Lexington High School, Scene 4. The Vega Conference.
Two years of being Hsin’s guidance counselor, and Zachary had never met his father. He’d started to think that perhaps Hsin didn’t have a father. That this tall, skinny, emotionally disturbed teenager lived on his own and just faked a really believable West coast accent when someone called for an IEP phone conference or whatever.
But that was not the case. And Emilio Vega wasn’t what he’d expected.
Clearly under 30 years old, obviously some kind of gang member, most definitely as high as his son tended to be, and ridiculously hot. Tattoos everywhere, gold shutter sunglasses, skintight black t-shirt…
Zachary decided it would be best to just stare at the wall for the entirety of the meeting. Maybe Boyd was onto something with that technique.
“So, who are you?” Emilio drawled. He was sprawled in a chair in Zachary’s office, his son sitting next to him. Hsin appeared to be trying to disappear into his hoody when he wasn’t trying to glare Carhart into submission.
“I’m Hsin’s guidance counselor. We’ve talked on the phone and I’ve sent forms home.”
Emilio pushed his sunglasses to the top of his head and squinted at Zachary. His eyes were shot through with red, heavy-lidded, and as green as his son’s.
“Yeah? You look pretty young. You sure you got the credentials to be trying to counsel my boy?”
“Oh God, shut up,” Hsin muttered. “Do you think they just find these people on the street or something?”
“Don’t get smacked, boy.”
Zachary cleared his throat. “So, the reason I called you today is because he’s been in another fight–” he fiddled with some of the paperwork on his desk. “And this time the parents might press charges. Kassian has a concussion and he can’t play in the game tomorrow night because of it.”
“Awww, bendito.” Emilio’s tone was obviously sarcastic, his lips twisting up at the side meanly. He looked at his son and said something in such rapid-fire Spanish that Zachary couldn’t pick up a word of it despite the fact that he typically was able to converse in the language fairly well. He blinked.
“‘Cause he was flirting with Boyd,” Hsin responded sullenly.
“Oh.” Emilio scoffed. “That kid must have an asshole like a fucking vice the way you boys be fiending for it. Why not share the little ho and be done with it? DP that twink-ass.”
Zachary tried very hard not to gag. Hsin, on the other hand, just looked like he wanted to punch his own father.
“Aiight, so, what the hell do you want me to do about it? Sporto got his bitch-ass smacked up and now he’s gotta miss the big game. Oh noes. How fucking tragical. But I really don’t care. If he was stupid enough to fuck with Hsin’s shit, well, dude can’t be that concerned with healthy living.”
Emilio set his sunglasses on the table and ran a hand through his hair. It fell across his forehead carelessly. Zachary kind of wanted to touch it, but instead, he went back to staring at the wall. Emilio noticed and wrinkled his nose.
“So… we can do a mediation–”
“No,” Hsin snapped.
“Or joint counseling.”
Zachary sighed. “Or your father can meet his fath–”
“He~ell no,” Emilio drawled. He’d leaned forward on his forearms and was staring at Zachary keenly as he spoke. “I don’t do parents.”
“I don’t know what that means.”
“It means fuck no,” Hsin reiterated stormily. “Besides, I already mediated. With my fist.”
Zachary rolled his eyes. “Look, his parents have a lot of connections. If they want you in trouble–”
Emilio scoffed and looked at his son again. He rattled off another string of Spanish, his voice getting increasingly lower and intense. Hsin seemed to consider the words before shaking his head.
“That’s stupid. You’d just get caught.”
“Nah, I wouldn’t.” Emilio grinned, and turned the dimpled expression to Zachary. “You wouldn’t snitch would you, baby?”
“I don’t know what’s happening.”
“What a surprise,” Hsin muttered.
“Okay.” Zachary released a breath and shifted in his seat. The dual stares pinned him to his seat, and he licked his lips nervously. “Why don’t we change the subject?”
“I’m with that.” Emilio leaned closer and his eyebrows lifted. “So, you’re not married?”
“Oh my God. I wish I was dead.”
“So go kill yourself quietly and let me finish talking to this blue-eyed piece of ass,” Emilio advised his son sagely.
“I hate you.”
Zachary looked down at the array of dean slips on his desk, only daring to shift his gaze to glance at the incident reports on his computer screen. He could see Emilio leaning on one fist and staring at him intently from his peripheral vision. Zachary swallowed hard. His mouth felt cotton-dry. He almost forgot what he was going to say.
“Moving right along. I thought you should know that in the past month, Hsin has also attacked Coach Ferguson, Dean Archer, and me. He’s steadily moving to a superintendent’s suspension if this keeps up. There have already been recommendations for him to be moved to a more restrictive school because of his behavior and his grades. He’s failing everything.”
Zachary slid a printed out copy of Hsin’s report card across the desk.
Emilio frowned but didn’t take his eyes off Zachary. He growled something in Spanish yet again, and Hsin released a low sigh.
“‘Cause he told Boyd to stop dating me. He told Boyd that he’s destroying my life which should have ruined his credibility due to dramatics alone.”
“I did not say that,” Zachary protested.
“Then what did–”
“Aiight, well, fuck the blond emo kid for a minute, why is he failing everything?” Emilio asked impatiently.
Beneath the desk, he extended his legs and one knee grazed against Zachary’s. Apparently Zachary’s libido was linked directly to the Victorian era because that scant amount of contact had his dick half-hard. Which was awkward with the kid sitting there.
Emilio smirked at Zachary.
“He doesn’t go to any of his classes except shop and gym, and those resulted in him attacking Ferguson repeatedly.”
“That guy doesn’t know when to shut up,” Hsin said moodily.
“True,” Emilio agreed. He looked down at the report card. “But how the fuck do you get a 40 in English? You speak like three languages, you fucking walking embarrassment.”
“Because Ms. Connors is a creep. Both Ms. Connors…es are creeps.”
“Ah.” Emilio coughed quietly and finally slanted his gaze away. “Well. Y’know. Maybe we can change his classes? Maybe that blond twink could help do his homework–”
“Help him with his homework?”
“Yeah, sure, whatever. Help do his homework if they were in the same classes.”
Zachary frowned at Emilio and Hsin in turn. Somehow he was starting to get the feeling that Hsin seriously did call in for phone conferences and signed all forms himself. “Well…”
“Not gonna happen. They have me in the dumb class with like twelve kids and Boyd is all in AP classes,” Hsin said flatly.
“What? Why?” Emilio didn’t take his eyes off Zachary and the toe of his boot pressed against one ankle. “Look Hsin, this is going to take a while. Why don’t you go bang your little boyfriend in a supply closet or something so I can sort this out with Zach.”
Zachary wondered if it was obvious that he was sweating. He stared at Hsin and mentally willed him to stay but the kid just looked at each of them suspiciously before shrugging.
“Good. Get going. Don’t hit anyone unless they really need it.”
Zachary’s attempts at willing Hsin into compliance failed spectacularly. Hsin left after bestowing a two-minute long glare upon them both. All Zachary could do was watch with a rising sense of panicked helplessness as Emilio stood up and locked the door.