LIE

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Chapter 59

"Maybe I should...do I call him or text him?" I asked myself.

I laid in my bed holding my phone, hovering my thumb over Indra's contact information.

It had only been a couple days since the...hotel. I wanted to give him time to be upset with me, but now I think it's time to check in on him.

"Are you okay?" I typed. I hesitated to send.

A text slid on to the screen, "are you okay?"

I stared at the screen until I figured out what to say. I deleted my text and started to type.

"Yes." I replied. "Are you?"

"Yes." He responded.

"Can we talk?" I asked.

He didn't respond. I sighed and dropped my phone on the bed and rolled onto my back.

The day after that night, memories started to surface. In pieces, of course. I just don't know where it went wrong. Why wasn't I ready? Why did I freak out?

Later in the morning I dragged myself downstairs. I dragged my feet across the floor all the way to the kitchen.

"Luc?" Brian called. He stood by the oven with a pan in his hand.

"Wha?" I grumbled.

"Are you feeling alright? You've been acting strange since the party." He said.

"No I haven't." I denied.

"Is it your medication? We can up the dosage if you need it." Brian said. He put the pan on the stove.

"It's not that." I told him.

"Then what is it?" He asked. I didn't say anything.

"Did you and Indra get into an argument? I noticed you two were gone for a while."

"Of course you would notice." I pouted. "But yeah. I guess you could say that."

I'm still reeling from the fact that that happened. Oh I so royally screwed up.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

I shook my head, "I want to deal with it on my own. I can handle it."

"You don't have to handle it alone though."

I hunched my shoulders and took a poptart from the pantry. I can't wait for this break to end.

When school restarted on Monday I sat at my desk beside Evie. Indra wasn't here yet-- hell, who even knows if he's coming. We haven't spoken since the last week of winter break.

"What happened with you and Indra?" Evie asked me.

"What?" How does she know? "How do you know? What did he tell you?"

"Not much. I just noticed you came in alone." She said.

"Oh uh," I stammered. Evie stared at me suspiciously.

"What did you do?" She asked.

"I don't want to talk about it." I answered.

During transition to second block Nick came to me in the hallway.

"Go away. I don't want anything to do with you today." I said.

"Hey, I just needed to borrow a pencil." He said.

"Are you kidding? You could've literally asked anybody!" The crowd of students began to die down.

"But I don't talk to anybody!" Nick complained. "And plus! I know you have a lot!"

"Buzz off!" I yelled. He ran away.

I groaned in annoyance.

A hand grabbed my left shoulder.

"Look Evie, I said I didn't want to talk about it. So forget it." I said.

"Dragă." I turned around.

"Indra." I said in surprise. He's here. Okay, I was not prepared to actually talk to him. He took his hand off my shoulder and looked at me kindly. I stared at his chest.

"I'm sorry." I said. I refused to look at him. I thought it'd be easy when I spoke to him, but the reminder that I made a complete fool of myself was prevalent.

"No." Indra said. No? I looked at him.

"I should've known you weren't ready." He said quietly.

He gently grabbed my hand. "Forgive me."

I put my forehead below his neck, "it was no one's fault."

He put his arm around my shoulders and hugged me tightly. I smiled and melted against his warm chest. His heart was beating a little fast.

"We should go to class." Indra said.

"No. I want to stay like this." I whined.

"We can do this when we're not at school." He said. He kissed the top of my head and walked around me, pulling me along by the hand.

"Is that an invitation to your condo?" I asked eagerly.

"Maybe." Indra smiled.

So that's what we did. After school we went to his condo and just chilled.

"Ah. I could get used to this." I said. I laid beside Indra in his bed, hugging on him, taking in his warmth.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Indra asked.

"Of course I am." I said. Of course, I was in a bit of pain afterwards, but nothing I couldn't handle.

"What about you?" I propped my chin up on his chest.

"You're the one who got freaked out on."

"Well, I was fine. Maybe a little shocked..." Indra said. I stared at him, trying to get him to tell me everything.

"Okay I was a bit hurt. But it's fine." He said. I hugged him tightly. I pulled the covers up.

"You're taking a nap?"

"You're so warm and cozy." I complained. How can I not take a nap?

Indra chuckled and wrapped his arms around me. "Well. I'll be here when you wake up."

"Okay," I said after waking up. "We're trying something new."

I sat up and leaned against the headboard.

"Such as?" Indra questioned.

"Let's go see Frozen 2." I grinned. I YouTube'd the songs out of boredom and decided I wanted to watch it. Alexandria made Mom take her to see it three times over the break.

Indra tilted his head, "okay. When?"

"Friday?" I suggested. "You know, since we wouldn't have school the next day."

Indra nodded.

So we saw Frozen. I liked it. Indra seemed fascinated by all the lights, but I don't think he's a big fan of all the singing. Towards the end of the movie he seemed a bit bothered, maybe even sad.

"You sure you're okay?" I asked when we got to his condo.

"Yeah." He said, totally believable.

"You look sad." I stated. Indra turned his head away from me.

I pouted.

"Indra Alehanson! You have forced me to do something I didn't want to do! Actually, I do, just under different circumstances." I said. Indra turned to me, confused.

"I have always been a fortress, cold secrets deep inside. You have secrets, too, but you don't have to hide," I sang. "Show yourself, I'm dying to meet you."

Indra ran forward and grabbed me by the shoulders, "stop it! Just stop!"

I stopped singing and tilted my head a little. I looked at him, confused. Why is he so keyed up?

"What's wrong with you?" I asked.

"You want me to show myself? You haven't shown yourself!" Indra snapped.

"What are you talking about?"

Indra let go of my shoulders and pointed. "You used to sneak out of your old house, then you'd come here to sleep!" Oh shit.

"You said you were "working!" What were you doing?!"

I took a few steps back and looked at the floor. I chose not to say anything. "Of course this would surface." I thought.

"Don't act like you didn't hear me, Luc!" Indra snapped.

"I have to go." I said.

I rushed for the door. Before I could open the door Indra intercepted me. I cried out.

"Luc, don't run away." He put his hand on my shoulder.

"Get out of my way!" I yelled and grabbed his arms.

We wrestled for a second. Indra yelled in pain when I threw him to the floor. I gasped at what I had done. He began to get up. I opened the door and ran out.

When I got home and in the upstairs hallway, I heard arguing.

"You're getting too close!" Brian yelled.

"I'm not!" Mom yelled back. They were in their room with the door closed, but that didn't help much. "We can't all just shut off our emotions like you!"

"I don't shut off my emotions! There's a line between getting too personally connected and being professional!" Brian shot back.

I pivoted and went back down the stairs. Everything is falling apart. Indra yelled at me and now my parents are arguing.

I went out the front door. I need to get a package.

Nick:

I sat on the couch listening to music loudly in my earbuds since Auntie and Uncle were arguing.

Luc came into the house all weird looking. I pulled out my earbuds. His hands were covered in dirt and so were his pants. He carried a black case in his hand.

He couldn't see me so he just went upstairs. I followed him after a few seconds and went into his room.

"What are you doing?" I asked. He stood close to his bed. The case was gone.

He turned around and hid his hands behind his back.

"What are you talking about?" He asked, completely oblivious.

"You're covered in dirt." I stated.

Luc got angry at me, of course.

"Shut up! And get out of my room!" He screamed.

I ran out.

Luc:

The next night I decided to go to Indra and talk to him. Whatever happens happens. I'm ready to go anyway.

He stood up from the couch and stepped closer to me.

"I'm sorry I yelled and hurt you." I said. He tilted his head back slightly and didn't say anything. I can't tell if he's mad at me or something.

"I'm going to tell you." I started. I'm going to tell you the terrible thing I did.

"What is it, Luc Benson?" Indra asked. So he is listening. He didn't sound angry.

"Well at- at that time I was a bit desperate to get out." I started.

"And I was...well...already used to it. So to speak." I rambled.

"You aren't making much sense. What do you mean by "used to it?" Indra asked.

I adverted my gaze and puffed out my cheek in embarrassment.

"Haha! What am I doing?" I thought, delirious. "Ha! Oh man, this could potentially screw everything up. Hahahahaha!"

"Luc? What is it, what did you do?" Indra asked. I came back to reality.

I looked at him. "What did you do?" He asked again, almost like he was worried.

"Sex work."

Indra's face remained neutral.

"I had enough to get out, but I hesitated and everything...happened." I started to ramble again.

"And at the time I was used to it, being used."

"Most of the times it was just sex, and on the rare occasions I was just arm candy."

"Because I was one of the "exotic products." I said using air quotes.

"And the man I worked for, he was a cool dude. He owned a club -- it was his cover -- you know the whole business in the front, party in the back. I sang there for a little extra cash." Indra's face remained unchanged and he stared down at me.

"Are you listening to me?" I questioned. When he didn't react I waved my hand in front of his face, "Indra?" He didn't blink.

I pulled my hand back. Great. I broke him. I'm not a doctor but I think it's safe to say he's in shock.

I turned my back to him.

"I knew this was a mistake." I whispered to myself. I pressed my hands to my cheeks.

"I can see how this will ruin us. No one wants to be with the used and abused."

"And what if my parents find out?! They'll probably disown me!" I wailed.

I started crying. "And you won't even speak to me."

My shoulders were grabbed and I was being hugged from behind.

"I'm sorry you were forced to do that." Indra said. "I'll ensure it; you won't ever have to do that again."

"The secret lies with you. No one will know, if you don't want them to."

Jeanette:

I went into Luc's room last to clean the floors. He keeps it clean mostly, just a piece of clothing over there and a piece there.

I swept the floor with the sweeper. I almost regret having a house with hardwood floors. So much work!

I pushed the sweeper under the bed and felt resistance. I peeked around the bed.

Something black with a sharp corner stuck out. What is it?

I put the sweeper down and pulled the box out. It was a sleek case, thick. I tried to talk myself out of looking through Luc's things, but my motherly instincts took over.

I opened the case.

I gasped and took my hands off it.

"Why does he have this?" I muttered in a panic.

The case was full of money. Stacks of it. Probably $100,000 or more was in there.

"Where did he get this?"

Luc:

I sighed against Indra's chest. I pulled away from him, "so you aren't mad?"

"No." Indra said.

"I just have a question." He continued.

"You said you were already used to it. What do you mean by that?"

I looked into his eyes, then lowered my head. I couldn't look at him when I said it.

"My old foster father...wasn't the only one who raped me. Or the first..."

"Who?" Indra asked.

"Winn. And Izzy." I answered.

I didn't want to see the face he was making.

"Winn is dead. So I don't have to worry about him coming around. And Izzy, I don't know."

"Winn's dead?" Indra asked, faking ignorance.

I shot up and looked at him, "don't play dumb Indra! I saw you at the funeral!"

"Okay." He said.

"Luc are you okay?" Indra asked. My expression softened.

"You're the first person I've told." I said lowly. "You have no idea how scared I am."

Indra hugged me once again. "I'm so sorry. I had no idea."

"I should get home."

"Luc, stop running away. You're safe here."

"I'm not running away. It's late. My parents are probably wondering where I am." I said.

Indra tilted his head at me.

"Really!" I said. I stepped out of his grasp and smiled at him as I went out the door.

I sighed heavily at the front door of my house.

"I can't believe I told him." I thought, still shuddering from the conversation.

I opened the door and went inside. I really just want to go into my room and panic this shit out.

The light in the dining room was on.

I saw Brian lean over and look at me.

"Luc come in here." He called.

"Okay." I said simply. I walked over.

"What's going on-" Oh shit.

The case was sitting on the table in between Brian and Mom.

"You were going through my stuff?!" I questioned.

"I found it by accident." Mom replied. "Sit down." She said. I'm in trouble.

I slowly pulled out the chair and sat down.

"You wanna tell us about this?" Mom nodded her head at the case.

"No..." I shook my head slowly and spoke slowly.

"We weren't giving you much of a choice, Luc." Brian said. I didn't say anything. Oh, I'm in so much trouble.

"Where did you get the money?" Mom asked.

"I'm not telling you." I said nervously.

"Why not?" Mom asked. "I know things got bad for you all those years ago, so if you robbed places to get this, we'd understand."

"I didn't rob anything!" I defended myself.

"Then where did you get the money?" Brian asked, pressing harder.

My leg tapped and I clenched my teeth.

"What do I do?" I looked at Mom, "do I tell them?" I looked at the case, "or do I grab the case and run?"

They were staring at me, waiting for me to say something.

I leaned back.

"I- I'm sorry." I breathed. I stood up and ran out of the house, with my parents calling after me.

I walked into Indra's condo. "Okay, you were right. I'm a runner."

"What happened?" Indra asked. He sat on the back of the couch. You know, when I walked in, it was kind of like he was waiting for me.

"My parents found all the money I earned. I took it from its hiding place and brought it home."

"Why?"

"They were arguing!" I said. "I got scared! I thought I'd have to run!" Hell, I'm still paranoid.

"Couples argue all the time."

"I know." I lowered my head. "I was just so afraid everything was falling apart."

Indra dropped his hand on my head and rubbed it gently.

"Everything will be fine." Indra said.

"I don't know what to tell them about the money." I whimpered. "They think I robbed something."

"What do you need?" Indra asked.

I looked at him. "You're super strong," I started. "I need you to squeeze me."

He nodded. "Like lay on me with all your weight and squeeze me."

"Okay."

I expected we'd just lay on the couch, but he wrapped his arms around my shoulders and lifted me off the floor and took me into the bedroom.

We laid on the bed holding on to each other. Indra held me tightly and the weight of his body made me feel so much better.

"How does this help?" Indra asked.

"Hugs already release hormones to help with anxiety, and your weight just does that even more." I answered.

"Oh." Indra said. There was a pause.

"Thank you for doing this." I said.

I felt Indra nod.

My phone buzzed. I sighed and checked it.

"Luc, come home right now!" Mom texted. Indra saw it.

"They're angry at me." I said sadly. I don't know what to do.

The next morning Indra and I went to the park. We just walked and talked. We were kind of talking about where we stand with each other. I mean, we still love each other and still want to be in a relationship, but some ground rules needed to be set.

"Sorry, but we wouldn't be having sex again." I said. "Or anytime soon..."

Indra was a little bit behind me.

"I wouldn't have sex with you either." He said harshly.

"What did you just say?" I whipped around. Indra leaned back. What is he thinking? Why would he say that to me?

"For your information I'm not dirty." I said. "Yeah I know, I'm a bit used up. But they checked us all the time when I was in the hospital. I don't have any diseases!"

"That's not-" I walked away from him.

"Damn it. I really need to stop doing that." I thought.

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