I hesitated a moment before turning and running back into the house. AJ was already trying to push his way between the quarreling brothers.
"Cain!" The blue-haired teen screamed, his fist tightening around the man's shirt. "You need to calm down!"
Cain ignored AJ, pushing him aside to swing his fist toward Talen's face. Cain's sibling dodged it and retaliated with a right hook of his own but instead of his brother, Talen's knuckles struck AJ's face, the dark-eyed boy staggering backwards and lifting his hands to his eye. He whimpered for a moment before shaking off the pain and re-centering himself between the two, turning towards Cain.
"Cain, please stop!"
His hands wrapped around the man's waist as he burrowed his already bruised face into his slightly blood-stained shirt. Cain stilled, staring down at AJ, his eyes widening. Talen stumbled backwards, a wall catching him before he could lose his footing altogether as he lifted his arm, wiping blood from his nose.
" He said with a raspy voice as he raised his hand to beckon me over to him. I slowly walked over, gulping as I got a closer look at his face.
"Yeah, don't worry about it," He whispered, wincing as he sniffled and grabbed me, pulling me into a tight hug. "Gage, I'm sorry for scaring you like that."
"Y- You don't have to apologize to me
" I said, almost inaudibly, lowering my eyes to the floor. "I just... I thought you were going to kill each other."
"I think Cain still wants to," He muttered as I used my sleeve to wipe some of the blood off his face.
"Why did you
do that? The drugs?" I spoke softly, my breathing shaky. "Was it because of me?"
Talen looked away, his jaw taut and his body stiffening.
It doesn't matter, alright?" His hand cupped my face as tears threatened to spill over my eyelids. I gripped his wrist over the heart tattoo, pulling his hand away.
"This is entirely my fault." I took a step back, turning to see AJ with his hands on each side of Cain's marred face, pulling him down so their foreheads were touching. He was whispering something to him so quietly I couldn't interpret it but it seemed to be calming him down. None of this would have happened if I hadn't left. Everything would have been fine
"Shut up, Gage," Talen hissed, gripping my arm and pulling me closer. "You're saying stupid shit again."
Talen quickly grasped my face, pulling me into a passionate kiss. For a moment, all my worries melted away. I slid my arms around the hazel-eyed man's neck, closing my eyes and leaning my body against his. I didn't want him doing those drugs. They were going to kill him if he didn't stop and I didn't want him to go away.
"T- Talen," I put my hands against the lean man's chest and pushed him back, my breathing uneven as I glared at the floor.
what now?" Talen's shoulders slumped in disappointment.
"You need to stop with the drugs. They
they'll kill you."
"Gage, come on, I"
"Talen!" I raised my voice, glaring at him sternly. "If
if you don't quit then I don't ever wanna see you again!"
Cain and AJ looked up, raising their eyebrows as Talen turned away slightly.
leave me again
if I don't quit with the needles
"And the smoking!"
"Gage, do you realize how hard it is to quit something like th--"
"If you loved me, you'd quit! And
and you did it before so you can do it again!"
Talen turned, stomping upstairs and slamming through his bedroom door.
" I whispered, putting a hand to my chest. Was he choosing his addiction over me?
Before I had the chance to react, Talen came bounding down the stairs, a few unused syringes in his hand and a small baggy filled with a cloudy liquid substance.
"Alright," He sighed shakily, holding them over the trashcan. He released everything from his hands, dropping them into the garbage and turned to me, smiling, his arms still outstretched. "There
Talen pulled me into a tight embrace.
"I love you, Gage."
I closed my eyes, nestling into my boyfriend, smiling widely. Talen pulled away to stare into my eyes, his grin not leaving his face.
"So tell me, Rich Boy, what made you come running back to me?"
"Didn't I already tell you?"
your parents. What about college?"
"I honestly could care less about it. After I left, I didn't care about my future anymore; I really wasn't planning on having one
"What? Gage, you're so dumb."
"I know. But I couldn't help it, I'm sorry."
"Gage, college should be more important, you need to"
"No!" I quickly put a hand to Talen's mouth, glowering at him. "Shut up. You're so much more important to me, okay? And
and Talen, I want to move in with you."
I stared down at the floor, my cheeks flushing. What did I just say?
What?" The black-haired man stared at me with his wide, hazel eyes as he pulled my hand away from his mouth. "Seriously?"
"N- No! I didn't mean it! Um, it just slipped, haha, I was kidding!"
I rubbed the back of my neck, nervously.
"W- Well, I just thought it'd be best if I did. Y'know
to keep you away from getting influenced to do more bad stuff
Talen, raised an eyebrow, smirking a bit.
"You haven't even seen my place. You sure you want to commit to such low standards of living?"
"I already told you I've always wanted to live in the city anyways. And I need to get away from my parents."
Talen sighed, running a hand through his hair as I fiddled with my fingers. I had never been this anxious to get out of my own house before. But I really wanted to be with Talen and there was no more leaving him. Being with him constantly could've been the only way to keep him away from those negative influences.
"Fine," He breathed, a smirk playing at the edges of his mouth. "You can live with me, Rich Boy."
He winked as I gasped, excitedly and hugged him. I couldn't believe it. I was moving in in with Talen!
"What are you going to say to your parents, though?"
"I don't know," I heaved a sigh. "But I honestly don't care about their opinion on it. This is my choice and my life. They can't tell me what to do with it."
"If only you figured that out sooner," He laughed as I punched his arm, playfully.
"Well, get going," He grinned as he smacked my butt, my cheeks turning a dark red. "You got some errands to do. I'll pick you up at your place in 15."
I nodded and turned to AJ.
"Wanna give me a ride"
My eyes widened in shock at what I saw. Cain had his hands on each side of AJ's face, their lips pressed together firmly. My mind spun and my cheeks flushed, AJ's hands gracelessly shaking at his sides as he stared at Cain in shock. The man slowly pulled away and gazed at AJ with a longing expression as he dropped his hands and stepped back.
"Sorry," He whispered, his face emotionless once again. "I didn't
What," AJ began, his neck rigid. "What do you mean, you didn't mean it?"
just a spur of the moment thing. I dunno." Cain shrugged, looking away and crossing his arms.
" AJ turned to me. "
what did you need, Gage?"
"Ah, u- um
" I stammered, glancing back and forth from Cain to AJ. "A ride."
"Fine, let's go," He said, sharply, grabbing my arm as he walked past me and dragged me out the door.
"What was all that?" I asked AJ when we were in the car.
"Apparently just a spur of the moment thing that didn't mean shit," The blue-haired boy grumbled as he backed out.
"AJ, I've noticed that Cain tends to hide his feelings a lot
maybe he just doesn't know how he feels himself."
"He kissed me! Shouldn't that be enough of an explanation?! If someone kisses another person, doesn't that mean they mean something more to them than just friends or friends of their brother's fucking boyfriend?! I would sure think so!"
"AJ, calm down. I know you like Cain, but"
"But he doesn't like me. I know."
"That's not what I meant. Just give him some time. He's obviously going through a lot with his brother right now, he just needs to sort his life out before he"
"Just stop talking, Gage. Talen's going through enough with his life right now, probably things much worse than Cain and he still makes time for you. He's even letting you move in. Cain doesn't care about me as much as you think. Just let it go, alright?"
I looked down at my pale hands as AJ pulled into my drive.
"Sorry," I whispered, reaching for the door handle.
"Gage, stop," He sighed. "I'm sorry. I know you're just trying to make me feel better. But I'll get over it alright? Thanks for being such an awesome best friend."
He chuckled and leaned over, kissing my cheek.
"Love you, bro," He smiled, ruffling my hair.
I smiled and nodded, jumping out of the car, waving to him as he backed out.
Turning back to my house, I exhaled slowly, making my way up to the porch. Halfway there my mom came running out of the house, her face filled with worry.
"Gage, Gage my baby, are you alright?!" She asked as she reached me, pulling me into a tight hug. "Sweetie, where did you run off to?"
"Since when do you care?" I snapped, pushing her away from me as I kept walking to the house, my mom following after me, right on my heels.
"I've always cared dear!"
I stopped, spinning around and pointing a bony finger at her, making her gasp with surprise.
"You never cared about me! All you ever wanted was for me to become your perfect little son who obeyed every rule, wore those ugly ass rich clothes, and became some stupid lawyer! Well mom," I clenched my teeth in anger as she watched me with wide eyes. "I've got news for you! I want none of that! Quit shoving your dreams down my throat and let me live my own life! I want to live in the city! I want to go to college and become an artist! I want to take pictures and draw and live life the way I want to live it. Which is why I'm moving out. Away from the one place that keeps me from any of that."
"What?!" She sounded bewildered. "You can't just up and leave! Where are you going to stay?!"
"With my boyfriend!"
I turned and stomped up the porch, going inside the house and up to my room, grabbing a duffel bag out of my closet and tossing as much clothes as I could fit into it along with a few items from the bathroom. I zipped it up and ran down, past my mom crying into her hands, my dad rubbing her back in consolation. I stared for a moment and when he looked up at me, I quickly ran outside, my father calling my name.
"Gage, get your ass back here!"
I ran faster, toward the end of the driveway where I saw Talen's car idling. I ran to the passenger's side of the vehicle and jumped in, hitting Talen's arm.
"Drive, drive, my dad's pissed!"
Talen quickly put the car in gear and slammed on the gas just as my father reached the edge of the drive, cursing at me as we turned the corner and onto the main road.
We drove in silence until we reached an old building in the city. He parked in the alleyway and we got out.
"This is it?" I asked as I ran up to him, grabbing his sleeve.
"Yeah." He took my hand and guided me into the building. "I told you it was nothing great."
We stopped at a door with the number 4 on it and he unlocked it and pushed it open. I walked in slowly, my eyes perusing the space once Talen flicked on the lights. The apartment was definitely small. It was dimly lit as I ventured through the two rooms that made up the living space. Talen's room was separated by a thick door with a deadbolt. Inside sat a king-sized bed, the sheets un-made, beside a nightstand and a chest of drawers. A small closet could be seen in the wall, clothes piled on the floor in front of it and in a laundry basket poking out. The living room, making up the bulk of the apartment outside the bedroom, consisted of a futon, a coffee table with a few cups and old newspapers sprawled across it, and an ancient tv set squatting in front of the setup, glowing with a show on MTV. The kitchen was connected to in openly, surprisingly tidy, and a bathroom door hung open on a shared wall.
?" Talen asked, staring at me with raised eyebrows. I turned toward him, smiling warmly.