Starting Over

by Tony A

Chapter 10

To say this was unexpected would be an understatement. Which was ironic because everything that's been happening to me lately has been, very much, unexpected. But this – maybe I should explain the situation.

It was a regular day and everything was fine, for once, so I actually believed that I was going to have an uneventful, but normal, day. A day that I've been craving because things have been properly crazy lately. So I was just walking down the hallway going to the library to meet Cole for lunch, since we agreed that the library was a nice secluded place to have our lunch break in peace.

Either way, I was walking towards the library when suddenly these three guys stood right in front of me like they'd been waiting for me. The obvious leader of the group, stood out from the other two. He was basically right in my face when he decided to stop and looked me right in the eyes. He seemed eerily familiar.

The leader spoke, "You probably don't remember me. So let me introduce myself, I'm Vincent, but my friends call me Vince. You can call me Vincent." He exuded an odd amount of confidence and I felt like I was being confronted by a mob boss with his henchmen on either side of him. They just stood at attention like they were ready to pounce at any moment.

I was baffled to say the least, "I'm sorry – uh... Vincent. I don't know–" he cut me off with a hand.

"Sorry, let me finish the introduction. I'm Vincent Luciani." He said with a pointed look.

It instantly dawned on me why he looked so familiar... he's Ava's brother. Of course, they both have that commanding presence and the loyal followers by their side.

Wait, Oh shit he's probably confronting me because... "You're Ava's brother, right?" I tried to play innocent and not let on that I knew why he was here.

"That's right, Ava's my little sister. And frankly, I don't like how you hurt her yesterday. She came home looking very upset, so I asked her who did I need to beat up in order to make her feel better. And she told me that you were the one responsible for making her cry. Now, she didn't tell me to beat you, but I have the liberty to do whatever I please. So how about you tell me." His calm manner of speaking is more unsettling when his words are getting more threatening. It's like he jumped out of a mafia movie or something. And the silent guys in the back aren't helping.

"Look I didn't mean to upset her I just – it's just that we broke up recently and I think she's taking it badly." I said defensively. I really didn't want to get into another fight. I'd probably be expelled this time.

"You seem like a reasonable guy, Matt. But here's the thing, when you fuck with my family, then I gotta fuck with you. That's only logical, isn't it." He said with a cold look in his eyes. I guess the 'looks that could kill' run in the family.

I gotta find a way to get out of this. "I see your point but, I can't help that she's upset about the break-up."

"We both have places to be so how about I make my point. I'm her older brother and I need to look out for her. Now you have a younger sister, don't you?" He says everything as if he already knew the answer.

"Yes... I do," I said hesitantly, how does he know about Christine?

"Well then, as older brothers we have to look out for our sisters. It's our duty. We can't have some fuckboys coming into their lives and messing with them. We can't allow that or else we'd be failing at our duty, you see."

He did have a convincing argument. Wait, did he just call me a fuckboy?

"I get what your saying." I muttered. He's kind of persuasive.

"See, we're on the same page now. So, in that case you can't, in all good conscience, hurt her. Am I right?"

He has a way of wording things that makes you want to agree with him. "I guess you're right."

"Thank you for seeing my point of view. So you'll go to the dance with her then." He looked satisfied and was about to walk away.

Wait, What?! "No, wait, I still can't go with her even if I wanted to."

He looked a bit pissed off by that, "And why the hell not?" He asked with his mouth tight and an eyebrow raised. The guys behind him looked like they were waiting for his signal to beat me.

"Because I'm not allowed to go to any school events including dances. It's part of my punishment that the principal gave me." I felt relieved to have an actual excuse to give him.

He didn't look pleased though and he got even closer to me (if that's possible) and looked me up and down like he couldn't believe me. "What did you do to get that punishment?"

I looked down sheepishly, "I got in a fight with Kevin Lawrence,"

"Oh...I thought he was your friend. You're ruthless, I respect that," He put his hand on my shoulder in a 'buddy way'. "You and me are cut from the same cloth. But regardless, you're going to the dance with her." He finished in a stern tone and looked at me in a way that said 'this is non-negotiable'.

"I don't think you get it. If I show up there I could be suspended again or possibly expelled." I said with a scowl. This dude was getting on my bad side and making me ready to fight.

He cuffed the back of my neck with his hand and gripped it tightly. He did it so quick I was taken by surprise. "Look, I've been nice enough to hold back my anger, but my patience is running thin. Now, you'll go to that fucking dance with my sister. I don't care if you have to dig a hole under the school in order to get in. This is the first and last time I will warn you about this. Or the next time we talk I won't be so nice. Got it," He said as he squeezed the back of my neck for good measure and then slammed my head back against a locker as he released me from his grip.

Then he left with his boys following behind. I don't even know why he brought them, he could obviously handle himself. I rubbed my neck and looked down the hall where they had just turned the corner. All I could think was: I'm fucked!

I was disoriented for a moment because I couldn't believe what had just happened. I was knocked out of my daze by a presence behind me.

"So you met Vince, I see," I turn around and Kevin is standing a couple feet away from me. He looked tired, but I wasn't sure why.

I was hesitant for a second, "Huh, yeah. Well apparently I'm supposed to call him 'Vincent' since I'm not his friend." I said with a smirk.

He took that as a cue as he walked closer to me and smiled, "Trust me, no one's his friend."

"I'm guessing you've encountered him before."

He shrugs, "Yeah, once or twice. Both times pertaining to Ava, of course. That's the only person he truly cares about."

It's weird but oddly comforting talking to Kevin, or maybe it's just familiar. "Well, surprise surprise. He cornered me to talk about Ava as well."

"Oh yeah? What was he confronting you about?" He asked curiously.

I wasn't sure if I should tell him. "He was mad that I broke up with Ava and he requested – well more like demanded, that I take her to the dance."

Kevin looked shocked, "You broke up with Ava?"

I laughed sarcastically, "Yeah, so now you can have her."

He looked confused then offended, "Dude, you know I would never do that. Believe it or not, I was never trying to get with Ava or steal her away. Don't believe everything you hear."

"I guess I, especially, can't believe everything people say." I rolled my eyes, I wish that wasn't true.

"Yeah, I guess. Also, no offence, but Ava's a little... too much. If you know what I mean." He said with a hint of a smile.

I genuinely laughed, "Yeah, I've noticed."

We stood in a comfortable silence before he spoke again. "Why were we even fighting in the first place?" Kevin remarked quietly.

I looked him directly in the eye, totally serious, "Because you're a homophobic asshole."

He took a defensive step back, "Whoa, man, not this again. Come on, what do you want me to do. You want me to apologize for something that happened months ago?" He held up his hands in frustration.

I waved my hand in dismissal, "Whatever man, you don't have to apologize. Just know that I'm not over it, okay." I made a move to walk away when he stopped me.

I looked back at him with a 'what?' expression on my face. "Matt, you can't just leave it like that. We've been best friends since we were kids. I'm not gonna let you're accident and some guy get in between us. We gotta talk about this. You can't just leave me hanging man... I miss you." He said the last part in almost a whisper. He looked kind of broken. He seemed genuine.

"Okay, fine we can talk about it." I said in a huff. I'm stubborn, sue me.

"Are you just mad because I was mean to Cole? I didn't even think you talked to the guy outside of your Chemistry class."

"It's not just that, it's everything you've been doing lately. First you start insinuating that he'll sleep with anyone because he's gay. Then you come up to me at detention and whisper some shit about Cole not being as 'innocent' as he appears. What the fuck is that? I can't trust you anymore, you seem like you're always scheming and I just don't need that right now."

"Jesus Matt! Maybe I am fucking 'scheming' because I'm losing my best friend. I– I'm losing you and I'm not sure why. I understand that you don't remember your life before the accident, but dammit, I'm tired. All the guys on the team keep asking about you and they think that we still talk... that we're still friends. They don't realize that you've totally shut me out and I don't know what to say or do. So..." He looked like he was trying to find the words to convey his feelings. "If you wanna hang with this Cole kid, fine. I'm fine with it and I'm sorry for what I said about him and what I did to him a long time ago. I just want to make amends with you."

I want to be mad at him and stand my ground but I can't. Even if I don't remember our friendship, he sure does and he obviously needs his friend back.

I instinctively went to hug him but I hesitated for a second. I wasn't sure if that was something we did, but before I could totally pull away he met me halfway and hugged me tight. It wasn't one of those one armed 'bro hugs' either, it was with two arms tightly wrapped around each others bodies, bone-crushingly tight, type of hug. But it was nice.

When we let go I looked at him sternly, "Look Kev, we can be friends again, as long as you stop lying to me and just be honest. No more scheming, okay?"

He smiled, "Okay man, no more scheming, I promise."

I wasn't sure why I was doing this or if it was even the right thing to do, but it's too late it's happening. I should recap: The past few days have been great. Me and Cole talk all the time now and we've been getting along perfectly. There hasn't been a fight yet, which has been the longest so far (that I can remember). Either way, it's been so great that I thought I should surprise him. I'd never been to his house and he never really invited me but I thought maybe I should jump the gun and see him at his house. Maybe we could even have some alone time, something I wouldn't be able to get at my own house.

So now I'm currently standing at his front door, I just rang the doorbell and I'm waiting for a response. The longer I wait the more I'm doubting this was a good plan. Then the door opens and not only is Cole not standing there but it's his brother, looking angry. Now I know this wasn't a good idea.

I kinda forgot he had a brother...again. "Hey, Dave, is it?" I said nervously.

He did not look pleased, "What the fuck are you doing here?"

Yikes, I thought he'd be over it by now. Before I could say anything Cole came from behind Dave. He looked even more confused than Dave.

"Dave why are you being so rude–" Then Cole caught sight of me and his face changed. I couldn't tell what he was feeling but it didn't look happy. He looked over at Dave, "I got this,"

Dave looked hesitant, "Are you sure?"

Cole waved him away, "Yeah, it's fine,"

Dave went back inside and Cole quickly stepped onto the porch and shut the door. "What's going on?" He asked quickly.

I laughed to lighten the, clearly tense, mood. "Why do you look so panicked? Nothing's wrong, I just wanted to see you outside of school and I thought I'd surprise you, so... surprise."

"Why didn't you call or text me first. Usually people don't just show up unannounced. Especially when those 'people' are still hated by my brother." He looked at me pointedly.

"Are you mad at me?" I asked seriously.

"No, I'm not. I'm just flustered, you caught me off guard. I mean – you can come in, of course. It's just I still haven't explained to Dave our situation so, just be cool about it."

"Hey, look at me, I'm always cool." I said while putting on false bravado. If only he knew how tense I was at the moment.

He smirked, "Okay," He opened the door and motioned for me to follow him in. I walked in after him and Dave was sitting on the couch and he was looking at us curiously while somehow still glaring at me.

Cole saw Dave's expression, "Davey, wipe that look off your face. Matt apologized, okay. It's over." Wow, Cole sounding like a commanding older brother. I like when he's assertive... it's a turn-on.

"Shut up, I can look any way I want. And don't call me Davey." Well, he had the whole 'bratty younger sibling' thing, he reminded me of my sister.

"Come on Matt," Cole said while pulling me by the arm.

"Where are we going?"

"My room," He said quickly.

Those two words instantly made me move faster. "Okay," I probably had the biggest smile on my face.

He looked back at me as we went up the stairs and he had a suggestive smile on his face.

Oh, I'm in for it.

As soon as I stepped into his room, he swiftly shut the door and pushed me flush against the door with his arms around my shoulders and his lips on mine. All I could do was stand there in shock for a second before recovering and returning the kiss.

I pushed him back a bit so that I could look at him, "Whoa, where did that come from?" I asked breathlessly.

He smiled up at me with his arms still firmly around my neck, "I guess I'm just happy to see you." Well, talk about an attitude change. He was making my forget my own name.

He started kissing me again, his lips felt so good against mine. I almost forgot why I was here. Ooh, what did he just do with his tongue and how can I get him to do that again...

Then I remembered why I really came to see him. I needed to tell him something. I, reluctantly, had to pry his mouth off of mine for a second. "Hey," I said but he ignored it and went right back to kissing me, when he gets going its hard to stop him... I don't mind though. But before we started something that we couldn''t finish I had to tell him something.

I tried again by turning my head, "Hey, Cole, I do need to tell you something though." He seemed distracted since he was looking at my lips the whole time but he stopped. "I didn't get to tell you this a couple days ago."

I moved away from being pressed up against the door and pulled him over to his bed and sat down next to him.

"Is everything okay?" He instantly looked concerned. The one thing I hate about him is how much he worries.

"It's nothing too serious I just thought I should tell you."

There was a beat of silence. "Okay, are you going to tell me then?"

"Yeah, I'm getting to it. I'm just not sure how to word it."

He rolled his eyes at me and sighed, "Ugh, just tell me already." Okay, he's getting way too comfortable with me.

"Well, the other day, I had an encounter with Vince... or I guess Vincent." I looked over at him expectantly.

His face was scrunched in confusion, "Is that name supposed to mean something to me?"

"Vincent Luciani... Ava's brother."

His eyes opened wide in recognition, then he looked a bit scared. "Oh no what did you do?"

Okay, I wasn't expecting that, "What do you mean 'what did I do'?" I was slightly offended.

"No, I just mean – Vince only approaches people when they've wronged him in some way, otherwise you don't really see much of him. He's very mysterious."

"I didn't really 'do' anything per say, He was just mad that I wasn't going to take Ava to the dance and then..."

"There's more?"

"Yes, there's more. There's always more with me. He basically demanded that I go to the dance with her. By any means necessary. I was trying to refuse but he had his goons with him and he's surprisingly strong."

"Did he hit you?" Cole asked hurriedly while touching my face.

"Yeah, but I'm fine he just slammed me into a locker. But the look in his eye was not something I'd want to fuck with. I don't know, but I might have to go to this dance with her." I said with a sigh.

Then I caught a glimpse of Cole he was visibly drawing into himself and looking crushed. I was very confused to say the least.

"Cole, what's wrong?"

He looked at me accusingly, "You want to go with her, don't you?"

"No, of course not. Why would you think that?"

"Because you're not putting up much of a fight. Vince tells you to go with her and now you're just gonna go?" His voice was raising with each word.

"Look Cole you weren't there, he was really intense–"

"I don't give a shit!"

I recoiled at his outburst. He never sounded like this. "Cole what's going on?"

He stood up and started pacing the room, "I never know what it's going to be with you Matt. Which is sometimes interesting and even exciting at times. But it's times like these when I really hate the drama that surrounds you."

I was a little hurt by that. He made it sound like I was a burden. "Sorry," I said quietly while he kept pacing the room.

He heard my response and then looked at me. Then he came over and knelt down in front of where I was sitting and looked me in the eyes. "You don't have to be sorry. It's just me. I guess I'm insecure when it comes to Ava. After all, she was your girlfriend. How can I compete with that."

I grabbed his face in my hands, "If you think that you're competing, you are sadly mistaken. There's no competition... you already won." I smiled at him then kissed him gently on the lips and he responded generously.

What I thought was a simple kiss of reassurance turned into kissing a lot and some heavy petting. Soon Cole was lightly pushing me back at first I didn't realize what he was doing and I thought he wanted me to stop. I looked at him confused for a second then, with more force, he pushed me back completely so that I was laying down on the bed.

Now I understood what he was doing and happily obliged. I gave him a mischievous grin as he swung his leg over my hips and got on top of me and then went back to kissing me. Shirts were starting to get pushed up while pants were being drawn down. We were getting carried away for sure. It seemed like nothing could stop the connection between me and Cole right now. I was caressing his backside as he moved on top of me. I wanted to get more of him so I flipped him over so that I was on top of him now, straddling his hips. I sat up a bit, pulled away from him, and looked at him with lust-filled eyes as I took off my shirt. This was actually happening. Then, we went back to passionately kissing. I was addicted to his lips.

We were right in the middle of all that when I heard, "Oh shit!" followed by a, "What the fuck!"

I was disoriented from my current arousal state but I was harshly pushed back into reality when Cole was pushing me off of him and I looked over and saw Dave standing in the doorway, looking: shocked, disappointed, and furious. All I could do was lay there, on Cole's bed (shirtless) and with a blush, say, "Um... hi."

Cole quickly zipped his pants back up and put on his shirt frantically. He looked over at Dave still standing there, so he went over to his door, "Can I have some fucking privacy! Geez," He yelled as he slammed the door in Dave's face.

It all happened so quickly that I didn't know what to do. I looked at him hesitantly while he still stood at the door with his back turned from me. "Uh... what should we do?" I asked hesitantly.

He turned around and looked at me blankly, "We are not going to do anything. I'm going to talk to my brother and you're going to stay in here until I figure out how bad this situation really is." Then he looked at me like he was seeing me for the first time. "And can you please put on a shirt." Then he walked out the door.

I stood up with a sigh and looked for my shirt. It happened again, someone walking in on us. I guess we really should be more careful. But this felt different. Cole seemed like he was properly freaking out. I know it's probably very embarrassing to have a sibling see you in a compromising position like that but I thought that Dave knew that Cole was gay.

I sat on Cole's bed in thought but then I was getting antsy and Cole was taking awhile, so I decided to snoop a bit. I cautiously walked out his room and heard them talking in the room next door. I went towards the door and saw that it was ajar. I peeked in and saw Cole and Dave standing in Dave's room looking serious.

I heard Dave continue to talk, "Why don't you get it, he's using you," Dave looked at Cole with a stern face.

Cole seemed offended, "What is that supposed to mean, huh? That no one like him would actually want to be with me?" He scowled.

Dave put up his hands, "No, not at all. I mean... You know how him and his friends are. They like to play around with people and manipulate them, just for the fun of it. His girlfriend does that all the time. Oh yeah and by the way, he has a girlfriend, Cole. What the fuck are you doing."

"Dave, it's complicated and I don't want to get into everything right now, but I can assure you that he isn't with her anymore. Also, I really don't think he's playing with me. He seems very genuine."

Dave rolled his eyes, "Oh that's rich. He seems genuine? He's friends with the same guys that always mess with you. Heck, he even messed with you, if you don't remember."

"Oh, trust me I remember, Dave. We even talked about it and I let him know that he can't go back to acting like that or we're through. But after the accident he changed, you can see that."

"You're so naive Cole. You know what everyone at school says? They're saying that they think he's faking his memory loss to get out of his previous responsibilities. They think he's using it as an excuse to have some fun and try some new things and maybe even fuck around with different people who aren't Ava. And frankly I'm starting to think they're right. And now my own brother is getting caught up in Matt Ellis's fucked up life."

Cole was silent for awhile and I was worried that he was starting to believe Dave. Then he spoke calmly, "Maybe you shouldn't listen to everything people say." I was proud of Cole for standing by his convictions.

Dave sighed, "You can't honestly tell me that you think he just suddenly turned gay. Come on, he probably just heard the rumors that you were gay and wanted to try something new and he knew he could get to you easily because he's your lab partner. He's probably doing this for an easy lay."

I wanted to slap him at this point. Even though he looked like he instantly regretted it when he saw the hurt on Cole's face. "I didn't mean–" Dave stuttered.

"Fuck you Dave! You think he's with me because I'm easy. Wow!" Cole turned to storm out the door and I quickly moved from sight. But he didn't come out the door, I peeked back in and saw that Dave had pulled him back.

Dave backtracked, "Wait, you know that came out wrong, but I'm you're brother. I'm just concerned and I don't want to see you get hurt."

"Oh Davey," then he hugged his brother and ruffled his hair.

Dave looked embarrassed and pushed Cole away, "Don't call me that." He said with a blush.

Cole smiled, "Dave, I'm your older brother. You don't have to look out for me. That's what I'm supposed to do for you. I can take care of myself."

"No, we look out for each other. And right now you need some protection from jerks like him."

"Hey, don't call him that. You don't know him like I do,"

He scoffed, "Obviously not,"

Cole pushed him, "That's not what I meant. No I can tell he's different then how he used to be, yet I can tell that he's still being himself. It's like the accident didn't change him it just modified him... or something. I don't know, but he's a good guy and I really like him."

Dave looked he just realized something, "Oh, is that why he was yelling at you in the parking lot about those other guys that he thought you were fucking?"

Cole looked embarrassed, "Yes and I thought we agreed never to bring that up."

Dave looked at him sincerely, "He feels really strongly about you then?" He phrased it as I question but I knew he meant it as a statement.

Cole smirked, "I think so,"

"So are you guys dating now?"

Cole looked down thoughtfully, "I don't know, but I just really like being around him and he makes me feel... good." I smiled at that.

Dave seemed to understand as he nodded his head in recognition. Then Cole turned his head slightly to look at the door and he looked at me through the crack and smiled. I guess he knew I was standing there the whole time. I just smiled back sheepishly. Then hurried back to his room before Dave noticed.

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