Title: A Fine Line Between Living a Lie and Feeling Alive
Description: tag: kalen
Ephraim Hart - April 25, 2012 06:24 PM (GMT)
Thursday, April 19th
had taken off after an argument and fight with a man who's name he didn't even know, and the only thing that he wanted to do was see Kalen. The other man had said things, things that had really, really upset Ephraim, and he didn't understand why he deserved that. Mac had pushed and pushed and pushed and Ephriam was now near a breaking point, somewhere that he had never been in his life. He usually just let things roll off of his back, pretending that he had no emotions or feelings whatsoever, but the things that had come to the surface in his mind now were far from something that he could just let go.
He didn't want to be this upset, to be this down in the dumps, but he was and the only person that would be able to pull him out of it was Kalen. Sure, he knew Kalen pretty well, but even then he hadn't told his friend much about his past, especially not the bad things. While he knew that now he might have to in order to explain why he needed comforting, he just wanted to be around someone that cared about him, someone that genuinely liked him. He needed reassurance that the man's words had not been true, that he did have a friend, even if it was just one.
He pounded on the door of Kalen's apartment. His friend had not been matched yet and he was glad for that, glad because he didn't want to deal with a woman right now, or anyone other than his friend. He needed to talk to someone who got him, someone who understood the importance of literature and culture, someone who would reassure him that he wasn't worthless and useless the way that he was currently feeling. Mac's words had cut him deep, far deeper than the scrapes on his cheek from the pavement. Words hurt more than the slap, than the arm twisting, and he just wanted to talk to his friend, because what he had said to Mac was true, he would rather have one friend like Kalen than a million others and none like the boy he called his best friend.
Kalen Teague - April 26, 2012 05:30 AM (GMT)
had spent the day holed up in his apartment with music pounding through the air. He had one of his favorite Jimi Hendrix’ vinyls spinning now and he was in the zone. With graduation only weeks away, he barely had any time to finalize his senior thesis. Kalen had spent hours upon hours in the school library at Butler, other libraries nearby, meeting with advisors, doing field research, and revising his senior thesis. He couldn’t wait until it was out of his hands and he was done with it forever. As Crying Through the Rain
flowed through the air, Kalen made changes in his thesis one by one. He sometimes went back and changed the changes he made to the way he had it before. He wanted this paper to be absolutely perfect. After all, it basically determined if he graduated or not. Kalen’s advisor had promised him that with the exception of a couple of structural revisions to the paper, it would be ready to be reviewed. Kalen wasn’t sure, though. Writing wasn’t his forte and he wasn’t as impressed with the paper as he had hoped to be. He was somewhat of a perfectionist sometimes and that was his downfall.
Kalen was about halfway done re-reading his paper for the thousandth time when someone was pounding on his door. He looked up, stood up, and walked over to the door. He couldn’t imagine who could possibly need his attention so urgently and wondered if the visitor had the wrong apartment number. When Kalen swung the door open, he was surprised to see Ephraim standing before him. The surprise visit wasn’t abnormal from his best friend, but the urgency in the pounding was. One look at his best friend got Kalen worried. “Eph—what’s wrong?
” He asked, startled by his friend’s disgruntled appearance. “Here, come in.
” He said as he stepped aside to let Ephraim in.
Kalen left Ephraim behind to close the door as he turned the music off. Something was clearly wrong. Kalen had never seen Ephraim worked up so much. Ephraim’s face had cuts on it and he appeared to be worked up. “Take a seat.
” Kalen stepped into the bathroom to grab a first aid kit and a few things to clean up the cuts and blood on Ephraim’s cheek. He couldn’t imagine how Ephraim got into trouble. He had never seen Ephraim so shaken up in the way that he was now. Kalen took a seat by his friend and dabbed some anti-septic onto a cotton ball. “This might sting a little.
" Kalen warned as he dabbed the cotton ball on Ephraim's cheek. "What happened?
” Kalen asked again.
Ephraim Hart - April 26, 2012 04:05 PM (GMT)
While Ephraim was afraid to take his pain to anyone, afraid to let anyone know that he was hurting, he didn't want to have to deal with this on his own. He was physically hurt, yes, but not much and that fight had not been without merit. He had fought back and left the other man on the ground with a pain to his groin, and aside from that, the slap had not been unwarranted, though Ephraim would never admit that to anyone, including himself. Right now he just wanted someone to tell him that he was okay, that he wasn't stupid or crazy or just flat out wrong like this man seemed to think he was. He wanted someone who cared about him, and the only person that he knew who did was Kalen.
"I...thanks." He gulped as he entered the apartment. Even though he was willing to get some help from his friend, he didn't want the other boy to see him cry. Ephraim didn't cry often, he didn't show emotions often and he definitely didn't cry in front of other people. The last time he cried had been almost a year ago and that was over an incident that he never wanted to speak of or think about again, something that he had managed to push to the back of his mind and ignore, but as a child, he had cried a lot because there was never enough anything - food, heat, water...and he had been miserable. This, however, was completely different. This was him needing a friend, not him needing a snack or an extra blanket, and he knew that he could count on Kalen to be there for him.
"Ouch." He winced when the cloth touched his cheek, but he didn't pull away because he knew that his friend was doing what was good for him, what was right. He didn't want to be the person who bit the hand that fed him, and right now that hand belonged to Kalen. "I just...I got into a fight with a guy on the street, some illiterate asshole who was insulting the Beats even though he had NO idea who they were, so I tried to educate him, you know, just a bit and he slapped me, so I tackled him, but he was bigger than me so that was stupid and then he started saying things..." He bit his lip, looking up at Kalen. The things that Mac had said were true, but Ephraim did NOT want to believe them. "I...I have my own thoughts, right?" He bit his lip. "And...and you are my friend...right?" He didn't want to be that boy, whiny and insecure, but Mac had said that he didn't believe Ephraim had any friends, and Eph just wanted to make sure that wasn't true.
Kalen Teague - April 26, 2012 08:26 PM (GMT)
Kalen was imagining the worst as his friend entered his apartment. He imagined dark alley ways, gang members, and cruel jaunts, but that didn't really seem like the kind of thing that happened in Evergreen. Kalen knew it had to be something pretty big. In all the time he had known Ephraim, he had never seen his friend like this and, frankly, he wasn't quite sure how to handle the situation. But he'd listen and go from there.
Kalen gathered the first aid materials and tended to his friend. He was no doctor, but he volunteered as an EMT when he was in high school at home. He could lift Ephraim without damaging any already injured bones, stitch him up, or monitor his vitals, but Kalen had never had to play this role to his friend or to anyone. He didn't know if he was a good comforting-type, but he'd at least try for his friend. Hell, he'd do nearly anything for Ephraim.
Kalen got to work tending to the medical needs of friend. He'd let Ephraim tell him what was wrong in due time. He didn't think it was a good idea to pressure people into telling you what their deal was. Kalen was anxious to know if he needed to go beat someone up or not, but it was more important for him to know if his friend was okay or not.
Kalen mumbled a pathetic "Sorry." As he cleaned Ephraim's face. He listened to the story with interest, wondering where it was going to go. He couldn't really picture Ephraim getting in a street fight and making it out alive, but he had. Ephraim was smart, though, more brilliant than many and he could easily outwit most guys in the area. Kalen shook his head a little. He knew Ephraim wasn't the most liked in all of Evergreen, but he didn't think it would go so far that Ephraim was tackling men in the street. A part of Kalen wished he had been there to jump in. Kalen would have had Ephraim's back through the whole thing and even though he wasn't much bigger than Kalen, two was more than one.
"Of course you have your own thoughts." Kalen said. "That's what makes you so great. You don't succumb to all of the mainstream crap, as I'm sure that guy does, and most people do." He said. Ephraim was different and that's what Kalen liked about him. He was his own person and before now, he had never given much thought to what other people thought about him. Whatever this guy had said to Ephraim really got to him and Kalen hated whoever this guy was for feeding his friend nonsense. "Ephraim Hart! Of course I am your friend and you shouldn't let some half-wit on the street get to you like that." This was really unlike his friend. When Kalen finished cleaning Ephraim's cuts, he put the cotton ball down on a piece of paper not to spread any germs. He peeled off some sterile strips and aligned them over Ephraim's cuts.
Kalen paused nervously. Ephraim had said something about the other guy being illiterate and not knowing about what they were criticizing. Realization struck and Kalen hoped he was wrong. "Eph--did this all have something to do with the text I sent you?" He asked. He hoped not. He wouldn't want to be the cause for Ephraim being hurt.
Ephraim Hart - April 26, 2012 08:47 PM (GMT)
Ephraim wasn't sure that he wanted to talk about this all to Kalen, he wasn't sure that he wanted the other boy to know that he had started a fight on the street over something as silly as a movie casting. To Ephraim, this was a big deal, this was what was important. People...he had always had trouble relating to and dealing with other people, at least ones that were actually in his life, but he had always had his fictional characters and the authors who had inspired him, and to see those characters and that work be desecrated, well sometimes it felt like people were insulting his family...or at least the family that he had created for himself when his own was too busy to spend time with him.
"Thank you," Ephraim said quickly as his friend worked on his injury while affirming that he had his own thoughts. He was terrified that what Mac had said was true, that there was no creativity or originality in him, that he was only fueled by things that other people had done, that the accomplishments and ideas of others were all that he had to live off of and that nothing he did was unique at all. He had worked so hard to become a good writer, even though he hadn't been in school for most of that time, but style and technique wouldn't matter at all, not if he couldn't come up with a good or original story to tell. Creativity was just as important as talent when it came to writing, and Ephraim knew that.
He breathed another sigh of relief when Kalen promised that they were friends. He didn't have any other friends, so knowing that Kalen was one, that Kalen would be there for him, was really, really important to him. "Thank you," he said again, knowing that the phrase was becoming old and tired. He didn't know what else to say, though. He didn't want to detail his own pain and insecurities, not when he let everyone else think that he had the world's address. "I just...I really need a friend right now," he mumbled, trying not to think about the things that Mac had said or the memories that they had brought up. He didn't have a good past and while he had made a decent future for himself, he was still haunted by the things that had happened to him at a younger age. Things that he had yet to tell Kalen about.
When Kalen asked about the text, Ephraim wasn't sure how to respond. It was the news in the text that had fueled his anger and ultimately attracting the attention of the other man, but he still didn't know how to respond. He didn't want Kalen to think that this was his fault in any way because, well, it simply wasn't. Kalen had given him the information, but that was all. "I just...I over reacted a little...maybe," he admitted. "I kind of freaked out, I mean who would make that casting choice? It upset me, and then some prick decided to defend Kristin Stewart as an actress and as Mary Lou and I guess I flipped out a little..." He trailed off, looking up at Kalen with his wide, green eyes. "But this is NOT your fault, not at all."
Kalen Teague - April 28, 2012 04:40 AM (GMT)
Kalen had never been the kind of guy to sit down and have heart-to-hearts or soul deepening conversations with his friends. It wasn't that he didn't care about them or that he didn't have an interest in their problems, but he never knew what to say in those kinds of situations. Kalen was more of an observer. He studied other people because they interested him and he didn't really ever think he had any place to tell them what to do with their lives or how to move on. He was nervous when Ephraim showed up at his door flustered because he was worried that he wouldn't be able to say the right things to him. Kalen would always be there for Ephraim and he wanted Ephraim to be able to come to him with anything, but he couldn't promise that he'd have the words to make everything all better. That wouldn't stop him from trying, though. Who knew? Maybe he deserved more credit than he gave himself.
"Of course." Kalen said in response to the first Thank you. He just wanted to help his friend in any way he could and making sure he didn't get any infections from the cuts on his face. Kalen was honored that Ephraim came to him when he needed a friend. "Of course. I'm here any time you need me." Kalen said. He really meant it, too. Aside from his family, Ephraim was the only person he'd drop everything for in a heartbeat.
Kalen still couldn't get over just how much this asshole from the street had gotten to Ephraim. If it had been anyone else, Kalen would have chalked it up to a difference of opinions that had clashed and resulted in a few battle wounds. The fact that it wasn't just anyone and that it was Ephraim, the whole situation made Kalen furious. Ephraim didn't let things get to him like this and while Kalen wasn't the violent type at all, he had a strange desire to shove whoever did this to his friend to the ground. "I could go after him, if you want." Kalen said aloud. He wasn't a fighter at all and even if he did go after this asshole, he probably would end up looking a lot worse than Ephraim did. Still, the offer was there. He wasn't about to just back down after this guy had been a total dick to his friend.
Kalen had a feeling it had been his text that started all of this and he felt guilty about even sending it. "I should have waited to tell you about it." He said. If Kalen had waited, Ephraim could have overreacted in the comfort of his own apartment. Maybe then they could have cracked open a few cold ones and spent the rest of the night going off about the stupidity of the suits running everything in Hollywood. Even if the whole thing wasn't his fault, Kalen couldn't help but to think about what would have happened if he hadn't sent that text the moment he had.
Ephraim Hart - April 28, 2012 05:53 AM (GMT)
Just being around Kalen was starting to calm Ephraim down, and he was glad that he had his friend to turn to. He hadn't meant to allow Mac's words to get into his mind, to let himself think that maybe, just maybe Kalen wasn't the friend he thought, but Kalen had patiently waited for Ephraim to voice his concern and then knocked them away. Ephraim knew now that Mac was wrong, that he did have a friend, and maybe it was just one friend, but it was a damn good one and he wouldn't trade Kalen in for anyone else, not even a whole army of friends who shared his interests. Kalen was there for him when no one else had been before. "No one...no one has ever been there for me like that." He smiled gently, looking up at the boy, feeling better just being near him, feeling better just being cared about.
The second that Kalen suggested going after Mac, Ephraim froze. He furrowed his brow before shaking his head wildly, curls flying all over the place. It wasn't that Mac was particularly big or strong, Ephraim was just small and weak, but the idea of Kalen putting himself anywhere near harm's way for Ephraim's sake was just completely out of the question. He didn't like the idea of anyone getting hurt for him and Kalen was the only person he really cared about right now, so him doing it would just be worse. "No, no..." He shook his head. Kalen wasn't a fighter and he knew that, he wouldn't do much better against Mac than Ephraim had. "You are not a fighter, and besides, I do not even know his name...no idea how you would go about finding him anyways. He would probably hurt you and it just would not be worth it."
It had been the text that had alerted Ephraim to what was going on, but that was not the reason that Ephraim had gotten hurt and it was not the reason that he and Mac had fought. Ephraim had reacted irrationally to something and that was why everything had gone down the way that it had. Kalen blaming himself for the situation was completely unacceptable and he was not about to let his friend think that. "Kay, this was not your fault, okay?" He shook his head, looking at his friend directly, refusing to let Kalen think for a moment longer that he might be responsible. "This was me fighting with a guy about something that matters to me, something that you told me because you thought I would want to know." He sighed, starting to think that maybe he had overdone things, that he had fucked this up. "It was nothing to do with you."
Kalen Teague - April 28, 2012 06:11 AM (GMT)
Kalen stood up and walked over to the fridge. He had never had a friend quite like Ephraim and he wouldn't trade their friendship for anything in the world. It was nice to be the person someone could run to with anything and Kalen knew he could do the same with Ephraim if the roles were reversed. Kalen would never admit it, but he was nervous that they both had significant others. He feared that with their new wives/fiancees they wouldn't have as much time with each other. It was terrifying for Kalen to think that he had to share Ephraim with anyone. He knew a lot of friends grew apart after they got married and although Kalen knew better, he was worried he'd be those people who grew apart after marriage. Pulling a couple of beers out of the fridge and twisting the tops off, Kalen walked back to Ephraim and handed him a beer. He could use a little something to take the edge off. Kalen took his seat and looked at the ground sheepishly. "Jeez, Eph." She said, grinning. "You're going to make me blush." Kalen knew he'd always be there for Ephraim and he didn't expect anything out of what he did for his friend, but it was nice to be appreciated.
Kalen looked down at his gangley arms. Okay, so maybe he could be a bit more beefed up, but he wasn't puny. He shrugged nonetheless. He wasn't one of those guys who needed huge muscles to show off who he was. "Well, the offer still stands." He said. He wouldn't argue with Ephraim about this, or much of anything else. He had a point. Kalen wasn't a fighter and although Kalen wasn't afraid of getting hurt, he wouldn't step into a fight for shits and giggles.
"I get it, Eph." Kalen said. He wouldn't forget about the fact that he had sent the text that started all of this in the first place because he was stubborn like that, but he wouldn't let it evolve into an argument with his best friend. It wasn't worth that at all. Sitting back, Kalen took a sip of his beer. "Are you going to be alright, though?" He asked. He wouldn't forget the look on Ephraim's face when he first showed up at Kalen's apartment earlier. He wanted to know that his friend would be alright and not go out and do something irrational. The surprise visit had been, well, a surprise, but not an unwelcome one. He enjoyed the company on what would have been an otherwise lonely afternoon.
Ephraim Hart - April 28, 2012 06:37 AM (GMT)
"Then blush," Ephraim teased, calling after his friend as the other boy went to go and get them something to drink. He had been so wound up only a few minutes earlier, he really didn't understand how that was possible, because as a child, his parents had always been too busy with the other kids to comfort him right away when something was wrong. He had had to wait his turn or figure out how to deal on his own, and most of the time had been able to cope, but there was something about the way that Mac had spoken to him that made it hard for him to take, hard for him to stomach, and all that he wanted was the friendship he had with Kalen.
"Thanks." He took the cold beer, placing the bottle against his cheek for a few seconds to numb the slight stinging that was still radiating with his injury. "The offer can stand all it wants, I am never going to take you up on it." He shook his head before putting the beer to his lips and taking a long gulp. He knew that he probably shouldn't drink as much as he did, not being 21 yet, but he was close enough and it wasn't as though he was an alcoholic. He didn't drink irresponsibly, not often, and most of the time he was with Kalen anyways, and Kalen had already proven that he wouldn't consciously let Ephraim get hurt, or would at least try to protect him.
Ephraim sighed as he thought about that, wondering if he would be able to make the same offer were Kalen in trouble. He would like to think that he would, that he would selflessly be there for his friend, but he genuinely didn't think that he could say that about himself. He was self absorbed, and as much as he cared for Kalen, he hated getting hurt. When Kalen asked if he was going to be okay, Ephraim nodded. "Yeah, I will be fine." He smiled at his friend. "Just had a bad day, everyone has them, I cannot be perfect all of the time," he joked, raising the bottle and taking another sip. "That is your job."
Kalen Teague - April 28, 2012 07:00 AM (GMT)
Kalen shot Ephraim a look when he teased him, but as he turned away and walked towards the kitchen, Kalen blushed a little. He'd never admit it in a million years. Kalen wasn't the overly-emotional type. He was humble, but he didn't go around blushing at every compliment he got. Ephraim just kind of had the effect on him. Kalen was a nice guy who did nice things, but it felt good to know that Ephraim was just as good of a friend to him as Kalen tried to be towards Ephraim. It was quite an act of luck that the two of them met, but Kalen was glad they had. It was funny how these things worked out sometimes.
"Never is a long time." Kalen said as he took a drink. He hoped they'd get by without anymore major scrapes or incidents, but if the time came when Ephraim was in trouble, Kalen would jump up and defend his friend whether he asked him to or not. That's what friends were for. Without a name or any idea what this guy from the street looked like, there was no way Kalen would get the chance to stick up for his friend when he wasn't around. He wasn't going to go and pick a fight, anyways. Especially not one he probably couldn't win.
There were times when Kalen questioned himself for handing alcohol over to the minor so freely. Ephraim was close enough to twenty-one that it didn't much matter and Kalen knew that even if he didn't supply Ephraim with alcohol, he would probably be able to find it elsewhere. It wasn't like Ephraim was out of control or addicted to the poison, anyways. When Kalen was Ephraim's age, he found ways around the laws preventing minors for drinking and he'd be a hypocrite if he didn't let Ephraim throw back a cold one. Besides, it was nice to have someone to share a few beers with. It wasn't like they drank to get black out or become completely intoxicated.
Kalen raised his bottle. "Hardly." He said with a little chuckle before taking a sip. He was far from perfect. Ephraim, at least, had a grasp on the world. Kalen was still a little scared of the world. At least, he was scared enough to force himself to tolerate a job that might earn him some kind of status. The same kind of thing he criticized others for. If there was one thing he hated, it was being a hypocrite. He was growing into one, though, and it killed him.
Ephraim Hart - April 28, 2012 07:19 AM (GMT)
Never may have been a long time, but it didn't matter, because Ephraim would never ask Kalen to fight a battle for him, at least not a physical one. He might as Kalen to side with him in a verbal argument, probably because Kalen was the only other person in Evergreen that would regularly agree with the bullshit that spewed from Ephraim's mouth, but also because they were friends and that's what friend's did in Ephraim's mind, they stood up for each other in arguments...but a physical battle, one where someone could really get hurt, well that was different and he wasn't going to put his friend in that position, not now, not ever.
"It may be a long time, but that is how long it will be before I ever ask you to take a punch that has my name on it." Ephraim took another sip of the beer, knowing that he was burning through it rather quickly, but it had been a very stressful afternoon and he needed the combination of Kalen and alcohol to ease everything that he was feeling. "I may not like getting hit, but I like it when my friends get hit even less." To be honest, Ephraim was only assuming that this was true. It had been since his schoolyard days that he had had friends, and then hitting wasn't really a problem, at least not serious hitting. Kalen was the first friend that he had to worry about, and he was glad for it.
"Well...maybe not perfect." Ephraim shrugged, wondering if it would be acceptable to snuggle up against his friend. He wasn't like that, normally he would never even entertain the thought, but he wanted comfort right now, he wanted to be close to someone, no matter how out of the ordinary that was for him. "I think that you are damn close to it." He bit his lip as he looked up at Kalen. Kalen was special, he always had been, probably, and he definitely had been for as long as Ephraim had known him. Maybe he was taking a job because he felt like he had to, but he was special, he was important, and Ephraim knew that he would do great things. "You will do amazing things, Kalen Teague," he stated. "You will blow Annie Liebowitz out of the water."
Kalen Teague - April 28, 2012 07:35 AM (GMT)
Kalen shrugged. "Who needs your permission anyways?" He teased. He would never go out and start a fight just to defend his friend's honor and his own pride. He wasn't that insecure. He knew Ephraim could take care of himself, but he also knew how exhausting it could be taking care of one's self and he needed Ephraim to know he didn't have to go at anything alone. It would take a lot for Kalen to get angry enough that he'd actually get violent. He was against violence of all sorts and would rather settle arguments using more peaceful methods. He had the mind of a hippie sometimes, especially when it came to debates on war. Violence was never the answer when there were so many alternatives. He hated the way many people abused violence and he would only ever resort to it in an extreme case. He tried to avoid it at all costs, though. "I don't like my friends getting hurt, either." He said, glancing at Ephraim with wide, blue eyes filled with worry. "You had me worried there." He said. Sure it was only a few cuts this time, but what if next time the asshole on the street is twice as big as the asshole from today? It could have been a lot worse than it was.
Kalen bit his lip. "I love you for thinking that, Eph." He said. "But I'm just plain old me." He honestly didn't think there was anything special about him. Kalen was the kind of guy who blended into the background. He had his own opinions that he usually kept to himself in order to avoid conflict, unless, of course, he was with Ephraim. He didn't feel like he had to hide anything from Ephraim. "You're the one who's going to make a difference in the world as the great writer you are." That was all Kalen really cared about: making a difference. He couldn't very well do that sitting behind a desk, now could he?
Ephraim Hart - April 28, 2012 07:43 AM (GMT)
"Hush, I know that you will not go out and do something stupid like that." Ephraim playfully shoved his friend, feeling so much better than he had earlier. Apparently sharing a beer with Kalen was exactly what he needed to take the edge off, and a part of him wished that, instead of getting all heated and angry with Mac, he had just walked away and come straight here. Kalen had a power over him, a nice, calming power, one that he was grateful for, especially right now. Normally, Ephraim wasn't quite so hot-headed, but Mac had gotten to him, and it was good to know that, even with that, he could calm down.
"I am sorry that I worried you...I just...I made a mistake." He sighed, looking down. He had made a lot of mistakes in his past, but this one had been enough to get him hurt, and that had only happened a few times. One time it had been so bad that he pretended everything was fine even though it wasn't, and he didn't think he would ever tell anyone about that night. "You do not have to worry about me, Kay, I have been taking care of myself for the last 16 years." He wasn't exactly sure when he had started having to watch his own back, but around 4 sounded right, at least as far as he remembered.
When Kalen said that he loved him, Ephraim smiled. He knew what Kalen meant, they were friends, bu even hearing those words from a friend was nice for him. His parents had loved him, of course, they had loved him enough to let him go, but they had been too busy, too crowded to give him everything that he had needed...and when Kalen went on to say that he was an amazing writer, Ephraim felt all the more amazing about himself. "I do not deserve a friend like you," he muttered, looking down at the beer in his hands. It was true. He didn't deserve someone like Kalen, someone to take care of him after all of the shit that he pulled.
Kalen Teague - April 28, 2012 07:11 PM (GMT)
Ephraim was right. He wouldn’t go out and do something stupid. Sometimes Kalen forgot about just how well Ephraim knew him. He wasn’t used to having someone around who knew him, sometimes better than he knew himself, but it was a nice feeling. Kalen wouldn’t go out on and do anything stupid like that because he was rational, but sometimes he wished he wasn’t that guy. Sometimes he wished he was the kind of person who went out and taught the person who had hurt his friend a lesson. Maybe then people would take him more seriously.
Kalen shook his head. He didn’t think Ephraim gave himself nearly enough credit. “You had every right to be upset.” He said. Kalen knew the text would make Ephraim upset, which is why it had been so stupid of him to send it when he did instead of waiting until he was with Ephraim to tell him. Kalen knew Ephraim’s opinions clashed with the opinions of others, but he never imagined it’d escalate into something this big. He supposed it was only a matter of time and nothing Ephraim could say would keep him from worrying about his friend. Ephraim was one of the most important things in Kalen’s life and he would always worry about his friend and hope the next fight wouldn’t be worse than this one. Kalen didn’t know every single detail about Ephraim’s past, but he had a good idea of it. He hated that Ephraim had to grow up in that kind of environment. It killed him. “I know you can take care of yourself, Eph, but that doesn’t mean you should have to. And I will always worry about you, but only because I care.” He said. He took another gulp of beer. He could have easily chugged the rest, but it wasn’t his goal to get too drunk. He still had work to do.
“Don’t you dare speak like that, Ephraim Hart.” Kalen said, poking Ephraim in the ribs. He hated how much Ephraim put himself down. If anyone didn’t deserve the friendship here, it was Kalen. “You deserve this friendship just as much as I do.” They both worked for it, not that it was much work. They got along great, they had a good connection, and Kalen couldn’t imagine not having Ephraim as his friend.
Ephraim Hart - April 28, 2012 07:34 PM (GMT)
Ephraim was glad that Kalen was willing to affirm what he already believed, that he was in the right here, that being upset was alright, that it was even his prerogative. He had been insulted within an inch of exploding, and yes, he hadn't taken the first swing or anything like that, but he had gotten in the last blow. It was a low blow and one that most would consider to be cheating, but he had had to get away from him before things got worse. All that he had wanted was to be free, to be away from the words that the man was saying, from the accusations being spewed, and now he was.
He sighed as he looked back up at Kalen. He had had to take care of himself for so long and while he felt that he was capable, it was nice that someone was offering to help him, that someone wanted to do it for him or at least to offer. "Thank you, but really, I can take care of myself, I have been for years and I do not need you to take on any more responsibility than you already have. With your job and whatnot, you have a lot on your plate right now, you do not need my crap as well." He shook his head, wanting to make sure that he didn't overwhelm Kalen by being, well, needy.
When Kalen said that he deserved the friendship, he gulped, taking another small sip of beer. Kalen was such an amazing person, and Ephraim didn't understand why no one else saw it the way that he did. He was there for Ephraim no matter what and he was willing to go even further if he felt that he had to, that kind of loyalty was completely new to him and he was glad for it in every way. "You are an amazing person, Kay." Ephraim re-situated himself, moving closer to his friend, though still staying slightly out of snuggle range. He leaned up to kiss him on the cheek - after all, it wasn't gay if it was just friends, right? Ephraim was bisexual and Kalen knew that, but as far as Ephraim knew, Kalen was straight and he wasn't going to try and change someone. That wasn't the way that he worked. Besides, he was married now, however awful it may be.
Kalen Teague - April 28, 2012 08:00 PM (GMT)
Kalen shook his head. This simply would not do. “Let me worry about how full my plate is.” He insisted. Kalen could handle a lot of different things and even though he was transitioning from college kid to adult career in a matter of weeks and even though he was getting his wedding all sorted out, he wanted Ephraim to know that that didn’t mean their friendship got put on the back burner. “Whatever is going on in my life is manageable. That doesn’t change the fact that you don’t have to take care of yourself all of the time. No matter what is going on, I’m still here for you. I won’t forget that, no matter how hectic things may or may not get.” How many more times could he tell a person he’d be there for them, no matter what?
Kalen wanted to make a difference in the world more than anything. There were so many things that had gone wrong in all areas of the world and he wanted desperately to resolve them. Naturally, those hopes were unrealistic. He would never be able to solve all of the world’s problems. He did his part, even if it was just a small part, and knowing he could be there for his friend helped him along. As selfish as it was, Kalen felt good about helping Ephraim. He’d be there for his friend through thick and thin. He pictured them being lifelong friends and hoped nothing came in between that.
“As are you.” Kalen said, taking a sip of his beer. Together, they were an amazing pair. Even if the world couldn’t quite appreciate their value just yet. Kalen was startled when Ephraim kissed him on the cheek. It wasn’t a bad surprise and Kalen instantly started reading more into it. He could feel his cheeks get heated, despite his best efforts to keep from blushing. Kalen knew Ephraim was bisexual, and he didn’t think Ephraim knew that much about Kalen. It wasn’t something Kalen shared with anyone after moving to Evergreen except for the few one-night flings at the beginning. “I meant every word I said.” He said quietly, looking at Ephraim with wide, blue eyes. He had to remind himself that he and Ephraim were just friends and that a kiss on the cheek was perhaps the most innocent gesture two friends could share. Not to mention, Ephraim was married and Kalen was well on his way to being a husband. None of that stopped him from thinking about all of the what-ifs.
Ephraim Hart - April 28, 2012 08:11 PM (GMT)
Ephraim bit his lip as Kalen spoke. He didn't understand how it worked, how Kalen always knew the right thing to say or just how to word things to sound both smart and worldly. Ephraim may constantly be the one pretending that he had the world's address, but there was something about Kalen that made Ephraim wonder if he was there, if he were somehow more enlightened than the rest of the people that he knew. Enlightenment was important, and Ephraim wanted to get there some day, but he knew that he could never reach that state with the way his life was right now. He was too afraid of too many things to really, truly be enlightened.
The fact that, no matter how bad things got, Kalen would still be there for him, touched Ephraim deeply. He knew that he should be at home, curled up on his own couch with his own wife instead of on Kalen's couch curled up with his best friend, but it wasn't his wife who could give him what he really needed, not when it was something like this. His wife could give him inspiration to write about real life in America, about things that were less than fun, but it was Kalen that made him feel safe and comfortable, and he would rather be here any day than at home with Harlow.
"I am so glad that I met you," Ephraim whispered softly. Kalen wasn't the only one thinking about the what-ifs, and a part of Ephraim wondered if maybe he had waded into the pools of matrimony too soon, if he should have held out a little longer, but Kalen was straight, so nothing would have happened between them anyways. He told himself that, shutting down the thoughts that he was having, the small prickling of desire that he had to kiss Kalen again, but not on the cheek. Instead, he took another sip of his beer and leaned against the back of the couch, trying to pretend that Kalen wasn't beautiful. "So enough about me, what have you been up to today? Am I keeping you from anything important?"
Kalen Teague - April 28, 2012 10:41 PM (GMT)
Kalen couldn’t get his mind off thinking about what would have happened if neither one of them entered the pool. Would it have made any difference? They were good friends and their friendship seemed like an awful lot to sacrifice for whatever it is Kalen was thinking about. He was already letting his imagination getting ahead of him. After all, it had just been a silly little kiss on the cheek. Now he was the one who was overreacting. Kalen brought a hand up to his cheek quickly and could still feel the heat. He turned his head away from Ephraim in an effort to calm down and stop blushing. Kalen brought the beer up to his lips and held it there until the liquid was drained. Another beer wouldn’t hurt at this point.
Kalen set the empty beer bottle down on the table when he was sure he had collected himself. He didn’t know why he was being so ridiculous, but it all made sense. He had gotten insanely jealous when Ephraim got matched, and then married. Even if his wife was no good for him, Kalen was jealous that he’d have to share Ephraim with anyone. He felt bad for thinking it, but there was some comfort in the fact that Ephraim came to him and not to his wife when he was upset. Kalen had the strong urge to put his arm around Ephraim and pull him close, but he knew that was inappropriate of him to even be having those thoughts. Kalen sighed and fidgeted with his hands.
Kalen looked up and grinned. “I am, too.” He said honestly. He didn’t know where he’d be without Ephraim, but it sounded too mushy to say out loud. Kalen didn’t have anything else to say. His daydreams consumed his thoughts and he didn’t want to voice any of those secret desires. He felt ridiculous for even thinking about them. Kalen completely forgot about his senior thesis for the time Ephraim was there. “Nothing that couldn’t wait.” He said. He didn’t want Ephraim thinking he had inconvenienced him in any way. “I was just working on some school stuff, but it was pretty boring.” He was glad for the distraction, especially since it was coming from Ephraim.
Ephraim Hart - April 28, 2012 11:41 PM (GMT)
Kalen wasn't the only one dealing with what ifs, but the difference between his thoughts and Ephraim's was complicated. Ephraim didn't know that Kalen was bisexual, he didn't know that Kalen liked boys, and he assumed that if he did, he would have told Ephraim when Ephraim had casually mentioned his own bisexual tendencies the first time they had met. He was cavalier with his sexuality, he always had been because he felt that being a bisexual male in this day and age gave him cool points. It was so rare to find a guy who would A ) own up to it and B ) use it as something other than a front for being gay.
Ephraim bit his lip and got up, retrieving two more beers. He handed one to Kalen and opened the other for himself. One beer wasn't quite enough to help him destress from everything that had happened that afternoon and he was glad that he was having a chance to talk to his friend about it, that he was able to get the comfort that he needed. "I am sorry that I barged in on you like this, I did not think about it, I guess I just wanted someone who cared about me..." He bit his lip, taking a swig of the new beer, glad for the crutch that it provided.
"Is your work something that I can help with?" he asked, tipping his head to the side. He didn't want to be eating up Kalen's time if the boy needed to get stuff done, but it would be even better if he helped. He didn't want to leave, because, well, he didn't want to have to go home to a wife that he didn't really like. He wanted to stay here and be with Kalen, with the person that he knew cared about him. He couldn't ask for anything more than that, but he hoped it would go through. "I just really do not want to be an imposition."
Kalen Teague - April 30, 2012 07:20 PM (GMT)
Kalen wasn’t ashamed of who he was. He didn’t bring up his sexuality in general because he didn’t want to be labeled by it. He knew what he was, what he loved, and frankly it wasn’t anyone else’s business. Kalen wasn’t trying to hide anything from Ephraim, though; he just wasn’t really sure how to bring it up. He had missed the opportunity to tell Ephraim when he had it and it never came up again. If Ephraim were to ask him now or if the topic would somehow come up in conversation, Kalen was almost certain he’d mention his bisexuality.
When Ephraim got up to get the beers, Kalen’s mind went on overload. He was close to Ephraim and he had always assumed that was because they were such great friends. He got jealous of Ephraim’s new wife for getting all of that time with Ephraim, but he didn’t think that had to do with anything more than being close with his friend. Now all he could think about was just how close Ephraim had been sitting to him and how easy it would have been to just reach out to him. Kalen closed his eyes and pushed the thoughts from his mind. He didn’t know why he was acting so weird all of the sudden. It didn’t make sense. Ephraim was his friend.
Kalen was glad for the distraction from his own crazy thoughts when Ephraim came back with the beer. “Thank you.” He said as he twisted the cap off and dropped it on the table in front of him. Kalen took a long sip, hoping the alcohol would somehow magically make him relax and stop thinking the way he was. “Eph—you don’t have to apologize.” He said, shaking his head. “You didn’t barge in. You’re welcome here any time and when I move into my new house, you’re welcome there any time, too.” Kalen didn’t bother to think about the fact that it wouldn’t just be his house, but he was sure his wife wouldn’t mind. At least, he hoped she wouldn’t. He didn’t want to spend the rest of his life with someone who was entirely too controlling.
“First of all, you are not being an imposition.” Kalen said. Technically Ephraim could have helped Kalen with the revision, but nearly everything was done already. Besides, he didn’t really feel like working on it right then. He just wanted to relax with his friend. “Second of all, thank you but I think I’m going to take a much needed break from working on it. I was just finalizing my senior thesis before graduation gets here.” It was crazy to think that graduation was so soon. He could hardly believe he was finished with his first four years of college already. “Hey, I was wondering if you wanted to come to my graduation?” Kalen asked, biting his lip. “I know those things are kind of boring and a drag to sit through. You don’t have to, I just thought I’d throw it out there.” Honestly, Kalen would have loved to have Ephraim at graduation, but he wouldn’t have been heartbroken if he hadn’t come. “It’s still a month away and you can bring Harlow if you want.”
Ephraim Hart - April 30, 2012 09:27 PM (GMT)
Kalen was far and away the first and only person who had ever truly accepted Ephraim for who he was. His parents had loved him, they still did he was sure, but they had never been able to really see him for who he was, insisting on calling him Jonathan and Johnny instead of Ephraim, even though he had wanted to go by that starting at a young age. Teachers, classmates, everyone had judged him for the choices that he had made back home and it had all become too much for him, it had been so far from what he wanted that he had just decided to call it a day, a year, a lifetime and get the hell out of there...he had never really looked back, but he was certain that if he did, he would find that no one, save for maybe his family, had been missing him.
He was better off here, in Evergreen, because traveling had been dangerous and while he had learned a lot about the open road and about himself, he had failed to get everything that he needed to know about life down, and Evergreen was a good place for that. He had put his name in and gotten married to a woman that he hadn't met before and if that wasn't living life than he genuinely didn't know what was. He was trying to become a person that would be known for writing great things, but in order to really write those things, you had to feel them and he hadn't felt what it was like to be in a mad marriage, what it was like to be with someone for the sake of being with them and not because you cared or even because you did care - he had never cared about someone, not romantically...at least he didn't think that he had.
"Thank you." He smiled when Kalen mentioned that he was welcome all of the time, and while he felt that he was saying that to Kalen a lot, he also felt the young man deserved it. Kalen had done so much for him, made him feel special and cared about, it was all really too nice. "I guess I was just apologizing because it felt rude, I just do not want to disturb you. You are going to be done with school soon, so you probably have a lot to do and that did not really occur to me because my schedule is so...so different from yours." It was true - Ephraim had dropped out of school, he had gotten a job that allowed him to pretty much work from home and he didn't really have to worry about a defined daily structure, aside from days that he met with his boss or had interviews for his column.
"Really?" Ephraim smiled gently when Kalen invited him to the graduation. He knew that they were close, but that wasn't really the sort of thing that you invited friends to, at least he didn't think it was. "I sort of thought that was a family thing - do not get me wrong, I would love to go, I just did not think that friends were really...apropos." He shrugged, frowning when Kalen mentioned bringing Harlow. He thought about dragging his wife along to something like that and wrinkled his nose. That didn't seem right to him, didn't seem like something he'd want to do. "I do not think she would be interested," he admitted. He hadn't wanted to offend Kalen, but there were two parts of his life - his home life and everything else, and he wanted to keep his life with Harlow away from Kalen for as long as possible.
Kalen was making everything confusing for Ephraim, but even so Ephraim was not willing to let him go, to leave and chill out with their friendship. Kalen was his best friend, Kalen was special, Kalen was beautiful and at times that made Ephraim self conscious, but mostly it just made Ephraim wonder if maybe, just maybe, he had made some incorrect choices. Epraim took another swig of his beer before looking up at his friend and tilting his head to the side. "Do you...do you think that maybe entering the Vow was a mistake?" he asked. "I mean, I know that you are not matched yet, but still, do you think that writing off finding someone on your own so young might have...might have been an error?" He bit his lip, both worried and apprehensive for Kalen's answer.
Kalen Teague - May 1, 2012 10:51 PM (GMT)
Kalen had friends from home that he grew up with. He didn't realize what it meant to have someone who understood you better than you understood yourself until he met Ephraim. After a while Kalen and his friends from home grew apart, but none of that mattered because not a single one of those so-called friends were as good of a friend to Kalen as Ephraim was. Kalen's parents loved him and supported him. His mother was a sweetheart who just wanted him to be happy and his father was a lot less supportive of his hobbies. His father wanted the star quarter back player-turned-businessman, but he got Kalen instead. No matter how well Kalen did or how successful he was, Kalen's father was never really satisfied. After a while, Kalen stopped caring about what his father wanted him to be like and started caring about what he wanted to be like. His father's disapproval still affects him, but Kalen is less afraid to be himself now than he had ever been. Ephraim helped him with that. Ephraim accepted him for who he was and that helped Kalen to be more comfortable in making his own decisions.
While Kalen missed being home and around his family, coming to Evergreen was perhaps one of the best things he had ever done. The distance from home allowed Kalen to grow as a person and become everything he wanted to be. Butler gave him a good education and now he had a good job lined up. More importantly than anything else, coming to Evergreen is the reason Kalen met Ephraim and that was quite possibly the best thing to ever happen to him.
Kalen shook his head. He appreciated his friend's concern for his own schedule, but he was going about it all wrong. "You don't have to apologize for stopping by. You are free to do so whenever you please. If it's not a good time, I'd tell you, but right now it is perfectly fine." Sure, there were times when Kalen simply couldn't hang out, but those times were rare and he honestly would drop everything in a heartbeat if Ephraim needed him. "In fact, I love surprise visits." Kalen insisted. He sometimes got lonely in the apartment by himself and now that Ephraim lived in Suburbia with his wife, it wasn't like there was really anyone around he could visit.
Kalen nodded. "I'm free to invite whoever I like." He said. "My parents will be there somewhere, but I think it would be really great to have a friend there, too." Kalen said. He loved his parents, but even they could get to him and having Ephraim there would make him feel a lot better. "You don't have to go, though. I won't be offended or anything." He would never force his friend to sit through that boring ceremony if he didn't want to. Ephraim had been there with him for these four years and that was enough. "Well, the offer will remain." Kalen said. He didn't care if Harlow didn't go and he didn't really expect Ephraim to invite her, but he would have felt terrible if he simply left her out. After all, whether Kalen liked it or not, she was a part of Ephraim's life now. It felt weird having to include his wife in plans, though. Kalen wondered briefly if it would be as weird for Ephraim when Kalen had a wife of his own. Kalen hadn't gotten used to the addition in Ephraim's life and he didn't know if he would anytime soon.
Kalen thought about Ephraim's question. He took a drink of beer to give him a little more time before answering. "I don't think of it like we're writing off finding someone on our own." Kalen answered. "I mean, it's really just another path we took. It's a different path than people traditionally take, but it gets us to the same place." They rarely stuck with the norm or did what everyone else did, and this didn't seem much different. "Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision in signing up for the Vow, but not because I feel like I've given up on finding someone on my own." They were young, but age was just a number. Kalen was ready to settle down, no matter how young he was. He was curious to know where the question had come from. "Do you think you made a mistake?" He asked curiously.
Ephraim Hart - May 2, 2012 03:50 AM (GMT)
Ephraim didn't know why he felt so much more calm around Kalen than he did everyone else, but what mattered was that he did, that Kalen was the one person in his life that he felt he could truly be himself around and that it was okay. He didn't want to leave any part of him in the dust, but sometimes being around people was hard for him, being who he was, abrasive and non-conforming could put people off to a point where they had so much trouble talking to him that they simply didn't bother. People saw one part of him and immediately assumed that the rest of him wasn't worth getting to know, so they wrote him off and while he pretended to be okay with that, he really wasn't...but what was he going to do about it? Pretend to be someone who he wasn't?
All of that had changed, though, when he had met Kalen. Kalen didn't care that he was weird, that he loved the Beats, that he wanted to be like them. Kalen didn't care that he would rather bump vinyl than a CD or that he didn't use contractions, even when he spoke. He could tell Kalen things, well most things, about his life and even though there was no one that he was completely comfortable with, no one that he trusted with his entire past, if he were going to talk to anyone about them, if he had to pick one person, it would be Kalen. One of these days, maybe he would explain everything to his friend, but for now, he was happy just being with his friend, pounding back a few brews and talking about, well, whatever the hell they wanted to. It was nice to know that he had someone to come to when he needed it.
"Thank you - though if you put that surprise visit thing on the table, be careful, you never know when I will show up." A part of this was because he genuinely wasn't sure that he could be in the same house as his wife as much as he was supposed to be. In reality, there was nothing wrong with her, she was a sweet girl, a lovely girl who had dealt with more shit than she should have had to, but all that Ephraim saw was a blonde, mainstream chick who bored him, even though he hadn't bothered to figure out what kind of a person she actually was. He was being a dick about the situation, but hey, that was just a part of who he was. "And do not worry about your graduation, I will be there." He smiled, glad that he would have the chance to support his best friend.
Joining the Vow had definitely felt like writing off finding someone on his own to Ephraim, but then again, he had not done it to find love, but to find inspiration. He didn't want to be married to Harlow for the rest of his life, though, and a part of him was worried that he had gotten himself into a situation that he couldn't get out of. Kalen made sense in everything that he said, but Ephraim got stuck on the mistake aspect. Kalen asked him if he felt that he had made a mistake and he didn't know what to say to that. "I..." he gulped, biting his lip and looking down at the ground. He did feel like he had made a mistake romantically, because even though he was doing this for his career, he felt like there was finally someone in his life that might be worth happiness.
Being miserable, or at least living a life that seemed and looked miserable had always been a part of Ephraim. He had grown up in a small house with too many people and not enough space, food or really anything to go around, and he had taken that with him when he had left. He had never had a girlfriend or a boyfriend, he had never felt the need for one, so marrying for his art, that had been acceptable to him, but now that there was someone in his life that he was starting to have feelings for, or at least someone he might be starting to have feelings for, he didn't know. "I think that I might have," he admitted, looking down. "It is not that I think getting married was a bad choice, it is more that...there might be someone else that I now will not have a chance with." He sighed, shaking his head. He could say what he had said without Kalen ever having to know that he was the individual mentioned, that it was him Ephraim was questioning his feelings for.
Kalen Teague - May 2, 2012 06:18 AM (GMT)
Kalen grinned. He imagined Ephraim pounding on his door at odd hours of the night. It wouldn’t be bad and Kalen would gladly let his friend in, even if he was being woken up from sleep. “You’re welcome here, always.” He insisted again. Whenever his friend was in need, Kalen would be there to help him. That’s what friends did for each other. “Well, at least you’re welcome here until I get matched and move into a house.” It seemed odd that very soon, Kalen would be married and leaving behind his first apartment for his first house. “Then you’re welcome there, always.” Kalen said. His wife would have something to say about that, for sure, but if his wife couldn’t support Kalen as he supported his friends, then perhaps the match would not work out in the first place.
Even if Kalen would have kept whatever disappoint he had if Ephraim told him he wouldn’t go to his graduation hidden, he was glad his friend was going to be there to support him. He could use a familiar face he felt comfortable with in the crowd. “I’m so glad you’re coming.” He said. “Maybe you’ll even get the pleasure of watching me trip across the stage when I get my diploma.” He added. Kalen got nervous when all eyes were on him and even a task as simple as walking seemed difficult when he was nervous. He didn’t know how all of the ladies walked across the stage in heels when he felt perfectly off-balance in his flat shoes.
Kalen nearly choked on his beer when Ephraim mentioned there was someone else he may have missed his chance with. He knew he wasn’t a particular fan of Harlow’s, but he had never heard about any other woman Ephraim might have been interested in before he signed up for the Vow. When Kalen collected himself, he debated what to say next. He certainly wouldn’t judge his friend for loving someone else. He truly believed you couldn’t really help who you loved, that it just was. He also wasn’t the judgmental type. Kalen was more surprised than anything. How was he only finding out about this other person now, after Ephraim got married? “There’s someone else?” Kalen repeated. “A-are you sure?” He hoped this wasn’t a temporary hormonal thing that Ephraim would later regret. Kalen was sure whoever this other person was a lovely girl, but where did that leave Harlow? “Does this someone else have the same kind of—er—feelings?” Kalen felt kind of awkward asking. Ephraim never mentioned anything about feelings, but he hoped he’d understand what Kalen meant.
Ephraim Hart - May 2, 2012 06:30 AM (GMT)
Ephraim was happy when Kalen mentioned that he was always welcome at the apartment, but for a split second when Kalen mentioned until he got a wife and a house, Ephraim's mood plummeted. Kalen was going to get married, move into a house and then he wasn't going to be welcome anymore, and that scared him more than his own marriage, though he would not be admitting that to Kalen anytime soon. He let out a sigh of relief, his moment of panic ending when Kalen mentioned that he would still be welcome at the house. "It will be interesting to see how your wife feels about that," he teased, trying to hide the fact that anything his friend had said had gave him momentary pause and worry. "But for the record, you are always welcome at my place as well." He smiled at Kalen, hoping the other man understood.
He snorted with laughter when Kalen mentioned tripping on the stage, and while it would be funny if someone else did it, Ephraim was not going to wish that on Kalen. "You know, I have never been to a graduation," he mused. He had never graduated anything and he had never been close enough to anyone else to snag an invite, but Kalen had invited him and even if it was boring, which everyone had assured him graduations were, he was still going to be there. Supporting Kalen was the one thing that he would do no matter what, because he knew that he had the same support from Kalen, and if he ever needed the boy, he only need call. "I will sit there and wish you luck on not tripping." He dindn't want to see his friend fall on his face in front of hundreds of people, he just wanted to see him do well.
"No, I...I am not sure." He shook his head when Kalen asked about the other person in his life. He didn't know if there was someone or not, if his feelings for Kalen were true or just fleeting, and he didn't want to get into the ins and outs of it all, he didn't want to talk about it as though he were going to be cheating on Harlow and leaving her for someone. "I do not know yet if I have feelings for them, you know, in that way or if it is just a passing thing, though I am almost certain that they hold no torch for me." He sighed, taking another swig of beer and looking down. "It is not a big deal, it is just a passing thought, nothing big, I just know that Harlow is not the one for me, but that never really bothered me to think about until recently."
Kalen Teague - May 2, 2012 06:58 AM (GMT)
“My wife will love it, I’m sure.” Kalen said. He at least hoped his wife would love it. Ephraim was a big part of his life and his wife was going to have to realize that. It felt weird to refer to his future wife. He had never described anyone as ‘his wife’ before. Kalen grinned at Ephraim’s offer. He didn’t mind offering his place because he wanted Ephraim to understand he’d always be there and he’d always support him. To know that his friend would do the same for him really touched his heart. “Thank you. That means a lot.” He said. He hoped that his marriage wouldn’t be miserable to the point he wasn’t comfortable in his own house, but to know he had somewhere to turn to anyways made him feel better.
Kalen chuckled a little when Ephraim mentioned he’d never been to a graduation. Kalen had gone to enough graduations to know that they were miserably long and somehow filled with regret for saying goodbye. “Well, I’m glad I am the reason you can look forward to sitting in uncomfortable folding chairs for what will seem like an eternity while people will give incredibly dull speeches on things that aren’t exciting to hear.” Kalen said. If it wouldn’t mean depriving his parents of watching him receive his college diploma, Kalen would have skipped the ceremony. They don’t even give you the real diploma at the ceremony. They send it to you in the mail. Even if he wouldn’t be sitting with Ephraim, it would be nice to have him there. Maybe it won’t seem so awful, then.
It was killing Kalen a little bit to know who this other person was. He wasn’t usually nosey and his reasons for wanting to know were purely selfish. He wouldn’t push Ephraim to keep talking about it, though. If this was something that developed into more than a few words in a conversation between to friends, Kalen would wait for Ephraim to be ready to talk about it more. “I hope everything works out, Eph. I’m here if you want to talk about it more.” Kalen had sympathy for Harlow. Surely she had no idea she’d end up in this kind of marriage when she signed up for the Vow, but Ephraim was his friend not her. His happiness was more important to Kalen than anything. “I think you should do what makes you happy. You deserve it.” He said.
Ephraim Hart - May 2, 2012 07:11 PM (GMT)
Ephraim was worried about Kalen getting married. He was worried about so many different things - that Kalen wouldn't like his wife and would be unhappy, that he would like his wife too much and have no room for Ephraim, that his wife would be controlling and put a stop to their friendship or that she wouldn't be right for him, that she wouldn't support his dreams and help him get what he wanted. He was afraid that whoever was matched with Kalen wouldn't see how special he was, how important, and he knew that his friend deserved better, he deserved someone who saw every last brilliant part of him and loved and supported him, even the weirder parts. Ephraim wanted his friend to be happy, but most of all, he didn't want Kalen to have to settle for anyone who saw him for anything less than he truly was.
"If your wife does not love it, we can always go to a pub and grab a beer when we need to hang out - I will be 21 in not too much time." He shrugged. The idea of having to meet outside because of their wives was far from his favorite, but he wasn't going to lose Kalen, not even if they were both out living their own lives. Maybe, if things started to drift between them, they could schedule times to meet up, maybe weekly, but for now, he was hoping that it wouldn't have to come to that. "And about the graduation, it will be worth everything that anyone says to see you reach your goals." He smiled. He had never been a part of anything that yielded in an honor like graduation and he was impressed that Kalen had reached such an important milestone in his life.
The fact that his happiness was so important to Kalen was touching to the point where he almost wanted to say something to Kalen, to ask if he had ever had thoughts like this about another boy, but he hadn't had enough beers yet to be brave enough to hear the answer, or even to ask the question, so he let it sit, choosing instead to finish off the beer that he was on now. "Thanks, Kay." He stood up, deciding to get another one. He didn't want to think about life or love or his marriage, and getting a little tipsy, if not completely wasted, was a good way to do that. "I will let you know if anything comes of it - do you want another?" he asked, lifting the beer bottle to show his friend what he meant. He knew that it was Kalen's beer, but he would replace it later.
Kalen Teague - May 2, 2012 08:03 PM (GMT)
Kalen hoped he didn’t get a wife who disapproved of his friendship with Ephraim. He was sure if that was the case, then he wouldn’t be married for long. He was a pretty laid back guy and not much bothered him, but he hated being controlled. He worked hard to prove to the world and to himself that he was an individual and he wouldn’t throw all of that away for a marriage he didn’t know he’d even be happy in. He wouldn’t throw his friendship with Ephraim away for anything, either. Kalen was nervous about his match and the longer he had to wait for it, the more nervous he’d be. He didn’t get nervous a whole lot, but this was a big part of his future and he didn’t want it to be all messed up.
Kalen didn’t want to have to think about meeting up with his friend when they could at a pub. Ephraim was a big part of his life now and to have that taken away is simply not acceptable. “I’m sure we’ll be okay.” He said. He wasn’t sure about that at all. He had never been more uncertain about his future in his life and it really bothered him. “We could always meet up at a pub anyways, though.” Kalen suggested. He wasn’t the bar type, but only because he didn’t like going alone and Ephraim wasn’t old enough to go with him yet. His birthday was coming up in a few months and Kalen made a mental note find out from Ephraim how he wanted to celebrate his birthday. He still had a few months, though, and Kalen was afraid if he brought the topic up too far in advance then Ephraim would have time to reject the idea of having any kind of celebration.
Kalen looked at his beer. He didn’t realize how fast he was going through them, but he figured one more couldn’t hurt. “That would be great, thanks.” He said. Why not? He was enjoying his time with Ephraim, perhaps a little more than was appropriate, and he didn’t want it to end. If Kalen got jealous of Ephraim’s incompatible match, this mystery person who had apparently also caught his attention only made his jealousy that much worse. It killed Kalen that there were not one, but two other people he had to share Ephraim with. At least for now. He was worried that if Ephraim really was smitten with this other person, then maybe he wouldn’t need Kalen so much. “So—uhhh, have you spoken to this other person recently?” He asked. He was going to ask if it was someone he knew, but he didn’t want to come off as jealous or nosey.
Ephraim Hart - May 2, 2012 08:15 PM (GMT)
"Yeah, there is nothing wrong with a pub every now and then, it is just also nice to be able to kick back in your own home." He shrugged his shoulders, hoping the same thing as Kalen, that everything would be alright with his match and that their friendship would not be hurt because of it. He knew that women were important, that people needed them for kids, for love and whatnot, but he also knew that they could be a pain in the ass, much like himself, though he never bothered to see it that way, always putting himself on something of a pedestal because of his accomplishments and personality.
Ephraim got up and returned with two more beers, opening them both and handing one to Kalen. He had a feeling that they were going to have a few more before the night was up, and he was okay with that. Things had been bad and he really just needed an outlet, and drinking with Kalen was the best one that he could see. He sat back down and took a large gulp. "I hope that you get everything that you deserve in a match," he said softly, not wanting to look at Kalen as he spoke. "I want you to be happy, to have a good woman who really appreciates you - promise me that you'll make sure she appreciates you." He smiled, taking another swig, trying to play back what could easily be seen as an advance.
When asked if he had talked to this person recently, Ephraim didn't know what to say. He couldn't tell the truth, that he was talking to him now, because then Kalen would know and then everything would go to hell in a handbasket just the way that he didn't want it to. "Fairly recently, I suppose." He shrugged, trying to play it off as though it were nothing because, in actuality, it wasn't anything. They were just friends, they were always going to be friends and he didn't think that anything else would ever come of that. "We should talk about something else." He took another gulp of his beer, looking up at Kalen. "What do you want to talk about that is NOT my love life?"
Kalen Teague - May 2, 2012 09:53 PM (GMT)
Kalen nodded. “I have no doubt that we’ll be able to do both.” He promised. He wished he knew who his match was already so he’d be able to believe that everything would be okay himself. Perhaps signing up to be matched with a complete stranger was not a good idea for someone who hates surprises or not knowing what to expect. Whether it was a good decision or not, it was a decision he made and now had to see through. He had been in Evergreen for four years and in those four years he learned that some couples work out, and some couples don’t, but even if the couples don’t work out right away there’s hope for a new match. Kalen was not tied down to one woman. If that woman was not right for him, he didn’t have to go through with the match. The situation was not hopeless yet.
“Thank you.” Kalen said. It meant a lot to him that Ephraim wanted him to be happy, but it also made he feel a little guilty that he got jealous of Ephraim’s wife. Ephraim deserved that same happiness and he didn’t have it. “I wish you were happier with your match.” He said. As much as he didn’t like the idea of sharing his friend with anyone, he wanted Ephraim to be happy. “I promise.” Kalen said. He didn’t think he could live with someone who didn’t make him happy or accept him for who he was. “But, Eph, you deserve all of that, too.” He said, looking at his friend and biting his lip. Ephraim deserved to be with someone who appreciated all of him because he was a great person, a talented writer, and he had a pretty good grasp on the world. Kalen went as far as to think he deserved someone who’d sit around with him and a few beers, relaxing, but maybe that was a little too far.
Kalen was slightly disappointed at the shift of conversation topics, but he wouldn’t fight it. He was overreacting, anyways, and he didn’t want to make Ephraim uncomfortable. He twisted off the cap of his beer and dropped it on the table in front of him. He took a sip, searching for anything else they could talk about. It usually wasn’t hard to find something to talk about with Ephraim, but Kalen’s mind was on a topic they couldn’t discuss. He stood up and walked over to his desk. “For you.” He said as he handed Ephraim and envelope with the prints he asked for in them. “I hope they’re alright.” Kalen had a lot of fun taking the pictures for Ephraim’s article and he was pleased with how they came out.
Ephraim Hart - May 3, 2012 04:05 AM (GMT)
Both sounded good to Ephraim, being able to see his friend in multiple respects was the best course of action because, not only did he not really like his wife, but he didn't have any other friends. Ephraim had always had trouble making friends, he was too weird, too different and honestly, too rude to really have much success. Sure, he didn't usually realize what an asshole he was being, but that didn't stop the fact that he was one, and that he constantly acted like a brat or even worse. He had said horrible things to perfectly nice people, and that wasn't okay, even though no one had really ever stopped him before, save for Mac's attempt with the slap. "Both sounds great to me." He nodded, taking a sip of his beer, trying not to focus on how hard it was to make friends, or how much his cheek was stinging.
Ephraim, too, wished that he was happier with his match, that he wasn't so against what was going on under the roof that was, for all intents and purposes, his own. He didn't like his wife, but he hadn't really bothered to get to know her. She had made one stupid slip up on their wedding night that he was still holding against her, and that, plus the fact that she looked like a carbon copy of every girl he had ever hated was causing him to judge without really bothering to know her. "I wish that I were too," he said softly, taking another gulp of his beer and looking down. He wasn't happy, but he also wasn't sure that he had ever been truly happy - spending time with Kalen and writing were the closest he ever got, and that had been okay with him, but now that he was in a bad marriage, he wasn't sure how he felt. "I guess we will just have to see what comes of it."
He looked up when Kalen made a move to show him the pictures. He took the envelope, going through them, a grin spreading across his face. They were exactly the kind of thing that would look great printed next to the copy that he had written. "Kay, these are great! Perfect, even!" He smiled as he put them back in. "I will have them cut you a check to compensate, but let me know if there is anything that I can get for you." He liked that he could get a little freelance cash for his friend, but he wanted to do something for him as well, not just for the pictures, but for today, for taking care of him. "Maybe buy you dinner before you get married and I lose you to the womanly wiles of the future Mrs. Teague?"
Kalen Teague - May 6, 2012 09:17 PM (GMT)
Kalen got excited thinking about how it’s going to be when Ephraim turned twenty-one and they could go out to the bar or the pub. Even knowing that they’d both be living in houses with their wives and still be able to hang out in the comfort of their own home was a nice thought. It was a comfort to know that no matter what happened, no matter who Kalen was matched with, they’d remain close and still have time for each other. It got Kalen freaked out to think that his match might be some kind of Godzilla. He didn’t want to think about what his match would be like. He wanted to think positively. Maybe his match would be absolutely perfect and they could live happily ever after, but all of this talk about it made him even more nervous than he already was. He was glad when the topic had been set on the back burner and they moved on.
Kalen took a sip of his beer. It was killing him that his friend wasn’t happy, but to hear Ephraim say he wanted to be happier with his match made it that much worse. Kalen wished he could make it all better for Ephraim. He had never met Harlow, but he truly didn’t believe the girl was right for Ephraim or could ever make him as happy as he deserved to be. “I guess so.” Kalen said, staring at the ground. He wasn’t convinced and he wanted to do whatever he could to make sure his friend was happy. He just wasn’t sure exactly what he could do.
Kalen blushed at the praise. “Well, I don’t know about perfect…” He said modestly. He was glad with how the pictures showed up, but he knew there was always room for improvement. “Thank you.” He said. He would take the photographs for nothing since they were for his friend, but the check from the newspaper didn’t hurt. “Eph—you don’t have to do that.” He said. His friend didn’t need to take him to dinner to show his appreciation. Kalen should be the one thanking Ephraim for giving him a reason to do what he loved. “But we should go out before I tie the knot.” He said. There was no way he was going to let Ephraim treat him. Ephraim already had done a lot for him, he didn’t owe anything to Kalen. It was still weird to talk about his wedding and marriage in reference to the near future. He hadn’t even met his wife yet, but he’d be married before he knew it. Even though Kalen was going to make an effort to make sure their friendship didn’t change much after he was married, it would be good to have a night out with his friend before he became a married man.
Ephraim Hart - May 7, 2012 10:22 PM (GMT)
Ephraim didn't want to talk about his marriage anymore, not right now. He wasn't happy with the way that it was going, but at the same time, he didn't want to psych Kalen out for his. Ephraim was a hard person to get along with, Kalen was the exact opposite, meaning that it would be about 5 million times easier to find him a good match than it was Ephraim, and Eph knew that, even if Kalen didn't. He didn't want to talk about his failed relationship and let Kalen wonder if his own would be just as bad. "It will be fine," he stated nonchalantly, though he knew that it probably wouldn't, at least not right away, though maybe in the long run everything would work out for the best.
The pictures may not have been completely flawless, but they were good enough for Ephraim to deem them perfect, and while he wasn't going to argue with Kalen, he wanted his friend to know that his work was good. He would make an amazing photographer if he pursued that instead of the more business side of life, but he wasn't going to tell Kalen what to do, the boy would have to come into that on his own. "Well I think that they are damn good, and since they go with my article, what I think carries a good amount of weight." He smiled at Kalen, glad to have a friend who was capable of capturing exactly what Ephraim wanted from the photographs.
"We will figure it out, make it a stag night or something - and hey, I do not mind footing the bill, okay? It will be your night." He shrugged it off. They didn't really owe each other much of anything, seeing as they really went around paying when they felt like it. Right now, Ephraim was drinking Kalen's beer, but he didn't feel as though he owed the boy for it - it would all even out in the long run, that's how good friendships worked. "Shit...I should get going before I get tanked here, pass out, and forget to go home." He knew that once he got home, he would lock himself in the guest room and write to avoid his wife, but it was still better than having to deal with her wondering where he had been. "Text me and we will set something up." He smiled, taking the pictures and hugging his best friend quickly before leaving.