Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 4


The smell of floor polish and chalk dust assaulted my senses the moment I walked into the building. It was so surreal. On the spot where I stood, twenty years later, there would be a shopping mall.

Somehow, I really did remember everything that had happened before now. I recalled what I'd had at lunch the day before, and the nasty joke that Donny Stone—my best friend—had told me.

"Weird," I mumbled.

Suddenly, someone slapped me hard on the back and I lurched forward. Stone laughed and said, "Talking to yourself, Worthy?"

"Yeah," I shot back. "I was saying how much of a douchebag you are."

I punched him good-naturedly on the arm and said, "Go ahead to homeroom. I gotta go…check with a teacher."

Stone looked at me warily. "You? Check with a teacher? Have fun, bud."

I headed up the back stairs toward the language classrooms. I knew that the Spanish room was the most likely place to find who I needed. He was a genius with languages, and had helped me muddle through Spanish papers a few times. Right outside the room, sitting on the floor amidst a pile of papers and books sat Max Holbrook. He was bent over a laptop, typing with one hand while sipping from a large travel mug.

"Hey, Max," I called.

He was so startled that the coffee cup went flying, landing upside down on his books. "Shit!" he snapped.

I dove for the cup and righted it before much could spill onto the cover. Then I used my shirt to wipe the spilled java from the paperback. When I was sure that not much damage had been done, I sat back and noticed that Max was staring at me in shock.

I mumbled, "Sorry."

"It's fine," he said. He snatched the book from me and replaced it on the pile. I smiled sheepishly at him and he scowled. "What now?"

"What now what?" I replied.

Max shut his laptop and sighed. He started shoving his books and papers into his bag and spoke without looking up. "I've already run through the gauntlet this morning with all your friends, so I'm kinda tired. I assumed that you came to add the icing on the cake. So, go ahead. I can stand a few more jabs. Do you want to go with the ugly route, or maybe the gay thing? Take your pick."

The blunt speech surprised me. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was poked in the back hard. I would have to thank Philip for the little nudge. I cleared my throat and said, "I'm sorry, Max."

"Sorry?" He blinked at me several times before frowning and saying, "That's a new one."

I held up my hands in surrender and said, "Look. I know I've always been an asshole to you, but I've changed—in more ways than you'll ever know—and I want to apologize."

He looked at me warily and finally smiled. I smiled with him, until his expression turned into a snarl. He took a step closer to me and said, "Fuck. You."

As I watched him storm down the hall and around the corner, I let my bag drop to the floor. "That went well." Then the bell rang and I realized I was late for homeroom. I trudged toward the stairs and groaned. "High school sucks."


I made it through my morning classes well. if anything, they were fun. With my extra twenty-eight years' experience, the history test that I took was a breeze. In algebra I was able to answer several of the questions that the teacher posed to the class. Stone sat next to me and kept shaking his head every time I spoke up.

On our way to lunch, Stone grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the streaming hallway crowd. He scowled. "What is it?"

"What's what?" I replied, trying not to shake with fear. Had he found out that I was dead and had been sent back on a secret mission to save the school outcast?

Stone leaned in closer. "What's got you so fucking hyped up? Did you do it with that chick from state?"

I let out the breath I'd been holding. I thought he'd figured out that I was now a quasi-reincarnated version of myself, but he was asking about a college girl I'd messed around with at a party the week before. "No. Nothing happened."

My best friend wasn't going to drop it. He grinned evilly and whispered, "What about the girl from Teauville, the team's manager? It was her wasn't it?"

Little did he know that it wasn't the female manager of the opposing team that I'd hooked up with. It was the shortstop. But was I going to tell Stone that? No way. He didn't know I was gay and I was in no hurry to tell him. Truth is, I was petrified of being mentally bashed like Max was on a daily basis. The tiniest shred of credit that I could give my friends was that they had never physically hurt Max. Our catcher, Steve, had once talked about "smearing the queer," but Stone went berserk and said that he'd smear Steve's face on the floor if he ever laid a finger on the smaller boy. That was the only reason that I hadn't severed my ties with Stone. Of all my friends, only he showed a little compassion. Too bad he didn't realize that mentally abusing someone can be just as bad as beating them up.

I came back to the present and realized Stone was still hounding me for the name of the girl he imagined had me in such a good mood. "What's-her-face from the cheerleading squad? That freshman? The mayor's daughter?"

"Will you shut up?" I barked. Stone blinked stupidly at me and I sighed. "I have to tell you something, Don."


Don't forget to visit the other flashers!

Carol Pedroso
Cia Nordwell
Chris T. Kat
Jim Dunaway
Julie Lynn Hayes
Mann Ramblings
Ravon Silvius
Taylin Clavelli

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