by Elijah Taylor about a year ago in friendship

Finding yourself is often the hardest thing.


I love when the sun shines down on your skin as the cool breeze chills your skin. It's the perfect combination, not too hot, not too cold. That is one thing I love about summers in Oregon. It almost makes up for being in this hell-mouth of a town. Ah, Simmerton. The moment I graduate, I'm moving far away from here. Maybe even LA I've always wanted to try city life...

"Clark?!? Didn't you hear a thing that I said?!?" Sarah exclaimed.

"Sorry, I was just lost in my thoughts." I replied.

"You should know by now Sarah, that Clark is always lost in his thoughts!" He started to chuckle.

I felt myself start to blush just as Sarah started to speak.

"Hey Clark, let's go back to your house, I believe there was talk about pizza?" Sarah asked.

"Yeah, let's go!" I responded so fast I think that Grant could tell that I wanted to leave.

"See you later Clark!" Grant said.

"Later!" I replied.

On the way back home, Sarah kept to herself mostly, it was actually kind of eerie.

"Hey, S. You okay?" I queried as I nudged her with my elbow.

"Yeah...I'm fine I guess," she said unconvincingly.

"Come on, I'm your best friend. You think I can't tell when you're lying?" I responded.

She looked down at her feet as we walked, a sure sign of embarrassment.

"Ugh, fine. I...kinda met up with this guy from our English class last night..." she admitted.

I stared at her shocked and proud.

"Look at you getting back out there!" I beamed as I nudged her again.

She had recently broken up with her long-distance boyfriend, Colin. He was going on deployment and she couldn't see them staying together. Honestly, I'm kind of glad they broke up; he was always so "busy" so they only Face-Timed once or twice a week.

"Yeah...I don't know how I feel about it. I'm still kinda torn...ya know?" she said.

Ohhh if only she knew...

"Yeah, I know...Hey looks like we're here! Are you coming in? There's pizza!" I said persuading.

"No, I think I'm going to pass. I actually just got a text from him now..." Sarah replied as she checked her phone.

"Who? The guy you met last night?" I probed.

"Yeah... I think we're gonna go for a walk," she stated.

"Alright, well be safe! When you're ready to talk about it, I'm always here." I reassured her.

"Thank you, Clark. I appreciate it. Also hey, don't tell the others. I don't know if this is anything yet," she asked.

"Of course. I understand completely," I replied.

I nodded and she gave me a quick hug as she sped up and scurried away. I missed when we were younger. When there was less drama. No one had to worry about who was with who, or what the latest gossip was. Living in a small town, people just can't help themselves. I stepped inside my door and immediately was greeted with my younger brother harassing me.

"Was that your GIIIRRLLFRRIIEEND Sarah?" Gabriel said teasingly.

I didn't respond and just rolled my eyes and headed upstairs. Sometimes I wish I was an only child, like Grant, but he's told me before how lonely it gets sometimes at home. I have a love/hate relationship with my brother.

I'm four years older than him so we will be going to the same high school in less than a month, which I have mixed feelings about. With summer nearing to an end, and no closer to figuring everything out, I feel like I wasted it. Most kids end up working, but there's no need for me to at this point; I'm studying for the SATs and I'm working more on my writing. My dad keeps pushing me to apply for NYU, but I'm worried I won't get in. I'm not quite sure what I want to do as a career yet, but my dad thinks having NYU on my transcript will get me anywhere job wise.

One of my teachers said I was good at writing; I may pursue that. Mainly I just want to travel. My dad always says, "A donation always helps smooth things out." Ha. "donation". Just another word for bribe. I'm sure NYU would love an applicant whose father "donated" $50,000 to help build a new pavilion; as if they don't have enough already.

I can see it already, "Thomas Pavilion." Schools always name their buildings after whoever "donated" the most to help build it. Just as I lay down on my bed, my phone vibrates.

[Text Messages]

Grant: "Hey, you get home safe?"

"And Sarah?"

I hate how he does that. Whenever he says anything concerning me, he always has to bring someone else into it. Like he's afraid he'll come off as-

Sarah: "Soooo...my house. 15. I'm not asking."

To Grant: "Yeah. We both did. I'm headed over to her house in fifteen apparently."

To Sarah: "Yeah yeah...I'm leaving now. I'll walk. We're still waiting on the dealership to contact us once they've received my car."

[End Texts]

"Hey mom, dad, I'm going over to Sarah's for a bit! I'll be back!" I said.

"Just be safe dear!" my mother replied.

My mom always responds in the same way.

[Text Messages]

Grant: "Nice. Sounds fun. After you're done text me? I think I'm gonna come over when you're home."

To Grant: "Yeah of course! You know you're always welcome!"

[End Texts]

The walk was short but sweet. When I arrived at Sarah's house, I was excited to hear about the gossip. At the same time I felt a bit sad because who could I talk to about my relationship/non-relationship debacle.

"Hey, Clark! Jessica and I were just headed to bed! But it's good to see you! Sarah is in her room, feel free to make yourself at home!" Tim greeted.

Tim is one of my favorite dads. Out of all dads, Sarah really lucked out.

"Knock, knock! What's going on?" I entered Sarah's room.

She sat on the bed smirking at me.

"Sooo...we kind of made out..." she admitted.

I gasped and was intrigued and sat down with her on the bed.

"How was it?!? What's he like?!?" I questioned.

She continued to drone on about her new secret lover for about an hour. In all the detail, she never once gave up a name. I guessed when school starts back up I'll just have to see who she's the most awkward around. Sarah and I have been friends since we were children.

Come to think of it, we all were. Me, Grant, and Sarah. The dynamic trio. Yes... I know you're supposed to have a duo with that, but our trio was nothing if not dynamic.

Grant and I had the same schedule for the past 11 years in a row now, except for once class last semester, P.E. I was forced to take it as a freshman and sophomore and I didn't want to endure that pain again, so instead I took Human Development. During that physical education time, Grant became really good buds with Johnathan. Johnathan is your stereotypical jock; he has even got the stereotypical mean tough guy act. I secretly think that all guys like that are really just teddy bears inside, too afraid to show their sensitive side. That's just my theory anyway.

After Sarah was done droning, I leave back home.

[Text Messages]

To Grant: "Home now! Probably gonna pass out. Just call/text me before you leave."

I wake up to a vibration on my nightstand and go to check my phone; the bright screen burns my eyes a bit.

Grant: "I don't want to freak you out...but I'm coming in. I tried calling you but you didn't answer, and I already was on my way."

[End Texts]

OH, DANG IT! I totally forgot he was coming! I rush to put on shorts just as he climbs through my window.

"Nice, you've been hitting the gym more?" Grant questioned looking at my bare chest.

"Well, I, Uhh..." I stumbled on my words; not being able to get much more than a syllable or two out.

"Haha, relax. I'm just teasing you," he chuckled lightly.

"Well...you're lucky that I was able to get my shorts on. Next time give me some warning before." I mumbled lightly.

"I guess three phone calls and a text wasn't enough?" he replied

I glance down:

Missed Calls: Grant (3)

"Yeah...sorry I was just really sleep after. Sarah and I were just talking..." I started

"Don't worry about it. I get it. Plus, it looks like I lucked out, I got to see a little more of you," he winked and smirked.

"Soooo...why did you want to come over?" I asked hoping to change the conversation to reduce my blushing.

"I just thought that we could have a movie night. For old time's sake," he replied.

"Sure, but uhh...you do realize that it's midnight, right?" I asked.

"Yeah. That's why I brought my sleeping bag, silly," he said.

He smirked at me as he pulled out his sleeping bag and out from it fell a half-empty bottle of vodka.

"Whoops, completely forgot that was there. Well no point in it going to waste..." He started to chug the bottle (barf). He almost never drinks.

"What's going on? You rarely have alcohol?" I questioned.

"Relax, I just got this from John. We were drinking with Amy and Alison last week."

Like I said before, dynamic trio... I feel like I- not to mention Sarah, have been pushed to the side because of Grant's new "buddies". John and Alison are together (pretty recently too, I might add) but think that they can play matchmaker and set Grant and Amy up. Alison, of course, wants to go on double dates with her BFF so she's been trying to set Amy up with Grant for a few weeks now.

Grant can do so much better. Amy only likes him anyway because he's attractive. She doesn't even care about his personality or what he's like. Grant is a really deep guy and Amy is well...shallow.

The next morning, I awoke to Grant passed out on my bed and his arm around me. It honestly, felt really nice, peaceful. From what I could tell, all I still had on were my boxers and he just had his on as well. I don't really remember last night at all. I think we just watched TV and talked, I don't remember much after Grant busted out the vodka...

I felt Grant start to wake up.

"Hey...I'm sorry. I meant to sleep in my sleeping bag. I dunno what happened," he nervously said.

He retracted his arm and sat up to leave.

"I...I think I'm gonna head out..." he said.

"Yeah. Thanks for coming over," I stammered nervously, barely being able to get that sentence out. I could tell that our relationship had changed in the span of eight hours.

Grant got up and was just about to leave out the window but paused and turned.

"Hey... do you think." Just before he was able to finish that sentence, my mom opened the door and looked shocked.

"Hey honey, breakfast," she paused as she saw Grant.

"It's quite alright dear, no need to explain. Breakfast is ready and there's plenty so if you want some feel free to join us!" My mother's look of surprise faded and turned into almost what seemed to be joy.

"The only thing that I'd ask if that you boys put on some clothes before you join us!" She said teasing as she shut my door.

"Sorry about that...she means well..." I chuckled nervously.

"It's fine. It's not like we were doing anything bad." He nervously laughed and kicked the empty bottle of vodka under the bed.

"But I don't think I can join you guys. Amy just texted me and she wants to grab breakfast." He informed.

"Oh, yeah not a problem...some other time then?" I responded.

We both put on our clothes and headed out of my room, guess Grant's cover was blown; no need to head out off the window now. Just as we got out of the room, my brother stopped and lit up.

"Hey Grant! I haven't seen you in forever!" My brother ran up and gave him a hug.

"You're the brother that I never had!" Gabriel sticks his tongue out at me.

"Thanks! I try!" Grant chuckled lightly.

"Yeah! Well we can discuss it over breakfast!" He grabs Grant by the arm and escorts him tot he dining room.

"Oh I c—" Grant didn't even have time to decline and ran downstairs with him. Looks like for once, Gabriel actually did something helpful.

"Look who's joining us!" Gabriel exclaimed.

I started turning red and had to remind myself to take deep breaths to try and avoid blushing. My family greeted Grant with a smile and we all sat down and started to dig into my mother's famous french toast.

My father started asking Grant the typical conversation fillers, "How's school? How's life? got a girlfriend?" That sort of thing.

While my family started to chat with each other, I discreetly pulled out my phone and shot Grant a text.

[Text Messages]

To Grant: "Hey, you don't have to stay. I know you have plans with Amy."

Grant: "Nah, it's fine. I like your family. Haha. Plus, they'll be other breakfast dates!"

I love how he texts; he doesn't use "lol" or any of the annoying lingo that I hate.

To Grant: "Dates?"

Grant: "You know what I mean."

[End Texts]

The next two weeks seemed to fly by. The next day school was starting, and Amy and Grant were unofficially a thing; surely everyone would be talking about it. After all, when it comes to "royals', their dating life is the talk of the kingdom. That's exactly what high school is. There are few royals and even fewer allowed in their circle. Grant, myself, and the rest of our crew ruled the kingdom well. Sarah reveled in the spotlight, John and Alison both seemed indifferent about it, and Grant and I both seemed to have the same view; appreciate your fame but don't abuse it.

The last names Thomas (mine), Hammond (Grant's), Grayson (Sarah's), and Townsford went a long way as far as prestige goes. The town is small and they were part of the founding families. Along with the family name, came the fame; wanted or not. There was a girl, an only child, of the Townsford family who found that out the hard way.

I won't go into details but long story short, she "shamed" her family and was constantly harassed and ended up moving to Seattle to get away. I feel sorry for Elizabeth. Fortunately, she had what we do not, a diploma; freedom. People of Simmerton take their history with pride. So much so that if you "disgrace" the name, you are almost erased from the tour bus explaining the history of the town.

Sure, your last name will be briefly mentioned, but you most likely won't. Tourism is pretty much this town's only source or income. I have no idea why, it's not like our town is interesting. Most likely because it's a small town and we have every record of any history on file and so we can flash it in everyone's face every moment that we can.

How does it work?
Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Elijah Taylor

I guess I just took the term, "Gay Rights" to a whole other level. 


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