|Kal Weber | Maui (manaiakalani) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-03-29 10:56:00
|Entry tags:||coyote, maui|
i hear the secrets that you keep
Who: Chris & Kal.
What: Chris comes clean.
Where: Chris's apartment.
When: The day after this thread.
Chris had two bottles of beer sitting on his kitchen table, a bottle opener nearby for when Kal decided to show up. He assumed it wouldn't be very long; they lived in such close proximity now that he was merely waiting to hear the other man's footsteps in the hall. Chris leaned against the counter, looking at his phone, scrolling through a number of texts exchanged with Daniel; all of them were SFW but put a smile on his face regardless.
He was still marveling at how well things had gone after the drive by, and had continued to. It had put an idea in his head to try the same with Kal -- he owed his oldest friend that much, at least. He couldn't completely quiet the small ball of anxiety in his gut, but he had to try.
When he heard the other man's knock on his door, he called out that it was open, and prepped himself for what was coming.
Kal threw open the door as if the apartment was his own, looming in its frame with a serious look on his face before coming in and closing the door behind him. “‘Sup?” he asked as he walked in, reaching out to give Chris a one armed embrace. It had only been a few days since Kal saw Chris when they went to their separate apartments in the hall after eating too much food with kuku. It was the shortest separation they had in years but it still warranted an embrace in greeting.
Particularly since Chris seemed so serious and already had the beer out. He stepped away from his friend and looked at the beer before looking back at Chris, an eyebrow raised. “What do you have me here for? Are you going to tell me you’re gay, because we already went through that.”
Chris rolled his eyes, motioning for Kal to take a seat. "I'm in love with you; is that what you've been waiting to hear? I was hoping to get you liquored up first." He pulled out a chair himself and popped the cap off of one of the beers, sliding it in Kal's direction.
"No, seriously," he started, popping the cap on the second beer. "I've...there's something important I wanted to tell you. And I do want you to drink some first, so you don't flip out on me as much as I think you're going to."
Kal narrowed his eyes and swiped the bottle off the counter. Raising it up, he tipped it toward Chris in a sign of salute before bringing it to his lips and chugging the first half of the bottle. Putting it on the counter with a loud clink, he spread his arms wide. “There, I drank, now tell me about how you’re in love with me so I can start breaking your heart gently.”
"Are you gonna sit? Because I gotta say, I'm starting to see why people get so freaked out when they first meet you," Chris replied, taking a quiet sip of his own beer to steel his nerves. "OK, fine. It's about my work. What I do for a living. Seriously, I need you to sit down, and, like, look a little less like you wanna kill me, OK?" Words were suddenly very difficult to come by.
“Jesus, if I knew you’d be throwing rules at me, I would’ve stayed home,” Kal grumbled before taking a seat at the counter and placing his hands under his chin. He had to all but bite his tongue to keep himself from saying finally when Chris mentioned he wanted to talk about his job. Still, he played it off casually. “Is this better? Less threatening? I mean, if you lost your job or something, I’ve got your back.”
"No, that's not it." Chris put his beer between his hands, trying to figure out what exactly he wanted to do with said hands. He paused, for far longer than he wanted to. Finally, he decided it was better to just come out with it.
"Kal, I'm... I'm a drug dealer. Or I was, I mean, I'm not one as much as I used to be... It's... It's complicated." His eyes glanced up from the table, wincing slightly as he waited for some kind of negative response from his best friend.
Kal stared at Chris for a moment before taking a sip of his beer. Lowering it from his lips, he held it in both hands and looked at the label, turning it softly for a few moments before only simply saying, “And?”
Chris blinked, confused. He continued the impromptu staring contest for a long moment more, like he was waiting for Kal to finish his joke.
"Are you serious? You knew?"
Kal frowned and his eyebrows furrowed. Despite not wanting to, his face conveyed that he actually might kill Chris, but his words stated otherwise. “Of course. I mean, I suspected it. People talk, Chris, and it's not like either of us were from the best neighborhoods. You got distant when I was in college and I thought maybe it was because I went to school so far away, but then I came home and you were fine with me but squirrelly about work. Then people talked and I observed. You were never the best at keeping secrets from me.”
Chris shook his head, surprised at the fact that he was the one trying to come to grips with this conversation. "Why didn't you ever say anything?"
“Because I wanted you to fucking tell me, man,” Kal growled, the first inkling of annoyance appearing in his voice. “If I'm pissed about anything it's that you didn't tell me. You've kept this shit to yourself for years, you got injured because of it, didn't you? And I was there all along and waiting for you to just be honest with me, you used to tell me everything and I just wanted you to tell me you're doing shady shit. I also heard you were in a gang, you want to come clean about that so we're on an even playing field?”
Chris slumped back in his seat. "I'm... not in a gang, specifically. I'm working with my father, and that does require a little gang involvement, but it's not like... It's not like I've got tats or something. Nothing to bind me to a particular group." He took a long pull of his beer. "I didn't tell you because I didn't know how. I had to keep shit under wraps for so long, and then it just... It seemed stupid. Hey, Kal! Guess what! I decided to become an idiot and go into drugs instead of college!" He waved his hands comically, before letting them fall back to the table.
"I mean, what was I supposed to say? I didn't want you to be mad at me, but obviously there was no way to avoid that."
Kal shook his head, a bitter laugh issuing from his lips as a hand rose to rub at his brow. “Of course your fucking father is involved.” His head continued to shake for a moment until he looked pointedly at Chris. “I don't know how you could've told me, but you should have years ago. I would have tried to help, you know that, right? And you're not really in it anymore? You're trying to leave it or what? Because I'll still help, whatever you need. You need to get it through your head that you're fucking worth a better life than you allow yourself. You're still young, you can turn shit around and I'll help.”
"Jesucristo, do I have damsel in distress tattooed across my forehead? I don't need anyone's help," Chris replied, one hand grabbing his beer bottle again. "I have it under control." Mostly. But that was beside the point. "What would you be able to do? It's not like you can just go talk to the guys and be like, hey, lay off Chris. This isn't some schoolyard disagreement, Kal."
“Obviously not, I'm a little rusty with talking to gang members since, you know, I never joined a fucking gang but I am sure you can give me some pointers,” he snapped, grabbing his beer and getting to his feet. He paced the kitchen, lurching with annoyance, and finished his beer. “I can find you a job at Nat Geo, get you out of the area. If you need a place to hole up, I'll find one for you. Can I have another beer?” He sat the bottle down on the counter a little too hard, making the glass sharply ring but it thankfully didn't burst.
"Sure," Chris replied, his chair scraping backward on linoleum as he rose to get his friend his requested drink. "And this isn't something I can just run away from; my mom, my abuela are both counting on me." He shut the fridge, limping a few steps toward Kal to hold out the beer. "I'm working on it, OK? I have...stuff. There's stuff happening, in another few years I think I'll be... I'll be good."
Kal accepted the beer, opened it and took a deep swig before replying. “And you're sure of this? Your piece of shit father won't drag you back in? Like I said, I'll help out, I can give you money to help with your family. Find you a desk job that pays a decent amount, whatever. And don't give me that damsel in distress shit because if you weren't a damsel in distress you wouldn't be in this situation to begin with.” He pointed at Chris and narrowed his eyes, towering over his friend but not in an attempt to threaten him, before returning to his seat. “Are there any other nuggets of information you have to share?”
Chris sat back down, shaking his head. "No. That was the bomb. And I guess thanks for the offer; I'll keep it in mind. But I seriously... Look, the leg was one thing, one time. I've been fine since. I appreciate that you're worried about me, but I am an adult. Capable of making semi-rational, mostly logical decisions. I'm not gonna get you involved and then have to get us both out."
He slumped into his chair, legs spreading wide. "How about this, you just plan a nice trip for us in, like, two years? Gives me some incentive, and keeps you busy."
“Deal,” Kal said with a nod. “I'll get us out of here so long as you get out of any involvement with your father and his cohorts. But…” he tapped the mouth of his beer to his bottom lip before lowering it and leaning forward. “Why the change of heart? I've been waiting for you to drop this bomb for ten years. Why now?”
Chris sighed, closing his eyes. He'd opened this door, and now he was going to have to take his lumps. Briefly, he wondered if Daniel was busy later that evening and if he'd be up for another movie night. He opened his eyes again and settled a level gaze on Kal.
"I was tricked into a drive by yesterday, when I was out with Daniel. The guy I was telling you about before; he... He took my explanation a lot better than I thought he would, and I figured, if a complete stranger can understand, my best friend probably could too.
"Believe me, if that hadn't happened, though, you'd both still be in the dark." The last bit was meant as some kind of reassurance that Daniel didn't necessarily have anything over Kal, that he wasn't more important in the larger scheme of things. "But now you both know, and you're both gonna let me deal with it on my own, in my own way. OK?"
Kal frowned, still feeling slighted, at least a little. He knew it would pass and it was just a protective gut reaction, not worth analyzing in regard to their friendship. At the very least, all of this was out in the open. “So not only did you almost get shot...again, I'm assuming...but your boyfriend too? And he still is into you?” A small smile appeared and Kal shifted in his seat. “This guy either has a death wish or he really fucking likes you.
“But let's not get distracted by that. I want the focus on one thing—a drive by? Really? Who the fuck did you piss off to warrant that? And is he still pissed? I'm guessing so since you didn't actually get shot.”
Chris waved a hand, dismissing Kal's concerns. "Don't worry about it. I'll take care of it; seriously, Kal. I didn't want Daniel involved, I don't want you involved. This is my mess, and I'll deal with it. If the other leg goes, you get to say I told you so. Aren't you excited?" The joke was as lame as his right leg, but it seemed worth the effort. He finished his beer, sliding the empty bottle forward a little on the table. He grew a little more stoic. "It's seriously just another day at the office for me, Kal. I swear. I'm going to figure this out, and that's it."
“If your other leg goes I'll be the first to shove your wheelchair off the side of a cliff with you in it,” Kal grumbled. “And you aren't protecting me by keeping me in the dark. What the hell could I do anyway? I don't even know who's in the gang and I don't know how to find out.
“Now. What did you do to get shot at? Is this going to be an ongoing thing? Should I keep an eye out if we are leaving a bar together?”
Chris shook his head, rising again to get another beer. "There's some guys trying to cut in on my dad's territory. I tried to nip it in the bud, without bloodshed, and I thought I had. Later, the same guy called me to pick up a package at one of our usual drop locations." He closed the fridge, limping back to the table and popping the cap. "This was right after I'd picked Daniel up. I didn't think anything of it, so I asked him if he was cool if I did a quick errand. We drove to Koreatown, and before I was even in the restaurant, this black van rolled up. The whole front of the building was glass, and then it was just gone."
He sat down heavily, taking a drink. He felt loose, thanks to the alcohol. "We got out of there, and pulled off in a parking lot, where I explained myself.
"It's not like they have a tracking device on me, Kal. It's not just gonna show up wherever I am. And now that I'm wise to them, it's clear they won't try something so obvious again. I just have to puzzle out what to do next, and that involves...I'm not sure, yet."
Kal sighed and shook his head, lifting the bottle to his lips again and taking another swig. “Fuck, Chris. I really don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with you,” he murmured before taking another sip. “Well, if you want to brainstorm, I’m here to ping ideas off of. Just bring beer. Otherwise, I think this calls for additional beers. Like, a six pack each.” He finished the second beer, sitting it on the counter more gently than the previous beer. Rubbing at his thighs, he looked at his friend and shook his head again. “Shit, I would’ve rathered you confessed your love for me.”
Chris grinned easily. "Believe me, amigo, me too. But yeah, I'm down for more drinks. Have you been to CASKET yet?"
“Nope,” Kal replied, taking in a deep breath and arching his back in a stretch. It felt a little tense, all caused by their discussion, and he was glad to be moving onto better, more familiar things. Getting to his feet, he tilted his head to the side and smiled as sweetly as he possibly could to Chris. “And you’re sure you’re not in love with me? I mean, look at me. I’m a pretty lovable guy.”
Chris shook his head, rising to his feet. "I've never been into bears, man, but I know some people who are, if you're looking to swing that way." He collected the empties still on the table, carrying them to the recycling. "Get your coat. We'll go patronize the club and you can get drunk and work through your feelings for me."
“Sounds like a plan,” Kal said with a grin. He was already heading for the door, throwing it open as he had before and giving a wave. “I’ll meet you in the hall!” was all that was heard as the door swung back closed, Kal disappearing behind it.