The next day, Alfred was pretty much back to normal. Except for, you know, the fact that he'd dreamed of he and Arthur making out. Alfred couldn't understand how he could've gotten so interested in one person in just one day. It couldn't possibly be anything real, could it? No, it was just a crazy thing his brain had made up because of a slight, weird interest he'd shown in a boy.
At school, Alfred greeted his girlfriend, smiling as normal, kissing her quickly and wrapping an arm around her waist. They spoke to their friends in the morning, before the bell to go to class rang. About fifteen minutes before the bell rang, Alfred saw Arthur walk onto campus and felt his heart beat quickly. He tried not to stare at Arthur, but ended up watching him anyway.
One of Alfred's friends noticed Arthur and made a noise of disgust. "Ew, it's that new kid." Alfred looked at the person who had spoken. "What's wrong with him?" The person shrugged. "He's totally lame. I mean, who likes reading? And scones? I mean, what the hell are those, anyway?" Alfred was taken aback as his other friends, even his girlfriend, agreed with the fact that Arthur was a dork.
"Wasn't he wearing glasses yesterday?" One person asked. "Yeah, I think he was. I bet he was just wearing them to make him look smart. I bet he's a total dumb ass." The bell rang before Alfred could comment. His friends dispersed and he kissed his girlfriend goodbye without feeling, although she hardly noticed and walked away to her first class. He didn't make a move to go to class, just stayed frozen to the spot, watching Arthur walk to his first class of the day. The boy had earphones in his ears, oblivious to the world that judged him so cruelly.
Alfred only moved from his spot when the final bell rang, telling him he was late to his first class.
The next time Alfred saw Arthur was in his last class of the day, the English class he hated. Alfred noticed that Arthur seemed very much interested in the grammar and literature they had to learn. He also seemed to know the answer to everything. At one point in the class that day, when they were reviewing their Greek and Latin roots, the teacher called on Alfred to answer a question.
"Mr. Jones! What does the suffix 'ject' mean?" Alfred didn't know the answer and it was obvious. He kept making grumbling noises and opening his mouth, closing it quickly soon after. His eyes were wide, his stomach tying itself into a knot in his nervousness. His mind raced, trying to put the suffix into a word, but he could think of nothing. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Arthur tapping on his notebook with his pencil. Alfred averted his gaze slightly to Arthur's paper.
Alfred smiled in relief at the paper. Arthur had written the answer for him. "It means to throw or hurl." The teacher studied him suspiciously but soon moved on in the lesson. Alfred gave Arthur a grateful glance and Arthur smiled, nodding.
At the end of class, Alfred decided he should probably pay Arthur back the favor. Being new, Arthur had no one to really hang out with. And besides, Alfred was bored. Another reason, although he wouldn't admit it, was that he really just wanted to spend as much time as possible with Arthur.
"Let's hang out," he suggested as they walked out of school together. "Where?" Alfred shrugged. "Your house? My house? I don't know. Somewhere." Arthur thought for a moment. "My house should be fine. I need a bit of help catching up on the material we're learning, anyway." Alfred nodded. "Yeah, I'll help as best as I can."
On the way to Arthur's house, they joked and insulted each other without meaning it. They got along well, although Arthur was always calling him a git. They got to Arthur's house in a matter of minutes. Arthur took a deep breath as they approached the front door. Alfred hardly noticed. He was too busy admiring the house and its enormity.
The house was two stories, square-shaped and beige. The front door was mahogany and had a brass knocker on it. Four small, Doric-style columns held up a porch roof over the doorway, on either side. The windows were all outlined with a pretty, light blue color. The roof had a slight peak and was the color of a cloudless sky.
Arthur opened the door and cringed, preparing for the stench of smoke to greet him. It did, indeed, greet him, as well as envelope him completely and find it's way into his lungs. He coughed lightly. Once Alfred got a whiff of the smoke, he began coughing violently. Arthur looked at him, worried. "I'm terribly sorry. I forgot about the smoke until we got here, to be honest." Arthur smiled apologetically. "It'll be better once we get into my room. Be quiet, though. Sneak up the stairs. I have someone to deal with." Alfred nodded and followed Arthur into the house.
Alfred studied the house upon entering. The stairs were narrow and directly to the left of the front door. A parlor was on the left of the front door. There was nothing in the room except for a sofa on one side, a love seat under the front, large window, (which had its curtains shut as to deter any visitors), and a coffee table between the two seats. The wall on the further side of the room had a large painting. The painting was of a large, beautiful field, flourishing with tulips. A woman and her daughter were in the field. The woman sat on a hill and watched her twirl around the field.
Alfred smiled slightly at the painting, then followed Arthur's instructions, quietly creeping up the stairs. Arthur himself went further into the house, into the living room. Alfred ignored Arthur’s command to go all the way up the stairs and stayed at the banister so who could hear what was happening. He even got to see a little of what happened next.
Arthur walked into the living room. In the living room, the smoke was the densest. There were two sofas and a flat screen TV on the furthest wall. French doors on the right side of the room led to the back yard. The walls were yellow, like sunflowers.
Arthur seemed to be holding his breath, or, at least, breathing shallowly. "Allistor?" A figure lying on the sofa, which Alfred had just noticed, shifted position. "Wha’?" The voice was highly accented and belonged to the figure on the sofa. "I'm home. I thought you'd want to know that." The figure, Allistor, Alfred guessed, grunted in response. From what Alfred could tell, Allistor was a redhead. His eyes seemed the same shade of green as Arthur's, although they held a certain cruelty to them. His face was thin and his features sharp. His eyebrows were not as thick as Arthur's, although they furrowed in the same way. He seemed quite thin from Alfred's point of view, almost to the point of malnourishment.
"Lovely. ’t's not like I car' eith'a way." Allistor was drunk, as far as Alfred could tell. Arthur sighed, seemingly aware of Allistor’s intoxication. "I just thought you'd want to know," repeated Arthur. "I mean, you are my guardian and brother." Allistor waved him away, taking a puff of the cigarette that was between his fingers at the same time and blowing the smoke from his lungs out with his next words. "Go do ya homewo'k, ya basta'd." Arthur sighed again, biting his lip. "I'll be upstairs if you need me, brother."
"I nev'a need ya, ya bloo'y basta'd." Arthur silently went away from his brother, heading toward the stairs. Alfred sat on the step, frozen in shock by what Allistor had told Arthur. Arthur saw Alfred perched upon the stairs and stared at him. He forced a smile. Alfred didn't even bother to mask his shock. "I'm okay, Alfred. Let's go upstairs. It's less smoky in my room." The smile stayed glued to his face, as if that was the only thing keeping Arthur from falling apart.
They went upstairs.