Another argument, I couldn't help but cringe. I tried to block it all out, but it seems all they do is argue. Fuck you'd think they'd just get a divorce already, they've been like this for years… and yet it's as if they both refuse to over… pride or something. Like they can't stand the thought of our neighbours and church not viewing us as 'picture perfect'. And it's not as if they don't care about appearances mom almost had an aneurysm when at thirteen I told her I didn't want to go to church anymore. She didn't relent on the subject and I held my ground. Then later that night my dad took me for a drive and told me that it doesn't matter that I don't believe in it but I should still go for my mom's and appearances sake. Much to my chagrin I still attend church every Sunday and I hate every moment of it. The thing that scares me though is that I've found over time I'm starting to resent my mother… the same mother who made me soup when I was sick, put bandages on my scrapes, and held me when I'd cry. I know why I resent her as well and I don't know who to hate, her or me? In the beginning I thought I was going crazy, that I was absolutely insane. Then after a while of berating, ignoring, and denying it, I came to realize that I wasn't so different, that there wasn't anything wrong with it. But that's where my mother comes in, I shakily accept myself for who I am and at times loathe myself (but hey more acceptance than loathing these days) and she just spouts of these horrible, vile things. I know it's her opinion and she is more than entitled to have it. But would she hold those same opinions if she knew her youngest child was one of those 'faggots' as she so eloquently puts it, or would she still hold the same opinions and instead claim to only have two children? These are the questions that keep me up at night. My father is a different story… I don't even think I know my father. I mean yes I know him in a sense, but we've never been close not like my brother and him, or hell even my sister and him. It's like I am just added baggage to their perfect family. Don't get me wrong I know my parents love me (at least they do right now, ignorance is bliss after all) and it's not as if they don't care about me. But I don't know what my father would do… he doesn't talk about himself much; he's at work often, and he's usually pretty busy. Sure he's never made fun of me for my interests like my siblings have, nor has he ever made the same comments my mother makes… but he is a 'god-fearing' Christian and he seems like the type… but is that enough to make him hate me? Or would he just agree with my mom regardless of his own beliefs on the subject?

I hate school with a passion. We live in the suburbs and everyone here is just so alike, just as how the houses are all alike. Teachers are assholes, homework sucks, and kids are cruel. I'm not going to go on about some pathetic sob story about how I have no friends, because I do. But I mean I'm just regarded as weird by a lot of the people in school and it's a pretty small school so I guess I just stick out. It's not even that I dress that weird. I personally think I look better than those people wearing their plain Hollister shirt and jeans, or the kids with black trench coats and eyeliner, or even worse the kids who look like they got vomited on by a rainbow. I don't have that weird of interests either. So I care about my grades, I like to read, I like art, but hey at least I'm rather invisible (aside from the odd snide remark in relation to my threads) and am not one of those kids who gets the shit kicked out of them on a regular basis and has to deal with daily torment. I guess I am being a little melodramatic regardless, I mean does anyone actually like school?

Last night was the worst fight yet, I yanked on headphones and tried to drown it all out but it still came in all muffled despite the music killing my eardrums. The next morning my father wasn't sitting at the table drinking coffee and reading the paper like usual and my mother told my sister and I we had to be home right after school for a 'family discussion'. That could only mean one thing; divorce. I'm kind of relieved to be honest, at least now we won't have to hear the arguing and they can both follow other pursuits as they clearly aren't happy together anymore. After school my sister Audrey and I sat down on the couch in the living room whilst my parents sat on chairs from the dining room right in front of us. It was like some cliché scene from a stupid movie. My mother had the fiercest scowl on her face and my father had dark circles under his eyes and looked haggard. It was evidently clear who suggested the divorce. I was expecting the 'it isn't your fault' and the 'we both love you' speech but the unfuckingthinkable happened. "Audrey, Mason, it turns out your father is a disgusting and deceitful faggot," she spat venomously. I glanced at my father and his face immediately blanched before throwing our mother a glare. I then glanced at Audrey she looked absolutely shocked and I was beyond perplexed. He… can't be, can he?

"You really have no tact," he said with a weary sigh.

"You have no tact either you… you—"

"I assume you're divorcing," I cut in really not wanting to hear this shit. My mind was blown… he's gay. He got married, had three children, and is a total queer? What the fuck?

"Is what mom said true?" Audrey asked her voice shaky.

"Yes," he said quietly.

"How could you do this? How could you do this to us?"

"I-I never set out to hurt anyone. I love you and your brothers very much and I didn't want things to happen like this. It's complicated…" he trailed off.

"It's not complicated! You lied to us! Our entire lives have been a lie!" Audrey exclaimed standing up.

He merely stayed silent and stared at the floor… fuck I still can't fully believe it. My father, the last guy I'd expect to be gay… is.

"We've filed for divorce and while all the financial details haven't been sorted out yet. I will most likely be keeping the house and your father will keep the summer home… as for custody you can live with either of us or we will do joint custody," our mother said curtly.

"I hope neither of you… think differently of me. I'm still your father and love you very much… and I'm sorry this all had to happen."

"No you don't! I fucking hate you!" Audrey said before standing back up and storming off.

He let out a resigned sigh and my mother had a smirk on her face… in that moment I hated her more than I ever have in my entire life. Yes what he did is cowardly, deceitful, and wrong… but to derive amusement from… that… what the fuck? "So Mason what is your opinion about all of this?" she asked.

"C'est La Vie, I suppose. I'll admit I'm a little shocked about this recent… development. But the divorce has been long overdue and the biggest surprise concerning it is how long it finally took you guys to finally sign those papers," I replied casually before standing up and going to my room. I flopped down on the bed and immediately my mind went reeling. Fucking hell, what is next? This is just mind-blowing shit.

I heard some more muffled arguing going on and a door slamming. A couple hours later Audrey knocked on my door and poked her head in. "Can I come in?" she asked quietly.

"You're already in," I replied pulling my legs up so she could sit on my bed, as there are isn't much for chairs in my room. She softly closed the door behind her and took a seat at the end of the bed.

"I can't believe it," she said softly her eyes red and puffy.

"The gay part or the divorce part?"

"Both," she said pathetically.

"The gay part floored me I'll admit that, but how could you not see the divorce coming? They argue all the time, the tension is clearly evident… and I don't know it just seemed obvious to me I guess," I said trying hard not to sound patronizing.

"I suppose your right… I guess I just naively thought it would all work out or something."

"Yeah… I guess I am more cynical than you anyways."

"Fuck… I still can't believe it… he's a fucking faggot."

"Yeah it is pretty surprising," I replied.

"Ugh… I just… how could he do that?"

"I don't know… I only have one theory and I'm not sure if it's right. But think of it this way. Grandma and grandpa are fucking crazy republican Jesus-nazis… you know that just as well as I do that they're right fucked. So think about it you're a confused kid hearing all about how people like you are going to hell and have this ingrained in you since birth. So either to delude yourself or try and be straight or make your lie more believable you date a girl, she gets knocked up, and so you do the supposed honourable thing. I mean think about it, they got married really young, Josh was born after less than a year of marriage… it all kind of makes sense in a twisted way."

"Are you defending what he did?" she asked incredulously.

"Don't be ludicrous… I think what he did is cowardly and deceitful and I've lost a lot of respect for him. But I kind of get it you know… I mean he was a stupid and scared kid and I don't resent him for doing what he did… I just think it's horrible that he would drag it on for so long and just… live in denial and shit."

"He shouldn't have done it in the first place, god what is wrong with you? What about what mom feels?"

"Look I feel sorry for her as well and what he did is a fucking cunty thing to do… but I'm not going to pick sides in all of this."

"You have to pick a side, who're you going to live with hm?"

"I… don't know. I'll probably stay here I guess, but that doesn't mean I don't want to see him anymore."

"God I don't get you, how could you ever want to speak to that asshole ever again? He's a fucking freak of nature and he strung mom along!" she exclaimed before once again leaping up and storming out.

Life continued on peacefully enough. Dad packed up his things and moved somewhere… we haven't really seen him for the past couple of weeks (except briefly when he's been picking things up) but I assume he's been busy with apartment hunting, packing, etc. Audrey and mom are… horrible. I understand moms resentment and I don't blame her for it… but god the homophobic comments happen constantly and it's getting to the point you'd think she's planning to bomb a gay bar or something. However a small amount of hope has been restored in me… I haven't told anyone. Not my friends, my family… anyone. The only people who do know are guys I met online to hook up with. However my dad can in no way judge me… it's actually kind of a relief that he's gay… at least now I can tell someone. Even though we aren't that close or anything, I'll at least know he'll actually get it and not hate me or something.

Our mother has full custody however we are supposed to visit our father as much as we want to. We are also supposed to have our first 'real' visit with our father. I was a little apprehensive to say the least… a part of me really wants to tell him… but should I? I mean his life is turbulent enough at the moment should I really just add to it? We where going to go to his house all day on Saturday and stay for dinner or something… I don't know. A part of me wants to move in with him though… why? Because he lives in the city, instead of this bullshit suburb that's an two hours out of the beautiful urban area. The suburbs fucking suck… but the city is something else entirely. I don't know maybe I've romanticized it but honestly… I would be more than willing to leave my school and life behind if it meant starting up somewhere where things actually happen.

I sat in the back seat of the car listening to my iPod whilst Audrey took shot gun and scowled the entire time… she didn't even want to go to his house and our mother had this vindictive smile on her face throughout all the fuss Audrey put up… it was really shitty. She's only going because I asked her to and told her I didn't want to be there alone, as it'd just be fucking awkward. Pity, she is only going out of fucking pity. We pulled up to a hotel right on the outskirts of the city and I noticed our father's silver Mercedes. "If you guys want to come home early go right ahead and call me," mom said sweetly as we got out of the car. He was tapping nervously at the steering wheel and I slid into the front seat while Audrey slammed the back door and held her scowl.

"Hey," he said nervously starting the car.

"Hey, how's life?" I asked looking out the windows.

"Uhm… pretty good. What about you guy's how're you doing?"

Audrey scoffed and I assumed she also rolled her eyes right afterwards whilst I awkwardly answered, "Uh… pretty good I suppose. I dunno thing's are different but uhm… shit I don't know what to say, this is kind of a weird situation."

"Yeah… well… what do you two want to do today?"

We ended up going to his apartment, which I immediately fell in love with despite how minimal the furniture was and how little decorating it had. It had this beautiful view of the city and was in some tall skyscraper. While our house in the suburbs may be the cliché family home I immediately wished I was raised in a high-rise like this. "I fucking love this apartment," I said getting fingerprints all over the large glass window in the living room.

"Mason watch your language," he said.

"I don't see what's so great about it," Audrey said sitting on a stool. "There's like nothing in it, aren't faggots supposed to be good at decorating?" she said snidely.

"Harsh," I said. "Besides how can you look at a view like that and not immediately be in love?"

"Because I unlike you do not have a hard on for smog and pollution."

"There's more to the city than smog and pollution, besides at least something is going on here unlike in your 'oh so precious' suburbs. Besides you're just trying to be disagreeable on purpose you take the train to the city on the weekends all the time hypocrite," I said looking around the stainless steel kitchen.

"Yeah so I know it only has muggings and car jackings to offer."

"Geez, you're bleak. I was more thinking along the lines of art shows, gigs, film festivals, you know awesome stuff."

"That stuff is not awesome; your example is art shows, seriously? What is so great about pretentious hipsters standing around drinking wine and going on about Da Vinci or some shit?"

"You've never been to an art show clearly… I don't know, I've never actually been to one either but I just think it's a fun concept. You get to hang out with people who obviously have the same interests and get to discuss beautiful and interesting things."

"You're such a pretentious hipster," she said with a roll of her eyes.

"You do know only elitists call other's pretentious, ironic huh?"

Our banter continued on for the next half hour before we both resigned and just sat around doing nothing. It was then that our father decided to have a serious conversation with us. "I would like to talk to the two of you about the divorce," he said nervously.

"What about it?" I asked.

"Well… I just want to clear things up a bit… we didn't part on the best of terms and it's impossible to explain my side of all of this with your mother around."

"Yeah well you don't deserve to explain it," Audrey said with a scowl.

"Look… I know what I did was wrong and I'm not going to put it any other way. I'm ashamed of myself and the way I acted—"

"You should be!" she interrupted.

"I know it's just… this is hard to explain but… I just want the two of you to know that I'm aware of my mistakes and I am truly sorry for them…. I really wish things didn't end up like this. I also really wish that I had the courage to have done something sooner… but the past is the past. So I want to live in the present and focus on the future. Your mother and I have been discussing custody and while it's ultimately up to you guys to make your own decisions. We think it'd probably be best if you stayed with your mother as it won't uproot your entire lives… however I would really like it if you'd live with me on weekends or if we could work something out so we could still see one another."

"I don't want to see you, I only came because Mason begged me to. I fucking hate you and think you're absolutely disgusting. Not only are you a sinner whose going to hell, you also hurt mom and fucked up our entire lives!" Audrey exclaimed.

"I-I'm sorry you feel that way… I don't blame you for thinking that, as you are partly right. But I just want you to know that I love you and you and your brothers are the most important things in my life," he said solemnly.

"I want to go home," she said with a glare.

"Okay… I'll call your mother and drive you, what about you Mason do you want to leave as well?"

"Nah, can I explore the city a bit or go to a café or something while you drop her off?"

"Alright, I'll drop you off somewhere and you can hang out there… just make sure you keep your cell phone on, stay in the area, and don't do anything stupid."

"Right-o," I said with a salute. He called our mom and she said she'd meet us at that hotel once again and the air in the apartment was tense to say the least. I guess that killed my plan to explore the city, but oh well at least now I know I'll be coming here more often. My mom is kind of a bitch about the city, we live two hours or so out of it and she seems to think that it's full of crime and degradation it's ludicrous. It always struck me as odd that we didn't live in the city as our father's law firm is in it and it's not like they don't have hospitals that mom could work at. I guess they just wanted the white picket fence or something… yuck. We got in the car and Audrey ignored everyone the entire time after she exclaimed wanting to go home and slammed the door of the car really hard as she stormed over to mom's SUV.

"Do you still want to go to a café?" dad asked as he drove back into the city.

"Sure," I replied.

We drove around the city finally stopping at some little café and after finally snagging a parking spot walked in. I was immediately assaulted by the smell of fresh coffee and pastries. I ordered a soy mocha and my father got a latté and I also got a giant chocolate chip cookie; it was so fucking delicious. We took our drinks and sat down at a small table in the borderline busy café and it was awkward to say the least.

"So… how's school?"

"Uhm… the same as always," I replied awkwardly. Our conversation continued on tensely and filled with long pauses and awkward small talk.

We went back to the apartment where we watched a film, had an awkward supper, and all around awkward conversations.

He drove me back later that night and we awkwardly said goodbye and I went in the suburban house. "Did you have a nice time with… your father?" my mom asked as I sat down in the living room.

"It was alright, a little awkward I guess. But most conversations I have with him are," I replied.

I always felt sick at the meal times my mom insisted we have as a family (breakfast and some suppers). It was constantly filled with Jesus preaching, fag bashing, and complaints. My mother's comments used to make me uncomfortable… now it's just a constant barrage. I get that she feels resentment towards my dad, but would she resent me too if she knew about me?

"What the fuck Audrey!?" I yelled, "How could you do that?"

"Whatever, stop being such a girl over it. It's no big deal."

"You lent my guitar out to one of your friends! You didn't even fucking ask me, you just took it."

"So? You're no good anyways," she snapped.

"What the fuck is your problem? You've always been a bitch but since when did you decide to be a fucking cunt?" I asked angrily.

"Yeah well why the fuck are you taking his side in all of this shit?" she said crossly.

"What the hell? I already told you I'm not taking sides, just because I get why he did it doesn't mean I'm picking sides and it doesn't mean you can steal my fucking shit you passive aggressive bitch!"

"Yes it does! How the fuck can you justify what he did asshole?"

"Because I fucking get it alright?" I said irately.

"Yeah and how the fuck do you get it?" she asked her glare intensifying.

"I'm gay," the moment the words left my lips my eyes widened and her mouth went agape.

"What?" she asked quietly her eyes wide as saucers.

I had no clue what to do… how could I just blurt… that out! Fuck… fuck, I spun on my heel and immediately grabbed my coat out of the closet, slipped on my converse not even bothering to do them up and ran out of the house. I ran and ran till I got to a park. Sitting on a swing tears sprang from my eyes and I couldn't control the sobs that wracked my body. How could I just yell it out like that… god what am I going to do. Audrey will obviously tell everyone and my mom is going to hate me and so will my sister and I don't even have any fucking friends I can go to with all of this shit as no one can know. God… everyone at school is going to find out and I'm going to get fag-bashed daily and fuck… what the fuck is wrong with me? How could I do that? How the fuck could I?

Eons went by as tears continued to stream down my face and my head was filled with chaos. I received a call from my mother and I refused to answer it. I listened to the message she left and I was informed I had to go home immediately or I will be reported a runaway. Clutching my torso through the thick pea coat I made my way home at a snails pace. I rubbed my eyes a bit and took a deep breath before opening the door. I pulled off my shoes and coat and padded into the living room where my mom was sitting there with an annoyed look on her face and Audrey was right next to her and sent me a dirty look once I sat down. "Is what Audrey is saying true?" mom asked calmly. All I could do was mutely give her a small nod and refused to make eye contact. An exasperated sigh escaped her lips and I finally made eye contact and she was staring at me so coldly… she didn't even look angry… I think I would've preferred anger to how emotionlessly she was staring at me. "Get out of my house, I refuse to have any more of your kind infect my family. I am calling your father and I expect you to have some things packed by the time he gets here," she said in a cool tone before getting up and leaving the room.

"C-could you give me back my guitar?" I asked quietly sparing Audrey a glance.

"Yeah I'll get him to drop it off… fuck I can't believe you… you're fucking disgusting," she said shaking her head at me. She left the room and with a resigned sigh I got up and went to my room. I stuck my electric piano in its case, packed some luggage up with clothes and toiletries, and then went to the garage for some boxes. There was a bunch still in there from dad's move. I started pulling books off the small shelf and stacked them in the box, I shoved my laptop in its bag, and started collecting shoes from around the room. I was packing things haphazardly with no real regard to organization or fragility… I just wanted it all packed up and to be out of here. I've been fucking disowned… my own mother disowned me. The one person who is supposed to love me unconditionally has just cast me aside, my sister has betrayed me… sure I never said it was a secret but I know she knew it would be catastrophic to tell anyone. Instead of talking to me about it first she told the one person who wouldn't understand. I was stacking CD's in a box when I heard a soft knock on the door and my father let himself in.

"You ready to go?" he asked softly.

"Almost," I said quietly putting the last stack of CD's in the box strewed with albums and DVD's and then bending the box so it'd fold shut. "I'll need to finish packing some other time… there's still a lot of stuff."

"Don't worry about it, we'll pick it up some other day," he said stacking some boxes in his arms and leaving the room. I grabbed some boxes as well and made my way to his car. I didn't have much to bring just a few boxes, a couple pieces of luggage, two guitar cases (my electric conveniently sitting on the couch), my really shitty second hand violin case, and the electric piano case. It all fit easily in the car and making sure to grab my schoolbooks and anything else I might need immediately I got in the car and pulled on my seatbelt. We where driving down the road when he casually said, "well you sure picked a bad time to come out."

"I-I didn't mean to. Audrey and I where arguing and it just… happened," I trailed off pathetically.

"Oh… well try not to feel too bad about it. Your mom will come around… she just needs time."

"You don't have to lie to me. You know as well as I do no amount of time will change things. Fuck I don't even know why I'm so distraught about this; I always knew this was going to happen sooner or later."

"Yeah I suppose… also you don't have to go to school tomorrow. We have a lot of shit to figure out and you can finish your packing."

"Alright," I replied shoving my iPod into my ears.

We drove to the apartment and he helped me lug up my things and I set them in an empty bedroom. It was a nice enough room with moss green walls. The entire apartment was really minimalistic, it had a black sofa, an entertainment stand with a TV and various electronics and that's really it (well I assume his bedroom has some furniture I suppose). It wasn't that late but I had to admit I was tired as fuck. I did all the regular nighttime rituals, made myself a bed on the couch and curled up willing for the entire day to be a bad dream.

Come morning I awoke to the sun killing me (I should've closed the curtains to those gorgeous windows) and I knew it wasn't a dream. My dad was sitting on a stool in front of the kitchen counter area place and was typing away on his laptop. I groaned and stretched before making my way to the kitchen and grabbing a glass of water. "We're going to the house today and you can pack the rest of your things, I have a mover coming by at 4:00 to pick up your furniture. Also we need to figure out what to do about school," my dad said absentmindedly not even taking his eyes off of the computer screen.

"Okay," I replied dully.

"Concerning school I think you should finish this semester as if I recall correctly this is the last month of it aside from exams and then we can transfer you to a school closer by. Unless you'd prefer to stay at your current school of course," he said.

"No… it makes more sense to switch schools."

"Alright, we'll start looking into schools in a while. We should just focus on getting you moved in first, we should also go furniture and grocery shopping today."

"Okay, when do you want to leave?"

"I'm ready to go whenever," he said.

With a nod that he didn't see I got up went to my new bedroom grabbed some threads, some toiletries and went to the bathroom to catch a shower. I ran a comb through my dyed black hair and got ready for the day all while glaring at my physical appearance. I look like such a fucking stereotype, thin lithe body, full lips, high cheekbones; ugh I'm so cliché looking. But I guess I shouldn't complain that much it could be worse… at least my defined bone structure and full lips offset my giant nose. I picked some lint off of my striped shirt and exited the steamy bathroom. "I'm ready now," I said pulling the circle scarf over my head.

"Okay let's go," he said shutting the laptop and pulling on his trench. We took the car to the grocery store and spent the next hour perusing vegetables and packaged goods as he admitted that the last few weeks he's been living off of take out. After we dropped the groceries off we went to a furniture store and picked out the loveseat that went with the sofa, a bookshelf, an end table, a coffee table, a small four-chair dining room table, and got some appliances and dishes. The furniture wouldn't be delivered till tomorrow so the day was then finished off with packing up my room and the movers bringing my things up to the apartment.

My new bedroom was smaller than my old one but on the same notion I think I liked it more. Not only did I now have a walk in closet and a spectacular view, I was living in an apartment in the city, I was no longer living in shame and secrecy and I no longer had to deal with my sister. I screwed a hook in the wall and stuck up another painting. I then took to unpacking the rest of my things and flattening the now empty boxes.

The next morning I got ready for school and took the long as hell bus ride. When I got there I was surprised to find out nobody even paid any attention to me and while that is normal behaviour I guess I should just say I'm surprised Audrey hasn't said anything. Come lunchtime I sat down at my usual table and Mike immediately asked, "So where have you been?"

"I was really busy yesterday. I got kicked out of my house the other night so I was busy moving my shit into my dad's place. I'm switching schools pretty soon as well," I replied casually.

"Fucking serious?" Emily asked shocked.

"Yeah," I replied boredly.

"What'd you get kicked out for?" Mike asked curiously.

Do I or do I not tell them? I obviously want my friends to know… but if they react badly the school will know and I'm not sure I want that. "I don't even know entirely. My mom is just a cunt and thinks I'm taking my dad's side in this whole divorce bullshit despite the fact that I'm… like Switzerland."

"Shitty deal," Emily said.

"Kind of, but part of me is kind of happy. I no longer live eons away from civilization, I live in the city and shit, I'm going to have to spend four fucking hours commuting every day for the rest of the month though."

"At least exams start up soon."

"Yeah that's good I suppose," I replied.

When I finally got home I sat down in the sparse living room and flicked through the channels. About an hour later I opened the door, signed a form, and the moving guys brought in the new furniture. The apartment actually looked pretty nice now as far as I was concerned. The living room/dining room area had red walls and white walls so the black furniture went well with it. All this place needed now was some artwork or something for the walls and it'd be an amazing looking place.

The next few weeks continued on in this fashion. I'd get home at five-thirty, my father would get home a half hour to an hour later, we'd attempt to make dinner (neither of us never bothered to learn to cook, so by make dinner I mean we ordered take out), we'd eat, he'd do paperwork, I'd fuck around with my electric piano (I really want an electronic piano though now that I can no longer use the stand-up at my moms house) then I'd read or do homework or something, and then we'd go to bed. We still didn't have long ass conversations like old friends or anything but we have slowly started to get closer and stuff. I mean we actually speak to one another now. The weekends where a pretty chill time as well, I'd either explore the city or go to the suburbs and hang out/party with Emily and Mike (as well as random acquaintances). Then I'd spend my Sunday's hungover and drink coffee at this little café not too far from the apartment. I've done a tiny bit of exploring of the city but honestly I still don't really know my way around. I can navigate around the neighbourhood and I'm starting to get the hang of the public transit system (I embarrassingly enough have to carry schedules and a map though). I also found how to get to my favourite thrift store from the apartment! I do need to figure out more about this city though, sure I'd come here for school shopping and some weekends and stuff so I do know where a few things are… but this place has well over a huge population living here so obviously there is still a lot to discover. Now that exam week(s) is starting my father and I will also be checking out different schools for me to attend. I'm actually really excited, I'll no longer be going to school with people who've known me since childhood. It's kind of a chance to start anew and I'll get to meet a bunch of new people and fuck I don't know it just seems exciting.

My exams where fairly easy (it helps that I studied like mad) and I was starting to itch to play the piano. Electric piano just isn't the same… it just doesn't sound the same. I've been listening to classical music obsessively and it's getting to the point where I'm going to ask for one despite the fact that they're pretty expensive. I was sitting around on the couch watching TV like a sloth when my father came out of his room wearing his usual attire (three piece suit) and told me I had an interview with a school today and to get dressed in respectable clothes. Whatever the fuck respectable is supposed to mean? I went to my room and started to pick through my closet, laundry baskets, and dresser. Hm… I really don't know what respectable is supposed to mean. I opted for skinny pants in black of course, a grey v-neck, and a black blazer. I ran a comb through my dark hair and was glad I cut it last week lest I hear a lecture about how it's all in my eyes. I pulled on my black converse and grabbed a scarf and pea coat. We took the subway to the school (we don't actually use the car very much) and all I heard the entire way there was how I couldn't fuck this up and had to act respectable and ugh it was annoying. Geez, I don't get it, what school even does interviews? We pulled up to some excessively large school and went in the front gates. I finally clued in as we where sitting around waiting to go in, this is an interview for a private school. I was chewing on my thumbnail when I received a glare from my father and I immediately dropped my hand and we where ushered into the office. We sat awkwardly and the principal or whatever asked me kind of random questions. What are my interests (piano, guitar, violin, music in general), what was the last book I read (Brave New World by Aldous Huxley), we talked a little bit about an essay and some poems I wrote at the beginning of the year; and that was that. It went surprisingly well actually.

There was only one small snag in it and that was when I was asked what I wanted to do after high school and as I have no idea what I want to do I said 'I'd like to be a dead cat'. My dad gave me a shocked and appalled look but then after a couple of moments the interviewer asked if that was from 'Raise High The Roof Beams Carpenter' and then we talked about that quote and the book a bit (a character mentions that in Zen Buddhism a master was once asked 'what's the most valuable thing in the world'. And he answered 'a dead cat as you cannot put a price on it').

I love days with no school; they're glorious. I woke up, languidly stretched, and then cracked my back as I got out of bed. I went to the bathroom, washed my face up and all that jazz; then got ready for the day (I'm going to a party tonight!). I pulled on some black skinny jeans, a bright blue tourist shirt for Florida I found in a thrift shop, and then I yanked a grey zip up over it. I quickly combed my hair and went into the kitchen. I was a little surprised to say the least as I saw some guy sitting on one of the stools drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette and wearing a housecoat. I assumed he was my dad's boyfriend or fuck buddy or… something, I mean who else could he be? He's thirty or something, smoking a cigarette in my kitchen, with bed head before anyone is even up. I ignored the feel of his eyes on me and grabbed a mug to fill with coffee (I take mine with chocolate syrup, it tastes amazing) and grabbed some bread to make toast. I sat on top of a counter waiting for my toast to brown and he asked, "and you are?"

"Uh… Mason," I replied awkwardly. Could this guy get anymore obvious? Ew, he's practically eye raping me and ugh the suggestive tone of his voice, talk about fucking creepy.

"So Mason, how do you know Emmanuel?"

"He's my father," I said ecstatic to hear my toast pop.

"Really? He doesn't look old enough to have a son your age… hm I'm surprised he didn't mention a son," he said first sounding surprised and then his tone turning salacious.

"Can't see why he would," I replied casually spreading the jam on my toast and making my way to the table.

"Aw, why do you say that?" he asked spinning in his stool to look at me and talking in a feigned sympathetic tone as if I was looking for attention or confirmation that my daddy loves me or some bullshit like that.

I swallowed the chunk of toast and said in a bored tone, "I can't honestly say I ever talk about my family with my one night stands so I don't see why he would."

A look of shock crossed his features but he regained his composure rather quickly. Then he asked just as suggestively, "Well what do you talk to your one night stands about?"

I honestly had no answer to that… ugh what a creep. I opted for scoffing and then giving him a disgusted look before focusing on my toast and coffee and then making a speedy escape.

First day of school talk about exciting and I say that sans-sarcasm. I was actually looking forward to going to this school… but I was not looking forward to the uniform. Sure it was a pretty decent colour scheme (charcoal and red) but still… uniformity is horrid. However there where some good aspects, they had some classical music program or another that I was in, my schedule was also pretty amazing (they offered many more courses than my old school did) and I was going to finally be meeting new people. I also came to a rather stunning conclusion, if the students attending this school are relatively open minded (I can't help but assume they will be considering how artistically driven this school is) then I can just be open about who I am. Sure I won't go out of my way to act flamboyant and develop a lisp or something but I won't have to hide behind lies anymore either. I got ready for school and slung my messenger bag filled with books on my shoulder and grabbed a scarf and my pea coat. I left the apartment, headphones nestled deep in my ears and made my way to the subway. I got off the subway and walked down the street until I finally got to the large and imposing looking building. It was to put it bluntly huge, apparently there's a thousand or so students the majority of them borders. I entered the gates and nervously opened the front doors, the halls where bustling with life and I looked at the clock on the wall and noticed it was only ten minutes to class. I scoured the halls for my locker and I shoved my coat and scarf in it as well as most of my books and got my things ready for first period. Holding my schedule and a map I wandered the halls till I finally found my English class barely moments before the first bell rang. With a deep breath I entered the open doorway and took a seat in the very back, there was already a couple of students in there and they both stared at me as I took my seat. I felt nervous as I organized the books on my desk, the room slowly filled and I received a few questioning looks but was overall ignored as the final bell rang. Class was pretty laidback, but then again it is the first day. We all gave a small introduction (mine was pretty anti-climactic 'Uh… I'm Mason… and I'm a musician'), then we went over course outlines (we have to read so many books, I'm used to maybe two a semester we have to do four here), and then we just had a free period basically in which people talked to their friends and I listened to my iPod and was given the odd glance. My two next classes also continued on like that in my history class we just went over course outlines and in psychology we did more of the same. Come lunch I was a little apprehensive… I mean I know nobody. I didn't talk to anyone during class, I met nobody new, I made no acquaintances and the cafeteria just seemed frightening. So I did what any person with a sense of self-preservation would do and left the school grounds, I found a little café not too far from the school and grabbed a tea and sandwich (and tried not to eye rape the cute barrista). By the time I finished up and got back to the school the bell was about to ring and I was actually kind of excited, I had my music class. After sometime I found the music room and tried to control my excitement. I noticed everyone just hung out in little groups either sitting on the floor or standing around and I felt awkward to say the least. Finally the teacher entered the room holding a clipboard and had a sour expression on her slightly wrinkled face (she was followed by a much younger and enthusiastic teacher's assistant). "Attention class we are doing attendance and afterwards we will split up into groups based on our respective instruments," she said in a tone that commanded respect. After attendance we split up into groups, I deciding to not count my guitar skills (as I'm not very good) and went into the piano group. There where three girls in my group and the teacher started with us (unfortunately). "Okay, I want you to state your names and the instruments you play and then you can step up to the piano and play something so I can assess your skills," she stated. The first girl who had bright blonde hair admitted she could only play piano and hopped up to the gorgeous looking Steinway. She was a pretty decent pianist however her hands where on the small side so she couldn't play some notes. After her another girl who apparently also played the clarinet went up and well she was absolutely terrible to be blunt. Then it was my turn, "instruments?" she asked in a bored tone.

"I'm Mason _ and I play the piano, guitar, and violin," I stated nervously.

"Alright go ahead," she said scribbling on her clipboard.

I eagerly went to the piano and started to flip through the sheet music provided I wasn't particularly satisfied however with anything they had, sure there where some good solid pieces there but nothing that I adored to play. "Uhm… I don't really care for the sheet music provided so I'm going to play something from memory. This is Rachmaninoff's Prelude Opus. 23 No. 5," I said and refused to look at the teacher assuming I'd receive a glare and protest. Before she could say anything however I cracked my knuckles and pressed my fingers on the keys. God I've missed this, I miss how this sounds; I miss the feel of the keys beneath your fingers. I immediately lost myself in the music as my fingers glided over the piano. I didn't care that I had hogged the piano by playing a four minute piece instead of the minute and a half or so pieces of garbage my classmates where subjecting themselves to. I needed this, I needed to be playing the piano and the electric piano just wasn't cutting it. I've been pounding keys since I was four… it's my passion. God after this orgasmic experience I definitely am begging for a piano.

I hopped off of the bench and went back to the group and received a ferocious glare from the teacher and she said, "While that was quite impressive Mr. _ I'd advise you to play what you are told to in the future. That in no way told me how good you are at reading music; play something in the booklet."

"Sorry, I couldn't help myself its been far too long since I've been in front of a piano," I sheepishly said a small blush most likely marring my skin before I flicked through the book again and played something. I think my little 'show off your talents' thing went pretty well I'll admit I was a little sceptical towards the ¾ range as this piece relies on the build-up of tension or it just isn't as magnificent. However I think my stamina was all right and I did well… I was also a little worried that my hands wouldn't be flexible enough, I've always had flexible hands/fingers (a deadly combination once my hands started to get big) but I haven't played in a while so that was a small worry… but I suppose it was unfounded. The last girl played and was actually okay at best and then the teacher skedaddled while telling us to stay in our groups.

"So how long have you been playing?" the first girl (or Jessica) asked.

"Oh uhm… let me think… twelve years or so," I replied.

"Holy fuck, that's insane. I've only been playing three years."

"Well for only playing three years you're really good, the only thing holding you back is your hand size and/or flexibility."

"Yeah my teacher has said that, it's why I can't play some pieces. So you're new here right?"

"Uhm yeah, how'd you know?"

"All of us music geeks are in classes together year after year usually. It's kind of tedious and asinine how we have to do the whole skill level thing at the beginning of every semester. I mean most of us have been here for years and where in this exact class last semester."

"Fucking hell? That's just ludicrous."

"Yeah no kidding, so where'd you move here from?" she asked curiously.

"Suburbs, parents divorced and I decided to move to the city with my dad instead of staying in a cookie cutter hellhole," I replied.

"Good choice," she said. We continued to talk for the remainder of class and she seemed overall pretty nice, the rest of class was consumed with just sitting in our respective groups whilst everyone played something. After the bell rang I went to my last class of the day and was once again ignored. When classes where finally finished I yanked on my jacket and made my way home.

The next day things where a little different, I ended up talking to a kid with dreadlocks who sits beside me in English (Marius) and we actually dug a lot of the same books so it was a pretty neat conversation. My music class ended up being before lunch this time and Jessica immediately came up and started talking to me once I entered the class. We made small talk as we waited for Mrs. Steinbeck and Mr. Rodion to enter, when they finally did and we went through attendance we where all assigned instruments. I along with Jessica where assigned to pianos and the class was immediately reduced in size substantially. Mr. Rodion took the other people to a different classroom and they where the 'beginner' group while we where the 'advanced' group and had the pleasure of being taught by Mrs. Steinbeck. I have to admit at first I was sceptical but the class was actually awesome. We started off with just screwing around with scales and basics like that and then just did sheet music. It was neat to play with people who where so good and there was some really exceptional people here. After class let out Jessica invited me to eat lunch with her and her friends and I immediately agreed. Dropping off my duotang of sheet music I made my way to the cafeteria? Dining hall? Eaty yum yum place? Regardless I entered the cafeteria and immediately felt overwhelmed, this was nothing short of intimidating. This cafeteria was so unlike my old school's it was much larger and I immediately started scanning the crowd. The whole set up was kind of different too but I suppose that's understandable as it is after all a boarding school. I was just thankful I had brought a lunch instead of having to deal with the anarchy concerning grabbing food. I continued to look around the cafeteria like an asshole when Jessica snuck right up on me. "There you are," she said with a grin.

"Uh… yeah. I tried to scope you out but… this place is fucking huge," I replied awkwardly.

I was on the couch at my house with my head dangling off the back of the couch and resting on the seat so I could watch TV upside down. "Isn't the blood rushing to your head?" Mike asked boredly.

"Not really, I'll probably be fucking dizzy when I try and get up."

"How interesting," he said sarcastically.

"What the fuck is there to do?"

"Fuck if I know, hey… wait maybe I should call my cousin. She lives here and is usually getting stoned or something," he said pulling out a cell phone.

"Fucking do it, this is so fucking dull," I said. He called her and twenty minutes later we where on a bus to a kind of rough neighbourhood. "So which apartment building is it?" I asked as we wandered around the neighbourhood.

"She said it's a reddish colour, lots of balconies, and eight floors," he said looking around.

"Hm…" I mused looking around. "Is that it?" I asked as we turned the corner.

"Must be," he replied and we went in the building. It thankfully was and after hitting the buzzer we made our way up the stairs.

"Mikey boy, what's up?" a short girl with messy brown hair asked.

"Not much, this is my buddy Mason," he said as we entered the apartment.

"Hey Mason, I'm _," she said with a grin.

"Nice to meet you," I replied unlacing my converse.

We followed her to the small living room and I immediately smelt pungent smoke and sat down on a chair. "You kids wanna blaze or something? There's like nothing else to do," she said grabbing a wooden box off of the table.

"Fuck yeah," Mike replied. She rolled a joint and her and Mike made small talk whilst I sat there kind of awkwardly glancing at the TV. "You don't know anyone?" Mike said, I finally decided to tune in on the conversation as the joint was getting passed to me.

"Nobody whose any good, guitarists are a dime a dozen. Guitarists who can actually play and aren't already in a band are a rare find," she said.

"Hey Mason, don't you play guitar?" Mike asked as I passed the joint back to him.

"Yeah I guess," I replied.

"You any good?" _ asked.

"Uh… I'm alright. I mean I've been playing six or so years, but yeah I'm more of a pianist than a guitarist," I said.

"You play piano?"

"Yeah have been for fuck… twelve years or some shit," I replied burning my fingers on the joint.

"So… do you like play and practice a lot like… both?" she asked.

"Uh yeah I suppose," I said.

"Fuck what kinda music do you dig?"

"Uhm… indie rock shit, some folkier stuff, classical, shit… I don't know, I'm open minded when it comes to music as long as it's actually good y'know?"

"Wanna try out for my band?"

"Fucking serious?"

"Dead, I mean it sounds like you have a solid musical background and our sound is of the indie rock persuasion," she said with a grin.

"Sure I guess I can try out… why not?"

"Fuck yeah," she said leaping up. "Alright we're going to go to uhm fuck… okay I'm going to organize this… I think I can get everyone at Jackson's and then we can use his roomie's guitar, you cool with trying out in like twenty minutes?"

"Yeah sure, I'll need something to play off of. I can read scales and tab whichever works for you guys," I said.

Twenty minutes later we where well high and on a bus to a different apartment complex. It was weird to say the least… I don't even know this girl or any of her band mates and I'm trying out to be in her band… talk about crazy. We entered a dilapidated apartment building with no buzzer and bounded up flight after flight of stairs as the elevator was broken. Upon entering the apartment I did my best to not feel overwhelmed there was three guys sitting in the living room and while it was a pretty non-threatening situation I couldn't help but feel nervous. "Hey guys this is my wee cousin Mike and the lad in plaid is Mason. Mason this is Jackson," she motioned to a boy with rainbow hair, "Ben," she motioned to a guy with wavy dirty blonde hair, "and that's the band and the cat who looks really hung over is Jackson's roommate Tyler."

"Uhm nice to meet you," I said awkwardly.

"So you any good?" Ben asked kicking his feet up onto the coffee table.

"Uh, I'm alright I guess."

"Tyler go grab your guitar," Jackson said. "It's a shitty acoustic, is that alright?"

"Yeah that's fine, I need something to play though. I can read tabs and notes so… whatever."

"Oi Tyler grab some tabs too," Jackson yelled.

Tyler came back holding an acoustic guitar and a duotang filled with music. "It's out of tune," he said passing it to me.

I sat down on the floor and started to tune it, it wasn't too far out of tune at least. "So uhm, what do you want me to play? I have no clue what you're looking for here… so just pick a song out of that book," I said. _ and Tyler started flicking through the book and then passed it to me. I didn't even recognize the song on the paper but I decided to give it a go anyways. "Okay… not sure if this is meant to be played on an acoustic so… may sound a little weird." Then I started to play, it was pretty easy and straightforward. Mind you I did fuck up a little bit but that's pretty normal if I haven't practiced a song a few times.

"So was that easy for you, difficult, what?" _ asked eagerly.

"Uh pretty easy. I fucked up a bit, but that's pretty normal if I haven't ran through a song a couple of times."

"Hm, how about this one," she said flicking through the book again before passing it to me.

"Alright," I replied. I looked at the duotang and was set out to play some Jimmy Hendrix song… strumming away I got lost in the music once again and when I finished I asked, "How many more songs do I need to play?"

"_ you seriously are fucking modest or have an inferiority complex or something. You're way better than 'alright' as you keep saying," _ said with a grin.

"Nah, I really am only alright. I like don't really focus on guitar much you know? I'm more of a classical pianist. Don't get me wrong I dig guitar and I enjoy playing it but I just… I don't know when I compare the two I'm really fucking shit at guitar."

"You play piano?" Ben asked.

"Yeah I guess," I replied.

"I'm the keyboardist in the band. So do you think you'd be interested in playing guitar for us?" he asked.

"Yeah sure, it seems like a neat experience. I've never really been in a band before or anything and uh I'm still in high school so that kind of puts a damper on touring… but if you guys are cool with that then yeah for sure."

"What grade are you in?" Jackson asked.

"Grade eleven," I replied.

"Yeah that's alright. We aren't ready for any major tours yet anyways… fuck we haven't even recorded shit before. Are you able to like go out of town on weekends to do shows and do shows on weekdays and shit?" Jackson asked.

"Yeah most likely. I'm out most weekends anyways and yeah my dad doesn't really give a fuck what I do."

"Awesome. We have this practice space, which we can all meet up at tomorrow. You can leave your equipment there… and uh yeah we should try and write some new songs. We'll get you a key for the practice space as well. Shit wait… do you live way out in the sticks like Mike does?" _ asked.

"Nah, I live downtown."

"Oh fucking awesome. It's a bit of a bus ride to the practice space, but I can pick you up tomorrow and we can take your equipment over there," Jackson said.

"Sounds good," I replied. After we got all the 'business' out of the way things where exceedingly less awkward. Everyone seemed really neat, _ it turns out is really sweet and too nice yet has a penchant for danger and adventure, Jackson swears like a sailor and enjoys partying like an Irish dock worker, Ben well I don't know much about him he seems to be the introverted type… not shy by any means, just comfortable being in his own world… he also seems to be a blunt kind of person. Tyler is also a pretty hip cat; he's actually quite similar to Jackson… I suppose that's why they work so well as roomies. That night when I went home I couldn't help but feel elated. I was officially in a band, I had met four new people who all seem to be pretty hip in their own rights, and I'm going to be playing music with a group of creative people. I also found out the band was called 'The Tea Party' and I decided to check out their myspace to see if they're actually any good. I listened to them and was actually really pleased, turns out _ is vocalist as well as bassist, Jackson is the drummer, and I already knew Ben was on keyboard. They where also good, really good actually, kind of a mellow indie rock/indie pop sound, but really good; I was actually surprised that they wanted me in their band.

Shows are usually a pretty easy thing to do. Yes it's exhilarating, it's exciting, it's fun. But this is huge, Battle of the Bands. Winners get recording time at a local studio… after hours of debate we finally decided on a song to play. 'Take Me To The Riot' it was a toss up between it and 'Your Ex-Lover is Dead', but we finally came to an agreement… simply because it happens to be a crowd favourite. However my personal favourite is 'What I'm Trying to Say' an upbeat song about getting high on ecstasy and not wanting to say 'I love you'… however we could never perform it at Battle Of The Bands, I'd probably faint as Amy only sings with me during the chorus. We where sitting backstage clutching our equipment and waiting for our turn. It was coming up quick and we where all nervous as hell. This would most likely be the biggest crowd we've faced and well we really want to win… but to be honest I doubt we will. We may be good, but there's a lot of fucking talent in this town. It was finally our turn and we set up as quickly as possible. Thankfully we had Tyler helping us out so we could get it done in a timely fashion. I plugged in my guitar and peered at the large crowd assembled. "Hey we're The Tea Party and this song is called Take Me To The Riot," Amy said into her mic. before flashing me a grin. I quickly cleared my throat and Jackson did the count off. Trying not to focus on my nerves we started and I sang into the mic. 'grey skies and light fading, headlamps making patterns on the wall. Uptown it's dead now, but out here no one seems to care at all.' Then Amy joined in, 'slick girls and sick boys each one lining up to take it home, they hold tight, they're coining, they pray no one has to see them fall. I'm there yeah, I serve him the one with the empty looking eyes. Come closer you'll see me the face that is used to telling lies.' Then Amy stopped singing and I did the chorus 'Saturday nights in neon lights, Sunday in the cell, pills enough to make feel ill, cash enough to make me well.' Then Amy piped up and we repeated, 'take me, take me to the riot!' God it was so freaky to be standing in front of this amassed crowd especially singing alone, when Amy joins in it's no big deal but doing this song that I do most of the vocals for is a little freaky. I am still a little self-conscious about my voice despite many compliments from friends and fans alike… but still what if my voice cracks? At least I only go solo during the chorus and the odd line here and there other than the intro. 'You sprung me, I'm grateful. I love when you tell me not to speak. I owe you but I know you you'll have me back but it's going to take a week. What now kid? Which way love? Will we ever make up our differences? Good news it's my shoes it's lined with all my nickels and my tens. Lets do them, just feed me, I hate when I have to get to sleep. You despise me and I love you, it's not much but it's just enough to teach' Cue chorus and a lot of fuss about going to a riot. The actual scariest part? Is when I sing 'and let me stay' at the very end as I have to hold my notes for a while… talk about scary and it's all by my lonesome. I'm sure I looked so mechanical on stage, Amy has fucking presence she's so fluid up there. But when I get nervous I just lock right up. Once we finished the crowd actually gave us a fair bit of enthusiasm… I was elated.

We lugged our equipment off the stage and the minute it was off and we where away from the crowd Ben said, "I think that went well."

"Yeah that was fucking sick," Jackson said pulling a drumstick out of the front pocket on his shirt and twirling it between his fingers.

"It was… exhilarating and terrifying all at once. I bet I looked like a robot… I was so certain my voice was going to crack… but fuck… it went well, really well, it was great I mean yeah… fucking great," I babbled.

"How eloquent," Amy teased. "But yeah it did go really well, I doubt we'll win or anything. But the exposure alone will make up for it."

"You guys where awesome," Tyler said with a huge smile.

We sat around talking quietly, conversing amongst ourselves and the odd other band would share a few words but we mostly stayed in our respective groups. Once the last band walked off stage we all held our breath and tried not to fret too much. The event organizer wandered onto the well-lit stage after a few moments and clutched a piece of paper. "The winners of this years Battle Of The Bands is… 'Arctic Takeover', we'd also like to announce our two runner-ups, 'Stegosaurus Rex' and 'The Tea Party'," he said in a joyful voice.

"Did I just hear him right?" Jackson asked.

"Holy fuck," I mumbled.

"Runner up, not bad," Ben said with a grin.

"Fuck yeah! We're runner up," Jackson said throwing a fist in the air.

"This is great, oh man… we should save up to record something for sure now. This is monumental, people actually might want to buy our shit now," Amy said.

"We must celebrate this victory!" Tyler said picking up a mic. stand.

"Agreed," I said slinging my guitar over my shoulder.

However before we could start hauling our equipment out we ran into one of the organizers who stopped us and told us to wait where we were for the main organizer to present us with our prize… fuck we get a prize too?

"I wonder what it is," Jackson said lying on the ground.

"Maybe it's the winner's album," Ben said with a sly grin.

"You're envisioning doing that to someone in our position now aren't you?" I asked.

"Yeah, it'd be a dick move but so funny. But to be honest I think I'm going to see if they are selling any albums as they are actually really good."

"Yeah they are pretty great, I loved the drummer," Amy said.

"I feel so under appreciated, go on about my good looks or something," Jackson quipped.

"If I was into guys with scary looking feet and over inflated egos I'd totally date rape you," I said.

Ben and Tyler immediately exuded laughs and Jackson defended himself. "My feet are not weird thank you very much. They're webbed; it just means I'm evolutionary superior to you… I can swim away from predators."

"I think it's the opposite, you know we evolved, came out of the muck, thus webbing was no longer required. But you do have a good career as a swim instructor ahead of you," Ben said with a smirk.

"The worst part about all of this is, I can't even swim," he said with a grin.

"Seriously?" Amy asked.

"Yeah never learnt how. I watched my brother almost drown when I was young and I stayed away from water ever since. I still swim sometimes and stuff, but I refuse to go in water with currents or where I can't touch the ground."

"You should learn how sometime, swimming is awesome exercise," I replied.

"Hey The Tea Party right?" The organizer dude said walking up to us.

"That we are," Amy replied.

"Awesome set, I'm glad I could catch you before you left. We give each of the runner-ups a gift certificate for some equipment… it isn't much or anything, but yeah good job," he said with a grin.

"Thanks," Amy replied holding the envelope he handed to her.

"You're welcome, hopefully you guys make it out for the next event we're organizing," he said with a smile before leaving.

I was sitting at my electric piano playing a song I had the notes to memorized (both on guitar and piano) however the lyrics where a different story. I was doing most of the singing in it Amy only providing backup momentarily and it was a rather long song 6:46 to be exact.

I lay on the couch watching reality TV god… what is wrong with me? It's a Saturday night and instead of out with my friends I'm wallowing in self-pity. My tears are long gone but that feeling of betrayal still remains. It goes beyond that though… why did he do it? Was I not good enough? Is he just a slut? Fuck, what the hell happened? I heard the front door open and slamming shut. Dad must be home either that or a serial killer here to put me out of my misery. "What're you doing home?" a familiar voice asked from a little ways away.

I looked up from my gaze on the rug and noticed my father standing near the living room entrance and his arm around some guy. "Wallowing," I said with a resigned sigh.

"Okay… I thought you where staying at Zach's tonight," he said with a slight slur, hm must be drunk.

"Found him fucking the captain of the swim team," I replied bitterly.

"Oh fuck… that's uhm shitty," he slurred sitting down on the loveseat his one nightstand following with a roll of his eyes.

"Yeah I guess. If you want I can get out of your hair, I might as well go to Amy's or something, anything is better than here," I said sitting up.

"Okay, that'd be good. You don't have to though," he said. "And it'll get better, just forget about him and… and uhm… fuck I don't know where I'm going with this."

"Can I have the keys to the Mercedes?" I asked suddenly getting a stroke of brilliance. He is drunk and left the car somewhere or if he didn't he'll at least give it to me for the night. Cheer me up and he's too wasted to not oblige.

"Yeah take it… it's in a parking garage though on Grundville," he said fishing some keys out of his pocket. "Here take some money," he said throwing a few bills on the coffee table/floor.

"Thanks I'll be back sometime tomorrow and I won't do anything too irresponsible," I said with a small smile before picking up the keys and cash. I quickly went to my room and changed into better looking threads, it's barely past one so I can take a taxi to the car, pick up some hip cats, maybe go on a booze cruise? Hm perfect. I smoothed out my v-neck and called up a taxi as well as Amy. I left my bedroom and quickly left the house not daring to see what could possibly be happening in the living room. The taxi came fairly quickly and I got to Grundville in maybe ten minutes. It took me a little bit to find the car but I finally found it and started it up, Amy, Jackson, and Tyler are currently at some bar and thought a booze cruise was well in order. I drove around loving how smooth the car drove and stopped in front of the bar and called up Amy again. About five minutes later the three of them came out and piled into the car.

"Whose car?" Jackson asked pulling on his seatbelt.

"My dad's he's totally drunk and feeling sorry for me so he gave me the car keys and some cash."

"Why's he feeling sorry for you? Your face isn't that deformed looking," Tyler said breaking into fits of giggles.

"Found Zach fucking some other guy and he found me at home like wallowing in self-pity, utterly pathetic like."

"Aw, I'm sorry… fuck what a jerk. Why he would cheat on you is beyond me, you're like gorgeous," Amy said with a soft smile.

"Ah fuck it, I don't care really. Lets just drink and have a good time," I said driving to the nearest liquor store.

"Lets… egg his house," Tyler added.

"No that is way too immature. Let us drink, laugh, and rock out," Amy said turning up the music.

"Now that is an idea," I said pulling into a liquor store parking lot. "So what shall we get and by we I mean you guys as my id is of the false variety."

"Lets just get beer, that way you won't get too drunk and we won't puke all over your nice car," Amy said.

"I'll grab it," Jackson said getting out of the car. Not too long after he came back holding a case of beer and set it down in the front seat by Amy's feet so it was kind of hidden. "You guys all owe me a bit of money."

"Here," I said passing him a ten dollar bill. "Try not to spill."

"Here you are," Amy said passing out cans of beer. We sipped our drinks and rocked out to loud music. The car was fucking amazing to drive it ran so smooth and seriously I wanted to fuck this car. Conversation was of the trivial variety and after a while as we all where well buzzed we decided to stop and smoke a joint. We stood in the tree shrouded parking lot of the public library and Tyler sparked the tea stick. "Now what should we do?" Amy asked taking a deep drag.

"Fuck I dunno, it's still early. Wanna head to a bar?" Jackson suggested.

"Yeah we need to get you really drunk, you're all broken-hearted and shit," Tyler added with a slur.

"Good plan but I can't really say I'm broken hearted you know? I mean the relationship was short and only about sex. It's just… like why did he do it? Was I not good enough? Other inferiority complex bullshit? Fuck I'm totally over analyzing it and probably doing some subconscious comparing it to my mother's rejection or some Freudian bullshit," I rambled on passing the joint.

"That's deep man," Tyler said.

"He probably just likes variety or something. Besides that isn't Freudian… or maybe it is… did your mother reject you sexually?" Amy asked in an amused voice.

"Fuck, that's just a scary thought," I replied grimly.

"Oh come on don't be ashamed of your Oedipus Complex!" she teased.

"God I'd rather have a lobotomy than to even entertain that idea."

"I dunno man your mom might be a MILF," Jackson said.

"She's my mom."

"Nothin' wrong with incest… unless it's twincest. Something about that always unsettled me it's too weird and narcissistic… fucking a copy of yourself? Fucking creepy," he said.

"No way man, it's cool. The only man I'd ever fuck would have to be myself and to fuck myself literally or at least someone who looks exactly like me, fuck yeah," Tyler replied.

"You want to fuck yourself?" Jackson asked perplexed.

"Yeah man I could dig that, it'd be like jerking off but better."

"Stimulating conversation here," Amy said sarcastically.

"Yeah it makes me want to go rent twincest porn and compare it to regular incest porn. Maybe there'll be more mirrors in the room," I added dully.

"Fuck let's go find incestuous siblings and twins and ask them!" Jackson said loudly with a fist to the air.

"It's a challenge… but fuck yeah!"

"We aren't going to harass people to see if they fuck their siblings," I said with a roll of my eyes.

"What?" Tyler asked perplexed. "Wait… you're right that's selfish. We're getting you laid, we can hunt down sister fucking twins tomorrow."

"I do not need to get laid."

"Yeah you do, revenge fuck, make you happy and get over him shit. Plus you got a cool car, chicks dig cool cars… or wait shit guys," Jackson added.

"Amy?" I asked giving her a helpless look.

"Eh let's humour them. Besides they'll have fun at a gay bar, the drag queens will fascinate and perplex their feeble little minds and I can be your fag hag," She said casually.

"Alright," I said with a resigned sigh before passing the almost gone joint. We got in the car, finished our beers, and where soon parked down the street from some gay bar Amy was leading us to. "This is a stupid idea," I said as we got in the very short queue.

"No it's awesome, maybe we can find some twins," Tyler said.

"You two aren't going to find twins or incestuous siblings so don't harass people… unless they really are twins then you have to seize that opportunity. But seriously now that kind of question is best reserved for the internet… you know anonymity and shit," Amy said.

"Good idea, good fucking idea. You're amazing Amy," Jackson replied with a toothy grin.

"This is a horrible idea," I said shaking my head slightly.

"Don't be such a negative Nancy," Tyler slurred.

"Did you just call me a negative Nancy?" I asked with an incredulous laugh.

"Yeah… you're being all negative. We're doing what all good friends do and are helping to mend your broken heart with liquor, drugs, and casual sex… and trying to find twins."

"My self-pity is good for creating. The band will now be thrice as great with my added angst," I said with feigned arrogance.

"Oh man fuck that, we are not turning into My Chemical Romance," Jackson said obstinately.

That caused both Amy and I to laugh and before we could retort we where at the front of the line and flashing our id's before entering the bar. I've never been in a gay bar before but for some reason I expected it to be more ostentatious that this. I'm not even exactly sure what I was expecting, but certainly not this. This place while it did have a dance floor with the horrible strobe lights and a bar, there was also an upstairs that was infinitely quieter and had a neat vibe. Dark décor, low hanging lights, lots of reds and blacks… shit it's like my living room. "What the fuck this place looks like my apartment," I said as we made our way towards the bar.

Amy looked around and said, "holy fuck you're right it does kind of bare some similarities with the whole red and black theme going on. Mind you you're living room has much better lighting, god those windows are gorgeous, I want to have sex with your view."

"Me too, I was drooling all over them when I first checked out the place."

We got up to the bar and stood around waiting for the bartender. "Okay Jackson and Tyler you get us a table, we'll get the drinks," Amy said.

"Right-o," Tyler said with a salute.

"I bet they're hunting for twins right now instead of obeying without question," I said with an amused smile.

"Wouldn't doubt it, they tend to bring out the weird and crazy in one another," she said matching my amusement. We ordered our drinks and carried them to the table we noticed the two of them sitting at and laughing like hyenas. I sat down and took a deep gulp of my drink and we started talking about the nonsense usually crossing the minds of the drunk.

Once a small silence seemed to envelope the table Jackson said with a furrowed brow, "wait why are we being so antisocial like and not talking to people. The goal here is to get Mason laid and I'm not gonna fuck him… so leave Mason before we chase you out with torches and pitchforks."

"Yeah you can't get laid here go away," Tyler said laughing.

"Fine I will you fucking breeders," I said with a laugh before standing up. "Wait… I've never picked up anyone at a bar. What's the protocol for this kind of shit?"

"It's so cute how out of your element you are right now," Amy said with an amused smile.

"Is not!" I protested. "Besides this is a stupid fucking idea," I added sitting back down.

"Oh no, come with me Mr. Obstinate this is one of Tyler and Jackson's better ideas… which isn't saying much but you need to loosen up and have some fun. You don't actually have to fuck anyone here but you have to at least flirt and laugh and sneer at the memory of Zach and your mother," Amy said standing up and grabbing my arm.

"Ew, do you have any idea how fucked that sentence sounded… god you make it sound like I actually did have an Oedipus complex," I said scrunching up my nose and following her… wherever.

"Nah you had an Electra complex," she said with an amused grin.

"I don't have penis envy bitch," I said with a laugh.

"Could have fooled me."

"Way to further destroy my already wounded ego," I said placing a hand on my heart. We made our way back downstairs and sat down at the bar. "It's really loud down here," I said with a fake pout.

"Stop bitching, you never complain about sound when playing shows so suck it up princess."

"Cunt," I said with a grin.

We ordered a round of drinks and Amy out of the blue said, "give me your car keys."

"What?"

"Give me your car keys… you're a bit of a light weight and I don't plan to drive or anything but I know you would drive that car in any condition so give me your keys," she explained.

"But… but it's the Mercedes… I can't give that up, I'd have sex with that car… you know if I had the courage to stick my dick in the exhaust pipe."

"As disgustingly honest and graphic as that is… you gotta give me those keys. Just think you can drive it in the morning and I doubt you want to crash something as beautiful as it."

"Ah, always the pragmatic one. Fine I'll relent… but don't hurt my foster child," I said handing her the keys after kissing them.

"Foster child?" she said perplexed.

"Yeah it's not my actual baby as it can be taken away at any time, like foster kids."

"That's horrible," she said with a laugh before taking a sip of her drink.

"Want to dance?" a husky voice said near my ear and I immediately felt a presence beside/behind me. I looked over and saw a tall man with light wavy brown hair and a nice jaw line.

"I don't know how to dance," I replied honestly trying not to be too obvious about checking him out.

"Hm, well it isn't hard. And no better time to learn then the present," he said with a small smirk.

"Uhm, alright… just a moment." I turned to face Amy and said, "take care of my foster child or I'll kill you one dent or scratch and uh… your bass gets it. Also good luck with the twin hunt and try to control Jackson and Tyler they're bound to do something stupid." Then I chugged what was left of my drink and hopped off my stool.

He grabbed my hand and we made our way onto the dance floor. "I'm Brian by the way," he said as we stood there.

"Mason," I replied feeling awkward. We where among a throng of bodies but I just didn't know what to do really. I've never danced before in my life… other than an attempt at the twist after watching Pulp Fiction. "I'm going to be honest here, I have no fucking clue how to dance."

"Let me show you how," he said suggestively and then he started moving with the music. His hands found my hips and he moved his body in a lascivious manner. "Just lose yourself in the music and don't worry about looking foolish or anything." I nodded not in the mood to talk… it's too loud here, hurts the throat and such. And bit my lip a bit, glanced around the room, before taking a deep breath and trying to move my hips and body in time with the electronic music playing. "See it's not so hard," he said talking in my ear.

"I-I guess not," I replied awkwardly.

I was sitting in my room playing the electronic piano and trying to memorize some of my sheet music for class. I frequently have solos in the productions the school orchestra puts on and fuck they're difficult. "Come in," I yelled hearing a faint knocking and not missing a note.

"Mason I want you to meet someone," my dad said poking his head in my room.

"I have to memorize some stuff for the orchestra," I muttered with a frustrated furrow of my brows.

"Just get out here," he snapped shutting the door.

"Cunt," I muttered continuing to play. I'm at least going to finish this song… asshole. Okay, okay I'm being unreasonable and slightly immature but I've been stressed. The band has been doing a lot of stuff lately so I have to write, memorize, and practice all of that jazz and then orchestra is hard as fuck. Especially considering Mrs. Steinbeck puts a lot of pressure on me and gives me really difficult music… but fuck I love it, I love how it challenges me, I love how it sounds, how it feels… it's just mind blowing… it's fucking crazy she actually thinks I have a shot at getting into Juilliard, fucking Juilliard! Once I finished up I shut off the keyboard and entered the living room. "So what do you want?" I asked casually paying no mind to my father's fuck buddy.

"I wanted to introduce you to my boyfriend. The three of us are going to dinner, get ready and don't take your time with it," he said in a serious tone.

I gave the fuck buddy a once over as I suppose he'll be sticking around for a while and was immediately shocked… this guy was clearly from ages 20-25… fucking gross. While my father may have aged well… that is still so fucking disgusting… he's like twice his age! I turned on my heel and quickly changed… it didn't require much effort I traded my ripped up skinny jeans for tight black cigarette-esque slacks, donned my winklepickers, and threw a black velvet blazer with a dark blue undertone on over my white v-neck. I glanced at my appearance, fixed my hair and left my bedroom thoroughly annoyed that I wasn't able to continue practicing. "Hello Mason, I'm Travis," fuck buddy said with feigned sweetness.

"Nice to meet you," I said indifferently.

"Well we best get going if we want to make our reservation," my father said standing up and straightening his tie.

They chatted amiably amongst one another, Travis laughing at unfunny jokes a little too loudly and me wishing I were practicing. We finally got to the 'fine dining' restaurant and where seated immediately. I perused my menu and grimaced at the lack of vegetarian options… hm they have some pasta dish… might as well get it… oh man they specialize in martinis? Do want, I could feel like James Bond or some shit. I ended up just getting lemon water… fucking life. "So how long is this going to take?" I asked rudely interrupting their conversation.

"Mason don't be so rude," my father reprimanded me.

"I'm not trying to be I just have a lot of shit to do. I have a bit of homework, I have to go through my lines for the play, I also have a show on Friday and am still screwing up the lyrics on a new song and I need to practice for orchestra as I'm doing a solo," I replied casually.

"You're a musician?" Travis asked interested.

"Yeah I suppose," I replied taking a sip of my water.

Before he could add anything to that the waitress took our orders and I thought I was safe from a barrage of questions but apparently not. Look I'm not trying to be an asshole or… ageist or whatever… but seriously it's a weird scenario and I've only dealt with his creepy fuck buddies not his weird boyfriend and with the aforementioned group aloof and cold is how you deal with them.

"So… what do you all play?" he asked playing with the ends of his honey blonde hair.

"I'm a classical pianist and play guitar and do vocals in a band however I also mess around with the violin," I replied indifferently.

"Ooh, what's your band name?"

"It's kind of a terrible name, we're called The Tea Party."

"Hm… that sounds vaguely familiar. What genre?"

"Indie-pop, indie-rock type of sound."

"Oh that's interesting," he said clearly not interested.

"So Mason how was your day?" My father asked taking a sip of his martini… fucker.

"It was alright. School was dull as per usual, practice for the play went really well, band practice was eventful to say the least as Jackson had a mild freak out, and that's really it… nothing too exciting I suppose. And yours?"

"It was rather good, I acquired a very high profile client so I'm happy about that," he said.

Soon Travis was yammering on with my father about some stupid bullshit I couldn't care less about and I impatiently waited for my food to arrive so I could get out of there. My wishes seemed to be answered and my cheesy, vegetable laden dish was set down in front of me. I quickly thanked the waitress and harpooned a piece of penne. I kept running through the lyrics in my head… I almost have the song down; I just keep fucking up a little bit in the middle. Fuck I also have a history worksheet to work on, ugh life. Maybe tommorow I can get Amy or someone to run through lines with me after band practice… the play is just around the corner and I'm nowhere near ready. God I've never even been in a play before… save for fifth grade drama club… I was a ghost who was very dissatisfied with having to wear boring white sheets… yeah talk about awesome. Fuck I only tried out for this play for shits and giggles with some friends… I didn't actually expect to get the part and now here I am having to perform in front of a bunch of people. Which I know shouldn't make me nervous, I'm in a band I play in front of people all the time, I'm in the orchestra I play in front of tons of people all the time… but this time it's different. I'm going to be acting, something I've never had proficiency with. I was mostly ignored (why even bring me?) as we finished eating and I was actually really thankful for that, we finally got the check and went back to the car and I was anxious to start practicing again. I bounded in the apartment and went back to my room at a swift pace. I threw off my blazer, yanked off my shoes, and sat down on my chair and gave the sheet music a quick once over.

The next day after band practice I begged Amy to come and practice lines with me instead of getting high and she finally relented under the condition that we get right baked just before hand and she is allowed multiple joint breaks on the balcony. We where high as kites as we entered the apartment and she sat down at the sofa while I grabbed the scripts. I passed her a script and opened mine up whilst continuing to stand (I needed to act everything out as well). "I hate being your line reading partner, you're such a bitch when it comes to it," Amy said glancing at the script with disinterest.

"Sorry, I just I can't stand how flat you are about it. It makes me feel like a freak putting so much emotion into it when you sound so bored… but I'll try not to be a bitch alright?"

"Fine and I'll try to put in a little effort, but just remember if you wanted theatrics you should've asked Jackson to help you."

"I am in love with Gwendolyn. I have come up to town expressly to propose to her," Amy said boredly.

"I thought you had come up here for pleasure? …That is business," I stated with a raised eyebrow as I sat in a chair from the dining room I had dragged over.

"How utterly unromantic you are!" she said putting a small amount of effort in.

"I really don't see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal." I said obstinately hearing the door open in the background… ugh he better not have brought Travis, the whole idea is just weird and unsettling. "Why, one may be accepted. One usually is, I believe. Then the excitement is all over. The very essence of romance is uncertainty. If I ever get married I'll certainly try to forget that fact."

"Mason this play is so stupid, do you have any idea how pretentious and assholeish your character sounds right now?" Amy said interrupting.

"No it isn't. Oscar Wilde had an amazing way with words, not to mention I get to be the best character in the entire play—a cynical hedonist," I stated flipping through my script.

"I only read The Picture of Dorian Gray and it sucked! It took him like fifty pages for characters to even meet one another just because he kept yammering on and on about the grass in summertime and bullshit like that. It was horrid!"

"You just have atrocious taste in literature," I stated feigning elitism.

"Anyone with a few brain cells could clearly see this play is so fucking stupid. Seriously who wants to watch a bunch of morons who lead double lives and they aren't even exciting double lives and that pun at the end is fucking stupid, then your character is like devoted to being a hedonistic bachelor and as soon as he meets some hot chick who is a cynic too he decides to marry her and what the fuck she is so friggin crazy as well."

"You're taking it too seriously this play is a comedy."

"Fine whatever… I still think it sucks."

"Go ahead and hate it just help me run through lines," I said with a sigh.

"Fine, fine," she said rolling her eyes. "Of course it is mine," she said not even caring to start where we left off. "You have seen me with it a hundred times, and you have no right whatsoever to read what is written inside. It is a very ungentlemanly thing to read a private cigarette case."

"Oh! It is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read," I stated matter-a-factly.

"Mason it doesn't matter how stoned I am right now, this is torture."

I sighed and said, "Will you please just try? The play is in two weeks and I'm a main character… admittedly it's a short play but still I need you to take this matter seriously. It's so much better to run through lines with another person than by yourself."

"Sorry, I'm going insane. So I shall bid you adieu or your play adieu anyways and we can party or something. Besides you should've asked Ben to help you, he's serious, cynical, and likes horrible old books."

"I already did he's working," I stated.

"Well how about we just hang out and jam? You have a piano and guitar here so let's do that instead."

"I'm afraid I'll have to subject you to listening to my practicing for the orchestra, I need to attend to that sometime tonight anyways," I replied.

"Ugh classical music, must we?"

"We must, tonight is a night of torture… just be glad we aren't S&M buddies."

"You freak," she said laughing. "Let's just go to your room I guess," she said with a sigh. I got up to put the chair away and ignoring my father and Travis cooking something in the kitchen.

"Alright so shall we?" I asked heading to my room. We went into my room and I pulled out my sheet music. I got to playing while Amy sat on my bed reading some magazine. After some time there was a faint knocking on the door and Amy yelled out a come in. "Must you be so loud?" I asked not missing a note.

"Must you be such a freak?"

"Gee, I'm real hurt," I sarcastically replied.

"Yeah I couldn't really think of anything, I just felt like insulting you for subjecting me to that torturous play."

"Uh… your father told me to get you, supper is ready and stuff," Travis said a little awkwardly.

"We'll be out soon enough," I said never halting my playing.

"Fuck that I'm hungry now," Amy said getting off my bed.

"Go ahead but I'm finishing this song," I replied.

"That's another complaint of mine. You may be fucking amazing at it… but what is the appeal of classical piano? I mean it's so dull."

"It is not, you're just used to hearing some of the shittier stuff. Rachmaninoff is probably the best composer to exist not fucking Mozart or Beethoven… mind you Beethoven does get mad props to be a great musician and deaf."

"He wasn't great, he just rode on the novelty of it all," Amy replied.

"Hm maybe," I said finishing up the song.

We left the sanctuary of my bedroom and sat down at the table. "Fuck I have the munchies so bad," Amy said making a show of sniffing the air.

"Yeah I'm a little hungry too."

"Wanna go for a smoke break once we get done eating?"

"Yeah sure, besides it isn't like I'm going to get anything done with you here," I said with a grin.

"What can I say I'm a procrastinators wet dream."

Travis and my father set some bowls/dishes on the table and each took a seat as well. "Nice to see you again Amy," my father said politely.

"You too Emmanuel, how's life?" she asked conversationally harpooning a piece of chicken to put on her plate. I on the other hand put a bunch of salad on my plate as well as some mashed potatoes.

They made a bit of small talk whilst I silently ate and ignored Travis' stare. My cell phone immediately started ringing and I pulled it out of my pocket. With a roll of my eyes I silenced it and stuck it back in my pocket. "Ooh who was that?" Amy said with a grin.

"It wasn't anybody," I replied picking at my food.

"Yes it was, you always use 'Time to Pretend' by MGMT as the ring tone for your little boyfriends and fuck buddies. So please do tell," she said trying her hardest to be annoying.

With a sigh I replied, "Amy it is nobody you know. Just some guy I met at school, way too clingy for my taste so I obviously haven't brought him to a show or anything."

"Ugh so boring, I was hoping it was Zach," she stated actually looking a little disappointed.

"Why the hell would you hope that?" I asked absolutely perplexed.

"Today has been boring and it would've given us an excuse to destroy some private property," she stated casually.

"He lives at the school," I said with a roll of my eyes.

"So?"

"You're insane, also you do remember you where the one to convince Jackson and Tyler not to vandalize his house the night it happened," I said eating some more food.

"Mm probably. Hey do you still have that vocal lesson on Thursday? I'm off work then so practice is a viable option."

"Yeah I still have it. I probably won't be taking them much longer though, I think I've damn near gotten the most out of them."

"I still can't believe you are taking them, you could sing perfectly well before them."

"Yeah I could, but I didn't have as much range and I couldn't hold notes for very long… they've really improved both."

"I guess, I dunno it just seems weird to me. I mean like everyone in the scene seems to be self-taught save for the odd guitar lesson," she said with a shrug.

"And that is why everyone who auditioned to get in the band was shit," I said with a grin.

"Yeah most likely," she conceded.

I was so nervous, so, so nervous. I was in my Victorian garb, my hair was slicked back (gross), and I was jittery beyond hell. I've been through this hundreds of times, I've done dress rehearsals… but this is the real deal. I took a deep breath and sat at the old stand up piano off to the side of the stage. I listened to the introduction and soon the curtain was raised and I started to tap the keys. I finally sat down at a chair right in centre stage and my eyes widened and I nearly froze up… the crowd is huge… but the show must go on. _ came on stage and as we parroted lines off to one another, creating the illusion of good friends having a witty conversation. God he's beautiful and has so much talent it's absolutely mind blowing. I look like a shit actor in comparison to him, hell I look like shit in general in comparison him… but I suppose it makes sense he is after all apparently like king of the drama geeks.

New school year, not a new me. I haven't changed much over summer, yes I recorded an album (took three days), yes I went on tour (took over a month and a half), I also lost seven pounds on tour and grew an inch making me look even more slight… it didn't help that I lived an utterly hedonistic lifestyle. I didn't see any of my friends during summer and entered the school with utter apathy. Sure I have friends here… but it seems so weird, they are people I hang out with… not people I love. I love every one of my band mates, I love Tyler, I love some of the people we met on the road… but I only mildly like my friends. Some of the stuff they say just makes me really uncomfortable and the way they act sometimes is just… fucked. But I've decided fuck it; I'm being wholly open. I lived utterly open on the road and honestly it was awesome. I grabbed my books and held onto my schedule, hm English class awesome. I say that non-sarcastically.

By the time I got to lunch I had only seen one of my 'friends' and I went to the usual table where a bunch of people where sitting. "Mason," Jessica said cheerily as I sat down.

"Hey," I replied.

"How was your summer? You where gone like the entire time," she said.

"It was actually really fucking great. We played so many shows, I partied so much, and I met so many people it was almost like being like Jack Kerouac except the whole rigorous schedule thing. It was really just phenomenal," I gushed still feeling excitement from the summer.

"Whose Jack Kerouac?"

"Uh… he wrote 'On The Road' he was like this beatnik guy and just hitchhiked and road tripped around the country… after reading On The Road I wanted to pack a bag and hitchhike around the country as well," I explained.

"I could never live on the road for two months, you like slept in the car a lot and shit didn't you?" Erin asked.

"Yeah… but it was beautiful. We'd stop some nights and just park in the middle of nowhere and sleep in tents and watch the stars and just jam and fuck we had so much fun. The people we met where amazing… it was truly a phenomenal experience. We didn't make very much money once you took out gas prices and living and shit but it was fuck… I can't explain it."

"Sounds weird," Eric said.

"Yeah I could never do that, I'd go insane living in a car. I can't even stand a couple hours in one," Sharon added.

"Where's your sense of adventure?" I asked eating a slice of orange.

"I guess I just don't have one if you consider that an adventure," she replied.

"We picked up hitchhikers, does that count as adventurous?" I asked with a grin.

"That is so fucking dangerous," Jessica said with a shocked expression on her face.

"Not really there was four of us and they where all so interesting. There was this girl who got kicked out of her house and had this like really heart breaking sadness etched all over her face I wish I could have photographed it or painted it or something, and this guy who talked about philosophy non-stop he had some really neat ideas, and this one guy who was a little weird and had odd mannerisms I think he may have had OCD or something but fuck could he tell a good story."

"Fucking weird," Eric muttered.

As we where talking about my road trip Marcel walked by with a spring in her step. "Ugh theatre geeks I can't stand them," Jessica said snidely.

"You do remember I had a big role in a play last year?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah but you only did it for a joke, those kids are assholes… hell you even said it yourself."

"Well actually I think I'm going to try out again this year and I signed up for drama class. And I dunno they aren't assholes persé, I mean no one actually out right insulted me or told me off they're just in general kind of aloof," I explained.

"You're trying out again?" Erin asked incredulously.

"Yeah it's fun, it's so fucking exhilarating. Besides I'm kind of hoping some kind of musical ends up being done, that'd be fucking awesome. Plus being good at acting is a great asset… I can lie with like… proficiency and shit."

"And you actually aspire to that? That's pathetic Mason," Jessica said rolling her eyes.

"It's not really an aspiration it's just neat," I replied.

"Ugh I don't know how you can stand them," Jessica said snidely.

"I don't even understand your hatred towards the drama kids, it makes no sense," I said boredly.

"How can you not? Firstly they're annoying, they are so fucking pretentious, and the majority of them are total faggots," she said with a look of disgust on her face.

"Faggots?" I asked coldly… that cunt. I've heard her say shit like 'that's so gay' or whatever. But I didn't actually peg her as homophobic I just always pegged her as not very eloquent and using a stupid phrase/word that caught on and got a new meaning.

"Yeah it's so disgusting and they're so fucking open about it too."

"The disgusting one here is you. I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but I am one of those disgusting faggots. You should go back to the backwoods where you belong you close-minded bitch," I stated callously before grabbing my orange and calmly leaving the cafeteria. I wandered down the halls eating my orange and couldn't believe I didn't see it before. I mean we never ever spoke of personal politics or any deep conversations and only hung out outside of school at parties, which consisted mostly of light drinking and video games. I wonder if everyone else holds the same opinion? Mind you none of them bothered to speak up, so fuck them. I never even liked their company that much anyways. I have Amy, Ben, Jackson, and Tyler; I don't need some private school phonies. Fuck I feel like Holden Caulfield.

It was the tryouts for the very first play of the school year apparently we're doing 'Uncle Vanya'. I was excited despite most of the drama geeks hating me for some reason or another… or at least not liking me very much. I sat in a chair and watched some of the other tryouts. Soon _ came on and I couldn't help but be mesmerized as he stood on the stage reciting his lines. After he was finished I scanned mine some more and was soon called up, "alright Mason what part are you doing?"

"I guess I'll be trying out for Ivan and I'll be reading from Act I," I said feeling a little nervous.

"All right Sarah will read with you," she stated.

"Have you been asleep?" Sarah asked looking at her script.

"Yes, very much so," feign yawn and give a little stretch despite the script only calling for a yawn. "Ever since the professor and his wife have come, our daily life seems to have jumped the track. I sleep at the wrong time, drink wine, and eat all sorts of fancy cooking for luncheon and dinner. It isn't wholesome," insert small shake of head. "Sonya and I used to work together and never had an idle moment, but now Sonya works alone and I only eat and drink and sleep. Something is wrong."

"I'd prefer it if you two could skip to the part where Ivan proclaims his love for Yelena," Mr. Rinnoff said interrupting.

"For sure," I said flipping through my script.

Auditions ended not too long after and I was glad to leave. I felt pretty good about my audition it wasn't the best or anything but I did put a fair amount of anguish into it when I was proclaiming my unrequited love.

I stood in front of my mirror looking at my appearance. God was Amy ever talented with a makeup brush I'd look like a clown if I ever attempted to do it. I was wearing thick but tasteful eye makeup (eye shadow of a purple variety), some pink lipstick… that tastes really gross, a cheap black wig I borrowed from a friend of Amy's (it was shoulder length and even had a fringe), a frilly purple tutu-esque skirt I picked up in a thrift shop for $2.50, a tight black long sleeve v-neck I've always owned, some zebra print black and white tights of Amy's and a pair of black falling apart prostiboots I got for $6.00. I was an… all right drag queen. I had run through lines a thousand times with Amy and now I was just hanging out at home reading them to myself and too lazy to change… besides I need to practice walking in these heels. Mr. Rinnoff actually hopes I can get so good at walking in these things that I'll be able to dance in them… talk about crazy!

I heard a knocking on the door as I read my script and my father said, "Mason it's time for dinner."

Controlling my laugh, as his reaction will be hilarious I scampered out of my room in my heels a little dissatisfied that I couldn't even sashay like I was supposed to upon making any entrance. "What's for supper?" I asked approaching the dining area.

"What the fuck are you wearing?" My father asked looking at me absolutely perplexed.

"Whose your guest?" I asked ignoring his question just for laughs. There was a man in his thirties or so with dirty blonde hair and a slight tan.

"I already told you I was bringing my boyfriend over for you to meet sometime this week. You don't have any practices today so it seemed as good a day as any," he explained while still looking incredulous towards my appearance. "Mason this is Dennis, Dennis this is my youngest… son Mason."

"Nice to meet you," I said not really focusing on the introductions and feeling selfish. "So am I a convincing drag queen? Amy said I looked awesome but she is a dirty liar and this was her idea anyways. I don't want to look too convincing though you know? I mean I want it to still be evident I'm a boy but I don't want to be one of those scary disaster drag queens."

"Uh… you do still look like a boy with the flat chest and defined jaw… and no you aren't one of those disaster ones. Amy did your makeup very well," my father said awkwardly.

"Oh shit, I forgot to tell you why I'm dressed in drag. We're doing the musical Rent at school, I didn't get a leading role like the last two plays but as far as I'm concerned I got the best role of them all. I'm a gay, AIDS infested, drag queen, and street musician," I said excitedly.

"You're doing Rent at school?" Dennis asked clearly shocked.

"Yeah we decided on Rent, it apparently took a bit of convincing and we have to put as much effort as possible into it for it to be deemed artistic but we get to do a barely even altered version of it," I said happily.

"Wow, I'm surprised the school board wasn't up in arms about it," he stated still shocked.

"That's the beauty of a private school where the majority of the students are boarders, parents don't even know or care. Plus it's kind of an artsy place," I explained yearning to yank off these uncomfortable boots. "By the way I hope it's cool that I go out tonight. Amy and I where going to watch the film for Rent and she was going to teach me how to walk in heels better."

"Yeah go ahead, you can go after supper," he stated.

"Thanks," I replied yanking off my freak boots and feeling immediately better.

I stood on the corner waiting for Amy and kind of felt like a hooker. Okay so I'm not dressed slutty and I am not even in the right neighbourhood for that, but I still felt like one… I think it's the costume. "Hey faggot," Amy said approaching with Ben.

"Nice clothes," Amy said laughing.

"Fuck off," I said with a laugh.

"You don't look much like a chick. You have no tits," Ben added.

"Yeah and my jaw is too defined."

"If it helps you look like a butch chick," Amy said with a grin.

"Yeah, yeah. I'm in costume so whatever. Fuck how do chicks do it? These shoes fucking kill and I feel so uncoordinated. How the fuck am I supposed to dance in these?" I asked as we headed down the street and towards the bar.

"We have skills and blisters," Amy said. "So why are you still in drag by the way?"

"Well I was going hard on Google and the general consensus is that all high school productions of Rent fucking suck ass… so I'm putting extra effort into this one. I need to become this character… so I'm going to run around in drag a few times, maybe I'll go to an AIDS support group meeting too."

"It'd be like Fight Club," Amy said with a grin.

"That's actually a good idea. Think you can sing the songs?" Ben asked.

"My voice isn't perfectly suited for the role I'll admit, but I'm just going to give it my best and sing it as attuned to my voice. Besides I don't really have a deep voice so it'll work out. But yeah I'm not going to start talking with a lisp or whatever just because my character is a drag queen… that feels so fake and contrived to me. I just am going to be me… except you know dying from AIDS and a bit more feminine," I said.

"That's the best way to go about it I think. It'll lend an authenticity to it. So how much is it getting edited as it's a school production and all?"

"Not much it's like a mix between regular Rent and the run of the mill Rent: School Edition. It's still edited a bit and shit but yeah since I go to a liberal arts-orientated private school we where able to get it in it's almost unadulterated version… mind you kids from other schools are cast in it as well."

"Fucking awesome, are they cutting out 'Contact'?" Ben asked.

"Nope, we just don't say fuck as much, Maureen doesn't show her ass, and the kisses are chaste-er. Other than that it's all the same. They wanted to cut out 'Contact' but Mr. Rinnoff was really adamant about it as you know it's basically the scene where I die."

"Fuck there's going to be a lot of opposition to it by like the community and stuff though," Amy said as we got to the door.

"I suppose. But more press equals more tickets sold," I said pulling out my id.

The bouncer gave me a funny look and took a while to examine it but finally let me in and Amy started laughing. "Guess you really are a convincing drag queen," she said between giggles.

"Fuck off," I said with a smile.

"Harsh man," she said with a hand on her heart.

This place wasn't like our usual types of places. We usually hang out in little bars with dark décor and an indie band raging on stage. This place was way different, there was a bunch of pool tables, a lot of wood panelling… it looked like a really large dive bar from some Hicksville town that got slightly urbanized. I looked at the people in the bar and immediately blanched. "Are you guys trying to get me jumped?" I asked as I glanced at all the frat boys and Barbie dolls.

"Yeah Amy this was a really bad idea… we shouldn't have let you choose the place," Ben said looking around.

"No way, this is awesome. You want to get in character and know what it's like to be a discriminated against drag queen… then what better place?" Amy said with a huge smile.

"Yeah… but this is my first day. It's not like I wanted to try this out at a gay bar or anything but we could've at least gone somewhere a little… cooler."

"I agree, or at least somewhere darker so it isn't so fucking obvious that he isn't a she."

"Come on, one drink and we can go. Besides you look really feminine," she said going to the bar.

Ben and I took a table in the darkest corner we could find and I tried not to make eye contact with anyone. "I'm so going to get curb stomped out back," I said looking around and noticing we got a few curious glances but thankfully most people where too engrossed in their own doings.

"We'll shank 'em first," he said with a smile.

Amy soon came up clutching three beer bottles haphazardly and Ben grabbed two of them from her. "Thanks," I said taking a swig off of mine.

"No problem. See this isn't so bad," Amy said with a smile.

"That's just because nobody has figured it out yet," I muttered looking about nervously. I won't lie this makes me really fucking nervous. I mean I've seen kids get beat up for being a 'fag', true it may have happened more in rural parts… but still. There is after all a reason why I stayed in the closet for so long and now here I am among a bunch of drunk 'jock-types' and dressed in fucking drag. Okay, okay it's wrong to stereotype and I hate when people stereotype me… but some stereotypes are partially based on truth… and while this city is on the liberal side it isn't like I'm in Seattle or something. Besides if Ben says it's bad to be here then it must be, he's way too honest and analytical to be wrong about this.

"Settle down nothing bad will happen," Amy said.

"Regardless I think we should chug these and leave… this place fucking sucks. Fucking sports on the TV? Who the hell goes to the bar for that? I go for music and conversation," Ben said sparing me a glance.

"Yeah, I wanna check out some music," I said.

"Fucking hell you two, what is wrong with you guys… you're way too high-strung," Amy grumbled annoyance written all over her face.

"Look you're a breeder you've never dealt with this kind of shit. But fuck there's a reason why I hid in the closet for so long and why some people never come out. I've seen people get the shit kicked out of them for just being gay, so how safe do you think I feel dressed in fucking drag among a bunch of drunken frat boys?" I snapped before chugging back half of my beer.

"Amy I know you meant well but you just didn't think it through. The least that happens is some hurtful words, but worst is death. People have been fucking killed for this kind of shit… and the addition of alcohol doesn't help. We just think it's best if we get out before anyone tries to talk to us," Ben explained.

"Oh… yeah I guess I didn't think it through. I'm sorry… let's just finish these drinks, avoid eye contact, and get out," Amy said with a weak smile.

"It's okay and don't be sorry… this is a good idea-ish. You should've just picked somewhere a little less threatening, but the whole us going to somewhere not like our usual haunts is good," I said with a smile.

"Okay, where should we go then?" she asked with a forced smile.

"How about we go to The Corona, he'll still be in a rather straight environment but it'll be dark so everyone will just think he's a flat and homely looking girl," Ben said taking a deep drink.

"I am not homely looking!" I protested with a smile before chugging back the rest of my beer.

"Sure you are, look at how ratty your hair is and how over-defined your jaw is and you have too muscular of legs to be in tights," he said with a grin.

"You're a dick," I replied.

"Pretty much," he said finishing off his beer. "You done your drink yet?"

"Almost," Amy said with a small smile.

"All right. I'll go get the tab, you assholes can pay for the next round," Ben said going towards the bar.

"I'm really sorry you know," Amy said.

"It's fine really. I know you had good intentions and that's all that matters, I'm sorry for being so paranoid."

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions," she said darkly.

"Well then I suppose it's a good thing Mark Twain once said, 'we go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company'," I said with a grin.

"Thanks for that," she said finishing off her drink.

"Let us depart," I said getting up and the two of us heading towards the door and tapping Ben's shoulder to get his attention as we left. We stood outside and Ben caught up moments later.

We walked to the club and after about ten minutes of banter and ten minutes in a queue we entered the hot, dark, and loud atmosphere. I immediately took a dislike to the club and wanted to leave but opted to stay as we did agree to go somewhere fun afterwards.