Stopping a block away from my house, Talen put the car in park and stared out the windshield. I turned in the passenger's seat to stare at him one last time, his hazel eyes shifting to me as I smiled a bit.
"I don't want this night to end," I whispered, staring at my hands in my lap.
"Me neither," The black-haired man whispered, caressing my face in his hands. "But
I had a really good time. I'm glad you like me back."
Talen leaned forward and let his fingers sift through my hair as his lips gently brushed mine, bringing me into a tender kiss. I closed my eyes and brought my hand up, tracing Talen's prominent jaw bone with my fingers as he moved closer, putting more pressure on our lips. He pulled away slowly, grinning slyly.
"W- What's with that face?" I stuttered, furrowing my eyebrows.
"Where did you learn to kiss like that?" He asked, leaning back and making my face burn with unease. "It seems like you've had practice before."
"I- I don't know," I shrugged. "You're my first boyfriend so I don't"
"Seriously?" Talen interrupted. "I'm your first boyfriend? How are you such a good kisser then?"
"I- It's no big deal! I can be naturally good at it, can't I?"
"That's impossible. What's your secret?" He urged.
"Shut up and I might tell you," I barked as Talen chuckled, crossing his arms.
"So there is a secret."
"I- I used to practice with AJ, okay?"
Talen stared at me for a moment, his eyes unreadable and then he threw his head back, laughing.
"You kissed that kid?"
y- yeah. I used to like him, y'know?"
"And he was fine with it?"
"Yeah, he's bisexual but I knew he would never like me like that. So I came up with this silly idea to practice kissing for when we got into an actual relationship with other people and
I trailed off, laughing self-consciously and looking down, shaking my head.
"It was ridiculous. But I'm over him. I've been over him for months. But I guess 'practice with AJ' paid off," I smiled deviously. "You seem to be amazed by my remarkable kissing skills. It'll just make you want more and more and
Talen put a finger to my mouth and I looked down, realizing I had crawled onto his lap. He laughed inwardly and wrapped his arms around my waist, laying his hands on my lower back, gripping the hem of my shirt.
"We were interrupted earlier," He leaned forward and kissed my neck, gently as he slid his hands under my shirt, his fingers gliding along my bare skin. "It's best we finish what we started."
"Ah, T- Talen," I stammered, a current of pleasure rushing through my body as his lips brushed my jawbone and then moved his head back to stare at my face. I shivered as one of his hands came out from under my shirt and traced my lips with his index finger delicately and slowly, running it over my chin and down my neck.
"I just want to
" Talen brought his lips against mine, the kiss warm and welcoming. "Get closer to you
All of a sudden, a car horn sounded from behind us, making me wince and Talen exhale in aggravation.
"God, damn it," he hissed, scowling at the car behind him. "Stupid ass, bitches."
I climbed off of him and jumped when someone knocked on Talen's window. He pressed the button on the door and the glass sank into the metal. My eyes widened when I saw my mother's face looking through the opening.
"Gage?!" She gasped, squinting her eyes as she stared through the darkness. "Gage, is that you?!"
"H- Hi, mom," I whispered, my throat too dry to talk any louder.
"You were supposed to be with Daniel! What are you doing with
She glowered at Talen, an instant hatred sparking in her eyes as he glanced at me with his brows raised in uncertainty. What was my mom doing here? She was supposed to be home by now!
"M- Mom, this is my f- friend, Talen."
"Hello, ma'am, it's a pleasure to mee"
"Gage, get out of the car and get your ass home now."
My stomach tied into a knot and I nodded, slowly, giving Talen an apologetic look. Opening the door, I got out of the car and began trudging toward my mother's old Cadillac.
I spun around to see Talen running up to my mother and me, his eyebrows creased in anger, his car door hanging open behind him.
"What's your problem?" He asked, staring at my mother, her eyes widening in bewilderment.
"What did you say"
"You heard what I said."
"I don't have a problem," She said, raising her head in a condescending attitude. "Now if you'll excuse us"
"No. Hold this shit up."
"Talen, stop," I whispered, between clenched teeth as my mom put a hand to her chest, dumbfounded.
"I barely said anything to you and you already hate me. What the fuck did I do? Is it because I look like this? Hm? Or is it because I'm not a little, rich boy with an arrogant attitude? Is it the piercings? The tattoos? If you have a problem with me, just say it because I am very captivated by what you rich people have to say about people like me."
I hadn't noticed I was holding my breath until I began to feel lightheaded. My mom shook her head and grabbed my arm.
"I don't have the time for this. Good-bye."
Talen stood there, watching as she dragged me to the car. I climbed in and stared at my feet, feeling too foolish to face him.
As we walked into the house, my mother threw her bags onto the ground and turned to me, her glare unwavering.
"Who the hell was that?" She hissed, pointing toward the front door.
"He w- was
" I stared at the ground, my heart beating hard in my chest as I nervously fiddled with my fingers. A weird feeling came over me as I glared at my feet. "He's my boyfriend."
Mom raised her eyebrows and she laughed, dryly.
"You can't be serious! What the hell, Gage?"
"You don't understand! You don't know him! He's an amazing person. You just don't approve of him because of what he looks like!"
"What's going on down here?" My dad came down the stairs, his blue eyes mirroring confusion.
"Gage has a boyfriend who is an adult, with tattoos and piercings. It's disgusting."
"You don't understand," I cried, tears filling my eyes. "He's--"
"I don't want my son with someone like that. If you're going to do this 'gay' shit, then you have to find someone decent. You are forbidden to see him," My dad said. "Break up with him."
"W- What?!" Panic edged its way into my system. "You haven't even met him!"
"Gage," My father scolded sternly. "Do as I say. If you don't, you'll be forced to live on the streets. This man is a bad influence. And you being 'gay' is just a phase. I'm sure you'll get over this disease."
"Being gay is not a disease! I was born this way! And if you hate it so much then I'll just leave!"
"What about college, huh? What about that school you want to get into so badly? How are you going to pay for it? You don't have a job. It's okay. You can be unsuccessful in life. Leave then."
I clenched my teeth in anger. I've been working hard all through high school, harder than I've ever worked before, just so I could make it to that school. And the only way I could even get into it was with my parent's money. Was leaving the house for Talen really worth throwing away all that hard work? Was Talen worth it? He might have felt like the one but that didn't mean he was.
What do I do? I thought to myself. My future
or a man I met a few weeks ago? What do I do?!
"Think about it, Gage," My mom said. "You think you like this guy. You're just confused. He's trying to turn you into someone you're not. You're not thinking right. Don't let guys like Talen influence you." She sneered as she said his name, as though it made a bad taste rise into her mouth.
Could they be true? What if what Talen had said was all a lie?
I closed my eyes and inhaled slowly.
"Oh," I whispered, staring at the ground. "I'm sorry."
"It's alright. You don't even have to text him. Just
don't talk to him," My dad smiled warmly, holding his arms open and walking toward me, pulling me into a tight hug.
I pushed him away and stomped up the stairs, holding back tears. I didn't want to say good-bye. I really didn't. But I didn't have a choice.
I stared at the glass door of the music store, watching my transparent reflection with a grim expression. Opening my phone, I looked at the many texts I had gotten from Talen since that night.
Hey, Gage. Are you there?
I'm sorry. About last night. I should've kept my mouth shut.
Gage. Come on. Please answer me. ):
I love you )':
My eyes widened at the most recent message. He loved me? I shook my head and shut my phone. No. I couldn't let myself become vulnerable. School was more important than some stupid relationship. I took a deep breath and pushed inside the store, walking over to the storage room. Talen had his headphones in, working on a stereo, bobbing his head slightly to the rhythm of the music. I stood in the doorway. What was I going to say?
I looked up at Talen, pulling his headphones out of his ears.
"Why haven't you been answering my texts?"
My eyes were glued to the floor as I tried to find the right words.
"I- Is that all you have to say?" I stammered.
"What do you mean? Are you okay, Gage?" Talen pushed himself off the stool and walked towards me.
I took a quick step back, making him pause, mid-step. I couldn't let him come closer. I couldn't give in.
"I don't know anymore," I whispered.
"Well, let's go do something. Get your mind off everything."
Talen walked forward and grabbed my hand, beginning to pull me toward the door.
"What do you wanna do? Go to the park? Get some ice cream?"
I ripped my arm from his grip as I stumbled out of the store, onto the sidewalk. He stared at me with wide eyes in the doorway.
"Talen, I meant about us! I don't know about us!"
"W- What do you mean?"
"I can't be with you anymore, ok? I thought I had feelings for you but I don't."
"What? You're lying. You are so lying. What did your mom say to you?"
"Nothing. I'm just
going through a lot right now. You have no idea. My parents are just"
"I have no idea? You're not serious are you?" Talen scoffed and laughed deprecatingly, running a hand through his hair. "What you're going through is nothing compared to what I had to go through when I was a kid. So I think you should save that little gimmick for some other rich boy and tell me the real reason you're doing this."
"There's another reason! I've told you everything about me! And I know absolutely nothing about you! The only thing I know is that you have a brother and you work as a bartender on the weekends and fixing stereos the rest of the time. I feel like you're a stranger, not knowing anything about your past."
"You want to know about me? Fine. I was 14 when my dad was killed by a gang on his way to pick me up from soccer practice. I stood there in the pouring rain for hours, pissed off, thinking he'd forgotten about me. I had these thoughts in my head, 'Why would he forget? I hate him. I hate his guts. I wish he was dead.' So as I walked home, I saw cop cars everywhere, I saw the caution tape surrounding my father's dead body, 5 bullet holes through his chest. You know how much I regretted those thoughts? I felt like it was my fault. Like I was the whole reason my dad was killed, because he was on his way to get me. He was coming, and I wished he was dead. Months later, my mom's sitting in the kitchen sticking needles into her arms, getting so high, she can't function right. I was so traumatized by the whole thing, I was failing school so I dropped out and eventually had to move out and live with my brother. And you think you have it bad? You're just some little rich boy, complaining about your life being horrible just because your parents don't approve of your friends or your sexuality!"
I stared in horror at Talen, my hand over my mouth as tears filled my eyes.
The hazel-eyed man put a hand up, scowling.
"Fuck it," He said, curtly. "Just forget about it. Forget about us. We're over, just like you want. Now get the hell out, I'm busy."
"Talen, please, I don't want it to end like this."
"How else is it gonna end?! You come out of nowhere saying you don't have feelings for me after all we did? Think of how that feels? I feel like I've been stabbed in the chest thanks to you. Just get out of my life; I don't want you in it anymore."
I stomped my foot on the ground and bit my lip, tears streaming down my cheeks. Shaking violently, I turned and ran down the sidewalk, wiping my eyes with my sleeves. Not being able to hold myself up any longer, I ran around the corner of the street, losing my footing on the rough pavement. I skidded onto my knees, hissing in pain as I turned onto my back, staring up at the cloudy sky. Sobbing uncontrollably, blood from my legs dripped through my torn pants and onto the cement.
"T- Talen," I cried out, pounding my fists on the ground and then covering my face with my arms, swallowing the lump in my throat. "I'm so sorry."
It was over. Done. Now that it had happened, questions clouded my mind. Was it really worth all this pain? School or Talen? I suddenly regretted my choice. It was Talen. He was the one I wanted. Damn it. What was wrong with me? I've just made a mistake that I so carefully had been trying to avoid and it's only been a day. I've lost Talen