Saturday, June 27, 2009

Crossroads Revisited by Keta Diablo

“Your expectations have fallen a little short,” Frank said, tossing a printout of his grades onto the counter.

Rand’s body tensed, so imperceptibly most wouldn’t have noticed, but Frank knew every nuance of that perfect body…and every inch. “C’s and C minuses right down the line. Oh, I stand corrected, a D in Chemistry.”

“I can explain,” Rand said, licking his bottom lip.

“I’m sure you have something prepared, but I’m not interested. Refresh my memory about our agreement when you came to live here?”

Rand looked away.

“I’ll remind you. You promised if I agreed to let you live here, you’d pull A’s and B’s, and work hard to get the education your mom has spent thousands of dollars on.”

“My classes are so hard this semester and―”

“Save it, Rand. You’re one of the brightest kids on the planet, and only two reasons exist for pulling C’s and D’s. One is laziness, the other, MJ.” Frank nodded toward the liquor cabinet. “Or Jack Daniels.”

Rand watched him through hooded eyes and squirmed in the chair. “I’m not smoking weed. Give me another chance. I’ll buckle down, bring those grades up to A’s and B’s next semester.”

“Oh, I have no doubt you’ll bring them up…every single one. Just to make sure you know I’m dead serious, finish your lunch, drop your jeans, and head for the couch.”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

“Why?”

“You don’t need to know until you’re done eating.”

Rand pushed his plate away. “Lost my appetite.”

“I’ll give you one chance to tell me why my Jack Daniels is bottoming out all the time, and you should know,” Frank added, “I’ve been marking the bottles.”

He hedged.

“I’ll start counting, and for every second that passes, I’ll match it with a welt on your ass.”

“Wait…”

“One, two, three…”

“Christ, stop counting. I’m going to tell you.”

“Four, five, six.”

“I stole it.”

Frank rolled his eyes. “You could have knocked me over with a feather. It’s a two-fold question: are you using other drugs and why did you steal my whiskey?”

“I hit the legal age limit four years ago, Frank.”

“This isn’t about the legal age limit and you know it!” Anger gave way to concern.
“A former pot head exchanges one vice for another turning to alcohol. Are you using drugs?”

“No, I’m not.”

“You gave your word you’d stay away from alcohol while you attended college and lived with me. We made an agreement, and you broke it.”

Rand’s gaze carried less fear than his voice. “Everyone parties at Johns Hopkins, that’s what preppies do.”

“That’s the oldest excuse in the book, and I don’t care about the others. Your mother would freak if she saw your grades, and she only agreed to let you live here for two reasons. One, you wanted to, and two, you promised to quit the drugs and get a degree in medicine.”

Rand fell mute and chewed on the inside of his cheek. The most beautiful kid Frank ever laid eyes on. Frank had to remind himself to rein in his lust right now. An impossible undertaking no matter how hard he tried. Rand wasn’t a kid, but Frank had known him since he rode a bike to get around. The lines blurred at times, wandering between an overwhelming desire to fuck him senseless one minute and protect him from everything in the world the next.

A stream of sunlight fell through the kitchen window, capturing Rand’s shiny black hair and sculpted features. Need and hot desire rushed through Frank’s veins, replaced moments later by a bleak image of Rand floating listlessly in the water, his long, dark hair fanned out around him. Damn the dreams and visions.

“Rand, five young men have died now, college students, after a night of binge drinking at a bar.”

“Oh, get off it. You know they didn’t die from drinking.”

“No, they drowned after walking into the river during a drunken stupor.”

Rand shook his head. “It’s incredible you believe that—you, a man who dabbles in perceptions and has the ability to connect with his Inner Spirit. Have you consulted it, Frank, huh?”

“Yes, damn it, I have, and we’re not going to talk about that now. All I know is five men are dead, you took my whisky and broke promises to your mother and me.” He reached across the counter and grabbed the collar of his shirt. “You going to drop your jeans, or should I forcefully take them off you?”

His moss-green eyes sparked, yet his voice trembled. Frank wondered at times if Rand feared him. He knew he loved him, but he didn’t want Rand to be afraid of him. It was a double-edged sword and another fucking complication in Frank’s life. He cringed at the word love, tried to convince himself what he felt for Rand fell under the category of hot, primal lust. Truthfully, there were times those indelible boundaries blurred, too, meshed together until Frank thought he’d die if Rand left his life.

“Jesus, you’re serious?”

Frank nodded.