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Chapter 13 – Indie Comes to Jesus
Whatever Efrain had to say is lost as he pushes past me, calling for Cory. He pauses at the door to shoot a terse “fucking asshole” over his shoulder. I can just barely make out a truck engine pulling away. I few moments later, the front door slams shut.
There’s a loud thump followed by a string of curses from Efrain. Then some stomping before his bedroom door slams closed.
I know I overstepped, but he had to be warned. I decide the best thing right now is to give the guy some space.
Cory is at my door, at three in the damn morning, asking for pain pills and a hug.
I’m about ready to shut the door on him when I notice how miserable he looks. I quickly usher him inside. My studio apartment is too small for a couch, so I get him comfortable on my bed before I retrieve medicine and a bottle of water.
“Hey, Preston. This is going to sound really lame, but could you open those for me,” he asks when I offer him the bottles. “My arms aren’t working right.”
Once open, he shakes out a couple pills and pops them into his mouth. He winces as he brings the water bottle to his lips. He’d also been walking a little stiffly when he came in. I figured he hurt himself during practice.
It isn’t until he hands back the pill bottle that I notice his wrists and my stomach drops.
“What happened?” I’m trying to not freak out. Apparently, I’m failing.
“Dude, I have a good twenty pounds on him. This,” he says while indicating his wrists, “happened because I wanted it to happen.”
I briefly leave him to root around in my bathroom for some ointment and gauze. I stand between his knees and apply cream to his raw skin. “How…”
“Tied me to the bed.”
“With what, exactly?”
“Self-sticking Ace bandages.”
“Resourceful,” I say dryly as I wrap his injuries. “And the rest?”
“Guess I struggled too much.”
“You seriously let Wolfie do this?” We’d been using the nickname to discuss Efrain around his roommates and it stuck.
He gives a half-laugh. “Ever cum without touching your dick?”
“Oh my God.” Somehow relieved, I put my arms around his shoulders as his arms wrap around my waist. “You’re lucky I like you.”
“Yeah. I’m pretty damn lucky.” His miserable look from earlier returns and he rests his forehead on my stomach. “You know, you’re one of my best friends.”
“Does Keenan know this?”
“He said you can be my side chick.” It should be a joke, but his voice is too flat to do it justice. An uncomfortable silence stretches behind it.
“Gonna tell me what this is about?”
“I’m overreacting like a little bitch.”
“I doubt that. I mean, you’re the one who started lecturing me when I trash-talked Iceman for going cold on you.”
His arms wrap around me tighter.
“I overheard him and Efrain talking about me.”
I figure this story will last longer than my legs can hold me up, so I sit against the headboard and Cory puts his head in my lap. While he fills me in on the conversation, I run my fingers through his baby-fine hair to soothe him. My opinion of Indie sinks further the more Cory tells me about him.
“And after he called you a walking STD…”
“I don’t know,” he admits. “Couldn’t let ‘Rain see me like this, so I left.”
“And you came here.”
“I didn’t feel like dealing with the guys either.”
I think about what I could say gaziantep escort to reassure him, but by this point, he’s all talked out and I’m tired as fuck. We crawl under the covers to catch the last few hours of sleep.
I’ve already decided that I need to kick Indie’s ass; Wolfie’s fate is still undetermined.
When I leave for my morning jog, there’s a fist-sized hole in the drywall. Efrain missed punching the wall stud by mere inches. I’m a little pissed off about the damage, but he’d already left for the day, and I was running late besides.
At noon, Mike and I decide to break for lunch. I’m closing the office door before we head to the dining hall just as Romero Mackey catches up to me.
“Hey, man, I got a question about an essay for Dr. Collins,” he says. “When will you be back in your office?”
Before I can answer, I’m accosted by 5-feet-8-inches of hard fury. Preston, the guy Cory had been making out with at Kiley’s party, storms up to me and slaps both hands into the middle of my chest, shoving me backward.
“Move.” His voice is cold and forceful, his soft brown eyes seethe with rage.
“What the fuck is this about?” He shoves me another step back and follows me into the office.
“Excuse me, gentlemen,” he addresses Mike and Romero, who are watching from the doorway, without looking away from me. “This asshole and I need to have a come-to-Jesus meeting.”
Mike throws up his hands and says about the only thing you can, given the situation. “He’s all yours.”
Romero just looks confused.
“What the fuck have you been telling Efrain? The fuck is wrong with you? Are you jealous ’cause you can’t get anyone on your dick? Is that why you’re talking shit?” he demands. “Or is it because you were too much of a pussy to fuck Cory when you had the chance and now you don’t want anyone else to?”
“But…” I start. He grabs me by the front of my shirt and pulls me down. I’m a whole head taller than the guy, but he’s pretty fucking strong. I look to Mike and Romero for support. The former looks like he’s trying really hard not to laugh, the latter looks like an over-excited Labrador with a new toy.
“Bitch, I don’t give a shit about your sad fucking excuses. Cory likes Efrain. A lot. And you’re sticking your ass in where it doesn’t belong. I swear to mother-fucking God, if you screw things up for them, you pretentious wine-drinking hipster fuck…”
“…then he grabs Norman’s junk and threatens to twist his cock up like a balloon animal and make him suck his own dick.”
“Oh God.” I can’t imagine Preston James Finnegan, bow-tie and all, threatening to make someone self-fellate.
“Damn. Fucker is stone cold,” Gio says.
“That’s not the scary part.”
“He literally has the guy by the balls and is ripping him to shreds. He even details the exact Brazilian jui-jitsu moves he plans to use on him. Did you know he was into that shit?”
I shake my head.
“So, yeah, he’s maddogging the fuck out of Indie, who looks like he’s about to piss himself, but we hear Dr. Collins coming up the hall and he pulls a complete 180. He’s suddenly all chipper chipmunk and trying drag me off for coffee so he can show me videos from his last tournament.”
Al laughs. “I can imagine.”
“He seriously used the words ‘testicular torsion.'”
“Sounds like an awesome name for a band,” Gio comments.
“Oh, hell yes!” Al’s band already has a name, but they’ve been arguing about album names for a couple weeks.
The guys move on to another topic and I stop paying attention. I still haven’t talked to Efrain, and I probably need to talk to Preston, too. But, all I really want to do is turn off my phone and go back to bed.
“Oh, before I forget.” Something in Romero’s voice grabs my attention. I have a bad feeling about this. “We have an ID on Cory’s Wolfie.”
As if the situation couldn’t get worse.
My shoulders and legs are sore enough that I feel it’s a good enough excuse to skip football practice. Vuis agreed to let me off the hook as long as I visit the trainers so they can look me over. I figured if I went before the guys started coming in for practice, I could avoid seeing Efrain. My head is still too fucked up to deal with him, or anyone else for that matter.
Unfortunately, he’s waiting for me when I leave the trainer’s office.
He drags me into an empty room and locks the door. His body presses me against the wall and he holds my face in his hands. His mouth slants hungrily across mine. Against my better judgement, I kiss him back. This only further knots my jacked up emotions.
“This isn’t the best place to talk,” he says and looks like he’s about to say more. Instead, he shows me his cellphone where he has a text message from someone he has labeled as “Epic Douchebag.”
“Tell your boyfriend to call off his attack twink,” I read out loud. He moves it away, but not before I read his answer – Consider yourself lucky. My boyfriend’s attack twink isn’t the one who wants to strangle you.
“So, you have an attack twink?”
“Kinda sad that I missed that,” he rests his forehead against mine. “You turned off your phone.”
“How much did you hear last night?”
“More than I wanted to.”
“Why’d you leave?”
I take a fortifying breath. “This isn’t a smash-and-dash,” I start and he winces. “But it isn’t a relationship either. My hurt feelings are above your pay grade.”
“It’s not fine.”
“I just need to cool down.”
“We need to talk about this.”
“But not right now. I just want to go back to bed,” I say as I slip away from him. I leave the room before he can form a reply.
Everything’s making me fucking pissed off.
Silence is pissing me off. My pencil tapping on my book is pissing me off. My leg bouncing under the table is pissing me off. Looking at the same goddamn problem all night is pissing me off.
I tried playing some music to calm down, but it started to feel like one of those stupid fucking montages they have in romantic comedies where the guy fucks up and the bitch won’t talk to him.
Above my fucking pay grade. What kind of fucking bullshit is that?
There’s a tentative knock on my door, and for the first time in a while, I’m excited that Indie is home because I really want to break shit and his bitch-ass face seems like a pretty fucking good place to start.
Instead, a soft feminine voice calls me.
“It’s open, Laurel,” I say without turning around. I open my hand to set down my pencil, only to find that I’d just snapped the stupid thing in half. I’m still staring down at it when she hugs my shoulders from behind and rests her chin on my head.
“Heard you had a bad day.”
“Mike,” she answers. “Seems the secretary of the GSA threatened to rip off Indie’s dick and feed it to him.”
“He fucking deserves it.”
“I know. Once I got the whole story out of him, I was hard pressed not to do it myself.”
I manage a half laugh at this. I’ve only known Laurel for this past year, and not as well at that considering that she practically lives at her boyfriend’s apartment, but she’s always struck me as too sweet and nurturing to beat up the guy she’s been best friends with for nearly a decade.
“Mike and I decided he should stay on our couch tonight, so you weren’t tempted to kill him in his sleep.”
“What brought you here, then?”
“Figured you needed someone to talk to. You’re kind of a lone wolf.”
“I guess so.”
“I also busted Indie’s lip open.”
I can’t help smiling at this.
“Oh, that’s an improvement,” she laughs. Then my stomach growls (I was pissed off about being hungry, but more pissed off about having to cook). “Come on. I know I’m not as good as you are in the kitchen, but I can still put something together.”
Laurel rummages through the kitchen for dinner ideas. She finds some over-priced grass-fed organic strip steaks in the fridge. They’re Indie’s, and when I tell her this, she decides that steak is exactly what I need.
The dinner theme becomes “Indie’s stuff” as we pull together the rest of our menu.
While she pan-sears Indie’s steaks, I slice up Indie’s baby portabella mushrooms and sauté them in Indie’s Irish butter. She deglazes the pan with Indie’s Merlot and pours that over the mushrooms. We steam Indie’s fresh green beans with cracked pepper and salt and nuke Indie’s sweet potatoes in the microwave. We’re halfway through a six-pack of Indie’s locally-bottled craft beer by the time we’re ready to dig in.
I could live another 19 years and still not have a more satisfying meal.
After dinner, I fill her in on my side of the story while we drink Indie’s Moscato d’Asti and share a pint of Indie’s pistachio gelato on the couch. I’m surprised that mine and Indie’s versions of what happened last night match up. She isn’t. Indie still doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
“He doesn’t make friends easily, but he does care about you.” I scoff at that. “No, really,” she insists. “Other than Mike, you’re the only friend he’s made since coming here.”
It’s weird, but I do think of him as a friend, too. I still want to rearrange his face.
“I know I was using you at first to scrub all traces of Jameson from that bedroom, but Indie’s done a lot better since you came along.” She’d told me a little about the tragic saga of Indie and Jameson before. I’m still having a hard time imagining Indie crying himself to sleep for weeks at a time, but I never knew him when he wasn’t so cold and cynical.
“He’s still an asshole.”
“Yes, we’re working on that,” she says absently. “Have you talked to Cory yet?”
“I tried. He wasn’t even taking my calls and he skipped class and practice.” Then I tell her about running into him at the locker complex.
“And how’d that make you feel?”
“Fucking pissed off.”
“You don’t want his feelings to be above your paygrade.”
I think about this for a moment. “Makes sense.”
She gives me a knowing grin. “This is amusing.”
“You fell for him.”
“I did not.”
“You did,” she giggles. “Hard.”
“I told you your silly little rules were going to bite you in the ass.”
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