Who We Are

by D K Daniels

This short story has a song dedicated to it as a soundtrack. If this is your thing I urge you to check out the song, which is called "Medicine" By Daughter

Segment One

Pale transparent rays of crepuscular sunlight poured in and warmed the slender sculpted chest of Oskar. He held a rather simple, two tone colored soccer ball, with leather patches of black and white, against his bare stomach. His exposed, shirtless torso quivered with each rise and fall of his dynamic breathing. He had only been panting seconds before, and for the first time in years he was actually talking to Noah like a normal human being. His appearance in this light resembled a clear mental visage of Adonis, a Greek god of beauty. To be honest, Noah never envisioned him in this illuminance before. Something about him, seem enticing, or to say the least alluring in a way, which Noah would have never thought over otherwise until now. Actually, on the contrary, Noah hated Oskar before he had even set foot in the room. The boys had history you see. Oskar was of course Noah's tormentor, and his bully. He ridiculed Noah, called him degrading names, and even on occasions pushed and shoved him about. Why you ask, well because he felt that his message may not have been clear enough to the smaller boy. He felt he wanted to be the domineer of every encounter he had with Noah. Unknown to Noah however, Oskar, held mixed feelings for his counterpart.

However, oddly. Noah somehow felt at ease for the first time in years. What had started out as another ordinary weekday, took a turn. Noah felt incredibly thankful, that school was not in session. Because when It was, Oskar would often confront the weaker boy within the confined walls of Millbrook High. Oskar's, repulsiveness was nauseating to Noah's senses. He would approach the boy and retort, "what are you going to do Noah, run home to your mom." To which Oskar's new friends would snigger behind his back, Oskar would then go on to make a snide remark about sleeping with the weaker of the twos' mother. Nevertheless, Noah didn't dare lash out at him. He well knew, that if he did, Oskar and his band of brothers would pummel him to death, most likely.

But the reason as to why Noah was here, is of course accidental. Who would have chosen to be securely locked inside a room, four floors up, with no option of escape. Being confined with a fragile human, was a thought provoking concept for Noah. Although it was against his will, he oddly accepted being locked in a room with Oskar. Who wanted to be locked in a room with someone as horrible as Oskar. 'I would-'Noah thought, yet at the same he could not fully understand as to why. He had oddly enjoyed their time in captivity. You see, Noah had this crush on a girl called Mandy, and as it turns out, so did Oskar. Of course, that is only half of the story, for quite while Noah believed he maybe bisexual. 'For what I'm about to tell you, would remain in strict confidence, Noah decided- Yes. I urge the most stressing plea,' he begged. Because something within Noah had forever been altered, after his brief encounter with Oskar Kowalski. It's hard to explain, but to Noah he thought he was in love, those where his exact thoughts, 'I think I'm in love.' Which of course he denied, he couldn't be' he contemplated, and neither could Oskar. The most mysterious trope of all is that, he was sure that the slightly more fleshed out boy might like him back. Deep down of course, he had no scientific truth in all this, but he had his gut feeling to go on. Though through all of his helpless struggles, he has tried to explain himself, and he will try explain his happenings. He recalls the events that took place. They maybe a little muddled up in there, inside his adolescent brain. 'I just need to recount,' he thought. Step by step, he would piece them back together and place them in chronological order of events.

As far as he could recall, Noah left his house around 2pm, confident and in high-spirts. Mandy had invited him over for some sort of date, well to him it was a date of sorts. If he was lucky- and played his cards right, he could have possibly tried his chances. To try and initiate a make-out session from it all, seemed rather adventurous to him. But when the boy got their she was overly friendly for some peculiar reason. She offered him a cola, and of course some junk food. But he declined after all, he had kissing on his mind, and if he was going to make out with her. Noah didn't want his breath to be rank or to have food particles lodged, and clinging to the underside grooves of his teeth. He could tell you, that deep down he wanted a box of those delicious looking Pringles she had offered, but he refused.

Though Noah stuck to his word about having no junk food, he declined the offer. For the most part, she showed the petite boy around her apartment. Which was- did I say four floors up? well it was. The vibe Noah drew from this particular dwelling was a council build in its truest form. The basic interior of unessential bricked walls, made up the small divided living space of the kitchen and living room. Each which was as equally unappealing. Cheap furniture, with horrible tasted character, characterized the living room. And that made Noah shudder, he imagined creepy crawlies lingering on the fabric of the sofa. Just waiting for him to sit down and they'd lurch for the young boy. One word came to mind and that was groty. Dark brown carpet layered the surface under Noah's feet. It had glued itself effortlessly to the concrete floor which would hold a collection of dust and missing pennies beneath its fowl cover. Down the hall from the kitchen, past the horrendously rushed painted walls lived a dynasty of bedrooms. One of which, would become the boys' prison cell.

For the most part, him and Mandy were having a refreshing conversation, soon a rat-a-tat resounded the surface of the door. Two other brunettes, which their names escaped Noah's memory, joined in with the meeting. He had recalled seeing the girls in school, however he could not put a name to a face. He was so ecstatic. What boy doesn't like being surrounded by three attractive girls, cute girls to him. He knew, he was being overly cocky, but at least one of them would have to kiss him, right?

After a while, of gossip between the girls, Noah would get up and float his way to the bathroom. The presentation of his appearance had apparently crept its way into his numbing brain. After all he figured he wasn't missing much. The girls where gossiping- about whatever they were talking about, he simply didn't really care. The last thing he remembers them yakking on about, was shoes. He thought for some odd reason, that they didn't treat him like an outsider. Like a boy would have normally been treated by a girl. It felt to Noah, they were treating him just like girl. Noah was dumfounded by this realization, 'why would they treat him this way, he has no interest in shoes. Was he a little girly for them, perhaps that was the question.' Though the interrogation going on within his brain could not be answered because he had no idea as to how he was being perceived by girls.

So, here he was- peering back at a bright desolate boy, with a regular unstyled concoction of chestnut brown hair. Although Noah hair occupied thickness, he never felt the need to style it. The softness of his gaze, lingered deeply at the figure in the mirror. Leaning closely, the boy placed his hands on the ceramic sink ledge and tilted his head toward the silver glass. Stark reminders, haunted him. The soft blue eyes he held, held many secrets. Some secrets, which where tolerable to pass up in a heart-to-heart conversation. Though his wide saucers, held apprehension. His mouth, felt dry, his throat felt like the raw touch of paper. He didn't know what to do with three girls, let alone one.

Fixing his posture to upright, he would brush himself off and then fix his clothing. Straightening his jogger bottoms, he made sure his draw strings where fully tightened and then marched to the toilet. Reassuring himself, that the girls didn't think he was gay or something, he flushed the toilet to give them the illusion he had been using the toilet. And as he made his way to the door he would turn around and glance at himself once last time in the mirror above the sink. He looked thin, and delicate, but still healthy. Then Mandy rang down the door, "Noah are you okay in there," she would ask. To which Noah would jump startled, since his back was brushed up against the door. Stepping away from the wooden fixture, he stared at the handle and called out in a daze, while fixating on the lever. "Yeah, I'm okay, I'm just washing my hands." Although it was lie, it bought him a moment to regain his composure, to get himself straight, and no he didn't see that as a pun. He would have stood in the middle of the room for a couple of hesitant seconds, then turn the bolt across the back of the bathroom door before leaving.

Upon opening the door to the ill lit hallway, which housed a deep maroon color. Mandy would latch onto Noah's wrist and drag him down further to the end of the corridor. While the other two girls in the living room could not be seen, they were heard in the background cooing and giggling. Noah flushed with butterflies. In one essence, Noah even thought he had heard one of the girls mentioning matter-of-factly that both Noah and Mandy where going off to suck face. And this made Noah happy inside, little tingles rumbled around like a washing machine inside his small tummy. He felt himself, becoming nervous, his heart thumping in his chest from anticipation. Then alone at last. Mandy pushed open a bedroom door, with a bright cream interior. A small single bed lay restlessly in the middle of the room, with a lone oak dresser with a worn football atop of it by a large window. Which would dominate the room with a white vibrancy from the outside world. And beneath it an illuminance, yellow and blue bike nudged against the window seal, and a small modern radiator.

He had no idea what was going to happen, his heart was racing so hard. All he could think about was kissing none stop. He even raised a question. 'What happens if I need air, how do I ask her for air. Should I keep going he pondered.' Then Mandy ushered Noah toward the bed. Where he almost jilted to, his hands would become clammy, and he would take a gulp of fear as he took his seat. "You can relax Noah," she said softly. Resting his arms timidly on his knees, Noah waited for her to make the first move. He heard off in the distance the door bell, but he quickly reverted his attention to Mandy. He was unsure about what to do, so she started it for him. To which, it was not what he had expected. She was popular, but Noah never saw this coming, he heard a little commotion in the hallway rising fast. "What the fuck, are you creeps doing," another boys voice bellowed out beyond the door. It was deep, it was familiar, but still he couldn't place the voice. Suddenly, Mandy would reach over abruptly and steal his t-shirt. By yanking it off, before bolting for the door. Noah thought it was some sort of game, he took it lightly. But then the door burst in, and in fumbled Oskar.

A hatred was immediately felt as he watched his enemy hit the floor. Noah, knew he had been compromised, he felt hurt by this display of affection. "Can I have my shirt back," he asked with a sense of urgency. Oskar who lay on his side beside the bed, was shirtless also, and he looked annoyed as hell. Noah would rise from the bed and start for the door, in an attempt, he would try and stretch for his t-shirt. But before he even got close to the door, the girls backed out in a flustered state and slammed it shut. A millisecond later he heard them chattering the key in the barrel and locking it from the outside.

Noah felt the cool nip at his bare shoulders. He felt sheepish about being exposed. He cloaked his arms across his nipples and armpits, in effort to conceal his nakedness. To which his armpits would only receive a little shimmering of hair. Though not there was much to show, that he was in puberty at all.

Noah would bang on the door, crazily for five minutes straight. Begging the girls to let him out, his exact words within variation of course was- "Please don't leave me in here with him," or "let me out," which followed with a cry. And every time he got through to one of the girls, they would simple deny him the privilege to leave. They insisted by saying, "Trust us, you'll thank us later." When Noah thought enough was enough he would wilter away from the door, and slowly back his way into the corner of the room. Away from Oskar, but still within line-sight if the psycho decided to pounce on him all of sudden. He would slump down the wall behind him ripping a posture from friction as he came to a small thud when his tailbone hit the wooden floor. Hugging his nakedness, he wrapped his boney arms around his torso and clenched his finger tips to the backs of his shoulders. Perhaps, his confusion was masked behind the betrayal. The girls would have known about the boy's volatile acquaintanceship. So why would they have put Oskar and Noah in a small room together. Were they hoping the both of them would beat each other to death or something, to see who could endure the most suffering. At this point, Noah had become as quiet as a mouse and retreated into himself. Not a sound was made from Oskar, though he had curled his way up into ball by the dresser. He genuinely looked confused. Noah knew coming here was a bad idea, why was he blindsided by a girl.

Segment Two

Oskar, naïve for his age, perhaps a little stupid, but even he knew what was morally wrong. He could not help but pick at an open scab, a wound to which he did not want to open. He remembers those days fondly. If anything, Noah, had been nothing but a true friend to him. When the boys began to grow apart from each other, Noah could not seem to take no for an answer. He was persistent, he wanted his friend back. They had, good chemistry. Almost inseparable, since the first time they had met. He remembered a time when he stumbled and fell, and Noah came to his rescue like a perfect gentleman. Noah's mother always told how both boys, would grow up to be noble men. Because when the boys where together, they emulated this aura of goodness, which was only confined within both their tiny existences. Noah had brought out the best of Oskar and Oskar had managed to bring about an entire new outlook on life for Noah. Although over the last couple years, things have certainly gone downhill. Oskar could not seem to find the place in history where things had gone wrong.

Truly, he had thought he was coming here to have sex with Mandy, she even hinted it- or so he thought. But as soon as he rang the doorbell. Two girls he did not know, grabbed him and tackled him down onto the stinky carpet. The carpet that smelt like a mix of musky feet and split soda. It was a dank smell, at any moment Oskar could have sworn he was going to barf. He fought back hard though, digging his forearms against the ground to leverage himself up- but the girls piled all their weight down on top of him. From their they would wrestle his shirt off, then pick him up harshly before escorting him to the back of the to the room. 'Yes, even Oskar would admit, taking his t-shirt was freaky.' When he finally seen Noah, upon entering the room, his heart would sink incongruous. Incongruous compared to what was really going on. He could have been in a state of panic, but something struck a chord with him. He had been injected into a room shirtless with Noah, who was also shirtless. So, there was no time for panic.

The fear he had seen in Noah, seconds after those bitches closed the door on him was beyond words. It was clear, Noah did not want to be in that room with him. He pounded down the door with his fists clenched tight. His forearms would brush away from the door as he would be readying himself to pulverize at the door for a third, a forth, and fifth time. And everytime he did he begged, which made Oskar experience guilt on a low level. 'Hardy-har-har-har,' he thought, he was not going to cry. Though seeing an old friend like that really changed his prospective. If the situation had been reversed, he would not like to be in room with him either. Oskar, felt remorse for his actions. He didn't want to hate Noah, he just always seemed have a stupid smug face, always smiling, always perfect. He had good grades, all the teachers loved him, hell Oskar wouldn't be surprised if his own mother would trade him in for a son like that.

At this point, Oskar had dragged himself from the bedside to the oak dresser. And even as the room fell silent. Noah also became silent. Oskar had resorted to picking at the dirt that had accumulated under the ridges of his fingernails. He never understood why he absolved the feeling. Something about cleaning his nails made him feel better, cleaner. Even though he was one of the cleanliest kids in school. Oskar always felt dirty, like he was carrying extra weight. The timidity in the room had somewhat vanished, the sight of Noah clobbering the door like his life depended on it, made Oskar feel burdened. Soon he felt his right eye starting to well up. As quick as the water started to come. Oskar would snatch his fingers up vaguely to wipe the underside of his eye. Secretly out the corner of his peripheral vision he strained himself trying to see Noah. He had made no effort to cover himself, he was not ashamed of his body, he just felt remorse for his actions.

Of course, the idea loomed with Oskar, he cogitated about his distress. He pondered whether he should or should not pick on Noah. He knew one of them would have to start talking- eventually. He didn't know how long he was going to be cooked up in here, but he didn't imagine it to be twenty minutes, he presumed hours. And the little-known voice in centre of his head suggested being mean. But a vague scratching voice in the back of his skull, recommended a sensitive approach. 'God, how many years has it been, since I treated Noah kindly,' Oskar reflected. To his stark belief, it had been almost four years since the boys had their falling out, and to what was becoming clear to Oskar. It seemed as if it was indeed his fault also.

It all started when Oskar, developed an untold crush on Noah. He would later go on to declare that he was straight or bi, or he simple had no clue as to what he was. The only things Oskar wanted from Noah was understanding. But a very long time ago, I guess Noah did not have the mentality Oskar held. Oskar had never felt this way about anybody, not even girls, so when he had this sudden overwhelmingly impulse to just reach out and want to show fondness, his self-confidence dwindled. What had started out as a longing desire, soon began to inflict mental pressure on Oskar, and it was growing so fast, he could not empathize with the emotion he was feeling. At heart, he was his best friend. Though for Oskar, Noah was much more than just a friend. So, Oskar did the next best thing he could, to prevent himself from going crazy. He turned his back on Noah. And to this day, he still feels guilty. However, that is not all of the story. You see after things went sideways with the two boys. Oskar would retreat into himself on a daily basis and manifest an anger which he could not explain the root of. His anger at one point started to infuriate him, and as a result of Noah's incompetence, made Oskar lash out, at boiling point. Though his new friends, as Noah would later come to call them, found it amusing on what was originally intended as one off scolding- turned into multiple times a month. Oskar had felt so guilty for the first couple of times, yet he still wanted to please his newer friends, his cooler friends. So, because they liked his actions, they egged him to continue the vicious assault on Noah. So, he did.

But Oskar felt those same, crazy feelings bubbling up within pits of his stomach, his heart beginning to pummel in his chest and he felt indecisive. He thought long and hard about how he would try and even start a conversation with his old friend. He hadn't the vaguest idea about how to go about this but he nervously offered what he thought would be an ice breaker. Even though the boys where far past that stage.

He opened his mouth to try and apologize, he tried hard to force something out of his wide-open trap. Though nothing would come. The words just seemed too big for him to grasp, and it lodged in the back of his throat. As he struggled to get his words out. Noah looked up, worried as always, to what the matter was. As soon as Noah looked in his direction. Any source of repentance shot out the window. In the flash of a second, all of Oskar's power shut down when Noah gazed at him softly. This irritated Oskar, and he quickly spat out harshly, "don't look at me faggot." To which Noah's would scream back with all his mite, "Urgh… I'm not a faggot, stop calling me that." Then Noah's head would slump out of fear back to his lap in front of him. Then Noah would break, and start sobbing gently to himself.

Segment Three

Noah tried hard not look at Oskar, it had been so long since the both of them had been in the same room together. Though he still cared for his long-forgotten friend. He thought he was hearing things at first, it sounded like the faintest of crying, from somewhere over there, by the dresser. Noah did reconcile with himself about lifting his head. Something inside told him to just look, and what he saw was Oskar wiping his eye. He felt as strain for his old friend. He would have loved to lean over and give him hug, 'yeah right like that is going happen,' he admonished. The room would retreat back to eerie silence and not a word would be spoken between the two for the couple of minutes. While Noah, got a grip on himself. He slowly rose to his feet, and tried the handle for the door again. As he expected the doors clicking sound would only set him up for disappointment. He didn't bother calling out for the girls, because they wouldn't do anything, so what was the point. 'Girls are dicks,' he thought. Well if they had them, even the thought of girls with huge dicks made Noah snigger to himself. If Oskar was truly paying attention he would probably think something is wrong with the chap. He would think he was looney or something. That he had lost any marbles, he had left to play with. Though his actions didn't go undocumented.

Oskar would cut in snarky, with a grumble, "Its locked you moron." To which Noah would sigh glumly. He would not try to wiggle his way out this one. I guess at this point. Apart of Noah, told him he was everything that Oskar had said to him to be inherently true. He would lower himself to the end of bed, jadedly, and stare at his shoes. His equally worn shoes. To which Oskar would mumble under his breath a few minutes later of awkward silence. Some sort of a 'sorry.' Noah could not believe what he heard, or what he thought he did. 'Did- Did, did he say sorry.' Noah was not gradual about asking for clarification. If anything, he always strived for information if he did not understand it promptly. He would say, "What?" To which Oskar would offer up softly, "I said I'm sorry." "Okay; do I need spell it out." This was a really unexpected juncture for Noah, he had never imagined he would hear those words coming from his mouth ever again, and especially not like that. All Noah could muster was a disgruntled, "mmm…" and of course Oskar would sit quietly and wait for his next cue, which of course would most likely never come. But you have to give him points for at least trying.

Noah's mind would be running rampant. He wasn't sure if he was to believe Oskar. He was not sure if he was trying trick him or if he was being for real. Or maybe this was as close to an apology he was ever going to get. After all the other boy still had some callousness within his bones, but something about him seemed different to Noah. He seemed like he had hit a brick wall. His action was like something that he would have encountered before. When he was friends and they would have fallen out, only to be talking again the next day. How Oskar would sulk, and be cruel, and then all of sudden he would win you over. Then he would walk to the ends of earth for you in a fucked-up way, after treating you like that. Somehow, Noah seemed to fall for it every-time, though this time he wanted to persist. He didn't want to give in, and he certainly did not want to give Oskar the benefit of the doubt. Look what he had done all of these years. If anything, he deserved to be ignored, and hated. Though that sort hatred was not in Noah. He, did not harness retribution. Suddenly, Noah, would speak plainly of himself, without thinking of repercussions. "Do you really mean that, he asked delicately. "Yeah," Oskar would gravelly say with a sniffle. Both boys clearly wanted to hug each, but they didn't.

They didn't seem to know what should come next. So, Oskar stood up from the dresser quietly. And for moment, Noah's heart faltered inside his chest, he felt nervous because his tormentor was standing up, but he also found himself admiring Oskar's toned stomach. For once, he seemed certain of Oskar motive. He didn't feel threatened.

Segment Four

'What was he thinking, what was I thinking,' Oskar questioned himself. He found himself slowly rising to his feet. As much as he wanted to hug it out with Noah, he stalled. He thought about how was going to drag a conversation out of Noah, if the two of them were going to be stuck in this godforsaken room for god knows how long. He needed something to make it easier to talk. He scanned around the room for something to use, or maybe to even supply him with the building blocks necessary for a conversation. To add foundation. Nothing seemed to pop out at him at first, but then he seen the football. A tarnished looking thing, which of course he'd rather not touch it. But he looked around again and it seemed as if the ball was the only thing which stuck out for him. The football stood out to him because he had seen it countless in movies or in books being portrayed. He could not recall where he had seen them, there was too many of them to name of the top of his head. He recalled people who had problems, who went to these help centers and they were given some sort of a ball or toy which encouraged them to talk. This idea resonated with Oskar, so he would grip the ball firmly and turn around to Noah. He meant well, he thought of what to do with it, but he couldn't seem to draw much of anything, it was meh- blank.

After a minute of mind distressing thinking, he had formed a hypnosis. 'What if we both spoke on behalf of the other person,' that sounded cool to Oskar. So, from there he would try and make himself be known. "I, uh… found this ball," he added nervously. To which Noah would just ignore him. So, Oskar tried thinking of a new approach. Pacing himself before he spoke again. He inhaled a fresh lungful of tarnished air and exhaled.

"How about we play a game," he added gravelly. "We can use this ball, to say what the other person is really thinking about the other person." In doing so he would drop back down to the floor, prop himself straight and fold his legs cross legged at the knees.

"I never know what to say to you anymore," Noah added solemnly. And he slowly lifted his head to connect with Oskar. His gaze was soft, and for once understanding.

"Me neither," Oskar added. While lightly nodding in agreement.

"So that's why we need the ball," Oskar voiced. Oskar would lean gently forward, and settle himself. Relieving his throat of access mucus, he would say earnestly, "Noah would call me- The great big turd." And just as he promised he held out the ball for Noah. Noah would take hold of the bell gently from his old friends' hand, softly. For once Noah was a little shaken and emotional from the soft approach Oskar had taken.

Noah had not laughed at the deliberate tag Oskar had given himself, so the conversation looked promising.

Noah held his judgment for a shift moment. Oskar didn't hold his tongue when he had offered up his assessment of how Noah saw him. And something within Noah's bones, told him he looked sad. So, Noah would thoughtfully, in a natural tone offer, "A sad little thud." Directly after his statement, Oskar would give Noah a petite crack of a smile, which made Noah snigger. But as quick as the giddy moment took ahold of Noah, both boys returned to a serious stance. No smiling, no bonding. Just pain striking silence. A mysterious voice in the back of Noah's head would scratch at the outer wall of his skull, just above his right ear. It prompted him to try and continue what Oskar had started. He meditated for a moment, then he braved himself. He was going try and figure out why things went wrong. I guess he thought that this would be the only chance he would ever get to ask his old friend this question. And while they were not fighting, or while Oskar was not backed up with a crew, he took the leap.

"What happened to us," Noah asked, signaling a lucid gaze.

What was a minute in reality, seemed like twenty to both boys. As Oskar worked up his conclusion of an answer. He would add bitterly say, "I was a major asshole, that's what happened."

A pause would delay the course of the conversation, and Noah would mumble a foreign alien to himself, "Mmmm… Well you where an asshole, but still." With a gentle twitch of Noah's nose, he contemplated for a moment. He could not believe that the both of them where actually having a conversation. And that meant something to him, it made him feel all warm and gooey inside. Like when you dip a chocolate biscuit into a hot drink and then eat it, as its melting rolling around inside your month until the sweet taste is gone.

"Still what?" Oskar demanded. Sitting up as straight as he had ever been since he sat back down.

"I miss you, or who you were," Noah would have added gently before sighing.

"Yeah me to," Oskar spoke glumly. He watched as Noah, lightly traced his index finger across the top cover of the duvet jacketing the bed. He appeared to be contemplating, and Oskar didn't know where to put his eyes. He didn't want to appear creepy but he decided to keep looking at Noah.


Segment Five

A harsh pause in the middle of the conversation was introduced. Oskar felt a portion of the weight he had been holding, lifted from his shoulders. However, the ticka-tick, of the clock which resided high on the wall beside the door flooded in. Oskar had never noticed the clock, nor the sound until now. The sound of it was starting to drive him crazy, every time it passed a minute. Somewhere around the fifteen second marker on the seconds' hand, the clock would stutter and make a plik vibration, before returning to a ticka-tick sound. Noah's barely audible voice butted in over the clock and for once Oskar was delighted to hear his voice. Or anything other than the numbing silence or the ticka-tick/plik of the clock.

"Why did you do it," Noah broke in.

"Do what? - Harass you," Oskar mumbled, with the drowned out ticking in the background.

Noah flustered, and glanced over again at Oskar. And Oskar definitely felt the burning sensation of Noah's eyes. "No bully me," Noah declared. 'Isn't that what I just said,' Oskar would retort to himself.

"Same thing," Oskar added dryly. With a shrug of his shoulders, and an unintentional smirk.

"Okay, so, why did you?" Noah prodded.

"I don't know to be honest," Oskar said. He would fumble restlessly on the floor, and then drop his head to his lap with surrender.

"Don't give me that shit," Noah would rebuke. He gave Oskar a grimaced roll of the eyes.

"Look don't start. That's the problem, your so fucking

perfect," Oskar snapped. In the direction of Noah.

"Am not," Noah would object.

"Yes- yes you are," Oskar softly said. In haste Oskar would state, "You've got an amazing personality, a great sense of humor, or you did have anyways- good grades, and a lovely family. - Topped off with a nobody as a friend. A friend that didn't deserve your time."

-Silence - An irritating pause, which would last for a couple of minutes, and for a couple seconds the sound of the clock would begin the slowly drive Oskar insane again.

Segment Six

Noah was not sure how things were going. On one hand, he was delighted that his friend or his old friend was talking to him. On the other, he felt he had to be careful, he's still not my friend, or anymore anyway. Noah felt a reassurance bubbling inside. He felt happy for the first in almost three years. This was better than any Christmas present or any birthday allowance could ever offer him. Still he was little cautious. He did not want to rush in to soon, wearing his heart on his sleeve. Because this is what happened the first time and, well Oskar took advantage of that. Noah felt flattered oddly to his surprise, he had never thought that Oskar would say anything like. Even when they were friends. He never told him how much he liked his funny side, or how he liked Noah's family. It was all a bit weird to Noah. Maybe it was truly jealously Noah realized. That would explain some things he assured himself. Though the statement that Oskar said, kinda of hurt Noah in a way. It seemed like Oskar hated who he was as a person. He had everything nice to say about Noah, but nothing nice to add about himself. He recalled a time when the both of them where friends. And Oskar had weekly music lessons for guitar. He was good actually Noah recollected.

"Do you still play guitar," Noah asked. In conjunction, he handed the ball back to Oskar.

"Yeah why?" Oskar asked, taking a hold of the worn ball.

"Well that's a good thing about you," Noah said out of turn.


"Do you still cry when you watch Marley & Me," Oskar would also speak out turn. He had remembered a time the both of them went to see the movie in cinema. And to this day nobody actually knew the truth between the two, But Noah knew that Oskar had cried. When he had asked him if he was okay. Oskar just pulled himself together and stated "Yeah," as manly as he could.

"Oh, come on, that's not fair," he grumbled.

"What's not fair," Noah would ask without hesitation.

"This!" Oskar stumbled. "If we're going to ask each other questions we should pass the ball."

"Fine, whatever. Ask me a question," Noah grouched with a drawn-out sigh.

As Noah waited for his question, he felt impatient and the apprehension levels slowly bubbled within him. Then finally Oskar spoke, "Is your favorite song still Geronimo, by Sheppard?"

And even though the question he had got, he was thankful. He thought the question he was going to get was going be more difficult to answer, but it wasn't. He had always loved that song, everytime he showered he ended up singing the song, to which everyone in his family and Oskar would later label his shower theme song. "Yep, and bombs away- My turn," Oskar added. As he took his grip of the ball and pulled it back to his lap. Noah recounted what he had told Oskar a few minutes ago, he remembered it was something about a movie, and the question didn't fizzle out, so he asked it again. "Well do you still cry to Marley & Me? He asked gently.

A soft smile crossed Oskar face, "Who doesn't?" he rebuked

To which Noah would prod again. After all that wasn't the question he had asked Oskar. "That's not the question. I asked if you did- Not everyone else," he spoke.

Noah would watch as Oskar started to roll his fists in a ball and nervously rub them. "Not anymore. I don't need a movie to make me cry," Oskar offered. He had stood up while saying that, he seemed really edgy or panicky. And Noah could almost taste the tense uneasiness on the tip of his tongue.

With his back towards the window, Noah held out the ball for him. "Your turn," he said.

And like clockwork, no pun intended. He latched onto ball, and Noah felt Oskar's cold scrawny fingertips slide over his before he took the ball. He followed Oskar who had almost backed himself towards the wall beside the window.

With a gulp Oskar asked, "do you hate me?" There was an awkward moment of silence dwindled. The only thing which could be heard was the ticking of the clock. Noah, had only noticed a little while ago, he never really liked the sound of clocks before, but the clock served as a distraction for him this time around. Thinking, he thought. He didn't necessarily hate, Oskar. Sure, he was annoyed at all the things he did to him. Actually, angry is a better word. He just wanted Oskar to understand, he didn't want to be picked on, he just wanted to be cared for by Oskar, like they had before they had their fight.

"No- I don't hate you. I'm just angry at you," Noah glumly sympathized. Springing to his feet, he took two steps towards Oskar. With his hands by his side he intensely regarded the sight in front him. Oskar clutched the football in front of him to his stomach, 'and oh god was he beautiful' Noah thought. He almost looked similar to Noah, he had this particular small quiff, which was not much of one to speak plainly. If you had seen the both of them when they were younger, you could have mistaken the both of them as brothers. The only difference which separated the both was a small beauty mark above Oskar's lip. To much surprise Noah always admired that feature. And it was still there. If you didn't know otherwise, the two boys looked identical to each other. Same colored hair, same colored eyes. Both shirtless, with only jogger bottoms on.

Noah held his arms up like a robot with a malfunction for the ball. And took it from Oskar, "Do you hate me?" he asked, handing the ball back.

And Oskar accepted the ball without hesitation, "No… I'm just angry at you," he mimicked with a soft smile.

"Yeah," Noah gravelly mumbled. With a soft smile.

"Can I ask you something," Oskar nervously asked.

"Sure," Noah plainly said.

Before Noah could figure out what was what, he seen Oskar well-up before his eyes. Oskar's eyes became puffy and a small downpour eased its way out from his tear ducts and down his cheeks. His eyes turned a glassy color and he began to sob. "Can I have hug," Oskar sniveled. Which would be later stifled with a jerk in his breathing as he began to hyperventilate. Without thinking, and as a natural instinct. Noah knocked the ball from Oskar's hands and closed his arms around Oskar's shirtless torso. He felt the soft squeezing from Oskar as the both of them embraced. And for the first time all day, both boys where content. They were mellowing. A sense of pride flavored both their young bodies. In all Noah felt his shoulder become sticky and wet, which soon followed with a cold patch from where Oskar's tears had landed. And for a moment, they stood like that until Oskar calmed himself. Once he had gotten ahold of himself both boys took a seat on the edge of the bed. Not a word was spoken, until Oskar begged. "Can we try to be friends again. I promise, I'll do better."

"Emm, Oskar… I… I- dn," Noah stumbled. He was truly at loss for words. He had always been really good with English, but suddenly he had lost all knowledge of his own language.

"Please give me chance, I'll prove it," Oskar eagerly cut in, with puppy eyes."

"Like how," Noah questioned. Peering deeply into Oskar's eyes.

Without another word, Noah felt Oskar's soft, but cold fingertips, cup his chin, and cradle it. Then Oskar leaned in with perched lips and planted them on Noah's mouth. Noah felt a moment of tiredness rigger through his body and he closed his eyes to savor the moment. Then it ended- Oskar leaned back, and spoke softly. "I acted this way because I love you, I know its selfish. But I couldn't understand it. - I'm so sorry," he said in a heart-breaking tone. Noah gave an accepting smile, before also welling up, he leaned his head to Oskar's shoulder and mumbled. "I'm tired of fighting." "Me to," Oskar whispered. A sigh escaped both boys when the both of them began to shut their eyes, then they heard the chattering of a key in the door.

Both of them startled and jump to their feet when the door swung open. Where the three girls, stood, grinning. "Did you boys make up," the leader of the pack asked. When both boys nodded yes, she said softly to the two girls behind her. "I knew they were in love. Can't fuck with love," she coyly smirked before sitting down on the end of the bed with a wobble. "How did you know," Oskar bravely asked. "I see the way you two look at each other. I just wanted to help. Because Noah's a pretty cool guy."

To which Noah would tilt his head back to Oskar and smile the most adorable smile. Then the boys would flush red. Before Oskar would go weak at knees. "I guess I kinda did hint, that I liked you," Noah stated gravely. To which the girls must have put two and two together because after Noah had said that. Oskar latched onto Noah and toppled him onto to bed. Where he would start to tickle his friend until a stich paralyzed him from the side. "Well I'll leave you guys alone," the girls giggled. They backed out and shut the door but not locking it this time around. Both boys lay panting on the bed after their wrestling and tickling match. Both looked up at the ceiling and listened to the clock once more. "Why didn't you tell me?" Noah asked. To which Oskar stated, "I wasn't ready."

"But I'm ready now, if you still feel the same way. I'll never disappoint you again," Oskar added.

Without another word, Noah scooched into Oskar's side, and became comfortable where both boys would slyly drift off. Only soon to woken by Mandy. "Noah," she whispered while wiggling him awake. When Noah's eyes opened, the room was slightly darker. So, he sat up, rubbing his eyes, trying to figure out where he was. And he remembered after a second. "My mom is going to be home soon, I'm not allowed have boys at home when she's not here, she whispered." Glancing over to where Oskar was, he seen the bed was empty. He thought for a minute, if all this had been a horrible dream. His heart sunk, he felt like crying. But he didn't. A soft mellow voice called from the door, "You ready, I'll walk you home," the voice sang. Glancing up, Noah dumbly tried to make out the figure standing in the doorway, and that's when he seen Oskar with a messy bedhead. Slowly Noah would have sighed. And then, he would have softly smiled.

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This story is part of the 2017 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture: In His Room". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 26 September to 17 October 2017 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.

The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:

In His Room
Please rate Who We Are with the impressions it left you with

Either while reading this story, or afterwards, I found it to be/had/made me (Tick all that apply)

An emotional read
Written with rhythm and pace
Thought provoking
Technically well written
Written with good use of grammar and syntax (this does not mean pedantic use)
Easy to read
It invited me in
I could not put it down
It felt like it was about me. I know it wasn't, but it felt like it
There could be spelling/grammar/punctuation improvements
Interpreted the picture well
Took me somewhere I never expected to go

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