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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10. The Week Chad Terrorized Us All

 

10.

 

There is a week that becomes known as The Week Chad Terrorized Us All. It starts off quite simply with Lucas; they sit in the common room and Chad goes on and on about how Lucas is never getting out of Righton no matter how many angel halos he collects. Lucas ignores it for a while, hands getting tighter around his book but then he gets up and goes back into the bedroom. His approach has always been to ignore and walk away, it is easier that way.

Then it is Charlie with the familiar taunts about his mother, how their family will never be good enough.

They don’t expect Andrew to come under fire, but he does. He tells Gat of how when each Mark pops up he is delirious and cold and panicked, they hurt like they are being burned into his skin, but they reveal themselves slow and randomly. Chad recognises that Andrew is in pain, rubbing at his chest and sweating. He just looks ill, like he’s two days into a week-long fever, but that does not stop Chad. First, he grabs onto Gat, hands pushing bruises across his bandage and into the tender skin of his Tattoo. He grits his teeth and takes it, quietly registering Andrew saying something behind him. Chad spits at Gat, the saliva dripping onto his jumper and he tries not to cringe. Then Gat pushes both Andrew and Gat into a closet and locks the door, laughing when Andrew begs with him to be let out in between hisses of pain.

“Chad, come on man, he’s ill, he needs the nurse.”

“You can be his nurse Gat.”

Chad leaves them after that, in the darkness with Andrew in pain, tugging at his shirt and dragging it over his head.

“It hurts, god it hurts,” he hisses, groaning and clutching at his skin. Gat hauls him to the back wall of the closet, bracketing him in with his arms and he places his hand on his heart.

“Listen to that, it’s kind of steady isn’t it, that’s my heartbeat. Lub-dub, lub-dub, just listen to it,” Gat doesn’t know what to do so he rambles his own panic coming to life in the darkness. Andrew looks at him like he’s crazy, but he says it back to him and slumps ever so slightly down. From how close they are Gat can see flowers etch themselves into Andrew’s collarbones, following the bones. He can’t tell what they are, and he’ll grapple for the light as soon as they are finished coming into fruition, but for now, they just stand there.

“What are they?” Andrew gasps out, back sliding down the wall to sit on the floor. He looks at Gat with watery eyes, which look more painful when the light flickers on.

“Rosemary,” Gat replies and they both stare down at the needle-like leaves and light purple petals.

“Hah, remembrance, I wonder what my soul is telling me to remember.”

They spend the time in the closet together, Andrew pressed against Gat’s side because he is too weak to stand. Gat fills the silence with awful poetry,

Chad Brighton is a sin on the school board and humanity

He should be put in the bin

For all the rats and dirt

Are enough for him,

But not the wilderness

That we ruin so purposefully.

“At least there’s some symbolism there,” Andrew laughs.

“And it rhymed a little, I thought very hard about sin and bin.”

The rest of the Sad Boys eventually rescue them, digging out the golf club that Chad had shoved underneath the handle after he had locked it. “Chad is going to get it,” Lucas murmurs, his hatred clear and they laugh.

Gat nudges Andrew as he helps him up and walks him precariously to the Nurses office, “This is what you have to remember,” he murmurs, and he knows it’s not about Chad but about all of them at once.

But the most shocking one that they remember and will remember for the rest of their lives is the Scandal Reveal. When they wake on one bright Monday morning and trudge to class, there is a lot of staring and giggling towards their direction.

“You would have thought we’ve become celebrities overnight,” Charlie jokes and then goes quiet when they approach Miss Nancy’s classroom. The door, which used to be decorated with Shakespeare quotes, is now filled to the brim with a single photo. Nancy is pressed against the door of a black car, hanging desperately off of Peter’s arm, they kiss in the middle and it looks intense. If they look closely there is a lipstick smear on Peter’s cheek despite his half-smiling grin. It’s good enough quality for everyone to see exactly what is going on.

The photos trail across the door and the walls, becoming sparser the farther they span throughout the corridor.

Peter doesn’t hesitate, he goes about ripping down the photos, but the damage is already done. Their classmates giggle and laugh behind them, creating slurs. The boys are silent, their tongues stolen and eyes wide.

Uh, Peter–“ Lucas starts when he hears high heels stamp their way towards them.

Miss Nancy looks like she had been crying for several hours, her cheeks puff and eyes red-rimmed, she is flanked by the Headmaster and two Blue Suits from the Government. The crowd parts around them like Moses.

“Tell them that it was just the once Peter,” she demands as she comes close, she reaches out for him, but the Blue Suits pull her back, keeping a firm hand on her jacket sleeve. “Tell them.”

Peter chokes, coughs and splutters as he tries to formulate an answer. His hands reach out for her too but then he snatches them back and shoves them into his pockets. “It wasn’t,” he finally settles on and she collapses, her knees bracing hard on the floor.

“Tell them it was! It was. Please,” she looks up pleadingly at him like a dog that’s been kicked down.

“I can’t Nancy,” he pauses and steps towards her, he’s so close but the look from the Blue Suits tells him not to touch her. “Because I love you and you love me, you told me when that picture was taken.”

He lunges and kisses her, not caring that he smacks into the floor. Then the Headmaster drags him away from Miss Nancy as the Blue Suits carry her away. Her high heels make squealing noises against the tiles as she tries to gain purchase on them, and she yells desperately.

“I’m sorry Peter, god I’m sorry I love you.” They haul her away and Peter races to the nearest window, staring and punching at the glass weakly as he watches them drag her away and into their cars. He cries, freely and obviously, thick and fast, but he doesn’t make any noise when his heart breaks.

“Don’t be sorry that you love me, don’t apologise for that,” he says to the glass even when he knows that she won’t hear the words.

When he looks over his shoulder there is Chad, poised with a too fancy camera and with a smirk on his face. He walks away and Peter doesn’t have the energy to follow him. Charlie offers to punch him but Peter refuses. Instead, Peter punches a wall, his knuckles reddening almost instantly but not breaking. They will pop into purple and blue bruises later, but he doesn’t cradle it or show his pain.

Together the group take him back to their room and he lies on his bed, tucked and rolled in sheets, staring at the ceiling.

“It started with detention, she’s so nice you know, and we have a lot in common. She has a sense of humour and witty persona, she plays the violin on the weekend, she doesn’t put up with my shit and she loves the Batman films just like I do,” he says, his voice dry and he has to swallow several times to muster up the volume needed to be heard.

“So, in Abraham, you weren’t sleeping around?” Charlie asks, sitting on his bed and Lucas looks ready to smack him upside the head for the remark. Now is not the time for interrogations.

Peter shakes his head, “It was always her, the only time I’ve ever felt loved,” he turns to face Charlie suddenly, “At least we have that in common.”

Charlie looks down.

That night they don’t sleep, or if they do it is fitful. They whisper their confessions into the darkness, wanting to be closer to one another because they were unsteady on their own.

“She loved me so epically that sometimes I felt that I didn’t love her enough, why couldn’t I have said it was just the once,” Peter drags out to the ceiling, his words curling like smoke and sorrow.

“Because it aches to deny it, it hurts to wish that she wasn’t there, I know the feeling,” Charlie says next. Gat can see his eyes open, a slant of light catching on his stare.

Gat turns to Andrew, “Why do you write poetry?” he asks, wanting to know more for a reason that he can’t explain.

“It soothes the ache, makes everything beautiful when I find it hard to find the brilliance in everything,” Andrew replies and Gat knows that the brilliance Andrew speaks of is himself, the low self-esteem that Andrew still carries with him like an old backpack. “Why do you take photos so much?”

“I don’t want to forget a single thing that happens here, I’m most afraid of losing it all,” Gat says and their fingers brush across the space of their beds. It’s enough to hold on to one another, to know where they stand, and Gat finds it hard to smile. He doesn’t know whether Andrew does the same, but they remain there with their fingers subtly curled around one another’s.

“I think I’m asexual,” Lucas whispers out, the words so quiet that they almost miss them. His confession is metal lined and shy, but he knows that they will accept him no matter what.

“Well at least we’ve covered the whole goddamn spectrum,” Peter says, and they laugh quietly. They all know that it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to.

 

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