We Weren't Even Friends Chapter 5: Ghosts
An update from me. Someone from the past comes back into the life for one of the characters. Carter confronts Ken.
Hey everyone! It's been nearly a year. I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote on here, but there has been so much in my life that has been going on, that I just couldn't finish this part of the story. The person who Ryan is based off of is no longer my friend, and we had been friends since elementary school and I have been battling whether or not I am/was in love with him. That answer is yes and it has virtually paralyzed me. That support that I received from him is gone. He made me smile in a way no family member ever could and ever since I went to college, that was the case. And in the beginning of the summer, I experimented for the first time with a boy. It was electric, and we changed some tongue, and with another dude I blew him, and with the last guy, I did everything but getting fucked, and to be honest, I realized I felt nothing for these guys and only for "Ryan." It only proved more that I am in love with him and I am just fighting those feelings. I would love to find a boy or a girl at this point, but I am not desperate and am relying on fate for my next adventure. Please email me at email@example.com
Okay, it's my turn to apologize. Seeing as I have the ability to ruin a friendship with the greatest of ease, lose my girlfriend, and now seem like the biggest douchebag at high school for sure, I humbly now walk across, feeling what feels to be exile from everyone around me, at least from the kids who didn't seem inbred. I'm alone. Nobody is talking to me. I hear them gossip as I pass by. I don't see Brandon. Steph turned her head at me. And Ken seems nowhere to be found.
One in particular, a tooth already missing, camo hoodie on, and in a bright orange t-shirt came up to me and said, "Nice job, McDevitt, you sure showed dem faggots that they don't belong."
I snapped. I couldn't deal with that comment. My body has lost all control with my emotions and I seem to be seeing this from another person's point of view. I slam the inbred fuck against the locker, denting it with my rage, while this physically inferior kid quakes under my grasp.
"Who the hell do you think you are, you stupid, inbred fuck?! Those were my friends..." I say spitting my words at him.
"I see you still get kicks from picking on the weak," a kid steps from the crowd around us and smiles at me.
The sight of him makes me forget all that was going on around me. I drop the kid and he runs away. I felt faint. Faint-hearted. Faint-willed. Just like everything around me was crumbling around me, like the last plank in Jenga had been taken out, and the structure is falling to the table. His buzzed, short brown hair, his five foot eleven inch tall, ripped frame, approaching me from the crowd made me feel so small, even knowing I was almost four inches taller than him. His charisma as he walked baffled me. It scared me. If you told me that this kid owned the world, I would probably believe you.
"What's the matter, Mike? Seen a ghost?" he asks as he gently pushes me against the locker.
"You can't be back. Why are you here?" I ask in terror.
"Only to see your pretty face, aren't you happy to see mine?" he says with the biggest of one-sided smirks.
"Break it up," the principal says as he walks up to me.
"Principal Reignath, I believe Mike was just trying to quell some... discrimination that may be happening in the school. I ought to believe he was doing his duty. I just... intervened to prevent any further mishap," he said to the principal in his Louisiana accent.
"Cool it next time then McDevitt," Reignath says as he walks away.
"Jackson, like I said, what are you doing here?" I said with a gulp.
"Ahhh... I'm not in prep school anymore. Instead, I'm here to enlist you folk in the Marines ROTC program for those of you youngins going to college when you graduate," he said cooly.
"They don't need that bullshit," I say disgustingly.
"It did you well. It broke you in. Filled ya out. Built some muscle," he said as he licked his lips.
"You make me sick," I say wanting to throw up.
"No matter, you will always want to run back to me. Looking for someone to turn to, someone to make you feel like somebody, Lord only knows you can't do it yourself," he said in a whisper as he hugged me, as I shuddered from everything he makes me feel.
"A pleasure to see you again," he says as he finishes his embrace.
I run away from him pretty much, his scent haunting, the sight of him in that blue uniform plaguing my vision. Why here? Why him?
Fuck. Marines at tables. Socially awkward situations. They are hunky as shit though. It's really hard to keep my eyes off of them as I walk by to lunch. Shit. Even worse. Free Pencils. I forgot one at home and had to borrow one for every period of the day, so I might as well grab one and try to get away as fast as I can. I turn around and accidentally knock someone on the ground and lose my footing as well and fall on top of him. No no no no no. It's a Marine. He's young. Oh my God. I can't even handle it. I feel so awkward. I go and grab his hat that pretty much went as far away as it could and he pretty much grabs it at the same time as me, in a small corner near the lunchroom. He stares into my eyes with a confident glow that I could only expect from someone in the Marines. He has short, brown hair, the smallest amount of five o' clock shadow, a ripped body and some really nice cologne on. He's almost intoxicating.
"Hi. My name's Jackson Crawford. United States Marine Core. I believe I owe you an apology," he says offering a warm and strong handshake.
"Kenneth Quinn. Nice to meet you," I say offering back.
"What the hell are you talking to him for?" a familiar voice rings through my ears.
"Ah, well you see, Ken and I just had an encounter..." Jackson says with a wink.
"An encounter!" he says as he pales.
"Get your mind outta the gutter boy," Jackson says with another grin.
"Ken, if you want to talk again, here is my card, my personal phone number is on the back," he says as he gives me the card and goes back to the table.
"Why the hell were you talking to him?" Mike asks me almost in fear.
"Why are you talking to me? Want to cause another scene?" I say back briskly.
"Ken... I'm sorry. I wanted to call you..." he says defeatingly.
"But you clearly didn't," I say even colder.
"And who's that guy? You seem to have some sort of history," I ask him even more angrily.
"Nobody to be concerned with, that's who he is," he says scowling as he watches Jackson walk back to the table, waltzing in a way.
"What's with all of the encrypted shit Mike? He seems to know you well, and knock you down a few pegs. Maybe I should take some lessons from him to let you know in the future. Maybe you'll to be less of an ignorant asshole," I retort.
"I don't want to talk about it," he says with a frown.
"You never do. You're so fucking closed off from the world. From your friends. From Brandon. From me..." I say frustratingly.
"Don't 'Ken' me."
"Then you open up. Nobody even knows where the fuck you come from. You don't think I know you live by yourself in an apartment nearby? You don't think I never notice you talk about parents or bitch about them even? You... You don't think I notice how lonely you are? How sometimes it looks like you're about to cry sometimes when nobody goes to see you at your club events we are in together. Tell me why you are so hurt," he says as he throws his palm in the wall.
"I... stop... Mike. I... I..."
"Let me tell you why he's by himself. You're an orphan and ran away from home," Carter said as he appeared out of the hallway.
"And you have a few weeks until you're 18. Apparently..." Jackson said as he returned to our little interrogation of me.
"Now Michael, what are you going to do about that? Are you going to let me send him away back to his foster care family?" Jackson says with a laugh.
"You wouldn't," Carter intervenes.
"Please don't..." I plead to Jackson, but he has a menacing look in his eye.
"It's not about you two boys, it's about this one," he says as he points to Mike.
Mike is shivering, looking like he is going to pass out.
"You see, Michael and I go way deep, isn't that right Michael? Way deep. As deep as one can go. And you loved every second of it. Now, I'm gonna need you to do what I say for these next few weeks, until Ken here is 18, or it's off to juvie, or back to his family. Do you agree with these terms?" he says as he gets closer to him.
He looks at me in horror and I have to defend myself in a way.
"This is blackmail," I say loudly.
"It's the law until you are 18," he says with a laugh.
"Too bad, we can fuck up your career in the Navy now," Carter says as he whips out his phone.
Jackson looks quizzically at Carter who has a huge smile plastered against his face.
"Or did you forget what modern technology is like? I recorded everything you said from your interrogation of Ken. And already sent it to quite a few people. I may hate Mike as much as the next guy right now, but I refuse to see him blackmailed by you. Your fate, Jackson, is now in our hands. And, well, I can think of a few things I want you to do to me," he says with a cynical laugh.
"You wouldn't," he says with a hiss.
"You don't know me. I could have already sent it in to the police. I could have done a number of things with your recording. I'll take your number though, and if I need anything, I expect you to be there within a second, no matter what you are doing. Is that clear?" Carter says seriously, making Jackson look small.
"Yes sir," he says as he looks down at the ground, defeated.
"Are you going to actually follow through with that?" Mike says as he looks down at the ground, still pale.
"No. I don't think I will. It will be nice if he were to gain leverage on any of you two," Carter says with a serious laugh.
"Everyone has their demons," he says as he walks away.
I instinctively walk after him. He has his hands in his pockets as he looks down in the hallway.
"Go away, Ken. What other lies are you going to tell me?" Mike says quietly.
His voice is stifled. I can feel his tears as he continues to wander about the hallways, looking as though he is dead. And I feel nothing but pain for him. I have no clue what Jackson did to him, but I see it's shattered the charismatic boy I used to know. We all seem to have our ghosts. Our demons that haunt us from the darkness. But just as sure as the sun is to shine, the moon takes over, and the light we are used to seeing is taken away.
"Mike... What did he do to you?" I asked as we meandered our way into the auditorium.
Sobbing. I've never really seen another guy cry like this before. It's heartbreaking to me. And although I wanted to hate Mike, I just felt horrible for what Jackson did to him. He is not speaking words, but his face says it all.
"He... had sex with me," he said as sobbed some more.
This demon is something we have managed to share then. The greatest thing that has ever scared me. The freedom of being found out. The feeling of people knowing I liked guys. And here I am, looking at one of my friends who encountered a guy before, one who I thought was homophobic, observing that he too has felt my pain. This sorrow that consumes all of my thoughts. The one that keeps me up at night. He turned to leave, realizing what he said, and I did nothing but grab his hand and softly pulled him close to hug him, to show that I care about him, but instead of crying on my shoulder, he locked his lips on mine, softly, ever so gently, and I closed my eyes, as the pain that was in him seemed to flow outwards, and I stood there shocked as I stroked his hair and closed my eyes...