Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday Briefs - The Adored One 7


I scrounged around for Max's number and punched in the digits. He picked up on the third ring. "Hello?"

"Max? It's Trace Worthy."

There was a scuffling noise and a quiet bang, as though he'd dropped the phone. "How's it going?"

"Not bad so far. I stayed home from school today so we've yet to see."

"I can't say I blame you. I saw your mom and I was going to say something to her, but I didn't know if she knew and—"

I scoffed. "She knows. She and Dad were upset that it happened like it did and that I was hurt by my friends, but they were very accepting. My mom even asked if I wanted any kind of special diet or anything, like I was becoming a vegan."

Max laughed out a groan. "Oh my god, that's classic! My parents kinda always knew that I was gay. Dad doesn't like it, but only because he thinks it makes life hard for me. Mom loves that I'm an uninhibited spirit. Her parents were hippies, so she embraces the whole free love thing."

"They sound great."

"They are. Kinda overwhelming sometimes, but I'd rather have that than have them throw me out of the house or something."

There was an awkward silence before I said, "Well, I'm calling because of my—"

"Spanish paper. I know. What was up with that? You normally do really well."

No way was I going to tell him that I failed because a meddling angel wrote the paper. "It's a long story," I confessed, "but I would really appreciate some help."

He sounded hopeful. "Sure! I mean, yeah, that's fine. Do you want to come over here? Say… seven-ish?"

"Um, okay."

"Awesome. See you then, bye."


The Holbrooks lived a mile back into the woods on the east side of town. The evening sun barely filtered through the trees, turning the long driveway into an eerie wooded tunnel. The large home looked as though it had been carved out of the surrounding forest. It was multi-leveled, following the natural landscape. The siding was rough wood, punctuated with large panels of glass. I'd never seen anything like it before.

I knocked on the door and almost crapped my pants when a deep, loud quasi-bark erupted from inside. Unlike the sharp warning calls I'd heard from other dogs, this animal emitted a breathy boof, boof like it a wolf with asthma.

A voice inside called, "Come here, Gio! We're not under attack."

The barking subsided and the door opened to reveal Max struggling to restrain one of the most massive dogs I'd ever seen.

"Oh, holy fuck!"

Max yanked on the beast's collar. "I swear, he's fine. Just excited to see visitors. He's very gentle."

Its face was so wrinkled I couldn't see the eyes hidden in the folds. When it began to pant, I was amazed at the size of its mouth. I put out a hand to pat his head and a giant tongue emerged to cover it with slobber. I stared down at the slime and scowled. Max bit his lip. "God, sorry! Come in and you can wash your hands."

We walked into the kitchen which was surprisingly modern compared to the exterior of the house. I noticed a half-door on my left with a sign that read "Giovanni."

"What's that?" I said, pointing to the door.

"That's Giovanni's room," he replied, pointing to the slobbering canine at my side. "It's his version of a crate."

"What kind of dog is he?" I asked, as I scrubbed the drool off my hands.

"A Neapolitan mastiff. My father's part of a rescue group."

"It seems like Giovanni could rescue himself."

Max shrugged. "It's mostly about people wanting these cute, wrinkly little puppies and then realizing what a huge mistake they've made once the dog gets to be a hundred and eighty pounds."

"So how old is this dog? Like twelve or so?"

"Actually, he's two. Just about full-grown."

My mouth fell open as I compared the size of the beast from the old country to the size of my tutor. Max was pretty small, maybe five-foot-seven, but he looked like a dwarf next to Giovanni. The dog's head came up to just below Max's chest. Max herded him into his room and threw in a two-foot-long rawhide bone. I guessed the treat would probably last for five minutes.

"'Now he's penned in," Max said, "can I get you something to drink?" He turned to an industrial glass-front refrigerator and yanked the door open. "Oh, hmm. I only have organic pomegranate soda, goat's milk or iced vanilla-honeybush chanakara tea."

"Wow, those are some different kinds of drinks."

Max blushed. "Yeah, my mom's a hippy nutritionist. Mostly, I drink water."

"Water it is."

He grabbed two mismatched pottery tumblers from the cupboard and filled them straight from the tap. He handed one to me and we smiled at each other, then fell into an embarrassed silence. Finally, he cleared his throat. "As lame as this sounds, are you doing okay considering what's happened?"

I shrugged. "Even though I've been bi for a while, I didn't really act on it. There were a couple little hook-ups, but nothing led anywhere. I feel so clueless! I don't have any friends that will accept me now. I don't know where to go."

As hard as I tried to hold them back, tears rolled down my cheeks. Max handed me a napkin. "I could tell you everything's going to be okay, but that's bullshit and you know it. Things are gonna get rough for a while, Trace. It's hard to find a place to fit in around here." I slumped further into my self-pity pool and frowned. Then Max jumped up from his stool and declared, "The city's got an amazing scene, though! Do you want to go after we're done with the paper?"


Don't forget to visit the other flashers!

Cia Nordwell
Cia Nordwell
Chris T. Kat
Jim Dunaway
Jon Keys
Julie Lynn Hayes
Mann Ramblings
Nephy Hart
Ravon Silvius

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