How to Love

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album two, track two -- when your eyes say it

October 22nd, 1977
Matthew Burroughs's Apartment
3:00 pm


A loud knock rang out against the run down door. Paint flecks sailed down to the ground like a slow-mo leaf in a movie. A blinding shade of silver peeked on through behind the paint, watching each move Scott made. His shuffling of the feet. Stuffing and removing his hands from the front pockets of his jeans. The way his lips curled when he whistled.

Nothing.

Scott reached out, rapping his knuckles against the frigid metal once again. The clock on the waiting game rewound yet again.

Bangs and change erupted from the other side of the door, followed by more than a few curses. Giggles soon followed.

Scott swore to himself. He should have known Matthew would have company. Him and Heather seemed to be all but over. Except for them admitting it to each other.

Knocking him out of his thoughts was the swing of the front door. The ironclad metal siding nearly taking off his head in the process. There in the doorway stood a disheveled Matthew Burroughs. Hair wild. His once clean shaven face now adorning the beginnings of a mountain man beard. Thankfully, a loose pair of bell bottom jeans hung on his narrow hips, though the waistband of his briefs stuck out from the top. Though, his torso remained sans a shirt.

"You think I could stay here awhile?" Scott asked, tightening his grip on the handle of his mini suitcase from when he was a child.

Matthew stepped aside with a nod, motioning for him to walk inside his one bedroom loft. The perks of having an emancipated friend. "Come on in. Welcome to casa de abandonment." He checked his friend's face for any signs of rage, though it proved more difficult when he really only had one face, stoned. "Too soon?"

Scott shook his head with a small chuckle, dropping his bag and suitcase against the wall connecting the entranceway to the kitchen/dining room. "Nah, man. I'm good."

Closing the door shut behind them, Matthew plopped down in the living room against his tattered couch. An old thrift store find. Though some of those stains were obviously fresh. He propped his feet up on the mini table, switching on some game. "Did the Ray Mister annoy you out of the house? Ooh, did Viper shove his foot so far up your ass it shot you all the way across town to my lovely building? Maybe Kelly's cooking gave you food poisoning and they relocated you for your safety."

The blond boy shook his head, using the countertop to pop the top off the beer. "The leftovers in your fridge would give me food poisoning long before Kelly Ray's."

Matthew shrugged, waving his hands in the air, nearly knocking into the already cracked window pan in the process. "Get me a beer while you're up."

Most people would open the beer and walk around, handing it to their friend.

Scott Thomas was not most people.

He grabbed a fresh can out of the refrigerator, chucking it through the cut out on the bar island towards Matthew in the mini living room. None of the barstools were high enough to block it from the living room. No one walked through to stop it. Not even the back of the equally worn chair could. And it soared towards the spiderwebbed window pan. Until Matt reached out and grabbed it with his left hand.

"You're lucky I play wide receiver or that window would be coming out of your next paycheck from the Record Shack," Matthew muttered in the sternest voice he could muster. Though it sounded more like his shitty impression of a president rather than intimidating.

"Yeah, yeah. Keep telling yourself that." Scott took a seat on the couch, hoping the sticky substance holding him in place was just a melted Jolly Rancher. "We all know your landlord fixes that shit for free."

Sarcasm dripped from the roll of Matthew's eyes. A smile still crossed the threshold of his thinner, pink lips.

At the same time, a knock rang out against the front door and a scantily clad woman sneaked out from the mini hallway leading towards the bathroom and Matthew's bathroom.

Standing against the entrance to the hallway, back to the wall closest to the living room was Serena. In one of Matthew's long, faded army green t-shirts.

Scott raised an eyebrow towards the taller woman, taking a sip from his beer. Lifting his left leg up, he rested his calf against his bent knee, setting the cold bottom of his beer atop the lower leg of his jeans. "Hey, Serena."

She waved back. An awkward grin crossing the threshold over her smeared powder pink lips. "Hi, Scotty. You hanging out with Matty?"

Beer sloshed in his mouth, catching in his throat as he began to cough. Wiping his mouth, he sputtered once more before he recovered. "Um, you could say that. Though, we're obviously not getting dirty like you two did."

Pastel pink cropped up on her cheeks, a soft giggle erupting from her lips. She tried to shield her cheeks with her hands, failing much to her dismay.

"Hey, Matt," a familiar voice said from the doorway. "Can we talk?"

Serena's large brown eyes widened when she caught site of the midday visitor. But, she didn't flee back to Matthew's bedroom. Instead, holding her ground by digging her bare feet into the beige carpet. Arms crossed over her chest, pushing them up like a push-up bra, lifting up the top to show off her elongated, tanned bare legs.

Scott gulped, tugging at the collar of his shirt. Buzzes vibrated his lips. Left foot bounced up and down, shaking his propped up leg. Staring down at his beer, he tipped it back for a long, long sip.

Heather, dressed in a long peacoat and layered scarf, stepped inside the apartment. Anguish painted over her light brown features. Tall, dark brown boots gave her an extra two or so inches. Her hair blown out from the pesky wind encompassing Timber.

"I guess this is my cue to dip out for a few hours." Scott sighed, slowly rising from the barstool with his bottle still wedged in his grip. "I'll be back in time to crash, Matt. Enjoy the threesome."

☆●●☆

October 22nd, 1977
Corrina Thomas's House
5:00 pm

The brisk fall wind never fazed Corrina in the past. Growing up most her life in Chicago, the wind grew to be a second part of her. Engraved in her soul.

This wind was different. Carried a lonely whisper to it.

She glanced about to the quiet neighborhood surrounding her. The Johnson's were off on a vacation down south. Possibly visiting some theme park with their young kids. Took a lot of the squealing with them. The Frazier's were more of the silent type. Almost too quiet. If she ever saw a raid take place there, she wouldn't be surprised.

Textbooks never held much excitement. Watching static was more entertaining than school books. No subject where one had to read a book for any knowledge was fun in Corrina's book.

"If only they showed the real history," Corrina mumbled to herself, pressing her glasses up with the pad of her index finger. "Like the Founding Fathers cussing. Ain't fooling anyone with this clean, squeaky textbook. We all know Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson probably cussed like sailors. Maybe even an affair or two. Put it on Broadway, then I'd be down for a history class."

She tucked her head under her knees, holding the clunk book out in front of her like the distance would amplify some sort of interest.

"Is this a new studying method I haven't heard about?" A familiar voice asked in a teasing tone over by the stairs.

Corrina closed her book, setting her glasses atop them. Wisps of loose violet hair swirled around in the breeze behind her. It helped give her an added swing without the effort. She tucked a piece of hair that fell out of her bun behind her ear, stacking her notebooks on one another. "Surprised you're even trying Chicago. You nearly pissed yourself when she caught you running through her flower bed."

Scott shuddered over by the stairs, hand gripping the railing like he was preparing for a quick getaway. "She's not. . ."

The young teen shook her head with a giggle. "Nah, you're safe. Now get your ass over here, silly."

A weight lifts itself off the young stoner's shoulders. A light grin stretching from ear to ear. His stubble more pronounced than the last time Corrina truly saw him. Though, it was more his bare behind streaking across her lawn with Chicago chasing after him with a frying pan.

"Thank you!" Scott tugged at the shoulders of his leather jacket, pressing his back against the scratchy, wooden swing. "I really don't feel like running from a wild beast and the cops at three in the morning again."

Corrina rolled her eyes, though she lost her grip on the fierce mask with one giggle. "That's what happens when you try to sneak in through my window after Chicago banned you for a month. Wait, Chi was one of the ones who chased you that night?"

"Chicago was the wild beast. And don't fight me on that."

In one vein, Corrina punched him playfully in the arm. In the next, she reached over with the widest grin she could muster, throwing her arms around him the best she could. "I really missed you, Scott."

Did I just admit that? Am I going soft? Corrina couldn't believe herself. Doesn't mean she was going to release her hug. 'Cause. . . well, his cologne smelled too intoxicating. Yeah, and she held firm on that. Eh, I don't care.

Scott found himself taken aback at first, then rested his left hand against the small of her back, tangling the other in what remained of her bun. To say he wasn't enjoying it would be the biggest lie of the century, larger than Watergate or the government doesn't spy on them. "Missed you too, CoCo."

Despite so many mixed signals, both of them kept running back into each other's arms. The wind danced a waltz around them, whisking them away in a light euphoria. Not even the brisk cold managed to dampen the heat burning bright inside them. The sparks that flew every time they touched. Yet, they ignored it all the same. The dancing had to end at some point. But when?

"Out of all the things you could do with your time, you pick studying?" Scott asked, holding up one of her loose notebooks. "What happened to hating school and the system?"

Corrina shook her head, retrieving her stolen notebook from her accuser. "You can despise everything something stands for but at the same time follow it because without it you can't do anything."

Scott shrugged. "Eh, you do you, Cor, but doesn't mean I'll pick up a book before May. No use. Not like I'll ever make it out of this town. My future was written the day I got born to a druggie and an absentee father. I'll be stuck here with some dead end job 'til the day I croak with a blunt wedged between my lips and a beer in my hand."

"Doesn't mean you can't change that. Like, you got your job at the Shack. From there, you can save the money to buy a car or truck. In the meantime," she smacked a heavy history textbook into his lap, "crack open one of these with a beer, and it can all go your way."

The blond may have shook his shaggy, curly hair against the wind, but he obliged to Corrina's suggestion. After a few silent moments, he piped back up. "But, is this seriously what you want to do. On a nice day," he poked her side, sending her into a rapid fire of giggles, "alone, with me."

She set her own book to the side, tilting her head up to get a better look at her best friend. At his growing stubble. At his always messy curls. At his cheeky smirk he never left home without. Even his worn beater and open button up shirt underneath his worn leather jacket. He never ceased to send her heart ablaze or lower her inhibitions.

"Is that all you see me as?" She asked with a frown, her words caked in regret. "As a fuckbuddy?"

Shock crossed his features, morphing into sadness right before her eyes. He continued to mouth something, deciding to purse his lips instead. A line thinner than the ice she's treading on right then and there. Not just by having this conversation, but by sitting on the porch with him. It. . . excited her. Sent her pulse racing like during the Indy 500.

"No, of course not. Why would you think that?"

Corrina shrugged her shoulders, fiddling with the edge of her violet, plaid skirt. Her eyes sank for a moment, finding his crystal ones once more. "Then, what are we?"

Scott paused.

Corrina gulped.

Shit, did I fuck up? Shit, shit, shit. I screwed up the best -

"You're special to me, CoCo. I don't know. We're just us. It's hard to put a name on it," Scott tried to explain through a shaky tone masquerading as something more confident than it was. "It's just you and me."

Corrina nodded along with him, but she still felt so damn confused. It camped out in her weary mind. It sat in her soul. It was served an eviction notice but refused to leave. "Okay, but -"

Before she could continue, Scott took her right hand in his left one, intertwining their fingers as one. Bound together. "Just us, Cor. Don't need a label to know nothing can come between us. I know how I feel about you. Nothing has ever rivaled that. I doubt anything ever will. CoCo, what I'm trying to say is-"

"Yes," she interrupted, unable to hold back the ever growing, beaming smile crossing her nude lips. Her gemstone eyes sparkling under the peeking sunlight. All the nerves, the confusion gone.

Scott cupped her cheek with his hand, bringing them together until their lips touched in a soft, perfect harmony.

A rainbow parted through the clouds, illuminating the late day sky. Right over the new couple.
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