June 21st,first day of Summer and Josh Redgrove still has a few days at College in Vancouver before his first ever trip to Orlando with Parker Dinkleman.
Josh is sitting in his bed on their shared bedroom (no shared bed...yet),in their shared rented apartment.Looking through old dusty photo albums Parker somehow convinced him to bring with them from their visit to Scaunchboro last Christmas.
Josh just thought it was a stupid idea at the time,just a bunch of old junk that will take up space,but if you want to REALLY argue with Parker you gotta gather up the energy and for trivial stuff like this? Just not worth it,but now...now his eyes are starting to well up in tears,there's a lifetime in these things,isn't there?
The apartment is small,but well preserved,not far from Campus and not too expensive either,they both work,they can pay it.
Also,Miss Dinkleman insisted on paying for Parker despite the young redhead's protests that he's an adult now,he can handle this.Josh truly believes him but he also thought 'Hey,let the woman have this one last thing,she DID save money for that your entire life',Parker reluctantly accepted his fate.
Josh had been lucky enough to get JUST the right amount of points in High School to only need to pay for half of it.The other half is on him,like he presumed,ever since he decided he was going to do Film.He doesn't expect his parents to understand him by now.Especially his dad.
Josh just won't push it since it was already hard enough for John Redgrove to accept his....partner.The older veteran man never really liked Parker,nor when they were just kids playing in the backyard or playing videogames in the living room,and somehow even less now that the young nerdy adult is in the way of Josh hooking up with a beautiful,honorable,respectable girl from a nice family...or something.
Like Josh would want those if he was available.It was only this last Christmas when his dad stopped arguing and decided tolerating the sturdy aspiring filmmaker's everlasting presence into the Redgrove's lives.
It kinda thrills him,the fact he's not on the market (hasn't been for a while now),but pretty shallow girls will still throw themselves at him,thinking they're the chosen ones to break such a strong bond the likes of his and Parker's.
He decided 4 years or so ago it wasn't worth it.
Yes,Parker's still nerdy and geeky and all kinds of goofy,awkward and rambly,and Josh will bring hell if the younger student tries to change any of that NOW after years of Josh trying and failing miserably,then finally giving up making the ex-frycook look anything resembling cool.
At least,'Cool' by other people's standards.Josh always thought the younger redhead already was just that,but in his own unique way.
Maybe it's best this way.Besides,puberty was nice to Parker,the adorable,joyful little ball of energy was now a tall,gorgeous,joyful big ball of energy.Yeah,not much changed after all.The blond is still lowkey bitter Parker got taller than him though.
The picture Josh's been looking at has tiny little them,little Parker holding little Josh sideways but tight,both covered in strawberry ice cream cake,the tiny redheaded boy had a big snaggletoothed smile and tiny Josh just looked dead inside.Parker's 7th Birthday.
January 28,it's been around 6 months since 7 year old Josh had met 6 year old Parker.
The one-eyed boy had been very much friendless before the hurricane of joy had swept him off his tiny feet.
Other kids had tried to befriend him but he was always too quiet and reserved,his dad was very strict when he was around and the little blond boy feared and respected him,you just wouldn't see Josh making a mess or causing too much trouble (not yet),besides,he liked to be alone.
Josh had never seen the cheerful red-haired boy around before,he guessed the kid had just moved in,he asked if Josh wanted to build a sand castle,Josh had nothing better to do and said whatever.
Since then,the younger boy has been following him everywhere at school and at the playground,contagious energy Josh just doesn't have and a little babblering mouth that never shuts up.
Josh couldn't lose sight of the kid,no matter how hard he tried.
The blond kid decided to contempt with this relationship the first time they went to Parker's house.
It looked huge and fancy for a little kid,Parker had so many toys,videogames and action figures Josh's parents would never buy for him.Most of these he'd only seen on TV,this was heaven!
Josh guesses he can stand an annoying,disgusting little kid who never leaves him alone AS LONG as he's rich.
Today's the kid's birthday,they're celebrating it at school,Parker's mom,Miss Dinkleman just happens to be their teacher.
Josh thought it was weird that the younger kid's dad wasn't here,but the blond just figured the boy's dad was too busy,just like his.
Parker's dancing in front of the TV, 'singing' badly,getting all the lyrics wrong to a song from some Mexican-or-whatever Kid's Soap Opera the cheerful boy won't stop watching on Satellite TV.Barely anybody else knows the thing,but the songs are catchy,so the kids are not complaining yet to change it to something else.
Que es tu historia
Que es tu risa
El amor que nos envuelve
Y la misma canción
Es un sueño que me espera
Una espera que se sueña
Para todos una fiesta
Y para vos mi corazón
It's a really really really girly show,Josh wanted so badly to point this out and say to his younger friend he really shouldn't be watching this and even less,telling others about it if he 1.Wants to get liked by others;2.Doesn't want to be bullied.
Cuando llega Floricienta
La alegría se despierta
La ilusiñon se pone alas
Y voy a volar con vos
Y el milagro de la vida
Hoy te da la bienvenida
Cuando Floricienta baila
Se nos prende el corazón
On the other hand,the kid's having so much fun,tripping all over himself with his pink microphone toy on one hand and bucket of ice cream cake on the other.
As long as he stays far away from Josh,who happens to be in the far corner with a few slices of strawberry ice cream cake he'll be okay and- Oh no,no no no,he's lousily dancing and singing in Josh's direction and no no nooo,go away!
Co - Co - Co
Co - Co - Co
Corazones al viento
Co - Co - Co
Corazones sin miedo
Que te gritan "Te quiero!!!!!"
Que - Que - Que
Que se junten las manos.
Que - Que - Que
Que te sientas mi hermano
Que - Que - Que
No te vayas nunca
Para vos mi corazón
Josh's 12th birthday is...fancy,compared to the other years,he's spending at the mall's GameRoom,he's sitting on a chair,hands on a steering wheel,nascar racing on screen,against an agitated bad loser Parker who's very close to breaking his own wheel.
Yes,6 years later,Josh is still friends with the annoying,clingy,girly,rich kid.
The slender blond pre-teen is too old to say he's staying because of the toys.Maybe he's....starting to enjoy the joyful boy's company? Can't be.
Truth is...Josh is sure there were other kids invited,mostly girls the pre-teen had interest in,but Parker just kept pulling him to play every single game at the place,he barely had time for anyone else.
The day ended with Karaoke,obviously.At least,the songs were from some Mexican Teen Soap Opera he kinda enjoyed this time around,since there was a good amount of pretty girls there,especially the blonde one...Mía,or something like that.
Mientras mi mente viaja donde tú estás
Mi padre grita otra vez
Que me malgasto mi futuro y su paz
Con mi manera de ser
Aunque lo escucho ya estoy lejos de aquí
Cierro los ojos y ya estoy pensando en ti
They were singing it together,Parker's Spanish was getting better and Josh hates to admit it,but he's...having fun,might be mostly because everyone had already left and it was just the two of them.At least,it's how it felt in Josh's mind.
Y soy rebelde
Cuando no sigo a los demás
Si soy rebelde
Cuando te quiero hasta rabiar
Y soy rebelde
Cuando no pienso igual que ayer
Y soy rebelde
Cuando me juego hasta la piel
Si soy rebelde
Es que quizás.....nadie me conoce bien
Parker had kissed the older boy's cheek and suddenly he was very aware they weren't alone.
Parker's 15th birthday,they're spending it working at Mr. Meaty,but there would be a big party on Saturday,still...Josh felt the day shouldn't go uneventful.
He......has grown fond of the kid,despite everything going against it.All signs indicate this friendship should have been over ages ago.The moment Josh decided he loved girls and hated kid's stuff,Parker should've been gone from his life along with all of other Josh's embarassing stuff from the past.
Josh wanted to be cool,popular,not be humiliated anymore and have actual friends who didn't talk all day about toys and superhero movies with dumb endearing lisps and big bright brown eyes.
Parker took off his braces,finally and he looked adorable.Yet Josh has considered saying to him he doesn't want to be friends anymore for awhile now,Josh has been trying so hard to make Parker change along with him but the young cook refuses to grow up and let his childish ways in the past.Josh is just very frustrated with the whole situation.
Letting the optimistic teen go might be a necessary sacrifice.
But as always,Parker's in his face out of nowhere,talking and talking and skipping excitedly about the new Star Raiders movie that's coming out and they need to dress up and get in line early and...the boy's eyes are impossibly bright just like his huge contagious smile,Josh's heart melts and he's just too tired to fight all of a sudden.
Maybe another day.
The blond takes them to the mall's ice rink,should be okay.
The shorter redhead is making a fool of himself like always,though he laughs it off every time,Josh notices everyone's staring and the speakers are playing something the lanky blond recognizes as...Ven a Mí by Floricienta?? What?? Whoever let Parker hack into the sound system should be fired.Like,right now.
Yo te vi llorar cuando nadie te miraba
Escondiendo esa lágrima que se te escapaba
Yo te vi tan triste y tan solito
Que hubiera dado mi vida
Por curarte las heridas
Josh is thin and obviously not as strong as Parker can be but he was still the one supporting the younger geek by the shoulders,locking eyes,foreheads almost touching,labored breathing,keeping him from falling once again.
Ven a mi, te cuidare
Te besare esos ojitos tan dulces
Y calmare la pena que tu alma lleva, por dios ven a mi
Y te amaré como nadie en la tierra te amó
Ven a mi
Yo se que tendrás razones para el amor
Pero solo una palabra borrará tu dolor
Tienes que probarme no te vallas
Porque estoy lleno de besos
Y quiero curarte el alma
They were spinning flawlessly around the rink now and Josh felt a thousand things at once.Embarassment,frustration,exasperation,kind of nauseous,but mostly....adoration,an undying admiration for the strong,energetic,fearless teen in front of him,Josh wanted to kiss him.
Parker looked up at him with ever joyful eyes,Josh cupped the younger geek's round cheeks and settled for kissing his forehead.
"Woah,those my old Floricienta and RBD CDs??" Parker suddenly barged in the room.Josh just nodded.
The CDs were scattered over the bed and the ex-cook collected them,looking them over.They were still in pretty good shape.
"I didn't realize I brought those along,dude,this was my childhood! I learned spanish through them!"
"I know,I was there...cariño." Sarcastic flat tone delievered.
Parker just gave him a playful glare,smiling fondly at his findings.
Josh suddenly thought of something he never got around to ask.
"Parker,when did you realize you had a crush on me?" Tone casual,like they were just talking latest comic books or class assignments.
The optimistic amateur director visibly paled at this and starts stammering.Josh doesn't really understand why,it's just a simple question.
"Oh,um...It's- it was- when- erm-..." Paker looked down like his old CDs had the answer to everything,the older ex-cashier moved closer to him on the bed,put a pale slender finger under the now-taller geek's chin to find sincere but nervous brown eyes.
"Just be honest,okay? It's one of the many things you're best at." Beet red round cheeks were Parker's first response to that.
"Fine.....I think it was,I was like 10 or less,we were watching Rebelde after school at my house.I pointed at Mía and Celina and said they were totally Girl-Us or something.You said Mía was the prettiest and I just remember thinking you were prettier than all of them."
The red-haired student was looking at some very interesting point in the far wall,Josh was smiling contentedly.That was very sweet and very...Parker.
"And what about you,huh? Thinking about it...I actually have no idea when you started liking me like that either.At some point I thought you even hated me and was just still tolerating me because you were afraid of hurting my feelings...and being held upside down by the school's roof...again." Parker smiled but it was melancholic and insincere,Josh's heart went to him.
Josh sighs.He had...some real explaining to do.He slumped back on the bed and looked at the ceiling.
"Look,I wanted people to like us and stop bullying us,okay? I was on my way to looking cool so people would like me and respect me and stop pushing me around....I kept pushing you to do the same...because I wanted them to like you and stop bothering you too." Josh's's eye closed shut and Parker rested beside him.One arm over the blond's slim shoulder.
"I never really hated you,Parker.I just wanted people to like you as much as I always did.Here."
Josh held up the picture of them ice skating on Parker's birthday.
"This was it.I was fed up,I was ready to give you up and move on.But then,it downed on me that I just couldn't.You just meant too much.You've became a bigger part of my life than I'd ever anticipated."
Parker holds Josh tight,overwhelmed with emotions.An alarm goes off.Parker says something incomprehensible about cake and chocolate mousse and black-and-white cookies,gives him a quick but passionate kiss on the lips and bolts from the room as quickly as he came in,taking the CDs with him.Josh just shakes his head and grins,going back to the pictures,shouting.
"Love you too!"
Josh's 18th Birthday,it was supposed to be a big deal,he just graduated from High School,but his parents aren't happy with him since he decided to put off College for a year,he's not getting that car he was promised,he still can't drive to save his or anyone's life anyway.
Parker still got one more year of school but he also got a big,expensive looking red Mercedes from his mom earlier this year for his own birthday,Josh rides around on it frequently,which is a constant reminder.
Today,they're just going to spend it at the beach.It should be super awesome if Parker's ever incessant rambling is any indication.
Him and Parker had been a thing for almost a year now.Brittany was the first to know,she was dejected but supportive,second was Miss Dinkleman,who already treated him like family anyway.Josh's dad...still needed some work.The blond cashier tried to brush it aside for now,what matters is that he's happy.
Josh took Parker to Prom a few weeks ago and everyone at the place still looked surprised.It was THE topic of the day.They even won as Prom Kings.Josh is sure Parker will keep those crown forever,just like the medals and trophies they won....together as a team.
They had always been a team,an inseparable,loyal team,dating just felt like the logical step.It felt right.
He doesn't feel the need to chase around anyone anymore when he already has what he didn't know he wanted and needed right in front of him all along.
...Perhaps he DID know,he just tried to ignore it until he just couldn't anymore.
Parker's driving is an odd combination of cautious and reckless,by the way.The younger teen still sees it all as a videogame panel.
He messes around with the sound system,Hey Ya! by Outkast starts playing,they start singing and moving around and suddenly the air is much lighter and the tension dissipates.Oh,so he KNOWS I'm needing some cheering up today.Thoughtful.
Josh shouldn't be impressed.Parker always knows.
Josh's 21st Birthday,he's officially an adult now because...he finally can drink.
He had been invited by many colleagues to join 'adult' parties these past few days and...years,honestly.But now,it just doesn't feel right.It just doesn't sound as fun if he will only be able to be drunk and wasted by himself and let a very sober Parker take care of a very likely unpleasant hungover Josh.
If they're gonna be wasted,hungover and miserable,they should do it together.That's what childhood friends turned lovers are for,isn't it?
15 year old Josh dreamed of this so much,College Parties,College Girls,College Alcohol,no College-aged Parker in sight to bother him.
But one fateful day,all of that changed.
Parker's 16th Birthday,Josh convinced the still short,round and childish but ever changing teen to tell his mom they were celebrating it doing a sleepover at some friend's place.
Actually,Brittany and the Ashleys were invited to some older friend's frat 'adult' party that would have everything Josh needed to be cool,older girls and drinks,the girls were able to bring them along to the party and so they went.Josh's main excuse? Parker's Birthday! He's a man now!
The young cook was somewhat excited but obviously nervous and cautious,driving his mom's car to the place not far uptown.Josh kept reassuring him it'd be okay.What could go wrong?
The night started out okay,there were more teens here than Josh would've liked,but thinking better about it...of course there were.It's just logical.
Josh,sadly,was comitted to Brittany,so he could only stare at the older women and that's only when the smart dark skinned girl wasn't looking.
So what was left where the drinks.Josh found them,motioned for Parker,who had been very wary and suspscious early on to come see and even taste what's an actual 'adult' drink is like.
Except,there was no Parker there.Josh should have realized that that concerned rambling would have not stopped on it's own.
The place was packed,the music was loud and Josh was getting a headache.He'd lost the birthday boy and the blond was SURE the nerdy teen was in trouble,trouble and weird stuff always found a way to get to them,ever since they started working at Mr. Meaty,Josh's sure that place is cursed.
Josh started searching restlessly and told the girls he came with to text him if they found the kid who looked even less like he should be here than the others.
Josh tried to play it cool during his search,heart hammering in his chest,he ran by a backdoor in the nice mansion and was pulled viciously outside by......a very frightened and horrified looking Parker Dinkleman,sweating bullets,tears streaming down his face,hair even more disheveled than usual,ripped clothes,breathing heavily,noticeable purple spots all over his body and a worrisome tent in his now ragged jeans.
"Make it stop,Josh! Please! I think they're after me! Make it stop!"
The shorter teen was crying,pleading,shouting in Josh's face,keeping him impossibly close by a tight hold on the older teen's jacket,grinding on him,desperately.
"I think they gave me something,Josh,some drink,some drug,I don't know,dude! I escaped them,I just wish this would stop...It hurts."
Parker fell unconscious in Josh's arms,throwing the slender teen off his balance,almost knocking him over and the blond was still just trying to process what just happened in front of him.
He texted the girls,said they were taking the car and leaving,the Ashleys were complaining all the way about some older guys groping them while Josh had a tight hold on an unconscious traumatized 16 year old little kid on his lap,this night has been a nightmare,for sure.
They couldn't go to the hospital firsthand since that was a direct way of letting Parker's mom know,so they went to the best next option,Doug.He'd know what to do.
Thankfully,the bald,middle-aged man knew what to do.
Josh looked briefly at the picture from that day and grimaced,they had a typical kid's party at the Dinkleman's right before going onto their little adventure.
Both teens in colorful clothes and Frozen party hats,singing some reggaeton song Josh didn't bother to know the name in the Karaoke.
Josh was grumpy and impatient the whole time,Parker had radiant,sparkly cheerful bright brown eyes and smiles everywhere,nothing like the lusted,glazed over but terrorized dark brown ones he'd seen later that night.
They did get the 30 something guys who tried to hurt Parker a few weeks later when the geeky teen was finally willing to identify them.He was still so scared.But he had,apparently managed to give some very solid punches to the bastards' faces before escaping.The kid's his own hero and Josh is just so proud.
Josh convinced Doug to keep it from Miss Dinkleman under the argument she wouldn't be able to handle it well at all and would probably imprison the boy in his room for life to keep him safe from the cruel world.
Few days later,Josh once again sleeping over at Parker's,the young cook confessed his feelings for him,and the weird dreams he'd been having that consisted mostly of the both of them making out and Parker just didn't know what to do.
He also told Josh that if those are the places he considers cool and where the blond wants to go,then he's out.Don't call him.
Josh had held him to his thin chest,told him he loved the younger teen the same way and that he'd never step in a place like that again.The blond cashier promised to protect him,even if he might not need it.
"We...can go,you know? To...the party,I mean.I know that's totally what's on your mind all day.We've been so busy with Movie Projects all year,we deserve a little fun,I guess."
Parker seemed to teleport to the bedroom door once again,Josh swears the kid's still a ninja and still has his powers.His tone was quiet and hesitant.Feet shuffling one to the other,broad shoulders shrugging,trying to act casual,but the stiffened manner gave it away.
It's clear the nerdy young adult looks uncomfortable just by bringing it up.
The cake and pies smell delicious from the kitchen and there's faint music playing but Josh decides that's just not his priority right now.
Josh raised from the bed,sitting up,bare feet on the floor.
"You don't have to do this for me,Parker.I don't miss it,honestly,these parties are overrated,I know I'll have much more fun staying here with you."
"Everything I need to have a good time is already right in front of me." Josh winked mischievously and gave a sly,charming smile.
Parker's adorable round face was flushed yet again.
"You're all about cheesy lines today,aren't you,flaco? Someone's getting too sentimental even for my taste." Parker gave an innocent little smirk and raised eyebrow that earned a pillow in his direction in which he caught with ease.
"Come on,Birthday treats are ready.You won't want them to get cold,dude,believe me."
"I'm proud of you."
Josh walked the small corridor to the kitchen rhythmically,a familiar tune that he hadn't heard in ages was playing.
Todos mis amigos
Me van ayudar
Cha cha cha
Que esa noche será
Cha cha cha
Josh got to the kitchen,apprehensively joined hands with his longtime slightly younger partner (who looked great in that baby blue Kiss The Cook apron) and they were dancing in a goofy,silly manner,on the verge of letting some invaluable homemade delicious food fall off the table.
Me pondré una pollera
Que se mueva al compás
Cha cha cha
Y esa blusa cortita
Que te invita a soñar
"Hey,gordito.We're going next year,okay? I've got no rush,also I won't take my eye off you for a second when we're there,shouldn't be too difficult."
Josh reached up to whisper in the cheerful redhead's ear.giving it a little nibble,bringing a chill up the now-taller student's spine.Parker bit his bottom lip and nodded in agreement.
Voy a tu encuentro
Se enciende el cielo
Todo esta listo
Chaval son míos
De nadie mas
Ay que bonito
El dueño de mi
That night,they stayed in,watching Pixar's Coco for the 300th time,Parker always starts crying just by the first 'Recuerdame' and Josh never gets it,the scene is hilarious.The part that gets him though is when it seems that the old great-great-abuelita had really forgotten her papa.Damn you,Disney.Dirty cheater.
It was just them,easy,comfortable,natural banter and dynamic,Hector's a total babe and Imelda is queen.Parker laughs at Frida Kahlo's presentation/performance everytime.A warm,familiar,joyful smile that reaches sparkling eyes that Josh's just glad no cruel world was able to take it off of him.
And Josh really doesn't want to be anywhere else with anyone else.