The ice-cold bottled water touches the pit of my stomach and makes me feel rejuvenated. We all are waiting on Blake and Antonio to come back from The Pine Hills with the money made from the deal. Valerie has been on the couch mindlessly tapping buttons on her phone while Barbara and I have been making light conversation in the kitchen. It has helped me lessen my stress about the drug deal and opened me up to talk about normal things; like boys.
“So, I hope I don’t offend you by asking, but, you are gay, right? I’ve never been one hundred percent sure.”
“Yeah, no one’s ever sure,” I chuckle, taking another swig of cold water. “I don’t talk about my sexuality much. I just...feel the way I do and move on with life.”
“That’s weird. I thought Adrienne Conrad was your girlfriend just a few weeks ago?”
“She was in love with me, whereas I only loved her as a sister. I literally only dated her to try and make myself feel normal deep down inside.”
Thinking about Adrienne takes me back to a time where I didn’t know what the inside corridors of a gang’s hideout house looked like and I didn’t know Blake or Valerie or Barbara or Antonio as good as I do now. I felt more miserable before Blake took me in. Lost, unhappy, and desperately trying to find a way to fit in to avoid being an outcast nobody likes.
Uncertainty may taint me now, but at least I have people I can call family. “Belonging,” as Barbara had put it when I first met her.
I don’t let Barbara know this, but I wonder how Adrienne is doing, and if she misses me or not.
As my thoughts wander, Barbara pops open a bag of candy and gives me a goofy look. I cock my eyebrow, growing goofy at her weird, suspicious facial expression.
“What?” I grin.
“Well now that I know you’re gay for real, all the weirdness and closeness between you and Blake make more sense now.”
I’m playing with the material of my bandage when I stop and blush at Barbara’s speculation. She slyly deposits a candy into her mouth and bops my nose when she notices how pink I’m turning.
“Ooooh. I didn’t know you had it bad like that.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I hide my face behind my hair.
“It’s okay though Ron. Blake has that effect on people.”
She looks over my head to check if Valerie is eavesdropping, then proceeds when she see’s the brunette lost in the world of her phone.
“Want to know a secret?”
My eyes enlarge as she leans into me, our shoulders brushing and our faces mere inches apart.
“We all feel a little attraction towards Blake. Especially Pissy Face over there. She has it super bad. She’s told me all about her fantasies and how she just wants to live alone with him and grow to love him and his entire being and not what he just displays towards us.”
This secret has me gapping at the mouth. I knew I wasn’t entirely crazy. Valerie’s jealousy towards me about Blake was so transparent that a blind man could see how green she was. It all starts to make sense to me. Valerie is in love with Blake. My stomach churns to think that the feelings I have for Blake are not just mine alone, but that they are shared. And according to Barbara’s word, Blake just has this “effect” on people. Is he a natural charmer? Could he possess the potential to truly like me or does his effect just latch on to everyone?
Which leads me to my next thought...
“I-Is Blake even...you know?”
Barbara giggles, making me get butterflies. I truly have to know.
“I used to believe Blake didn’t have a sexuality. He was always strict and very unreadable when it came to men and women. But lately, I can say with good intuition that Blake may be bisexual.”
Blake the Bisexual Bull. Even though I agreed with myself to stop calling him a bull, the phrase was too good not to use and I even make myself chuckle.
I can see how Blake can be bisexual. He’s very outward with his affection towards me, such as him almost kissing me in the basement of the hideout house and being sexually frustrated in Chicago when I was changing in a dressing room. Blake is just so him that it’s kind of odd to picture him liking men. I used to question his queer behavior with me but the more he did it the more I accepted him being on my side of the spectrum. But now that Barbara has brought another variable into the equation - such as Valerie being in love with him - and how her good tuition tells her he’s bi, I also see how he can be a ladies man.
If one were to first glance at Blake, they would assume straightness, like I did. He has this masculine appeal to him along with a bad boy edge that girls tend to like so much. He looks at you and you sort of feel the need to want to know everything about him. He’s mysterious, alluring, and undeniably sexy. Just thinking about his dark, sultry looks is already making me uncomfortable in certain areas. My heart races in my chest and Barbara is still talking but I can’t hear anything she’s saying. I’ve tuned her out.
I really want to see Blake walk through the door right now, more than ever. I desire to kiss him, to hold his slim waist in place, to breathe him all in and never let go. Ever. My mind becomes a filthy place filled with nasty, vulnerable positions I’d love to see Blake in. Whether he would be okay with being a bottom is far from thought, as I visualize to see his full form as best as I can. I wonder how dark the rest of his body is, whether his medium brown complexion continues to trail down his body; his abs, thighs, ass, and chest melanated with brown-gold. I wonder how his lips taste, and whether or not he’s a good kisser. What will his moans sound like, and how sensitive is his body to touch?
I bite my lips to avoid getting hard. That would be so unbefitting, popping a boner from my wicked thoughts. I’m pretty sure Barbara knows how tense I’ve gotten, which is why she is gawking at me and my flushed expression makes her snort out loud.
“Yo, Ron dude. Don’t tell me you’re getting excited right now.”
“I’m trying not to.”
We laugh, and for some reason, this draws Valerie out of her technological trance and makes her join us in the kitchen. My playfulness and horniness die immediately.
“What are you two in here yapping about?”
“Nothing that involves you,” I snarl, taking a long swig out of my water.
“What did you just say to me?” Valerie glares with piercing blue eyes.
“Oh stop you two,” Barbara intervenes, noting the distant connection Valerie and I have with each other. “there is no reason for you guys to be feuding like this.”
“No one is feuding with a psycho that likes to cut himself in front of mommy and daddy.”
“You’re a bitch,” I have had it, walking around the counter to stand in her face. “you’re a jealous, miserable, white trash bitch and no one is afraid of your sorry ass.”
Barbara keeps telling us to stop fighting but I can’t stop myself. Valerie has been nothing but a starchy bitch towards me and I know it’s because of her jealousy about Blake liking me. At this point in my life, I’m done with being a plank people walk all over. I look her in her eyes and she backs up from me, face detecting a threat.
“You better start warming up to me Valerie, because I’m not going anywhere. You can be bitter and shallow all you want, but that won’t stop me. And if you get at me again like you’re crazy, I’ll mop the floor with your fucking face and make sure you never see the light again. You understand?”
Barbara pulls me away from her but she pulls me by my bandaged arm, causing me to flinch. Barbara looks sternly at the both of us. Valerie is red in the face. I feel good by putting her in her place.
“I need you two to learn to get along. The pot really can’t talk about the kettle. You’re both broken. You’re both seeking redemption. We’re all here for a purposeful, good reason. Now please, as family, stop fighting over petty ass reasons and be accepting of one another.”
“Are ya’ll really arguing up in this bitch?”
He captures all of our attention in the room. My eyes widen, surpised that he is not covered in blood and not sporting a terrifying ski mask.
This is the real Blake. Tall. Demanding. Important.
We make eye contact. I burn under his gaze, feeling small and weak in comparison to him. He quickly disregards me when Antonio steps around him, a huge cheeseburger smile on his face.
“Guess what motherfuckers?”
The girls and I are frozen in place. Then before our very eyes, Antonio slings a black duffel bag over his shoulders and it pops open, revealing stashes of presidents on top of presidents.
My eyes nearly bulge out of my head.
Barbara scream-gasps and Valerie runs over to the money, hair falling down her arms.
“Holy shit! Is this ten grand in cash?”
“Ten grand?” I squeak.
Antonio laughs at how priceless our expressions are and I catch Blake smiling as hard as Antonio was. His smile makes him look like a little boy. Blake can truly be adorable when he wants.
But besides Blake’s beauty constantly distracting me, I can’t believe how ten thousand dollars in cash is just laying at our feet basically. Appalled and shook, I walk over to the bag filled with neatly piled stacks of cash and look to Blake for a solid explanation.
“Antonio and I visited the rich kid’s house party in The Pine Hills, gave him his stash of drugs, and he gave us ten thousand dollars cash, which I specifically made him withdraw the day before.”
“A rich bastard that needs ten grand worth of drugs obviously has too much money,” Valerie says, kneeling down to play with the stacks.
“High quality shit,” Blake gloats, kneeling down beside her to observe as well. “ya’ll have no idea what it took to get my hands on this gold.”
Everyone is so in awe about the money that they don’t catch what Blake just said.
Questions pile high about Blake and what he neccessarily did last night. When I asked Barbara about it in my room earlier, she had no idea either. Between getting approached by a high profile gang from Chicago and then witnessing the horrid get-up that Blake was wearing the night before, I do not blame Barbara nor myself for being confused.
All I am able to grasp is that I feel better. I may have almost killed myself, I may have just had a heated, personal moment with Valerie, but seeing my friends happy and smiling over a successful drug deal makes me feel reassured and complete. I can get used to smiles like this. Successful drug deals that take care of our needs. Being apart of this family is something I can get used to.
Even when I still feel so far away sometimes.