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For The Fans: Chapter 2

Kyran

Unicorndicks: God, I would beg you to ruin my life and thank you for it after.

I want absolutely no part of this…

Squeezing my eyes shut tight, I try harder to focus on what I’m doing. Push away the nagging thoughts and the frustrations of what I know is coming, and just be present.

Her tongue is silky wet in my mouth, hair in smooth strands, threaded between my fingers as I hold on to it, matching her energy. For every suck and gentle nip she gives my lips, I give her one back, reclined on her bed while she grinds her supple curves all over me.

It feels good. No fucking shit it does. But I’m still distracted. I don’t want to be…

I’d give anything to really be in this moment with my girlfriend. But I just can’t stop thinking about what I’m supposed to be leaving to go do…

It’s bullshit, is what it is.

Attempting to pry my mouth away from Becca’s for the third time, I mumble onto her pouty lips. “I really have to go, babe. My dad will freak out if I’m late…”

“Just stay…” she whines, hand sliding in between our bodies, down to my crotch. “I’ll make it worth your while.”

Is there ever a time when a guy my age is able to decline such an offer? I don’t think so.

But I don’t exactly have a choice here. Tonight is a special night, according to my father, and I’m already fucking miserable over it. The last thing I need is for him to also be shooting me disapproving looks the whole time after I show up disheveled and covered in hickeys.

I don’t think Becca was able to plant any visible ones, but I can’t be sure just yet.

“As tempting as that sounds”—I grin, kissing her one more time softly while also subtly pushing her off me—“I gotta go. If I piss him off now, I’ll wind up grounded for the rest of summer break. And we can’t have that… Can we?”

She continues to pout, touching me everywhere with needy fingers. But then she sighs, “No, we can’t. Especially because Kim’s pool party is in two weeks, and you have to see the bathing suit I bought.” She flutters her long, fake eyelashes at me. “It’s gonna blow you away.”

My fingertips dig into her waist a little. “I look forward to it.”

One last peck on the lips and I manage to extract myself from her grip, rolling off the bed. I wave and blow her a kiss before darting out of her bedroom, heading downstairs. On my way out the door, I’m shaking my head in annoyance.

I can’t believe I have to leave hooking up with my girlfriend to go do this… We have the house to ourselves, for fuck’s sake!

Both of Bec’s parents work during the day, and now that it’s summer vacation, we could do literally whatever we want in her house as long as it’s before six. I’ve been looking forward to having sex with her again. The first time—which was both of our first times—was good, but it was sort of… awkward. Maybe awkward isn’t the right word…

We were both kind of nervous, I guess. So I’ve been itching to get back on that horse—ew, bad analogy. Practice does make perfect, though. And I’m awesome at most things, so I figure I’ll only need to do it a few more times before I become awesome at sex, too.

But no. Instead of getting my eager dick back inside my girlfriend, I’m going home on a Friday evening to have dinner with my dad, the woman he’s currently screwing, and her son.

I’d rather rip a shot of bleach.

Yet I’m still doing it, because of my pathological need to please authority figures, my father being the main one. Sometimes I wish I could just say fuck it. Toss up my middle finger to everything and do what I want.

But then I remember that I need the order; the structure. It’s good for me. Keeps me from thinking about… things.

Shoving those thoughts away, deep in the back of my mind, I walk up the block to the bus stop and wait. I’m usually a pretty patient person, but I am so motherloving sick of riding the bus. I can’t wait to turn sixteen and finally apply for my driver’s license. My dad said if I get straight As my first semester of junior year, he’ll buy me a car. There’s a goal for this fall that I’ll have absolutely no problem achieving.

The bus shows up and I hop on, sitting quietly with my mind thrumming as it drives up Highland Ave. Our house in Somerville is nice… Actually, nicer than the one I grew up in, which was also in Somerville, just across town. I think after the divorce, my father was trying to prove how fine he was by buying a better house than the one we lived in when he and my mom were still together.

It’s the image. The portrayal. Everything needs to look perfect on the outside… no matter how decayed and rotten it is beneath the surface.

Grinding my teeth together, I pull my phone out of my pocket and open the camera. I force a smirk and snap a selfie, posting it to my Instagram account with the caption:

Crushin another day in Somerville. Love my hometown. #blessed

I post it and let out a slow breath.

When the bus comes to a stop, I hop off and wander up the block to my house. Thankfully, I don’t see any other cars in the driveway, which means the guests probably aren’t here yet. Maybe they cancelled… Maybe we’re not doing this stupid fucking dinner and I can hang out with my friends tonight instead of this parental version of waterboarding.

Unfortunately, when I step inside the house, I smell food cooking, which means a dinner of some kind is happening. I spot Theresa in the kitchen, and I can already tell she’s making a fancier meal than what she usually cooks for just Dad and me.

My father doesn’t cook, or do really any sort of housework, so when he and my mom split, he hired Theresa to do all that stuff. She’s a nice lady, and not that I would ever admit it out loud, but I like having her around. She provides a buffer between my dad and me. A much-needed one.

I don’t even want to think about what it would be like if it were just the two of us in this house…

“You’re late,” my father’s gruff voice calls from the den, and my spine stiffens.

“You said five-thirty…” I murmur, turning around slowly.

“And it’s quarter to six.” He lifts his wrist to display his Rolex, as if to make some bullshit point. “That’s what late means, Kyran.”

My fist tightens at my side. “Well, they’re not here yet… Right?” He narrows his gaze at me, and I sigh an exhale meant to calm me down. “I was hanging out with Becca.”

His head does a barely visible nod, which means he approves, at least a little. My dad likes Becca, mainly because her family is from Southie, and they’re well-off. Really all that matters to him.

He doesn’t give two shits about personality or interest… If you were raised Irish Catholic in Boston, then you’re alright in Thomas Harbor’s book.

“Go get ready for dinner.” He takes a sip from his glass of Jameson. “They’ll be here shortly.”

There is oh-so much I’d like to say right now, but as usual, I stuff it all down and obey his command, stalking off to the stairs and up to my bedroom.

I just don’t understand why this is even necessary…

My parents have been divorced for three years. My father has dated women, I know he has. I mean, he doesn’t tell me about it, but I know it’s happening. He goes out for the night, dressed in a suit, and usually doesn’t come home until after I’m already asleep.

But that’s just it. I don’t give a shit if he wants to date women. He could fuck his way around the entire Greater Boston Area for all I care.

What I don’t want to deal with is having to meet the broads he’s sleeping with. He should just keep it to himself. Why put me through some forced awkward dinner with this woman and her son? What’s the point??

My mind flits to my mother while I strip out of my clothes and get redressed in dinner attire. She remarried six months after the divorce was final, and got pregnant only a few months after that. Elena Harbor is now Elena Harbor-McLaughlin. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, Paul, and my half-sister, Paige, who I’ve only met once.

I never see my mom anymore, which makes sense. She couldn’t get out of their marriage fast enough. It was like she was itching to escape from him… and me. And the memories of… everything. How fast it all deteriorated…

Closing my eyes, I rub them hard with my fingers, causing spots in my vision. Reaching for my phone, I open the camera and aim it at myself, posing for the perfect shirtless selfie. While I don’t plan on posting this one, I still take the picture. And I stare at it afterward, for minutes on end. Examining myself, frame and physique.

I’m in good shape. I have to be, what with football and all. My eyes take in the image of myself on the screen… Dirty blonde hair, perfectly swept back by my fingers, skin slightly tanned from the sun of summer’s beginning.

I blink over and over at the guy looking back at me as my heart’s rapid thumps steady back into a normal rhythm.

“That’s you,” I whisper.

“Kyran!” Dad’s voice shouts from downstairs, and I flinch myself back to reality.

“Coming!”

Slipping into my button-down, I tuck my phone away in my pocket, take one last look in the mirror, and leave my bedroom.

I’m sure my father is hosting this stupid dinner as yet another image boost for himself. It doesn’t mean anything…

But in the back of my mind, as I descend the stairs, watching him open the door and greet some stranger, I know it’s more than that.

My mother got remarried… She has a new baby, a new family. A new life.

In his eyes, she won. And he can’t have that.

“Hello, beautiful,” my father says with a smile to a short, dark-haired woman.

Beautiful?? Okay, that’s… gross.

He kisses her cheek, then motions for her to come inside, which she does, all the while smiling back at him. I already don’t like how they’re looking at each other. But I’m distracted from the sickening sight of my father swooning over some new lady when a tall kid with dark hair just like hers steps inside behind her.

I’m immediately frozen in scowl on the second to last step.

“Thomas, I’d like you to meet my son, Avi.” The woman gestures to the dude, who looks to be my age, same height, similar build… maybe a little slimmer.

She peeks at him, and his mouth twists into a visibly nervous grin as he extends his hand to my father.

“Very nice to meet you, Avi.” My dad shakes the kid’s hand. “And please, just call me Tom.”

“Okay…” The guy—Avi—appears to be assessing my father, a protective gaze sliding over him, up and down, while he stands close to his mother. “Tom.” His mother elbows him, and he grunts. “Uh, nice to meet you…. also.”

My brow furrows. Who is this dude?? He seems kind of like an idiot.

“Kyran,” my father says my name in his normal stern brogue, which has me hesitantly stomping off the final steps and over to them. “This is Hannah Vega, and her son, Avi.” He shoots me a look, and I straighten, holding out my hand.

“Hi,” I mutter, miserable and not really able to hide it. “Kyran. Nice to meet you both.”

“Hello, Kyran.” Hannah smiles while shaking my hand. And as much as I hate to admit it, she seems nice. Her voice is soft and melodious, and she is beautiful. Olive skin and long, dark hair. Mediterranean look. “I’ve heard so much about you.”

Her pearly white teeth almost blind me, as does her pleasantness. But when I release her hand and turn to her son, for some reason, all I feel is hostility.

“Sup.” He grins at me, displaying some vast dimples.

My teeth grind together. “Hey.” I shake his hand, hard, squeezing it tight. You know, to let him know who’s boss around here.

My dad… But also, me.

A few heavy seconds go by where we’re both sizing each other up. Well, I’m sizing him up. He seems to be just observing me, in a way that feels appraising and makes my neck hot.

Shifting away from him, I’m attempting to be polite as I ask, “Would you like something to drink?”

I’m mostly talking to Hannah, but I can’t help how my eyes flit to Avi briefly, just to see what he’s doing. He’s not even looking at me anymore. Now, his gaze is darting all over the inside of our house.

Hm… Easily distracted and dopey. Like a puppy.

“Sure, thank you,” Hannah responds to my offer, but looks to my father. “I’ll have whatever you’re having.”

He takes her by the arm. “Come. I have a fantastic bottle of Bordeaux we can open.”

Ugh. Barf. I already hate this.

The two of them wander off, leaving Avi and me standing around like morons. Avi’s eyes linger on my father and his mother for a moment, that same protective glint in them, while mine slide over him once more, noting his clothes. He’s wearing black skinny jeans with rips on the knees, worn Converse sneakers, and a charcoal V-neck t-shirt that hugs his torso.

I puff my chest a bit. I could take him.

“There’s, like, soda and stuff in the kitchen if you want…” I mumble, genteel enough, though I really have no interest in engaging with this dude. I can already tell we have little to nothing in common just from looking at him, and now more than ever, I’m seeing this evening for what it is…

A big fat fucking waste of time.

“We don’t get any wine?” he asks, and when I grimace, he chuckles. “Just kidding. Wow, lighten up.” He slaps me hard on the back, then walks away, in the direction of the kitchen.

I feel my scowl becoming a permanent feature on my face.

My father and Hannah are giggling in the den. And if my teeth weren’t crumbling as it is from how tightly my jaw is clenched, when I get to the kitchen, I find Avi making himself at home. Opening our refrigerator, rifling around, pulling out a can of Coke. He cracks it open and takes a sip, making one of those ah noises afterward as he leans up against the counter.

It takes me a moment to notice that my fists are balled at my sides.

“So… what’s your deal?” he asks me, and my brows crush together in confusion and irritation.

Deal?” I scoff. “I have no deal. What’s your deal?”

He grins. It annoys the fucking shit out of me.

His eyes slide over me again, a slow traipse up and down. And as much as I have this frustrating urge to wrap my arms around myself, I stand up straight and let him do it, squinting at him all the while.

“You look pretty preppy,” he says casually. “Are you, like, a jock or something?”

Forcing myself to swallow down the rage that’s building inside me, faster than the usual rate, I grumble, “I play football, if that’s what you’re asking…”

He huffs. “Figures.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean—”

The question is barely finished barking out of my mouth when Theresa rounds the corner into the kitchen. “Alright, kiddo. As much as I love you bothering me while I’m trying to cook, I need you to move. You’re taking up too much space.” She pauses with a wooden spoon in her hand when she notices the stranger in the room. “Oh, hello. Who’s this now?”

Avi smiles at her, and I roll my eyes. Why does he smile so much? It makes him look deranged.

“This is Avi…” I mutter. “His mother is… dating Dad. Allegedly.”

Theresa’s eyes fling back and forth between the two of us, her brow raising for a split second before she offers a polite smile to Avi.

“Well, nice to meet you, Avi,” she says. “I’m Theresa. But you can just call me The Help.”

Avi laughs. And then they high-five each other. Like they’ve known each other for years.

The way this whole experience is boiling my blood feels very toxic, but I can’t help it. I don’t like what’s going on here. It’s one thing for my father to bring over this woman and her goofy son, but now they’re waltzing around like they own the place, befriending my Theresa…

I hate everything about this.

At that moment, my dad comes into the room with Hannah, holding hands, and croons, “Why don’t I give you two a tour of the house…”

He’s actually smiling, for the first time in what feels like my entire life. And he sounds happy.

What kind of fresh hell is this??

“Dinner will be ready in ten,” Theresa announces.

“Perfect.” Dad smiles down at Hannah, and she up at him.

And my veins are sizzling.

My father proceeds to bring Hannah and Avi all around the house, showing them things while they ooh and aah like they’ve never seen a house before. And I’m just following behind them the whole time, seething.

I really don’t want to be jealous of these new people. I hate feeling jealousy, because I’m usually able to portray exactly enough confidence and self-assurance to thwart such emotions. But I can’t help the little green monster inside me right now.

The way my dad is acting, it’s as if he’s been miserable for years, and now he’s finally happy again, thanks to Hannah Vega and her smiling, dimpled-dimwit son. Not only does that make me feel like utter shit, but also, Hannah is so epically different from my mom, and my father’s usual type. Granted, I don’t know her well, but just watching her and listening to her speak proves my point. She’s nothing like my mom, and my dad seems elated by it.

We’re done perusing the upstairs, and my father and Hannah are walking downstairs chatting when Avi leans in to me and whispers, “Your room is really boring.”

And then he clomps down the steps, leaving me standing there, seconds away from tackling him to the ground. What the hell is wrong with this guy?? Does he have no manners whatsoever? We just met, for fuck’s sake, and he’s just throwing shade at me like some kind of cocky emo-douche.

My mood is more sour than a lemon wedge in my mouth as we all sit down around the dinner table. Theresa serves us, then scuttles off, leaving us to eat under a bubble of awkward tension.

I would’ve been fine pushing my food around in silence, but unfortunately, my father decides to make conversation.

“So, Avi, how are you liking Malden High?”

Avi looks up at him, chewing for a few generous seconds while blinking his wide eyes like he’s trying to figure out how to answer the question.

“It’s alright.” He fiddles with his fork. “My art class is pretty cool.”

“Avi prefers the arts,” Hannah says, peeking at her son. “Trying to get him to hold an interest in anything else has always been… difficult.”

My eyes shift to Avi. At a dig like that from my parents, I’d be cowering inside. But he doesn’t seem disturbed by it at all. He simply shrugs and grins, popping another bite of chicken into his mouth.

“Oh…” my father utters, and I brace myself for him to go off on a tangent about how important education is, and how getting good grades will get you into a good school, blah blah blah. I’ve heard it a million times. But instead, he says, “Well, I’m sure you’ll find your footing soon. At least you have something you’re passionate about.”

I nearly do a spit-take with my mouthful of soda.

“Kyran does well in school,” he goes on. “But his main passion is football. Isn’t that right, son?”

He shows me a pleasant smile, which I balk at. Who the hell are you, and what have you done with my borderline fascist father??

“Yea,” I grunt through my bewilderment. “Football is great.”

Avi smirks at me. “Let me guess, you’re the quarterback.”

I purse my lips. Because he’s right… I am the quarterback. And I’m proud of it, but for some reason, I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of feeling like he knows me after only a few minutes.

Thankfully, my father does it for me. “Yes, he is!” Dad says proudly. “He’s in line to make varsity next year. Then he’ll be playing for a scholarship to BC.”

“Oh, wow!” Hannah gasps with zeal. “Boston College football… Isn’t that exciting, Avi?”

“I wouldn’t say exciting…” Avi shrugs again while eating.

“Avi was looking into BC also,” Hannah tells us.

Avi’s head springs up. “I was??”

She ignores him, speaking more to my father than anyone else. “They have a great art program.”

Dad nods along. “I’ve heard that. Somerville High also has some great art classes, though Ky isn’t exactly interested in that. It’s all about football, which is why we chose the public school over private. Their team wasn’t exactly on par…”

Oh, yea. Sure, Dad. That’s why we chose the public school…

“BC sounds just great,” Hannah sighs.

My dad grins. “Wouldn’t it be fun if you two went to the same place?”

It seems like he’s asking us, but he’s not looking at us at all. His eyes are only on Hannah, and I’ve completely lost my appetite. He’s trying so hard to impress her, and it’s making me nauseous.

“Can I be excused?” I gripe.

“Absolutely not. We just sat down,” Dad barks quietly without looking at me. “So, tell us all about New York, you two. What was it like living in Brooklyn?”

I… don’t… care. I have to fight the urge to drop my face onto my plate.

Hannah regales us with the story of their life in Brooklyn before they moved here last year. And I’m assuming that my dad already knows most of these details, but he still seems swept away by listening to her speak.

Apparently, her husband passed away years ago, but she doesn’t go into what happened, and it has my curiosity sort of piqued. Until she mentions where she’s really from…

Hannah was born in Israel. She left there when she was young and moved to Lebanon with some family before immigrating to the States when she was eighteen. From what I’m gathering, she’s never really gotten along well with her family, but when she married her late husband, who was Spanish, I guess she was sort of shunned from their community.

I’m finding her history pretty fascinating, but I can barely even pay attention to that because my mind is too busy reeling over the fact that my father, who was raised strictly Irish Catholic, is dating a Jewish woman.

I never thought I’d see the day.

I guess Hannah and Avi don’t practice Judaism at all. They both mention that they’re more spiritual than religious, which is also too much for me to unpack right now. I’m just baffled that my father is going along with this…

My father, Thomas Harbor… Who brought me to Catholic church my whole life. Had me and my sister baptized and had me go through communion… Who sent me to church camp until I was twelve and forced me to be an altar boy…

My hands are growing awfully sweaty, and I have to keep rubbing my palms on my jeans. Sure, I haven’t set foot in a church in years. But my father still considers himself a die-hard Catholic.

The whole thing is making my head spin, among other things… But now more than ever, I just want this meal to be over. I have a pounding migraine coming on, and I’m sick of feeling all shredded up inside while the kid across the table from me sits there and grins casually, like he doesn’t have a care in the goddamn world, in my house.

By the time we’re done with dinner and dessert, I’m practically running out onto the back deck for some air. I need to be alone for a few, to clear my head. Everything feels so congested.

I only get about three minutes to myself before I hear someone stepping outside behind me.

“You have a nice place.” The grungy male voice stiffens my spine and forces me to peer over my shoulder. “Somerville seems cool.”

“Why? Where do you live?” I scoff, like a snob, but I can’t help it. I’m not in the mood to be talking to him.

“Malden,” Avi says, either not picking up on my attitude because he’s an airhead, or choosing to ignore it because it doesn’t affect him. I’ve decided it’s the former. “We’re just in an apartment for now… It’s okay, but I’d like to have more room. Like this—”

“Well, guess what.” I spin to face him. “You’re not getting it. I don’t know what you think… If you and your mom are just looking for someone with money to support you or something, but it’s not gonna happen. Go find some other family to leech onto and leave us alone.”

A flash of what might be vulnerability shines in his eyes, rippling their grayish version of light blue. I’m not trying to focus on it, but it’s just happening.

The sting of my comment wears off quickly, and Avi pulls one of his blithe little smirks he’s been wearing all night.

He steps over to me slowly. “Don’t worry, superstar. I wouldn’t be caught dead associating with your preppy ass.” Stuffing his hands into his pockets, he leans in. “Bad for my image.” Then he winks, twirls around, and leaves me standing out on the deck alone…

Desperately clinging to some truth in his words.

It won’t last.

There’s no way…

The high will wear off and my dad will come to his senses.

This isn’t permanent.


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