Never did Kyle think he would be in his own room with Cartman. Karma is a bitch, and one hell of a shitty comedian. Sat in the too small chair teetering on the corner of the room, Eric held the left side of his stomach with one arm, and held a napkin on a busted lip and bloody nose. A red turtleneck stained into a deeper red.
"Are- er does it hurt?"
"No, I feel great… " Eric was half way into thinking up a tirade before he stopped. "I feel," he stopped to think again.
"You feel what? Regretful that you dragged me out of my microwave dinner?" Kyle carelessly sneered with little strife.
"No, I feel…" Eric drifted off, and was met with a firm snap and a wave of the hand.
"Earth to fatass?" Kyle asked with little interest.
"No, I feel alive."
The third period bell rang, and much to the teacher's relief it was lunch period for all students. Cliques met up at tables staked as "theirs," football players made out with cheerleaders, nerds hid from bullies, yadayadayada, and anyone else enjoyed time with their fleeting friendships. Kyle Broflovski sat with two girls; Nicole and Wendy, and two boys; Kenny and Butters.
Kenny was mastering the usual banter and flippant jokes. He leaned up against the table and pretended to have sex with various people's mothers; a joke that has given the boy many black eyes.
Butters sat there, crustless peanut butter and jelly in one hand, and a bit of Kenny's shirt in the other.
Nichole giggled at Kenny's antics.
Wendy didn't. There was little trouble at the table.
Kyle lazily threw chips into his mouth while Butters and Kenny started to talk about the happenings of model UN.
"Yeah, I was assigned Switzerland and I had to talk about Lichtenstein and how they're holding off on women's suffrage." Butters explained excitedly, setting down his PB&J. Kenny chimed in
"Swiss women have jugs- lucky man!" He pantomimed his own set of jugs with his hands. Wendy rolled her eyes and stood up.
"It doesn't really wor-" Butters was cut off by Wendy.
"Yeah I'm leaving, Stan should be out of Ms. Margen's class by now. I can't believe he plagiarized a poem about cassette tapes of all things," Wendy pinched the bridge of her nose. With a crinkle in her brow and a pep in her step, she walked off.
"What's her problem? Everyone plagiarized that assignment." Kenny groaned, carding two hands through his mullet. Nichole cocked an eyebrow.
"I didn't, and I assure you that Butters didn't," she turned to Kyle "do you have Margen?"
Kyle crumpled the bag of chips in his fist and shook his head, "No, I have Mr. Matsuyama for AP lang," he threw the bag into a nearby trash can.
"It's weird that a Japanese man is teaching advanced English…" Kenny cleaned some lettuce he had stolen from Butters' salad out from his teeth.
"You're just sad he speaks English better than you do," Kyle rolled his eyes as he spoke.
Nichole nodded "it's not like he's lying Ken, I gotta go. Broadcast club is going to prep the table for our event afterschool. I get the rest of the day off."
Kenny sighed "Lucky bitch, I guess I could just skip Mr. Brown's class and drop by the 7-11. You want anything Butters?" He turned to Butters who just frowned.
"I don't wanna be alone durin' Brown. He moved Bradley away from my seat, and you're the only one left." Butters whined. Kenny sighed and shrugged.
"I guess I'll stay, but I get to copy your notes," Kenny put his arm around Butters- a short-lived film of joy permeated onto his face before the heavy footsteps of a pack of tall wide-set teenagers ripped it off.
"If it isn't the bimbo and his little boy-toy," one scoffed and approached the table. Kenny shot his arm away, and straightened out his jacket.
"Hey, do you have a problem!" Kyle stood up defensively.
"Yeah we do have one, no fairies allowed in South Park!" One roared, and as if on queue the infamous Eric Cartman decided to interject.
"What are you Kahl? A fag? Is this the fag table now?" Eric snorted, leaning onto the table so that his face is level with Kyle's.
"I don't know Cartman, you're the one leaning on the 'fag table'?" Kyle replied snidely. Eric quickly moved his arm from leaning on the table to holding the fabric of Kyle's hoodie in his fist.
"What did you say?"
"I think I was implying that you were gay fatass," Kyle was hoisted up against the wall of the cafeteria.
"I'm bigger than you now Kahl, fight back- I dare you," Eric purred, Kyle's face seized as Eric made his fist ready, and in a fleeting moment of stubbornness Kyle pulled back a fist and punched Eric straight in the nose.
"Fight back my ass, leave Cartm-" Kyle started to pack up his things as he spoke, but was rudely interrupted by Eric grabbing his ankle and dragging him down to the floor with him. Kyle fell. Hard. His jaw hit the floor, drawing blood. He flipped himself over onto his back to get eyes on Eric.
Eric on the other hand was ready to strike. He held his nose in his left hand, and his right had gone in for a strong hook.
His fist hit Kyle right in the center of his ribcage, Kyle wheezed; the air leaving his lungs and fell on the floor.
"Eric what the fuck?" Kenny stood up, and stood level with Cartman.
"Relax Kenny, the boys were just joking about you and Butters. Even if Butters is a total faggot, you score chicks dude- it's alright. Kahl just has a few bruises anyways," Eric had sat down at the table "plus, the fag table is near the theatre room if I remember correctly?" By now, Butters had rushed to Kyle's aid, he was incoherently sputtering nonsense and his southern drawl was not helping.
"Uh, Kyle? Are you okay?" Butters nervously pushed his index fingers together, "K-kyle? Get up Kyle!"
Kyle stumbled up, but he leaned onto Butters as he struggled to stand up straight. He looked star struck, his eyes glazed over, and his chin was bleeding.
"Yeah, a few bruises…" Kenny gets up from his seat and goes off with Kyle and Butters, "you used to be fun."
"Kenny! He's not that hurt!" Eric called after Kenny. As he saw someone who was once his friend turn the corner, he smiled.
"Did you see me beat up Annie Lennox back there? Fuckin' sick right?" His follow football players laughed together, one of them gave him a pat on the back.
"That shit about you being gay was hilarious- fire-crotch should quit debate!"
"Hehe… sweet." Eric laughed. He couldn't wait to go home and ice his nose.
Kyle's mother coddled him when he got home, and when he retained a minor concussion for 3 days. Peeking her head in for the occasional "Are you doing alright bubba?" Or "Do you want any food."
The only reason Sheila hadn't gone crazy and chased down Cartman for hurting her "baby" was because Kyle had lied that he had tripped while playing frisbee on the pavement. The issue was dropped after a thorough talking to about only playing in the grass.
So with that, on Friday, Kyle rode the bus to school with a bandage on his jaw.
"Heya Kyle!" Butters plopped himself down on the plush, plastic covered, green bus seat next to Kyle. Butters tilted his head to get a good look at the bandage on his jaw. "It's not all that bad! You'll heal up all fine!" He cheered. Kyle leaned an elbow on the metal edge of the bus window.
"I guess... I'm just upset, my mom talked my ear off about frisbee, like all week," Kyle leaned back in his seat.
Turning around in his seat, Kyle looked behind him, no Eric. A short sigh of relief left the tension of his throat. Kyle wasn't afraid of Cartman, he wouldn't hesitate to try and fight him again if he was given occasion, but the gloating, the slurs, the touting from his friends; it drove him to the point of headache.
"Wake me up when we get to school, I'm tired," Kyle leaned his head back in his chair and closed his eyes. Boy were his eyelids heavy.
Happenstance was Mr. Matsuyama's word of the day. He underlined key words describing happenstance with his meter long ruler.
Happenstance: a word that is a blend of happen and circumstance . Something that happens at random.
It was written in perfect handwriting on the dark green of the chalkboard. The ruler made a dull scraping noise as it skidded across the board.
"Now students, knowing the definition of happenstance, can someone give me a sentence using the word? The quicker the better, because it ties into our lesson today," Mr. Matsuyama demanded with a smile he never seemed to lose. Kyle raised his hand.
"Yes Kyle?" Mr. Matsuyama asked.
"May I please go to the restroom? I'll make up the sentence when we get back?" Mr. Matsuyama shook his head.
"You may Kyle, but that sentence will be your ticket out." He waved Kyle away. As he ducked out of the classroom, he made sure to grab a hall pass.
Closing the door to room 225, Kyle sauntered down the hall. He needed to dip his face in some water or anything to spare him from this splitting headache.
He turned a corner past room 232, and rushed into the boys restroom.
Punch drunk from.the headache, Kyle leaned onto the cold sink basin and pressed the top of the faucet; allowing the water to run. Not even thinking about his hair and his white tank top, he cupped his hands underneath the stream of water and brought it to his face.
He was so distracted by the relief coming over him that he did not hear the heavy footsteps behind him.
"Washing the cum off your face faggot?" Kyle lifted his head up from the basin.
"No, washing off the spunk from your mom's yeast infection." Kyle snapped back.
Cartman's nostrils flared, his eyes filled with hellfire, and his hand attached itself to the back of Kyle's head.
"Don't talk shit about my mom Kahl," Eric warned. He forced Kyle's head against the end of the sink, and blood splattered out of his nose.
"It's payback time little bitch, I'll make you pay for fucking up my Jersey with blood," he whispered into his ear, and threw his entire body onto the corner of a stall. His leg was the victim to most of the disparagement..
"Ack! Eric please stop! I implied you were gay once, and now you're hellbent on physically hurting me. No despair, just lashing out like some big, angry-"
"Shut up! Shut up! Shut! Up!" Eric screeched. He pointed towards Kyle's feeble state on the floor.
"You don't call me Eric ever! You call me Cartman, you have for twelve years!" He continued on his tirade, his voice cracking as he spoke. Kyle struggled up.
"You guys stopped hanging out with me this year! My football friends don't go to the arcade with me, and I miss hanging out with your brother! I miss celebrating passover with you and your family! I miss doing stupid shit in the gully with Kenny! I miss making fun of Stan for being a hippie! I miss you Kahl!" He stopped, his breaths labored, and his chest heavy. He stopped. Kyle leaned against the stall, his breathing uneven as well.
"I miss you too dude, especially passover… but unless you can undo this concussion, there's no taking back what you've done." Kyle sighed, and rubbed his nose. Then, he was gone.
As Kyle left the bathroom, Kenny watched him wince as he walked.
When Kyle left room 225 for the day, Mr. Matsuyama asked for Kyle's sentence using the word "happenstance," he responded with.
"I was not happenstance that I ran into him that day, it was premeditated by fate."
He was wasn't allowed out because he misused the word, Kyke reasoned that it was a purposefully misused and that was implied through the phrasing.
He let him go.
Kenny had tried to wipe off his furrowed brow, but it seemed to stick.
It stuck at the nurses office.
It stuck when he got to work.
It stuck the next day.
It stuck when he had movie night with Token, Clyde and Craig.
It stuck until Friday, when he saw Eric follow Kyle into the bathroom.
It stuck when Kyle came out with a limp and a bloody nose.
It finally went away when he called Eric, and invited him to hang out in his garage and lite one up.
" Hey dude,"
"Kenny, what the fuck do you want. If I knew it was you I wouldn't have picked up. Especially when you were PMSing all over the place the other day at lunch."
"Sorry bro, it was just Kyle getting on my nerves. I just want to chill with you man, I have some pot and some Papst, come over. We can smoke and drink in my garage."
"Fine, but I get the last beer."
The line went dead.
He sat expectantly on the tattered couch in the upper left corner of his garage. He waited there with a ¼ ounce and folded his hands on his lap. He wore a smile on his face. He was furious.
Time ticked by, but he waited.
"Knock, knock" Eric's voice rang from outside the garage door. Kenny, got up from his seat filled with restraint. He fought back the urge to smile.
He opened the garage door.
"What's up bitch!" Eric strolled into the garage, his arms open and a package of tiny donuts in his hands.
Kenny didn't speak, he takes a rubber band from his jacket pocket, ties up the back of his unruly blonde hair, and took an angry fist to Eric's thick neck. He clutched his own neck.
"Kenny what the fu-" he was cut off by a solid kick to the ribs. Eric crashed against the ground out of the garage door, but Kenny was still on it. His foot met Eric's stomach and continued to needle at his ribcage. The stomping of his boots, and Eric's grunts echoed through the assortment of junk in front of Kenny's house. Kenny stopped for a moment.
" What happened to Kyle in the bathroom huh? What the fuck did you do to him?" Kenny bent down and held Eric by the collar.
"I wasn't wi-" Kenny smacked him in the face.
"Wrong answer! I saw you Cartman, I saw you leave the bathroom. I saw Kyle leave battered with a wet face! Now you either beat the shit out of him or did something far worse," continues to work at Eric's stomach, never relenting. "Give me an answer fatboy!" Kenny lifted Eric's face to his, seething with rage.
"I told him that I missed you guys, okay? Do you think I wo-"
He drops him.
"Just go before I break your fucking ribcage."
The day was Friday, which meant date night for Kyle's parents. Sheila and Gerald put on their best dresses and suits to go to the mediocre Italian restaurant downtown. Ike was at Tricia's house playing dungeons and dragons, so Kyle had the house to himself.
He sat down on the couch, microwave dinner on the coffee table, and hands folded in his lap in complete silence. He felt something in his gut, and it wasn't the microwave dinner.
The doorbell rang through the house and in Kyle's ears. He opened the door to a battered and beaten Cartman, laying face down and powerless on the doorstep.
"Holy shit!" Kyle screamed, his hands flew up and his jaw slacked. Cartman flipped himself over. Kyle collected himself in an instant. "Why did you come here?" He asked, Eric smiled with a furrowed brow.
"Are you going to help me o-" Eric sprung into a coughing fit before he could finish his sentence. "I think I broke a rib."
"Uh! I! Oh god! Get inside!" Kyle frantically helped Eric inside the house. "My parents will notice if you start coughing up blood on the couch. I have a bean bag chair so- uh just help me get you up the staircase."
Kyle attentively helped Eric up the stairs, Eric held onto the stairs rails for dear life as they hobbled upstairs. Kyle practically dragged Eric down the hallway into his room, his boots skidding on the dark green shag carpet, a line of dirt formed where his feet layed.
"You can crawl, I don't want my mom nagging me for getting the carpet dirty," Kyle rolled Eric over as he dropped him.
"Thanks Jew…" he sat back onto the orange bean bag chair, and felt the air force out of the pores of the soft velveteen fabric. A wave of relief rippled through his tired body.
And they sat wordless.
But their minds were filled with chatter.
"I'm taking a piss, don't touch anything Cartman."
"What do you mean by feeling alive fatass?" Kyle asked with a raised eyebrow. Eric cracked a smile, wonder in his eyes for the first time in the last year.
"I don't know why but I just don't feel half as shitty anymore," Kyle rolled his eyes as Cartman started to go on his wonder filled rant about his 'new perspective' on life.
"What happened to your broken rib?"
"Eh we don't have to worry about that right now Kahl, look you can shut your hypochondriac mouth if you're so worried!" Eric groaned, and buried his hands in his face. "Don't you chide me! I even read the dictionary while you took a piss!"
"Wow did you eat it too?" Kyle snorted as he responded, to which Eric quickly knitted his eyebrows.
"Oh c'mon Kyahl! I was just trying to be nice! I was being all cool and considerate by stooping down to your nerd level!" Eric complained and kicked his feet, Kyle couldn't help but break into laughter. Eric pouted.
Kyle wiped a tear from his eye after a rolling fit of laughter, "I'm sorry it's just that you sound like you're a little kid!" Eric's face dropped and he crawled over to where Kyle was sitting. The redhead shifted over to make space.
"I meant it when I said I finally feel like I'm feeling something…" Eric admitted, ruffling his hair with one hand. He looked stressed. Mostly because he was stressed. "I always had so much trouble feeling anything , and I was so hung up on you because when we bickered and fought, I did feel something!" He got closer. "I just don't know when," he got even closer, forcing Kyle's back onto the carpet- it was still tracked with dirt. "I would be crossing a line." He was between Kyle's legs. He leaned in. "-when, I couldn't go back." He closed the gap between their faces, but they met in the middle.
Sparks didn't fly. To Kyle is was a punch in the gut. A crippling poison that climbed down his throat. Is this a joke, and if not; is this his reality right now? A big dumb jock leaned over him, reduced to the boy-toy everyone is going to make him out to be. To Eric it was correct in his brain, everything clicked, but the kiss was dry. It was sad, and committal. He crossed that line, and he is never going back behind it. It was like a contract that neither of them can break, because from now on they are whatever the world makes them out to be. In this case, they're faggots, they're deviants, they're diseased, and reduced to a life of hiding.
The door swung open.
"Oh bubba… " Kyle's mom had opened the door, back from date night. She couldn't even force a tear out. " How dare I " she thinks to herself, " how dare I be the doorman to my son's life of fear."
"Mom! I can explain!" Kyle shot away from Eric, shaking violently. Sheila shook her head.
"You don't need to bubba, I love you, but you'll be killed in this town! You have only a few more months of highschool, but then you have to pack your bags and leave," she turned to Eric, "you too young man."
"Ma- I" Kyle couldn't find the words. Sheila sniffled, and turned away.
"I don't want to see you leave the nest, but you have to baby. If you want to be happy and alive, you need to leave to California. You'll be safe- you'll be safe there bubba." She shut the door behind her.
"Are you sure I make you feel alive enough to keep you on a high for the rest of your life?" Kyle asked.
"Only if you're sure I can keep pissing you off until you kick the bucket…" Eric drifted off.
"I think I'm fine with that Eric."