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Sometimes, the truth hurts...
“’Lex, come here a second.” Kaiel was tugging on my arm. “It’s kind of urgent.”
“Is this about Caryn?” I asked.
“How did you know?”
“I didn’t- it was a lucky guess.”
“Well, come on.” Kaiel gently lugged me away, yanking me by the wrist until we were in his bedroom. Kai’s bedroom is painted completely black with a few posters. It’s messy- an understatement. I can barely walk in here. But Kaiel seemed at ease. Of course- he was used to it.
“You like her, Kai, don’t you,” I stated.
“Well, yeah, she’s funny, she’s careful, she’s smart, she’s beautiful. Her sarcasm can be biting and she’s not afraid to ask for her own way. But ‘Lex, I can’t ask her out yet even though I want to so badly.”
“Because girls don’t like it when you ask them out right after you meet them. Trust me, ‘Lex, they hate it- I speak from experience. I’m just not sure how long I should wait.”
“Well, I don’t know, I’ve never had a girlfriend.”
“You’re kidding me, ‘Lex. A guy as good-looking as you… you should be picking up girls right and left!”
“They say that I should be doing many things, but I do hardly any of them,” I wryly quipped, smirking at Kaiel. “You’re not so ugly yourself.”
“I’ve had a few girls,” he loftily informed me. I suddenly realized how little I knew Kaiel Meyer.
“Kai… I just realized that I really don’t know much about you… or your family, for that matter…”
“Well, I’ll deal with the Caryn-crisis later then. I’ll explain a little bit about my family.” Kaiel straightened his hair quickly. “I know that you kind of wonder why my family is never around. Well, the truth is that my brother… he’s not normal. He needs a lot of help. I’m not sure why my parents bother, frankly. But anyway, the gist of it is that they leave me on my own a lot. They don’t know about the fact that I’ve been stealing money from them or the pot. I doubt that they even care.”
“I know what it’s like to have parents like that, Kai, except… well, they’re not available at the moment.”
“He gets all the attention,” Kaiel fumed, infuriation written clearly across his face. “I doubt that my parents even know about my existence. But… you see why I have to act out, ‘Lex? It’s just… something in me just snapped. Of course, I wasn’t always like this, and I’m not sure that I like it, but it’s… that’s that. I’ve been sucked down under- and no I’ve taken you with me.”
I’ve never seen Kai helpless, at a loss for words, or even portraying weakness at all. It was… admittedly frightening to see Kaiel falling to pieces. He was usually so strong, radiating power. I had absolutely no idea what to do. Finally, I managed to force out, “I didn’t know that, Kai.”
“I know. I know, ‘Lex, I know. I just… you were innocent before I messed your life up. I’m just so sorry,” he blubbered.
“I wasn’t all that innocent, Kai.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Nothing I want to talk about. Look, Kai, you’re wasted.” He really was. His green eyes were glazed over, and he looked small, childish, vulnerable, and bare, stripped of his facades, maturity, and assurance. He looked so broken. I couldn’t help being reminded of my own life. Would I have to face the same thing one day?
“Well, thanks for listening, ‘Lex.”
“How much did you drink?”
“About ten,” he slurred like a veteran. He reached for another bottle.
“Should I stop you?” I apprehensively asked.
And so I let him drink, knowing that he was trying to drown out all his pain, trying to dissolve, trying to melt and find that temporary high even if it poisoned his body.
But I knew that it was useless. And yet, I was just like him…