2 - These Clouds

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*April 28*

Jack awoke to the sound of rain pattering against his window. Pulling back the curtain of his bedroom window, he discovered that it was, indeed, raining dogs and cats outside. He resisted the urge to crawl back under the covers and sleep the day away, seeing as the foul weather seemed to be an ominous warning that the upcoming hours would be miserable.

Glancing at the clock, Jack discovered that he didn't have to be at his first class at the University of Baltimore for another three hours. Dragging himself out of bed, he pulled a sweatshirt over his bare chest, as the weather was unusually cold for April.

After downing a cup of coffee and bowl of disgustingly sugary cereal, the man collapsed onto his living room couch, not bothering to get dressed.

He flicked on the TV, channel surfing until he found the perfect mindless show he was searching for: SpongeBob. 

After getting settled comfortably under a blanket, he grabbed his laptop and went to check his e-mail.

Jack groaned when he saw a message from his father, and reluctantly opened it.

Jack,

I hope your classes are going well. Your grandmother and I are in good health, and the business is successful, as usual. I'll be sending your check later this month, spend it on whatever you like. I've already paid the rent, no need to worry about that. Be good.

Bassam


He leaned back into the couch, deflating slightly from receiving such an impersonal message. He often felt like his father no longer cared for him at all, and only supported him as he felt it was obligation, being his father and all. 

Thinking back to his childhood, Jack wondered if the man had ever really cared for his son. He had never told him he loved him, though that certainly wasn’t surprising, seeing as he saw love as a disease. 

Jack's mother had died during childbirth, shattering his father’s heart and changing his entire view on the world. His grandmother had moved in to take care of Jack, since his father was incapable of doing anything but sleeping all day for months after his wife’s death.

Jack's grandfather had been killed in World War II, so his grandmother was already a cynic when it came to love. After swapping stories of heartbreak, Jack's guardians decided that it was, in fact, and actual disease.

They believe that love infests itself in your brain, transforms you into an entirely different person, and eventually, inevitably destroys you.

Jack had seen the effects of love, and had never known it himself. He never planned on it either, seeing as it only caused pain.

Shaking the depressing thoughts out of his head, the man exited out of the window and opened an essay he was meant to be working on. 

After two hours of struggling to write something decent enough to turn in, he gave up, slammed the laptop closed, and went to shower.

He had never been good in school, and was only attending college to get a degree in music and business, hoping to someday achieve his dream of becoming and agent.

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Alex sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes, and glancing at his clock, which informed him that it was seven a.m. He smiled slightly, jumping out of bed, and looking out his window. He grinned widely when he saw the dark gray clouds and rain pounding down outside, before hurrying to get dressed.

The hurrying wasn't very successful, as it was still a little over an hour before he was heading out the door. It was Saturday, meaning two things for Alex. One, work would be hell tongiht. Two, it was the day he had breakfast with his parents.

Although the tradition was immature and silly, Alex still relished seeing his family every week. Getting there was a bit of a hassle, seeing as he had to ride the subway for half an hour to get to their small house. But, in his mind, it was certainly worth it. 

Isobel and Peter Gaskarth opened their front door at nine o'clock, seeing their son looking like a drowned rat on their doorstop. Obviously, he had forgotten his umbrella again. Or just didn't want it: for some odd reason, Alex had always loved being in the rain.

Isobel immediately starting fussing over the young man, pulling him inside and sending her husband for a towel, exclaiming, "Alex, you'll catch cold darling!"

He replied happily with, "Mum, I'll be fine."

She shook her head, but knew that nothing she said would prevent her son from heading straight back out into the rain once he left. Focusing her energy instead on breakfast, she returned to the kitchen, where bacon and chocolate-chip pancakes were cooking. 

After the food had been prepared and the table set, Alex sat on one side of the table, his parents across from him. His heart warmed, seeing the obvious love between the two. How they still managed to have a spark after over thirty years of marriage, he didn't know. He just hoped he could find that for himself someday.

Alex had had his heart broken more times than he could count, but always had his loving family to comfort him when it happened. His mother was always there to assure him that it was worth it, that he'd someday find his soul mate, while his father offered kind words of encouragement.

He continued to put his heart on the line, knowing that someday it would all pay off.

After eating in silence for a few moments, his father spoke up with, "Son, how’s work going?"

"It's great, dad. I actually got a raise, and the club is doing really well." he said cheerfully.

Alex had been working as a bartender at Catalyst ever since he had turned twenty-one. He loved the atmosphere of the night club, it was close to his apartment, and the pay was good. The only downside was getting constantly hit on by creepy customers, but he had become quite talented at simply brushing them off.

Although most parents wouldn't approve of such a job, his had only ever wanted Alex to be happy, so they accepted what he did. They knew he enjoyed it, and that was enough for them.

After finishing the meal, Alex hugged both of his parents, promising to return at the same time next week. His mom was sure to call before the visit, but he didn't mind. 

After exchanging I love yous, he started the journey back to his apartment, being greeted by his cheery dog as soon as he stepped foot inside. He laughed as the small brown and white Papillion attacked his face with kisses.

Pulling out his cell, he sent a quick message to his friend Zack, saying, Hey, me and Bazzy will meet you on Thames Street for our walk, k? before clipping a red leash onto the dog’s collar and heading out once again, without bothering to wait for a response.

This was also routine, and he knew Zack would already be there, waiting to walk through the city in the rain with his friend. 

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Sorry if this was terribly boring, I'm trying to show what their lives are like. Things will get interesting soon, promise. Comment and vote, I'll love you forever if you do.

xoxo

Rose

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