Log:Heart to Heart
Jade is the kind of guy who will call someone a dick, then come around to see how they're doing because he feels like hanging out. That's literally what happens here. Jade seeks Cash out. He's in tapered jeans, a sweater over a turtleneck, and a voluminous jacket. His hair is coifed. It's rare to see him unpolished. "Hey, man," he says, like there was no yelling just a few nights before.
Cash is easy to find on any given afternoon. Cabin fever from his extended grounding keeps him out of the house until sundown. Sundown is when the show starts. These days, he's found in the senior parking lot after swim practice. Even though the last meets were weeks ago, Cash still swims everyday. Afterwards, he sits in or on the trunk of his car reading or doing homework. Today is cool so he's inside, Nirvana blasting. He spots Jade first and is out of the car before Jade reaches it. "Hey. What's wrong? You don't look like yourself." The kid is an Empath of the most sensitive.
Jade arches a brow. "I'm kind of worried about you," he says. "Because you're going to bring the Thistles down on you like a ton of bricks." He leans against the car and shoves his hands in his pockets. "And, I guess, watching all these trainwrecks have reminded me why guys don't make good partners."
Cash leans beside Jade while he listens. His brows are furrowed and arms are crossed by the end of it. "The Thistles have hated me since the first day of school. I lost one of my best friends in James. They closed ranks from the day Spear got that letter. I guess I am getting tired of it. And now with Hector among them..." He shakes his head. "He's going to be made to choose. It won't be me." Then he turns to face Jade for a moment, then he reconsiders and goes back to leaning. "Guys make fine partners. Good ones. Why wouldn't they? Where did you get that from? Just because my current male partners are shitty doesn't mean they were always awful, dude."
Jade shrugs. "It's just the way guys are. They're not very warm, not very forthcoming. They can be good providers, like, if they have a family. But two guys aren't going to make a family. That's just biology. Anyway, it doesn't matter, because I'm not going to date any guys. And if you want James to be your friend, you can't go telling his cousin you hope he dies of AIDS."
"You're a fucking prick." Cash grouses and goes quiet for a moment. In quiet of the lot, you can hear the grind and click of Cash's jaw. "When I was in San Francisco with Hector, he would wake me up with a kiss. I was already awake sometimes but when the alarm went off, I would close my eyes and wait for him to kiss me awake. Then, before breakfast, we'd surf. That's why I joined swim team. Because I was out there every morning. And I learned too. I'm not a /good/ surfer but I can stand up and everything. Then we'd eat and then he had music lessons sometimes and I'd find a spot and busk nearby. No class meant we'd busk together. After that, the day was ours." Cash's tone goes from warm to robotic as his face betrays his emotion and flushes hot. "After dinner, after his mom went to bed, he's come and get me off the fire escape and we would go to bed. We'd lay in the dark and talk, kiss, sing and eventually we would make love. Then...sleep. And the cycle would renew."
Cash looks towards Jade. "So...do you feel stupid yet or should I tell you more? Oh! Because I'm so bad at reading signs and signals meant for me, he always, always told me the straight truth. He only lied about one thing and that was being together our whole lives."
Jade snorts when Cash calls him a prick. He listens though, quiet and thoughtful. There's a wistful look on his face as Cash describes his life with Hector, but then he steels himself. Cash is proof positive that those kinds of relationships don't last. "No, I don't feel stupid," he says, "because I'm not saying you don't have a right to be pissed. I'm saying you have to weigh the momentary satisfaction of telling him off versus the way it might come down on you later."
"I don't give one single fuck about what the Thistles do to me, Jade." Cash says, eyes firmly on the grungy toes of his filthy Converse. "The worst thing that could happen to me already happened." He's says, frankly and sincerely. "The reason it didn't last has nothing to do with men being men though. There wasn't any fucking issue with warmth or whatever the fuck you are on about. His mom was dying and..." He pauses and takes a deep breath. "He dealt with it the wrong way. And, last I checked, dead loved ones and poor coping was not gender specific."
And you've see straight couples be just as vicious to one another, if not worse. Girls have a built-in reputation to maintain. How many girls do you know who are suddenly treated like non-humans because one guy told a lie...or the truth. Doesn't matter. We all call her 'that slut' and dismiss her because of it." Someone has been listening to his hippie relatives.
Jade says blandly, "If you don't care what the Thistles do to you, then by all means pour some more gas on what's left of those bridges. But don't freak out on me when you see me talking to Hector. Screaming about if I'm fucking him. You think I need those kinds of rumors spreading around? Do what you want, but don't splash any of it on me. I'm just trying to get to the end of the school year without one more thing going wrong."
He waves a hand. "Besides, it's immaterial. I'm not saying it's impossible for men to be caring and nurturing. Like. My dad is awesome. He takes really good care of us. I know he's got my back. But he's not touchy-feely. That's just not what he's like."
Cash side-eyes Jade. "Your dad is a prick too." Cash says, bluntly. "My dad, like, hugs me. I mean, it doesn't matter how much I recoil at first, he waits and then he'll still hug me. That's what Dads are supposed to do. Love their kids wherever their kids are. If I didn't like hugs, he wouldn't hug me and that's loving me too. Does your Dad like, do shit with you? My dad helped replace my outdoor equipment and we just installed a signal booster to try and reach that new subdivision at the north edge of town. That's love. It connects. Ferraris don't connect." He shakes his head. "You don't even care about anything but the emblem, I bet. I mean, if you were trying to attract chicks, I'd wonder how your girlfriend in Paris would feel." Cash actually buys that story. He is pretty gullible and possesses no guile himself.
Jade's eyes narrow. "Don't call my dad a prick. He's my dad. Dude, what the fuck. My dad loves me. This isn't an argument you're going to win. Seriously, what the fuck? Why would you want me to think my dad doesn't love me? People assume if you have money, you're emotionally bankrupt or whatever, but that's not the case. Yeah, he got me a nice car. What a monster." He takes a deep breath, lets it out, and says, "I like you, Cash, but sometimes you're kind of harsh on me. Telling me my dad doesn't love me? Drudging up Tasha and the car wreck? Yelling about me fucking Hector because I offered him a ride home? Is there any part in this process where you're going to, you know, be nice to me?"
Cash closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. "You are right." He admits with a nod. "I'm the prick. I am sorry. I really, really am." And Cash's looks Jade in the eye to say it, albeit briefly. "Ever since Hector moved here, I can't get a handle on my brain to mouth filter. It's the first thing to go when I'm stressed. Getting along with people is hard enough without me treating them like shit. I should take a vow of silence." He nods a little, if it's a legit thing to consider. "Anyway, my signal booster is your Ferrari. But I wish you wouldn't discount male relations. Look how nice it was with me and Spear before /I/ fucked it up...because of Hector's one lie." He sighs. "I am sorry, Jade. I really, really am. You've been cool to me even if you can be a prick sometimes." Beat. "We all can be pricks though. No one is perfect." He pauses a moment. "I think I've been harsh because I can see something is wrong with you but I don't know how to get you to tell me so I can help you. I hope that makes sense?"
Jade shoulder-nudges Cash and murmurs, "I know you care about me, even if you're not always good at saying it, and you're raw right now. All you guys are, and it sucks, because I hate to see you hurting, and I hate to see people I like not getting along, even though I totally get why they don't."
He's quiet for a time, staring at the ground as he thinks. Finally, he says, "I'm scared, man. Tasha's gone, and I almost died when I wrecked my car. Now graduation's coming up, and I've always had my sisters, but they're going to move on with their lives, and I don't... I don't //want// to like guys. I just don't. I just see myself alone, and it freaks me out."
Cash relaxes a bit as his apology is accepted and he knows Jade understands him. He listens to Jade, leaning a little closer to him. "Tasha didn't deserve what happened. And going on a bender after that is understandable. Even driving. It's called an accident for a reason. And your sisters...well, I have one. Just one. And she isn't happy unless she racing towards something. She'll leave me behind." Cash scoots a little closer and leans down a bit more. "You don't get to choose what your heart wants. It's a cosmic exchange for free will, I think. You can pick and choose everything else but you can't pick desires." He puts an arm around Jade, cautiously. He touches people the way he wants to be. With a slow approach. "I like both. I know people think I'm gay but I'm not. Neither is Hector. Both. That's why Thea makes me weird but I dated Spear and then Hector. I don't know why people make distinctions. I mean, very literally I don't understand." He shrugs. "Jade just...you can like guys and you can be with them and love them and kiss and fuck and all the good things. But they have the same capacity for bad that girls do, okay? So it a difference that doesn't matter at the end of the day."
Jade has people he lets touch him, and Cash is on that list. He leans into the arm coming around him. It's one of the reasons he's not great at being in the closet. He'll let the 'gay' guy put an arm around him there at the school. "I don't understand the distinction either," Jade says quietly. "I try so hard, but when I'm with a girl, there's just no spark, no matter how hot she is or how much I love her. There's just a switch inside me that won't flip, and it's so frustrating, because if I could just do that one little thing, I'd be happy. It should be so easy, and it's impossible. I love everything about them, but that one thing, that spark, just won't //happen.//"
He sighs. "Don't tell anyone," he says. "I'm not giving up yet." He pauses, then allows, "And I won't completely dismiss men as being nurturing. I just don't want to think too hard about it."
Cash can be socially dense but observant is something else he is. He doesn't hang to Jade long. Just enough for a little side hug. "Forcing it will make it worse." Cash cautions. "I love Spear very much. He's...he was so bright and sunny and I have always felt like I was walking in half light. But that doesn't make a relationship, you know? I couldn't...spark. A-A-And because I am me, I didn't know that was the problem and then I met Hector. It wasn't at first sight, no." Cash wrinkles his nose. "Close. He was kind and genuine and...it became a wildfire." He moves to look at Jade almost in the eye. It's more of the nose and hairline area. "Find your wildfire." There is the radio guru, peering out for a moment.
"Sun's goin' down so it's almost airtime. My dad knows how to start it now in case I'm a little late." He beams, all steel and blue-green rubber now. "You'll be fine. We /all/ need out of this town. San Francisco showed me that. Can I hug?" He doesn't hug without permission. If allowed, he will. Either way, he'll hop in the Buick and before he leave, he says. "Can I call bro code on Hector? Like...leave him alone, pl--you know what, nevermind. Filter. Filter." And he leaves, not wanting to face the rest of that embarrassment.