(This is one of 10 preview chapters for Boys & Girls: Part I. You can see the rest of the chapters on the official page)
September 7th, 2016
Kinsky, California, USA
The Schrodden household was usually empty on the weekends. Mr. Schrodden’s job involved going from business trip to business trip, with only rare breaks in between. Mrs. Schrodden had gotten used to her husband’s schedule, but she often left the house on these days to check up on some friends of hers. This Saturday, the only two inside were their son Lukas, and his friend Cole.
Cole closed the front door behind him. “Anyway, that was that. Now I’m opening up the year with a big, ripe, fuckin’ 57 percent in my calculus class.”
Lukas threw the keys on the kitchen counter, heading towards the couch. “You’ll recover. You’re one of the smartest people I know.”
“Oh, really?” Cole reached into the fridge. “If I recall correctly the hierarchy goes something like, Emily at the top, then Rose, a power gap, Ash, Maurice, Kat, another power gap…”
“I meant, on like, a spiritual level.” Lukas sat on the couch now. “Like, you do things without effort.”
Cole looked up from the fridge with a look of confusion on his face. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Listen, could you just hand me the beer?”
Cole walked towards the couch, two brown bottles in his hands. As Lukas got up to meet him, Cole made a movement to throw him the bottle, making an exaggerated “Nyeagh!” sound before faking out the throw. Lukas visibly jumped.
“God, don’t throw it, dumbass!”
Cole laughed. “I’m not gonna throw it!” He placed one of the bottles on the table in front of Lukas, and sat down on the couch besides him. They both opened their bottles, and took the first sip.
“So… how you holdin’ up?” Lukas asked.
“I’m… holding. I’m holding.”
Lukas leaned back in his seat. “I know how much Anita meant to you. I’m… beyond words about what happened.”
“Yeah, well…” Cole rubbed the glass of the bottle. “Maria thinks she was bullied. That that’s why she did it.”
“Christ.” Lukas grabbed his bottle and took a sip. A pause followed. “Hey, if you need anything from me – anything at all – you let me know. You know me, man. I’m here for you.”
“Yeah, I know.” Cole took a deep sigh, trying to get the thoughts out of his system. He took the bottle, smacked it on the table, and raised it up high. “Cheers. To the beauty of mathematics.”
Lukas’ expression turned lighter. He grabbed his own bottle, and the two clinked in unison. Then, they drank.
It was now much later, and there were quite a few empty bottles sat on the table now. The two caucasian boys stood up around it, clearly buzzed, making wild and floppy gestures with their hands.
“Aaand I’m tellin’ you, mister, that… erm, Blanco Goku, his power, you can kiss goodbye to yer Super Saiyan Four, dick and ballss.” Lukas pointed down at the table, emphasizing his point.
“That’s not real, you sunnuva bitch! You just made that up! There’s no fucking Blanco Goku!”
“Oh, ya got proof, huh? Or ya just gonna be a lil baby boy, and whine about it? Huh? Huh?”
Cole brought his hands up in defeat, walking away from the table. “Fuck this!” He shouted, approaching the back window. While he had his back turned, Lukas gave a jerk off motion towards him, clearly happy about his victory in the debate.
Leaning out, looking at the outside. Cole had an idea. He turned back towards his friend, pointing at the window. “Hey, looks pretty nice outside. Wanna hang by the dock?”
Lukas didn’t have much of a chance for a response, as Cole already began walking towards the door and unlocking it. Lukas, slowly moving past the obstacles to the door, looked somewhat concerned. “Uhh… what if, we like, fall in the lake or somethin’?”
Cole, who sweeped the door open all the way, stumbled and leaned towards his friend, looking him directly in the eyes.
“Then just don’t fall off, niggaaaa.”
Before Lukas could answer, Cole was already out the door.
The backyard of the Schrodden House led to a large community lake. Each house on it had a small dock in its backyard, and in the distance one could see the docks scattered out among the entire distance of the water, with an occasional boat out at sea. The homes themselves, on the other hand, were not visible — a layer of thick pines blocked the view.
Cole sat on the edge of the dock. Lukas sat down next to him, trying to keep his footing steady.
“So, now that we’re completely fucked up, we can start talking about the important questions,” Cole declared, turning to his companion. “Kat. What’s up with that stuff?”
Lukas felt a physical pain go through his system. He put his hands to his face, covering it. “Ugh, I really don’t want to talk about it.”
“Come on, you gotta. You relapsing or something, bro?”
“No, no! It’s not that.” Lukas waved his hand dismissively, using his other to keep him steady. “I am over it. I really am. It’s just… God, you wouldn’t get it.” He looked out on the waves, watching the pulsing of the water up and down. “I just, when I see her… when I watch her, do what she does… watch her smile, or laugh, or sing… when I think about her, I just think…” He tried to find the right words for what he wanted to say. “She’s… perfect.”
He then gave out another pained sigh, leaning back and laying down against the wood of the pier. “Then she went and started dating that stupid jock. And I lost my chance.”
Cole turned towards the blonde, raising a finger though having trouble keeping it steady. “You know, this doesn’t really sound like the Lukas I knew back in March. You know, the one who was all like, ‘Oh, I’m over it!’ and ‘Just support them, Cole! I just wanna see Kat be happy!’”
“No, I am! It’s just… it’s hard sometimes. That’s all it is. But I am over it.”
Cole scoffed. “Whatever you say.”
While Lukas stayed laying down on the dock, Cole watched the lake’s waves. It was all still tonight.
“But really, I know what you’re talking about.”
“Yeah. I mean, it’s funny. I kinda think about Anita the same way sometimes. Imagining her face, her voice… over and over again. Just… trying to remember what she was like, you know? And you miss it. You… you miss all of it. So you try and keep the memories alive. You think of the smile… the smile’s the best part.”
Lukas looked up from his spot. “Cole… you alright?”
Cole could barely see. The tears had gotten too strong. They streamed down his face, making their way down his cheeks and dripping down on his clothes. His hands grabbed the wood of the dock tightly, and his arms trembled.
“A-and now… I can never see her again. S-she’s gone. I just… I just have memories now. She’s gone. I can’t see her anymore.” His voice creaked as the tears came down, and he began sobbing. “I-I l-loved her. I loved seeing her, every day that I went to the house. She had a f-future, a beautiful future, and now… I should have taken care of her better… was it because of me? D-did she do it because of me?”
Now Lukas jumped back up to his sitting position, putting his hand on Cole’s shoulder and trying to comfort him. “Hey man, it wasn’t you, alright? It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Sometimes… sometimes terrible shit happens to us, in life. But it isn’t your fault, Cole. You did everything you could for her.”
Cole cried for a little bit longer. Lukas kept his hand on the boy’s shoulder, trying to make sure he knew someone was there for him. Eventually the tears subsided, and Cole looked up to the sky, sniffing. A slight wind crept up on the lakeside, and pushed small waves up to the coast.
“Hey…” Cole’s voice picked up softly. “You remember that treehouse we made? In fifth grade?”
“Yeah, I do. What about it?”
“Isn’t that… around here, somewhere?”
Lukas thought for a moment, looking around the coastline. “Oh shit, you’re right. It was, uh…” He pointed generally in the direction on the right side of the coast. “Somewhere around there.”
“You think it’s still there?”
“Nah, probably not. We haven’t been there in, what, six years?”
Cole took another deep sigh, and laid himself down on the dock. “One of these days, we should try and find it. See if it’s still there.”
“Yeah, one of these days.” Lukas laid back down as well, and the two looked up at the gray sky.