How to Love

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album one, track six -- advice

October, 15th, 1977

The Rays' Basement

3:45 pm

"Yo, I hear there's this car that runs on water, man." Scott's glassy eyes darted from Julian, who coughed from some smoke traveling down the wrong pipe, to Matthew, who stared off in the distance, fully encompassed in a far out daze. "The government is keeping it a secret so only the chosen can come out of the gas crisis with their shit in tack."

Julian threw his head back in a low, belly laugh, his glassy eyes watering. Though his laugh was drier than the Sahara. His neck snapped back up, his bloodshot eyes staring deep into Scott's own crystal eyes. It bugged the stoner out, like his longtime friend decided to stare deep into his soul. Scott hoped Julian couldn't read his mind, otherwise he'd be watching some X-rated shit involving everyone's favorite new girl. "You're so stupid, man."

Serena poked her head up, eyes widened as she watched the smoke bellowing up around her like a mysterious force field. Panic began to set in once it hit the ceiling, causing her to scoot back from the circle, banging her back into the delapidated coffee table. "I think I angered the Pot God." She curled her legs into her chest, a loud squeal sneaking through her clenched jaw. "I don't want to die. Please don't let me."

Matthew leaned over in an attempt to secure the petite girl in his tight graspe to calm her down ended with him tumbling over, his right arm slapping against the side of Serena's curled up form. "Ow! My eye."

Scott rolled his eyes. "Dumbass."

Julian chuckled, taking another puff from the joint before passing it back to Scott. "You can say that again."

Serena's dark eyes spotted the joint passing hands between Julian and Scott, glistening as she grabbed the air in the direction of said transaction. Her mouth practically watered at the sight. "I want some more."

"No," both Julian and Scott barked in unison, leaving Serena pouting in her little section. Matt still rested at her feet.

Gulping, the Italian girl gulped, glancing down at her bare feet. "Um, is Matty dead?"

Scott raised an eyebrow towards the pair, returning his attention back towards relighting the dimming out end. Setting the crumbling paper in between his lips, he pulled his wobbly self up on his knees, teetering on over to the fallen football player.

"What are you going to do to him?" She shouted, accent thickening as her worry and frustration grew. "Poke him with a stick?"

Scott nodded. "Well, yeah."

The petite girl slapped his hand away. Again. And again. When that didn't deter the stubborn blond, she reached over and threw her lone sandal towards his hand. Instead, it hit Matt smack dab in the middle of his exposed temple. It forced him to leap up in pain, smacking over Scott in the process.

Thankfully, Scott missed the wall by a millimeter. Though his butt met the wall, an unwelcome introduction.

Julian rolled his eyes. "Keep it down or my parents are going to think someone's fucking down here."

Three pairs of incredulous eyes met Julian's dark chocolate ones. Then, the trio busted out laughing. High, voluptuous laughter.

The nerdy boy face-palmed himself, shaking his head. Uncovering his face, he shot his friends a look mixed with disgust and disbelief. "Did all three of y'all?"

All of them nodded.

Julian threw his hands up in the air. "I'm burning down this garage."

Serena shrugged, enveloping Matthew in a large side hug. Her eyes shut, smile stretching for miles. Features softened, the teen seemed like a small child hugging her teddy bear. Nobody questioned it, not even Matt. His own grin stretched across his face. Much happier than he seemed to be the last few months. Lord only knew what else smiled then.

Scott scooted on back to where he sat in front of his chair in the circle. Placing the joint back in between his lips, he diverted his attention away from the scene playing out in front of him, instead focusing his attention towards Julian. He knew about his insatiable feelings for Claire, but he couldn't figure out how to tell his friend about what transpired during his bore of a birthday party thrown by Julian's mother, Kelly.

"Guess what?" Julian shouted, voice hazy like his head flew up into the clouds. Which he probably was. Cloud 29, because Cloud Nine was too low for him.

All eyes focused on the light, mocha skinned teen. Scott blew a puff of smoke in his direction, which Julian tried to eat with glee.

Smacking his lips, cottonmouth setting it, Julian began laughing like a goof. Something about it didn't meld well to Scott, sending him all the wrong vibes. He feared for what was about to be said. "I fucked Matilda Warren yesterday behind the bleachers during school."

"Alright, man," Matthew shouted, reaching over across the now misshapened circle to fistbump his friend.

"Thanks, dude. And I bet anything Corrina has a crush on me. I'd love to have-"

Julian got cut off by two things.

First, Matthew and Serena cheered in a harmonious unison that 'Julian is a whore.' Something he did not deny.

Second, Scott leaped over, blunt still in his mouth, and began to punch the living shit out of Julian.

The brunet shouted, cursing out his curly haired friend, trying to get a punch or two in, but found it to be a fruitless task. That, however, did not spell an end to his fighting. The last thing Julian Ray wanted was to lie down, and let Scott Thomas pummel his ass into the ground. Using his right foot, the brunet sent the older boy flipping over him, sprawling him right on his back. Scott gasped for air, his eyes panicked as they darted around to catch any glimpse of his attacker. The one thing Scott did know was a fire burned deep inside him. Anger. All he saw was red and his favorite person. Not that he would admit it. Hell, he refused to admit it to himself.

Why would someone like himself, who doesn't do relationships, keep daydreaming and fantasizing about one girl?

Scott straightened himself out, winking at his riled up friend as he wiped imaginary dirt and dust from his loose fitting button up and t-shirt. "Hey, so there's this car that runs on water."

And he was met with a stream of candy bar wrappers and crushed up water bottles. Scott dogged them with ease, not minding the tough crowd.

Not every one was a winner.

☆●●☆

"Gosh, I can't believe Matilda hooked up with someone behind the bleachers during practice yesterday," Heather gossiped into the phone to both Claire and Corrina as she smacked on a piece of gum. The way her friend spoke, gum included, reminded Corrina of someone she used to know back during her brief stint in Brooklyn.

Ah, the good ole days.

Corrina could practically hear Claire's eyeroll through the receiver. Despite not having really hung out with the blonde since their days on the playground in elementary school, she could still tell her old friend held her extreme distaste for gossip with the same level of disdain as she did back then. Claire scolded Heather before the exacerbated girl could finish. All Corrina could do was sit back in her wooden dinner chair, rolling her eyes as she wrapped her finger around the coiled phone cord.

Chicago slaved over the stove towards the opposite side of the kitchen. The older woman wiped sweat from her forehead, the spaghetti noodles boiling in the pot. Her famous sauce cooked slowly in a smaller sauce pan on an opposite burner. The constant stirring proved to be a more efficient workout than any of the weights littering Chicago and Diego's room because of his love of exercise. While Corrina knew Chicago didn't understand it, her sister still loved and supported him all the same.

Her mind seemed incapable of concentrating on the conversation at hand. It kept wondering towards her wishy washy friend, the inescapable Scott Thomas. One second he seemed like she had him wrapped around her little finger, the next he avoided her like the plague. Why? The fuck if she knew. But it boggled her. Usually, Corrina refused to allow any man take up this much space in her mind. For some reason, Scott was different.

"Why don't we talk about something more worth while," Claire said in a rather bored tone. One thing Corrina noticed during the last week was Claire's seemingly everpresent high and mighty attitude. And, if she's being honest, it was getting on her last damn nerve. "Like maybe how there's word going around that someone in school is about to have a baby."

Heather gulped. And not a subtle, quiet one. More of an obvious, 'holy shit I'm fucked' one. Corrina's heart sank.

What struck the rebel teen more was the fact Claire babbled on and on about hating gossiping and gossip in general, yet here she was, spreading gossip. She's no better than any other teen girl around here, no matter how much she preached and sat on her high horse.

The violet haired girl rolled her eyes, scoffing under her breath. She tried to bit her tongue. "Claire, I thought you said you were against gossip? What happened to that?"

"Corrina, what I'm talking about is a disgrace to society. Someone with no morals whatsoever, completely without any kind of self love and no concept of responsibility. Just another statistic." The disdain in Claire's voice was evident. Shock began to set in. How could one person change so much? She used to preach individuality and hatred for the society placing her in a boxed in set of rules. Now, she's one of the people she used to despise.

Corrina couldn't bit her tongue any longer. "Get off your high horse and stop acting like you're some high princess when you're no more than a posing hypocrite." And with that, the teen smashed the phone into the receiver, stomping over to the vegetables in need of chopping. She raised the knife up, and began to viciously chop up celery.

Each chop richoeted throughout the kitchen louder than the last. The chopping board rattled each time the teen brought the knife down for the next vegetable chop. Her lips pursed into a thin frown, brows furred. Eyes cutting the vegetables deeper than the knife.

Once her sister tore through the celery at lightspeed, a pit began to form in the pit of Chicago's stomach. She gulped, worried as she watched her start on an innocent carrot. Abandoning her noodles, the woman scurried down towards the other end of the room by the sink, grabbing ahold of her sister's arm before she could raise it once again.

Corrina eyed her with confusion. "What are you doing? I'm trying to chop up the vegetables." The teen tried to shake her sister's ironclad grip from her bicep to no avail. "Get your hand off of me."

"Not until you hand me that knife, Corrina Amanda." Corrina stared at her sister like a hurt puppy, waiting for her to cave in. But she didn't. Chicago jutted her hip out to the side, hand on it, while the other held itself out, patiently waiting for Corrina to hand over the sharp blade.

Corrina sighed, handing her sister the knife. "Fine. You win." She stormed out of the kitchen, slumping back down in a kitchen chair to start, surprise surprise, homework. Usually a foreign concept to the young girl.

The pages of her textbook flew open to a random page, something about Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, eyes flying over the words, oblivious to her sister's persistent calls around her.

Chicago grabbed her by the shoulder, pulling her back out of her anger induced trance. "Corey, talk to me. Don't keep it bottled up. It's not healthy."

Corrina sighed, eyes drooping to the floor. She blinked a few times, meeting Chicago's soft eyes. The teen's eyes glassed over, still blinking back tears. "What do you do if you feel like you're loosing a friend?"

Chicago patted her on the shoulder, rounding the bend to the boarder between the living room and kitchen. "Diego, go finish dinner for me." No response. "Please?" No response. "I'll owe you one."

Diego walked into the kitchen, retrieving his 'Kiss the Chef' apron, and took over kitchen duties from Chicago. He pointed towards his cheek. "Chicago, read the apron."

She rolled her eyes, walking over towards her boyfriend. Chicago placed a delicate kiss upon his scraggly cheek, then leading her sister down the hall towards the rebel teen's room.

Both Honey and Zepplein, the English bulldog, scampered down the hall after the sisters, sneaking into Corrina's bedroom before Chicago closed the door behind them. Honey leaped up on Corrina's bed, placing her head in the teen's lap, licking her bare leg as she got petted. Zepplein waddled on towards her dog bed, curling up with her stuffed football.

A swirly chair sat in front of Corrina's desk. Well, it's supposed to be a desk. Here lately it turned into more of her blunt making desk. Some bits of bud still resided on the light brown wood. Corrina hoped and prayed Chicago didn't notice it, or even smelt its distinct odor. Chicago didn't exactly approve of the teen's favorite pastime. Nor did she know the extent she usually smoked. Her sister dragged the desk chair over in front of the left end of Corrina's bed, taking a seat in the chair backwards. "So, explain what's going on, little sis."

Corrina's jade green irises trained themselves on the soft, furry head of the sleeping Shar Pei puppy, who's soft snores added background music to the scene. "Remember Claire Anthony?"

Her sister nodded.

"She's turned into this machine snob who looks down upon people who don't meet up to society's expectations of perfection. And she's this hypocritical bitch now. At least she has been for the last few days, especially when it concerns Heather." Corrina groaned, stuffing her face into Honey's soft, small back. "I feel like I don't even know her anymore. And then there's this rumor."

Chicago rubbed her sister's back, lifting her head back up so their eyes met, exchanging knowing gazes. Corrina knew her sister knew everything. So did Chicago. And Chicago enjoyed it. It's like she had eyes in the back of her head at times. "What rumor?"

The teen's shoulders dropped, a single tear rolling down her cheek. "There's a rumor Claire tried to seduce Scott during Ray's birthday party. It's like I want to be her friend, but if the rumor's true, I also want to punch her teeth in."

Chicago laughed, wiping the tear from her sister's soft cheek. "I understand, sis. Reminds me of something that happened in high school."

Corrina dropped her head with an over-exaggerated sigh.

Chicago rolled her eyes. "It's a good story, I promise." Corrina raised an eyebrow at her sister, but she continued anyways. "Do you remember my old friend, Janet, from sophomore year?"

Her sister nodded.

"Well, me and her both fell for the same guy. An attractive guy. I think his name was Greg Bosworth. Anyways, I met him first and told Janet I had a crush on him. And guess what she did?"

Corrina shrugged her shoulders, careful not to wake up Honey on her lap. "I don't know. Had sex with him?"

Chicago shook her head. "Nope, she convinced him to go out with her. And they did. For over a week until she found out he liked me."

"What did you do?"

"I didn't go out with him. I didn't want her sloppy seconds, and I had already met Diego, who I care about much more than I ever did Greg. Come to find out, Janet was jealous of me always getting the guys, even the guys she wanted but never told me about, so she stole one from me. And she used him to get over her previous ex, Fowler."

"So, is Scott a Greg or a Diego?" Corrina asked, resuming petting the puppy on her lap.

Chicago shrugged, reaching over to ruffle her sister's vibrant violet hair. "I don't know, sis. You've got to find that out. But what I'm trying to say is, you don't know what's going on behind closed doors with Claire. You also don't know her motives. You've got to find that out." She raised from the swirly chair, rolling it back to where it belonged, working her way towards the bedroom door.

Corrina threw her hands up in the air. "How do I find that out?"

The young mom opened the door, turning back towards the room to face her sister. "You've got to talk to them, let the situation play out."

"Corrina," Diego shouted from the kitchen. "Scott's on the phone."

The young teen's face lit up, a large smile spreading from ear to ear. Her eyes crinkling in delight.

Chicago motioned for her sister to go, holding her arms out for Honey. "Go, talk to your man. I'll watch Honey."

Never did Corrina run that fast. Not even from the cops.

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