romanced: dream

A majority of us are raised in a society where we go to school, get a job, get married, have a family, and then our children continue that cycle. Where I am at currently in my life is post-going to school, but pre-getting a job or I am even further away from getting married; I have very little experience with relationships and romance in general. I only recently had my first relationship, and we agreed that the title was too… intense, and that we would prefer to stay as friends who date exclusively first, as we get to know each other better.

I am embarrassed to admit that I would actually want to be in a relationship. Not for the sake of being in one so that I am not single or to check part of another box off the unspoken to-do list of life, but more for the life experience that comes from it. Even if this relationship does not lead to marriage but rather ends sourly in a break-up, I don’t mind so long as I can learn something more about myself from the experience. Just being a part of the ride is enough to make me happy. To understand what it means to be somebody else’s significant other, while at the same time, being able to see a person as my own, it is important for me. I want to know that somebody out there who can make me feel and act that way exists.

The concept of love and relationships, it’s not something that can be approached logically. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we as humans are always so fascinated by the idea. No matter what we try to find in somebody else as a mate, sometimes, our hearts may not always agree. Let’s say we want somebody who is tall, Caucasian, and muscular, but we end up in a relationship with somebody who is medium-height, African American, and scrawny. Yet, we are not un-attracted to the African American, despite them being not what we would prefer. And that is because of what they have to offer beneath the surface. While they do not physically resemble what we would want in an ideal mate, the personality and ethics of this African American appeals to us.

The concept of love has a lot of gray areas. For example, one might view a woman getting hit by her husband as domestic violence without any context. But what if the woman wanted her husband to hit her, because that was her kink? I’m not going to explore that idea more, because it is a very…awkward topic, but you get the idea. There are other emotions, primal, hormonal, and hard to understand in general, that cloud our judgement and make us act beyond reason and logic. Yet, that’s what makes being romanced such an exciting and terrifying journey. The unknown does not necessarily settle well with me, but being able to single out that special somebody out of the several millions of people in the world, it’s a wonderful feeling. And it’s a feeling that every human being deserves to have, or at least in the world of my featherlight dreams.

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Road Movie: Chapter 5

“So, it’s the first day of winter break! What do you think we should do?” Dakota looked over at Phillip excitedly. “Stay inside, hibernate, drink hot chocolate, watch a funny movie?” Phillip chuckled lazily. The weather was horrendous, it was less than 0 degrees F outside, and he would like nothing more than to stay indoors where their heater was on. “When were you, Phillip Hopkins, the lazy one in our relationship?” Dakota giggled. It was not to say that either of them were particularly unambitious or lax individuals, but between the couple, Phillip was the bigger overachiever. “Go graduate college in 2 1/2 years, go to medical school, and work at the same time.” He growled, laying back in their bed. “Wow, wasn’t this me a couple days ago?” She giggled, poking him playfully. It was amusing to her that he was the one who got her out of bed, and now the roles were reversed.

Eventually, Dakota was able to drag Phillip to their living room, where they drank hot cocoa and were watching Christmas movies. “This kind of weather makes me wish I was a polar bear.” He chuckled,  as they put their hot chocolate mugs down on their coffee table. The two were sitting on their couch, snug up against the snow-covered window. “So you can hibernate?” She raised an eyebrow at him, trying not to laugh. “This is why we’ve been dating for six and a half years. You get me, Ducky.” “Of course I do, Philly cheesesteak.” She cuddled up against his arm. “Oh, look! Frozen is on right now!” He pointed out one of Dakota’s least favorite movies. “Ugh. I really can do without another bout of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” or “Let It Go” right about now.” She quickly turned off the television, as if doing so was quarantining some kind of plague or disease. In this case, that disease would be called “Frozen-Fever.” Coincidentally enough, also the name of a short sequel to the same movie.

“I really just want to enjoy this break, you know?” The two mustered the bravery to finally leave their apartment building, journey through the snow, and explore the Lincoln Park ZooLights Festival. The Lincoln Park Zoo would be transformed every December from the usual zoo set up; it would become Chicago’s ideal image of a winter wonderland. Music, ice carving, carolers, and trees and structures decked out in Christmas lights, it was a sight to behold. Holding Phillip’s hand, Dakota smiled. She enjoyed these kinds of romantic dates with him, because they’re so busy in their day to day lives that they never really got to spend time together. Walking through the hall of light-covered trees, they continued to marvel the colors that filled the night’s sky and danced in the nearby water. The brunette was really happy at the moment. She knew that moments like these were rare, and in the near future, will happen even less as the two of them continue in their careers. That was Dakota cherished every second she spent with Phillip.

“Well that was a fun night!” Dakota giggled. The two decided to go to dinner at a restaurant, Parachute. They came across it from a recommendation by Virginia. The chef and owner, Beverly Kim, was close friends with Virginia because the two had met at a Korean-American Professionals Conference in the Midwest. “Wow, having friends in marketing rocks!” Phillip grinned goofily. They managed to get a table on a Saturday night, despite having no reservation, just because Virginia made a couple calls for them. “It really does! We get so many different connections and clients, it really opens up the world to so many opportunities.” Dakota nodded in agreement. “Look at the two of us. A marketing manager and an aspiring doctor. We’re such Millennials.” The brunette giggled. “That just means that the world is our oyster.”

“That was great.” Phillip looked like he was about to burp. “I’m stuffed.” The two of them were driving back to their apartment in Phillip’s car, a small black Chevrolet. Phillip was behind the wheel while Dakota was sitting in the passenger seat. “Hey, so I was thinking that maybe we could spend Monday going to a drive-in theater? John was telling me about Cascade Drive-In having a showing of The Lady and the Tramp and I know it’s your favorite!” He smiled. John was one of Phillip’s friends in med-school. “I’m down. But isn’t December 12th coming up soon?” She got out her phone. “Philly, it’s going to be on Tuesday.” She reminded him. “Yeah, don’t worry, I know that. I figured why not spend the day before with one of the two women I love the most in my life.” He shrugged. “You’re such a momma’s boy, I can’t even!” Dakota laughed jokingly. “But she definitely is lucky to have a son like you. Somebody who always goes out of his way for the ones he loves.” She finished, trying not to hurt Phillip’s feelings. “She raised me right, that’s for sure.” He agreed, as the car began to pull into the garage.

Dakota’s phone buzzed as the brunette was with Phillip in their apartment living room. “Oh, Frida sent me a Snap.” She was referring to SnapChat, which to almost everyone’s surprise, the 85 year-old knew how to use better than most high-schoolers. “Oh geez. She’s getting hammered.” The brunette laughed in excitement as the video played. Frida was in a club with flashing neon lights, holding a party yard cup, screaming. It was a sight to behold, and to anyone who did not know Frida, they probably would be very concerned at that point. But Frida was the type of person who could take 48 shots of vodka, go to work the next day, and still get her job done faster than anyone else. “I just can’t believe some of the people you work with. Especially your boss. She’s crazy.” Phillip raised an eyebrow in amusement. “How she never got internet-famous is a huge mystery to me.” “She probably doesn’t want the fame. She’s the type of person who does outrageous things not to be noticed, but more because she’s old and wants to enjoy living her life out.” Dakota explained, yawning. She was tired. “Alright, I’m going to go to bed.” She stretched, leaving the room. “Wait for me!” Phillip dashed after her, not wanting to keep her up with him being awake.

“We’re losing him! Quick, somebody hold him while I bandage him up!” It was a blur. All that could be heard was the blaring noise of a siren and the loud screams of people who were scurrying about the road. “We can save him! You need to hurry up!” “I’m trying my best!” “And what about her?” “She’s going to be fine compared to him. She might have suffered some minor head trauma, but she was not crushed by the door. He has definitely damage to his organs. The body is suffering from internal bleeding. And the way he is bent, that is not natural! We need to focus on him first!” The sound of the siren drowned out anything else. It belonged to an ambulance. A body could be seen, being carried on a stretcher into the white vehicle with flashing red lights. And then everything faded into black. Was it a dream? Or was it a memory?

Sky Bird: Chapter 22

“So you guys kissed?” Carly gasped. Sophia and Carly were getting brunch together on Sunday. “Yeah. It was so awkward.” Sophia put her hands on her face, embarrassed. “Oh, come on, it couldn’t have been that bad, right?” “Okay, fine. I really liked it and I thought it was sweet of him to drive all the way to my place to talk to me like that.” She confessed, putting her hands back on her lap. “So are you guys official? Or at least spoke since that night?” Carly asked before taking a sip of her tea. “Not yet. I’m really scared to.” “What’s there to be scared about?” The Korean girl raised an eyebrow. “You guys both confessed to each other. Isn’t the next step to start dating?” “I’ve never done this before, neither has he, so it’s just really awkward.” Sophia shook her head, trying not to blush. “Hmm… Well I still remember from when I used to date Damian, how he’d always take me on dates and stuff. Granted, we kissed after maybe the third date, so you guys are going in a very different direction than I did.” Carly chuckled. “Kissing before the actual dating? But I’d say just go on a couple dates with him. And if it doesn’t work out, just laugh it off and go back to being friends. Don’t let the romantic feelings make anything weird, okay?” “Alright, Carly. I’ll try. But if things go south, then what?” “Then we just cut Kendall out of our lives. Easy peasy!” She laughed.

“You didn’t talk to her since then?!” Jared and Matt looked at Kendall in disbelief. “Well…no? I’m not sure what to do.” Kendall sighed. He felt like he blew it royally. “Don’t say that. I’m sure she appreciated how straightforward you were, you know, driving to her place and talking to her in person? It shows that you’re a decent person.” Matt pointed out. “How did you and Fanny end up together again?” Kendall looked at Jared. “We started dating in the beginning of the semester. It was pretty awkward actually…” The blonde started. “Why was it awkward?” “Because it just happened for us. The first time, uh.. well… so I might have been checking him out in the locker room? He was taking off his shirt, and then I noticed his butt and how perky-” “Okay, can we please not get that much into detail?” Matt interrupted, clearly uncomfortable with Jared’s summarization of Fanny’s body. “Okay, but basically Fanny caught me checking him out. And he thought it was hilarious, because he had a feeling I was gay because I kept saying words like ‘fag’ and he had a feeling I was checking him out for quite a while.” “And?” Kendall was not quite sure where this story was going. “Well, he and I just started talking more and we started to go on dates. It was pretty thrilling at first, because it was all done in secret, but we started to realize how badly we needed to go public about it. Both of us felt like it was an itch that needed to be scratched, and that’s when we came out to you. Well, accidentally.” Jared chuckled. “But for the dates, did you guys just initiate it?” Kendall pressed, wanting to figure out how this whole concept of dating worked. “Yeah, we kept talking, and then I was like ‘let’s get dinner sometime!’ and then it happened. We kissed on the first date and everything.” The blonde laughed. “Alright, so I’ll just text her now.” Kendall sighed, pulling out his phone. “Hey, Sophia. Are you free for a meal anytime this week?” He sent. “Sure. What time?” She shot back.

“Kendall! Let’s go!” Gil tugged at his older brother’s arm. They were supposed to go to Little Tokyo to hang out together for the rest of the day. “Alright, give me a sec.” Kendall rushed to pull on his socks and shoes. “Okay, coming now!” The older brunette ran down the stairs and joined his little brother in the car. “Alright, let’s go!” The engine revved and the two left the apartment complex. “Why did you want to go to Little Tokyo again?” Kendall looked at his brother. “Mostly because I miss actual Japan.” Gil sighed. The middle schooler has been having Japan-withdrawals since spring break had ended. “Well, I’m with you on that. I miss Japan too.” He sighed. It truly was a wonderful country. And Little Tokyo would probably be the best approximation to it outside of Asia. “Hold on, I’m going to try to park.” Kendall saw a parking structure just off the Japanese Village Plaza. “Alright, and we’re parked!”

“I love this place!” Gil and Kendall were getting takoyaki from a small stand across the street from the Tokyo souvenir store. Sitting down on a bench underneath the large umbrella in the center of the plaza, the two brothers continued to snack on takoyaki while talking about life. “So for high school, Algebra 2 Honors, English 1 Honors, and Biology Honors?” Gil looked to his brother for class suggestions. “Yeah, that’s probably the best. And which sport were you thinking?” “Either football or cross country.” “Hm.. knowing you, try cross country. Megan, Chloe, and Fanny can look after you.” Kendall pointed out. “That’s true. Fanny’s on varsity so he can help.” “Yeah, I’ll try cross country, and if I don’t like that, I’ll try football or maybe even soccer?” He looked the brunette hopefully. “If you do soccer, let me know. Jared’s going to be captain next year.” “Will do!” Gil grinned.

“So what’s for dinner?” The younger Skye looked to his brother. They were still in Little Tokyo, but it was already night time. “How about Kula?” “Ooh! The revolving sushi place?” Gil’s face lit up immediately. The two made their way to the restaurant and put their names on the waiting list. While they were waiting, the brothers were admiring the array of paper lanterns that hovered over the plaza. It was breathtaking to see the white and red orbs illuminating the blue tiled roofs of the buildings nearby. This sort of view made Kendall wish he could move to Japan. Never has he felt so grateful to be part Japanese. “Oh, look, it’s our turn!” The two turned and saw the hostess calling their name. “Let’s get some sushi on our bellies!” Kendall patted his stomach jokingly. “Yup!” The two walked back over to the restaurant, and took their seats in front of the revolving sushi belt. It was so interesting, watching plates of sushi just move past them. But for some reason, Kendall just could not stop thinking about her. No matter what he tried to do to distract himself. He could only think about spending these memories with Sophia.

Sky Bird: Chapter 21

It was Friday afternoon, fifth period. “Here it is, Kawaguchi-sensei!” Fanny handed the bald man his flash drive. “The movie, delivered on Friday, as promised.” “Good job, Chiang-san. You saved Skye-baka’s grade!” He laughed. “Yeah, Skye-baka owes me his life.” Fanny laughed in a dramatic fashion. “You’re not allowed to do that! Only select princess-type characters in animes and dramas are allowed to!” Kawaguchi-sensei hit the boy in the back of the head. “Ouch. That fucking hurt.” Fanny groaned, walking back. “Alright, guys. So instead of watching a drama, we’ll be watching Chiang-san’s movie project!” He put the flash drive into his projector. “Alright, so here it is!” The screen projected the title “The Land of the Rising Love.” Snickers could be heard cross the room at the ridiculous title. “IT WAS KENDALL’S IDEA!” Fanny screamed, trying to avoid being laughed at by the rest of the class. Everyone else just rolled their eyes at him. The movie opened with Megan and Kendall, walking out of LAX. They were immediately greeted by Fanny, who welcomed them to the land of Japan. The movie started out really slowly, in Kendall’s eyes. They didn’t really aim for comedy unfortunately, so the brunette was worried people would fall asleep.

It finally got to the big scene. Kendall and Sophia’s kiss. The entire class gasped, as the two looked at each other, embarrassed by it. “Did you guys really kiss?” Kawaguchi-sensei paused the movie and looked at them. “No…” Sophia shook her head. “Lame. You guys should have just done it for the movie!” He shook his head. “Skye-baka! You’re the man! Grow a pair and kiss the pretty model!” “That’s what I said!” Fanny agreed, looking at Sophia and Kendall. “Take one for the team, guys.” “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” The entire class started to chant. “What the actual hell?” Kendall glared at everyone. That escalated really quickly. “No, we’re not. You can’t make us.” Sophia shook her head. The two were both starting to blush furiously. But the chanting wasn’t stopping. “Okay, fine!” Kendall growled, cupping Sophia’s face and kissing her on the lips. Everyone just gasped before going silent. That definitely stopped the chanting.

The rest of the day was awkward for Sophia and Kendall. The two did not speak since the kiss. It all happened so suddenly that Kendall did not know how to process it. He felt like the kiss was right. When their lips touched, Kendall just felt like Sophia was the person he needed to be doing that with. The feel of her lips against his made his heart flutter. But seeing how Sophia reacted, and the circumstances in which they kissed, he felt horrible. It was almost like being a rapist in that he did not get her consent to do that. He forced himself upon her. He genuinely felt like a terrible person at this moment. Quietly, he laid on his bed, pondering what will happen to their friendship. He did not know what to even say in this situation to rectify it. Dozing off, Kendall just tried to preoccupy his mind with other things.

“How dare you!” The girl in the white dress shouted at him. “My purity. My innocence.” She covered her face in shame. The flowers around her began to wilt. “It’s all dying.” She sobbed. The grass and trees joined the flowers, drooping and sinking into the soil. “Hey, what happened?” Kendall approached her. “I did not want this to happen. Not like this.” She sobbed from behind her hands. “Did not want what?” “The kiss. Not like that.” The girl placed her hands down. She was Sophia. The girl from his dreams. It was Sophia. “No. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to do it. The chanting, the pressure, it just got to me.” Kendall slowly walked over to her before falling to his knees. He gently placed his hands beneath hers. “You’re somebody who was always there for me. Somebody I could rely on to make me smile, laugh, and keep me calm.” He smiled at her, fighting back the tears. “Sophia, I think I might love you.” He admitted. “Kendall… I love you too. I have for such a long time.” She confessed. Suddenly, the grass began to sprout up again. Green started to flood the meadows and plants. “Kendall, she’s waiting for you. The real me. Go to her. And tell her everything you told me.” She smiled, getting back up.

“Hey, can we talk?” Kendall messaged Sophia. His heart was racing. He did not know what kind of response to expect. “Okay, sure.” Sophia sent back. “I’ll go to your place.” The brunette sent back. He got up and went into his car. He needed to see her. Arriving at Sophia’s apartment building in Westwood, he sent her a text. “Okay. Coming down now.” The girl appeared and got into the passenger seat. “Hey.” She seemed to be avoiding eye contact with him. “So you wanted to talk?” “Yeah. Sophia, I’ve known you since we were little. And honestly, I didn’t really think much of you beyond being friends at first. But I realize how kind, patient, and caring of a person you are, especially with me. You’re somebody who I genuinely appreciate. I really like, Sophia. That kiss, I’m sorry that I forced it on you like that. But it felt right to me.” The brunette confessed, terrified of what she thought of him. “Kendall… I’ve had a crush on you since you first defended me in the first grade. You’re somebody whose friendship I have valued for a long, long time. You mean a lot to me too. That kiss, it just confirmed what I had already felt about you.” The brunette blushed as he turned to face her. Their hands met, and then their lips.

“Oh, I need to get going. I’ll see you later, okay?” Sophia blushed, after their lips separated. She got out of the car, and ran back up to her apartment. Kendall felt happy knowing that Sophia reciprocated his feelings. He honestly did not think that he could date anyone after Carly and him never got off the ground, but he was happy with the end result. Sophia, on the other hand, was still in shock. She did not think that she would ever date Kendall. But it looks like that was a very likely possibility at this point. She finally got her Cinderella moment so to speak. Her proverbial prince charming had arrived, and swept her into his car. That sounded horribly inappropriate, but it was not remotely as illegal as it sounded.

Sky Bird: Chapter 7

“I just can’t believe him! I thought we were friends!” Jared was sobbing into Fanny’s shoulder as the Chinese boy comforted him. “It’s okay, Jared. Kendall’s… always been this way. He’s never really been terribly nice.” Fanny sighed. “Oh, Jared’s over. That’s a first.” Chloe smirked, before realizing that now was not the appropriate time to be acting that way. “Oh, wait, why is he crying?” “So Kendall found out…” “Wait, that Jared is gay, or that Jared is dating you? Or both? Because that’s like a huge truth bomb for somebody who hates you and is friends with your boyfriend.” Chloe was already fatigued from having to process all of this herself. “Hold on, I need to tell Megan. Maybe she could get through to him.” Chloe suggested, pulling out her phone. “I don’t think that Megan can get through to him. Nobody can! He just hates you, Fanny, and I don’t get why.” Jared cried, shaking uncontrollably. “Sh, sh, sh, calm down, Jared. It’ll be okay. Kendall, he has a good heart. I’m sure he’ll come around to this, and if he doesn’t… then I’ll break up with you.” Fanny promised. “I don’t want that, though!” Jared protested. “I should be able to date who I want and be friends with who I want.” “It’s not fair that you have to make that sacrifice!” Chloe added while sending a text to her best friend. “It’s Kendall’s fault. He’s been so irrational and he just hates our family for some reason. Jared, do you know why?” Chloe looked to the blonde for answers. “He always mentioned money. Something about you being rich, and that you don’t deserve the success you have in life.” He weakly groaned. Jared’s voice had gone hoarse from how long he had been crying. “I can sort of see that. Dad always got us tutors so that we didn’t fall behind in our studies.” Fanny noted. “I think there’s something more than just tutors, Fanny. He hates the fact that we’re wealthy.” Chloe sighed. “What’s wrong?” Mr. Chiang arrived home from work, only to see his two children comforting a sobbing classmate. “Dad, do you know why Kendall Skye hates our family?”

“Kendall Skye? Oh, Chris’s son! Oh. Chris’s son…” Mr. Chiang trailed off. “Kids, did I ever tell you guys about how your father got his first big promotion?” “Yeah, you worked your ass off for 20 years, and got the promotion you deserved, and right when you needed it, since mom’s cancer got really bad.” Chloe stated. “Did I ever tell you about how I used to work with Christian Skye? And that we were both up for that promotion?” Mr. Chiang looked at his children and Jared. All three of them shook their heads. And Mr. Chiang began to tell that side of the story. “So we had to let go of several of our associates. I didn’t want to let go of Chris, but he insisted and threatened to quit if I fired somebody instead of him. I tried to recommend him to other jobs, but he was unemployed for a little while and he had a son on the way.” “That’s when Gil was born, right?” Chloe looked up. And slowly, all three of them began to realize why Kendall might have developed a grudge against their family. Even though their parents did try to help Kendall’s family, that promotion, looking at where it got Fanny and Chloe’s family, it’s obvious that no job recommendation could have helped nearly as much financially.

“Kendall, you know that it’s because of Mr. and Mrs. Chiang that our parents still have jobs, right? And dad volunteered to get fired! Mr. Chiang didn’t want to fire him!” Megan tried to explain. “I think that’s a load of bullshit. Let’s wait until dad gets home from work, and then ask him!” Kendall scoffed. He didn’t want to believe that the Chiangs were good people. “He’s only going to tell you the same thing that I did.” She grumbled, walking off to her room. “I’m home!” Gil walked in, only to go quiet from sensing the awkward tension in the living room. “Uh… well I don’t really have a room to retreat to… so I’m just going to chill in the bathroom until you feel better, okay, bro?” The middle schooler headed off into the hallway, knowing he needed to give Kendall some space.

“Guys, Megan just texted me back. Kendall’s still pissed. He said that dad screwed his family over.” Chloe read off the message, horrified. Chloe, Fanny, and Jared were still in Fanny’s room. Their parents were out for the night for dinner with their friends. “I get that he might hate our father, but why does he hate me?” Fanny frowned. “Especially since he doesn’t hate you, Chloe. Or at least not as openly, apparently.” He shrugged. It was just starting to sink in that Kendall had a lot of unaddressed animosity towards him; Fanny always assumed it was playful banter. “First off, don’t make everything about you, drama queen. Secondly, that’s a question I really don’t have an answer to.” Megan sighed, leaving the room. She needed some time to process the entire situation. “But what can we do?” Jared sighed into his boyfriend’s shoulder. “I just don’t know why he hates you specifically. And it’s clear he hates you more than he values our friendship.” The blonde was bitterly hurt at this point. “However much Kendall hates us, I’ll just love you fifty times as much. Because you see me for being the real me, not for my parents’ money.” Fanny reassured, kissing the blonde lightly on the forehead.

“I’m back!” Mr. Skye had returned to his home, only to be approached by Kendall almost immediately. “Dad, I have a question.” “Sure, what’s up?” “What exactly is our family’s relationship with the Chiangs?” “Well, Kendall, we’re family friends. We go way back. Mr. Chiang, or Hugh, we had a little rivalry when we used to work in Goldman Sachs together. I was the ambitious young gun and he was the capable and seasoned veteran. But when he got promoted, and then we had to let people go, I volunteered, because I knew he was going to fire older, more experienced associates. It didn’t feel right to stay. But Hugh was a great friend. He got me a new job at Bank of America and I managed to get promoted to being a manager there.” Mr. Skye looked at his son, confused by why he wanted to know this. “Wow, so the Chiangs have been helping us this whole time?” “Yep! Even Mrs. Chiang helped your mother get a job at a bakery she used to work at, and now your mother is the general manager of it.” A few things went through Kendall’s mind in that moment. At first, he felt embarrassed; this whole time, he was wrong, even though so many people had told him that the Chiangs, specifically Fanny, were good people. And then remorse. He had spent so much of his life, feeling antagonized by Fanny, thinking that Fanny’s wealth was the reason for his success. And finally, regret. Not only to the things he had said to and about Fanny, but also for wasting so much of his own time being angry at Fanny, and blaming him and his wealth on the brunette’s own shortcomings. “Oh, would you look at the time! I have an investor’s gala tonight, and your mother is coming with me! We’ll see you guys later tonight!” Mr. Skye dropped off his bag, and left the apartment.

Jared’s phone started vibrating. The blonde looked at his boyfriend hesitantly. “Is it from Kendall? Do you want me to pick it up?” Fanny’s face was gravely serious; he didn’t want Jared to have to face his ex-friend in either of their current states. “No, this is between me and him.” Jared hiccuped. “No, you’re wrong. It’s between all three of us. He’s got beef with me too, in case you haven’t forgotten the past however many years.” Fanny frowned, placing his hand over Jared’s phone, and hitting the green button. “Jared?” Kendall’s voice sounded hesitant. “Hey, it’s me. And yes, he’s here too.” The blonde’s passive aggressive side was definitely surfacing through his tone of voice. He wasn’t going to let Kendall’s words hurt him any more than they already have, especially not in regards to his boyfriend.

“Jared, I was wrong about Fanny. Fanny, I owe you an apology.” Kendall started. “Wait, you’re going to apologize for a decade long grudge over the PHONE?!” Fanny raised his eyebrows in disbelief. “Look, I appreciate that you’re trying, but this sort of thing, you better say it in person. And not even to me, but to your sister, my little sister, and Jared. Show them some respect!” Fanny shouted, grabbing the phone from Jared. “But-” “Shut up, Kendall. If you have anything to say, say it to our faces. Bye.” And with that, he hung up. “Fanny, that was a little brutal, don’t you think?” Jared was stunned. He wasn’t expecting Fanny to do that. “Well, if he wants to apologize like that to you, then he better do it in person. Or else he’s just a coward. And cowards aren’t worth your time or patience.”

Kendall sat there, in the living room, unsure of what to do. On one hand, he needed to go to the Chiang residence, but on the other, he’s spent years resenting them. He doesn’t know what do to. He knew he owed Fanny and Jared an apology in person. But he was unsure emotionally. He was too scared. Ashamed of knowing he was in the wrong for so long. “What the hell am I supposed to do?” He started tearing up. He was feeling overwhelmed at this point. “Why can’t I ever do anything right?” He started sobbing. “Kendall?” Megan opened her door. “Bro?” Gil peaked his head out of the bathroom. “Oh no!” The two younger brunettes ran over to comfort him. “What’s wrong?” Gil was the first to speak. “I-I-I-” Kendall started, to drown himself out with his crying. “Kendall!” Megan ran over to hug him. “It’s okay! Just take a few breaths.” Gil joined in. “Megan, I’m so sorry. You guys were right. The Chiangs aren’t bad people.” He said between deep pants. “I take it dad told you everything then?” Megan eyed him. “Yeah. I just feel so dumb now. I’ve said so many horrible things about Fanny. And earlier, I tried to call Jared to apologize to him and Fanny, but-” “Wait, you couldn’t do that in person? Especially to Fanny?” Megan frowned. “Yeah, Kendall, you should say those kinds of things face to face so that they know you’re sincere!” Gil added. “I’m scared, guys. I don’t know how to feel around Fanny or Jared anymore.” Kendall sighed. “Especially for Fanny. I’ve spent my entire life hating him, and now he’s somebody I owe a huge apology to. And then Jared, he tried his best to be my friend, even though they were dating.” “Here, we can go with you. If it gets too hard, let us know, and we’ll just take you back home.” His younger brother insisted. “Alright. Let me get the car.” Kendall got up, his siblings following.

Sky Bird: Chapter 6

“Alright, I hope you’re all ready for your skit projects!” Kawaguchi-sensei eyed his Japanese 2 class deviously. It was the Friday two weeks after the Malibu hike, and the class was wrapping up another chapter. “Oh crap.” Fanny crossed his arms and shook his head. Even though he had a theatre background, these skits were brutal: they needed to be entirely in Japanese, contain all of the grammar taught in the most recent chapter, and each person had to incorporate at least 10 vocabulary words taught in that chapter into their lines. Basically, a lot of things needed to be accounted for in this assignment. So it was horrible for everyone. And to make manners even less pleasant, Kawaguchi-sensei would choose the pairs randomly. Or in his own definition of that adverb, by choosing whoever he wants to pair together. “I’d like to see Puckchareon-san and Gomez-san together.” Sophia saw that her partner was Grant Gomez, a stout half Filipino, half Caucasian boy. “Well, could be a lot worse. I mean, Gomez-san tries really hard.” She sighed in relief. “Chiang-san, you will have Gong-san.” “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!” Fanny slammed the desk as he glared at Kawaguchi-sensei in disagreement. He was paired with Yubin Gong, a heavier Korean girl who had a fascination with her own reflection, cosplaying as anime characters half her girth, and making her hair shinier by not washing it, and not paying attention in class to the point where she would hardly ever get above a D average in most assignments. “Shut up, Chiang-san and make it work. What was that saying? In the theatre, the show must go on!” The bald teacher was having too much fun for his own good. “Ahn-san, you can work with…” Please pick me. Please pick me. I want to work with Carly! Kendall crossed his fingers. “Nelson-san.” Carly was partnered with Sharquiqui Nelson, a very sassy Afro-English girl who was somehow the sophomore class’s valedictorian, despite her vulgar vocabulary. “Mmmhmm! I know you just said my name!” Sharquiqui pursed her lips and shook her head in agreement. “And Skye-baka, you can work with your little sister. Maybe she could pick up for your slack.” Kawaguchi laughed, oblivious to Kendall and Megan’s earlier conflict. Wow, just my luck. I get to be with the unappreciative little sister. I’d rather have Gong-san to be honest. Kendall frowned to himself, frustrated at his bad luck. The one time he’d prefer to work with Yubin and he had to work with her instead.

“Hey, partner!” Yubin tried to talk to Fanny, who was visibly uncomfortable; Yubin was suspended for allegations of sexual harassment and blackmail; she threatened to leak nude photos of herself, claiming that they were photos of other girls, in an attempt to sleep with their boyfriends or just to take money from them. Despite that, the school board let her stay, because the superintendent felt that Yubin’s personality, being so different, could make her a unique individual in the school. As awkward as Fanny’s experience was, Megan’s was only worse. She was completely silent, while Kendall was writing the entire script on his own, his little sister just watching uncomfortably. “So what’s your script about?” Kawaguchi-sensei walked by the siblings. “It’s about a dumb little sister who needed to keep her mouth shut about the dumb things she said. And the older brother who decided to put her up for adoption.” Kendall began. “Oh, well that could be funny, but you’re not allowed to use dumb in your script. Sensei-privileges only to call somebody dumb.” He finished, walking off, still oblivious to their conflict. “Kendall, I know what I said must have hurt you, but what you’re doing with this project, I’m sorry, but it’s really immature and just as hurtful. Saying that I’m dumb and being disowned-” “Who said you’re allowed to talk?” He cut her off coldly. “Okay, that’s it. I’m sorry, but Kawaguchi-sensei, my brother is being a grade-A asshole to me.” Megan looked up. “Okay, younger Skye-san, normally I have to give a detention for that sort of language, but you do better than your grade-D dumbass brother in this class, so I’ll let this one slide. That being said, Skye-baka, why are you treating her that way? She’s your sister, not your slave. Respect her.” Kawaguchi scolded the male. The entire class went silent at that retort. “I’m sorry, Megan.” Kendall muttered begrudgingly, before looking back down at the script.

“And what I hope to accomplish by being the first Black female molecular biologist is to properly clone human beings. I would love to meet my great grandma Theodoralina, you nasty-ass bitch!” Sharquiqui snapped her fingers and bobbed her head. “Uh, I don’t quite get the reason why you needed to call me that, but I’m rooting for you, Sharquiqui. Your great grandmother Theodoralina must have been a pleasant person.” Carly laughed off the unusual title Sharquiqui had bestowed upon her, trying to not take it as an insult, but perhaps as a sign of affection? “Nah, she got shot like 50 times for trying to rob the National Mint. I just want to meet her so I can understand her crazy better. But whatever you say, yellow Cracker jack. But I managed to already write the script for this stupid shieeet. I knew he was going to do that, because he did that last year, and that fool is a predictable motherfucker.” Sharquiqui insisted, handing over the script to Carly. “Wait, what’s this about…” The Korean-Japanese girl looked at the paper, analyzing the text. “Wow… this is actually really deep. Honestly, this could be the premise of an Oscar-winning movie.” She was at a loss of words. Sharquiqui’s script was beyond reproach. It was a well-written epic with deep meanings, symbolism, and used all of the requirements. Inspired, Carly wholeheartedly agreed to use Sharquiqui’s script. It was the right thing to do.

“Away, foul beast!” Fanny hissed, crossing his fingers at Yubin, trying to form a cross at her. “Oh, I knew you wanted to finger me. Come here, you big boy.” The Korean girl tried to climb onto Fanny, who immediately raised his hand while pushing Yubin away with his other. “Kawaguchi-sensei, Gong-san is trying to touch me inappropriately!” “Chiang-san, try reporting that to the superintendent. It’s not going to do you any good.” The older Japanese man snorted, watching in amusement. “I am so taking krav-maga classes after this!” Fanny growled, trying to kick Yubin. Meanwhile, Sophia and Grant were quietly working on their script together. “So, Puckchareon-san, are the rumors true?” He looked at her. “Wait, what rumors?” She eyed him, curious but also nervous. “That you have a crush on Skye-san?” “Wait, so they think I’m a lesbian and cougar?” Her mouth went agape in disbelief. “Oh, no, wrong Skye-san. I mean Skye-baka.” Grant chuckled. “Hey, Gomez-san, you’re not allowed to use that word! Only sensei can!” Kawaguchi-sensei frowned. “But yeah, do you?” He looked at Sophia curiously. “Wait, why does this matter?” “Well, you’re like close to Ahn-san, and he’s obviously into her, so I was wondering if there was a love triangle, mayhaps-” “Just shut up, Gomez-san. That’s none of your business.” Sophia frowned. She was offended just by the fact that he being essentially a stronger would interrogate her on who she liked. That was just a violation of her privacy.

One by one, the pairs would recite their skits. Sophia and Grant’s skit was awkward, especially due to Sophia’s earlier scolding at Grant, but not nearly as bad as Fanny’s. Predictably, Fanny and Yubin’s was a cringe-filled act, where Yubin attempted to grope Fanny, who screamed for help in desperation. Megan and Kendall’s skit went over decently, after Kendall changed the entire script, making it a heartfelt apology, to which Megan accepted tearfully; the majority of the class was confused about why she was crying, but thought it was a touching sibling moment. And lastly, Sharquiqui and Carly’s skit left the entire class speechless. Even Kawaguchi-sensei, who was normally angry, critical, and sarcastic, was brought to tears of awe and amazement at how well-written and thought out the entire plot of their skit was, even dubbing it s new age Shakespearean tale. They received a standing ovation, to which Sharquiqui would scream obscenities over. Overall, Kawaguchi’s pairings wound up being for the best. Kendall was able to make up with his little sister, while Fanny failed his first assignment in Japanese 2, due to not finishing his skit while trying to fend off a lusting Yubin.

“So I take it you had a good day in Japanese?” Jared and Kendall were doing stretches on the track during soccer practice. The blonde normally had to cheer up Kendall because of how bad his experiences in Japanese are due to Fanny, so he was relishing this rare moment. “Yeah. Megan and I finally made up, and Fanny failed his first assignment.” Kendall snickered triumphantly. “Well, that fag deserved it. He’s been really rude to you, and that’s what he gets for messing up for your family!” Jared snorted. “Hey, wait, what did we say about calling gay people ‘fag’?” Kendall looked at Jared, frustrated. His homosexuality was not what made Fanny unbearable to him, so Kendall didn’t understand Jared’s continuous need to use that word. “It’s like using the n-word around black people. It’s rude.” The brunette finished. “Jeez, okay, I get it. Surprised that you’d be so against the usage of that word, but-” “It’s because I’m pretty sure that you are. And I want to be supportive of you.” Kendall assured.

“Huh? Me, gay?” Jared sputtered in disbelief. “Don’t worry, I knew for a while. The reason why you keep saying fag is because you want to not be associated with being gay. But I don’t care if you are or aren’t. You’re my friend either way.” Kendall smiled at the blonde. “What? I swear, dude, I’m not-” “I guess you’re not ready to come out yet. But I’ll be supportive of it whenever it happens.” The brunette insisted. “Okay, fine, I was hiding it. But for good reason.” Jared whispered to Kendall. “Wait, why? Just because you’re an athlete?” Kendall was curious about Jared’s rationale. “It’s because I am in a relationship… with Fanny.” He confessed, knowing full well how his best friend would react. “On… Fanny? Wait, why Fanny?! Are you fucking dumb?! You can’t be serious! This is a joke!” Kendall growled angrily. Terrified, Jared shook his head timidly. “What about Fanny is so appealing to you? He’s a rich, snobby, arrogant-” “You don’t see anything about Fanny other than his rude remarks and his money. But deep down, Fanny is a kind-hearted person!” Jared insisted. “He always offers to proof-read my papers for English 2, and he gives me help in Chem whenever I struggle-” “Wait, since when has Fanny been your tutor?” Kendall was angry. “I just went to him for help because Mrs. Johnson and Ms. Ling recommended him.” Jared admitted. “For how long?” The brunette glared at him. “Maybe for the past six weeks?” The blonde’s voice squeaked, him feeling increasingly more uncomfortable.

“Oh, look! It’s Kendolt and his friend!” Fanny laughed, pointing at the pair as him and the rest of the varsity boy’s team was running back to the school campus. “Fanny, the jig’s up. He knows.” Jared covered his face in embarrassment. “Oh shit, really?” The Chinese boy stopped in his tracks, dumbfounded. “Yeah. I tried.” Jared shook his head, defeated. “Well, Kendall, you can’t stop love. Jared and I-” “You don’t love Jared! You’re only in a relationship with him to spite me! Jared, I swear to god, Fanny is not-” “Shut up, Kendall! You’re one of my closest friends, but you have no idea how hard it was for me to have to stay in the closet. I knew you wouldn’t be supportive of this relationship, and that you’d let your hatred of Fanny completely override our friendship! Seriously, it’s either you accept us together, or lose me as a friend. Your choice.” Jared glared at Kendall while Fanny stood there, stunned speechless.

“You.” Kendall turned to Fanny. “You keep trying to take away my family and loved ones. You might be able to woo them over to your side, but you’re never going to fool me with your money and cheap tricks.” He spat, beyond infuriated at this point. No matter how happy he makes his own life, Kendall’s happiness was always overshadowed by Fanny’s. He could never have anything for himself. He could never live his own life, without knowing that Fanny has it better. And that frustrating, it was exhausting to Kendall. He was sick of dealing with Fanny and the people who like him. “Jared, it’s either him or me.” “Okay, that’s it. We’re done as friends.” Jared got up, and walked away, dragging Fanny with him. Kendall was fuming. First his little sister, then his own best friend chose this guy over him? All Fanny had to offer was his money. From what Kendall had seen and knowing Fanny since they were in grade school, the Chinese boy was rude, not smart, and just not a good person. He was always plotting something against him. It was like a strategy to systematically take apart his life. It was incredibly frustrating.

“Hey, man. Are you okay? I heard from Jared that you guys got into a big fight.” Matt was messaging Kendall on Facebook. The brunette was slouched, alone, in the living room of his apartment, still letting it sink in that he had just fought with one of his best friends. “Yeah, I’m fine.” The brunette began. “I’m just frustrated. Jared kept that relationship a secret, and then obviously, Fanny is just not a good person. He knew that Fanny wasn’t good for him, but he didn’t want to tell me because he knew I would state the obvious.” This was getting frustrating. No matter what, Fanny always seemed to find a way to win over people. “Maybe Jared didn’t want to tell you because he knew how you’d react? He wanted to spare your feelings, because he knew it would hurt you to know that your best friend is dating somebody you really don’t like.” Matt reasoned. “Either way, I think you owe Jared an apology.” “Hey, Chloe just told me what you did!” Megan stormed into the apartment. “Look, I get that we had that whole argument about Fanny, but it’s because we just don’t get why you dislike him and his family so much! Why, Kendall? What about him pisses you off?” “It’s because the Chiangs screwed us over!” Kendall finally admitted.