The Many Faces of Kai

Chapter 3

By Dabeagle

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Lysander

Monday has a well earned reputation for being shit. After two days of getting to take care of your own stuff you're back to doing other people's priorities. Two days means you're just getting used to doing your own thing and then it gets pulled away from you. Unfortunately this Monday meant I was following through on someone else's priority that had me nervous – asking Kai to the homecoming dance.

As I got ready I thought about potential reactions. I wasn't worried about a fight or anything. He'd probably just turn me down, maybe be a little embarrassed that a guy would ask him. That was just the beginning though. He'd tell someone on the team, and then it would become some joke. I'd have a few assholes talking shit in the hall or whatever about how I wanted Kai's dick, even if I only asked him to dance.

The whole thing makes me tired.

“Oh. Going with that shirt, huh?” my mom asked as I sat down for a bowl of cereal.

I looked down and then back at her. “What's wrong with it?”

She leaned on the counter and filled her coffee cup without looking at me. “It's just kind of tragic, isn't it? People will think you actually know something about that band.”

I rolled my eyes. “I liked the shirt.” I spooned cereal into my face.

“You haven't listened to them though, right? It's kind of fake.” She sipped her coffee and looked at me. “We used to call kids like that posers. They used to buy concert tees for bands they knew nothing about.”

“Well, the shirt looked cool so I bought it,” I said. “That's what I'll say if anyone asks.”

My mother moved to my side and took the ends of my hair in her fingers. “I just want you to be real, Lys. Too many fake people in the world as it is. Did you use conditioner?”

I leaned my head away. “Stop. Trying to eat, here, ma.”

“You need something better for your hair. I'll ask Justine down at the salon. She knows how good your hair can be,” she said, leaving the room.

How good my hair can be. Poser. Bitch, bitch, nag, nag. I finished my cereal, dumped my bowl in the sink and headed for the door.

I love my car. It's a piece of junk, but it's mine. The most expensive thing about it is probably the radio and speakers. I glanced back at the house and then started my car. Looking down at my Pink Floyd tee shirt, I sighed and looked up something by them on my phone app and streamed it to my radio. What the hell, right? New experiences and all that. I rolled over to a local coffee chain and got myself something to perk me up before heading to the school.

I'm still not totally sure how I got myself into this mess. I'd thought about it over the weekend and tried to casually back out of it, but Shell was on a mission. I don't even like school dances much. Sure, everyone looks pretty good – especially compared to their normal wardrobe. Everyone makes an effort on those nights and it shows. But then comes the dancing, and I don't want to dance with some girl that means nothing to me. I mean...I'm a good sport, because it may mean something to them, but when is it my turn?

At parties the guys never dance with other guys. Sometimes it sort of looks like it, but they're just spasming in groups. Girls can get them to dance, but it's mostly slow stuff. I want a slow dance with a nice guy. I was pretty sure Kai wasn't that guy. He's just one of many cute guys who aren't possibilities. Besides, there's more to a guy than his looks. He needs a heart. He needs to be real. He needs to be able to talk to me, and me to him.

I pulled into the parking lot and rested my head on my steering wheel. “Jesus fucking Christ. Why is it when Shell decides to get a date, I'm the one stressed out?”

The radio picked that time to spit out something between tracks saying it was time to go, and then I had to eat my meat if I wanted pudding. Fucking weirdos. I shut the car off and headed for the school. As I headed down the hallway toward my first class I spotted Kai at his locker. Funny, he was hanging up a coat – it wasn't that cold yet.

Oh well, it must be a sign that he's there, right?

“Kai, morning,” I said, pulling up beside him. My phone buzzed in my pocket.

He turned to me with a look of mild surprise and then nodded. “Hey. Morning.”

“So, you're new this year, right? I don't really recognize your face,” I said, waving my hand over my own face in case he didn't know where a face was on a human body. I hate Shell and her dating life.

He made a soft noise and gave me that odd look again where his lips didn't move, but he still seemed kind of amused.

“Yeah. Trying something new for senior year.”

“Oh? What's that?” My phone buzzed again.

He looked at me for a second. “A new school. It's...I'm new, remember?”

I blinked a few times and looked away from him. “Wow. I just totally did that.”

He snorted again, but I still got the impression he was amused, even if his lips weren't getting the message. I sipped my coffee for caffeine courage. My phone buzzed twice more.

“So, new guy Kai.” I smiled. “Two weeks we have homecoming. It's a dance.” I leaned in a slight bit. “Do people do dances at your old school? I don't know how different you wanted things to be this year, and if dancing wasn't a thing at your old school...you know. It'd be a new thing.”

He opened his mouth, and while he still didn't smile, his eyes seemed to be...fuck if I know. “I think homecoming is pretty common,” he said.

Duh. “Right. So...full homo. Would you go to the dance with me?” My phone buzzed something like five times in a row. “One second. Must be Shell; no one else sends one word at a time messages.” I pulled my phone out, sweating and popped open the messages. My finger was kind of shaking and I hit her last message – a video – by mistake. “She sent a video.” I looked at Kai and tried to smile. “Must be totally important, right?”

I admit I was completely – had completely – lost my grip in this conversation. What should have been a really simple request and turn down for a date was a full on dumpster fire – and I was making it worse by looking at my phone when the guy hadn't even answered me.

It all got so much worse.

From my phone came my voice. “Oh God, you're so right! If Kai were gay I'd suck him so hard his balls would implode!”

I stared at my phone, eyes wide. My phone buzzed again in my hand, but I was shocked so badly – and then I whipped the phone back down to my side so hard I swear I broke the sound barrier.

“Uh. I. Oh shit.”

Kai regarded me with what I can only think had to be confusion, but it would change. Laughter. Pretending to puke. Maybe other shit I can't think of just yet.

“Wow. Look at the time,” I said, turning and heading to the classroom door. I went to the back and sat down, nowhere near the seats Kai and I had been in on Friday. He walked in and glanced at me briefly and I sunk lower into my chair. I pulled out my phone and looked at the texts – Shell had been trying to warn me, not to ask Kai because of a video that had been posted and someone had shared to her. Which meant...it was going to be all over the school.

Oh, fuck my life.

I was filled with a mix of anxiety about how things would play out and feeling dumb for being embarrassed in front of Kai – even more than just asking him out. I was also pissed about the recording, more pissed than I can remember being, and I knew who had to have done it.

<You're about to be an only child> I sent to Shell.

<I called my mom> she replied.

<She better get to him before I do>

I sat through one of my favorite classes, fuming and embarrassed as shit. How do you even apologize to someone for something so off the cuff that wasn't meant for anyone to hear? Those thoughts dominated my mind until the bell rang, and I lingered to let Kai leave before me. No sense us getting stuck in the doorway together like a couple porcupines.

If Huey were in the building, I'd probably be being suspended right about now. I was suddenly struck by the idea that Shell's mom would have to see the video to really understand what Huey had done. God. Damn. I think the only thing that was saving me even a little bit right now was that the morons in the school were focused on the videos Georgia had released of Vin. It was only a matter of time until that got out of hand and police were involved or something – but that was way too late. Everyone had already seen his goods, not that he had anything to be ashamed of. Still, pretty huge invasion of someone's privacy.

Don't hit send.

I met up with Shell at lunch.

“My mother had to see the video,” she said immediately. “She wasn't getting it. At first she was all 'Oh, sibling rivalry, blah, blah, blah. I'll talk to him.'” She paused. “So once she heard it...fucking embarrassing.”

“She should try having it happen to her,” I grumbled.

“She's pissed. Like Huey is going to be in so much shit when he gets home.”

“I'm going to kill him when I see him,” I said darkly.

“I'm not too excited, either. She wants to know if that's how we talk all the time, and now my dad is pissed at me and calling me names.”

I threw my head back and looked up at the ceiling. “Jesus Fucking Christ.” I looked at her. “Is he even pissed at Huey? Or just about forcing his ideas of being female on you?”

She shook her head. “I don't know. But when I get Huey alone....”

I snorted. “I got your message just as I was asking Kai out, too.”

Her eyes went wide. “No way. Really? Like he heard the video?”

I dropped my chin to my chest. “Yep. Most embarrassing moment of my life.”

“Damn,” she said, but I looked up at her because I heard the humor in her voice.

“Don't you dare laugh,” I warned her.

She held a hand up. “I won't. I won't.” She pressed her lips together. “Yet.”

I rolled my eyes and sighed.

“So. You'll go back and ask him again, right? This could be like a meet-cute story later?”

I looked at her, and she was obviously amused with herself.

“No. I think I'll limit myself to one death by embarrassment in front of him for this lifetime, thank you,” I grumbled,

“At least he wasn't, like, your crush,” she said. “But I think you should ask him again, or pick someone, because the dance is coming and-”

“Nooo, oh no. I'm not asking anyone else. You think this is so funny? You just go with Kent and sink or swim on your own.” I started to eat my lunch.

“Andy! Come on! You promised!” she whined.

I shook a finger at her and swallowed. “No. I did not promise, but I asked anyway. Your brother caused this epic failure, so you make him go with you.”

“Ew. Gross, Andy.”

“He's your family.”

“Don't be mean.”

“Facts is facts,” I said with a shrug.

“I know,” she said with a smile. “What if I ask Kai for you.”

I widened my eyes. “The hell you will. I will tell everyone you put peanut butter on your nipples to get the family dog to lick them if you do that.”

“Gross. And I don't have a dog.”

“Huey then. He's like an animal. He might even like peanut butter.”

“There's something wrong with you,” she pouted. “You never know. Kai might like that you're a sure thing.”

I stared at her. “You did not just say that. Not you, Miss 'I just want to feel something and not be lonely'.”

She dropped her jaw and swiped at my arm. “That was once!”

“Twice. Neither of those guys ended up dating you, either. And you proved you were a sure thing.”

“It was a blowjob, not sex!” she hissed. Tossing her hair, she grunted. “Fine. I won't ask Kai for you.”

We at in silence for a few moments, besides the normal cafeteria noises. Both of us were stewing in our own issues.

“I'm still going to kill Huey.”

She looked at her phone. “My dad says I need to be more like a lady.”

“Nothing says lady like peanut-”

“Shut up!”

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

By the end of the day it was still all about Vin's exposure. I might have normally gone to Shell's that afternoon, but I really wasn't sure I'd be able to stop myself if I saw Huey right then. So I reluctantly went home, but thankfully my mom wasn't there. Maybe she hadn't actually been fired the other day – you never really knew with her.

I streamed some music in my room and just flopped back. It shouldn't bother me what other people will think or say, but I still would have to deal with their bullshit. I don't think anyone gets excited about the idea of people thinking badly about them. The fact is it really doesn't matter what someone thinks about us. I read somewhere that what people think about us is none of our business. There's a lot of situations where people minding their own business a little more – like not sending nude videos out – would be a smart thing.

Eventually I got up and logged into a game I like to play. In the real world I have Shell for the most part, but when I need some gay vibes I go online, and I have a nice mixed group of people to pal around with. My favorite is a guy that goes by Tomo. I have no idea if it's a real name, an avatar or just something he likes. Fortunately, he was on.

“Bro. 'Bout time. I have found some trash people today. I say we go blow their shit up.”

I grinned. “Let's get it.”

For about an hour I had no more thoughts about school, the video, Shell, Huey or Kai. A few more of our friends joined us and we spent the time just having some virtually destructive fun. I broke for some food and to hit the bathroom, and then it was just me and Tomo for a while.

“So what's good, bro? Haven't seen you online in a few days. Burger clown got you tied to a grill?”

I chuckled. “I had some work hours, yeah. School started back up, so there's that.”

“Oh, first day. Kids always dress better – back to school clothes. A week later they'll look like the scrubs they normally look like,” he said with a chuckle. “Spot any hotties?”

I rolled my eyes. “I got trolled hard by my friend's little brother. We were in her room, and she was giving me a hard time about how she's got a date for homecoming and trying to get me to ask some guy out.”

“Nice! Was it her brother?”

“God, no!” I burst out laughing. “That little shit can just go fuck right off.” I paused, chuckling. “No, I was telling her about this guy I met in class – he's new – and I made some dumb comment about blowing him.”

“As you do.”

“As you do,” I agreed. “So, I go to ask this guy out-”

“No shit?”

“No shit. I'm asking him out, and Shell is blowing up my phone because her asshole little brother recorded me saying I'd blow this guy, and I accidentally played that right in front of him.”

“Bro! No way! Oh my God! Now you have to blow him, just 'cause you said you would.” He burst out laughing.

“Ugh. It was so fucking embarrassing. Not going to lie, if I could have just dropped into a hole and hid, I would have.”

“No doubt,” he said, still laughing. “That's some fucked up trolling. Did you beat his stupid ass? The little brother, I mean.”

“Not yet. His parents have him right now. I was too hot to go over there tonight.”

“Yeah, fair. Don't need the cops taking you in for a revenge killing or something.” We both laughed. “Tell me about this guy, though.”

“Eh. I just met him. He's new, cute as hell, kind of slim and a bit taller than I am.”

“Tall. Mm. So what are you going to do about him?”

I snorted. “What is there to do?”

He laughed. “Yeah, fair. But let's just say he proves to be something that rarely happens, like mature, and this doesn't blow up any chance you had.”

I chuckled. “To be fair, we don't really know each other, so he's just one more fit as fuck guy out there, one of millions.”

“Yeah, true. I'm just saying. What would you do if that wasn't a killer for him?”

I sighed. “I don't know. I can't see why he'd not care about that. If he's been straight and just shot me down it's the same thing either way. If he was gay, he'd probably be a little weirded out at best.”

He sighed. “Yeah. I mean...it just sounds neat. New guy. Mystery. Unexpectedly mature. Cute.”

I laughed. “You sound more disappointed that I am.”

There was a moment of silence before Tomo responded. “I just think about your situation once in a while. We've always been good about how we talk on here – no real names, no talking about where we live. It's better in some ways. I just got done with college last year, and I learned so much about myself and relationships, and you're walking into college next year with a few kisses from drunk boys. I'm just....”

I chuckled. “Yeah. Not much in the way of dating going on here.”

He sighed. “It's not just dating. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's a thing...but the bigger thing is intimacy. Things happen when you date, sure. It's fun. It's a huge ego boost when you can say you have one, and it's exciting. But somewhere along the way people forget about things like how good a hug feels. For me...there was a friend I had in another building when we were in dorms. Sometimes we'd just hang out, getting a cuddle on because we need that. I don't know if you do, but people forget things.”

“Forget things.”

“Sure. Like when I was little I used to love pistachio ice cream. But for some reason, I stopped eating it – opportunity, distraction, whatever. So later when I was out somewhere and I ended up having Pistachio ice cream, I suddenly remembered how good it was. The same thing happens with other things in our life. When you were a little kid, people used to hug you for everything, but as you get older you start to feel too grown for stuff. It's a thing, bro.”

“Well, I don't think that was in the cards here anyway.”

“Yeah. Probably. Nice to think about though.”

Later that night I lay awake staring at my ceiling. Tomo wasn't entirely wrong. I have no idea why I failed to connect with people – guys – in order to actually date. I don't know why my experience was pretty much drunk boys who got really straight when they sobered up. I just...didn't know.

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

Kai wasn't in class the next morning, which was okay with me. At least it would be marginally less awkward. Unfortunately a few more people were talking about the damn video, and a few guys decided to mimic me in the hallway, except Don Lewis – he actually stopped right in front of me.

“Andy, surprised to see you on your feet!” He paused, letting people pay attention to him. “Used to seeing you on your knees.”

“Not for you,” I snorted. “Must be some other guy you have blowing you.”

“Cocksucker,” he mumbled, slamming his shoulder into mine.

I shoved him back. “Your dad calls me his cocksucker.”

He made some noises like he was dismissing me, but I walked away feeling like I'd held my own at least. One other guy covered his crotch comically and told me he needed his balls just like they were. I snorted and asked him what balls, and he just laughed. Just about anything could be thought of as piling on right now, but I think some people really just try to be funny without malice. Doesn't make me like it much better right now, but...perspective I guess.

After school I ran home and got changed, picked up Shell, and we went to work. The shift wasn't anything special – the supervisor was her stupid self, Shell and I served up food and tried to remember we were getting paid. At least it was busy enough not to get boring.

After we got done I took Shell home, and that was where the day really went off the rails. I wasn't going to go in, but her dad came out to their porch and waved at me. Shell frowned and got out to see what he was waving about – but apparently he wanted me. Probably just wanted me to do something this weekend for them.

He went in ahead of us, and we followed. In the living room he muted the TV as we walked in. Shell's mom was in the doorway to the kitchen.

“Andy, we've known you for a long time. Always thought you were a good kid,” he said.

“Uh. Thanks?”

He shook his head. “Frankly, the situation I found out about yesterday is pretty troubling.”

“Yeah,” I sad. I hope they paddled that little bastard. More than once.

“My daughter is a young woman, not someone you should be having that kind of locker room talk around. You understand me.”

I stared at him for a second. “Wait, what?”

He put his hands on his hips. “That kind of talk is entirely inappropriate around my daughter. I don't care what you say around your guy friends, but you should really know better.”

I looked at Shell who was just rolling her eyes, but obviously wasn't going to say anything.

“Okay. Well, your daughter has a lot more than what I say available through her phone, so I think you missed out on the whole innocent female thing. But what about Huey spying and recording people and sharing it with the world?”

He waved a hand. “Little brothers. They do these things to annoy their siblings.”

I stared again for a moment. “So wait. You don't like that being said to your daughter, but you're okay with your younger son recording the conversation and sharing it publicly? Are you serious?”

He lifted his chin up. “How I raise my kids is my business.”

I. Was. Pissed. “It'll be your business the next time you want your gutters cleaned, too.” I turned to leave, and he barked out from behind me. It was something lame about respecting him in his house. I didn't even turn around, just flipped him off as I kept going. I was so mad and so hurt I was actually wanting to turn around and fight the jerk. The desire to punch his jowly face was almost more than I could resist.

Instead, I fumed and headed right back to my car, trying to block out anything being said behind me. The only thing that registered for sure was the door slamming. I drove home faster that I usually do and stalked through the house to my room. My mom hollered at me to settle down, but she couldn't be bothered to do more than that, thankfully.

I pulled off my uniform top and threw it in the hamper as hard as you can throw a shirt. What a fucking jerk. After all the help I give them, they just think it's okay to sit in judgment? To give their own kid a pass? I'm going to find some way to make Huey pay, that's for sure. I sat down on my bed and let out a deep sigh, also admitting I was angry at Shell for not sticking up for me at all. I stood up and kicked my shoes into my closet and then emptied my pockets before tossing my work pants after my work shirt. A tee shirt and shorts later I was on my bed, and Shell was bitching about her dad and apologizing. It wasn't her fault, but still.

The next day Kai wasn't in class either, and I started to wonder if he'd dropped the class out of fear of me jumping his dick. Seemed a little overboard, but whatever. Later in the day I heard there had been a fight the day before in the locker room between some guys on the soccer team, which made me wonder if Kai had been involved. I thought about anyone else I knew on the soccer team, but I drew a blank – I didn't much care about the soccer team.

I didn't have to work that night, and I sat home and looked over the directions for an upcoming project in Global Studies and tried to get an idea on what I'd do for it. Tomo wasn't on, and I felt tired anyway and just went to sleep. Thursday Kai also wasn't in class, but by now I was just thinking he'd dropped it for whatever reason. I didn't have him in any other classes so...I guess that's just gone before it started. I worked that night, and some guys from a neighboring soccer team came in after a game. Some of them looked pretty sweet in those soccer shorts, except they were all dirty and sweaty and stuff.

I don't mind sweat, properly produced.

Friday...Friday Kai sat down with me at lunch.




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