and shrugged.

“I don’t know. I guess it could because the bible says that we shouldn’t mutilate our bodies?” I suggested.

“I am not mutilated, I’m decorated. Besides, the bible also says you shouldn’t wear glasses or eat shell fish or-”

“Or fuck guys,” I interrupted, quickly kissing him on the lips, “I guess we’re just a couple of rebels.”

“Mmm-hmm,” he agreed, leaning forward slightly so he could kiss me again, “I’m starving, we should go get food. Are you hungry?”

“A little bit but…that would still mean getting out of this incredibly comfortable position,” I sighed, closing my eyes again.

“I could make it less comfortable,” he offered, as his right hand rubbed my back.

“Impossible,” I challenged.

“You think so?”

 He moved his hand across my torso until it was just above my abdomen and began to wiggle his fingers forcefully against my ribs.

“Hey! No! Fuck off!” I exclaimed, trying to fight him off while still being cautious enough not to hit his tattoo again but in spite of my protests, he gleefully continued.

“Stop it! I hate being tickled!” I gasped in-between involuntary spouts of laughter, “Seriously, fuck off!”

“Up! Come on, get up!” He coerced.

“I’m up, I’m up!” I said, throwing the blankets off and hopping out of the bed, “God damn it, don’t do that!”

“But it worked though,” he said triumphantly as he sat up. I began feeling my way around the bed side table looking for my glasses, but Noah picked them up before I could.

“How blind are you?” He asked, putting them on and looking around the room, “This isn’t so bad. How do they look?”

“Um…” I squinted so that I could see the outline of his face better, “They don’t really suit you. Oval frames would look better.”

I removed my glasses from his face and put them on my own. I picked up my boxers and basketball shorts and put them on, too. I made my way to the bathroom and after peeing and washing my hands, I casually began to look through all of the products placed next to the sink. I started out by taking the opportunity to use some name-brand Pomade instead of the store-brand version I usually get stuck with and found that it worked 10X better then the stuff Tom bought. I rinsed my mouth out with some Listerine before picking up his stick of deodorant.

“Is using someone else’s deodorant too invasive?” I thought to myself,

“No, he won’t mind…or maybe he will…no, he won’t. But what if he does? Damn it, no, put it back.”

I put it down and picked up a bottle of cologne instead.

“Gucci Guilty. Well, that seems a little pretentious.”

I took the cap off and sprayed some of it on my wrist. Of course it smelled amazing, because it smelled like Noah and Noah smelled amazing. I sprayed some more across my chest, put the cap back on the black glass bottle and continued to snoop through...I mean, "investigate" the bathroom.  I opened the cabinet above the sink to see a cornucopia of soaps, toothpastes, face washes and pill bottles. I picked one up and sounded out the name printed across the label.

“Flux…Flo-ex…Flu-OX-etine. What the hell is Fluoxetine?”

I pulled my phone out of my pocket and typed the word into Google.

"Fluoxetine, also known by trade names Prozac and Sarafem, is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class. It is used for the treatment of major depressive disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It also been used to treat premature ejaculation."

As I read (and laughed at) the last line, Noah knocked on the door and shouted,

“Are you okay?”

The sudden noise caused me to flinch and drop my phone into the sink.

“No! I mean, yeah! I mean, sorry…hold on!” I called back, placing the pill bottle back in the cupboard and picking my phone up, shaking the water off of it before drying it with a towel. I pushed my hair up to maintain my coif one last time before opening the door.

“Jesus!” Noah exclaimed, coughing.


“It’s cologne, Travis, not air freshener,” he said, fanning the air in front of him.

“Sorry,” I apologised as he joined me in the bathroom.

“And you can ask before you use my things, okay? I wouldn’t just go into your house and like, use your deodorant without asking first.”

“But you would use it?” I inquired.

“If you were okay with it,” he replied as he handed me a roll of duct tape and a plastic bag, “Can you help me with this?”

I stared down at the seemingly random objects he had handed me. 

“What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” I asked.

“Wrap it around my arm and secure it with tape,” he said, holding his arm up, “I want to take a shower but I’m not supposed to get my tattoo wet yet.”

“You’re showering again?” I asked, doing my best to wrap the bag around his arm.

“Yep. Make sure it’s tight,” he answered casually. I made it as tight as I could and begin to wrap the duct tape around it as he asked, “Do you want to shower with me? We could go for round two.”

“I’m still pretty sore from round one,” I admitted, ripping the tape free from the roll and handing it back to Noah, who placed it down on the counter.

“Do you know what the best cure for a sore ass is?” He asked as he turned on the water.

“What?” I replied, genuinely curious to see if he knew the cure for post-sex wobbly walkin’.

“More anal,” Noah said confidently as he tested the heat of the water with his hand, “It’s like when you’re hung over, so you just drink another beer. They cancel each other out. And that’s a scientific fact.”

“Nothing about what you just said was true,” I laughed as he dropped his boxers, “Besides, you’re all out of rubbers.”

“You really need to get over this unhealthy obsession with condoms,” Noah sighed as he stepped into the water, “You’re not gonna die if I don’t wear a condom ONE time.”

“I don’t think you understand how AIDS works,” I scoffed.


Noah stopped himself, took a deep breath and closed his eyes as the water poured down on him.

“Forget it,” he finally exhaled as he pulled the shower curtain back to shield himself.

“I’ll be in the living room,” I said, opening the door and walking outside.  I sat down on the couch and scrolled through his open Netflix account, settling on an Aziz Ansari special.

“What do you feel like eating?” Noah asked as he emerged from the bathroom a short while later, a white towel wrapped around his waist, with his hair slicked back like a 1950’s greaser.

“I don’t care,” I replied, still staring at the TV.

“I fucking hate it when people say that,” he said, rolling his eyes, “I know that you care, you know you care, so just skip the charade and tell me what you want.”

“I want whatever you want,” I shrugged.

“Okay. Sushi?” He suggested.

“Oh…I don’t really like sushi,” I admitted.

“Subway?” He proposed.          

“I stopped eating there after I found out what Jared did,” I confessed.

“Chinese food?” he recommended.

“Sure, if you want to be hungry again in an hour,” I scoffed.

“Oh my god,” Noah exhaled, his patience waning, “Indian food?”

“Too spicy.”

“Mexican food?”

“Also too spicy.”

“For the love of God,” he rolled his eyes, “Portuguese food?”

“I don’t think I’ve ever had Portuguese food before.”

“There’s a first time for everything. Do you remember that place down the street I pointed out earlier? Their food is good, we can go there.”

“Hmmm…okay, sure,” I agreed finally. After Noah got dressed in what seemed to be a staple for him, a white shirt and blue jeans, we put on our shoes and headed back out into the parking lot. The sun had set and it was nice and dark and warm with a slight breeze. After a brief drive, Noah parked his car in front of the ‘Espinosa & Co. Portuguese Bar & Grill.’ 

Inside was small, quaint and quiet, with only a hand full of customers in the dining area and only one person in line.

“Next !” The man at the counter shouted with a thick Portuguese accent as the customer in front of us stepped to the side.

“One second, sorry. So, I’m getting the number 3,” Noah said, pointing to a display picture of chicken, potatoes, rice and salad, “You want the same?”

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to eat all of that,” I admitted.

“What else looks good to you?” He asked. I stared up at the menu as if I had never seen food before, the options over-whelming me.

“I don’t know,” I said, cringing as the cashier waited for us, his foot tapping behind the counter.

“Potatoes?” He suggested.

“Potatoes?” I repeated.

“Yes. Po-ta-toes? Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in stew?” Noah clarified.

“Lord of the Rings reference, nice,” I smiled.

“Do you like potatoes?” He inquired.

“I’m Irish,” I replied.

“Next!” The man at the counter growled.

“Come on, what do you want?” Noah urged.

“Um...will they give me a number three without the chicken?” I asked.

“Also known as a number 5,” he winked, pointing slightly of the menu board to a picture I had completely missed.

“Any…day…now,” the man at the counter exhaled.

“Hi, sorry,” Noah said, stepping forward, “Can I get one number 3, one number 5 and two drinks, please?” He said, handing the mustachioed man $50. The man begrudgingly handed him his change, but gave him a quick nod of approval when he put $5 of it into the tip jar. He handed us a piece of paper with the order numbers on it he opened the publicly accessible refrigerator and pulled a bottle of water. I reached into and grabbed a crisp can of Mountain Dew.

“Seriously?” Noah cringed, “You know that kills your sperm count, right?”

“Who the fuck am I trying to knock up, you?” I laughed, cracking the seal. I had apparently said it a little two loud because a man and woman in their 30's turned around from their table and glared at me. I cleared my throat and we awkwardly moved away from them, closer to the counter. Noah sipped his water as he peered over the counter at the workers in the kitchen and watched intently as one of them removed a whole chicken from the rotisserie.

“Thank you for paying for me,” I said, somewhat embarrassed that I couldn’t afford to buy own dinner.

“Don’t mention it,” he said, continuing to leer at the man preparing our chicken. We waited another 10 minutes before a petite, red-headed server with a septum piercing emerged from the kitchen.

“Orders numbered sixteen and seventeen?” The teenage girl, possibly the cashiers daughter, announced as she held up two Styrofoam containers.

“Thank you,can I have a plate?” Noah asked. The girl handed him a paper plate along with two sets of plastic utensils. 

“Booth or table?” He asked as we walked through the self-seating area.


 He gestured to an empty one in the corner near the entrance and I sat down. To my surprise, instead of sitting across from me, he slid in beside me.

“Can I get some personal space?” I asked, gently nudging him away.

“Personal space? Oh, that’s so cute!” He proclaimed, quickly kissing me on the cheek. He opened up his container and immediately began relocating his food to his plate, inspecting and separating everything. He put the chicken down, them began separating the potatoes from the rice and even more shockingly, began taking out every peice of red pepper in the orange coloured rice.

“You don’t like red peppers?” I asked, still having not even opened my box yet.

“I love red peppers,” he said, pushing them into the corner of his plate.

“Then why are you taking them out?“ I asked.

“So I can put them over here,” he said, adding another one to the pile, as if it were the completely rational thing to do, then proceeding to do the same thing with the tomatoes in the salad.

“Do you have some sort of system or is it dependant on your mood?” I asked, resting my chin on my fist with my elbow on the table.

“I have a system and your food is getting cold,” he said, opening my box for me, “Eat.”

“Okay, sorry,” I relented.  I closed my eyes and said a quick prayer in my head. When I opened my eyes, Noah had respectfully stopped what he was doing and waited for me to finish before continuing his odd ritual.

“Is this something you’ve always done?” I asked.

“What, eat? Yeah, I’ve been eating my whole life,” He said, before taking a forkful of rice, “I think I’m getting pretty good at it, too. I hardly ever choke anymore.”

“No, I mean, eating like that,” I clarified.

“I know what you mean,” he said, rolling his eyes, “ I guess so, yeah.”

“Do you divide your food my colour? Or...consistency? Like, how do you decide what goes where?” I asked, twirling my form between my fingers.

“You know, I didn’t realise you were gonna break my balls about this when I offered to take you to dinner,” he said curtly.

“Sorry. It’s just a little strange,” I replied, picking up some rice on my fork.

“That’s pretty ironic, coming from you,” He scoffed, stabbing his fork into a piece of chicken.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”  I said with faux irateness.

“Nothing. Forget it,” he sighed, taking a sip of his water.

“No, go on,” I insisted. He stared up the ceiling and twiddled his fork between his fingers.

 “I don’t think that what I do before I eat is any weirder then what you do before you eat,” he answered finally,  “But unlike you, I’m not going to chastise you for it.”

“I’m not chastising you,” I defended. I got the sense that he was taking this conversation a little more seriously then I had intended for him to, “I’m just saying, it’s not really a common thing for anyone over the age of six to do. My sister doesn’t even play with her food like that. It’s just a little weird.”

“And talking to an invisible man in the clouds isn’t?” He fired back, but with a slight smile to let me know he didn’t mean it to be hurtful. In spite of that,  I couldn’t help but feel mildly offended.

“It may seem weird to you, but at least I have a reason for it,” I answered, somewhat defensively.

“And what’s your reason?” He said, actually looking me in the eyes for the first time in a while.

“Without God, I wouldn’t have this food, so I need to thank him for it,” I said simply.

“God didn’t buy you that, I did,” Noah fired back.

“You may have paid for it, but God made it,” I rationalised.

“That’s not true. The guy in the kitchen made it, I watched him,” Noah countered.

“Okay, but God grew the potatoes, God grew the grains,” I tried to protest.

“God didn’t do that either,” he said, “A farmer did.”

“Oh, for the love of...” I put my hands up in defeat and shook my head, “You know what? Forget it. You’re just gonna take everything I say and refute it, so there’s no point.”

“No, come on, make your case,” he insisted.

“No, because no matter how much it makes sense to me, it’s not going to make any sense to you,” I snapped. Then, I suddenly realised exactly what he was doing.

“Just like how if you explained why you do what you do with your food, I probably wouldn’t understand it either. Right?”

“I like that you’re smart enough to figure that out all by yourself,” Noah said, putting his arm around my shoulder and unabashedly kissing me on the cheek again, “I would just rather not be interrogated about every little thing I do. Okay?”

“Okay. Sorry,” I apologised for a third time.

We continued to eat in silence until I noticed the man at the table next to the refrigerator a few feet away was still staring at us with a look of repulsion across his face.

“Maybe you should move to the other side of the table,” I suggested to Noah, whose arm was still draped around my shoulder.

“Why?” He asked, looking up from his meal.

“That guy is giving us dirty looks,” I said, nodding in the mans general direction. Noah removed his arm from my shoulder and placed his fork on the table. He crossed his arms and focused his eyes on the man, like a long distance, un-announced staring contest. They continued glaring at each other for what seemed like forever until Noah finally spoke up.

“Shake your head, your eyes are stuck!” he shouted, causing the red headed server and the other people in the restaurant to turn and look at us.

“Forgive me staring, but it’s a little hard for me to eat my dinner with two guys making out right in front of me,” the man responded as his wife put her face in her hands, embarrassed.

“Jerry, don’t,” she pleaded.

“We weren’t making out, but we can if you’d like to watch,” Noah offered, completely unashamed.

“I don’t care what you do in your private life, but how about you keep it in the bedroom?” He man suggested with an arrogant tone.

“How about you mind your own business?” Noah countered.

“How about we keep the noise down in the restaurant, please?” The red headed server requested from over the counter, with the male cashier having retreated to the back of the store some time after we ordered.

“I’m sorry, but it’s completely unappetising to your customers to watch two men all over each other while they’re trying to eat,” The man complained. I could feel my face turning a deep of red from a mixture of embarrassment and anger.

“No one seems to have a problem with it but you, sir,” she sighed, “It’s a free country. If you don’t like it, you can take your meal to go.”

“It IS a free country and that means I’m allowed to speak my mind,” The man continued, before turning his attention back to Noah, “Nobody wants to see that. Take it outside.”

“Why don’t I take you outside instead?” Noah shot back.

“Was that a threat?” The man shouted, standing up.

“Jerry, don’t!” the woman tried to protest.

“Did you just threaten me?!” He shouted, ignoring his wife.

“Okay, seriously! My customers don’t need to hear this!” The redheaded girl interrupted.

“Yeah, seriously,” A girl in her 20’s at another table commented.

“Yeah, shut the fuck up,” Her male companion added.

“You shut the fuck up!” The man shouted back at them.

“That’s it! Sir, you need to leave,” the red headed server asserted.

“Oh, we’re going, don’t worry,” the man said, standing up with some difficulty, taking his wife’s hand and abandoning their garbage and left over’s on the table. He glared at us as he passed our table slowly, incapable of leaving without having the last word.

“Welcome to Canada,” he scoffed, “You can’t smoke a fag in a restaurant, but you’re than welcome to kiss one.”

“That’s it, you fucked up,” Noah said, pushing the table so hard as he stood up that what was left of our drinks tipped over and spilled out.

"Dude, don’t…” I tried to protest, grabbing the back of his shirt, but he shoved my hand away and charged at the stranger.

“You wanna go?” The man said, shoving Noah on the chest before being blocked by his wife, who nearly got hit with Noahs fist has he swung it, quickly drawing it back and missing her by square inch as she put herself between them as a human shield.

“Move!” Noah demanded, but the woman disregarded him as she tried to control her husband.

“Jerry, stop it! You’re drunk!” She shouted at him as she held him back. I got up and put myself in front of Noah just as he was attempting to swing over her to clock the husband in the head.

“No, no, no,” I said rapidly as I placed my hand in front of my face to block my glasses in case I got hit, “Don’t, don’t, don’t!”

“Travis, move!” He demanded, trying to push past me, just the male customer who told the middle aged harasser to shut up finally intervened.

“You need to go,” the chivalrous stranger said, attempting to push the drunk man out the doors.

“You want a piece of me?!” The man shouted, trying to swing over his wife, “Let me go!”

“Oh my god, fuck this,” The red headed cashier sighed, rolling her eyes and walking to the back of the restaurant through the kitchen where the workers could give a fuck less about the turmoil outside, “Dad, there’s a fight in the lobby, call the cops and give me your bear mace.”

“Noah, he’s drunk, let it go!” I pleaded,  as he continued to try find a way around me.

“Seriously!” I grabbed onto his wrists and forced his arms downward as hard as I could, “Calm the fuck down!”

He towered over me, his eyes furrowed in anger.

“Just let me hit just once,” he said in a completely serious tone.

“No!” I said, forcing him to step backwards a few feet, “You need to chill the fuck out.”

“I need to hit him is what I need to do."

“No, you don’t!” I tried to convince, “Do you want to go to jail?”

“It’ll be worth it,” he insisted.

“No, it wont!”

Noah stopped struggling as the mouthy guy was being was hauled outside, whilst still insisting that, if they would unhand him, he’d kick Noah’s ass, which must have been the alcohol talking because he looked like Larry The Cable Guy.

The nice stranger came back into the restaurant and sat back down with his girlfriend and him the other 3 people in the store went back to eating their food as if nothing had occurred. The red haired girl emerged from the kitchen while shaking a large spray red can with a look of excitement on her face that disappeared when she saw that the fight had fizzled.

“It’s over?” She said with great disappointed, “Damn it. I’m never gonna get to use this thing.”

She lowered her head in defeat and made her way back to the kitchen.

“We should probably go in case the cops really do show up,” Noah suggested.

“Yeah, that’s probably a good idea,” I agreed. We quickly packed up what was left of our food and walked out of the store, receiving awkward glaces from the rest of the customers as we did.

“If I see that fucker,  I’m gonna run him over,” Noah said as we pulled out of the parking space.

“Violence is not the answer,” I tried to persuade him.

“You’re right. Violence is the question, YES is the answer,” he said as we drove though the parking lot, “Shit! Is that him?!”

“That’s a woman, dude,” I informed him.

“Oh...she kinda looks like him,” Noah mumbled as we reached the exit.

“Seriously,” I assured him, taking a firm hold of his hand, “It’s not a big deal, let’s just forget about it, okay?”

“I’m NOT going to forget about it,” he replied, “And neither should you. You’ve gotta learn to stand up for yourself.”

“I’m not going to start throwing punches in a fight I know I’m going to lose,” I said, looking out the window.

“You don’t have to throw punches to stand up for yourself. The next time someone says something stupid to you, you put them in their place. If you let people walk all over you, they’re just gonna keep on doing it. You’ve gotta set them straight the first time so they know what’s up.”

“Okay, I’ve got it. Can you drop it now?” I requested, genuinely getting annoyed that we were still talking about it.

“Fine, but ONLY because I’m not going to give that homophobic fuck rag the power to ruin this date,” Noah replied as we made out way out of the parking lot.

“I didn’t realise we were on a date,” I beamed.

“I didn’t say date I said day,” he replied.

“No, I think you said date,” I grinned.

“You can think whatever you want, I know what I said,” he said, fidgeting with the radio station. As he did, I caught “Otherside” by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers playing one of the stations.

“Oh! Stop here, I like this song,” I said, grabbing his hand and holding it so he couldn’t change it.

“Why? It’s depressing,” he said as he drove down the street.

“No it’s not,” I insisted.

“Oh, okay, you’re right. A song about slitting your own throat is really upbeat,” he said sarcastically.

 “It’s a tribute to their old guitarist that died,” I informed him.

“And how is that not depressing, exactly?” He asked.

“Because it’s about moving on after the death,” I tried to rationalize, “It’s like, yeah, I’ll meet you on the other side but…I’m not going there yet.”

“How come all rock music ever talks about is depressing shit?” He asked, gently rubbing his thumb over the top of my hand.

“How come all rap music ever talks about is money and drugs and sex?” I shot back.

“Because that’s the shit that makes people happy! That’s the kind of music people want to dance to. Nobody wants to dance to shit like this.”

“Not ALL rock songs are depressing,” I insisted. As if being able to hear me, the radio ended the song by RHCP and began playing NIN’s cover of “Hurt” by Johnny Cash.

“Oh, no, I see your point exactly,” Noah smiled triumphantly.

“An exception to prove the rule, clearly,” I said defensively.

“You’re so cute when you’re wrong,” he taunted.

“Shut up, I’m not wrong,” I said, crossing my arms.

“So wrong, so so wrong,” Noah said in a single song voice as we drove down the street.

“You know, if you think about it, we did this entire thing backwards," I said, staring out the window.

“What do you mean?” He asked.

“Traditionally when two people meet, they’ll go on a date, and then they’ll hook up, and THEN they’ll move into the same apartment. But we did it the opposite way.”

“Does that mean that we’ve come full circle?” Noah asked.

“I mean, I guess so?” I shrugged, “Though that would technically mean I would have to move in again.”

“Can we skip that part?” Noah asked as we drove down the street.

“Sure,” I agreed.

“Good, because your stuff was very heavy and you did no work,” he smiled.

“Why would I? I have you,” I smiled back, looking down at his plastic wrap covered arm, “How’s little Hedwig doing?”

“Itchy,” he sighed, “But I can’t scratch it because then it will scar.”

“Why would you voluntarily put yourself through that?” I asked.

“Because I love it,” he answered simply, “For a few days of discomfort, I get to have a beautiful piece of art on my body forever and ever. That seems worth it to me.”

“Ever heard of a picture frame? Perhaps, a photo album?” I teased as we pulled into our parking lot.

“Picture frames break, photos rip and tear,” he rationalised, “This will be stay beautiful forever.”

“Or until your skin sags down to the floor,” I answered. 

“Yeah, or that,” Noah nodded. He parked his car and we made our way back into the apartment, with him opening the door for me.

 “You know, aside from that ass hole interrupting our dinner, I had fun with you today,” he said as we walked up the stairs.

“Same,” I agreed.

“What are you doing tomorrow?” he asked.

“Looking after my sister.”

“Oh…” He frowned as we reached the third floor, “Well..I guess I’ll see you when I see you then.”

“See you when I see you,” I said as he handed me my container of left over food, “Just try not to get into anymore fights before then, okay?”

“No promises,” he said as we reached his floor, “Text me.”

“I will,” I said, leaning in and kissing him on the lips. He smiled and made his way inside his apartment and I ascended the stairs to my own. When I went inside my mom was lying on the couch in the living room with the light on, wrapped in a thin blanket, watching TV.

“Hey, pumpkin,” she greeted sleepily, “How was your day?”

“My date was great. How are you?” I asked, kicking my shoes off, curious to see if she would hear the difference in the words like I had.

“I’m pretty good,” she said, not noticing what I had actually said, “There’s some spaghetti in the fridge if you want it.”

“I already ate, thanks though,” I said, walking into the kitchen and placing my left over’s on top of her left overs in the refrigerator.

 “I’m just gonna watch the end of Die Hard and then go to bed,” she said as I walked back into the kitchen.

“Oh, Die Hard is on?” I asked, moving beside the couch so I could see the TV.

“Yes, and it’s the TV edited version,” she answered, her head resting on a throw pillow.

“Yipee Ki Yay, melon farmer!” John McClayne exclaimed on screen.

“That’s just uninspired,” I sighed, before leaning down and kissing her on the cheek, “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, I love you,” she answered and I began to walk away, “Oh and don’t forget that you’re baby sitting-“

She suddenly stopped and gasped.

“Woah! Hold on, hold on,” she said as she sat up.

“What?” I asked, turning around.

“What did you…” Her sentence trailed off and she shook her head and started again, more directly, “What did you do today, Travis?”

“I hung out with Noah,” I replied honestly.

“Specifically, what did you do today?” She said, turning her entire body to face me, her face serious and stern.  I nervously put my hands in my pockets and shrugged.

“We just drove around the city and he went and got a tattoo, and NO, I didn’t get one if that’s what you were going to ask,” I said hastily, thinking that she had somehow smelled the tattoo ink on me or in some other way knew that I had gone to a tattoo parlour.

“And then what?” She said, crossing her arms.

“And then…” my voice trailed off, then picked back up again, “We went to his house and watched TV.”

“And then what?” She said in full detective mode.

“We went and got dinner. Half of which is in the fridge, if you’d like to see it,” I said, desperately trying to prove my innocence to whatever it was she was accusing me of.

“And then…?” She said, gesturing her hand in a ‘go on’ motion.

“And then I came home,” I concluded. She squinted her eyes at me, suspiciously.

“You didn’t meet up with anyone else or do anything else with anyone besides Noah?” She questioned.

“No, I didn’t, mom.” I insisted. Her face softened and she inhaled deeply with her eyes closed.

“Okay,” she said, laying back down on the couch, resting her head on a throw pillow and putting her hand beneath it, “Put a cold wash cloth on your neck to help the swelling go down. We’ll talk tomorrow."

I backed away slowly, my face scrunched up with confusion. 

“Okay…?” I replied, inching towards the bathroom, “Goodnight?”

“Goodnight," she replied, monotone. 

I shut the bathroom door, looked in the mirror and stared at my neck.

“What the hell is she talking about?”  I thought to myself as I looked at my throat. It looked totally normal. Then I turned to the side a bit more. I could barely see it, because the human head is not meant to turn that far, so I grabbed my moms compact mirror and looked at the back of my neck in the mirror, in the mirror. There were several, well formed, hickeys that had somehow gone un-noticed by Noah and I. And my God fearing, bible toting, scripture quoting mom had seen them.


Alex C


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