Welcome to Shady Side pt 4 - Pre-Mission Briefing
Posted on Mon May 11th, 2015 @ 11:45am by Unawakened Melissa Wilson
Location: Melissa's house, Shady Side
The morning light fell softly in to Lisa Wilson’s bedroom. The room was messy, in the way that college girls’ rooms often were. One figure lay upon the bed, sprawled out in an undignified position and snoring away loudly.
Beneath her, in a sleeping bag, Melissa lay awake. Lisa hadn’t let her sleep much, but it had given Melissa time to think. Hours of it, in fact.
She still felt badly about what had happened with Jeff. She hadn’t been completely fair with him, though how he had acted afterwards had been pretty terrible. The lies he made up... everyone at school thought she was a whore, willing to sleep with any random man just because they asked! At least, that was how it was presented. She had been propositioned for sex by boys no less than 38 times in the past week, all young men who, until now, had absolutely no idea who she was. She didn’t know who half of THEM were!
And then there was Tim. Ankhramesses. Melissa sighed. Memories of that afternoon on the beach warmed her heart - the necklace charms, the picnic, the words he said... the feel of his lips, his hand ... even the memories of it made her heart leap, her soul tingle with delight. Incredible as it all was, Tina’s words were in her mind, too. She could love Tim, but she’d never have a life with him. Adventures. Normalcy. All of that was beyond the realm of possibility for a man who was stuck to a machine for portions of the day.
Still, the dream was fantastic. Just like Aunt Tina’s dream of her Greek god. Would the dream of Tim be enough to sustain her?
Never know until you try. She thought to herself.
She’d have to make time to sneak in to her room at some point today and let Tim know that she wouldn’t be around for a week. That was going to suck. Her last week of school, last week of exams, and she wouldn’t even be able to come home to unwind with Ankhramesses and Worlds of Myth. It was hardly fair. Why Deo couldn’t sleep in Kyle’s room with him, she had no idea! Kyle certainly seemed to like their older cousin, given how much time they were spending together.
Melissa sighed. She could hardly expect anything else. Kyle was the boy... Kyle was the baby... Kyle always got what he wanted. No one was going to kick Kyle out of his room. And Lisa, well, Lisa would have thrown a massive fit.
There were times she hated her life.
Meanwhile, Deo had long dressed and already sketched out his character art for Neferu. There was a benefit to being used to waking at 4:30 in the morning. Still, he did not sleep well after his long chat with Ankhramesses or rather, the romeo behind the character. Certain doom awaited him once Melissa found out that he got on her computer, read her most private thoughts, and talked with her prince charming. As far as crimes of adolescence went Deo racked up a pretty impressive rap sheet. Visions of shrieking drama and cutting trips short filled his mind until at last he had to shove them down a mental trash chute. He was not going to fret over this. He wasn’t.
He waited until light cracked in his window. If Cousin Talassa was anything like Mama then the whole family would all be up with the cock’s crow ready to start the day. He had only a limited window of opportunity if he was going to get to Melissa before anything looked suspicious.
He slipped out of his room or rather, Melissa’s and quietly crept down to Lisa’s. He could not afford to knock so he hoped Melissa was decent. At the last second he chose to scratch the door lightly with a nail. Next, he turned the door knob slowly, giving her plenty of opportunity to cover up if she needed.
He stuck his head inside the room and held up a shushing finger. He then held up his smartphone. He had opened his note pad application and wrote out in large print font:
Melissa, be ready to volunteer to stay home with me today if you want to see Ankhramesses. I’ll explain later.
By the faint light and the light of the screen, he could see Melissa’s eyes widen in shock. Her jaw fell open. “How ... what ... how...?” She stammered, sitting, bolt upright on her sleeping bag. Her face was the very mask of terror.
The Greek boy frowned at her reaction and quickly typed out a new note:
Nothing bad, look forward to a fun visit. Can’t stay. Listen for your cue.
At that he backed out and carefully closed the door. So far, so good. How did the saying go? “Dazzle them with brilliance and baffle them with bullshit”? The things he thought about. It was too early. He needed coffee. He crept back to his room and prepared to wait for the bellow of breakfast.
“Like hell.” Melissa mumbled under her breath as Deo closed Lisa’s bedroom door behind him. She scrambled out of bed, her dark eyes flashing as she silently slipped through Lisa’s door and made for her own room.
“Okay ... how do you know about Ankhramesses?” Melissa said with a measure of quiet rage, catching Deo by surprise as she closed her bedroom door behind them. “No one in this family knows about Ankhramesses, except Aunt Tina, and she wouldn’t tell. How do you?”
“What are you doing?” Deo hissed under his breath. “You can’t be in here, it’ll look suspicious!”
“You know what else looks suspicious?” Melissa’s eyes narrowed. “You knowing about Ankhramesses.”
“I can explain all of that later when the coast is clear,” He waved her out with a clear look of “oomray etgay outay”!
“No, you can explain now.” Melissa said firmly, crossing her arms. “It isn’t even 7 yet. My dad gets up at 7:30 like clockwork. Mom sleeps until the scent of coffee wakes her up. Lisa will need an earthquake to wake her up, and Kyle isn’t much better. We’re in my room, and I am NOT leaving until you tell me how you know his name!”
Intentional or not, Melissa’s voice rose as she spoke, until she was nearly shouting the last words. There was fear mixed with the anger in Melissa’s eyes, plus a wholeheartedly Greek determination that Deo knew all too well.
“Keep your voice down!” He snapped urgently. He palmed his face in frustration and sat down on the bed. “I am so revoking your Puberty Card. Fine, you know what; if you blow this you have only yourself to blame.” He pointed at her computer. “Someone whose name starts with ‘M’ and ends with ‘elissa’ left her computer on and logged in to her game. Guess who drove me nuts pinging Neferu all night?”
Melissa’s face grew very pale, her eyes wide. “You ... y-you talked to him?”
“Yep, and he seems like a nice kid. A bit on the melodramatic side but everybody has a hobby. His parents are leaving at 10:00 and will be back at noon. I said I would play sick and drive you over to visit but only on two conditions,” he held up a pointed finger. “First, you had to be comfortable and willing to go. For all I knew he was a creepy stalker. I’ve had too many of those lately. Not going there again.”
If it was possible, Melissa’s eyes widened even more, fear trumping the anger. “T-to ... to his house?” She shook her head, backing up a step. “No. N-no ... I ... I can’t.”
“Why not,” Deo grew suspicious. “Is he stalking you?”
Melissa shook her head. “It’s ... it’s complicated.”
“He told me all about his health issues, the dialysis,” Deo offered. “I can imagine it might be scary but he really misses you. If you don’t want to see him at least let him know so he can move on.”
“I….” Melissa began, though she didn’t manage to finish that statement. “It isn’t that. I just ... I don’t want….” She sighed. “He got hurt. Because of me.”
“He doesn’t seem to care,” Deo shrugged. “Look, he said you had trouble finding time to meet and his parents watched him like hawks. If you really like him then you need to make a decision. I’m willing to take you but I can’t do anything about the time.” He shrugged helplessly. “You want to go to church?”
“No….” She said uneasily. “What did he say?”
“I shut down the computer,” he sighed with resignation. “Why don’t you just go and let him tell you? If it was bad do you think I would go out on a limb like this?”
Melissa’s eyes narrowed as she moved over to her computer and turned it on.
“Wait, what are you doing? I’m supposed to be sick and you’re supposed to be sleeping.”
“Chat logs. They were part of the Persian expansion from a few months ago.” Melissa explained as her computer booted and she went digging for the logs.
“Persian expansion, great….” he palmed his face and waited for the hammer to fall
As Melissa started to read her face grew very, very pale.
Deo felt his heart sinking with each passing second. A little voice inside him said to let it go; that melodrama was in the teenager handbook. Another, kinder voice responded, What if this was Bobbie?
She turned toward Deo slowly, her dark eyes a mix of anger, fear, terror and rage. She said nothing, her dark glare choosing her words for her.
“I violated your privacy.” Deo cast his gaze down contritely. “I butted into your personal business and only on the first day we met. I’m sorry, Melissa.”
“Don’t... touch... my computer... again.” She said quietly, her voice shaking as a single tear rolled down her cheek. “EVER.”
“I won’t,” he nodded solemnly.
“You won’t tell, will you?” Another tear rolled down, fear taking over as her voice grew even quieter. “About... about Tim and Jeff? No one knows. Please don’t tell my mother. She’ll think I’m...” Her voice trailed off, but the thought was easy enough to complete.
So, Ankh’s real name was Tim? Best that Deo omitted how he did not know while Melissa was upset. Instead, he said, “I told Tim I wouldn’t and that goes the same for you. I only meddled as much as I did because it seemed like Tim needed someone to talk to. Do you have anyone? It can’t be easy going through this alone.”
Melissa hesitated for a moment, looking uneasy. Eventually, she shook her head. “Aunt... Aunt Tina knows. Kyle, a tiny bit, but not really. Aunt Tina, she... she said Tim wasn’t...” Melissa paused again, looking for the right word. “...the best choice.”
“I can’t know what she meant by that. I can only guess she meant the health issues and the dialysis. That kind of relationship is a big challenge, Melissa. I’m not saying ‘don’t’ but I am saying it’s rough. You’re still young and something like that might be too much just starting out. Then,” he shrugged, smiling, “We don’t pick who we love. Only you can know what is right for you. Just be careful.”
“That’s what Aunt Tina said.” Melissa said quietly. “But, she admitted she wouldn’t have been careful, if... well, it was her.” The younger cousin sighed, moving over to her bed and slouching down. She stared at her hands. “I... I thought Jeff... I didn’t know who Ankhramesses was then. He didn’t tell me who he was, just, he was in math class. But, he wasn’t, exactly. In class. So, I thought Jeff was. And then...” Melissa sighed and shook her head. “I screwed up everything.”
“Hey,” The Greek boy leaned close with a comforting little touch of shoulders. “Everybody screws up and I mean everybody. I’ve made some huge mistakes. I made one last night, for example. What matters is what you do about it. Like just now, I chose to own up to my mistake and apologize. I acted like a shitty cousin. I didn’t like that. I wanted to make things better.”
Melissa thought about that for a moment before nodding. “I didn’t want to hurt him. Either of them.”
“Sometimes it happens no matter what we do. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just saw this kid who looked like he needed a friend and took a chance. Stupid, yeah … hurtful to you, yeah … but maybe Tim got something out of it. I hope so. Anyway, I want to make up for what I did. I want to take you over to see him. I’m the … ‘ugh’ … ‘adult’ present and that means I have to be ‘responsible’ and crap. I have to be there but I’ll give you privacy to talk. Still want to go?”
If possible, Melissa looked even more awkward and uncomfortable.
“I...” She began. “I don’t know.”
“I’m here if you want to talk about it.” He offered.
Melissa sighed. “Maybe I should... apologize to Jeff. He... he liked me. He was... normal, I guess. Maybe Aunt Tina is right, maybe that’s a good thing. I like Tim, but...” She shook her head. “It was my fault he got hurt. I don’t want to...” She sighed once more and went silent.
“Wait, your fault Tim got hurt?” Deo arched an incredulous eyebrow.
“Jeff wouldn’t have come if...” Her voice trailed off again. “I didn’t tell him, but, he followed me, I think.”
“Did you grab Jeff by the balls and drag him to that beach?” Dev asked, pointedly.
Melissa blushed at the mention of Jeff’s balls. “Um... no...”
“Did you take him by the hand and force him to hit Tim?”
“Not... literally... but he wouldn’t have hurt him if Jeff wasn’t dating me. I... I shouldn’t have... I shouldn’t have gone there... or dressed up in Lisa’s clothes... or k-kissed Tim.” If there was an intensity rating to a person’s ability to look guilty, Melissa was pushing a ten. “I... I shouldn’t have gone.”
“You know that now but what about at the time?” Deo searched her eyes.
After a long moment, she nodded sadly.
“Did you know Jeff would do that to Tim?”
She shook her head, looking miserable. “I... I didn’t... really... know what Tim had in mind. I thought, maybe, when he said on the beach, it’d be... special... after the necklace and all, but... he just said, he wanted to meet me for the first time. I... said to Jeff I was busy, but, I didn’t say why. I snuck out of school early. I guess Jeff saw me leave.” She sighed sadly. “I shouldn’t have lied. I know lies are bad. They always hurt someone in the end.”
“Yeah but it was an opportunity to meet Tim and you jumped at it without thinking things through. Like it is a crime to get all worked up and excited about something. You know what?” He grinned cutely. “I did the same thing and just like you I got busted.”
She looked up for the first time, blinking in surprise. “What did you do?”
“Heh,” his cheeks flushed rosy red as he thought back. “Well, back when I was a junior in highschool I tried to do what all the popular kids were talking about. Cool seniors snuck into clubs using fake ID’s. I wanted to go to a gay club so bad! Oh, my, god, Melissa, Newport News isn’t much different from what I’ve seen here. I was dying! Anyway,” He picked up, “Some of the girls at school liked me but otherwise I was about as popular as herpes. I asked around, quietly about getting a fake ID and I tried to sneak into the ‘Rainbow Cactus’ during gay pride. I had it all worked out. Big crowd, not paying that much attention to cards at the door. Yeah, the guy pegged me on the spot and called Mom. She had to drive down to Norfolk to pick me up. Did I mention there were guys in line wearing G-strings when she showed up? She grounded me for life or until I went to college. Then she said, ‘I don’t want any phone calls’.”
Despite her shame, Melissa couldn’t help but giggle, covering her mouth demurely as she did so.
“Yeah, well, it might be funny now but at the time I thought my life was over. I thought I was going to prison and worse, word got around school and kids started calling me ‘jailbait’ and ‘convict’. There were court appearances and I had to face a judge.” He shook his head, “yeah, not fun.”
“Court?” Melissa’s eyes widened.
“Oh yeah, fake ID is a serious crime if you’re caught. I didn’t think about it at the time. I only knew ‘everybody’ at school had one and they were going to clubs. I wanted to go too and well, I didn’t know any gay kids. I had this dream of meeting a guy at the club and finally dating. I didn’t know that wasn’t how life worked. I was really lonely.”
Melissa gave an understanding nod.
“So, you see, you’re not alone. Live and learn; move on with life. It’s all you can do. It looks to me like you’ve done the hard work. You know what not to do next time. Now to salvage something good from the disaster.”
“Knowledge, knowing what not to do next time is good.” Melissa admitted. “But... I still don’t really know what to do now. I’m... kind of scared to talk to Tim in person. Especially... well...” She gestured to her computer and the message logs still up on her screen.
“I get that,” Deo combed his fingers back through his hair, thinking. “Something I learned a long time ago … something that helps me might work here. Melissa, you have time. Nobody is forcing you into anything. If you’re not sure how you feel be honest. If Tim cares, if he really loves you then he will back off and give you all the time you need. If not then you know he’s just crushing on you. You’ll have your answer and know what to do.” He offered a confiding little smile. “Would it help if I told you that I had my own situation?”
She tilted her head quizzically.
The college boy took a deep breath. “I’ve never had any luck with boys. I see a good-looking guy and freeze. My brain oozes out my ears and my first, middle, and last name becomes ‘stupid’.” He offered an awkward smile. “Out of the blue, on Valentines Day my friend shoves me at one of our coworkers, Bobbie. To give you an idea about what I was dealing with I was the embodiment of ‘dork-itude’. I know it, I own it, I work it. Bobbie could have been a supermodel. What could a guy like that possibly see in a guy like me? Surprise, we went on a date and, well, he’s been sleeping in my bed ever since.”
Melissa’s eyes widened. “I’m... I wasn’t... I don’t want to... well... that...” She stammered. “I mean, n-not... not now... w-we just met...”
“See, that’s what I’m dealing with,” Dea pointed out. “I’m not ready for … that … either. We haven’t done anything. See, I can’t stand having a man touch me but … I want Bobbie. I trust him. He has been helping me. He’s so patient and understanding. I pinch myself wondering if it is just a dream. Thing is, we’ve been sharing the same bed for months.” He shrugged helplessly. “We decided to be boyfriends but are we dating? It’s all so weird and I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t know how I feel but I don’t want it to end.” He looked at Melissa, “Any of this seem familiar?”
She paused for a moment, before shaking her head apologetically. “Not... not really. The feeling part, I guess. Not knowing. I didn’t know how I felt with Jeff, and am not really sure with Ankhr... Tim, either. But... but I’m glad you have someone.”
“Well, at least you know that you’re not alone in the ‘complicated love life’ department.” He grinned.
She smiled shyly. “Does it... get easier? Better?”
“I can’t say it gets ‘easier’ but everything gets better after high school. You get your own life; your own place and nobody is breathing down your neck. You make your own decisions and you’re responsible for your own success, your own mistakes. It comes with extra headaches but that’s a conversation for when you’re ready to move out.”
“Another year.” Melissa said simply. “Guess there’s time to get ready.”
“You have time, remember that.” He rested his elbows on his knees.
“Thanks.” She gave another small smile.