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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9. Lucas




Their final Vacation Day is spent in a tattoo parlour. There are not many normal tattoo shops in Abraham or even in large cities, but they exist to mask the Tattoo’s when people have them uncovered. It is Lucas’s idea, his last-ditch attempt at rebellion besides petty things and he wants to do it for himself.

“I’ve had a revelation, one that I want to keep to myself, but I want to reward myself for it,” he walks with a spring in his step and they shrug and go with him because he’s already booked an appointment.

The Sad Boys plus Jessica sit around the shop flicking through the portfolios and sipping on soda for the hours where Lucas sits in a long chair with his arm held aloft.

“Do you not think that I should be an honorary member of The Sad Boys Club?” Jessica asks and receives hoots of laughter back. She doesn’t look offended at the reply.

“You can be Charlie’s plus one, but the key is in the name, honey,” Peter gasps out, smacking his knee in humour.

The artists don’t do flowers for obvious reasons, but Lucas is getting a fountain tattooed onto his forearm, a circle of Central Park’s fountain, a backdrop of autumn trees and calm water. His family used to go to New York when he was little, before Righton, and the memories are fond.

He sits through it with gritted teeth and waving Peter away with his other hand.

When they are done he shakes out his arm, hands over a roll of cash and they go out to celebrate. They end up in a bar, drinks making rings in the table top and they laugh about stories. At some point, they are drunk enough to dance, Charlie and Jessica slow dancing and if Gat looks just right he can pinpoint the moment Charlie asks her out Jessica putting her hands over her mouth before replying, he and Andrew go up to show off some classic and awkward moves and Peter parades the bar counter. Lucas sits at their table and stares at them with a grin on his face. Gat frankly forgets about him for a minute and when he looks back there is a pretty girl sitting in their vacated seats, laughing along with him. He points it out to Andrew, and they watch Lucas flounder his way through a conversation.

“That smooth dog,” Charlie laughs as he notices.

At some point, the girl kisses him sweetly on the lips. He freezes and doesn’t sink into it, his hands buckle on his knees, and he looks like roadkill but then he gets used to it. They look away and when they look back both the girl and Lucas are gone.

Their assumptions are enough.

When they see him again outside the bar Peter claps him on the shoulder and Lucas shrugs him off. Normality is restored. They stumble home in a state of perfect drunkenness and groan over their hangovers the next morning.

Charlie spends forever saying goodbye to Jessica before they get on the bus back to Righton, so much so that he has to hurry to pack and get back on time before the bus departs. The boys roll their eyes at the lovestruck expression on his face and they tease him for it but its as if his hangover is gone just because he saw her rosy-cheeked and windswept one last time.

“You’ve still got love in your voice,” Andrew says to Charlie as he finally sits down.

“Well she deserves that love,” he says back, and the boys tease him for being sappy.

They also see Chad pass plastic baggies in between his friends and horde some in his pockets. Gat can imagine what they are, and Lucas confirms his suspicions. But they keep their cards close to their chests, they can use that fact at a later time.

“We’re going to wreck hell this term,” Peter laughs as he stretches across his seat. The ride back is long and boring, but their plans of rebellion keep them satisfied.

As they unpack back in their dormitory Lucas sits hard on his bed, surrounded by books and vintage jars that he had collected.

“I’m going to put tea lights in some of these jars,” he decides rather abruptly, disappearing out of the room. When Gat goes to the bathroom to wash his hands he finds Lucas there, hands braced over the rim of the sink. He looks like he’s going to be sick.

“You alright?” he asks.

“Do you know what my tattoo stands for?” Lucas replies but doesn’t give the time for Gat to answer, “When that girl kissed me I wanted to throw her into a fountain, that’s what I’ve realised. I’ll always want to throw people in a fountain when they love me.”

He sniffles and leaves Gat feeling lost for words.

“I’m going to get tea lights.”

It seems Lucas forgets all about this encounter and instead he pours his energies into his school work and the Club’s rebellious acts. He often sneaks down to the kitchen to bake snacks and he tiptoes back to the dormitory with cupcakes in hand.

They all help Charlie meet up with Jessica in the woods, texts are exchanged, and letters are left in the woods for them to pick up. It is all very romantic, even Lucas says so. When the time comes she is sneaked into Northern Righton, they carry her under the cover of darkness and track the teacher’s patrol routes throughout the night. On some nights the boys stay out in the common room and allow Charlie the room.

This is their act of rebellion now, even as they relax and find themselves again.

Peter smokes out the window, Lucas reads, Andrew composes poetry and writes it on Gat’s arm. Gat tries to plan his life out and relax to music through his earphones.

Pale blue veins

Like stars

In a sullen but galaxy patched sky

Eyes with determination for pupils

And knowledge for iris’

A brain with footprinted concrete

And a heart

With the universes signature.

The words curve slanted down his arms and Gat remembers to breathe throughout the whole experience.

On one night they all crowd in the kitchen, Lucas trying to teach them how to bake cookies. They eat raw cookie dough with their hands, Lucas lecturing them on salmonella but then succumbing to the taste within a few seconds. It’s Charlie that smears the dough down Jessica’s cheeks and a food fight occurs. Their laughter is loud, and they have to sneak back across to Southern Righton through the trees and across a road with cookie dough still in their hair.

“I prefer this over any relationship,” Lucas whispers only to himself, not to the group as a whole as they sneak back up to their rooms.

They are caught by the Matron and receive detention for being out of bed late at night. But they don’t care, its another rebellious act in their book and they are merry when they get into bed. Gat even has several photos of them goofing around. These won’t go in a frame, but they are pressed underneath his mattress, for safe keeping. 


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