Hunter stared out the window of his dad’s black SUV. He tried to ignore the lightheaded feeling at the back of his head, to no avail. His blond hair was tied back, out of his eyes, a look that he hadn’t approved of. But his mother had, and he had a colossal soft spot for her.
So, he tolerated the weirdness of not having his wavy blonde hair fall into his deep brown eyes.
He played absently with the small non-prescription glasses his dad had bought for him, claiming they would make him look smart. Hunter didn’t even need them, and there was no way he was going into 10th grade looking ‘smart’.
Hunter glanced at his phone as it buzzed on the seat. He picked it up with a sigh as he read the message:
Hun!!! Just got back from dentist, wut time we meeting at the club tonite???
He dropped the phone on the seat beside him and groaned. Sicilee, his girlfriend that he really needed to dump.
He picked back up the phone and texted her back, telling her that he didn’t know and that he would have to wait for his dad to leave. Honestly, though, his dad was just a really (bad) great parent who was allowing his fifteen-year-old son to go to an underaged club in the middle of the night. On a school night.
Hunter stared at the old Canveal manor. It looked otherworldly, the dark, crumbling walls framed against the early morning fog. It was an old, burned-down mansion that once belonged to a family. A girl with no siblings, a dad (who was a felon, so was therefore never home), an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, and a Yorkie.
The girl’s name had been Raina. Raina Canveal. She was the expressive pretty girl who made everybody laugh. Hunter remembered the small crush on her he had developed in the third grade. It had lasted all the way up to sixth grade, and ended after she’d left. Disappeared, because of the fire that killed her family. No one knows what happened to her, only that she was the only survivor, and that she didn’t attend her family’s funeral. She was just gone. Vanished into thin air one day.
He was interrupted from his thoughts by his dad’s slightly booming voice.
“Son! Why so blue? Your girl didn’t text you back yet or something?”
Hunter chuckled. “No, dad,” he said quietly, his light Irish accent rolling off of his tongue. “Just thinking about the old Canveal place.”
“What about it?”
Hunter thought for a minute.
“Nothing, really. Just thinking.”
His dad shook his head as the car rolled to a stop in front of his mom’s studio. Hunter was going to stay with her while his dad went away on a trip to Australia. But before his dad had driven away to the airport, Hunter asked him the question that had been at the back of his head all week.
“Hey, dad. Where did I get my accent from? Our family’s not from anywhere near Ireland.”
His dad laughed briefly, as if he was reliving an old memory. “That,” he said to his son, smiling, “is a tale for another time.” He drove away with a wave, Hunter’s mom coming out of the office to wave back.
Hunter frowned, a confused expression on his face as he turned to his mom, who he took almost all of his resemblance from. Unlike his dad, who had lightly tanned skin, playful dark eyes, and dark curly hair, Hunter had deep, dark brown eyes and golden skin, with blond wavy hair to frame it.
His mom’s golden hair (yeah, golden skin and golden hair) was tied back in a tight bun, and her huge hoop earrings glittering in the morning sunlight. Hunter rubbed his eyes as his mother kissed the top of his head, smiling down at him.
“Good morning, sport. Sorry to get you up so early, I know you don’t start school for another hour. You can go upstairs and get some sleep, but if you’re hungry there’s eggs, spinach, and bacon on the stove.”
“You can’t have pure meat for breakfast, young man. Eat all your spinach, and don’t knock on my door, okay? I’m meeting with a client over the computer, and I can have any interruptions. Text me if there’s an emergency. Only for emergencies, Hunter.”
“Sure, mom. What if someone kidnaps me? That count as an emergency?”
His mom rolled her eyes and left him in the lobby. She called back to him, reminding him to be quiet before disappearing around the corner.
Hunter figured it wasn’t a good time to ask about his accent, so he went upstairs to unpack his things. He looked around his studio room as he put his clothes in the draw.
His mother’s studio was where she worked most weekdays. He’d been over there so much he had his own room up on the small second floor. It was like a second home to him. One where he was currently going to crash for the next 45 minutes.
Since he was still in his pajamas, he just jumped in the bed, pulled up the covers, and went to sleep.
When he woke up to his alarm at 6:45, he decided to cancel the club date with his girlfriend (that he really needed to dump) and go eat breakfast.
He washed his face and hair, ignoring all of the angry emojis from Sicilee. Throwing his phone into his bag, he ran downstairs and wolfed down five eggs and seven pieces of bacon. He texted goodbye to his mom and ran out of the door, anxious to actually be on time for class this morning.
But then he remembered he was still in his pajamas, so he had to rush back in the house and change his clothes.
Jogging down the street (freshly clad in dark jeans that fit him extremely well and his lucky basketball jersey), he barely made it in time for first period. The bell rang five seconds after he sat down, slightly out of breath from running all the way to school.
After the bell had rung, his best friend breezed in, earning a filthy look from the teacher, who had been about to start class. Hunter leaned over to his friend.
“Hey. Why were you late? You’re never late.”
Murray grinned at him. “Aye, mate, a new year, a new me. No more turning in assignments early, doing tons of afternoon classes, and being on time. The new Murray Milleny is going to be a rule-breaker. Like you!”
“I’m not a rule-breaker.”
“Sure you are, bruv! You’re never in class early - or actually on time, for that matter - and rules don’t define you. You’re kinda my role model, actually! That’s why I’m coming with you and Sicilee to the club, tonight.”
“I canceled it. And what are you going to do at a club?”
“What you do! Dance, drink, and make out with girls.”
“First of all, you have never - and I repeat, never - seen me dance at a club. Second, alcohol is gross. And third, the only person I’m allowed to make out with is Sicilee, and no way am I ever kissing her again. So find something else, dude. Wait, do you even know how to make out with a girl?”
“No need for details, mate. And I see you haven’t changed your look.”
“And I see you have changed yours.”
Murray grinned widely. “Do you like it? It’s all new. And it’s bad a-word, like you.”
“It’s a regular shirt and ripped jeans. And I’m not ‘bad-a word’. You can’t even say the word!”
“Yeah, but it’s a big change from my tucked-in shirts and slacks from last year. You just have that same ‘I am skillfully windswept and I woke up like this’ look.”
“Yeah, because I look good in it. Now, shut up. I’m actually trying to pass my math class this year.”
Murray wrinkled his freckled nose and turned away, tuning in to the teacher.
Mrs. Arbinsol was just about to start the actual lesson when the door opened again. Hunter watched the door curiously as the teacher cleaned her teeth and counted (barely audibly) to ten.
The principal stepped through the door, stepping aside for a girl with light pink hair.
Hunter’s jaw dropped as he looked her over, eyes skimming over her facial features and hair, down her curves all the way down to the bright red high tops she was wearing.
She was shorter than Hunter (most people were), with light bronze skin and long, curly pink hair that reached her back. Her eyes were a striking amber color, and she had light freckles dotted across her nose. She was pretty, to say the least, sporting a dark beanie and a bright red hoodie with some type of burning ice cream symbol all over it.
Someone whistled from the back of the room and the principal glared at them, whispering something to the teacher, who had calmed down enough to actually smile and nod.
The principal left, closing the door behind him. The girl winked at her as the teacher pressed her lips.
“Introduce yourself, honey.” The teacher said dutifully, leaning against her desk. The girl gave a lopsided grin and turned to the class.
“Okay, you guys wait till I’m finished to start talking. Ahem. My name is Raina Canveal - yes, that Raina - I don’t like disrespect, favorite color is green.”
The class stared at her in shock before she raised an eyebrow. “I’m done.”
Conner Fignett, the biggest clown in the entire school, yelled from the back. “Hey, sweetie, you single?”
Raina looked him up and down briefly before shaking her head. “Not for you, no.”
Conner raised his eyebrows and looked her up and down like a piece of meat. Murray turned to Hunter.
“Mate, he’s totally going to harass her now. I did some research over the summer about all the cool kids, and apparently he likes feisty girls he can’t have. I see that look in your eyes, so I’m warning you from now, she’s already his girl. Don’t mess with her, bruv. And dude, remember Sicilee! You have a girlfriend.”
Hunter snapped temporarily out of his spell to turn to his friend. “Wait,” he said, ignoring that last part, “you ‘did research on the cool kids?’ What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“I looked up all the kids that are considered popular over the summer on social media! Except you. I don’t have to look you up, for obvious reasons.”
“You shouldn’t be looking anyone up, you stalker.” Murray said something back, but Hunter’s attention had shifted back to the ridiculously hot girl in the class with the pink hair, who had answered all the open-mouthed questions and was now coming to sit in the only unoccupied seat in the class, right next to him.
The only reason no one had sat there was because Hunter had put his bag on the chair. But Raina raised an eyebrow at him, and he moved his bag so fast his stuff almost flew out.
He zipped it up and looked back over to the girl, who was smiling at him. Holding her gaze for as long as he could, he finally looked away, flushing considerably and turning his head so she wouldn’t see his embarrassment.
The rest of math class passed by in a blur. Hunter tried his best to actually pay attention in class (although his attention was always snagged whenever Raina moved), Murray tried his best to not pay attention in class (since he’s trying to be more like Hunter), and Raina spent the time doodling in her math notebook while occasionally looking up to take notes.
So everyone was relieved when the second bell rang, and Conner took his chance to walk up to Raina, who was shoving her things into her bag.
“Who are you and why are you touching me?”
Conner removed his hand from her shoulder with a grin. “Sorry, sweetheart. I’m Conner, your friendly neighborhood boy next door.”
Hunter snorted and glanced at Conner. “Liar. Raina, don’t listen to him, he’ll play you like a violin.”
Raina laughed. It was a light, airy sound that made Hunter pause and his ears turn red.
Raina glanced between the two of them. “You guys are friends, then?”
Conner nodded briefly, glaring at Hunter, who stuck his tongue out.
“However, Mr. Ireland over here has a bad habit of flirting with my women.” He flashed a warning look to Hunter, who pretended not to notice.
Raina finished packing her bag and turned to Hunter, who glanced up from where he was struggling to close his bag.
“You’re Irish?” She asked, eyes so full of awe that he almost wanted to say yes. But he wasn’t a liar, so he just shook his head and chuckled.
“No. I’m French and American. Don’t ask me where I got my accent though, I don’t really know.”
Raina grinned at him and turned to Murray, who was waiting quietly for Hunter to finish his ‘cool kids’ conversation.
He flinched as she looked at him, turning slightly red before glancing away. She put her bag on her back as Hunter closed his.
“So, Murray, right? Were you born here? Your Aussie is thick.”
Murray blinked. “Yeah, I was born down in Georgia, but my entire family is from Sydney. I grew up talking like this, and it stuck. Sorry if it bothers you, mate. I mean, um, Raina. Sorry, I’m used to calling everyone mate... ”
Raina nodded in amusement as she looked at the three of them. She started to walk through the door, all three boys following her. She waved as she went down the hall, grinning at them as she disappeared into the restroom.
As soon as she was or of earshot, Conner whirled around on Hunter.
“Dude, cut it out. Stop flirting with my girls, I told you this already!”
“Who’s flirting? All I did was answer a question.”
“Yeah, but then you got that ‘I’m so shy that I’m just going to put on this flirty blushing face even though I’m a total extrovert because I want this girl to like me’ face! Cut it out, dude!”
Hunter stared in confusion as he did his locker.
“My... what did you just say? What about my face? Come again?”
Conner rolled his eyes and walked away as Murray finally piped up.
“Well, Hunter, you do have certain faces that all your friends have labeled. Like the one you’re doing right now, the ‘I’m so confused but I don’t really have the energy to say anything right now’ one.”
Hunter just squinted in even deeper confusion and sighed, looking back at his locker. He changed the subject to something he actually wanted to talk about.
Slamming his locker, he turned to Murray, whose red hair was floating in random directions due to some static in the air.
“You ever wonder why Connor always hits on the girls I like? For no reason! Like, dude, get your own girls.”
“I mean... I guess I see your point. But Raina is hot. I mean, like, HOT. Smoke detector hot. Put supermodels to shame hot. So hot she could -”
“Murray. I get it. The girl is hot. Move on.”
“I’m just saying that she’s fair game. Just because you had a crush on her in elementary school doesn’t make her yours, mate. You’re going to have competition. I mean, have you seen those curves, bruv? Have you seen those curves?”
Hunter rolled his eyes and sat down on the floor, leaning against his locker. He pulled out a can of iced tea.
“Yes, Murray, I’ve seen her curves. Stared at them with my mouth watering, just like every straight guy within a ten-mile radius.”
Murray blinked and shifted from foot to foot.
“Um... I’ve been meaning to ask you something, by the way.” He took a nervous breath. “Do... do you think I should start... um, pleasuring myself?”
Hunter choked on his tea, standing up abruptly and coughing before staring at Murray.
Murray pressed his lips. “I knew it. That’s your ‘what the f-word is he talking about, I’m in disbelief and don’t know what to say in this situation because I think that’s a horrible idea’ face.”
Ignoring the facial description, Hunter shook his head and lowered his voice. “Why would you want to pleasure yourself? Where did this even come from? You haven’t even started that part of puberty yet!”
“Yes, I did! Over the summer. I tried to call you and ask what to do when I got my first hard-on but you didn’t answer!”
Hunter tilted his head in disbelief.
Murray reddened and grabbed Hunter’s arm, dragging him out of the hallways into an empty classroom.
“Aye, mate! You want everyone to hear us, bruv?”
“Sorry. But seriously, what did you do?”
“Um... I tried to touch myself but I didn’t know what I was doing, so I tried porn and it was gross, so then I panicked and took some painkillers and went to sleep.”
“Wait, dude, what? Porn? You tried that junk? You nasty ass -”
“Hunter! No cussing around me.”
“Right. So... What triggered this hard-on?”
“A... dream. An... erotic one. About a... person I shall not name.”
Hunter raised his eyebrows so high they might’ve touched the ceiling. Then, he doubled over in laughter as Murray stared at him in confusion.
“What are you laughing at?”
Hunter got up, panting and smiling. His face was flushed and Murray was looking down at the ground, lost in thought.
“What are you thinking so hard about?”
Murray glanced up at him for a minute, staring hard before looking back at the ground and shaking his head.
“If I say something dumb, smack me upside the head, will you?” He took a deep breath and bit his lip hard before blurting it out.
“I think I’m gay.”
Hunter’s smile disappeared slowly as he stared at his friend in silence for a second. His expression turned serious, and Murray squeezed his eyes shut, awaiting his judgment.
Hunter stared at him a bit longer before asking, “Why?”
Murray opened his blue eyes, gazing into Hunter’s brown ones as he sighed and sat down in a chair.
“The dream I had. The erotic one. It was... a boy. Not a girl. And I liked it. Too much. And...” He glanced up, searching Hunter’s eyes fearfully before blushing furiously and looking back at the ground. “I... think I have a crush on you, Hunter. It was you. In the dream.”
Hunter blinked and suddenly grew uncomfortable.
“The same reason you like Raina. And your personality. And please refrain from asking me ‘why’ again.”
Hunter frowned in temporary confusion.
“What do you like about my personality? And what do you mean by the same reason I like Raina?”
Murray blushed harder and avoided Hunter’s eyes.
“I don’t know. You’re sarcastic and witty, and you don’t follow the rules. The bad boy thing you have going on is hot. You’re hot. The way your hair is slightly lighter than your complexion, and the way you look at me sometimes with those beautiful dark brown eyes makes my special area do things I’m not exactly proud of. And I like your laugh. A lot. And I already told you you look great in that sloppily-put-together look. And... I’m pretty sure I’ve dreamt about doing unholy things to you on more than one occasion without realizing it.” Murray finally made eye contact with Hunter. “And,” he sighed, “I can see when I’m making you uncomfortable. I’ll shut up, now, before I ruin our friendship or something.”
Hunter and Murray just stood in awkward silence as the bell rung. He didn’t know what to say. Murray being gay didn’t sit right with him, despite the nagging voice in the back of his head that kept repeating ’support your best friend, that’s what you’re supposed to do or the internet and society will say you are a horrible person.
And maybe he was.
But the thought of Murray being gay - the thought of Murray having a crush on him - made him sick to his stomach.
Murray cleared his throat, causing Hunter to look up briefly in surprise.
“Hunter, if you want to heighten the chances of me falling out of love with you, stop smiling like that. With the dimples. And stop working out so much. And stop doing those little things, like making your eyes sparkle when you laugh. And flexing your pecs whenever you pick your pencil off of the floor. It sets my body on fire when you do things like that.”
Pausing, he awkwardly left for class, smiling briefly at Hunter before he walked out of the classroom. Hunter sat down in the nearest seat in shock as he waited for the rest of the class to file in. He couldn’t stop the waves of nausea that came over him, so bad that he had to ask to go to the nurse.
After vomiting several times in the nurse’s bathroom, Hunter called his mom and asked if she could come pick him up. She said yes, of course, and was there in about twenty minutes.
She rushed in as Hunter smiled weakly at the nurse. His mom felt his forehead, frowning in concern.
“Aw, Hunter you have a fever! What happened, baby?”
“Not my place to talk about it.”
His mom kissed him on the head as she led him through the parking lot towards the car. And as Hunter Levesque and his mother drove out of the lane, the boy let sleep take over his body, feeling a tear slip out of the corner of his eye as he drifted off on the backseat. He’d thought today had been stressful, but he had no idea what the next day had stored.
Are you enjoying my ongoing story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, HunterWrite a Review