Me refusing to take Blake seriously is why we’re in Chicago in the first place.
And maybe that’s because Blake says a lot of confusing things and my mind can’t coincide with his thinking process. I don’t know why I didn’t take him seriously. Approximately three naps, three arguments, and three hours later, I see the big green sign up ahead reading, “Welcome to Chicago!”
The Windy City.
Blake was hysterical when he saw the bewilderment and complete horror on my face. I shouted at him, wailed my arms, even fit in a few curse words for his name. He only pulled off the interstate and tightened his hands around the steering wheel.
“You’re irritating,” is all he said.
Right. As if I dictated his well-being by driving him three hours away from home.
I didn’t even want to remember if I had parents or not.
As we tour across the glass skyscrapers and bustling Chicagoan’s raving amongst the shopping arenas and fast food adornments, one part of me feels an odd pinch of excitement and a bold anticipation for something new.
I view it as a sort of escape. Me leaving reality for awhile. Even though I grew impatient and was warily congested with feelings of fear and doubt, this small part of me was actually kind of hopeful for this brief getaway. I wanted to be alone with Blake. I longed for escaping the rain and the gray skies of Springfield for awhile. Maybe Blake knows exactly what I need and I should start taking him more seriously.
The only thing I long to be is free with Blake right now.
“Hold still man.”
“Oh my gosh, no, please don’t touch me with that stuff,”
“Just let me do it myself!”
Before I can react to taking control of the situation, Blake has already forced the medicine onto my cut. It burns with a prickling numbness. I hiss and curse a string of curse words. To Blake’s amusement, he sets the bottle of rubbing alcohol down and tilts my chin up to look him in the eye.
My heart stops when his face itches closer, staring me directly in the eyes.
“I’m just checking for any more injuries,” he inquiries, dark eyes roaming about my face. I’m almost shamlessly positive that he can see the red on my face. Not from the injuries or irritation either; just purely from his touch.
For a split second, we make eye contact. It’s undeniably strong. I’m gazing at him and he’s gazing at me, except there’s a deep frown pressed into his features.
His fingers trail down to my collarbone where I hiss at his warm touch. It’s definitely swollen and it’s a field of red. He frowns harder, making his way back up to my face. He stops his fingers at my lips.
Valerie wanted me to have a difficult time eating for the next few weeks, so of course, she busted my bottom lip. It’s not necessarily split, just bruised and bloated. Blake’s fingertips lightly brush the damaged skin of my lip and he sucks in his own, seemingly inquisitive but stopping himself short.
The whole time, I’m as red as a busted tomato. He may think it’s the inflammation of my injuries, but these took place (and were fresh) hours ago. It’s him whose doing the most damage.
“Kind of hate to see you all beat up all the time,” he says, eyes downcasted to my hands.
They’re pale and unsightly, maybe because I don’t care for my hands as much. There are no words being exchanged right now. I breathe in a calming rhythm to distract myself from Blake’s intense commenting and concern. Why is he so damn concerned?
Just like in the locker room. Always noticing your battle scars.
“You may wanna get some ice for that lip,” Blake states, snapping me out of my thoughts. “And I’m pretty sure those welts will heal on they own. Just give it some time.”
His eyes aren’t lost or dreamy or compressed into a frown of worry. He’s just regular Blake now.
“Damn, it’s almost one o’clock Ron.”
Blake looks over at the mini microwave planted on the granite colored counter top. With whatever money I keep seeing Blake pull out, he paid for us this hotel room to keep us preoccupied and sheltered for this quick vacation we’re on. I’m not sure why he was even granted a hotel room figuring we’re high school students who should be in high school doing work, but then again, Blake is a senior and can easily pass as an adult over me. From his tall and athletic build to the bass in his voice that he fakes just to fool people to their dismay, it’s no surprise that a kid of older appearance can trick a lobbyist into occupying a hotel room with some beat-up kid as a side kick.
Will I continue to think about it? Considerably...no. I try not to fight with circumstances these days. I think I’ve learned to leave fate alone and let reality be reality.
I didn’t know I had fallen asleep. I probably wouldn’t have known if I had not heard Blake rambling on the phone with someone who seems like they had pissed him off. As I groggily turn over on the bed and look at Blake with hazy eyes, he continues to whisper-shout into his phone with a strained expression contorting his features.
“Damn it Barbara do you have to fuck up everything?” Blake shouts.
There’s a heavy silence in the air and I try really hard to still play as if I’m asleep. My heart is pounding so loud to the point where I’m pretty sure Blake could hear it if he just concentrated. Whatever has got him upset is even taking a toll on me.
“Well, obviously I ain’t gone be around as much, which means you and the gang need to step ya’ll muthafuckin’ game up. Hell yeah I mean that, I got other shit to worry about.”
More silence, it’s starting to hurt now. I do myself a favor and rub my eyes, which causes the bed sheets to stir which in return causes Blake to finally acknowledge my consciousness. For some reason, I notice the soft shift in his expression and now he seems more calm and equitable.
“Whatever man, I’ll call you back later. Spread the message to Antonio and Valerie.”
He hangs up the phone and turns his attention to me. I manage a weak, sleepy smile and Blake steps closer, kneeling down to see me on eye level.
“Take a good nap princess?”
“A little. It didn’t feel too bad.”
Unexpectedly, Blake brushes my bangs out of my eyes and looks deep into my pupils. This is the most motherly, heart felt thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. It reminds me of my own mother, back in my childhood, when she would smooth the hair out of my eyes to comfort me from a bad dream, or if I had a terrible stomachache. She’d looked into my eyes and say, “No more bad feelings Ron. Mommy is always here with you.”
This trace of a woman no longer exists. Her tenderness has vanished with the years. All I get out of her is insincere smiles and a lot of faux coating; which she uses to poke fun at my anti-socialness.
Remincing about my childhood doesn’t bring back memories of cupcakes and rainbows. In fact, it was the most confusing time of my life. And what’s even more confusing is why I feel so much more vulnerable to Blake’s touch than my own mother’s. What’s even more upsetting is that I kind of favor his touch over my mother’s.
Please keep looking at me. Maybe you’ll see something.
Blake frightens me when his fingers lovingly cup my chin in an effort to tilt my head upwards. I panic, and in sheer seconds, I raise up off the bed and busy myself with rubbing my eyes. Blotches of faint color dot my vision as my bangs fall around my eyes. While rubbing, I open one eye to peek Blake smiling at me. It is one of the most unusual things I’ve ever seen. Blake genuinely smiling at me.
I wish he’d do that more often.
“You’re an interesting person Ron,” he says, standing up to stretch his limbs. “and you crazy deep down inside.”
“Yeah. You always tell me I’m mad."
“Shit, you are.”
His chuckle is deep but cute. I try not to show the secret amusement on my face but it’s kind of hard not to. Blake is so undescribable. I figure that’s why I’m so fascinated by him.
That, and the fact that he has a dark side.
I’m not sure how to word what I want to ask, but I know it has something to do with his dark side. Why is Blake in so much trouble? What’s the cause of the problem and why is Barbara, Antonio, and Valerie freaking out about his soon-to-be absence so bad?
I conjour up the courage to finally ask and when the words come out, I feel braver than ever.
“Blake, I really want you to be honest with me right now.”
Blake looks at me as if I requested something ridiculous. But his eyes do that thing and soften and this prompts me to move on.
“I’m apart of your gang now, so I have the right to know all the secrets about what’s really going on.”
“Ron, it ain’t even been a day yet, calm yo horses.”
“Look, I’m already in a crazy situation. I’m in Chicago, away from home and school, and I’m apart of a gang that stocks business on drugs and whatever else. The least you can do is tell me what’s going on so I’m not in the dark anymore.”
“Damn,” Blake grins, eyes plastering to the floor. “that’s the most words I’ve ever heard you say coherently.”
He’s laughing but my point is still unheard.
This is your moment Ron. Stop being a bitch and demand your respect from him.
So I stand up off the bed and face him full on. I don’t know what comes over me, but I feel taller than him. I feel more bold, complex, and important enough to get what I want.
Which is all the answers I’ve been curiously waiting for.
“I’m pretty sure those are a lot of words coming out of me, but they’re not full of air. As an official delegate of your league now, I simply ask for you, my leader, to explain to me what’s going on.”
“Ron, you don’t...”
“Why are we still going back and forth with this? Do I have to revert to Antonio instead? Barbara maybe?”
I don’t mention Valerie on purpose because I’m not that cool with her. The mention of Antonio though seems to send something through Blake’s mind. He tries to puncture his gaze through me but it doesn’t work. I hold my ground. I control the beating of my heart and how I want for Blake to so bad press his body against mine.
Such an inappropriate thought for a serious situation but I’m pathetic in a lot of situations.
Blake’s dark brown eyes seem to grow darker at my demand. He turns away from me to check the time on the microwave.
He’s stalling, I think, and this makes me irritable.
The frustration on my face is what finally makes Blake falter. He chuckles to play it off but I think I truly made him uncomfortable.
“Damn blue eyes, you look like you can kill somebody with that stare.”
I smirk. The blood in my body feels hot and prone to a foreignness I’ve never felt before. This is all new to me and I almost take it too far, but I bite back my tongue as I’m not necessarily powerful yet. I don’t want to trigger Blake’s full viciousness either.
Surprisingly, after countless moments of Blake just staring at me, he spills the beans about the inside details.
“Let’s just say I owe some people,” he shrugs animatedly, mouth pressed into a firm line. “it’s taking a toll on me and the others and I’m trying to sort shit out. Getting suspended from school over that fight ain’t make nothing better.”
“You owe who?”
“Ah shit. Nothing for you to know right now.”
“Why we talking about this bruh? We in Chicago right now, we should be having fun.”
“Fun?” I say as if it’s an alien topic.
“Yeah bro. Fuuunn. It’s two o’clock right now, the perfect time to go do some shopping or something.”
He’s lacing up his shoes and tidying up his clothes. I stand still as if he would get my sudden stillness means I don’t want to go anywhere, but he ignores my intentions and stands up ready to go.
“You ready bruh? Or you need to brush yo teeth after that nap?”
“Okay, it’s official. I don’t understand you Blake.”
“You ain’t got to. Now come on, let’s go.”
“I mean, one minute we’re getting ice-cream, then traveling, now going shopping?”
“Well, we do need to get you some appropriate wardrobe.”
All of this gives me a sudden headache, and abruptly, images of me heaving and getting scowled by my parents display in my mind. I take it that I’m having a mild panic attack, because before I know it, bold Ron disappears and back comes the weary, pathetic little nobody that no one likes.
I sit back down on the bed to catch my breath. Blake notices my shift in demeanor and rolls his eyes.
“Damn it, I thought you almost convinced me.”
“Shut up,” I manage under my breath. “It’s because of you that I’m freaking out so much.”
“What I do?”
“I’m not in school, my parents are going to kill me, and...and...”
“And you’re just so unpredictable and weird. I have no idea what this all really is.”
“Ron, it’s simple man,”
Blake comes over to me with adult posture and sits down next to me on the bed, making it slightly sink. I’m having a hard time looking him in the eyes, and the prickly heat I feel from his arm hairs just makes this even more harder as it’s an indicator that he’s super close.
Oh God just kill me now.
“The number one reason why you ain’t happy is because you keep robbing yourself of happiness,” Blake explains.
This strikes me as quite odd, and I take a moment to really soak in his words.
Robbing myself of happiness? How am I doing that?
“I mean, think about it,” Blake nearly reads my thoughts. “you only got one chance at living dog. One. Chance. You really want to spend every second of your fucking life preventing yourself from doing what you wanna do?”
“I-I really don’t know what I want to do.”
“I know you’d rather stop hurting and start healing.”
My hearts stops and I actually feel my chest hollow. Blake is staring at me but I find better company with my shoes. I try to reel in where he’s coming from and he almost has me to his point. He continues to make sure he doesn’t lose me for too long.
“This should be the last time I ever see a bruise on your pretty face,”
And finally, my heart explodes. I turn to look at Blake slowly and I start to feel that maybe Blake is a soft guy in disguise. He may be a gay guy in disguise as well, because there’s no way anyone can tell me that the pheromones I’m feeling from him aren’t real. He actually said I have a pretty face and that he doesn’t want to see another bruise on it.
Now if that’s not a little gay, I don’t know what is.
I smile and the little split in my bottom lip spreads as well. Tears well in my eyes because I can’t get over how well we’re connecting.
Maybe I did make the right choice. Maybe I didn’t. But for now, no matter what, I just always want Blake by my side. Forever if that’s feasible. I just really want to keep this beautiful, dangerous man by my side. Forever.
“Blake,” I say softly, not knowing what to say.
“Ron,” he mimicks my tone back, and this makes me laugh. It’s a little hushed and girly sounding but I rarely laugh. Having variety in my comical senses hasn’t set in yet.
The only thing that’s set in is my feelings for Blake. For some off the wall reason, he gets to me. I am attracted to him when I have no real idea how he’s like.
And quite frankly...
...I don’t care.