A Story by Here's What I Say

'How will I know if he chooses me?' 'He will try to kill you.' --from "Avatar"


If Leah thinks for one second that I couldn’t hear her Adam Lambert music from the back seat, she’s wrong. The whole way up to Big Bear would have been pretty quiet had she not been sitting behind the driver’s seat, tapping her foot, humming, and with her music turned up real high on her bulky Bose headphones. When she wears them, she looks like she got thrown back into the eighties, where both she and Jadon were born. Jadon and Leah were the youngest in the car; Jadon only being two months older than Leah. Joe and I were the oldest, and at least in comparison, the most mature. I mean, Joe and I both love Adam Lambert--just not when she’s screaming his lyrics for the whole world to hear. Well, ok, she wasn’t screaming them in the car (I would have kicked her out when the 91 Freeway turned into the 315 first), but when she’s got those headphones on and the music on that loud, she thinks she’s mouthing the music, but we can hear her singing the lyrics. It’s like this low frequency sound that permeates the car"even if it’s this low sound, you can still hear it, and it’s as permanent and noticeable as your worst memories.


“Lane?” Joe asked as I turned into the fork that led to our cabin. “I think we better stop at the store first before going to the cabin. The town tends to close earlier at night.”


“Ten points for good thinking,” I said, leaning over and kissing him lightly on the lips. That’s one of the things I love the most about Joe: his practicality. He’s as down to earth as he deep brown Filipino skin. He always looks so good with his gelled black hair and his Hawaiian shirts (not sure what it is with Filipinos and Hawaii). And yeah, you guessed it; we rarely fight. We always try to be rational and logical when we have disagreements and we let it go without a second thought. I mentioned once that maybe gay couples like us actually recognize what we’re standing to lose since the straights don’t even believe we do any of the same things they do in their relationships, so they don’t think we need something like marriage. So we decided to one up them and do something totally crazy and defy the status quo by having a peaceful relationship. Wow, the crazy gays are having a peaceful, well-thought out, perfectly logical relationship. 2012 just arrived early, folks.


“Just don’t give up!” Leah sang loudly, making me jump in the driver’s seat. “I’m working it out! Please don’t give in! I won’t let you down! It messed me up! Need a second to breathe! Just keep coming around! Hey, whaddaya want from me?! Whaddaya want from me?!”


“Since you asked, I’d love it if you’d SHUT THE F**K UP!” Jadon yelled over her singing, the first time he spoke during the entire trip. Joe and I watched in the rearview mirror with horror as Leah continued singing, complete with hand movements and bouncing up and down in her seat to take the place of dancing. And thank God. She doesn’t need to sprain another ankle during salsa.


“It messed me up!” she continued to scream/sing. “Need a second to breathe! Just keep coming around!” I reached over the seat with my right arm while still driving with my left arm and pulled the headphones off her head.


“Honey, we already have an Adam Lambert, I’m sorry to disappoint you,” I said calmly, turning into the store parking lot. Thank God, too. Just an hour before closing time.


“You guys are no fun,” Leah said, leaning back in her seat and crossing her arms.


“Well, sorry if we’re guys and we don’t need loud music to distract from the fact that there’s a tampon shoved up our twats,” Jadon snapped. Leah rolled her eyes and I’m pretty sure Joe gagged a little. I gagged a little when Jadon started hooting and hollering at some girls that walked by (from the size of their hips, I was assuming none of them were past the age of consent). Leah ignored him for the most part. As we walked to the store, I leaned down to talk to her.


“We invited you guys up here for our last weekend before the wedding because you’re our best friends,” I told her. “Could you and Jadon just please pretend not to hate each other for the weekend?”


“I’m doing my best, ok?” Leah said. “Think about how you’d feel if you had to sit next to a guy who’s Tucker Max in Robert Pattinson’s body. Actually, maybe just Tucker Max. Tucker Max IS hot and doesn’t need Pattinson’s body to be so.”


“I’m serious,” I said, pulling down a bottle of vodka. “Please? It’s not that hard to pretend you like someone.” I almost took a step back when I saw fire flash in Leah’s eyes, but wisely decided to take my foot of that sensitive nerve in her heart.


“Fine,” she consented. “But I’m not talking to him unless I have to. Got it?”


“Ok, thank you,” I whispered, pinching her somewhat round belly. “Oh, stop cringing. You said yourself you keep this spare tire on your tummy to keep the a******s away.”


“So do I need to get another one to keep THAT one away?” Leah said, motioning to Jadon by jerking her head in his direction. From the look in Joe’s eyes, he was having the exact same conversation with Jadon that we agreed to have with them before heading to the cabin.


“Stop talking like that and just get the tequila on the shelf,” I said.


“You get so fucked up on tequila, though,” Leah said.


“That’s kind of the point,” I said, pushing the cart down the aisle. “I don’t often let myself go and have fun. Tequila gives me the permission slip for that, so to speak.”


“And other kinds of slips,” Leah said, smiling slightly. I grinned.


“It did lead to some great adventures though,” I said as I grabbed margarita mix.


“Like with B--” Leah stopped before she could finish her sentence. Smart girl.


“Get some Samuel Adams, too,” Jadon said, catching up to us and pointing to the cooler. “Gotta have that all American beer, baby.”


“It isn’t actually,” Leah said irritably, but complying by pulling down a six-pack. “The hops are from Bavaria.”


“It was brewed here, so it’s American to me,” Jadon said, taking out the six-pack she put in and grabbing a different flavor instead. From the look in his pale blue eyes boring right into her soil rich brown eyes, I’m sure he just did that out of spite.


“Hops are the soul of the beer, or that’s what the commercial said,” she shot back. “So you’re drinking ‘American’ beer made with German hops. That’s all American for you. We can’t do s**t for ourselves.”


“Then you better start knitting because we wouldn’t want you wearing sweatshop produced clothing,” Jadon argued, yanking on her dark blue Old Navy shirt.


“Then do us a favor and walk barefoot with your Nikes up your a*s,” she said as the storeowner walked by and raised his eyebrows.


“Guys, seriously, knock it off or we’re not letting you have any alcohol,” Joe said sternly. Joe’s just not the kind of guy not to take any emotional bullshit lying down.


After Jadon and Leah settled on a temporary truce (“Fine, pull down the ‘American’ beer, and while you’re at it, grab me a six-pack of Raspberry Ice Smirnoff. Don’t look at me like that, or you’re paying for it AND I’m dumping it in the backyard later.”), we began to drive up to the cabin. The cabin we were going to was actually owned by a small hotel in town, but the cabin was on the street perpendicular to the main road, where the actual hotel was. After checking in, we drove down the quiet street to the brown two-story house that would be home for the next two days. It was just a regular two-story house, completely furnished with two bedrooms with two huge beds upstairs, and one master bedroom on the first floor. The living room was huge with a large L-sectional couch that had a foldout bed and a flat screen TV that had just been installed recently. The kitchen was complete with a refrigerator, a stove, a pantry area, and a small dining area. The sliding door by the dining area led to the patio in the backyard with a small Jacuzzi and since there was no gate, it led directly into a small patch of woods that hadn’t been developed yet.


Joe and I had the decency to put the groceries away before popping open the first bottles of the Smirnoff and Samuel Adams in celebration. We just let Jadon and Leah drink themselves into oblivion while Joe and I began to plan out the weekend--renting a houseboat and maybe taking a small grill with us, or maybe going on a small hike. Joe began to take his first sips of tequila as I fought a smile. Joe’s guards came down after his first shot of tequila. I noticed that Joe was starting to sway a little bit back and forth at his laptop while trying to find any other fun things to do in Big Bear when I heard a beer bottle crash to the floor in the kitchen.


“You are such a stubborn jackass!” Leah screamed. “I don’t see what ANY girls see in you!”


“That’s funny, because the most I ever see in girls like you is my dick!” Jadon screamed back.


“That thing is going to break down on you someday!” she yelled. “What are you going to do then when your dick finally collapses?! You won’t have anything left! You’re going to be completely useless because the one thing you’ve EVER been about is gone! I can’t wait to see that day! I can’t wait to see you’re left with nothing but that rotting corpse you call a soul!”


“So what, you think just because I like sex that I don’t have a soul?!” Jadon yelled.


“NO! I don’t as a matter of fact! You don’t see us anything more than just walking, talking vaginas! You don’t see us as partners! You don’t see us as your friends! You don’t care about the fact that every time you thrust your penis into us that you’re just stabbing us in the heart!”


“That’s not true!” he defended. “I have plenty of girls who are just my friends!”


“That you didn’t f**k first?!” she screeched.


“They don’t care about that!” he yelled back. “They don’t give a damn that I fucked them because, unlike YOU, they wanted the same thing I did!”


“Well, you know how pathetic that makes you, Jadon Burke?! That’s ALL you’ve ever wanted and ALL you’ll ever want!”


“That’s not true! That’s not all I want! I want more than that!” Jadon yelled, but something was very different about the way he was yelling at her by now.


“Prove it!” Leah yelled, losing her balance. “I dare you! Prove to us that you want more than just a good f**k!”


“FINE!” Jadon yelled.


If I were prone to fainting, I would have when Jadon grabbed Leah’s face and kissed the holy daylights out of her. Even Joe stopped swaying. Damn. He was going to need a few more shots.


Leah sent a right cross into Jadon’s gut before slapping him across the face and shoving him to the floor.


“Go to hell!” she screamed, before running out the sliding door and into the woods. Jadon stared after her in horror before he attempted to stand up. When he was finally able to stand up and balance himself, he steeled himself and began to run after Leah into the now dark woods. Using what I learned in my days as a cross-country runner, I began to go after the two of them. I could see a vague shape in the far distance, which I assumed was Leah. Jadon was screaming a bat out of hell to get her attention.


“Leah! Come back!” Jadon called after her. “Leah, don’t do this! Come back!” As I ran after them, I was trying to run the whole night in my head to figure out how the hell Jadon decided kissing Leah was a smart idea. I mean, Leah had hated Jadon from the start--other than noting that he looked like a hotter, American version of Robert Pattinson. Ok, so she was physically attracted to him. And they argued and bantered back and forth. A lot. No way. Was it foreplay the entire time? Was the whole thing culminating into this?


They’re drunk, I said to myself. Neither one of them know what they’re doing. When they wake up tomorrow everything will be back to normal and, I’ll be the only one who’ll remember this God awful night.


Jadon stopped at a tree, leaning on it with one hand and panting heavily.


“I don’t know how much farther I can run,” he barely gasped. “I have no idea which direction she could have ran.” Jadon all of a sudden began sobbing and hugged the tree for comfort. I scanned the ground for the way the pine needles were disturbed, but nothing was yielding any information about which way Leah might have gone. Ignoring Jadon’s cries, I listened to the rest of the forest for any clue. A few seconds passed, and I thought I heard what sounded like distant yelling, almost like reciting poetry. I squinted, trying to make sense of the rhythm, if it sounded like anything I had ever heard. Jadon stopped crying hard enough to hear it too and began to walk forward, trying to trace the sound.


“Just…don’t…give…up…” Jadon made out, before his eyes widened. “It’s Leah! She’s yelling the lyrics from earlier!” Jadon started to jog before he heard a bloodcurdling scream in the direction that her voice was coming from.


The look on Jadon’s face was a little hard to describe, but even harder to see. Jadon’s tanned face turned a ghostly shade of white and I could have sworn I saw his pulse stop for a few seconds before it started up again because I could see the pumping in the vein in his forehead. Jadon began running as if his hair were on fire towards her screaming.


“Leah, just don’t give up!” Jadon began singing, trying to make sure he could hear her and know he was coming. “Please don’t give in! Just don’t give up! Please don’t give in! I won’t let you down!!!” That had to be the cheesiest thing he had ever done, but considering that Leah sounded like she was dying, the wisest thing to do was to keep running after them. Someone had to make sure they were going to come out of this alive.


Leah was backing away from the snake’s nest from which it had been disturbed. It was tightly coiled, rattling its tail, and very hungry. Leah tried backing away quicker, but she must have been afraid to, not knowing if her sudden movements would make the snake angrier. Before I could grab a stick to try and appease the snake by announcing our presence, Leah decided to try and make a run for it, but Jadon and Leah collided and Leah began to scream as Jadon wrapped his arms to try to control her. The snake prepared to lunge for them, but Leah forced Jadon against a tree in her struggle and knocking a mouse from a branch, and only by the grace of God did it fall in front of the snake. I sighed in relief. Nobody had to die.


Jadon and Leah continued their screaming match and Leah threw another punch at Jadon, but despite the beer in his system, he was able to dodge most of her hits.


“God damn you!” Leah yelled, trying to push his hands off her arms. “I f*****g hate you! You’re nothing but a vacuous s**t! You’re just trying to make me into another trophy for your Hall of Hos!” Leah continued her physical and verbal assault on Jadon, but to Jadon’s credit, his only reaction was to try and restrain her more.


“God damnit, Jadon! Let me go! Please! Don’t!”


“Don’t what?” Jadon asked calmly.


“Don’t use me,” Leah said, finally lowering her voice, but the pain in her voice quickly intensified. “Don’t use me. Don’t.” Leah finally stopped speaking for a few seconds, but the dam in her eyes burst and collapsed in his arms from the physical demands she put on her body that night. Jadon kneeled on the pine needles, taking Leah with her, and allowing her to weep on his shoulder. When she cried for a little while, he finally asked what she meant.


“Jake used me,” Leah said, choking on her tears and hiccups. “Not the way you used other chicks. Thank God he didn’t screw me. I’d be more screwed up than I already am. I didn’t want it to happen again, even worse, with someone like you. I’m fucked up, Jadon. I don’t f*****g trust anybody. I’m convinced everyone is out to get me. They see how nice I am, and they want to take advantage of that, and Jake is the worst because he convinced me that he was different when he wasn’t. I won’t let it happen again, Jadon. I’m going to shut everyone out to show them I’m not so nice. I want to show them what I’m made of, and I’m not the pushover they think I am. So I push people away before they can push me away. I won’t let them have that pleasure again. If everyone hates me, I’m going to hate everyone first. Then at least they don’t have that on me.”


It was an oddly refreshing sight to see Jadon on his knees, as if in prayer, looking up to the sky, tears dripping from his eyes, illuminated by the moonlight. That sight combined with holding Leah in his arms, crying just as hard made me feel disarmed and defenseless.


“Leah, you’re a b***h,” Jadon said. “I will give you that. You ruin my best jokes when all I’m trying to do is have a good time. You always have to call attention to the fact that I f**k a lot of girls. You’re the last person I want to party with but always the first person I call when I need a ride home when I get done with the f*****g around. You’re honest. I can always trust you to tell me the truth, whether I ask you or not. I’m fucked up too, Leah. I know that. I don’t need you telling me that everyday, even though you do. We fight all the time. So I don’t get why I feel this way. I’m not too sure why you feel this way either. You make me want to be everything I’m not. You make me realize how fucked up I am and how much I actually don’t want to be like that. You actually make me want to be an honest man. None of the chicks I sleep with care about that, so I never address it.”


“You’re not going to sleep with me too, are you?” she asked suspiciously. “Is that what it’s going to take?” Jadon chuckled.


“How honest of a man you want me to be?” he asked.




“Well, if you don’t want to do that, we won’t. Simple as that. You just have to say so. Next time you don’t want to do something, just say so instead of lecturing us about what a mortal sin it is, ok?”


“And if I ask you to be honest about this, will you?” Leah asked. Jadon sighed. That’s what I thought too, pal. You have a long way to win this girl’s trust after that first a*****e threw it away.


“Fire away,” Jadon said, looking and sounding like he was going to regret it.


“How gay do you have to be to sing Adam Lambert at the top of your lungs?” Leah asked amusedly. Jadon loosened up and smiled.


“Well, if a man is alone in the woods and speaks, is he still wrong?”



                                                *            *            *            *


I lay in bed, unsure of what was going on upstairs, over our heads. It was still very quiet in the house, but for all I knew, Jadon and Leah were sharing the headphones and listening to more Adam Lambert. I had been tossing the question in my mind ever since Joe and I lay down in bed. Joe’s breathing had evened out (four shots was too many if I expected sex) and I was pretty sure that was it for Joe for the night. I kept thinking about it, long and hard, trying to find the strength to look Joe in the eyes and ask him something serious.


“Lane, if you don’t sleep soon, I won’t sleep and we won’t be able to get up in time to rent the houseboat,” Joe murmured. Ok, so four was too much for sex, but not enough to ensure a complete knockout.


“Can I ask you something?” I said.


“Shoot,” Joe said drowsily. I gulped. Joe turned to his side to face me.


“You look really nervous,” Joe said. “What is it? You know you can talk to me about anything, I tell you that all the time.”


“Would you ever come after me?” I asked softly.


“I always do,” Joe said, snickering softly.


“I mean, if I ran out like Leah did,” I clarified. “If I ran out of the house like that after a big fight like that.”


“We don’t fight like that,” Joe said.


“It’s hypothetical,” I said. “What would you do if I ran away?” The silence grew thicker and heavier the longer Joe took to answer. My heart began to race like it did during the run before he finally answered.


“Don’t be silly,” Joe said. “You’d never freak out like she does. Don’t worry about it. We’ll never fight like that and you’ll never run away like that.” Joe turned onto his side and he slept through the night.





© 2010 Here's What I Say

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Added on February 11, 2010
Last Updated on February 12, 2010


Here's What I Say
Here's What I Say

Torrance, CA

I was born on July 3rd 1986 in Torrance, California, and grew up there all my life. I had a hankering to start writing when I was eight, but didn't start actively pursuing it until I was thirteen and .. more..