I remember the night it happened. Alex called me on my cell. He checked on me like he always did but this time it was different. This time I couldn’t say I was alright. This time, my parents were fighting for their lives and Alex’s dad was the one trying to save them. I don’t resent him not being able to. There isn’t a lot you can do when a car is thrown from the highway, down a hill rolling before landing on a tree. In truth I was amazed they survived the initial crash.
It was just before summer started, around midnight. My parents were out on date night and it went on long, it usually did. I was woken up to loud banging on the door and the sound of gruff men yelling they were the police. To say I was scared, would’ve been an understatement. It’s not that I’m scared of cops, it’s just I was asleep and it was midnight so obviously there are alarms going off in my head. Anyway, I answered the door and the cops asked if I was “Jack Meadows” to which I replied yes.
From that moment until the moment Alex’s dad told me they were dead was an eternity. I wasn’t sure how to feel when he said that. I didn’t hate my parents. They did a lot for me, but they also didn’t take well to the news that I am gay and in love with my best friend. To their credit, Alex didn’t know it either and it is going to stay that way. I do remember crying. For many reasons honestly. The first thought in my head was “does this mean I have to leave Alex?” to which I cried even more because the first thought should have been, oh my god, I lost my parents! Still I did cry for them.
I’ll never forget Alex. He came bursting through the doors of the hospital and embraced me with a tight hug. He held onto me like no one else could. Everything about him made me feel safe and happy. I honestly look to that moment when I need a happy thought. I stayed with Alex for a week while my aunt and uncle did arrangements for my parents. Then they made me come with them for the summer. It was their intention for me to stay with them until I graduated and went to college. Only problem, they were two hours from Sanctum.
I kind of put them through hell the entire summer until they broke the news that they were sending me back to Sanctum. I was happy for all of ten seconds. They revealed I will be living with Alex because they sold my parents house. This might sound like a great thing since I am in love with Alex but no, this is a nightmare. I can’t be with him 24/7. It will be torture and if he finds out I am into him, it could ruin our friendship.
Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to argue. I wanted to finish school with Alex and the others. This is my only option.
Chapter 1: Alex
I am so excited! Jack is staying with us for the school year and then we’ll be roommates in college! It’s horrible on the circumstances of him moving in because of his parents dying but still, I can’t deny my joy. We’ve been best friends our whole lives! This is something we’ve talked about since forever. It took a long time for my dad to convince Jack’s aunt and uncle but he finally pulled through. Dad did warn me though, that living together can put a strain on any relationship but I don’t see that happening with Jack and me.
We’ve never been at odds with each other. He is truly like a brother to me and someone I love more than anything. I know it’s going to be great. We even have a week before school so he can settle into things in the house. Jack knows the schedule of my dad is usually late at night and since my mom isn’t around it’s just us. I’m not rich or anything, but we are well off. There haven't been any struggles in my life beyond time with dad. He is always busy so it has been rough for the bonding as father and son. However, he always makes sure we have Sunday together and I always make it clear to friends that I won’t be available.
I’ll admit it is lonely most nights but that is all about to change! Jack is moving in today! We haven’t gotten the guest room finished up yet so Jack is going to have to sleep in my room until that is done which probably won’t be for a week or so. I don’t think Jack will mind too much. He won’t be here until tonight around nine so for now I am just killing time playing a video game.
Dad is grilling us some food. He had hoped Jack would be here for dinner but Jack’s aunt and uncle were busy so they couldn't get him here sooner. It will be fine. I bought a bunch of stuff for him in case he is hungry. I don’t know why but I am nervous. You’d think I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in months. The truth is, we haven’t gone a day without talking on the phone or doing a video call. Jack didn’t really like being with his aunt and uncle. Not that he hated them, he just loved Sanctum and who can blame him? Sanctum, Missouri is one of the best cities to live in.
Though Jack won’t admit it, I know he misses me a lot too. He always tries to act tough like he doesn’t need anyone but he has always been the first one to text or call me in the morning. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he is in love with me or something. He dotes on me like we are dating but I do the same for him too. We’ve always had that kind of relationship. We were brothers, bonded for life.
“Alex! Dinner is ready!” My dad yells from the dining room. I leave my room from upstairs and head down to join dad. The smell is great! Dad is a great cook, griller, etc. The only thing he couldn’t do is bake and honestly that’s ok. I’ve always been picky on deserts. As I get in the kitchen dad has me grab two plates. We fix ourselves our plates and sit at the table to eat. We talk throughout dinner. Mostly dad wants to know how excited I am.
“I know you’ve missed him a lot. He should be here at about nine.” Dad says. I can’t wait until then either. I hope he isn’t too tired. “I know, hoping he isn’t tired so we can do some stuff before bed.” I say enthusiastically. My Dad gives me a skeptical look.
“Well if he is tired, you let him sleep. By the way, apologize for me that I haven’t gotten the guest room ready. My lazy son hasn’t been helpful.” Dad chides with a wink. I mean Dad isn’t wrong. I haven’t really helped in preparing for Jack’s arrival beyond my own personal stuff like buying drinks, snacks and getting my room ready for him. I don’t see a point in him not sleeping in my room. It’s pretty big since I’m an only child and we’re going to be living together in college anyway.
“Yea, yea . . . what can I say? I am bad about procrastinating.” I hold my hands up in defense. Dad takes a drink from his glass. “Yea well he needs a room. He can’t sleep in your bed for the year. It’s fine for a few days but he is going to want his own space.” I frown. Why can’t we just put a bed in my room? I hold back on my question because Dad and I have had this conversation before.
I just want Jack to be as comfortable as possible given everything. I guess a room down the hall is fine but still. I decide to not bring up what I want so Dad and I can have a good dinner. I cut a chunk of chicken from the breast and eat it. Dad gives me a look of suspicion. He knows me too well. He knows I want to bring it up. “Just make sure you’re there for Jack. Who knows how much he is holding in.” I wish I could say I disagree but Jack has been distant lately, even before his parents died.
“I know Dad, I promise Jack will feel great about living here! He has been telling me how excited he is to be staying with us.” I say. Dad and I continue our conversation while we finish dinner. As we finish our dinner, we clean up our dishes. Normally we would watch a show or play a video game but we can’t tonight.
Unfortunately Dad has to get to work so I am left by myself for the remainder of the evening until Jack arrives. After Dad finishes changing to his work clothes, I give him a hug and tell him to be careful. For the rest of the time until Jack arrives I play Elden Ring. It’s a good game, super difficult. The character I designed is a mage knight. Physically strong but can use magic as well. Jack also played and we often played together. One of the ways we were able to keep in touch is chatting online and playing together. He went for a physical faith character.
As I play I can’t help but look at the clock over and over because I am dying for Jack to be here already. It’s weird to think that a year ago we were here in my room hanging out and planning out Junior year and the summer before senior year was supposed to be one of adventure. We didn’t get that though. Jack’s parents were in a terrible car accident just before summer started.
Dad called me in the middle of the night. I was royally pissed off about it too. That was until Dad told me what happened. My first thoughts were, where is Jack? Then reality hit me and I knew he had to be asleep. “I need to call him! I’ll see you at the hospital Dad!” I said quickly before hanging up on him.
I called Jack right away and he didn’t pick up. I called a few more times and he finally answered. I could hear him doing his best to stay strong when I asked him how he was. Jack told me he was at the hospital and I got dressed in mismatched clothes and got into my car all the while talking to Jack on the phone.
When I got to the hospital we said bye and hung up. I ran inside and found him in the ER waiting room. I grabbed him and held him as tight as possible. Jack broke down into my chest. He was so vulnerable that night. After my Dad told us the Meadows were dead, I just held my friend for as long as he needed. I ended up driving us back to my house and we slept in my bed. I remember him clinging to me all night.
It was adorable in truth. I held him. I know. It sounds gay but he is my best friend and I’d do or be anything he needed me to be. Jack really needed me to be a security blanket, so I was one. I remember the next morning he was so embarrassed. His face was beet red. There was nothing to be embarrassed about. We’re friends. It’s normal for us to sleep in the same bed.
Oh great I just died. This is what I get for getting in my own head while playing Elden Ring. You die when trying to concentrate fast enough as is but you stop to think for two minutes and you’re getting a spirit arrow to the face and your character is flying off of a cliff into infinite death. I take a look at the time on my phone. It’s after nine. I’m not concerned but usually Jack lets me know if he is going to be late. I get ready to call him when I hear a knock on the door. My heart races and I sprint to get downstairs and see my best friend. I open the door and see my smiling friend. I pull him into a hug and squeeze hard.
About the author
I've been writing for years. Hope to be published soon! I love fantasy, sci-fi, adventure, romance, whatever captures my attention! My favorite book series is Artemis Fowl, I read it as a kid and continue to read it!