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Short pants, Pimples and High School Crushes

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Surely it's just in fiction alone, right?

I mean, can you really spend years growing up with someone; going in and out of their house, sharing school benches, sledging, football and stealing petty sweets from the corner shop down the road, and still want more than a friendship down the line? When someone tells me it happens in real life, I laugh. I just can't see how you divorce the magic from the mundane. How can you know someone through short pants, spots, high school, and then when you're a man and they're still beside you, find another desire and attractive attributes for them?

That's enough questions. I never said I knew any of the answers.

Our mothers fell pregnant at the same time and met at one of those baby places to do with making labor easier. The two women moaned, giggled and awed about the whole experience together. We lived a block away from each other and were born only a month apart, bursting into the worlds, upturning out familes in the same ways. And once again, our moms had something to coo over.

Finn and I were together from then on.

We went to the same school together, we liked and hated the same types of teachers and people. When we got bikes we fixed them up to look like motorbikes, though I did most of the fixing, as Finn constantly knocked everything over. Once the paint had spilled I told him to sit down. I had to buy that paint with my own money. We negotiated pocket money so we had the same amount. I had only done it because I found he had a dollor and fifty cents more than me. I felt slightly guilty at his disappointed face when he realized he had less money then before; but after a replication of a lecture my own mother gave me about sharing, we both felt a little better.

Just after my seventh birthday mom fell pregnant. At first, it was a good thing. Mom had never looked happier and I got to spend more time at Finn's/ Apparently having two hyperactive seven year old kids running around playing cops and robbers while you're trying to paint a room isn't an easy job. But after moms baby bump began to show, things started to change. The high, happy drama of the pregnancy had thinned out, and to my dad it became no more than another mouth to feed.

My dad and I had always been close. He was just as much of a dad to me as he was to Finn. When we redecorated out bikes, he gave us some money towards it. When our neighbors made a tree house, my dad promised us something better. He had changed out plane garden and planted vegetables and fruits. He changed the back where all the trees and bushes where into a huge den for us to play in. That's where Finn and I would hang out in our spare time.

The smell of it in season was amazing and we were allowed to eat some of it after mother picked it all. Sometimes we would sneak out there at night and sleep in the trees, pretending we were on a great adventure out in the rainforest. We would pinch apples and other thing and share them. It was 'our' place. We would read comics together, torture the spiders and wrestle together. One time poison ivy had grown and we went home scratching at our skin like we had fleas. Our moms then forbid us from playing in there until dad cut it all back down.

One day, mother and father were arguing. Finn and I were up stairs at the time and we could both clearly hear them. I had been quite that day, nervous almost. I tried to hide it, but even though Finn wasn't very clever, he had a sixth sense for peoples emotions. We had been playing with my lego when he asked.

"You're worried about them, aren't you?" I wanted to refuse and protest, tell him he was just being an idiot and I was too much of a badass to worry about it. Instead, I nodded a 'yes'. He smiled sadly at me, nodded his head as if he understood what I mean and then rubbed my arm. "It will all be okay." He reassured me.

Somehow, I knew he was right.

He wasn't right.

Everything wasn't alright in the end.

Dad had left and mom was a mess. I didn't understand what was going on. Mom was seven months pregnant when dad packed up his bags and stormed out. That meant she was left looking after me with another baby on the way. The stress of the situation didn't do mom well. She became snappy and moody, which didn't help my own moods. When I asked her why dad had left, she replied with 'We're not good enough for your father anymore. He much rather be a rock star' she said bitterly.

With moms constant depression, I had to learn to deal with any other problems on my own. Like Dave. Dave was taller, older, smarter and strong than me. And Dave was a bully. I had never been bullied before, and I was clueless as to what to do. Normally I was the one bullying kids, not the other way around. Dave would push me; nick my lunch money and steal my things. He would call me names and regularly harassed me.

That was until one day I snapped and punched him in the nose.

That had been satisfying. The sound of his nose crunching under my fist, the tears in his eyes, and the blood spilling out from his nose was all just enough to make my day that little bit better.

Even though I had gone home cheerful for the first time in a fortnight, it hadn't lasted. My mother hadn't been overjoyed to learn I had broken another kid's nose.

So we had argued. She used the typical case that violence isn't the answer and mine was "If you did your job, then I wouldn't of had to."

That's when she smacked me.

There had been a silent pause before that, and the sound tore down the barrier with an ear-slitting force. Mom had hit me so hard I nearly topped over.

Then there was another pause.

Then I turned and ran.

I never did tell Finn why I was throwing pebbles at his window at ten o'clock at night.

That was the first time mom hit me, but it wasn't the last. Slowly, it became more frequent and over silly little things. However I never told him, with every cut and bruise I got; I was determined to make it the first secret I kept from him. Deep down, I think he guessed what was going on, because he treaded lightly when the subject of my mother came up.

As time went on, we because cool, bored teenagers. Our comics became magazines and we hide them at the back of the den, were the spiders kept gaurd for us. I didn't like getting mud om my boots anymore and the ball gave way to handheld games. The apples weren't even there to steal anymore. We did lay there together on the weekend afternoons that I didn't have a girl clinging to me. In summer, we take off our tops and flexed each other our expanding muscles. I always secretly glowed when I was mine were still bigger, though other then my arms and shoulders, his were more defined.

One day Finn was badly sunburned. He wanted to transform his too-pale skin into the golden tan of male models, but like, immediately. He was nearly in tears. I can't remember where his mother had gone, maybe out to buy some lotion, I couldn't remember. He needed me to keep rubbing cream over his chest, to soothe the burning and the pain, to help him sleep. The hear of his chest seeped into my hands as I messaged him. This was the first time I really looked at him.

I didn't know it then. A small, awkward flame flickered inside me, quickly extinguished by shock and embarrassment.

That was the second secret I kept from him.

Then High school rolled around, things really got interesting and complex.

Quinn was beautiful and by the third week of out second year, she was mine. We stayed together the entire year, and in the summer made love under the stars. I wasn't really a romantic, but Finn had told me girls were into that sort of thing. Therefore, as usual, I took his advice. She didn't seem to appreciate it much, she never truly valued anything I did for her. I had given up sex for a year for her, and she still bitched at me! Who knew it would lead to so much drama, though.

I discovered two months later that Quinn was pregnant.

I had to suffer through some stressful mouths, but I constantly reminded myself that Quinn had it much worse. We didn't keep the baby. Quinn gave it way to some girl that was the mother of this annoying girl called Rachel. So I never got to raise my baby girl.

The fact that I had only seen her for five minutes, but loved her nonetheless, was another secret I never told Finn.

Things went downhill after I turned seventeen.

Finn and I had snuck out of the school that day, mainly because I wanted a smoke and it was only Maths. After taking a long drag from it, I blow it into the wind. The wind whipped it straight back into my eyes. As I was caught unawares, I began coughing.

"You Okay Puck?" He laughed, clapping a large hand on my back. When my eyes started to water, he began to worry. "I'm fine." His hand was firm. I wished I'd felt it more often that I had. Not in fights and in games or in high-fives, but in other ways.

I knew, then.

"You're red." He frowned, maybe not as perplexed as he made out. "Why are you blushing?"

He was as familiar to me as myself. Probably more so: I'd stared at him more often than my mirror. I knew his shape and size, the flicker in his eyes and the set of his jaw. Yet... I knew nothing. It was like someone new inside me, clambering up though my comfort zones, twisting my emotions, challenging my self-confidence. Changing me. Wanting.

I pulled away. "I am not blushing!" I snapped defensively. "It's just 'cause I've been coughing, idiot." I muttered. Finn nodded, but he didn't seem convinced.

That was another secret I never told him.

I had never agreed with self-harm. And I certainly never thought I'd do it myself. It had only been once, three long cuts down my arm. I had watched the blood flow down my arms with a twisted curiosity.

That was the first time I had done it, and I swore I would never do it again. But, at the time, I just wanted to bleed. I felt like I deserved it. It was all too much for me to handle.

I had gone to Finn's house after, of course. I had gone with the intention of telling him, of sharing my burden. But I couldn't get the words out, so instead just mumble about needing a place to sleep.

It had to be one of the stupidest things I had ever done; worse than knocking up Quinn Frabray. If I could kick my own ass, I would have. What the hell had I been thinking. I didn't have a reason to tell her after all!

Except it had been eating away at me for three years. Three long, stressful years. The nigh before I had finally worked up the courage to go ahead and tell her. I had to. Come hell or high water. I was tired of secrets, tired of being someone I wasn't, of having to pretend that everything was okay, when it really wasn't. I stayed up half the night practicing what I'd say to her, predicting her reply and coming up with a retort. When I finally spilled it out, I was frozen, glued to the spot as she screamed at me, asking 'where did I go wrong?'. Everything I had rehearsed had flown out of my mind. Why couldn't I of kept my damn mouth shut?

I remember sighing and blinking back sour tears. I am not going to cry over this. Fuck them! I thought. I glared at the man staring back at me in the mirror in Finn's postage stamp bathroom, and I had wanted him to go away.

So I slammed my head into the glass.

Then I watched with satisfaction as the mirror shattered into pieces and blood dribbled down my head.

I picked up a piece of glass that fell into the sink and played with it in my hands. The blood dripping down my head felt so good, it was reliving and relaxing. It was just what I needed. I then dragged the glass across my smooth chocolate skin, marking it, tainting it, destroying it.

It felt amazing, like I could finally breath again, but it wasn't enough. So I did it a second time, and then a third. As I watched the blood trickle down my arm and journey down the sink drain with morbid curiosity, it took a few seconds for it to dawn on me what I had done.

I remember dropping the jagged piece of glass, and it clanked loudly as it hit the sink. I then staggered back and leant against the wall, before sliding down it, absolutely drained.

I am not sure how long I was there for, whether it was seconds, minutes of hours, I would never know. I just sat there and bleed, feeling numb.

When Finn finally entered, he looked at the mirror and then to me, and then back to the mirror. I think he noticed my wrist the second time. Slowly, he walked over to me and offered his hand. I stared blankly at it for a moment before gripping onto it firmly. On unsteady legs, I stood up and allowed him to pull me to my feet and walk me over to the toilet.

"Come on, let's get you cleaned up." He said gently, as if he spoke to loudly or quickly I would break.

But it didn't work.

My frame shook with uncontrollable sobs. I knew she wouldn't take it well. She never took anything well. I'd known she wouldn't be happy; I knew there'd be lots of yelling, cursing and screaming, but I hadn't expected to be kicked out on my ass. Like a worthless dog that had peed on the rug too many times. Hell, I knew my mom wasn't the most open-minded women, but she always stuck by family... well, she had until now.

As I cried for the first time in years, Finn embraced me. I clung to him, desperately. The feel of his warm hard body against mine and the steady beat of his heart was comforting. His breath tickled my neck and even that made me feel better.

My hands grabbed hunches of his T-shirt as I held on to him, sinking my head into the back of his neck dampening his shoulder.

I cried for what seemed like hours.

After my sobbing had died down to soft whimpering and sniffing, he began to pull away. "I'm going to clean your arm, okay?" I nodded mutely, fighting the urge to run in shame.

I watched the tall teen bandage my arm before he began tidying up the broken pieces of the mirror that were littered on the floor. When he was done, he came to sit down near me. I slid off the toilet seat silently and inched up next to him.

Nobody said anything for a while.

"Why did you do it?" He asked.

I opened my mouth to speak and grimaced as it crocked. "I just... it was-i needed to... I don't know Finn, it just... It just made me feel better."

"Did I make you feel better?" He was staring at me, a dark look in his eyes I had never seen before. I nodded and there was another pause.

After what must have been hours, Finn began to stand up. "I'm going to go to bed, I've sorted out a cot for you to sleep in, okay?" He asked.

I grabbed his wrist and he turned to look at me.

"Puck."

I kissed him. It wasn't a slow romantic kiss, nor a hot passionate one. It was clumsy, lips clashing and teeth brushing.

I soon found out I wasn't the only one with secrets.

We didn't keep any after that.