- Ash Srinivas
Well Enough pt. 2
Slice Of Life Shorts.
Of two boys just trying to make it through life.
Jay doesn’t like talking. never has, never will. He didn’t waste words on people he didn’t care for. His mom told him to watch his words, the quiet ones are always the ones admired. Being an observer by nature, he notices when he’s the one being watched. and he has been, for the past few weeks.
It’s that extra glance Perth shoots him every time they walk out of English, packing up bags, changing for football in the locker room.
Jay tells his friends once, “He’s kind of an asshole,” staring at Perth from across the cafeteria. “you know?”
His friends had laughed at him, attracting a few stares, and Jay looked at Perth, at the cockiness in his steps and the loudness of his voice, laughter carrying through the entire cafeteria, all eyes on him. And Jay thinks he's a bit of a show off, wanting that kind of attention. The way he doesn’t give a **** about anything and always has someone hanging off his side. Always laughing.
“He's a good guy,” one of Jay's friends commented offhandedly. “Once you get to know him.”
Jay scoffs and says, “I don't want to get to know him.”
Jay can only watch as Perth taps a rhythm on his packed table with two wooden pencils knee bouncing constantly in rhythm and a friend’s arm tight around his neck. Laughing but aloof and for some reason, Jay finds it bitchy. Maybe he’s the one that’s bitchy. With all that sour jealousy.
He never thought a guy like that could put away his ego until Perth was right in front of him in classroom 1.108, more desperate and relieved than Jay has ever seen him. And he’s promising something with those cotton candy lips. “Just two months, then I’ll leave you alone.”
Jay groans. “You can afford to go here, can’t you? Surely you can afford a tutor. One who’s willing.”
“My parents can’t find out. I have to get my grades up before exams again. Just help me for a couple months. I’ll owe you.”
“Am I that attractive that you’re this desperate to be around me?
“Don’t flatter yourself. Will you do it or not.”
Jay sighs again, pulling a strand of coiled hair before releasing it, it bounces against his forehead. Perth watches it swing.
“I’ll do it, happy?”
Perth pumps a fist in the air and screams with joy. Jay plugs his ears.
“One thing. what do I get in return.”
Perth pauses for a second, thinking. “I mean I’ll pay you, it’s not a big deal, but other than that,” He holds up three fingers. “Three favors. You can ask me to do anything in the world and I’ll have to do it.”
Despite his attempts to keep a straight face, Jay laughs.
Perth looks mortified for a second before it becomes an expression of accomplishment.
“Finally, human emotion.”He laughs with Jay. “Looks like the king of monoliths can be cracked.”
“Screw off,” Jay responds, leaning back in his chair and crossing one leg perpendicular across the other. “Just two months.”
“Or more, time is weird”
“Hey,” Jay warns.
Jay looks at the smile on Perth's face and snorts. “What are you so happy about?”
Perth touches his face, but the smile doesn’t shrink. “Why can’t I be.”
Jay pauses. “It’s annoying.”
“You’re annoyed… that I'm happy?”
“God, no— ugh, never mind.”
Perth pauses and eyebrow before pulling out a calculator. “Can we start now then? I’ve got a calc 1 test tomorrow.”
Jay shoves him in the shoulder after sliding his chair in to look over at the worksheet. With their thighs pressed together under the table, and Perth’s light but tanned skin contrasting against Jay’s dark brown, Jay remembers what his friends had said, saying “Give him a chance,”
“Plug in that,” He points at one of the functions, only half paying attention.
In his head, he’s trying to convince himself that he really was just jealous of Perth. nothing more.