Chapter 62: Born to Die - Lana Del Rey
“I still don’t understand how you were able to swing this.” I looked out the window as we cruised down the highway.
Our destination was Philadelphia and I was approved to stay there for ten days.
“A variation of the truth.”
“Do you mind telling it to me? It’s best our stories line up.”
“I told my mom your parents are out of the country. They are. I said you couldn’t go home because of that. That’s true. Your family is the worst. And I said you’d be staying at SMA because Morgan, who you usually stay with when you have to switch travel plans, will be in Japan. That would have been your back up plan if I could not sort this out. My mom is the one that suggested you come home with me.”
“Preying on her compassion. Nice.”
“I lack remorse.”
“That’s typical of us, but manipulating Angie is something I never thought I’d see you do. ” I glanced in his direction. “Why?”
“It was the right thing to do.” He switched on his signal to transition lanes. “It was an easy fix to a pressing problem.”
“I could’ve handled them.”
“Never said you couldn’t.”
“But this setup implies it.” I returned my eyes to the window.
“You decided to come.”
“Thrown off by the effort put forth.”
“I lack remorse once again. You feel less anxious.”
I couldn’t deny that to be the case. My nails were still intact and my face hadn’t broken out.
“I’ll return the favor one of these days, save you from something you’re not feeling.”
“Counting on it.” He removed his travel mug from the cup holder.
“Did you tell her everything?”
“It’s none of her business.”
I stole his coffee as soon as he had swallowed a sip. “Glad we’re on the same page.”
We had left school at nine am. We completed the five-hour drive at two pm. I had occupied my time by controlling the music. Small talk was never our thing.
“You live in a clone home community.” I smirked as he drove slowly through the subdivision. “There has to be an activities committee, a very active one that forces the neighborhood to be close knit.”
“It is about time I come clean about the robotic transformation you will be soon undergoing. I’ve already customized your software and remote. That’s why you’re here.”
“You’ll be making a hypocrite out of me. I gave Juno such I hard time about her Stepford Wives makeover and here I am, ground zero.” I gestured outside.
“I think you will have fun mocking it. I certainly do.”
His home was one of the larger ones in the neighborhood. The main entrance was slated with masonry. The additional other parts of the house were painted a complimentary beige color. The door and three garage doors were redwood. The windows were large and the lawn was perfectly manicured.
I saw a man walking two lap dogs across the street. A couple was gardening in their front lawn. Parents were teaching their kid to ride a bike.
I started laughing the moment I was able to take in all of it.
“Yes, it’s real.” He turned off the car and opened his door.
A girl who appeared to be our age was jogging in a hot pink sports bra and short shorts as we were retrieving our bags from the trunk.
She came to a stop when she reached Finn’s driveway. She looked like a Victoria’s Secret model – perky breasts, long legs, a tiny waist, and a face that was undeniably beautiful. She was a dream girl, one that captivated those around her and made them develop obsessive crushes. That’s why it was weird that she approached Finn with a pearly white smile.
“Hey, Stranger. I wasn’t expecting to see you until summer.” She hugged him without consent. He kept his arms at his sides and subtly leaned out of the display of affection.
“It’s spring break and here I am.”
She was still donning a smile when they parted. “You didn’t come home last year.” She crossed her arms, inadvertently pushing her boobs together.
“School trip to New York.”
“Well, I’m glad you’ll be staying next door for a little while. It’s been a little boring around here without you.”
“Coding is pretty much all I do. I leave the house to buy coffee. This place must suck more than I thought.”
She giggled. “It does.”
“Way to get me excited about this trip, Watson. I will bail if this gets too lame.” I tossed him a life preserver, sensing he wasn’t interested in their conversation.
“Good luck getting back to school without a car.”
“We both know I’m not above stealing yours.”
A smirk twinged on his lips.
She looked between the two of us with mild distress. She quickly repressed it with a forced a smile. “What’s your name?”
“Sarah. It’s really nice to meet you.” She picked up my hand and shook it. “I grew up with him -- playdates, birthday parties – you name it, we did it.”
“Very cool.” I nudged Finn. “Kinda hard for me to imagine you as a kid. Ange better show me pictures.”
“I think she knows better than to provide you with that much mocking ammunition.”
“If she doesn’t show you, ask Rory. She would definitely side with one of Finn’s friends instead of him.” Sarah butted into our back and forth.
“Here’s to hoping that’s the case. It’d redeem this trip.” I turned around to retrieve my duffle bag and guitar case from the trunk, over the small talk.
“There’s going to be a party at my house tonight. You’re both welcome to come. In fact, I insist.”
“Okay. Well, say hi to your mom and sister for me. Hopefully I’ll see you tonight. It’ll start at 9.” She waved goodbye. An apathetic hand raise was his response.
He joined me at the trunk.
“Your home bestie seems nice; she’s pretty too, like a young Brooke Shields. She your first crush, first kiss, anything?” I poked fun in a genuinely lighthearted manner.
“Kiss, no crush. She showed up to the driveway as I was loading the car to go to SMA freshman year, wished me luck and kissed me.”
“Nice work, quality.” I waited beside his car as he finished gathering his things.
“It’s a shame I am attracted to girls on the more on the alternative end of the spectrum.”
“It really is. The all-American beauty is totally into you. I’d step aside and let that relationship blossom if you didn’t appear so apathetic.”
“Just not my type.” He adjusted the box in his arms after shutting the trunk.
“She’s probably secretly into the mysterious artist thing. You wear a lot of dark colors and you’re awful angsty. I’m sure you’d irritate her parents by being such a smart ass.”
“That last part would be fun. They’re a country club couple.” We started walking to the front door.
I gagged. “Please say your family isn’t.”
“We have a membership, but it goes unused by most of us. The women there irritate my mom, but my dad does play golf there sometimes.”
“You’re half country club kid. This explains so much, like your secret polo and Oakleys.”
“You are about to discover the real me. Brace yourself.” He inserted his key into the door and turned it.
“Nah, I’ll just dive right in. I’m getting a thrill from the possibility that my mind might explode.” I followed him inside.
“Ma, I’m home!” He called out as he kicked off his shoes.
I followed suit, but needed to put down my bags and kneel down to untie my boots.
“It is about time. I was about to call.” Angie hugged him the moment he was within arms reach.
He reciprocated her hug without flinching. “Traffic.”
“I figured.” She rubbed his back and left go.
“And I’m happy to have you here too, Sami. Ten days is too long of a time to stay on a vacant campus.” She hugged me. I was caught off guard. I awkwardly patted her on the back.
“Thank you for letting me stay. You didn’t have to do that.” I tucked my hair behind my ear out of discomfort; I wasn’t expecting her to be so warm.
“It is not a problem. We have the room and you’ll keep him from being a hermit. He’s been working too hard lately not to have an enjoyable break.“
“I don’t know if I’m really needed for that. Sarah invited him to a get together.” I tormented as I went to my bags.
“Us and I’d rather skip it.”
“Don’t write it off so quickly it could be fun seeing your old classmates. And Sarah always asks about you. It wouldn’t hurt to at least show your face.”
“This sounds like an order.” He picked up his shoes and put them inside the box he was holding.
“No, a strong suggestion, one that you should heed.”
“Where’s Rory?” He headed towards the stairs.
“Out with friends. Show Sami to the guest room and give her a proper tour.”
“I’ll get around to it eventually.” He nodded me onward.
“I’ll ask Sarah, his one true love. She practically grew up here.” I grinned.
Finn shook his head.
“Did you introduce Sami as your girlfriend?” His mom asked.
“No. She’d laugh in my face and mock the situation more than she currently is.”
I nodded. “I wouldn’t be able to resist – him staking a claim on me like some sort of dog. I’m just Sams, no gross title.”
Finn and I resumed hiking up the stairs.
“Oh, and explain the house rules, Honey.” She added on second thought.
He walked into the first room off of the landing. It was his room. It was very similar to his SMA room, chalkboard wall and all. The larger size was the only difference.
“So this is where the magic happens.” I sat my bags down on the floor.
“This is it.” He placed his box on his desk.
I sat down on the foot of his bed. “I am sure there are rules pertaining to this place.” I checked out the art on the walls.
“Door open. Same goes for your room.”
“Doable. What are the other rules?”
“We need to notify her before leaving, stay out of my dad’s liquor cabinet, and clean up after ourselves.”
“Very reasonable.” I glanced around his room. “What’s in there?” I nodded to the pad locked chest in the corner.
“My liquor and other items I’d rather my mom not discover when she cleans my room while I’m away.” He started to unpack the box.
“Now you’ve sparked my curiosity.” I stood up and walked over to it. “Key.” I held out my hand. He dropped his key ring into my hand. I knelt down in front of the large black box.
“Smallest one.” He sat down at his desk.
I lifted the lid after keying in. Half of it was occupied by various types of alcohol. The other had miscellaneous items: nude figure drawings he was required to do to build his portfolio, lighters, shot glasses, fireworks, and an unopened box of condoms.
I picked up the drawings, unsure of how I felt about the contraception I uncovered. “Wanna draw me like one of your French girls?” I tilted my head to the side to full analyze one of their poses.
“I think that would require us to shut the door.” He spoke over the clacking of his keyboard.
“Some other time.” I returned them to their home.
I picked up a fancy looking bottle of vodka. “So, we going to that party or what?”
“Do you want to?”
“It could be fun to observe the pod people up close.” I swapped a bottle of Gin for the vodka.
“Then it’s settled, we’re going. In the meantime, are you going to show me to my room and give me a tour?”
“Give me a second.”
I discretely opened the box of condoms and stole a couple, slipping them into my satchel while he was finishing up on the computer.
I shut the lid and returned the lock to its proper place. He allowed me to settle into the guest bedroom before giving the guided tour. We ended up in the basement and stayed down there playing video games until dinner.
Mrs. Watson prepared a lovely meal, even made a plate complying with my dietary restrictions and acted as though it was far from a burden. She was great in every respect; I couldn’t fathom why someone would feel the urge to cheat on her, let alone follow through with it regularly.
“I get it, know why she’s your hero.” I told Finn as we trekked up the stairs.
“I’ll never understand why she puts up with him.”
“A mystery to us both. You better keep being nice to her or I’ll kick your ass.”
“As long as that means I don’t have to do everything she says.”
“Oh, I’d dump you if you became completely obedient.”
I showered and got ready for the party. I opted to wear a band tee I had cut the sleeves off of and a maroon flare skirt. I ran my fingers through my hair, which was still teal-grey in color, to remove the tangles. I put on a backwards cap that matched my skirt before applying my makeup. Pleased with how I looked, I slung my satchel across my body and headed over to Finn’s room with my combat boots in my hand. I walked in without knocking. He was working at his computer. He was in one of his typical outfits, a dark graphic tee, a flannel shirt, and jeans.
“We going to pregame this?” I dropped my shoes on the floor.
“Seems appropriate.” He clicked his mouse a few more times and swiveled towards me in his chair.
He scanned me from head to toe and stood up with a tiny smirk.
“What?” I followed him to the contraband trunk with my arms crossed.
“You don’t need my approval.” He inserted his key into the lock.
“You’re right. I don’t.” I was able to smile with his back to me. “Are we going to do this with the door open?”
“No, Rory will be over here in a second to serve as our third wheel. We just can’t be in here alone.” He sifted through the trunk. “Plans I should know about?” He held up the box I opened earlier.
I blushed and looked down. “Maybe.”
“Knock, knock.” Rory tapped on the door framed. “Am I interrupting a hot and steamy moment?” She broadcasted cheekily as she walked into the room.
Finn had dropped the box into the trunk just before the first knock.
“Yes, Roar, from several feet away. You caught us.” He retorted with dry sarcasm.
I looked over my shoulder.
I never got over the fact that Rory looked like a female version of Finn, you know, with longer hair and minus the indifferent expression.
“Sami” She put her arm around me and rested her head atop mine as she gave me a side hug. “Love the hair. I’ve yet to see a color you can’t pull off.”
“Good to know I don’t look terrible.”
“Impossible.” She let go of me. “How did you manage to get her to date you?”
“My sparkling personality. Shut the door.”
“You’d think he’d be nice to me because I bought him most of what’s in that box and I’m postponing my plans to exploit a loophole.” She obliged.
“Kindness has never really been our thing.” I moved closer to Finn. “Do you have a chaser?”
“Mini fridge. Get the ice too.”
I found cans of coke inside of it. There was an ice tray inside of the small freezer compartment. I grabbed two drinks and the tray and sat down beside Finn on the floor.
Rory sat down at the foot of his bed and turned on the TV.
He handed me a bottle of rum, knowing my preference. He went for scotch. We poured shots of our respective liquors. We clanked the miniature glasses together and threw them back. We opened our respective cans and drank away the burn.
“Do you guys ever hold hands?”
“Not exactly our style.”
“I can’t even imagine it.” She flipped the channel.
“Don’t think about us at all.” He cracked ice out of the tray and dropped it into a tumbler he pulled out of the trunk.
“It’s hard not to. I’m curious as to how you work.”
“It’s not that complicated.” I made myself a rum and coke.
“Finn, you don’t like human contact, both physically and conversationally.”
“Same.” I brought my mixed drink to my lips.
“I guess that makes you a tortured artist too.” He spoke to me instead of her.
“Sarah will start pining soon enough.”
“I’d step aside and let that happen if she weren’t so happy.”
“So much smiling.”
“And she does it all the time.”
“Pass.” Our rapid back and forth concluded with a smile on my part.
We drank until we had a good buzz going. Rory didn’t leave until we did, returning to her room as we headed down the stairs.
“We’re going to Sarah’s.” Finn poked his head in the den, where his mom was knitting and watching a movie.
“Have fun. Be home by one.”
“We’ll probably be back before then. Goodnight.” He turned to leave.
“Night!” I called over my shoulder.
We both put our shoes on and walked out the front door. It took about five minutes to get next door. There were plenty of cars out front and music was audible from the front lawn.
“A real high school house party. These actually happen.”
“They do. Don’t get your hopes up.” We cut through the lawn instead of taking the pebble pathway to the front door.
He opened the door. We were bombarded by a hoard of people with red solo cups. We attracted a bit of attention because we opened the door, but the novelty quickly wore off and they returned their conversations. I followed him to the kitchen.
“Finn!” Sarah threw her arms around his neck. “You came, you actually came!” She was clearly drunk and somehow smileier than before.
“Guys, guys, it’s Finn!” She announced to everyone after she released him from his ambush hug.
“Smart-ass genius?” A guy in a letterman’s jacket tried to place him.
“Sounds about right.” I walked right up to the island and concocted a drink for myself.
“Who are you?” The jock asked me between sips of beer, casually leaning against the sink.
Finn was still held up by Sarah and several others, all of them asking him questions.
“Sami. Do you know if this is any good?” I analyzed a bottle of apple whiskey.
“I’ve just had beer. Do you go to school with us?”
“Nope.” I decided to give the whiskey a chance, pouring a shot’s worth into a cup and topping it with coke.
“How do you know Finn?”
“I knew I hadn’t seen you around. Parker Hall’s a pretty small school.” He approached me.
“Why are you speaking to me?”
“I want to.” He was officially in my personal space. “I think you’re hot.”
My eyes were narrowed as I brought my cup to my mouth. “Do you wear that a lot?” I pointed to his jacket.
He looked down at himself. “Yeah, why?”
“Play varsity whatever?”
“Baseball. I’m the captain. Been the number one hitter for four years. I’ve got a full ride to college, not like I need it.” He showed off the patch on his shoulder. “You interested in baseball?”
“Not even a little bit. Way to use your athleticism to become even more pretentious.” I tapped my cup against his before turning my back on him.
“What is this?” Finn stole it and drank some of it before I could answer.
“Whiskey and coke.”
“Little sweet for my taste, but drinkable.”
“Having a fun reunion?” I stood beside Finn as he made himself a rum and coke.
“Never knew I was so popular.”
“You’re the life of the party, Watson, even if it just consists of two.”
“We’ll be testing that tonight.”
We exited the kitchen.
We stood around in the living room for a while, making fun of the music and stereotypical party behavior in our typical manner. There were cat fights, sexualized dancing, drinking games, and girls kissing for male attention. There was plenty to watch but there was only so much time I could spend in such a crowded place without feeling restless.
“I need air.” I needed to get up on my tiptoes to speak into his ear.
He led the way to the back of the house. We went out on the patio. The fresh air allowed me to breathe again.
“Why does Sarah like me?” He drank from his cup.
“You’re kinda cute if you squint hard enough.”
“Want to make out in my car later?”
“Thought that was a given.” I finished up the last of my drink.
“Do you have a problem with her?”
“Why would I?” I wiped my mouth off with the back of my hand.
“I don’t know. We’re -- what we are. And she, she’s not you.”
“She’d know if I had a problem with her.” I lightly punched his arm. “Now, this jacket.”
I turned around to peer into the house. He followed suit. “I want one. I want a jacket.”
“I went there – that school. It goes from k to 12.”
“It’s settled. I’m stealing one.” I tried to spot a candidate. “Who is doucheist? Don’t want my prized possession being tainted by guilt.”
“No idea. We have to scope it out.”
“Obviously. Game plan?”
“You approach who ever it is and get them to hold their arms out somehow. I grab it. We run.”
“Simple. I like it.”
We returned to the house.
We pushed through the crowd, eyeing all the people in the coveted jacket.
“You always do this! Stop talking to other girls!” A girl shouted at the guy I spoke to in the kitchen.
“That’s the one.” I stopped in my tracks. “He tried to hit me up in the kitchen for whatever reason.”
“You’re supposed to give me a qualifier.” I swatted his stomach with the back of my hand.
I rolled my eyes. “Redeem yourself by pushing him, act like you care that he flirted with me. He looks like the ‘come at me, bro’ type.”
“He’ll put his arms out.”
“Let’s do this.”
We rolled up on the two of them. I stood behind him, close but not close enough to be immediately detected.
“I heard you spoke to my girlfriend in the kitchen!” Finn yelled.
“Sami, the girl I came in with. Stay away from her!” He shoved him.
“You wanna go?” He put out his arms just as we predicted.
I hopped up, grabbed the back of his collar and yanked hard enough to get it off in one try.
“What the hell –?” He spun around.
“Later, Dude.” I wiggled my fingers. I booked when he reached out for it.
Finn beat me to the door. He opened it, allowing us to make a quick escape. We laughed our heads off as we ran down the street.
“That was fun.” I put my hands on my knees and tried to catch my breath as soon as we reached his house.
“Made the party worth attending.” He looked over his shoulder to make sure we weren’t chased.
I stood up straight and held up my jacket. “This is so romantic. I have a jacket from my boyfriend’s alma mater and he helped me steal it.” I hugged it. “Now all you have to do is wear it for a while so it smells like you.” I swayed.
He approached me with his signature smirk. He raised his hand and placed it on the side of my face. He leaned down and kissed me. Our lips slowly moved in sync.
I stepped back and he knew to unlock his car with his remote. I went the backseat. He went up front. He turned on the car and rolled down all the windows a crack. He held his hand out. I knew to remove my phone from my satchel and give it to him. He unlocked it and went to my music player. He plugged it into the sound system. He soon joined me in the backseat. I put my shoes, hat, satchel, and jacket in the passenger seat to make more space.
We scooted together and picked up where we left off. He hugged me close, eliminating all distance between our chests. I pushed his flannel shirt off of his shoulders when our kisses grew more intense. He lifted my shirt over my head, leaving me in just my bra. I got rid of his black t-shirt to even the score. He pulled me onto his lap. I flipped my hair to get it out of the way. I closed my eyes and ran my fingers through his hair as he kissed my neck and the upper part of my chest. My temperature was quickly escalating. I began to move my hips.
“Finn.” I sighed as I ran a hand down his chest when I felt him.
“I like it.” I kissed him deeply.
I moaned into his mouth when he pulled me closer. I peppered kisses on the side of his face when it had concluded for both of us.
“Yeah?” I sat back on his legs, still out of breath.
“I, um, --“ He looked down. “I’m comfortable having you in my personal space.”
“Ditto, obviously.” I smiled about his hair being somehow even messier than usual.
He rested his wrist on my shoulder and started running his fingers through my hair. “What is wrong with us?”
I shrugged. “It could be worse.” I gnawed on my bottom lip as I mulled over the thought that appeared in my mind.
“Do you want to maybe?” I mustered up the courage to ask.“I have no expectations. It’s sure to be awkward and short lived, but it’ll be with you. You’re the person I trust most. I don’t even mind if you see my boobs.”
“I’m sure they’re good boobs.”
“Little small but respectable. Perfectly palm-sized.” I reached behind my back and undid the clasps. I pushed the straps off my shoulders and tossed it aside as soon as I got my arms out of it.
He looked down at them and nodded thoughtfully. “They are good boobs.”
“I’d like to think so.”
He lifted his hands and put them on them. They were soon accompanied by his lips.
“Finn,” I pleaded for a response as I messed with his hair.
“Here?” He looked up at me.
“It’s the Batmobile.”
“You have a point.”
I recalled something that had completely slipped my mind. “I need to warn you about something.” It was important, but I couldn’t bring myself to back out.
He remained quiet, giving me the platform to talk.
“You might not even see them with it being dark and all, but there are burn scars on my upper thighs. I keep them hidden with briefs and shorts.” I tucked my hair behind my ear.
“Are they healed?”He looked into my eyes.
“Yep.” I sniffled to keep from crying.
“You made them.” He accused without emotional inflection.
I remained silent.
“You’re not weak.”
“I was.” I swallowed the lump in my throat.
“Sophomore year was hell for you. You made it out.”
That was when I made them.
“I’m good to go now that I know you won’t freak out.”
“Can I see them?”
“Um, yeah.” I raised my hand to switch on the car light.
I sat down in the seat beside him, resting my back against the door. I lifted my skirt and hiked up both legs of my briefs. He turned in his seat to get a better look at them. I looked up at the ceiling, feeling completely exposed. The light was switched off sooner than I expected.
He kissed me instead of saying anything in response. I went with it, putting my hand on the side of his face and opening my mouth. He crawled on top of me to rest between my legs. He put his hand on my outer thigh and caressed my scars with his thumb as he hitched it on his waist. He was telling me it was okay, that he didn’t think any less of me.
We took our time, allowed things to progress slowly but pleasurably. A little awkwardness was supplied by the preparation process, but our light buzzes we still had made it tolerable. He had to reach into the front seat for one of the packets I stole earlier and my jacket. I used the jacket as a pillow to protect my head from the door. Nerves set in when he returned to me, but I fought through them; they would only take away from the experience. Mott The Hoople provided the soundtrack; All the Young Dudes will forever have a place in my heart.
“Was it okay?” He hovered over me.
“It was a strong start. Better than I expected it would be.”
He pecked me on the lips before pushing himself up to a seated position. I moved the leg pinned to the backseat and joined him upright. We got dressed and exited the car. He shut everything off and returned my phone to me.
He reached out and took my hand as we were crossing the lawn. I struggled not to smile as I looked over at him.