Clifton sat on his mother's porch and watched her sip from a glass of lemonade. The sun shone a little less now for the night was coming. Turning so his back was to her and his eyes to the beach off in the distance, he wondered what she would say if he told her he'd kissed Kenneth--that he'd tasted this man she hated so desperately and yearned for more than just the mere mingling of tongues?
He couldn't tell her. She'd surely die.
Bowing his head, his heart slammed into his chest painfully. The wind picked up a little and he could smell the saltiness from the beach.
"What's the matter Cliff?" his mother's voice was soft.
"Mom...I have a question. And you can't get mad about it and if you don't want to answer it just say so."
"Why do you hate the Roddicks so much?"
Silence. For a long moment she said nothing and after a bit, Clifton realised he wasn't breathing and took a breath. His head spun slightly and a slight anger pulsed through his veins like a crowd, waiting outside a really flimsy fence, shaking it, biding their time. He turned against the porch wall to face her. She was eyeing him with a certain contempt reserved for the lowest scum on the earth. He stood.
"Where are you going?" his mother asked.
"I'm leaving." He trudged for the door.
"Why the question?"
"Because I deserve to know why you taught me to hate these people--people I've never met until recently. I want to know why you did that!" He noticed he was yelling so he took a breath and held up a hand.
"You met the Roddicks? Where? What did they say to you?"
"I am working on a project for Kenneth Roddick, mom."
"How dare you!"
"How dare I? The bills aren't going to pay themselves mom!"
"I'd rather starve!"
Clifton bowed his head. "See? That's the difference between you and I. I don't always let my pride run my life. If you're not going to tell me why then I should go before we say something we'll both regret."
But he couldn't stand there any longer. Kenneth kissed him and his whole world swirled around him like a beautiful array of light. Ever sweet taste of his tongue flowing over is to the fingers at the back of his head felt like hot perfection. He'd never been kissed like that or even felt half of what Kenneth sent through him with just one look of those piercing eyes. But how would he tell his mother he was sleeping with the enemy? He wasn't even sure why she hated them so much and her stubborn self wouldn't tell him why.
As an adult he should be able to make up his own mind but the last thing he wanted to do was hurt her.
Clifton looked. He shook his head to realise he was parked out front of the Boat, a small diner in the town. He smiled at Melvin, took a breath and climbed from the car.
"Hey. Didn't think you were coming tonight since you work tomorrow," Melvin hugged him. "What's going on? You don't look so good."
"My mom and I just had an argument," Clifton explained as they walked into the diner. A tiny bell jangled above them and that sound irritated Clifton more than it should. He fell into a corner booth with his friend across from him.
"The Roddicks. I have no fucking clue why she hates them so much and the last thing I want to do is hurt her. How do I tell her Kenneth and I kissed?"
"You heard me," Clifton muttered.
The waitress took their orders and when she left, Melvin reached in to take one of Clifton's hand. "Listen, I will ask around. Maybe my mom knows why your mom is so up in arms about the Roddicks. But you know it will probably be what was in the rumor mill at the time."
"Probably but it would be a start."
"Okay. I'll ask her tomorrow. I have to take her for her regular check up with Doc Sanchez."
"Thanks man. This is so...ugh."
"So tell me about this kiss? Was it wet, and grose and sloppy and ick?"
Clifton laughed. "None of the above."
"You can't be this upset over your mother..."
"No. I'm this upset because Kenneth kissed me and I want it to happen again."