Furud's mom Knock-knock, then half a second later the door opening at the top of the basement stairs. "Furud?"
Furud jumps, startled, and hastily shoves some papers in the couch cushions with his free hand, a video game controller in the other. He cranes his neck to look at her, "What?"
Furud's mom His mother is coming down the stairs with a piece of paper in her hand. "I was able to call an express service to get your SAT scores." Her tone is ominous.
Furud "Oh... uh. That's great." He tries to sound confident, pushing his hand back through his hair.
Furud's mom "If that's what you think the word 'great' means, it would explain these scores." There's a sort of unspoken code in how far she comes down the steps--casual conversation is a call-from-the-top thing, moderate concern warrants walking halfway down.
Furud's mom Today she steps all the way to the bottom to fix Furud with a steely stare, arms folded.
Furud's mom "How far does that logic extend? It's only college, only getting a decent job, only having a future...?" She wasn't given to histrionic exaggeration so much as icy sarcasm.
Furud turns away from her, staring fixedly at his hands, and mutters "Not everyone has a perfect future."
Furud's mom "No, they don't," she says, stepping around to stand in his field of view again. "And most of us have to work for it, which seems to have escaped you lately. What's going on, Furud? Are you wrapped up in that girlfriend of yours?"
Furud "I'm not dating anyone right now. ...officially..." He scowls.
Furud's mom "'Officially?' Christ, that I was ever young enough to think MY mother bought that kind of dodge." At that moment, Antares pokes her head out of the laundry room, not hearing them over the music that was playing. "Hey Furud, where's the... uh. Um, hi."
Furud closes his eyes, clenching his fists for a second. "Mom, meet Antares. She's my friend from school."
Furud "Antares, this is my mom." He opens his eyes and smiles weakly.
Furud's mom "Yes, I'm officially his mother," Furud's mom says dryly at the same moment Antares says, "Thanks Furud, I actually figured that out myself."
Furud's mom Then Antares says, "Uh, I think I should go so you guys can do your talking thing."
Furud sighs. "I'll uh, see you later then. I guess. <m> if I live"
Furud's mom Antares scoots out, mouthing /church/ at Furud behind his mother's back. Furud's mom arches a deadly eyebrow, waiting until the door closes at the top of the stairs to say, "Study buddy?"
Furud "Yeah, we're in... class together."
Furud's mom "If you love me, Furud, spare me the 'anatomy' excuse." She folds the paper in her hands, the one with his scores, and tosses it onto the couch next to him. "If you don't see anything wrong with your performance today... well, let's just say your father would be proud."
Furud tenses, "That was low." Flashes of his father's face, his anger, his constant drinking. "I'm nothing like him!"
Furud's mom looks for a moment like she regrets saying it--but she doesn't take it back, exactly. She says after a second, "If you don't want to be, honey, you have to start caring about where you're going." Then she spins and heads up the stairs.
Furud starts to say something as she walks off, then just puts his head in his hands, trying to hold back the anger and despair. Quietly, so she can't hear him, he says "you don't understand, we're not going to make it long enough to care now."
Furud It is about an hour after Antares had met Furud's mother that she sees him trudging towards the church. He kicks a pebble angrily, and it ricochets off the side of the building.
Antares sticks her head out of the back door--the same one they snuck in through, last week ages ago--and waves him in furtively. By the time he gets inside, she's halfway up the ladder, not going all the way out to the roof but stopping at the small attic space in between.
Furud slides in after her, climbing the ladder, and looking into the attic for a second before stepping off of it and into the dim space next to her. "Hey."
Antares The space is brighter than usual, lit by half a dozen candles, while Antares' duffel bag leans against the wall. "Hey," she says, looking sideways at him and ducking a bit to avoid the roof. "How pissed was your mom?"
Furud sighs and sinks down against the wall. "Pretty pissed," he admits, and stares at the flame of a candle.
Antares slides down beside him, offering him a candy bar. "Sorry about that," she says after a minute. "Didn't mean to fuck your shit up at home."
Furud takes the bar and smiles a little. "No, it's fine." He bites the end of the wrapper and rips it in half. "She thought it'd be a great idea to get my SAT scores early."
Antares "Oops." Antares slouches a little lower. "You, uh, didn't get kicked out, did you? 'Cause I've got squatters rights up here." She shoots a look sideways at him, trying a half-smile.
Furud "Not officially. I might not go back for a few days though. I just can't handle it, not with everything else."
Antares stares at her knees, pondering the truth of that. "Hey," she says after a minute. "If you need anything, I got your back, y'know." She moves her hand a bit, maybe going to squeeze his, then stops.
Furud tugs on his shirt sleeves a bit, "Thanks. I need it."
Antares "Why is it," Antares says slowly, "that when you're in trouble I want to hold you and tell you it's okay, that I'll do anything to fix it. But when I'm in trouble, I'd just as soon punch you as say that I..." she trails off. "Why are people built that way? It's fucked up."
Furud half smiles. "I dunno." He shifts, bringing himself close enough that their knees touch. "Is it okay if I stay here for a bit?"
Antares "Are you even listening to me?" Antares snorts at him, covering embarrassment with a smirk, but she bumps her knees lightly against his. "Yeah," she says more quietly. "Stay as long as you want." She lifts her arm to drape around his shoulders--lightly, as if afraid he'll shrug it off.
Furud reaches up and covers her hand with his. "Yeah, I just... y'know, I'm trying to keep you from punching me again." He grins suddenly.
Antares "Last time I hauled off to hit you, you seemed to like it okay," Antares grins and tugs at a bit of his hair. Then she sobers. "So, um. There's this thing I think we kinda need to talk about, except it's probably going to screw us up s'more. How chickenshit would it be to wait a while?"
Furud chuckles, "What can I say?" then he sobers up. "are you sure we need to?"
Antares slants a look sideways at him. Several emotions flicker across her face, lightning-fast, then she reaches some decision and squeezes his shoulder with her joined hands. "Nah, you're right," she says. "Forget it."
Furud looks over at Antares for a long moment, then leans in to kiss her. "Let's just forget about all the bad shit for a while."
Antares grins against his lips. "I'm pretty sure that making out in church is bad, y'know." She lifts her hands up to tangle in his hair, pulling him closer.
Furud "Nah," he grins back, "it's holy" He kisses her again, fiercely.