Barriers Ch. 01

Authors note: If you're looking for a story to get off to you're probably in the wrong place. I'm starting by building up the characters and seeing where I want it to go. Hope you enjoy it!

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"Good morning and welcome back everyone." My Homeroom teacher Mr. Kelber put down a stack of papers on his desk, I assumed it was our schedules.

"You've been here for 3 years, you know the deal by now. When your name is called come grab your schedule and locker number. I don't care what you do after that just don't get me into trouble. Jason Andrews."

I got up from the back of the class and walked up.

"You're out of here by noon every day. You must really hate this place Jason." He chuckled.

I shrugged, he wasn't wrong but I didn't really feel like talking with a strong hangover from last night.

"Locker 294-A, that's the top one." Kelber handed me my schedule and a lock.

I nodded.

"The school year just started and you're already a mess Andrews. Some things never change huh?"

I shrugged again. I didn't really care what anyone thought of me even if they were right. I walked to the back, picked up my backpack and jacket and went to my locker.

I should probably introduce myself. My names Jason Andrews, I'm 18, a senior at Woodrow Wilson High in the middle of Pennsylvania. I'm 5'5''. White and 120 pounds, no real muscle anywhere, Black short hair, green eyes, overall I'm a pretty average looking kid. Today I'm wearing a generic red hoodie, tight black shirt and some black jeans.

That's where the average ends however because I'm actually a gigantic mess personality wise, as if the hangover didn't already hint to it. I was bullied a lot when I was younger to the point where I would break down alot. Nobody was looking to be friends with me either with the bullying and psychotic episodes so I found myself alone a lot when I was younger. It didn't help that my parents were never home thanks to their business and I would find myself crying myself to sleep alone more often than not.

With such a shitty childhood I had to find a way to cope obviously. Thankfully (or unfortunately as it may be), my father despite his lack of presence in the house liked to keep his liquor cabinet stocked and there was always a carton of menthol cigarettes somewhere from whatever country my parents had just flow out of. It doesn't take a genius to figure out how to smoke and drink, especially in the days of the internet; so between the availability and the need to cope I began a rather unhealthy lifestyle at the beginning of 8th grade.

High school is where it got better I suppose. By the end of middle school I had picked up the reputation of being a smoker and drinker. This led my former bullies and tormentors to try and befriend me with my access to beer and such. Now you would think I would accept all these new people are friends with open arms and my life would be better for it. I told everyone to fuck off. If they didn't want to be my friend at my worst I sure as hell didn't want their company now. I suppose it was a result of being forced to cope with my problems when I was younger by shutting myself off from the world and thinking I needed to keep the same mentality. This trend continued into my freshman year of high school. I even evolved into a bully of sorts myself, making innocent white girls cry for no reason other than I wanted to. Eventually my reputation turned into an unstable asshole that you didn't mess with because it never ended well for you. The high school had me in the counselor's office at least once a day to "talk out my problems". It was cute how they decided to care now that I was one causing trouble instead of being the victim of it.

I threw my bag and coat into my locket slammed it shut and pulled out my pack of cigarettes as I headed for the door. I knew exactly where I could get away with smoking in this school, today was going to be an old dirt path kids used to use to get home in like the 90's. It's no longer used because there's an easier path after they knocked down a bunch of trees to make room for condos a couple years ago. I pushed the door open making sure nobody was trying to follow me and walked towards the path.

"JASON ANDREWS STOP RIGHT THERE!"

I froze, thinking I was already in trouble on day 1. I rolled my eyes and turned around only to find my friend laughing her ass off as she came running towards me.

"Jenna you're such a bitch I hate you so much."

"Same hun." She kissed me on the cheek and squeezed me. "Give me a cigarette I ran out this morning."

I met Jenna Peterson in sophomore year, I was smoking on my way to school and she came up on my side and asked to bum one. I handed her the rest of my pack and told her to leave me alone. This was her cue to tell me her life story apparently, how she had just moved to town from Cali, everyone was boring and she heard about my reputation and wanted to get to know me. Naturally I told her to fuck off again. Jenna wouldn't give up so easily however and bothered me about anything and everything to and from school. Eventually I gave in and started explaining my entire childhood to her, expecting her to run like everyone else did when they find out about me. She didn't budge however and quickly became the person I talked to about everything. I'm glad she didn't run away like everyone else; that someone in the world cared about my stupid ass. She didn't want anything out of my except being me...ok that's not completely true sometimes she would have me bully some bitch who called her out on being weird on occasion, but I gladly obliged as she was really the only person who ever worried about me on a personal level.

"I gave you a pack on Sunday, how did you smoke an entire pack in 3 days?"

"Yeah I need to talk to you about something, now give me a cig and let's go we have like 20 minutes before class."

I immediately stopped. "Tell me right now."

She pouted and did her best impression of being innocent. Jenna honestly was really hot.18, 5' 1", short natural platinum blonde hair, clear brown eyes, double D's, tight body from going to the gym. She chose to wear tight blue jeans and the school hoodie, zipped up to her chest so her low cut shirt could hang out. If I was into girls I'd be all over that. That wasn't our relationship however and we both knew it so it wasn't that big of a deal.

"Come on Jenna you know how much I hate not being told things up front."

"Well..."

"Just spit it out I've only ever been mad at you when you kept secrets from me."

"Fine I'm dating someone on the soccer team."

"Why in the fucking world would I care about that?" I threw my arms up utterly confused why she wasn't just telling me everything at once.

She took a deep breath. "Now don't be mad..."

"I'm mad that I'm standing here waiting for some irrelevant news when I could be smoking."

"Mark Houston."

My eyes opened wide.

"Yeah... see this is what I was afraid of."

I regained my composure and moved forward. "It's fine as long as he doesn't hurt you or come anywhere near me."

"Jason I've been dating him for a few weeks now and I didn't know how to tell you." She caught up to me. "He knows what he did to you when you guys were young was wrong and he feels really guilty about it..."

"MY ASS HE DOES. L O L JENNA YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME" We were finally out of sight of the school so I lit my cigarette and tossed her the pack.

"Jason..." she touched my arm with her unoccupied hand trying to comfort me.

"Jenna stop. It's fine that you're dating the guy that sent me into psychotic fits in school. I'm being completely serious too don't feel guilty about it. That doesn't change my opinion of him however and I will never forgive him for what he did to me."

She took a drag and sighed. "It's just shitty is all."

"Life's shit then you die."

"Always the positive one."

"Piss off bitch."

"Ok hun, thanks for taking the news better than I thought you would. Meet you here for lunch?"

"Yeah sure, just don't bring any unwanted guests." I glared at her making sure it was perfectly clear I didn't want that meathead anywhere near me.

"Alright no problem." She came over and hugged me again. "Need anything just text me."

She waved goodbye and she ran back to school. It wasn't a secret she was running to catch her boyfriend before class and I made sure when she looked back at me that I wasn't angry. That all changed as soon as she was out of sight and in the building.

"GOD FUCKING DAMNIT." I'm pretty sure kids on the other side of the school could heard me shouting. "ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?" I punched a tree while smoking another cigarette.

Houston was my main bully throughout my childhood. It all started in 4th grade, he befriended me and we hung out on a regular basis for a few weeks. He frequented my house and we would just play video games all day. That all changed on the night of June 15th, he invited me to "hang out with all his other friends". Little did I know that was all a ruse to humiliate me.

"Jason get over here!" We were in the woods by his place just throwing around rocks and sticks.

I ran over confused. "Whats up?" I was just a stupid naive kid wondering what was going on.

"Do me a favor and grab my hoodie. Jack tossed it over there for no reason." He pointed to a gray sweatshirt hanging on a low branch a ways away.

"No problem." I jumped over some logs and reached over for it.

"GET HIM!"

As soon as I turned around to see what was going on I found myself being pelted with water balloons left and right. I shielded my face and waited out what seemed like an hour of people laughing and chucking water balloons at me. When it finally ended I looked up at Houston ready to cry.

"Yeah cry you stupid baby, that's all you know how to do. Wahh Wahhh." He turned around with all his friends and they all just walked away laughing, leaving me there to process what had just happened.

I ran home crying the entire way. I couldn't believe someone I had made my best friend had just thrown me away to be a victim of a prank. The next day it all became clear when once again I was the victim of their non-stop insults. Houston had quickly turned from being nice and understanding into a coldhearted bully. This abuse kept up throughout middle school, it's the main reason I became such a terrible person.

I threw away my cig and walked back to my locker to look at my schedule. First period was English with Ms. Cantera, a nice way to start my day. I sprayed some body spray on myself to mask the tobacco and walked to room 205.

"Jason why are you late? It's the first day for crying out loud."

"Problems." I was still clearly hung over as I talked to my English teacher of 4 years.

She sighed knowing talking about it any further would be a waste of her time. "Row 3 seat 5. Please be quick so I can talk about the upcoming year."

I wandered over to my seat and put my head down. I didn't really care what she had to say about the upcoming school year, I would get the minimum work done for a C and that was that. I didn't care enough about high school, my parents were loaded and I could get into any college I wanted if they threw enough money the college's way. This was all just filler.

"Hey Andrews."

I turned my head and there was stupid Houston. "Piss off Jenna told me and I want nothing to do with you."

"Come on man it's pretty serious between us and I need to clear the air with you."

"Fuck off."

"Just give me 5 minutes I swear that's all I want."

"FUCK OFF OK?"

"Jason and Mark is there anything you want to share with the rest of the class?"

Houston turned his head away shutting up.

"Yes Judy, Mark over here wants to apologize to me for tormenting me throughout middle school and going as far as to put me into suicide watch a couple of times!" I laughed a bit.

"Jason you know better to not call me by my first name and you definitely know that isn't the place or time for something like that. Disrespect me again and we can have a nice conversation together after school today."

"Sorry Ms. Cantera..." Houston mumbled

I just smiled at her and moved my hand to signal to continue whatever she was going on about. She knew I was more or less a lost cause so she left me alone as long as I did my work.

The class went by rather quickly as it was your usual first day nonsense. I wouldn't have even been in class if it was any other teacher but I knew she would have called the vice principal immediately if I didn't show up.

When the bell rang I was the first one up and B-lined for the door only to be grabbed by Houston. Persistent piece of shit, he clearly had a hidden motive as he had well over 5 years to apologize for being a terror. I assumed it had to do with Jenna.

I turned around. Despite my incredible hatred for him I had to admit that Houston looked good today. Styled short black hair, dark blue eyes and he clearly took time to trim his beard today. He was wearing his soccer shirt because of the after school activities fair today and he was running the booth. I could see he took some serious work over the summer to grow his arms and shoulders out as they looked fantastic. I could see why Jenna started dating him now. I snapped back to reality realizing I was drooling over the guy who made my childhood a living hell.

"Holy fuck what don't you understand about fuck off?"

"Jason it's my birthday today and i wanna invite you..."

"Are you fucking serious right now?" I had completely forgotten Houston was turned 18 today

"Look it's just..."

"JUST FUCKING WHAT YOU THINK AN APOLOGY WILL MAKE EVERYTHING OK?"

"No. I never said that."

"Well I don't care about anything you have to say. You don't need my permission to date Jenna, she's allowed to make her own decisions and I'm not the type of person to lose my best friend over some stupid fucking meathead. Do what you want I don't care just know I will never be nice to you, you're a gigantic piece of shit and always will be to me."

"Alright."

I walked away and rustled in my pocket to get my phone out. Quickly texted Jenna what had just happened and reaffirmed my stance with her. She sent me a frown emoji in response and I rolled my eyes.

Noon came around and I waited for Jenna like I said I would. I decided I wanted chipotle for lunch and wanted to see if she wanted to come. As expected she started walking up the trail with her lighter in her hand signaling me to pull out my pack of smokes.

"Let's go to chipotle."

"I still have 2 classes Jason not all of us have parents that will pay for their kid to go anywhere."

"Yeah yeah you and your responsibility."

"I promise tomorrow we'll get lunch when my break is longer but I just can't today ok?" She came over and squeezed me like she always does.

"You aren't lying to me so you can spend lunch with your boyfriend right?"

"I would never you know me far better than that."

She was telling the truth, Jenna had no issues being honest with people, me especially. I tossed my cigarette and waved her off.

"Jason..."

I knew exactly what was coming.

"Look we went over this earlier today, I don't care. Do what you want with him. Marry him for all I care just know I will never forgive him."

And with that I walked away to my house to get my car.

I didn't live far from the High School, a 5 minute walk at the very most. It would take me longer to get out of the parking lot if I drove so I just walked every day. It was a crisp day as cliché as that sounds, trees were shedding their leaves and there was a gentle breeze helping them along, it was nice.

As I turned the corner to my house I noticed an all too familiar car parked out front of it. There was Jonathan Han waiting for me with his signature stupid fucking grin on his face.

"Hey babe."

"I'm not your babe fuckwad. What are you doing here?" I walked up to him in confusion.

I met Jon in my junior year. I had gotten detention for mouthing off to my gym teacher about how he would totally fuck some bitch in my class and pass her because of it. Jon was there for god knows what and sat down right next to me. He was wearing his varsity basketball jacket and some grey sweatpants. Jon was your typical Jock. He wasn't built like Houston was but he was definitely toned and took care of himself. He had the typical Asian face and black hair and eyes.

"Whats up?" That was the first time I saw his grin.

"The hell do you want?" I pretended to do homework and not give him any attention

"What I can't say hi?" He took the notebook I was writing in and read it. "Ahh history, I can't stand this shit I don't know how you can read it."

"Give me back my fucking notebook Jon."

"What this?" He threw it out the window right next to him. "You don't need this right now." He smirked again.

"What the actual fuck do you think you're doing?" I was clearly ready to raise hell.

"Look Jason I'm not afraid of you like everyone else is. I just wanna talk to the guy that I find cute. Give me like 10 minutes of your time then I'll reach outside and let you get back to the Native Americans or whatever bullshit you were reading about."

"I..."

Did Jon just say he thought I was cute?

"There we go, ok here's the deal I wanna take you out to dinner after this. Meet me out front and I'll drive and take care of everything. You don't need to dress up or anything I just wanna get to know you. You're really interesting Jason you should value yourself a lot more than you do."

I sat there and crossed my arms and tried to figure out his motives. Why the hell was this guy asking me out on a date in detention of all places with everyone listening in? I didn't even know Jon was bi before this moment. Why is he using all these stupid lines as if I'm some girl? Why are they working?

"Alright, I guess I have nothing better to do with Jenna at the gym."

"Sounds great. Lemme get your notebook." Jon hopped up on the ledge and stuck his upper body out the window to grab my notebook off the grass.

"Here ya go. Remember just meet me out front in 40 minutes when this shits over. Enjoy your homework I guess." He got up and walked away to go talk to his friends.

Less than an hour later I sat at the front of school with a cigarette in my hand waiting on Jon. He pulled up in his BMW and rolled down his window.

"You can smoke in my car I don't care get it."

I obliged and hopped right in.

"So where are you taking me?"

"My parent's restaurant, I figure we can sit at a booth undisturbed while I get to know you a bit." He turned to me and chuckled "God you're so cute."

"Ok what the fuck is up are you gay or bi? Why the sudden interest in me when you could fuck any cheerleader you want?"

"Woah there." Jon looked left to see if he could merge onto the road. "First off I'm Bi you caught me. Second I think you're cute and just asked you on a date, it isn't that big of a deal after all you did say yes."

I loosened up and looked back forward. I wasn't used to being pursued, especially in such a fast manner.

"Sorry...I guess you just threw me for a loop."

"Look I know you've had a rough couple of years but just know I'm not trying to use you or pull off a prank. I just wanna get to know you on a date. I swear. Oh hey look we're here."

Jon's family's place was an above average Chinese restaurant. One of those places you would go Brunch on a Sunday. It looked nice and definitely felt like they had more food than General Tso's Chicken and Beef and Broccoli.

When we walked in, Jon yelled something in Chinese at his mom and she came over.

"Hi! I'm Ming." His mom had an adorable Chinglish accent to it. "Are you his new girlfriend?"

"Uhh what?"

"Mom I know how supportive you are of me but can you not embarrass me immedatley?"
They went back and forth in Chinese for a bit then Jon told me to go sit at a booth while he takes care of ordering.

I sat down and pulled out my phone. Jenna had texted me about 30 times since I told her that I was going out on a date.

"Are you ok?"

"If he pulls anything stupid call me immedatley."

"Seriously be careful."

"You there?"

I laughed as I saw the level of panic that she was currently in. I quickly texted her back that I was fine and she was on emergency dial if anything went wrong.

As soon as I finished the text Jon slid into the other side of the booth.

"I ordered noodles and chicken. I wasn't sure about your diet so I didn't get anything weird don't worry." He really did have an incredible smile.

"I can eat anything, I travel with my parents all over the world in the summer."

"Oh so that's why you're never here in the summer. I was talking to Jenna about you and she wouldn't give me details about your whereabouts now I know."

"Yeah well she thinks you're up to no good so good luck getting her approval if you wanna go any further." I looked at another 5 messages from her.

"Put your phone away I wanna get to know you not her."

I threw my phone in my hoodie pocket and started talking to Jon about me and my life so far. We talked about music and our hobbies. He was into Electronic Music as much as I was which was a very nice surprise. I told him about all the festivals I couldn't wait to attend. We finished up dinner and sat there talking about plans for the future as Jon had just turned 18 a couple weeks ago. I looked down at my phone and realized we had been talking for well over two hours.

"I think it's about time to get going as much fun as this was."

"Oh so you had fun?"

"A lot more than I thought I would have with you honestly."

"Wanna go back to your place and keep the night going?"

"Look I'm not trying to lose my virginity to the first guy to take me on a date."

"Oh I'm your first? I had no idea." He said very sarcastically.

"You're really helping your case here Jon."

"I'm not trying to get into your pants unless you want me to Jason, I'm just saying I have nothing else to do tonight and we can go back to your place and watch Netflix, I'm not trying to be your boyfriend just yet because I know you're not ready. Hell you're leaving for England for a month when school lets out anyways. I'm just looking for a friend and certainly won't say no if you wanna take things further." Jon got up to clean up the plates. "Not all of us are douchebags like Mark. I hope I showed you that today." He walked away and give me a minute to myself.

This really was a strange feeling, someone making friends with me out of the blue. I was still pretty skeptical but I figure it can't hurt with Jenna looking out for me.

"So is my night with you ending here or are we off to your place?"

"I think this is where you drop me off at home and we call it a night."

"Aww that's a shame. At least you honestly enjoyed yourself right?"

"Yes Jon I promise I had a great time."

Jon shouted something in Chinese at his mom and grabbed his keys and motioned me back to his car.

Since that date I've seen Jon a couple of times. He's been over my place with Jenna and we sat around and watched TV. I was very cautious with him but slowly but surely he was growing on me. I hadn't seen him since I came back from England in August so it was a real surprise to see him here now.

"Well you never told me when you were coming back from England so I had no idea where you were." Jon moved from his car closer to me. "I missed you a lot Jason..."

"Why on earth did you miss me of all people?"

"Because I can't do this to just anyone." And with that he grabbed me, pressed my back against my house and kissed me.

barriers

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