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The Talon House

Staking My Claim


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Staking My Claim

by Nick

I guess the one part about being on Jarred’s arm for the summer while his boyfriend was away that I had to adapt to was his friends. Most of my friends weren’t even on the same scale as his when it came to social status, and I found myself intimidated at first, especially when Jarred dragged me along to meet his friends Kyle Kammersguard and Kyle Pelton, respectively. He told me before we got there that they just referred to the two of them as Kyle K and Kyle P to keep things simple, and that I should do the same. When we showed up, there was a pretty girl named Renee Tisdale that I recognized right off the bat from school, and I got nervous.

Both of the Kyle’s were totally hot. I knew they were best friends to each other, and that they were the best friends that Jarred and Phillip had, which made me even more nervous about being at Kyle Pelton’s house. I noticed that Renee gave me a sideways look as I walked in behind Jarred, who seemed completely at ease as he introduced me.

“Hey guys, this is Andrew,” he announced rather matter of factly as he took a seat on the large L shaped couch that everyone was relaxing on, leaving room for me to take the spot on the end.

“Andrew Stout, right?” Renee said with a disingenuous smile as she hooked her arm through Kyle P’s arm.

“Yes,” I said with a smile and a nod, feeling extremely self-conscious of myself.

“Want a beer, Andrew?” Kyle P asked in a casual tone as he acknowledged me with a smile.

“He’ll take one,” Jarred spoke up from beside me. “I’ll have one too.”

“Well we knew you’d have one Fedina,” he said in reply with a chuckle as he unhooked his arm from Renee’s and stood up and held his fist out. I balled mine up and brought it down on top of his, then waited for him to reciprocate. When he did, we both pulled back and lightly bumped knuckles before he turned and walked away. “I’ll be right back. Anyone else need another one?”

Kyle K brought his bottle up to his lips and tilted his head back; downing what was in it almost instantaneously. He held his empty bottle up and gave it a small shake from side to side, holding it with his fingertips as he did so and letting go with a loud belch.

I was having a hard time deciding to myself who was the cutest out of the two Kyle’s. Kyle P had an innocent looking baby face but he was tall. He seemed to embody the term skater with his hair, which consisted mainly of a buzz cut, except for the long strands of thin hair that fell from the front, which were obviously dyed blonde. He was shirtless, and his body was especially hot. He was thin but at the same time, he had a perfect build.

Kyle K was absolutely gorgeous. He was short, blonde and skinny. He couldn’t have weighed a hundred pounds, and his smile was mischievous. He was shirtless, too, and his smooth torso was like beta-carotene for my eyes. When he flashed his smile my way, I felt my knees get weak.

“Don’t you go to Princess Anne?” Renee asked, bringing me back to my senses and turning my attention from the two skater God’s I was admiring to her.

“Yep,” I said, smiling and making eye contact with her. “I’ve seen you around, too.”

“How do you and Jarred know each other?” she asked curiously.

“We go to the same church,” I said wisely, glancing at Jarred from the corner of my eye as I leaned over the armrest and gave Renee the full benefit of my attention.

“Oh great Fedina,” I heard Kyle P say as he walked back into the living room with five beers. He was smiling at me and gave me a wink as he handed us al our beers. “Leave it to you to find someone from church to corrupt. You know you’re going to hell, right?”

“s**t, I’ll be right behind you,” Jarred said with a grin, twisting the cap off of his beer and taking a long swig. I removed the cap from mine and took a small drink, taking in the taste of my first beer. As soon as it hit my tongue, I knew I hated it and wondered how I was going to make it to the bottom of the bottle. Still I smile as I held the bottle to my lips and drank, not wanting to let on that I wasn’t enjoying my beer and not wanting to embarrass Jarred. What happened next made me nervous, though.

Kyle P produced a marijuana cigarette from behind his ear and held it to his nose, seeming to enjoy the aroma it produced. In one simple motion, he twirled it in his fingers and before I knew it, he had it hanging out of his mouth and waited patiently for Renee to hand him a green lighter she had dug out of her purse. He lit the joint and took a couple of long hits from it before he offered it to Renee.

“Here, hit this, hon,” he said with a lungful of smoke, extending the smoldering joint he was holding between his thumb and forefinger. “It’s about to go out.”

Renee took it from him and hit it, instantly bringing the joint back to life. I watched as the end glowed furiously while she drew the smoke in. She pulled it away, let the smoke start to roll out of her mouth, then she brought it all back in. When she had pulled the first hit back into her lungs, she hit the joint again before passing it my way.

“No thanks,” I said, waving it off politely. “I don’t smoke.”

“Hit it dude,” Kyle P encouraged me with a warm smile. “You’ll love it.”

“Go ahead Andrew,” I heard Renee say as she exhaled with the joint still in her grasp. I looked over at Kyle K and Jarred, who seemed to be waiting for me to make a decision. I looked closely at Jarred and realized that his look was more hopeful than anything, and I didn’t want to let him down. I knew then that it was silly of me to feel that way, but without a word from him, I felt pressured. So I accepted the joint and did the one thing that I promised myself and my parent’s I would never do.

I wanted to impress everyone, so I took the longest hit I could muster, and my reward was a harsh coughing fit as the smoke rolled out of my nose and mouth at a rate that seemed much faster than I had taken it in. I felt Jarred patting my back, helping me get the smoke out and recover faster from my coughing fit.

While he was patting my back, I noticed that he was hitting the joint with relative ease. When I was finished coughing, I saw Kyle K pulling the joint away from his pouty, ruby red lips and pass it back to his best friend, who hit it again and passed it to Renee. When she offered it to me the second time, I took it from her confidently, determined not to cough my head off again.

I took a more conservative hit and passed it to Jarred as I carefully exhaled and looked around the room. I looked down at the floor and took note of the rug. It was a powder blue carpet and it looked a little worn. It was nothing like the brand new white carpeting my parent’s had installed earlier that summer in every room in our house except for the kitchen and bathrooms.

I let my gaze wander from the carpet to the walls, where I admired the various school pictures of Kyle that were hanging up from one end of the living room to the other. At the end of the couch that Renee and Kyle P were sitting on, I noticed a small stand and a picture of both Kyle’s. They looked like they might have been five or six, and they were both smiling widely with their arms draped over each others shoulders, a set of Big Wheels behind them.

I found myself deep in thought about the duration of their friendship, and how long they had known Jarred and Phillip. I already knew that Jarred wasn’t out, and by extension, neither was Phillip. I found myself pondering the meaning of life and what it was like to have a best friend. I wondered if Jarred had anyone in his life like that growing up, then I thought about my own friends and realized that I didn’t have a single friend that I was that close too.

“Oh he’s f***** up,” I heard Jarred say from right next to me, but it sounded like it was coming from a mile away. I blinked and looked over at him and immediately fell into a fit of giggles when I realized that everyone was laughing at me. Renee was laughing so hard that she had rolled over and almost came off the couch, and both Kyle’s were wiping tears from their eyes. Jarred was leaning back and trying to contain his laughter, but he was having a difficult time of it.

Normally I would have felt so self conscious that I would have looked for a way to remove myself from that situation. A room full of people laughing at me was normally something that would have had me red in the face. For some reason, though, I knew they weren’t ridiculing me. Instead, they were enjoying my high with me, and I was taking pleasure in that knowledge. We all seemed to be on the same wavelength, and for the next hour or so, I relaxed and involved myself in the conversation at hand, whatever it happened to be.

When Kyle K asked about Phillip it didn’t upset me at all, but I stayed quiet and soaked up all the knowledge I could about the mysterious Phillip Cassiante.

“It’s too bad Cassiante’s not here,” he said with a chuckle. “Why’d he take his crazy a** to band camp anyway?”

“Dude who knows,” Jarred said with a huge smile as he shook his head. “That dorky a** band he plays in is full of losers. I already told him that, but you know how he is.”

With that, both Kyle’s launched in to their own anecdotal tales about Phillip. Kyle K talked about how impatient Phillip was when he was teaching him how to roll a joint, while Kyle P was laughing about the time they had all gone to the Haagen Daz store and the girl at the counter was being rude, so Phillip wanted to fistfight her.

“He told that b**** that he was going to the manager,” he recalled with a hysterical laugh. “She told him that if he did anything to get her in trouble she was going to kick his a**, so he called her out.”

“Holy crap, what happened next?” I found myself asking, intrigued by the widened view I was getting of who Phillip Cassiante was.

“She looked at him like he had lost his mind,” Kyle K said in the midst of a laugh that was obviously hurting his side. “He was serious too.”

I found myself engrossed in laughter at the story, and as I watched Jarred, he seemed relaxed enough to laugh himself. I was a little jealous, too, but I was having such a good time that I decided not to let it ruin my high. For a moment, I looked around the room and realized that Jarred had brought me into his world, and that I was learning about more than just Phillip that day. I was learning more about who Jarred Fedina was, and it was a little overwhelming.

Maybe it was the fact that I was a year younger than everyone , or the fact that Renee was there. I knew that in the social scheme of things, I was nobody compared to her. I had my own circle of friends at school, but I wasn’t the type of person who walked the halls and knew everyone. I didn’t get invited on a weekly basis to every party and I wasn’t surrounded by a group of football players and cheerleaders.

Renee Tisdale, on the other hand, was all of the things I wasn’t. She had a circle of friends that walked past people like me in the halls and were offended by the wind we created as we passed by. She didn’t have a driver’s license, but she didn’t need one to get to school in a car. She had senior friends who drove her too and from school everyday and anywhere else she wanted to go in the meanwhile.

I realized that Jarred, Phillip and both Kyle’s were part of that same social structure, and I wondered privately to myself what Jarred was doing with me. Jarred had a circle of friends that wouldn’t give me the time of day if we were at the same school, yet there I was. I was sitting in the living room of Renee Tisdale’s boyfriend, sharing a joint, sharing a laugh and sharing a day. I couldn’t believe it.

When my high started to dissipate I found myself wanting to go home. It wasn’t that I was panicking about being around Jarred’s friends, or that I wasn’t enjoying myself. In fact, if anything, I was having more fun than ever before. I had finished my first beer, smoked my first joint and was interacting with someone from my school who I never thought I’d get the chance to meet.

Still, I was feeling insecure. I realized that in the grand scheme of things, I was nothing. Phillip had the social status that I hadn’t attained and judging from the stories I was hearing, he had earned it. I knew he was cute, and even if he was a little bitchy, he was still Jarred’s official boyfriend. I was Jarred’s dirty little secret.


“So did you have a good time?” Jarred asked as he wrapped his arms around me from behind as we laid curled up on my couch watching King Of The Hill. I silently nodded and got comfortable in his embrace as he lightly blew into my ear.

“Why do you like me Jarred?” I asked him without a second thought.

“What do you mean?” he replied, sounding concerned.

“I mean, what is it?” I asked. “I’m not as popular as your friends, and it sounds like you have a good time when you’re with Phillip. How come you hang out with me?”

“Because I like you Andrew,” he said sweetly, planting a tender kiss on my cheek. “I grew up around those guys, but you’re special to me. I can’t describe it, dude, but you mean a lot to me. I care about you so much.”

“Are there things you wish I would do to be more like Phillip?” I asked, feeling a little lump growing in my throat.

“No,” he said emphatically. “I want you to be who you are, Andrew. You’re who I like. You’re who I love to spend time with, and you’re the one who has a grip on my heart.”

“Do you mean that?” I asked softly, rolling over so that we were nose to nose. He smiled and nodded at me right before he pressed his lips to mine, assuaging my fears for the time being. We could have gone straight to my room from the couch, and I would have eagerly given myself to Jarred in anyway he wanted to take me. Instead, Jarred pulled his lips away and pulled me close to him for a hug, then he whispered into my ear and melted my heart.

“Let me hold you,” he said, urging me to roll over and wrapping me up in his arms before whispering in my ear again. “You mean so much to me, Andrew. There’s nothing in this world I feel like I wouldn’t do to make you happy, and I want to prove that to you. Let’s just stay here all day and cuddle.”

“You don’t want to go upstairs?” I asked, not wanting to hold out on him.

“I’d rather just stay here with you,” he said, resting his cheek on top of mine. “This feels right, Andrew, and even if we didn’t have sex anymore, this would feel right to me. I love you.”

“I love you too,” I answered him in a meek voice, a warm feeling washing over me and sweeping all of my fears and insecurities away.

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