(Will’s POV)

 

I kept my stare on Jason Harrington as we stood there for what seemed like five minutes. However, it was only a few seconds. He was a member of the football team with Scott and Tyler. For this reason, I had to remind myself to be extra cautious. If he acted in any way like Scott had done today, I would be ready to defend myself better this time.

 

“What do you want?” I asked him again with a touch of annoyance in my voice.

 

He kicked at a small pebble on the ground as he made his way towards me. I quickly balled up my fists as he kept coming towards me. At that moment, I had no idea of what to expect from him.  The run in I had with Scott this morning made me wary of all football players at Ridgemont High. It seemed to me at the time he wanted a piece of me as well. After all, he was involved in the incident four years ago.

 

I expected to feel the pain of not only being punched several times, but also being shoved and called a queer or faggot. Instead, he threw me for a loop when he stopped a few feet in front of me and extended his hand

 

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. If anyone could see the look on Jason’s face, then they would see that he didn’t believe it either. There must have been a few seconds of awkwardness as Jason began to speak.

 

“Well?”

 

“Well what Jason?” I asked as I was slowly losing my patience with him.

 

“Are you going to shake my hand or not?” he asked through gritted teeth.

 

“Why should I?” I asked as I was beginning to enjoy watching him squirm where he stood.

 

“Okay Will… Look…I am here to apologize to you. I know how much Tyler wanted to make things right with you …..I want that as well. I know what Scott tried to do this morning and how Tyler defended you.

 

“I don’t need any defending…” I replied as I stared at him.

 

“Tyler’s actions have now made him a walking target. I think that it would be easier to keep an eye on the both of you if you and I aren’t hostile to each other.”

 

I looked directly into his eyes and felt his apology was as fake as his sorry attempt at a hand shake.

 

“So let me get this right. The only reason why your even attempting to apologize to me is to smooth things over with you and Tyler, is that it?” I asked him.

 

“Damn it Will…I’m really sorry about what I did to you before okay. It is really hard for me to say these things. I don’t do well with apologies. I just… maybe..oh Fuck it.. I just thought we could work this out and be okay with each other. Tyler’s trying and I want to as well. Besides, you’re going to need a few people to help keep Scott away from you. You know he isn’t going to let this go and he isn’t finished with it.,” Jason explained with a touch of urgency in his voice as he ran his hand through his hair.

 

I didn’t say a word as I stared down at the ground. Today was filled with craziness and surprises. I still can’t make heads nor tails of this. Tyler apologizing was one thing, but I would have never guessed in a million years that Jason would have done the same thing.

 

“What do you say.. Friends?” Jason asked me, extending his arm out again for a handshake.

 

I continued to look at him trying to figure out if was being genuine or was there something else up his sleeve. To be honest, I couldn’t tell and this was scaring the hell out of me. I couldn’t allow myself to be hurt down the road. However, there was a small part of me who was always optimistic. You know that part inside of you that always wants everything to go better. The little voice of optimism kept telling me that if I could do it with Tyler than Jason would be the nest step right?

 

“Look Jason, I think I can forgive you, but I can’t change the way I feel overnight.. I need some time,” I replied

 

Jason smiled when I finished. This is definitely not going to be the easiest thing I have ever done. Jason is not only handsome but he also matured over the years. It was apparent he took care of himself.  He ranked just below Tyler on the Hotness scale. Did I just call him hot?

 

“Are you going to shake my hand or not?” Jason asked again, still with a grin on his face.

 

I rolled my eyes as I extended my arm and shook his hand.

 

“Thanks Will… you won’t regret it!” Jason said as he enthusiastically shook my hand. It was a little too much if you ask me. It felt like my right arm was going to fall off.

 

“Ouch.. Hell Jason… What are you trying to do?” I replied as the pain seemed to increase as he continued to squeeze my hand.

 

“Sorry Will. Didn’t mean to get carried away,” Jason said as he let go of my hand, which I had to rub to ease off some of the pain away.

 

“It’s… fine Jason,” I replied.

 

“Okay, look man, if Scott and any of his cronies fucking try to do anything to you, just let me know okay? Tyler and I will deal with his ass, okay?” he asked as his eyes narrowed at the mention of Scott’s name.

 

His sudden show of concern for me caught me by surprise. I still hadn’t recovered when I gave him my answer. I think it came out sounding as if I didnt care.

 

“Oh… okay,” I replied as I was still trying to make sense of it all as Jason stood smiling at me

 

After that, there were a few moments of awkward silence. After all, Jason and I never really had a friendly conversation in our entire lives. Today seemed to be the start.

 

“Listen,” I started, “I need to get home now.”

 

“Oh.. Don’t worry about it. I guess I’ll see you around?” he asked as he winked at me.

 

What the fuck just happened? Did Jason just wink at me?! I nodded at him in response. Did I mention how awkward this situation was  for me? Today seem to have just gotten stranger with each passing minute.
“Will… thanks again for forgiving me… bye,” Jason replied with that gorgeous smile of his before heading down the street as I waved back at him

 

Walking gave me the time I needed to think about what happened today. It seems unreal to me to have both Tyler and Jason apologize to me. The one thing that surprises me the most is Jason wanting to tell me he was sorry. Ever since he moved here when we were kids, we never had the chance to have a friendly conversation with him. Now after all these years, I find it strange that all of a sudden he wants to be friends with me.

 

Maybe its guilt that is forcing them to apologize, but right now, I am ready to let the past remain in the past and make new friends. I want to move forward and I can’t until I deal with this once and for all. So I figure this is the first step in starting over and having a happy and productive life. However, I still need time to work out the built up tension and resentment I have towards Tyler and the rest of them. In time I know I will be able to forgive them and hopefully we can become friends.

 

I hadn’t realized how long I had been walking and thinking about this. Before I knew it, I spotted a bright red truck sitting in the driveway across the street. It belonged to Tyler, which meant I had made it home. I looked at his house and realized that nothing had changed in the past four years.

 

The Victorian house looked clean and spotless as always. There wasn’t a single piece of chipped paint or a broken board to be seen. Their Lawn was covered with an array of beautiful flowers. Our lawn could have taken lessons from theirs.  I looked and realized how horrible ours really was and made a mental note to do something about it as soon as I had some free time.

 

“Mom…Dad… I’m home!” I shouted as I walked inside and threw my book bag at the foot of the stairs as silence greeted me. I found this strange since Blake and Marco would be normally practicing their instruments about this time.

 

“Hello? Is anyone here?” I asked again as I looked in the living room and the dining room.

 

“Will! I’m in the kitchen!” I heard my mom hollered.

 

I went into the kitchen and found my mom busy unpacking the remaining five boxes of kitchen items.

 

“Where’s everybody else?” I asked her as I picked up a few of the things inside the box beside her.

 

“Your dad and the twins went grocery store to pick up some things.” My mother answered as she stacked a number of plates into one of the top cabinets

 

“Why? Didn’t we just by groceries two days ago?” I asked her.

 

“Well…” she started as she continued to put the plates away, “Yes we did, but that was before we decided to invite some quests for dinner this Friday.”

 

“Oh… who’s coming?”

 

“The Beaumonts are dear.”

 

I nearly dropped the plate I was holding at the mention of that name. Good thing I was able to catch it before it shattered on the floor.

 

“Will, honey, be careful with that!” my mom replied as she grabbed the plate from my hands.

 

“Wait… Tyler and his family are coming over here on Friday?” I asked trembling.

 

“Yes dear. Your dad and I figured it would be a good idea to catch up with each other,” my mother said, “And oh…By the way honey… how was your day?”

 

I didn’t get to answer my mom’s question that moment as I was preoccupied with something else in my mind. Oh shit. Just when I told Tyler I’m going to need time to be friends with him, my parents decided to have their family over for a sit down dinner. This is all happening way too fast! Shit. I am not ready for this.

 

I didn’t hear my mom’s question since my mind was still registering the information she had just dropped upon me. Oh Shit! This was just great. I had just told Tyler I needed time to be friends with him again and my parents decide to invite them to dinner. This was happening way to fast. Hell… I am not ready for this.

 

 

 

***

 

(Tyler’s POV)

 

 

“I arrived back home with a smile upon my face. Today, I managed to have Will forgive me for all the shit I did to him four years ago. TO be honest, it felt great. I can’t tell you how much lighter it makes me feel. It’s as if  a big  chip was knocked off my shoulders. I am thankful to God not only for Will’s kindness, but that he also has such a forgiving heart.

 

I turned off the engine of my truck and proceeded to head inside. As soon as I opened the front door, I hear a loud noise coming from within the living room. Curious, I headed toward the source of the sound. I found my mom vacuuming the carpet. I noticed her apron being incredibly dirty, probably from a whole day’s worth of cleaning the entire house.

 

I made my way to her and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, which caused her to jump a little.

 

“Oh … Tyler!  You scared me!” she replied as she playfully slapped me on the arm with her rag.

 

“Sorry mom,” I said with a mischievous smile.

 

She turned off the vacuum and proceeded to put it away in the nearby closet when she asked, “So, how was school dear? Did you see Will there?”

 

“It was alright… Yeah…  I saw him today. Why are you asking?” I asked.

 

I left out the part of Will almost getting into it with a certain meat headed football player. I wouldn’t want to explain to my mother why all this hostility was present among us. I couldn’t control my blood boiling whenever I think about Scott acting like an asshole.

 

“Tyler, are you alright?” my mother asked me.

 

I stared down at her, she was a few inches shorter than my 5’9″ frame and I noticed a look on her face that had worry and concern at the same time.

 

“Yes mom, I’m fine…. still trying to get used to waking up so early in the morning,” I said to her as I made my way outside the living room.

 

I didn’t want her asking anymore questions about Will. I was afraid she might figure out that something was wrong. I didn’t want that to happen now that Will and I were cordial with each other once again.

 

I walked up the stairs and proceeded to head to my room when I heard my mother holler from downstairs at the foot of the banister, “I’ll call you when dinner’s ready dear!”

 

I shut my door behind me as I plopped my bag on top of the beanbag beside my door. I jumped onto my bed and just stared at the ceiling and my thoughts drifted to Will. I really didn’t want to mess up this new chance he had given to me. Ever since he left four years ago, I vowed to never again treat people badly because of being different. And up to this day, I kept that promise. But now, the reason for me making that promise is back in town and I certainly will show him how much I have changed since then.

 

I managed to fall asleep while thinking about Will. I woke up a few hours later, just a few minutes until dinner time. It was then I decided to change into some more comfortable clothes. I was beginning to reek of sweat.

 

After finally making myself get up, I made my way to the drawers across the side of the room and grabbed a tank top and some shorts. I quickly changed clothes and threw my school clothes into the hamper beside my dresser.

 

I couldn’t help but stare at myself in the mirror. I noticed how much my body has changed over the past few years. The tank top I was wearing accentuated the fact that my arms were extremely cut and well-defined. My shorts were hugging tightly to these tree stump legs of mine. And my usually neat golden blonde hair was slightly messed up.

 

The sound of buzzing distracted me from admiring myself in the mirror. I wouldn’t call myself vain or anything, but I couldn’t deny the fact that I was indeed somewhat attractive.

 

I made my way to my laptop, which I always leave on to find Jason buzzing me to log onto YM. I opened up my Yahoo Messenger Account and typed in a greeting followed up with a general question, “What’s up?”

 

This wasn’t anything new to the both of us. We usually YM each other after school and today wasn’t anything different.

 

“Nothing much…” he replied quickly.

 

Jason and I practically grew up together and during those years, we learned to pick up hidden messages or signals whenever something is wrong with the other one. Right now, I picked up that something was bothering Jason

 

“Okay Jase,” I began typing, “What’s wrong with you man?”

 

It took him a few minutes for him to respond back, “I talked to Will alone today after school.”

 

Call me a worrywart, but the names Jason and Will shouldn’t fit into one sentence. My mind went instantly into overdrive filling it with possible scenarios of what could have happened between the two of them. Did Jason pick a fight? Or would Will be the one to start? Were any of them hurt? Are they okay? Fuck. A hundred possibilities of what might have transpired scared the shit out to me.

 

I needed a few moments to calm myself down and think rationally.

 

“What the fuck did you do?” I typed in, before hitting send. Fuck. If anything happened, I…”

 

“Dude, nothing happened okay?! I told you I was going to leave him alone, and I did just that. I approached him because I just wanted to apologize to him, that’s all,” Jason replied.

 

Okay. That’s a relief. No fighting occurred. That’s good… right? I mean no one technically got hurt…

 

“So what did he say?” I asked him.

 

“He said it’s going to take a little time for him to forgive me.”

 

“He said the same thing to me,” I replied.

 

“Yeah… Well glad that’s over with. Dude, you do realize that once Scott sees you’re buddies with him, it’s going to cause a rift in the team right?” Jason typed back.

 

“I know, but FUCK SCOTT!!! I don’t really give a damn what he thinks. If he tries to start anything with me, I’m going to kick his ass!!!!” I typed in, a bit too forcefully I think. It felt that my keyboard was going to come off.

 

“And I’m going to be in your corner!” Jason replied back. I couldn’t help but smile. It was good to know that my best friend was on my side.

I was about to chat some more when I suddenly heard some shouting going on downstairs. From the voices, I could tell my mom and dads were having a heated discussion.

 

“Hey Jace, I have to go. There’s some sort of commotion between my parents downstairs. Talk to you later?” I asked him.

 

I waited for his reply before deciding to figure out what exactly my mom and dad were arguing about.

 

He answered a few seconds later, “Sure thing Tye. Hope it isn’t too serious!” As soon as I received that message, I momentarily logged off and carefully opened my door to the hallway and headed towards the end of the hall.

 

That was strange, I thought. The screaming subsided almost completely. I peeked over the stair railing overlooking the foyer and quickly caught my parents heading inside the office. Great, I wouldn’t be able to eavesdrop on them anymore. The office is almost soundproof. So much for that…

 

Disappointed, I made my way back to my room only to hear footsteps going up the stairs. I turned around to see my older sister Emily, eating out of a bowl of cereal.

 

“Hey,” I faced her, “Know anything about what mom and dad were shouting about?”

 

“Well dad’s pretty upset about this whole dinner with the Lakewoods,” she said as she proceeded down to her room, which was directly beside mine.

 

“Dinner with the Lakewoods?” I asked in confusion. We’re having dinner with the Lakewoods???

 

“Yep… This Friday, we’re heading over to their house for a sit-down dinner. Apparently dad’s pretty unpleased with this whole affair, which got mom riled up. You know how dad is… Sometimes he could be such a jackass,” she said as she went inside her room.

 

I was left standing in the hallway alone thinking about what Emily just said to me. We’re having dinner with the Lakewoods at their house this Friday?  Holy Fuck, I’m going to be at their house with Will!   A wave of panic rushed through me momentarily. I can’t want mess this up. I need to make a good impression. No, scratch that… I have to make a good impression. Otherwise…… I’m royally fucked.

 

 

TBC

 

 

***

Hello everyone. I’m dreadfully sorry about the delay with the story. After my thesis submissions (which I passed btw, yay me), I kinda got stuck in the rut with how I wanted Chapter 4 would be. Anyways, I’ll try to have a new chapter out in a week or two.

 

Hit me up at flipped100@yahoo.com for your comments, suggestions, inquires about the story. How do you think the upcoming dinner would be like? LOL. Also, I’m uploading this story at flipped100.wordpress.com the same time I send a new chapter at Nifty, so maybe it’d be wise to visit that site at least once a week or so.

 

Again, great thanks to Tim and his wonderful editing powers. Lol.

 

Laters!

 

Nick

 

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