At school Indra approached me all Cloak and Dagger.
"Hi Luc." He said. He was all up on me too. "What is it?" I asked. Is he hinting at me again?
"So you know how you put down my number at the child takers- I mean daycare center?" He whispered.
"Yes?" I said.
"Well, they called me, because they couldn't reach her parents, and they told me Alexandria brought a, um, not very nice, item to class with her."
I shook my head at him. What? What's he trying to say?
"So...what did she bring?" I asked.
Indra lowered his head and spoke.
"I'm sorry, what was that?" I asked.
He spoke again, but I couldn't hear him. Again.
"A...m." He mumbled.
"Mm?" I repeated as it was only the "m" sound I caught.
"Still can't hear you." I said. Indra was all red and flustered.
"Baby no!" I shrieked. Is that why my phone was going off?
I grabbed Indra.
"Luc! Keep quiet, you're distracting the class!" Our teacher snapped.
I pulled Indra close to my face, "what did they say?!"
"They said we should come to the center and get her." Indra strained. I had grabbed him by the scarf and was basically strangling him. Reminder: he wears it very tightly for whatever reason!
"Oh god what did she do?!" I asked.
"They wouldn't say." He gasped. He hit my hand.
"Sorry." I let go of his scarf.
He started breathing heavily.
"Okay, we gotta- we gotta, we going." I said.
I got up and walked out. Indra followed.
"Let's get back before fourth block. We still have that test." I reminded him.
While we were in the car I was talking, wondering what she could have possibly done.
"What what- did she blow it up and wave it around in the air?" I asked.
"Or...pull it over some poor kid's head?"
I turned to Indra, "do you think she tried to eat it?"
"We won't know until we talk to the people." He reminded me.
"What could she have possibly done with a condom?" I sat back in the seat.
"You have got to be kidding me." I said when the teacher told us.
Let me lay out the scene for you: here we are, boyfriend and brother, in the principal's office doing our best to be "parents" about it, trying to be adults and not laugh, but the child did not make it easy. Here I am with a red face and biting my lip and shaking from stifled laughter. My boyfriend is over there trying to get all the details out of the woman and trying to figure out how she did what she did, plus trying not to laugh.
Actually, I think Indra has a more practical view towards this? He kind of carried on like "well they'd learn about it sooner or later" attitude.
If you haven't pieced it together yet I'll help: Alexandria brought the condom to class, basically gave all these one year olds the talk, and told them how a condom works.
The how: we do not know yet. Alexandria is sitting outside.
"Until further notice we'd like her to stay home."
"This is just- wow." I started speaking all "parent-y." "Yes. She will- she will get an earful from her parents." I slowly got up.
"Thank you for your time." I smiled as politely as I could. If I do not get out of here in the next five seconds, I'm going to start laughing so hard I'll pee.
"Indra!" I said, trying to get him to stand up.
He leaned forward with his hand out. "Did she teach them about abstinence?" The principal and Alexandria's teacher simultaneously face palmed.
"Get up, fool!" I hissed. He got up and I backed up out of the principal's office with him.
"Alexandria, come on." I called. "Grab your bag."
Alexandria hopped out of the seat and grabbed my hand. We left the building. In the car, it was a nuclear shitstorm.
I exhaled and started whimpering.
I screamed loudly and covered my face.
"Why?!" I uncovered my face. "Why does this crazy crap keep happening?!" I screamed.
Indra dropped onto the steering wheel.
I screamed loudly again. "What am I going to tell my parents?!"
"What's gonna happen when she comes to school again?! She's gonna be ridiculed." I got paranoid quickly. "Those children are gonna tell their parents what happened! Now our parents are gonna get dragged through the mud just because they like to stay safe!!"
"Nooooohohohoooooo!" I bawled.
Indra sat up. "Amber would know what to do." He said, as if a light bulb went off.
We stared at each other for a second.
"Amber Alert?" I asked. I was thinking we could fake a kidnapping, then everyone would forget the two year old who gave everyone the talk.
Indra's face dropped all emotion as he had a realization. He started speaking fast. "No she wouldn't, no she wouldn't. She wouldn't know what to do. This is bad, this is bad, this is bad."
"Psh- yeah this is bad. We need, we need- we need an adult!"
Indra and I looked at each other nodding nonstop.
"Indra you're an adult, right?" We continued to nod.
"Eh." We both said.
"God! Why couldn't my parents just answer!" I screeched.
Indra and I just breathed heavily as we continued to panic. Well, I was panicking. I think Indra was panicking to offer some weird mutual support. Or something like that.
"Can we go to McDonald's?"
We slowly turned around. We looked at Alexandria for a second, then we slowly turned back to the front.
I exhaled. "Indra?"
"What are we gonna do?"
"I don't know."
"We can't take her home. Still have that test, can't miss it." I said, listing our options.
"Could take her to the hospital." Indra said.
"No one could watch her." I said.
"Should we...take her to school with us?" I asked.
We sighed as it was our only option.
"Okay. Let's go." I said all depressed.
"What do we do?" I asked when we got to the school.
Indra slapped his hands on my shoulders and stared at me.
"You're gonna get your shit together."
"Okay. Good idea. Best idea all day."
"We'll take our tests, then take her home." Indra said.
We then kneeled down to Alexandria, who we were holding on to tightly.
We smiled. "Okay Alexandria. We have to go inside. You're going to come with us. You need to stay perfectly quiet." I told her.
"Not a peep. It's a game! Stay quiet until it's time to leave. Okay?" I said.
"Yes." Alexandria said.
"Are you ready?" I asked her.
Indra and I stood up, gave each other very dejected grins, then went into the trailer.
It was quiet in the room and people were taking their test.
"What's going on you two?" Our teacher asked quietly.
"Issue at school. Can we take our test?" I asked. Our teacher pulled out two packets and handed them to us. We went to the back of the trailer and sat at the desks.
I sat with my legs turned out of the seat so Alexandria could sit on them. I held on to her.
I did the math and checked on Alexandria between each question. She sat silently and looked around.
I looked back at my test. I was still on the first page while Indra had already moved on to the backside of the page.
"Damn motherfucker! Slow down!" I thought.
I just want us to be ready at the same time.
In some way I started to rush. I read the questions of course, did the math and circled my answers.
The questions were a lot of log and probability problems. I could do it, slowly, but I could do it.
Once Indra and I both finished we prepared to leave. Other people were done and were playing on their phones and listening to music.
"Up." I said to Alexandria. She hopped off my lap and I stood up. I held her hand.
"Luc." The teacher called. I turned around. He beckoned me with his hand. I gave Indra Alexandria's hand.
"You guys wait outside and I'll be out there soon." I said. Indra nodded and took Alexandria outside.
I went over to the teacher. He pulled up a chair and told me to sit down.
"I'm not sure what's going on with you today, and I'm probably overstepping, but are you having trouble at home?"
I shook my head.
"Is your daughter sick?" I didn't do or say anything.
"If you guys are in between homes, I can-"
"No, no, no. It's nothing like that -- she's my sister-- our parents are just doctors. They were too busy." I explained.
"I'm just doing my part to be brotherly and helping out." I said.
I stood up and left. I wonder why no one asked me that years ago... I can't think about that right now.
Indra took Alexandria and I home. The three of us sat in the living room.
"Okay little girl, we're talking about today." I said. "Why, on earth, did you bring a condom to school? How did you even know what it was and what it was for?" I asked.
"I found Daddy's box in his sink. I wanted to know what it was so I Googled it...on Indra's phone while he was asleep when you were sick."
My eye widened and I turned to Indra. He looked as shocked as I was.
"You don't keep a lock on your phone?"
"Well, I never had reason to." He answered.
"The website told me what it was for." Alexandria said.
"But why would you do that?" I asked.
"Because I wanted Daddy to spend more time at home with me!"
"I-" I scoffed and looked at Indra.
I looked back at Alexandria.
"Alexandria, you don't go through your parent's private things and you don't use other people's phones without permission." I said with scolding authority.
Alexandria tensed up, but didn't say anything.
I stood up and held my hand out to her. "Come on." She took my hand. I led her to the stairs.
"Just go wait in your room for a bit, okay?"
Alexandria went up the stairs and I heard the door to her room close.
I went back over to the couch and sat beside Indra. I held my face in my hand.
"It's a weekday. One or both of my parents will be here soon." I said.
"Do you want me to stay? Maybe I can help you explain to your parents what happened?" Indra asked.
I nodded, "sure, fine."
"You seem angry." He pointed out.
"I'm fine." I said with a bit of force.
"No..." Indra pushed.
"Fine. I hate being side-tracked. Okay? I have a clear sight of where I need to go. I'm not supposed to be taking care of a kid!"
Indra leaned closer and put his hand on my shoulder. "Luc, this is just one minor inconvenience. How you say, a bump in the road."
"It's not forever and you can jump right back on your track and go where you need to." He said.
He's right. This is just one day. One very bad and unplanned day.
I looked at him and smiled a little, "thanks for staying with me and helping out."
"I'll always be here for you." He said. We put our foreheads together.
We separated when the door unlocked and opened.
"Why aren't you guys at school?" Mom asked, ready to get angry.
I stood up. Indra did too.
Brian was at Mom's side.
"There was an issue at Alexandria's school." I folded my hands in front of my thighs and spoke with my head lowered slightly.
"What kind of issue? Was she hurt?" Mom asked.
"No," I spoke lowly and kept my head down.
"Then what happened? You're starting to worry us." Mom said.
"She got into Brian's sink cabinet and took a condom with her to daycare...and told everyone its purpose and function."
The faces. Oh their faces.
"What?" Brian questioned.
"They couldn't reach you guys...so they called us." I added for no reason. Mom stood stunned. I raised my head.
"How did she know what-" Mom eventually started.
Indra stopped her and spoke. "She used my phone to look it up."
My parents looked at him at the same time with the smallest amount of disdain.
I feel like he just got back into their good graces, so I defended him.
"She looked when he was asleep. He couldn't have known."
The two looked at me. "Where's Alexandria now?" Brian asked.
"In her room." I answered.
Brian left to go upstairs. Mom stayed to ask more questions.
"Did you talk to her?" She asked. I nodded. "Did she say why she did it?"
"She wanted to be at home with Brian again." I answered.
Mom sighed and shook her head.
"You two," she called. "Thank you for being there when we couldn't." She said.
Alexandria started crying from her room. Who knows what Brian's saying to her. He's not yelling, that's for sure.
"Go on home, Indra." Mom said before going upstairs.
I stepped back and turned my back to Indra.
"Luc?" Indra called.
"You heard her." I started. "Go home."
He didn't say anything else. He just left.
I started to go upstairs silently. Will Alexandria hate me now?
As I slowly and quietly walked past her room, I could hear them talking. I didn't want to know what they were saying, I just kept on going until I was in my room.
I closed my door and sat on my bed. I hugged a pillow to my chest and buried my face in it.
After today, I definitely don't see how Indra could possibly want kids.
Mom came into my room after a while.
"Hi Luc," she sat on my bed. "I'm sorry we weren't able to answer and you had to step in for us. I know how you feel about school."
For a second I contemplated just not saying anything. Then I remembered she's a doctor.
"You couldn't help it." I said. "I know your work is crazy some days."
"I know, but my child shouldn't have to pick up my other child from school when she does something wrong."
I shrugged. "What happened to Alexandria?"
"Brian and I talked to her. We have things to think about now." Mom replied.
As the days went on I pressed harder for Indra to come to Thanksgiving dinner.
"Please Mama, please." I begged.
I caught her while she was cleaning food off of Alexandria's clothes.
"Oh Luc!" She turned to me.
"What? I thought you guys were good with Indra." I said.
"We are! But the rest of the family doesn't know him." She said.
"The family didn't know me when you guys first brought me to Thanksgiving dinner." I countered. "They happily accepted me."
"I know." Mom said.
"So what's the big deal?" I questioned.
Mom didn't say anything. She went back to cleaning Alexandria's clothes.
I blinked and resorted to a last ditch effort.
"Indra doesn't have family."
Mom looked up with her eyes wide. Guess she forgot. She sighed heavily.
"Fine." She groaned. I cheered.
She then said something else. "My father is coming."
"Huh?" I asked. "Isn't that a good thing? Why'd you say it like that?"
"Mm," Mom rubbed and tilted her head in thought. "He's a bit...set in the old ways."
"He wouldn't support you and Indra." She said.
My face cracked. Great.
The next time I saw Indra I invited him to dinner.
"You're cordially invited bitch!" I shouted with a deep voice.
Indra raised an eyebrow. I chuckled.
"Indra Alehanson, you are invited to the Benson family's Thanksgiving dinner." I bowed my head at him and held out my hand.
"Oh?" Indra questioned.
"Oh?" I repeated. What's "oh?"
I stood up straight and looked at him.
"You don't know what Thanksgiving is do you?"
"Uh...well I do. Just not how Americans celebrate it." He said. I nodded.
"So, how do Romanians celebrate Thanksgiving?" A chance to know about Indra's culture? Hell yes.
"We just give thanks to God, for providing a good harvest."
"God?" I asked. "Indra, are you religious?"
"Um, well..." He stammered.
I waved for him to stop, "don't hurt yourself. It's not a question I really need answered."
"Anyway, I don't want you to be alone for Thanksgiving." I said. "So...will you come?"
"Yes." Indra said.
The day before school let out for Thanksgiving break the door burst open.
"What's up fuckers! I have returned!" Jason yelled as he entered with a suitcase and his girlfriend Mari.
"Seriously?" Mari scolded.
"Jayyyyyyy!" Alexandria cheered as she ran to him with her arms out.
He stooped down and let her run into his arms. They hugged. I smiled.
"Hey Lexie!" He stood up with her in his arms.
He and Mari turned to me.
"Brother!" Jason said. Mari recoiled when she saw me. I wasn't hiding my eye so this is the first time she's seen it.
"Jason." I said. He put Alexandria down and came over and hugged me.
Once Mom and Brian came in Jason went over and hugged them and they talked. Mari followed Jason.
Jeez. Jason's really on his way to becoming a doctor. I'm glad he's back though.
I didn't speak to Mari as the day went on, she didn't speak to me either. We had nothing to talk about.
At night Nick was put in my room. Jason was given his room back, so he's sleeping in there with Mari.
"Now, before I lay down in your bed," Nick started. Here we go. "How many times have you and Indra banged there?"
I swatted his ear. He jumped and laughed.
"You're more than welcome to sleep on the couch." I said.
Nick chuckled again. He climbed into the bed.
"You'd better not snore." I growled. I really need to get twin beds.
"Wake..." I was jumped on, "up!" I screamed loudly as my stomach was crushed.
Nick sat up and screamed. "What you screaming for?!"
Alexandria laughed as I sat up. I groaned.
"Alexandria..." I moaned.
"Mommy says get up! You're helping cook!"
"But I can't cook." I said. Alexandria rolled off of me and laid in between Nick and I.
I looked at Nick. He looked at me.
"Get yo ass outta my room!" I yelled. He's only here for sleep. Nothing else.
Nick got up and left.
"Okay. Let's go see Mommy." I said to Alexandria.
We went downstairs. I saw Mom in the kitchen with bowls filled of different colored stuff. The bowl she was working on was filled with meat, grinded meat.
"What's that?" I asked as I came over to her.
"I am making a meat dish. For Indra." Mom said. I raised my eyebrow.
"It's a dish. From his culture. I thought he'd appreciate something from home." She said.
"That's great." I said. "So what's this dish?"
"Miisi..." Mom drawled, uncertain.
"Miisi." I repeated.
"So. What do you need help with?" I asked. She did call me down here after all.
"Nevermind that. Brian will be home soon, I'll get him to help." Mom replied.
"Okay." Brian coming home early? Hella new; it's not even noon.
"He decided to take the break with you guys." Mom started. "And after the Alexandria fiasco he decided to lessen his workload. She needs at least one of us here. So, you'll be seeing more of him." She finished.
"I'm sure Alexandria will be happy." I said.
I turned away from the counter and my phone buzzed. I held it up to see a text from Indra.
"Will you come over?"
"Sure. What's going on?"
"Just want to see you."
I turned back to Mom. "I'm going to visit Indra."
"This early? I can't take you; I have to get the dinner ready." She said.
"I'll ask Jason." I went upstairs.
I opened the door, "Jason!"
He jumped up and Mari fell off of his chest.
"You ever heard of knocking, Luc?!" He snapped. Mari pulled the covers over her head and probably went back to sleep.
"What do you want?" He grumbled.
"A ride to Indra's." I said.
"Why so early?" Jason asked.
"It's not that early." He's probably just feeling lonely again.
"Get up, get dressed." I ordered.
"Fine!" Jason threw the covers off and got up. I left and went into my room to get dressed.
"So, you and Indra are doing okay? He treats you right?" Jason asked me as he drove.
"Yes. He treats me very well." I grinned at him.
"Good." Jason said.
"How's college been?" I asked him.
"Good." He said again.
"Okay." I said quietly.
"Go on back home. I might stay a while." I said to Jason after getting out of the car.
I went into the building and used the elevators. When the doors opened a person got on as I got off. You know, I almost thought there were no people living in the condo building. Then again, I was never looking for them.
I knocked on Indra's door and waited. I smiled.
The door opened. "Good morning." I said.
"Good morning." Indra smiled and let me in.
"So!" I turned to him, "what are we doing?"
"I thought we could just hang out. Be in each other's company." He answered and pushed the door shut.
We sat on the couch and leaned against each other. "Jason's back home." I stated.
"So you'll be meeting his girlfriend and the rest of the family." I said. "Hm, that's a lot of food." I pondered.
I didn't tell him about the food Mom was making for him, I wanted it to be a surprise.
"I'm kind of excited." Indra said. "And nervous."
"Don't worry, they'll love you." I put my hands on his cheeks and squished them, "you're totally loveable." I laughed. Indra chuckled and I took my hands from his face.
I leaned on his chest.
"Mm...December?" I asked.
"December? What about it?"
"Your birthday. Is it in December?"
"Aw." I whined. Oh wait...he told me he's an Aries. Crap. What month is that again?
I mumbled to myself and pressed the side of my face to his chest. His heart wasn't beating this time. Que?
"What's that?" I asked.
"Hm?" Indra questioned.
I sat up and looked at him.
"What's with that? The other day your heart was beating and now it's not!" I said.
Indra put his hand over his heart.
"What? Is it an arousal sort of thing? Or...or..." I trailed off. Indra blinked twice and looked at me in confusion.
"No?" I asked. He sat quiet for another second.
"No." He said. "It has to do with my blood intake."
"Uh?" I said.
"The more blood a vampire drinks, the more...alive, I guess, they become." He explained.
"It's why my heart was beating. It's why I'm so warm." He continued.
"So you aren't eating again?" I asked.
"No. I am. I'm getting hungry, is all." He said. I tilted my head. "I'm not starving or on the verge of attacking you... It's just a minor hunger."
"So why not eat? Make it go away." I asked.
"Think of it this way, would you put a band-aid on the tiniest cut? No. It's a waste." Indra said.
"So, vampire-wise: what kind of questions are you comfortable with?" I asked. Indra got confused.
"You shut me down about your past, your parents, and your neck, so what are you okay with?" I asked.
"I like telling stories." Indra said.
"Okay. What else?" I asked.
"I like chasing things. The thrill of hunting."
"Okay." I said, strained.
"So what's that like?" I asked.
"Thrilling." Indra said.
"Oh, right. Duh." I smacked myself on the head.
"So...your senses. They're like amplified, right?"
"Yes." He said.
He reached out and put the palm of his hand on my heart.
"I can hear your heart beating. Your blood flowing through your veins."
He paused. "On the ninth floor, I can hear a woman taking a shower."
Indra looked at me.
"Your heart began to beat rapidly when I touched you." I looked him in the eyes.
"What can I say? You're a rapid heart beating kind of guy." I grinned.
Indra smiled a little and took his hand from my chest.
He asked me a weird question about the past.
"Do you remember going to the beach with Evie and her Mom?"
"Yeah, you clocked me in the face." I said.
"When I said I'd never read your mind, I wasn't entirely honest." He said.
"Uh..." I mumbled. "Why are you telling me this?"
"Well, you thought "I already deal with this at home. I don't need it from you." He said. Why does he remember that?
"After that, I had an idea that..." He trailed off.
"Again: why are you telling me this?" Indra huffed. Then it finally clicked.
"Oh." I scoffed. "So you knew!"
"If you did then why didn't you do anything? What? Do you get off on holding all the information?" I snapped at him.
"What would you have me do?" Indra asked interrogatively.
"Could've ripped them apart. Shit like that happens all the time. Just place a knife at the scene." I said sarcastically.
"You know what-" I threw up my hands, "forget it. It's in the past, I'll just leave it alone."
Indra looked at me.
"I just, didn't want there to be any lies between us." He said, holding his head low.
"Fine it's out. Drop it." I said quickly.
Freaking idiot. What's the matter with him?
Indra shook his head. I turned away from him.
Really though. How would it have worked if Indra did something back then? Things may not be as good as they are now; I would've never met my family.
A few minutes later Indra rested his chin on my left shoulder.
"You still mad?" He asked in a small voice. Freaking child. Adorable child.
I turned to face him.
"I'm sorry." He said.
"It's okay." I sighed. "I won't worry about it."
Indra then looked at me like he had something to say.
"Um, we finally got your parents approval of me... When can we go on our date?" He asked shyly.
"Oh, maybe over the weekend?" I pondered.
"Okay. Whatever works best." Indra said.
He smiled at me a little. "What's that for?" I asked.
My cheeks burned as I blushed and I hid my face.
"It's true." Indra assured me.
I looked at him. "Go on and kiss me." Since you won't be able to tomorrow.
Without question he leaned forward and kissed me.
"Why?" He asked once he pulled away.
I shrugged, "because I like your kisses."
Indra tilted his head in interest, "oh! Then I'll kiss all over you."
I screamed and laughed when he grabbed on to me and pushed me down as he began to attack me with kisses all over the left side of my face.
I put my hands on the sides of his face and placed a long kiss on his lips.
He put his hands down on my collar bone. Once he raised up and stared deeply into my eye. I tilted my head a little and stared back at him.
Indra traced the front collar of my shirt and pulled it down slightly with the tip of his finger. A "hum" came from the back of his throat.
I reached down and grabbed his hands and held them in the gap between us.
I smiled nervously. Indra did too once it seemed like he realized what he was doing.
He sat back and returned to his original spot on the couch. I sat up. For a while we didn't say anything.
"So as you can imagine a lot of family will be there tomorrow. So just take it slowly." I finally spoke. Indra looked at me and nodded.
"Oh, and uh..." I forgot what I was going to tell him next. Must not have been all that important. "Nevermind."
Indra poked his bottom lip with the back of his thumbnail.
"Don't be anxious." I told him. I slid over to him and put my arm around his shoulders and kissed his cheek.
"Cutie pie?" I called when he didn't say anything.
I stared at his left eye.
"I should bring something." Indra stated.
"Jane Todd and my Mom's brother's wife are coming today to help cook. And the rest of the stuff will be brought when the others come tomorrow." I explained. "So you don't need to bring anything."
"But it's my first time meeting them. And I'm being invited to someone's house." Indra said.
I looked off to the side, then back to him. "Do what you will, Indra."
I moved my arm and sat straight.
"Are you mad at me?" He asked.
I turned to him. "You're just so uptight! You need to let loose; stop worrying all the time."
"I don't worry all the time. And I'm not uptight." He said. I tilted my head at him.
"I just have my priorities right." He stated definitively. I narrowed my eye.
"Let me ask you something." I said. Indra turned his body to me and rested his arm on the top of the couch.
"Aside from playing with the cats, running, chasing and eating birds, what do you do for fun?" I questioned.
Indra's eyes darted to the side. He didn't say anything.
Ok, so he doesn't do anything fun besides that. Maybe I should take him out.
"Okay. Forget about that." I started. Indra tilted his head, confused. God that's so cute.
"Have you ever been to an amusement park?"
Indra's face lit up with an idea. "Where the circus people are!"
"No." I drawled. "It's roller coasters, games, prizes, yay."
"Roller coaster..." Indra sounded it out.
"Is it when you go over a waterfall in a barrel?" He asked.
"No." I said again. "Jesus, what have you been doing all these years?" I shook my head and lowered it as I spoke lowly.
"Well...I'm not exactly a kid, Luc..." He rubbed the back of his head. Don't know why, but that kind of scared me.
"Amusement parks are for adults too. Some people even go on dates there." I said.
"So we play on a roller coaster and what? Kiss?"
"Sure." I said dryly.
"Sounds fun, I suppose." Indra said.
I don't know how, but something tells me Indra would not like riding a roller coaster.
"Well, let's not forget about other stuff. Movies. Walks in parks. We can watch little kids fall and scrape their knees and laugh!" I grinned.
"That's not nice." Indra stated. I chuckled.
"I'm sure we can figure something out." I said.
Indra nodded slowly.
I groaned to myself and pressed my forehead to his chest.
"Hey... Do you hate where you are now?" I asked quietly.
"What are you saying?" Indra asked. He put his hands gently on my shoulders and I leaned back to look at him.
"Nothing." I said sheepishly.
Indra smiled brightly. "I love it here. With you and Evie."
"There's nothing I don't like." He said. "That's why I stayed in highschool. So I could be with you guys."
"I just love you two too much." He finished. I smiled a little.
Indra slowly pulled me closer to him and leaned in. I closed my eye and his lips touched mine. He held my face and caressed my cheek.
We moved our heads as we kissed. It was like we fit together perfectly.
His lips left mine and I huffed against his lips.
"Hey," he called. "Why do you still hide your eye from me?"
I whimpered a little and put my forehead on his wrapped my hand around the back of his neck, pressing his hair down.
"I can't do it." I muttered. I leaned back.
I could see it in his eyes. All this kissing and grabbing on each other, he was silently begging for me. Well, I wouldn't mind it.
I shook my head, "I'm sorry for leading you on."
"No no. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have pushed you down." Indra apologized.
I let go of him and began to stand. Indra grabbed my wrist, "wait, don't go."
I sat back down and looked at him.
"We can just hang out normally. And talk to each other."
"But I do want to kiss you." I thought. I can't help how he feels or how much of an effect I have on him.
"Okay." I breathed.
For the next couple of hours we sat and talked.
When I returned home the kitchen was loud with chatter. I stared into the kitchen. There's nowhere I can help.
"Okay, lotsa people, lotsa people." I mumbled to myself on Thanksgiving night. I buttoned up my shirt and put on my jacket. Lastly I pat my hair and put it in place in front of my eye.
"There!" I said proud of my clean and handsome appearance.
Nick kicked me out of the way, "move. You're hogging the mirror."
I growled at him as I saw a dusty footprint on the side of my jacket.
"Hey!" I snapped.
"Oh relax. You can brush it off." Nick said. I rolled my eye and swatted the dust off.
I opened my mouth to scold him.
"Aw sweetie," he started mockingly. "Go wait for your Daddy downstairs." He was talking about Indra.
"I swear, one day I am going to beat the crap out of you." I said before leaving.
I went downstairs and stood by the window with Mom. Other family members were here at the house. They all just mingled with others and whatnot. Nick's family was here, and Mom's brother's family, as well.
We were waiting for Indra, Mom's Dad, and a few more people.
I cheered to myself, "Indra's here!"
"And he's with my Dad." Mom said dryly.
I looked at her. "So?"
"Luc, do you not remember what we talked about?" She asked me.
Oh crap. I totally forgot.
I looked out the window at Indra. He was standing in the driveway between the cars talking to Mom's father. He held something in his arms.
"I'm just gonna-" I slipped out the front door.
"You're not Luc. Luc's a small boy." Mom's Dad said to Indra.
"No, no. I'm Luc." I said to him when I got close. I glanced at Indra. He looked really nice. Of course he wore dark clothes, but it was all put together nicely.
"Oh, who's this?" He then asked. He spoke with authority. He didn't look very old, but he kind of carried himself like he was.
"Indra." I grabbed Indra's arm.
I cut Indra off, "he's an exchange student!" Mom's Dad looked at me strangely.
"What- I'm not-" Indra started.
"Shut up." I said quietly.
He seemed to buy the story. "Really? Where are you from? What are you studying?"
"Romania. I'm studying the culinary arts." Indra answered.
"Romania? But the name Indra is Buddhist."
I looked at Indra.
"My parents traveled a lot." Indra said lowly. Somehow I could tell that wasn't true.
Indra looked down at me and started whispering. "What is going on?"
"Stop." I whispered back.
"Boy," Mom's Dad called Indra purposefully. "Make sure to study well."
He looked down at me, "that goes for you too."
"You're part of this family now, so you must strive to rise above all. Don't settle for ordinary." He said.
I didn't say anything.
"Daddy!" Mom called happily. She came over. Her Dad smiled and hugged her.
They parted. "I see you've met Luc and Indra." Mom smiled.
"Yes. They are very interesting individuals." He said.
"I am Dr. Bill Granger. Pleasure to meet you."
Indra and I responded accordingly.
"What do you have there, Indra?" Mom asked curiously as she smiled.
"Flowers." He answered. "Roses." He clarified. Him and his flowers.
"Aw, how sweet." Mom said.
"You two go inside. We'll be in shortly." She said. We nodded and I pulled Indra into the house.
Jane Todd approached us. "Hi Luc. Who's your friend?"
"This is Indra." I said.
"The same Indra who disappeared while you were in the hospital?" Oh shit. Indra jumped.
I'm starting to wonder if inviting Indra was a mistake.
"Um, yes. Everything is good with us. You don't have to worry." I said.
"If you say so." Jane Todd said as she looked at Indra with the side-eye glare. "I'll take those."
Indra handed her the flowers and she left. I let go of Indra's arm.
"I'm going to go use the bathroom. You just talk to the others if you want." I said. I left.
When I got out of the bathroom Alexandria ran up to me. She wore a red taffeta dress with black tights and a red headband.
"Luc, I want a cupcake." She told me.
"No. Wait until after you've had your dinner." I said.
"Aw." She whined and ran off.
I went into the main rooms and saw Jason and Indra huddled up in a corner.
Indra was bent over and it looked like he was holding himself. Jason looked angry. The whole thing looked aggressive.
I rushed over.
"What are you guys doing?" I asked calmly.
"Nothing. Just talking." Jason replied, equally calm.
I looked past him to Indra.
He cleared his throat and stood up straight.
"I'm fine." He turned to me. Jason left.
It didn't take a genius to figure out that Jason punched Indra.
I held my arms and frowned.
"I think I made a mistake inviting you. You can leave if you want." I said. "I don't think they'll get along with you."
"I'm sorry. I just didn't want you to be alone. I should've left it alone." I wiped my eye.
Indra touched my shoulder. "It's okay."
"I can handle whatever they may throw at me." He said.
"I'd like to stay with you, if it'll make you happy. But regardless I'll be fine. And so will you."
"Grab a plate everyone." Mom called with Alexandria in her arms.
I smiled at Indra.
"Our first holiday together." I said romantically.
He chuckled and we went to get plates together. But not together-together, didn't want Bill seeing us.
There was a huge spread. Turkey, stuff that looked like puke, green beans, rice, ham, gravy, those tasty ass rolls, cranberries, and deviled eggs.
Once everyone was seated at the dinner table with their food, Bill started talking.
"Jeanette, we say grace in this family. Don't you remember?" He said.
Ah right, giving thanks to god. People do it on days like this because they're thankful for what they have or just love god. As for me, I fucking hate God.
"Right. Of course." Mom said.
"Join hands everyone." She said. They all complied.
Indra held his hand out to me. I took his hand and held it.
Mom started saying grace. I mentally grimmaced.
I always get uncomfortable when people say grace.
"Amen." Everyone repeated after her.
We all started eating and people talked a little as they ate. The turkey was moist and really good; lots of seasoning.
"Oh Indra," Mom called. We looked at her. "I almost forgot." She picked up a plate with a cover over it.
"I made this for you." She took the cover off and passed the plate to him via Brian and Jane Todd.
"I thought you'd like to have a piece of home tonight." She said.
"Sausage?" I said. I mean, it's what was on the plate.
"Miisi." Mom corrected me.
"Mici." Indra corrected her. "Meech."
"Oh." We said.
He smiled at the dish and his eyes brightened.
"Thank you, I really appreciate it." He said.
Maybe...he looked about ready to cry, but he pushed it away.
"Glad to do it." Mom said with a smile.
Indra put a sausage on his plate, then one on mine. He wants me to try it.
I bit into it. "Nice." I thought. I just nodded at Indra though.
As people finished eating I spoke to Mom.
"This was a nice dinner Mom. You did a good job." I said.
"Thank you sweetheart." She said.
Bill started speaking again. He asked Indra a question, then Jason fucked it up.
"Indra, do you think you'll stay in America for college or return to Romania? I know a dean from a nice culinary school, I could tell him to expect a call from you."
"What are you talking about, Gramps?" Jason asked. He was far away from me so I couldn't kick him.
"The exchange program." Bill answered.
I slid down in my seat and covered the sides of my face.
"Indra's not an exchange student." Jason said nervously.
"Oh. Jason-" Mom said. "Shit." I whispered.
"What are you two talking about? Of course Indra's not an exchange student." Nick said.
He turned to Indra, "wait, are you?"
"Um...uh." Indra stammered left and right.
Oh god. What do I do?
Then the devil spoke from the child. "Indra is Luc's boyfriend, Grandpa!"
I slapped my hand over my face. God damn it Alexandria.
The family except Bill all shifted in anticipation. Bill sat staring at Mom with a cold dead gaze. What will he say?
"What's the matter with you?" He asked her.
"Okay." Tanya, Mom's sister-in-law, said. "You kids get your plates and go into the living room." Whelp. We're past the point of no return now.
The younger kids whined and complained as they left.
I massaged my right temple.
"I never should've invited Indra. I should've dropped it the moment Mom told me about her dad."
Under the table, Indra took my hand and squeezed it reassuringly.
"I raised you better than that. They are a sin against God. You know this. How dare you let this abomination in your house?" He raised his voice.
"Bill. It's as you said, it's her house." Jane Todd jumped in. "He can date whoever he wants."
"Dad, come on-" Mom's brother tried to stop them.
"We don't accept gays in this family! You know that Jane." Bill snapped. I lowered my head.
"He's a part of this family gay or not. He's your grandson." Jane Todd argued.
"He's not related to us. He's nothing. Jeanette." He called. I was frozen in fear. Indra sat still, looking down at his lap.
"Kick him out." Bill ordered.
"No." Mom said. Brian took Mom's hand.
"Luc is our son." He said. "And Indra is a friend we'll always welcome into our home." Indra and I looked at Brian slightly.
"I'm not kicking him out Daddy. He's our son and he belongs here." Mom said.
"If you refuse to accept that then the one who's being kicked out is you." She said.
"Don't call me to come to holiday dinners ever again." She ordered.
Bill got up and stormed out.
I got up and rushed upstairs and shut myself in my room.
I gasped deeply and pushed myself into a corner. I grabbed my jacket and ripped it off then threw it to the floor. I kept gasping and clutched my chest. I couldn't catch my breath.
I huffed and tears rolled down my cheeks.
The door opened and Indra stepped in. He closed it and ran over to me and pulled me into him. I cried loudly into his chest and held on to his arms tightly.
Indra held me tightly and securely.
"I'm here. You're okay." He whispered.
"I'm sorry." I whimpered.
I'm always setting us up for trouble. What was I thinking?
I sniffled and broke our hug. I walked around Indra and went to my dresser.
"I'm getting into my pajamas and going to bed." I wiped my tears away. "Will you stay with me?"
I turned to Indra. He nodded.
"Turn around." I ordered. Indra turned around.
I unbuttoned my shirt and let it drop to the floor. I turned my head to Indra. He was still turned around. I put my pajama shirt on and took off my pants and underwear. I put on the pants and kicked my clothes to the side.
I reached into the drawer and took out a t-shirt and pajama pants.
"Here." I said to Indra when I walked over to him.
He took the pajamas and I crawled into bed with my back to him.
I held my fist to my chest and shuddered.
The bed dipped and I felt Indra rest his head on my shoulder and put his hand on my waist. I rolled over.
"I'm sorry." I whispered. He shook his head.
He kissed my forehead and held me tightly in his arms. I put my forehead to his chest and closed my eye.
I don't hate these hands. I'm a lot more comfortable with them than anyone else's.
Someone knocked on the door. "Luc?" Mom. I shook my head and said nothing.
"You don't want to speak to her?" Indra whispered. I shook my head again.
"Luc?" She called again, softer this time.
I said nothing again. I heard her walk away. I pressed myself against Indra more, hoping it would make me feel better.
I eventually fell asleep with a heavy heart, in Indra's arms. I hope this way I can wake up feeling better.
In the morning I woke up depressed. Indra was still in bed with me; laying how he was last night.
I didn't sit up. I couldn't bring myself to. Indra laid perfectly still with his eyes closed. I couldn't tell if he was asleep or was just resting his eyes.
"I should let him rest." I thought.
I rolled onto my back and stared at the ceiling. The white ceiling. White...
"Kick him out."
"You want us to send you back to the foster home..."
It means the same thing... Getting rid of me? Because I'm a little different?
I clenched my heart. "I don't want to be thrown away!"
I whimpered and rolled over to cling to Indra, hiding my face in his chest. I clenched my teeth together.
"Whoa, Luc," Indra said quietly. I froze after I realized what I did.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you." I said in a frail voice.
"It's fine, but...are you okay?"
I poked my lip out.
Someone knocked on my door three times.
"Luc?" Brian's voice called. I didn't move or look from Indra's chest.
I squeezed my eye shut and again said nothing.
Once he left I spoke to Indra.
"I'm surprised they didn't try the doorknob." I muttered.
"They probably want to give you space." Indra replied.
"Is it safe to assume last night had some effect on you? Something that brought up a memory?"
I nodded slightly.
"I feel embarrassed. Maybe as far as humiliated." I said. "I thought I was past all that homophobic bullshit."
"I know my parents won't kick me out, but..."
"You want them to tell you that themselves?" Indra finished for me.
"But you heard them at dinner: they said you belong here. Here with them." He said.
"I know but-- I don't know, I'm scared to go see them." I said. "Maybe because I felt singled-out? Like, why would they let him come if he was like that? I mean, I know he's family, but still."
"Humans always seek redemption deep in another." Indra muttered.
Yeah, that's true. Whatever.
I kissed him on the lips and whispered, "I'm sorry."
We stayed laying in my bed for the rest of the day. I never felt like getting up, and Indra just followed my lead.
I liked it.
During the next day while I was taking a nap Indra woke me up.
"What?" I said, cranky.
"It's been two days." He said.
"So what?" I closed my eye again.
Indra pulled my eye open. "Two days since you've eaten, two days since you've taken your medication."
"Your parents are worried about you." He alerted me. I ignored him and swatted his hand away.
Then I was sliding off the bed and landing on the floor.
"Ow." I groaned.
Indra sat on his knees. "If you don't take your pills I swear I'll have you committed."
I rolled my eye and stood up, "you're so dramatic."
He got off the bed and went over to his clothes from Thanksgiving night. He took off his pajamas and got dressed.
"Don't worry. I enjoy just laying in bed with you, but you need to take care of yourself." Indra said.
I held up my arms.
"I'm removing myself from the equation."
He came over to me and turned me around. He opened the door and pushed me out.
"Did you just kick me out of my own room?" I asked.
Indra pulled the door closed. "Yes."
"Go downstairs, eat. Say hello to your family, take your pills." He said. He kissed the top of my head.
He walked around me and began to leave. He stopped for a second and pat his pockets. I was kind of thinking that I didn't want him to leave. I leaned close to him, inches away from his ear.
"You wanna fuck?"
Loud stomping came from the staircase as Indra bustled down.
Brian sat at the counter holding a glass of water. Jeanette and Alexandria were in the living room playing.
When Indra got to the first floor his face was red and he turned around and shouted while pointing, "Rău! Rău!!"
"Indra?" Brian called, concerned.
Indra turned to him, waved with a small chuckle, then ran out of the house. Jeanette stood up.
Luc ran down the stairs. "Aw, did he leave?" He pouted.
"Luc." Jeanette hugged him.
She leaned back, "no wonder Indra left like that. You've been cooped up in that room and you stink! Go take a shower!"
Alexandria laughed and pinched her nose playfully, "Pee-U!"
Luc blew air and leapt up the stairs.
Later they all talked and cleared the negative space between them. Luc was promised that he'd never see Bill again.
Time went on and I got more comfortable with Indra. I already felt at ease with him, but now I feel 10000% comfortable with him.
Brian cut back on his hours at the hospital to be with Alexandria more often.
Towards the end of winter break Mom's birthday came along. It was a big thing.
"Hey guys." I said to Evie and Indra when they walked into the hotel.
"Hello." Evie said as she took off her winter coat.
"Wow." She said as she looked at the decoration. Silver and matte black.
I began to lead them to the conference room we were in.
"They threw her a huge party. This whole room is ours." I told my bestfriend and boyfriend.
There were two big number balloons, "35" they said.
The guests were mainly friends of Mom and Brian's. Doctors from the hospital were there too. The room was full of people. We all dressed nicely for the occasion.
Indra and Evie were invited so I'd have people to talk to. Alexandria was at home being watched by Margo, our neighbor and her babysitter.
I huffed once we got settled in.
"I have to go to the bathroom." I said as I got up. Indra looked at me.
Once I was finished using the bathroom I stood at the urinal wrestling with my zipper.
I groaned loudly. Thank god I'm the only one in the bathroom so no one could see me struggling.
I kept tugging and tugging, but it wouldn't give. I was at it for a while.
The door opened, "Luc?" Indra's voice called. I jumped.
"What's going on? You've been gone for a while." He said.
I looked at him. Look at him standing there, all nice looking and handsome.
"Um...my zipper's stuck. Can you help?" I mean he's strong. Maybe one pull from him will fix it.
"If I get anywhere near you I wouldn't be able to stop myself from taking you into that stall."
"Oh..." I mumbled. Well, that wouldn't be bad, except...
"Indra, have some decency." I told him. "We are in a hotel."
Indra simply nodded and left the bathroom. I washed my hands and followed him.
"I'll wait over there." I told him and left to stand by the elevators. Oh man, is this really happening?
I breathed out all my jitters in the few minutes Indra was gone. Once he came to get me he took my hand.
"Shall we go?" He asked.
"Yes." I responded.
I pushed the button to the elevator and it opened. We stepped into it together and turned to face the doors as they closed slowly.
I hope no one will notice that we left.
When the elevator doors opened again Indra and I walked out.
I looked up at him as we walked. I smiled to myself then looked to the front.
Anticipation was killing me. When we got to the room I ran cold. My nerves were killing me. I wonder if he's nervous too.
Indra put the card in the door slot. The light turned green and he pushed open the door.
He pulled me in and closed the door. The room was dark. We didn't bother to turn on the lights.
I could barely make out the large bed a few feet away from us.
"Luc." Indra called in a soft voice. He let go of my hand, "are you sure about this?"
"Yes, I am." I said.
He took the openings of my jacket in his fingers and pulled me close to his body. He softly pressed his lips on mine and pulled me to the bed.
Once we reached the bed Indra gently pushed me down. I kept kissing him.
I left him and scooted to sit properly in the middle of the bed.
Indra crawled onto the bed and sat on top of my legs. He started kissing me again and grabbed my shoulders. His lips were soft, and he was warm.
I slid my hands under his jacket and rubbed my hands against his chest. I grabbed his jacket roughly and pulled it off his shoulders. He took it all the way off for me and tossed it to the side.
Indra grabbed at me, tore off my jacket and unbuttoned my shirt. I shuddered when he touched my waist.
He started kissing my neck and clavicle. I ran my fingers through his hair as he kissed on me. Holy shit.
I always told myself I'd go slow with him if the day ever came. I didn't think it'd be so soon.
Luc had his arms wrapped around me. He breathed heavily in my ear as I slowly and gently pushed in and out of him. I panted into his neck.
His breathing died off. I stopped and raised up to look at him.
His eye stared at me emptily. He wasn't moving.
"Luc?" I called. I touched his cheek.
Tears built up in his eyes. It was like he had woken up.
"Luc?" I called again. Is he okay?
"No..." He whimpered. He began to sob. Oh...
"No. We can't do this!"
"Stop, stop, we have to stop." He cried.
"Stop! Stop!" He wailed and smacked my arms.
"Okay, okay." I panicked a little.
I pulled out of him and he instantly crawled out from under me and dropped onto the floor. He breathed in and out frantically, still crying. I sat down.
He began to pat the floor. When his hand landed on his shirt he snatched it up and put it on.
"Oh no." I thought.
Luc put on his pants, stood up quickly and grabbed his shoes and jacket. He ran out of the room and the door slammed shut.
I put my hand over my mouth and just sat on the bed stunned.
Outside the hotel I sat on a bench, curled up on my hip. I sniffled and wiped tears and snot away and rubbed it on my jacket.
"I was ready...I was ready..." I repeated to myself. "I wasn't ready." I hid my face.
Everything was a blur up until I "woke up." This is all my fault. I led him on again. What's he gonna think of me now?
I heard the door open. I tensed up slightly. Indra stood on the sidewalk, barely looking at me.
"I'm...going home." I could hear the hurt in his voice. He walked into the parking lot.
I got up and ran after him.
"Indra, wait! I'm-" He turned around.
"Don't go." I said quietly. "We can go back inside and just-"
"No." Indra spoke. "I need to get back to the cats anyway."
"But, Evie brought you." I reminded him.
"It's okay. A walk will be good for me right now."
I bit my lip. He turned and walked between two parked cars and disappeared behind tall bushes.
"Oh god. What if he leaves again?" I thought.
I gasped a little and held my arms. What have I done?