“I’m just saying, Ryder and I would make cute babies.” Wild said as we walked to school on Monday morning.
“Of course you would,” I said, “but you won’t, will you?”
She hesitated, purposefully before laughing and playfully shoving me on the arm. I remember back in Year 6 when she was taller and much stronger than me, her shoves really hurt. At least now I was taller, but I’m pretty sure she was still stronger.
“So, what are you and Chase fighting about today?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean; it’s been over a week since your last fight. People are selling front view spots for 10 quid.”
I shrugged, since the last fight, Chase had been weirdly on edge. I think it had something to do with his parents, perhaps they had told him off after Headmaster Walker had called home.
That sounded about right, Chase being his parents’ perfect little angel. I inwardly sighed, as much as I would hate to admit it, I was jealous. Jealous that Chase had parents who genuinely cared whilst my mother was nowhere to be found and my father was in jail.
“Hey, you okay?” Wild asked gently.
“Yeah, just thinking.” I murmured.
Thinking about Taylor, not that I could tell Wild that. I loved Wild, I really did, but she would freak out if she knew I was dating a 20-year-old. And it was a little too late to tell her now,
Wild was the most respected person in Blackthorn, every single Blackthorn kid liked her, and all the Ravenwood boys too, just not the Ravenwood girls who envied the way she took everybody’s attention just by entering a room.
“So does that mean you’re friends now?” Wild asked teasingly.
“Like Tybalt and Mercutio.” I murmured (two people who hated each other in Romeo and Juliet so much that Tybalt killed Mercutio and Romeo then killed Tybalt, it was all a mess of twisted hormones).
“I don’t care what anyone says, those two had so much chemistry.” Wild said, she had the tendency to ship random characters from books without logic.
She was one of the only people I knew who couldn’t watch Titanic without getting triggered. Wild had issues with Rose, so much so that she had broken her bedroom door, and forced me to go down to a river near the park just to prove that Rose could have made room for Jack.
“Which explains it.” She then added.
“The sexual tension.”
“Between you and Ryder?”
“No dummy, you and Chase obviously.”
Me and Chase? First of all, he was the straightest guy on the planet. Secondly, even if he was gay, for there to be ‘sexual tension’ I had to at least tolerate him which I definitely did not. He was frustrating to be around thinking he owned the world with his hazel eyes, messy dark brown hair and golden tanned skin. So annoying.
“Right, because he’s anywhere near my league.”
“Actually, you and Chase are pretty much the hottest boys in school, well, and Ryder.” Wild blushed at the end.
“Does Ryder even talk?” I asked, “I didn’t realise he could.”
Wild whacked me over the head with her chemistry folder.
“He’s actually very nice. Not that you would know, you’re too obsessed with Chase to notice anything.”
I was not obsessed with Chase.
“Apparently we’re still doing consent and abuse.” Wild groaned as we entered Mr Owen’s classroom for 2nd period.
“Or in your case and hour of drooling over Ryder June.” I mumbled not wanting her to hear for fear of getting hit with another folder.
Chase was in his seat doing last-minute Psychology homework for 4th period. I suddenly realise how strange it was that I knew his schedule.
He looked up when he saw me and put his pencil down slowly.
I pretended not to notice, taking the new phone Taylor had bought me and checking the emails from Phoenix’s school.
“Blaze,” Chase whispered nudging me.
“Yeah?” I said purposefully not looking up.
“On Saturday, when we were at the park, who was that boy? The one who gave you that box?”
Maybe I could have a little fun with this.
“I don’t know who you’re talking about?” I said with a visible warning tone.
“Blaze, you know who I mean.”
I exhaled deeply looking behind me to check nobody was listening.
“You can’t tell anyone.” I said seriously.
Chase nodded, his bright hazel eyes wide with curiosity and a little fear.
“I get stressed out over exams.” I explained, “Taylor had connections, he has stuff to take the edge off.”
He looked so adorably shocked and confused, wait no, not adorably. He looked confused.
“Exactly.” I replied, “That’s what the box was.”
“Why’d he call you baby?”
“Well the stuff doesn’t always come cheap, so I have to find creative ways to pay him back.” I said seriously.
“You’re sleeping with him?” Chase asked as though I’d told him I’d hidden a dead body under his bed, “To pay for drugs?”
I nodded solemnly, it took him a few minutes to realise I was kidding.
“So he’s your boyfriend?”
“Well he’s not my brother.”
“H-how old is he again?”
I didn’t want to talk about it. I hadn’t told anyone about Taylor, not even Wild’s parents who treated me like I was their son. However, talking to Chase seemed easy, probably because I didn’t care what he thought of me afterwards.
“He’s turning 21 in a couple weeks.” I replied.
“What were you two fighting about?”
“Just stupid stuff.” I said dismissively.
Chase backed off a little. Part of me wondered if I should tell him, but there was no way to explain the situation without Taylor coming off wrong.
We didn’t talk for the rest of the class about it although I could tell he wanted to.
“Blaze, can you give this letter to Chase? I was supposed to give it today.” Mr Owen said as I was walking out of class.
Chase had already raced Ryder to second period and Wild was waiting outside for me impatiently.
“Um, we don’t have class together.” I said.
“He’s got Physical Education third period now, you’ve got a free period, right?”
But I had already known that, I begrudgingly took the envelope and looked down at the front.
Evelyn Lopez Regarding:
Caylex Hazel-Legacy Lopez.
Hazel-Legacy? Had his parents been expecting a girl? Then again, I’m pretty sure he had like 100 sisters.
“Fine.” I groaned, only because I was not missing an opportunity to call Chase ‘Hazel-Legacy’.
I avoided the boys’ changing rooms as much as possible. Mostly because nothing ever good ever seems to happen in there, it’s always murders, sex drugs, crying, bullying, all that stuff.
“All I ever do is wait outside a room for you, it’s getting tiring.” Wild sighed as we approached the changing room.
“Remind me to never call you right before an operation.”
I pushed the door open, immediately choking on the testosterone. And by testosterone, I meant the overwhelming scent of sweat masked by a mix of cheap and expensive deodorant.
“Hazel?” I called.
All the boys turned to look at me, some very purposefully froze in the most award positions possible.
“Hazel-Legacy?” I said again walking further in.
“This is the boys’ room Blaze.”
“I know.” I huffed, I wasn’t blind.
Chase blushed slightly, he folded his arms walking up to me, I felt myself stand on my tip-toes so I was the same height.
He was wearing a black tank top, I hadn’t noticed it before, the curvature of his biceps, the way he was muscular without being bulky, the glow of his skin. I quickly snapped out of it realising that if people could hear my thoughts, I’d sound like a teenage girl writing One Direction fanfic.
“Are you being serious right now?” He groaned.
“That’s what the envelope says.” I said pushing it up to his face, “Mr Owens told me to give it to you.”
He snatched it from me as all the other boys sniggered reading the front, they shut up as Chase glared at them. He suspiciously tore it open and read it, shielding the contents from the others before looking at me coldly.
“Real mature Blaze.” He said with added viciousness.
What was his problem? We were just joking around.
“What did you say?” He snapped.
“What are you on about?” I asked now genuinely confused.
“You know what I’m talking about.”
No, seriously, I had no idea what he was accusing me of here. Usually, I roughly knew why he was mad at me, but unless he had a problem with my envelope distributing skills (which I had to say were pretty good) then I was clueless.
“Enlighten me.” I said crossing my arms as well.
The others cleared out, there was a difference between a playful-ish fist fight and the start of something a lot more personal. Surprisingly enough, they knew to read a situation.
“Cut the theatrics Blaze, I’ve been through this before, just tell me what you said.”
“Chase, I’m not joking, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I snapped.
“Did Isabella tell Phoenix something then?” He asked.
Chase’s voice had started to sound panicky, the amusement of the conversation faded when I realised how frightened he looked all of a sudden.
“Chase, Mr Owens just told me to give it to you.” I said calmly.
It was for his mother, why was Chase worrying so much?
“He’s going to kill me.” Chase murmured pacing around the room.
Well, that escalated quickly. Must be some sort of early progress report, honestly, I doubt it could be that bad. I had seen Chase debate his existence over 92% and be in a dismal mood for the rest of the day.
“He’s not going to kill you.” I said trying to help, although I had no idea who ‘he’ was, probably his Dad.
“I’ll stay at Ryder’s tonight.” He muttered taking his phone out and texting something to someone.
“You overreact too much.” I said grabbing the envelope from his hands ready to roll my eyes at his panicking over 99%.
Chase was too preoccupied to realise at first, it was only when I pulled the sheet out that he seemed to notice.
My heart skipped a beat as the first few words caught my eye. Chase quickly took it back and threw it as far away from us as possible looking me straight in the eye.
“D-did you see it?” He asked quietly.
I didn’t say anything suddenly fixated on the small mark near Chase’s collarbone, it dipped low under his top, it looked like a scar.
“Blaze? It’s just my behaviour report.” Chase said.
“Take off your shirt.” I said, my voice a little shaky.
“Just do it.”
My heart was furiously trying to break from my chest. Chase crossed his hands over the hem of his shirt like a small child.
“Blaze, stop messing around. It’s nothing.” He said.
For such a perfect person, he was a terrible liar.
“Just stay still.” I said softening my tone.
Gently, I moved his hands away from his shirt, they were rigid and resisted the contact. Chase bit his lip slightly in anxiousness.
“Chase.” I whispered.
He let me move his hands away, I slowly entwined my fingers around the hem of his tank top. Chase looked away as though he were ashamed, as though this was all his fault.
Part of me had been hoping I was wrong, that I had miscalculated this all horribly. But I hadn’t.
Scars stretched across Chase’s torso, some older than others. The most recent ones were still healing, as though they had happened only the night before. They were jagged, like twisted lightning strikes.
“Did your Dad…” I couldn’t even finish the sentence.
Chase nodded stepping back.
It all made sense now. The reason why Chase didn’t run around the school shirtless in Summer like the other boys. The reason why he winced the other day. The reason why the first words on the papers in the envelope had been ‘Getting help for your abused child’.
“Chase, that’s messed up.”
First prize for stating the obvious goes to me.
“It’s my fault. I do…” He started.
No way, no way was Chase going to say that.
“It’s not your fault.” I said.
Without thinking, I reached up slightly and hugged him. I don’t know why I did it, I was never a hugging type person, Mum had never hugged me much.
Then Chase was hugging me back, as though we hadn’t spent all the time we’d known each other fighting and hating each other. As though we weren’t supposed to be mortal enemies.
“Please don’t tell anyone.” He whispered.
“I won’t.” I whispered back, “Promise.”
But that promise wouldn’t last.