Log:Titanic Deck Chairs
Jade sits at one of the round tables, with his Spanish textbook closed on the table. His homework is done, and he's reading a recent issue of Esquire. Old het habits die hard. He's got an Americano in a cup on the table, half-finished, and a slightly nibbled piece of biscotti.
Hector orders an espresso and a bscotti of his own, and seeing Jade walks over there. "Mind company?"
Jade glances up, and he smiles as he says, "Hey, not at all." He closes the magazine and sets it on his book. "I was just hanging out while I finished up my coffee. I usually get an espresso but I wanted to try something different." He takes up his mug and sips. "What's up?"
Hector sits down, "Do you like it?" He keeps his voice low, "I swear I didn't tell people. Silver knew kind of on her own and then Spear got excited. you okay? i mean now prety much everyone knows. That cn be a little heavy.
Jade shrugs a shoulder and says, "I'm all right. I knew when I decided to go for it with Spear what it entailed: people would find out, one way or another. I came out to my folks before news got around, and that's all I care about. I didn't want my dad finding out through the rumor mill, and he didn't." He smiles a little. "I'm not mad or anything. I can't get mad at Spear for being Spear."
Hector nods, "I'm glad you got to talk to him first and I really am happy fr you and Spear. he needs someone who really gets how amazing he is. I know this town has not been kind to him that way, and I know how important you've always been to him."
Jade says, "I don't know, people seem to like him, even if they don't understand him. I'm mostly annoyed by people saying how unsurprised they are I'm gay, as if I'm polling people on their opinion. It's okay to think things and keep them to yourself." He rolls his eyes. "I'm actually pretty stoked about going to prom with Spear. I never really got the point of why it was so exciting, outside of social standing, until I was going with someone I'm really into."
Hector flashes him a smile, "You love someone like that, everything has a magic to it." He does not comment on the obviousness or lack their of Jade's orientation directly. Instead he goes with, "I'm not sure I believe in Gaydar. I'm often wrong."
"All you bisexuals throw it off," Jade says. "I honestly try not to think about other people bumping uglies unless I'm attracted to them." He takes another sip, then says, "It's funny how normal it all feels. Like he and I have been together for awhile. Everything just fits. He wrote me a note apologizing for the cafeteria, but honestly, I didn't even think about it. Now that I have my family's support, I couldn't care less what the rumor mill says."
Hector nods "That's fair." He sips his coffee then stirs it a little with the biscotti before taking a nibble. He beams at him, "That's the best isn't it? When it all just feels right and natural, the little stuff sort of falls away."
Jade grins, ducking his head a little, because he knows he looks like a fool. "Yeah," he says. "I mean, he's just so sweet. I never thought about how important it would be to be sweet. Then it clicked and it was like, well no duh. I dunno. I think I liked him all this time and just never let myself make the connection til lately."
Hector says, “I think it might have been like that for you. Back when I first came he kept talking about you like you were the center of his world, but not in a way that made it likely he noticed he was doing it you know? Your opinion was just so important to him, but it sounded like he wasn't sure if it could ever go the other way. It made me want to know you better. If you were that important to him..."”
"I had no idea," Jade admits. "I mean, we hung out and were friends, and I totally loved being around him, but I didn't realize he was into me like that." He's quiet a moment, then admits, "We've fooled around. It was pretty cool."
Hector says, “I don't think he had a lot of hope you would be into him. I kept telling him he was attractive and too cool for Arizona, but he thought I was lying to make him feel better." He looks him in the eyes, "I'm glad. I'm really glad. You are both people I really care about and I really want you both to be happy."”
"I want to take him away for a weekend," Jade says. "Somewhere nice, just the two of us. I'll ask him where he wants to go. It'll be nice to take some time and make it all about us. We could get a nice hotel room somewhere, maybe one with a hot tub in the suite. Stay in and order room service and not bother to get out of bed." He sighs softly. "That sounds so nice. I'll talk to him. Do you know of any particular place he likes?"
Hector smiles crookedly. "That sounds amazing. I don't know where he'd want to go, but I'll keep my ears open.... If you were leaving the hotel, I'd suggest the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. Not that he's mentioned it; it just seemed the sort of thing he'd like. Maybe somewhere... Old, you know? Like a Gothic bed and breakfast somewhere only with room service. Do they have things like that? Gothic hotels?"
"Gosh, I don't know if we could do Philadelphia in a weekend," Jade says. "Maybe if we have a three-day weekend or something. He'd love that, I bet." He frowns thoughtfully. "We'll have to look for something close to home that's old. Like some pioneer cemeteries or ghost towns. Ooh! I'll find a ghost town. That would be awesome. We can explore it during the day and go back to the hotel at night."
Hector grins, "That sounds amazing! Imagine him all excited hunting for ghosts and cryptids bounding excitedly around the town and you... enjoying him being him, you know?" he closes his eyes, "I really am sorry about everything, you know that right? I'll never forgive myself for endangering all of you."
Jade grins. "I could watch that all day." His expression grows more serious, and he says, "I know, man. I know you wouldn't want to endanger any of us. I don't blame you guys for trying to get to safety. I really don't. And I know he's not trying to be a huge liability. I hate that this guy I used to consider a friend now feels like that: a liability. I hate that. Anyway, we don't know for sure they'll target the Thistles. We can hope they were gone before you guys got there."
Hector closes his eyes, "I've a misgiving that they'll hunt us to the ends of the earth. Him for refusing; me for sending the police. And they all have to refuse, I think, or it will be bad beyond imagining. I don't want to lose my sister so soon after we've started to understand each other. I don't think we have a choice but to resist; I'm not sure how to resist. I've done what I can. Amy's skepticism aside, I think the Lesters will protect their own, but I don't think they'll stick their necks out for the rest of us." He gazes off into the distance, "I don't know how to even begin with the adults of the other four families after talking to Aunt Nancy failed." He looks Jade in the eyes, "I don;t want to die. I made my choice not knowing what it meant, but intentions don't matter in the end. I've done harm and I suspect I'll have to keep paying."
"I'm scared for Thea," Jade admits quietly. "Of course, we're going to do everything we can, but it's scary, you know?" He takes a sip of coffee, then says, "We'll take care of our own, and I'll take care of Spear. I'll try to help Silver as best I can, because she's a friend, and I'll make sure you don't go broke doing what you need to do. But yeah, this is all pretty fucked up."
Hector reaches out to touch his hand, "Thank you. It means the world to me. I trust in your cleverness and in your spine, if that makes sense."
Jade smiles a little. "Yeah, it makes sense. I've got both. If you guys keep moving and lay low, you might be okay. Maybe all they wanted to do is scare you. So act scared, and they'll be happy. At least buy yourselves some time. I have a feeling this is going to blow up, and you two aren't going to be their primary target, for good or bad."
Hector nods, "That's what we're going to do. Keep moving, keep our heads down, and play for time. you've made that possible." he cocks his head, "Who do you think they'll go after?"
"Probably the people they've already been harassing," Jade says. "I doubt somehow that they'll just stop and say ha ha fun joke. They're going somewhere with it, and it's going to come to a head. I don't know what's going to happen, but it's not going to be pretty."
Hector sighs, "That third time too late thing terrifies me to be honest. we still have no idea how to fight them short of a classic day staking or day beheading like in the books and movies and i for one... It's very extreme, you know? Like I've been in fist fights, but the idea of, I don't know taking an axe to someone. Who does that?"
Jade admits, "I have no idea how to, you know, kill those things, but decapitation and driving a stake through someone's heart is bound to ruin anyone's day. Should we be talking about this public, do you think? What if they have Igors around who have creepy good hearing?"
Hector sighs and nods, "Good point. I'm...paranoid, but not nearly paranoid enough maybe. God, I just want to go home you know? sunlight and sand and all the dangers straightforward."
Jade says, "I have an active imagination and no desire to die young." He glances around the coffee shop casually. "I think we're okay, but let's be paranoid. And let's live while we're still alive, okay? I know this is a huge deal, but we're still alive, we still have stuff to do. How are you and Cash doing as a couple?"
Hector sips his coffee, "We went to a matinee the other day. Buffy. I'm starting to see parts of him I didn't last summer... We may have an apology gift you will like... Oh! What is with that weird dude at the movie theater? That Huey guy. Is it all rumors or is there something to it?" He takes a breath, staring into his coffee. "I'm starting to understand what forever really means, maybe, and how it's not always simple even if you love someone with all your heart. I do love him and it's so right being back together. I'm just working out the and then what happens if that makes sense."
"Huey?" Jade says. "I don't know. I think he's been huffing too much carbonation off the soda machine or something. He's all right, though. That's one hell of a movie to go see, though. Was it good?" He leans in and admits, "Forever scares the hell out of me. I'm just going to live for today. Make each moment count, because forever's too heavy."
Hector wrinkles his nose, "The cheerleader gets cramps when the vampires show up, which sounds sort of counter productive to me. Like yeah, cool to have a vampire detection method, but then she has to fight them while in pain, you know? It just seems like a thing a guy came up with but didn't think through. Pee Wee Herman is hilarious in it though." He nods, leaning forwards, "It's what he needs though. I knew what I was agreeing to when I said yes I'd come back. I'm still getting used to the feel of it though. Declarations of love are easy, but there's more to living up to it." He studies his hands, "I keep making promises to various people and the more I make the scarier they get because I really want to live up to all of them. I've made so many mistakes this last year and I want... to be perfect." He smiles crookedly, "Which I know is insane, but it's like if I fuck up anywhere someone is terribly hurt." Or killed. "And that's my fault."
"Don't make so many promises," Jade says. "If you don't make promises, you're not letting anyone down. Decide what's important, boil it down to, like, three things, and make that your center. Forget perfect, fuck perfect. We don't have the luxury of getting hung up on perfect. Focus on you and Cash getting through high school so you can fuck off out of this town and never look back."
Hector closes his eyes, "Every one of my instincts is telling me to grab Cash and everyone else we care about and just run, run for home as fast as a car can take us."
"I can't leave," Jade says, "and I don't think Spear would either, but if you and Cash can swing it? Sure, go. Get your GED. Neither of you are thinking about college, are you? But think, Hector. If we have them here, they probably got them there, too. You'd be running to anonymity, but nothing else."
Hector shakes his head, "We can't. We need to graduate if we want USC to take us." He smiles crookedly, "Promises. I've promised not to distract him, to keep him focused on finishing strong and going to college, to not let the short term rob the long term. Our audition tapes and applications are in. We can't go even if every instinct says run."
Jade nods and says, "I get it. So you're going to USC? That's cool. I'm going to go to Columbia, but I kind of want to find out what Spear plans to do. I mean, it's not big deal, we can keep in touch. But, like, if he wanted to come to New York, that would be cool. There's all sorts of schools and cool places. There's bound to be a mortuary school if that's what he wants to do."
Hector says, “We're hoping so anyway. I'm pretty sure they'll take Cash. If they don't take me, I'm hoping I can at least go to one of the colleges in the California system." He flashes him a quick smile, "Oh man, I can see you both in New York, you know? That'd be perfect."”
"I'm not quite ready to ask him," Jade says. "I don't want to come on all stalkery, and we've only been dating for a little while, but it's on my mind. We'll see what happens." He smiles, that silly infatuated smile of his. "Anyway, yeah. We'll see if he wants to go away with me for a weekend and see how that goes. One thing at a time."
Hector smiles gently, "I think that's wise, Jade. Have the best time and get good and far away from all this nonsense and see where it takes you, you know?"
"I'll make sure my family can reach me," Jade says. "And that his can reach him. With everything going on, I don't want to be completely out of touch, but yeah. I feel really bad about walking in on Lucas and Sil. I just want to make sure nothing like that happens. Besides, who doesn't love a road trip, you know?"
Hector winces, "I do too, you know? I want her to have something good in her life what with all the grim stuff going on."
Jade says simply, "So we'll make sure she gets those things. What kind of things does Silver like? Spiders, snakes, I assume chocolate since she accepts it as tribute and gave us brownies. Maybe we should get her a spa day. A massage, mani-pedi, you know, just to be treated like a queen."
Hector grins, "That's a really kind thought. And she deserves to be treated like a queen. I'm not used to... having the kind of money that solves problems, you know? I am glad you are using your powers for good." He sips his coffee, trying to decide if he should broach this next topic and how, "You... have a lot of social influence."
"Of course I have a lot of social influence," Jade says, unburdened by false modesty. "This school is in desperate need of my help. That and my sisters'. We basically keep the place running." He's no dummy though, and he regards Hector dubiously. "Why?"
Hector sets his cup down and winces, "It's not what you think. I'm... trying to set something right and I don't know how." He takes a breath, "The gossip about Morrison. It... really hurts him. Like, it's insulting to me, but it's a lot harder to live down... what people are calling him. I mean, yeah things got messy there for a while, but he really is a decent guy and I... I don't know. I think given enough time maybe we could be friends. If I survive this. Everything's a lot harder with people... being nasty about it. He has to live here, you know? I mean, I know you can wave a wand and fix it, but cold you, I don't know encourage people who might listen to you not to call him that?"
Jade nods once and says, "I won't permit that kind of talk in my presence," he replies. "It's stupid anyway, and I've always thought so. We're not babies. We're old enough to be put in a lottery to die for this god-forsaken country, the very least we should get out of it is the ability to date whoever we want." He considers his cup, then says, "I like Morrison. He's got a good head on his shoulders. He's nice."
Hector nods, "He does." He looks sheepish, and leans in to whisper, "I gave him an edited for the skeptical version of what's going on. I was worried about Amy and Squid, you know? And I don't know the twins well, but I'd rather nothing bad happen to them. He... He's not batman. Like he can't fix it? But at least he can look after his family." He closes his eyes, "He's nice and he always treated me like my own person. He doesn't deserve to have the mark of Cain for doing something very consensual with another adult."
Jade mentions, "No one was saying it til Cash though, you know that, right? Maybe Cash needs to be flipping the script as well. I know he meant no harm, but for a guy who means no harm, harm gets done. But I'll see what I can do. I don't like the idea of Morrison's name being ruined over something like this. For fuck's sake, you're legal. There's a point where you just have to fucking let it go."
Hector winces, "Yes, and I talked to him. Sometimes he doesn't think things through. I was legal and yeah maybe we were both thinking with the little head instead of the big one, but who hasn't done that at some point? He doesn't deserve to have his life ruined over something fun we both decided to do." He looks Jade n the eyes, "Thanks. I mean it."
Jade shrugs and says, "Don't worry about it. I like Morrison, and I think it's ridiculous. Do you know anyone in particular who's hanging on to the narrative? I might need to make a precision strike. Otherwise, I'll nip it where I see it."
Hector shakes his head, "People don't do it to my face anymore, because I explain why it isn't cool every time. It might be a lot of it is out of our sphere of influence as it were, but the more of us trying the better."
Jade nods and says, "All right. Consider it done." He finishes off his coffee and says, "I appreciate you telling me. I just amazes me how stupid people can be sometimes. Like, there's real bad stuff going on in the world, and this is what we're going to fixate on? A consensual relationship that happened to end badly?"
Hector laughs softly, "I suppose there is nothing more human than arranging deck chairs while the Titanic sinks. we are all human in this, i think, even if it's different chairs."
Jade shakes his head. "I'm already so Greta Garbo on this town. Find another spectacle, monkeys. Anyway, I should get going. I need to figure out where I'm going to take Spear. I hope his parents let him go. It's not like I'm not an upstanding citizen, right?"
Hector laughs, "More reputable than me, at least. I hope you too have the best time ever, Man."