Chapter 36.2: Jacky

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"Dude, when's your boyfriend gonna come outta the closet?" Cody asked, blowing a cloud of smoke into the air

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"Dude, when's your boyfriend gonna come outta the closet?" Cody asked, blowing a cloud of smoke into the air.

Mrs. Jennings hadn't been too happy about Jacky going out on a weeknight, but Cody had texted a 911 and she had yoga class, so Jacky was over at Cody's thinking about how Cody's 911 texts were never exactly emergencies.

"I thought we were here to talk about how you have two dates to the dance?" Jacky said.

"Yo," started Cody, like he was going to halt his own life to talk about Jacky's, then he flopped back into the couch. "Nina didn't even ask me! She just started talking like we were automatically going together. I guess one of her cheerleader friends told her I bought tickets, so she figures we're going together. Fuckin' hell. How the fuck did this happen?"

"You didn't think to tell her you were going with someone else?"

"Fuck," Cody repeated. He blinked and it was like a fire had been lit inside him. He sat up and looked at Jacky so intensely that Jacky had to sit back. "I've got it! You, my friend, can help me."

"I'm not taking Haylee to the dance," Jacky said flatly.

"No, man. I got it all worked out! You buy one ticket to the dance. And then you give the ticket to me. Now I have tickets for both my dates but no one will know, because the cheerleaders won't know to tell Nina. Yeah? Brilliant, right?"

"You have the money for the tickets?"

Cody pulled out his Velcro wallet and a huge wad of cash.

"Where are you getting all that money?" Jacky asked, taking the forty dollars.

"I'm a working stiff," Cody replied.

"You're not selling drugs, right?"

Cody winked at him. "Breaking bad, man."

"Cody, you can't be selling drugs. You're gonna get in trouble."

"I'm not selling drugs. Not really. 'Sides, it's just pot."

"No." Jacky stood up. "Seriously, you're not that stupid."

"Who's calling who stupid?" Cody said. He relaxed back on the couch. "Your boyfriend still won't tell anyone he's your boyfriend."

Jacky threw up his hand. "My closeted boyfriend is a far cry from dealing drugs, Cody."

The smug look faded from Cody's face. "I know. I keep telling myself I'm not gonna do it... but I need the money."

"You have a job."

"It's minimum wage, dude. It's easier to do the other stuff on the side, make a little extra. I wanna get a car someday. I wanna get the fuck out of this place."

"You will. There's always college—"

"Goddamn, Jacky, you know I ain't goin' to college. I'm not like you or your perfect boyfriend."

Jacky didn't know what to say to that.

"I'll stop, I promise. No more drug stuff." Cody rubbed his eyes. "But you gotta do somethin' about Ryan. He told his buddies he had a date to the dance but then when they asked him who he didn't say anything. Don't you wanna be with someone who will, like, say your name in public?"

Jacky felt his face burning. He had figured Ryan would have told a few more of his friends by now, given that both Monica and Lance knew. "Who didn't he tell?"

"I don't know. His football buddies. That big dumb blond kid and that sophomore fuckhead and stupid fuckin' Matt Welch. I had to make fuckin' Matt Welch a sandwich. It's like he waits until I have to serve him, to make me feel like dirt."

That sophomore fuckhead could be anyone, but the big dumb blond kid was Lance. So why wouldn't Ryan have told Matt?

"Matt is an asshole," Jacky offered.

Cody stood up and suddenly Cody was holding Jacky's shoulders and smashing their foreheads together. "It shouldn't matter if he's an asshole or not. You deserve better. I'm tired of those jerk jocks treating you like shit." Cody stopped talking, and looked at Jacky really intensely.

"You're really high right now, aren't you," Jacky said.

"Yeah."

High or not, Cody's words stuck with Jacky the whole walk home. 

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