The tour guide stopped the at the opening of the town square (more like the town octagon, really) that was set into the ground located in the exact center of the town while agreeable weather (clear skies with cool, comfortable temperatures) graced her and her group.
Dead center of the octagon was a statue of a lady. Alternating on the sides of the octagon were steps and flower boxes. On the sides with the flower boxes, each had a table with an umbrella in the center of it and two chairs. It was not lost on her just whom was unfortunately at one of these tables eating lunch (it was about two in the afternoon on Friday, May 25th), and while she wanted to shoo him away so as not to ruin her tour, she elected, instead, to be honest with the group and warn them of him. Not right away, of course.
She started by turning to her guests and explaining to them what they were seeing before them, the beginning of the end of her tour.
And here we have the beautiful town square where you can see the wondrous statue of one of our founding ladies, Temperance Whitley, who lost her life back in 1745 when she took a tumble off the cliffs I showed you earlier. The town square you’ll notice is more of an octagon shape. Truth be told, I’m not sure why it’s even called a town square if it’s not a square.
She heard some laughter respond and her smile became just a little bit more real. This was a good group. It was a shame that not every group had a good sense of humor; good-humored groups made her job both easier and more enjoyable.
This center area as you’ll see has lots of places to sit and rest. There’s some restaurants nearby and some cute local stores so, as you can imagine, this is the perfect area to spend an afternoon with your friends or family.
It was time.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is our wondrous Oregon town of Primrose Ridge. However, before I let you loose, I must warn you of the downside to this town. She pointed to the brown-haired young man sitting with a similarly-aged black-haired young man and issued the warning: beware the Náire.
Hi, there! Yeah, that’d be me, Shawn Andosa, that she’s talking about; yes, I overheard her. Essentially what she means is that I am the town leper. The word “Náire” was derived from Scottish Gaelic and basically means “great shame”. Or, at least, that’s as I understand it.
So, why was she singling me out like that? Because I live in a world where everyone can hear and send thoughts whereas I cannot. Well, I mean, I can’t do half of that; I can hear the thoughts of others, but they cannot hear mine. It was really funny, too, at first, because I wasn’t always shunned like this for it, in fact it wasn’t even a problem until recently. You see, from my birth to the day I turned eighteen, my thoughts were received by anyone that could hear them (so...everyone), it was great, I was normal, everything was fine, life was good, but then, bam! Eighteen years old hit and all of a sudden there was nothin’ but silence on my end which promptly drove people batty.
They were so confused, it was so awkward, and then for a brief time it was actually celebrated! Yeah! I shit you not, celebrated. I was, like, the town celebrity for a bit. I won’t lie, that was pretty awesome; who doesn’t want to be a little bit famous, am I right? (Okay, maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know much.).
Anyway, the reason for that was that a discovery was made of a prophecy about how the one who could not be heard would bring great success upon the town. It wasn’t said exactly how that was supposed to happen, but suffice it to say that didn’t happen, and it was soon proven to be false anyway, having been written by some old, homeless crockpot who was bored and looking for a little giggle. Ever since then, I’ve been ostracized from my own community, blamed, I think, in part for the prophecy being false. Which is kind of unfair since the town didn’t suffer financially and is, in fact, doing real well in that area.
Oh, another fun part of not being able to be heard is that when I want to discuss anything with anyone, I have to use my voice. I’m not sure if it’s a hearing sensitivity with thoughts being the main mode of communication (makes sense to me), but everyone cringes and/or makes a face whenever I speak. Well, almost everyone.
Despite that, though, I’ve chosen to stay here. I couldn’t explain to you why, really, when any other town would probably not care that my thoughts can’t be heard, or maybe there’s even a town full of people just like me! Wouldn’t that be great?! But, yeah, no I chose to stay here, and by some miracle, the town grudgingly lets me. I’m actually just about to finish my college education (finally) and begin working in the wonderful field of botany. Ha-ha, get it, field?
While it’s not easy to live here, it helps that I have a wonderful, loving partner named Alex Miller, who just so happened to be sitting with me today as I ate my lunch in what used to be peace and quiet. Alex and I have been together for three years, having met at the age of twenty (we are twenty-two; his birthday is in August this year, mine is in November). He is my everything: my support, my shoulder to cry on, my heart, my soul, my reason for continuing on. He’s just…amazing; I love him so much. I have no idea why he chooses to stay with me, though, despite his many, many reiterations of that very answer, but I’m so grateful to him anyway.
Well, that just about brings us to me having heard the tour guide; Elise is her name. She despises me, all because I’m so different. I mean…I’m used to it but…
It still hurts.
I sighed, choosing now to focus my attention upon Alex who was staring at me with expectant, alluring dark brown eyes; he knew this dance by heart.
“I hate being singled out,” I said aloud, closing my eyes when several of our guests gasped aloud. A glance their way showed some of them making faces of great discomfort while they had their ears covered with their hands (part of me still wanted to tell them they’re overreacting; my voice isn’t that bad). I held back a groan. A hand placed over mine brought my attention back to my boyfriend, who was now staring at me with sympathy.
I know, love. I’m sorry I can’t make them stop.
I smiled when he moved his hand up to my cheek, then felt my heart kick into a higher gear as he leaned up out of his seat and across the table to kiss me. More gasps from the crowd, and a few-none to my surprise-thought along the lines of:
He’s gay, too??
Yup, folks, the Náire is gay!! What a complete and total scandal.
Hm? Oh, right. Boyfriend. Kissing him. I shouldn’t worry so much about the tourists (but I always would, I think).
Alex broke the kiss and settled back into his seat, looking at me with great amusement as well as concern.
“Sorry,” I said quietly, “I know I should know better by now.”
It’s okay, hon. I was just thinking, though, maybe it’s time we try to actively find out why it’s like this for you.
I regarded him with both confusion and interest.
“Go on…” I took one of two last bites of my sandwich and chewed while he explained.
See, this telepathic ability came from somewhere so I gotta imagine there’s gonna be, like, scientific papers on the topic and stuff, right? And there’s a historical society right in town. We all know how meticulous they are about records, so surely there’s something in there that might help you figure out what happened to your ability, why your brain is so different.
I had, too, thought of this [what felt like] many years ago [even though it was really only about five years ago] when I’d first lost the ability, but…well, I had somehow talked myself out of it, and I can’t rightly remember why. What had deterred me from searching out the answer? Was I afraid of what I’d find? Regardless, I felt like it was time, in perfect agreement with my beloved.
“Okay, that sounds like a great idea. One condition, though.”
Even if he couldn’t hear my thoughts, he knew (I could tell by the smile that formed on his face) what I was getting at.
I know. You want me there with you.
I smiled back at him. “Yeah, I want you there.”
“I’ll always be there, my love.”
Aaaaa, if my body was capable of melting into a puddle, I would’ve right then. I didn’t hear his voice very often, as he didn’t like to speak (nobody in town did) but for me he spoke on occasion. I was beyond blessed to have him, I really was. If ever I stop appreciating him, that’s the day the world is coming to an end.
I took a turn now to lean across the table to give him a kiss, and I stayed there until my back started complaining. Even then it was hard to part; I was completely addicted to those lips of his.
Okay, hon, I can practically hear your back screaming. You can sit down now.
No! But…but…his lips…
He pulled away and caught my face in his hands, knowing full well I’d just try to kiss him again. I pouted. He smiled. My heart fucking swooned.
Sit, he ordered.
I sighed, and just as I was about to sit back, I had the weirdest urge to lick his nose, so I flicked my tongue against the tip of his nose before settling back into my seat. His astounded laughter melted my entire being as I watched him wipe away the saliva.
What the hell was that?
I shrugged, grinning. “Beats the hell out of me. Spur of the moment thing.”
He laughed some more, shaking his head with wonder.
You’re a weird one, Shawn.
“Yeah, but you love me.”
It shone, as clear and bright as any star in a cloudless night sky, right there in his eyes as he replied:
Yeah, I do.
“I love you, too, you know.”
Another kiss was shared, this time both of us getting out of our seats to meet in the middle over the table.
Like I said before: Alex was my everything.
After lunch we had a couple more classes to deal with, which I always hated cos it separated me from him for what felt like eons, even though the wait was always worth it.
At the end of my classes, I headed home to our apartment in town, which is what the realtor called an Alcove Studio apartment. It’s slightly bigger than a regular studio apartment, I guess, with like an actual area for a bed. I don’t know if that’s accurate, that’s just how I see it.
When you first enter, the kitchen is off to your left, which features white stucco wall, dark flooring, modern, up-to-date appliances and not a whole lot of counter space. There wasn’t a room for a table, either.
Going back to being at the entrance of the apartment: there is a closet for our coats opposite the kitchen entrance on the right side of the hallway there that eventually opens up into the main living area, which is painted in an awful slate gray with basic white carpet, and features our living room set of one couch and a dark mahogany wood tv stand (yes, with a flatscreen TV on it) in the far right corner. The TV was a gift from his parents, the cable channels that went with it were paid for by my parents. The TV stand was one of my favorite pieces because it was built by his grandfather; it had two shelves on the bottom that we’ve yet to find an actual use for besides the cable box.
Now, as you stand in the living room with the furniture in front of you (you’re now facing the back wall of the apartment as well), if you look to your left, you’ll see our “bedroom”, featuring a bed with its cherry wood frame, and to the left of that in the corner was our shared dresser.
The back wall of the apartment housed two big, double-paneled, stationary walnut-framed windows that featured muntin bars (those are those little bars you might see on a window) that created ten squares/sections. In between those two windows was a single door of similar design (one might mistake it for a window if it wasn’t for the door handle and hinges) that led out to a small balcony.
If you face the bed (so that the back wall is now to your right), and look to your left, you’ll see the door next to our dresser that led into the bathroom. The bathroom is probably my favorite room in terms of wall color because while it has its basic white tile flooring, white shower-tub, and single dark cherry wood counter with a white sink, the walls were this beautiful Caribbean blue; it was very pleasing to the eye, especially for someone who actually enjoys color.
We aren’t actually allowed to alter any wall colors and I don’t really know why. Regardless, this apartment was a place I’ve made into a home with my beloved partner, so for that I put up with the main room’s hideous gray walls. Plus, it was easily affordable, so that helps, too.
We also own a single desk that houses our shared laptop and a lamp and has a drawer on the left-hand side which houses our keys; the desk itself was put into an inverted corner where a bathroom wall and a kitchen wall meet.
And there you have it. I apologize if you don’t have a clear picture of how the apartment looks. I’ve never been any good at describing my surroundings but thought I must at least try.
Upon entering the apartment, I saw Alex sitting on the couch fully ready for my onslaught. Okay, that sounds a little more violent than it actually was. I dropped my bag by the wall just beyond the entranceway closet and watched as Alex turned the volume of the TV down while I made my way over; he’d just managed to get the remote onto the coffee table before I was straddling his lap and he didn’t say a thing before I was kissing those wondrous, lustful lips of his.
Now, typically there wasn’t a whole lot of time between our last classes, the homework we dealt with for our classes, and the time we’d need to get to bed to be relatively rested for the next day, but usually we took about half an hour to ourselves every day after classes before diving into homework, whether that meant just cuddling, making out, or going all the way.
Today it meant going all the way. I was always in need of some extra attention, if you will, when people singled me out in town. They don’t do it as often as they used to, granted, but it still bothered the hell out of me when they did; so, what better way to forget their negative attention by focusing on all the pleasurable positive attention Alex was so willing to dote upon me, right?
At this point, when it was clear things were about to get hot and heavy, we’d typically make our way over to the bed, shedding our clothing on the way, but not today. Today I wanted him now; waiting was simply not an option and he sensed that. Of course, I had to wait anyway so that he could get condoms and the lube, both of which were stored in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, but he was quick about it and soon I was settled back on his lap [on the couch] for the ride of the afternoon.
What I wasn’t expecting was for that half an hour to turn into an hour and a half of passionate lovemaking. Once we hit the last of our orgasms and couldn’t possibly do more (and our legs got to working again afterwards), we headed into the bathroom to shower. After that (and after, of course, getting dressed again), we finally tackled our homework. I was able to focus much better than I had when I had just gotten home. Well…mostly. I kept sneaking glances at him whenever I thought he wasn’t looking to just take a moment to really enjoy the absolute beauty that was him hard at work studying.
Stop staring at me, honey.
I let out an involuntary gasp of surprise, and then giggled as I immediately looked back at my own homework, feeling my cheeks grow hot as the blush bloomed across them. I heard his own chuckle of amusement and couldn’t help smiling more in response.
Yeah, Alex Miller really was the single greatest, most important person in my whole world. I couldn’t imagine tackling life without him.