FLANNAGAN’S FUNERAL HOME – SCRANTON, PA – OCTOBER 28, 2016
“I’m really sorry, Portia.” I tell my cousin as we take our seats in cheap fold-up chairs right in front of the casket. She doesn’t look at me. “It’s okay. Shit happens, right?” Portia responds.
“So, how’d you know Geoff?” I ask her, trying to make conversation. I can tell that she’s doing her best to hold back tears. “He was a friend. A very good friend.” She tells me. I give her a hug. “Well, if you ever want to talk about Geoff or anything else, you know I’ll always be here.” I tell her. She smiles the slightest bit. “Likewise.” She tells me.
I get up from my seat and walk around the room, trying to find something that interests me. I notice the picture board set up next to the casket. Only 29 years old, that’s unfortunate. He looks so oddly familiar to me, but I just can’t pinpoint what it is. Probably just a friend of Portia’s that I’ve seen in an Instagram post or something.
As I continue looking through the pictures, it begins to click with me. This is the man that Portia was with at that club a few weeks ago. The man she ran into the bathroom with. Her ‘client’, I assume. What the fuck? I didn’t think they were this close.
I walk back over to Portia for some brief questioning. “Hey, Portia. This was the guy that you met at ANNiKA a few weeks ago, right?” I ask her. She takes a break from crying and looks up at me. “Yeah, we’d hang out there a lot together.” She confirms to me.
“Okay, so like, was her one of your clients or something?” I ask. Portia shoots me a puzzled look. “What are you talking about, Pen?” I try to explain myself without offending her too much. “Like, when you went into the bathroom together. He was just one of your clients, right?” I ask.
Portia looks even more confused than previously. “I really don’t know what you’re talking about Pennie.” Her confusion begins to get me confused. “Like, at ANNiKA that night, we were on the dance floor, but then you told me to excuse you for a second, and I saw you go into the bathroom with Geoff.” I try to explain.
“Okay, yeah, but what do you mean my client?” She asks me. A thousand ways of putting this nicely are flying through my brain all at once. “Uh, y’know, like, you gave him what he wanted and then he gave you money.” I say. “What? Like a drug deal?” She asks, more frantically than before.
“I mean, in the same vein, but kinda a different exchange of goods.” I tell her. “An exchange of what goods?” She asks, catching on to what I’m insinuating. “Um, sex.” I tell her. Portia’s facial expression goes from sorrow to anger in less than a second. “Pennie, what the fuck?” She begins, with her tone getting louder with every word. “You think I’m a prostitute?” She yells. “I mean it went through my head because it’s the only thing that made sense to–” I try to tell her, but get interrupted.
“The only thing that made sense? Are you fucking kidding me?” She begins screaming, as the other mourners begin looking at us. “How about he was my friend and we went into the bathroom to talk without the blaring music! How about that Pennie!” She yells.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry Portia–” I try apologizing, to no avail. “Really Pennie? You’re sorry? Well too fucking bad! Ever since we were little you always looked down on me. You were Pennie the saint who did no wrong, while I was trashy Portia who always needed you to be my role model since I was just destined to end up a hooker!” She screams. “Well fucking guess what Saint Penelope, who’s the girl getting trashed every weekend, getting stoned everyday, and cutting class? Not, fucking, me.” She ends her rant.
“I’m–I’m, sor–sorry.” I try to get out, holding back tears. “Like shit you are. Get out of here, it’s just disrespectful.” She snarkily tells me. I leave the room with tears in my eyes, open the door, and go. Will I ever talk to Portia again? Who knows.
ROCKY POINT HIGH SCHOOL CAFETERIA – ROCKY POINT, PA – OCTOBER 28, 2016
“Fuck Stalin, marry Mussolini, kill Hitler.” Katy says, laughing. I laugh as well. “Coming from a Russian, a really didn’t expect to see you fucking Stalin.” I say, in hysterics. Katy rolls her eyes. “Bitch, you know I’m Ukrainian.” She tells me. “Well those’ll mean the same thing ten years’ time.” I say, poking fun at her. She reaches over the table and jokingly slaps me.
“Wow, that was aggressive.” I add. She rolls her eyes. “And well-deserved.” She tells me. Katy and I have third period lunch together, which is basically breakfast. Of course, no one we really know is in this period so we make the most of it.
I look over at another table and see Jake sitting, hanging out with some of his friends. They’re all attractive, popular, athletic, smart, everything. It’s sickening. Before I even realize that I’m staring at him, we make eye contact. He looks angry, vicious even.
It wasn’t long until some of the people he was sitting with realized I was looking at him, too. And eventually it was all of them. “They’re all looking at me.” I tell Katy, sighing. “Who cares? Fuck them. They’re just soon-to-be high school has-beens.” She says, reassuring me.
“Y’know what? I’m done. I’m gonna end this once and for all.” I tell her, getting up from my seat and walking over towards the group of them.
“Hey Jake.” I say, in a sarcastically cheery tone, flashing him a big smile. He looks uncomfortable. “Oh, um, hi, Nicky.” He says, as he and his friends exchange odd glances.
“Yeah, so Jake, I was just wondering how it felt when you fucked me? Like could you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10?” I ask him sarcastically. His friends seem puzzled. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“What you don’t remember? Good thing we took pictures.” I say, taking out my phone and showing the group of picture of Jake kissing me on the lips. “Jake what the fuck?” One of his friends asks.
Before I can be questioned, I walk away back to my table with Katy. From a distance, we observe Jake being interrogated by his friends, tears welling in his eyes, before he abruptly gets up and leaves the cafeteria. Mission accomplished.
KAI’S HOUSE – ROCKY POINT, PA – November 1, 2016
I sneak back into my house after a long night of partying, reeking of weed and booze. I check my phone after walking through the door. 1:17 AM, the morning of November 1st. I guess I’m not going to school today.
As I step into the living room, I notice my mom sitting on the couch, apparently waiting for me to get there. “Shit!” I yell, startled. My mom looks at me, unamused.
“Where have you been?” She asks me, not getting up from her seat. “Um, I was just out, back now though.” I tell her. She still looks unamused. “Do you realize what time it is? You have school tomorrow.” She tells me in a stern voice. I roll my eyes. “Yeah I know, but–” I begin to respond, before she cuts me off.
“Did you just roll your eyes at me, mister? Did you just roll your eyes at me?!” She interrogates me, stepping up from the couch and getting into my face. “No ma’am.” I respond.
“Good, that’s what I thought.” She says. “Now give me your phone, bad actions come with bad consequences.” She tells me, taking my phone from my hand. “Now, go to sleep, you have school in the morning.” She says.
I sigh, still coming down from my intoxicated stupor, and make my way into my bedroom. My mom is your cliché Asian tiger mom. She’s always down my throat about doing well in school and being a ‘model citizen’. It’s obnoxious. In my opinion, I think parents should give their children the freedom to express themselves. Mine doesn’t.
In my bedroom, I replay my mother’s words in my head. I can’t stand it. I don’t know how I’ve made it 17 years with this woman. She’s vile, malicious, and cruel. Why couldn’t I be raised by Pennie’s parents? Life would be so much easier.
Before I could calm myself down, I notice a picture of Caitlin on my bedside table, to make matters worse. Seeing the picture was like sticking a dagger into my heart. Caitlin and I haven’t spoken since that one day. I don’t know what was up with her, but she really seemed to want me. Now she doesn’t at all.
I need to get over her, but it’s hard. How can I get over the girl I’ve been in love with for so long?
Before I could think anything else, I notice a pristine razor sitting on my bathroom sink. I feel like shit inside. Complete and utter shit. I’m a terrible person who’s unwanted by everyone in my life. “Who would even care if I died?” I ask myself, before picking up the razor.
ROCKY POINT HIGH SCHOOL – ROCKY POINT, PA – November 4, 2016
“So does anyone else have any idea of what principal themes are present in Jane Eyre?” Mr. Novak asks the class. Immediately, Olivia’s hand shoots up.
“I think one of the most notable themes in the book is family, and the importance of it. Throughout the whole novel Jane is searching for love because she wants to be able to have a family, and to belong to something.” She says, as confident as ever. Mr. Novak nods his head. “Very well put, Olivia. The importance of family.” He says, as he begins writing it on the board.
“Anyone else have any other ideas?” He asks the class. No one. “How about you Gigi, have you noticed any other themes in the novel?” He asks me, waking me up from my five-second nap.
“Uhm-uhm, well, uhm, I’m not really sure.” I say, flustered. Olivia giggles a bit and pats me on the back. “You’re so funny!” She whispers to me, laughing. I roll my eyes to myself.
“Gigi, you seem like you’ve been a little distant these past few days, are you okay?” Mr. Novak asks me. I sigh. “Eh, I’m okay. Just stressed, and tired.” I respond. He nods his head to me. “Y’know what? Why don’t you stop by extra help today after school, we’ll try to get all caught up for Tuesday’s test.”
I nod my head in agreement, as he goes back to teaching. “Oh my god, are you gonna try to fuck him after school?” Olivia asks me, seemingly ecstatic. “What the hell? No, Olivia. I just need some help with this book, it’s really not my favorite at all.” I tell her.
Olivia rolls her eyes, not liking my response. “Well good thing you’re not, I don’t think he’s really interested in you.” She begins to tell me. “He’s giving me really strong vibes; don’t you think? I think he might be interested in me.” She says. I’m not entirely listening to her.
“Yeah, definitely Olivia, definitely.” I respond, just admiring Mr. Novak’s physique, his face, his ass, his everything.
ROCKY POINT HIGH SCHOOL – ROCKY POINT, PA – November 4, 2016
“Hey, Mr. Novak?” I say, as I walk into his classroom following the end of ninth period. “Hey Gigi, take a seat, we’ll get to work.” He responds, walking out of an adjoining office, ushering me in.
We each take a seat in two desks at the front of the room, as I take out my English binder and a copy of Jane Eyre. “So tell me, what exactly are you confused about with the book?” He asks, his deep brown eyes staring into my soul. My heart flutters a bit, as I try to get the words out.
“I don’t know specifics really. It’s just not that interesting of a novel to me, so I guess I’m just having trouble paying attention.” I tell him, trying to hide my obvious attraction to him. He smiles. “Well, is there any way that I could make my teaching a little more interesting to you?” He asks me sarcastically.
I laugh. “No it isn’t you! You’re an awesome teacher and this is an awesome class, it’s just…I don’t know.” I say. “You don’t know?” He tries confirming. “Yeah, I don’t kn…” I begin telling him, before I lose track of my senses and kiss him on the lips.
He pulls away, and for a second there’s silence. “Let me go lock the door.” He says, in a flirtatious tone.
When he gets back, he pulls me closer, passionately kissing my lips. He takes off his shirt and begins kissing my neck, before taking my shirt off too. He begins kissing me down my body before sliding my pants off.
I sit down on a desk as he begins going down on me, my wildest fantasies coming true. However, I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if Olivia made a move before I did.
KATY’S HOUSE – ROCKY POINT, PA – November 5, 2016
“I still can’t express how happy I am to finally meet you, Ryker.” My mother says as she pours him some borscht into his bowl. “I’m happy that I’m meeting Katy’s lovely parents as well.” He says, putting on his schmoozer voice.
“How much longer is this gonna be?” My father asks in Russian, so Ryker doesn’t understand. “Stop it!” I snap back to him, in Russian. Ryker leans over to me. “Um, what’s going on?” He asks.
I shrug it off. “Oh, nothing, don’t worry.” I tell him, although I can tell that he’s still suspicious of the situation.
“So, Ryker, Katya tells us that you have a band. What’s that like?” My mother asks him. “Oh it’s just amazing. Music is my life, and it’s great having a place to express myself.” He responds.
“So, you want to be a musician?” My father asks. “Well, ideally.” Ryker tells him. My father semi-rolls his eyes. “And how is he supposed to support my daughter on a salary like that?” He says in Russian. I can tell that my mother is beginning to get angry.
“Mikhail, let’s stick to English, shall we?” She tells him. He rolls his eyes once again and grunts. “What’s your family like Ryker?” My mom asks, trying to make conversation through the awkward silences.
“Well, it’s just me and my mom. She’s like my best friend. I’d do anything for her.” He says. My mom gushes. “Well isn’t that sweet. Me and Katya are like best friends too, I’d say.” She says as I roll my eyes.
“His mother was probably a hooker.” My father says in Russian. “Mikhail, I have told you time and time again, stop it!” My mother yells back in Russian. “Is everything okay?” Ryker asks, obviously nervous about what’s being said.
“Yes sweetheart, don’t worry about him.” My mother assures Ryker. My father groans. “He should.” He states. “Mr. Levenchuk, no offense, but what the fuck is your problem?” Ryker says, as anger gets the best of him.
“What’d you just say to me?” My dad asks, getting up from his seat. “I think you heard me, sir.” Ryker says, rising as well. “Is this kid fucking kidding me?” My dad asks my mother, in Russian.
I get up as well and grab on to Ryker. “Okay, everyone, let’s just calm down.” I say, trying to mediate the situation. “Katya, we’ll talk about this boy later,” my dad begins, “you, get out.” He says, pointing at Ryker.
“Talk to her later so you can beat her?” Ryker states, not backing down. I grab him tighter. “Ryker, don’t do this, he isn’t worth it.” I say, trying to calm him down. My mom grabs on to my dad.
“Katya, maybe spend the night at Ryker’s tonight.” She tells me. “I can’t just leave you–”, I try to say back to her, but she interrupts me. “I can handle myself. Good night honey.” She tells me, as Ryker and I head out.
RYKER’S HOUSE – ROCKY POINT, PA – November 5, 2016
“So it was nice meeting your parents.” I tell Katy as we lay down on my bed. Katy sighs. “Well it would’ve been nicer if you and my father didn’t have to go off on each other.” She says to me.
“Hey,” I begin. “I wouldn’t’ve said anything if he didn’t start acting like an asshole.” I tell her. She rolls her eyes. “Yeah, I get it. He’s a shithead. I just can’t stop thinking about my mom.” She tells me.
I put my arm around her as we sit up next to each other. “She can handle herself, Katy. Trust me, she’ll be fine.” I assure her. Katy shakes her head. “You don’t know that. My dad’s…my dad’s crazy. Things have been getting worse and worse everyday, I don’t know how bad he’ll get, but I don’t want to just sit around and find out.”
I give her a kiss on the cheek. “Well then let’s talk about more positive things.” I say. “Gigi told you about her little escapade, right?” I ask her. She looks puzzled. “What? No. What happened?” She asks.
“She fucked Mr. Novak.” I tell her. Katy’s jaw drops. “Seriously? How did she not tell me?! I’m texting her about this right now!” She says. I laugh. “Yeah, it seemed like something out of a porno. He invites her to extra help, they lock the door, and then they go in for it.” I say, both of us laughing.
“Well it seems like it’s been a good week for most of us.” Katy begins. “Not Jake.” I add, giggling under my breath. Katy laughs as well. “The fucker deserved that. No one messes with our Nicky, the sweetest guy on Earth.” She says.
“Pennie told me her and Portia got into a massive fight. Apparently Portia isn’t a prostitute after all, and they went at it at a funeral.” Katy tells me. “Ouch.” I say. “At a funeral? How humiliating.” I say, laughing.
“How’s Kai doing?” I ask Katy. She shrugs. “I dunno. He never really talks about himself.” She answers. I sigh. “Didn’t hear any updates about Caitlin?” I ask her. “Nope. But I mean, it took as how long to find out there was even a thing between them in the first place?” She says. “True.” I add.
“So, wanna fuck?” I ask Katy, straight to the point. Katy laughs. “Wow, that was smooth.” She adds in. I roll my eyes. “Well, a guy’s gotta try somehow.” I say.
“Good, ‘cause I’m gonna make you scream.” Katy says, as she moves her hand down towards my crotch. I scream, as a joke, but my voice gives out halfway through. “Shit. Damn. Ouch!” I yell.Katy moves her hand up instantly. “What happened? Did I hurt you?” She inquires. “No, no. You were great.” I tell her. “I don’t know man; my throat’s really been bothering me recently. It’s probably nothing though, you can keep going.” I say flirtatiously, as Katy continues doing her thing.