Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cool With A "K" PART 23 - CHAPTER 1

"Good morning, class." Our French teacher, Mrs. Green, chirped, "I have some exciting news, today!"
Almost the entire class groaned because we knew it was probably something really lame like a pop quiz or something (There are pop quizzes in French, right?).
"We have a new student!" Mrs. Green exclaimed, scrunching up her face in a grin.
We have had a lot of new students this year and, for some reason, a lot of them have arrived during French class, like Kevin.
Secretly, I really hoped this new kid wouldn't be as bad as some of the others.
Some of the new kids I didn't mind, like Harold, but others, like Mabel and Geoffry, really got on my nerves.
A really cute Asian boy stepped into the room and Chris and I went slack-jawed.
"He's hot!" I mouthed to Chris.
"I know!" Chris mouthed back.
Okay, maybe having a new student won't be so bad. I thought.
The new boy smiled and walked to the front of the room to Mrs. Green.
Mrs. Green smiled her creepy rat-ish smile again and said in that squeaky voice, "This is Mr.... Um... Nam Tae-Hyun."
The teacher probably mispronounced his name to an embarrassing level.
"Actually, it's Nam Tae-Hyun*." The new boy said.
"And everybody can call me Tae-Hyun." Tae-Hyun said, smiling.
He still had a really thick Asian accent... Of some sort.
I almost melted from that smile. Tae-Hyun had braces, but he was still adorable.
I glanced back at Chris, who was blushing and staring at Tae-Hyun shyly.
"He's not gay." I mouthed. I could tell.
Tae-Hyun was wearing a hoodie that was a couple sizes too big and black jeans that were also too big (but he had a belt so he wouldn't sag. What a gentleman!)
Chris shrugged, "He's hot."
Chris and I have mastered reading lips for mandatory situations like this.
"You have a boyfriend." I mouthed, assuming that would make him back off.
Chris didn't 'say' anything for a minute, but then he mouthed, "He's hot."
I was sure he was talking about Tae-Hyun again.
I rolled my eyes and turned back around in my seat.
"Tae-Hyun is from Seoul, South Korea." Mrs. Green explained, "He just moved here last month. Now, time for a pop quiz!"
The whole class groaned and Tae-Hyun sat down; In a desk. Not just a desk, the desk next to mine.
I smiled and turned back to my desk.

At lunch, I spotted Tae-Hyun out of the corner of my eye. He was looking for a place to sit.
"Now!" Chris whispered.
"Hey, Tae-Hyun!" I said, "Want to sit with us?"
Tae-Hyun turned to us and smiled. He said quietly, "Oh, sure."
Chris and I bumped fists under the table.
Tae-Hyun sat at our table and the new-kid-protocol began.
"So, Tae-Hyun," Kathy appeared suddenly and sat across from Tae-Hyun, right between Chris and I, "You're from Korea? Oh, how cool!"
"Don't they drop bombs there?" I hadn't noticed Michelle, Leo's ditzy ex-girlfriend sitting next to Leo.
"When did she get here?" I asked.
"Uh, no." Tae-Hyun said, "I live in Seoul."
"How can you live in a soul?" Michelle asked innocently.
Kathy pitifully patted her on the back and said gently, "Michelle, Seoul is a state. Most people know that."
Tae-Hyun looked like he was going to say something, but he didn't.
"So," I said, trying to change the subject, "What made you decide to go to Withrow?"
"Oh," Tae-Hyun said, shrugging, "Kids didn't seem to really understand me at my old school. They were really prejudice."
"What do you mean prejudice?" I asked.
"Homophobic?" Chris blurted out, staring at Tae-Hyun.
"Shut up, Chris." Mouse groaned.
Tae-Hyun eyed Chris and said, "Um... No. I'm not..."
"Try to ignore the obnoxious gay kid," Mouse said, adding in a loud whisper, "We're working on getting rid of him."
"Clam it, Tiffany." Chris scoffed.
I bit my lip and glanced at Leo.
Mouse pushed Chris off his seat and onto the floor and she dumped his lunch on him and it was over.
There was an awkward silence before Leo said quietly, "Mouse doesn't like it when people call her Tiffany."
Mouse reached over the table and grabbed Tae-Hyun's collar, pulling his face close to hers.
"So, I'm Mouse, to you." She said, "Got it?"
Tae-Hyun nodded quickly and Leo said casually, "Mouse, put him down."
Mouse glared at Tae-Hyun, who really hadn't done anything.
She studied the nervous boy's face for a second and let go of his collar.
Tae-Hyun sat back down and swallowed nervously.
Mouse's proud smirk returned to her face and Leo said, "So, Tae-Hyun.... What do you like to do?"
Tae-Hyun shrugged, "I don't know..."
"Do you like skateboarding?" Leo asked.
Tae-Hyun nodded, grinning, "Yes, I do like skateboarding."
"He's not gay." I mouthed to Chris, who glared at me.
"I like rap." Tae-Hyun said.
"Yeah? Sweet, man." Leo said, holding out his fist.
Tae-Hyun looked from Leo's fist to his face, confused.
Mouse took Tae-Hyun's hand, curled it into a fist, and touched it to Leo's.
"Thanks, Mouse." Leo said sarcastically.
"No problem, my man." Mouse said, hitting Leo hard on the back and making him loose his balance, "Trust me, kid, you don't want to hang out with this loser."
Tae-Hyun looked from Mouse to Leo, and back to Mouse.
"Why not?" He asked quietly.
"He's a loser," Mouse said, "He's lame. Not cool. You understand what I'm saying?"
Tae-Hyun nodded and Mouse sighed, "Never mind, Leo, you can have him."
Tae-Hyun blinked and Leo sighed, "Please, don't be friends with her."
"I, um..." Tae-Hyun said.
"Okay, okay..." Chris said, holding up his hands, "Stop. Leave the poor boy alone. Okay, Tae-Hyun, I'm sure you're very confused right now. Be friends with whoever you want to be friends with and listen to whoever you want to... Except for Mouse, Leo was right."
Tae-Hyun blinked, confused, but smiled, "Thank you. I am sorry, what did you say your name was?"
"I didn't," Chris said, giggling and holding his hand out, "It's Chris."
Tae-Hyun shook his hand and said, "It's good to meet you."
I love his accent. I thought, beaming. It was a little hard to understand what he was saying sometimes, but it was adorable the way he talked.
Tae-Hyun started to retract, but Chris didn't let go of his hand right away.
I leaned over Kathy and whispered to Chris, "You know, by liking this guy, you're cheating on Geoffry."
Chris face fell and he swallowed nervously, but then he narrowed his eyes at me and said, "And it's cool for you to flirt with him?"
I shrugged, "I'm single, so it's totally legit."
Chris sighed and said, "That's not fair."
"You could break up with Geoffry." I said hopefully.
Chris gave me a look.
"No?" I said, sighing sadly, "Darn."

Tae-Hyun came outside with us to recess.
The rest of us were walking and talking, talking, talking.
Then, something caught Tae-Hyun's eye and he stopped walking.
We all stopped to see what he was looking at; A few yards away, a group of kids from our school had a radio and they were breakdancing.
"Cool!" Leo said, turning to Tae-Hyun, "Let's watch!"
"Oh, I will do more than watch." Tae-Hyun said, walking over to the breakdancers.
My friends and I all "Oohed" and Leo said, "Alright, let's see it."
We walked up closer to the breakdancing kids and Tae-Hyun jumped in easily.
Dang, that kid can dance! I thought as I watched him.
Tae-Hyun did all sorts of top rocks and freezes and floor rocks..... Haha, did you really think I knew all those breakdancing words? Leo told me what they were.
Eventually, the other dancers backed off and people started to gather to watch Tae-Hyun.
When he finished with some sort of freeze, everyone cheered.
Tae-Hyun looked up and got out of the freeze, standing up.
Mouse patted him on the back and said, "Way to get all the attention on your first day, new kid."
Tae-Hyun grinned and Leo went over to him.
"Dude," Leo said in awe, "How did you learn to do that?"
Tae-Hyun grinned again and crossed his arms, "You think we don't have breakdancers in Korea?"
Leo laughed and said, "That was awesome, man."
Tae-Hyun smiled and said, "Well, that is a good way to start my school year here."
We all laughed.
"Wow, he's funny, too." Alice teased me in a whisper, "Have you fallen for him yet?"
Without thinking, I nodded and said, "Oh, yeah."
"Are you gonna ask him out?" Kathy asked, pretty much magically appearing between Alice and I.
I blushed and said, "You think he likes me?"
"Oh my God, you are such girls!" Chris said, groaning.
Kathy, Alice, Leo, Mouse, and I all stared at him.
"Hypocrite." Mouse said, "You're girlier than Angie is."
"Wow, thanks." I said flatly.
Chris crossed his arms and said quickly, "I don't know what you're talking about."
Leo and I exchanged a 'sure' look and didn't say anything.
Confused Tae-Hyun stood staring at us, blinking.
I smiled tightly at him and laughed fakely, "Heheh... Well, I think recess is gonna be over soon. Let's head toward the school."
Tae-Hyun glanced at Leo, who shook his head.
He whispered to Tae-Hyun,

"Sorry, my friends are kind of weird."


Monday, July 19, 2010

Cool With A "K" PART 22 - CHAPTER 4

I knocked on Chris' temporary bedroom door at Leo and Mouse's house and he didn't answer, so I kicked the door open.
My brother was lying on his stomach on his bed, talking on the phone.
"Uh-huh.... Yep.... Oh, yeah!... Haha, I know, right?" He said, laughing.
My God, you're practically a teenage girl. I thought, rubbing my temples.
"Sure, we'll be right over." Chris said into the phone, "Bye, Alice."
He hung up and I scowled at him, crossing my arms.
"What?" Chris said.
"Nothing," I said, shaking my head, "You're just really obnoxious. What's up?"
Chris smiled broadly and said, "Do you want to go meet Alice's baby brother?"
I smiled and nodded, "Yeah, for sure. Today?"
"Uh-huh," Chris said, "Alice invited us over."
"Cool." I said.
We told Jessica where we were going and left for Alice's house.

I knocked on Alice's front door and waited patiently with my brother.
Alice opened the door and a grin broke across her face.
"Hey, guys!" She said.
Then, her mother came from behind Alice and put her arm in the doorway.
"Oh, hello, kids." Alice's mother said, smiling tightly, "What brings you here?"
"Oh, Alice invited us here to meet the new baby." Chris said, smiling politely, "Congratulations, by the way. I heard the baby is healthy and the birth went well."
The fake smile on Alice's mother's face made me want to punch her.
"Sorry," She said, putting her hand that wasn't blocking the door on Alice's shoulder, "Silly Alice must have forgotten she has piano lessons today."
"Mom, no I d-" Alice started to say, but her mother put her hand over her mouth.
Chris winced and gave Alice a pitiful look. He wasn't OCD and he still knew that he wouldn't want Mrs. Coleman's hand over his mouth.
"Ah, silly, silly girl." Alice's mother said, patting her daughter's head.
"Now wait one minute." I said, stepping up, "I need to have a word with you."
Alice's mother looked surprised and I said firmly, "My brother has never done anything to you, now has he? Chris has never done anything to harm you or your family. Am I right?"
Alice's mother didn't say anything and I kept talking; I was on a role.
"No, he didn't. And just because he's attracted to guys instead of girls doesn't mean he's infected or mentally ill." I said sharply, staring Alice's mother right in the eye, "He is polite and sweet and kind and respectful toward you and you have never returned the favor, now have you?"
I heard Chris sniffle and I continued my rant, "He is a kind, generous, polite, good person and you do not have the right to treat him like he's some sort of disease! He's not going to infect your baby if he gets too close!"
There was a long, still silence before I continued in a softer tone, "Now, please, Mrs. Coleman, Alice invited my brother and I to meet her new baby brother. If you would, we would like to carry out this task."
Wordlessly, Alice's mother stepped to the side and I turned to look at Chris.
He blinked back tears and smiled at me.
I turned back to Mrs. Coleman and, stepping around her, said quietly, "Thank you."
Chris followed me and nodded slightly to Alice's mother. 
Alice lead us to the baby's room, where Chad and Tyler were looming over the crib.
They let us get in to peek at the baby.
My heart swelled when I saw the tiny person. Those delicate little fingers, those tiny feet... A creature so fragile and helpless you couldn't help but protect it with your life.
I exchanged a looked with Chris, who smiled. He was tearing up again; So sensitive.
"You want to hold him?" Alice asked, turning to Chris. 
Chris smiled and nodded, wiping his eyes. 
"Yes, I would love to." He said quietly.
Alice picked the tiny little angel out of his crib and Chris sat down in the recliner by the crib.
Alice gently set the delicate little baby in Chris' arms; He held him like he was the most fragile, precious thing in the world.
I laughed quietly and said, wiping my eyes, "Chris, you're gonna make me cry."
Chris chuckled and gazed down at the baby.
"His name is Wesley." Alice said, smiling.
Alice's mother came in and she froze when she saw Chris holding her baby.
Chad touched her arm and whispered something to her.
Alice's mother sighed reluctantly and let her shoulders drop. She watched as Chris held the baby so gently and I saw a smile start to spread across her lips.
"He's beautiful," Chris said, and a tear slid down his cheek. 
Alice's mother nodded and she bit her lip.
Chris sighed and said softly, "Do you want to hold him, Ange?"
I nodded and Alice took Wesley from Chris so he could give me the seat.
I sat down in the recliner and Alice handed me the baby.
He was so tiny and fragile I was afraid he would break, but that was not going to happen. I was going to protect him.
I held the baby gently, but firmly enough to keep him securely in my arms.
I was too nervous, I didn't want to hold him for too long, so I said, "Okay, Alice."
Alice nodded and took Wesley from me, smiling down at him.
Slowly, Wesley opened his big blue eyes and looked around at us.
"Hey, there." Chris said, gently touching the baby's small hand with his pinky finger.
The baby grasped his finger and gazed up at him.
Alice whispered something in Chris' ear and he chuckled, putting his hand over his mouth and trying not to cry.
Babies sure make people emotional, don't they? I thought, I guess there's a reason. Babies are supposed to make people sensitive so they will take care of them.
That image - Alice holding the baby and the baby holding onto Chris' finger - I wished I had my camera.
Alice looked at her mother, who, to my surprise, was crying too.
Chris also looked at her and a slow smile spread across her face.
Alice's mother nodded to Chris and he smiled at her.
"Thank you for inviting us to meet your brother, Alice." Chris said.
Alice nodded, still looking at the baby in her arms, "I'm glad you could come."

As we were leaving the Colemans' house, Alice's mother called, "Um, Christopher,"
Chris turned around and said, a little bit nervously, "Yes, Mrs. Coleman?"
Alice's mother walked up to him and studied him for a minute.
"I'm sorry," She said, but I could tell she was still having a little bit of difficultly letting go of her seat as Queen for a moment.
"I misjudged you, I really did, Christopher." She said, holding out her hand.
Chris shook it and said politely, "Apology accepted, Mrs. Coleman."
Alice's mother smiled at him and he smiled back.
Chris let go of her hand and followed me down the steps, but before walking down the street toward our house, he turned around once more and called, "Mrs. Coleman?"
"Y-yes?" She said, still with a hint of awkwardness.
Chris smiled and said, "Call me Chris, if you would."
Mrs. Coleman nodded and waved to us.
We waved back and walked to our house.
So, the wall between Chris and Alice's mother was now broken and Chris and I had just witnessed the most beautiful thing in the world.

Life is good.

Cool With A "K" PART 22 - CHAPTER 3

A nurse lead Chris and I down the long, white hospital hallway.
The last time I had gone to this hospital, it was after Chris had gotten hit by a truck.
This was better because this time, we were here for a good reason, it was daytime, and my brother was walking next to me.
I took a deep breath and Chris stopped walking.
"Hey, are you okay?" He asked me.
"I'm fine," I said, looking at him and smiling, "Really, don't worry."
Chris smiled back and he continued walking.
The nurse knocked on the door of one room and opened the door.
"You've got visitors." She said, closing the door behind us.
Chris smiled sweetly at Alice and her mother.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Coleman." He said politely.
Alice's mother smiled tightly and said through clenched teeth, "Why, hello, Christopher."
"How are you feeling today?" Chris asked.
"Fine." Alice's mother said curtly, smiling that forced smile again.
Alice's mother has never liked Chris; She has a problem with the fact that he's gay and tried annoyingly hard to keep Alice away from him when they were little kids, but they were inseparable.
I must say, I had to use all my strength to keep from scowling at her.
Chris smiled sweetly and said, "Good. Well, we brought these cookies for you as a sort of congratulations gift."
"Thanks," Alice's mother said, trying to sound like she meant it.
Alice smiled awkwardly and Chris gave her the coated plate of cookies.
"We'll let you get some sleep now," Chris said politely, "I know you're probably tired-"
"Very." Alice's mother said a bit too shortly for overlooking.
Chris nodded politely and I tried not to look too hasty when I smiled at Alice's mother.
As we were leaving the hospital, Chris sighed wistfully, but didn't say a word.

"Alice's mom still doesn't like me." Chris said, taking a cookie from a plate Mom had made for us.
"Well, you are kind of a loser." Mouse said, her mouth full of cookie.
Chris scowled at her and Jessica came in.
"Hey, kids. Did you have fun visiting Alice and her mom?" She asked, grinning.
"It was just me and Ange." Chris said, "I'm not sure if 'fun' would be the word to describe it."
"Oh, what happened?" Jessica said with concern, putting her hands on her hips.
"Bye," Mouse said, getting up and taking a few cookies, "I'm gonna go put bugs in Chris' underwear."
Chris scowled at Mouse as she left and he turned back to Jessica.
"Well, I always try to be as polite as I can to Alice's mother," Chris said, "But she still doesn't like me."
"Oh." Jessica said, asking gently, "Any idea why?"
Chris, Leo, and I glanced at each other and Chris said quietly, "Because of, um... Because of my... Sexuality."
"Ah, I see." Jessica said understandingly.
I sighed and said, "She's kind of a homophobic, rude, selfish little-"
"Angela! Hush!" Mom snapped at me.
"She is, Mom!" I said, "She hates Chris just because he's gay!"
"Can I go?" Chris and Leo said at the same time.
"Well, that's too bad." Jessica said, patting Chris' back, "Don't work yourself up about it."
"Jessica, her daughter is my best friend." Chris said, sighing wistfully, "I can't just shrug it off."
Jessica shrugged and followed Mom into the kitchen.

Alice and her mother sat in the hospital room wordlessly.
Alice was reading a book and her mother was watching T.V.
"Hey, Mom?" Alice said, "Do you want to try one of the cookies Chris and Angie brought over?"
Alice mother sighed and studied her daughter for a minute.
"Sure," She said finally.
Alice got up and brought the plate over cookies over to her mother, who took one and took a bite.
She chewed slowly and said, smiling, "Mmm! These are delicious!"
Alice smiled, taking a cookie, "Yeah. Chris is an amazing cook, isn't he?"
Alice's mother stopped chewing for a second and added, "Well, they are a little rich."
Alice's face fell and she silently took a bite of her cookie.

So, Alice's mom got out of the hospital a day later and they were able to take Alice's new baby brother home.

Congrats on the new baby, Mrs. Coleman. Try to pay attention to him as you do your cell phone and hopefully more.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cool With A "K" PART 22 - CHAPTER 2

"Herbie so talks!'
"No he does not!" Chris said, rolling his eyes at me, "Are you an idiot? Herbie's a car."
"A magical car." I said, "He's a magic car."
"That doesn't mean it talks." Chris said.
"If you were magic, you would talk, wouldn't you?" I said smugly.
"I already talk, Ange." Chris said flatly.
"Kids, be nice." Leo's mom, Jessica, called from the kitchen.
Recap: Mom, Chris, and I are currently staying with Mouse and Leo's family to get over our loss of dad. Financially and psychologically.
Just then, Chris' cell phone started ringing and he answered it.
"Hello?" He said, "... Oh, hi, Alice... Really? Oh, tell her congratulations!... Yeah, I know. Tell her anyway... Good idea. Alright, I'll talk to you later."
Chris hung up the phone and Mouse and I stared at him expectantly.
Chris smiled sweetly and tears welled up in his eyes when he said, his voice shaking, "Alice's mom had her baby."
"Really?" I said, smiling, "That's awesome!"
"It's a beautiful baby boy." Chris said, a tear running down his cheek.
"Dude, are you crying?" Mouse asked, laughing a little.
"I'm Chris, I cry!" Chris said, laughing.
Leo came in and said, grinning, "What are you girls up to?"
"Alice's mom had her baby yesterday afternoon." I said, "It's a boy."
"Oh, that's cool." Leo said, smiling.
We told Mom and Jessica and Mom suggested that we bake something for them.
"Cookies!" Chris cried, "Cookies would be just perfect! Oh, I love baking cookies! It's so much fun-"
"Chris," Mouse said, "We all know you're gay, but I'm sick of the chick talk."
"Mouse!" Jessica said, smacking Mouse in the back of the head, "Don't talk that way."
Chris snickered and Mouse punched his shoulder.
"I think making cookies sounds like a good idea." Mom said, smiling that cheesy Mom smile.
"Yay! Cookies!" Chris said, hugging Mom.
"Yay! Cookies!" Leo said, also hugging Mom.
Mom looked down at Leo, as if she was deciding whether to let him hug her, and she shrugged, hugging the boys back.
So, Chris and Mom made cookies.
Originally Leo and I were gonna help, but Leo didn't want to ruin his 'rep' by baking cookies with the girls and the gay guy, so he left. 
Chris told me to go away because he said I couldn't cook. Then I hit him and Mom made me leave the room.

Next stop, the hospital.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cool With A "K" PART 22 - CHAPTER 1

Alice, her mother, her cousin, Tyler, and Chad all sat around the table for lunch.
"There was this barbaric woman at the grocery store today that was rude to me when I tried to buy my groceries." Alice's mother ranted, "I was on the phone with Susan and the woman at the cash register interrupted me. She asked me if I wanted my groceries in paper or plastic bags. You know what I said?"
"What did you say, Darling?" Chad asked, forcing a smile.
Chad loved Alice's mother, but she was even more obnoxious when she was pregnant than she usually was.
"I told her that I was clearly on the phone and that it's rude to interrupt, but unacceptable to interrupt a pregnant woman!" Alice's mother exclaimed, rolling her eyes, "Unbelievable."
Her family nodded wordlessly.
"Well," Alice's mother said, "You three sure have been quiet this morning."
Alice and Tyler exchanged a look, but they knew better than to say anything.
"How has school been, kids?" Chad asked Alice and Tyler.
Chad had never been able to connect with the kids very much, so he was always asking them questions.
"Fine," Tyler said, "Me and Josh found a snake on the playground yesterday."
Alice's mother smiled weakly and said, "Lovely."
Chad smiled awkwardly and, knowing Alice wouldn't talk about anything gross, said, "What about you, Alice?"
"Nothing new." Alice said, "Well, Mouse poured the apple sauce from her lunch down Chris' pants the other day."
Alice's family stared at her and she went back to eating her lunch.
"So..." Chad said to Alice's mother, "How was your day, Rachel?"
"Oh, it was..." Rachel said, but her voice trailed off and her smile faded.
Alice swallowed the food in her mouth and said, "Are you okay, mom?"
Her mother didn't say anything and Tyler said, "Aunt Rachel...?"
"Rachel, Honey..." Chad said, touching his wife's hand.
She looked at him and whispered, 

"My water just broke."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cool With A "K" PART 21 - CHAPTER 13

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again...

Chris walked across the football field to where the cheerleaders practiced their routines.
"Kathy, I need to talk to you." He called up the bleachers to Kathy.
Kathy looked down and her face fell slightly when she saw it was him.
Chris had gotten quite used to that reaction to his presence.
Kathy said something to the other cheerleaders and she got down to meet Chris.
She stood in front of him and crossed her arms. She didn't look mad, but she looked ready for an apology.
"I'm so sorry about this whole misunderstanding, Kathy." Chris said, almost bracing himself for an 'It's okay, I love you, Chris!' Kathy attack.
But it didn't come.
Kathy nodded and said, "Alright. Thank you for apologizing, Chris."
"Yeah," Chris said, nodding, "So you forgive me?"
"Of course I do," Kathy said, "You're kind of one of my best friends."
Chris furrowed his brow, "Really?"
Kathy nodded, "Yeah, really."
Chris thought about Alice and sighed, "Thank you for forgiving me. Now, I have to fix the other heart I broke."
"Alice?" Kathy asked with surprising understanding, "She's still mad?"
"Yes," Chris said, sighing wistfully again, "I tried to apologize to her last week and I she didn't forgive me. Daniel and his friends mocked me about it and I got mad. That's how I got this."
He gestured to his arm and Kathy said, "Is it broken?"
"No, fractured." Chris said with a shrug.
"Well," Kathy said, "I hope things work out okay with Alice. Apologizing and making up and all that."
Chris nodded and said, "Thanks, Kathy."
He smiled and Kathy smiled back.
"I'll see you later, Chris." Kathy said, and she ran back to the other cheerleaders.
It's amazing how different people can be in serious situations. Chris thought.

Chris waited until recess to talk to Alice. He wondered around the playground for a while, pretending to not notice that Alice was sitting on a bench with a book in her lap.
After a minute or two, Chris thought, I have to do this before recess ends.
Chris checked his watch and whispered to himself, "Alright, I have thirteen minutes and fourty-seven seconds to get this over with."
No, not to get this over with. To get my best friend back.
Chris took a deep breath and made himself walk over to Alice.
He stood over her until she looked up.
Chris smiled at her to try to show he had kind intensions.
"Hello," He said.
Alice hesitated, but said flatly, "Hello."
Chris gestured to the place next to Alice on the bench and asked, "May I sit here?"
Alice didn't say anything at first, but she eventually nodded.
Chris sat down next to her and just looked at her. He may have leaned toward boys for sexual preference, but one thing Chris knew otherwise was that Alice was beautiful.
Alice looked up from her book after trying to ignore Chris for a while.
"What?" She said with no identifiable emotion.
Chris shrugged and said, "I may not like girls, but I'll tell you something,"
Alice shot Chris an untrusting look and he said, still nervous, "You're very pretty, Alice. I've always thought so."
"How would you know?" Alice huffed, turning back to her book.
"You know, Alice," Chris said, "Just because I don't fall in love with girls doesn't mean I can't think they're beautiful."
Alice looked up at him again and said quietly, "You think I'm beautiful?"
Chris nodded, "I'm not trying to taunt you, Alice. But yes, you are beautiful, both by physical appearance and psychologically."
Alice blinked and made herself scowl at Chris again, "Where are you going with this? Are you sure you're not taunting me?"
Chris nodded, "I'm not trying to. I'm just telling you know."
Alice scowled down at her book and Chris said, "Alice,"
"What?" Alice said, closing her eyes with frustration.
"Look at me, won't you?" Chris said, avoiding touching her.
Chris was trying hard not to get her hopes up by being too sincere, but he wanted her to know he was really sorry.
Alice glared at Chris and he said, his voice starting to shake, "I'm... Sorry, Alice. I really am, and I want you to know that."
Alice continued glaring at Chris and he said, "Alice, I'm not trying to tease you or give you false hope or anything that would hurt you. You are my best friend in the whole world... And I really don't think I can live without you. No, we probably wouldn't work out as a romantic couple, but as far as compatibility goes, I would say we have a ten most of the time."
Chris smiled nervously and said, "Please, Alice, please, please forgive me. I'm so sorry about this whole thing. It was my fault."
"It wasn't all your fault," Alice found herself saying, "Kathy and I misunderstood the situation-"
Chris held up his hand to stop her and said, "So did I. It was mostly my fault for letting you girls think that and I'm sorry. Do you think you can find a way to forgive me?"
Alice sniffled and looked down.
Chris didn't care if Alice would get mad, he hugged her.
Alice hugged him back and chuckled, trying not to cry.
She pulled away and said, "So, are we best girl friends again?"
Chris smiled and a tear went down his cheek. He nodded and hugged Alice again.
"So," Chris said, "Now that we're friends again, do you want to go to the mall after school with Angie and the others?"
Alice grinned and said, "Chris, we never stopped being friends."
Chris nodded and Alice said, "Sure, I'd love that."

In gym class (The last class after recess), Alice and Chris stood in line for the relay race together and talked.
I smiled to myself.

Ah, just like old times.

Cool With A "K" PART 21 - CHAPTER 12

Chris sat at the dining room table at Mouse and Leo's house. It was the house where Leo's mom, Mouse's dad, and their kids lived.
Mouse's dad, Louis, was out bowling with 'the guys' for the night and Mom, Chris, and I were staying over at their house for a week or so to get over the lack of Dad's presence. Financially and psychologically.
Dinner had ended almost an hour ago, but Chris just sat there with a fork in his left hand, staring straight ahead. His right arm was in a sling, but it wasn't broken, just fractured.
"Chris, Honey," Mouse's mom, Jessica, said, "We have popcorn here. Don't you want to watch the movie with us?"
"We picked a PG one just for you!" I said.
Mouse snickered and Leo elbowed her.
"No... Thank you." Chris said.
"I haven't seen him this upset since the ordeal with Geoffry." I whispered to Leo.
Leo nodded, "Yeah, I know. It's kind of sad."
"Just look at him," I said, "The pain in his eyes is almost unbearable."
Leo groaned, "Now you're getting me down."
I gave Leo a look and turned back to watching Chris.
Chris' eyes were full of hate. He didn't seem to be looking at anything in particular, just staring straight ahead.
"I'm gonna try to talk to him," I said to Mom.
"Good luck with that." Mouse said, "He's practically a vegetable."
I ignored her and went over to where Chris was sitting.
I sat down a chair away from him and said gently, "Chris?"
Chris didn't answer, he just stared grudgingly at the wall ahead of him.
Mouse was right, it was almost like he was catatonic. 
Catatonic. The word reminded me of when Chris was in the hospital after he saved me from being hit by a bus.
I tried hard to shake the thought and I said, "Do you want to come watch the movie, Chris?"
My little brother remained silent.
"Chris," I said, "I know this feeling. You act like you want to be left alone, when, really, you want someone to come and talk to you. But it has to be the right person."
"Don't ever say that you've been through this, Angela." Chris said, "You haven't, never. And you're the last person I want to talk to about this."
"Well, too late. We're already talking." I said, raising my voice.
"You don't have a fractured arm from a fight you lost!" Chris yelled at me.
"You don't have a fractured heart from the brother who's pushing you away." I said, suddenly feeling sad and vulnerable.
Chris stared at me for a minute, but scowled, "My father, my sister, my childhood friend, and my best friend in the whole world, my soul sister. They all broke my heart! It's not always about you, Angela!"
"How am I making this about me?" I shouted.
"You're saying that I'm not the only one who has it bad." Chris said, "You're telling me I should just suck it up and watch a movie with you like nothing's wrong. Like I didn't lose my best friend and my dad."
"He was my dad too!" I said sharply.
Chris stared at me with hurt eyes.
"There you go again," Chris' voice trembled when he talked, "It's all about poor little Angela Harper, isn't it? Look at you, you're already talking about Dad like he's dead!"
"Kids," Mom said, standing up.
"Don't mock me, Chris!" I said.
"I can mock you all I want, that's all you do to me!" Chris cried, pushing me.
"Now you're just putting words in my mouth!" I pushed him back.
You're a lier! You're a hypocrite! Don't you dare say that. How could you? I was just trying to help you! You're such a drama queen! You're so uncooperative! It's not my fault!
Mom was trying to break as apart now.
Chris and I were shoving and pushing and yelling and screaming at each other. It was a full blown argument.
We were both crying now.
Mom had pulled Chris away from me by the waist and Jessica had pulled me away. They were holding us away from each other and we were still crying and screaming at each other.
"You two are acting like children!" My mom snapped at us, "I know life is hard for you right now, but that's no excuse to act like this. We are Louis and Jessica's guests!"
Mom turned to Jessica, "I'm so, so, sorry, Jessica. We won't bother you anymore. We can be out of here by tomorrow morning."
Jessica let go of me and walked across the room to Mom.
She put her hands on Mom's shoulders and said, "Patricia, I would never do that to you and your family. You all need us now."
Mom had let go of Chris now and she hugged Jessica.
"Thank you," She said, "Thank you."
Chris and I had started fighting again.
We had been fighting all this time, but none of it really got to me until Chris slapped me right across the face.
I lifted my head to stare it him. My hair was in my face, my eyes a cold, ghostly green.
"I HATE YOU!" I cried, sobbing and stomping into the hallway.
From the living room, Leo swallowed and said shakily, "This is just like when my dad left all over again."
I peeked out from the hallway to see what he was doing.
Everyone had stopped what they were doing to watch Leo.
To my surprise, he was crying.
He sniffed and looked down, letting his hair hang in his face.
"Do you think our dads even know what they did to us?" Leo asked.
I couldn't tell who he was addressing this question to, but Chris wordlessly took a step toward him.
"Do you think they know how much pain they caused us by leaving?" Leo said, choking back a sob.
Chris walked forward and kneeled down in front of Leo.
Leo looked up, his face streaked with tears, and chuckled.
"You know just how I felt, don't you, Chris?" He said.
Chris nodded. He had his back turned to me, so I couldn't see his face, but he was probably crying too.
Mouse exchanged a look with her mom and Mom turned toward the hallway.
I ducked in before she could see that I hadn't gone back to the room I was staying in.
Chris had sat down in front of Leo now and he was listening intently to what Leo was saying.
Mouse quietly got up and stood by her mother, who said quietly, "Let's go upstairs, Mousey."
I ran up to my temporary room and I heard Mom, Mouse, and Jessica coming up the stairs behind me.
I closed my door and lied down on the bed, pulling the covers up to my ears.
I thought about the things Chris and I had said to each other, when he slapped me.
Then, I lied there and cried.
Just minutes later, I heard my door creak open.
I sat up to see Mouse peeking into the room.
"Hey, Mousey." I said, sniffling.
Mouse came and sat at the foot of my bed, "Hey. You seem to be taking this pretty hard."
"It's not even me," I said, "It's Chris. I'm so scared for him. I'm always so scared that if his heart gets any harder it'll crack and he'll turn into a completely different person. A depressed, angry, dark person. I can't let my brother turn into that person."
I had started crying again.
Mouse has never been the friend to have heart-to-heart conversations with, but she had her moments.
Mouse put her hand on my shoulder and I cried more.
"You know, that brother of yours is very smart and you're very determined." Mouse said, "I think you can keep him under control."
I looked and Mouse and said, "Did you really just say that?"
We both laughed and I hugged Mouse. She let me and she said, "Good luck."
I nodded, "Thanks, but I think Chris needs that more than I do."
Mouse shrugged, "He has Leo for that."
I nodded again and said, "Well, we should probably get to sleep, Mousey."
"Yeah," Mouse said, going to the door, "'Night, Ange."

"Goodnight, Mouse."

Cool With A "K" PART 21 - CHAPTER 11

I never thought I would ever get to see Chris approach his timid little best friend with such a look of fear on his face. I'm sure no one ever did.

But there he was, dragging his feet across the ground, walking toward Alice,
She was sitting on a bench, looking down at a book. I couldn't tell if she was actually reading it or pretending to.
I honestly think Chris and Alice would be adorable together if Chris wasn't gay (Much better than him and that bast- Er, person that I strongly dislike who's name is Geoffry).
I really think that if Chris wasn't gay, he would be head-over-heels for Alice. Her strawberry blonde hair fell over her face and her yellow sun dress waved slightly in the wind.
"A-Alice," Chris said, his face turning red. 
Wow, he looked just like Harold whenever he tried to talk to me. Weird.
Alice glanced at Chris for a second, as if she didn't notice him before, but looked away when he 'saw it was him'.
"Oh," Alice said quietly, looking down at her book, "It's you, Chris."
"Yeah..." Chris said uneasily, sitting down next to Alice, "I wanted to talk about the other day."
Alice gave him a look and Chris said, "... Okay, the past week."
Alice scowled as Chris tried to explain himself.
"You see," Chris explained awkwardly, "I hadn't seen Marble in ten years, so it was kind of a big deal. But, also, you and Kathy perceived the situation differently then I did. I never dated Kathy and, personally, I think that idea is ironic and creepy."
Alice didn't say a word, but she continued glaring.
Chris sighed and said, "Alice, I'm sorry I didn't pay more attention to your feelings. But I didn't know you thought that-"
"Here you go again, trying to blame the problem on someone else." Alice said coldly.
"What?" Chris said, standing up, "No, no, no, no, no. That's not what I'm doing-"
"Come on, Chris." Alice said, crossing her arms, "Don't lie to me."
Chris shook his head, "Who are you? Real Alice would have forgiven me."
"So, I'm not real, then?" Alice said with a killer edge of sarcasm, "Then what am I, Chris? Huh?"
"An alien," Chris said, "A monster... A robot."
Alice stared at Chris for a long time. She looked so mad that I backed up a few steps.
Alice stood up and slapped Chris across the face. Hard.
I put my hand over my mouth in surprise.
Alice stared at Chris for a while, almost as if she was just getting used to the whole 'b**ch-slap -my-best-friend-at-school' thing. Oh, wait...
Alice sniffed and blinked back tears. She turned away and ran off; Chris didn't move.
Johnny Thomas, Daniel, and Joe, the terrorists of the lesser beings here at Withrow (A.K.A., three members of the school football team) came up behind Chris and Daniel, the leader of the evil trio, laughed hollowly, "Aw, did you piss off your hag, Chrissy? Better run after her, otherwise people might think you're gay."
Chris turned and grabbed Daniel's collar and shoved him against a tree (It only worked because Chris caught Daniel be surprise).
Daniel is a head taller than Chris and very muscular, so seeing Chris push him with such force was kind of awkward.
Joe and Johnny laughed stupidly and Daniel said, "Oh, is Christina trying to be tough now? I'm so afraid!"
He made fake crying sounds and Chris jerked Daniel's collar.
"You better shut that big fat pie hole of yours." Chris said with an insane amount of edge to it, "You leave Alice alone or I'll fight you."
Daniel stared at Chris, the confidence melting off his face. He looked scared as Chris glared daggers at him, dead serious.
Then, Daniel and the others hooted with laughter.
"Wait, wait, hold up, man." Johnny howled, "Is this little wimp saying that he's gonna beat you up?"
"What a loser!" Joe laughed, playfully punching Johnny hard on the shoulder.
Chris scowled at them with pure anger. He looked so serious...
I knew he couldn't win in a fight against Daniel. Would he try?
"Chris," I said without thinking.
I walked over to him and touched his arm.
Chris hit my arm away coldly.
"Ow!" I said, "What the hell?"
"Stay away, Angela." Chris said through clenched teeth.
The football goons 'oohed' and Joe mocked, "Yeah, you better stay away, Angela. You might get hurt when little Chrissy kicks Daniel's ass!"
They all started laughing again and Chris charged Daniel.
Chris punched Daniel right in the jaw!
Daniel bent down and touched his mouth to see if Chris had bloodied him.
To tell you the truth, the fact that Chris had punched the captain of the football team in the face wasn't nearly as weird as the fact that Chris hadn't broken down crying in fear yet.
Chris didn't cry. Instead, he loomed over Daniel in fury and whispered, "That's what you get for doubting me."
Actually, Chris... I thought, Most people doubt you and you don't usually go around hitting people.
"That was for Alice," Chris said, "And this is for Kathy-"
Chris drew back his fist, but Daniel casually grabbed his hand and twisted his arm behind his back.
"Chris!" I yelled. I didn't want to rat Daniel out to authorities because that would get Chris in trouble. I don't really think the school cares much about fights any more, though.
One time when Chris and I were freshmen, two guys got in a fight right in front of our ditzy million-year-old school secretary, Ms. Apples (I don't even know...) and she didn't even notice!
Anyway, back to reality...
"Ow, ow, ow, ow..." Chris said, sucking in a breath as Daniel twisted his arm harder.
"Chris, this is why you don't do stupid things." I said, "People do mean things to you. That was really stupid."
"Excuse me, Angie, but would you please stay the hell out of this?" Chris snapped, ignoring Johnny and Joe's snickering.
Surprised, I said, "Watch the language, Buddy Boy."
"No, I won't!" Chris yelled, "I won't because I'm mad and if I don't yell, no one will listen to me, and because this FREAKING HURTS!"
I eyed his arm and said, "Uh... Okay, Chris. G-good luck with that."
"You don't talk to me that way," Daniel hissed into Chris' ear, "You don't try to fight me unless I say we fight. Clear?"
"No." Chris said.
Daniel twisted his arm more and Chris cried out.
"Chris, shut up!" I said, "You're gonna get your arm broken again!"
"How many times has that happened before?" Joe asked coolly.
I scowled at him and Chris whimpered.
Tears were running down his cheeks now, but he didn't back down.
"Come on, Chris." I said. 
He's gonna hate me for sticking up for him. I thought, .... Woah, did I seriously just think that?
"Why are you being so stubborn?" I asked Chris.
"Be quiet, Angie." Chris said through clenched teeth, "It's time... That I start fighting for myself."
I whispered to him, "You should probably learn how to fight first."
Chris nodded reluctantly and I backed off.
"Good," I whispered.
Then, Chris elbowed Daniel in the stomach with his free arm and stomped on his foot.
Instead of letting go of Chris' arm, Daniel twisted it hard and Chris screamed.
"Chris!" I yelled as Chris crumpled to the ground.
I put his head in my lap and he cried out again.
"Chris, what's wrong?" I asked, worried.
"I think he broke it." Chris cried, choking with stress.
I gently took Chris' arm and felt it.
Chris whimpered and I said soothingly, "Shh, let me take you to the nurse."
I put my arm around my brother's waist and helped him stand up.
As we passed the football goons, I glared at Daniel and said quietly (but loud enough that he could hear me), "Jackass."
Daniel glared back grimly. Had he meant to break Chris' arm... Well, if it even was broken.
Chris cradled his right arm with his left as we walked through the first floor hall of our school.
"Why would you do that, Chris?" I said, "You knew that you couldn't win a fight against Daniel. He's the captain of the football team. You're like four feet shorter than him!"
"Seven and a half inches, damn it!" Chris cried, exasperated.
"Whatever..." I mumbled, "Hey, you've been swearing a lot more lately."
"Yeah, what's it to you?" Chris mumbled.
I eyed my brother, "Are you sick or something?"
"No," Chris said, glancing at his arm, "I've just been really on edge lately. My best friend hates me, Kathy hates me, I don't have a dad, I have a broken arm. The list is just going to keep getting bigger until I can't take it anymore and kill myself."
"Hey!" I said, grabbing Chris' shoulders, "That kind of talk is not allowed!"
"You're not my mom!" Chris yelled.
"I am when she's not here!" I shot back.
There was a silence and Chris' face softened a little, but it was a sad softening.
"Angie..." He said, "What if Mom is the next to go?"
I said, "Chris, Mom is not going to leave us and you know it. I know Mom, you know Mom. She wouldn't do that."
Chris sniffed and I hugged him.
"Ow." Chris said.
"Sorry," I said, backing off, "Let's get you to the nurse."
Chris nodded and we continued down the hall.