Consequences – Chapter 7

Mrs. Jackson was a pretty big stickler for the rules, so texting in her class needed to be a little stealthy. I wasn’t sure if Megan would reply, but I still wanted to ask.

Hey! Did you find out anything?

Sure enough, Megan wouldn’t reply for the rest of the class. Either her teacher was a hardass or Megan was Megan. I don’t know if it was my inner Nicole, but I found that the more I was in high school, the less I felt I needed to be this good little boy and behave exactly as people expected me to, but Megan clearly felt the opposite.

I still did my work, of course, and to be fair, The Great Gatsby wasn’t a bad book. To my surprise, even Jason was pretty fun to be around, when he felt like being an individual and not Athena’s other half.

“…And in the game, you can do basically anything,” Jason continued. “They just came out with The Update That Changed The World, and filled it with a bunch of cool stuff. New trees, new biomes to explore… Like, you know how in video games, you can make stuff with wood?”

I nodded.

“Well, you can make the same stuff out of different types of wood, and it all looks different,” he concluded. “Seriously, it’s like, the biggest game in the world right now. I’m kinda surprised you haven’t heard of it.”

I shrugged, keeping my book close to my face so Jackson would think we were talking about our reading. “I’m not really much of a gamer. Nicole is, I’m sure she’s heard of Mine Craft.”

“Minecraft. One word,” Jason corrected me. “Well hey, if you ever wanna play it sometime, come on over to my house and I’ll show you what it’s about.”

“Cool,” I replied with a smile, right before the bell rang. The day was over. As if everyone was waiting, students rushed to gather their bags and leave as quickly as they could. In a flash, the classroom was empty and the hallways were filled.

I was halfway back to my locker, fighting the sea of other students when I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. I opened the phone to see a message from Megan.

not yet. Its the first day lol

Yeah, fair enough. Zelda seemed like a tough cookie to crack anyway. Tough egg to crack…? I shook my head, and saw that Megan wasn’t the only one to text me. Nicole also sent me a message.

You’re in such deep shit. Main hallway, NOW.

I stared at the phone, feeling my heart plummet. Why couldn’t I catch a fucking break? I wasn’t even sure what I did. Was this for sticking Megan on Zelda? All I knew was, it was Nicole, so I was not going to make her wait. I quickly went to my locker and got my things before rushing to the main hallway.

Like the main character of life that she was, Nicole was standing in the middle of the hallway, with all of the students moving around her. It was like seeing oil in water. No student dared bump into Nicole. 

She crossed her arms when she saw me. I walked up to her and sighed. “I don’t even know what I did,” I mumbled.

Nicole slowly uncrossed her arms… then a smile formed on her face. “That would probably be because you didn’t do anything wrong,” she informed me nonchalantly. “I was just wondering if you wanted a ride home.”

I couldn’t even imagine the incredulity on my face. “…Seriously?!”

She shrugged. “You like taking your sweet-ass time replying. You dawdle at your locker. I wanted a quick answer. Sue me.” She winked. “Ride or no ride?”

I rolled my eyes so hard I’m amazed I didn’t make my head move. “Ride,” I replied. “You suck.”

She winked again. “Play your cards right, hotshot, and who knows,” she said in a carefree way before turning and walking away. I quickly followed her.

We were halfway to the back exit when Nicole stopped, looking into the cafeteria. I stopped and looked from behind her – we both saw Sabrina, setting up her stuff and sighing. Nicole slowly looked from her to me, a blank look on her face.

A blank face on Nicole. One of the signs of the apocalypse. “Whatever you’re thinking, don’t,” I warned her.

Nicole winked again at me – it was like she remembered what winking was and wanted to do it as many times as possible today – and sauntered towards Sabrina. “Yo, Breen,” she greeted. “Great job at the meet this week.”

“Huh?” Sabrina asked timidly, looking up from her stuff. “Oh, thanks.”

“What’s with setting up at the caf?” Nicole asked, looking behind her and noticing I hadn’t walked forwards from the entrance. “Me and Adam over here saw you.” I sighed at that, and jogged up to join her.

Sabrina chuckled nervously. “Um, my bus comes really early, and it leaves pretty early too,” she explained. “Sometimes I miss it, so I’ll be here until the late bus comes.”

“Aw,” Nicole said with genuine sympathy. “That always stinks. Tell ya what, let’s give you a ride.” 

“Are you sure?” Sabrina asked, her look flickering to my eyes from Nicole’s. 

“Yeah! I’m pretty sure your place is on the way,” Nicole replied, waving off the worry. “C’mon.”

Sabrina didn’t need much more convincing, and soon, she had her stuff packed up and the three of us were making our way to Nicole’s Focus. Sabrina was awkwardly silent, so there wasn’t much talking apart from when the doors were opened and Nicole went into a mini-rant about the chilly November weather. 

Before she got into the car, after opening the door, Nicole pulled me in uncharacteristically for a kiss, then put on her sunglasses. “I don’t wanna play favorites – why don’t you both share the backseat?” she told us. I looked from Sabrina to her, trying to see what her game was. Sabrina clearly seemed equally unsure about what was going on, but quietly climbed into the back of the car. It was clear that if I didn’t follow suit, I’d be defying Nicole’s orders and making it seem like I really didn’t want to be next to Sabrina. Well played, Nicole. 

Once we were on the road, Nicole piped up. “You two are kinda quiet back there,” she observed. “Is everything hunky-dory?”

Sabrina looked nervously at me but didn’t say anything. I sighed and looked at Nicole. “What do you want?” I flatly asked her.

“Took ya long enough. So, Sab, I’m thinking we need our first round of pictures of the Council first semester this year, not second. Are you cool with coming to the next meeting?”

Oh. Nicole wasn’t trying to do something sexual. I was actually surprised. I could feel my face going blank.

From the way Sabrina reacted, it seemed like she was expecting the same thing, like Nicole was being the jealous girlfriend confronting us or something. “When are Student Council meetings again?” she asked.

“Mondays, right after school. I can give you another ride home if you want. And if Adam smells or something, you can take the front.”

“I do not smell,” I complained.

“Let’s ask the jury,” Nicole replied. “Sabrina?”

“Um… I think Adam smells quite nice,” Sabrina admitted.

“‘Quite nice.’ Ooh.” Nicole adjusted the rearview mirror. “You’re in, big boy.”

“Shut up,” I complained, although Sabrina’s face was changing. She looked at Nicole’s face through the adjusted mirror. “It’s okay if he’s in, right?”

Even Nicole was silent for a second or so after that one. “Are you asking for my blessing or something?” she nearly laughed, going to a stop. She whipped her head around to face us.

“I mean… we already…” Sabrina began. I looked nervously from Sabrina to Nicole. I knew Nicole was cool with it, but this still felt… off. Weird. Alien.

“You two already… what, like, kissed? Adam told me that.”

“No, I… yeah. Yeah, we already kissed,” Sabrina fibbed, getting more flustered herself.

Even with her shades on, Nicole’s face changed. She ran her tongue in front of her teeth in the way she did when she was disappointed. “Yeah, you definitely meant more than kissed,” she observed, then turned to me. “And I know she ain’t never been to your place. You didn’t use Room 203, did you Adam?”

“Absolutely not,” I lied.

“Liar,” Nicole replied angrily, turning back around. “You have the damn key.”

“Nope, I don’t,” I replied, gaining confidence thanks to my alibi. “I gave Megan the key, actually.”

“You – what? Why?”

“She needed a quiet place during lunch to tutor… another student. I saw her in need, and I helped her.”

“Alright, fine, sorry for presuming,” Nicole backed down, then looked towards Sabrina. “And yes, dummy, it’s okay if you’re in. Adam and I are open. That means green light.”

“And you’re not jealous?” she marveled. 

Nicole smiled to herself, eyes on the road. “Nope. refreshing, ain’t it? No drama.”

“We’re swimming in drama,” I interjected.

“Yeah but I blame you for, like, all of it,” Nicole told me matter-of-factly. 

“So… what are the limits?” Sabrina pressed on. “I didn’t think I’d get to ask, but now I’m here… I don’t wanna make anyone uncomfortable.”

Nicole scoffed in a shocked way. “Wow, gold star to you,” she said in an impressed voice. “Even I wasn’t that aware in grade ten.”

“You told me you made a lot of mistakes in gra-”

“Yeah, thanks Adam, you’re not a part of this,” Nicole cut me off. 

“Hey look, drama,” I commented dryly.

Nicole ignored me. “As long as you know I’m the person who’s romantic with him, you’re fine,” she told Sabrina. “Don’t treat him like a boyfriend. Don’t call him your boyfriend. And most importantly… ask him too.”

Sabrina looked at me. “Um, Adam, what are your limits?”

I scratched the back of my neck. “I don’t think I really have any.”

Nicole coughed from the front. “What was that one incident with the girl and that brother that beat me up…?” she asked, pretending to ask herself. She looked at us innocently. “Oh, sorry. Was just thinking of something that happened to me last year.”

As much as she was annoying me, she was right. I made a lot of mistakes with Megan, and some of them involved lack of communication. “I guess always be upfront about what you want from me,” I told her. “I’d rather a weird truth than a white lie, it always leads to drama. Oh, and this will sound sketchy, but… try not to tell a lot of people. More people involved just means more headaches.”

“I can vouch for that one,” Nicole added. “Is this your first time doing stuff like this?”

“What, like, stuff with another guy’s boyfriend?” Sabrina had to laugh at the situation. “Yeah, of course.”

“Hey, I’m not judging,” Nicole smoothly replied.

“Um, I would,” I interrupted. “Our situation is obviously different, though. I guess… I guess it’s good we’re talking about this.”

“Funny how often I’m right,” Nicole mused. “This is your place, right?” We stopped at some well-off-looking house in the suburbs. 

Sabrina looked outside the car window like she forgot where we were going. “Oh. Um, yeah. Thanks.” She quickly undid her seatbelt and opened the door. “Th-thanks for the ride,” she replied, quickly closing the car door after her.

Nicole looked at me through the rearview mirror, gesturing her head towards Sabrina. “May as well say a proper goodbye,” she offered.

“I’m not going inside her house,” I told her, undoing my seatbelt. “I have no idea what you’re doing.”

“That makes two of us,” she replied with a smile.

I quickly left the car and chased after Sabrina. “Hey!” I called after her.

She turned around, about to reach for her doorknob. “Oh, hey,” she replied. “did I forget something?”

“No, I just…” I glanced back to the car. “I just wanted to say goodbye a little more formally.”

Sabrina nervously snickered and turned pink. “Oh, that’s sweet,” she admitted. “Um… thanks. Goodbye.”

“It’s kinda funny how… how we’ve done everything we’ve done, but like… this is kinda… weird…” I replied, feeling just how contagious the weirdness was.

“Yeah…” she admitted. “Is Nicole trying to get us to do something?”

“Honestly, Nicole just gets ideas of what’s good for others, so she insists others play along,” I told her flat-out.

She nodded. “I think I got that from yearbook meetings,” she admitted. “So what, we play along? How would we even do that?”

“I dunno, do you want…” I hesitated. “Do you want a kiss goodbye, or…”

She chuckled, only turning pinker. “I think… So, I want that, but not in front of her. How about just a hug?”

I scratched the back of my neck again. “Yeah. Good call. Sorry.”

“No no, don’t be sorry!” she quickly added. “It’s just… it would just be weird.” We shared a quick, polite hug, and she smiled at me. “See you around, Adam.”

“See you,” I replied, barely getting the words out before she was inside her house again. I stared at the door for a bit before getting back inside the car.

Nicole was sitting in the driver’s seat, eating a green apple. “It’s funny, isn’t it?” she asked. “How fickle the human spirit is. She’s seen your dick, and yet, kissing you on her front porch seems so much more vulnerable.”

“Can I have a bite?” I asked. Nicole and I looked at each other and started to laugh.

“Fuck, you’re awesome. I did not see that reply coming,” she replied. “Have a ball.” She tossed me the apple then began to drive away.

“It’s really something how you always manage to plan these events,” I told her. “Like, you really turned her being in the caf into us finally having this conversation.”

She shook her head, eyes on the road. “Nope. I actually wanted to talk to her about Council photo stuff. The rest was serendipity.”


“It’s like, coincidence, but in a more divine, fated way,” she answered. “Not everything is about you, squirt. Or me, believe it or not. Plus, if this is happening, I want it to really feel casual. Not like this big taboo event. The more low-key we play it, the less feelings are hurt.”

“I still would be happy being monogamous with you,” I admitted.

“Even if that were true, and let’s not debate that right now, Sabrina is in this now,” Nicole reasoned. “Unless you actively want her to stay away or something, I say just let things play out.” She was silent for a bit. “And anyone else you want.”

“I didn’t even mention Zelda,” I protested.

Nicole started to sport a shit-eating grin, one that told me I was instantly trapped. “And you may have noticed, neither did I,” she replied, savoring each word.



“The Noble House of Baker hath been blessed,” Nicole announced. “For I hath indeed arrived! What’s up, bitches?” She kicked off her boots and put her coat on the rack. “You home, mommy?”

“In the kitchen,” Mrs. Baker replied. 

“How about you, daddy?” Nicole continued. No answer. “Is he at work?”

“He had an important client tonight,” Mrs. Baker replied. “I’ll probably just order in.”

“I can always cook,” Nicole replied from the kitchen. I removed my shoes and joined them as quickly as I could.

“Hello, Mrs. Baker,” I greeted politely. “How are you doing?”

Mrs. Baker’s eyes climbed up from her laptop screen to look at me. “I’m fine, Adam,” she replied with little emotion. “How are you?”

“I’m great, thanks for asking,” I replied with too much enthusiasm.

“Save it; she’ll never treat you like an equal,” Nicole joked, elbowing her mom. “He’s such a worm, isn’t he, mommy? You should save me from him and forbid me from dating or something.”

“He’s better than a lot of the other boys you brought home,” Mrs. Baker noted, almost to herself, her eyes back on the laptop screen.

“Not all of them, though,” Nicole continued the thought, then looked at me. “I’ll let your mind torture you with which of the others were better than you.”

“Great,” I replied sarcastically.

“Just kidding, you’re my perfect lil’ boyfriend,” she replied bubbily, practically bouncing over and kissing me on the cheek.

Mrs. Baker’s eyes were up from the screen again. “He’s taller than you now,” she noted, as if I was outside of the conversation.

“I know!” Nicole all but shouted. “I’m pissed. I’ll get over it.” She paused, staring at the wall for a bit. “Okay. I’m over it. We’ll be upstairs.”

“Have a good time,” Mrs. Baker told us, as warmly as Mrs. Baker could muster.

I followed Nicole upstairs into her room, where I found her, face-down on the bed.

“You’re in a good mood today,” I told her, joining her on the bed.

“It’s all a facade,” Nicole groaned into the bed. “A facaaaade.” 

I chuckled. “Is it?”

“Kinda yes and no,” she answered, getting up and sitting on the bed with me. “Like, yeah, I’m clearly doing alright right now, but… I dunno. I’m having a few more low moments lately.”

“I’m sorry,” I replied, rubbing her back supportively. “Anything I can do?”

“Nah. You’re great doing what you’re doing. Just don’t feel responsible for me. It’s not your job to save me or whatever.” I started to reply, and she raised a finger. “I know what you’re like,” she continued. “I know you feel like you’re being helpful, but actually. No matter how hard things get, just be around. No need to take control. It makes me feel less like I’m living my own life.” She collapsed back onto the bed. “I don’t wanna live for boys. I wanna life for me. Boy pending.”

“Can I be the boy?” I asked.

“I’ve been dating you for like half a year, you complete idiot,” she said flatly. “You’re the boy.” She sighed. “‘Do you love me? Do you like me? Am I your boyfriend?’ You insecure numbskull.”

“Sorry for being human,” I teased, leaning over her face.

She rolled her eyes. “I need a robot boyfriend is what I need.”

“That sentence didn’t make sense.”

“Girls don’t make sense,” she told me, then lifted her face and kissed mine. “I’m like the prime example of that.”

I kissed her again. “I’d rather be with you than someone who makes sense then.”

“Yeah, say that again in a year.” She kissed me again, then again. Our kisses got more passionate, until we were a tangled ball of limbs, kissing and making out on her bed. 

I loved kissing Nicole. Even though it had been more than a year since the first time we did anything, and over six months since we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend, we still had The Sparks every time we kissed. I could feel my nerves tingling whenever we kissed. I could feel Vivaldi playing in my heart and fireworks going off in my mind. My eyes closed on their own, and my heart beat faster. My body moved closer to hers on its own, and her skin felt so good against mine. I couldn’t help but move my hands under her shirt even while our tongues were busy in each others’ mouths.

She moaned into my mouth when she felt my hands getting more adventurous. It seemed like, to her, The Sparks weren’t gone either. If anything, they were as present as ever. She ground her hips against me with increasing urgency, feeling the need build up inside her. Of course, I knew that need very well – my rock-hard cock was threatening to burst through my jeans at any moment, a fact I suspect Nicole knew all too well.

In case she didn’t, her grabbing and feeling my shaft through my pants sealed the deal for her. At first, her hands were teasing, but as we kept kissing and humping like the needy lovebirds we were, she got more and more impatient. Before I knew it, my fly was open, my cock was jutting into the air, and Nicole’s expert hand was jacking me off.

Even still, I was getting too much and giving too little lately. Matching suit, I started to fumble with Nicole’s pants, earning a laugh from her as I had to break the kiss and look down at her pants in order to properly undo her fly. I wanted to finger her through the opening in her pants, but she elected to wear tight jeans today, so wordlessly, we decided that she needed to take the pants off before we continued.

Somehow, this ended up with us both naked from the waist down, clothed from the waist up, standing in her room. In a silly yet sexy moment, we both looked at each other, shrugged, and soon I was against the wall with us kissing, each of us fondling the other. 

Nicole broke the kiss and leaned into my hand, grinding herself on my fingers while standing up. “Oh wow, fuck…” she moaned. She closed her eyes, savoring the moment, then opened them, blinking a few times as I slowed down my rhythm. “This is actually really sexy. We should do this more.”

I kissed her on the lips. “I like discovering things with you.”

She rolled her eyes and kissed me again. “Cut the romance. I wanna be a wild animal today.”

I responded with an ‘oh, really?’ face and abruptly turning her around and throwing her against the bed so that her face hit the mattress again. I walked up behind her, my throbbing dick leading the way. I angled her ass up and she gleefully complied, straightening her legs to allow me access. She grinned over her shoulder.

“Why hello there,” she teased, wiggling her ass from side to side. “See something you like?”

“Something I need,” I growled back.

She chuckled. “That’s the spirit. Come on, I’m giving you open access. Use me.”

“Free use fetish?” I teased, rubbing myself along her slit.

She moaned. “Nah, c’mon. I give you the green light all the time anyway. Why spoil it by doing it when I’m not asking for it too?”

I chuckled, silently agreeing with her. Slowly, I pressed in, feeling the velvety depths of Nicole’s insides yet again. As always, she was so wet and needy that even a cock my size could still slip in with ease. 

Even still, she inhaled. “Wow…” she breathed. “Ha. Hah… Giving me a size fetish over here…”

I experimentally humped a few times, enjoying the sight of seeing inch after inch going in and out of her. “You like it?” I teased.

“Of course I do,” she breathed, pushing her hips back onto me. “And I want more. I’m a big girl. Take me.”

I was not about to sell myself short. I placed my hands on her hips and began to work myself up into a rhythm, groaning and feeling myself unite with Nicole in the most intimate way.

“Ah, fuuuuck…” Nicole moaned. “God, yes.”

I couldn’t resist groaning too. “Fuck, you feel so good…”

“Then go faster,” she panted. “Harder.”

I complied eagerly, pressing myself fully against her, releasing my muscles and letting my balls swing freely. My hands roamed along her back, stroking and experimentally scratching. I let my hips do all the work for a while, moving then in an upwards motion, watching Nicole almost jump a little with each motion. Her breathing got more labored; her actions more erratic and desperate. She went from breathing to moans to whimpers.

“Fuck, fuck yes Adam, God I love being your little slut…” she moaned, eventually burying her face in the mattress again. even still, I could hear her moaning, possibly moaning words, into the mattress.

I gripped her hips again, feeling her magic pussy hypnotize my cock. I wanted to hypnotize her back. Granting her wish, I rammed hard and fast inside her, testing her limits and moving at such a breakneck pace that I knew I wouldn’t be able to continue it for long, for my own safety.

I could definitely hear Nicole’s moans now. She was practically screaming “I love you” into the mattress, over and over. She could be such a sap when she was horny. I slapped her ass, keeping up my efforts, seeing how fast I could drill her with just my hips doing the work. I didn’t do too badly.

We kept up at that pace, slowing down over a period of minutes. Even so, we treasured each moment. Her pussy felt tailor-made for me. It was such a magical feeling to be inside Nicole and feel all of my sexual dreams come true. It became hard to imagine what my life was before her. I certainly wouldn’t be able to go back to it. I could fuck her forever. I wanted to fuck her forever. I was going to fuck her forever.

Forever didn’t last as long as I wanted, but luckily, I was able to hold off on my forever until hers seemed close. I had given her multiple orgasms in the past, but I was too close to give her any more than one before I was going to blow my load inside her. Even so, I was going to give her at least one. despite wanting to go faster for my own sake, I kept up the pace, hearing Nicole’s moans reaching a fever pitch, timing myself carefully before drilling her again at the point of my own climax.

The effect was magic. The both of us screamed out in unison, with me going balls deep in her. It felt life-changing, feeling that first stream of cum gushing into her. She shuddered, her smuscles tightening. An explosion went through her whole body and mine, culminating in shot after shot of gooey goodness shooting into her.

“Holy fuck…” she moaned, feeling the third or fourth stream I shot into her. She slammed her hips into me. “Mmm, it’s filling me all the way. Oh my God, you’re sexy.”

I chuckled, losing my breath. Stars cluttered my vision. I keep pressing against her until I felt spent, at which point I nearly lost my balance. Even in post-orgasmic bliss, Nicole chuckled and quickly said, “Hey, careful!”

I found my footing and enjoyed the last few seconds of being inside her before quickly retreating and exhaling, collapsing onto the bed beside her. I ended up face-to-face next to her.

She was panting. “You’re not drinking enough water,” she accused.

“I was busy… doing… other stuff,” I replied with a sweaty smile.

Her face was a mess too. She looked at me with an ‘I love you, but I’m tired of your shit’ smile, she gestured with her eyes. “Mint water. Top of the drawer. Have some. Fuck sakes.”

“Gimme a bit.” The two of us breathed next to each other for the next minute, enjoying… our eyes. At least, I was enjoying hers. I loved just looking into her eyes. As was customary for Nicole, she eventually narrowed hers with a weirded-out expression. “What?”

“Your eyes…” I mumbled.

She rolled then and rolled over. “Oh look, they’re gone,” she mumbled. “Better have some water.”

“You suck,” I chuckled, rolling over myself to find the drawer and her water. I drank a little bit and experimentally stood up, stretching and facing the wall. “You want some?” I turned back around.

She was fully dressed, though to my credit, she was just finishing putting on her shirt. “Uh, may as well,” she admitted, swiping the bottle. “Thanks.” She chugged it for a bit, then looked at the bottle. “You backwash more when you’re tired.”

“We make out all the time,” I pointed out. 

“Yeah, but I wouldn’t be thrilled at you spitting in my food either,” she argued. “Where’s my phone? It went off six times while we were doing the nasty.”

“You counted?!” 

“Welcome to me, dumdum,” she countered, picking up her phone. Almost instantly, she frowned. 

“What’s up?” I asked, feeling her mood drop instantly.

“Dumb school shit,” she replied. “Obligations, squirt. Always the obligations. Some days I feel like I should resign.”

“The whole school body would suffer,” I replied.

“Damn right,” she agreed. “That makes it worse sometimes.” She started typing, and sighed heavily. “Oh well. The burden I bear. Jesus died on the cross, and worse, they retroactively made him a white guy. I guess I should have to suffer too.”

“You Christian?” I asked.

“Nah. My parents are in that weird middle-ground. They took me to church when I was young, but just for that people-expect-us-to way. Like it was the way kids learn morality.” She stretched. “I kinda just learned Veggie Tales.” She stared off into space for a bit.

“I know that look. What’s up?” I piped up.

“Just… haven’t visited Mitch in a while,” she replied, in a bit of a new voice.

“Hey,” I replied. “We don’t have to think about that. C’mon, what do you wanna do? Get food? Play video games?”

She shook her head slowly. “Nah. I think…” She didn’t say anything more. Her eyes got a faraway look.

I bit my lip in nervousness. At least it wasn’t one of her more serious moods. “Can you sit down on the bed, for me?” I asked quietly. 

She didn’t reply. Eventually, I got up and tried to move her by the shoulders to the bed. She wouldn’t budge, and as I got forceful, she eventually mumbled, “Hands off.” It was like she was under a spell. She just stood there.

I huffed and returned to the bed, awkwardly pulling out my phone and looking for something to do. Over a solid minute passed with me sitting next to Nicole the Zombie. She was right; I liked taking control in these situations. But… any boyfriend would. Hell, anybody who knew her would. She couldn’t blame me for that. I wanted my girlfriend to be okay. I wanted to help. 

Eventually, she began to move again, but it was still in this robotic way. She slowly turned to me, as if only then remembering I was in the room, and mumbled, “I’m going to the washroom.” It was right across the hall from her door, so it’s not like it was far, but it still took her a fair amount of time to walk there. I watched her leave the room and slowly disappear into the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

I waited. Occasionally I glanced at the washroom. I guess it was one of her serious moods after all. I ended up just pulling out my math textbook and working, finishing my homework, and still no Nicole. Eventually, after closer to half an hour than not, I sighed and got up off the bed, walking out the room and gently rapping on the bathroom door.

There was no response. Something possessed me to lean my ear against the door, and from the inside, I heard noises. She was crying. Crying pretty quietly, but still.

I knocked again, more urgently. “Nicole, are you okay?” I asked, my tone carrying more force than I intended. When there was no response again, I decided I was sick of waiting and feeling powerless. I tried the doorknob, not caring that it was locked.

“Don’t come in,” I heard Nicole urgently say.

I stopped. “Why not?” I asked softly. I waited for a response, but none came. “Why not, Nicole?”

“Please…” she pleaded, in a desperate voice. “Just please don’t.”

“Nicole.” I felt my throat go dry. What was she doing in there? “Nicole, why not?”

I could hear her breathing get louder and louder. “Why do you think?!” she finally barked angrily. “Why do you fucking think? Get out of my fucking business, you jackass! Go home!”

I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the door. I cleared my throat. “That’s not working on me,” I told her. Not today.

She didn’t reply. I leaned against the door for a solid minute, and she didn’t reply. Over time, her breathing got heavier and heavier, until I heard a sound. It was a wince of pain. Like the kind you gave if you accidentally burned yourself, or…

…Or cut yourself.

That was the limit. I threw my weight against the door, bashing myself against it once, then gearing myself up and doing it again.

“Stop!!” Nicole screeched inside the bathroom. I felt her weight go against the door, and I heard something clanging against the floor. Something metal.

I felt like screaming. We were having such a good time so shortly ago. What the fuck was going on? It couldn’t have just been this abrupt. She couldn’t have been doing what I thought she was doing. “I’m coming in!!” I roared.

“I don’t want you to!” she yelled back. “Just stop! Please! Adam!” With each sentence, I threw myself against the bathroom door. “I can’t handle this! You’re making it worse!! Do you want to be the reason I fucking kill myself?!

I can’t describe how haunting it is to hear the love of your life say a sentence like that. I wouldn’t know where to begin. I didn’t even stop because she convinced me; I just lost all of my energy in that moment. I heard her breathing from the other side of the door – after all, her body was right up against it too – and over the next minute, it slowly got quieter and quieter.

“Did I cause this?” I asked, my voice quivering. I blinked and a tear fell from my eye. I was crying.

“No,” Nicole replied, her voice revealing she was crying too. 

“Then what-”

“I don’t have the energy to reply,” she replied in a strong but pained voice. “Or think. Stop asking me to do things. You’re making it worse, Adam.”

I slid down the door, plopping down on the ground. “So what should I do?”

Silence. “Go home,” she replied, weakly. Not commanding… pleading.

“I’ll stay here until you come out,” I told her, standing my ground.

“No,” she replied sadly. “I never ever want you to see me like this. Please, just go home.”

“I can’t just leave after seeing all this,” I told her. “you can’t expect me to.”

“Adam, I’m just broken. And I want to be alone. Please. This is what I want. I don’t care what you think is best for me,” her voice told me through the door, finding its strength again. I was silent, and I heard her loudly sigh. “If you stay for more than a minute, I’m breaking up with you. I’m not joking. I’ll open this door and if you’re there in two minutes, I’m kicking you out and doing everything I can to make sure I never see your ass again.” She was silent for a few seconds. “And if you leave, we can talk about this next time I’m okay.”

That got my attention. “We can?” I asked. “You promise? We’ll talk it out?”

“Everything you can ask. Just please, only when I’m feeling okay,” she replied, her voice getting weaker again. “We talked about boundaries today, right? They’re important, right? I want. To be. Alone. You’re not my boyfriend if you don’t respect that.” She was silent for a bit. “You have thirty seconds.”

I sighed, trying to find the strength to get up. I knew she wasn’t bluffing, and I knew she wouldn’t give me an extension. Moving like a zombie, I got up, took a few steps, then turned back. “I’m leaving, Nicole. I love you.”

I didn’t hear any kind of response, but I wasn’t going to stick around for one. That school counselor wasn’t doing shit. Hell, I wasn’t doing shit. Salvador was right – I was not equipped to help her. Trouble was, no one was.

I was almost angry at her mom when I went downstairs. Nicole was up there, yelling about killing herself, and her mom couldn’t give any less of a shit. I shook my head looking at her back, curled up around that computer, not a care in the world. Disgusting.

Not saying a damn thing, I walked over to the front of the house and began to put on my shoes. “I’m leaving,” I flatly told Mrs. Baker. Even when pissed, I liked to announce my departures.

“I know what you’re thinking,” she dryly replied.

I hesitated. “And what’s that?”

“You think I’m a bad mother. You think I’m not doing anything, and you think you’re not doing anything.” I could hear her close the laptop. I stopped where I was, waiting as she walked over to where I was so we could face each other. She folded her arms, and slowly shook her head. “This is bigger than either of us, you know.”

I shuddered. “I’m scared.”

“And her parents who have already lost one of their children couldn’t possibly know how you feel,” she challenged me. Even though she kept up her irritated expression, a sheen of wetness began to form around her eyes. “Who do you think is the one who couldn’t possibly understand how losing Nicole might feel?”

“Then… do something,” I begged. 

“She’s seeing a psychiatrist,” she told me, unfolding her arms in anger. “Outside of the school. She’s probably seeing a counselor in the school too. Any time I talk to her she’s either completely silly, acts like nothing is wrong, or she dismisses anything I say. Unless she wants something. I dare you to tell me you haven’t seen that.”

I stared at her, not moving my mouth at all. All I could do was narrow my eyes.

“Duncan and I are always trying to figure out what to say or what to do. You probably think we’re detached and cold, but this is the best way we’ve been able to maintain any kind of connection with our daughter,” she continued, clutching at her chest. “And even then, we feel her slowly slipping away. The only child we have here. Our lives revolve around our children. You met her last year. Your life would be forever changed if she left, I know, but… our lives would be over.”

My breathing got heavy. I looked down at the floor, but even then, I closed my eyes.

She let her words sink in. “Do not make this mistake again. You have no idea what a parent feels for their child.” She folded her arms again. “If you can’t accept that, I don’t want you coming around again. Ever again.”

My lips found the strength to move. “I’m sorry,” I grimly replied through gritted teeth and tears.

“You have every reason to be sorry,” she told me, turning back around. “And she’s right. Be there for her, but don’t control her. When she gets like this, everything hurts. Everything’s crushing her. The last thing she needs is a boy smothering her.”

Those were the last words I heard that night. I went to sleep before supper. I wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone. Anyone but Nicole.


I never stressed so much I lost sleep until that night. Even though I went to bed super early, I couldn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time. My body didn’t let me. I was anxious and terrified. Worse yet, I knew Nicole and I were going to talk, but I didn’t know when, or what would happen, or if I would make things worse. 

My parents noticed, and I was half-honest with them by saying something was on my mind but I didn’t feel like telling them. I actually did want to tell them, but couldn’t help but feel like the more I talked, the worse I would make this. In math class, Carson noticed, bless Carson, but the guy was clearly awkward around actually emotional situations and defaulted to roasting me and making jokes at my expense, and I didn’t have the energy to laugh along, which just led to him thinking he offended me and apologizing. I couldn’t meaningfully accept his apologies because I was too drained, which just made him feel worse and compounded the problem.

Being not okay was exhausting. Being not okay made you even worse so quickly. Zelda probably noticed during history class, but she was content with me explaining it away with, “I didn’t get enough sleep last night.” It wasn’t false. Either way, she seemed to be somewhat distant from me this class, which suited me just fine. 

When lunchtime arrived, I looked at my phone expecting a miracle, feeling stupid for even expecting one. And yet, the miracle arrived.

Meet me in the Council room. Come alone, please.

It was Nicole. Didn’t she have class during sophomore lunch…? I shook my head. I didn’t care. I only cared about one thing. Almost forgetting my stuff in my rush, I practically ran to Room 203.

The door was open, and Nicole was leaning against a desk. When she saw me enter, she smiled slightly. “Hey, hotshot,” she said in a quiet voice, then pointed behind me. “The door.”

I turned around, like a zombie, and shut the door, turning back to face her.

She laughed with a slightly sad expression. “You look terrible,” she observed.

“I feel terrible,” I replied. “But this isn’t about me.”

“Yeah,” she replied, slowly pacing around the room. “I mean, you knew this about me since we got together. You could probably assume this shit was going on behind the scenes. We’re lucky we only have to talk about an incident like this now.”


“No, shut up,” she replied forcefully. “Yes, lucky. Accept it. I’m… I’m cutting. Accept it.” She paced a bit more. “I feel like I’m on Reddit. ‘I’m suicidal. Ask me anything.’”

I shook my head. “I don’t get how you can joke about this.”

“It’s all I can do,” she replied swiftly. She dressed oddly conservative today. It matched her stiff persona. Everything was in contrast to her normal jovial self. It was like she was… normal today. “This shit is hard. Joking is how I switch off.”

“So what, I should tell you jokes if I ever catch you cutting?”

She shrugged. “Good jokes.”

I looked down, my eyes squeezing shut. I didn’t say anything for a bit, then opened my eyes to see Nicole just standing there. She shrugged again. “So what else do you want to ask?”

I heard voices approaching. Voices and footsteps. As they got closer and the door opened, the undeniable voice of Megan greeted my ears. “I think we should start with… oh.” I looked behind me to see Megan and Zelda in the doorway. Both of them were looking at me and Nicole.

I looked back to Nicole, who was still reserved yet cool as a cucumber. “Five minutes, please. Skedaddle.”

I think Megan could immediately sense the urgency of the situation. “Right,” she said diligently, immediately leaving the doorway. Zelda took a bit longer to leave, but left shortly thereafter.

I turned back to Nicole, who gave me a muted smile. “I didn’t think you were lying, but it’s nice to get a confirmation like that,” she replied quietly. 

“I want to know how often, and I want to know what to do,” I told her with a strong voice. I didn’t care about Zelda or Megan today.

Nicole nodded. “How often? I can’t say. It’s random. Sometimes I can go like two to three months without it. Sometimes it’s twice in a week.” She sighed and hung her head. “I gotta admit, I never went like that in front of anyone else…” She lifted her head again. “I just sorta felt it take over me. I wasn’t trying to scare you. Maybe it’s my body’s way of saying I really trust you or something.”

I didn’t say a word.

“Anyway, what you should do,” Nicole continued. “You shoooould… give me space.” She shrugged. “Like, yeah, I know that sucks, especially in such an extreme thing, but, Adam, it’s like I’m not even Nicole anymore when I get to that point.” She walked over to the open door and closed it again. She motioned behind the door, and mouthed the words, “Megan is still there – listening.

I frowned. Megan had better not make the right assumption. Or say anything to anyone.

“That’s probably what happens to everyone when they get suicidal. I bet it’s the only thing that even can make a person suicidal.” She paused, then posed comically. “Tada. Welcome to me. You get the good and the bad. Aren’t you lucky?”

“Would you have really broken up with me?”

“Yes. Absolutely. A hundred and ten percent,” Nicole replied with no hesitation. “Sorry, but I was overwhelmed. You weren’t listening to me. A, I was going to say anything to finally get my peace, and B, sorry, if you couldn’t listen to that need when I needed it the most, you’re not a boyfriend. Straight-up.”

I nodded slowly. “I’m sorry.”

“I appreciate that,” she replied flatly. “My turn. Are we any different? When you first discovered my scars you really gave me hope by saying this didn’t change anything. At least, I think I remember you saying that. Do we have to revisit that?”

“Thinking and doing are different things,” I admitted. “If you’re cutting in the next room, think of it from my perspective. You wouldn’t do nothing if I was doing that.”

“If you outlined your need for space and told me I was making it worse, yes I would,” she replied. “That’s the difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is guessing what the other person needs and trying to help them. Empathy is knowing how they feel because you’ve been there before.” She started pacing again. “I don’t expect you to be empathetic, and in fact, I hope you never are. Don’t kill yourself. It sucks. Zero stars out of five. But because you aren’t, you can’t know what I need. So if I tell you, I need you to trust me, Adam. Okay?”

“Can I give you a hug?” I asked, my voice cracking.

She smiled. “Of course, dummy.” 

I practically ran forward to hug her. She nestled her head into my shoulder and we just held each other for around thirty seconds. 

“I trust you. I may act differently because I’m scared, but no, you’re not any different to me. I’m just…” I swallowed. “I’m just more scared of losing you.”

“Yeah, can’t blame you for that,” Nicole admitted. “But hey, I’m still here. I didn’t succeed. I fucking suck at killing myself, so-”

“Okay, another thing,” I interrupted. “Joke about anything else, but I really can’t take those jokes. Each one feels like it gives me a panic attack.”

She nodded. “Okay. I’ll joke about anything else,” she promised. “No more. I mean, I might ask permission if I have an absolute banger and we’re feeling alright.”

Despite the situation, I couldn’t help but smile slightly. “Okay. Deal.”

“Deal,” she replied, beaming, then sighed, going down to touch her toes. “Jesus Christ, being a walking sitcom is exhausting. I even got the Very Special Episodes. How’re you feeling, we good?”

“We’re good,” I admitted.

“Will you be able to actually sleep tonight?” she accused me, still reaching down to her toes.

I chuckled. “As usual, you miss nothing,” I admitted. “More than last night, for sure. I don’t think I could possibly get less sleep.”

Nicole gave some kind of sympathetic growl in response and finished her stretch, then walked over to the door and abruptly swung it open. “Hey,” she bellowed.

I could practically hear the pair jump. “Oh, h-hey,” Megan croaked. 

“Mini-meeting is over,” Nicole announced. “Eavesdropping is very unattractive, for the record. Keep any shit you heard, or didn’t hear, to yourself. Otherwise, I grab a baseball cap and break your kneecaps. We clear?”

“Y-yes,” Megan feebly replied.

“Good,” Nicole replied exhaustedly. She turned back to me and blew a kiss. Feeling the tension dissipate, I mimed grabbing it, which made her smile. As she walked out, Nicole flatly ordered, “Tell Adam he’s sexy on his way out.”

I scoffed as the pair walked in. I still had my backpack on, but still, turned to leave. Megan, face red, walked into the room and kept her head down, with Zelda in tow. I was nearly out of the room when Zelda called out, “Adam!”

“Mm?” I asked, turning around.

She winked at me. “You’re sexy,” she said, her tone showing she enjoyed the inside joke we were sharing.

Mimicking her tone, I replied, “You’re just saying that,” as I left the room.


“Last dance of the year,” Megan murmured next to me as we gazed out the school’s front door windows. “Thank goodness the ticket takers are indoor this time. I’d freeze my behind off out there.”

“God, I love this weather,” I replied, entranced. The snow was late this year, but at last, it came. Yeah, Christmas was kind of soon, or at least a few weeks away, but I almost didn’t care about Christmas. I just liked the snow. And this year, on the Winter Dance day, it came.

I could feel Megan look at me, then shake her head. She walked back and talked to Dave, who was in charge of the dance, as usual, working on something. Nicole had her arm around his shoulder, engaging in the discussion.

I glanced the other way to see Sydney and Rick hanging out, with Jarrod clinging near them, though he would not-so-subtly glance at Nicole every so often. Once or twice he saw me looking at him, and his face changed. Whether he looked angry, or guilty, or… something else, I didn’t know. 

I never told Sydney or Rick what I had witnessed that day. I wasn’t sure if it was my place to tell them. Besides, the last discussion we had about Nicole didn’t seem to go anywhere productive, so I figured it was just me and Nicole against the world at this point. Nicole would probably have preferred it that way anyway, and asking would have just made things awkward. 

Not knowing what else to do, I joined Nicole, Dave, and Megan. “Are things okay?” I asked the group at large. 

“Yup,” Dave replied, readying a cash register. “You guys did good this year.”

“You really went above and beyond,” Megan added, smiling at me.

I shrugged. “I love winter,” I offered. “Plus I got my homework done on time, so I didn’t have much to do.” Truthfully, I was still neglecting my history work for the most part, but they didn’t need to know that. Plus, my grades slightly improved since Zelda stopped talking to me as much. It was a shame, but at least her grades were back up. A weird side effect from having Megan snoop around was that Zelda all but replaced me with her as her closest friend in the class. It was understandable, but…

Hell, I thought I had a chance with Zelda. After the whole Nicole episode blew over, I went back to being comfortable with letting anyone other than Nicole into my life. Thanks to her understanding and the fact I didn’t have the room key anymore, Sabrina was more than accepting of the fact that we hadn’t done anything since that blowjob. But Zelda… I would have liked for something to happen. I really thought something was going to happen.

“Um, Megan, quick question,” I added. “Maybe outside or something?”

She glanced art the windows. It wasn’t coming down, but it was snowing. “Hallway?” she asked gingerly.

“Sure,” I replied, and we walked off. Once we were confident no one would easily overhear our responses, I turned in to face her and lowered my voice. “So, it’s been a few weeks. Have you figured out Zelda’s thing?”

Megan reacted with confusion, then… alarm. “Uh…” she began. Her face scrunched up. “Zelda’s… thing? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“You really are the worst liar in the world,” I commented dryly. 

“It sure keeps me accountable,” she replied, closing her eyes in annoyance. “Hmm… yeah. Yeah, I kinda did.” She looked off towards the wall. “But now that I know, I think… I think Nicole is right.”

“Are you serious?” I asked in annoyance.

“She is! It’s not serious, but it is… private, I think. People really don’t need to know.”

“So, what, it made things worse off for you now that you do know?”

Megan stared at me for a bit, then raised one eyebrow comically high. “Yes.”

“Lying,” I pointed out exasperatedly. It was so obvious.

She groaned in frustration. “I don’t want to talk about this,” she replied. “It really is private. Maybe she’s fine with you knowing? But it would be weird for me to tell you.”

“This is such stereotypical high school bullshit,” I replied. “This is why they make shitty trashy movies about people like us, Megan.”

She shrugged. “They’re at least accurate, aren’t they?” she joked. “Again, ask her or not. But I’m not telling you.”

“Fine,” I conceded, but before she could walk away, I added, “Then I want the key back.”


“The key. I want it back.”

Her face darkened. “Um, that’s not fair,” she pointed out. “I’m still studying with her. I’m helping her keep her grades up.”

“You can just as easily do that in the caf,” I pointed out. 

She shook her head. “She has a thing about not studying where there’s lots of other people, or noise.”

“The library?”

“People actually do use Hazelwood’s library, you know,” she scoffed. “It’s the people factor.”

“Nicole gave that key to me. She expects me to have it back. She needs me to have it for something soon.” That last part was a complete lie, but I couldn’t stop it from spilling out of my mouth.

Megan probably caught on to that fact. She cocked her head to the side, and slowly asked, “Is that right?” She pursed her lips in thought. “Okay, I’ll ask her about it. If it’s needed that badly, I’ll return the keys to you. Deal?”

“Uh… yeah. Deal.” I couldn’t back out of this now. That satisfied Megan, and she turned around and started to walk back down the hallway. Cursing silently, I whipped out my phone and texted Nicole at lightning speed. It needed to be short and sweet.

Lie for me.

It was pretty blatant. I jogged to catch up to Megan, and only managed to do so about three seconds before we were both in front of Nicole.

“Hey Nicole,” Megan began casually. “Is it true Adam needs the key to Room 203 back soon?”

By the grace of God, Nicole happened to be looking at her phone, no doubt seeing my message, when Megan asked her. Unfortunately, she was Nicole.

She looked up from her phone. “Adam sprouted a third leg last night,” she blurted out.

I guess that was a lie. Thank you, Nicole.

“…Huh?” Megan asked.

“Pluto’s a planet again. The sky is green. Being Student Council President is a fulfilling job and you all do such a good job appreciating me.” Her eyes focused on Megan. “Oh. Um, it’s not incredibly urgent. You can probably have it for… another week? Then Adam needs it back. Sorry if I made it seem, like, life and death.”

Despite her initial jokes, Nicole’s answer disarmed Megan. She sighed and turned to me. “I’m sorry,” she admitted. “I’ll trust you more. One more week should be enough. We can find another place to study.”

“And the secret…?” I pressed, now not caring we were in front of others. 

Megan shook her head. “I told you, find out yourself,” she insisted. 

I groaned in response, rolling my head around and noticing Jarrod was looking at me. “So, did you tell Sabrina?” I asked to cut the tension.

He turned pink and looked away. “Yeah, thought so,” I tossed after him.

“Hey,” Megan chided me. “We told Scott we weren’t bullying him.”

“Explain to me why calling his bullshit on a threat is bullying,” I replied. I looked back at Jarrod, who was looking at us again. “Nicole’s here now. She can verify everything. We’re poly, she’s doing a mono thing, I kissed another girl at the Halloween dance and she knows about Nicole.” It was fine saying this in front of just the Council. At this point they all basically knew everything. Most people turned to Nicole, who was busy polishing some kind of decoration.

“Everything Adam ever says is true,” she added in a distracted voice without stopping her polishing. “And even if I’m not mono, I’m not interested. It’s cool if you’re not interested too, we can leave it at that, but let’s get it straight.”

Jarrod looked down at the floor. “Why are you singling me out?” he complained.

“…Because you yelled about how I was lying at a Council meeting when I wasn’t?” I asked as if it was obvious.

“You were still being weird to me then too,” he replied bitterly. It was clear I did not make friends with the grade nine rep this year. I guess it was becoming a yearly tradition. 

“I don’t think I was, but if it seemed that way, I’m sorry, dude,” I offered. Clearly, from Megan’s expression, I didn’t give Jarrod the best apology in the world, but hey, it’s what he deserved. 

“Hey, guys,” Dave cut in. “People will be here soon. We spent all this time decorating; it would suck to leave our dirty laundry everywhere too.”

Daniela snickered. “Nice.”

Eugene continued the thought. “We’re here to work together,” he pointed out. “Let’s represent the school well.”

“Hear hear,” Megan chimed in. 

Jarrod only replied by running off. I sighed watching him leave, and I didn’t even need to look at Megan to know what expression she was giving me. “Yeah yeah,” I accepted, waving her off and jogging to catch Jarrod.

He ended up going to the same hall where Megan and I went. He saw me chasing him and said, “Go away!” while still running.

“Dude, the Council wanted me to chase you,” I replied, still jogging. If I was drama, he was the Globe Theater. “You may as well stop. I’m gonna keep chasing you until you stop.”

He seemed to get the message half a hallways later and came to a stop, breathing heavily. Thanks to my gym visits and karate, I was a little better off than him. “You good?”

He just stared and me in response, still catching his breath.

“Look dude, I dunno what to say. I don’t even know why you’re upset with me, to be honest. Is it fair to say you got a thing for Nicole, is that what this is about?”

“This is about you being mean to me,” he replied in annoyance.

“Dude, I don’t recall doing anything aside from maybe acknowledging you being weird,” I admitted. “I get me and Nicole are kinda unique, but normally, getting horny for another guy’s girlfriend gets you punch- actually, wait. Fuck, wait, that wasn’t a threat. I’m – ugh…” I raked my hands over my face. “I’m so bad at this.” I shook my head free of the inner cobwebs. “Most dudes would get really angry at you for so openly ogling their girlfriend. I’ve earned the right to be a little weird around you.” I gestured my hands outwards. “Right?”

“I wasn’t ogling her,” Jarrod replied as if I was being presumptuous.

“Dude, I will ask the whole Council, Nicole included, if you were, if you want. Wanna go back to them and ask that very question, right here, right now?”

“Well then they’d all just lie for you, because you guys are this big friend group and I’m the outside guy,” Jarrod protested.

“Honestly, yeah, that’s the dynamic of the group,” I agreed. “It happens every year. It happened when I was a grade nine rep too.”

Jarrod snapped his fingers and pointed at me. “See, another lie!” he accused. “How were you a grade nine rep when Megan told me herself she was the grade nine rep last year? She told me, herself, that she was a grade nine rep. You’re just Nicole’s boyfriend, that’s how you got in.”

I was so going to kill the Council for putting me through this. “We were both the rep last year, we tied in the polls,” I explained with an exhausted tone.

“Yeah, sure,” he spat. 

My patience was officially gone. “Dude. You wanna make friends in Council? Wanna make a single friend? Stop being a little shit. I know for a fact that I’d have been a lot friendlier to you if you didn’t make Nicole so uncomfortable early on, or if-”

“Then why did she kiss me?!”

He practically shouted that. My mouth was open with another word brewing when he shouted that, but then it closed. I couldn’t help but see myself in the little twerp in that moment. That moment of confusion. Anger. Jealousy.

I was silent for a bit. “You know what, yeah,” I replied quietly. “It’s a dumb fuckin’ tradition, isn’t it? It probably made you uncomfortable, in some way or another. It was confusing. It made things seem like one way when it was another. It made the year get off to a shitty start.”

He wasn’t expecting that. “Yeah,” he quietly agreed.

“And that probably made you think Nicole felt one way when she felt another,” I sighed. “Which made you… yeah, alright. Look.” I turned away to face the wall. “Let’s… start over.” I turned back. “Hey, I’m Adam. VP. Good to meet you, Jarrod.” I stuck out a hand. “Welcome to nearly halfway through the Council. Let’s start by telling those guys off for thinking the kiss thing is okay. You and me. What do ya say?”

Jarrod was clearly hesitant. I don’t know who hurt him in the past, but it seemed like he was hurt before or something. “Sure,” he replied, not putting out his hand.

I chuckled. “We gotta shake on it, dude,” I insisted. “Don’t worry. I won’t make you spit on it.”

Jarrod lowered his eyebrows, but even still, outstretched his hand and shook mine. It was a dead fish but it was something. I nodded and walked back down the hallway with purpose, looking back to see he wasn’t walking. “I’m gonna need you to back me up,” I told him. “They’re not gonna listen if it’s just one voice. Let’s argue our point together.”

Jarrod looked at the floor for a little bit, but finally, started walking. Eventually, we were walking, side by side, ready to make our case.

By most accounts, the dance was nothing special. Like the rest, especially since I didn’t care much for dances. But for the final fifteen minutes before the doors opened, Jarrod and my inner grade nine made our cases and tore that Council, even Nicole, a new one for keeping that dumb tradition alive. It was fun, and more importantly, it was needed. The boundary-loving Nicole looked stunned. The empathetic Megan was caught off guard. The Council that swept things under the rug had to look their consequences dead in the face. Adam and Jarrod worked together, and I loved every second of it. I guess the Council was right more than they realized: I needed to be the one to get Jarrod back into the Council.


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2 thoughts on “Consequences – Chapter 7

  1. Interesting – as ever. Of course, Nicole has never really been ‘perfect’ – and some of the ‘side stories’ suggested a darker picture than the Adam pov history, but she is really moving into a phase where Adam will have serious choices to make for his own well-being.

    Is it just to me that the sudden use of the third person ” Adam and Jarrod worked together, and I loved every second of it.” sounds a little odd? Or is Adam (at long last) getting a little perspective and just beginning to try to see himself as others might see him? Still very much worth following as a story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoy your writing and ‘treat’ myself by waiting a few chapters and binge-reading. I’m enjoying the direction this is heading. In agreement with the comment above, Adam’s going to have to start making some tough choices. One thing that does frustrate me at points is that Adam is still pretty bad at working people out. He either needs it explained to him (Nicole’s parents, Nicole herself) or he gets there after a period of agonizing. I’d have loved him to have had the realization about Nicole’s parent’s behavior without having it explained to him by Mrs Baker. It was quite clear to the reader (and may have been to most people) that they behave in a type of denial about what’s going on. I fear sometimes your need to write Adam as someone ‘growing up’ and going through tough things as a teenager, misses the point that sometimes teenagers do have adult observations. That’s just something to be mindful of as I wonder how different the scene between Adam + Mrs Baker might have been, if he could have bridged that gap.
    Keep up the great story-telling, looking forward to binge-reading the next 2/3 chapters.

    Liked by 1 person

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