A business chain that buys old buildings and invests large amounts into refurbishing them.
Established in 1972, J Corporations has been running smoothly, providing shelter to the poor, orphaned and homeless.
It’s main source of income is from it’s large restaurant chains, clothing stores and the school districts it owns.
The sub- Substan- stand? Sub stand?”
“Substantial.” The Classroom was silent, Mr Hector's deep voice bouncing off the walls and right into Clay’s face to correct him.
“Right,” He cleared his throat. “Substantial.”
“Actually.” The teacher closed his copy of the information booklet and placed it on the desk, pulling open one of the old drawers and taking out some chalk. “Class everyone put your booklets down, we’re going to end it here and move onto Algebra.”
Groans of protest and exhaustion sounded around the small group, no less than 12 children per class.
“Sir, we already did an hour of Maths, can’t we finish History?”
“Nope, you all have a unit test in a few weeks, I want to sharpen your skills before you sit it.”
More complaints, louder this time.
The children in J Corporations' orphanage system were miserable, pedestrians that walked past the outdoor playground of the large building always found it empty. Play equipment hardly touched, always in the same space as the day before with very little life to the brick houses that surrounded it.
The main schoolhouse was attached to the orphanage, J Corporations buying it off the government and adding it to their school district chain in the early 90s when the orphanage was established.
Four “blocks” as they were called, stood proudly to the left and right of the schoolhouse, split by assigned gender at birth then furthermore from the ages of infant to about 11 then 12 to 18.
Clay stood up from his desk as class ended, lifting the khaki green bag from underneath his feet and hoisting it onto the rattly structure. He slowly collected his papers, homework, pencil case and noted he and Karl were passing to one another throughout their long day.
He walked out of the classroom, leaning against the wall by the door as he waited for his roommates, knowing he had rather stupidly left his key inside again.
“Today went on far too long!” Karl huffed, walking out and fist bumping a rather tired Clay who was relying on his weight against the wall to stay standing.
“Fridays are always like that.” He huffed.
“Don’t make Fridays sound boring, it’s the start of the weekend!” Zak walked out, half of his History papers mixed with his textbooks in his arms as the three boys made their way down the corridor towards the schoolhouse exit.
“Yeah but it only lasts two days then back to school, it’s endless, Zak.” Clay reluctantly took two of the textbooks from the boy, knowing he was going to drop them.
“Thanks, I mean at least we have extracurricular tomorrow.”
Clay groaned at the thought of wasting away on a Saturday morning in an English classroom with the two other students who made the same mistake as him to take Creative Writing instead of Textiles or Sports.
“I like extracurricular!” Karl squealed, a skip in his step as he walked forward to open the door before the other two.
Wind hit all their faces, Clay peering up at the sky to see accumulating storm clouds in the distance.
He half hoped it would just flood and get rid of this horrid place. It nearly did that a few years ago.
“Yeah because you get to teach the younger kids how to sew for three hours, that’s fun if you’re good at it.” Clay responded as they walked around the edge of the playground towards Block three.
Block three was filled with sweaty teenage boys.
There was simply no other way to describe it. The younger kids were protected by the older ones, in getting used to the strange surroundings when they moved up from the younger blocks. The eldest kids were practically legal adults, keeping their distance and rooming together to smoke weed and sneak out for various hookups in the older girls dorms.
Clay, Karl and Zak were at the awkward age of 16, forced to make sure the younger kids in their block made it into their beds on time whilst trying to steer clear of the older kids they would soon be joining in those rooms.
Karl was too pure for the world, spending his spare time in one of the textile sheds with a couple younger children who shared his interest in sewing. He would mainly teach them basics; how to sew their own handbags out of spare fabrics, embroidering their names onto pillows or even helping him set up the sewing machines. He made his way to classes on time, giggling with his roommates whenever he could and forcing them to try on the various clothing he would make for them or himself.
Zak was a sports guy, the orphanage hardly offered much in what they could do for extracurricular sporting but the teen had decided to take soccer and track running. He went on for days to his roommates about his new records when running and how it was improving his cardio when on the soccer pitches. He was an attacker on the team, using his muscle and speed to his advantage in practices and of course bragging to Karl and Clay when he got back, about goals he scored or new tricks he discovered.
Clay had no interests, far less optimistic than the other two and with good reason. He had been here since an infant, looked after by various carers until put into a dorm at the age of 6 with Karl and Zak. His first memories were with them and they were attached to the hip with fear when moved up into the older block. His lack of sporting ability and creativity ironically ended him up in the Creative Writing club every Saturday, slouched over a desk for three hours whilst he waited for his time to leave and sleep for the rest of the day in his bunk.
The school had sharp eyes on Clay, they relied on giving the kids a good education otherwise when they were let go at 19 they would be homeless. Clay wasn’t stupid and he knew where his fate was heading, his occasional sneak outs to hook up with girls in the evenings had ended him up in the Orphanage Minister’s office far too many times to count. Even Karl and Zak were put to the job of making sure the pile on his bed wasn’t a stuffed bear and blankets every night.
In conclusion, Clay was a problem child.
And he was more than aware of it.
“I’m going to Nick’s.” Clay said as they walked into their block and towards the steps that led to their room.
“You can’t! The Minister wants us in our dorms early because of the storm.” Zak said, Karl nodding whilst halfway up the stairs, facing down on Clay.
“We planned to play smash bros tonight, it’s Friday.” Clay huffed, shoving Zak’s textbooks into the shorter’s chest.
“Racing to beat your meat isn’t the same as smash bros.” Karl snickered.
“That was one time!” Clay snapped.
It wasn’t one time, Clay and Nick were competitive in anything and everything. They were best friends and far too confident around each other, last summer Karl had accidentally walked in on the two racing to orgasm after watching a rather sexual movie.
“I bet it wasn’t.” Zak grinned, walking up the stairs as Karl disappeared into the hallway.
“Yeah, I win each time too!” Clay shouted after the slowly disappearing boy.
“Sounds a bit gay to me!”
“I’m not gay!”
Clay knocked on Nick's door, tapping his foot rather restlessly as he heard various curses and clutter being moved behind his obstruction.
‘’Hurry it up!’’ Clay banged his fist on the door, examining the downstairs hallway in hopes their block manager wouldn’t walk out and catch him.
Nick opened the door, incredibly pink on his cheeks and in his sweatpants.
“It’s not Friday, Clay!” Nick spat, half hiding behind the door.
“Yes it is, do you have a bitch over?” Clay grinned teasingly, using his height to his advantage to try to peer over and into the room.
“Uh,” Nick went red with embarrassment “Would you be mad if I said it was two?”
“No, threesomes are fine.” Clay smiled.
“Sweet, mind if I sneak them out quickly?”
“I’ll get caught out here any longer, let me just slip into your bathroom and I’ll wait there.” Clay said, trying to shove his way into the room.
“Okay, okay fine!’’ Nick quickly turned. “Guys put a shirt on, my friend is slipping into the bathroom whilst I sneak you out.”
“Okay.” A girl's voice sounded, followed by the ruffling of clothes as Sapnap awkwardly looked at Clay.
‘’Done!’’ Another voice sounded.
“I thought you were lying about two of them!” Clay cackled, trying not to raise his voice.
“Oh shut up.” Nick sighed, opening the door to let his best friend in, guiding him hurriedly into the bathroom.
Clay spent the next 15 minutes awkwardly waiting in the rather messy bathroom of Nick’s room, shared by his other two roommates. It appeared that none of them were very sanitary.
“They’re gone!” Nick called, Clay opening the door in relief as he put his bag on the dresser.
“Okay what can I not touch? I don’t want your jizz on my hands.” Clay awkwardly examined the room in disgust, Nick was given the single bed and a bunk bed against a wall was shared by his other roommates. Posters of near naked girls and pornographic magazines were stacked about Nick’s part of the room, the bunk bed in pristine condition. He concluded it was Nick who made a mess of the bathroom. Clothes were sprawled around the floor along with a rather used looking condom. “Dude you’re gross!”
“It’s natural.” Nick awkwardly pinched the condom off the ground and tied it, chucking it in the bin. “Just don’t sit on my bed and you’re fine.”
“Whatever.” Clay huffed, grabbing one of the bean bag chairs from under the bunk bed and sitting on it as his friend set up the console to play video games. “Where are the others?”
“Who?” Nick said as he sat down on the end of his bed, Clay grimacing in disgust.
“Your roommates, idiot.”
“I don’t fucking know, probably getting lai-’’ He stopped him self, his eye flinching slightly. “Probably fucking some bitches or smoking, they don’t tell me.”
“Hm.” Clay grunted, knowing too well where Nick was going with his cut off sentence. Did Nick think he wasn’t accepting of that stuff? Or was it just fears the Orphanage would go nuts at the word of gay hookups aswell as the heterosexual ones.
They two played smash bros until one in the morning, when a rather drunk brunette and a fed up looking sober boy walked in.
“George got drunk!” The sober snapped, shoving the said boy onto his bottom bunk and huffing.
“How?” Nick chuckled as George wriggled under the covers, blabbering out incoherent thoughts.
“Girls dorms got into the cellar or something, ask him when he can actually form a sentence. You’re lucky I followed him after class, Nick!”
“Darryl, you’re too overprotective, he’s older than us. Just let him do his thing.”
“I’m the same age as him.” Darryl crossed his arms as he exited and locked the bathroom door behind him.
“He’s like an angry mom.” Clay chuckled, going back to their game.
“Kind of, he cares too much about George though, the dude is a fucking tank on the track team, I think he can stand a couple shots.”
Clay turned his head to see George sitting up on his bunk, pointer finger counting the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling of the dorm.
He was completely out of it, and it was rather hilarious.
He would hardly describe such a lanky teen as a tank.
“Aren’t you meant to be fast for that type of athletics? I thought tanks were slow and he seems pretty-”
“Pretty?” Nick raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t cut me off like that, idiot! I was going to say he looks pretty lanky to be even considered a tank.” Clay snatched his controller and started to obnoxiously move Nick’s sonic character around the map.
“Give it back!”
“He’s more like sonic.” Clay nodded to the TV. “Gotta go fast!” He teased with a raised voice, moving the controller in the air as Nick lunged into him.
The two ended in a fit of giggles, wrestling on the floor over a controller as George slowly fell asleep to their antics in the background. Darryl had slipped past them and climbed the ladder to his top bunk, shouting at the two to cut it out before shutting off his night lamp.
Clay banged on his dorm room, still recovering from the fit of giggles he was left in at Nick’s dorm room.
“Huh?” A tired Karl opened the door a few minutes later, hair damp from a shower whilst standing in a large t-shirt and Scooby-Doo themed boxers.
Clay silently took note to tease him about his strange underwear choice tomorrow morning.
“Let me in, stupid.” He walked past, dropping his bag by his bunk, slipping off his shoes and climbing the ladder, not even bothering to slip off his school sweater and trousers as he let sleep absorb him.
“Wake him up, Nick!”
“No you wake him up, I’m going to wank in the shower.” A loud slam of the bathroom door sounded.
“LANGUAGE!” Darryl spat, resulting in George panicky lifting his head, only to hit it on the bunk above him.
“Ow.” He grumbled, laying his head back into his pillow, the violent awakening didn’t help his pounding headache.
What had he even done last night to deserve this?
“I found some painkillers in the group kitchen.” Darryl smiled, passing two white tablets and a glass of water.
George took them hurriedly, sighing in content as the water made contact with his dry throat.
“What even happened?”
“Beth and Jane invited you for drinks and I followed to make sure you didn’t get caught.”
“Beth and Jane?” Darryl scoffed, “They’re Nick’s friends exs, the ones that always called you cute and small when he brought them over here.”
“Who’s ex?” George groggily rubbed his eyes.
“The guy that was over yesterday, you know the dude Nick always invites when we aren’t around.”
“I thought they were dating, thanks by the way.” George burst out with laughter, regaining some of his energy.
“They are the straightest dudes ever, it’s alright.” Darryl giggled, giving his hand out to help George up.
He reluctantly took it. “What time is it?”
“9 am, you have thirty minutes before extracurricular.”
George groaned, slipping his t-shirt off and picking up a towel and a change of clothes.
“I'll meet you in the kitchen.”
“Nick is in there!”
It was too late, George opened the door to be met with butt naked Nick, dick in hand whilst looking down at a magazine that rested on the counter.
“WHAT THE FUCK.” George screamed, slamming the door and running to the safety of his bed.
He heard awkward rattling of bottles, tissues and clothing behind the door before ten minutes of silence passed.
Darryl and George dwelled in the horrid lack of conversation, the air thickening as Nick exited the bathroom with a towel around his waist and a smug look.
“No peeking, ladies!” Nick chuckled, opening his dresser and taking out his soccer kit.
“I already did and it wasn’t good.” George groaned in embarrassment.
“Are you body shaming me, Gogy?”
“No, but I’d rather not walk in on my roommate wanking off!” George huffed, picking up his stuff. “You cleaned up after yourself right?”
“Of course, I’m not that gross.” Nick said, slipping on some boxers, followed by his kit.
“We have track today, not soccer.” George closed the bathroom door behind him.
When George locked up their dorm room and walked down the hallway to the community kitchen it was near empty, a couple hungover boys and three younger kids huddled in the corner on the sofa eating toast.
He took a seat next to Darryl and Nick with his bagel, all three of them eating in silence.
The running gear they were given was stupid, the colours were grey and black with bright white writing that slowly faded to grass stains and mud. The kit consisted of shorts that stopped just above the knee, a vest top that matched, a sweatband that only Nick ever wore and black and white striped socks that met at the joint of his ankles.
Darryl was dressed in a black sweater with a burgundy diamond design, matching well with the pair of jeans he wore.
The boy took Textiles, helping one of the boys who was most definitely more skilled than him in teaching the younger kids how to work machines and sew together basic things.
George was dragged by Nick into the soccer team but soon quit to focus all his time on athletics, specifically running.
He loved the way the small hairs on his arms and legs let the wind run through them, the speeds he could run to were outstanding for his build and overtaking Nick was always fun. It was just what he needed after a hangover, most people would complain about early practices but George loved them. The sun only just risen, very few people on the field and the call of their coaches whistle after each minute of back to back sprinting was finished, resulting in stretches for another and so on.
It had order and made his days feel structured, George often woke up early to run before his classes and the teachers and minister woke up.
Dare he call it risky to go for a morning run.
“Let’s go.” Nick burped, finished chugging down his glass of water.
“Gross. “George grimaced, standing up and swinging his bag over his shoulder, waving bye to Darryl.
“You should really re-join the team you know.” Nick was slightly behind from tying his shoes, running forward to catch up with him.
“I don’t like soccer, no thanks.”
“You’re just anti-social.”
“Who got drunk with a bunch of random people yesterday?”
“I got two bitches in my bed yesterday! Go get some pussy, or dick, or whatever you want.” Nick blabbered on, George rolling his eyes.
“I’d rather save myself for the right person, thanks.”
“All the girls think you’re gay you know.”
“Okay.” George shrugged.
“You don’t care?” Nick raised an eyebrow, “You’re never gonna get a girlfr-” He was cut off by George’s hands in his face.
“I already told you I’m bi, ever since you’ve been down my throat about girls. Are you trying to turn me straight, Nick?”
“No! You can go get laid by a dude if you want, I don’t care.”
“Since when are you assuming I’m a bottom?” George teased, adjusting the strap of his bag on his shoulder.
“I don’t know!” Nick defended himself, going pink in the cheeks at the mistake he made.
“Straight boys are always so interested in that stuff, you’re like a confused child.”
“It's not my fault I dont suck dick to get hard.”
“Not my fault I swing both ways to get hard.” George responded, punching Nick in the arm as they turned the corner to the field that was situated behind the schoolhouse.
Nick grumbled in defeat as they put their bags down and joined the rest of the track team.
Practice was painfully slow, the coach going into extra details about after class practices the soccer team needed and how the rest of the runners would need to practice in free time.
That was fine with George, he already did that anyways and it paid off.
George was doing a 100m sprint, timing himself on a stopwatch around his neck in hopes to improve his time. Each time he got longer and longer he’d groan in distress, always too desperate to improve and not to enjoy the sport.
“George.” The coach called him over onto the grass in the middle of the track.
“Huh?” George looked over to him, his hair stuck to his forehead from the constant running he was doing.
“Over here.” The coach beckoned.
“I want you to try long distance.”
“We’ll start at about 1000, maybe 1500 and go up from there.”
“But I like sprinting, I can’t run long distan-” George was cut off in his panicking pursuit to stop his coach.
“Silence. You have the talent, don’t go doubt yourself.” George met his eyes, their coach was always welcoming, almost like a father figure to George at times.
Infact, he was the closest thing to a father George ever got.
He would never admit to Nick it was his fault he met the coach.
Practice was over soon after, George drinking from his bottle at the side as Nick drenched his body in the water from his own.
“This isn’t a public shower.” George huffed, slinging his bag over his shoulder.
“What? Enjoy seeing me get wet?”
“You disgust me.” George said sternly, Nick saw some seriousness to his tone and took note to not make him uncomfortable again.
“I’m sorry about earlier by the way, I’ll try to find a way of getting a lock next time for us.”
“Yep, it’s fine really, if I were you I’d be so embarrassed right now. I’m sorry, I should have knocked.” They began to walk towards the schoolhouse to meet Daryll.
“Nah, I’m confident with myself, I don’t care who sees me naked.”
“You seem to forget you had your dick in your hand, Nick.” George gritted his teeth in annoyance at how relaxed he was over a situation he personally wouldn’t be so calm about.
“Plenty of dudes have caught me with my dick in my hand, it's fine!” Nick scoffed.
“And you think I’m the gay one!”
“Not in that way! Holy shit, don’t be so-”
“So what? Gross? Do you not like gay people?”
“No!” Sapnap glared, “You can’t just throw that around, it’s a serious issue and you should know that of all people.”
George gulped realising he may have taken a step too far with the insults. “Sorry.” He muttered, sitting down on the schoolhouse steps.
“Hey, it’s okay. We both made mistakes today.”
“Yeah.” He smiled weakly.
“Coach wants me to do long distance.”
“Nice.” Nick grunted, peeling a banana from a paper bag in his backpack.
“No, not nice!” George kicked the floor in annoyance. “I like sprinting, getting shorter times and early morning jogs for 5 minutes. I don’t want to train for long times and run so slow that the only time I can sprint is in the last metres of the track. It sounds terrible!”
“You’re talented at running, Coach knows you’re capable so do it! They are only trying to give us opportunities for when it’s our turn to leave this hell hole, take it, George.”
Nick was right and George hated it.
“What if I want to be more than just a runner? I’m more than that you know.”
“Of course I know, we’ve been roommates for years. Remind me who was the person you cried your eyes out to when you found out your last family member passed.”
George winced at the thought of his aunt's sudden passing, they were half way through the paperwork for her to adopt him and take him back to the UK when the unfortunate happened. Nick was always there for him, he was only 11 when it happened and now he was 17, just over a year away from being kicked out of here.
“I’ll wait for you.”
“Huh?” Nick raised an eyebrow.
“When I get kicked out of here.” George met his eyes. “I’ll wait for you, me and Daryll both will and then all three of us can go kick the world in the face for treating us like this.”
Nick forced a smile, glad his friend had aims once he got out of here. “Good because I have nothing to my name but a couple goals in the soccer team.”
“You will be fine.” George scoffed. “Did you not listen to social studies? It’s pretty easy to get a retail job with alright pay, all three of us can work together to keep each other on our feet.”
“That sounds far too good to be true, you forget that people won't hire you without qualifications.” Nick huffed.
“More of a reason for you to pay attention in class!”
“More of a reason for you to take the opportunity Coach is giving you!”
“Uh.” Darryl walked out the schoolhouse, clearing his throat, followed by a brunette training behind him, juggling about various fabrics along with his backpack.
“Hey, Darr-” Nick stopped himself, meeting eyes with the newcomer who he realised was Karl, Clay’s roommate.
Also not the dude he had been hooking up with behind the Textiles sheds on Saturday nights.
Not the dude he paid to give him head the other week.
Not the dude he was casually slut shaming and pinning to the ground a few evenings ago.
Yeah, not that guy.
“Oh, hey Nick!”
Nope, it’s that guy.