untitled teen/murder story - 2 (lgbtq+, language, pls comment/cc/whatever)
Posted April 4th, 2018 by Garrett
in a city drinking coffee
a/n: thank you to everyone who commented on the last chapter! i am really enjoying writing this and i hope you will keep reading.
The motel we’re staying in is on the verge of being one of the worst motels I’ve ever stayed in. Not quite, because five years ago on the way home from one of my mom’s business trips, we stayed at a motel where we could literally see the cockroaches crawling up the walls and in the shower drain. Needless to say, I didn’t take a shower that night. Or for many of the following nights once I got home. Every time I pulled that curtain close, all I could see were their little feet skittering around as they wiggled their way out of the drain.
Thinking about it now makes me almost grateful for the shitty motel room we have. It has two queen-sized bets and a futon. Emma and I are sleeping on the futon. Jess and Rose get a bed and Dean and Lane get the other. The walls are full of mysterious stains that match the ones of the carpet. At first it grossed me out, but the more I look at them the more I think about how each one has a different story that I wish I knew.
When we settle in, I sprawl out on the futon and my eyes tell me to go to sleep, but my stomach tells me I can’t until I give it something to digest.
So naturally we order a pizza.
Lane gets off the phone from the place we’re ordering from, and says that it’ll be here in about forty minutes. So we put on Family Feud and wait, all piled up on the two queen sized beds, playing along with the contestants as they make their guesses. Emma, Lane, and Jess are exceptionally good at it. While their on a roll yelling out thing after thing just before it shows up on the board, Dean, Rose, and I sit in silence with a little bit of admiration. Except Dean. He has a lot of admiration, watching Lane throw out answers with giant, animated cartoon heart eyes.
Forty minutes pass.
Then an hour.
An hour and thirty minutes. Family Feud ends.
“Where the hell is the pizza?” Jess asks.
“Yeah, wasn’t it supposed to be here like an hour ago?” Rose turns to Lane.
Lane shrugs. “The guy on the phone said forty minutes.”
“Call them again,” Emma says.
Lane picks up his phone and dials the number again. The man on the other side, from the muffled tone I can hear, sounds agitated.
Lane bits his lip and nods. The rest of us sit on the edge of our beds eagerly awaiting a paraphrased version of their phone conversation.
“Uh huh,” Lane nods his head. “Yeah. Okay. Okay thank you bye.”
All the color is gone from his face. For a second I’m scared. For a second he looks dead.
“Lane,” I say, touching his arm. “Is everything okay? What did he say?”
Lane blinks and starts talking. “Thirty minutes ago, they were wondering what was taking Jim, the delivery guy, so long to get back to the store and so they sent someone else out on his route. That person found Jim’s car pulled over on the side of the road. The pizzas were in there, untouched, but Jim was gone.”
“What the fuck,” I say, looking down at my hands in my lap.
“That’s fucking messed up,” Jess says.
“I’m not even hungry anymore,” Rose says.
“Do you think it was that Denver guy?” Dean asks.
“Shut the hell up, Dean,” Emma says, elbowing him.
“Yeah,” Lane answers him. “Denver Jackson. It has to be him.”
“That’s so close to here,” I can’t take my eyes off the window, the blinds wide open for anyone to see inside. I get up and close them so that we’re in pitch darkness except for the shifting blue and white light of the TV. Lane turns up the volume on the news channel. A reporter is already talking about the discovery we’d just made. Going into detail about the perfect condition the car was in. The engine still running, the key still in the ignition. There were no signs of distress or anything out of sorts, except for the fact that the driver, Jim Hammond, was gone.
“I can’t deal with this,” Jess says, standing up and sliding on his jacket. “We gotta get out of here.”
“We can’t get out of here,” Lane says.
“Lane’s right,” I say. “If Denver Jackson’s out there we can’t just go walking right into his open arms. We’re safer in here than out on the road. Think about Jim.”
Jess nods and blows out his cheeks. “He was driving. God, this sucks. Best road trip ever.”
Rose shrugs and brings her knees up to her chest. “It is kind of exciting. In a scary way.”
Jess wraps his arms around her and the rest of us try not to gag at their cuteness. “And how the fuck is that?”
“I mean I feel like we’re in a horror movie or something.”
Lane dead-pan stares at her. “Rose, in a horror movie ninety percent of the characters end up dead by the end.”
Rose rolls her eyes. “I didn’t say this was a horror movie, just that it feels like one. Or like, it feels like watching a horror movie feels.”
“Except,” I start, “when you’re watching a horror movie, you know that what’s inside the screen is fake and can’t actually hurt you. This man is a real human out in the real world somewhere within the ten mile proximity to us. And he can actually hurt us.”
Rose frowns. “Whatever.”
I take it back. This is the worst motel room I’ve ever stayed in.
“The worst thing is that we’ll never get our pizza,” Jess grumbles.
Rose turns on him. “The worst thing?”
“We’re all hungry.”
“I don’t fucking care if you’re starving!” Rose says, laughing a little. “There was just a murder! That’s worse than your hunger!”
Jess looks like he doesn’t know how to react. “You’re the one laughing.”
Rose searches for something to say, but her mouth stays gaping. Then she starts laughing. Bright giggles that light up her whole face.
Then Jess is laughing, holding his stomach and howling.
Next I can’t help but to join them. Then Lane catches me looking at him and he chuckles. Dean and Emma are the only ones who don’t join in, who just stare at the rest of us as if we’re insane.
I don’t feel insane. I get it. A couple years ago my great grandfather died. I barely knew anything about him, except that his first name was Christopher. At his funeral, no one really had anything kind to say about him. He was kind of a bitter man. So after the usual statements that are made about a deceased person at their funeral, there was just silence. My mom was the first person to break out in laughter. My aunts and uncles joined her. I didn’t get it, because I hadn’t witnessed his horribleness as long as they had. But soon enough I was laughing too. Later, my mom told me how guilty she felt about laughing at his funeral, but that she couldn’t help it. Sometimes, when you don’t know what to do, or how to react to something, your body automatically resorts to laughter.
My sister, Carmen, broke her ankle in the shower three years ago. When she hobbled to the living room, where my mom and I were watching TV, she had a towel wrapped around her and she was dripping water all over the hardwood.
She told our mom what had happened and our own mother, the woman who had birthed us, started laughing right in her face.
My sister and I were both confused, but Mom kept laughing as she brought out clothes for Carmen and started the car to take her to the hospital.
In the motel room, hungry and pizza-less, we make a group decision to crack open the mini bar and see what overpriced food we can afford. We round up an extra fifty dollars and buy a water for each of us, and two packs of mixed nuts.
Our laughter makes the scary situation a little less scary. But we still all pile up on the two queen sized beds like little kids.
Jess, Rose, and Dean on one. Emma, Lane, and me on the other.
Dean started to get upset that he couldn’t share a bed with his “mans” because Jess and Rose won a game of rock-paper-scissors to get to sleep together, and Emma and I won the other game of rock-paper-scissors to get to sleep together, even though we aren’t dating or anything. We just wanted to piss off Dean. Plus, Lane has been our best friend, the third part of our trio, since we were all little. Every now and then we like to have him to ourselves.
I bundle up between Lane and Emma, our six legs intertwined in each others. I can tell Lane’s from Emma’s because of the difference between hair and smooth skin. But sometimes I forget which legs are mine. We snack on the pack of assorted nuts and sip at our bottles of water. It’s only ten o’clock, but it feels like way later. We watch Friends reruns, but our eyes never grow tired. A long time after midnight, none of us are even a little bit sleepy. But we’re all quiet. It’s like we think that if we speak too loudly, Denver Jackson will sense we’re awake and he’ll come hunt us down.
I’m watching Chandler bury himself in a series of schemes to distract Monica from the fact that he’s planning a proposal when something covers my vision. Emma has thrown the duvet over our heads, so that all three of us are in utter darkness, our heavy breathing the only thing reminding us that the others are there.
“You guys scared?” Emma whispers.
I think Lane nods, but I say, “Yeah. You, Em?”
“I just want to get out of here as soon as possible,” Lane says. “We haven’t even made it out of Georgia yet.”
I sigh. “The road trip schedule is already going to be fucked up, Lane. Just relax. We’ll go as soon as we can.”
“Yeah,” Emma says. “As soon as they say they’ve caught Denver Jackson.”
I can feel Lane’s mouth dropping open. “What? You’re telling me we’re just gonna sit here in this motel room indefinitely?”
“I’m sure they’ll catch him eventually,” Emma says.
Lane scoffs. “We’re leaving tomorrow.”
“Lanes right,” I say. “We’ll leave tomorrow. Around noon.”
“Noon?” Lane asks, exasperated with us.
“Yes,” I say. “Noon.”
We’re silent for a few minutes, listening to the fake audience laughter inside the TV.
“I wish we were still little,” Emma says.
“I do too, sometimes.” I think I can make out the outline of her face, the slight curve of her nose and upper lip.
Lane grunts, “I don’t.”
“Why not?” Emma asks.
“We wouldn’t have any freedom. We wouldn’t be going on a road trip like this.”
Emma laughs. “When you say we wouldn’t have any freedom, I hear that we wouldn’t have to deal with our own problems. I miss the days when our parents would handle all our issues for us.”
“Remember when we all first met?” I ask.
“Kindergarten,” Emma says and I can hear her smile.
“I cut myself with my scissors,” Lane says.
“I was your partner at your table and I didn’t know what to do,” I say.
“You didn’t just not know what to do,” Lane cracks. “You sat there and cried because you couldn’t handle a couple drops of blood.”
Emma sighed. “But I came to the rescue.”
“Yeah, you stole us from our station and basically dragged us to the nurse’s office for a band-aid.”
I laugh. “You weren’t gonna let her, Lane.”
“I don’t remember that.”
“I do. You were saying that it was just a little cut and it would heal in a couple of minutes but Em wouldn’t hear it.”
Lane hesitantly laughs. “Did you even ask the teacher if we could go, Emma?”
Emma snorts. “No.”
All three of us laugh underneath the scratchy duvet. For a second, I do feel like a little kid again.
At some point, we all fall asleep.
I wake up to the sound of Rose screaming and glass shattering and I open my eyes and see blood.
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