Friday, May 26, 2005
Amanda sat in the back of her World History class, her usual corner away from the teacher who was droning on and on about some information that won’t be on the final. What was the point of taking about a topic when she said it herself that it was useless? Maybe she needed to fill in the time they had left before summer vacation. At least Amanda won’t have to take summer classes for the first time in several years. She made sure of that.
Amanda glanced at her bandmates in the room. Alyson was clearly mindlessly doodling in her notebook. Andrew looked like he could be napping with the way he was resting his head on his hand.
Amanda couldn’t help but think about Derrick’s behavior. He only smoked his weed here and there. It would be far from the band’s new townhouse in the Back Bay neighborhood. That was the rule put in place amongst the boys. Didn’t want to send Justin to jail by accident! Still, there should be no reason for Derrick’s attitude towards the band. Granted, he was forced to bend to Andrew and Alyson’s will, but it didn’t mean he kept his opinions quiet.
As soon as the bell rang for the next class, Amanda stood up, grabbed her stuff, and walked over to Andrew. She told him, “You and Justin need to distract Derrick.”
Andrew raised an eyebrow, and asked, “What for?”
“I think Derrick is on something other than weed.”
Andrew’s eyes widened. Suddenly, Alyson joined them, and asked, “What’s going on with Derrick getting high or something?”
“I don’t know if he is or not,” Amanda said flatly. “I just need to look through his stuff.”
Andrew said, “Okay, but that’s his stuff. You want me and Justin to take Derrick out while you search through his shit?”
Andrew and Alyson exchanged looks, then faced Amanda. She told them, “Think of it as a much-needed boys’ day out.”
He scoffed, “Yeah, as long as we don’t bite each other’s heads off.”
She crossed her arms. “Andrew, you like guys as well as girls. How can you not get along with them?”
Andrew swung his backpack on, and said, “It’s because guys are assholes.”
“You’re a guy yourself.”
Amanda rolled her eyes, though she knew he spoke the truth about guys.
Derrick was at his locker, taking out a textbook when he was startled by sudden movement on either side. He looked to see it was both Justin and Andrew. He asked, “What do you two want?”
Andrew said, “We got a free afternoon today. We’re going on a guys’ afternoon out.”
Derrick raised an eyebrow. “Why?”
“What are we gonna do exactly?”
Justin replied, “Find an arcade that’s not shutting down anytime soon.”
“That’s it?” Derrick asked.
“Got any other ideas?”
Derrick thought for a moment. He never did anything with his guy friends for anything but band rehearsals. Except those usually involved girls since The Pushers had both guys and girls. Now he was in a pop group with two jocks, well, former jocks. He never wanted anything to do with them, but he had no choice.
So he said, “Okay, I want to get both a tattoo and a piercing. Justin, is your officer coming with you?”
“He has to.”
“Then he can be my guardian.”
Justin narrowed his eyes. “Why don’t you get your parents involved in this?”
“You got a parole officer. He can be my temporary guardian.”
Andrew cleared his throat. “Look, I don’t think Marcel would want you, or any of us, getting some type of tattoo or piercing. I mean, we have to be kid-friendly.”
Derrick shot at him, “But you shot that down when you came out.”
He crossed his arms, “That was Libby. I didn’t come out on my own terms. Besides, we’ll only be controversial if we go to those Bible-thumping states.”
Justin said, “Look, we’ll go to that tattoo place. We’ll do what you want, except weed.”
“Same here,” Andrew chimed in.
Derrick looked at both boys. He could show the two jocks a world they weren’t exposed to. Maybe now it was time to have a proper guys’ day out.
The boys, dressed in their regular clothes, walked into a tattoo and piercing parlor near Northeastern University. Justin’s parole officer was with them as both their guardians and to watch Justin. As Derrick walked up to one of the tattoo artists, Andrew looked on the wall. He looked at all the designs, as they were examples. Then he glanced at the type of bodily piercings inside the counter.
Andrew felt somewhat out of place in building filled with dark lighting; the alternative college rock music blaring away. Yet he was intrigued by all of this. It was world he had never seen before. He heard about these places, but that was it.
He taken out of his trance when one of the people behind the counter said, “You should get piercing.”
Andrew said, “Oh, no. I was just looking.”
“Don’t you want to show your bi pride to your fans? A simple ear or lip piercing?”
Somewhat suspicious, Andrew asked, “Since when are piercings an LGBT thing?”
The person chuckled. “You’re clearly very young. They’ve been part of the LGBT for years as a way to express ourselves in subtle ways. For men, the one earring. For women, the septum piercing.”
“But I’m bi, not gay.”
“You can express yourself however you want. Show hints of bi pride to both yourself and your fans. It can be your way of taking ownership of both your body and your sexuality.”
He bit his lip nervously. He knew he needed to get more comfortable with his sexuality. Yet he felt he needed to show his support for to the bisexual community. He wanted to show that they do exist in a world where someone was expected to either be straight or gay. It was a duty he felt it might be too much for him to handle, but he knew he must. At the same time, it would be nice to feel free as a bisexual.
Andrew looked back at the person who did piercings. He gave a smirk, though he was nervous by it all. He could stay feeling like he had to walk on eggshells; or he could finally take charge of sexuality.
Amanda dug into Derrick’s carry-on suitcase. The only item she could find was a tightly wrapped package. She knew that was his stash, but that was it. She was never a fan of smoking of, well, anything; but she was okay with Derrick going for the natural route. Yet she wasn’t going to join him, not after getting out of a situation back in Pittsburgh. She didn’t move to Boston and attend a prestigious school just to throw it all away.
Maybe she was paranoid. Maybe this was just Derrick’s usual once-a-month political and societal rants. She knew he would do this every month, but still, she couldn’t shake the feeling something was off. Or maybe he was still pissed he was forced into the band. She was probably overthinking things.
Before she knew it, she was digging into another carry-on suitcase. She felt something hard in one of the inside pockets. She opened it, pulling out a small bottle. It was a prescription bottle, addressed to this name: “HARRISON, JUSTIN STEVEN.”
Amanda’s eyes widened when she saw this. She wasn’t sure how she got into Justin’s bag. Yet did anyone know he was taking Xanax? If so, why was he taking it? Maybe Andrew, Alyson, and Bailey already knew about this. There was no way of telling.
“Amanda!” Alyson yelled through the open doorway. “The boys are back!”
With that, Amanda shoved the pill bottle back into the rightful pocket. She zipped everything up, stuffing them all back into the closet. She jogged out of the room to meet up with Alyson.
“They’re back already?” she asked.
Alyson replied, “Yeah. Andrew told me Derrick got both a tattoo on his upper right arm, and an ear piercing. Oh, and he said he has a surprised me.”
The two girls walked downstairs, and saw the boys entering the house. Both girls noticed Andrew had two piercings on each side of his bottom lip. Alyson and Amanda looked at each other in surprise.
Alyson walked up to Andrew, and asked, “So you got two lip piercings?”
Andrew smiled, “Yeah. I’ll might also get an eyebrow piercing down the line.”
“But can we still kiss?”
“We can, but gently for now.”
Amanda cleared her throat, and asked, “So what you made you decide to get a piercing? I mean, no offense, it looks cool, but it’s just not, well, you.”
Andrew replied, “I guess I’m changing then. I wouldn’t have done this a year ago, but I would now.”
Alyson smirked, “Well, I love them.”
Amanda nodded her head. She had noticed Andrew had been changing. Maybe not overnight, but slowly he was becoming less of jock; and more of someone else she didn’t quite recognize. Maybe he was finally becoming more comfortable with his sexuality; less inclined to act more masculine than usual. Yet he was still the no-nonsense Andrew Hawthorne everyone knew of.
She glanced at Justin. He seemed a bit tired, but nothing out of the ordinary. Amanda wanted to get the bottom of him taking Xanax. She didn’t want to tell him that she got into his bags. She just hoped everything was okay with him. She didn’t want to see a mirror of herself in him from when she was twelve.