This story is 100% fictional. Nothing written here has actually occurred in real life. Read this only if you are interested in a story about a young man learning the truth about himself and the world around him. Do not read it if doing so will get you or the author in trouble. It is copyrighted by the author and subject to all laws that apply.
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…Meric and I were the last two people to leave the party. I wanted to make sure that Jennifer and the other girl, whose name was Theresa, were going to be all right. One of the football players had agreed to take Jack home, and I knew that I was going to have to deal with that one on Monday. We told Mr. Kinney about what had happened on our ride back to the house, and he agreed with Meric that I had handled the situation pretty well. I had promised myself that morning that I was going to take it easy this day, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for me to have an easy day. I took a shower when we got back to the house and crawled into bed, glad the week was over…
When I woke up the next morning, I was very glad that it was the weekend. I was finally going to have some time to rest. With football practice, visits to the doctor, parties that ended up in sexual harassment cases and a full day of classes during the week, I didn’t really have much time to stop. But, that was a nice change for me. Back home…back where I used to live, I wasn’t exactly the popular person I was here. I wasn’t the quarterback of the football team, I wasn’t being pursued by one of the hottest gir-
“Hey, I’m coming in!” came Meric’s voice from the other side of my doorway. I was still lying flat on my back and barely was able to sit up before the door opened and Meric walked in, his mouth wide open in the middle of a yawn. I blinked once, hardly believing my eyes. He was only wearing a pair of boxers! I immediately looked off to the side, studying the same picture I had the other day after my father had shown up. I heard him giggle as he jumped up onto the end of my bed.
“What’s so funny?” I asked, still looking off to the side. I felt terrible. He was supposed to be like my brother now, and here I am thinking with the wrong part of my body!
“You,” he replied, still laughing. I couldn’t resist any longer. I turned to look at him, forcing my eyes to stay at face level.
“It’s okay, I know I’m hot,” he continued. “You can look.”
“You know, this is really uncomfortable for me,” I said. I wasn’t going to accept his invitation.
“I know! That’s what’s so funny!”
“You’re doing this on purpose?” I asked. What in the world was wrong with this boy?
“Yeah, I wanted to see your reaction. The look on your face was priceless. Eyes open really wide, mouth dropped open, drooling-”
“I was NOT drooling!” I wasn’t, was I? God, how embarrassing would that have been?
“Haha, no you weren’t drooling.”
“Would you put some clothes on, please? I think you made your point.”
“What, you don’t want to look at my hot body any longer?” He just wasn’t going to stop teasing me. This was such a strange conversation for me. Up until a few weeks ago, no one knew that I was gay. Now someone my age was joking with me about it. What a change.
“I’m afraid if I look any longer, I’ll go blind.” He stuck out his bottom lip, trying to pout, but he couldn’t hold the face for longer than a few seconds and started laughing again. He had such a great voice. Even his laughter sounded nice.
“All right, all right,” he mumbled as he stood up and walked towards my closet. Taking a robe from in there, he pulled it on. Grabbing the chair from the desk, he rolled it over to the bed and sat down. Neither of us said anything for a few minutes. I was still lying under the covers, but had propped myself up so I was sitting with my back against the headboard.
“Does it…does it hurt?” Meric asked. He must have seen the confusion on my face, because he explained. “The scar looks really bad…” His voice trailed off. I could tell he was sorry he had brought it up.
“Well, not really,” I said. “Only if I do something that pulls it.” He nodded, and fell quiet again. I could tell there was something he really wanted to talk about, but was having a rough time bringing it up.
“What did you want to talk about, Meric?” I asked. I wasn’t afraid. I felt like I would be able to tell him everything I was ever thinking, and nothing would come as a shock to him.
“I just wanted to know about…uh…about your parents.” He looked up at me, concern on his face, probably trying to see if he had gone too far. I had closed my eyes, expecting to feel the same pain and sadness I had felt every other time my previous life had been brought up. But, it didn’t come.
“You know, every time I’ve talked about them, I’ve felt really sad,” I said. “But this time, I don’t know, it’s just…like…like they were never a part of me. Maybe this time I’ve spent here has helped me forget what happened, or buried it at least. Or maybe my mind is finally trying to move past it. It’s hard to focus on something like that, when I have so much going on here.” Meric nodded as if in deep thought.
“Well,” he began after a few moments. “I just don’t want it all to show up later. You need to deal with it now.”
“I understand what you’re saying, and if I need to talk about it, you’ll be the first one I come to.” I smiled at him, hoping that was enough to sate his desire to help me. He smiled back and moved as if to get up from his chair. He stopped, though, and sat back down.
“So, we need to find you a boyfriend,” he said. I coughed in surprise at this, hitting the back of my head on the wood I was leaning against. He started laughing again as I slowly rubbed the sore spot.
“A-a boyfriend? You’re joking, right?”
“Nope. Need to find someone for you to hang out with so you’re not always tagging along with me.” He grinned. “Though, Jennifer seems very interested in you.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed. She was attached to me at the party last night. I feel like this fish she’s just reeling in.”
“Well…you’re the new kid, are really good looking and the quarterback of the football team…as they say, you’ve got it going on.”
“Not everyone seems so taken with me,” I said. Meric raised an eyebrow, but quickly had to cover his face as another yawn took over. “Yeah…Jack. I think he thinks I took his place at school or whatever.”
“Well, you did,” said Meric. “I mean…you came in all of a sudden, took his spot on the football team, and you’re hanging out with his old girlfriend.”
“Wait, what?! He used to date Jennifer? Well that explains a little bit of it…” This was some new information and did make it clearer why Jack was so angry towards me all the time. I’d probably be mad at someone if they basically replaced me in under a week.
“Yep, they went out for…let’s see…must have been a good 14 months. Right from the start of high school. She is definitely the type of girl that always gets what she wants.”
“Well, I don’t want to worry about any of that right now. Let’s go do something fun.”
“We can go running!” said Meric, hopping up from the bed and heading out of the room.
I just shook my head and climbed out of bed to head for the shower. No way in hell I was going running with him on the weekend. Besides, I was supposed to take it easy!
The weekend passed too quickly for my liking and before I knew it, Monday, and school, was once again upon me. I had spent the days off working on some homework and mostly just lounging around the house. I never really was one to watch a lot of TV, but I did take a bit of time to flip through the channels to reconfirm my belief that as the number of channels you have increases, the likelihood that you will find something interesting to watch decreases. Meric did go running both mornings, but I opted out. He was disappointed, but I think he understood my reasoning.
As we piled into the car to go to school Monday morning, I still hadn’t come up with a plan to deal with the drama that was unfolding at Jefferson. Oh well, just going to roll with the punches, I guess.
I saw Jack talking with one of the guys on the team at the other end of the hall as I walked to my locker before homeroom. He didn’t seem to notice me, for which I was thankful. Grabbing my books as quickly as I could, I ducked into homeroom, only to be pounced on by Jennifer.
“Oh my god, I’m so glad to see you Brandon I can’t believe what happened at the party Friday night I mean I knew Jack was stupid but what he did was really stupid I felt so bad for Theresa and everyone else there I thought we were just going to have some fun,” she said at her usual speed. I nodded and smiled, hoping it was the appropriate response. She seemed to think it was and smiled back just as Mrs. Thompson started to call roll.
The rest of the day passed quickly with no further sign of Jack, even at lunch. I explained to the guys that I couldn’t play at lunch any more. They seemed disappointed, of course, but understood – after all, it was the real games we wanted to win. The person I was most worried about seeing, Justin, wasn’t in school at all for the day. I was really dreading that meeting, especially since we were supposed to still work on that project. But, I would cross that bridge when I came to it.
Football practice that afternoon consisted of working with Coach Robinson doing further work on the playbook and in a meeting with the rest of the offense, to discuss our overall plan for the first game of the season, which was less than two weeks away. Jack was at this meeting, but he refused to even look at me. I would be missing the first game of the season because of my chest, so he was going to get one last game as Jefferson’s quarterback before I officially replaced him. I’m sure this just made him even angrier.
The rest of the week passed much the same, except for two things. Justin came back to school on Wednesday, but refused to look at me. Apparently he and Jack had something in common. Mrs. Pierce had returned from her sick day, but we didn’t do any more work in class on the project, so I wasn’t forced to be in contact with Justin.
The second thing of note was that Jennifer seemed to be getting even more attached to me. She followed me around in between classes and started to store her books in my locker so she didn’t have to waste time going to her locker, even though it was only one hallway over. Occasionally, I would look up to see Jack glaring at me from afar. He would quickly look away, though, when he saw me looking. I tried my best to ignore it.
On Thursday, I was sitting outside with Meric talking about nothing in particular and enjoying the nice fall weather.
“Of course, I don’t think the Decepticon…hey, where are you going?” I asked as he stood up.
“Uhh…just to the bathroom,” he said, a half-smirk on his face. I turned to watch him head back into the building just as Jennifer walked up and sat down, placing her bag on the ground in front of her. I needed to have a talk with him about abandoning me like this…
“Hi Jennifer,” I said, trying my best to sound happy to see her. She must have bought it as she quickly launched into her mile-a-minute speech.
“So I was just wondering what you were doing tomorrow night?”
“Good because I was hoping we could maybe go see a new movie or something. I heard that that one that came out, it’s a comedy or something, is supposed to be really good and I think it would be fun to go together tomorrow night, don’t you think?”
“Great, I’ll come by your house at around 7:00! Bye!” She picked up her bag and left as quickly as she had arrived.
Meric walked up a minute or so later and sat down, still smiling.
“You know, it really sucks when you just leave me alone with her like that,” I said, before he could make some smartass comment. He seemed shocked.
“Hey, I really did have to use the bathroom,” he said.
“Uh huh, I’m sure.”
“So, what did she want?”
“I…uh…well, I’m not exactly sure. I think she’s going to show up tomorrow night, and we’re going to see some movie, though.”
“That’s great!” said Meric, standing up and throwing his book bag over his shoulder.
“G-great? Meric…Meric, come back here!” I stood up as well and grabbed my bag, following him back into the building just as the bell rang.
As it turns out, she did call me that night, and managed to talk me into going out to see a movie with her the following night. I still had no idea what movie it was, and I was almost positive that this was a bad idea of the worst kind. Alone, with Jennifer, in a movie theater – sounded like the makings of a horror movie to me!
I had no idea why I was going along with all of her stuff. I really wasn’t at all attracted to her, and I actually found her to be a bit annoying. She was bossy and while her grades were probably good, she came off as a bit of an airhead. But, I wasn’t particularly ready to announce to everyone at school that I was gay, and hanging out with Jennifer kept me involved in the Jefferson social scene and provided a good cover. I knew it couldn’t last forever. I would just have to deal with that problem when I came to it.
Friday at school was an odd day. Every time I turned around, I would see Justin in the distance staring at me. I couldn’t tell if this was a good thing, or a bad thing. I began to wonder if he was even going to his classes, or if he was just trailing along behind me like some sort of stalker. Since he was generally pretty far away from me, I couldn’t tell for sure exactly how he was feeling. Though, he didn’t seem nearly as angry as I think he was that day at his house.
By the time we sat down in English class with Mrs. Pierce, I was thoroughly creeped out. Her classroom was part of the new addition that had been made to the school about 5 years ago. Jefferson had the same problem that afflicts almost every public school in the country: overcrowding. Too many students, not enough teachers to teach, and not enough classrooms to house them. In what was really just a temporary fix, the school board had decided that tacking an extra wing onto the school would solve the problem. While it did, it also gave school an odd appearance – almost like an extra arm had sprouted from the torso of the school in an attempt to hold the new students.
I’m not sure how she managed it, but she had herself a classroom with windows on two of the walls, one looking out across the student parking lot and the other, across a short field of grass between wings of the school. I busied myself while she took roll staring out the parking lot window, watching gloomy clouds billowing in the darkening sky. I could hear the faint pitter patter of rain drops striking the tops of the cars on the far end of the parking lot. The soft tapping noise gave way to a thunderous pounding as the storm moved fully over the school, the Sun retreating slowly behind its black veil.
Most of the students had noticed by now the bad weather, and they seemed disappointed that lunch outside was most likely cancelled, seeing as how we only had half a period still to go. Mrs. Pierce kept right on teaching, though. Evidently, Hemingway doesn’t stop for a little rain.
“Now, I want you to open your books to page 487 and begin reading ‘Hills like White Elephants.’ There’s a lot of good imagery and symbolism in this short story, so pay very close atten-” Mrs. Pierce was cut off, mid-sentence, by the loudest crash of thunder I had ever heard. I looked up from my book to the parking lot. It was like night out there!
Shaking her head, Mrs. Pierce looked as if she was about to start teaching again when a flicker of lightning snaked down from the sky, slamming into a wooden pole near the edge of the parking lot. The classroom was cast into complete darkness.
Naturally, most of the students started talking amongst themselves, some cautiously moving toward the window to try to see what had happened.
“Now, just sit quietly in your seats!” came Mrs. Pierce’s voice from the front of the classroom. “I’m sure the power will be restored momentarily.”
But it wasn’t. A half hour passed in darkness, our eyes becoming accustomed to the dim light. I could see a flashlight beam bouncing along in the hallway, followed by one of the assistant principles. As he entered the classroom, the emergency lights finally flickered on, and we were bathed in their just slightly off glow.
“It doesn’t look like they’re going to get this fixed any time soon. Took them all this time just to get the emergency stuff on. We’re going to go ahead and dismiss school for the rest of the day, so if you’ll come with me, we’ll make sure all of you get the rides that you need to.”
As we pulled into the driveway at the house, I just sat there shaking my head. By now, the rain had mostly abated, and I was able to get into the house without becoming completely drenched.
“Boy, I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with that huge clusterfuck, trying to get all those students where they needed to go. Mr. Jackson looked like he was going to explode,” I said to Meric as we walked into the house. He nodded his agreement and headed to his room to take a shower. I thought it would be a good idea to do the same, since I did have to get ready for my “date” with Jennifer that evening. I didn’t think a little rain would stop her.
The rest of the afternoon passed uneventfully, except for the fact that it started raining once again about 5:00, just as we were sitting down to dinner. Well, Meric and I at least, as the Kinney’s had called and said that they would be home late. Pizza is a Godsend.
A light rapping on the door at 7:00 woke me from a slight doze I was having on the living room couch, Striker sprawled across my lap, dreaming, no doubt, of some sort of bone.
“Must be Jennifer,” I muttered to Meric, who was sitting on the armchair, grinning at me. Grabbing a pillow from the couch, I threw it him, but couldn’t help grinning as well. He always had this way of brightening up your mood, even when the weather was terrible and a lunatic girl was knocking on your door.
Making sure my clothes were not covered in Striker’s hair, I headed over to the door, checking my hair in the hall mirror. Grabbing the handle, I pulled it open.
“Hi…Justin?!” What in the world? This was not at all what I was expecting. And he looked miserable, his eyes red and puffy, his clothes drenched and his hair matted to his head and face from the rain.
“Did you walk all the way over here?” I asked, as I couldn’t see a car in the driveway. A barely perceptible nod was his only response. “Jesus, Justin, that has to be several miles. Come inside.” I started to pull open the door the rest of the way to let him in, but he stopped me.
“I…why did you do it?” he asked, his voice breaking slightly. The kiss…I knew that was a bad idea, but I just couldn’t help myself.
“Well, I’m gay Justin, and I just wasn’t thinking straight. I’m really sorry, I shouldn-” Before I could finish, Justin reached out, grabbed the front of my shirt, and pulled me towards him, out into the rain. I thought for sure I was about to get punched, and I knew that I deserved it.
“Thank you,” whispered Justin, so low that I could barely hear him over the downpour. Leaning forward, he pressed his lips against mine, lightly. I shivered, partially from the rain that had now drenched me, but mostly because I couldn’t believe what was happening. Justin had shown up at my house, thanked me for kissing him, and then kissed me back. This is the last thing I would have thought would happen. I closed my eyes and leaned closer to him, our lips still locked.
Lost in the kiss with Justin, I didn’t hear the car pull into the driveway, but I did hear the door slam as someone got out.
“Hey Bran…What the fuck!?” Oh shit…Jennifer was here. I broke away from Justin, placing my hands on his shoulders, and looking into his eyes. What I saw there frightened me. He was terrified. My eyes flicked over to Jennifer, who was standing underneath an umbrella in the middle of the driveway.
“What is going on here?” she asked, clearly unable to understand. Justin had taken a step back and looked ready to bolt, but I grabbed his arm. “What are you two…some kinda fags or something?” she continued, her voice growing louder and shriller. Hearing the anger in her voice, my mind flashed back to my dad’s reaction, but my reaction this time was different. Seeing the terror in Justin’s eyes, being through what I had been and knowing I had the support of a new family behind me, I knew that it was time for me to stand up for who I was.
“Yeah, and what of it, Jennifer?” I spat back, surprised at the strength and emotion underlying my words.
“No, no, no…” whimpered Justin, trying to pull away from me still, like he wanted to just run and hide. I turned to look at him, letting go of his arm and instead lifting his head up to meet my eyes.
“No more hiding…no more running…no more lying,” I said. Turning back to look at Jennifer, I could see she was more outraged than ever.
“I think it’s time that you left,” I said to her. “Unless you want to apologize.” She snorted, spun on a heel and stormed back into her car, which, tires screeching, left the driveway in a spray of water.
“Come on, Justin, let’s get you inside and dry.” We both came inside, where Meric was already waiting with a huge pile of towels. Justin and I grabbed several, and patted off as much of the water as we could.
“I think I have some dry clothes you can wear, Justin,” I said, showing him the way to my room. I grabbed a set from the dresser and handed it to him. He reached behind his head to start to pull off his shirt, but stopped and looked over at me, uncertainty clear in his eyes. I nodded towards the bathroom, which he walked over to, the dry clothes and a couple towels in his hands.
I slipped out of the room and headed back to the living room, where Meric was sitting with Striker, looking as if he was deep in thought. He looked up at me when I came in, and half-smiled.
“I think life is about to get very interesting around here,” he said. I could only nod in agreement.
After Justin and I had both changed, the three of us sat down in the kitchen, mostly because I knew that Justin had to be starving. I offered him some of the pizza, which he began to devour in earnest. There was very little talking. For some reason, we just didn’t feel like anything needed to be said. Not yet, at least. I’m sure there would be plenty when the Kinney’s got home.
The sound of shattering glass from the living room shocked me out of my reverie, and I followed Meric out there to see what was wrong. Lying in the middle of the floor, among a pile of broken glass, was a large stone, with a note tied around it. Reaching down, Meric picked it up slowly, taking the note off and reading it. Sighing, he handed it to me.
“Faggots don’t belong here,” I read aloud, turning to look at Justin, a tear running down my cheek.
Well, there ends Chapter 6. Been a LONG time since I last posted anything new, I know. And for that, I apologize. My life has been a whirlwind of…crap…since about December. It has really been bugging me that I couldn’t continue working on this, and I finally forced myself to set aside time to write a bit more. I hope to continue to force myself to do so, but I won’t make any more promises, because I just break them anyways, it seems.
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