The sun was setting with an orange haze that was shining through the windows of the cafe. The store was packed up, with chairs stacked upside down onto the tables and all the outside ones were dragged inside. Outside a few people were still walking about, lingering in the town square, but none of them even looked our way. It was dead, quiet and we only had ten minutes to go.
Yet for some god awful reason, Dad refuses to close the cafe until we are meant to close. No matter what.
I leaned on the counter, tapping my fingers as I eagerly watched the clock on the time. I decided that maybe if I annoyed Dad enough, he would give in and save us ten minutes of time wasting. So with each passing minute, I loudly announced how long we had left.
“Nine minutes to go!”
I heard a distant, unenthusiastic ‘woo’ from the office. I continued to stare down at the till, excited as I could almost taste the freedom. But then suddenly, as if Satan punched me in the face himself, the door dinged.
I shot my eyes up at the small group of business-attired customers, laughing as they entered our store. I felt enraged, disappointed but most of all, heartbroken. It didn’t matter what time we finished anymore, I wasn’t going to be leaving anytime soon.
“Oh, are you guys closing up?” One of the girls asked as the group got closer to the counter.
Noooo! Our chairs are just packed up on our tables because we like the look of it!
I tightly smiled. “Yes, we close at 6 pm during weekdays.”
“Thank god, we made it just in time!” One of the guys spoke, grinning widely as if he just won the jackpot.
I pictured grabbing a tray and smacking it across his face.
“Just letting you guys know that we are only able to do takeaway coffee,” I said, keeping my tight expression. “Since we are closing in five minutes.”
You think they would get the hint from that - but no!
“Aw, but I’m hungry!” Another one of them whined.
“What’s going on, Oliver?” Dad came out, looking surprised at our customers. “Oh.”
“We have some hungry customers at the last minute,” I said nicely but turned to face him so I could dramatically roll my eyes.
He gave me a small smile followed with a wink.
“I’m sorry, but we are actually closing up now,” Dad said, clapping his hands together as he approached the group. “However, if you’re hungry, I highly recommend the pub down the road - they do an amazing parmi.”
Praise the lord.
He directed them out of the store and then waved them off before pulling the door shut and flipping the sign. He let out a sigh, resting his head on the door frame.
“Alright, home time, kiddo,” he said, looking up to smile at me. “You must be buggered.”
“It wasn’t that bad,” I shrugged. “But the night’s still young."
“Got something planned?” He crossed his arms, looking ready to judge.
“Oh yeah,” I grinned. “Got a hot date with homework.”
He nodded approvingly.
“Well, you better get out of here then,” he said. “Get started on that homework.”
“Not gonna fight you on that.”
I tossed my apron out back, said bye to him and then stepped outside, inhaling the fresh air. I stretched my arms up as I walked towards the Jeep, looking around at the different stores closing up. Once I got into my car, the tiredness hit me and I could feel the siren call of my bed. But thanks to someone rudely interrupting me last night, I had homework to finish and I couldn’t afford to miss two nights worth.
Once I arrived home, I dashed inside and hung my keys up, looking around in hopes of seeing Chirps. But there was nothing but silence. No pitter-patter of her feet, no chirping, nothing.
“Chirps?” I called out, aimlessly looking around for that fluffball. “Chirps!”
I walked into the living room and to my horror, I found the cheating little shit in the arms of another. And it just had to be my best friend.
“Chirps!” I loudly gasped.
Both she and Oscar spun their heads to look at me, with Oscar holding her like a baby and scratching around her chin.
“How could you?!” I faked cried, holding my chest. “And with my best friend to boot!”
“She’s a cat,” Oscar said, looking like he was done with my shit.
“She’s a whore!” I sobbed into my hands.
“Uh-huh,” he just shook his head and then turned his attention back down to Chirps. He used his soft, baby voice and cooed at her. “You’re not a whore, you’re a good kitty! Yes you are, yes you are!”
She chirped back at him and purred loud enough for me to hear from where I was standing.
“Don’t speak to my daughter like that,” I frowned at him. “She isn’t yours to coo at!”
“She doesn’t seem to mind,” he smiled. “Guess I’m the favourite.”
“You come into MY house, pick up MY cat and take MY position?!” I crossed my arms. “Guess you are a front-stabbing traitor.”
“You’re an idiot, Oliver,” he rolled his eyes and then put Chirps down beside him, patting her some more.
“What are you even doing here?” I asked him, seriously this time.
“Yeah, weird thing,” he stood up to give me his attention. “I was hanging out with Jules, at Abby’s place.”
“Ah,” I nodded, watching him struggle to dust the cat fur off his uniform.
“Did you know he is living-”
“Next door?” I interjected. “Yes. Discovered that last night, you know, when I took him home.”
“That’s right,” Oscar remembered. “I feel like I missed out on a lot last night and this morning.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked, looking down at Chirps jumped off the couch and rubbed against his leg.
“Well, the whole next door neighbour situation, him being Abby’s cousin, you guys avoiding each other all day,” he listed. “Why is your life so crazy?”
“It gets crazier,” I said. “Cole texted me last night.”
Oscar stared at me, gapping a little. He then closed his eyes, rubbed his temples and sighed.
“Please tell me you did not reply to him,”
“I did not reply to him,”
“Good,” Oscar looked relieved. “That guy’s a real piece of work.”
I shrugged, wanting to change the topic.
“So what, do you need a ride home or something?”
“Oh no, Dad is on his way to pick me up,” he shook his head. “I came to give you something, I just didn’t realise you had work.”
“So you just hung around with Chirps?” I questioned. “Elliot’s not home?”
“No one was home,” Oscar replied, reaching down to pat Chirps as he picked up his bag. “Your door was unlocked though.”
“Shit,” I muttered, realising I forgot to lock up. “Well, as long as Chirps wasn’t catnapped, it’s fine.”
“I nearly catnapped her,” he dug around in his bag. “I was gonna chill in your room but I ended up at her mercy.”
“Yeah, she has that effect,” I replied, watching him struggle to find what he was after. “You got me a present?”
“Matter of fact, I did,” he finally found what he was after and whipped out a notebook. “Some notes from Mrs Kelmer’s class.”
“You are amazing,” I smiled at him.
“Yeah, I heard you zoned out during class and that she was not impressed,” he said, holding the notebook out to me.
“Who told you that-” I looked down at the book as I accepted it, reading the name, Jules Hayes. “No.”
I shoved him back the notebook, frowning disapprovingly at him.
“What do you mean ‘no’, you’ll need these notes,” Oscar pushed the book back towards me but I refused.
“Are you kidding me?” I shook my head. “I don’t want his goddamn notes.”
“He’s being nice to offer you his notes and you’re acting like a brat,” Oscar scowled.
“I don’t care,” I snapped. “He can either give me them to me himself or not bother at all.”
He let out a sigh, looking disappointed in me.
“Do you have any idea of what he said to me this morning?” I asked him, watching him lower his gaze.
“Yeah, he told me,” Oscar replied. “He also told me how badly he regrets what he said and that he didn’t mean it like that.”
I felt my heart drop.
“Wow,” I shook my head. “So you’re siding with homophobic trash.”
“Don’t even start, Oliver,” he rolled his eyes. “I don’t think he’s homophobic for thinking like that.”
“News flash,” I snapped. “Being afraid of your poor insecure heterosexual reputation when publically being around a gay guy is being homophobic!”
“You’re an idiot,” he scoffed. “I get it, okay, especially when you say it like that.”
“Yet you still side with this guy,”
“I’m siding with him because I can see how much he regrets saying it,” Oscar frowned. “Listen, Oliver, we’re kids, okay? We think and we say stupid shit, without realising the impact of it.”
“I don’t care if it was a mistake, he still said it!” I angrily said, furrowing my brows together as I glared at him.
“What if I said I thought it?!” Oscar snapped back.
I was stunned.
“Don’t get me wrong, when you came out to me, I was really happy that you were finally comfortable to share that,” he explained. “I was happy for you, it didn’t change how I felt about you and I didn’t even think for a second that it would change anything between us.”
“But I guess later on when you started coming out to more and more people,” Oscar let out a heavy breath. “I got anxious about what people might think about me, about us.”
“I never said anything or changed how I was with you,” he cut me off. “Because you were still my best friend. I wasn’t going to change that because of other people. But there was a moment where I was worried, not just about me, but about you too. I was scared of the harassment.”
I sharply inhaled, shocked by this sudden discovery. I never knew that Oscar thought those things. He’s always been a laid back, ‘doesn’t care what others think’ kind of guy.
“Don’t you dare start spiralling,” Oscar said. “Because it didn’t matter what impulsive thoughts I had, I knew better.”
“I just didn’t know you thought that,” I frowned.
“It wasn’t that big of a deal, Oliver,” he replied. “They were just thoughts that I dealt with.”
“Well, regardless of what you thought, or what anyone thinks,” I said. “Jules said it to my face, asking me what others would think of him if he hung around me. That shit stings, Oscar.”
“Not everyone gets it straight away, Ollie,” Oscar continued. “Jules realised right after what he said, that he is, and I quote, ‘a fucking idiot’.”
I rolled my eyes and shook my head. I was still annoyed. He might have realised what he said was wrong and that he is an idiot. But he wasn’t here, he wasn’t standing in front of me with an apology and explaining himself to me. He couldn’t even offer me his notes himself.
I let out a sigh.
“Take the notes back,” I ordered, as I got closer to Oscar and pushed the notes right against his chest. “And tell Jules to face me himself.”
Oscar nodded, accepting defeat and taking the notes back.
“Alright,” he replied, not upset but not happy either. “I’ll let him know.”
A familiar ringtone played and Oscar reacted by pulling his phone out.
“It’s Dad,” he said. “Guess I’ll talk to you later then?”
I followed him out of the house, staying at my door as he walked towards his dad’s gunmetal sedan, pulled up the curb. I waved them bye as they drove off and then went back inside, letting out the heaviest of sighs.
Chirps strolled up to me, chirping once as she rubbed against my legs.
“What’s done is done,” I frowned down at her. “You can’t do this and then expect me to forgive and love you all over again.”
She looked up at me, her wide eyes sparkling.
“Damn it, Chirps,” I picked her up, holding to me as I walked up to my room. She purred as she rubbed her head against mine and rested her two paws on my shoulder.
I finished my homework from the night before but I was clueless with my work from today, realising that I didn’t even know what homework to do for any of my classes. I dropped my pen, groaning as I leaned backwards in my chair, staring up at my ceiling.
I should’ve stayed in bed.
A knock caught my attention as I turned to see Dad walking in, wearing a serious yet pained expression.
“Hey,” I said, straightening up as he crossed his arms over his chest. “You okay?”
“Well, Oliver, no,” Dad shook his head. “Not really.”
From his firm tone, I could tell he was pissed.
“Did I do something wrong?” I asked.
“You had a nightmare about your mother and you didn’t tell me,” Dad frowned. “A nightmare so bad that you threw your guts up and refused to stay home.”
Oh great, now I’m pissed.
“What the hell happened to sibling confidence?” I grumbled.
Dad’s expression immediately softened, looking sad and somewhat disappointed.
“I’m your father, Oliver,” Dad said. “It hurts me that you didn’t come to me about this.”
“It’s not like I was avoiding telling you, I just didn’t think of telling you,” I frowned at him. “Elliot walked in on me throwing up, so I told him why I was feeling crappy.”
Dad shook his head, still looking shitty over it.
“You shouldn’t have worked,” he furrowed his brows together. “You shouldn’t have gone to school either. Elliot should’ve called me and then we should’ve taken you to go see your psychologist.”
I made a repulsed expression.
“No thanks,” I firmly replied. “I wouldn’t have gone.”
“You should still be seeing her, Oliver,”
“I’m the one that decides if I should still be seeing her or not,” I countered. “It was just a shitty dream!”
“She could give you more tools on helping you handling these type of things,” Dad argued. “Maybe talking to her would help you not have nightmares.”
“I don’t have nightmares all the time, Dad,” I angrily stated. “And I knew what to do, I needed to get out of the house and just focus on other things.”
“You’re just distracting yourself, Oliver,”
“Better than drinking myself blind while dwelling on Mum’s absence,” I snapped at him, catching him off guard.
He stared at me, shocked by what I just said. I could see how I hurt him but I just didn’t care.
“Just leave me alone,” I frowned at him. “Get out and leave me alone!”
He stood still for a moment and then clenched his jaw and shook his head. He did as told and left my room, slamming the door shut behind him.
I looked back down at my work but the anger was still stirring around inside me. I left my desk, standing up with my hands on my hips. I thought of what I said to Dad and then the realisation of my words hit me harder than I would like. I slammed my textbook shut and then threw it off my desk, breathing heavily.
“Fuckkkkkk,” I groaned, squatting as I held my head. “What the hell is the matter with you, Oliver?”
Suddenly, my phone buzzed. I stood up, glancing down at it on my desk, looking at the message pop up on my screen.
“For fuck sakes,” I said, shaking my head as I picked it up, opening up the message. “I thought I blocked you.”
It was another text from Cole.
- You awake? -
This is the part where I try to come up with a good excuse for what I’m about to do. Where I come up with a valid reason to make everyone understand me without judgement. But there is no good reason and no good excuse for why I did it.
There was nothing that would save me from Max’s wrath or Oscar's disappointment.
I texted him back.
‘Why do you care?’