As expected my head wanted to explode when the first blaring notes of my alarm went off. It was the worst headache I had ever experienced in my young life. Janice opened my bedroom door being as chipper as always.
“Rise and shine, Simon.” She had to know from my father what I had gotten into the day before.
While I slowly regained all of my senses the smell of a hearty breakfast wafted around my nose. If I was getting such a nice breakfast, Janice couldn't have been mad at me.
My answer was a simple grunt. All of my limbs felt leaden. It was a herculean task to swing my right leg out of bed. When I came into the kitchen the table was filled with freshly toasted bread, around 15 pieces of bacon and a whole jug filled with orange juice.
“Janice…you're a lifesaver.”
Our housekeeper just chuckled at my raspy voice. “I used to be young too. We had to get our breakfast sandwiches from the local deli after a long night out. Maybe I wasn't as young as you right now.” Again, Janice chuckled at my predicament.
Instead of trying to argue anything I just sat down and began loading a piece of bread with around half of the bacon, crowning my king with more bread. The first bite was oh so delicious. I had no idea how hungry I had gotten. Jay had had no regard for food.
Having finished almost everything Janice had put on the table for me, my limbs didn't feel that heavy anymore. To try and wash away the last of my headache I hopped into the shower of my on suite bathroom. Those first few droplets of cold water were the most refreshing h2o molecules to ever grace my relatively sporty frame. Feeling it cascade from my head, down the shoulders and ultimately down the small of my back made me almost feel ecstatic. The image of Jay's fingers replacing the water kept creeping into my mind. He was a good looking guy and he knew it. It's not like he was showing off excessively but Jay definitely knew what he had. And he had something that I wanted desperately. Freedom and excitement.
"Fuck…” My mind was actually going back to the night before. Eternal youth. I was surprised to be actually considering Jay's offer.
Unfortunately the shower didn't get rid of the headache. My legs weren't stiff and leaden anymore, that was a huge plus. I was able to get to school on my own two wheels.
“What happened to you?” Seeing me alive calmed Emmy's nerves. “After your message we thought you lost it!” My best friend waited for me at the bike rack.
"Hey Emmy, nice to see you too.” I gave her a weak smile.
It took her a few seconds of staring intently at my face to notice the dark bags under my eyes.
“You WERE out with him? Simon you don't know who he is or what the heck he did at that port!”
Emily's voice was a shriek whisper shout.
“Shhh…” I held up my index finger to quiet her down. “My…head hurts a little bit. You should've been with us. We had sooo much fun. Jay is actually a very charming guy.”
“Charming you into drinking and staying out long enough that your father calls me midnight?” Her tone was a lot more accusing than Janice’s earlier.
“Thanks for covering my ass…”
In return she raised her index finger at me now. “Yeah and you owe me.” Her smile seemed a bit devious to me.
“Whatever. Let's head to class, I'm already done with school today.”
Time went by even slower than the day before. Whenever I was bored I thought back to Jay and what he was doing at that moment. Probably sitting in a dark basement playing World of Warcraft or something. That thought made me chuckle out loud.
“Do you want to share the fun with us all, Simon?” Miss Brimstone wasn't one of those teachers that threw their pen or bundle of keys. She always made you feel really bad for disturbing her class. All of the English class was now looking at me.
“No, I'm sorry. I just thought of a funny image.” I knew that this wouldn't satisfy her.
“Well? What is it?”
“I guess I was thinking about some teenage vampire in a basement playing World of Warcraft until he can go out. Because you know. Sun and all that.”
Half of the class was groaning and calling me a dork while the others were giggling.
Miss Brimstone shook her head in disbelief. “And here I was, thinking you were paying attention to class.”
And with that all of my daydreaming was history. Not even during lunch I was spared.
A banging tray announced the arrival of my best friend Emmy at our usual table. “Spill the beans, Simon.”
Dane didn't seem to know yet what had happened the day before.
“Like I said. Jay took me back to his car, a driver took us to some kind of club and we spent almost the whole night there. We even skipped the line.” I professionally avoided their eyes, taking a huge chunk out of my second sandwich that day. Janice had prepared a delicious BLT on rye for lunch. I think I was a bit in love with that woman. Maybe it was just her cooking that I loved so much. Who knows?
“Were there any cute girls?” This netted Dane a well deserved bruise on his right shoulder by Emmy.
“All of the girls you could ever wish for. And none of them would ever talk to you.” I guess I deserved that middle finger.
Emmy was much more serious than the two of us. “Did you tell him anything about yourself? Has he seen your student ID? How drunk were you?”
For a few seconds I thought about telling them everything. Teeth, underage patrons, everything. But I figured that if I actually wanted to consider joining Jay as undead they would just get in the way. Oh god, what a selfish and disgusting way to think about my friends. “I drank a lot of whiskey, I didn’t tell him much about myself and I didn’t even show him my collarbone. He has no identifying information.” I lied, obviously. What good would the truth have been?
“Have you talked about the port?” Dane’s table manners were severely lacking.
Emmy rolled her whole head. “Oh yeah. Hey Jay, how many humans were packed in the crates?” She said, imitating my voice rather poorly.
“No, we didn’t talk about that. We…danced. A LOT. With each other.” The memories of all those ‘accidental’ touches were still fresh in my mind. They knew I was gay ever since I found out myself as a wee twelve year old. My blush was enough to fill in everything I didn’t say.
“At least we know that bad boys are your weakness. Can we let you near a hot topic alone?” Emily snorted and Dane laughed at me.
“Wow guys, it was a one time thing. Not even a real date!” Unfortunately I put too much emphasis on the word ‘real’. Great now I had two smirking idiots in front of me. “Stop looking at me like that!”
Emmy and Dane erupted in laughter. For the second time that day one too many pairs of eyes was on me, furthering my embarrassment. This turned out to be the worst day I ever had. But in the end it was just good hearted fun between friends. I would say the same things to Emmy or Dane if the roles were reversed.
Coming down from their giggle fit Emmy wiped a tear from the corner of her eyes. “Your dad didn’t really sound amused when he called me yesterday.” I thought I saw her shudder a bit thinking back. “He was so calm, it spooked me.”
“He sat in the living room waiting for me. At four in the morning. I couldn’t care less. I was super drunk when I came home. After Jay drove me home.” Only after I spoke the words I was able to stop myself talking. “And I shouldn’t have said that…” What came next was fully deserved.
“Simon Reat, you absolute moron! You never go with a kidnapper to a second location and you most definitely don’t tell them where you live!” Emmy’s face was getting red. I was a bit scared of the words she wasn’t using. “I thought you’re smart enough to not get yourself mixed up with people who load shit into suspicious flower delivery vans! Next thing you’ll tell us you want to meet with him again because Jay is the love of your live.” There was a certain animosity when Emily spat that name.
Even Dane scooted over a bit. It didn’t happen very often but when she exploded there was a lot of spit.
A nervous chuckle escaped me while I contemplated how to defuse this situation. “I wouldn't say the love of my live but there was a certain chemistry between us. He could read every wish right from my eyes.” It was only half a lie. I wondered why people were constantly groaning at me. Well, for the next 15 minutes Emmy kept berating me about how stupid I was to start drinking at fifteen and how poor my decision making skills were.
When I opened my bedroom door, a small salad in hand, I immediately noticed the small stack of books on my desk. On closer inspection I could see that those were for one grade over. Flipping through the first work book got annoying really fast. The concepts were not hard but doing it after school on top of homework would take almost the whole afternoon.
Complaining to my friends would've been of no use either. Emmy thought I deserved my punishment and Dane was kind of a yes-man anyways.
Throwing another episode of Heartstopper on the TV I started munching on my Caesar. Ten minutes later I was lounging on top of my duvet.
I began to seriously think about what I wanted to do with my life. Dad had my whole career planned out. Ever since I had been born my future college was hammered into stone. After college I would get into dad's law firm and work my way up until he retired and I could take it over. It sucked that they never had asked me which kind of profession I would want to take up in the future. At least they were generous enough to give me a choice in after school activities and clubs. Not like I was ungrateful for the life they made possible but it just didn't feel like it was my own.
My thoughts went to Jay and the apparent lifestyle he had. Partying every night, not a care in the word. He was immortal, nobody could tell him what to do. Everything felt so alluring. Tempting enough to make me grab an old picture of my parents and I on vacation, back when I was eleven. Someone took a picture of our family in full ski gear, standing on the side of a mountain smiling ear to ear.
My phone ringing made me grip the picture frame rather hard for a moment. Seeing the name on the display, I didn't even want to answer.
He would've called the landline or Janice's mobile just to make sure that I was actually home.
“Just calling in to check that you're doing your homework.” There was a certain undertone that told me part of those workbooks was now also considered homework.
“I had lunch and will start in a few minutes. All of it.” No need to fuel that particular fire.
Dad never called to ask how my day was or if something interesting happened in school. He never called me PERIOD and that infuriated me to no end.
“Good. I will see you tonight.”
That was it! He ended the call with such a monotony in his voice that I didn't even want him to say I love you. Not like I had the chance to say it first anyways.
Screw this. I wasn't even sure when I last heard those three words come out of his mouth.
Fuming I opened the picture frame, folded up the contests and put them in my wallet. If I was going to run away from home for a few days to teach them a lesson, I at least wanted to have something with me to remember the family I once had, all those years ago.
A backpack with some clothes, my phone charger and a new toothbrush was packed quickly. I've never had been this stealth when sneaking down the stairs from my bedroom. Seeing Janice probably would've melted all my resolve away.
There was but one problem. I had no idea what route the driver had taken the night before. Determined to get as far away from home as possible I took the next best bus downtown.
While I watched the city go by the bus window my heart decided to pump up to my throat making it hard to swallow. A certain thought became more intrusive the closer I got to city center. At first it felt like a hot nail was rammed into my temple. After a few minutes I had a searing headache behind my eyes. Bad enough to force my eyes squeezed
shut. When I thought it couldn't get worse the bus stopped smack dab in the middle of the city and the pain vanished immediately after I stepped off the bus. Now there only was a really obnoxious and intrusive thought.