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turn of events

Chapter 1

May 29 2006

“Are you out of your fucking mind?” I yelled out instantly.


I turned to my grandmother, holding my rapidly reddening cheek where she had hit me.

“What was that for?” I demanded speaking quickly in Chinese.

“Don’t speak like that to her. It is disrespectful to your elders!” my grandmother scolded frowning at me.

My nostrils were flaring; I forced myself to calm down which was no easy feat since I was known for my abrupt mood changes and crazy explosive temper. But no for anyone who is wondering, I am most definitely not bipolar or anything like that.

I tore my eyes away from my grandmother and looked back at Mrs. Chen, my mother’s lawyer.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Chen.”

She nodded and looked back down at the will my mother had revised just last year and continued reading it aloud in Chinese so my grandmother could understand as well.

“Pete will be in the custody of his father Evan Ryerson,” Mrs. Chen repeated, then went on. “He may choose to come back after turning 18, in which he will be allowed access to the trust fund and college fund. Pete will also have full ownership of the two houses, two cars, and teahouse shop with the option to sell if he desires to do so.”

My mouth seemed to be opening and closing multiple times as I tried to process all of this.

Finally when I gathered my wits I managed to ask, “Did she give any explanation?”

“Explanation?” the lawyer asked in confusion.

“As to why she was sending me to my father?” I demanded.

Mrs. Chen shook her head. “She never told me any specific reasoning, but she did give me this to give to you in case anything ever happened to her before you turned 18.” She whipped out a white envelope and handed it to me.

I tore it open. It read:

To my baby, Pete,

If you’re reading this then that meant something happened to me before you turned 18 and I have to explain some of the choices I put into my will.
“No fucking shit,” I muttered but read on, feeling sad and happy at the same time looking at my mother’s handwriting.

I want you to live with your father because I want you to get a chance to know him or be with him for awhile. I know that the first chance you get, you’ll leave and come back home but at least you’ve had the chance to talk to him and forgive him after all these years. I hated seeing you so sad and bitter all these years over not having a father around and I don’t want you to keep all this hate in you for the rest of your life. I knew I couldn’t force you to go visit your father because you are such a stubborn child, but I am hoping you will honor my wishes.
I set up everything for you. When you decide to return back home, you will have full rights to the apartments, the teahouse, the cars, and enough money to live comfortably while you go to college. I want you to have a good life and make something of yourself because you’re a wonderful child. I am sorry I won’t be around to see it happen, but I’ll be watching you. I love you and I hope you are not angry with me.

With love,


When I finished reading I felt hot tears stinging my eyes though they had not yet fallen.

I was crying over the sadness of not being able to see my mother everyday or have her around to joke to or talk to or watch lame movies with.

I was crying over the fact that I couldn’t come home from the first day of college and complain to her about how shitty college life was.

I was crying tears of sadness that she was gone and my life was about to change for the worse.

Mrs. Chen was looking at me sympathetically and my grandma was rubbing my back in a soothing gesture.

“So I have to move?” I asked quickly wiping the tears with my shirt sleeve.

“Yes, I have your father’s information here,” she said handing me another piece of paper.

I nodded and took it from her, looking at the information but not really processing it.

All I saw was Texas and my heart dropped.

“I’m better off killing myself,” I muttered.

That earned me another slap to the head from grandma.

“You’re leaving?” Danny Lee, my best friend since kindergarten asked, his voice laced with sadness.

I sighed and sat down on my bed. “Unfortunately.”

“You can’t just refuse the will and stay here with your grandma? It’s not like you’re not independent,” Danny suggested.

I shook my head. “I can’t. The lawyer already notified my Dad about my mother’s death and her will reading. Supposedly he agreed to let me stay with him and the arrangements are being made as we speak.”

“I don’t want you to leave,” Danny said his voice muffled from my pillow.

“Me neither. Do you think I want to live with a guy that I don’t know? Especially a loser like him who left my Mom after she told him she was pregnant?” I asked flopping on the bed beside him.

“In Texas no less,” Danny added.

I groaned. “Don’t remind me. Ugh, the heat, those damn accents, and all those white people! Gah! I’m going to miss diversity,” I mumbled.

“It sucks you’re going to be leaving now. It’s October! You’re going to miss all the fun things of senior year!” Danny protested.

“I know. I’m partly pissed at my mom for making me do this, but I can’t deny her this. She wants me to do this and I have to. I just have to,” I repeated to myself.

Danny stared at me. “I know.”

“I have to decide what to do,” I said suddenly.

“What do you mean?” Danny asked propping himself up on his elbow.

“Like the apartments and the teahouse and my cars! I have to get people to take care of it while I’m away. Grandma can’t do it,” I said sighing heavily.

“I’ll help you with those things,” Danny offered.

I looked at him pointedly.

“What?” Danny asked in an offended tone.

“You know what,” I shot back smiling. “You’re the biggest dodo head I’ve ever met. And you’re full Asian, you’re supposed to be smart,” I said.

“Hey!” he said folding his arms. “I can handle things when they’re important enough and taking care of your Mom’s stuff while you’re away is important to me.”

I looked at him. “I know.”

And I did know. Danny and I were friends for so long and he lived in the same Queens neighborhood as I did. Our mothers went shopping and ate out together or just cooked in at our respective houses. Danny and I were practically brothers, the amount of time we spent together. That made my mom his mom in a way and vice versa. If there was anyone I could trust it was him.
“So would you help me collect the rent every month for the houses?” I asked hopefully.

“Absolutely,” Danny replied shaking his head emphatically.

My mom had bought two side by side homes in Queens before I was born. She was an only child and got a lot of help from her parents and because of them, we were pretty well off, considering my mom was a single mother.

The houses were cool. They weren’t traditional houses, but nothing in New York was traditional. It was the city and not the suburbs.

Each home had two floors and a garage. But on each floor, it was a kind of an apartment with each level having a bathroom, two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room area. That is why my mom bought another home in addition to the one we were living in order to rent it out and make a profit. My mother was a brilliant woman.

So in one house, my mom, my grandmother, and I lived there. The other two apartments in the other house, we rented out to tenants.

I loved living here. I had the bottom apartment floor to myself and my grandmother and my mother shared the one on the top floor.

It was awesome. I was allowed independence and privacy when I needed it and could have friends over to crash and not disturb anyone. Yet I was close enough to visit my mom and chill with her whenever I could.

“And I’m going to leave the BMW in my garage as always. You can use it whenever,” I told Danny. His eyes bulged.

He always loved the BMW I drove.

“What about your Mom’s car?” he asked.

I smiled. “I’m going to take it with me.”

“You’re going to take your mom’s car to Texas?” Danny asked incredulously.

I grinned. My mom had a neon yellow Nissan 350Z. She had fancy taste for an old lady.

“Yeah, I’m going to have all my stuff shipped. The car anyway. My clothes and other things don’t take up that much space.”

I fished out my BMW keys along with the keys to both houses and tossed them at Danny.

He caught them and just stared at them for awhile.

“Normally I would be excited to have your car and housesit your apartment while you’re gone, but I wouldn’t take it if it meant you would stay,” he said quietly.

I smiled. “Don’t worry Danny. I’ll be back. I would never choose Texas over New York. Besides think of it this way. Whenever you get in a fight with your Mom you have a place to stay and a car to drive,” I said. I had planned on keeping my apartment unoccupied while I was gone. I didn’t want to have to kick out a tenant when I would be home in June.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Danny agreed although he still looked bummed.

“And I guess Julie will take care of the teahouse. I mean all the workers will be the same, but I guess she can sort of stand in for my mom whenever she can. I’ll have to appoint a manager since my mom won’t be around anymore,” I said looking down at my hands.

My mother also owned a bubble teahouse in Chinatown and it did very well, as all teahouses in Chinatown did. We Chinese did love our tea and tea drinks.

Julie Young, my female best friend since the sixth grade was more responsible than Danny, so I decided to give her the more challenging task. I hadn’t asked her yet and I hadn’t broken the news to her about my leaving yet, but she would find out soon enough. I knew she would gladly help me out. That’s how my friends were. They were an extended family and helped me when I needed them most. I had great friends.

And now I was forced to leave both of them.

I wasn’t just forced to leave them two, but my grandma and all my other friends. To be honest, I was pretty popular at school and so were Julie and Danny. Most of the kids I went to school with were Asian as well so it wasn’t like in other schools where all the white kids were the popular kids, the jocks, and cheerleaders. Here we were all Asian and a couple other whites, blacks, and Spanish people thrown in.

I was well known for being loud, funny, the class clown. But I was also one of the smartest kids in my class, athletic, and overall well liked. I had a sarcastic blunt attitude and people liked being around me. I also was extremely nice and loyal to my friends and people who were kind, but if you were a bully to others or on my bad side, I could be lethal. I liked the balance of it all.

I could just imagine going to Texas and being the only Asian kid there and having no friends, no sports, nothing. It sucked having to go from the top to the very bottom.

I was forced out of reverie when a figure burst into my room.

“You’re moving!” Julie Young wailed in a loud voice and then jumped on the bed landing on both Danny and I until we were a mess of tangled limbs.

“I talked to your grandmother! I can’t believe this is happening and in the middle of senior year!” she cried out.

I smiled and shook my head. I knew that she was really upset about this, but she was overly dramatic. In fact she was overly dramatic most of the time. Julie wanted to be an actress and take off to Hollywood, but her mother wanted her to finish high school and go to college on the East Coast. Knowing Julie, she would get her way and go to California some way or another. She loved Lucy Liu and owned every movie Lucy had played in even if a small part.

I thought Julie was way hot and could easily get into the business since she was so aggressive. She was easily one of the most sought out girls and crazy popular because she hung out with me. Just joking.
For an Asian girl she was tall, at 5’7. She had the slender build and bony structure of most Asian girls and pale creamy zit free skin. She had a tiny flat button nose, large kitten type brown eyes and small pink lips. She always wore mascara to make her so called tiny lashes seem longer. In my opinion she was perfect.

Danny was tall at 5’10 for an Asian guy. To everyone else that would be considered average heights but it was well known that Asians were short. I always thought he was cute, but he was my best friend and straight so that was a definite no go. He had tan skin and almost looked Filipino. He had a straight nose that fit well on his face, fuller red lips, and small eyes. Overall he looked good as a whole. Plus he was my best friend, I could never think my best friend was ugly. And I fully believed that a good personality could do wonders for ones physical appearance.

I on the other hand was tall, I was 6 foot and I wasn’t even 18 yet. Danny claimed that it was because I was half white that I was so tall. My mother was petite at 5’4 so I was beginning to think Danny’s theory was right.

Since I was half white, I looked completely different than my friends, but just enough like them that people who passed us on the street could tell I was Asian but also had something else.
I was as pale as Julie and had dark brown hair that I kept a medium length where I could mess it up and spike it if I chose to do so. My eyes were dark brown, but my nose was long and I had a normal size bridge and higher cheekbones. My lips were full and pink, my eyes were much rounder and had thick eyelashes sitting underneath perfectly shaped eyebrows. I had that lean Asian frame and was more wiry than built. I was thin so the muscles just popped out. My biceps were trim and bulged in appropriate areas, my thighs toned, my waist narrow, and my six pack evident when I wore tight shirts. That’s how lean and thin I was. My muscles could be seen through clothing. If that was a good or bad thing, I had no idea.

Julie always teased me saying I could pass for Keanu Reeves younger brother. I always said I was hotter than Keanu Reeves but I was secretly pleased. I considered Keanu Reeves to be mad hot and I hoped if I looked like him I could get lots of guys in the future.

Yeah, a hot piece of ass like myself was gay. Sorry to all those ladies out there.

In fact, most of the school knew I was gay. I made no secret about it. I wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed and I was proud. I was a damn cool person so if people didn’t want to associate with me because I was gay well fuck them, they were surely missing out on some good times. Wherever I went, fun came along with me. Fun was my sidekick. Plus I had a great support system; my mom and of course Julie and Danny. Not to mention we lived in New York City. If someone was not exposed to a gay population or some form of gay culture then something was seriously wrong. It’s not like I was living in…a place like Texas.

I inwardly groaned. But I sure as hell would be living in a place like Texas soon!

I was going to be every secretly closeted, homophobe’s target.

“I’ll miss you Julie,” I said as she laid her head on my stomach and sprawled her long legs onto Danny’s kneecaps.

“I’ll miss you too,” she said. “Do you need help with anything before you go or while you’re gone?”

I smiled to myself. I knew she would offer to help. Like I said I knew my friends very well.

Just like Danny had immediately agreed to help me, so did Julie. She promised to help with the teahouse and would recruit her older sister who had a more relaxed schedule since she was in college.

Ah, I really loved my friends.

“Oh, I brought you something,” she said sitting up and digging her hand painfully into my crotch.

“Oops, sorry, hope I didn’t damage the goods,” she said giggling as she picked up a box from the floor.

I groaned. “Well I wasn’t planning on having kids since I’m gay and all so what the hell? Bring on the sterility!”

She ignored me and opened the box and shoved it under my nose.

The smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies filled my nostrils.

Julie loved to bake. She baked all the time and always gave them to me and Danny. I secretly wondered if she was trying to fatten me up. She was just jealous of my girlish figure.

These cookies were huge though and once I saw them I knew why. On each cookie she had written something on it and I had to laugh.

Each cookie had a different word written in pastel colored frosting: Keanu, hottie, miss you, love you, Julie, Danny, Chink, Mutt, Chinatown, NY, and another had a drawing of a bubble tea drink.

“Julie,” I said in amazement looking at her.

“I had some spare time,” she said modestly.

I shook my head. I knew she enjoyed baking but she put a lot of effort and time into this.

“Thank you,” I said sincerely. I handed her the cookie that said love you and I tossed Danny the one that said miss you.

We just sat there in a comfortable silence, munching on the cookies Julie baked, each of us lost in our own thoughts.

I was exhausted. Just plain exhausted.

In the one week after I attended my mother’s funeral and will reading, I was running on empty.

I came back to school and everyone, and I mean everyone; students, faculty, strangers came up to me to offer condolences. And when news spread that I was leaving for the rest of the year to go live with my Dad in Texas, I got whines of disappointment of girls, and sympathetic punches or pats on the back from guys. Even teachers and the principle came up to me saying they would miss me and my trouble making ways.

I smiled and thanked them. They were saying those comments out of love, no doubt. They were just trying to mask their pain stoically, but I could see right through the façade.

Between having to explain that I would be back and would keep in touch with everyone along with thanking everyone who attended my mom’s funeral or offered their condolences my head was spinning.

Friday, my last day of school had come to an end and I sat with my friends drinking large Starbucks coffee drinks and we just sat until closing reminiscing about our memories together and things we would do in the future as soon as I got back or on vacations.

I was bummed to be leaving but at least I had the future to look forward to. I had to find the silver lining somewhere.

So now here I was at home, Saturday morning, two hours until my flight and I was desperately trying to stuff one more pair of sneakers into my suitcase and not winning the battle.

“Come on you stupid shoe!” I yelled as I pounded the shoe into the suitcase. My temper was beginning to show.

Julie pushed me aside. “Here, let me,” she said frowning. She opened the entire suitcase and rearranged some of my other shoes and managed to find a space to fit in the last pair.

Yeah I loved my sneakers. I had one suitcase dedicated to them. I was a jeans or dress pants with sneaker kind of guy. I had a funky style. I collected unique and funky sneakers. Hey I did live in New York where new designers were rampant and I shopped pretty often. I was a gay guy after all. If anyone needed to find me I could get be seen somewhere on Broadway in Chinatown, shopping at the various sneaker shops or at Yellow Rat Bastard my favorite clothing place.

“There,” Julie said standing up and facing me.

“Thanks,” I said pulling her into a hug and squeezing tightly which Danny soon jumped in on.

“I’ll miss you guys so much,” I said into their shoulders not wanting to let go. They had both come over to drive me to the airport and see me off.

“I’ll miss you too,” Julie said. I could hear her sniffling and knew she was crying.

“Don’t worry Julie. We’ll make sure to keep in touch with him. He can’t escape us,” Danny said squeezing me tighter. He was trying to be brave and nonchalant but I knew he would miss me like crazy.

“You know it Danny boy. I have the web cam, the cell phone, and of course email. You can call, email, text, or talk by web cam whenever the mood strikes,” I said.

Julie continued to sniffle and Danny patted my back as he leaned down to take one of my suitcases. He walked out of my room and into the garage to load up my BMW which he would be driving.
I handed Julie my carry on bag which contained my, IPOD, laptop, web cam, a picture of my mom, and some magazines. I patted my pockets to feel for my cell phone and I grabbed the last two suitcases containing my jeans, shirts, and a couple sweatshirts. I didn’t even know if I needed sweatshirts or now. Did it get cold in Texas? I wasn’t even sure.

It was a depressing time loading up the car. I could feel the sadness in the air as I loaded the last suitcase into the trunk.

This was one step closer to my goodbye.

I sat in the front with Danny and Julie and my grandma sat in the back. We were all quiet, just awaiting our goodbye at the airport.

Danny didn’t even turn on the radio which he usually did while he drove and he drove unusually slow. I had a feeling he didn’t want to arrive at the airport so soon.

All too soon we were there and Danny double parked at the passenger drop off area.

All around us there was a flurry of activity as other passengers were milling around, getting their bags, and saying goodbyes.

I got out of the car, my body feeling heavy and went towards the trunk. Danny followed me and helped me pull out my cases and set them on the ground. Julie walked over and handed me my carry on bag.

I hugged my grandmother first. “I love you and I’ll write you,” I promised speaking Chinese. “If you need anything, just go and ask Danny ok? Be careful.” My grandmother nodded and I could see tears in her eyes and she was frowning, making her wrinkles more pronounced. She hugged me back tightly.

I turned to Julie next. She was crying again and her eyes were red and puffy. She hugged me and kissed me on the cheek and handed me a booklet. I looked at her questioningly.

“A bunch of people from school signed it as a good bye and I made a collage of pictures and other stuff. Just something to look at on the plane,” she said rubbing her eyes.

I kissed her on the cheek and softly ran my fingers through her hair. “Thanks Julie.”

I made my way to Danny last who was staring at the ground, his hands stuck in his jeans and his body looked tense.

I playfully rubbed my hand over his shaved head and he finally looked up at me, his eyes so sad my heart broke.

I knew of all people, even my grandma, Danny would miss me the most. We had classes and lunch together. We did our homework together, got in trouble and played pranks together. We ate out after school together, took the train to Chinatown to hang out and eat or shop. We had coffee at Starbucks and just shot the shit or talked about the future and what we wanted to accomplish and do in life.

There was no way to say goodbye to him, so I didn’t.
“I’ll see you at the end o f May,” was all I said and he nodded, understanding me completely.

I slipped my carry on bag onto my shoulders, and took a suitcase handle in each hand and with one last look behind me I walked through the doors, feeling their eyes on my back. I resisted the urge to turn back around and run to them, with tears running down my face.

I walked inside and checked in my bags and then waited near my gate. I sat there and opened up the booklet Julie had handed me and saw pictures of Julie and Danny making funny faces and before I even got to the second page where there was actual writing on it, I shut the book. If I went any further I would start bursting into tears and I didn’t mind crying; I was secure enough to do it, but I drew the line at bawling in a public place. In my mind there was a time and a place for everything.

Instead I took out my IPOD nano and shoved in my headphones into my ears and blasted the volume. I didn’t want to think about anything. I didn’t want to think about how much I missed my mom, how I resented that she was gone and had been taken away from me, how I had to change my life completely, how I had to leave my friends behind, and most of all I didn’t want to think about the unknown that lay ahead of me. I just wanted to not think. So I stared straight ahead and looked blankly ahead.

When I noticed some commotion a half hour later I noticed they were boarding my plane so I stood up and got my ticket ready. I waited on line to hand in my ticket.

I walked inside the plane and found my seat. I took the window seat and placed my bag between my legs. I felt like keeping my stuff close by, it felt more comforting that way.

The whole time I never stopped to think, I never stopped listening to my IPOD. I laid my head on the window, pulled the shade down, and closed my eyes, hoping I could sleep my sorrows away as I began flying.

“Dude, wake up,” a voice said close to my ear.

My head slumped to the side and I immediately felt tension, probably from the funny angle I had been sleeping on.

I opened my eyes and was met with a pair of pale green blue eyes. I tore out my headphones.

I snapped my head back and took in the view of a very good looking guy with sandy blondish brown hair and those beautiful ocean eyes. He was smiling.

“We’re here and we’re getting off. You slept the entire time dude,” he said grinning at me.

I opened my mouth but it was so dry nothing came out. I swallowed and cleared my throat.

“Yeah, I was really tired,” I said blinking my eyes.

“Yeah, seriously. I sat down and you were already knocked out,” the guy said getting up from his seat. “I was considering just leaving you but that would have been rude,” the guy added reaching into the carry on area.
“Thanks,” I said gratefully getting up as well. I picked up my messenger bag and strapped it on.

“Visiting relatives?” he asked me.

I turned to him and frowned in confusion. “Huh?”

“Well you’re obviously not coming home because you don’t have an accent and plus, you don’t seem to fit in with the whole Texas look,” he added.

I glanced down at my Diesel sneakers and form fitting European style jeans, my white cotton shirt and gray sweatshirt. I thought I looked normal enough. I shrugged.

“My mom died and I’m being shipped here to live with my Dad,” I said moving past him down the aisle.

I caught a glimpse of his shocked expression.

“Blunt,” he muttered behind me.

“Honest,” I replied over my shoulder. “You asked,” I reminded him.

“Where are you from?” he asked me.

“New York.”

“Yeah you kind of have that casual, always on the go look,” he said smiling.

“Where are you from?” I asked.


“I could tell.”

“What gave it away?”

“The surfer clothes, the shades, and the dudes,” I explained.

The guy laughed. “I’m Jamie.”

“Pete,” I said knocking fists with him.

“So part you living in?” Jamie asked.

“San Antonio,” I replied.

Jamie nodded. “Cool man. I’m going to see some friends in San Antonio and then hit up Dallas.”

“Have fun,” I said.

“I will. It was nice meeting you,” Jamie said his gorgeous eyes glinting.

“You too.” I waved.

“Sorry about your Mom. I hope things work out with your Dad,” Jamie offered once we were out of the terminal.

I nodded a thanks and watched him walk away.

I turned around and scanned the area, looking for baggage claim. I noticed a bunch of people in that area already and I joined them, patiently waiting for my bags. I was technically in no hurry to get to see my so called Dad. Eventually the bags came and I heaved them off the conveyor belt and onto the ground, rolling them towards the passenger pick up area.

I didn’t know who I was looking for. I had a picture of my Dad from old photos my Mom had, but that was like 18 years ago. What if he got fat and was majorly balding? I would hardly recognize him. I hope the guy was smart enough to have my name written on one of those cardboard posters and would be waving it around frantically.

I continued to scan for awhile and then I noticed something really fast from the corner of my eye.

My name was being waved around on a piece of cardboard and I grinned in spite of everything. I looked down at the person holding that cardboard and eyed the person carefully.

He resembled the man in the picture I had and I cautiously walked over, studying him quietly.

Once I was within earshot of the man, I asked, “David Ryerson?”

He looked at me. “Peter Liu?” I had taken my mother’s last name.

We both nodded at the same time.

He held out his hand and I shook it giving it a firm shake. He seemed surprised by that.

Now that I was up close I could see that he was tall, taller than me. Maybe 6’2 or 6’3 and pretty lean and muscular too. I made a note to call Danny or something and let him know that my biologically Dad was really tall and I had the potential to be even taller within a few years. I really liked being tall.

David in my opinion was nothing special. Medium brown hair and medium brown eyes. His features were cute and friendly, but I wouldn’t go for him. I think that my Mom could have done better. Obviously our tastes in men weren’t genetic.

David seemed to be studying me too. Probably trying to decipher which of my features belonged to him. After awhile he snapped out of the staring contest he had imposed and offered me a nervous smile.

“Ready to go?” he asked.


Before I could say anything he grabbed my two suitcases and rolled them off in the opposite direction. I just followed silently. If the guy wanted to play bellhop than who was I to stop him?
We made it to his car, or should I say pickup truck. I always hated pickup trucks. It always seemed so hick-ish to me, but then again in Texas, pickups probably fit right in. While I was driving around New York, I saw jeeps and a lot of sports cars, sedans, vans, but not many pickups. They weren’t conducive to city driving where the smaller the car, the easier to park and weave through traffic.

We drove through a small road with stretches of homes every once in awhile and there was a lot of green grass scenery which I wasn’t used to. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw grass in New York. Maybe in my neighbor’s garden?

We drove for another twenty minutes before we entered some type of neighborhood or at least a cluster of houses, which were spaced apart also, but not by acres of land or farms.

We stopped in front of a nice house. It looked fairly large considering I was used to narrow apartment homes back in Queens. It was painted pale blue and had navy blue shutters and a porch with a swinging chair. There were flowers planted around the perimeter before even reaching the porch and a large tree sprouting some type of pink flowers.

I followed David up the walkway and he opened the large navy blue door and stepped inside.

I stepped inside and was hit with the aroma of fried chicken and potatoes. It smelled good but I wasn’t into southern fried foods.

David left my bags in the hallway near the stairs and motioned for me to come into the kitchen.

I surveyed the kitchen which was very nice, very clean, and very spacious. I noticed a tall blond woman wearing a sweater set; I resisted the urge to snort; setting plates on the dinner table. She turned around and faced me. She was attractive and seemed friendly outwardly, but there was something there that didn’t quite fit. I decided I didn’t care enough to find out what that was so just ignored it.

She smiled broadly at me however and stretched out her hand. “Hi,” she said her accent thick and heavy, “I’m Kelly Ryerson,” flashing me bright white teeth. I wished I had my shades at that very moment. Lay off the teeth bleaching lady.

I smiled briefly and shook her hand, also firmly. “Pete Liu,” I said. She took a step back and seemed surprised that my last name wasn’t the same as hers. Like I was gonna take the name of some strange man I didn’t even know just because he was basically my sperm donor. Hell no, I took my mother’s last name!

“Well, I hope you’re hungry,” she said pasting that smile on again.

I nodded and took a seat where she motioned for me to sit. David took a seat the end of the table or what one would call the head of the table.

There were five place settings in total and I wondered at that moment if David and Kelly had children. For some reason that idea had never occurred to me before now.

Kelly placed a large platter of chicken in the center of the table and reached for a pitcher of iced tea. She turned in the direction of the hallway and called out in a high pitched voice, “Boys! Lunch is ready!”
So they did have kids. Step siblings.

Fucking Hoorah!

I hope I didn’t have to share a room.

I heard loud, multiple footsteps bounding down the stairs and two stomps at the landing. I saw two tall guys enter the kitchen.

They were both blond, around my height; it was hard to tell from my sitting down position, and built. They obviously hit up the gym and since it was Texas after all I guessed that they played football. Upon closer inspection one had blue eyes and the other had brown and the other major difference was that one had a large sprinkling of freckles over his nose. They were good looking for a pair of Ken dolls that is.

They both saw the food and their eyes lit up but then their eyes fell on me and they looked at me curiously and then at Kelly and David.

“Guys, this is Pete Liu,” David said taking charge of the situation. “And Pete this is our son Blair and his best friend Grant,” David said.

I had trouble telling who was whom since David didn’t outright point to them when he said their names. People said all Asians looked alike, hell I currently thought that all white people looked alike. Freaking Bobsey twins.

However, as the two boys took the two seats opposite me, I noticed that the one on my left looked an awful lot like Kelly so I’m guessing he was Blair and the one with the freckles on his nose must have been Grant.

Both couldn’t stop staring at me; especially the one I assumed to be Grant.

“Take a picture, it lasts longer,” I remarked.

David looked at me in shock, Kelly shot me a disapproving look, Blair looked a little put off, and Grant just smiled at me.

“I don’t have a camera with me,” Blair replied smartly.

I smirked and dug into my pocket whipping out my camera phone complete with a camera a video recording. I held it up in front of me and took a picture, then placed the cell near him.
“There you go,” I said sweetly.

Blair actually looked a little pissed and glared at me slightly.

Ooh, big dog of the house got his ego stomped on. I bet everyone bowed down to this dude; well it wasn’t going to happen from me.

I stared at him and I was awesome at staring contests. I didn’t put thought into it and I just let my eyes blank out and relaxed my facial muscles and I could go on forever.

Bair and I were having one at the very moment and I knew he was going to cave in soon and blink.

And blink.

What a sucker.

I smiled triumphantly and Kelly cleared her throat. “Let’s say Grace,” she said reaching out for my hand.

Fuck, religious people!

I took her hand and David’s, but I kept my eyes opens as I tuned out as Kelly babbled on about food, saying thanks, or something along those lines.

I was looking up at the ceiling at one point and when I glanced back down I noticed Grant was peeking at me, but when he caught my looking, he shut them again.

I shook my head. Weirdo. Never seen a non white person before?

Once Kelly finished talking, everyone grabbed for food. Glasses were filled with ice tea, everyone piled their plates with fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn. Did anyone ever hear of vegetables in the south?

I placed a small heap of potatoes, and a small drumstick.

Needless to say my lack of food attracted attention.

“Aren’t you hungry?” David asked me.

“I’m ok,” I said shrugging.

“You’re young, you should be packing in more food than that,” David continued.

“I don’t normally eat this stuff,” I explained.

“What kinds of food do you eat, Petey Liu?” Blair asked. It was an innocent and normal question, except for his sneering tone. I narrowed my eyes when he said my name.

I pasted a serious expression on my face. “Oh well I eat pigskin, cows stomach, fish eyes, oh and cat is my favorite, although I haven’t eaten that lately.”


“Basically I eat the types of food from the motherland,” I added.

If this were a movie I would be listening to cricket sounds right about now. Everyone was in shock and were gawking at me, even Blair.

Grant broke the silence. “You really eat that?” he asked uncertainly. I noticed his voice was deep.

I looked at him and gave him a small smile. “No, I don’t.”

Everyone looked a little relieved when I said that and David smiled slightly.

“Then what do you eat?” Grant asked.

“Fried rice, noodles, white rice, vegetables, that stuff,” I said. “Normal food.”

“This is normal food,” Blair said.

“Normal food for Chinese people,” I emphasized as if I were talking to a child.

“Yeah, for Chinese people,” Blair shot back.

“Blair,” Kelly said.

“You play any sports?” Grant asked. Blair shot him a funny look.

“No,” I replied shortly.

Blair looked away from me and focused on his food. Pretty soon so was everyone else.

I ran my fork through the potatoes slowly, not really in the mood to eat. I kind of just wanted to settle in my room and get the web cam to talk to Danny and Julie. I had seen them a few hours ago but I desperately missed them already.

After everyone finished eating and they chatted amongst themselves which I was actually grateful for because I wasn’t in the mood to force some small talk.

I managed to get down some potatoes and a bite of chicken and a sip of iced tea.

David turned to me. “Come on, let me show you to your room,” he said. I nodded and got up.

Blair and Kelly didn’t say anything but Grant called out a “Later Pete.” I waved my hand in response and grabbed one of my suitcases to lug up the stairs.

The upstairs had white carpeting too and when I entered my room I was glad it was my own room and it was nicely furnished and a decent size. I had a closet, a bed and a dresser, and a desk propped near the window. The only bad part was that the bathroom connected to Blair’s room.

Well, I couldn’t have it all otherwise how would life remain unfair?

I offered David a smile because he still looked apprehensive around me and for some reason I felt the need to comfort him. After all he didn’t seem like a bad guy.

“This is a nice room,” I said and David visibly brightened. It was like giving candy to a small child. I smiled.

“Well, I’ll let you get unpacked and settled in and maybe afterwards I can show you around?” he asked.

I nodded. “Sure,” although what I really wanted to do was hole myself up and call my friends and grandma. But I figured it wouldn’t hurt to become familiar with the town. It would be nice to know the ins and outs of the area. You never know what could happen.

I did the tedious task of hanging up my jeans and shirts and I was glad I didn’t pack many sweatshirts because it was fairly warm. But whatever else I needed I could buy over time I suppose.

I left my sneakers in the suitcase and just shoved the entire thing into the closet. I loved my sneakers and they were so colorful, well at least the Pumas were. They were all the same sneaker but I loved the various color combinations and couldn’t seem to get enough. I also had some Adidas in there also with weird colors, Nike running shoes, and the always fashionable Diesels.

I went to my desk and booted up the lap top. I attached all sorts of wires and stuff and got the web cam working.

I text Danny and told him I got my web cam ready and I wanted to talk to him.

Then I waited for him.

When I finally saw his face I broke out into a huge grin. It felt so comforting and good to see people I actually cared for.

“Pete!” Danny exclaimed grinning from ear to ear. “How’s everything? How was your flight? What’s your Dad like?” he burst out in one sentence.

I laughed. “Calm down Danny. One question at a time,” I said. “The flight was ok. I slept through the entirety of it. David, my Dad seems nice enough. It’s warm here, the house is nice, but the stepmother seems fake and the stepbrother is an ass.”

“He has a family?” Danny asked a little surprised.

“Yeah,” I said. “I want to come home.”

“Me too,” Danny said then smiled. “You know what I mean.”

“How’s my car?” I asked.

“It’s fine and sitting pretty in your garage,” Danny said.

“Thanks Danny,” I said quietly.

“Are you ok?”

I looked into the web cam. “I guess so. I will be. I have to be. I just need to get used to all this,” I said.

“Are you starting school Monday?” Danny asked.

“Yeah, not looking forward to that either. Being the new kid sucks.”

“They’ll love you,” Danny said confidently.

“I don’t think so Danny. The people aren’t the same as in New York you know.”

“Yeah I know but I figured it was my duty as your best friend to offer words of encouragement,” Danny said. “Even if they were flat out lies.”

I smiled. “True, true.”

“How’s Julie doing?” I asked suddenly.

“She’s doing the whole arguing with Mom thing about what college to go to. She already filled out an application for UCLA.”

“Wow,” I raised my eyebrows. “I knew she wanted to do it but she actually did it.”

“Yeah, if she does somehow go there it will be weird to imagine life without her for four years,” Danny said.

“Well at least we got each other,” I said.

Danny immediately cheered up.

We both planned to apply to NYU and I thought we had decent chances of getting in. It was a private university and expensive but I knew Danny could get aid and I would find a way to get it paid. I wanted to go there.

I heard Danny’s mother in the background calling out to him in Chinese and I understood every word, “Go buy these groceries!”

Danny groaned. “I gotta go man. Email me or call me later,” he said.

I smiled and waved and then turned off the web cam.

I selected some Itunes off the computer and played them. I plopped onto my bed and crossed my hands behind my head and closed my eye. I had slept so much on plane I’m surprised I still could sleep anymore. I guess I was bummed and when you’re bummed people have insane abilities to sleep for endless amounts of time.

I dreamt of my mother. I really did miss her. Unlike most kids I had a really good relationship with her. She wasn’t your typical Mom, that’s for sure. For one thing, she had me when she was 22 so she wasn’t that old. She was 39 when she died and thinking of how young she was when she died created a pain in my stomach. She was so young to be ripped from life and she had so many things to see. All she did was work at the teahouse and made sure things were arranged so I would be taken care of. She never even had a chance to get remarried or anything. She always seemed happy though; I was fulfilling enough for her.

She and I had made plans to take a trip after I graduated high school, but now we would never get that chance.

A tear trickled down my cheek, tickling my face as I squeezed my eyes shut and the vision of her smiling broadly as if I told a joke floated into my head.

Then I drifted off to sleep.


I rolled over and covered my face.

“Pete,” accompanied by a shoulder shake.

“Mom, I’m gonna skip today,” I mumbled.

“Pete!” the voice said more loudly.

I turned over and opened my eyes to see David peering at me worriedly.

I shot up. “What?”

“Nothing,” David said sitting back. “I came to see how you were doing and everything and I didn’t realize you had fallen asleep.”

“What time is it?” I asked cracking my neck.

“Five,” he answered.

Five! I had been sleeping for four hours straight!

“You must be tired,” he commented.

I shrugged indifferently.

“Are you up for exploring a bit? We have about an hour until dinner,” David said.

I shook my head. “Is there really anything special to see?” I asked.

David frowned. “Well, maybe some of the local areas, like the mall, bowling alley, that sort of stuff.”

“Fine,” I said getting up. I was in no mood to argue or anything.

We got back into his pick up and he directed me toward the local hot spots.

I saw the mall which looked decent as did the movie theater. He pointed out some fast food placed to eat in case I ever got hungry. Their was the bowling alley, a bookstore, and a whole lot of little shops.

David chatted away and I just stared out the window wishing I was in the city right now; with tons of people knocking each other out of the way and the bright lights late at night.
“Pete, I don’t know what your mother told you about me,” he began. Those words knocked me out of my little daydream.

“She said she met you in college and senior year you knocked her up and then took off,” I stated matter of fact. I saw David visibly cringe at my crude choice of words or maybe it was the bluntness of my words. I could never tell.

“Well, we did meet in college and I did get her pregnant senior year, but I didn’t just leave. We graduated and I moved back home,” he tried to explain.

“You left,” I interjected.

“Look,” David said beginning to sound a little frustrated.

“You know David, we don’t have to do this,” I said looking at him. “You might feel the need to explain yourself, but it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m here because my mom wanted me to be here and once I finish school I’m done. I have a great life back home with great people and I’m very eager to get back to that life,” I said in a calm voice with a neutral expression on my face.

David looked slightly shocked. He opened his mouth a few times to say something, but no words came out.

“I’m not looking for answers and I’m not upset,” I said which was a complete lie. I was upset but I didn’t feel like voicing anything. I really wanted the time to fly by so I could go back to New York and I figured by not rocking the boat, it would be easier for me to make it through the upcoming months.

“So don’t get all bent out of shape,” I finished.

David looked uncertain and appeared as if he wanted to say more, but thanks the gods, we had arrived back home.

I jumped out of the car. “Thanks for the tour,” I said and walked to the door and waited for him to unlock it.

As soon as we stepped in I smelled fresh food and I groaned and dropped my head.


Another awkward hour filled with more praying, small talk, and Southern food I didn’t really care much for.

Shit on me.

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