Part VII: Bad Trip
I walked home with my hands shoved deep in my pockets, contemplating the last two days. So much had happened and it was kind of crazy. I already rationalised that I kissed Sage because they present mostly feminine. That helped make the whole thing easier to deal with. Although I didn’t ever want to do something like that again. Next time I wanted to kiss someone or even hug them, I would ask first.
More importantly, no one told my parents what really happened, which I’m grateful for. Maybe in his own way God was looking out for me by sending me good friends like Caroline. My phone vibrated and I saw a text from Zoe.
“Hey, how are you?” I hesitated on the reply button. We’d sporadically been in touch but the conversations had always been brief. Probably in part because so much has happened I’ve sent quick, short replies. Not much of a conversation to go on with that.
“I don’t know,” I replied honestly. She simply responded with a question mark, inviting me to elaborate. I didn’t feel comfortable telling her about Sage so I settled for explaining the way my parents had been acting. Avoiding my gaze and treating me differently; like I was no longer their real son. I’d stopped paying attention to where I was walking as I texted and found myself near the campus wall in an area of foliage. I decided to sit in the grass and wait for her response.
“I can’t imagine what you’re going through now. Do you want me to come visit though so you can talk about this in person?” she offered. Zoe, come to Ravenhold? I’d never really asked her opinions on parahumans or LGBT people but I didn’t want to risk upsetting my new housemates anymore than necessary.
“You can, but I’ll warn you a lot of the people I’m living with are gay…” I said, anxiously wondering what she would say.
“That’s fine. I never really mentioned it but I have a gay cousin so I don’t really care about that stuff. I know it bothered you though. Guessing that’s changed or is changing?”
“You got no idea,” I replied with a smile. She sent a grinning emoji and then said she had to get back to class but would text him later this evening. I checked the time and saw it was 2pm and I was starved. I headed to the canteen which was still open and grabbed some food. I found Tyler and Mace, he was teaching Mace some kind of card game. It looked like a dungeon and dragons type of universe.
“Mind if I join?” I asked
“Are you prepared to learn about Magic the Gathering?” Tyler asked.
“Sure,” I shrugged. I joined them and we talked about the game and played a few rounds. I completely sucked but so did Mace so I didn’t feel too bad about it.
“So, have fun seeing your parents?” Tyler asked.
“Define fun,” I joked.
“What about yesterday?” Mace began. “What was all the drama that happened?” I hesitated, not really wanting to tell them. Whenever I hung out with Tyler and Mace it was just us guys and none of this LGBT stuff mattered so much.
“My powers threatened to overcome me,” I said, deciding to half tell the truth. “If Caroline hadn’t gotten to me when she did a lot of people would’ve been hurt.”
“Oh, damn,” Mace said, eyes widening. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” I shrugged. “It’s a little embarrassing though.”
“Don’t be embarrassed. We’re all here to learn how to control our abilities. Mistakes happen,” he shrugged.
“My last mistake really hurt someone…” I trailed off. I hadn’t thought about her in a while now. Come to think of it I never thought to reach out to Harry, although he probably hates my guts. I opted not to pursue the idea and focussed on the next game.
When we returned to the house people were getting ready to go out to an under 18 club. Caroline asked if I wanted to go with them and I decided that yes, I did. I needed some fun to even out the last few days. I tried to ignore the stares of the others, focussing instead on the club itself. I signed some waiver about mental abilities. I was a bit squeamish about the idea but I needed to have a good time.
Once the band started playing I felt the effects immediately. I hadn’t even realised how tense my body was until I started to dance. I found myself dancing who a group of strangers and that was fine. They didn’t know me and I didn’t know them. When I decided to leave the dancefloor for some air one of the girls followed me. I didn’t even know her name but I brought us both drinks – non-alcoholic.
“So, who are you cutie?” she asked. She was short at 5’5, with a blond bob. Fairly attractive by white people standards although I wasn’t feel any particularly strong attraction to her.
“I’m Allen,” I replied.
“Juniper,” she replied, smiling. “I’ve not seen you about, are you from Ravenhold?”
“Yeah, how did you guess?” I asked.
“Us townies know anyone new is probably from there. Havenport is small so everyone knows everyone growing up here,” she explained.
“Makes sense,” I nodded. “Do you go to the local school then?” I asked.
“Yup, boring human. No powers. Never had any in my family so no surprises there. What about you?” she asked.
“I’m the first to develop any.”
“Wow, how’d your parents take that?” she laughed. I shifted uncomfortably and her expression dropped for a moment. Then she grinned at me.
“Wanna dance some more?” she asked. I accepted and we returned to the dancefloor. She wanted to dance closer and I didn’t mind, enjoying the carefree company. Mace turned up and joined us, talking briefly to one of her friends. They played a new song and the powers seemed to kick up a notch. I glanced at Juniper to ask her if she needed a break when she reached up to cup my face. I blinked at her and realised what she was going to do. I let her kiss me and returned it, melding my body against hers as we did. I heard a few whoops and cheers from her friends nearby.
We continued dancing and kissed a few times although I didn’t let my hands wonder from her hips when we did. Mace signalled me when the others were beginning to leave and I told him to go ahead without me. I didn’t want to spend the evening with the others glaring at me. I stayed with Juniper and her friends – Carl, and Gina – as we left the club.
“Wanna go to my loft and get wasted?” Carl offered. The girls all agreed and I saw no reason why not too. Carl lived in a small two bedroom house, although his housemate was apparently doing a night shift.
“How old are you all?” I asked. I had assumed they were all around my age, which was 16.
“I’m 20,” Carl replied with a smirk. Gina was 18 and Juniper 17.
“Oh, wow…” I trailed off.
“Wait, aren’t you 18 too?” Juniper asked.
“Yeah, yeah,” I quickly lied. I regretted it the moment I did it. They went into the house’s loft and Carl quickly pulled out alcohol and lit a joint. I began questioning my decision to join them but didn’t know how to politely leave the situation.
“Never have I ever!” Gina proposed, her long ginger hair had fallen out of it’s plait at some point while dancing, and fell over her shoulders in graceful waves. Carl had short blond hair with light stubble, he was a little shorter than me.
“Here,” Carl said, pushing a beer into my hand. I hesitated before taking a small sip. It tasted a bit weird but not unpleasant. I joined the others in a circle. Gina readily poured some spirit shots and handed everyone three.
“You know the rules. I said something I’ve not done; if you’ve done it drink up suckers!” Gina exclaimed, making the other two laugh.
“Never have I ever done it with a chick!” Carl jumped in first. I blinked, not realising he was gay. Juniper took a shot but Gina didn’t, smirking. I had technically not done it period so I took a shot, earning some glances.
“…I’m a virgin…” I admitted.
“Awww!” Gina said. “Juniper can change that,” she added with a chuckle, making Juniper blush.
“Or I could,” Carl added, sending him a wink. I blushed immediately at the suggestion.
“Right, my turn!” Juniper said, trying to change the topic through her furious red cheeks. “Never have I ever believed in god.” My eyes widened momentarily and then I took a shot.
“That answers the whole virgin thing then,” Gina murmured. I just laughed at her comment, feeling a wave of happy lightheadedness as the second shot hit me.
They continued playing and I started to lose count of how much alcohol I consumed. Then Carl lit a second joint and this one was passed around. I shrugged when it reached me and tried it. Immediately a wave of calm fell over me. Why was I even worrying about my parents or my housemates? I couldn’t figure out what there was to get stressed about.
I lost track of time as they joked around. Eventually they began truth and dares.
“I dare Allen to make out with Carl,” Gina smirked. I blinked at her and then glanced at Carl. I knew somewhere in the back of my mind I shouldn’t but I couldn’t sum up the energy to care. I shrugged and we both leaned into the middle of the circle, our lips meeting quickly. When we broke apart I stared at him briefly, surprised. I had actually found the whole experience surprisingly nice. Carl’s eyes lit up, his smile suggesting more than kissing.
“You two boys need a minute alone in heaven?” Gina joked. I blinked and broke the connection. What was I doing? I stood up quickly and turned towards the loft stairs.
“Wait, Allen, where-” Juniper followed me into the second floor corridor. I’m impressed we both managed the ladder to be entirely honest. “What’s up?” she asked.
“I’m straight,” I replied, putting force behind my words.
“Okay,” she laughed. “You can be straight and make out with a dude as part of a dare,” she continued, still laughing. She cupped my chin again and I let her kiss me and push me to the wall. She led me into a bedroom and lightly shoved me onto the bed. I watched as she removed her top and bra.
“What are you waiting for,” she murmured, lifting my hands to her breasts. I lifted them to her face and pulled her down to me for more kissing. I pleaded for it to match the same intensity as just moments earlier with Carl but it wouldn’t.
Eventually I gave up with a sigh, collapsing back. Juniper frowned down at me.
“Is everything okay?” she asked. “Am I doing something wrong?”
“No, no. I’m just not…” I trailed off.
“Oh right, you’re new to this. I’m probably being too forward,” she sighed covering her face with her hands. I decided to just nod and go along with her explanation. I checked my phone and saw it was 2AM.
“I should get back to Ravenhold,” I said.
“Okay,” Juniper said. She then grabbed me hand and scrawled a number on my palm. “Call me,” she insisted. I again nodded and pulled on my clothes. Neither Gina or Carl were on the second floor but I could hear movement and muffled laughter above. Juniper showed me to the door, a soft smile on her lips.
“It was nice to meet you,” she said.
“You too,” I said, shifting uncomfortably outside in the street. “I’ll be in touch,” I lied. I wanted to forget this whole episode of my life. I walked along the dark streets. It was too late to get the bus and I didn’t know anyone who could give me a lift so I walked back to the school. By the time my head hit the pillow it was 3:30AM.