by alejandra

"Jordan? Jordan?" Angela stood at the garage door, peering inside. Jordan focused on his cigarette and didn't look at her, and waited for her to go away. Except, right, he forgot, Angela Chase never did anything he wanted her to do.

He blew out a lungful of smoke and stood up. "Yeah?"

"Oh!" She jumped and whirled around. She'd been looking at the calendar he'd hung up. It was from the fifties, and had belonged to his grandfather or something. It just looked like it was supposed to be on the wall. It wasn't like he liked looking at fat naked girls or whatever.

"Yeah?" he said again. That was the thing that made Angela so annoying. You had to say everything, like, over and over again until she got the picture and answered the question. And even when she answered the question, most of the time her answers didn't make any sense. Like when he wanted to have sex with her and she kept talking about death.


"I just." She stopped. Then she closed her eyes and kept them closed for just a beat too long. Then she blew a long breath out. Then she fiddled with her zipper.

"Yeah?" he said again, and leaned against the wall. He didn't walk nearer to her. Angela took every little thing as a victory. If he stayed where he was, she'd leave. Eventually. Maybe.

"We need to, like, talk. Or whatever. About the thing." Sigh, fiddle, eyes closed too long, repeat. He stayed quiet. She was either talking about the letter - or the thing. Whichever thing. And he didn't want to talk about it, because talking about it wasn't gonna change it.

Yeah, he'd done it. Okay, fine. It wasn't like she was doing it with him and it wasn't like. It wasn't like they were going steady or something. It wasn't like she was wearing his class ring.

Did he even have a class ring?

"I mean." She stopped again. He brought up his cigarette and took a long draw while she fiddled with her jacket and touched her hair. "I mean, if you - like, if you want to talk about it, I would understand. You know? But, I mean - I'm, like, I wish -"

"Angela, I don't -" Angela, I don't want to talk about the thing. It was just a thing, okay?

How hard was it to say? Why couldn't he get the words out? Because talking to Angela was always a process and no matter what he said, it would be wrong.

"I didn't realize," she said, and looked down. Jordan took another long drag on his cigarette - or tried to. It had gone out. He flicked it all the way out the door, and Angela jumped a little.

He patted his pockets - the cigarettes were under his jumpsuit, in his jeans. He wriggled his fingers and caught the pack, pulled it out, and lit up. She watched him silently.

"Look, Angela, I -"

"I know, but I wanted you to know it was okay," she said in a rush. "I'm not like all the other people here. I think it's okay. But I'm - you lied to me."

"Then we're even, aren't we?" he said, and regretted it as soon as he spoke the words, because her eyes filled with tears and her nose got red, like immediately, and he felt like a shit. Like he couldn't do anythig right, not even cheat, not even have a girlfriend for five minutes without fucking it up.

Not even get a girlfriend. Fucking dork had to help him get a girlfriend.

Except that wasn't any girlfriend, that was Angela. Not even the fucking pope was enough for Angela.

"Look, I'm sorry," he said, but she was crying and wiping her eyes with her scarf and her breath made patterns in the cold and he realized that he was cold too. "Come in - close the door."

"No," she said, and took a step back and he took a step forward; she won.

"Come on - I -" and he didn't even know what he had been about to say, but she interrupted him and took another step backward. The light was bright behind her and glinted off her hair and Jordan wondered when she got so pretty; maybe he'd write a song about how he always destroyed everything beautiful.

Maybe not, because that was kind of lame.

"No," she said, and put her hand out, like he was some kind of loser who would force her to come inside and talk to him. "Like what you're gonna say would, like, even matter? Oh, Angela, I'm so sorry, oh, Angela, I made a mistake, oh, Angela, this is the second best friend you have that I've fucked in the backseat of a car, oh, Angela, I swear I wasn't taking advantage of Rickie, he wanted it -"

"He did!" said Jordan, too loud, stepped forward. He did want it. Whatever Angela wanted to say, that was fine, but it was Rickie who got into Jordan's car and Rickie who touched him and Rickie who - "He did," said Jordan again. "Whatever. Just go."

"God, you're so, like, predictable." Angela shook her head. Her face was all twisty. "So predictable. Whatever, Jordan. I was trying to be, like, understanding? You know? But forget it. Forget you."

She turned and left, and the small side door banged shut behind her; the garage went back into darkness, pale and watery light coming through the dirty windows.

Jordan sighed and slid down the wall, and let his cigarette dangle out of his mouth. Rickie had called him; Rickie had said, "Hey. So. Are. So. Like. Tonight?" and Jordan had said, "Yeah?" and hung up and gone to the English teacher's house, and they'd driven around.

Jordan had kind of known him, you know? The way that you kind of know the only gay kid in school. Jordan hadn't known that he smoked. And they stopped for gas and coffee and Jordan pulled around to the back to piss and Rickie had leaned over and said, "Is this okay?" and Jordan - Jordan.

Well, like, whatever, right? Rickie knew Angela better than Jordan did. Rickie knew how to keep a secret better than Jordan did too. A mouth around his dick was a mouth around his dick and he hadn't had one there for so long because Angela thought it was gross and it wasn't like it meant anything; Jordan had just leaned back and said, "Yeah," and Rickie ate his dick like he was starving.

It wasn't like Jordan was gay, it was just like he was horny and Rickie was horny and it was what guys did sometimes.

Rickie must have told. Stupid.

Jordan closed his eyes and saw Angela's twisted face. He squeezed his eyes shut harder and saw Rayanne above him in the backseat of his car. Tighter still and a puff of smoke and it was Rickie's hand on his dick instead of his own, covered in precome and spit instead of oil from his engine.


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