Sex was great.
I had figured it would be but man, sex–sex was great. Kiley was great. And she insisted I was great too, though apparently she didn’t have anyone to compare me too. It was clear from the get go she was as a beginner as me. Neither of us had much idea of what to actually do. We went by what the movies told us and with a lot of fumbling and a few mistakes on my behalf of accidentally hurting her, we got to the right rhythm and it was amazing.
It was even better the second time. A week later when we went on another date. We returned to the scenic overlook and gave her backseat another go. The third time we actually did it on a couch. My roommates were out at a Halloween party and Kiley and I took advantage of the time alone. Man, a couch was tons better than a car. I wished so much Sam had taken the top bunk so we’d be able to use my bed.
The fourth time I had a vision. The same vision as before with Kiley which was quite a mood killer. This one lasted several minutes longer but didn’t give me any more information, just mostly Kiley crying and the guy yelling. The door to her room swung open and I saw a shadow looming in the doorway but couldn’t make out any features. Then my vision ended. Apparently it had lasted while we were, er, well the vision ended when Kiley noticed I wasn’t being as active as I had been and pulled completely away.
She flopped into the seat next to me and we just talked for the rest of the evening before heading back into town.
I spent pretty much the entire night wondering what triggered the visions from kissing and apparently sex. The next day I sat down with Sam during the lunch break and discussed the theory I had come up with. Basically, the intimacy. My not-really-vision of the past… of my father’s death… the probably reason I experienced it was because it had been my father. After all, I felt my father dying not–not the woman. So maybe now my visions could be triggered by intimacy.
Sam allowed me to sit there and hold his hands for a good fifteen minutes. I focused on our hands as I clutched his tightly. I ran my fingers across the backs and pressed my thumbs into his palms. Finally I gave up.
“Want to try kissing?” Sam offered, his nose crinkled in slight disgust.
I couldn’t stop the smile. “Nah, that’s fine. It’d be too gross.” I punched his arm. “You’re too much my brother.”
“So… so far you’ve had specific visions from kissing Eidan, kissing Kiley, kissing Blake, and in the middle of, er, sex. And you’re still having your regular visions.”
I nodded and then groaned, pressing my hands against my eyes. “And now my head hurts. I don’t know what this all means.”
I didn’t have anymore intimate visions before our final winter break. I felt nervous going home, worried that somehow everyone would know I had had sex. I didn’t really feel embarrassed about it, I just didn’t want to deal with the teasing from my sisters. And then I had a vision while hugging Artemis. It barely lasted three seconds, just an image of her in a wedding gown.
“Your eyes!” Arty exclaimed when we parted. “What just happened?!”
“I’ve been getting visions from being close. Mostly kissing though, not from hugging…” I managed to stop myself from admitting to the sex.
Arty looked highly amused. “And who have you been kissing?”
I ducked my head down. “I went on a date over a year ago with a guy to see if I might be bi or something and we kissed at the end and I had a vision. So some of my friends helped me over last spring.”
“So what did you see?”
I rubbed the back of my head. “Erm, well, it only lasted a couple of seconds so I didn’t get much. But uhhh, let me be the first to congratulate you!” I offered my hand and she eyed it suspiciously, demanding to know what I was congratulating her for. “You’ll find out,” I said then yanked her in for a noogie.
The second day back at Moonlight Falls Kiley and I went out for a much needed reunion. It had been a month since our last time together and I definitely missed it. We began to do it with the roof down, an added thrill and the icy air hitting out hot bodies felt nice. A couple weeks later I had another vision during our time together. Still no clue.
“Next time it happens just keep going,” I panted after I came to, since Kiley had pulled away from me. “I want to see–I want to see something.” The face of the guy who does this to her, I thought.
Kiley wiped the sweat from her face and sighed. “It’s just so damn awkward, you go all… still and it makes me feel kinda necrophiliac.” She shuddered. “It’s creepy. No offense.”
“If it makes you uncomfortable then don’t worry about it, I don’t want to ask you to do something that bothers you.”
Kiley snuggled close, trailing her fingernails lightly against my bare chest. “You’re such a great guy. I think if I were more into guys as a permanent solution you’d be the one I’d go for.” I already knew Kiley was pansexual and generally preferred girls romantically (or so she guessed). “Though watcher you’re so good looking. Your looks are pretty much my ideal image.”
My chest puffed up a bit. “Thank you. You’re pretty damn gorgeous yourself.”
Kiley giggled and, after making sure I felt okay, pounced on me for round two.
In February we celebrated Sam’s eighteenth birthday. He looked rather reluctant as we sang the birthday song and present his cake to him. After making a wish he bent in to blow out the candles.
Just like that, my best friend became an adult.
“Looking good,” I promised, smacking him on the arm.
“Yeah but now…” Sam stopped and frowned. I nudged him again to get him to spit it out. “I’m gonna start aging so much slower. It’s going to suck down the line when you…” He stopped again and looked rather pained.
“Hey, no matter what, friends forever, yeah? Even when I’m an old man and you’re still like this.” I hoped those words didn’t upset him too much. He smiled at me and went to distribute the cake which was a good thing since Blake seemed ready to explode having to wait much longer.
A few weeks after Sam’s birthday I went upstairs to find Eli mumbling frantically to himself and generally seeming to freak out. He had had his birthday the night before and seemed distant the entire time. Even to Varuna. After he had aged up she put her arms around him to kiss him and he just looked upset, which upset her. And today Eli had been extremely quiet all day. Withdrawn.
“Hey,” he said when he spotted me. His eyes were wide and he licked his lips nervously. “Want me to go?”
“Nah, that’s fine.” I moved closer and saw that he seemed pale again. He hadn’t an hour ago at dinner. “You feeling all right?”
“Eli, you never… never told me… if you were really sick with that thing, that disease you told us all you had.”
Eli groaned loudly. “Watcher. That was ages ago.” That didn’t answer my question. “If you’re just going to bug me me about this–“
“Nono, sorry. I just wondered since you seemed to have been doing so much better since this school year started but now you look awful again.”
“You have such a way with words,” Eli said rather darkly. “I’ve just not been sleeping well. Our final, final, final exams are coming up. I’m nervous. This is it, all right? You know how obsessed I am about my grades.”
That caused me to frown. “You haven’t seem as obsessed lately. You don’t seem to be studying as much.”
His eyes flickered away. “I study plenty.”
So many questions raced through my mind. He is so lying right now but why would he lie about studying? I wonder what his grades actually are, he hasn’t talked about them this semester at all. “How’s Varuna doing?”
“I–I don’t know. She’s mad at me, I think.” The way you ignored her last night. “I guess we’re just having a fight. Surely you and Kiley argue sometimes.”
“Kiley’s not my girlfriend. And yeah I guess couples argue but there just seems…” I hesitated then plunged on, deciding to stay it. “You seem off. There is something wrong and I know you’re lying about a lot of things including the schoolwork.” I couldn’t stop now. “You’re lying, you look sick but I think you’re lying about being sick, and–and you know who the spy is but won’t tell anyone even though the spy’s gone.”
Eli jerked as if I slapped him. “The spy…? You mean from two years ago?”
I facepalmed. “Yes! The one who helped get the entire school destroyed, and caused the deaths of several people! Or have you just forgotten them? You liked Professor Bingham!”
“Sh-shut up, that’s–I know what you mean, I just–he’s not–” Eli stammered, obviously trying to find a new lie. “I don’t want to talk about it!”
I stepped closer. “What is going on? Seriously?”
Eli’s fingers curled, his hands forming fists. I worried he might actually try to hit me. “Fuck you, Apollo! You don’t know everything! You might have your stupid visions but you don’t know everything, and stop acting like you do. You’re just a little arrogant shithead. Leave me alone!”
Eli stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him. I stood in absolute shock. It took several seconds, probably over a minute, before I could move again. How dare he say those things?! I whirled about so I could punch my pillow. HOW DARE HE?! I wasn’t arrogant! I knew I didn’t know everything and… and okay I did know he was lying. It was obvious he was lying! This isn’t Eli, he’s not acting like himself. What happened? He had been such an awesome friend. Even up until recently despite his obvious changes. Now out of no where he said these things? I hadn’t even been bothering him that much. Not as much as Blake did and he didn’t blow up at Blake.
Blake never brings up the things you did, at least as far as you know. True. Blake never accused him of lying about being sick. He never accused him of hiding the spy’s identity. Maybe Eli had been the spy after all… No. I doubted that. He wasn’t the spy but he was still afraid of the spy, which meant the spy was still around. Either a younger student, a student from our year, or else a teacher. I just didn’t know… I didn’t know what to do either. Or what to say.
It turned out not to matter as Eli blatantly ignored me as the days progressed. He wouldn’t even respond if I asked him for a pencil. Blake asked him why we were fighting and Eli told him I was an asshole. Sam talked to me and I told him part of what happened the day after Eli’s birthday; me accusing him of lying and him snapping.
I tried apologizing. I really tried. Eli stared blankly at me as I repeated over and over how sorry I was that I hurt him, that I accused him of dishonesty, etc, etc.
Then he turned and walked away.
Blake did his best to help repair the bridge between us but while Eli seemed perfectly happy around him (and Sam) he made it clear that I was an asshole that he didn’t want anything to do with.
“Varuna says he’s been acting really erratic,” Kiley told me one evening while we took a walk during a warm spring evening. “She asked him about you and apparently he said he didn’t hate you he just feels uncomfortable around you.” Why? “Don’t give me that look, I don’t know why and I don’t think he told Varuna why.” Kiley flipped her hair back. “It’s something for you to talk to Eli about.”
“He won’t talk to me though.”
I even had a chat with Professor V since he and Eli were pretty close. Professor V’s the one that approached me, asking me to come down to his ‘office’ which was just the vampire classroom in the basement. He sat on his desk and inquired into the obvious tension between me and Eli. I squirmed, not really sure what to say. Finally I settled on saying that Eli didn’t seem to be doing well and I was worried.
“He’s hiding something and I got worried and it just sort of escalated.”
Professor V nodded. “I’ve been worried about him too. He’s been seeming ill for quite some time. Grace–Professor Summers–has looked into it but never found anything.” I felt strange at him saying this. It didn’t really sound like the sort of thing he should be telling me. “I think he’s just under a lot of stress.” I made a noncommittal noise and picked at the hem of my shirt. “He won’t talk to me about it. I doubt he’s even talked to Blake or Varuna. Try not to stay too mad at him, Apollo. He’s just bottling things up.” Professor V hopped off his desk and gave me a very curious look. “What do you think he’s hiding?”
“I really don’t know. It’s just a feeling I have.”
A couple weeks before our final exams started Eli and I finally ‘made up’. He looked deathly pale and his hair clung to his skin from the sweat. Did he have a fever? In any case he apologized for being so rude to me. I apologized again for being rude to him. We shook hands (his skin felt icy to the touch) and that seemed to be that… but inside I ached to know. To know why he was lying, to know what he was afraid of. I didn’t think I’d ever really find out. But at least we were sorta friends again.
We had our final exams. It felt strange and bittersweet. After our exams we only had a couple days left before our return home. We wouldn’t be having any sort of graduation ceremony but would be getting our diplomas in the mail. I didn’t really care about the ceremony though some of the others did since there used to be a small ceremony in the old school. There hadn’t been any since coming to Moonlight Falls.
The night before we’d be leaving, Kiley and I shared one last time together. I didn’t know when we’d see each other again but we both sort of accepted the idea that even if we did it wouldn’t be like this again. We made love multiple times in the back seat of her car at the scenic overlook where we first did it. Afterwards she lay against my body, her cheek pressed against my chest. I held onto her tightly. I would miss this. And her. Not quite like that. I really liked her–very much!–I just didn’t love her and knew she didn’t love me.
The next morning Sam and I hugged all our friends, bid farewell to our teachers, and left Hunter’s for good.
Sam and I didn’t have much to do in June except for my being super depressed over the fact Romance’s eighteenth birthday–and therefore wedding–came and went. Our jobs with my brother wouldn’t start until after my eighteenth birthday so pretty much we had about a month of absolute freedom. Piotr kept in close contact with us and a couple weeks before we’d be moving to Bridgeport he took us in to the big city so we could look at apartments. We only looked at places in buildings where he knew the owners and it didn’t take long for us to choose one.
“Can you believe it? Bridgeport,” I said a couple days before my birthday.
Sam’s face looked like it hurt from all his grinning. “It’s awesome! I never thought I’d live somewhere like a big city. I hope things go well.” He reached up and touched his ears.
“The owner of our new apartment met you already, and Piotr is gonna make sure people treat us okay at our job,” I reassured him.
Soon my eighteenth birthday arrived. I felt a jumble of nerves when I woke up (though that could have been from the murder I witnessed in my sleep). My dad looked like a jumble of misery.
“My baby boy,” he moaned when I came down for breakfast.
“You still have Angel!” I pointed out.
Dad looked even sadder. “It’s different with Angel. It’s different with all of you. But especially emotional with you.”
I rolled my eyes then realized it had to do with the fact Angel was his baby with Suzanne and I was his baby with Zaid. I went over and gave Dad a hug. “I’ll always be your kid,” I promised albeit a bit reluctantly.
Sam and I spent the day at the beach. Not the same beach from all those years ago when we were bullied. We hadn’t ever gone to that area. We went to another, more remote area of the beach and were not bothered by anyone. In the late afternoon we returned to the house where my party had been set up. Just family.
After a big dinner everyone sang while Reeny brought out my cake. I bent in close and made my wish which would never come true. I blew out the candles and the sparkles consumed me as I got older.
“My poliwag!” Grandpa exclaimed.
“As handsome as ever,” Suzanne insisted.
“As ugly as ever, you mean,” Arty said and I stuck my tongue out. “Real mature, birthday boy. AHH!” She tried to flee as I ran for her to give her a noogie. “DAD!”
“Guys don’t fight,” Dad said, giving us both a look. I stopped and Arty made a face from behind Dad. “All right, let’s have some cake!”
While we nommed down our dessert, Sam and I talked about Bridgeport. We’d be leaving the day after tomorrow with Piotr. Moving! To the big city! To our first real jobs! As… paper-pushers for a wedding planning business but still it was super exciting.
“You’ll be starting on Monday, so you’ll have a couple days to get settled and maybe explore,” Piotr said and I grinned while Dad frowned. “Is something wrong, Noah?”
“I’m just worried,” Dad mumbled into his forkful of cake. “Apollo’s been through a lot and…” He trailed off and gave me a look. I suspected he worried I’d be attacked or kidnapped again, with Briggs and the spy both still out there.
“I think Bridgeport is gonna be safe than Moonlight Falls,” I said, stabbing my fork in the air. “I mean, with the, uh, Justificus stuff. Bridgeport is farther away.”
Dad rubbed his forehead. “It’s still dangerous. Look. I can’t help but be worried about you and I’m not going to apologize for it. Too much shit has happened.”
“Shit!” Angel exclaimed, performing the magic that all small children possessed of knowing which word in a sentence was the only one the adults didn’t want you picking up. “What’s dat mean?”
I managed to hold back my laughter and after a moment said, “We’ll be very careful. I promise. And Piotr’s gonna be around. It’ll be fine, Dad. I promise.”
Sam and I spent the next day packing, and the day after that we rode with Piotr to the airport so we could make our way to Bridgeport.