Breeze (The Mighty Queertet: Story 3)
Chapter 17: April Showers I by Star and Victory Thru Tears
Notes: You knew it was going to happen, yes it’s that time again… it’s multiple POV time in the Star-and-Victory-verse!
I turn to look at the clock. It’s blank. I poke her in the ribs. “Taz, did you unplug the clock?”
“Not since September,” she mumbles sleepily.
I grin. She unplugged our alarm clock because we were up late… um, let’s just say we were making up for lost time over the summer. We were three hours late for our first day of school. Which kept up our grand tradition of being on detention before even making it to the first class of the school year.
I get up and check that the alarm clock is still plugged in. It is. For the first time I look out of the window. It’s pitch black outside and the wind is howling.
There’s an almighty roll of thunder and only milliseconds later the whole room is illuminated by a crack of lightning.
Taz bounds out of bed and nearly hurls herself out of the window in excitement.
“No!” I tell her, wrapping my arms around her. “You’re staying inside.”
She’s literally bouncing with exhilaration. She adores storms. “Please?”
“No.” Knowing Taz, she’d get hit by a bolt of lightning. She might not even notice. “If you promise to stay on the porch I’ll let you have your sketch pad and you can draw the lake.” I have to give her a little compromise.
“Wass going on?” Julie asks sleepily.
“I’m going to draw!” Taz replies, wriggling out of my arms and heading for the door.
“Taz! Clothes first. Something warm,” I instruct, then turn to Julie. “Big storm. Power cut.”
Julie moans. “I need a hot drink in the morning.”
“Guess you’ll have to make do with juice,” I say. “Think of the bright side, it was Taz’s turn to cook today. You’ve just saved yourself a day of food poisoning.”
Taz sticks her tongue out at me and heads for the bathroom with a ton of clothes—my clothes!—in her arms.
“You wanna head downstairs and see if any of the boys are up?” I ask Julie.
Some of the boys are up. Fulton is deeply unimpressed with the lack of power, but Portman is in his element, I guess he likes a good crisis. Charlie is wandering around looking for candles. Every so often someone walks into a chair or table or something and we hear a cuss. Julie and I are being sensible and sitting down and staying put.
Finally the living room is lit up like a séance and it occurs to us that we have nothing to do. It’s going to be a really boring day. Except for Taz who is sitting on the porch, scribbling away madly. Which can only be a good thing, Taz near all these candles would be a lawsuit waiting to happen.
I hear a whoosh and a thump and a string of words I’d never imagined that Adam Banks knew.
We all look at each other in amusement, then get up to see what the problem is. All of us but Charlie that is, I guess they still haven’t made up. Only Fulton thinks of bringing a candle with him.
Adam is standing at the bottom of the stairs holding his wrist, Taz’s sketch book is on the floor by his feet. Guy is about four steps up looking decidedly pale.
“What happened?” Portman asked.
“I tripped over something.” Adam says. “Grabbed the banister to support myself.” He winces. “It had to be my bad wrist, didn’t it?”
I pick up Taz’s sketch book. “Sorry, she gets scatter-brained when she wants to draw.” I go to the front door. “Taz!”
She bounds over. “Oooh! You found it! I was making do with an A4. A3 is so much better!”
“Taz, you left it on the stairs,” I tell her. “Adam fell over it, he’s hurt his wrist.”
She slaps a hand over her mouth. Instead of the nutty response I was expecting, she walks over to him and puts a hand on his shoulder. “I’m really sorry, Adam. I get kinda forgetful when I want to draw. I’m so sorry.”
He looks a little stunned, but gives her a tolerant grin. “It’s ok. I packed my painkillers. I’ll be fine.”
I hide a grin. Taz inspired and Adam on painkillers. This could be an amusing day after all.
We wander back into the living room and I take a seat next to Charlie, we haven’t talked for days, so he looks surprised that I’m sitting next to him.
“Are you and Adam ok?” I ask in a low voice.
“Fine,” he snarls back.
Yeah, right. “He just hurt his wrist,” I tell him.
“He’s got painkillers,” he replies in a cold voice.
Things are definitely not good between them. And I saw him walk off after talking to Taz yesterday, she looked quite hurt. He’s definitely not happy.
“Ok. How come you’ve not said hi to Taz yet?”
He sighs deeply. “I don’t get you Maya, one minute you hate me for taking up all her time, the next you’re getting at me if I don’t.”
“I’m not getting at you.” I say. “Really. If you want to talk about it…”
“With you?” He laughs and gets up. “I’m going to find a book to read.”
I guess that conversation is done with.
I feel an arm around my waist and turn to grin at Guy. It’s still horribly dark outside, and my watch tells us that it’s 9:15 a.m.
It should be an interesting day.
Guy kisses me on the cheek. “Good morning.”
I motion to the storm outside. “If you want to say that.”
He leans against the counter, pouring himself a glass of juice. “How’d you sleep?”
I nod, indicating it was good.
“No trouble from the lesbians?”
I grin again. “No, they behaved. Argued and giggled a lot, but I guess that’s expected. How were Charlie and Adam?”
The smile on his face is replaced by a thoughtful look.
“I don’t know. It was really weird. When I went to sleep, Adam was in the other bed. Then I woke up at like 3:45, and Charlie was in the other bed. But then I woke up again when the power went out, and Charlie was downstairs, and Adam was on the couch in another room.”
“Hmm.” I start to wonder. “Think they had another fight?”
“I guess. But maybe it’s good… getting things out in the open always helps.”
We sit in silence for a moment, and a clap of thunder almost shakes the house. Guy jumps, spilling his orange juice all over himself and the floor. He looks absolutely terrified.
He gives me a sheepish smile as he grabs some paper toweling and starts to mop up his mess.
“Guy Germaine, are you scared of storms?” A smile comes to my face.
He blushes a deep red. “Um… uh… possibly.”
I start to giggle. He gives me an indignant look. I smother my laughter, and pull him up from the floor. He throws away the wet paper, and puts his arm around my waist again.
“You still have orange juice all over you,” I point out as we walk into the room where the others are.
He shrugs, but jumps as another roar of thunder vibrates through the house. I snicker to myself.
Taz is still outside drawing. Adam is lying on the couch looking a little dazed and Maya is sitting under his legs, going through some old pictures. Fulton and Portman are conversing quietly on a chair together. Charlie’s nowhere in sight.
“Did Adam take the pills?” Guy asks. Maya looks up and nods, a grin on her face.
“What?” I poke him in the ribs.
“Ow, hey!” He complains. I smile, and he kisses me on the nose. “Adam gets absolutely crazy when he’s on these painkillers. It’s the funniest thing you’ll ever see.”
“Well, I think these pictures are going to give him some competition.” Maya giggles, holding up a few pieces of paper. Guy and I move over to her with interest. The pictures feature a small Adam Banks, naked in a bathtub.
“He was one ugly baby!” Guy exclaims.
“No, he’s cute!” I argue.
Adam looks up at us, a hazy expression on his face. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing, Adam, go back to sleep sweetie.” Maya pats his forehead.
“Ok, Mommy.” Adam turns over and buries his face into the pillow.
Guy and I laugh over the pictures with Maya, and he slips his arm around my waist. We exchange a small smile, and he kisses my cheek again.
And I was having doubts about coming?
I shift my attention to Fulton. He seems nervous and agitated. He keeps walking around the room. Occasionally I tug at his hand and tell him to sit with me, which he does for a few minutes, then resumes pacing.
He stops, looks at Maya and says, “Go get your girlfriend.”
She doesn’t say a word, just gets up and goes.
“Where’s Charlie?” he asks. Charlie has vanished because he’s feeling sorry for himself, I guess he and Adam are still fighting.
“I’ll go get him,” I offer.
Fulton moves over to Adam in an attempt to wake him up. Adam blinks several times, groans and mutters, “I’m still here.”
“You awake?” Fulton asks him.
“Stay that way, I’ve got something to say.”
I bound up the stairs towards Charlie’s room. I walk in without knocking and he looks pissed off. “Downstairs.” I tell him. “Fulton wants to talk.”
“What about?” He asks in a surly tone.
“If you come downstairs you’ll find out,” I reply.
He sighs and gets up to follow me.
We bump into Maya, who’s leading a sodden looking Taz back into the room. She’s strangely quiet. Maybe Maya’s told her to behave—or maybe I’m just being mean, maybe she can sense the atmosphere too. Taz smiles at Charlie but he doesn’t return it.
I take a seat next to Fulton and take his hand.
“I’ve got something to tell you. I should have told you ages ago and I don’t know why I didn’t.” He says.
Guy and Julie exchange a look and Julie speaks up hesitantly. “This sounds like something important. Are you sure you want us here?”
Fulton nods. “You’re part of the group now.”
I squeeze his hand, encouraging him to continue.
“Um, my parents didn’t just beat me when I went home for Thanksgiving. They, uh… disowned me. Told me they’d do worse than beat me if I ever went back there.”
Everyone looks horrified, but not surprised.
Taz is the first to speak. “Jesus, and there was me attacking you. I think my words were ‘pity party’. Shit. I’m sorry.” She looks like she wants to say more but can’t find the words.
“It’s ok,” he tells her. “You didn’t know… and I didn’t know about you either, so don’t feel bad about it.”
Charlie turns to him. “I’m really sorry I wasn’t there for you. I should have known, especially after seeing you not want to wear the Reed jersey.”
Fulton takes a deep breath. “Look, I didn’t tell you because I wanted you to all beat yourselves up for not noticing, or so you’d feel sorry for me. I told you because I’m sick of hiding it. I’ve tried calling several times, and Portman’s parents have been great, trying to talk to my parents, but it’s not working. I’m going to talk to Bombay.” He smiles at me. “He’s a lawyer and a really good guy, he’ll tell me what I can do.”
“Bombay Duck is a Chinese dish.” Adam mutters and passes out again.
I snort, I can’t help it. Here’s Fulton having a serious conversation, and Adam comes out with something like that.
My laughter is contagious and pretty soon we’re all laughing.
“Ahhhh!” We all look up as Maya lets out a frustrated yell. Even Adam jolts awake.
“What?” Taz asks cautiously.
“I’m bored,” Maya mumbles, leaning her head on Taz’s shoulder.
“I like bread. Especially with peanut butter.” Adam promptly passes out again.
“He’s getting really weird.” Julie mutters in my ear. I smile and nod.
“Well, do you have any suggestions of what we could do?” Portman asks.
“Hey, yeah, let’s play truth or dare!” I speak up.
Everyone stares at me like I’ve sprouted wings out of my back. Taz and Maya look like they want to kill me. Julie elbows me in the ribs.
“What? Oh. Right. Sorry. Let’s not play that game.” I say weakly.
“Well what can we do?” Fulton sighs. He looks a lot different since telling us about his parents. Not necessarily happier, but definitely like a weight has been lifted from his shoulders.
“Oh, to hell with it. Let’s just play truth or dare.” Taz sighs. She sounds reluctant, but she’s got a mischievous grin on her face. She gets up from the couch for a moment. “Charlie! Come in here!”
We all wait, but he doesn’t come.
“Charlie!” Taz calls again.
Fulton tries this time. “Hey, Charlie, come in here.”
Charlie saunters in, a pissed off expression on his face. “What?”
“Sit down, we’re playing truth or dare!” Maya clears a space in between her and Adam’s motionless body.
“I’d rather not,” he responds coldly.
“Oh, come on Charlie, don’t be a spoil-sport!” Julie teases.
He rolls his eyes, giving a sigh. He sits down on the floor. Maya, a little confused, scoots back to the place she had cleared for him.
“Ok, who wants to start?” Fulton asks.
“Well, we left off with me last time, so I’ll start,” Maya says. “Fulton, truth or dare.”
Fulton looks a little wary. “Truth.”
“Ok, that’s easy enough. When did you fall for Portman?”
Fulton blushes. “I… well, during the Goodwill Games.”
Portman grins at his boyfriend’s embarrassment, and squeezes his hand.
“What did all of you boys see in each other then?” Taz bursts out. “I’ve seen pictures, you all had shell suits!”
We all snort with laughter, especially Fulton.
“No, I’m serious, you did!”
“Hey, I wore mine with attitude.” Portman says indignantly.
Taz can’t control her giggles.
“I did!” Portman insists. “Hey, I’ll throw you back outside, Munchkin!”
“No, don’t do that! I just got her back in here!” Maya throws her arms around Taz’s middle. We’re silent for a moment, and Taz giggles again.
“You looked like… like… turtles!” She chokes out.
Adam chooses now to wake up. He looks at her for a moment, and starts to sing. “Teenage mutant ninja turtles, heroes in a half shell! Turtle power!”
He passes out again.
We stare at each other blankly before bursting out into laughter again.