The Sad Boys Club

"Sadness is a lifestyle choice rather than an emotion."
Righton keeps boys from ever seeing their Tattoos and from affecting the society the world has come to protect. Gat, the newest boy to the school, doesn't agree with it. But in a world that breeds sadness and sheltered humans, he's going to need all the help he can get.

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11. Let it Burn



After the whole scandal is out in the open Peter smokes a lot more. He has a favourite spot in the long draughty corridor outside of the common room, the windows slanted and wide enough to have a window seat. He smoked in their room once but both Andrew and Lucas told him not to and he abides by it now.

Gat finds him in his favourite spot, the top window open to let in the cold and speckles of rain. His jumper is off, and his shirt is half unbuttoned, the beanie on his lap rather than his head. He finishes one cigarette and lights up another, liking the way it makes his throat ache in a different way than just sadness and disappointment.

“It’s bad for you, you know,” Gat opens, and Peter’s head turns a little towards him, no longer resting on the cool glass, staring out into the near darkness.

“I’m already corrupted, didn’t you hear,” Peter gulps and makes a little room for Gat to sit down. That’s all their classmates have been saying, dissing him for having a relationship with a teacher, even though Miss Nancy is only in her twenties.

“You’re not corrupted, we don’t choose who we fall in love with. It just happens,” Gat says but it doesn’t work, and Peter makes a scoffing noise, flicking ash out of the window. “What a Club we are, I’ve been saying we’re not corrupted a lot these days.”

Peter doesn’t inquire as to why which means that its one of his off days. He’s been having a lot of those since the scandal, peering out of windows and only seeing Miss Nancy carted away by Blue Suits.

“Ask me a question, any question, I know you want to.” Gat gets onto the slither of space cleared for him and braces his knees against the window, his feet scrunched up and threatening to tumble off of the seat. He feels like Lucas, trying to placate everyone while doing the right thing.

“What scandal made your mom bring you here? You’ve talked about it but not in detail.”

The question makes Gat inhale sharply, he licks his lips and rehearses the answer in his head before saying it. “I did the stupid thing of going to a protest march, it was a fun time, I went shirtless and got drunk and sat on some church steps with a boy. My mom caught us, and I think that was the deciding point, even if she had had the Anti thoughts for a while.”

Admitting who he loves is easier now, not as easy as breathing, but easier. Peter casually skips over that detail because that is who he is.

Peter whistles sharply, “You don’t do anything by halves do you?”

Gat chuckles along with him but he is interrupted by shouting, loud shouting coming from the dormitory. Peter puts out his cigarette and they walk quickly, following the noises.

A group of people surround the door to their room and the boys push their way through. Jessica is on the floor next to Charlie’s bed, in shorts and her bra, her hands covering her eye. Charlie stands protecting her from an infuriated Chad.

“You have a girl in your room, a fucking girl!” he shouts.

“You’re just jealous that you won’t be getting laid anytime soon,” Charlie shouts back, malice directed towards Chad and not Jessica. He lunges and punches Chad with a fury that splits Chad’s nose, drops of blood falling to the floor.

“Charlie!” Lucas storms in to separate the two, taking the punches on his back from Chad as he pushes Charlie back. “Stop.”

“Like Hell, did you see what he did!”

Lucas slaps him, a sharp sound that makes his head careen to the side. “Listen to me,” he says and doesn’t look at the wild and betrayed look Charlie has in his eyes. Lucas’s hands are held firmly onto Charlie’s shoulders for a few minutes before he turns. “Chad, here’s the deal, I don’t let Charlie murder you and you don’t tell anyone about this.”

“Like Hell will I take that!”

“If you don’t, I tell the Headmaster about the drugs you’ve sneaked in after Vacation.”

No one can ever say that Lucas isn’t as calculated as they come.

Chad pales and nods quickly, wiping his nose and spitting the blood on the nearest bed. He storms out of the room and Lucas has to hold onto Charlie again.

“I fucking hate you sometimes Lucas,” Charlie spits, the venom still off the fight.

“You don’t mean that, and even if you do that doesn’t hurt me.”

Charlie doesn’t deflate but he does go over to Jessica to see if she is alright. She cries softly into his shoulder but is relatively unharmed. She puts her shirt back on and Gat helps her swipe antiseptic over her bruised eye. When she sneaks back into Southern Righton she will go to the nurse and explain away the injury. She covers herself, hiding all skin like it is blasphemous, and they feel the need to do the same, pulling on jumpers and jeans to chase away both the Autumn chill and the frosty tensions between them.

The boys argue for the next hour, waiting for nightfall to bleed properly across the windows. Charlie raves for most of that time, him and Lucas going back and forth until Lucas’s voice goes hoarse. Lucas wants them to understand that they need to proceed carefully, they can be rebellious but not lose themselves along the way. Charlie doesn’t get that. None of them, including Andrew, can stop them from fighting. Eventually, Charlie walks out of the room.

“I have a plan; the ultimate act of rebellion,” he mutters.

They all follow him, not trusting his erratic behaviour.

In his fit of anger, Charlie storms down to Chad Brighton’s car and smashes the window in so that he can hotwire it. He drives it halfway down the gravel driveway, the headlights off to avoid being caught in the darkness, and then he exits, waiting for the rest of them to catch up. Jessica is the quickest, her bruises still stark against her skin.

“What are you fucking doing?” Lucas says bewildered and he hardly swears, his emotions leaking into his voice.

“That little prick needs to be sorted out, no prank is going to do that,” Charlie pops the boot of the car and hands, Peter, a set of golf clubs. “Go to town,” he says, and Peter doesn’t need to be told twice. His anger is enough to burst. He becomes a hellion as he smashes the golf club again and again down onto the convertible.

“This is for Nancy,” he shouts into the car and they let him get his frustration out.

“What are you going to do Charlie, huh, what feat of criminality is going to happen now?” Lucas says preposterously. He hates Righton as much as they do but he had stopped Charlie from murdering Chad and the relationship between the two boys is strained at best now.

“He hit her, he’s taunted me for months and he tells you that you’re never getting out of this goddamn prison. He outed Peter, locked Andrew in a closet and he humiliated Gat’s family, whose side are you on Lucas?”

“Not his that’s for sure, I just need you to think rationally,” Lucas tries to placate him like he’s always done but this time it doesn’t work.

“Oh, I’m perfectly rational,” Charlie snarls and goes over to the janitors shed. He comes back with several gallons of gasoline and undoes the top.

“This is definitely going to get us expelled,” Andrew murmurs but agrees with the action. He still remembers the pain he was in when his Tattoos had blistered up and how alone he was in that closet. The hatred for Chad Brighton is still very bright in all of them.

“That’s the point right, this is why we’re doing this. Are you in or not Lucas?”

Lucas doesn’t answer but he doesn’t stop them from what they are doing either.

Gat still remembers the pressure on his Tattoo, the bruises Chad had left and the spit on his jumper. Burning his car is a drastic manoeuvre but he can’t stop Charlie if he tried.

Jessica and Andrew help with the gasoline and call Peter down from where he stands on the bonnet, violently smashing the golf club into the windshield. The glass splinters like a spiders web, chunks of glass raining down onto the seats and steering wheel. He steps off the car and flings the golf clubs away, picking up the gasoline.

Eventually, even Lucas joins in, the stench of gasoline wafting in the air and over their fingers. The car is slick with it and Charlie breaths heavily as they step back.

“It’s time for all of this to stop,” he breathes out, his voice mellow, “Does anyone have a lighter?”

Peter gently hands him his, and Charlie thumbs it open and shut for a few moments before flicking it on and chucking it into the car. It lands on the front seats and takes two seconds to ignite.

“I’m trying to decide whether that was a waste of a good lighter or not?” Peter laughs and Gat looks at Lucas, the odd one out but now back in the group.

In his eyes, the red convertible reflects in spurts of colour. 

"Let it burn," Gat murmurs underneath his breath.

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