A Gray Area Ch. 12byDeity©
The music was loud. Deafeningly so. For the second time that night Caden was sure the heavy bass from the music was going to mess up her heartbeat. She sat near the bar of the poorly lit club, Delaney's, and sipped at a drink the bartender had given her. There was a weird after taste to it and Caden couldn't help but think about how Shane had given her a talk about putting her drink down somewhere. C.K. glanced back the bartender. He was talking to someone but he glanced over at her and smiled.
'Please don't think I'm cute, please don't think I'm cute,' She chanted in her head. But he did. And he was walking towards her.
"Jesus Christ," her mumble was lost in the heavy bass of the song that still played. He put a drink down in front of him. Caden assumed it was someone else's that he was supposed to be fixing. "I never see you around here. Are you new in town?" He was yelling casually over the music. "Yeah," Caden yelled back. It was obvious he hadn't heard her because he leaned in closer. "Yeah," she repeated, raising her voice. "I used to live here but I moved and now I'm back."
He nodded. He handed the drink off to a man who had approached them quickly, ready to complain. The man left. "Well, welcome back." The bartender said. He smiled but didn't mean it. He didn't want to talk about where she was from or where she had been. He wanted to know what kind of guys she liked and if she was a freak in the sheets. Caden nodded, not knowing what else to do. The situation had turned awkward in the blink of an eye and she was ready to leave. "So are you here with anyone? Boyfriend? Brother?" Caden looked at him confused. 'Why would I be here with my brother?' she wanted to ask. "Girlfriend?" he added with a laugh. Caden didn't smile. She held up her drink as if giving him a quick cheers. "Right." She yelled. The song had switched and was now playing a fast beat techno-rock song. "I'm gonna go now." The man nodded his head slowly, clearly disappointed but C.K. didn't let that stop her.
She walked along the walls of the club, careful to avoid the dance floor and stopping every few minutes to talk to a guy, that intersected her path. She made it clear to each and every one of them she wasn't interested. She hadn't even wanted to go out tonight. Her plans had been to stay home and watch movies but those had gone up in a mushroom cloud in a matter of seconds. Caden found Shane, Ann Marie, and Eliza on the couches near the back of the club. Shane sat slouched, observing every person that walked by while Ann Marie and Eliza chattered endlessly with two men, both of them appearing to be twins.
Caden dropped down onto the couch with Shane, the sudden weight change distracting the man from his observations. He glanced at her with a small smile. "Are you having as much fun as I am?" he asked. It wasn't necessary to yell where they sat; the couches sat pushed to the back of the club, more as a VIP section than a rest area. Caden shrugged. They hadn't been there that long so it was too soon to judge if she would regret coming out. "You brought me out of the safety of my house to watch you watch other people?" she asked, a smile playing on her lips and reflecting in her eyes. "No," Shane began. He looked as if he were thinking of something to say. "You'll see why I brought you out here." He took a swig of his beer. "It will be worth your while." Caden raised her eyebrow conspicuously. He noticed it. "I promise," he amended. She took a sip of her drink, joining in on Shane's activity. Watch people, take a sip, watch more people, take another sip. Every so often, women would flock over to him, asking for a dance. When he would deny they would walk away, brokenhearted. Caden wanted to laugh even though nothing of it was funny. She felt bad for them. Shane was a good looking man, just like his cousin.
The thought came out before she could stop it and she laughed from her own embarrassment. Shane glanced over at her as she took a large, very large, swig of her drink. "I wanna laugh." He held up his drink in a quick cheer at a passing man, probably a co-worker, then glanced back at her. He was waiting. Caden tried to think of something to say quickly. How dumb would she look if she told him that his cousin was on her mind? Not just now. But a lot. Especially since her and Jason were done. "It's nothing." But Shane didn't buy that. He continued to stare. His eyes waited patiently for her to tell the truth. "It's nothing!" her voice almost squealed. God, was she tipsy?
"You know, he does the same thing." Shane glanced out at the crowd once more before returning his gaze. "He'll get quiet then laugh and say it was nothing but you always know who he is thinking about." Caden could only stare. He couldn't have been talking about Jon. Could he? Her heart sped up at the idea that Jon thought about her.
'Play dumb,' she told herself. "I don't know who you're talking about." This time it was Shane's turn to laugh. "Really?"
"Does he really think about me?" She couldn't help ask. Shane laughed again. Quieter this time, like a chuckle. "Yeah. A little too much. His band was thinking of kicking him out because he couldn't write any songs. He can't really think passed your face." He nodded to himself, as if his mind had thrown in another suggestion. "Or other parts of your anatomy."
"You're kidding me? Does he talk about me?" She asked. "I mean, we talked in the hospital and we kinda fixed everything. He asked me out to coffee and I said yes."
Shane's eyes were sincere. "He wants you guys to be friends again. Kind of like the old days, you know?"
Caden's face grew warm with memories of their 'friendship'. "We really weren't what you would call—"
"Friends." Shane finished, with a sly smile. "So I've heard." He glanced at her face, mistaking her look of shock probably for anger. "He didn't go into detail! He just said that things were different before he fucked up. Things went a little deeper than every one else saw."
Caden nodded. The memory hurt. No one had known they were together. She had been his dirty little secret. Inside they were lovers. Outside they were friends but even then, just barely. That had killed her. Rumors had been a daily battle with them and Jon had fought them off easily with a disgusted look and two quick words: 'hell no'.
"How deep did it go?" Shane questioned. Caden looked up at him, surprise in her eyes. Should she tell him? "You don't have to tell me." But his words convinced her otherwise. He was dying to know and Caden couldn't help but feel joy at the fact that Jon hadn't told.
"He was my first," She admitted with a sigh. Her eyes had been captivated by the leather of the couch she sat on but a small sound from Shane brought her sight upwards. He was incredulous. "Jon was your first?" he asked again, as if he hadn't heard her right the first time. She only nodded. "I don't believe that." His face settled back into a smug smile. C.K. shrugged. "You don't have to. It's true."
"Was he any good?"
"He's my cousin. I have to know if I have competition with the ladies."
"It was my first time."
"It's either a nightmare or a fantasy. A lot of girls enjoy their first time." Caden gave him a scrutinizing look. "Depending on whom it's with. Just answer the question." Caden shrugged again. She was torn between telling the truth and making up disasters that occurred before, during and after. If she told the truth, she would probably blow Shane out of the water but if she lied, Jon's sexual reputation, which despite her disapproval and jealousy, has probably built since she left, would be ruined.
"It was good." She answered. It felt as if she were answering her mom on how her day at school was. Shane stared, waiting for details. "It was good? That's it? He must have been horrible. Coming too soon, and not knowing how to put on a condom. Your not gonna tell me when it happened? Where?"
"What's with the interrogation?" She wasn't annoyed, but she wanted to make it sound like she was. A women, pretty and probably Hispanic walked up to Shane and asked him for a dance. He waved her off, irritated at the sudden interruption. "Well?"
Caden sighed, moving closer to the curious man as if someone could hear them over the loud music. "Start off with the basics. When?"
"July 23rd. About two months before I left for New York."
"Christ," he said to himself. "Where?"
"In my room." Shane looked as if he were waiting for her to say something else so she added, "During the day, when I had aquamarine sheets on my bed. My parents were home. Deity was home? We were having tacos for dinner that night? I had just bought red shoes? What do you want to know?" She had raised her voice and Shane was laughing at all the things she named.
"I want to know how it led up to that and was it any good."
"You're so fucking sick. I pray you're not getting of on this."
"I'm not. I'm seeing how Jon broke through your defenses and maybe I can take some lessons and break through Deity's." Caden's heart sank when she heard his words. She wasn't sure if she wanted to tell anything anymore. God, he was trying to hard. "It started outside my parent's private library. We were kissing and my dad walked in caught us but he wasn't mad. He let us off the hook and told us to go somewhere else but be sure to use a condom."
Shane laughed, hysterically. He stopped when he realized she wasn't kidding. "Victor told you and him to go somewhere and be sure to use a condom?" Caden nodded, a small smile playing on her lips. Shane's face made her want to take a picture. His mouth hung half open his eyes wide. "So needless to say, I was thoroughly embarrassed and I kept complaining but Jon was going up the stairs and he said 'I want to show you something.'" Caden chuckled, to herself, looking passed Shane at something that wasn't there. "I know it sounds like something a pedophile would say to lead a kid into his house but..." Caden couldn't suppress a shudder. Despite herself, she wanted to relive them. Every minute of them. "It was amazing," she admitted, still not meeting his gaze. "He would touch me somewhere, and I would lose it. I was so embarrassed because I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing but he would show me and— it was just amazing."
Shane watched her as she took another swig of her drink. "Now why did you bring me here again?" she asked, her eyebrows scrunched up and she tried to change the subject. Her cheeks were burning. "You don't have to be embarrassed," Shane consoled. "It's sex...well maybe in that case it was something a bit deeper. But it's still sex."
"I'm not embarrassed about the fact that we had sex. I'm humiliated at the fact that it's your cousin and I just told you about it." Shane smiled. "I would have found out anyway." Caden rolled her eyes, smiling. He probably would have.
As the two settled back into their chairs, a heavy guitar rift settled through the air, catching everyone's attention as it echoed. The sound made Caden look up to the stage that had darken to a black shade and Shane sat farther back in his seat, a smile on his face. As the solo slowed down, the stage lit up but only a little. Jon stepped forward to the edge of the stage; his blonde hair wild as usual and a blue guitar dangling heavily across the front of his body. Caden reminded herself to breathe as he spoke into the mic.
"How's everybody doing tonight?" he called out. The club replied with loud cheers and whistles. Beside her, Shane clapped in a slow beat. Caden simply stared. "You guys have got to forgive me for missing out the last two days. I had a friend that was in the hospital. But she is better now." More people in the club cheered. "Alright," he called, not using the mic. "Let's get this shit started."
He played the same solo again except the tempo was faster and the whole band played along with him. Ann Marie came beside her and was grabbing her hand pulling her into the crowd that had gathered near the stage. Caden didn't protest this time. She pushed through people and was at the front of the stage in no time. Ann Marie and Eliza appeared next to her, nodding their heads to the tempo.
Caden felt the bass in her chest again but this time she wasn't concerned about it restarting or stopping her heart. She worried about Jon stopping it. He looked amazing. His shirt was a striped black and gray and almost covered his hands. He was already sweating. His jeans were designer and fit him perfectly. Eliza nudged Caden roughly and said something in her ear. 'What?" She yelled, not hearing the Hispanic girl over the music. Eliza rolled her eyes. Her thin tan finger pointed up at the stage. Caden's eyes followed and met with a pair of hazel ones. Jon looked right at her, a smile playing on his perfect lips.
"I'm glad you could make it," he yelled down to her. Caden could only manage a shrug which made his smile broader. His eyes diverted back to the crowd. He put his lips close to the mic and began singing.
Caden felt as if she had died and gone some place nice. Not paradise. No, paradise was nothing compared to this. His voice echoed through out the room, gracing every person that heard it with its beauty. He sang about a girl he had loved and then lost. He sang about how things would be so different this time around.
He sang about Caden, and she knew it. Periodically he would look down at her and smile. With mustered strength that she gathered in between glances, she would smile back, trying her best to make it sincere despite the fact that she was dying inside. His song ended going into another one that was softer yet still strangely upbeat. This time he stared at her through the whole song. She didn't catch a word of his lyrics. She only saw his eyes; those hazel orbs that had watched her so many times and had turned up into a smile when she so much as sneezed or tripped. Those hazel orbs that she had fallen into and couldn't get herself, didn't want to get herself out of. She welcomed whatever sweet demise they would bring.
"God, he is looking right at you!" Someone from behind her yelled. She could only nod.
'Yeah,' she wanted to say. 'I know.'
C.K. hadn't realized Jon's band was off the stage until she was talking to Shane about it over near the couches. She bragged to him about how amazing his cousin was and was sure to leave out the gushy details about her heart and his eyes. "It's been forever since I've seen him play. He's definitely gotten better. And his voice," her heart sped up at the mention of it."-has definitely gotten amazing. I mean he was great before but...wow." Shane smiled at her, knowing she was leaving details out.
"Should I get a hose to cool you down or will you survive?" Caden nodded. She ran her fingers through her hair. Shane reached up to fix the strands that took on their original unruly place. "Yeah," he agreed, finishing up Caden's grooming. "He and the guys have been working hard. I can't quite say that they are trying to make it big but they are definitely doing something different, Right, Jon?" Shane's last question had been directed behind her and C.K. turned to see Jon taking a seat next to her. He had changed and was now sporting an all-black short sleeve shirt that hugged his chest perfectly. He had kept the designer jeans.
Caden felt the weight distribution of the couch change from one side to the other as Shane got up and Jon sat down. "So you liked the show?" he asked, his hands were carefully placed in front of his perfect lips, hiding a smile. Was he happy to see her? "It was...loud," she tried sounding indifferent and pulled it off. "It's been a while since I actually went to a show or a club so it takes some getting used to." Jon only smiled wider. He was reading in between the lines of her apathy, catching her struggle to sound detached despite the obvious.
"I heard about you and Jason. I'm sorry." He tilted his head a little to the side, bringing his head to his resting hand on the back of the couch and racked through his short hair. "I know how much you liked him so I'm sure an apology isn't reall—"
"You know, to tell the truth, I don't really wanna talk about him." Caden sat up. She made it so her independence showed through her posture. "He was a bad mistake that I don't wanna reflect on. I came out here to have fun and that's what I'm gonna do." She shrugged. She wasn't looking at him but through her peripherals she could see him gazing at her; his head still tilted to the side almost as if trying to comprehend her. "This isn't your scene. I don't know why they brought you here."
"They brought me here to see you."
"I don't know why something like that would cheer you up."
She glanced back at him, holding his eyes then looked back out at the dance floor. "I don't know either. But it definitely did help." The weight changed on the couch again. Jon joined her in a slouched posture, leaning down, elbows on knees, watching the dance floor. "Do you want to get out of here?" He asked. C.K. failed at hiding her surprise. "Just go somewhere," he amended. "Anywhere you want. We'll do anything you want. Let's just go." When she nodded he hoisted himself up. He grasped her hand lightly from off her knee, pulling her to a stand. His hands were warm, the fingers surprisingly un-callused, his palm a strange soft comfort. His hand let go but his eyes directed her, glancing back at her multiple times until they were out of the club.
C.K. couldn't stop laughing. "Oh, you are such a liar!" she squealed after taking a healthy swig of her Coke. She handed it off to Jon, letting him drink the rest before opening another one.
They had gone straight to McDonald's because Caden had said 'I can eat.' She had ordered a quarter-pounder and a large fry. She'd nixed the drink when Jon lifted up a 12 pack of Coke cans in his back seat. She finished her burger and fries before Jon was even half way done with his. 'Jesus,' he had said, surprised. 'Normally when a girl says she can eat there's a distinct connotation that they can't eat that much.' She had reached over and took a bite of his burger. 'Never underestimate the power of a break-up.'
Which brought them to where they were now: an abandoned shopping plaza parking lot. Jon slouched down in his chair, nervous about being caught by a rent-a-cop. Caden on the other hand, sat proudly erect, foot under her, newly opened soda in her lap. "I swear," Jon reassured her of her previous accusations. "She has eight kids now." Caden through her hamburger wrapping at him, making him join in her laughter. "She was the Virgin Mary when we were in high school. There is no way she went crazy in college."
"I swear," he repeated. "She started dating some fifty year old and got knocked up. Supposedly, the other seven kids are from some of his other co-workers." Caden gasped. Jon gave her a satisfied grin, loving the surprise on her face. 'That's crazy and I don't believe it for a second." She gave a defiant nod but broke the mood with a smile. "A lot changed after you left." Jon informed her quietly. She shifted her foot from under her. Her head slid back against the window so she looked at him with lazy eyes. The smile that had brightened her face, quieted down to a small curl at the end of her lips. "So I heard. How was Deity, while I was gone? She barely ever called." Jon sighed, noticing her attempt at changing the subject but not pushing it. "She was difficult," he answered. "You know how she gets. She's suspended from UCLA because of her record. They said she can't come back until they have notarized proof that she has cleaned up her act."
"Jesus Christ,' she murmured. " I never wanted her to end up like this." She told him. Her eyebrows scrunched together in frustration and Jon could tell she was taking this as her fault. "I don't think anyone wants their kid to turn out badly, even though I don't think she has turned out too bad. She's just confused." He shrugged as if it were nothing. "She makes bad decisions, yes. Does she do it on purpose, no. Does she wish she could take back her actions? Wouldn't doubt it for a second. She just needs a push in the right direction."