I stood and watched Greg go, memorizing his retreating back. I felt my heart breaking, and at the same time I felt my resolve to stay away from people strengthen. If this was what you got, who needed it? On the other hand I was really and truly torn, should I try and do something to get him back to me? What was I thinking?
I turned and trudged back into the house utterly defeated. More than that, I felt cheap and humiliated. He had coaxed so much out of me, the dam had broken today and now he was gone, under a very vague threat I thought. Slowly my anger turned towards Becky Collins and her attitude. Why did she have to be so petty? The more I thought the angrier I grew at them both, and finally that boiled away into loneliness and hurt, because that was the end result. I was alone again.
My dad came out of the kitchen and asked where Greg was. I pointed towards the front of the house.
"Take me home," I said as I reached into the sink for my glass and refilled it.
"He went home? Why? I thought he was staying overnight? Did his father say no?" he asked, but I knew he didn't really expect an answer, so I just shrugged.
"It wasn't the shirt, was it?" he asked.
I headed for the door and I heard him pick up the phone as I left. I went to my room and sat thoughtfully with my Orange Juice and tried to make heads or tails of it. No matter what, I always came up the same - alone. Finally I lay down to sleep, and my last thought before falling into a fitful sleep was that I felt happy and secure around Greg and I desperately wanted that again.
I awoke the next morning with the same low spirits I had when I turned the light out the night before. I headed for the shower and washed up like any other day, only this wasn't any other day. I felt as though I slipped a cog somewhere, as though I were different today than I was yesterday. I continued through my morning routine, for some reason taking extra time on my hair. I headed downstairs to find my father in his robe having a cup of coffee and my morning oatmeal on the stove. He gave me hug in passing as I got ready to eat and he headed upstairs for the shower. I ate with my thoughts as I did so often, and thought again about my long day ahead. I understood now why things were different, because what had changed was me. Greg had offered me something I had lacked and I lapped it up like a puppy, and now I felt the loss of that sweet undefinable emotion that he gave to me.
I went upstairs and my father gave me lunch money, then I headed out the door. I was hopeful that Greg had reconsidered over night, perhaps he even felt as I did! Maybe I would get to the bus stop and he would be there waiting for me. Propelled by this thought I felt a spring in my step and suddenly was ready to face the day. As I approached the bus stop I found the same collection of groups, the same indifference to my being there. Greg spotted me and averted his eyes as he maneuvered so that he couldn't see me. I was crushed.
"Morning, dummy." Ron sneered, "I'll be ready for your candy ass pitching today, you hear that sonny?" He asked. I looked at him for a minute and he actually was smiling at me, but not really out of malice. I think it was grudging respect. "You are going to throw again today, aren't you? No way Stevens would leave you off the team after striking me out," he said. I remained silent. "Well?" he asked impatiently.
"I believe it's time for me to fly," I said as I turned on my heel and went back up the small hillock to my house, and turned down the street. I decided I could walk, I couldn't take Greg ignoring me. My own fault I know, I shouldn't have thought everything would be okay in the morning, or better still if I had not trusted him yesterday then I wouldn't feel like this. I walked with my head down, watching my sneakers on the sidewalk as they fell in a hypnotic rhythm. No matter how far I got in my thoughts I always came back to him saying he loved me, and the glow I felt that radiated into my chest and made me feel lightheaded. And it was gone.
As I trudged I came upon a small group of three people walking to school like I was, except they were going a lot slower. I began to pass them when one of them spoke to me.
"Hey Jake, great job pitching yesterday," I heard one of them say. I turned to see Mickey Terrell's soft features shaped in a smile. "Morning, " he said, "Who taught you to throw like that?" I remained silent as the group came to a stop for a crosswalk.
"Jake, don't be nervous man, that pitching was flat out balls to the wall. You're on the team for sure, I thought coach'd shoot his load right there on the sidelines when you struck out Ron Cantarme. He's an asshole but a pretty good hitter. So who taught you Jake?" Rich Hall the first baseman added.
I eyed him warily and my mouth opened and ran from me again. "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let's play."
"Cool, my dad tries to work with me but," Mickey Grinned and shrugged his shoulders.
"Your dad's like the Gestapo, Mick." Rich drew himself up as if to emulate Mr. Terrell, "Jog alongside the car son, while I smoke and have some coffee. Come on boy, keep up!" We all had a chuckle at Rich's antics.
"Hey Jake, Mark said you talk in songs and stuff, is it all the time?" Mickey asked. I studied him for a minute and saw nothing there to hurt me, but I also had a hard lesson yesterday in trust. I don't suppose it mattered though, people were finding out anyway. I nodded in response to the question.
"That's cool, I can never remember the words to songs," Mickey said.
"And we're always happy he can't, cause when he sings?" Rich said covering his ears and acting as though he were in pain. We chuckled again.
"He's pretty bad, right Nick?" Rich directed the question to the third member of their party. Nick nodded in agreement and Mickey slugged him playfully.
"He makes 'Feel Like Making Love' sound like 'Feel Like Committing Suicide'!" He laughed and we joined him at Mickey's expense. He just shook his head at us and called Nick an asshole.
"In that case," Mickey retorted, "You play Center Field like I sing." Nick winced, then grinned at his friend. I started relaxing and enjoying the steady patter of their talk and faded into the background of their group, although I felt a strange sense of belonging with them.
We arrived at school some sixteen blocks later and parted for our home rooms. I was sent off with a few goodbyes and see-you-laters from the three I had walked with and I turned this over as I headed for the front doors of the school. I spotted Greg getting off the school bus and when he noticed me I saw at least two emotions run across his face, relief and fear. Then he turned away and disappeared into the crowd. I headed into the school and went to the library to think. What exactly did I want from all this? Greg was afraid of something, but I had no idea what. Becky had something to hang over his head, and for some twisted reason she thought she should control me or something. And then to complicate everything there was the way I was feeling about Greg, which I no longer had an explanation for.
The minute hand crept closer to the appointed home room hour, so I headed to the wood shop. I walked in and sat down at my table without looking around. Call me stupid, but I didn't want to see Greg if he was already in here. I brought my book out and, as happened yesterday, I failed miserably to concentrate or absorb anything on the page. I noted a shadow as someone sat across from me.
"Hey Jake. Can I talk to you a minute?" I heard Mark's voice. I didn't know why he would want to talk to me, he didn't like me that well from the end of the call I heard last night. I kept my eyes on the pages, but my ears were open.
"Look, I guess you must feel pretty bad today. I just wanted to tell you, from Greg, it's not you're fault or anything you did. I know what that Becky bitch would do to Greg if he hadn't walked away, but I have to tell you," he paused and I looked up at him, "I know he really cares a lot about you. He called me last night and I don't think I have ever heard him so happy. He wanted us to hang out today, and I told him I'd be a third wheel with the way he was talking about you. I'll be honest, I don't understand it, but it makes no difference to me. He'll work through this, if you'll have some patience. I hope you do, cause I know he's hurting right now." He paused again and said very quietly, "I hadn't seen him cry in about five years, but last night he came over to my house and cried like his heart was breaking. Have patience, he's not quite as strong as you are in some things." Mark finished and the bell sounded before I could begin to try and piece all of this together.
I looked across the room at Greg and saw the bags under his eyes and the haunted, hunted look he wore on his face. More food for thought. The bell rang and I gathered my stuff and stepped out into the hallway and was almost knocked over by Mickey. He apologized profusely and then I found out why he was in such a hurry.
"Where are you running to, homo?" came the shrill voice of Becky Collins. My hackles were up in a heart beat and I turned to face her. As she bore down on Mickey who looked small and helpless in her shadow, people clustered around to have a look at whatever she was up to.
"I heard you were giving head in the bathroom, is that true Mickey?" She asked with a nasty smirk.
"The Bitch is back," I said deliberately. I figured as long as I was going to speak, I may as well try and do something with it.
"What did you say? Oh no you did not just call me a bitch, I know I didn't hear that," she said to me in a loud voice.
I stared her in the eye and she began to speak slowly, enunciating for the crowd. "Mickey Terrell is a faggot, do you have anything to say to that? Are you trying to say you're one too?" she said evenly.
"Georgie boy was gay I guess, nothing more and nothing less," I replied. I guess if I had really thought about it that was like suicide in a High School, but you know what? My social life was Nil anyway.
"So that's okay with you? You don't mind having a queer next to you?" she demanded. Then she shifted moods and purred to me as she drew closer and began to stroke my cheek, "Or maybe your just open minded and need a real woman to start you up, huh?" she said with the most disgusting smile you have ever seen.
"You can love me tonight if you want," I said as I pulled away, "But in the morning make sure your gone." A few people chuckled an ooh'ed at the statement, but she pretended to ignore it.
"Come on Jake, why don't you quit playing games?" she asked. I felt sweat on my brow as I got deeper into this game. "I know you want me. All you have to do is ask," she said in her boldest gambit yet. I knew I had to strike her down now because the insinuation was clear. I also knew if I beat her here she'd be a real enemy, not just a pain in the ass.
"You won't need too much persuading, I don't mean to sound degrading," I said and began to smile in what I hoped was a very wicked way, "But with a face like that you've got nothing to laugh about," I said.
The crowd of people roared with laughter and the bell rang signaling that we were late to class. I felt tugged and as I turned I found I was being led by Mickey to English class. We walked in and the whole class turned, then resumed talking as the teacher was apparently running late. Mickey and I slipped into seats near the front of the class and he began chatting to me.
"That was amazing! You flattened her! That was like watching wrestling and flying with an elbow off the top rope man!" Mickey enthused. I smiled and felt a little dizzy. Getting in the last word does have it's plus side, that's for sure. The English instructor came in and she handed out the test for the Tell Tale Heart from yesterday. Yes, this was the story I was supposed to read last night and didn't because of Greg. My mind started churning over what Mark had said, Be Patient. And what if I did? Would he walk away again at the first sign of a problem? I guess the crux of the question was, could I trust again? And the answer to that was I don't know.
I was lost on the test, Mickey kept hanging his fingers over the edge of his desk in order to tell me what the answer was. I was amazed! He could get into so much trouble if he got caught! Why would he risk that for me? After the test was handed in and the class continued I found myself lost in the thoughts of what Greg meant to me now, and what this new development with Mickey was all about. My mind was still swirling with the ramifications when the bell rang. Mickey stood up and looked at me kind of funny before he spoke.
"I just wanted to say, well, thanks. You know, for helping me out. I'm not queer, even if that's what she says. But thanks for looking past that." He looked down in embarrassment and said very quietly, "Makes me ashamed I never tried to see past your being quiet and stuff." He looked up and then headed out of class. Apparently this was going to be another long day.
History was up next and my teacher was in a fine lather. I thought this was strange since the only time he was truly upset that I had ever seen was when the Giants lost. But there it was, he was fuming and when the bell rang he shut the door forcefully and glared as he paced the floor.
"Can anyone tell me what we studied yesterday?" he asked after much heavy breathing and making it clear he was not in a fine and dandy mood.
Becky Collins, whom I had never realized was in this class before, raised her hand. I guess I never noticed her because I never used to give a damn.
"We studied the Ottoman Empire and it's effects in the country we call Yugoslavia," she said brightly.
"That's is what we studied. Does anyone see a problem with that?" he asked. My mind snapped to the here and now as I tried to figure what he was getting at. I had been so addled about Greg yesterday that I hadn't really heard I guess, or hadn't retained at the very least. I now understood why he was pissed though.
"Jake, looks like you figured it out," he said nodding, "Anyone else?" he asked. No hands went up, and then a tentative voice from Jesse Cantarme, Ron's cousin spoke up.
"Didn't you switch the Ottoman and Austro Hungarian Empires and stuff?" he asked hesitantly.
"Yes, finally! I am so angry! We studied this already, this is review material people! You should have caught that right away, this stuff is on the final you know!" He continued in this vein for a good fifteen minutes. I tuned him out and went back to my own issues. Trust was that issue, that was the heart of the matter. How does one repair trust? Can it be done?
The bell sounded ending another class and once again I had absorbed nothing. The teacher called me back and sat on the corner of his desk as he regarded me with his steady blue-gray eyes.
"Jake, teachers aren't supposed to have favorites, but you're one hell of a student." He paused. "Listen, you seem to be somewhere else today and yesterday for that matter. Is something going on? I'm available if you want to talk, this is a prep period for me," he said quietly. I thought very carefully, how could I ask the questions I needed to ask?
"It's a matter of trust," I said.
"Trust in me?" he asked. I shook my head no.
"Trust in someone else then? A student?" he asked. I nodded.
"Anyone I know?" he asked with a small smile playing about his lips. I shrugged.
"Well, doesn't matter. I haven't seen you with any kids all year, so I'm glad your interested or friendly with someone out there." He paused, "So you said trust, are we talking broken trust, wondering if you should trust at all? Has this person let you down?" he asked. I nodded yes and I felt a small amount of fluid build in the corner of my eyes.
"Hey, you know trust is a tough thing because part of the equation is faith. Bet you didn't know that, huh? It's like when someone says they'll do something and then they don't, the trust can be broken." He stood and wandered behind his desk, placing his hands on the back of the chair he used. "Or maybe there was some reason and the trust is restored. It's like a vase, if it's broken it can be put back together, but the cracks will remain." He inhaled deeply before plunging on, "Or maybe someone said they loved you and then walked away."
I looked at him in shock, how the hell did he know that?
"I know, surprise, surprise. Greg is my nephew," he said as he moved form behind his desk and took one of the student desks. He waved me to one and I sat a little unsteadily.
"Let me ask you a couple of questions, Jake. Is that okay?" he asked. I shrugged, then nodded in assent.
"Okay, first question. Was it okay with you that Greg said he loved you?" he asked. I nodded my head yes.
"Okay, well this is a toughie. Was the love out of friendship, or was it something more do you think?"
I sat and pondered the question, I had asked if his love was like old friends and he had said not exactly. Could he be? Could it be he really and truly didn't mind my looking at him because he was? Did he want me to be his boyfriend? I thought hard on this question. I looked at my teacher wide eyed as the realization hit me, Greg loved me as far more than a friend!
"If your eyes are any indication, you know it's more than friendship," he stated and I nodded in reply.
"So what do you think of that?" he asked me.
"Let's hear it for the boy," I replied.
"Do you … Feel the same way?" he asked.
"Sometimes when we touch," I said.
"Too much information!" He said grinning. "Look, Jake. I know Greg is gay and he's afraid. He's afraid of being outed, he's afraid of what people will say or do." He paused and eyed me closely, "But what scares him most is what people will say or do to you. He's convinced people will mess with you, just like that little vixen Becky Collins did for that kid on your team, the Terrell boy."
"A genuine example of a social disease," I said glumly.
"So what shall we do about it? We have to convince Greg, or you can choose to let him go," he said quietly.
"Losing everything is like the sun going down on me," I said quietly. He nodded.
"So, Jake, how did Greg ever get you to talk anyway?"
I walked into Math class with ten minutes left in the period. I gave Mr. Langston my pass from Social Studies and took a seat two away from Greg. He made eye contact as I passed him, but quickly averted his gaze. As I took my seat I thought how funny this was, but turnabout is fair play. I took out a piece of notebook paper and began making small, dense balls of paper. I placed one between my thumb and forefinger and flicked it at Greg. It landed in Carrie Farrel's hair, although she didn't seem to notice. Sigh, neither did Greg.
I took aim again and fired, falling well short and bouncing across the floor. Who knew it could be so fucking difficult to hit someone with a ball of paper? Resolutely I continued to fire away until I scored a hit, landing inside his ear! His hand flew to the ear and found the paper. He looked around at possible culprits. I sat exaggeratedly looking into the ceiling and pursing my lips as if to whistle. He shook his head and went back to the lesson. I sat comfortably knowing that I had learned my lesson from Social Studies well today.
You have to fight for what you want.
When the bell rang for class I got up and followed Greg, stepping on the back of his shoe so that it popped off the back of his foot. He stopped and looked at me in the strangest way. I guess I couldn't blame him, after running from him so long he must be amazed at what I was doing. I grinned down at him and crouched next to him.
"Do you love me?" I asked barely above a whisper, grinning like a fool. He looked at me with the most amazed look on his face, total disbelief.
"Jake are you nuts? What if Becky sees?" he said in a panic laced voice.
"Big old Jezebel," I replied.
"Jake, you can't be seen with me, people will fuck with you! They'll make you miserable. You should forget you ever knew me," he said, eyes falling to the ground. Okay, it's now or never.
"I am the man who will fight for your honor," I said in a very low voice, making my eyes lock with his.
"Jake, you just don't understand," he said rising to his feet. "I can't let you do this. I won't let you do this." And he walked away from me. I was discouraged to say the least, but who said it was going to be easy? I headed for art class and took my accustomed seat. I was unsurprised that Mark sat next to me. I nodded at him in greeting.
"Looks like you're in a better mood. Did you two talk?" I rolled my eyes and waved my hand back and forth.
"Kind of?" he asked. I nodded.
"Well? Can you talk sense to him? Hey, I heard what you did to Becky this morning, man is she pissed! I think she'd chew your balls off if she got close enough!" He laughed and I joined him.
Class started and I retrieved my stop light again. I painted white over the blue circle that Mark had placed on it the day before and then tried to use the bottoms of the paint bottles as templates for the signals. I reached for my brush and was surprised to find it missing. I looked under the table, on the chair but to no avail. It seemed to have disappeared. I retrieved a new brush and no sooner had I sat down than I realized the paints were gone. OK, someone was messing with me. I eyed Mark and he gave me a puzzled look. I pointed with the brush at him, and then at the table.
"What's the matter?" he asked. I half turned from him and saw my brush and palette on the other side of me. Okay, so it wasn't Mark. I looked at the table behind me and spotted Nick Petersen, whom I had walked to school with this morning. He was looking away from me but the grin on his face was obvious. He half turned to face me and broke out laughing as he saw me eyeing him.
"Sorry man, couldn't resist the opportunity!" he said chuckling. I laughed and dabbed his nose with the dry brush, he involuntarily swiped at his nose thinking it was wet with paint. Grinning he turned back to his work. I silently picked up the red coated brush and ever so gently reached out and touched the tip to his ear. He laughed.
"Cut it out Tull," he said and swiped at his ear coming away with red on his fingertips. "Oh, you asshole!" he laughed and got up to go wash his hands and get a wet paper towel to clean his ear.
"Wow, you got brave real quick. You going to try those tricks on Greg?" Mark asked with a grin. I just grinned back at him.
I got in the lunch line and pointed to the things I wanted, with no disturbance today. I took a seat in the far corner of the lunch room, near the windows that over look the parking lot. Such a view, huh? I sat in quiet contemplation until Mickey, Rich and Nick plopped down at the table and Rich started with the questions.
"Do you have any idea how pissed off Becky is? Dude, what you said this morning has the whole school fucking with her!" He burst out laughing.
"Hey Mick, once this is over maybe you can go get your nuts back from her?" Nick asked quietly with a smirk on his face. Mickey flipped him the bird and we all laughed.
"So Jake, how come you and Greg aren't sitting together, you guys seemed like buds yesterday?" Mickey asked and then jumped as someone kicked him under the table, but I wasn't sure who. I looked around the table, first at Rich who actually looked like he was innocent, because I would have suspected him first and foremost due to his nature. I looked at Nick who definitely looked like he knew something. I eyeballed him and decided to try and push the envelope.
"No one knows what your thinking, but I do," I said to him. He squirmed a little bit and schooled his features to neutrality. Damn, obviously that wasn't going to do it, what else could I try?
"I need to know," I said to Nick, and the other two fixed their gazes on him. He squirmed. "I gotta know right now, before we go any further," I said pleadingly. He shifted uncomfortably under the attention.
"I promised Tommy I wouldn't say anything," Nick muttered. "I'm sorry, Jake, I really am. But a promise is a promise." I nodded in understanding. What else could I do? I made a mental note to talk to Tommy later, or talk as much as I could anyway.
Lunch came to an end and I filed out of the cafeteria only to bump into Greg on the way out. He gave me a small smile and I returned it before he walked away. The dam had broken! Or at least there was a crack in it. I had a dopey smile on my face as I headed off to my locker, thought's of Greg in my head. I thought about my classes and realized Tommy was in my Chemistry class the period after next. I headed to my next class, American Government, and just made it in the door as the bell rung. The only empty seat was next to Jesse Cantarme, and I reluctantly took it.
I sat still and the lecture began to wash past me, and I realized Jesse was looking at me oddly. He would look then focus forward, and then drift back again. Our instructor was a wide bodied man with a pock marked face. He was rumored to live with his mother and he wore suits everyday. On Halloween he wore an Orange suit. Where exactly does one find an Orange suit? I noticed Jesse looking at me again and I locked eyes with him.
"Do you want to take my picture?" I hissed. His face registered shock and he faced forward again. The instructor finished the lesson and told us to talk quietly amongst ourselves. Jesse faced me, which was a surprise, and I braced myself for the insults that flew with Ron.
"I don't mean to stare, I was just curious," he said hesitantly. "Is it true what Ron says? Are you gay?" he whispered as he leaned in close to me. "I've never known someone else who is," he said before realizing his mental mistake. His lip quivered for a moment as he waited for me. What could I say? I regarded this boy with an olive complexion and dark curly hair that formed ringlets over his head.
"His mothers tears fell in vain the afternoon George tried to explain that he needed love like all the rest," I said quietly.
"Is that a yes or no?" he asked, his worry quickly dissipating, I guess because I didn't jump up and yell queer. Not that I could have if I'd wanted to. I shrugged my shoulders. He sat in contemplation and then leaned in again.
"Ron always says that stuff because of me. I've been to counseling and stuff." He closed his mouth far a moment and then spoke again. "Tommy says, well, he says that Greg and you ... well, that is that the two of you are, you know, dating and stuff." I looked at him wide eyed. We were what? Is that what you called this? He spoke again hurriedly. "I think it's great for you guys, I wish it would happen to me too." I was a bit dumbfounded. Dating? I was having trouble getting him to talk to me, partly because he needed to grow a set, and partly because Becky needed to be dropped a peg or two.
"Does your mother know?" I asked.
"Yeah, unfortunately. That's why I get the counseling, but they don't like it when the doctors say what I am can't be cured or anything. God knows it'd be easier," he said slumping back in his seat. I regarded him with a studious look, he wasn't bad looking. Far from it as a matter of fact.
The bell ringing announced the end of the period and I gathered my books up. Jesse and I traded parting smiles and I headed out the door to my locker where I changed out my books and headed to Chemistry class and my attempt to squeeze Tommy for information. I walked in and took my assigned seat. Unlike most other classes your lab stations were assigned to you, so I couldn't just swipe the seat next to him. I watched him come in and made eye contact with him as he sat at the station diagonally across from me. The lecture started immediately and I realized once again that this lesson too was lost on me as I was busy with the task at hand. Soon we started that classes experiment time. I completed my experiment quickly, and incorrectly I am sure. I waited impatiently for him to finish so that I could walk over to his table.
He turned and saw me watching him and waved at me to come over. I did most obligingly, but also wondered why he wanted me there.
He looked down at his experiment as he spoke, his hands never stopping. "Nick said you were asking about Greg." He looked up, "Well, you know what I mean." I nodded at him to continue.
"Look, he's coming around, trust me on that. This day is like torture on him," Tommy said in a very low, conversational tone while he continued his, "Not that it's been exactly easy on you. Going after him though, smart move." He looked up at me and grinned broadly, "He's just a big pussy at heart, but don't worry. We want what's best for him, and we think that's you."
I smiled broadly in return for the show of faith.
"He'll come around pretty quick," he said looking back down at his work.
"How will I know?" I asked.
"Well, He'll come to you I think. That's the big sign, of course. He'll probably start small, like a smile in the hallway or something. Hey, I just assumed after talking to Mark the other night but, are you gay?" He asked still in a very low voice attracting no more attention than any other student. In fact as people completed their experiments they were talking in groups as was par for this class.
How could I say it was just for Greg? I mean I could appreciate beauty, but I wanted Greg to be it, the one. I shrugged.
"Well, are you attracted to him?" he asked. I nodded.
"So like, maybe you're just into him?" he asked. I saw that as reasonable and nodded again.
"Okay, cause he is like, totally into you. In fact I haven't seen him this excited since ..." he went silent in thought before completing the sentence, "well, I have never seen him this excited. So, don't worry." I nodded again.
"I want to know what love is," I said softly.
"Yeah, you and everyone else, Jake," he replied as he finished his experiment and pushed the equipment to the back of the experiment station.
The bell rung shortly thereafter and we walked together from the classroom and I went to my last class, gym. I changed into my clothes silently as usual and went to stand on the edge of the group that was waiting to go from the basement lockers to the gym above us. Rich slapped me on the shoulder and chatted idly about nothing as we went upstairs at last and performed the functions required for the class. We didn't have to shower and I just left my gym clothes on and headed back to my locker for my books that I would need for the weekend.
I dialed the combination on my locker and opened it to the still Spartan interior. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned eagerly expecting Greg and was disappointed to say the least to find Becky.
"Jake Tull loves fags, don't you Jake? So is Mickey Terrell a good lay, cause he was lousy with me," she said loudly and attracted a crowd of onlookers again. I groaned mentally, what to say now? I suddenly grew angry, she was trying to out the school or anyone that didn't comply with her. She took him from me just as I was beginning to need that care from him, no matter what Greg did she was the root of it. I took a menacing step towards her.
"The Lady is a tramp," I said and the crowd tittered.
"Tramp? In a school full of queers? I don't think so!" she yelled. More ripples through the crowd. "You know, I loved you Jake."
"You think that's love? That ain't love to me, I believe you've got the wrong emotion," I said coldly.
"Jake, look, you can start all over with me, you can…" she was saying as my anger boiled over and I began to yell almost uncontrollably.
"You had to be a big shot, didn't you? You're so much fun to be around, you had to have the last word last night, you had the have the front page, bold type. You had to be a big shot, didn't you? You had to open up your mouth, you had to be a big shot, didn't you? You had to prove it to the crowd!"
"Let him alone Becky," Greg said stepping from the crowd and coming to me. She recovered from the shock of my raising my voice and fixed on Greg.
"Here to save your boyfriend?" she sneered.
"As a matter of fact I am." He snapped and turned to face me, "That's if he still wants me."
He eyed me steadily as a few people inhaled sharply but for the most part the audience seemed nonplused. I felt tears welling but refused to let them fall. Here he was, he'd come for me!
Becky's mouth worked open and shut with no sound. I don't think she had ever expected someone to challenge her on those grounds. She began to curse and make vague threats about people not spending any time around us, that we were abominations, that if you were bent you were going to hell.
I looked deeply into Greg's eyes and asked, "Can you help me? I'm bent. I'm so scared that I'll never get put back together."
He gathered me close and I felt that peace, that relaxed sensation of bliss he made in me. I felt, loved.