REALLY

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The Little Talks


T A Y A

Jenny made one hell of a pasta dish.

Yup, by the time we sat down for dinner, I was already on first name basis with Judah’s mom. Overall, I would say that dinner went great, except for Judah who looked extremely uncomfortable as his mom and I made small talks.

I sensed that maybe he didn’t like me being around his mom...

But I couldn’t help it. Jenny was just so nice to me and we bonded over shoes. She had such great taste, we could actually be friends if we were the same age.

After we ate dinner, I helped Jenny with cleaning up while Judah was outside in the backyard, smoking.

“So Taya,” she started as she piled the dirty plates on the sink. “Judah never talked to me about these things, so I’m just curious, how long have you guys been...?”

“Oh no, no, no. We’re not dating. We’re just friends,” I shook my head quickly. “We’re in the school play together. What you saw back then was us rehearsing... for the play,”

She took a moment to consider whether to believe me or not as I stood there innocently.

“Judah’s... in a school play?” she raised her eyebrow in disbelief.

“Shocking isn’t it?” I nodded my head and smiled.

“I’d say. He never talk to me about school or anything. And I never met any of his friends, I was starting to worry if he even have any,” she laughed and I laughed with her.

“So tell me, how’s he doing at school?”

“He’s doing alright. I think he just needs to... not miss so many classes,” I said cautiously and she let out a sigh.

She stepped to her side and pushed the sliding doors so it opened just a little.

“Judah! Did you skip school again today?” Jenny screamed through the cracks of the sliding doors.

“Blondie! Did no one ever tell you; snitches get stitches?” Judah yelled back.

“Ignore him,” Jenny said, closing the sliding doors shut and returning to the sink.

“He’s not a bad kid. Although he looks a lot like it,” she smiled bitterly and her eyes were somewhat teary as she kept on with the dishes.

“Life hasn’t been exactly kind for him... Especially with what happened with his father... he’s been through a lot of pain and anger. I don’t know if you knew this, but back in California, he got caught up with the wrong crowd and got kicked out of his last school. He got into a lot of trouble, but he’s agreed to get clean and went to rehab. I wasn’t sure what’s gonna happen with us moving here, but I can see that he’s changing. He’s been clean for almost three months now and he’s made good friends... I’m really proud of him. And thank you for being a good influence on him,”

“Aw no... I haven’t done much, really,” I shuffled awkwardly, not knowing how to respond to all that. Honestly I was shocked, Judah never told me anything about his past...

“You see, he puts on this tough guy act and he’s got all these walls built around him. But, deep down, he has a really good heart—”

“Ma, are we done here? Blondie has other places to be,” Judah chimed in suddenly, cutting his mom from her train of thought. I didn’t even notice him coming back inside.

“Oh, of course. Sorry for keeping you here so long,” Jenny smiled sweetly to me.

“No, thank you for having me. Dinner was great,” I smiled back at her.

“You need a ride home or something?” Judah couldn’t be more eager to get me out of there.

“No, I’m fine,” I told him.

“Did you drive here? I didn’t see a car parked outside,” Jenny asked.

“I rode my bike,”

“As in bicycle?” Judah looked at me as if I was real stupid.

“What? I like riding my bike. And the night air is very refreshing,”

“Judah, you should walk her home. It’s getting dark outside,” Jenny turned to her son, her tone was somewhat commanding.

“Oh no, I’m fin—”

“Fine,” he cut me off.

Obeying his mother’s command, Judah ran out for a second and came back with a skateboard in his hand.

“Let’s go,” he motioned for me to follow him outside.

“Good night Jenny, thanks again for dinner,” I said as I grabbed my things from the chair.

“You’re welcome, dear. Come again soon,”

I wished, but I have a feeling Judah wouldn’t like that.

I gave Jenny one last smile before I followed Judah outside.


We rode down the streets, me in my bike, and Judah on his board. The sun was just setting. The sky looked so pretty and the clouds looked like pink cotton candy.

“I really like your mom,” I started.

“Yeah, me too,” he said shortly.

He seemed a bit tense. It was clear that he didn’t want me to keep talking about his mom. So I decided to switch the topic.

“Sunsets in Kauai are always magical, don’t you think?” I said to him. “They’re one of the things I’ll miss the most if I ever leave this place,”

“You’re thinking of leaving here?” his tone was more relaxed.

“Maybe someday... for college,”

“If you like it here so much, why’d you wanna leave?”

“Kauai’s lovely and all, but at the end of the day, we’re just one tiny island. Once you’ve done enough, there’s nothing much to do around here,”

“I see. So I guess we just have to keep ourselves entertained, huh Blondie?” Judah was full on back to his playful self.

“Can you please stop calling me Blondie?” I groaned.

“Why?”

“It’s an awful nickname. I mean, would you like it if I called you... Brownie?”

“...Because my hair is... brown?” he asked sarcastically.

Not my best argument. Not my best.

Judah broke out in a maniacal laughter. The deep and raspy kind.

“Oh, that was funny,” he said in between breaths. “Sad, but funny,”

“Whatever,” I muttered in embarrassment and paddled away.

“You know, you can call me whatever you want, Blondie,” he caught up to me in no time. “And I especially liked it when you called me daddy. God, I wish I’d recorded that,”

“Oh, shut up,” I shoved him away as he laughed some more.

“So, how do you usually keep yourself entertained here?” he said, when his laughter finally died down.

“I watch a lot of Netflix, read, and I hang out with my friends. That’s pretty much it,”

I probably sounded boring as hell—but that was the truth.

“What about partying and throwing up in front of strangers?” he teased.

“That was a one-time-only exception. You got lucky, you saw me at my brightest moment,” I replied sarcastically.

He was laughing again and I didn’t like the idea of him remembering me in that state, so I decided to put the spotlight back to him.

“What about you? What do you do for fun?”

“Eh, just the usual,” he shrugged. “I smoke some, I drink some, I get some,” a naughty grin was playing on his face and I rolled my eyes in response.

How many times do I roll my eyes at him—I lost count.

“I also like working on my bike. Tear ’em apart and build them back up. I love doing that, there’s something so awesome about rebuilding something old and making them new,” he continued on.

His eyes lit up once he started talking about his bike. I never cared much about motorcycles or rebuilding old stuff. But listening to his passionate rant on those things made me feel as if I’d known him a little better.

And I must say, I liked this side of him.


The rest of the journey home was kind of nice. We made small talks: I gave him a list of places in Hawaii that he should visit, and he actually told me the secret ingredients in her mom’s pasta sauce—dried garlic and thyme.

It took us about twenty minutes before we finally reached my house. By then, the sun had completely set and the sky was dark, except for the little stars that came out to light it.

“Great practice today,” he said and his hand went up for a high five. His dark amber eyes shone brightly against the night sky.

I could only laugh as I high fived him back. I guess we’re the kind of people who kissed and then high fived each other. Ever seen one of those?

“Deep down, he has a really good heart,” suddenly Jenny’s words came to my mind.

We were just smiling at each other, and somehow I kinda knew what Jenny meant by that.

“Hey, so, I don’t mean to be nosey or anything, but your mom told me some things—” I started but he quickly cut me off.

“Don’t believe anything she says... they’re all true,” he said, smirking.

“She said you got kicked out of your last school. What exactly did you do?”

“The right question would be: what didn’t I do?” his tone was playful.

“And she mentioned that you’ve been clean...”

“I have. I showered everyday,”

“I’m being serious Judah. She doesn’t know about your little deal with Ava, does she?”

His face turned serious and he let out a long sigh.

“I wanna get clean, trust me, I do. But that shit’s hard and withdrawal’s a bitch. I’ve just been keeping my usage at a minimum, okay? Things got crazy before because I didn’t know my limits. But I’m good now, I’m healthy and functioning. I’m handling this, alright Blondie?” he said as he raked his hair with his hand.

“Okay, well, I’m just saying... if you need anything... you can always talk to me,”

“Talk?” he said it in a mocking tone.

“Yeah. I mean, I’m just trying to help y—”

“Stop trying,” he cut me off, he looked irritated.

“But—”

“I’m peachy. Don’t worry about me. You should go inside. Good night, Blondie,” not giving me a chance to say anything else, he gave me a curt nod and turned away. His hand waved to me in the air as he went.

I let out a sigh as I watched him rode away. A part of me believed that I should just drop it. Clearly he didn’t want me meddling into his business. But the other part of me just couldn’t help it.

“Judah!” I called out before he got too far.

He stopped and turned around, waiting for me to continue.

“Come to school tomorrow,” I said in a firm and commanding tone. “Hallee’s making us build the set for the play. We’re making a replica of the Titanic. We could really use a hand,”

He thought about my words for a few seconds and a naughty grin suddenly appeared on his face as he said, “Only if you call me daddy,”

He wasn’t gonna let me live that down now, wasn’t he?

“Just go to school,” I rolled my eyes at him.

“I’ll see what I can do,” he said casually before turning around and rode away.

I knew that wasn’t much of an answer, but it sounded like a promise to me.



J U D A H

You ever tried to have dinner with your ma while hiding a massive boner in your pants?

Wasn’t a great experience, I wouldn’t recommend that.

I got such a hard on after our make out session earlier, it was uncomfortable as hell. And I had to endure all that while she was chatting to my mother about shoes. Fucking shoes.

This shit with Blondie was getting a little too out of hand. Should I stop it? Or a better question would be: do I want to?

I was still wrestling with that thought when I reached my house again. My mother was just lounging on the couch, watching TV when I walked in.

“You’re back,” she noted and I gave her quick nod.

I was on my way up the stairs when she called out again, “Wait a minute, where do you think you’re going?”

“I’m taking a shower,” I replied.

A damn cold one too.

“Okay, but I need to talk to you first,” she insisted.

I sighed and walked back down.

“What is it?”

“Why weren’t you at school today? Judah, we’ve talked about this, you’ve promised me no more—”

“I know, I know, I know,” I cut her off before she could start the long speech I knew she was making.

Just before summer vacation started, I got kicked out of my last school for too little attendance and too many fights. There was also a little issue regarding alcohol, cigarette, and drugs. But hey, it wasn’t my fault that classes were so goddamn boring and high school kids annoyed the shit out of me.

Severe anger management issues, they labeled me. A problem, they called me.

“Judah... we came here for a new start,” mom said again.

“Ironic isn’t it? Coming here for a new start,” I snorted.

“What do you expect me to do? We had to change schools four times in the past two years. We ran out of places to go,” I could sense the frustration in her voice and I felt a little guilty for being the cause of it.

She took a deep breath and said, “Please, you promised that this time you’ll be different. You promised that you’ll try?”

“Alright, ma, I’ll go to school tomorrow, sheez,” I said, putting her out of her misery.

“Is that a promise?”

“Yeah,” I said reassuringly. “Plus, I told Blondie I’d come and help her build a stupid ship or something like that,”

A smile curved up her tired face as soon as she heard my answer.

“Are we done now?” I asked and she nodded.

I turned back towards the stairs when she called out again.

“I really like your friend,” her head was turned to the TV, so I just ignored her and continued up the stairs.

But under my breath, I found myself muttering the words:

“Yeah, me too,”


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