The Parade- 4

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I crunch; crumble; stumble out of bed, making my way to the kitchen. Clay sits on the counter, dangling his scarred legs like always. A 23 year old swinging his legs, I mentally laugh. I reach my hand behind my head, scratching the nape of my neck. " Hey- " I squeal out. Hey? No wonder Clay jumps down, un-answering. He rounds the corner into the living room, the springs in the couch tell me he'd plopped down onto it. I let my arm drop heavily, dragging my feet against the tiles, wasting time- trying to come up with missing words, something to say. I sniff sharply in, gathering my slowed thoughts, grabbing onto the yellow arch-way.

" Come watch TV with me, Al " Clay calls from the couch, my heartbeat picks up almost immediately. I struggle to choke back the smile stretching across my face. Thanks. Thanks to whatever unknown force, for saving my clumsy tongue- Thanks again Clay, for making me feel like such a little kid. I sit slowly on the couch, lower back aching, knees in agreement. Some infomercial screams over-enthusiastically at us, generic effects playing almost randomly. Clay drapes his arm over my shoulder, it feels heavy against my back. I look over at him awkwardly, nose slightly scrunched. I shrug, he just drops more of the weight against me.

" Clayton, "

" What? " His eyes stare glazed over at me, goofy grin up to his ears.

" ..You're drunk- " My eyes roll under closed eyelids, heartbeat slowing the all too familiar way. I hear myself swallow, opening my sleep filled eyes. He just continues watching TV, concentrating on a cutter of some sorts, a slicer, deicer, whatever. " You're drunk- " I say, I can't believe myself, I was supposed to hold that in. Why did I just do that? He turns his view back to me. Why is my temper still uncontrollable- He leans in close to my face, reeking of beer and mints.

" Watch TV. Okay? " His fingers press into the side of my shoulder, sitting back.

" I don't want to " I go to stand up, he forces my shoulders down. " Stop dude " Clay turns off the television, static sound showing then disappearing, like always.

" Alright, alright. What do you want to do? " Clay's eyes try to focus on my face. " Hey- sorry " He nods, I nod with him. Clay grabs my glasses from the table in front of us, pushing them onto my face.

" No- give me my glasses " He yanks them back, pushing me away. " This isn't funny, Clayton "

" Let me do it " He laughs, pushing my hair back, I let out a frustrated sigh. He tries to put them on my face, jabbing me in my ears. I grab the frames, he yanks them back, keeping them far away from me. " Tisk, tisk. " He waves them in the air. " Listen " I lift from my seat, attempting to get my glasses from him. Clay shoves his hand into my chest, pushing me back away from them. I grab for them again, he moves them even further away. " I'm just kidding, I'll put 'em up. See? " Clay stands, he puts them on top of the TV gently, like a delicate jewel. I stand up now, heading towards the back. Clay rushes past me, kissing my face.

" Cut it out " I wipe my hand across my face. He does it again, I rub it off roughly.

" You're not rubbing it off, you're rubbing it in " Clay grabs my hands in his, leading me backwards into the living room.

" Right. What are you doing? "

" Dance with me, Allen " He wraps his arms around me, bringing me nothing but discomfort.

" I really don't think that's a good idea- " I think of ways to get out of his stupid drunken games.

" Okay. Okay. What about just sitting and having a nice drink? " My back aches more-so than before as I'm seated on the couch again.

" Haven't you had enough? " I question. He blatantly ignores me, grabbing the 40oz from the floor, drinking it like he's dehydrated. I cross my arms in front of me, staring at a nick in the ceiling. Clay puts the rim against my lips, trying to pour it in my closed mouth. I turn my head to the left, causing him to bump the rim against my cheek. He laughs, fully amused apparently. He reaches around and puts it to my lips again, laughing like a fool. I turn my head over to the right now. " Stop! "

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