Back-burner Books

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Forever & Always (YA)

Chapter One

  Noah slowly pulled himself out of the dreaming zone and hit the switch to turn off his alarm… damn he hated mornings.  Especially when he knew that he’d be starting at a new school.  He could already hear his brother, Seth up and about. Seth was his exact opposite.  Seth loved mornings, and he loved school, but then again Seth was a total nerd.  Seth was just a third of the triplets they made up. His sister, Em, was just like Noah.

  Noah chuckled when he heard Emily bitching at Seth, and telling him to fuck off before she knee capped him.

  “I’m up already,” Noah grumbled when someone knocked on his door.  Noah sat up as the door opened and his mother stuck her head in.

  “Come on, you are going to be late if you don’t hurry” she grinned as he threw his pillow at her.  “Is that anyway to treat your mother?”

  Noah scowled in mock anger.  “Yes, especially when she’s being a pain in the arse.”

  Tanya Hathaway laughed and dodged the second pillow.  “Get up, we’re due at the principal’s office first thing.” When Noah growled she laughed again, “I swear Seth is the only normal one out of you three.”

  “Says you; about the boy who is gay.”  Noah’s eyes twinkled.

  “Seth may be gay, but at least he’s sure about who he is.”  Tanya arched her eyebrow.

  With a frown Noah demanded, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

  “Think about it.”  Tanya winked before she left his room.

  Noah headed towards the bathroom, and thought about what his mother had said.  Was she trying to tell him she was gay?  He’d have to ask Seth, he always knew what was going on.  Emily would be as clueless as Noah himself.

*~*~*

  Noah idly stared out the window while his mother talked to principal Clarkson. He’d already filled out his schedule, and was bored with the rest of the crap involved with enrolling.  Noah sat up straight and focused on the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen, she took his breath away, his palms began to sweat, and his heart raced.  Now this girl, whoever she was would make this final year worthwhile.

  “Oh my God,” Seth breathed in his ear.  “He’s beautiful.”

  Noah’s eyes drifted momentarily to the guy who had his arm draped around the girl’s shoulders.  He was laughing at whatever the girl was saying.  Noah’s breath caught as she reached out and pinched the guy’s nipple, which only seemed to make him laugh harder.

  “You know,” Emily said loudly for everyone in the room to hear.  “You should both put you tongue’s back in your mouth and breathe.”

  Principal Clarkson looked out the window and shook his head, getting up he opened the window.  “Johnson… Tucker.  What’s the rule about sunlight?”

  Noah watched as the couple jumped apart and yelled “Sorry.”

  Sunlight rule?  What the hell is that?

*~*~*

  Noah sat on a table near the canteen and people watched as he waited for his siblings to arrive.  This was the first year where they’d all been split up.  Noah looked up as Adam James walked towards him.

  “So newbie how’s your first day so far?”  Adam said as he sat on the table next to Noah.

  “It’s okay. I mean I stand out like a sore thumb, so far it is okay.”

  “Whoa,” Adam was mesmerised as Seth and Emily walked towards them.  “Am I see things or are there really three of you.”

  Noah sighed deeply pretending to be dismayed.  “Sadly, my friend, it is true.  Adam meet the other parts of me.  This delightful young woman is Em, she’s a real sweetie, don’t let the snarl fool you.” Noah laughed as she snarled harder, and flipped him off.  “And this handsome devil is Seth.”

  “I’m the gay one.”  Seth said as he held out his hand.

  Adam burst out laughing as he shook Seth’s hand.  “Yet strangely, I like you anyway.”

  “Sorry, babe, but you’re not my type.”  Seth said with a completely straight face, which made Adam laugh even harder. Noah just shook his head at his brothers antics.

  “Look out, look out, the Adam James party is already in full swing.”  Noah spun around to see who was speaking and saw it was the couple from this morning.

  “Yeah, well, it wouldn’t be complete without the double trouble,” Adam grinned.  “Ruby, Jae, I would like you to meet the Hathaway triplets, Emily, Seth, and Noah. Seth is the gay one.”

  “Really?”  Ruby grinned and pulled Seth into a tight hug. The guy slid his hands down Seth’s body and squeezed his arse, which made Seth squeal.

  Noah glanced towards Jae, and she was staring back at him, Noah smiled.  His eye’s ran down her body and back up again appreciatively. She had the sexiest legs he’d ever seen, but the best part was her face.  Long blonde hair fell to her waist, full lips, and the greenest eyes he’d ever seen.  Noah believed he could very well lose himself in the depths of those eyes.  Again his breath caught as she bit her lower lip.

  “Noah, buddy, I hate to break it to you, but Jae’s a guy. So unless you are gay like your brother here I’d stop looking at him like that.”  Ruby said as he let go of Seth.

  Noah’s smile faltered, and something akin to shame seemed to wash over Jae’s face.  “I need to go to…” He let the sentence drop and pointed towards the office.

** **

  Jae blushed, today was the first time  he’d ever felt self conscious by the way he was.  Tears came to his eyes as he watched Noah walk away.

  “Awww, babe,” Ruby held out his arms and Jae walked into them.  “Don’t let some dumbarse wanker get you down.”

  “Yeah, especially when that dumbarse wanker is as gay as Seth is.”

  Seth nodded, “He just doesn’t know it yet, or if he does he’s in denial.”

  “Really?”  Adam asked as he watched Noah walk into the office.

  “Really.”  Emily said as she nudged Seth, “Come on, we’ll have to get him some food. He can’t take his meds on an empty stomach.”

 Adam asked exactly what Jae wanted to know. “Meds? What’s wrong with him?”

  “Noah has a blood disorder and he needs to take medication every day.”  Seth answered as Emily dragged him towards the canteen.

  Jae went with them but didn’t get in line.  “Can you get me a chicken wrap and a bottle of water please.”  He held out some money.

  “Lazy much?”  Emily said as she took his money.

  “It’s not that,” Jae blushed, “Mrs Tucker’s on duty today and she has a problem with me.  It is just easier if I don’t buy anything the days that she’d here.”

   Emily seemed puzzled and asked, “What, because you’re gay?”

  “No, she doesn’t have a problem with me being gay.”  He looked back towards the table.  “Her son, Ruby’s ,also gay, but his mum has a problem with the way I dress.”  His blush deepened.  “She doesn’t understand it.”

  “Does anybody?”  A guy said in the next line.

  “And you are?”  Emily said coolly.

  A wicked smile spread across his face.  “I am Dominic Shoshanka.  Your neighbour.”

  Emily stared at him icily.  “I don’t think that I’m gonna like you very much.”

  Jae smiled, “Dom’s harmless, and truthfully he’s my best friend.”

  Dom grinned, “My mum always did say,  everyone should have a gay man for a best friend.”

  “I thought Ruby was your best friend?”  Seth said.

  “Ruby’s not his best friendRuby is his friend.”  Dominic said conspiratorially.

  “Ex- friend… now we are just friends.”  Jae whispered softly.

  “Hey Jae,” they turned as a girl about their age called out.  “Party at Britt’s house this weekend. Bring your friends.”  She said as she eyed Seth and Emily.

  “Now she’s a hottie.”  Emily said with a grin.

  “Are you gay too?”  Jae asked.

   Emily shook her head. “No, but I know beautiful when I see it.”

  “That’s Becca Williams, heart-breaker extraordinaire.”  Dom said with a sigh.  “Sadly, she is gay.”

  “Still hot though.”  Emily said fanning herself as they stepped up to the counter and ordered their food.

  By the time they got back to the table Noah was back, and sat with his head resting on his folded arms.

  “Noah, honey, you need to eat something. it’ll make you feel better.”  Emily ran her fingers through  her brother’s hair.  “Come on, Noah.”  She gently shook his shoulder.

  “Dude, I think you should have your meds checked. You look rank.”  Adam said when Noah finally sat up.

  Noah glared at Adam, before reaching for the food his sister held.  “Thanks.”

  “We’ve been invited to a party.”  Emily said changing the subject.

  “Well, Jae got invited and was told to bring us along.”  Seth amended.

  “Then I hope you have fun.”  Noah said.

  “You have to come. You know Mum won’t let us go unless it’s all three of us.” Emily whined.

  “I don’t feel like partying.”  Noah said as he took a small bite of his wrap.  He put the food on the table and laid his head back down.  “I don’t feel so good.”

  “You need to eat Noah,” Seth said gently as he rubbed his brothers back.  “Either you eat, or I let Emily force feed you again.”

  Noah groaned as Seth tilted his head, and Emily held the food in front of his mouth. Noah glared at them both as he took another bite.  By the time he was half done he was feeling much better.

  “Does the medicine always affect you like that?”  Jae asked softly, from where he sat opposite Noah.

  Noah nodded, “Pretty much.”

  “That must feel awful.”  Jae said, he dropped his eyes and stared at his hands.  He realised he couldn’t look at Noah for more than a few minutes, without the feeling of self consciousness filling him again.  He guessed the reason Noah wasn’t was avoiding eye contact with him was because the way Jae was disgusted the guy. That was usually the reason.

  “Why don’t you try it for a week, and see how it really feels.”  Noah snapped.

  Standing up, Jae handed the uneaten portion of his lunch to Dom.

  “Where are you going?”  Adam asked.

  “I… I have to go see Mr Stevens.”  Jae rushed off without saying anything more.

****

  “Way to go, idiot.”  Emily said and slapped Noah on the back of the head.

  Noah glared at her.  “Me, what the hell did I do?”

  “Oh I don’t know,” Seth drawled.  “Could it be, you realised  you got caught checking out a guy, and then took it out on the guy.  It’s not his fault that you’re a …IST.”

  Adam looked at him confused.  “What’s an …IST?”

  Emily rolled her eyes.  “An …IST is anyone who is, let’s say, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, etc.”

  “I’m not an …IST.”  Noah spat at his siblings.  “Not my fault the guy likes to wear dresses, it’s not normal.”

  “It’s normal for Jae.”  Adam said frostily.  “If you have a problem with Jae, then I don’t think we can be friends.  You do realise that I’m as gay as he is?”

  “I’m not homophobic, for crying out loud my brother is gay.  How can I be a phobe?”  Noah pushed away from the table.

  “Now where are you going?”  Emily asked.

  “To apologise apparently, seeing as  I have obviously upset the guy.”  Noah walked off in the direction that Jae had taken.  He had rounded the corner of the first building when he saw Jae leaning against the wall quietly crying.

  “What do you want?”  Jae said as Noah came and stood in front of him.

  “Look, I’m sorry I snapped at you.”  Noah shifted from foot to foot.  He felt uncomfortable. Actually it felt like everyone was staring at them, and he didn’t like that idea.

  Without looking at him Jae whispered., Apology accepted, now please go and leave me alone.”

  “I really am sorry.  I’m not just saying that you know.”  Noah reached towards Jae but never quite made contact.

  “Okay, I get it. You’re not purposely trying to hurt me.”  Jae stared at the ground.  “I’ve accepted your damn apology, so will you please go away and leave me alone.”

  Noah tilted Jae’s face until Jae was forced to look at him.  “Your make up is running.”

  Jae snorted, “Great, now not only am I a freak, but I’m a hideous freak.”

  Noah frowned, “I never called you a freak.”

  “No you didn’t, but like everyone else, you thought it, which is just as bad.”  Jae said angrily.

  “I thought you were a girl.”  Noah defended.  “I’m sorry if I was a little startled to find out I had been checking out a guy.  How do you think that makes me feel?”

  “I’m sorry.”  Tears started to fall from Jae’s eyes again, and Noah felt bad  he was making Jae cry.

  “It’s not your fault.”  Noah reached out and wiped away the tears.  “Umm, I think I may have just made your make up worse.”  Noah rubbed his thumb on his black trousers.  “Sorry.”

  Jae couldn’t help the burst of laughter that tore from him.  He shook his head as he headed across the quad to the nearest toilets.  What  surprised  Noah was he had followed him.  Jae pulled out his packet of wipes and began removing his makeup.

  Noah watched fascinated as each layer of makeup was removed and the real Jae emerged from beneath.  His stomach twisted in knots when he realised  Jae was even more beautiful without the makeup.  He blushed when Jae caught him staring.

  “Hideous, I know.”  Jae sighed.

  Noah shook his head and answered honestly before he even thought about it.  “If you want the truth. I think you’re prettier without it.”   Noah paled when he realised what he’d said, and his eyes grew huge with shock.  “I didn’t mean…”

****

  Jae  smiled at the compliment, and it kept him in a good mood for the rest of the afternoon.  He was still smiling when he met up with Dom after the school day had ended.

  “What put a smile on your face?”  Dom asked as he pulled his keys out of his pocket.

  Jae shrugged.  “Just happy I guess.”

  Dom stared at him for a long moment.  “Okay, who is he?  I know this look, it means you’re sweet on someone.”  When Jae looked away guiltily, Dom groaned.  “Please tell me it’s not Noah.”  He groaned louder as Jae blushed deeply.  “Jesus, Jae, what the hell are you thinking?  The guy’s a total dick.”

  Finally Jae turned and looked at his best friend.  “He’s a nice guy really. He appolagised to me, and we talked.”

  “He made you cry.  How nice can he be?  Couldn’t you have least fallen for the one who  knows he’s gay?”

  “I never said I was in love with him,Dom.”  Jae frowned, “I just like him is all.”

  “Well please don’t do anything stupid that will get your heart broken.”  Dom said as he pulled the car out of the parking lot.

  Jae stared out the window, but nodded, letting Dom know  he’d heard him.

  “You still coming to my house tonight?”  Dom asked.

  “Sure, if it is ok with Dimitri.”

  “Dad loves you, you know that.”

  Jae grinned.  “I love your dad too.  I wish my dad was like him.”

  “He still on your case I gather?”

  Jae nodded, “Harry has given me a week to get rid of everything, or I no longer have a home.  Mr Stevens is looking at some sort of housing for me.”  Jae said as they pulled up in the driveway of Dom’s house.

*~*~*

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