The Others

Chapter 7: A Kiss

Okay, I know I managed to keep from skipping classes for over a week, but sometimes personal matters are more important than learning new stuff. Currently I’m sitting on a bench. I’m wearing my simplest clothes, together with a baseball cap. The cap, I made sure, covered almost my whole face, so no one would recognize me.

I’m sitting on a bench in front of his house. I haven’t seen him yet… maybe I did though, because I’m not sure I remember him right. I don’t really know why I’m here. Do I want to see him? Do I want to make sure his life is miserable? Or do I maybe want him to apologise to me?

I was 8 o’clock in the morning when I arrived here. That’s even earlier than I normally go to school, but I really wanted to make sure I would see him leave his house if he had to leave early. Nothing so far.

I have to admit, between 11 and 12:30 I spent mostly in a nifty little coffee shop across the street. I had a good view of his house, but maybe, just maybe, he managed to escape from my view. Right now it’s almost 3 PM and I start to think I've wasted a whole day sitting here.

With a sigh I look around, hoping my dad would show up. I consider very briefly going to the house and looking through the window, but then I remembered my brother’s stitches. My phone rings and while I am wondering why I have the machine with me, I look at the screen, it’s Sam.

“Hey Sam!” I say when I answer it.

“Addy, you’re not in school.”

“There is nothing wrong with your eyes,” I comment. She hesitantly laughs at that.

“Care to tell me why?” she asks.

And I’m not lying when I say I want to tell her, I’m about to tell, but at that moment a familiar face comes into view. It’s a boy from school, the blonde one I never can keep my eyes off. He is walking towards me, his eyes looking at the ground beneath him. For some reason it feels like he is walking to me.

“Adam Rills, are you going to tell me why?”

It feels weird to talk right now. I think I don’t want him to notice me. That’s why I whisper my response. “I gotta go now, Sam. I’ll see ya, okay?” Without waiting for an answer I hang up.

The beautiful and mysterious boy is still walking in my direction, with his gaze directed at the ground. I notice he is slowing down while approaching me and for a few seconds I feel my heartbeat speeding up. I wonder if he is coming for me. Wait, is he? He is walking in a straight line to me!

But, before he finally reaches me, he makes a sharp turn and walks to… my father’s house. Why would he want to visit my dad?

He doesn’t ring the doorbell or knock on the door, no, he simply grabs a key out of his pocket and opens the door with it. Then it hits me, he is my father’s new son. I never considered the possibility that my father found a new family after abandoning me. In my mind he was living in a crappy apartment, without any friends and without a family. But this looks like he got a new wife and even a new son. Why does this hurt?

My phone rings again. Sam, I bet. I answer without looking at the display.

“Addy, don’t you just hang up on me again,” she says with a serious tone.

“Is that Adam?” I hear someone in the background ask. I know the voice asking it, but I just don’t seem to remember who he is. I’m not that good with voices.

“You know what we forgot to do? We were going to see each other yesterday, but we both forgot.”

I sigh silently. “Yeah, stupid of me!”

“I really need to talk to you, Adam.”

I glance at my father’s house again. “Okay, I can be at your house in 20 minutes.”

“Seth is here as well, so I guess we can talk later. But still, we can hang out all three together.”

I really don’t feel like hanging out. I want to return home, do a background check on this boy, write a new post and make sure I have everything for my vacation. I want to leave as soon as summer break starts, and that’s in 3 weeks. “Okay, I’ll be there,” I respond.

I get on my bike and start driving to Sam’s home. My heart is still beating like hell, and I wonder if that’s because of the beautiful boy who is apparently my father’s new son, or if that’s because I’m going to hang out with my friends. I don’t want to enjoy being around others. Yet still I do.

When I ring the doorbell it doesn’t take Sam long to open it. She immediately pulls me into a hug. “I miss you,” she whispers.

“I’ve only been away for a day,” I say a little confused.

“I mean… I miss the person I saw last week. You've started skipping school again and you are responding with the same annoying short sentences when I ask you something. I really liked the new you, but now I fear you’re changing back to your old self.”

I swallow. I didn’t expect her to be this serious right away. We’re still in a hug and I find myself unconsciously pulling her closer to me.

“I’ve seen you change a lot during the past few years. I let it happen, because I know you don’t like people wandering all over you, but it hurts to see you broken.” We stay like this for another ten seconds. “Okay, let’s not talk about this anymore. Seth is upstairs, so let’s try to be a good friend.”

I swallow again. A friend. Do I want to be someone’s friend? I always knew for sure I didn’t want to have any friends, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be someone else’s, right?

Wait, why did she say it? Why did she tell me to be a good friend? Did something happen to Seth, which means he's in need of a friend. Or does she know about my disgust for friends? Did she ask me to be a friend to tease me? She smiles at me, grabs my hand and walks upstairs.

Seth is sitting on her bed. He is reading a magazine, based on the pink colours, a girl magazine. He manages to guide his glance just over it as we enter. For some reason I find it very cute, seeing Seth on Sam’s bed, with the magazine covering the part of his face right beneath his eyes. My heart again started beating as if it wanted to escape.

“Hey,” I say with a crack in my voice. I notice Sam is watching me with a weird face, so I quickly recover myself.

“Adam,” Seth greets me. “I want to ask you something.”

“Go on,” I say and unconsciously I decide to do whatever he wants. Now please don’t think I like him or something, because I’m not able to like someone at all. No, I just feel like I have to do whatever he asks me, to make it up to him for what I did to his presentation.

“I told you about the blog post I’m allowed to write for the anonymous blogger?” he asks. I nod. “I’m not the best writer, so I thought maybe you might help me?”

“Why me?” I immediately ask. In another world I would’ve thought it’s funny that he asks me, because, you know, I asked him to do it in the first place.

“I know you like writing, so I figured you’re better at it than I am. Or Sam is.”

Sam does her best to look indignant. “Hey, this is not why I agreed to invite Addy over.”

“Wait, you invited me over so Seth could ask me to help him?” I ask with a confused smile. I wonder why I even smile right now, even though it’s a confused smile (if that even exists). Do I feel flattered again, but this time because they secretly made a plan in which I’m involved? What’s happening to me, why do I like them caring about me. It’s like my mind is trying to make up for all the years I so desperately didn’t want any friends. “And how do you know I like to write?”

I’m not sure if I saw it right, it’s kind of dark in Sam’s room, but I think Seth blushed. “I saw you writing a couple of times in class,” he admits.

Okay, I don’t know what startles me more, the fact Seth watched me or the fact I’ve been discovered writing. What if he had decided to come over and take a look at what I was writing? That could’ve been the end of my blog. I should’ve been more careful. I’m not gonna let go of my cover again. “What do you want to write about?”

“The blogger asked me to write about the feeling of not being like the people around you.”

Some would call me a little heartless for this, but I decide to hear him out. “Why would he ask you to write about that topic?”

Sam was browsing on her computer during this whole conversation, but now she looks up and looks at Seth curiously.

“Because I told him I didn’t fit. I don’t feel like people understand me or like I’m in the right school,” he admits.

I know I don’t have to respond to this, Sam will. “Why?” She asks with a soft voice.

“I don’t know,” Seth says. “I just feel that way.”

Sam looks at me. “Addy, can you go downstairs to get us some drinks?” Obviously she wants me to leave so she can try to get Seth to tell her his story. She doesn’t have to ask me twice, I’m happy to leave. I don’t want him to get serious, I don’t want to feel like I have to help him. I don’t even know why I pushed him to explain in the first place. I already knew, so what was I thinking?

After ten minutes I return to Sam’s room. I find Seth leaning with his head on her shoulder. His eyes give away that he cried. When he sees me, he turns his head away and says with a breaking voice: “I think I should go.”

I don’t know what happened in here and to be honest I don’t want to know. Let Seth cry and confide in Sam, as long as it wasn’t me. Sam is about to say something, but she doesn’t. She watches Seth as he gets up and leaves the room. We stay silent for awhile.

Why does it feels so bad, knowing Seth left here in tears?

“Are you gonna ask me what happened in here?” Sam finally asks.

“Are you gonna tell me if I did?”

She shakes her head. “He asked me not to tell you, but I feel like I should.”

Was she about to break her promise to Seth? I don’t want that, I don’t want him to feel hurt. “Then don’t. If he told you in confidence, you shouldn’t break that.”

“I know, I know.” She looks bereft. “I planned on hearing you out to find out what’s going on with you, but I don’t really feel like it.”

“Good,” I say with a smile.

“How long are you going to stay?”

Does she ask me because she wants me to leave or because she wants me to stay? I don’t feel like figuring it out and even if I figured it out, I don’t know if I’m willing to obey her wishes. “No, I think I should go now.”

“Why do I feel like you’re my best friend, but still you’re not a friend at all?” she suddenly bursts out.

Is this supposed to hurt me? I think it could hurt me if I tried to be her friend and now I find out I have failed, but I always tried not having any friends, so she’s only telling me I did a good job. “Because I’m not good at being a friend,” I say.

“Why aren’t you? I think you could be a very good friend, but you don’t let yourself be one.”

“In the end, someone is going to get hurt whenever I befriend someone. Normally that’s me.” I look at her, I look her directly in the eyes.

“People think I’m a very confident girl. They see in me as an independent woman, even though I’m not a woman at all, I’m just a girl. Maybe I’m confident, but when it comes to you, you always leave me doubting myself. I like you, Adam, I mean I really like you. I know you don’t like me back, not like that anyway, but I still keep on liking you. So you’re right, someone always gets hurt.”

I shout out to Sam, not many people are able to leave me speechless. I keep looking at her, I keep watching the tears that are forming in her eyes. She doesn’t allow them to fall, but I feel like she will when I’m gone. And still, I know I can run away right now, but I don’t feel like it. I care for her. She is the one person I cared for even though I didn’t want to. “What do you mean, you like me. Like really like me?”

“I wasn’t going to tell you, but yeah, I do. Since the moment I met you. Since the moment I started to get to know the real you, even though I’m sure I still do not know the real you.”

I manage to go sit next to her and put my arm around her. “And what do you mean, I’ll not be able to like you back?”

“Because you keep shutting me out, Adam. I know you don’t want to be around me, but you don’t want to look lonely either.” She is crying now.

She couldn’t be more right, but I can’t tell her that. I should admit, I’m still a little flabbergasted to find out she likes me. Really likes me. I never thought anyone would like me, because, you know, what is there to like? I am a broken person, not because of what happened to me throughout the years, no, I was born broken. The only way I manage to keep others from discovering I’m made of shattered pieces of human, is to only show them one piece at a time. That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.

“Please talk to me now,” she sobs.

“I don’t know what to say, Sam,” I say while trying to comfort her by moving my hand on her back. I’m tracing small circles and she seems to relax in my hold. “I didn’t know.”

She smiles. “You’re not the only one who is able to keep secrets, Adam. I’m sorry for making this so complicated. I never meant to fall in love with you.”

There it is, the word “love”. I was never able to resist it, it always manages to blur my view. It always seem to make my shattered self feel like a whole again. “I will never hurt you, Sam,” I whisper and I kiss her, as if to disprove that statement. It doesn’t feel like I kiss her, though, because in my mind it’s Yuri’s lips on mine. I just do not seem to know why I feel like I’m kissing him, even if in my mind it’s my once called boyfriend, in my heart it’s Sam. Or is it the other way around? I don’t know, I don’t want to know. I just want to enjoy this moment. Her mouth opens, mine does the same.

And I feel like a human being.