Ryan is really good at sweet nothings… or the opposite. A quote from One Little Problem.
Ryan is really good at sweet nothings… or the opposite. A quote from One Little Problem.
I’m not a music snob. Not that I’m entirely opposed to the idea but my conversational ability when it comes to music is “I like this’ or ‘I don’t like this.’ And keeping track of all the artists and songs is, well, I already can’t keep track of all the books and TV shows I like and want to check out, so music is something I enjoy but it’s not a passion and I’m not an expert.
Looking at some of the songs I’ve posted in the past, I seem like I could be a music snob. My tastes are all alternative, sometimes not even the tracks played on the radio stations. It almost seems like I know my stuff. Oh, you like Billy Eilish too? Bad Guy is so overplayed, and I liked her before she was cool! That was my hipster impression.
(Apparently I’m feeling lucky because I’m just taking it on faith that I spelled Eilish right. So if I did, go me! If I didn’t, my bad!)
In reality, I’m not sure the music snobs would accept me into their group. One, while alternative is my favorite musical genre, what the hell even is alternative? I’ve been listening it to for a very long time and I have no idea. The closest I can come up with is that it includes a lot of other things, some folk, rock, indie, punk, grunge, etc. And also its not pop. Can that be a definition, not being something? Even though some pop and alternative do crossover but that’s way over my head.
More Cowbell… or more pop music
I actually like all kinds of music. In a verbal conversation, this is normally the point where someone is like, oh yeah, you like metal/christian/country? Dude, you don’t have to be a jerk. And the answer: No! Not as a whole, but yeah, I could find a few songs I liked of just about anything.
While alternative is generally not pop (except for when it is) I do love me some pop songs. One Direction, Britney, Ke$ha, I’m all for it. That’s what this post is about, adding some pop. Because I wrote everything that went before this paragraph without remembering that I had also posted a Taylor Swift song.
A Very Serious Musical Debate
I put all of that in title case, but I didn’t for the other headers, so please don’t notice that. Thanks, you’re the best.
Music critics Ryan Miller and Luke Chambers of the esteemed Not-Real Music Magazine discuss some pop songs in One Little Problem. They’re trying to figure out what their couple song would be. I will soon give you that scene and one of their options, Sucker by the JoBros.
One more thing though, remember when I said I could almost be a music snob? That was before I revealed my intense love for the Year 3000. That was like the first Jonas Brothers hit, and it’s really old now, and I was a little too old to like it even then, but damn, it’s a great freaking song.
Then I got distracted by Danny Trejo
Oh, I know one other thing about the Jonas Brothers. (Actually, I know a fair amount, because I once made the mistake of clicking on an article about Joe and Sophie Turner and now my Google feed won’t shut up about that.) Danny Trejo was in one of their music videos, Burning Up.
You may not know the actor’s name, but Trejo is the scary Mexican from literally everything where they’ve ever cast a scary looking Mexican for the past couple decades. While the amount of media with scary Mexican dudes isn’t great, there is so much that is great about Danny Trejo.
My favorite random fact is that Trejo would agree to be in people’s student films if he was available just because he’s an incredibly kind person. (He got into acting later in life and he’s a fellow Mexican American, that’s cool too.) And also, he was in a JoBro music video for some reason!
Ryan, Luke, and the JoBros
This is Ryan and Luke trying to figure out their song. And also a song.
The fading sun cast Luke’s tan features and sandy blonde hair in a soft glow and if I listened very closely, I might be able to hear angels singing because even they marveled at his beautiful muscles and green eyes.
Luke cut into my thoughts, saying in a firm voice, “No Jonas brothers. I have to take a stand somewhere.” He made a fist with one hand, punching it against the steering wheel to show the force of his metaphorical stand.
“The JoBros are the hill you want to die on?” It was in my nature to question things, but I could maybe respect that. Nick was pretty hot; the Jonas Brothers weren’t a terrible way to go.
Luke paused for just a second, aha! Then he doubled down. “It’s an important hill.”
“Whatever, I know you have Year 3000 on your iPod.” I turned towards my window to avoid showing my smile. Wait for it…
“Dammit,” he cursed under his breath. “Did Lily tell you?” She didn’t; his little sister wasn’t a terrible secret keeper.
I grinned triumphantly. “No, you just did.”
The car slowed as he took the turn to his house. “Isn’t that song you mentioned before kinda suggestive for us?” he questioned. He just got a haircut, so his dirty blonde hair was cut relatively close to his head. My fingers itched to familiarize themselves with the new length of his locks.
“And that’s a point against it?” I was all for suggestions, as long as those suggestions were about and/or coming from sexy guys.
“No,” he admitted. “But come on, we’re gonna tell people that’s our song? Sucker?”
Luke knew what it was called! He totally dug the JoBros. Wait, did he think Nick was more attractive than me? Wait again…
“Okay,” I said. He had a good point. I tried to relax into my seat.
I wasn’t driving, so I had a good view of the slight pout forming on his face. “That’s all? I thought it was good innuendo.” It went something like, I’m a sucker for you, which yeah, could be taken so differently.
“It is,” I agreed. That was why I hadn’t been able to say anything else. Startling the driver by screaming or tackling him with my body wasn’t a great idea. “I’m so proud of you.” This is why his nickname was Genius. There was no one else I’d rather spend my Friday night with.
I adulted today! Take that not-adulting! My dog will not get heartworm because I ordered more heartworm pills for her. I even talked to a person over the phone and everything.
If you regularly talk to people on the phone for business or pleasure, or if you have less social anxiety than me, maybe this isn’t a big deal. I’m still going to bask in the imaginary glory of a task handled and a job well done.
Wow, I’m actually going to get at least two things done today. What else am I doing? Posting this. Here is an extended scene from One Little Lie. This is a different version of something similar in the book.
Setting the scene: Due to insanity and stupidity, Luke was out of the closet at school and publicly dating Ryan Miller. When this news reaches home, he pretends to be dating a girl instead. Now the group is talking about this.
Basically, the boys in this story are dating each other. The girls in this story are dating each other. Coming out is difficult, so the people with ‘L’ names said they were dating each other instead.
Our foursome talked strategy at lunch. Now that Alicia had seen how terrible Luke and Lydia were together, she was in and wanted to help. My guess was that she hadn’t been as cool about this idea as I was when she was told and was trying to make up for that now.
Her efforts to get Luke and Lydia to formulate a plan weren’t working; it didn’t seem like they wanted to do much. They sat on the same side of the table and people watched us and whispered. Hey, in this fake scenario, I was a pretty mature person by eating lunch with my ex and his new girl. Good for pretend me.
I couldn’t even imagine I would be anywhere near as composed if this were real but that just meant I had a strong sense of self. I knew who I was and what I was about. Still. I liked the idea of being that mature. I tried to find this hidden well of maturity while talking about Luke and Lydia’s relationship.
“Are you and Ryan going to break up?” Alicia asked Luke.
“Like hell we are, you homewrecker,” I responded automatically.
So much for that maturity.
Alicia gave me a patient, amused expression. “If the latest rumor is that you two are dating,” she nodded her head at the pair across from us, “maybe you two should publicly break up first.” She pointed to me and Luke.
Okay, I was feeling a lot less cool with this suddenly. I glared at Alicia and she shrugged, not understanding. Because she wasn’t out and no one knew about her and Lydia, so she didn’t have to “break up” with anyone to make this work.
Luke smiled at me. “What do you think? I bet we could top our last fake break up.”
I felt an eyebrow raise against my will as I considered that. Our fake breakup had included a public screaming match in the hallway, accusations of betrayal and jealously, and Luke being slapped.
Maybe this new charade would make sense as everyone thought Luke and me already broke up once partly because Lydia was the other woman. Topping that would be a challenge but could be fun.
Then I remembered what I was thinking about and shook my head.
“I don’t know if that’s necessary,” I said, trying to sound rational instead of weak and scared.
“Come on, give us a show,” Alicia encouraged.
“You do have a flair for dramatics when the occasion calls for it,” Lydia said stiffly.
Had Luke not been helping her out, she probably would have found a way to say that in a less complementary manner: drama queen. I smiled sunnily at her and she scowled until Luke saw her scowling at me and elbowed her and she looked down at her food instead with a little huff.
Still. “I don’t want to break up,” I admitted quietly.
“You don’t have to,” Lydia said unsurely, “But it would help.” She glanced at Luke.
“Come on, it won’t be a big deal,” he tried.
“No,” I said firmly.
I was already loaning out my boyfriend and I felt sympathetic to their cause, but I couldn’t do more. Fine, no maturity for me, but I couldn’t go through a break up, not even a fake one.
Luke and I were actually dating now and I didn’t want a break up screwing that up even if it wasn’t real. And our fake fight had turned real last time; that could happen again. I couldn’t stand up in public and say I didn’t want to date him anymore and I didn’t want to hear that from him. It felt like tempting fate or at the very least subjecting myself to something awful.
I didn’t explain very well, but Luke seemed to get it. His foot kicked mine under the table and he had a small gentle smile on his lips when he looked at me. “Hey, it’s okay. We won’t break up.”
I was probably being silly. But then again, it was hard to feel anything other than content when Luke looked at me that way and our legs touched under the table.
After a moment Alicia sighed. “So, the basic plan is just to half ass this?”
This has been More on Mondays, where I post outtakes and deleted scenes. On Mondays. Every other Monday to be exact.
A short scene from One Merry Christmas because using words I already wrote is easier than thinking up new ones. Happy holidays!
Spots of color from the Christmas tree lights danced across Luke’s face when I looked at him. Blankets were piled on excessively. It was almost hot, but no one complained, not even me. A Christmas miracle.
He looked relaxed, sunk into the couch, cheeks a bit flushed, looking warm and happy. Same. The tree lights would twinkle and change colors and I’d think, wow, he looks good in blue light, wow, he looks good in pink light, wow, he looks good in green light, the soft hues changing too much for me to keep up and just going with, wow, he looks good.
Totally what whoever meant when they said, ‘Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.’
Insert banter/witty intro here. I would try to think of something, but this is a good-sized story, so maybe I should just get right to it. Yeah, that’s my excuse. I mean reason.
This is a deleted scene from One Little Change. In that story, Luke and his boyfriend have an awkward sexual encounter and he doesn’t want to talk about it. Instead, he’s talking to his foster sister Lydia. Lydia is dating Alicia, who is asexual. Luke is dating Ryan, who is sexual.
In this story, Luke is trying not to think about Ryan while trying to figure out how asexuality works. Luke never knows how anything works. It’s part of his charm or something.
Once upon a time, even though she could still be vicious as hell early in the morning, I used to enjoy not seeing Lydia all put together. No makeup in a tank top and pajamas, hair mussed, eyes sleepy, just a regular person. Wasn’t getting much enjoyment from that today.
But there were some bright sides to this awful day. I might not be too late for work. I definitely was going to be late but not as late as I thought when Lydia parked herself in my room and refused to leave until we talked. And now Lydia was making me breakfast. And the best part of all? Talking about her and Alicia meant I didn’t have to think about me and Ryan.
Not that any of this made any sense. Okay, Alicia couldn’t have sex. Wait, maybe she could. She just didn’t want to. Yeah, I didn’t think she had a medical condition where… no, I wasn’t going to guess. I wasn’t going to think about her private parts. Maybe it was, like, just how she was. Ryan liked guys, Lydia liked girls, I liked both, and Alicia liked neither.
No, that couldn’t be right either. She was dating Lydia. Alright, even knowing Lydia might make fun of my general ignorance, I had to ask for clarification. “You and Alicia, like, kiss?” I needed a mental picture. Wait, ew, not literally.
“Of course we kiss.” She faced the stove while she made pancakes, but I could hear her roll her eyes. She rolled her eyes loudly.
“But you don’t do other stuff?” I wondered next. Maybe this was dumb and obvious to her, but I was just trying to understand. Wasn’t even sure these questions would help me do that but maybe they would at least help me think of better ones.
Would it be possible for Alicia not to know what she liked? Like on the checklist of sexual activities, maybe she had to try each one and then decide to cross them off her list or not… that really didn’t sound right. Didn’t sound totally wrong, but it really didn’t seem like a good idea to suggest that an asexual person should do sexual stuff just to be for sure.
She turned around for a moment, regarding me suspiciously. “Why are you asking about what my girlfriend and I do together?” Fair’s fair. No, she didn’t care about fair.
“Because I have no clue?” It sounded like a question, but it was true. Duh. I just didn’t know me not having a clue was something I’d ever have to explain to her. I thought she just assumed I had no clue, like Zach did, and that made it easier for everyone involved. I didn’t know if my eye roll was strong enough to be heard when not looking at my face, but she was looking at my face, so she could see it.
“Not because you think it’s hot,” she clarified. One hand flipped a pancake while the other was on her hip as she regarded me frankly.
Why would her and Alicia kissing and stuff be hot? Oh, because two girls. Maybe that could be hot… if one of those girls wasn’t practically my sister and the other one wasn’t… whatever Alicia was. And if I hadn’t had a terrible sexual encounter with my boyfriend the night before. “I’m with a guy now,” I reminded Lydia.
“That doesn’t mean you don’t like girls.” Guess she was appeased though because she turned around again.
“Yeah, whatever.” Yep, bi pride. I would wave my bi flag later. I focused on the topic we were discussing. “Alicia doesn’t feel whatever it is that tells her, let’s have sex, right? Well, what if you guys were kissing or whatever and she did feel that? I mean, is that possible?”
Also, did bi people have a flag? No, wasn’t the time for that.
“We make out and stuff.” The words sounded a little short, but Lydia sounded like that a lot, so I couldn’t tell if that meant something or was just regular. “Some stuff,” she added. “Not all the stuff,” she finished lamely. Lydia brought the food over to the table. She had a look on her face like she had no idea what she was talking about.
“Is that difficult? To do stuff and then stop?” Always was a challenge for me and Ryan. Or we thought it was, maybe all that had been a blessing in disguise.
“Kind of. I think because we’re still figuring out how we work together. I mean, I didn’t think this was even an option, not anytime soon at least.” She had a faraway look in her eyes for a moment, then she shook her head. “It will be easier once we know. I hope.”
“I’m sure it will be,” I assured. “If you guys do some stuff, and you’re still figuring out how it works, then couldn’t being, uh, intimate together be a part of that?”
Lydia rolled her eyes when I said intimate. “In theory.” Sounded like she had more to say… but then she didn’t say any of it.
“How do you know?” I pressed when she went quiet. “Maybe she likes you that way? You’re the right person.”
“It doesn’t work like that,” Lydia said, glaring at me.
Maybe her hormones or sex drive or whatever were just idling, the engine on but the car not moving, until the right person got in the driver’s seat and stepped on the gas. All she had needed was to find the right girl. Though, huh, maybe that was bad. I remember my parents hoping I’d find the right girl and get over Ryan. Maybe it didn’t work like that.
In case there was any doubt, I still had no clue how this worked. There probably wasn’t any doubt.
“Do you know how it works?” I didn’t tell her my car analogy because that might be offensive to compare women to cars. Being a car sounded pretty cool to me though.
“Of course!” Lydia glared at me.
Lydia glared at me a lot, and it was early, and I had pancakes to eat, so I began cutting my food without paying her much attention. She didn’t usually mind being ignored, think she preferred it, but when she was expressing how little she thought of something or someone, then she wanted attention.
I started paying attention because I had accidentally earned her wrath, I did that a lot, and sometimes violence followed the wrath. Looked like Lydia wanted to take the knife she was using to cut her pancakes and stab me in the throat with it instead.
Lydia’s reaction to not being in control, feeling insecure, and a whole lot of other stuff was anger, so none of that fazed me. I wasn’t a complete moron, so I paid attention in order to defend myself, but I wasn’t fazed. I waited her out and she sighed.
“I thought I understood how it worked,” she admitted quietly, staring down at her pancakes and biting her lip, then she shook her head. “Might be just as clueless as you.”
“Sorry,” I told her sincerely. I was as clueless as me all the time and it wasn’t fun. “I don’t think I’ll be able to help you with this.”
She rolled her eyes. “I never thought that was an option.” She could at least pretend!
“I hate you,” I told her sincerely.
“Oh Luke, you’re my only hope,” Lydia said. Her voice was dry and not at all believable. “I need your big brain so badly.” Her face turned wicked. “Did Ryan say that to you last night?” Just swapping out the word brain for a different part of the anatomy, her eyes seemed to suggest.
I was the one who wanted to grab my knife and stab her. I tried to. Well, I mimed doing that but wasn’t really going to, and Lydia brought her knife up to block mine anyway, so we had a mini swordfight with our butter knifes for a minute until we calmed down and ate our food.
Holy crap, these were good pancakes. Maybe better than my mom’s, and just having that thought made me look around wildly for a second, afraid she’d jump out at me from the shadows and ask why I betrayed her, but nothing happened, so I told Lydia, “These pancakes are good.”
“Family recipe,” she told me easily, then what she said registered with her. “Old family.” As in the one she had before this one, her biological family. “I mean, uh. Mom used to say the secret ingredient was love.”
“You cooked for me with love?” I asked in amusement. First good food and now this; the day was turning around.
“No! That’s bullshit.” She scowled. “The secret ingredient is a shit-ton of butter.”
Butter. It was better than love.
At the moment, yeah, that sounded about right.
Having a character like Ryan Miller who doesn’t always play by the rules of the world when he can make stuff up instead is fun because it gives me a chance to take something normal like bowling and then make it much weirder.
In this case, that means Ryan thinks bowling should be like a monarchy with guards and rulers and prizes. Well, the prizes are just cause prizes are awesome. Duh.
Despite having no experience ever bowling and only respecting the sport because it includes outfit changes (the shoes), Ryan is determined to kick ass when on a double date with his boo Luke and his friends Alicia and Lydia.
The following is a scene from the bowling date in One New Start and some art. Ryan and Luke are on one team with the girls on the other, and Ryan and Luke really enjoy winning, each other, winning again, and each other again.
Bowling. Was. AWESOME.
Winning helped. Winning was the best. The girls were trailing in our metaphorical dust. Luke and I were totally gracious winners.
Just kidding, we were so stupidly obnoxious, the worst winners ever. Hey, we won at being bad winners too! Alicia and Lydia got more and more annoyed while losing harder and harder.
One magical time, I almost got a strike!
A lot of times, I got less than almost a strike.
“Okay, you’re up,” Luke told me, handing me my ball.
I started with the pink one for little girls because it looked like fun, but I was using a regular black ball now because I was a man, grrr, and I wanted to win dammit.
“Eyes on the prize,” my boyfriend instructed.
“There are prizes?” Bowling just got even better.
“I’ll get you a prize afterward,” Luke promised. Yay! “Focus,” he ordered a moment later, knowing prizes were dancing around behind my eyes. His eyes blazed with fierceness. He was a commander, readying his troops for war.
I raised the fist not holding the ball in the air, looked towards the pins, and gave my best war cry. “Wooo!” I ignored how girly that war cry was.
Luke nodded, smacked me on the ass, and sent me off to war. Bowling.
I marched up, squared my shoulders, let the ball fly and—
I knocked them all down.
I hit all the pins! On the first try! I did the thing! Strike! I punched my fist out in front of me, like I was going to strike. No, that was what it was called. That was the first strike I had ever bowled because this was the first time I had ever bowled.
I stood there looking at the pins, wondering if they were going to pop up and say just kidding.
Luke Chambers screamed in the background. Hollering for me. Excited for me. “YAY, RYAN, YOU DID IT!”
I turned around in a daze and there he was, jumping out of his seat. Face alight with excitement and caught up in the moment. He was beautiful. Always was, but now he was beautiful for me, because I did the thing.
“MY BOYFRIEND GOT A STRIKE!” He hollered and Lydia snickered. “CRAP,” he yelled a moment later. “SHOULD I HAVE YELLED THAT?” Did he know he was still yelling? “OH WELL, WOOHOOO. GO RYAN!”
I went. Flinging myself into Luke and he was there and ready to catch me and we jumped up and down together, celebrating like lunatics, big grins on both our faces.
Bowling date! The rest is available in One New Start.
Soon as I started writing this post, intending to share an image quote, I got sidetracked and thought of something from Arrested Development, so I will now journey down this detour and see where it goes.
First order of business is, of course, the obligatory disclaimer. I, F.N. Manning, being an Arrested Development fan of Sound(ish) Mind and Body, and having seen all the episodes and seasons while in possession of a brain, do hereby acknowledge that the new offerings aren’t as good as the old ones.
If you like AD, you will never in your life be able to have a convo about the show without talking about how the Netflix seasons aren’t as good.
And now, a very brief version of the story of one family and their disappointing magician relative
Do I sound a little bitter? I didn’t hate the new stuff. (It wasn’t as good the original, I agree and I know, but I didn’t hate it) And without the new stuff, there would be no gay-magician Gob in all his glorious gay-magician glory.
I would never want to live in a world without the beautiful trashcan fire that was Gob Bluth and Tony Wonder. Two narcissistic showmen with few redeeming qualities realize that they’re alike enough to fall in love with the only person they could ever fall in love with: themselves.
A wild and very entertaining ride to watch. Gob, a person who only knows how to make a giant spectacle of himself had very little experience with being a human being suddenly had to handle real emotions in his over-the-top, completely stupid way. Basically, he was very suited to being in peak gay disaster mode, but he also got just about as close to acceptance and honesty as a person like him is capable.
Gob and Tony also have one of the best and most accurate couple names: Blunder.
Closer to what I actually intended to talk about
The very precise and thoughtful way I come up with titles for blog posts is just by writing down whatever and then going, eh, good enough. As soon as I wrote, a quote from nothing, it made me think of the moment (in the 4th season of AD) where Tobias starts singing what sounds like a show tune.
Why is that hilarious? I have no idea. I think it’s hilarious. That’s basically the story of AD, you either love it and all of it is brilliant for reasons you aren’t really sure of (minus the new seasons) or you don’t care about it at all.
At long last
We get to my original point, which is an image quote related to Ryan and Luke from the One Little Word series, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t actually from any of the books. Unless it is. Keeping track of things is hard.
Ryan and Luke are really good at being giant idiots together! So that’s… something.
I was gonna do the talky talk talking thing here, but this is a pretty good sized scene, so I’ll just get to it. Porcupines! (Sorry, I couldn’t completely do the whole serious, professional thing. That would be too weird.)
This is from One Little Lie, and it’s a deleted scene.
Relevant information: Luke is dating a boy and wants to figure out his sexuality but most of his feelings about this are “oh god, oh god, oh god.” He goes to his friend Zach, known bisexual and avoider of feelings, for help.
My sister said she thought I was a boring straight guy once. I was certainly interesting now; my dilemma was multifaceted. I had no idea what I was. I didn’t think and maybe didn’t want to be gay, but what if I was? Things had never felt this good, this intense before.
That’s what I thought about after leaving Ryan’s house.
Then there was the other part, which was maybe worse. Maybe things didn’t feel so intense and crazy and wonderful because Ryan was a guy. Maybe it felt that way because my feelings for Ryan were more than I’d ever had for anyone else, maybe it was lo-
Nope. No. Too scary.
I’m the good guy, I’d always been the good boyfriend. I held doors open, paid for dinner, tried to listen, bought flowers, all of it. I executed all the right moves on the outside, but it never felt like this on the inside.
I’d said I love you before and I had thought I meant it at the time, but it didn’t feel like this. Real, intense. Consuming. Was I gay? Did it matter that I still liked girls?
I wasn’t the type to do awkward or self-doubting and now there was a lot of that in my life. Ryan and I were each other’s first boyfriends. Though he’d been on a few dates with Zach and had definitely been attracted to other guys. Maybe Ryan was special to me, but I wasn’t special to him.
What a not fun thought.
That was only one of the reasons I couldn’t share with Ryan when he offered last night. Mainly, I wanted to go into his house and do anything that involved being undressed and not talking. Also because I didn’t want all of my fond, serious thoughts to spill out. And also because… it just didn’t feel right unloading all this stuff on him.
Lydia had her own soul searching to go through, so I turned to Zach. The easiest way to get Zach to cooperate was to tell him exactly what you wanted and make it clear that you would leave him alone after you got it. This wasn’t baseball. No warm up. No beating around the bush. Direct.
When it was time for our next away game, I clapped him on the shoulder and sat down next to him on the bus. “Prepare yourself for a serious conversation,” I informed him.
“Thanks for the warning.” He moved to get up. “But you didn’t inform me in writing at least three days in advance so—”
“Okay, but I want to talk about BEING GAY AND QUEER SHIT,” I raised my voice. “Whoever sits next to me will have that to look forward to.” Suddenly there were no free seats for Zach. “Come on, we can do this quickly.”
He sat back down but complained, “I don’t want to hold your hand through this. Can’t you talk to your actual boyfriend about this?”
“I’ll tell him once I figure it out.” He did it on his own.
Okay, this was what I was talking about earlier. The big reason I couldn’t let him help me. Not only did he figure it out on his own, my addition only made things more complicated. I opened my stupid big mouth and told people he was gay.
I didn’t really know him at the time. I didn’t know about being in the closet or outing people. It was an accident. I just… After that, I didn’t want to put this on him. I could do this myself.
Mostly. I told Zach, “I’m talking to you whether you like it or not.”
He idly glanced out the window, but I doubted he’d make a break for it. “Fine.”
Deep, deep down he was really a good person. You just had to get through all the bullshit first. Zach liked to present himself a certain way and his family weren’t really the type to have serious, intense conversations. My parents freaking loved talking. I just didn’t think they’d want to listen to anything I had to say at the moment.
I didn’t say anything for a few moments. “So,” Zach said after a tense silence, “Are you gonna start talking then, or what?”
“Right, right.” Okay. I wanted this. “I bought some time. With the Lydia thing. But I still don’t know.” There.
He didn’t say anything. I just expressed my doubts in such an eloquent and articulate manner and he had nothing to say?
“Okay, so this is supposed to be a conversation,” I explained.
“I’m aware,” Zach said cooly. That was all he said.
“It’s your turn to talk,” I prompted. Maybe I should jump out the window instead.
He shrugged. “I don’t know what you want me to say to that.”
Oh dear god. “Help me,” I ordered. Or maybe begged. “How do I even decide? It’s like a big decision. Straight or gay.”
“You’re acting like there’s no other options.” He rolled his eyes. “Like being bi, for instance.”
“Yeah, I guess.” I shrugged.
Zach said he liked guys and girls. That was an option, hypothetically. I couldn’t imagine it any more than I could being gay; maybe I liked it even less for some reason.
It wasn’t that simple, was it? To just say, oh, I like both and there, problem solved. That was awfully convenient. How long could that last for? Wasn’t it just putting off the inevitable? I couldn’t decide if that’s what I wanted to do or not.
“Please don’t let this inflate your ego more,” I told Zach, “But you make it look really easy.”
“I’ve known I was gay for a while now,” he said simply. He used gay and bi interchangeably sometimes, but how was I supposed to know if that was what he was doing this time? Then, seeing that I was clearly about to ask if he was gay now, he added, “I’m still bi, but I don’t have a problem with either term.”
Gay had become something of a catch all term, but it didn’t feel like it to me. If I called myself gay out loud, that meant I liked men and men only. Zach didn’t agree. Not that there was anything wrong with being gay, obviously. It just wasn’t me.
Zach sighed and his tone wasn’t exactly gentler, but for him it was almost warm and fuzzy as he continued, “You suddenly found yourself in a… situation.” Instead of boyfriend, I would have to refer to Ryan as my situation later; he’d get a kick out of that. “It might take time to figure everything out.”
I thought about that. How much time did I get? Did I have to become gay after my transitional period was over? When should I expect my membership card in the mail and how did I go about returning it?
Still, it wasn’t bad advice. This was new to me. I got a little time at least. All I could come up with to say in response was, “Wow, you sound so wise and rational.”
“I know,” Zach shuddered. “I don’t like it.”
Well, that didn’t really help. But I guess it was reassuring. I felt really dumb, but I hadn’t been dealing with this for that long, that was true. But Zach had known he was gay for a while now?
“I don’t think I’ve seen you go after a guy besides Ryan,” I noted.
“Oh god, we are not talking about that,” he said firmly.
I sighed. This was probably as good as our conversation would get, so I deemed Zach’s best friend duties over with and reached into my backpack. “Hey, I brought snacks.”
Zach smiled. Now some of the guys looked jealous, which made his smile grow. Zach liked envy even more than dessert. Ryan made cookies for the road. We ate them all ourselves but shared with Joey too. Apparently, I owed him for always telling him things he didn’t want to know.
This is part of a continuing thing I do called More on Mondays. Where I post extra scenes, hence the more, on every other Monday, hence the Mondays.
Horror movies are not something I enjoy. Doesn’t really matter if the subject is actually frightening to me. If there is ominous music and something jumps out of the shadows, I will jump too, except I’m jumping due to terror.
Every time I have watched a horror movie, my first thought is, why am I watching this? Then, as it begins, I generally spend a few moments going, hey, this is nice, why can’t it just stay like this?
Because at the beginning of the scary movies, there’s calm, happy people just going about their day. Excited to go camping or to a house that totally isn’t haunted. I like those parts. And maybe it’s a lot less interesting if people just have a pleasant day and nobody dies, but I’d be okay with that.
Naturally, this doesn’t have a lot to do with the point of this post. This is a snippet from One New Start. It’s from the beginning, where life is going right. There are no monsters in this book, but there may be other challenges. Eventually. Just not in the beginning where everything is great.
The stars were up there above us, filling the night sky like they were meant for private viewing by us and us alone, as if we were in our own private planetarium. We were laying out on the hood of Luke’s car, and he had his arm stretched out behind me, so it was my pillow. A solid, unyielding pillow that would never sell in stores because it was odd and misshapen. No one would buy it except me, who would purchase every last one.
We shared a few quiet moments just gazing up at the sky. Together.
“I’ll keep on keeping on,” Luke said. “Being boring me while you take a normal thing like having new experiences and find ways to make it extreme or scary.”
There was no guarantee I would do that! Unless one counted past experiences and my personality as a guarantee.
“I want new experiences!” I defended. Being not crazy could be part of that.
“You’re still going to be the same person while you’re having them,” he reasoned.
“I guess.” I did like me. But there were so many options out there. “Unless I can be Cher? Can I be Cher?” I crossed my fingers and held them up so he could see them.
“Don’t want to date Cher,” he replied. Aww. Sweet.
Also, that wasn’t a no, so maybe I could be Cher… then again, one of the only things I had going for me that Cher didn’t have was that Luke Chambers wanted to date me, so I wasn’t giving that up.
“Nicholas Cage?” I offered instead. He was another guy.
“Even worse.” His disgusted face was so cute.
If the opportunity presented itself to be Nick Cage, I would totally do that just to freak Luke out, but otherwise I would be me. That sounded just fine actually. I had great people in my life, great things to look forward to, and a really great boyfriend.
This was going to be an incredible year.
Sometimes, I have a perfect beginning for a story and other times I play around with a million ideas because I can’t quite figure out how to begin. This was one of those million options I considered for the beginning of One New Start.
Ryan, one of the main characters, is pretty random and spastic, so maybe I didn’t even need to provide a reason for the adventures he embarks on, but this Ryan, the guy who is about to embark on adventures. He’s talking about senior year.
Of high school. I write YA. Not geriatric-A.
They wrote songs about this, the way I was feeling.
Cheesy, stupid songs that I would never admit to liking out loud but always got stuck in my head anyway. Songs about how nothing could stop you, how the future was ahead. YOLO, carpe diem, the time was now, the feeling was right, I have no idea.
Recently, the musical selection had been a little… why? Whenever I turned on the radio to a pop station or a country station or a rap station, and that was all we had here, the same stupid Lil Naz song was always playing about a horse and roads and whatever. Boring.
But hey, Lil Naz was gay now! No, he always was but now the public knew. That was cool.
Don’t know that I even need to say this, but like that’s ever stopped me before, I would rather talk about me than Lil Naz.
I woke up this way. Fabulous. And also, excited. Like, hard to sit still excited, ready for what’s next, big crazy smile on my face excited for the start of my senior year.
Living in my small town and being the gay kid, it had been a long time since I was excited for the school year. It was always ugh, another year, at least it’s one step closer to freedom, but it’s still not here yet.
Now it’s like, yay, another year!
They wrote songs about this. Cruising down the road with my baby next to me, windows down, wind in my hair. A beautiful guy next to me and nothing can stop me.
Yeah, there was a song about that. I didn’t know the words, but I was singing it anyway. I was living it anyway.
This has been More on Mondays, where I post outtakes and deleted scenes. On Mondays. Every other Monday to be exact. I wanted to italicize this, so I did.