Summary: It all
started on that night when you and Jay were both too drunk to remember
anything. You resigned from your job and left Seoul with a secret. Now you’re
back and ready to tell Jay about them, but doing so means sharing their lives and
putting his career and love life on the line.
Jay scanned the sheet of paper, carefully taking in every
word to make sense of the whole document, but no matter how much he tried to
regain his focus, it was futile.
He closed the folder, placed it on top of the papers piled
on his desk and threw his head back as he swirled his chair to face the window
on one side of his office. Gray clouds hovered with threats of an imminent
rain. The city looked anything but cheerful.
His phone vibrated on his pocket, and with muscle memory he
grabbed it, unlocked the screen and read the message from one of his friends.
He was asking him if he’s up for some drinks tonight.
Some other time,
he texted back.
He was about to put it on his desk when his thumb pressed
the message app again. Three names below the recent contact was your name. You
told him that you’d be going on a grocery, with a slight indication of holding
him responsible for spending, if not all, what’s little left of it.
38. “I just wanted an easy day with my girlfriend/boyfriend. What’s so wrong with that?”
Your phone was buzzing like crazy and you had a hard time to silent it
down since it was in the bottom of your bag. ”I’m so sorry!” you pleaded when
all your classmates including your teacher was staring at you.
”If you don’t turn off your phone I’m afraid I’ll have to give you
detention.” your teacher warned and you started to sweat. ”I’m sorry. I’m
turning it off now.” you said but you didn’t, you just putted it on mute.
I nervously sat on the closed toilet lid. I anxiously bopped my leg up and down running a clammy hand through my soft hair. I was patiently waiting, dreading the answer of a plus or negative. The pregnancy test was one of the worst tests that felt like years but in reality took only a few minutes.
Ginny’s phone buzzes on the bed beside her for the fifth time.
And then the screen lights up again. She looks down at the backlit device. Five messages.
Mike Please answer.
Mike I just want to know that you’re okay.
Mike Okay, that’s not all I want to know. Gin, please.
Mike I know you’re angry, and you have every right to be. I really want to talk to you.
Ginny unlocks the screen to clear away the messages before she sets her phone to ‘do not disturb.’
Twenty-five minutes later, there’s a knock at her door.
“Ginny?” Mike’s voice calls out. She stays still and doesn’t attempt to adjust the volume on the TV either.
“Gin, I know you’re in there. I can here the TV, and I know you don’t just leave it on. Just talk to me. Even if it’s to yell at me and tell me you never want to see me again, I’ll take it. It’s better than this.
“If you don’t answer, I’ll just sit out here all night and keep talking to the door. I’ve got a lot I can say, Gin.”
I have a cold right now, and I’m being dramatic about it to my boyfriend, so I wrote a thing where Douglas is dramatic about a cold to Martin.
Martin had just gotten into his car at Fitton airfield, after having finished a
brief solo flight, when his phone buzzed as soon as he turned it on.
He glanced down and thumbed the screen unlocked. There were several
messages from Douglas, and he raised an eyebrow as he opened the
‘I am plagued by
'The sickness is
consuming me. The world is going dark, and here I lie, alone and
Martin snorted, and
I fear I am going to decay away into nothingness before you get home.
Tell my daughters I love them.’
feel death creeping closer. If nothing but my corpse remains, give my
opera collection to Carolyn. It’s better than Herc’s.’
give Arthur my cookbooks.’
world is spinning beneath me. I am forgotten. I am fading. The mighty
sky god has fallen. Vanquished by this great and terrible ailment.’
rolled his eyes and started the car. He shot back a quick reply as
he drove out of the airfield parking lot.
you need me to pick up cold medicine on the way home?’
few minutes passed before the phone buzzed, and Martin waited until he
hit a red light to check it.
soft, what light through yonder window breaks? A reply at last? I am
emboldened to drag myself back to life, even as my body fails from
lack of aid and love.’
a yes then. I’ll be home soon.’
next message is nothing but a string of emojis, with such a vast
range of emotions, Martin only shook his head. It took him a few
minutes to get to the drug store, and as he browsed the aisles,
his phone buzzed again.
am on the precipice of life and death. I stare into the void as it
tries to pull me in, hanging on by nothing but my hope that the love
of my life shall soon grace me with his presence for one last time.’
almost done at the drug store. Do you need more tissues?’
need *so many* tissues. My
brain is rebelling against its confines and trying to liquidate
itself through my ears.’
See you soon.’
was only about five minutes later that Martin pulled into the
driveway and walked in the front door. Upon entering the living
room, Martin huffed out a laugh as he saw Douglas. Sprawled across
the couch, arm draped over his eyes, he looked the very picture of a
tragic hero. Martin strode up to the couch, stood over Douglas,
and tilted his head in contemplation. Douglas was definitely awake
and clearly waiting for what Martin would do. Martin promptly dumped
the several boxes of tissues directly on top of Douglas. Douglas
sputtered for a moment, and dropped his arm to glare at Martin in
it not enough that this cold is trying to kill me? Must you try as
only laughed and leaned down to press a kiss to Douglas’ forehead.
to see you’re still alive, then. Did you miss me?”
pouted a bit, but his eyes glittered with amusement.
than you can possibly imagine.”
laughed, even as he held out the other bag from the drugstore.
you, my poor sick first officer.”
sat up fully, pressed a hand to his heart, and grinned up at
only smiled and shook his head. No matter how much Douglas would say
otherwise, he was a complete drama queen.
Matteusz awoke. His mobile was vibrating beneath his pillow.
He pulled it out, and turned off the alarm. Unlocking the screen he stared at
his messages from Charlie. The night seemed a haze, but reading his texts
brought everything back. Charlie was an alien prince, from a dead world hunted
by shadows; and he was his boyfriend.
He got out of bed and quietly got dressed. He didn’t want to
see his parents; he wasn’t ready to. Carefully descending the stairs, he opened
the door and let himself out. The morning was cold, he thought about going back
for a sweater, but didn’t want to risk it.
It was seven by the
time he reached the coffee shop. He stood at the window and stared at the couch
Charlie and him had sat on. Everything had felt good that day. Would things be
awkward when he saw Charlie?
He turned back and walked to the school. He sat on the grass
and watched the early morning dog walkers. For them the most contentious part of
their day was probably deciding how to spend it. Their world was still big.
He checked his mobile; there was still half an hour till
eight. He lay down and looked up at the sky. Daylight hid the stars, but they
were still there just beyond. He wondered which might be Charlie’s home,
abandoned in the Heavens. His family was gone.
Matteusz still had a home, that should bring him comfort,
but it didn’t. He loved his parents; he just couldn’t reconcile the good
memories of his childhood with their hatred for him now. No not hatred,
misguided love. They think they are doing right by him. But he is not an
alcoholic he doesn’t need help. He is as he has always been, he just never
wanted a boyfriend as a child, and so they never saw it.
Matteusz’s pocket vibrated. Lifting it out he read the text
from Charlie. “Are you still coming? I just want to know if you are ok?”
He had been lost in his own thoughts. It was 8:15. “Sorry,”
He texted back. “I am ok. Be there soon.”
It took Matteusz just a couple minutes to jog back to the
coffee shop. He saw Charlie from the window, sitting on their couch. He looked
relieved. Entering the shop he finally felt warm. Charlie waved him over; he
had gotten him a coffee.
“Morning,” Charlie greeted him.
Matteusz sat beside his friend; things felt the same.
Charlie passed Matteusz his coffee. Their hands touched briefly. Matteusz took
a sip; it felt warm. Charlie put his hand on Matteusz’s. He looked up at him.
“Is this ok?”
Matteusz slid his fingers between Charlie’s. He gave a tight
squeeze then relaxed. “Always.”
Charlie sighed relief and put his head on Matteusz’s
shoulder. “How were things when you got home?” Charlie looked up, “they weren’t
really ok with me were they?”
“No. I did not see them. Last night I found a pamphlet on my
bed, that I can change.” He shook his head. “I don’t want to change, it is
“Is there anything I can do?”
“No, it is for me to work out.” Matteusz put his coffee
down. “I will go to library for awhile and go home this afternoon.”
“Would you like me to come, to
the library I mean.”
“No, I need to get lost in my
thoughts for a bit.”
Charlie put his head on Matteusz’s shoulder and closed his
eyes. “I understand.” Matteusz knew he did.
It was 11 before he could pull himself away from Charlie. He
walked to the library and grabbed a newspaper from the shelf. Sitting down he
scanned it for details about the Prom. There was nothing about the attack, just
It seemed that the world was happy to forget about the
events, he wasn’t sure his friends would ever be able to let go so easily.
He yawned and set his head down
starring at the picture of the school.
“Wake up,” Matteusz looked up
and saw the librarian. “You can’t sleep in here.”
What time was it, he wondered, five. He had fallen asleep.
He hurried out the door and back home. He needed to talk with his parents. They
needed to find some common ground. He slid his key into the lock. But it
wouldn’t fit. He flipped it and tried it again. Nothing.
His father appeared at the window. He held the crumpled pamphlet
in his hand. “You are wrong, you bring us sorrow. I cannot have a
homosexual living under my roof. There is no home, no family for you here.
Matteusz felt his heart drop out of his chest. “Tato!” But
he did not return. He dreaded that this might one day happen. He wanted to make
it right with them, but they turned off the lights in the house.
He dropped the key. It was dark and cold. He didn’t know
what to do. He began wandering down the street. He saw a family in a window
sitting down to diner, a child being carried by his dad. Each image was a knife
to his heart. He hid his face from a passerby.
Like a homing pigeon he roamed through the streets till he
found himself at Charlie’s. Maybe it was reflex or instinct. He shook his head.
No. Charlie would want to help, but he couldn’t burden him with more.
He took out his mobile and looked up shelters. There was one
not far off. He put his mobile in his pocket and started to walk. A light
turned on in Charlie’s house. He was there. He would understand. Just for the
night. He needed Charlie. He didn’t want to be alone.
Walking to the door and weakly knocked on it. He heard the
latch turn. Please not Ms. Quill, he told himself.
Ms. Quill opened the door and contemplated Matteusz; eyes wet and cold. “Alien invasion or teen angst?”
“Teen angst is a pejorative
term,” he replied. He was disheartened, but had also run out of patience for
adults speaking down to him.
She rolled her eyes and moved
aside, “come in, he is upstairs.”
It was Matteusz’s first time in Charlie’s home. It felt
warm. He took his shoes off and climbed the stairs. He saw an open door with
the light on. He peeked in and saw Charlie staring at his computer. He couldn’t
bring himself to enter and turned to leave. Looking down the stairs he saw Ms. Quill
watching him. He turned round again and stepped into Charlie’s room to avoid