Paper Walls - 10. Chapter 10
“So, what’s Jeremy doing here?”
I shrug. “It’s kind of a long story.”
“Well, I have time,” he says, smirking.
“It’s something I don’t want to talk about.”
“Oh, my bad, man. Hey, are we cool?”
“Yeah, sorry, it’s just been a weird night and morning. Want to go to my room and chill?”
“No worries, man. Yeah, I figured school was canceled and I don’t have work, so I would see if you wanted to chill out.”
He follows me up to my room, and I realize there are clothes everywhere. “I am so sorry about the mess. Jeremy had to stay in my room last night, and I never picked up my clothes,” I say, trying to pick up as many clothes as possible.
I see Shawn hand me a shirt. “Thanks,” I say, blushing.
“It’s cool, man,” he says, leaning against my dresser.
“You look like you have a question.”
He shifts uncomfortably. “This is going to be weird, but how are you with.um…gay guys?”
My heart beats a little faster and I kind of fear that he’s figured it out. “I have no problem with gay guys,” I tell him, not looking in his eyes.
“Cool, look, I had to talk to you, because if not, Callen would have kept driving me and Garret crazy, so Garret asked me to ask you that.”
“Wait what? I am so confused.”
He pushes off the dresser. “Callen is gay.”
“Yeah, he’s gay and he has the biggest crush on you, and he knows you’re straight, and is scared to even ask you to hang out because he thinks that if you know he is gay, that you will not talk to him at all.”
I can’t help but laugh at the situation. Shawn gives me the craziest look. “What’s funny?”
“That he’s scared of me not being okay with the fact he is gay?”
“It’s not the fact that he’s gay. He’s just embarrassed that he has a crush on you.”
I laugh harder. “It’s funny, I thought you said you were gay.”
He laughs, “No, I am actually dating Renee. I’m straight, but I don’t have a problem with gay people. In fact. I love Callen like a little brother.”
It makes me sad to hear how straight he is, “I don’t care that he is gay…because I am.”
“Cool….wait, what did you just say?”
He moves towards me quickly and react by throwing a punch in his direction, but he catches my wrist. “Hey dude, it’s cool, man” he says.
“But, you’re okay with it?” I ask.
“Dude, I just told you I was okay with Callen being gay. Why wouldn’t I be okay with you being gay?”
“Because he is your best friend’s little brother and I am your teammate,” I say.
“Yeah, you’re my teammate, and I stand with my team. Dude, you’re fucking better than me at football, so no, I wouldn’t hate on you.”
“Thanks, man. Just, please don’t tell the team yet, cuz I’m not ready,” I tell him.
“Dude, the team will support you, man. If anyone has a problem with it, they can take it up with me and Garret.”
“Garret is a big advocate for the gay community. He supports his little brother no matter what. Plus, he doesn’t let anyone say anything negative about anyone who’s gay. Yes, he is a huge asshole, but trust me, he will be cool about it.”
“Garret and being cool sound so foreign together,” I joke.
“Are you out?” he asks.
“Yeah,, my parents know and so does Jeremy. I was out at my old school, and they were all cool about it. If not, Jeremy always handled them,” I say, laughing.
“So you think you might want to go out on a date with Callen?” Shawn asks.
“Wait, are you trying to fix me up with Callen?” I ask.
“Maybe. I mean, even if y’all don’t click like dating material, maybe he could be your friend, man. Don’t say you aren’t lonely. I can see it in you. Plus, Callen is a cool dude, and you might have fun! I think you two would be really good together.”
“I mean, he is cute.” I say, blushing.
“Awww, so then, maybe?”
“Yeah, but I mean, he doesn’t even know I’m gay.”
“I can tell him, or just set him up on a blind date,” Shawn says.
I try not to become excited. “That would be cool. I mean, it would be my first date.”
“Yeah! I mean, do you think Garret would be cool with me and Callen?”
“Yeah man,” he says, hesitantly.
“You’re not sure, are you Shawn?”
He hesitates before answering me, “No I’m not.”
”Well he needs to lighten up.”
“I know, he needs to.”
“No! He is going to have too.”
He gives me a confused look. “What do you mean?”
“Jeremy will be starting school here,”
“Yeah, and Jeremy is really protective of me,” I say, looking away from Shawn.
“I guess he will have to figure that out on his own, huh?” Shawn says, smiling.
“No!” I say, pushing him playfully.
“I love Garret like a brother, but he is an asshole,” he says, smiling.
“So how are you going to even get Callen to agree to go on a blind date?” I ask.
“I haven’t actually figured that part out just yet. Wait, take off your shirt,” he tells me.
“Just do it!” he says.
I take my shirt off and try not to blush, but I know I fail miserably at it. “Okay flex. Show your abs.”
I do as he says, and he grabs his phone and takes a picture of my stomach. “Dude, what are you doing?” I’m bewildered.
“Trust me, it’s just your abs and he won’t know who it is,” He says, typing on his phone.
“Who did you send that to?”
“Callen. Look. he opened it.”
“What did you tell him?”
“I said I have a blind date for you, and he asked how I would know if he would like this date. So I sent him a picture. Look, he replied!”
I move closer and read the text on his phone, “Holy shit! Who is that? They are ripped, and they want to go on a date with me? Don’t be messing with me, Shawn!”
I just smile. “So when is this date?”
“I was thinking, after the game, there is a nice place downtown. I will call and reserve it under Callen’s name. He has a friend that will drop him off.”
“Cool. I will get Jeremy to give me a ride, I guess. He can just use my mom’s car, maybe, hopefully,” I say.
As I say that, the door opens and Jeremy comes in. “Hopefully what?”
“You can take me to my date on Friday after the game,” I tell him.
“With who?” he asks, looking at Shawn.
“With a boy I know.”
He looks at me, not understanding, “Yeah, I will get your mom to let me use the car if I play my cards right.”
“I know you can. She loves you and we will think of something,” I tell him.
“So, you’re Shawn the quarterback?” Jeremy says.
“Yeah, nice to meet you, man. It’s actually kind of crazy, I mean, you are an amazing receiver and fast as hell,” Shawn says, smiling.
“I am only as good as the team. I am just one part of a whole unit. I can’t make a catch without depending on the team,” Jeremy says.
Shawn laughs. “You sound just like Ryder and Coach.”
Jeremy shrugs. “Coach breeds that into you, man. There is no one person out there on that field, bro. You are nothing without the person next to you and you’re only as good as they are. I am excited to be back playing for coach, and I really hope everyone on the team can see things his way, man.”
“Well, fuck, you’re making me want to throw the ball around. You in?” Shawn says, looking at us.
“Dude, I am so in!” I say grabbing a ball by my bed.
“Count me in!” Jeremy says. “Ryder, where’s your shirt?”
“Uh, right there,” I say, blushing.
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