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Breed: Five


  01:52:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 2148 words  
Categories: Breed

Breed: Five

?I'm sorry about your car,? Drake said through the open door.
?I got my stuff back,? Mikaela said.
?I know. But I also know that isn't the point. Having someone in your space, it's a violation. You can stay over here, tonight, if you want.?
She grinned. ?Yeah, I'm sure the crime rate is much lower all of what, a block up my street??
?You'd be surprised. We've been pretty thoroughly gentrified here. I mean, I'm pretty sure they're thinking about putting a Trump Tower across the way. But, you know, if it would be a little less intimidating, being in a new, demonstrably unstable space, knowing you have friends under the same roof.?
?I'd say that depends entirely on whether or not I get too sloshed to walk back to my place from here.?
?Sounds good to me. Iago, you ready??
?I can't find my clean pants,? he said, wandering out of the kitchen.
?They wouldn't have been in the kitchen; any pants you find in the kitchen are all but guaranteed not to be clean. And this is why most adults have more than one pair of clean pants at a time.?
?Pft, adults,? he said, mounting the stairs towards the bedrooms.
Drake shut the front door behind himself.
?You, um, heard from Tucker yet??
?Nope,? Mikaela said. ?Kind of dreading it, actually. Though I have to meet him tomorrow. I'm taking over his lease.?
?I'm still having trouble with that.?
?It's pretty standard. So long as the landlord gets to keep one worm wriggling on the end of the hook.?
?No, the 'him' part, I meant. Not that I begrudge 'him' his gender, it's just, I've been friends with Kaileen since eighth grade. We talked about going to our first Homecoming together if we couldn't get dates. When I came up here to go to school, we lost touch, but I didn't expect to see 'him' two years later as a dude named Tucker. And if I'm honest, I think the thing I stumble hardest on is that he's not a he- and has no plans to be. Physically. It doesn't feel like he's different; he's Kaileen with some shorter hair.?
?This is going to get weird, isn't it?? Santiago asked, closing the door behind him.
?It doesn't have to,? Drake said.
?No, I just hadn't put it together before right now. But I'm going drinking with a dude who dated my sister, a dude who really kind of wanted to date her, and a girl who practically gay-married my sister.?
?I did not,? Mikaela said.
?Yeah...? Iago said. ?Or have you forgotten we shared a room at the time? I mean, I'm pretty sure I walked in on you two defiling my bunk at least once.?
?Bunk?? Drake asked.
?We shared a bunk bed.?
?When you were both eight??
?It was a small room, dude. But it is. It's going to be super weird. And I'm laying down ground rules, now. Each time one of you makes it weird for me, you buy me a shot.?
?We are going to get you so awkwardly hammered,? Drake said, and slapped him on the back.
?Oh, God, what have I done??
?It sounded like you just gave your friends a license to make awkward comments about your sibling while torturing you with booze,? Mikaela said with a smile.
?Sweet, sweet booze torture,? Iago said. ?And where the hell is Pete??
?Across the street.? Drake snapped. ?I probably should call him.?
?I don't know, we could all try concentrating really hard,? Mikaela offered. ?Maybe we could will him out of his apartment.?
Drake pulled out a phone and dialed. Peter picked up quickly. ?You want to tap out?? Drake asked. ?Well, you can't. You're our ride. No, we're taking advantage of the fact that you're a teetotaler to have a designated driver, without the rest of us having to miss out on the fun. You just get to have lesser sober fun.?
?I don't think you're selling it to me as well as you seem to think you are,? Peter said over the speaker phone.
?Peter, it's my first night in town, and you said you'd buy me a drink if I moved up here.?
?I'm pretty sure that text was meant for somebody with a penis. I'm sure of it.?
?Maybe so, but a promise is a promise. And you can play Smash Brothers whenever.?
?Okay,? he sighed. ?But next time, you bring the booze to me.?
?You don't drink.?
?I didn't want to drink it. I just wanted you drinking it where I am, so I don't have to go somewhere else.?
A moment later, they saw his blue sedan descending slowly down the steep drive to his apartment building. When he reached the end, his bumper scraped against the street because of the incline. He pulled over to their sidewalk and popped the locks, so they could climb inside.
Mikaela took the front seat. ?So,? Peter asked, ?how are you liking Bellingham??
?My car got robbed,? she offered.
He grimaced. ?Yeah. I think it's the locals. Like, the college folk seem to be genuinely pretty nice. But the locals are pissed off that their community's been co-opted by the college- especially one so welcoming of people like us. They can be real anus tarts about it, sometimes. But speaking of infiltrating local culture, where are we going??
?Opposite side of the campus,? Drake said.
?Otherwise known as the terrible crappy bars district,? Pete said. He drove down the hill, around to the back side of the campus, because there weren't roads that went all the way through it. Bellingham was a small enough town it didn't take long at all to circumscribe it. ?Okay, what's your poison??
?Whichever sounds and looks the least likely to give us hepatitis.?
?Prude,? Pete said, and pulled over to the curb. He led them inside. There was a small dance floor along one side, and seating on the other. Mikaela started towards the booths, while Pete began gravitating towards the flashing lights and pulsing music.
?Fight the beat, Pete,? Drake said, ?at least until the rest of us are liquored up enough to join you.?
?Feh,? Pete said, and followed them to a table. A waitress came by and took their orders and cash.
Then the crowd parted as one song ended and another started up, signaling a good chunk of dancers to cool their heels. Mikaela spotted him immediately, grinding on a woman who looked about as disinterested as she could without walking away.
Drake followed her eyes to the floor. ?Shit,? he said.
?Yeah,? Iago agreed. ?Not what you want to see.?
?That's a hell of a way to greet a lady,? Demi said, sliding into the booth beside Drake.
?You made it,? Pete said. ?Um, also, everybody this is Demi, she's one of my lab-?
?Partners,? Demi said.
?This is Iago, Drake's roommate, who you met already. Mikaela. And lanky Patrick Swayze is her ex, which is the thing she did not want to see tonight.?
?Oh. Crap. Sorry,? she said.
?You know, Iago's right. This is a little incestuous.?
?Hey,? Iago said, ?I'm on the half of this table that never had a thing for my sister.?
?And it isn't my fault you wanted my sloppy seconds,? Peter said with a grin.
?And I'm pretty sure you two barely made it to first base,? Mikaela said.
?Yeah, but it was sloppy.?
?I believe you; I've seen you eat a burger. Way too much tongue.?
?Okay, I'm not drunk yet,? Demi said, ?I just feel like it. Peter dated Patrick Swayze when she was a straight girl and he was at least testing the straight guy waters. Mika dated her when she was a lesbian. Now he's presumably still into women. So who was who's beard??
Pete dropped back in the booth, looking thoughtfully at the ceiling. ?That is a very good, if deeply, deeply complex naval-gazey question.?
?That's my wheelhouse,? Demi said.
?And that's why she should chaperon you tomorrow,? he said to Mikaela.
?So this was a set-up,? Mikaela replied. ?But, if you were planning on meeting her here to introduce us, why did you pretend like you wanted to stay in??
?Isn't that obvious?? Demi asked. ?He wanted to feel like you needed him to come out.?
Pete turned red, but Mikaela took pity on him. ?I could use the back-up, with Tucker. Things are still pretty...?
?You're still fucked up over him??
?Yeah. I mean, I'm not even sure I'd want him back, at this point. But the way he left, or she, since that it was Kaileen who broke up with me, but... it feels like emotionally I'm standing in the bombed-out wreckage of myself. I know it's all screwed up and wrong, I just don't know how to get things back to normal, or to adjust to this new normal.?
The waitress came back with their drinks. ?Could we also get a couple rounds of tequila shots?? Mikaela asked.
?Shots?? Iago's ears perked up.
?Well, we've spent the better part of our first half-hour talking about your brother. I figure that means we all owe you shots.?
?Oh god,? Iago said, and his stomach gurgled. ?That's a lot of shots.?
?Implied in the agreement was that you would drink every time we infracted. You wouldn't waste all that precious, precious liquor, would you??
?It's so wrong of you, manipulating my deep sense of alcohol appreciation.?
?I think it's symbiotic. We have fun torturing you, while you have fun getting tortured.?
?Man, that'd be awesome. Chinese liquor torture. Just a drip-feed of booze, directly onto my tongue. Mmm...?
?So at what point do we start to worry that our friend's becoming an alcoholic?? Pete asked.
?When he actually gets himself an alcohol drip-feed,? Mikaela said.
?When he finds his clean pants in with the booze,? Drake said.
?When I murder you all for beer money,? Iago said.
The waitress came with ten shots. ?Line them all up in front of that lucky man right there.?
?Um, I'm not cleaning it up if he gets sick.?
?We'll take care of him if he does,? Demi said.
?You better,? the waitress said.
?Drink up, sailor,? Mikaela said, ?get your sealegs.?
Iago took the first shot, and grimaced, then chased it with a second. ?Okay, that was a bad idea,? he said, coughing. He washed it down with his drink, a rum and coke.
?So don't anyone take this the wrong way,? Demi started, ?but you've got a very gay group of friends. Peter, Mikaela, Tucker, who's also trans, I mean, that's just statistically kind of...?
?Improbable,? Pete said.
?Yeah. And that's not even counting Chester.?
?Oh, Chest-Hair,? Drake said. ?And let's not forget Torey, whose whole family seemed like they were overcompensating.?
?I think anyone, gay or straight, ought to be terrified of having sex with that man,? Iago said. ?Just like a scary amount of strength and energy, like it wouldn't just be rough, gritty sex, but like too hard, too fast, just too... why is everyone looking at me like that??
?Well,? Pete said. ?For one, you stopped drinking. And two, it sounds like you've spent way more time thinking about having sex with a man than I ever have, and I really like having sex with men.?
?Dude made a pass at me once. I mean, he was clearly joking, but ever since I've kind of been convinced that he wouldn't have said no if I'd said yes.?
?I think he's just a sexual omnivore,? Pete said. ?Not gay, not straight, but he's like a bear. If it wants to eat nuts, it'll eat nuts. If it wants to eat fish, it'll eat fish.. If it wants to push down a tree and try to eat that- well just try and stop it, it's a damn bear. But imagine instead of eat I'd said fuck.?
?So many dick-splinters,? Drake said.
?But I'm pretty sure even dick-splinters wouldn't slow Torey down.?
?Might even make him stronger,? Iago said. ?Like he'd make a joke about it just adding more wood to his wood.?
?He's clearly had enough,? Mikaela said, moving the tray of shots away from him. ?Statistics be damned, we also have a high percentage of people with abilities, too. All of us at this table. And even those who weren't that kind of special, or weren't some degree of not straight, we were all just a little different. It was a small enough town it was kind of odd that I'm biracial.?
?Ahem,? Iago said.
?Ahem,? Drake said.
?But that only further proves my point. Seriously, how many other multiracial or even nonwhite kids were in our school? Not that I'm patting us on the backs, just, we were an odd group, but I think that worked for us.?

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