I counted the money I have and realized how stupid I am.
Of course I don’t have enough money to cover for Clark’s expenses! I only saved enough for myself and because dad’s a prick and doesn’t want to give me too much money because too much money apparently ruined people (that’s what he said), and now I’m dead.
I wanted to call Valery to borrow money but I know I shouldn’t because that’s too much. I couldn’t possibly borrow someone’s money just because I was desperate to have my crush join a 3-day cruise.
That’s just wrong.
I dramatically dropped down on the floor, grunting at how stupid I could be.
Staring at my phone yet again,I should just call Clark and tell him that I don’t have enough money for the two of us.
Yeah, I should just do that, right? He’s nice and understanding, I’m sure he wouldn’t get angry if I do that.
Wait, Drew. Maybe you can ask your father for money? Have a deal with him or something like that.
I slammed my head on the floor, thinking how low I’ve sunk. That’s the one thing I couldn’t do. I’m sure dad would let me take over a territory, temporarily. I’ve already witnessed how he operates a territory and I didn’t want any part of that.
It was chaotic, brutal and the people there were heartless. It was as if they’re not afraid of killing someone just for the sake of money.
I mean I needed money but I wouldn’t go as far as killing.
I’m not like them.
I clenched my fists and gritted my teeth.
I’ll hold onto my humanity as long as I could.
I grabbed my phone and browsed the net to search for a way in how to earn a money in weeks. While doing so, I saw a part-time job offer and it looked really easy and would pay a lot of money.
I read the job detail.
The place was called The Pink Stars. Hmmm, interesting. It was a restaurant and they needed a server. They don’t have any hard requirements, just someone who could work at night and was physically fit.
I calculated the pay and it was enough to cover for Clark’s expenses.
I quickly created a resume and applied for the job.
This would be easy.
Tomorrow morning, I went to school with a big smile. Ignoring the judging looks of my schoolmates (since they knew that I’m a homo and apparently, being a gay person was equivalent to being a murderer which I don’t really understand), I walked straight to my locker only to see Valery already waiting there.
When she saw me, her face lit up.
“Good morning!” she greeted.
I neared her and noticed her dirty hands. I raised a brow at her, blinking.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
She clumsily laughed, rubbing the back of her head.
“Nothing! Just waiting for my best friend,” she answered.
I turned to my locker and saw a smudge of blank ink on it.
“What happened here?”
Valery grinned wide at me.
“Nothing! What’s your first class again?”
“Calculus,” I replied.
Unlocking the door of my locker, I took out the book I needed for my morning classes. I closed it before facing Valery.
“Why are you asking me what my first class is? You already know that,” I said, giving her a funny look.
She laughed again.
“Y-yeah, you’re right! I’ll escort you to your room,” she said, pulling my arm towards my classroom.
While walking through the crowded corridor, my ears perked up upon hearing someone saying, “there’s the faggot.”
I tried searching whoever said that but all I saw were people giving me that familiar, disgusted look. Memories of my past schools where I have been treated as an outcast flashed back in my mind and all I could do was to lower my head in shame.
Valery’s hand tightened around me.
“Don’t worry about it,” she whispered. “I’m here.”
I stared at her with wide eyes, not believing what I just heard. All through out my life, I have never found someone who would help me at times like this. Sure I had friends from my previous schools but as soon as they discovered that I’m gay, they were quick to drop me as if I’m someone who had a contagious disease.
But Valery, she’s different from all my other friends.
She guided me through the crowd and once we arrived at my classroom, she turned to face me, put her hands on my shoulder and looked straight into my eyes.
“Don’t mind the stupid homophobes, Drew. Gay sex is hot,” she said, winking at me.
I stared at her, jaw dropping in awe.
“W-what?! Is that the reason why you’re supporting me?” I asked in exaggeration.
Stephanie continued staring at me as she nodded her head in response.
I finally laughed out loud, releasing the stress I was feeling the moment I felt the isolation from my schoolmates.
“You’re unbelieavable,” I mumbled to myself. “But thanks, Val. You’re…amazing.”
Valery gave me a thumbs up.
“I’ll see you at lunch then, bye!”
Running to her classroom, she waved a hand at me before disappearing in my sight. The smile I had in my face vanished as I faced the door of my classroom.
I knew this was bound to happen. Confessing my feelings to Georgy, a place like this would definitely hate me for what I am.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop myself from telling him my feelings.
I’m such an idiot.
A really big idiot.
I rubbed my face and sighed out loud.
There’s no turning back.
I couldn’t possibly transfer schools now because --
I opened the door and the first person I saw was Clark. He was sitting on his usual desk and was busy with his phone.
I focused my attention on him, happily skipping towards him with a big grin.
I needed to appear happy. I didn’t want to let the bullying get to me again.
“Hello! Good morning,” I cheerfully greeted, sitting down beside Clark while flashing him a big smile. “How are you this fine morning?”
Clark turned to me, smiling but when he saw my face, he scowled.
“Is something wrong?” he asked.
I blinked at him.
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“You look like something’s bothering you,” Clark said.
I felt my heart ached but I only clumsily laughed at him, brushing what he said.
“It’s nothing,” I said, giggling. “I’m fine!”
“Are you sure?” he inquired.
“Of course,” I replied.
I gave him another fake smile.
“So, how are you?” I asked just to change the subject.
“Fine. A little bit tired,” he said as he massaged his right arm.
Clark faced me and smiled.
I remembered Clark talking about his job. The guardian thingy.
“What’s your job exactly?”
He leaned on his chair and nibbled his bottom lip. I was mesmerized at what he was doing that I didn’t even noticed that I was staring at him with desire.
I wanted to touch his lips, kiss it and --
“Nothing special. I’m just looking out for someone and I’m getting paid,” Clark said before looking back at me only to see my dazed expression.
I snapped out of my trance, sheepishly laughing at him.
“I see. Are they important?” I asked, coughing to clear my throat.
I pouted from his answer. Why am I getting jealous at someone I didn’t even know. I’m such a petty person, it’s a shame.
Shaking my head to release my stress, I grinned at Clark.
“You’re gonna come to the cruise, right?” I asked.
“Yep. Don’t worry, I’m gonna pay you back. Sorry I’m short this month,” he replied.
I waved my hands to rebuke him.
“No, it’s okay,” I said.
Even though I’m gonna work to get the money I’m going to give to Clark, everything’s still okay. I’m just not gonna tell anyone that I’m gonna work at a restaurant for the mean time just to earn the money Clark’s gonna use.
The real problem was that I have to think of excuses to tell dad why I’m going to be late.
Suddenly, an idea popped in my head.
I just have to tell dad that I needed to stay at school because of a project.
Now how am I going to escape the bodyguards dad gave me.
I thought for a while and another brilliant idea popped in my head.
Laughing with myself, I nodded my head.
“Hey, are you sure you’re really okay?” Clark asked, waking me up from my thoughts.
“Huh? Why do you keep asking me that?”
Clark gave me a funny look.
“Because you’ve been laughing like you’re planning something evil,” he replied.
My whole face flushed in embarrassment.
“I-I’m sorry! I just remembered…something funny in the movie I watched yesterday!” I lied, chuckling nervously at Clark.
“What kind of movie? I like watching movies too,” he informed and the moment I heard that, I perked up.
“Really?! I like horror and action movies!” I excitedly said, eyes lighting from happiness.
I didn’t want to tell him that I hate horror movies because I’m a scaredy-cat. I love romantic movies because I’m a hopeless romantic and watching those kind of films always makes me cry. But of course, being a man and all, society tells you not to like those things because it’s not normal for men to like sappy things.
“How about you?”
I finally found something Clark and I have in common. Talking with him now would be easier than before.
Clark rubbed the back of his head, smiling shyly at me.
“I like rom-com movies,” he said.
I mentally slapped my face from left to right. Why?! Why did I say I liked horror movies?! Clark doesn’t care about the norms in society, obviously so why should I?!
“O-oh, I see…rom-com is good too! I like it too!” I said, face still red. My heart began to beat fast when I asked him, “a-are you…by any chance…d-do you wanna…uhh…”
I clenched my fists and bit my lip.
Come on, there’s nothing weird about a guy asking another guy to watch a movie, right? Nothing wrong, I mean Oleg usually invites me to their house to watch movies. Well, mostly because of his sister but let’s forget about that one minor detail.
I was about to open my mouth to continue what I was trying to say but a sudden pain on my head stopped me from speaking. I got dizzy for a moment as my surroundings turned into a blur. From afar, I could hear muffled laughter all over the room and that was when I realized what happened.
Someone had thrown something on my head and whatever it was, it was definitely hard.
Clark was quick enough to catch me before I fall out of the chair. I clutched my aching head, gasping.
Damn, that really hurt.
“Faggots like you aren’t allowed to be in this room,” I heard someone saying but I didn’t know who it was.
The room was filled with another burst of laughter. I wanted to run away from this place, to hide somewhere so nobody could hurt me again but the pain on my head was preventing me from moving.
Tears escaped my eyes but I bit my lip to stop myself from crying.
Clark’s hand supported my head while the other held my arm.
“Don’t worry, I got you,” he whispered oh-so gently in my ear.
He stood up and guided me out of the room. I could feel the disgusting glares everyone was giving me and it hurt so much.
What have I ever done to these people?
I remained sitting on the edge of the bed, looking down on my hands. Clark was rummaging the medicine cabinet since the nurse was out for some unknown reason.
When Clark returned, he was holding an ice bag.
“Let me check your head,” he said, walking towards me.
Standing in front of me, he leaned closer to check the back of my head. The scent of his perfume had a weird effect on me and I felt my skin shivering in delight.
I felt a sting when he touched the part where I was hit.
“You have a bump over here,” he said, carefully running his hand on the particular area. “But it’s not that serious, you’ll live.”
I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Thanks,” I mumbled.
Clark sat beside me, awfully close for my comfort, to put the ice bag on my head.
“Let me know if you feel dizziness,” he said.
“Okay but I’m feeling fine now.”
Well, it hurts but now that Clark’s treating it already, I’m more than fine.
We fell into an awkward silence. I racked my brain to find a topic for us to talk about.
“Uh, sorry about…all of this,” I finally said, sighing.
Clark raised a brow.
“Why are you apologizing,” he asked.
“Well…because you always see me getting bullied and I’m obviously troubling you by helping me. I’m sorry,” I explained further. “This isn’t new to me. Once people knew who I really am, they start treating me as an outcast. I don’t mind but it’s getting really tiring.”
Clark looked straight into my eyes.
“Do you want it to stop?”
I was surprised by his sudden question. The tone of his voice drastically changed and it was as if I’m talking to someone else. I looked back at him and saw his eyes emotionless and cold and for some reason, I felt fear.
Ignoring my grim thoughts, I brushed his question off with a laugh.
“There’s nothing that can be done but it’ll be really great if they stop treating me like I’m trash,” I truthfully said.
I backed away, gulping as Clark moved closer towards me.
“Okay,” he said.
I saw a flash of demonic gaze on that handsome face of his but it was quickly masked by a kind smile.
He stood up all of a sudden and gave me the ice bag. Taking his phone out, I saw the screen lighting up, meaning he had just received a message.
“I won’t be back until lunch,” he informed. “I’ll see you later.”
Clark waved a hand at me as I watched him go out of the clinic. I was left alone, confused by his weird actions.
I wonder what was that all about.
I didn’t want to go back to class so I stayed in the clinic longer than I should be. I fell asleep and it was the nurse who woke me up. By the time I was awake, classes have already finished.
I took my phone out to check if someone sent me any messages while I was sleeping. Seeing that there was an unopened message, I read it in silence.
I felt my heart skipped a beat. I got a message from the restaurant and they’re inviting me for an interview this afternoon.
I dashed out of the room, thanking the nurse before going out of the clinic only to be greeted by a man wearing a casual clothing. From an ordinary person’s point of view, they would think that this guy was nothing but a fine-looking citizen but I knew better. In just one look in his eyes, I knew he’s in the same world as me.
“Hello,” he greeted in a dead, monotonous voice. “I’m Isaac, your personal bodyguard.”
I blinked at him quite a few times.
The Isaac guy took out something from his coat pocket, not breaking eye contact as he showed the object to me.
“This is the insignia of your family crest and only people from your group can have this. It means that what I’m saying is legit and that I’m a part of the Orlov group,” he explained.
Seriously, the dead voice was bothering me but I tried not to look impolite.
“Okay,” I said.
Isaac saw the doubt in my eyes. He took out his phone and showed me the number of my father.
“Do I have to call the boss to verify my identity,” he asked.
“No!” I barked, thinking that if he called dad, my plan of working a part-time job would be sabotaged. “I trust you.”
I saw his eyes narrowed but he didn’t say anything.
“Thank you for trusting me. I should accompany you back to your house.”
He turned his back on me but I grabbed his arm to stop him.
“Wait! I can’t go home yet…I still have…something to do,” I said. “A project,” I elaborated. “With my classmates.”
Isaac stared at me.
“I don’t recall you having any projects. I checked your class schedule and the subjects you’re taking and there has been no information about doing any projects from your teachers.”
I gaped at him in disbelief.
“H-How did you…?”
“It’s my job to know everything about you, sir Drew,” Isaac said.
“This is getting creepy,” I commented. “What happened to the other bodyguards that are supposed to check on me,” I asked.
“They’re accompanying the boss to Italy for a meeting,” he replied.
My eyes bulged out of its sockets.
“My dad is going to Italy?! Are you for real?!”
Isaac blinked at me.
“Yes. You do not know?”
“I wouldn’t be having this kind of reaction if I knew,” I sarcastically said.
Grinning wide at him, I said, “Isaac, I have a huge favor to ask of you. Since this is the first time we met, who don’t we go somewhere?”
“I was told to pick you up and bring you back to the house,” he said.
“Oh come on! I’m gonna treat you out of dinner. Let’s go!”
Everything’s falling into my plans. Now that dad’s in Italy, attending some useless meeting with the Mafia there, I could do anything I wanted without restraints.
I grabbed my bag and pulled Isaac out of the school building.
“Where are we going?” he asked as I dragged him away.
I gave him a thumbs up and a confident smirk.
“You need to protect me right? I need money. So let’s work together, shall we?”
Isaac still had his poker face expression.
“You need money?”
I made my way to the bus terminal.
“Yep, I need money for something…special,” I carefully said. “But don’t tell anyone about this, okay?”
He just stared at me with those creepy dead eyes.
“May I ask where we are going. I need to tell my supervisor about this.”
“No need, no need! Everything’s fine, Isaac!”
I checked the address one last time before looking at the building in front of me.
I’m pretty sure this place doesn’t looked like a restaurant. More like a bar or something.
Oh well, what’s the difference anyway? Bar or not, I’m just gonna serve drinks, right?
Easy work, easy money.
I grinned to myself.
“What are we doing here?” Isaac asked.
I kept my hold on his hand, pulling him towards the place where I was supposed to work.
We walked towards the entrance but Isaac stopped me.
“This isn’t a good place, Drew,” he said, his eyes looking around in caution. “This isn’t our territory.”
I blinked at him.
“Then all the better, right? No one knows that I’m a son of mobster,” I reasoned.
Isaac’s gaze returned back to me.
“How much money do you need?”
“I’m gonna give you the money. I can’t let you go in there.”
I made a face.
“I trusted you, didn’t I? Trust me on this one too.”
The corner of his eye twitched.
“You remind me of someone,” Isaac said and for the first time, he finally let out a smile. “But you’re quick to trust someone, that’s a change.”
I didn’t understand what he was saying.
“If something happens to you here, he’s going to kill me.”
He grabbed my hand, interlocking our fingers together.
“I think I get the gist of what you’re trying to do. I’ll help you out this time but you still need to explain why you need the money.”
The moment our hands touched, I felt something weird. There was an electric jolt that made me shudder.
“Okay. Got it.”
I got hired in an instant after the interview. Three of their waiters quit the job so they were desperate for a pair of extra hands so they weren’t picky in who they were going to hire. We agreed on doing night shifts for three weeks and it was enough for me to earn the money I need for Clark.
I got out of the office and saw Isaac waiting at me by the corridor. He was leaning against the wall, eyes sharp and attentive. When he saw me, he stood up straight.
“Did you get the job?” he asked.
We walked out of the restaurant to get a cab.
“You’re thinking I’m petty, aren’t you?” I asked all of a sudden.
Isaac was busy calling a cab but answered me nonetheless.
“Why would I think that?”
“Because I’m doing something so desperately.”
Isaac shrugged his shoulders.
“Love is a desperate thing. There’s nothing petty there,” he said.
I forced a smile at him. If it wasn’t for his dead voice, I would have been touched by what he said.
“Thanks anyway. For understanding and thanks for trusting me too.”
A cab finally parked in front of us but before opening the door, Isaac eerily smiled at me.
“Don’t trust someone too much, Drew. It will kill you.”