Rotten Apples

Chapter 13 – How Do You Like Them Apples?


“Mmmmmmm.” My teenage high school enemy said to my mother with a grin on his lips as we were all still standing around at one of my family’s business tables up front of my orchard. “This cider is suuuuuuper good, Mrs. Irving! Best drink I’ve eveeeeerrrr had.” He was so fake. UGHHHHH. The level of almost professional sarcasm made me wonder how he developed such a skill in the first place. It almost blew my mind how my own mother couldn’t catch the inauthenticity in his voice & empty statements; well, technically, our cider WAS extremely popular in Georgia for its balanced flavor, so, he wasn’t completely lying, anyway.

“Wahh’ thank youu. Such a fine young man you have here.” My mother actually said those words to his mother as she was standing right next to me. My throat felt like it turned into molten lava from the burning frustration and anger that I felt. THAT WAS MY BULLY MAH!!!!!! Why!? Why is all of this even happening to me in the first place? Can’t everyone just…. leave me alone and let me enjoy the grand opening of my family’s new orchard and Halloween day, let alone the previous night’s school dance?

“Ugh… Sorry mah. This stupid branch caught on my shoe.” I heard and saw a blonde girl, wearing heels, who looked to be about a senior in high school with a high black skirt on and a white leather jacket on with a playfully ‘low in the front’ hot pink shirt on underneath. She walked up right next to Jesse and the resemblance was almost comical from it’s obvious noticeability. Whenever I saw Jesse as ‘Barbie’s younger brother’, I now was looking at the “Barbie”, herself. She was even MORE beautiful than he was. I couldn’t believe it. She was it. She was literally “it”. She was pretty, beautiful, & feminine. But, had this unusual aura to her persona that seemed almost mischievous without even doing anything. Which meant, if she DID do something to bring it out, one could only imagine what that would look like.

“Regina…” Her mother responded, annoyed. “I told you, you don’t need heels here. This is not the type of…”

Regina…… That was the girl that my homeroom teacher mentioned way back when “the three musketeers” pinned me to the brickwall outside of school during lunch hour that very first day who she mentioned to Jesse that “got away from her”, somehow. I finally met who she was talking about.

Regina rolled her eyes and made a breathy irritated sound. “Please, it’s not like we’ll be here forever. Besides…” She smiled mischievously to herself. “You never know who… Might be here.” And, she deviously smiled at my father. My father looked at her and gulped with his mouth opened.

Her mother glared at her. “You’d better not start any…”

Regina, then, smiled almost as fake as Jesse Bradford’s smile and took my father’s hand, completely ignoring her mother and said, “Hiiiiiii, I’m Regina. Your Orchy is beautiful…” My father took her hand and softly shook it knowing my mother was watching them both.

“It’s an ORCHARD you half wit.” Jesse said. I saw Regina reach behind him and pinch the back of his arm… The area that’s extremely sensitive to pinching. “OWWWW! …..you IDIOT!!” he shreiked & attempted to start to fight her.

“Children THAT’S enough.” Her mother spat at them both.

Mr. Bradford, never once loosing his cool, said and smiled to my parents and I. “You’ll… Have to excuse them. You know how families can be.”

My father rolled his eyes almost laughing with him. “Yeah, believe me. I know.” I couldn’t even BELIEVE my dad was even getting along with them and especially Jesse. This couldn’t be happening.

After about 20 minutes of Jesse and his family roaming around our place and scoping what we had to offer, our trees, and exchanged a few more words with my family and even with SHANNON, I honestly just wanted to leave.

“Ma, can I go please, now…. You said I could meet Liam and them later if I want. Please please please?”

“Alraght. Alraght. Keep your horses in shape. You can go. You did your fair share. Have fun sweetie.”

“OKAY, GREAT! THANKS! BYE!” I said a bit too excited that I was leaving that whole situation and just dropped a basket full of apples onto Shannon’s arms which might have been a bit too heavy for him and almost knocked him down.

“Ugh!! ….Heyy!” He said.

“Sorry, Shay.” I said, running. Even though he was a bit confused, he gave me a little smile, nonetheless.

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The thing about my brother, Shannon, was he was different than almost anyone I ever met. His angelic persona and essence somehow always made you feel warm, welcome, and authentic. That’s the word; he was authentic. Money just simply can’t buy that. He never tried to be someone that he wasn’t. He always made me and others feel good and reminded us what’s really important: purely unselfish love. He just had that energy. It was who he was. That’s why when he and my mother decided to go all out on having him dress like Cupid the love angel, I couldn’t believe the perfected match. He was already dressed in his costume the entire time of our grand opening. When he was done with his chores there, he was going out with his other new friend to go trick or treating, his friend’s mother, and a few other kids that decided to go with them. He had the pure white angel gown that was cut into a slant just at his thighs. He had the Roman style leather sandals, a bow and arrow which had a shiny red heart for a tip, that was carried on his back. And presto! He looked perfect for the part! Who better? No one, but, him.

______________

 

I really didn’t care if anyone thought I was too old to go Trick Or Treating. I’m 14. It’s not like I have to all of the sudden, be fake, wear a suit & tie, and pretend to be an adult. You know? I wanna have fun, too.

“Okay are you ready?” I texted Sascha.

Apparently, Sascha, Jesse, and Micheal Smith rarely went trick or treating. Jesse would prefer to try to go out for a smoke or drink or maybe get some free candy, somewhere in a mischievous way. But, no trick or treating, really. Sarah and Jessica were out with some of their friends. So, they wouldn’t be with us this evening.

“Yeah, I’m ready. Remember I had to cover my face. I can’t be seen with you in public especially tonight, knowing who knows who will be out there from school. I’ll just be a grim reaper. Whatever. It doesn’t matter.” Sascha said to me in text.

“Okay! Great. I can’t wait. Meet me at the intersection of Maple Blvd. and Watercress Ave., 7:00pm. Cool?” I said to him.

“Hehe. Uhm okay…… You know, this is the first time we hang out outside of school besides your place. It’s kinda… Cool.” he texted. Aww was he… Nervous? That’s so cute!

Little did he know that I made the exact same arrangements with Liam & Donny to meet me there, too. I know I shouldn’t have. But, I HAD to sneakily go plan this whole thing without letting Sascha or Liam know that the other would be there or I KNEW they wouldn’t even bother coming. And, Halloween meant alot to me.

Where I’m originally from, there weren’t any houses anywhere near as close to here. So, trick or treating never happened… Like ever. So, this made me finally truly appreciate the close proximity of my new town’s homes. I was honestly so excited. But, I was also a bit nervous. I knew Liam hated Sascha, and I knew he’d hate it even more that I invited him. I was already getting nervous about that. But, in my young mind, I figured maybe when we would already all be there, I could somehow convince them to just like…. Be with me and have fun, anyway. I mean, that was possible, right? Right??

____________

Standing on the intersection that I arranged for my friends to meet me at 6:55, I was jittery, both in good ways and in bad ways. I remember tapping my jeans of my homade scarecrow outfit from some nerves. I was really happy, though, when I saw Donny dressed like a pirate walk up to me with a smile and one eye covered with a patch.

“Hi, Billy!” He said and walked up to me.

“Hiii.” I said sweetly. Yes I gave him a hug. I don’t care if that’s ‘gay’ to some people. He was my best friend. We were close. And, I was happy to see him. Then, I saw him. Hehe. Liam kept his promise to me. He actually looked really good. He was completely covered in artificial black Bird feathers that were all over his body & also all over his arms as well to resemble a real Crow. He was the Crow. And I was the Scare Crow.

“This stuff is so ITCHY. …I look like a retard.” He said.

“No, you don’t! It looks great. Thank you!” I said to him and lightly hugged him.

“Yeah, it looks good!” Donny agreed.

“I-I hope so. I hope nobody recognizes me in this.” He said looking around.

“It’s Halloween. Nobody will care.” Donny said as a matter of factly.

“Sooooo, let’s go. Jaime couldn’t make it. His mom is making him stay home to hand out candy with his baby sister. We never really trick or treat anyway. He did want to come though, he says hi, and said sorry he couldn’t be here with us.”

“Oh…. Well, that’s okay. Maybe, we can get ice cream after we’re done.” I said to him.

“Okay… So let’s go, then.”

“Uhmmm. I can’t.” I said.

“Why not?” He said, not exactly annoyed, but his tone insinuated that there was no reason to just stand around.

“Uhhh….” I stared nervously as they both looked at me. “I’m waiting for something.”

“Waiting for what?’ Donny said.

“Uhm a thing… Well actually… It’s someone else.” I blurted.

“Oh, okay. Who is it?” Liam asked nonchalantly. Oh god.

“Nobody. You- you don’t know him.” I lied, temporarily.

“Weeelll okay, then. We’ll wait for your friend I guess.”

A few more minutes passed and I saw a Grim Reaper who was an inch taller than me, fully covered, walking up to us. He was there! I never felt this before, but, I was SO happy and SO scared all at once. If you’ve never felt that before, you don’t want to. Believe me. It’s so confusing.

He walked up to me and saw Donny and waved. Donny waved out of politeness, as usual, even though he didn’t know who he was waving at, just yet.

Then, Sascha, in his costume, stopped dead in his tracks when he noticed Liam through his feathers. He INSTANTLY removed his reaper mask and the look they gave each other was one of shock, anger, and another word that I can only describe as betrayal.

“WHAT’S HE DOING HERE?!!!” they both said in unison, extremely loudly.

Some other kids were already looking at us from the comotion we were causing as they passed us by.

“You invited Sascha?” Donny asked me somewhat, hesitantly. He didn’t really dislike him, but, from everything that had occurred, so far, in our cooking class previously, and during other situations, he was probably a bit iffy as to why I would want him there and whether he even trusted him, himself. I guess Donny was confused as to what me and Sascha’s relationship really was. And, the reality was, so was I.

“You INVITED HIM?” Liam asked me completely shocked and irritated. Sascha stayed quiet.

“I-I well, yeah. I just wanted us to maybe-”

“Have you lost your marbles?? I told you to stay the FU++ away from him.” He said glaring at my Russian classmate. This completely shocked Donny. Now, he was finally starting to realize there were hidden dark things between us all that I was trying my best to keep a secret from him finding out. But, it was starting to slowly creep it’s way out by him seeing Liam’s strong reaction to him. Donny was finally starting to realize the gravity of the situation. No no no. I wanted that jar sealed shut. I had to close it. Like fireflies in a jar, I had to find a way to capture them and seal them shut, once again. If not temporarily, at least as long as humanly possible. Donny couldn’t know any of this; any of this I tell you!

“He’s he’s–” I didn’t even have an answer because I didn’t even know the answer, myself. What WAS Sascha to me? “He’s- he’s my friend!” This completely shocked Liam, Donny, and Sascha, all at the same time, that I actually said those words in a firm statement out loud for the very first time & I felt my heart beating really fast.

“Your friend?!’ Liam said. “Jesus….”

“I didn’t even KNOW you’d be here, LIAMMMM.” Sascha said.

“Then, leave.” Liam said.

“Fine. I’m going. I don’t need your crap.” Sascha said mad and almost… Sad, I suppose. Poor Donny was just watching the entire soap opera of my life and seeing me trying to hold things together.

Liam, then, knocked down Sascha’s trick or treat bag and said “Good, don’t let the invisible door hit you.”

“No Sascha, wait! Please!” And, I pulled him hard to stop him. “Just let me talk to him….. Please…” I whispered into his ear and looked into his eyes. I knew he had a little ‘soft spot’ for me. He showed that side to me, before, even though, I didn’t really know what to do with it at the time, just yet, entirely. He saw my plea through my look and gave an irritated look to the side.

“Fine.” He said and folded his arms as he picked up his bag that Liam knocked over.

I pulled Liam around the corner behind a house whose lights weren’t lit so we could talk in private.

“What the hell is wrong with you? You lied to me.” He said mad.

“I didn’t lie. I just… Didn’t tell you the whole truth.” I said.

“Billy, I like you alot. But, I’m not staying with him. I can’t stand him. You don’t know him.” He said.

“No. YOU don’t know him!’ I said to him.

This stunned him to say the very least. “What? How could you possibly know him more than me????”

I stared at Liams feather covered chest for a moment. I had to do it. I told him. “He’s the one who helped me.” I still kept my promise to Sasha by not telling anyone who gave me my phone. “He said sorry about me being beaten. He’s not bad. He was at my house.”

“He was at YOUR HOUSE?!’ He said.

“He got hurt real badly and I helped him, just like when you helped and saved me remember?” I said to him.

He hesitated for a moment. “I’m leaving.” He said and started to walk away. I pulled him hard by both his arms.

“No, don’t. Don’t go!”

“Get off me.” He pushed me off. I wasn’t stopping.

I don’t know why I did it. But, I pulled him with one arm and turned him to look at me. I leaned in and I did it. I finally did it. I kissed a boy. I kissed Liam full on the lips and wrapped my arms around him. I didn’t know how he’d react. I didn’t know what I was doing. But, when I did, he froze as I slowly pulled away. We looked at each other and I stared at his chest, so afraid of what he would say to my move on him. I looked up to see a look of shock from him. It, then turned into a small bashful grin.

“Just do it for me…. Please?” I said holding his soft hand.

Looking around shyly he said, softly, “O-Okay.” With his head down, not really knowing how to react to my request, my sweet kiss, or what was happening.

________

After about 20 minutes of me and my friends Trick Or Treating, Liam being unusually quiet to my right after our shared “intimate moment”, Sascha to my far left, and Donny in between us, I finally spoke. “Thanks for coming guys. I really love it.” I smiled as I looked at all the candy in my bag. I couldn’t believe it. This holiday was honestly my favorite! It was so cool.

“You’re welcome. Issss’ fun.” We can trade candy for ones we like and don’t like later, kay?” My bestie said to me.

“Oh, okay cool idea.” Sascha said.

“Oh, you’re going to Billy’s house?” Donny asked him as he didn’t know he was invited. Actually, I didn’t invite him to go to my house after we went out. But, I didn’t mind it.

“Uhhh…. I don’t know.” He said putting his reaper mask covered head down.

“Of course you can come.” I rubbed his back.

“Liam you’re coming, too?” I asked him.

Still in a daze from what was happening, he looked at me and Sascha, and half reluctantly agreed.

“Great! So, ice cream, first. And, then my house? Maybe, a scary movie, popcorn, and candy trading?” I said.

“Fine by me if that’s okay.” Sascha said.

“Of course it is.” I responded. Sascha needed a friend; REAL friends, not just “Riff Raff” as my father would say. I know he did. And, by the bear that bit me, the three of us were going to be his friends that I knew he needed. At least I will, anyway.

I will.

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