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 Chapter 20: Testing 1, 2, 3

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Kell
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PostSubject: Chapter 20: Testing 1, 2, 3   Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:20 pm

"Rory..."

I groaned.

"Rory..."

I groggily lifted my head to see who was waking me up. As my eyes focused, I saw Caleb standing next to my bed, which was a pullout couch brought into his room.

"Caleb...what time is it?" I yawned.

"It's 8am."

"Ok. Oh, c'mere, I wanted to tell you something last night," I waved him down. As he leaned down to hear me, I slapped him hard across the face, the plaster of the cast probably sending the message home even more efficiently. He yelped in pain & jumped back.

"You woke me up at 8am on a Sunday?" I said angrily.

"Well I wanted to tell you that my mom is getting ready for church," Caleb replied, rubbing his cheek which was quickly becoming red.

I jumped up.

"If you think for even a second that I'm joining you guys at church, I'll walk out right now."

"Don't worry, I was gonna ask if you wanted to help me make breakfast!" Caleb beamed, completely forgetting about his cheek.

"What?"

"I usually make breakfast for my mom so when she gets back from church on Sundays, we can eat together."

"I'm not interested."

"C'mon, it'll be fun."

"How is making food fun?"

"Well I always put on music. Plus, there's two of us," he said. I saw his eyes glance down & land on my bare chest now that I was sitting upright. I grinned at him.

"Like my muscles?" I said, referring to my tone pecs.

"Yeah. They're sexy, as always," he smiled.

I stood up, revealing to him that I slept in the nude & slowly walked right up against him, letting my flaccid penis rest against his pajama pants. I leaned in closely to him, moving my face aside to just barely suck on his ear lobe. I felt him shudder, the front of his pants just starting to come to life.

Just then, I stepped back & pushed him backwards so he fell upon his bed, looking at me, confused.

"Unless you're suicidal, don't ever wake me up again," I said, reaching down for a pair of underwear.

"Ok."

We got dressed, with no more incidents I might add, & made our way downstairs to the kitchen. I watched as he bounded into the kitchen, excited to make his mommy some food. I sat down as Caleb played around with a CD player on the counter. He turned it on, filling the room with the sounds of some slow music.

"What the hell is this?" I said.

"What, the music?"

"YEAH, the music. It sounds like something straight from the dentist's office or an elevator."

"It's not that bad."

"Yes it is."

"Well, too bad. It's what we're listening to!" Caleb pointed a finger at me & smiled. I pouted.

"Even if you don't like the music, maybe you'd like the lyrics. They're very cynical & dark but there's also a lot of —"

"What are we making?" I interrupted him.

"Pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast with jelly, & hash browns," he shrugged like it was nothing.

"All of that?!"

"Yeah? It's not that much"

"Ugh..."

"C'mon, it'll be fun! You can do the easy ones."

Caleb started pouring pancake mix onto a pan & putting on the bacon while I began making the toast. The music was awful but he seemed really into it. It was definitely older music. I hated it, whatever it even was. It sounded like pop mixed with jazz. Caleb on the other hand, looked like he was absorbing the music's energy or something, dancing in every little movement he made. It was humorous to say the least. Nothing ever got to the annoying little fucker. While I could admit that I initially had judged him as a non-stop, hyperactive pain in the ass, which he still was of course, I also began thinking maybe it was a conscious effort of his to always stay happy. Or maybe he truly never saw the bad in anything. In either event, I was mostly annoyed & turned off by his attitude. And yet, something about it seemed more...appealing than your average ADHD-case. And oddly, more sexual to me. Then again, for all I know, it was just the way his ass moved when he danced.

I watched him as I leaned against the wall by the toaster. Just then, the telephone rang.

"Oh, I gotta get that. Just watch the pancakes & bacon, & flip them if I'm not back in time," he said, taking off out of the kitchen.

"Not back in time...? Caleb, wait! I dunno when to......" he was long gone by then when I heard the phone stop ringing.

I'd never made myself anything more than toast or something from the freezer to eat. I didn't know when to flip the pancakes or the bacon. I groaned.

I walked over to check the pancakes. How do I know when to flip them? When smoke starts coming out from underneath? When they smell done? I reached for a spatula to lift the edge of it a bit. But when I did, I found that the breakfast was still nearly all liquid, the spatula pushing the batter away to pool around itself. Shit! As I tried to fix it, however, I felt a sharp, pin-sized pain on my fingers. As I instantly pulled away, I realized some of the bacon grease had begun to really sizzle in the pan right next to the pancakes, the liquid fat spitting angrily into the world around it.

I looked around for an oven mitt I could wear. When I found one, I slipped it on & picked up the tongs. As I flipped them one by one, I realized that they were still a little uncooked. Setting them back into place, I realized that by now the pancakes would be ready to flip. Trying to get the spatula underneath, I learned it wasn't QUITE ready, as evident by me scraping the thing in half. I assumed the reason these fucking things were so sticky was because Caleb hadn't put butter on the pan.

"Caleb!"

I jumped to the fridge & took out some butter. It took me waaaay too long to find where the utensils were, but once I did, I quickly tried to cut some butter out. Dropping it onto the pan & stirring it in with the last few strands of batter that hadn't solidified yet, I hoped that would make everything easier. It wasn't. Everything was sliding around & sticking at the same time. It was then that I heard the toast pop up. Telling myself I'd return to the pancakes right after, I searched the kitchen endlessly for a plate. Finding one, I took out the toast & set it on the plate. I heard the bacon sizzling even louder now. Sighing, I went over, picked up the tongs & flipped each piece over, the molten grease threatening to stain my arm with drops of fat. Getting back to the pancakes made me realize that by now, they were just a mess that couldn't be fixed. Grunting, I took the pan to the trash can & dumped the contents.

"What are you doing!"

Looking up, I saw Caleb standing several feet away with the phone in his hand.

"Fuck pancakes," I shrugged. Putting the pan down, I reached into my pocket to take out a box of Chesterfields.

"Fuck pancakes?" he said said, irked.

"Yeah. Fuck pancakes," I repeated, walking past him.

"I thought we were gonna spend the morning making food?"

"I've changed my mind."

"Why? Just because you had some issues with making the pancakes?"

I ignored his question & instead took out my lighter.

"You can't smoke those in here," he said.

"Exactly."

"Where are you going?"

"What do you care?"

"We haven't finished making breakfast for my mom yet."

"So?" I turned around as I put my shoes on.

"So I need help."

"Caleb," I looked at him, "I never signed a contract agreeing to make food for your mom. I asked for a place to stay for a little bit, not to be adopted with fine print. I'm not obligated to stay."

"No, but you're kind of obligated to help out..."

"You wanna bet?" I challenged him, standing up & facing him straight on. He didn't back down, though, from where he was still standing in the kitchen.

"Rory, my mom didn't have to let you stay here. This is day-one of you living with us."

"If you're trying to put a guilt trip on me, lemme save you the trouble. It won't work."

"So you're just gonna live here & mooch off us without repaying us in any way?" he gave me a dirty look.

"I didn't sign on for that, so yeah."

Caleb was clearly upset. I could see anger in his eyes. It was weird. I'd grown accustomed to his smiling face, but to see anger was odd to me. For a split second, I felt...guilty? I felt bad that something I was doing was upsetting him. But I didn't let up.

"What are you gonna do, huh?" I said, walking up close to him. "Kick me out? You wouldn't do that."

His stare didn't change.

"You're so predictable. You won't kick me out because you can't kick me out. You're an altruist."

He didn't say anything right then, so I turned back around.

"So someone's emotional output determines their predictability?" he countered. "By that logic, your ego ought to be just as predictable to know when you don't care about anything but yourself."

"It's true," I said, heading to the door. "The thing is, my faggy little friend, is that that allows me greater freedom than you could ever have. You're chained to the feelings of others. You're compelled to always service the people you care about. Whether that's a bad thing is clearly subjective. But until you stop caring so much about other people, you'll never be free from their burdens. That's just my two cents."

"You're wrong," he said.

"About what?" I laughed.

"About how predictable you are."

"Yeah? How's that?" I said as I opened the door.

"People like me don't change, Rory," he answered. "We always care for others. But people like you...they can change. I think someday you'll realize that & when that day comes, you'll realize how lucky you are to be wherever you might be & to not just BE thankful, but to SHOW your thanks."

"You're saying someday I'll be like you?"

"No, but someone who knows what they're thankful for at the least. I think deep down...you wish you weren't so mad all the time."

I watched him coldly as I considered what he was saying to me.

"I think—" he started, but I slammed the door behind me as I walked out.

**********

"You sounded pretty pissed on the phone," Trent said as he joined me under the overpass. I took a deep drag of my joint before I threw it down & stomped it into the ground. I'd already gone through my whole box of cigs so I had pulled out a small bag & rolling papers I had on me at all times.

"Yeah," I huffed.

"And you didn't even wait for me to have a smoke?" he smiled.

"Just turn around," I turned to him, unzipping my jeans.

**********

I came back to Caleb's around midnight. Higher than a kite & having fucked Trent at least 10 times in the last several hours, I was exhausted. Not really thinking, or caring for that matter, about Caleb or his mom were still awake, I entered the house not as quietly as one might hope. I dragged myself into the bathroom & splashed water upon my face. My eyes were blood red. When I left, I groggily hoisted myself up the stairs & to Caleb's room.

Maybe it was the weed...but I felt bad for what had happened earlier. Something about this kid made me feel guilty a lot about how I saw him. Making breakfast, fucking BREAKFAST, for the broad wouldn't have killed me. I guess a part of me was able to know that doing a little thing here & there to let them know I truly was grateful for them letting me stay here (but more importantly, making sure they'd let me stay).

When I walked in, Caleb was still awake, lying upright in bed with his arms crossed. When he looked to see me, I could see dried tears on his face.

"Rory, I—" I held up a hand to him.

"Don't talk. I'm high as fuck so I won't remember it anyway," I said as I trudged to the side of his bed & sat down next to him, facing the wall.

"Why are you crying?" I asked.

"I thought you wouldn't come back & that that would be the end of us being roommies," he wiped his eyes. "I thought I was being too annoying."

"Oh Caleb," I gently slapped his face. "You're always too annoying." That got a laugh out of him.

"I guess I should know you enough by now to know not to expect so much in such a short amount of time."

"Told you I'm predictable," I said.

But Caleb smiled & shook his head. "For now, yeah you are. But I'm tellin' ya, someday you won't be so mad at everything anymore. And before you know it, you'll be a lot more caring."

"You haven't known me long enough then," I looked away.

I felt the bed shift & before I could turn & see what was going on, Caleb had practically LAUNCHED himself at me, throwing his arms around me. I held my arms up, unsure of what was going on.

"Hopefully, that changes though," he said as his head lay against my shoulder.

"Uhh...yeah, right," I said hesitantly. Since he still wasn't letting me go after several seconds, I slowly lowered my arms around him & patted him on the back. I heard him sigh. He pulled back just then.

"Phew...you reek," he scrunched up his face.

"Ain't me, it's good ol' Mary Jane," I laughed.

"Sorry I tried forcing you to cook for my mom. For now on, it'll be just something between her & me."

"Ehhhh," I waved a hand at him. "I know I got a bit hot headed over it even though it was nothing. Maybe....maybe next weekend I can...try again," I said slowly, personally hoping he'd let me pass.

"Really?!" he chirped. I put up a hand to stop him from getting too close.

"I said maybe," I pointed a finger at him.

"Ok. And by the way, you should get rid of those clothes or wash them before my mom does the laundry. She won't like you doing drugs around me."

"I smoked under the causeway, not here," I pointed out.

"She won't care," he grinned.

I put my hand on his face & pushed his head back down onto the pillow as I stood up. "Goodnight Caleb." I walked over to my bed.

"Hey Rory."

"Ugh, whaaat?" I said, annoyed as I crawled into bed with my clothes on.

"Wanna watch '9 Days of Knives'? I'm really awake."

"Yeah well, someday when you smoke up with me, you'll learn that shit makes you sleepy. So no thanks."

"Ok," he said, content. He lied back down as I pulled the covers over me. As he shut the light off, I yawned, tired of a relatively uneventful day. I knew though, that the next day would be full of me dodging Caleb's activities & whatnot. I supposed living here for a while would get me used to him. Hell, maybe he'd get so bored of me being around that he wouldn't be jumping off the walls every second of the bloody day.

"I'm glad you're gonna stay, Rory," I heard him whisper.

"Mhm."

"Night!"

"Yeah yeah yeah..."

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