I slowly wake up, and nuzzle my face into the pillow. Wait... that isn't a pillow. I open my eyes and find my head against Pete's chest. Our arms are wrapped around each other, as well as our legs. I blush deeply and bite my lip, enjoying this more than I should. I rest my ear over his heart and listen to it beat for a while. I almost fall back asleep, before my cellphone rings loudly. Pete jerks awake, eyes widening at our entangled bodies. I quickly rush over to my phone, freezing when I see the name "Mom" on the screen. It keeps ringing until going to voicemail. I slowly sit down beside Pete.
"Were we as close as it seemed we were?", Pete raises an eyebrow.
I don't respond, and listen to the voicemail. Panic floods my veins as I hear my mother's voice.
"Patrick.", she sighs, "There's no easy way to say this, but I left. I packed my things and have moved away. I suggest you get your things before the Realtors throw it all away ." She pauses, "I suppose you could call your father, but I just can't handle you any longer. I'm not sorry, Patrick. I'm not. Goodbye."
I begin shaking as I drop the phone, "N-No...No..."
"Patrick?" Pete frowns, "Who was that?"
"M-My mom... sh-she left m-me. She l-left!" I burst into tears, "Sh-She..." my sobs get louder as Pete's mom rushes into the room.
"Oh Patrick, what's happened?"
"His mother abandoned him..." Pete's voice cracks, "M-Mom she left him."
I look up to Pete, watching as a tear falls out of his eye.
Mom goes to Patrick quickly, pulling him into a hug. She looks at me over his shoulder and shakes her head, eyes wide. I can barely contain my stunned tears. How anyone can throw Patrick out is beyond me. Especially when he needs compassion and trust now more than ever. I frown at mom, eyes pleading. She nods slowly before pulling away from Patrick.
"Patrick, honey. You're going to stay with us until we can contact your father, have him take you in."
Patrick squeaks and stumbles backward. He's shaking and can barely stand. I help him to my bed before I turn to my mom.
"Mom, he can't," I start, wiping my eyes. I sit next to him and rub his back gently. He can hardly breathe through his frightened sobs. "Patrick, just breathe. It'll be okay. Mom, his father is abusive. It's why his parents aren't still living together. He can't go back there, mom. He can't, I won't let you send him there."
She nods, coming over and sitting on Patrick's other side.
"I had no idea. Of course you're not going back to him. You'll stay with us. There's an extra room near Pete's and we'll be happy to have you stay there. And we won't get the government involved. Trust me, it's just better you stay here. I think you'll still legally be in your mom's custody but we'll take care of you. Are you okay with that, honey?"
Patrick stifles a sob and shakes his head. "I-I... I r-really d-don't want to b-be a burden, I j-just don't know wh-what to do."
"Patrick, this is the furthest thing from being a burden. You need somewhere to go and this is the best place for it. Please, just consider it." I bite my lip, hoping he would be able to stop hyperventilating soon.
"No. I'm sorry, but there's no considering," Mom interjects. "I know you barely know us and I'm sure there are other family members or friends that want to take you in, but unless they come forward, we're taking care of you."
"I-I don't h-have anyone th-that would." Patrick's breathing a bit more easily now.
"Then it's settled. Welcome to your new home. Now I'm gonna call the school and tell them you're both gonna miss your first class. Just take some time to be okay, boys. Breakfast in a bit. Love you both." She leaves, giving us both a reassuring smile.
Patrick is crying again.
"Sh-She said she l-loves me. Sh-She barely knows me."
"My mom's great at loving people. And she really means it. Plus, you are a great person, Trick." I rub his back again.
"N-No, it's not th-that. M-My mom hasn't s-said that to me in y-years."
I cringe and pull him into a hug.
I try my hardest not to cry again, but end up failing as more tears make their way down my face. I know she was mad, I know she hates me, but I never saw this coming. I really fucked up by going off on her. I’m the biggest idiot in the world. I mumble to Pete about going to the bathroom, and lock myself inside. I wash my face and sigh. Pete’s family is extremely generous, but I’m not sure I deserve it. I should go live with my father. At least he’d treat me like the shit I am. I feel so guilty for just showing up needing a place to live. I’m not Pete’s problem, or his parents’. I bite my lip and glance around the bathroom. There has to be something sharp in here. I look in the medicine cabinet and find a pack of disposable razors. Biting my lip, I take one out of the package and stare at it. If Pete found out, he’d be livid. But what Pete doesn’t know...won’t hurt him. I pull up the left leg of my pants and press the razor against my skin, before moving it horizontally. Three cuts appear from the triple bladed razor. Biting my lip, I do it a few more times before stopping the bleeding. I look around for a hiding place. I can’t just leave this lying around. I can’t throw it away either, I may need it again. I sigh, deciding my back pack is the best place. I stuff it into my pocket before going to Pete’s room, getting my back pack and hiding it in an inner pocket. I walk back to the kitchen where Pete is talking to his mother.
“You really care about him, don’t you?” she asks as she puts the breakfast onto three plates.
Pete nods, biting his lip, “I do, he’s my best friend... and I’m worried.”
“I am too, sweetie...” she sighs softly, “What he has to be feeling right now...and he’s such a sweet kid.”
Pete nods, “Patrick is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met...”
“Where’d he run off too?’ his mother looks around before spotting me slowly inching into the kitchen, “Oh, there you are.” she smiles.
Pete looks up to me, “How are you feeling?”
“T-Terrible...” I stare at my feet, afraid Pete will know if I look him in the eyes.
He frowns and nods, “I... I’m really sorry ‘Trick....”
I smile sadly, “I-I must have done something to d-deserve it...”
I turn to Patrick, eyes narrowed. "You didn't. Your mom's a fucking bitch, is what happened."
"Peter, watch your language." Mom snaps, setting the plates on the table and motioning for us to sit.
"Sorry. I'm just really upset. How anyone could do something like that..."
"I know. But maybe don't talk about it," she replies. I sit down and Patrick does as well. We silently eat our breakfast and I can't help but to keep glancing at Patrick. He's moving his food around but not eating it. My mom notices this and nudges him gently.
"Patrick dear, is the food okay?"
"O-Oh, y-yeah of course..." Patrick mumbles, biting into a piece of toast for show. Mom buys it and once again focuses on her food. Patrick notices me staring and when I raise an eyebrow, he shakes his head. I finish my food and take my plate to the sink. Patrick does the same, but his plate is still full. I sigh and wash it down the garbage disposal when my mom's not looking.
"Mom? We're gonna go upstairs. We'll leave for school a bit later."
"Sure thing, boys." She smiles up at us before taking a sip of coffee. Patrick and I go upstairs silently. I close the door behind us once we're in my room and turn to him.
"Why weren't you eating?"
"Are you really asking me that?" Patrick challenges.
I sigh. "Fine. I'm just worried about you, okay?"
"Wh-Why should you give a shit?"
"Because, Patrick. I care about you. Believe it or not, not everyone's a complete jackass who wants to do you harm. You'll learn that soon. It's hard to live here and not feel loved."
"N-No one should love me" Patrick murmurs, looking down.
"None of that. You can't possibly believe that! Everyone deserves to be loved and you're not some complete psycho or something. You're just an innocent person who keeps getting hurt."
"Then why do I keep getting hurt?"
"Because you let people hurt you. How can other people treat you with respect when you don't? That's like... a double standard or something."
He glares at me. "I don't need your chivalry. I don't need your pity. I don't need you. I have to go to the bathroom." He starts to walk to the bathroom and I grab his arm.
"I'm not stupid. I know what you did in there and I know what you're about to go do again."
My eyes widen, “Wh-What do you mean? I-I was just-”
“Save it.” Pete crosses his arms, “I’m not as stupid as I may appear.”
I look down, “You know, it wasn’t until everyone treated me like I was nothing that I started believing it. My mom wasn’t always... I guess she didn’t always hate me... But once the bullying started... you could see in her eyes how disappointed she was to have me as a son. It’s hard to imagine someone could care about you, when every fucking person you come across treats you like shit. And it’s a whole fucking school of people, Pete. I.. I go to sleep hoping I don’t wake up the next morning.” my eyes water, “Even the kids that get picked on treat me like shit. Josh... he turned everyone against me... I-I’ve had my ass kicked by girls, kids younger than me... a-and I hate it. I.. I hate myself for being this fuck up who everyone treats like a punching bag. S-So for people to b-be nice... I-I don’t understand it. I-I don’t...” I pick up my backpack.
“You think I don’t know what it’s like to be bullied?” Pete takes the bag out of my hands, “Newsflash, I had “FAG” scratched onto my desk. I had people knock the shit out of me for being gay. It took me forever to make any friends at all because of that shit.”
“But you made friends.” I snatch the bag back, “I can’t. Not at school. N-No one can treat me like I’m human there. Th-This one new kid? Sh-She sat with me a-at lunch and...sh-she got so much shit for it. A few cheerleaders locked her in a janitor’s closet and she’s so claustrophobic... they wouldn’t stop until she proved we weren’t friends so... so she snatched the glasses off my face and snapped them in half, then threw my back pack in the trash.”
Pete frowns, “Well after today you’ll have me. We’ll have something to make Josh shut up.”
My eyes widen, “FUCK!”
Pete jumps in surprise, “What?”
“M-My math book! J-Josh ruined it... a-and I meant to tell my mom...n-now I can’t pay for it.” I shake nervously.
“It’ll be okay, Patrick. We’ll figure something out. In the meantime, we should probably get to school.. and you better eat at lunch, I’ll be watching.” he crosses his arms.
I sigh, “I was too upset to eat breakfast...”
“Well you better calm yourself down by lunch.” he shrugs.
I glance at the bathroom quickly, biting my lip.
I look down, “H-How did you know?”
He sighs, “The guilty look on your face told me all I needed to know.”
I bite my lip, “S-Sorry...”
He pulls me into a hug, “I’m not mad at you, okay? I just....I’m not happy either.”
I nod into his shoulder, hugging back. We stand there for a few minutes, just hugging. As I inhale Pete’s scent a light blush covers my cheeks. I blush more, remembering the way we woke up this morning, cuddled into each other. But I don’t like Pete. He’s my friend, nothing romantic to it. And even if I did get a bit jealous of he and Josh kissing, it doesn’t really mean anything. Pete’s just my friend, with a chest that’s nearly impossible to look away from, who happens to smell amazing. My blush deepens as I pull away. I can’t afford to do anything stupid here, because I desperately need a friend.
As I hug him, something stirs in my stomach. Shit, are those butterflies? No, that can't happen. I'm just worried about him, it's nothing but a strong caring feeling. He's really sweet though, and... no. I shake my head quickly and pull away to see him blushing. Before I know it, the words are spilling out of my mouth.
"Patrick? What happened this morning... I kinda just fell asleep there on the bed. I didn't... didn't mean to you know... bother you or get in your space or anything. You had fallen asleep and I didn't want to move and wake you up. Sorry." I look away the whole time, staring at the floor.
"N-No, it's fine. I'm sorry I u-uh... well... was kinda wrapped around you." Yeah, that's definitely a blush.
"It's um... I was kinda wrapped around you too. It's no big deal, that stuff happens. We uh... we have to go to school now, we've already missed first period."
Patrick nods and puts his backpack on his shoulder.
"Oh, and Patrick?" I turn to him after grabbing my own bag.
"Will you do me a favor?"
"Y-Yeah, what is it?"
"Will you take the razor out of your backpack?"
Patrick's jaw drops.
"Like I said... I'm not stupid. I just don't want it happening again. Plus, we're talking to Josh today. Just... please?"
Patrick bites his lip and nods before taking one of my razors out his backpack and setting it on my bedside table. I walk over and toss it in my trash can. Without another word, I walk out of my bedroom door. Patrick walks behind me silently. We go out into the kitchen and wave goodbye to my mom and dad, who just woke up.
"Bye, boys. Have a good day at school."
"We will, mom. I'll make sure of it." I turn and grin at Patrick, who rolls his eyes. I shrug before going out the door and walking to my car. I unlock the doors and we get in. Patrick shivers as we wait for the car to warm up and without thinking, I reach over and rub his shoulders. He closes his eyes and smiles slightly, blushing.
"Your face is a bit more expressive than I think you realize, Trick."
"You're blushing." I chuckle quietly.
"N-No I'm n-not, it's fr-freezing in here."
I rub his shoulders again and his face becomes redder. He turns his head to the door and shrugs my hands away.
"Sorry, didn't mean to piss you off or anything, I was just messing around. Let's get to school." With that, I put the car into gear and drive off. We drive in silence and relax more as it gets warmer in the car. Despite the warmth, Patrick is shaking more and more the closer we get to school. When we pull into the parking lot, he looks completely panicked.
"P-Pete, I can't do this. I can't face Josh."
"You don't have to. I have the video camera right here and I'll show him. You had nothing to do with this as far as he's concerned. It'll be okay. You wanted me to show him. I'll show him. And maybe he will change his ways. I'm really hoping you're right. C'mon." I give him a quick smile before getting out of the car.
I shake nervously as we walk to class. I look to Pete suddenly.
“Wo-Won’t it be suspicious i-if we both walk into class late?” I bite my lip.
Pete shrug a shoulder, “Honestly, I don’t think they’re smart enough to put two and two together, but you go on ahead, I’ll be there in a few.” he smiles.
I nod and walk to class as Pete hangs back. I glance back at him and feel my face heat up as I quickly look away and go to class. Walking in late is always awkward, but I hand her the late slip and make sure to sit far away from Josh. I have enough bruises from the pencil stabs. I glance at the door, waiting for Pete to arrive.
“Hey fag.” Josh calls from across the room, “Heard you actually threw a punch.”
“Josh, get your things and go to the office, now.” Mrs. Stewart stands from her desk.
He shrugs and gets up, grinning as he walks out the door.
I look down at my desk, wondering where Pete is. Pete.. I don’t have a crush on him. I don’t. I can’t. Sure he’s cute and funny, but so? He’s just my friend. Friend. And that’s all he’ll ever be, even if I did have a crush on him. Which I don’t. Pete doesn’t show up until five minutes before the bell, sitting in the empty seat beside me, quickly passing me a note as everyone is busy.
“Talked to Josh. Meet me in bathroom after class.”
I nod at him and slip the note into my pocket, before finishing my classwork. When the bell rings I quickly pack up my books. Pete darts out of the room, and I’m not far behind him. When I open the bathroom door, Pete is checking the stalls.
“S-So wh-what happened?” I fidget nervously.
“Well-” Pete is cut off by the bathroom door opening.
Josh steps inside looking between the two of us, his eyes stop on me, “Patrick, we need to talk.”
“I-I don’t think-”
He shakes his head, “I’m not going to hurt you. After school, we need to talk.” he kisses Pete’s cheek quickly before hurrying out of the restroom.
I glare at the door closing behind him, my jealousy getting the better of me, “So what the fuck, exactly, was that about?”
“Your plan worked...” Pete shrugs, “I’m a bit shocked.”
“Me too... didn’t know Josh kissing you, again was part of the plan.” I mumble bitterly.
"Your plan...didn't exactly work..." Pete looks to me.
"Well that could be because Josh kissing you, wasn't part of the plan!" I grumble.
"No, but he didn't get that he was set up..." Pete rolls his eyes, "The idiot thinks I'll break up with him if he isn't decent to you.."
"How could he possibly make that big of a mistake?"
"Because he's an idiot?" Pete shrugs, "We'll just clear it up after school."
"Why do we have wait until then? Unless you want to be with him!"
Pete rolls his eyes, "You're starting to sound jealous, 'Trick....."
"What if I am!?" I pale, looking down, "I-I'm not. A-At all."