Monday, September 26, 2022

After a thousand miserable thoughts


Mercer did have a lot on his mind. He kept telling himself the whole thing with Cade was an accident. It had to be. And yet, it was the same dream every night. Heart pounding. The fight. The kiss. Oh, it left him tense. Even more anguish around Brooklyn. Did she know?

And there was Harley back at school. She seemed to have aged. How was that possible? He didn't understand it. Oh, he knew all about her being diabetic one now. Brick told him all about it. Really, he might be Brick's best friend but just didn't know it. Brick gave him an update all the time about Harley these last few weeks. Mercer kept thinking he was sending messages to the wrong person. Wasn't he supposed to be updating Cade instead?

Of course, Mercer remained mute. He didn't know what he was hiding from. Maybe himself. Not that he thought this kind of matter would ever bother his parents. Still, he just thought it was all so accidental. Not with Cade.

"You look like something's the matter," Harley said when she met him in the crowded hallway between classes.

"No. Nothing. Why would there be?" He gritted a smile. Of course, he wanted to exit to the near broom closet and have a breakdown, but even then he was dreaming Cade would find him and then... his eyes lit at the thought. God, if he wrote about this and somebody found

"Well, you are doing OK."

"Of course, I am." He found himself squinting in anguish. Suddenly, he saw Cade in the hallway. He needed to make a run for it. But where. The restroom. 

He high-tailed to a stall, as if he might have to fart or something. But he stood there quietly as if maybe he wouldn't exist even when the bell rang. 

"Mercer, are you OK?" It was Cade.

"Yes, I've got gas." He snapped. He wanted to tell him to go away, but he couldn't.

"Why can't we talk." Cade wanted to know.

"I dunno." He finally opened the door and looked up at him. Why were there so many things he envied about this guy? Why? 

Cade pushed him back in the stall as if all would be quiet if they gave it time. 

"You're making me crazy," Cade whispered. Mercer drew a frown not wanting to look at him, but of course, he did. What the hell were they doing? People took a dump here. He made a face of disgust, but Cade kissed him anyway. And of course, where they were suddenly disappeared from his mind. Actually, he found it kind of funny or maybe it was the idea that this could happen right here.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Don't forget I love you

 "Are you kidding me," Vanna's eyes lit up. "Jay and Lindy are back together?"

Koda sighed, as if she better not make a big deal about it. "I guess so." He'd seen them together. It was at the grocery store. He figured Vanna would have seen them.

"You should be more worried about me," Koda looked at her blankly. After all, it was Vanna's friend who came on to him that night after Jay left. But Vanna had been mute about that. Naturally, he was the one who told Dixie she needed to go.

He'd so wanted to hide behind Vanna, but then again, it felt like she wasn't taking up for him like she should have. It was like he had to be the bad cop.

"I just don't understand you," he went on to say as he was getting supper ready. "Maybe it's for the best. Jay and Lindy. They seemed happy."

"Happy? How would you know?" She crossed her arms and remained in a pout. "Jay is a very good actor."

"Evidently, better than the both of us," Koda shivered the thought of how close Dixie got to him. She was something. He hoped he never saw her again. " should have fought for me." He pointed with the butcher knife but put it down quickly. He didn't want her to think he was psycho. Koda took a deep breath. "Quit worrying about other people and think about us."

She practically rolled her eyes at him and went off to fold clothes in the bedroom. He put the meatloaf in the oven and washed his hands. He then leaned against the bedroom door frame.

"I dunno why I did what I did," she wouldn't look at him, but folded the towels and then rolled them as if they were ready for their next guest to visit. "I just..I just felt I would go off the deep end if..if I did open my mouth." Vanna finally looked back at him. "But..but I was waiting to see what you were going to do..and..and you did exactly what I wanted you to do. You got her out of here."

Koda hugged himself. "We are not having any friends stay with us." Frankly, he didn't know if he had friends like Vanna but he certainly wasn't inviting anyone from Sioux City or even Rapid City. "It's just us from now on."

"But..but my mom is coming to town next week," Vanna hadn't told him.

"Seriously?" Oh, he hoped she wasn't Super-Extra Vanna, but it was possible.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Spinning out, waiting for you to pull me in

 "The thing is, I don't think she's blaming you about any of this," Lynsey started to say about Poppy. "But, she didn't have anything good to say about..about her Aunt."

Lynsey couldn't look at her husband when she said it because he was the other half of this lie, now wasn't he? How could he have been a part of it for so long and gone on with it? She squinted, thinking it wasn't fair to Poppy.

"Just..just when are you going to tell her who her mother really is?" Lynsey finally got to the question. They were alone now. No company. He had a break from the local theater. Yes, she knew he didn't want to talk about it, but he had to some time.

"It was her mother's decision," Charles told her. It was as if he didn't have any say in the matter.

"But..but Poppy's older now. When did her mother expect her to know."

"Never, I suppose." He was straight-lipped. "She's..she..has her reputation."

At one time, Poppy's mother had been a professor in the drama department at the nearby University. Of course, she'd retired since then and she was a bit of a recluse aka Poppy's so-called aunt. She'd prodded Poppy along the way with her education, yet it seemed she always wanted Poppy to be on her own.

"It seems she doesn't want Poppy to be happy," Lynsey told him. "Anymore, than she wanted you to be happy."

"I just can't." Charles shook his head, no.

"Don't let her decide for you anymore. Chances are if you let this go on, Poppy will hate you too," Lynsey said. She didn't like being the barrier of bad news.

"I'm afraid, it's too late," Charles said he wished he'd told Poppy a long time ago. "I wanted to spend more time with her..but..."

Lynsey knew it wasn't work that had gotten in the way. It was someone. And that someone was Poppy's mother.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

what is coming is better than what is gone


Cade couldn't wait to see Mercer after the library closed. Maybe they could pick up where they left off.

No, they needed to talk this out. They needed a heart-to-heart kind of conversation. Something that could settle this for once and for all. But then again, it felt like a game changer. No, he just wanted to go with it. Worry about that other stuff later. Maybe there would be no worries. Of course, his mind was all over the place. He could hardly alphabetize anything. And looking for books for middle schoolers, oh it was one headache after another. Of course, Mercer was hiding the whole time. What was wrong with him?

When it was closing time, it was dark and of course, Brooklyn was there with her dad to pick up Mercer.

Damn, if it didn't make Cade all the more angst. But he did his best to remain calm, trying his best not to be full of whatever this was in his heart and his body. Wanting to see Mercer. It was making him crazy.

Naturally, Mercer didn't look at him. He was all smiles when Brooklyn got there. Even a laugh or two. It made Cade a little squimish, as if he might lash out, but he didn't. He watched them leave together.

Henry asked if he needed a ride home. Cade said he needed some fresh air. Of course, a cold front had rolled in. But he was seething. He needed to be alone. He wanted to understand Mercer. After all, it was what he wanted. Wasn't it?

Cade pressed his lips tight. He didn't want to cry, but the hot tears came anyway. God, how did he become an emotional wreck so suddenly. He texted Mercer.

"Why couldn't we talk this out?" Cade pressed send. He waited. He knew Mercer saw it, but he didn't return a text. 

"Jesus, you can't leave me hanging like this." Cade told him. He walked on home alone. If only Mercer could text something. But he wanted to believe Mercer was thinking too. He couldn't possibly still be with Brooklyn. Could he?

What were they doing? He couldn't help but think they stopped somewhere for ice cream on a chilled night. Maybe coffee? Was Mercer supposed to be drinking coffee? So many things about Mercer was on his mind as he washed up to get ready for bed.

Of course, it always came back to the kiss. Oh, he knew he needed to make it real. His only chance. Last chance it felt. Never had Cade been so bold with anyone. How many times had he wondered when would have been a good time to kiss Mercer? It felt like it had been on his mind for years. And then to  have it happen so unexpectedly during a fight no less.

Cade winced hard. He knew he should stop thinking about him. He set his glasses aside and crawled into bed, thinking why wasn't it still so exciting. It felt as if it was already over. He did his best to calm down. Normally, he let no one trouble him, but this was Mercer.

It was after eleven before Cade got a text. He was thrilled it was from Mercer, yet to learn, "It was only an accident."

"I don't believe you." Cade shot back. Of course, he got nothing from Mercer. "Do you know how long I've wanted to kiss you?" Cade finally confessed. Still silent. "It's always been you. Always."