Jess took one of the smokes and hit it, hard, a couple of times, enough that it was more than halfway to the filter by the time he backed off.
Looking up, eyes steady on his boyfriend's, he said, "I killed the Raj's son."
He sighed and went into the story about how Mike had been a grade ahead of Jess, how they'd been in the same schools and, more importantly, the same leagues, all their lives. It hadn't been a big deal, really, even though they'd never quite gotten along. Jess had been a pitcher from day one, and he'd been good. Mike had played short and that was pretty much it. They interacted on the field, ignored one another at school.
But something had changed the summer before Jesse's freshman year. Suddenly Mike wasn't just good, he was fucking amazing. And he came after Jesse's spot on the school team. It was something, bypassing JV, but the coach had recruited Jess away from the small Catholic school with the promise, and so Jess had decided to stay with the public.
And then Mike came in and took the last pitching slot, out of fucking nowhere.
"It wasn't just that, though," Jess said, lighting another smoke. "I mean, I needed the spot, had to work toward a scholarship if I wanted to go to NYU," his dream, even at thirteen, "And Mike sure as shit didn't need the money. But he just...changed. I never really liked him but he'd bulked up and become a real asshole. Got a couple of goons that followed him around like he was God. I was sure he was roiding up."
A wry sigh. "That wasn't it. But I didn't find out until later. Two years," he said around another sigh, "He made me his bitch for two fucking years. I don't know why me, I really hadn't done anything to him outside of ignore him," and maybe that'd been it, who knew?
"Anyway," he hit his smoke, "It all came to a head in the locker room one night after practice. It was just me," he looked down at himself and laughed humorlessly. "I've filled out since I was fifteen." Which meant he'd been even more bean polish. I had my bag and," another laugh that went sharp, "I stabbed him with a fucking pen." Another harsh laugh as he looked at Janos. "My whole fucking life ruined because of a fucking pen. How asinine is that?"
He ran a hand through his hair. "Baseball and writing, that was my life. So my dad gets me this really fancy pen set for my birthday, right? Silver. Real silver. Like I knew. I was just trying to get him off of me, but he was dead and his dudes were gone faster than I could blink. I ran. I didn't know what to do."
He leaned onto his elbow. "I didn't leave town, that was never the plan, I just...needed to think of a way to tell my folks I'd killed someone. My life was over, I thought. I was right, just not about the why."
"One of my dads was Fire Chief. Not so big a deal but he was very good buddies with the Police Chief. Moline's not Chicago, it's a smallish town, a kind of crossroads for four other towns. There was a Master, but you didn't hear about him a lot. He called Leopards, though, and that and the fact that there wasn't a Clan or Pack - too small, they all tended to go toward the bigger cities I guess," he shrugged. He was jumbling facts but it was all pertinent.
"So they couldn't kill me, and the Raj couldn't be outed for infecting high school students. They took care of Mike and caught up to me the next morning. I was told to leave town, disappear, never come back, never make contact or they'd kill everyone I ever loved. I," he swallowed, "I believed him. News had me and Mike disappearing together."
His voice was choked by the time he was done and he just sort of left it hanging there, not sure what else to say. It sounded ridiculous when he said it all out loud, but it was what had happened and in a way it felt very good to get it out.