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    Ethan
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Noah and Jordan - 26. Chapter Twenty-Six

*** JORDAN ***

All right, you can do this. My legs are spread shoulder-length apart. I’m crouched, ready to pounce. You got this, you can do this. But the ball doesn’t come my way. Instead, Sebastian tries to tip it over the net. And ... blocked! The ball falls to the floor on our side. Game over. And season over too. Tonight was do or die. And unfortunately, we just died.

“Good game guys,” I say to my teammates as we head back into the locker room. The mood is, as one would imagine, quite downcast. We knew this game wasn’t going to be easy, but we were still optimistic.

“You guys played well this year,” the coach says as we all gather in the locker room. “You all should be really proud. Obviously, there is still some room for improvement, but I think next year we can make it to the finals. We’ll meet at the end of the month to go over some admin stuff and have nominations for team positions for next year. But don’t think about any of that right now. Get changed.”

“You should think about going for team captain next year,” one of my teammates, Liam, says as we get dressed. Before this year, changing in a locker room never fazed me at all. It still doesn’t. I’ve been naked in front of others guys plenty of times. Yet, now that I’ve had a sexual awakening towards men, if you will, I’ve realized I have to be more cautious. I don’t want anyone to think my eyes are lingering, or that I’m leering or being creepy. Thankfully, that has never happened. I try my best to keep my eyes to myself.

As for captain, at our school we run for positions on our team. Liam’s comment catches most people’s attention. They stop and turn our way.

I dont know, I say. There are lots of other guys here who would probably be better.

You should go for it, another person says.

“Yeah man, you’d be really good,” a third chimes in.

I notice Sebastian is listening too. He graduates this year so he won’t be on the team next year. That is the only silver lining in all of this; I won’t have to play with him or see him again, ever. But I know he has been grooming one of his friends to take over when he leaves.

“This year was a mess,” the first teammate, Liam, says as we exit the locker room. “Don’t get me wrong, Sebastian is a great player, but he’s not a good captain. He doesn’t know how to build a team. And his hand-picked heir is just like him. I think you’d be good at it. And we could really use a guy like you.”

“I’ll think about, but thanks for your support.”

Team captain. It has a nice ring to it. Why not? The workload wouldn’t be that much more. And besides, it probably would look good on my med school application too, or I hope. After the game the team goes out for a few drinks. During that time a number of my teammates tell me I should run for captain. It looks like I have a lot of support. I could even win. Sebastian doesn’t say anything, but I can tell he is paying attention. I don’t know why he just won’t disappear now that the season is over. He is the one person I definitely won’t miss.

I’m back home in time for dinner with Noah. He was in the stands watching, but wasn’t able to join us for drinks. We all have a lot of work now that it’s the end of March and the term is almost over.

“Sorry, Jordan,” Noah says wrapping his arms around my waist when I return home.

Thats okay, I say to him. There is always next year.

Absolutely. You played great. Sebastian should have passed the ball to you at the end. If only he wasnt so self-centred. Im sure you would have gotten that point.

Well, I cant change him, but I could take his spot next year. A few of my teammates suggested I run for team captain. I seem to have a lot of support.

“You should totally do it! You would be great!”

You think so?

I know so.

“I’d probably be running against Sebastian’s best friend, Chris. He’s already named his hand-picked successor and has been lobbying on his behalf for the past few weeks. I know it’s not the same, but winning would kind of be like beating Sebastian, which would feel so, so good.”

“Then all the more reason to go for it. Captain Jordan. I like the sound of that and it gives me a good idea. I can’t believe we didn’t think of this before.”

“What are you up to?” I ask. I can never trust this guy.

“Oh nothing,” he says getting real close. “I was just thinking tonight when you come to bed perhaps you should put on that team uniform, captain,” he says with a not-so-subtle wink.

Damn it. That is a good idea. Fuck. Why didn’t I think about that before? I’ve had plenty locker room fantasies in the past few months. Now I’m horny. Really horny. I want Noah, now!

“Screw dinner. I can’t wait that long. Let’s go.”

I grab Noahs hand and take him into the bedroom.

*** NOAH ***

Wow. That was hot. I didn’t think Jordan’s volleyball uniform would turn me on that much. And Jordan, he really got into it too! Seems like someone has been harbouring a locker room fantasy for a few years. I don’t blame him. Hot, sweaty, half-naked guys all together in one room. I don’t know how he manages to stay soft. I would always be hard! We will definitely be trying that again. Maybe next time we can add in some ropes. Hmm.

After having sex, we take a nice, hot shower together. That leads to a bit more fooling around. Eventually we have dinner. We’re both in bed around midnight. I’m reading, while Jordan is playing a game on his phone, as he rubs his foot against my leg.

Our perfect, yet simple moment, is broken by the intrusive sound of my phone. It’s my mom. That’s odd.

“Hey, Mom,” I say picking up the phone. My mom usually calls me once or twice a week, but generally not this late. “Yeah Easter is this weekend ... yeah I know …” She is just reminding me again how nice it would have been if I came home for Easter. But, like I told her before a dozen times, exams are coming up so I can’t. Besides, Jenn has invited us over to her place for dinner on Sunday. She invited Aiden too.

“So, I figured I’d visit you instead,” she says to me.

Im sorry, what?

“I arrive this Thursday at two in the afternoon! Can you pick me up from the airport?”

“Of course. That’s great news mom …”

Oh, fuck.

That’s not great. It’s terrible. Why the heck is she visiting!? Thursday afternoon, as in less than two days from now, my mom will be here. Here in this house. Here where Jordan, my gay lover, the guy who just fucked her son, is now practically lying naked in bed.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

“What’s so great?” Jordan asks when I hang up the phone.

Um, my mom’s coming to visit for Easter. She arrives on Thursday.” I feel like I’m about to have a panic attack. Too late I’m having a panic attack.

“Oh …” is all Jordan can muster.

“I don’t know what we’re going to go,” I say as I struggle to breathe. “I don’t know why she’s coming. She’s never visited me before! Everything was going so well. It was prefect. We were finally …” I tilt my head back until it hits the wall. I close my eyes and exhale.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Jordan says as he moves closer. He places his left arm around my shoulder, and pulls me in close. “We’ll figure it out.”

His body close to mine helps calm me down. How I love this man.

“How long is she here for?” he asks.

She leaves Monday night.

“Okay, so it’s just a short visit. And we have some time, I’m sure we can figure something out together. Relax, I’m here for you,” he says placing his other hand on top of mine.

“You’re right. We can figure it out,” I say.

“Why don’t we run through some of our options and go from there, okay?”

“Yeah, that makes sense.” Thank God for him. I can’t even think right now.

“Obviously, the first question is are you ready to tell your mom?

I start to shake my head. “I don’t think …” Shit now I'm starting to hyperventilate.

He places his hand lightly on my chest. “Breathe, Noah. It’s okay. I get it.”

I take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. “I think it would be too much at once, telling her I’m gay, you’re my boyfriend, and that we’re living together … she’ll freak out.”

“I get that, that is a lot. And I’m not saying you have to tell her —”

“I know,” I say cutting him off.

“Okay, so moving to option B. We can put the spare bedroom back together again and I can move in there. And we can say that we are roommates.”

“Right …” That is an option. It could work. But just having Jordan so close. My mom is very invasive. Say if I do something, or I say something …

“Or,” he continues, “if it makes you feel more comfortable I can … I can ask Aiden if I can stay with him for a few days.”

I drop my head in shame. Why am I so weak?

“I’m sorry, Jordan …” I’m the one who asked him to move in. He left his dorm for me. Now, because of me and my insecurities he might have to leave.

“Hey, don’t be. Look at me,” he says placing his hand under my chin. “I love you. I’m here for you. And I’ll do whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable. That’s my job.”

I rest my head on his bare shoulder, as he softly weaves his fingers through my hair.

“I really don’t deserve you,” I say.

“No, you don’t, but that’s a conversation for later. We need to get through this first. And we will. Together.”

“Thank you,” I say squeezing his free hand. Finally, I can breathe.

“I guess I’ll finally get to meet your mom, Jordan says. “That should be interesting. Do you think she’ll like me?”

“As my friend, absolutely. But as my boyfriend … uh … probably not.”

“Hey, I’m sure I can win her over with my charm. I won you over, didn’t I?”

The fact that he can make me laugh even when I’m so stressed is not lost on me. “Yeah. I think my mom might be a bigger challenge. I know the way I describe her it seems like she is insanely intense. She can be. But honestly, she really is a great mother. I’ve learned so much from her. I am who I am today because of her, because of her love.”

“I’m sure she’s a great mom. You turned out just okay, so she must have done something right!” he laughs.

And that’s when I remember. The dildo. Shit. I sit back up straight.

We’re going to have to de-gayify this place … move out those DVDs we got … oh, and the dildo in my drawer ... and the magazines …” Shit. I’m starting to panic again. “What if we miss something?”

“Hey, it’s okay,” Jordan says as he gently guides my head back to his shoulder. He again wraps his left arm around my body, and with his other combs through my hair, bringing comfort to my soul. “We’ll move or hide everything. Don’t worry. I told you, I’m here for you. We can figure all of this out tomorrow. Don’t stress about it right now, there is nothing either of us can do tonight. Just relax, and get some sleep. That will help clear your mind. And we’ll figure it all out tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay.”

Im awake the entire night.

——— 

“This Thursday!?” Jenn says slamming her coffee cup loudly on the table. “As in tomorrow!”

I messaged Jenn last night to come over after our first class for an emergency meeting. When I left this morning, Jordan was still asleep. He’s now at school. He messaged to see if I’m okay. I told him I’m feeling better. I’ve had time to calm down and think. I told him we’ll talk when he comes home this afternoon.

“Yes! I’ve been here three years and not once has she come to visit! Yet, now that I have a guy living with me, she decides to come. I honestly have the worst luck ever.”

“So, what are you going to do?

“I don’t know yet.”

“Do you think you’re ready to tell her?” Jenn asks.

I was up all night long thinking about just that question. Am I ready? Am I ready to tell my mom the truth? As much as I would love to say I am, that Jordan’s love has pulled me through, the honest answer is, I’m not. I’m not there yet. I just need more time. I need to find a way to make her okay with all of this … maybe be okay with Jordan … and then tell her.

“I wish I was, I honestly do … but I’m not. You know her, you know how she is … I just …” I sigh, “I’m just afraid.”

“If you’re looking for the perfect time, you may never find one. This could be a sign from the universe that you should tell her,” Jenn says.

“It could be …”

“And you have to tell her eventually.”

“I know … I just always thought that would be much further down the road … once she got to know Jordan.

“Well, she can get to know Jordan now,” Jenn says.

“Right … and maybe she’ll love him just like she loves you … and then when I tell her truth … maybe … just maybe … she won’t … she won’t be so disappointed …” No matter when I tell her, I know she’ll be disappointed. If I think otherwise, I’m fooling myself.

“I know your mom. Even if she does end up loving Jordan, the moment she realizes the things you two do in bed, she won’t love him anymore.”

“I know. I know. I just … what’s the alternative? I can’t tell her I’m gay, and that I have a boyfriend, and that we’re living together the moment she walks through the door. That would be too much … I have to find a way to ease her into this.”

“Right, and I agree with you on that. Kissing your boyfriend the moment she walks through the door probably isn’t a good idea.”

“It’s not …”

“Did you tell Jordan?” she asks.

Yeah, we were in bed together when my mom called.

“What did he say?”

“He was really supportive. He suggested putting the spare bedroom back together, and that he can use that and we can pretend we’re roommates … or that he could move in with Aiden for a few days.”

“And what did you guys decide?”

“We haven’t made a decision yet. We’re going to talk this afternoon,” I say.

“Which option do you prefer?”

I hate myself. I really, really hate myself right now.

“That he moves in with Aiden.” I can tell from Jenn’s face that she thinks I’m an awful person. A coward. An ass. “I know it’s the wrong choice, and that you think I’m an ass —”

“I didn’t say anything,” she says cutting me off.

“But you’re thinking it. You think he should stay, don’t you?”

“I think you should tell your mother the truth. But I understand that you’re not there yet, and I respect that. So, I think the next best option is to say he’s your roommate. You said you want her to get to know Jordan, this is the perfect opportunity. She’ll see you two living together and just how amazing he is.”

“Or she could find out the truth …” I say.

“Unless youre that horny and can’t refrain from having sex for five minutes, I think you’ll be okay. I’m sure you can pretend to be roommates for a few days. Besides, if Jordan moves out then how will your mom get to know him?”

“I figured they’d meet on Sunday at your place.”

“She’s not going to really get to know him in an hour,” Jenn points out.

“I know …”

“Look, I don’t mean to be hard on you,” Jenn says, “I know this is difficult. And if it’s too much to have him in the house, I understand. That doesn’t make you a bad person, Noah.”

“But I feel like one,” I say.

“Then ask him to stay.”

I sigh. I honestly don’t know what to do. “I’ll think about it. But in the meantime, if you don’t mind, can you keep a few things at your place? I’d rather my mom not find the dildo you gave me for Christmas.

She smiles. “Right! I forgot about that. Yeah, that would be hard to explain. You never told me in the end if you used it.”

“And I'm not going to,” I reply.

“You totally used it!” she says with a big smile. But yeah, that’s fine, you can leave whatever you want at my place.”

“Thank you.”


*** JORDAN ***

I didn’t think just under three months after moving in with Noah, I would be moving out so soon. At least, temporarily. But here I am, sitting on the couch in Aiden’s apartment. I brought some of my stuff this morning before going to class. I didn’t bring everything because some of my clothes can easily pass as Noah’s.

Was I happy to leave? No, not really. But in the end, it was my choice. Yesterday after I got back home from school I had a long talk with Noah. We went through all of our options again. He wasn’t sure if I should stay or if I should go. He clearly was torn. Part of him wanted me to stay, so that I could meet his mom. But the other part was nervous it would be too much. Or that she would figure out we’re more than roommates. I knew deep down he wanted me to leave, but that he would never admit it. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m right. I don’t know. But I made the decision for Noah. As much as I wanted to stay, I told him I would leave.

Why did I make that decision? Well, because I understand his position. I want him to come out, but his mom coming here and seeing us living together is probably not the best way for her to find out. It’s my job to protect and help Noah. He clearly is scared. He looked so pale yesterday. My heart was breaking for him. I didn’t want him to spend the weekend on pins and needles. So, I figured it’s best that I leave. To be honest, part of me was hoping Noah would ask me to stay. That he would say he wanted me there, not far away. Did I think that would happen? The delusional part of me thought it would, but the realist in me knew it wouldn’t.

When I left, Noah left too to get his mom from the airport. She landed a short time ago. Noah sent me a message from the airport.

The only bright spot in my day, I formally threw in my name for team captain. As expected, Sebastian’s friend is also running. But based on the vibe from the group I think I will win. It feels good to know people actually like me and want me to be their leader. The vote is on Tuesday, after the long weekend. Oh, and that is the other good thing about today. We have both Friday and Monday off. So, four days to do nothing. Well, I have a lot of schoolwork to do. Exams start soon!

“Thanks again for letting me stay here,” I say to Aiden when he gets home from work.

Not a problem, anytime. I know this isnt the arrangement you were hoping for.

“No, it’s not. I’d rather be at home with Noah, but I think this is for the best.”

Yeah, in-laws can be super annoying.”

True. The way Noah describes her, his mom is quite the lady. Shes super involved in her childrens lives and doesnt know anything about boundaries. From what I hear she is a force to be reckoned with.

Ha, well youll get to see just how involved she is first-hand on Sunday, and make a good impression on your potential future mother-in-law.

“True.”

“So, is Noah going to tell her anything about you?”

“I doubt it. He says he is still thinking about it, that he’ll try to bring up the subject this weekend, but I don’t know. Maybe he will.”

“This could be a good thing,” Aiden says. “Her visit could be a catalyst for Noah to eventually come out. You never know.”

“You’re right. And that’s part of the reason why I decided to leave, because it will give him room to, I hope, comfortably talk to his mom.”

“I hope you’re right, he says.

“So am I.”


*** NOAH ***

“And this is where I live …” I say to my mom as we step inside my apartment.

Immediately, I’m struck by how different this place feels without Jordan. It’s not like he moved all of his stuff; he just took a few things. And he’s only gone for a few days. But still, it’s as if all the warmth and joy has been sucked right out of the air. It's just not the same without him.

“It’s really nice,” my mom says when I’m done giving her a tour.

“All right, how about you get settled, and then we’ll go for dinner in a bit. I know this great place,” I say.

“Oh, we can stay in tonight. I’ll cook you a nice home cooked meal. On the way home she inquired about what I have in the fridge, and if we need to pick up any groceries for her to cook.

“Nope, not happening. I told you, you’re on vacation, you’re not doing any work. Tonight, we’re going out. Tomorrow, I’m going to make YOU a nice dinner. And then on Sunday, Easter dinner is at Jenn’s place. You’re not cooking!”

She’s totally going to cook before she leaves. But that’s fine. She’s my mom and I kind of miss her cooking. Even though I’m nervous that she is here, I’m also happy and kind of excited. She’s my mom. I love her. And I’m glad we get to spend some time together.

“Okay, if you insist. Just give me a few minutes and I’ll be ready.”

“Take your time.”

I decide to lounge on the couch while my mom freshens up.

“Are you taking advanced biology?”

“What?” I say sitting up. The question catches me off guard.

“Advanced Biology,” she says holding up one of Jordan’s textbooks. He clearly forgot that here. “I didn’t know you needed that for a history degree.”

“Um, no I don’t. My friend was over the other day to study, and he forgot that here. I haven’t had the chance yet to give that back to him,” I lie. Great, off to a good start! Now I’m wondering what else I might have missed that obviously does not belong to me.

“Okay. Well, I’m ready when you are,” she says.

“I’m ready. Let’s go!”

It’s not too cold outside so we decide to walk. Good. That will allow me to put my plan in action. I purposely make us walk through the gay village. You can’t miss the rainbow flags and the posters of bare-chested men on light posts.

Almost immediately I can tell my mom is uncomfortable.

“What do you think of the city so far?” I ask.

“It’s nice. But you should avoid areas like this.”

“Areas like what?” I ask playing dumb.

“You know what I mean, Noah.”

“I honestly have no idea.” I want her to say it. I want her to say the word.

“The area with men who are, you know.”

“With men who are what? Gay?” I guess I’ll have to use the word.

“Just avoid areas like this,” she says.

“It’s faster this way. Otherwise, we would have had to walk around and that would have taken an extra ten minutes,” I lie. This is actually the longer way.

“Go around then. Ten minutes isn’t a lot.”

“Why?”

“Because I said so Noah,” she responds.

“That’s not an answer. What’s so wrong with walking down a street that happens to have some gay shops and bars on it?”

“Someone might see you and think you approve of that lifestyle.”

“Mom, I think that’s a bit of a stretch. And what’s wrong with that lifestyle?”

She looks at me as if I’m the biggest idiot in the world.

“Didn’t you learn anything in Sunday school?” she asks.

“Yeah, that you should be tolerant,” I say.

“It’s wrong, it’s unnatural and against God’s will.” As she says this a man in drag walks by. “Like that. Men should dress like men, not women.”

“Why does that matter? It’s not like what they’re doing is hurting you.”

“It’s hurting our children and putting bad ideas in their head. Then there is all of this nonsense of allowing them to use whichever washroom they want. It’s not right. Don’t tell me you approve of it?”

Clearly, this is not going well.

“I do. To each their own. Who am I to judge? I even have a gay friend.” And a boyfriend, I should add.

She gives me a look indicating she clearly does not approve. “You should stop hanging out with him.”

“Why? He’s a really good guy,” I say. I’m talking about Jordan, not Sebastian. He’s an awful human being.

“Just trust me.”

“Are you worried he’ll rub his gayness off on me?” I ask sarcastically.

She looks at me with a stern face. “Don’t say such stupid things! You should thank the Lord he gave you a good head, and a religious heart, and that you haven’t been led astray. You don’t know what kind of activities that friend of yours is getting up to, or what kind of diseases he may have.”

Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. “Not all gay men have AIDS.”

It’s just better to be safe. You don’t want that influence.”

“So, wait, hypothetically speaking, are you saying to me you wouldn’t love me if I told you that I’m gay?” I have to ask. I need to know.

She is clearly repulsed by the thought. “I told you, Noah, don’t say such stupid things! It’s not funny. I’m so glad that you all turned out okay. I think I’d die if …” she pauses. “Let’s talk about something else,” she says.

She’d rather die than have a gay son. Great. I’m fucking screwed.

 

*** JORDAN ***

My original plan for tonight was to spend time with Noah, but Aiden isn’t a bad substitute. By the time I settle into the extremely uncomfortable couch, which I shall call my bed, it is ten o’clock. As I am about to doze off my phone starts to buzz. I have a new text message. Private name and private number. Weird.

Be careful, captain.

What in the world does that mean?

Then I receive a short video.

Fuck.

Oh, fuck.

This is not good.

Where did this even come from?

Then I get another message. “Drop out, unless you want the world to know. Think about it. You have until Tuesday. Enjoy :) 

Shit. This is bad.

——— 

“You’re up early,” Aiden says the next morning. Even though its a holiday he is up at his regular time. Force of habit, I guess.

I didnt sleep at all.

Couch was that uncomfortable?

It wasnt the couch. It was this.

I pull up the video and hand over my phone. The video is only a few seconds long. It starts with someone leaning in and kissing me on the lips. The kiss lasts only a few seconds. You can’t really see who the other guy is at first. His face is partially covered by my hand, but he is somewhat recognizable. You can tell it is a guy and not a girl. You can also tell where the video was shot. Inside a gay club. There are lots of men dancing in the background.

Im a bit confused. That's obviously Noah, right? Aiden asks.

Yeah.”

And where was this shot?”

“It’s from Valentine’s Day. I took Noah to a gay club.”

“Oh, right. So, who shot this and where did it come from?”

“I don’t know. Someone just sent it to me last night. Along with two text messages threatening me to drop out of the volleyball captain race. They say if I don’t, they’ll release this video.

“Oh. Shit. Do you know who sent it?”

“I have a strong suspicion it’s the captain of my volleyball team, Sebastian.” Aiden knows all about Sebastian. I told him the full story a few weeks ago. Who else could it be? Plus, it makes sense that it was Sebastian. He could have been at the club.

“What a fucking douche. Did you message the number back?”

Yeah, but no response.

Has Noah seen this yet?

“I have no idea. I haven’t spoken to him yet. I assume Sebastian would have messaged him too, that is sort of his style.”

What are you going to do?

“I don’t know what to do. I keep thinking about Noah. He is going to freak out!”

“Yeah, he is.”

“He’s not ready to come out. And his mom is here right now! He’s already stressed.”

“I know. But it doesn’t seem like he has a choice. He might be forced to come out. Can you talk to Sebastian?”

“I could, but I don’t trust him. Even if I drop out, he very well could release this video.”

“That’s true.”

“It’s so fucking unfair,” I say. “Sebastian is gay. He should know that’s not something you can just take away from someone!”

“You could always out him as well,” Aiden points out.

“We could … but … as I just said … I don’t think it’s right for someone else to make that decision. Even though I hate him … I just … I don’t know if I can drop to his level.”

“You could always threaten him, at least.”

“I could. But I honestly just don’t know what to do.

For a second, forget whether Sebastian will keep his promise … do you even want to drop out? Or do you want to be captain?”

“I want to be captain, I think that would be great, and I think I would be good at it too, but it’s not something I have to do right now; I can always go for it the year after. Whats important is Noah. I really care about him and I don’t want to lose him. In an ideal world I would have both. I would tell Noah and he would say screw Sebastian, let him release the video, who cares. But I know that’s only a dream. I have to drop out. I don’t have any other choice.”

“I guess all you can do then is hope Sebastian lives up to his promise. I’m sorry, Jordan. This really sucks.”

“I know.”

——— 

I have to talk to Noah. I know he’s busy with his mom but I don’t have a choice. If I know Sebastian at all, then I know he didn’t just message me. He also probably sent something to Noah to drive a wedge between us. After talking to Aiden, I message Noah that we need to talk. A few minutes later my phone rings.

“What’s going on Jordan? Is everything okay? I got your message and I also got another really weird one a few minutes ago from a private number. All it said was that I need to get you to change course or there will be consequences. It was really bizarre. What does that even mean?”

Yeah, thats what I want to talk to you about. I think Sebastian is up to no good again. Look, we should talk in person. Can you get away today at all?

Yeah. My mom is still sleeping. I probably have an hour at most.”

“Where can we meet thats private?”

I dont know, everything is closed today.

“Could we meet at Jenn’s place? Maybe she can go out for a bit?

I can ask her.

“Okay, I’ll see you there in five minutes.”

Okay.

——— 

Im surprised at how easily Jenn leaves. I thought she would be annoying and ask a million questions. Noah must have said something to her. She goes off for a morning run.

I have something important to show you, I say to Noah when she is gone. But before I do, I want you to know that if we work together, we can figure this out. Okay?

“Okay.”

I show him the video. I can see the panic grow in his eyes. He is scared. All he says is “fuck” repeatedly. And thats big for Noah. He rarely swears. He starts to pace back and forth. He is breathing heavily.

I think Sebastian sent it, I say.

Probably …” he says, his voice heavy.

“The video also came with a message for me to drop out of the race for volleyball captain, or else this will be made public.”

“Then drop out,” he says instantly. “Text him back right away and tell him you quit. This can’t come out.”

How do we know he wont release the video anyway?

“We don’t ... but we have to trust him …” he stutters. “We don’t have a choice. This can’t come out, Jordan. This will ruin everything. Everyone will know about us!” His voice is starting to rise. He is shaking.

Hearing him say ‘this will ruin everything’ burns my soul. But I will let it go. He’s stressed. He didn’t mean it.

“Noah, I’ll drop out, you know I’d do anything for you … but I think we need to be realistic here and prepare that he may still release this video,” I say calmly.

But he’s not listening to me.

“I told you we needed to be more careful, but you didn’t listen. The video was obviously recorded on Valentine’s Day when we went out to the club. I knew I shouldn’t have gone.”

I expected Noah to be scared, and I was prepared for it, but the last line makes me very angry.

“I didn’t force you to go, Noah. I gave you a choice.”

“You did not give me a choice,” he says angrily.

“I did! I didn’t put a gun to your head. And if memory serves me correctly YOU kissed ME, not the other way around. This isn’t my fault, Noah.”

“I’m not saying it’s your fault … it’s just … I did those things because I knew it was what you wanted, not because I wanted to do them.” Now he is being outright confrontational.

“I didn’t force you to do anything. You did everything on your own. You’re a free man, you can do whatever you want.” I say now with a hint of anger in my voice.

Am I? You guilt-trip me into not going as fast as you. You just keep pushing me to do more and to be more open like you. Im not you. Im not as comfortable as you. But you just dont get that. And this is what happens in the end, he says pointing his finger at my phone, fury in his eyes.

What the hell is this guy talking about?

“When was the last time I asked you about coming out?” I ask calmly.

You havent for a while, but —”

“Exactly. I haven’t because I know you’re not ready. I haven’t been pushing you at all. Rather, I’ve been nothing but supportive. There was no way for me to know Sebastian would be there and that he would be this sick and vindictive. I don’t care what other people think of me, but I know you do.” I am so angry I can barely control myself. I really want to punch the pillow on the couch. But I refrain myself.

“I’ve jumped through hoops for you. I offered to move when you found out your mom was coming to visit. I didn’t have to, but I did, because I know you’re scared. Do you think I wanted to go? No. I wanted to stay. I wanted you to ask me to stay. But I left. I left because of you. Because I wanted to help you. Because I made a promise to support you no matter what.

And in terms of the video, even before I came here, I decided to drop out. I decided I would do whatever it takes to make sure you feel comfortable. Even if that means giving up something I want. Because in the end, to me, all that matters is you. That was my plan all along. I’ll message the number right now to drop out. The vote isn’t until Tuesday so I don’t know what Sebastian will do or if he will release it anyway.”

“I know you care, Jordan … I know you do and I didn’t mean ...” he sighs. “I’ll talk to Sebastian. I’ll convince him somehow.”

“I don’t think thats a good idea. Sebastian is manipulative. He’ll find a way to spin that around to hurt you and me even more.”

I have to do something to fix this mess! I have to try at least!”

“Whatever, I don’t know why I bother with you. I know you’ll just do what you want anyway.”

And what is that supposed to mean? he asks, his voice as sharp as daggers.

“Nothing,” I say. I would rather not prolong this fight by calling him stubborn.

Both of us just stand there looking at the floor. We’re at opposite sides of the room, avoiding eye contact. All you can hear is heavy breathing. I want him to say something. I want him to apologize. But he doesn’t say anything.

I think its best you dont come to Jenns place for dinner on Sunday.

You have to be kidding.

“And why is that?” I say looking back at him. “Are you that paranoid your mom might find out just by looking at me?”

There is just too much going on right now. If this was your mom youd understand, he says.

Ill call my mom right now, this minute, this very instant, and tell her about us if that is what you want. Im not afraid like you, I yell back at him.

You just dont get it do you? My family isnt like your family. You dont know just how religious and conservative they are. They will banish me from my house. I will lose everything.

“I get that. I understand. And I’m not saying you have to tell them now. But you have to tell them eventually. And even if they ditch you, you’ll still have me. Do I not count for anything? Or are you just never planning on telling them?”

I know I shouldn’t say all this, but I’m angry. I’ve been holding on to all of this for too long. It’s now all coming out, and I can’t stop myself.

“It’s been five months! FIVE DAMN MONTHS! Some people take years coming out to their parents, and you can’t even wait a few months? You knew all of this when you started dating me. I made it VERY clear that I wouldn’t just jump out of the closet for you!” His face is flush red.

Youve known youre gay since youve been in high school. Youve known for years. So, dont talk to me about months.

You have no right to tell me how long it should take me to come out, he says with venom in his voice.

“Fine, I admit I don’t,” I say with my voice starting to drop. “But we’re in a relationship together. I’m not just any guy. I’m the guy you say you love. I want us to be together Noah, I’ve made that very, very clear. But I can only do that if I know there is a chance that we can actually be together. I’m okay with waiting. I can wait with you. A few more months, a year, two years. That’s fine. I’ll wait as long as it takes. But I can’t wait forever. I need to know there will be a time in your life when you will be comfortable with telling your parents, or coming out in general. There has to be a time that we can be together as a NORMAL couple. Otherwise, if you don’t see yourself doing that EVER, then we’re just wasting our time.”

Then it seems like were just wasting our time.

His comment hits me like a dagger straight through the heart.

“Fine,” I say in a completely calm voice. I don’t know what else to say to him. I’m done. “I’ll drop out of the race. I won’t come to Sunday dinner. And I will stay far, far away from you and your mother. Okay? I hope that makes you happy.”

He doesnt say anything back. He is looking the other way.

I make my way to the door. I know I shouldn’t say it, but I just can’t help myself. “Good luck with Sebastian. Clearly you trust him more than me. Maybe now he’ll finally get what he wants.”

Before I slam the door I look back. His eyes are filled with rage.

So, that was kind of intense.

I know not everyone will be happy with what just happened.
All I can say is I hope you trust me, and stick around to see how it all unfolds.

Leave your thoughts below. As always, thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2018 Ethan; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments



I think they're both overreacting on this. Noah's face isn't in the video so he should be fine even if the video gets around to his mother. He's already told her that he has a gay friend. He should also be more aware and understanding of Jordan's wishes to be captain and not shoot it down immediately after seeing the video. 

 

At the same time, I don't think that Jordan should be pushing so hard to getting Noah to come out. It should be Noah's decision. He even said that it's wrong to out Sebastian, so why would he want to keep pushing for Noah to come out to his parents? If having a boyfriend who's out is a deal breaker for Jordan, then he shouldn't be dating Noah. 

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27 minutes ago, JBR1977 said:

I get Noah being scared, but does he have to be such a vindictive bastard by trying to blame everything on Jordan? Jordan isn’t pressuring Noah to come out right now.. he even said he’d be willing to wait years for Noah to be comfortable enough to come out. I understand the fear Noah has at the thought of losing his family and education should his family find out he’s gay, but god, he’s such a drama queen. Jordan didn’t force Noah to go to the gay bar, he asked Noah if he’d be willing to go. Noah said yes. Now Noah is saying this is all Jordan’s fault because Noah said yes FOR Jordan? He had the option to say no, that he didn’t feel comfortable with it, that it wasn’t the right time for him to make that move. But no, he agreed to it and had a good time. At this point, I’m leaning towards Jordan telling Noah they need a break and that Noah needs to reflect on what he really wants. 

 

Oh, and fuck Noah for thinking Sebastard will keep his word and trusting him over Jordan. 

 

I agree with most of what you said. Noah is the bigger problem here, but although Jordan isn't exactly pressuring Noah to come out right now, it feels like that's what he wants. So that does kind of seep through. If Noah doesn't come out now, Jordan seems to want an exact timeline when he will come out, which is something that Noah can't do and something I find unreasonable. However, that said, I think Noah is being more unreasonable in this situation as a whole.

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This inability to understand the other person's point of view regarding coming out seems to just go back and forth between them. First it was Noah and Jenn, then Jordan and Aiden, now it's back to Noah with his mom.

 

Edit: actually the first one's not true. Jordan was very supportive there.

Edited by Geoffrey257
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@Geoffrey257 @everett Weedin jr

Noah's face being obstructed in the video is from the original -- there were a few lines that explained that later -- but I now realize I took them out. So that is my bad. I should have been more clear that while his face is partially obstructed, you can still tell, for those that know Noah, that it is him. I'll make sure I clarify that in the next chapter. I may make a small edit here to not make it sound like he is totally unrecognizable. sorry, guys. But thanks for pointing that out. 

 

I just did make a slight edit -- and as mentioned, I'll make reference to it in the next chapter in case people don't realize the change. 

Edited by Ethan
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maybe because of my upbringing, I connect with Jordan a hundred per cent in the argument... unfortunately, that'd lead to my stubbornness to grow and start thinking about putting an end to the relationship... those drifts are difficult to repair... 😕

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Noah...may not be worth all of Jordan's stress and heartache!! :no: He always appears to be a bit selfish and self-righteous at times...he is his own worse enemy!:facepalm: Grow up and grow "some", Noah...or live with your bigoted Momma all your life!!!:devil:

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I'm,tired of Noah. On one hand... I get his concerns .....but he is a man-child. He's just gonna pretend forever to make his family happy? To have them support him financially? Isn't he almost graduated??

 

Maybe I'm just too out of touch with youth, and can't remember how it was to be financially dependent.... But I'm over this mess.  Its dragging along with Noahs babylike attitude.  

 

Jordan deserves better.  Give Him a HEA .....with literally anyone else.  

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39 minutes ago, Onim said:

Noah...may not be worth all of Jordan's stress and heartache!! :no: He always appears to be a bit selfish and self-righteous at times...he is his own worse enemy!:facepalm: Grow up and grow "some", Noah...or live with your bigoted Momma all your life!!!:devil:

Yes. 

 

Team ditch noah

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If I'm honest I have to admit that my heart got a little crack during their intense argument. :,( 😿 (I understand though that bad things have to happen to keep the story realistic and the suspense up.)

 

I see Noah's fear, but he really isn't being fair to Jordan. Noah said some very hurtful things.

 

So, concerning the fight I'm with Jordan. Even there Jordan kept calm most of the time and was so supportive - in his words I could feel his love for Noah and his kind, good soul was shining through. (The fight being portrayed from Jordan's perspective maybe helped to understand his feelings a bit better, but for the most part his words were the important thing, I'd say.)

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@Onim True, Noah does appear to be his worst enemy at times. 

 

@Starrynight22 I'll try to highlight it again somewhere in the chapter -- but I do just want to be clear with Noah, it is not a money thing, or being financially dependent on his family. That's not what drives him at all. If they took away all the money, he would be fine, he would managed on his own. His concern is them physically leaving his life. And not just his Mom, he feels if she goes, she'll forcefully take his Dad, Brother, Sister, Nephews, Nieces with her. 

 

And as for whether or not Jordan should ditch Noah -- all I say is this -- something I think most of us do -- when you love someone, you overlook certain traits or qualities, and instead fight to help them as much as you can -- because you can't imagine life without them. 

 

I'm really going to have to work hard to repair Noah's reputation! 😬 Better get back to writing ... 

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2 hours ago, Ethan said:

@Onim True, Noah does appear to be his worst enemy at times. 

 

@Starrynight22 I'll try to highlight it again somewhere in the chapter -- but I do just want to be clear with Noah, it is not a money thing, or being financially dependent on his family. That's not what drives him at all. If they took away all the money, he would be fine, he would managed on his own. His concern is them physically leaving his life. And not just his Mom, he feels if she goes, she'll forcefully take his Dad, Brother, Sister, Nephews, Nieces with her. 

 

And as for whether or not Jordan should ditch Noah -- all I say is this -- something I think most of us do -- when you love someone, you overlook certain traits or qualities, and instead fight to help them as much as you can -- because you can't imagine life without them. 

 

I'm really going to have to work hard to repair Noah's reputation! 😬 Better get back to writing ... 

Yeah, go back to work and try very very hard, the hardest you have ever to repair the damage the spoilt ungrateful  brat have caused. 

Dump the chicken and tell him to man up and grow a pair!

Team Jordan.

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Yup, I’m 100% Team Jordan on this one. And while I appreciate @Ethan‘s explication of Noah’s perspective, and I can see how he has valid concerns, his utter disregard for Jordan is disturbing, and doesn’t bode well for their future. When confronted with the possibility of being outed, Noah’s immediate reaction is to throw his relationship with Jordan out the window and blame Jordan for the actions that Noah took? And then, not even consider coming out one day - even years in the future - to give Jordan (and Noah) the hope for a better tomorrow? Not only does that speak volumes about the type of person Noah is, but it shows a lot about how he will handle stressful and difficult situations in their relationship in the future. If I were Jordan, I would seriously take that into consideration when thinking about a long-term relationship with Noah. 

 

That said, Jordan and Noah are basically kids. This is their first adult relationship so there is a learning curve. So much growing up to do, and so much to learn about life and what it means to be a good partner.

 

But that’s what I love about this story. It’s a realistic portrayal about falling and being in love, warts and all. I’m still rooting for a HEA with these two. And, selfishly, I’m hoping there’s more drama to come to ensure there’s lots more to read! 

 

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Neither Jordan nor Noah made the best decisions in this chapter and they clearly both said things in anger they shouldn’t. I can sympathize with both characters as while Noah was out of line saying Jordan was trying to get him to come out it’s clear especially when reading Jordan’s POV that he does strongly want Noah to come out despite his not pushing it, which terrifies Noah and I can understand why Noah is terrified especially after his mother said she’d die if he was gay. I can also understand why Jordan doesn’t want to hide their relationship...though I do find it strange he hasn’t told anyone else that he’s bi. I mean it’s surprising he’s apparently not that hesitant about coming out despite not having told anyone beyond Aiden and of course Jenn as he is surrounded by guys who might not take it well. I’d like to think his mom would be accepting though you never know. These two guys just come from different worlds and have different outlooks on life which means they can’t always understand how the other feels. That parting shot from Jordan was horrible but they both said terrible things they didn’t mean. I’m sure they’ll both regret what they said when they’ve had time to cool off and as for that tape...who knows what’ll happen besides @Ethan of course. 😂 As Aiden said maybe it’ll be a catalyst prompting Noah to come out or will force him to though I’m worried about how he’ll be treated by his family afterwards. Money isn’t everything though life will surely be much harder once they learn he’s gay and both parents will likely lose their minds along with those relatives who were already commenting negatively on his doing things like cooking. Noah can adjust to having a limted income and tight budget though he won’t be able to just adjust to being abandoned by his family if that occurs. They have a bumpy road ahead of themselves.

Edited by NimirRaj
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1 minute ago, NimirRaj said:

..... That parting shot from Jordan was horrible......

I respectfully disagree. After (as we say in the South) pitching that hissy fit, Noah got exactly what he deserved. All throughout this chapter it's apparent that Jordan bends over backwards and thinks of Noah first and foremost. Noah acted like an ass.  That parting shot was mild compared to what I would have done, but then I'm a vengeful bastard. LOL.   I'm 💯 Team Jordan on this one, and yes @Ethan you do have a whole bunch of work to do to repair this mess.  

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2 minutes ago, spyke said:

I respectfully disagree. After (as we say in the South) pitching that hissy fit, Noah got exactly what he deserved. All throughout this chapter it's apparent that Jordan bends over backwards and thinks of Noah first and foremost. Noah acted like an ass.  That parting shot was mild compared to what I would have done, but then I'm a vengeful bastard. LOL.   I'm 💯 Team Jordan on this one, and yes @Ethan you do have a whole bunch of work to do to repair this mess.  

Being from the south myself I know how powerful a southerner’s anger can be so I can see where you’re coming from though I don’t think I can say Noah deserved to be wished good luck with Sebastian as well as told Sebastián might get what he wants considering Sebastian almost raped him. I’m not team anyone as I don’t condone what either one said.

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