Disclaimers: Nope, sorry, can't say there are any. All of the characters are mine. I take full responsibility for all of their actions. Hmm ... On second thought ... I've never seen them before in my life. They just followed me home one day ... really ...
Violence/Sex: No violence, I don't think. I guess that would depend on what you mean by "violence" ... I don't think there is any. You can decide for yourself. And sex? Umm ... I'll go on the safe side and say there will be. But don't go suing me for false advertisement if you can't find any. It really depends on what you mean by sex. As there are people in some cultures that show their affection by licking each other's eyeballs, it is possible that my definition of sex may be different than yours. Mine may involve cows in ballet slippers for instance ... wait, that doesn't sound right ...
Warning: This story involves an in-the closet actress, online relationships, Puerto Ricans, the Spanish language, Starbucks coffee, angels, boyfriends, sexual relationships between women .. and a ton of other random things that poured forth from my artistic loins. If none of the above things interest you, then you may not want to partake in this little tour of my demented psyche.
Dedication: to you and you and you you and you .. to people living with living with ... ::notices there are people watching:: Ahem. Sorry. Too much "RENT" for me. Strike that. There can never be too much RENT. Unless it's the kind you have to pay. But my point.. and I do have one .. is that this story is dedicated to you. Thank you for taking the time to delve into my madness. What a brave soul you are .. muahahaha <coughcough>
Special Thanks: To Amber, Cindy, Camilla, Christy, Amy, and Robin. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don't know what I'd do without you guys.
Write me: Cause I'd love to know what you think. I may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
"What do you think?" Nathan asked excitedly. His short brown hair was spiked up with enough hair spray and mousse to make the ozone layer cringe. His green eyes were focused on the stereo system of his new Mustang.
Kris stared at the piece of equipment, wondering what the big deal was. It played music just like his old one did. "It's nice," she said, forcing some enthusiasm into the words.
"Nice?" Nathan questioned, glancing at his girlfriend. "What are you talking about, nice? Can you hear the bass on this baby? It's sweet!" He turned up the music, and tapped his fingers on the steering wheel along with the tune.
Kris sank down into the passenger seat, turning her attention to the view outside the window. They were headed up to see her parents. In New York City traffic it was going to take a year to get there, but Nathan had insisted on taking the car. He was anxious to show it off to Carlos and Dimitri.
Nathan had cancelled their date for Monday. Something last minute had come up and he'd been unable to meet her after class. Kris had been secretly relieved. After spending all of Sunday night working on the Shakespeare essay she'd been beyond exhausted. She'd gone directly home to take a nap.
She was not looking forward to this dinner at her parents'. Inevitably, the subject of William would be either purposely avoided or blown out of proportion. Kris suddenly felt guilty. It had been nearly a week since the incident, and she still hadn't called William. She wasn't entirely sure why. Kris was certainly not homophobic. And the fact that William was gay didn't really bother her.
So why was she avoiding him?
Unable to come up with an answer, Kris decided to think about something else. Her art, for instance. She was in the process of creating a collage of pictures she'd taken. It was her tribute to New York and contained pictures of the City in all of its glory. From the beauty to the sadness. It was all there. Her entire range of existence, cut up and blended into a whole.
Her thoughts drifted suddenly to the person who'd emailed her, and wondered if they'd written her back. She made a mental note to check her e-mail once she got home.
Nathan suddenly turned off the stereo. "I'm sorry about Monday," he said. "What did you want to talk to me about?"
Kris hesitated. "It was nothing," she lied.
"You sure?" Nathan asked.
"Positive," Kris replied, smiling at him. "So how's school going?"
Nathan grinned. "It's going well," he replied. "I'm happy to be graduating. High school drags on forever, don't you think?"
"I don't remember back that far," Kris teased.
"Oh shut up," Nathan said with a laugh. "You're not that much older than me. But anyway, things are winding down. Senior activities are coming up. Speaking of which, start thinking about a prom dress."
Kris wasn't sure she felt like going through the whole prom ordeal again. She'd hated her own. But she owed it to Nathan to go with him. "I'll tell mom tonight," she replied. "I'm sure she'll want to go shopping with me."
Nathan nodded in approval, turning the music back on.
Kris focused on the world outside her window, and returned to the land of her thoughts.
* * *
Dinner started out as a pleasant and relatively peaceful affair, though Kris could feel the underlying tension between each member of her family. So far, no one had mentioned William and Kris was secretly grateful.
She dumped some rice on her plate, and passed the bowl along.
Sari eyed her daughter quietly for a moment. "Kristina," she started, "you're only going to eat white rice? I made all of this other food." She gestured to the remaining plates of food on the center of the table.
"I know," Kris replied. "But they've got meat. And I've told you I don't eat meat anymore."
"You can't not eat meat," her mother insisted. "You're going to get unhealthy. A person needs to eat meat." She turned to her husband. "Carlos, talk some sense into her."
"Your mother's right, Kris," Carlos agreed. "Even if you just eat a little bit. You have to eat some."
Kris rolled her eyes, taking a bite of her rice. She wasn't going to budge on this topic.
Giving up, Sari turned to her daughter's boyfriend. "So, Nathan," she said, passing him a bowl of chicken and rice, "how does it feel getting into Harvard?"
Nathan smiled. "I'm very excited," he responded, helping himself. "My parents are proud too. I got a good scholarship so Dad's glad he won't have to shed the big bucks."
"I bet it's going to be hard for the two of you," Sari replied, glancing between Nathan and Kris. "Being apart all of that time after growing up together."
Nathan nodded. "We'll manage it somehow, though." He winked at Kris. "Who knows, maybe if Kris does well in school, she can transfer."
Kris glanced sharply at her boyfriend. Transfer?
Carlos spoke up. "Maybe you can convince her to study something worthwhile," he said. "Get her head down from the clouds."
"Well, with all due respect, sir, I support Kris' decision to be an artist," Nathan said, much to Kris's surprise. "After I graduate, I'll be making enough money so that she won't have to worry about working. She can stay home and do her little paintings and take care of our kids." He smiled brightly at Kris as though it was the most stupendous idea.
Kris was suddenly depressed. She didn't want to stay home and do "little paintings" while taking care of children. She wasn't even sure she wanted kids. She was too young for kids. She was too young for marriage. And she was way too young to be discussing such matters with her delusional boyfriend and her deranged family. Or rather, sitting by quietly while the rest of them discussed her future with each other.
Carlos waved his fork at the two of them. "Have you two discussed marriage yet?"
Kris opened her mouth to answer, but Nathan cut her off.
"Not yet," he said. "But it's certainly an issue to consider before my departure. I want to make sure I leave everything settled."
Carlos nodded and returned to his food.
"So where's Will?" Nathan asked casually, stuffing his mouth with Mrs. Serrano's famous arroz con pollo. "I wanted to show him the new goodies on the car."
Looks were exchanged between the family. Kris just sank down further in the chair, sending a silent prayer to God to keep the family under control.
Carlos cleared his throat, his gaze focused on the food he was eating. "We are not speaking about him today."
Nathan glanced up, his fork hovering mid-way to his mouth. He sent a questioning glance to Kris, who shrugged.
Dimitri snorted. "Turns out he's a fag."
"Dimitri!" his mother yelled.
"Well it's true," Dimitri argued, glancing at Nathan. "The great and wonderful William is a friend of Dorothy's."
"Enough!" Carlos roared, slamming his hand on the table. The silverware on the table clanked together, making Kris jump at the sudden noise. "This is not a subject to be discussed at the dinner table."
Everyone returned quietly to their meal.
Kris was fuming. What was there to discuss? William's gay. The end. What else could there possibly be left to say that didn't involve William's presences. Angrily, she speared a piece of chicken.
She wasn't even angry at her family. She was angry at herself and her inability to stand up for herself. Why couldn't she tell them what she was thinking? Why did she have to be such a coward?
* * *
"Why didn't you tell me?" Nathan yelled, slamming his hands on the steering wheel. "I wouldn't have made such a fool of myself by bringing up the subject."
"I'm sorry," Kris replied, gazing out the window.
Nathan shook his head angrily. "You made me look like an idiot tonight, Kris," he complained. "Carlos must've been so pissed at me for bringing up the subject."
"This may come as a shock, but the world does not revolve around you," she snapped.
Nathan glared at her. "What?"
"What do you mean, what?" Kris asked, her anger from earlier surging. "What was all that talk about marriage and kids? We've never discussed that. And I'm not transferring to Harvard."
"You could get in," Nathan said with a shrug. "Affirmative action and all that."
"What?!" Kris yelled. She wished they weren't currently in a car.
Nathan sighed, glancing at Kris. "I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't mean that."
"You didn't mean it, or you didn't mean to say it out loud?" Kris asked.
"I didn't mean it," Nathan stated. "You know how I feel about you and your family."
"Pull over," Kris demanded.
Nathan looked at her. "What?"
"Pull the fuck over, Nathan, I'm not kidding."
"Kris, calm down, okay?" he pleaded. "I said I was sorry."
"If you don't stop this car right now, I'm going to jump out. And if I get run over and live to tell about it, I will tell Carlos that you refused to stop."
Nathan pulled over. "Let's talk about this," he said.
But Kris was already out the door. She slammed it closed and ran down the sidewalk toward the nearest subway station, disappearing from view.