Rotten Apples

Chapter 16 – Runaway Runaway

Sitting in the lunchroom cafeteria, the following Monday, directly after Halloween, was a serious case of me being quiet. Everyone around me at my table felt it. I’m sorry. But, I couldn’t help it. After everything that happened at my house the previous night, sitting next to Liam, glancing over at Sascha who took peeks at me, and feeling Antonio’s identical quiet energy made everyone wonder what was on my mind, including him. Jessica…. the girl that I had just learned 2 days prior at our school dance made me completely unsure of how I should properly address the entire situation. I knew. I knew who she was, or used to be anyway; I now knew she was Jesse’s ex-girlfriend & was the primary reason for me being such a merciless target to him. I didn’t want to sit with her, yet, I didn’t want to loose her as a friend. That would also make me loose Sarah. I really couldn’t do much about it. The first to speak was actually Jessica.

“Is everything okay, guys? What’s up?” She asked, sipping her water in between bites of her sandwich.

“NOTHING!” Liam, Antonio, and I blurted out loud.

This made her and Sarah look at us with widened eyes as though our reaction was a bit over the top. Yeah. Real smooth. I’m sure they don’t suspect a thing, now.

Sarah replied, “Oookayyy.” And scrunched her mouth and nose as though our reaction was unusual and also probably didn’t even want to know what the issue was.

We continued to all eat in silence after the three of us looked at each other, before we did.

“Sorry I’m late.” Jamie said and placed his tray next to Sarah. “My English teacher wanted me to stay a bit for some extra help. Sorry I missed last night. Anything cool or exciting happen?” He asked, nonchalantly.

I spoke. “NOO. What makes you say that? Why ask that? Nothing happened. Nothing.” I said.

This made him mimick Sarah’s facial expressions as he looked at her with a wide mouth. They both shrugged, mentally communicating as if they were like “I don’t know what the hell is going on, either.”

In between my lunch, which I barely ate mind you, I heard some giggles and mindless chatter in between Jesse and his friends. Sascha was zoned out. Honestly, knowing them, they were probably making fun of someone. I could tell Sascha wasn’t into it that day. In fact. As more time went by, he seemed to get more & more annoyed at their mindless chatter. Finally, I saw him get up sharply, causing Jesse to look at him almost shocked, and Sascha darted to the trashcan and threw the rest of his lunch away and left the lunchroom. Everyone, who knew him well anyway, looked at his actions and watched him leave. He didn’t even say goodbye to his friends. He just left. I didn’t know why, yet, I’m sure what was on his mind wasn’t far off from what was on our minds as well, possibly more, and worse. Who knows?

In between my last few classes I got a text.

“We need to talk.” Sascha said.

I snuck my phone in my class and said, “Okay… Uh when?”

“Today. Are you free this afternoon?” He responded.

“Uh. Yeah. Why?” I asked.

“Come to my house.” He stated.

My eyes widened at that. Sascha wants me to go to his HOUSE?

“I don’t know where it is.” I stated, factually.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll pay for your Uber both ways. You can only come from 4-6. Stand outside school until 3:30, and they’ll pick you up.” He said.

Hesitantly, I asked, “What’s an Uber?”

“Oh God, Billy. It’s a taxi. For fu++’s sake.” He said.

“Well I’m sorry! I never took one.” I said.

“So, you’re coming?” He got right back to the point.

I contemplated. Did I reeeaaally want to do this? But, my answer was inevitable. “Yeah. I’ll go. So, I just wait outside the school main front door by the curb?”

“Yeah. I’ll text you when it’s there.” He said.

“Okay.” I responded, nervously.




After my first Uber ride, I was dropped off at a giant fancy looking house with a curved driveway in the front that was made of expensive looking gray stones. Sascha was inside the main door looking outside. When the Uber left, he came outside, looked around for a moment. Took my hand, and pulled me inside.

Walking inside, the first thing I saw at the entrance was a giant chandelier & a large curved stairwell which led up the stairs. Sascha locked the front door and peeked a bit, outside, as though he was looking for something. Then, he turned around and faced me.

“Thanks for coming. Do you want a snack?” He asked me.

“Sure. Okay.” I responded. This was so weird. I was in his HOUSE. It felt even weirder than the very first time he was ever at my house. For some reason, I felt like I was trespassing, even though I was invited.

“Okay. Come.” He said. He sounded….. different.

As I followed him into his kitchen I marveled at the size. I, then, began to examine everything. Everything was spotless. Everything had its place. A perfect fruit bowl, a stainless steel fridge which parted from the middle, and other items which all looked basically brand new. Not that my kitchen was mediocre, by any means, but, his was on another level.

As he opened the fridge, I noticed a few things. The entire left side had specialty looking food items, yogurts perfectly place in a row, almond milks, an entire collection of all sorts of fresh veggies, celery, carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, and fruits were on that side. The other side, however, was full of what one might call ‘normal’ food items. The right side had cranberry juice, orange juice, regular milk, cheese, ham, bologna, fruit flavored yogurt, etc. Hmmm. Why was everything so… separated? He then pulled out the bottom freezer and it was the same thing, the left side had all health or diet items, and the right side had normal items, like frozen perogies, ice cream, etc.

“You can pick anything you want from the right side.” He said, nonchalantly. And, grabbed a carrot from the left. “Oh. Same thing with the cabinets, too.”

I took that lead, served myself a small fancy looking glass of cranberry juice, and walked over to the cabinets. I opened them: each one. And, it was the exact same thing. The cereal cabinet had special looking protein drinks of some kind to the left and normal cereal, maple syrup, honey, jams, jellies, and peanut butter to the right side. I closed that one and opened the one to the right quickly. To the left was a collection load of vitamins and all sorts of pill bottles, all lined up perfectly, and some special looking protein bars. To the right, was what appeared to be imported candies, chocolates, crackers, & cookies. Each cabinet was designed as though an invisible line existed in between them, forbidding one side from touching the other.

“I’ll be right back.” He said. A few moments of looking around he walked in with a liquor glass halfway full of a clear liquid that I thought was water. It wasn’t.

He drank some and made a sound. Was that… Was that alcohol??!

“Sascha… What’s that?” I asked him.

He spoke “Just some Grey Goose from the bar. Oh, sorry. You want some?” He asked and then took another sip.

“Uhmmm no. No thanks.” My God. Did his parents even know he drank? “Sascha won’t your parents be mad?” I asked him.

He giggled an almost annoyed giggle and said, “My father barely cares about anything.” He paused, took a sip, and took my hand, “Come. Let’s go to my room, now.” He said. Why was he like….. talking a little different. It wasn’t THAT noticable. But, he didn’t sound like that in school, or anywhere for that matter.




After sitting in Sascha’s room for about 15 minutes on the edge of his bed with his giant Flat Screen TV playing in the background, I finally spoke. “Sascha, why’d you want me to come here?” He responded by looking at me, got a little closer and pecked my cheek softly. I couldn’t help the natural response of me giggling, flirtatiously.

After he pulled away softly he looked down, rubbed my leg softly and spoke, “Billy, look. I’m sorry about yesterday. Okay?” He paused and looked around. “I don’t really know what came over me. I shouldn’t have kissed you like that.”

“NO! It’s okay… Uh. I-I liked it.” I said.

“I know. I did, too. But, …we shouldn’t be doing this.” He said.

“Why not??” I said, for some reason, disappointed.

He looked down and back up at me. “I’m not stupid Billy. I know.”

My heart was starting to pound. “You know what?”

“I know how you feel about him.” He said.

“About who??” I said playing dumb.

Looking almost irritated at my failed attempt to act, he said, “LIAM.”

I said nothing, nothing at all. Until I blurted, “I don’t know what you talkin’ about. Just…just…” I couldn’t even come up with the words to deny it all. I was fully surprised, embarrassed, and put on the spot.

He gave a sharp grunt and giggle and said, “Jeez, Billy. You don’t have to be such a virgin about everything. It’s cool. I’m not tellin’ anyone. Promise.”

I really didn’t say anything. I just sat there, awkwardly, next to him. I really refused to talk or respond to any of this whatsoever.

After another 7 minutes, I asked him a question which had been filling my brain with wonder ever since my mother told me the previous night. “Sascha? Why’d you give my baby brother all of your Halloween candy? You didn’t even have any.” This caused him to look at the Television with an empty glance. He didn’t answer at first and then looked at his lap.

“I’m not allowed to have candy.” He said.

“Really? Oh wow. UHM, do you have like Diabetes or something? Are you okay?” I asked him.

He paused again & sadly said, “No. My Papa will not let me.”

This made me wonder why his father wouldn’t let him have even a bit of candy. This also made me begin to correlate this new information with the entire way his kitchen and house was separated. If what I was thinking was true, this was insane. Sascha can’t eat or do anything normal?

“Why not???” I asked genuinely curious.

“Don’t you know, Billy?” He said.

“Know what?” I questioned.

“I’m- I’m a model. Well, actually, they dubbed me child supermodel of the year in August after a show I did.” He said.

I wasn’t really surprised, being how attractive Sascha Konovski was. I was just shocked that this whole time I had known a REAL famous model. I sat there for a moment. “Wowww. That’s so neat!! You’re like famous!” I said, enthusiastically.

Sascha, however, didn’t seem to share my energy. “Yeah. I guess I am…” He gazed into nothing, again.

“So, like what did you do, or I mean, what DO you do??” I asked.

“Sigh. Well, let’s see. I’ve done a good handful of commercials, mainly as a Pantene representative for their shampoo & conditioner line, I’ve done a few runway shows for J-Crew kids, I’ve been on 3 of their billboards, I’ve modeled for Abercrombie & Fitch kids, and I’ve been in other commercials as well. I’ve done swimwear modeling, swimwear shows and my father wants me to be an actor and is pushing that as hard as he can. He pushes me very much. I’m only allowed to eat certain things, right before a show or gig, especially. I can only eat certain exact things, at certain times. Before a show, they won’t even sometimes allow me to drink anything 8 hours before to make sure I don’t retain any water. They all take it very seriously. They want me perfect. They want my body perfect. They want perfection. When it comes to these things, that’s all they care about.” He explained to me.

I wasn’t only shocked at how impressive his resume was, but, I admired his strict nature. However, I also felt that he deserved to be NORMAL, sometimes, too.

“Well, that’s really cool and all, but, don’t you ever just, sometimes, maybe, want a break from all that stuff?” I knew it probably wasn’t exactly my place. But, I truly felt that my question had some merit.

He nodded and, then, shook his head slowly, as if my question struck a core within him. He turned to me, slowly, and said “All the time.”

Silence entered the conversation, until I, then, had an idea. “Hey! Do you have any like clips of anything you did?”

He laughed, somewhat of a girly laugh and said, as he whipped some of the hair from his eyes, “Yeah I do. My parents keep document of everything I do. We have it all on hard drive, Icloud, and Blue Ray. I-I guess I could play one of the blue rays for you. It has some snips and tidbits of my work in order.”

“Yeah, okay!” I said. I was so excited. I was about to see my own friend, SASCHA Ludovic Konovski, in real commercials!

He got up, opened a specially placed cabinet in his room, and placed one of the Blue Rays inside of the Blue Ray player.

It started off with a Pantene commercial that you would normally see on TV. I supposed his family received and collected recordings of everything he did and was a part of. At first, I didn’t see him. It was a male in his thirties, with dark hair, a beautiful woman followed walking along the grass and her hair flowing in the wind. But, then I saw him! He was the last one. He had a school as the background and did a flirtatious turn as his long hair luxuriously swirved around him as he faced the camera and Sascha said, playfully and seductively, “Pantene…” And, the commercial cut to a white background, the logo written in black text and an image of the new shampoo & conditioner line that the company was advertising as a woman spoke in a whisper to end the commercial and finishing Sascha’s sentence, “The one for everyone….” And, the clip ended. Wow I thought.

I smiled. “That was GREAT!”

He laughed a small laugh, maybe feeling a little embarrassed that I was watching all this. But, he did respond with, “Thanks.”

We sat there at the edge of his bed; it had been a good half an hour of me seeing clips of Sascha’s professional modeling work. I, then, realized something. “Hey. Technically, ain’t you an actor since you been in commercials?”

“Hmmm. You know, I never really thought of that. I guess, TECHNICALLY, you’re right. You’re smarter than you look.”

I gasped and put my hand on my chest, “Are you saying I look dumb?”

“I didn’t say it. YOU did.” He said with a sly, evil grin and shoved my side. I gave him a playful shove back which was even harder. “My Papa wants me on the big screen either for a show that he’s trying to have me casted in or a movie. I have an agent who’s trying to find me a role.”

After a while of me watching some more of Sascha’s work, he went to use the restroom. As he was away, the Blue Ray cut to a clip of a Runway Show. It was a very big event from the looks of it. Then, I heard Sascha, from his doorway, dramatically say, “NO. NO. NO. Don’t watch that!!!!” And, ran to the bed frantically looking for the remote. Little did he know that I was sitting on it and I had no intention of telling him where it was as my curiosity burned within me from what he was trying to hide. Then, I saw it.

My mouth slowly hung low as I saw Sascha cover his face next to me leaving just a small area for his eyes to be able to peek through his hands from embarrassment of what I was about to see.

It was Sascha’s turn on the runway. This was apparently a very prestigious swimwear runway show. And he walked a very powerful walk as his hair flowed perfectly behind him with upbeat sounding music which was in exact synch with his steps. He was sporting a shiny white speedo with one perfect diagonal red stripe going down the front at an angle and was an inch in thickness to the design of the red accent to the swimwear that he was showcasing for whatever company designed it. His skin was perfectly shiny, glistening, & tanned; he looked absolutely perfect. Everyone in the show instantly turned to him as he walked more confidently than anyone I had ever seen before. The look of power on his face as he stepped onto the very edge of the stage was that of an animal walking towards it’s prey ready to take a bite for its very own snack. He was obviously the main attraction, at that point, as a bunch of photographers went to him, as close as they possibly could, in order to capture the moment in its entirety and snap as many pictures as they could. He, then, stopped at the very edge, spread his legs a little, with a strong stance, lifted his head, then, did a playful turn around, and turned his head backwards to face the audience and had a playful grin as he glanced at them all. He stood there for a moment, allowing them to take more pictures of his choreographed pose. Then, he walked back to where he originally came from, towards the beginning of the runway in the back, as the next girl, who followed him afterwards, began to walk out with her own routine. It didn’t take any explanation, whatsoever, for me to realize that this was the show that he was explaining to me earlier which took place in August that ultimately deemed him as Child supermodel of the year.

“Oh my God.” I said. Sascha was still covering his face a little. “Sascha…. You’re…” I didn’t have words, yet. But, I then, realized just how strong of a person he really was. He didn’t NEED Jesse Bradford or Michael Smith at all, or really anyone in our school for that matter. He didn’t need many things in his life that were just… slowing him down and holding him back. He was a force of nature all on his own; he just simply needed to realize that, be confident, & be set free.

“That was amazing.” I said to him.

He didn’t say anything at first. But, he responded, respectfully, with a, “Thank you.” We both giggled a bit and, then, we stopped, immediately.


I had never seen Sascha’s eyes open as widely as they did right after the slam of their large main door that we heard, coming from downstairs.

He sharply turned to me and said, “It’s my father.’

He looked down at the floor, gazing his eyes back and fourth at nothing, contemplating as quickly as he possibly could, on what he should do. He, then, looked up at me, took my hand, & said, “Come.” He literally pulled me off of his bed and lead me to his curved, long stairwell. We both sped down the stairs and stopped, as a man dressed in a special, grey coat, black pants, sporting a greying mustache and slight beard, with eyes just as piercing as Sascha’s. In fact, that was the only thing they genetically shared in regards to their physical appearance. I didn’t have to meet his mother, yet. I already knew Sascha got all of his looks from her, except his eyes and eye brow ridge. They were absolutely his father’s.

As I stopped in my tracks about 2/3 down the stairwell and his father was looking at me from the first floor, Sascha slowly walked to the main floor.

The man nudged his head in my direction and spoke to Sascha in a very deep voice speaking in Russian. After he spoke, Sascha looked at me and, then, turned back to him with a serious look and spoke to him in Russian saying something very strongly. The man looked back up at me and nodded his head furrowing his brow and frowning, almost in approvement. He paused and, then, he spoke to me in an extremely thick, raspy Russian accent. He opened his hands out and said, “Dees’ house, you’re house. Anyzzingg you Vaaant you ask Sascha, he will give. You may have. Yezz?”

I nodded and said, “Oh alraggt. Thank you, sir.”

“Izz my pleasure.” He responded as he put his hands up, palms facing me, in order to emphasize what he was saying. He eventually walked away, beginning to dial a number on his phone to make a call.

Sascha looked at me with a wide mouth at first and, then, we both giggled.

Whew. That was close…. I felt as though I had just dodged an extremely dangerous tornado that could have swept me away.

We walked back upstairs. After sitting in his room for another 2 minutes I asked him, “What did you tell him?” He hesitated.

“Well…” Sascha began. “He asked me who you were…..”

He didn’t finish. So, I said, “Okayyyyyy. Annnd?” wanting to know what the rest of the conversation entailed.

He winced. “I kindaaaaa told him you’re one of my best friends.”. He stopped. “And, he mayyy think you’re in our group.”

I gasped. “Why would you tell him that!?”

“I didn’t know what else to say! I was on the spot. You don’t know my Dad.” He said.

“I have another question… Okay? Why are you like taking a little different, here? You have like… I don’t know something different to your voice.” I said.

He didn’t say anything at first.

“Billy…… If I show you this you have to SWEAR you’ll never tell ANYONE, not even Liam.” He said.

“Oh, uhm okay. What is it??” I asked, genuinely curious as to what he was going on about. Jeez, what else? I thought.

He paused, seriously debating whether or not he even wanted to do what he was about to do. He took a deep sigh, closed his eyes, and said, “Deez is what I rrreally sound like.”

Wait…. what? Oh my god. Sascha had like a full on Russian accent! I couldn’t even believe it. I wasn’t mad or anything. To be honest, I actually kind of… liked it. It ‘added’ something to him. It was like an extra flavor of who he was.

“But, how you able to hide it so well??” I asked him.

“It’s called acting, Billy.” He paused. He was talking, now, how he did in school, again. “You know how people can put on a really good UK accent? That’s kinda what I do. I was taught to talk fully how Americans do. But, all day everyday, I force myself to talk, ‘normally’. I’m real good at it. But, it gets really tiring, sometimes. If not, most of the time. Sometimes, by the end of the day, my mouth and throat hurt. Funny. My father wants me to be an actor…. Yet, I act all day in real life.”

“Why would you do that???” I asked almost annoyed.

He gave me an annoyed look and said, “Have you met Jesse Bradford?” He had a point. “It’s also for money, too. My aunt, my father’s sister, controls half my earnings, being that she got me my agent and all my connections in the first place. She knew my father would use all my money before I legally could control it when I’m 18. So, she made a deal with him, either she gets half to save for me, or he gets nothing at all. So, now my Papa works me twice as hard to make up for what he doesn’t get. To be honest, I’m getting sick of it all. Sometimes, I just want to run away from the whole damn thing. I’m tired of putting on a fuc++ng show for everyone all the time.”

I couldn’t believe that. That’s terrible. “But… But, you should be proud of yourself! And, you should be proud of who you are. Also, if you gotta hide and be fake especially for Jesse, why are you even FRIENDS with him, anyway???” I asked him the same question Liam did the previous night.



I got no response. Until he said, “You’ll laugh at me. Don’t ask me that.” He was avoiding eye contact with me & trying to find something to distract and redirect the entire situation.

“No. Come on, Sascha. What’s goin’ on? Tell me!” I said, anxiously. Something was happening. Something was wrong. Something was going on and I wanted to know what it was, already! I knew, since the day that I first saw him walk into my homeroom class with that white shirt with the black cat on it that he was wearing after my unusual dream, when he looked at me, that something was going on with him and I wanted to know what it was.

He looked down in deep thought.

He, then, finally looked up at me and looked directly into my eyes.

“…I love him.”

I sat still, completely still.


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