Friday, March 25, 2011

Cool With A "K" PART 29 - CHAPTER 16

Chris walked to the bus with his shoulders slumped and his head hung.
Of course Julien picked Tae-Hyun. She's a girl and he's a boy, that's how it goes most of the time. Chris thought glumly, I can't expect that whoever I like will like me back...
Chris sighed wistfully and he heard someone call to him, "Hey, Chris! Wait up!"
Chris' breath shorted out as Julien came up behind him and put his hand on Chris' shoulder.
"Oh... H-hi, Julien. What's up?" Chris said, nervously brushing his hair out of his face.
"I just wanted to ask you something." Julien said, smiling warmly.
Chris' heart felt like it was melting. He stared dreamily at Julien and said, "Uh-huh?"
Julien chuckled shyly and said, "I just wanted to know... How would you like to have dinner together sometime?"
Chris' eyes grew wide and he stopped breathing for a moment.
"If I'd like to... What?" He asked quietly.
Julien chuckled again and said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you... I'm sorry, I heard from someone that you were gay too, and I think you're really sweet..."
"W-wait, y-you heard that- gay too?? You're gay?" Chris cried.
Julien held out his hands and made a 'down' motion, "A little quieter, please."
"Oh, I'm sorry." Chris said, trying to contain himself, "So... You... Really want to go out with me?"
Julien smiled and said charmingly, "I would love to go out with you."
Chris laughed nervously and said, "Uh... Okay! T-that would be great!"
"Awesome." Julien said with another grin, "Where would you like to go?"
"We can go to my house." Chris said, blushing, "... I-if that's okay with you."
Julien nodded, "That would be lovely. I would have been a gentleman and invited you to my place, but 'my place' is currently Leo's house and I'm sure Jessica wouldn't be happy if..."
Julien's voice trailed off.
"Yeah..." Chris said, but he didn't really know what Julien was going to say.
"Cool." Julien said, "So... See you Sunday? Your place?"
Chris nodded and said, dazed, "How's noon?"
Julien made a face and said politely, "Hm... I was thinking of it as more of a nighttime thing."
Chris nodded again, "Oh, totally. What about 7:00?"
"Perfect." Julien said. He passed Chris one last breathtaking smile before he turned and left.
Chris squealed with excitement and ran all the way to his bus. He sat down next to Alice and she studied him.
"Why are you so chipper?" Alice laughed.
Chris looked at her, beaming and said in a low but excited voice, "Julien just asked me out on a date!"
Alice's eyes widened and her face fell. So did Chris', and he said softly, "What's wrong? Aren't you happy for me? Do you like him too? I'm sorry, Alice."
"No, no, I don't like him like that. Congratulations." Alice said, smiling weakly.
Chris raised an eyebrow at her and she said, "Really, Chris. Everything is fine."
Chris nodded slowly and turned his attention to his daydreams.
Alice sighed and said under her breath, "This could be bad. I need to tell Leo about this."

Leo lied on his bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking. Then, his cellphone rang and he answered it, "Hello?"
"Leo? It's Alice." Alice's voice came from the other end of the phone.
"Yeah, hey." Leo said, "What's up?"
"I think we have a problem." She said.
Leo knit his eyebrows and said, "What? What kind of problem?"
Alice hesitated for a moment before answering, "Julien asked Chris out on a date today. He told me on the bus."
Leo smacked his hand that wasn't holding his phone to his forehead and said, "What?! When is it?"
"Saturday at Chris and Angie's house." Alice said.
"No, no, no, no, this is so bad." Leo said, "He can't go out with-"
Leo stuck his head out in the hall and looked around for his mother or Julien or Mouse.
"He can't go out with Chris." Leo said in a low voice.
"Well... Why not?" Alice said, sitting on her bed, "Would it really be that bad? I mean, if Julien really is gay, then shouldn't we be happy for Chris?"
"Well, no. I mean, I don't know!" Leo said, rubbing his brow with one hand, "I just feel like this could end really badly."
Then, Leo gasped and said, "Alice..."
"What? What is it?" Alice asked.
Leo sighed, "Tae-Hyun... What are we gonna do about her? She still thinks Julien's in love with her."
"Oh..." Alice said slowly, "I guess that could be a problem."
Leo groaned and sat down by his desk, "Crap. Why did I have to get myself into this? Stupid exchange student program."
"Leo," Alice said gently, "You didn't know this would happen. Are you at all happy that you've gotten to know Julien?"
"No." Leo said flatly.
"Come on, Leo. He's still nice whether you're jealous of him or not." Alice said.
Leo clenched his teeth and said, "I am not jealous of him."
Alice smirked a little and said, "Okay, then. What upsets you about him?"
"He kissed me, Alice!" Leo hissed in a whisper, "He's a guy who is staying at my house and he kissed me, on the lips. That's a really big deal if you're a guy."
Alice nodded and said, "Okay, okay, sorry. But, you're also jealous that Tae-Hyun likes him so much. You can't deny that."
Leo scowled and gritted his teeth, "No..."
"Whatever." Alice said, "I'm just... Are you sure we absolutely must do something about this?"
Leo pursed his lips and said, "Fine. Whatever, you can just ignore the fact that this guy is gonna take over the world as we know it! He's gonna wreck everything!"
"Uh-huh..." Alice sighed, "Okay, I'll talk to you later, Leo. Try to get some sleep."
"But, Alice-" Leo said, "Wait wait wait wait wait wait!"
"What, Leo, what?" Alice cried.
"Can you talk to Chris about Julien?" Leo said, rubbing his brow, "The last person I want to talk to right now is him... And Julien."
Alice sighed, "Okay, fine, I'll talk to him. Bye, now."
Leo grumbled, "Bye, Alice."
He put his phone in his pocket and groaned, "Craaaap, what do I do?"

Alice set down her phone and got up from her bed. She opened the door to find her mother standing in the doorway, arms crossed.
Alice sighed and asked quietly, "Why were you standing by my door, mother?"
Alice's mother pursed her lips and, tapping her fingers, said, "Don't be a sas with me."
She stepped toward Alice menacingly and hissed, "Who were you talking to?"
"My friend Leo." Alice said, leaning away slightly, "You know him."
"Yes..." Alice's mother said, squinting suspiciously at her daughter, "Who's Julien?"
"He's just this transfer student who's staying with Leo for a few weeks." Alice said, raising an eyebrow at her mother, "Through school."
Her mother sat down on Alice's bed and said, "So... Chris is interested in him?... Sexually?"
"Mother..." Alice said quietly, "Why were you listening?"
"Why are you so defensive?" Her mother snapped.
"I'm... Not." Alice answered, "My conversation with my friend is none of your business."
Alice's mother gasped in shock and said, "Alice! How dare you refer to yourself more than once in your sentence! That is so rude!"
Alice's jaw tightened and she studied her mother. Then, Alice did what she knew would upset her mother.
She hugged her mother around the waist and pressed her head onto her chest.
Alice's mother gasped and said, "Alice, stop this at once!"
Alice gave her another squeeze and ran away down the hall.
Alice's mother scowled and brushed off her dress, sighing angrily.

"Some children just never grow up."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cool With A "K" PART 29 - CHAPTER 15

Walking through the hallway at school the next morning was all a blur to Leo. It was like his brain was moving so fast that it eventually stopped all together.
Leo wandered into English with a dazed look on his face. He sat down by me and Chris the "burnout".
I studied Leo and said, "Hey, are you okay, Leo?"
Leo looked at me and said, "Huh?"
"I said are you okay." I repeated, "You don't look too good."
"Oh..." Leo said, "No, I'm fine."
Julien came into the room and sat with us, "Hi, guys."
Leo stared at Julien, eyes wide, for a long time.
"Hiiii, Julien." Chris and I said together, smiling at him flirtily.
Leo put his head down on the desk and stayed like that for almost the entire rest of the class.

Mouse opened her locker and a piece of paper fell out. She picked it up and unfolded it, reading it:

Meet me outside on the playground today after school.

On her way to her next class, Mouse stuck a sticky note on Geoffry's face as she passed him.
Geoffry excitedly unfolded the paper and looked at it:


Geoffry sighed to himself, "Someday we will be together, my love."
He put the sticky note in his pocket and walked to class.

Chris and I were the first to sit down at lunch. I sat down across from him and we talked about Julien.
"So, how long are you going to keep up this bad boy thing?" I asked, gesturing to his clothes.
Chris sighed doubtfully and said, "I don't know. Dressing like this and acting like I'm more important than everyone boosted my self-esteem for a while, but now I don't know. I think he likes Tae-Hyun the most. More than me or anyone else..."
I shrugged and said, disappointed, "Well... Good for her, I guess."
"Yeah." Chris said, sighing, "The least we can do is be happy for her."
Alice came over to us and Alice said, "Hey, you guys. Wha'cha talking about?"
In unison, Chris and I sighed wistfully.
"Oh, nothing." I said, "Just our failed attempts to be attractive."
"W-well, I think you're plenty attractive." Leo said as he came to the table.
I raised an eyebrow at him and said teasingly, "I thought you said you were over me."
Leo sat down and said, "Uh, yeah, I did. D-does that mean I can't compliment my female friend on her looks?"
Alice and I looked at each other and I said, "I... Guess."
"Leo, are you feeling alright?" Alice said, "You look a little pale."
Leo grabbed her hand and put it on his forehead, "Oh, thank you, Alice. You're so sweet. Hahaha..."
Alice's eyes widened and she said, "Leo... Leo. Leo. Leo. Leo."
Chris rolled his eyes and pulled Alice's hand away from Leo's. Alice quickly took her (cellophane-wrapped) hand sanitizer out of her blue box and rubbed some onto her hands.
"Eight seconds." Chris said, "Good job, Honey."
Leo's gaze shot to Chris and he said nervously, "What did you say?"
"'Doesn't matter. I was talking to Allie." Chris said.
"Ohh, okay. Good." Leo said, sighing with relief.
"Hi, Leo." Julien said, coming up behind Leo. Leo turned around and yelped.
"O-oh, Julien, it's you." He said, laughing nervously.
Alice stood up and said, "Um, Leo, Hon. Do you think you should lie down or something?"
Leo looked at her and said quickly, "Yes! And you come with me!"
Alice looked at Chris and I, and we shrugged. Hesitantly, she left the lunchroom with Leo.
Chris and I exchanged a look and Tae-Hyun came to sit down.
"Hi, you guys." She said, looking at Julien, "Hi, Julien."
Chris whispered to me, "So, he gets a name, then?"
I snickered and Tae-Hyun asked, "Hey, where is Alice?"
"She just took Leo to the nurse's office." I said. I noticed Julien's expression darken slightly. Weird.
Tae-Hyun's smile faded and she didn't say anything, but the look she was giving me was definitely worry.
"What happened?" She asked quietly.
Chris shook his head and said, "Don't worry, it's nothing big. He was just acting a little weird and Allie suggested he lay down, so she took him to the nurse."
Tae-Hyun nodded and, sitting down next to Julien, snorted, "Psh, I'm not worried about Leo."
I grinned a little bit when she said that. Secretly, I really hoped Tae-Hyun and Leo would get back together. Despite the fact that Chris and I had both had a crush on her when we thought she was a boy, she and Leo were really adorable together.
And no, I am not saying that because I want Julien to be free or anything. I'm supporting my friends.

As Alice and Leo walked to the nurse's office, Alice said, "Okay, if you have a thing for me after nine and a half years, please speak up now, because I'm already a little disturbed."
"No, no, no, Alice, that's not it at all." Leo said, putting his head in his hands and pacing around in the hallway, "But you are attractive. Remember that. I am attracted to you and Angela without being in love with you."
Alice studied him suspiciously and said, "So... Why are you acting so weird?"
Leo stopped pacing, his back toward Alice and his head in his hand.
"Alice," He said, "Can I tell you something?"
Alice nodded, "Of course."
"Something that you absolutely 100% can't tell anyone ever?" Leo asked.
"Not even Chris?" Alice said.
Leo turned to face her and said, "Especially not Chris. And Tae-Hyun... And Angela... They would all kill me."
"God, what did you do?" Alice said.
Leo's jaw clenched and he closed his eyes, "So, you won't tell anyone?"
Alice nodded again, "I promise."
Leo sighed deeply and turned away again.
"It's... About Julien." Leo said quietly, "He, uh... He kissed me."
Alice's eyes widened in surprise and she said, "What?!"
"We were arguing and I was saying that he wanted to get rid of me like I wanted to get rid of him." Leo explained, turning to face Alice, but not looking at her, "Then, he asked why I would want to get rid of him and I told him to stop playing stupid and then he kissed me and said, 'Oh, don't worry, I'm not after your girl.'"
Alice stared at Leo for a long, long time before concluding, "You're lying."
"What?! Alice, why would I lie to you about this?" Leo said, "That's disgusting."
"Exactly." Alice said, nodding, "You want it to look like Julien attacked you while you were innocently minding your own business."
Leo shook his head and said, "Alice, please, you gotta believe me. We've been friends for years and I needed to tell someone. This has been eating away at me ever since last night."
Alice gave him a confused look and Leo continued, "Come on, I really need someone to talk to about this."
Alice's expression shifted to pity and Leo sighed, "I just... I can't forget that look he gave me. I mean, he's still a guy... It's almost like he was asking for my help or something..."
"Well..." Alice finally spoke, "Maybe it was his... Weird... roundabout way of waving a white flag."
Leo shook his head and said, "Alice, what do flags have to do with anything?"
Alice pursed her lips and said, "What I mean is maybe he was trying to tell you that he means no harm. I mean, it's not like he signed up to visit here and live with you so he could meet girls."
Leo studied her suspiciously and asked, "Was that a gay joke?"
Alice gave him a weird look and shook her head, "Uh, no. What I'm saying is maybe... It wasn't meant as a romantic kiss to him. Maybe the gesture would mean less in France than it does here."
"No, Alice, it wasn't like that." Leo said, "I know, I sound weird, but it... I can't explain it to you. Just the way he looked at me, he almost looked... Sad."
Alice nodded understandingly and Leo scoffed, "You know, whatever. I sound like an idiot. I'm sorry, I guess I'm just freaking out a little."
"No, I get it." Alice said, standing next to Leo comfortingly, "You sound fine. No person in the right mind should expect a straight reaction from you after something surprising like that... Pun not intended."
Leo grinned at Alice and said, "Come 'ere."
Alice hugged Leo, laughing. Then she asked, "Did you shower this morning?"
Leo laughed, "Of course I did."
But when he and Alice walked down the hall, back to the lunchroom, Leo sniffed his armpit and grimaced.

Leo and Alice came back to lunch and sat down.
Chris asked Alice, "So, what's going on?"
Alice and Leo exchanged a look and Alice smiled, turning back to Chris.
"Nothing big." She said, "No worries."
Chris and I nodded and Chris said, "Okay."
Leo let out a sigh of relief and Alice passed him a knowing smile.

His secret was safe with her.

Cool With A "K" PART 29 - CHAPTER 14

Leo flung open the front door of his house and let the door bang against the wall. He angrily turned and slammed it shut.
Jessica came into the room and scolded her son, "Leo! How many times have I told you not to slam that door?"
Leo turned to her and shouted, "Julien is ruining my life! We have to get rid of him!"
"You are talking nonsense. Julien is a very sweet boy." Jessica said, putting her hands on her hips.
"No, he's not!" Leo said, "He's a selfish jerk and he-"
Just then, Julien came into the room. He looked between Leo and Jessica and asked innocently, "Is something wrong?"
Jessica smiled uncomfortably and said, "No, no, not at all, Julien. Leo, please go to your room."
Leo scowled at Julien and walked past him to go upstairs.
Jessica sat down on the couch and folded her hands in her lap. She asked, "So, Julien, has anything happened at school lately?"
"Oh, yes, tons of things." Julien said, sitting in a chair across from Jessica, "Not really good or bad. Mostly good, I guess, but Leo's just been a little jealous, that's all. Nothing big."
Jessica nodded and asked quietly, "Um.... Jealous?"
"Yes, about this girl named Tae-Hyun." Julien said, "She's very cool and she and I have been hanging out a lot. I think she and Leo may have some sort of history together."
Jessica's face turned red and she said, "H-history?? History with what?"
Julien shrugged and said, "Dating, I think, but I'm not really sure."
Jessica's jaw tightened and she smiled tightly, "Please excuse me for a moment, Julien."
"Certainly." Julien said.
Jessica stood and walked out of the room, trying to hide her fury. She stormed upstairs and Julien turned to watch the stairway.
"LEO BRUNO-COSTO GUILLERMO WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING FROM ME???" Jessica's screech of rage shook the house.
"Mom, I didn't-" Leo's desperate cry came from the upstairs.
Jessica screamed angrily at him in Italian and he replied meekly.
Listening with the smallest feeling of triumph, Julien smiled. He looked at his nails for a moment, then he pointed toward the stairs.
"Now." He said.
Right on cue, Leo came tumbling down the stairs and landed at the bottom in a heap.
Julien casually looked around the corner and asked, "Are you okay, Leo?"
Leo stood up dizzily, his hair sticking up this way and that. He looked at Julien and pointed a finger at him.
"You." Leo said, "You did this. What did you tell her?!"
Julien stood up and brushed off his sleeves, "I didn't tell her anything. She asked how school had been going and I told her that you have been acting a bit jealous. It's only the truth."
"My mother is a hardcore female rights activist." Leo said, "And she's Italian!"
"What does her ethnicity have to do with it?" Julien said.
"Oh, trust me, it makes a difference." Leo said, "My dad left my mom when I was a kid and now she won't trust me with girls; at all! And you knew that. You were trying to make her mad at me."
Julien crossed his arms and watched Leo with interest.
Leo got up in his face, their noses an inch apart, and hissed, "You want to get rid of me just like I want to get rid of you."
Julien stared at Leo for a moment before saying, "You want to get rid of me? Is Tae-Hyun really so important to you that you would kick someone out of your life like that, just so you could have her?"
"Oh, stop, Julien. All you've been doing since you got here is flirt with Tae-Hyun." Leo said.
Julien put his hand on Leo's head and Leo said suspiciously, "What are you doing?"
Julien pressed his lips to Leo's and Leo's eyes widened in shock. Julien held Leo's head to his for a moment longer before leaning away and looking Leo in the eyes.
At loss for words, Leo stared at him in disbelief and his face flushed.
Julien paused and, gently patting Leo's shoulder with one hand, he turned to leave.
Leo still standing frozen in his place, Julien said quietly over his shoulder, 

"You should stop worrying, I'm not after your girl."