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For The Fans: Chapter 3


DarthKittyVader: 10/10 I would let those hands be my necklace. 😉

6 Months Later…

Welp, the unthinkable happened…

Tom proposed to my mother. And she actually said yes.

He did it on Thanksgiving. We had dinner at his house, just the four of us…

Me, Mom, Thomas Harbor, and his football-playing jerk-wad of a son, Kyran.

I was already annoyed at having Thanksgiving with people other than my mother for the first time since I was a little kid. Even more so, having it with people I don’t really care for all that much. But then after dinner, while we were all sitting around the den, having pumpkin pie like some kind of new little family, Tom dropped onto one knee and fucking proposed to my mother.

All summer, I’d really been trying to stay positive about the whole thing. I never want to rain on my mom’s parade, mainly because she’s spent so many years depressed and kind of lonely after the death of my father. But the proposal just smacked me in the face. And I wasn’t the only one…

The word yes was barely out of my mother’s mouth before Kyran got up and stormed off. Tom went after him, and we heard them yelling for a few minutes while I just sat there quietly, forcing an uneasy smile and telling Mom that I was happy for her.

When Tom returned, he said, “He’ll come around. Ky just needs time to adjust. He took the divorce pretty hard…”

My mother comforted him, like he was the one who was upset, and we didn’t see Kyran again for the rest of the night.

My head spun for days on end after that. Because even though they hadn’t told us outright how big things would be changing, I just knew it was true. My mother, my best friend and the only person I have in this world, was getting remarried. Moving to Boston was just the beginning…

Apparently, I was getting a whole new family dynamic, and I had no choice but to get on board with it. And sure enough, the changes came on like rapid-fire after that.

Over Christmas break, we moved into Tom and Kyran’s house in Somerville. And now, I’ve officially resumed my junior year at yet another new school… Somerville High.

The school thing isn’t the biggest deal for me. I’m really not a fan of high school anyway, and it’s not like I had much time to grow accustomed to Malden, since I was barely there for a full school year. But Holly took it kind of hard…

She had sort of become my girlfriend, only in the sense that I lost my virginity to her. We were never even really an official item, and I know it sounds bad to say, but I think she liked me more than I liked her. Not that I didn’t like her, or that I don’t, but I never got butterflies being with her.

Don’t get me wrong, losing my virginity was cool and all, but it seemed more like something I was supposed to do… Not something that made me feel weightless.

We agreed to stay in touch when I left Malden. In theory, I guess I could have kept dating her, since I’m only a town over. But it just didn’t seem realistic at my age to come to a new school with a girlfriend. And that probably goes to show how little I was invested in the relationship, because it would have been pretty easy to keep dating Holly. The whole thing makes me feel like a jerk, and I don’t like that.

It’s all Tom’s fault.

He’s the one who swept my mother off her feet in record time. He’s the one with the big fancy house in Somerville, within the new school district, so transferring me was easier than keeping me at Malden High. He’s the one with the son who clearly hates my guts without even making the slightest effort to get to know me.

Kyran is a dick, and that’s putting it mildly. I’m not used to having siblings as it is, and now I’ve been saddled with one who’s nothing like me, and who spends every interaction we have scowling at me like I pissed in his Raisin Bran.

I wish it wasn’t just us… Like, if there was another sibling to maybe soften the blow. Kyran has an older sister, Bridget, but I guess she left home after the divorce and went to school in California. I can’t say I don’t get it… Putting distance between me and the ray of sunshine known as Kyran Harbor does seem like a fun concept.

But I can’t do that. I refuse to leave my mother, which is why the meeting with my guidance counselor to talk about college applications revolved around me applying to all schools in the Boston area.

It’s just after lunch, and I’m on my way to art class when I hear a symphony of raucous laughter that grates in my ears like a particularly terrible song. Ever heard “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani?

I refuse to look their way, but there’s a group of football players exiting the locker room, shoving each other around like testosterone-fueled jocks tend to.

In their own little world. Nothing and no one else matters…

“Fuck!” I grunt when one of them bumps right into my shoulder, hard. Hard enough that I drop my art book on the floor, papers scattering out, all across the hallway.

Tipping my chin, I aim a seething glare in the direction of their brood. And go figure… the one who bumped me is none other than the asshole I now share a bathroom with.

“Oops.” Kyran smirks over his shoulder at me while walking away, preppy fuckhead that he is.

Then he proceeds to step right on my drawings, laughter continuing on amongst him and his stupid fucking friends. My jaw is clamped as I bend to pick up my stuff, quickly stuffing papers back into my book while Kyran and his pals high-five each other.

Okay… That was totally on purpose,” I mumble to myself, deliberately ignoring them.

“Oh my God, what a fucking loser!” One of the other jocks cackles. “Is that manga??”

This time, I can’t possibly keep my mouth shut. “If it’s so lame, why do you know what it’s called?” My lips curl as I tilt my head in his direction.

The dumb dope’s face drops, and he looks embarrassed. Point one for me.

“Please. It’s a standard for art nerds,” Kyran speaks up, narrowing his gaze at me. “You’re all the same. Drawing big-titted girls you could never get in a million years.”

They laugh some more.

“Forgive me, I’m working on memory,” I growl at him. “I’ve only met your mom once.”

My evil smirk grows as Kyran’s fists clench, and he turns to stomp back in my direction.

“The fuck did you just say to me??” he hisses, and I stand up.

Fuck it. If he wants a fight, I’m game. Sure, I’ve never fought anyone before… but how hard could it be to throw a punch? I’ve been working out more lately… Maybe I could just hit him and run.

“Hey, enough.” A female voice stops us, and I pry my fuming gaze away from Kyran long enough to notice a small, pink-haired girl stepping in between us.

My shoulders drop back as Kyran does the same, his friends grabbing him and tugging him away from our potential throw-down. He shoots me one last angry scowl before returning to his dumb jock friends. Keeping my wicked grin intact, I turn to the girl who’s helping me.

“Ignore them,” she says, bending to pick up the rest of my drawings. “Clearly the steroid injections are still fresh.”

I chuckle, eyeing her while she straightens. I’ve seen this girl around… In fact, she’s in my art class. But I’ve only been here a few weeks, so I barely know anyone’s names yet. Other than the asshat I live with, who seems hard-pressed to make my time in this school a living hell already.

“Thanks for that,” I murmur as she hands me my drawings. “I won’t say I wouldn’t have thrown a few punches their way, but getting my ass kicked by a band of jockstrap-wearing dickheads probably wouldn’t be great for my reputation as the new kid.”

She laughs and shakes her head. “Yea, probably not.”

I take her in for a moment. She’s really pretty, and visibly different from most of the other girls at this school. Bronze skin tone and a Colgate smile, fashionably ripped clothes and bright pink hair, piercings in her lip and nose, even a few visible tattoos on her hands.

She looks cool. And maybe just the right amount of anti-establishment for us to bond over being weirdos. I’m in.

“These are really good, by the way.” Her eyes fall to my art book. “I have to admit, I’ve peeped some of your stuff in class. I like your style.”

“Really?” I can’t help but grin wide. “Thanks. I’m still sort of trying to find my niche…”

“Your portraits are sick. And I love all this detail.” She points to one of my sketches I started yesterday, of a girl and a guy holding hands as they’re beamed up into a spaceship. “I’m Frankie.”

I shift my book to shake her hand. “Avi. It’s nice to meet someone cool around here… You know, someone who isn’t all about football and cheerleading.”

“Well, don’t get me wrong, I love football.” She smiles. “The games, mostly. I’m in the band.”

“Oh, that’s awesome,” I tell her excitedly. “So you really are the hot-nerd needle in a preppy haystack?”

Frankie’s head dips back in a laugh that warms my gut. She has this sultry rasp to her voice that I like. “There are more of us, don’t worry. Hang with me, kid. I’ll show you how to survive this school.”

I’m so excited to be making a friend that I end up nodding along and mindlessly following her like a pet.

Maybe this new school won’t be so bad after all…

When I get home, the house is empty.

It’s a relief, for sure, since I’m not in the mood to watch my mom and Tom make googly eyes at each other while blathering about wedding plans. And I’m definitely not in the mood to see my douchebag almost-stepbrother after what happened at school today.

I’m telling you… I’m really trying to keep a positive outlook here. But the idea of even calling that guy my stepbrother is making me want to die. He’s just such a snob.

Mr. Perfect Football Quarterback, with his perfect grades, and his stupid ironed clothes with no holes in them. Jock body and perfectly coiffed hair… laughing at people who are different with his idiot friends…

I scoff to myself upstairs to my bedroom. Milktoast motherfuckers. They all look the same and dress the same. Sports are their whole personality, it’s pathetic. Actually, it’s all so predictable, I could retch for them.

They date the same rich cheerleaders, who are eerily similar to their own waspy mothers. Totally creepy. They peak in college and end up in the same boring marriages their parents had… The once hot-stuff popular girls become white-wine-and-Xanax-guzzling zombies, and the football all-stars get stuck in dead-end corporate jobs, then end up cheating with their secretaries until they’re slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit. Get divorced, then prey on the moms of unsuspecting emo nerds like me.

And the cycle repeats itself.

“Bleh…” I grumble, meandering into my room and tossing my backpack onto the bed. “Cool kids… Kill me now.”

Rustling in my secret desk drawer, I pull out some weed and rolling papers. Okay… So I don’t know for certain that’s what happened with Tom and his wife. But it wouldn’t surprise me. Not one bit.

Closing my eyes for a moment, I shake my head. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. I want to see my mom happy. But it’s just so easy to be skeptical when these people are so very different from us.

I mean, these aren’t blue-collar people. They’re Irish Catholics from Southie.

No wonder Kyran hates me so much… I’m a mutt in his eyes.

Alright, that’s not fair either. He’s not a racist or anything. He’s a jerk, there’s a difference. And I don’t want to spend another minute obsessing over all this crap.

It’s toking time.

Sticking the joint between my lips, I light it and take a long drag, grabbing a nearby can of Febreze and spraying it everywhere. I go for my backpack, pulling out my Spanish homework. It makes me smile. For only a moment, before I’m smacked upside the head by reality once more.

My father… He used to speak Spanish to me when I was little. Before he died.

I was six years old when Arlo Vega was taken from this world. He worked construction for the city. And one day, there was a terrible accident on the job site, and he fell from some scaffolding that wasn’t properly secured.

My father plummeted to his death from over a hundred feet. Dead on impact.

It’s that level of hurt, internal scars and a lifelong pain to overcome, that I’m not sure Thomas or Kyran Harbor, with their cushy life, could ever understand.

A loud thump snaps me out of it. Like a reflex, I stub my joint out on my tongue and tuck everything away in my drawer, in case it’s Mom or her fiancé. But when I hear footsteps clomping upstairs, I realize that it’s neither of them. It’s someone worse. Someone angry.

A muffled voice comes from outside my bedroom door, the steps making their way into the other room just up the hall. I listen as Kyran slams his bedroom door, talking to someone, likely on the phone.

“It’s only for one more year…” I hear his voice through my door to our shared bathroom. “I already talked to Principal Brown, and he said there are forms you can fill out so I can still attend Somerville while technically residing in Cambridge. The school districts are—”

His voice cuts out like he’s been interrupted, and I creep over to eavesdrop a little better.

“I know. I know that, Mom, but I’m begging you.” He actually sounds distraught. It kind of humanizes the enemy a little. For once, he’s not being a cocky, brooding asshole. “I just can’t… I don’t want to be here. Can I please come live with you??”

My mouth drops open. I can’t believe what I’m hearing…

He’s pleading with his mother to let him come live with her… To get away from me?? I mean, I’m guessing that’s what’s happening. Why else would he be suddenly desperate to move out of the home he’s lived in for years?

Kyran is quiet for a few heavy moments, while I’m trying not to make any noise so I can keep spying.

Then I hear him release a ragged breath. “Okay… fine. Whatever. Have a nice life then.”

I think the call is over when I hear him growl out loud. A crash causes me to jump, like he threw something against a wall. I hear more stomping and shuffling, and the hit of this decent sativa strain is filling me with the energy needed to call him out.

He’s over there, huffing and puffing because he has to live with me, like it’s some form of torture, when he’s the one who’s been treating me like shit since we met. It’s not fair. I’m not thrilled about this arrangement either, but at least I’m making an effort.

When I hear his aggressive movements enter our shared bathroom, I make my move, whipping open the door and shouting, “Aha!”

Not sure why I chose to say that… But I don’t even have time to dwell on it.

Because Kyran is ass naked.

He scrambles to cover his dick, eyes wide, face reddening as it contorts in shock and appall. “What the fuck are you doing?!”

“Uh, my bad…” I mutter, looking away while he grabs a towel and hastily secures it around his waist.

“Why are you bursting into the bathroom while I’m naked, you fucking creeper?!” he growls, baffled rage framing his voice.

Allowing myself to peek again when I’m sure he’s covered-up, I find him glaring at me, sandy-brown hair all tousled and his cheeks flushing crimson.

I clear my throat. “I um…” My brain has gone blank. Why did I come in here again?? Oh, right… I straighten. “I heard what you said… Begging your mom to let you live with her…” I fold my arms over my chest. “Sort of desperate to get away from me, hm?”

His jaw ticks. “Yea. Now more than ever.”

“That’s kind of rude.” I match his glare with one of my own.

“Oh, and eavesdropping on people’s conversations, then bursting in on them in the bathroom isn’t??” His brow arches, and I shrug.

Okay, I guess he has a point…

Letting out a breath, I rub my eyes with my fingers. “Alright, I’ll give you that. But you were talking loud. I couldn’t help but overhear…”

“Right…” he scoffs, rolling his eyes as he turns away, fussing with things on his side of the vanity.

“Look, Kyran…” I shift to face him fully. “This is just as weird for me as it is for you, trust me.”

“Yea, I doubt that,” he hisses.

“No, I’m serious. I’m not used to living with anyone other than my mom. And I’m definitely not used to having a brother… Especially one I just met, who I’m now sharing a school and a bathroom with.”

“You’re not my brother,” he teems, peering at me.

I release a frustrated sigh. “Yea, well… they’re getting married. Whether we like it or not, it’s happening. So don’t you think we should, I don’t know… make an effort? To at least try to get along? For them…”

Kyran is quiet for a moment, staring at himself in the mirror with a strange look in his eyes. They usually appear to be a green and bronze hazel, but right now they’re dark, pupils visibly large, noticeable even from where I’m standing.

I witness him swallow before he grips onto the edge of the countertop. “I don’t owe him anything.”

I narrow my gaze at him. What the hell does that even mean?

This time, he twirls to face me, pinning me with a particularly severe glower. “Who my father decides to marry is his business. But as far as I’m concerned, you and your mother are simply people I have to tolerate until I graduate and can get the fuck away from all of you.”

“Wow…” I breathe and swallow. “Mean.”

“It’s the truth.” He stands firm, his broad chest moving up and down, struggling to contain his anger. “I don’t need any more friends, and I sure as shit don’t need a brother who’s nothing like me.”

I blink. “You don’t even know me.”

“Oh, but I do.” He inches closer. “You’re the stoner kid who laughs it all off because it’s easier than admitting you have no clue who you really are. Nothing holds your attention, and you tell yourself it’s because of your artist brain, but that’s just an excuse to slack off and flit around like a careless buffoon. You have no friends, no relationship, nothing. You’re a momma’s boy, and you act like you’re taking care of her, but the truth is that she doesn’t need you. No one does.” I’m frozen as he leans in even closer to my face. “You’re a waste of space. Now, get the fuck away from me. Please, and thank you.”

I’m fucking stunned into stone. Harsh adrenaline rushes in my veins, my stomach twisting and turning so violently I feel like I could vomit.

I can’t believe he just said that shit to me… What kind of horrendous asshole is this kid??

Muscles tense all over my body and my fists ball on a hoarse whisper, “Alright, then. I guess fuck you too.”

Stalking out of the bathroom, I slam the door so hard behind me, it rattles the wall. I exhale out loud, shaking my head and pretending his words didn’t get to me. That he’s just lashing out because he’s a stuck-up asshole who thinks he’s better than everyone.

But no matter what I do, I can’t get his voice out of my head.

No matter how much more I smoke, it just won’t go.

You have no one…

No one needs you…

I spend the rest of the night struggling to focus on my homework. And when Mom and Tom come back with dinner, I tell them I’m not hungry.

I stay locked away in my bedroom, staring at the pages of the books I’m not reading, with a hurtful truth bounding around in my brain.

You have… no… clue… who you really are.


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