Ok, before i post the link to this story let me just give you a little background. I wrote this whilst sick and holidaying in Biarritz, South of France. Unfortunately the weather wasnt too good and like i said i was sick, i was coughing my guts up, literally. lol. I bought my laptop with me (wise idea) and felt like writing. I started and the following story just poured out of me. I wanted to write a short story and i think this is about 8 or 9 pages. which by my standards is short!
So lets lay some things out. Yes the story is based on me and my friendship with J, no these are not our real names, and no his father was never abusive. Sometimes i just like to use our friendship as creative firepower when i write and so i see the two of us in the forefront of my mind while i am writing. So no nothing like this ever happened. but we were as close as this. I really really like this story and i hope you do too. Enjoy.
‘Why do you keep hanging out with him?’ My friend Georgia demanded.
I crossed my arms over my chest and rolled my eyes. This conversation again? ‘Why shouldn’t I?’
‘He’s bad news. You know the rumors. He’s a player, your just going to get hurt Andi.’
‘Well he’s never made a pass at me, so I don’t need to worry about it.’ I relaxed a little and fished my phone out of my bag.
‘Flirting is harmless.’ I assured her. ‘We are just good friends. I never used to like him either remember?’
‘Yeah until he enlisted your help to win back his girlfriend because he cheated!’
‘George-‘ I began.
‘Dre!’ Someone shouted.
I turned to see him, Jace, standing at the entry to the school waving for my attention.
I ignored her. ‘Yeah?’ I called back.
‘You’ve got a free now right?’ He said in reference to our free ‘study’ periods.
‘If you do I do.’ I smiled. We shared 3 out of 5 subjects, and coincidently we both ended up with free periods together.
He held up his keys and motioned with his head to where his car was parked, indicating that I should follow him if I wanted a ride home.
I laughed and held up a finger letting him know that I would be one minute.
‘What?’ I groaned back. ‘You know how much I hate walking and he lives at the other end of my street.’
‘Yes another perfect coincidence. Don’t go.’ She pleaded. ‘Sam can give you a lift.’
‘Sam lives ages away from me.’ I frowned. ‘Look I know you don’t like Jace, but I do. Okay? He hasn’t given me any reason to think otherwise. Ill talk to you tomorrow.’ I said before turning around and heading up the path to where Jace’s car was parked.
He was leaning on the bonnet waiting for me. ‘You girls sure can talk.’ He smiled.
‘Yeah, well it’s taking
‘Well im glad to hear that.’ He said.
‘Why aren’t you in the car?’ I asked.
He came over to me. ‘Because I wanted my hug.’ He said as he wrapped me up in a momentary embrace. ‘You look nice today by the way.’ He added.
In spite of myself I flushed with pleasure. Jace and I hugged each other basically every time we saw each other. And he would compliment me every now and again. I knew he did it to most girls and the hugging was no big deal, everyone did it, but still, I liked it.
Jace was good looking and popular, tall, bronze haired, sea green eyes and a surfer. The fact that he had a bit of a reputation as a ‘ladies man’ was what had people like
‘God I’m so hungry.’ He said as he started up his car.
‘There’s food at my place.’ I offered. ‘And no one will be home for a couple of hours.’ My mum worked 9 to 5 and my younger brother had sporting commitments every afternoon that he wasn’t surfing straight after school. And seeing as Jace didn’t get along very well with his father, he would spend most afternoons at my place and leave when his father, who worked nights, wouldn’t be home.
He looked at the clock on his dash. 2.30. ‘You sure?’ He turned to me, uncertainty in his eyes.
I moved the gearstick into first knowing that his foot was on the clutch. ‘Im sure.’
Jace gave a small smile before he pulled out of the car park and onto the main road that would lead us home.
Even though this had been our almost daily routine for the last 4 or 5 months I still knew that there was some part of Jace that always felt as though he was intruding on something that wasn’t his. He was polite, he wouldn’t come in unless he was invited and he wouldn’t eat unless it was offered, but this was the side of Jace that I knew was real because no one else knew about it. I watched him at school with his group of friends and yes, he did seem crass and vulgar some of the time, but as long as he wasn’t that way to me, I could overlook it.
He always said that he liked having one friend in which he could be the way that he just wanted to be, sure he would sometimes come out with smart ass remarks that would earn him a slap upside the head, but at the end of the day he, just like anyone else, had secrets, and desires that felt good to talk about, and in short, I was that person for him.
The way our friendship had come about was highly unconventional, I thought him a dick and he only knew me as a friend of his girlfriend. But when Ally dumped him for cheating he came to me. I wasn’t even her closest friend, but he said that was even better. I hesitated, knowing what he had done, but there was urgency in his voice and a pleading look in his eyes, that I just knew that he was being sincere about wanting her back.
My assistance worked and within a few weeks they were back together, granted they were broken up again in another few weeks (Jace got bored) the time spent together was enough to cement our relationship.
I looked over at him as he focussed on the road, the way his muscles flexed when he changed gears. I knew that I had feelings for him, and I think to him it was also quite obvious. But I wouldn’t classify them as strong feelings and nor would I ever act on them in fear of loosing an awesome friendship. The flirting was normal, teasing remarks there, a kiss on the cheek here, a sly wink as one of us was walking past. It’s not like we were sending signals to meet in the bathroom for a quick make out session, it was just fun and our form of affection.
Jace pulled into my driveway and killed the engine. ‘Lets eat.’ He grinned.
I laughed as I stepped out of the car and unlocked the front door walking to the foyer of the four bedroom two story typical red brick family home that I shared with my mother and brother. As usual it was silent.
I threw my bag on the lounge. ‘What do you want?’ I asked over my shoulder.
‘Hmmm.’ Jace put a finger to him mouth in mock thought. ‘Im thinking scrambled eggs.’
I nodded. ‘You still haven’t figured out the recipe have you?’ I asked as I started pulling ingredients from the pantry and fridge.
He shook his head as he sat himself at one of the stools at the bench. ‘And until I can make them myself you will keep making them for me.’
‘Hey,’ I held up the whisk in what I hoped was a threatening way.
Jace chuckled and flipped through a magazine that was on the bench.
Scrambled eggs had become a favourite of Jace’s of late and since I wouldn’t tell him the secret ingredient (chicken stock) that meant he could make them at home so he had insisted that I keep making them for him until he could guess. Secretly I hoped he never did.
‘How was your day?’ I asked pouring the mixture into the frying pan.
He groaned. ‘Can we not talk about school please?’
‘Fine. How is your dad?’ I grinned.
‘Funny.’ He said dryly.
I laughed as I moved the mixture about the pan watching it scramble before I poured it out onto a big plate.
Jace moved a stool around to the other side of the bench for me as I grabbed two forks and a few slices of bread.
‘Bon Appétit.’ I said putting the plate in between us.
‘Thanks Dre.’ He said as he dug in.
Dre was what Jace called me, and only Jace. Otherwise I was Andrea or Andi. I kind of liked it. It was our ‘thing’, sometimes I called him J, just because no one else did, but it wasn’t as much as a habit as him calling me Dre.
We ate in silence for a few moments. ‘Jace,’ I said twirling my fork.
He looked up; a mixture of bread and eggs was causing a lump in his cheek. I stifled a laugh.
‘Yeah?’ He said.
I hesitated knowing it was a sensitive subject. ‘I want your assurance that everything is ok with your dad.’ I said quietly.
I knew Jace’s relationship with his dad was touchy, I knew that they yelled at each other all the time and I also knew that they had gotten into physical fights on more than one occasion, but Jace always assured me that everything was ok, and I believed him, every now and again though, I just wanted reassurance of that fact.
Jace let his fork fall to his plate with a clatter. ‘Dre…’ He started.
‘I know, I know, touchy subject and we’ve been through this all before.’ I waved my arms around. ‘It’s just…’
‘You worry about me.’ He finished for me.
I met his eyes. ‘Yeah.’
‘I wish you wouldn’t. If there was something going on I would tell you.’
‘Promise?’ I asked, hating how needy I sounded.
He smiled. ‘Promise. I’ve told you everything else haven’t I?’ He said as he picked his fork back up and ate more eggs.
‘Yeah, but I still wish we had gone to the police or DOCS or something.’ I said taking a small bit of eggs also.
‘There were no bruises, no marks, no proof. It wouldn’t have done any good. Besides he’d been drinking.’ He said quietly.
‘That’s no excuse.’ I whispered.
‘Andrea, can we talk about something else please?’ He asked a little more firmly than I would have liked.
I noted that he had used my full name. ‘Sure. Do you need help with that math exam coming up?’
He groaned and tilted his head back before he started laughing. ‘Smooth, right from my abusive dad to my complete lack of math skills. We really are pretty messed up aren’t we?’
‘Isn’t that why we work?’ I challenged.
He looked at me curiously for a few moments. ‘I suppose it is.’
We ate in silence for a few more minutes. ‘Can you please just tell me what the ingredient is?’ He pleaded.
‘No.’ I said bluntly.
‘Why?’ He whined.
I blushed and didn’t meet his eyes. ‘Because then you would have no need for me anymore.’
He scoffed. ‘Yeah right, what about Math, and English and someone to listen to me complain? Contrary to what you think Dre, I don’t spend time with you for your eggs.’
I smiled. ‘Good.’
He sighed. ‘But speaking of Math, do you think you could help me?’ He pulled a face.
I rolled my eyes. ‘Get your book.’ I said as I cleared off the bench and put my stool back around the other side before I met Jace at the table, for what would no doubt, not turn into a tutoring session.
I got a feeling, that tonight’s gonna be a good night, that tonight’s gonna be a good good night.
I groaned rolling over to fumble for my phone on my bedside table, cursing myself for not turning it off before I went to sleep.
‘Hello.’ I answered groggily.
‘Let me in.’ The voice said.
‘What?’ I asked looking at the glowing red numbers of my alarm clock seeing that it was 3AM. ‘Who is this?’
‘Dre, its me, please let me in.’
I sat up so quickly a bolt of lightening might as well have jolted me. ‘Jace?’
‘Hang on.’ I said fighting with the tangle of my sheets, finally I swung my legs out of bed and ran for the stairs, completely disregarding the fact that I was only wearing a singlet, with no bra, and tiny boy shorts. It was summer after all, and if Jace was at my door at 3AM we had more pressing matters than my bedding attire.
I flung the front door open as I hung up on Jace. ‘Jace.’ I said as he turned to face me. ‘What’s wrong? Have you been drinking? Do you know what time-‘ but then my voice caught in my throat. A cloud moved and let the moon be seen and in doing so bright white light shone down on my front door step, and on the left side of Jace’s face, which was bleeding and a nasty shade of purple.
‘Oh my god.’ I choked out, covering my mouth with my hand. ‘Jace,’ I reached out to touch it but he turned his face away.
‘Is your mum home?’ He asked.
I shook my head. ‘Just Matt.’ I said referring to my brother.
He nodded slightly and walked past me into the house.
I fought the urge to cry and followed him, closing the door behind me. He walked to the formal lounge room at the very back of the house where we had the lowest chance of waking up Matt.
Jace laid down on one of the black leather lounges and closed his eyes.
I knelt down in front of him on the floor. ‘Tell me you were in a car accident or you were drunk and got into a fight with a friend, please, just don’t tell me you father did this to you.’ I begged.
He shook his head. ‘Cant do that.’
A lone tear escaped my eye and I wiped at it furiously. I stood up and looked down at him, ‘let me go and get you some ice.’ I said and before he had the chance to protest, which I knew he would, I left, closing to door behind me.
I walked out into the kitchen, were leaning against the bench for support, I let a few wracking sobs take over my body before forcing myself to pull it together. I grabbed a bag of frozen peas from the freezer and two small towels, one I wet with warm water. I then grabbed our medicine bucket from one of the top cupboards and took it all back with me to where Jace was.
He was sitting up when I re-entered. I put all of my stuff down and turned on the lamp that was near the lounge, bathing the room in a soft yellow glow. The light on Jace’s face made him wince, because he knew I could now see everything and it made me bite my lip so hard to stop from crying and shouting at the same time.
‘I don’t understand.’ I whispered to myself. I knelt on the lounge next to him bringing my equipment with me. Tenderly I wiped the warm cloth over the side of his face to get rid of the excess blood, Jace winced.
‘Dre, you don’t have to-‘ He started.
‘Jace, will you just,’ I took a deep breath. ‘Just shut up ok?’
When I was done I could see that the cut was only small but his temple and the top of his cheek were severely bruised already. ‘You’re probably going to get a black eye.’ I told him.
‘Great.’ He sighed.
I picked up the bag of peas and wrapped them in the dry cloth. ‘You show up at my doorstep at 3AM covered in blood and you are going to make me ask?’ I shook my head sadly when he didn’t respond. ‘What happened?’ I asked as I touched the bag of peas to the side of his face.
He turned away from my touch. ‘Exactly what you think did.’ He said barely above a whisper.
I applied the peas once more, cradling the other side of his face at the same time. ‘I want you to say it.’
‘He caught me smoking pot.’ Jace said quietly.
I groaned and let my head fall back. ‘Why were you doing that in the house?’ I took the peas off his face for a moment. ‘Why were you doing that at all?’
Jace shrugged. ‘It relaxes me.’
I shook my head and reapplied the peas. ‘Couldn’t you have done it at the beach? Or at Ben’s?’ I asked referring to his best friend.
He moved his eyes to mine. ‘He wasn’t meant to be home.’
I gave him a look that let him know that wasn’t a good enough excuse.
‘I know it was stupid. Can we move on?’
I nodded. ‘How long ago did this,’ I motioned to his face ‘happen? It’s bruised already.’
Jace shrugged. ‘Few hours maybe.’
‘A few hours. Jace, you should have come here straight away!’ I condescended him. ‘Where did you go?’
‘Shark tower.’ He answered simply.
The shark tower was Jace’s thinking spot. A spot in the middle of the long stretch of beach that laid behind our houses. It was quiet, it was isolated, sadly it was just what Jace needed a lot of the time.
‘He’s such a fucking hypocrite;’ Jace burst out suddenly. ‘He will drink himself into a comatose state almost every night and im not allowed to get high?’ He said venomously.
‘It doesn’t have to make sense Jace, he’s your father, he will always think he is right. Besides, pot is illegal, alcohol is not.’ I said.
Jace turned his head to me. ‘What about beating your son? Is there a law against that?’ He said, his voice breaking at the end. He turned his head away disregarding the peas completely. I knew he would be telling himself to pull it together, that there was no way he would cry in front of me, but even I could tell that he was having a hard time.
‘Jace.’ I said gently. ‘Look at me.’ I softly put my hand under his chin and attempted to twist his face towards mine, but he wouldn’t let me. I sighed. ‘Don’t take this the wrong way.’ And before I could stop myself I swung one leg over his lap and positioned myself on top of him on my knees, my legs either side of his and turned his face towards mine.
He looked up at me, only a small element of surprise in his eyes. I placed my hands on his shoulders. ‘Do you want to call the police?’ I asked instead of responding to the look in his eyes.
He shook his head like I knew he would. ‘I just don’t want to have to go back.’
I picked up the peas again and reapplied them. ‘So don’t, you can stay here. Or go and live with family, or Ben.’
‘That sounds nice.’ He said closing his eyes, and I knew he was referring to staying with me.
‘Jace. My mum is a lawyer, you know she will help you but you have to ask. And you have to be honest. But I promise I won’t say anything unless you want me too.’ I assured him.
I tossed the bag of peas on the floor now that they were pretty much melted and leant over to the medicine bucket for a bandage. I traced my finger ever so lightly across the wound. It wasn’t bleeding anymore but it looked so tender.
‘I’m sorry for bringing you into this.’ He whispered.
‘Don’t be ridiculous, I would be hurt if you didn’t tell me.’ I said fumbling with the bandage.
‘Yeah, but if this goes further and you have to be involved….’ He trailed off.
‘Its fine.’ I assured him as I finally managed to unwrap the small, square bandage and place it over the broken skin, then before I could knew what I was doing I leant down and placed a feather light kiss on top of it. I leant back and cradled Jace’s head in my hands, he looked up at me his eyes searching mine.
‘Better?’ I smiled lightly.
He returned my smile with what I could see was a great amount of effort. He let his hands move from his sides to rest on the tops of my thighs. ‘Much.’ He said as his thumbs made slow circles on my skin.
‘Im so sorry that this has happened to you.’ I said my voice breaking once again.
He laughed bitterly. ‘Yeah me too.’ Then he looked up at me again. ‘Come here.’
I frowned. ‘Why?’
‘Just do it.’ He said as he tugged lightly on my legs motioning me forward.
I leant down towards him and he extended himself towards me, and suddenly I knew what was about to happen, and before I had any time to protest Jace pressed his lips to mine. After a few moments I relaxed, moving myself a little closer to him. Jace didn’t deepen the kiss or try anything else, he just held my lips against his, then he pulled back, looked at me, and then press his lips to mine once more. Not an overly personal kiss, just a thankful one I suppose you could call it, an appreciative kiss. Jace moved one of his hands to my lower back rubbing it back and forth as we broke apart and his other hand guided my head onto his shoulder where we embraced in silence.
‘Thankyou.’ He whispered and I knew that I didn’t need to answer.
We had never done anything like this before, never kissed on the lips, I had never been this naked around him and we had never embraced like this. We had never been this personal. But I smiled to myself knowing that I liked it.
I closed my eyes in tiredness, sadness and relief knowing that Jace was damaged but otherwise ok. The feel of his hands on the back of my neck and my lower back were comforting and I hoped that my arms around his torso were having the same effect.
‘If I had have known that you slept in this I would have made the night time journey sooner.’ He joked snapping the elastic in my pants.
I laughed and pressed a kiss on his neck, it was so very warm, and I could feel his pulse throbbing underneath the skin.
‘I’m sorry I didn’t have time to change.’ I murmured.
He chuckled. ‘It’s fine.’
‘Is this helping at all?’ I asked, referring to the hugging and the closeness.
Jace was silent for a moment. ‘Yeah…. It is.’
We embraced in silence for a few moments longer, then Jace sighed.
I pulled back from where my head had been resting in the crook of his neck and frowned. ‘Everything ok? Besides the obvious?’ I rectified running my finger lightly over his wound again.
He shook his head. ‘Just realising all the things you do for me, and how I really don’t do anything for you.’
I couldn’t hide the shocked look that im sure passed over my features. ‘Yes you do, you drive me home everyday.’ I pointed out.
‘Yeah only for you to make me eggs.’ He countered. ‘Really Dre, you are awesome. You know that? How did I go this long not knowing you?’
I shrugged, not knowing what to say that would match this wonderful compliment.
‘We’re going to be friends forever right?’ He winked cheesily but I knew he was being serious.
I nodded in silence and then buried my head back in his neck. ‘Chicken stock.’ I murmured.
I felt him turn his head slightly to try and look at me but I didn’t move. ‘What?’
‘The eggs, the secret ingredient is chicken stock.’
Jace let out a breath of a laugh, placed a kiss on my temple and continued to hold me once more.