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NOTE TO READER: Argos is aimed at readers who like dramas with a realistic touch of erotica when appropriate. This first installment of Argos is heavy on build-up. Before you read, please note that Argos is about love, not excessive sex.
Characters are 18 years or older.
Prologue – The Beginning
“Your friends are not my friends.”
Those harsh words were medicine for my insecurity towards men who weren’t me. I saw them as nothing but weapons targetting the person I kept close to my heart.
My hatred towards them was justified because it was an instinct I couldn’t control.
I was eighteen years old and I had never taken drugs in my life. I never planned to because I would always need something to reassure me that I was not what my thoughts portrayed me as when the person I cared about was out of my sight.
Out of sight, out of mind?
If that saying were true, I would have lost my mind by now.
Maybe I already had.
Chapter 1 – Bitter Dreams
“You kids don’t stay up too late,” Mom uttered as she waved her hand while walking towards the master bedroom.
“We’re not kids anymore, Mom,” my little sister, Tracey, sitting a cushion away from me, scolded Mom.
Although law legally made us adults at age eighteen, we were still viewed as teenagers in society. You couldn’t spell eighteen without teen, of course. But, I was okay with being a kid so long as I had a fridge that was never empty and a bed that was always warm.
“You’ll always be my little kids,” Mom’s final words were before she closed her bedroom door.
Right on cue, Tracey shifted over a cushion, linked her right arm around my left, and snuggled beside me.
Tracey and I were always close, and more so when we started high school. From eating together in the cafeteria to stopping by at the local fast food restaurant on our way home, we were never embarrassed; except for around our parents.
Tracey fidgeted around on the couch before bringing her knees to her chest and sighing as I stroked her straight, long, brown-oak hair.
I grabbed the remote from the armrest opposite of her, and pointed it towards the television.
“No,” she yawned.
I shook my head before pressing five and then one on the remote.
“We saw that episode already.”
I blinked repeatedly before pressing forward button.
“The food channel, really, bro?”
I playfully shook her, erupting laughter before I handed her the remote. “Why don’t you choose?”
Tracey giggled and took the remote from my hand.
After several moments of watching someone stuffing a pulled pork sandwich in their mouth, I realized Tracey hadn’t changed the channel, so I looked down at her. She was staring blankly at the remote as if it were foreign to her.
“Everything okay, Trace?” I asked worriedly as she continued to stare at the remote.
“Yeah, I,” she shook her head and handed me the remote, “I haven’t told them yet.”
“Told them what?” I inquired, laying the remote on the coffee table in front of us, and returning eye-contact.
“About Andrew,” she answered, rubbing her head against my shoulder, her eyes no longer on me but on the television.
There was that name I was hoping to avoid tonight. I just didn’t get it. There were four-hundred girls in our high school, yet the punk picked my sister to flirt with. I always loved how Tracey only saw the best in people, but this time, I hated it. I hated him. I knew what she was to him: a toy to be played with and then tossed aside for the next “best” thing. If you looked closely at his palms, you’d see at least ten other phone numbers he tried washing out but gave up because he was too lazy and too careless. There were two ways of dealing with this: I could tell her who he was and she would hate me for it, or I could sit on the sidelines until he dropped her onto the curb like trash and then hit my head against the wall until it bled. The double-edged sword cut both ways, and I knew that.
I grabbed the remote from the table. “Lets check the TV guide, there must be something good on,” I pondered out loud.
“Kenny?” Tracey shook my arm.
“Look, Trace, I really don’t want to talk about him,” I said flatly with a hint of false merriness, hoping she would drop the subject.
As much as I didn’t want to talk about him, I did. He was a thorn in my backside, and I felt it every time I sat down. The more she brought him up, the tighter my grip was when I thought about my hands around his neck. He died twenty-four times already, and I didn’t feel bad about it.
“What about tomorrow?” she bitterly retorted, and slowly unraveled her right arm from my left as she looked at me, “I don’t get it, Kenny. I finally find someone who loves me as much as Angie loves you and you don’t even care?”
There was a big difference between my two week relationship with Angie and her relationship with Andrew: Angie actually loved me. I knew that if I looked behind my shoulder after she kissed me goodbye, I wouldn’t see her flirting with another Isparta Escort man. Tracey either ignored him, or the scumbag really wanted to get inside her pants. MY little sister’s pants.
“Well… I don’t care about him, I care about you,” I replied amiably in an attempt to ease the hostility.
Tracey crossed her arms and shook her head. “I love him,” she responded somewhat monotonously and dubiously.
Her words drove into my heart like a train going at full speed, and I clenched my fist in response as the image of Andrew holding Tracey’s hand etched into my mind.
“My god, Tracey,” I hysterically laughed to myself at a volume that would only be heard from within the room.
“Yeah, my god,” she mocked in a coarse voice.
As frustrated as I was, I didn’t like seeing tears in her dark brown eyes. The last time she cried in sadness because of me was when I ripped the heads off one of her barbie dolls when we were nine. The crying went on for minutes as she watched me desperately trying to pop it’s head back in. I remembered looking up at her each time I failed to, feeling like the world was going to end for me until eventually, I did it.
“What do you want me to do, Trace?” I said calmly, taking her hand, wet with the tears I felt guilty for, “Stop caring? Because I think that’s the only way I’d be able to stand him.”
“Maybe you should,” she said, a tearing rolling down her right eye as she pushed herself further away from me, letting loose my hand.
Instinctively, I brought my hand to her face, hoping to wipe the tear, but she whipped it aside. “What does that mean?” I asked with hurt in my voice as I looked at my hand, and then back at Tracey.
She shot up from the couch. If I didn’t already know she was mad, the stomps as she made her way from the living room, through the kitchen, to her bedroom, made it evident.
I turned back to the television and pressed the power button on the remote.
Chapter 2 – Sunny Side Down
It was easier to place the blame on Andrew.
If he had never set his eyes on my little sister, she wouldn’t be mad at me, and I would’ve gotten more than five hours of sleep last night.
I listened as Dad said goodbye to Mom and leave for work before swinging my legs off the bed. Swiftly, I grabbed a pair of fresh clothes, walked to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and shaved before jumping into the shower.
After the shower, I dressed into my hoodie and jeans, ruffled my short hair, and headed for the kitchen.
“Trying to impress Angie, honey?” Mom asked as she grabbed her work bag.
I looked down at my clothing and responded, “It’s just a hoodie and jeans, Mom…”
“Mhm, you also shaved. If only your father did – What’s wrong honey? You look sad! Did you and Angie have a fight!” she asked with motherly concern, quickly bringing her hand to my cheek as I heard Tracey’s bare feet slapping against the tiles of the kitchen floor behind me.
“What?” I shook my head, responding in fake confidence, “No! I’m just behind on a school project. My partner isn’t doing his side of the research.”
“Please tell me it isn’t that friend of yours, Tom,” she said and walked to the front door, “Anyway, I’ll see you kids later. Love you!”
The awkward feeling settled in as the front door closed, and more so when I heard the lock. I didn’t want to turn around, but I didn’t want to make my uneasiness evident. Instead, I walked passed Tracey who was drinking a glass of milk, and opened the refrigerator to pull out a carton of orange juice. I felt her eyes on the back of my head as I pryed open the carton.
“I’m walking with Marianne to school,” she replied casually, putting her glass in the sink.
She hated walking. The last time we went hiking with the family at the local park, I had to piggyback her back to the car because her ankles were sore. No, we always drove together in my coupe to school. I was stupid to think she’d at least give me the silent treatment or look out the window for most of the ride. But, that was what made her different from everyone else. Her emotions wouldn’t die off over night; not like mine. Tracey was someone you took seriously, and I always looked up to her in that regard. Now, I would be looking down, but not of her.
“Are you so mad at me that you’d risk being late for class?” I innocently asked as I put the carton of orange juice back into the fridge, and walked over to the front door to grab the car keys from the key rack
“At least she cares about be enough to talk about Andrew,” she retorted, her voice bitter, carving in stone the mood I would have for the rest of the day.
“Damn it, Tracey, I only got five hours of sleep last night because I couldn’t stop thinking about how I made you cry!” I responded bitterly before cooling down, “Does that sound like I don’t care?”
Her face remained stern as she looked at with crossed arms.
“Look, Trace, I can’t leave without knowing we’re okay,” I said, left hand on the door knob.
“Why do you care?” Isparta Escort Bayan she repeated, her face and tone not changing it’s expression.
I sighed as I opened the front door. “You win, Trace. I don’t care.”
Chapter 3 – My Hand Wasn’t Up
“She rejected me right in front of those niners!” my best friend, Tom, whined as we maneuvered our way through the crowded hallway of Westfield High School towards our history class.
“Good for you,” I responded coldly.
“I hope you aren’t like that, tonight,” Tom rolled his eyes, looking away from me, as he braced his back and right foot against the white, concrete wall.
“Tonight?” I confusedly looked at him.
He dropped his leg back down and turned to look at me, returning the confusion. “Amy’s party?”
I had completely forgotten about the party at eight. Dancing half drunk was the last thing I wanted to do with the weight of knowing Tracey hated me constantly bringing me down. Some would think this was a great way to get your mind off things, but I wanted to get on them, and fix them.
“Right, I forgot,” I dumbfoundedly said as I scratched the back of my head.
“Well, at least you’ve got someone to take,” he sighed again, nodding at the classroom window.
I looked through the window cluelessly before smiling back at Angie who mouthed the words, “Hey, baby,” at me.
“Any luck you’ll hang out with me instead of Angie tonight?” Tom laughed hopelessly, looking at the set of lockers parallel to the classroom.
“I’m sure you’ll find someone at the party,” I replied just as the bell rung, indicating class started in three minutes.
“I’ll take that as a no,” he said, walking against the twelvers, into the room, as they rushed out like a swarm of bees from their hive.
“Hey, baby!” Angie shrieked in joy as she wrapped her arms around me, planting a kiss on my lips, “I can’t wait for Amy’s party!”
Angie. Blond-haired, pink-skinned and red, unchapped lips. I’ve been told I was the luckiest guy in Westfield to have her. As shallow and cruel as it sounded, I didn’t know if I liked her because of her looks, or her personality. She asked me out two weeks ago because she said I was kind, and I had pretty eyes. I guessed that meant she loved me, and that was enough for me to say yes.
“What’s wrong, Kenny? You look sad,” she spoke alarmedly, kissing my cheeks repeatedly which warranted a few looks from other students walking by.
Embarrassed, I faked a laughed, and looked past them at the lockers before hugging Angie. “Everything’s fine, Ang, I’ll see you in the caf.”
She quickly hugged me again before walking off. Normally, this was where I’d get mad at anyone who noticed how tight her shorts were, but frankly, I didn’t care.
I walked into the class of fifteen, and took my seat at the very back. The very back was meant for the mischievous group of students who never did any work. They were usually the girls who wore small shirts that showed their navals, and shorts so short that they ended right before the curve of their asses formed. I was glad Tracey hadn’t become one of them, and it wasn’t just because our parents wouldn’t have allowed it. She was smart; a straight A student, just like me, but maybe just a tiny bit better. We wouldn’t be doing our homework together, today.
My eyes quickly shot up at the front the class when I heard my name.
“Kenneth, could you repeat to the class what I just said?” Mrs. Heffner asked me, her eyes knowing full well I hadn’t been listening.
I wanted to put my head down knowing all fifteen pairs of eyes were on me.
“I wasn’t paying attention,” I shamefully answered.
“Then start, Mr. Astheras. And that goes for the rest of you,” Mrs. Heffner chastised, “How do any of you expect to pass my class if you don’t listen? Unless of course you like me that much!”
“I like you, Misses H,” said a boy from the other side of the classroom.
“Flattery won’t boost your mark, Mark,” she smiled.
The whole class except for me laughed.
The hour hand wasn’t going to hit eleven if I kept staring at it.
Chapter 4 – The Bill And Nothing More
The cafeteria had gotten louder ever since the school board decided on one lunch time for every grade. The table at the very back, no longer empty, was now populated with chatty niners. There was a line that seperated different graders from sitting at the same table, but I never questioned the invisible rulebook that Westfield followed. You either conformed, or you spent your free time doing homework in the library, alone.
“I heard Alan’s bringing lots of rum,” Angie breathed into my ear.
I smiled at Angie, not feeling very responsive.
“We’re so gonna get wasted, baby,” she laughed, and threw a french fry into her mouth, “You sure me and Tracey won’t fit? It would look a lotter better if my boyfriend picked me up..”
“You know how little room there is, Ang,” I regretfully answered, and she frowned.
Out of nowhere, a familiar voice Escort Isparta made me cringe. “Have no fear, bro, Trace’ll be ridin’ with me.”
One week together and he’d already taken my nickname for her. What was next, my spleen?
I faked a smile, for the sake of having manners, as I looked up at Andrew, the five foot ten prick who was dating my little sister. Relief washed over me as I leaned my head to the side and smiled legitimately at Tracey who stood next to him. She returned eye-contact and I watched as her pink lips started to form a smile, but in flash, disappeared. It was nice to see she had forgotten she was angry at me for that whole two seconds.
Andrew sat down across from me, setting his tray on the table, and Tracey settled across from Angie.
“You lovebirds excited for tonight?” Angie asked both of them.
Andrew draped his arm around my sister, making her squirm and look away, before smiling at Angie, “Totally. My older brother’s got the motherload of vodka hidden in the cellar.”
I clenched my fists beneath the table.
I wondered; what would stop me from grabbing him by the collar, and pulling him across the table? Was being hated by my sister more painful than seeing him make any kind of contact with her? He didn’t deserve the satisfaction of looking at Tracey and saying, “Yeah, that’s my girlfriend over there,” nobody did.
I continued to stare at his hand that hung down comfortably on my sister’s left shoulder. “Bro, wanna share half of that with me?” Andrew said, staring at the brownie in my tray.
“I don’t like sharing,” I responded callously, my fists tightening so much that it could have bled at any moment.
Andrew laughed and stuffed a chicken nugget in his mouth. “I’ll remember that, man.”
Angie giggled, breaking the tension, and grabbed the brownie off my tray. “He’ll share with me,” she said, her words distorted with the brownie in her mouth.
My eyes went over to Tracey, who kept nudging the same french fry with her index finger.
“What’s up, babe, not hungry?” Andrew asked Tracey.
“Not really,” she smiled at him and then at Angie.
“Come on, eat up, the fries aren’t half bad,” he said, rubbing her shoulder with the hand that hung down her shoulder.
“She said she’s not hungry,” I spoke in a deep, ominous voice with my hand halfway across the table, balled in a fist.
The table suddenly got quiet and I felt too angry to be embarrassed, until Tracey spoke. “I’m gonna use the bathroom,” she said, and stood from her chair.
“Lunch is almost up anyway,” Angie followed suit, grabbing my arm as she stood up, “Lets go, baby.”
That punk! I wasn’t the bad guy, he was, yet, I still felt bad. He was a leech and sooner or later, I’d just be a pile of bones.
Angie did most of the work as she pulled me out of the cafeteria like a child being pulled out of a toy store. My eyes were on the back of Tracey’s head the whole time until she disappeared behind the door of the women’s restroom.
Eventually, we stopped in a secluded staircase that smelled like cigarettes.
“What was that, Kenny?” Angie asked me, her arms around my waist, and my back against the wall.
“You didn’t hear his tone when he talked to my sister?” I asked with disbelief and innocence.
“No, I didn’t, and I would really like it if, for just this once, you’d stop talking about her,” she pleaded.
“She’s my best friend, I was just looking out for her,” I said with sorrow, in defeat.
“No, Kenny, she’s your sister. I’m your best friend,” she insisted, her lips sealed with mine, and arms around my neck.
I felt her hand tug at my crotch, and I responded, “Not a good idea!”
“Tonight, then,” she moaned.
Chapter 5 – The False Signal
Her phone was off, I was sure.
I waited ten minutes in my coupe, cooling down as the air conditioner blasted my face. Tracey wasn’t coming. She was probably halfway to our house with Marianne.
Growing tired of staring at glare on the hood, I pressed down on the brakes and shifted the car into drive before pulling out of the parking spot, not shy of a few looks from girls who waited for their parents to pick them up as I passed the main doors.
On the way home, I almost turned onto the street where Tracey and I’s favorite fast food restaurant was. Today, I wouldn’t be playfully laughing at Tracey as she fanned her tongue at the extra hot chicken wing she could never finish without tearing up. There was still twenty dollars on that bet; and for once, I wouldn’t have mind losing it.
Eventually, I had finally made it home and coincidentally, Tracey and Marianne were talking on the porch as I pulled into the driveway.
“Hey, girls,” I smiled at both of them as I shut the car door before walking up the couple steps to the porch.
Marianne tossed me a rude look and an empty hello while Tracey chose to ignore me, and hugged her goodbye. I doubted the rude look was because I refused to go out with my sister’s friend.
“I can give you a ride home, Mari, if you want,” I politely asked.
She smiled and responded, “No thanks. I’ll see you at the party, Tracey.”
I followed Tracey inside the house and closed the door behind me before putting my hand on her right shoulder, hoping to get a word in before she confined herself to her room.
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