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    Sam Wyer
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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All About Jake - 1. Chapter 1

Here goes, a whole new beginning.

"So Mum, about tonight..."

"You're date?"

"Yeah. About that."

We were sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee, just me and Mum. Dad was working late as always, and my little brother Josh was out playing football, as always. Not that he's so little, he's 16 so only a year younger than me. Mum works for a publishing company so is mostly working from home, Dad is a finance manager for 'those evil capitalist bastards' as Josh refers to them, but they also pay really well so we have a nice life. He’s a bit idealistic, but I suppose that's OK. Josh that is, not Dad. To be fair, Mum works hard too, and earns good money, so we're probably pretty well off. From the outside, we look like a happy family group. We all get on OK, without having to be best friends with each other. My parents are embarrassingly liberal both in their views and their actions. Josh is heading towards some kind of sporting fame, except for the fact that he's more likely to end up being a doctor for Medecins Sans Frontieres or something, and I'm progressing well towards my long held goal of working in neurobiology. So yes, it's probably fair to class us as high-achievers, but I've never felt pressured to be like that. Mum and dad are both really clear, and I believe them, that we can do whatever we want in the future, as long as we do something.

"Kay, you're going to be fine. Just don't worry about it. I know it's been a while since the whole Sarah thing, but you look great, so just be yourself, and try to have fun."

Kay, as everyone calls me, is short for Kaiden. But no-one calls me that other than mum or dad if I'm seriously in trouble for something. Which doesn’t happen much. For such a clever woman, my mum can be really stupid sometimes. 'The whole Sarah thing' being a superb example. Either that, or she was being deliberately obtuse just to make me feel awkward. But I don’t really think it was that. Which makes me feel bad. For such a liberal family, it's stupid that this situation persists. Stupid, and totally my own doing.

#####

Sarah goes to college with me and we've known each other for about forever. She is an amazing person, funny, intelligent, caring, interesting, almost everything you could ever ask for. Except of course, she's a girl. About a year ago, in a last ditch attempt to prove to myself that I wasn't gay, we started to date. It is, at least now, a hilarious story of misadventure that the two of us share. But at the time, it was really tough. Predictably, we had a totally great time hanging out together, going out with friends together, cinema, bars,
clubs, parties, all great. After all, I guess we both already knew that we liked doing all that stuff together since we've been hanging out like that as friends for years. Equally predictably, anything beyond the basically platonic hanging out stuff was just plain weird and wrong, at least in my head.

I avoided kissing her for the first three 'dates'. She thought that it was because I couldn't deal with us moving beyond being friends, where as I just couldn't deal with it, like at all. On our fourth 'date' we held hands, which seemed to buy me some time, but my avoidance of actually kissing her, again, was definitely starting to annoy her. Looking back, I think we’d actually been holding hands less since we starting ‘dating’ than we did before. This continued for three more massively awkward 'dates', so nearly two months in total, until Sarah had clearly had enough. It was a Saturday, we'd been out for the day with some friends, like a double date I suppose, but really just one and a half dates at best, and afterwards Sarah and I went to get some pizza before going home. We were sitting opposite each other, the pizza finished, drinking milkshakes, and I thought it was all going OK until I realised that this slightly awkward silence had formed between us without me noticing. I looked up to Sarah, she was just looking straight at me, and I knew, right then, what was about to happen. I guess we knew each other too well. In my head the whole conversation played out, mapping the future in a fraction of a second. Totally unavoidable, but still I tried.

"What?"

"What's going on Kay?"

"What do you mean?" My best surprised tone not really being ever so convincing.

"No, don't do that. Just tell me."

"Tell you what?" Of course I had a pretty good idea about what I should be telling her, but I really didn't want to. And even if I wanted to, I didn't know how. And I also sort of wanted to. At least then it would be over. Sort of.

"Kay, you know I love you, but this, us, dating, it's obviously not working. I thought maybe it was just because it was new, and different for us, but you actually seem to be getting more nervous, not less."

"Sarah, I'm so sorry."

"I'm worried about you Kay, this isn't like you."

"No, you're right, it's totally not like me at all." I half laughed at my own private joke, not yet shared.

"So is it me? Is that it?"

"No! God Sarah, I love you, really I do, I always have. But..."

"But what? Kay, what's wrong?"

I was feeling awful, like physically, feeling sick, light headed, and definitely on the verge of crying. If I'd been sitting there with anyone other than Sarah, my lifelong best friend, I would probably have run away. But I couldn't do that, not to her, which left me still sitting there.

"Kay, we've known each other our whole lives, you know you can tell me anything."

She was right, if there was anyone in the world I could talk to, it's Sarah. But I was also feeling terrible because I felt as though I had deliberately put her in this now really bad situation.

"I just can't do this."

"Well duh, I'd worked that out for myself. But why, what's going on?"

"I didn't mean to hurt you, honestly, I just though that maybe..."

"Maybe what? You haven't hurt me Kay, but this, this is now hurting me because I hate seeing you so upset."

I turned away, biting my lip and hoping that I wasn't going to actually start crying.

"OK, does this help. I'm dumping you Kay Walker, this is officially no longer a date. Now stop fucking about and tell me what the hell is up with you!"

This is very typical of Sarah. No bullshit, just get to the point.

"What?"

"You heard, it's over, I've decided. Now talk to me!"

"You know how impossible you can be sometimes right?"

"Yes, you've mentioned it before, stop stalling."

"I just can't be your boyfriend Sarah."

"Yes, I think we've got that far already. And now I've dumped you so it doesn't matter. But why? Is there someone else?"

“What? No, don’t be stupid.”

I looked back to her, and then around the pizza shop. I could definitely not even consider continuing this conversation if I was going to be overheard. A lot of people from college come in here, and I wasn't prepared for all of that to kick off just yet. Don't misunderstand, I'm not some sort of ultra jock type, but I swim and run, and sometimes play rugby and a few other things for the college, and I'm imagining that there's going to be a lot of repercussions. There was no-one I recognised around, which was almost disappointing. One less excuse.

"Sarah, you've got to promise me that this stays between us."

"OK"

"No, not like usual where you go and talk about it with your friends but it doesn't really matter because we're not actually five any more."

"OK, I get it, proper secret."

"Good."

We sat there in silence for a few minutes. I don't know what she was doing, but I was staring at the table trying to find the way to say what I needed to say. Simplicity won out.

"I'm gay."

I looked up just in time to see Sarah laughing into her milkshake, half choking at the same time, looking surprised but not angry. After a few seconds she regained control of herself.

"Seriously?"

"Yes."

"Like, you're actually gay, as in, you want to have sex with boys and everything?"

"Yes, ‘and everything’. Although it's more than just who I want to have sex with."

"That makes way more sense now! So what the hell have we been doing this for?"

"Honestly, I thought that if I could go out with any girl at all it would be you."

"That's really sweet Kay. And totally stupid!"

"You're not mad?"

"Of course I'm mad at you! But mostly for not telling me sooner. How long have you known?"

"Always I guess."

"Oh my god. I can't believe this. We're going to need more milkshakes."

"Why?"

"Because we need to talk about this more."

"We do?"

"Of course we do! You can't just drop this news and then leave. Every girl at college is about to be devastated, and probably a few boys are about to be very excited. This is major news."

"No! There's no way I'm telling everyone, or anyone. I've only told you because of this stupid dating idea."

"Well it's up to you, obviously. But it's still major news, even if I'm the only person who knows it yet."

Major news. I knew she was right. It's quite a big college, but I know a lot of people, and even more people claim to know me, so as soon as I told anyone publicly, nearly everyone would know by the end of the day.

"So? Have you got a boyfriend?"

"God no! Seriously, literally no-one else knows."

"You mean you've never had a boyfriend?"

"Never."

"Wow. Well it's not like anyone is ever going to guess, but you know that you can't keep this a secret for ever right?"

"I can try."

"Yes, you can. But unless you're the only seventeen year old boy ever who thinks that never having sex is a good plan, you're going to have a boyfriend, and that’s not the kind of thing that people won't notice around here."

"Maybe."

"Besides, why should it be a secret? Nothing wrong with being a very pretty, fit, sexy, college gay boy. And there's enough fit boys around, at least one of them must be gay."

"Yeah, you need to get a bit less carried away Sarah."

"What about Steven Goode, he's gorgeous, and he plays rugby. Oh my god, I bet you've already seen him naked haven't you?"

"Stop it!"

"Just saying."

And she was, of course, right, but I don’t like to tell her that. He was gorgeous, and yes, I've seen him naked many, many times. And he just occasionally make an appearance in my regular big gay guilt ridden fantasies.

"Never going to happen Sarah. Look, we'll talk more, I promise, but can we not do this right now? Please?"

So that was how our final 'date' ended. Technically I'd been dumped, which Sarah still likes to remind me about occasionally, and it was a relief, of sorts, eventually. We made our separate ways home, and I laid on my bed trying to come to terms with what I'd just done. I was hoping, expecting even, to feel hugely relieved, unburdened, happier, free. But instead, everything felt worse. Somehow, telling Sarah, saying the words I knew to be true already out loud, made it even more real.

In truth, things spiralled out of control pretty quickly, in what I later realised was actually depression. I was taking days off college, eventually dropping all of my sports, and generally withdrawing from everyone around me. And predictably, my grades dropped through the floor. My family were all worried about me, and I told them that I'd split up with Sarah, which they seemed to assume was the cause of this fairly serious change in me. Sarah, of course, had a different view, being still the only person who really knew what had happened. We were still talking, although that was getting more and more by messaging and email, and less actual conversation, either on the phone or face to face.

Eventually she persuaded me, or perhaps just bullied me, to go and talk to my doctor. I spent several days trying to convince her that this was a completely unnecessary move, until she pointed out that it had been 3 days since I spent more than 20 minutes out of bed. Perhaps I wasn't managing this as well as I could. I eventually made an appointment, and then told my mum about how I was feeling. Emotionally I mean, not about being gay. That was way too big. It was already like finally admitting defeat, so pretty bad. Mum wanted to come with me, but there's no way that was going to happen. I hadn't really decided on exactly how much I was prepared to say to my doctor, but I couldn’t imagine saying even half of it if she was there. She wasn't happy about it, but agreed to wait outside in the car.

Dr. M. Kingston, according to the sign on the door, was probably in his 60s, presumably on the verge of retiring. I'd not seen him before, but I'm usually fit and healthy, so there's no real reason to. I explained to him how I'd been feeling, and how it had been getting worse, and how my friend thinks I'm maybe depressed. He agreed, which was sort of comforting. But then he carried on asking me questions. Had anything significant happened recently? Family trauma, bereavement, anything like that. It was easy enough to dodge the issue, but still answer almost totally honestly. He gave me a questionnaire to fill in, ticking boxes about how I feel, and didn't say very much as he typed away for a few moments. After explaining that he was going to prescribe me anti-depressants, and a bit about how they work and what I should expect, or not, from them, and making another appointment in two weeks time, he turned to look at me again.

"Is there anything else? Anything that we haven’t talked about?"

He couldn't possibly know, even I know that you can't discern if someone's gay just by looking at them, I'd tried often enough. But the way he looked at me, it was like he just knew I wasn't being completely honest. I didn't speak.

"Kaiden, I've been sitting at this desk talking to patients for, well, a very long time. You get to know when something feels off. You don't have to tell me, but taking tablets for depression won't make it go away, they're not magic, they mostly give you space to sort out whatever else is going on in your head."

"Right, so they won't help?"

"Oh they'll probably help. But if there's something else going on as well, then you need to address that too."

I stood up, his words bouncing around my already far too full head.

"Thanks. I'll see you in two weeks then."

Taking the prescription, I left his office, closing the door behind me. I stood in the corridor for a few minutes, trying to compose myself enough to walk back through the waiting room and go outside and see mum.

When we got home I went back up to my room, and picked up my laptop. You won't be surprised to learn that typing the word 'gay' into a search engine had definitely happened before. There's just so much free porn its unbelievable, but this time was different. Now I wanted to find out if I could get help with how I was feeling, because no matter how good the porn was, or how intense my orgasm was, I still felt terrible afterwards, because of the unavoidable truth that fit sexy men made me horny as hell.

Stupidly, it had never really occurred to me that other people might just possibly have gone through this before me, so it was surprising to find so many sites trying to help people like me. By the early hours of the morning I'd learnt a couple of really important things. Firstly, being gay is a truly terrible reason to be feeling depressed. It's part of who I am and there's nothing wrong with that. I guess I sort of knew this already but it was useful to have it pointed out to me. Secondly, talking about being depressed and what's going on is probably going to be really helpful. I went to sleep, hoping that I'd have a better plan by the time I woke up, or just any idea at all would be good.

It would be an exaggeration to call it a plan, but I woke up and thought about maybe finding a therapist, someone to talk to about how I was feeling, and not just the depression, but the whole being gay stuff as well. Yet more internet searching and I'd been able to shortlist a few options. Unfortunately, nearly all of them were private therapists, who I'd have to pay. I didn't really want to ask my parents for the money, so they had to go. Which left me with two options. I could go back to Dr. Kingston, be honest, and ask him to refer me somewhere. Or, I could go to the local health centre where there was supposed to be a gay teen health service which also offered therapy. Neither were appealing. I just didn't like the idea of talking to my Doctor about this stuff, but I also wasn't feeling ecstatic about the implicit label of going to a gay teen health service. But that was the one that won out, or perhaps just the least bad option. I had to do something.

I couldn't book online, because, well, I don't know why, you just couldn't, I had to either phone or email. So I emailed, obviously. And then regretted it because I'd used my real email address. Now there was some kind of proof. Too late anyway. I waited for several minutes, I don't know why I thought I'd get a response immediately. I didn't, so decided that maybe I should actually get out of bed, have a shower and get dressed today. Fairly major decision at the time.

A couple of hours later I got a reply. We exchanged several messages, which ended in me agreeing to an initial meeting the following week. I'm not going to bore you with the details of my therapy, but Scott is a really nice guy, and pretty 'ordinary' if you know what I mean. Not that it was his role to represent all gay people ever or anything like that, but I found it easy to talk to him. In fact, I still do. Every week, without fail, I'd meet with this guy, and we'd talk. Which is both totally weird, and also incredibly helpful. I still don't know very much about him, but that's OK. Suffice to say, he's really helped me make sense of my world, and three months down the road I was genuinely feeling in a much better place. Of course the drugs are probably also helping with that.

Unfortunately, this new sense of myself only extended so far. Sarah was still the only person I had ever told about being gay, but at least now I wasn't hating myself. As part of my work with Scott he'd asked me to try keeping a journal for a few weeks. It's basically a diary, where I write about what's going on for me, and how I'm feeling, and what I’m thinking. I'm not sure why it has to be called a journal, but it is. Anyway, despite thinking it was a stupid idea to begin with, it was actually really helpful, and I've carried on doing it. The most difficult part is finding somewhere I can sit quietly and think about this stuff, and then write it all down. Home was just too intrusive, people are always around, and talking, and generally getting in the way without meaning to. College, well, the same applies, but with even less potential time.

So eventually, I just went somewhere new. There's an independent coffee shop that's just opened down the road from where I live, it's not full of anyone I know, in fact it's hardly ever full, which is exactly what I was looking for.

One large latte later, a small table in the corner, and a pleasingly relaxed atmosphere, yes, I think I've found a good journal writing space. Being mostly returned to college, I tried to get into a routine of stopping in for half an hour or so every day, on my way home. Five days
a week, sometimes more if I could make it over the weekend, I walk in, order exactly the same thing, "a large latte, sitting in", usually from the same person, pay them £2.70, carry my coffee to my usual table, and contemplate my day, my life, and anything else that was on my mind.

After a couple of weeks of this the guy who nearly always seemed to serve me offered me a loyalty card. I get one stamp for every drink I buy, and after ten I get a free one. Seemed like a pretty good deal to me, so I took one. That tiniest of interactions was the first time I realised that perhaps I'm becoming recognised by the people working here, and more specifically, by the guy who serves me nearly every single day. We were rapidly at the 'nodding acknowledgement' stage of social contact, usually exchanging a 'hi' or 'hello', sometimes even a full blown 'how are you?' Or 'how's your day going?' Of course, this is Britain, such questions are only ever to be met with 'OK thanks' or 'not bad', and if you're feeling particularly extravagant, a smile.

And then, in hindsight, one Friday it all stopped, or started, depending on how you look at it.

"Hello."

"Hi."

"What would you like?"

"Large latte please."

"Sitting in?"

"Sorry, yes." I wasn’t sorry, that’s just something that we all say. A lot.

"OK then, that's £2.70."

I took my change, got my card stamped, and waited for my coffee. There seemed to be more than usual effort going in to making it.

"I'm sorry, there's something wrong with the machine. Take a seat and I'll bring it over in a few minutes."

"Oh OK, thanks."

I sat at my usual table, and habitually took out my journal and pen. I thought about starting to write, but didn't want to start and then be interrupted by my coffee arriving, so decided to just wait for a few minutes. Despite not physically writing my journal, mentally I had started to reflect on what I wanted to record and had slightly zoned out, jumping just a little at the sound of someone's voice.

"Here you go, sorry about the wait."

"No problem, thanks."

I smiled as my usual coffee guy placed my usual coffee in front of me.

"I brought you a biscuit as well, because you had to wait."

"Oh, thanks very much."

"No problem. I'm Jake, by the way."

"Thanks, Jake, I'm Kaiden."

He stood there for a second, I sat there, we both just smiled. After what was probably a couple of seconds too long of just looking at each other he went back to the counter and got on with his work. Looking down, there was a palmera on the side of my saucer. If you don't know, it's essentially a really thin slice of rolled up puff pastry and sugar. Crispy, sweet, and totally delicious.

The weekend was frustratingly busy with family stuff, so I didn't get my journal time away. Instead, I somehow ended up going with Josh to the cinema on Saturday, and just wasting the day away all day Sunday, which was nice, but ultimately unproductive.

Monday at college was more effort than I remembered it being last week. For some reason I was finding it hard to concentrate, my attention drifting away with the slightest excuse. By lunch time I thought maybe I was getting ill, because there was this weird kind of stomach pain that just wouldn't go away. It wasn't hunger, because I sat down for lunch with a whole bunch of people and then realised that I wasn't at all hungry. Finding somewhere quiet at lunchtime when three quarters of college want to be near you is basically impossible, so the usual stupid conversations continued around me, although I know I wasn't paying much attention. A couple of people actually asked me if I was OK, to which of course I said I was. I was just, easily distracted. Reaching the end of the day was a relief, and I enjoyed the relative quiet of my walk towards home, and of course, to the coffee shop first.

My annoyance at finding someone else being served in front of me was surprising, given that it's a shop, and queueing is totally normal. Jake was serving the woman and she was being indecisive. She looked the sort, wearing two too many scarves. He looked up as I walked in, his expression changing from professionally pleasant to what I felt was a genuine smile. After a few minutes of answering yet more questions about soya milk or something, the woman left with her coffee, leaving me at the counter.

"Hey Kaiden."

His use of my full name was jarring, and prompted me to remember Friday last week, when I told him what my name was. Why did I say Kaiden though? Literally no-one calls me that. Oh well.

"Hey."

"The usual?"

"Oh? Yes, sure, thanks."

"No problem."

So now I have a ‘usual’. I watched as he made my latte with an efficiency I was almost enviable of. Not that I had any great desire to be good at making coffee, but I appreciated how well he knew his work. I paid him as we waited for the milk to steam, and I watched as he placed my coffee on the counter, complete with biscuit. I looked up, about to say that I hadn't paid for a biscuit.

"Oh" he said, smiling a big smile and I think looking ever so slightly embarrassed.

"They, erm…” Just for a moment, he looked uncertain. And then he was back, smiling, confident.

"It's a new promotion, for valued customers."

"Oh, OK. Thanks Jake."

I took my coffee over to my usual corner table, and sat down. There was something about what had just happened that I didn't understand, but I also didn't know what it was. As I started to write my journal for the day, I was aware that my attention was repeatedly returning to the biscuit. It's just a palmera, they sell them here every day. It's probably costs 20p to make, despite the counter price of £1. But I didn't ask for it. And he gave it to me anyway. Just look at it, it's literally heart shaped. Oh god. The boy in the coffee shop who knows my name just gave me a heart shaped biscuit. What does this mean!?

This, and many other such stupid and chaotic thoughts and questions took up several journal pages. At my most rational, it's just a biscuit. And they're always that shape. Don't get carried away with whatever that thought might lead to.

I didn't sleep well that night. I don't know why, but my brain just couldn't quite stop thinking enough for sleep to take over. And on Tuesday college was worse than the day before. Feeling distracted isn't a good enough description. I was barely able to discern what lesson I was sat in, never mind what the hell was going on. I was beginning to get worried, maybe this was the return of depression or something. I'd definitely talk to Scott about it at our next session. Sarah had asked me about a hundred times what was wrong, and I never found a good enough answer. It wasn't until I got to the coffee shop that I started to realise what was going on.

Walking in, it was quiet as usual. But Jake wasn't there. Instead, there was a girl. I've seen here working there a few times, I think she usually does the weekends. She doesn't really know me, or recognise me, or give me a free biscuit. All of which was fine. What I wasn't expecting was the immense feeling of disappointment I was feeling. Totally out of proportion, I was feeling lost, rejected even, angry, sad, and oddly concerned about where Jake was. Not that all of these feelings were clear to me immediately, but it wasn’t ‘fine’. I guess that's what the journal writing is for. But by the end of a couple of pages of writing, that was how I knew I was feeling. That, and, a bit embarrassed, for being such an idiot.

Wednesday, and I'm standing outside the door to the coffee shop, and ridiculously, feeling nervous. I shouldn't have hesitated, but I had, and now I was thinking about it. Logically, I knew that there was nothing at all to be feeling nervous about. Nothing had happened, no-one had said anything stupid, and there was no reason at all to believe that anything bad was going to transpire in the next half an hour or so. In an uncharacteristic moment of vanity I caught myself checking my hair in the reflection in the shop door as I opened it. Jake was back, and for the first time ever I wished there was a queue, so that I could take a moment to gather myself together. But there wasn't. The shop was the usual level of not quite empty, and it's a small place so there's nowhere to hide. Why I even wanted to hide I wasn't certain.

"Hey Kaiden."

There he was, happy, smiling, friendly. Jake, the guy who serves me coffee, and also, as it was by then becoming clear to me, is in my head during nearly every waking moment and probably some of the sleeping moments too. I'd never before considered that I had a 'type'. And even if I had, Jake would definitely not be it. He was tall, around my height so 5'8''. His spikey brown hair was always not quite perfectly styled. He had an earing in his right earlobe, and another one further up. Occasionally the arms of his T-shirt would rise up and you could see the beginning of tattoos. At a guess I'd say around my age, maybe a little older, given that he obviously wasn't in college. No, he really wouldn’t be my type.

"Hey Jake."

"The usual?"

"Yes, please."

But he didn't move. This was the point where he turned away, and I got to watch him walk the three steps over to the coffee machine, with his jeans hugging his cute ass. How had I not recognised this sooner? Anyway, he didn't move. So we stood there. It felt like years, and was probably only about three seconds. But three seconds is quite a long time to be looking at someone and not speaking. I knew that I was going to say something. I think at that moment my brain had subdivided, with one part already knowing what I was going to say, and another part arguing about it, recreating one of those slow motion 'n-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o' moments, but ultimately, inevitably, horrifyingly, unable to stop it from happening.

"I missed you yesterday."

Why? Why did I have to say anything at all, least of all that? I suppose I could have meant literally that I missed him, as in, he had gone by the time I got here. But I didn't. He smiled, more.

"Oh. I had an appointment, I had to leave just before you usually get here."

Stupidly, I felt a need to justify what time I get here. Even though he obviously knew this.

"I come straight from college, I go to..."

"I know."

"What?"

"Sorry, I just meant, I know where you go to college."

"Oh."

"You obviously don't remember me, but I was in your year."

"What? When? I'm sorry, at Heartlands?"

"It's OK. You're Kay Walker, I didn't expect you to remember me."

"You know who I am?"

"Seriously? Everyone knows who you are."

"Really?"

"All round sports hero and top of every subject you ever did. Of course. You couldn’t move in that place without knowing who you are."

"Fuck. I mean, sorry, I had no idea. I feel terrible."

"Don't worry, you're not the first person to not notice me. I'll get your coffee."

He left me standing there, feeling like a total prick. Was I really that sort of person? The guy that everyone knew? And the way he said that he didn't expect me to remember, like I was ’that’ sort of person, who only paid attention to the 'right' people in school and fuck the rest, they don't deserve to know me. I hate that guy. I'm not that guy! Am I? Jake returned with my coffee. No biscuit today.

"Jake, I'm sorry, I feel stupid."

"It's OK, we weren't friends."

"No, but you make it sound like, well, I'd never mean to ignore you, or anyone. So I'm sorry if I ever made you feel like that."

I picked up my coffee and turn to walk away towards my table.

"Wait" he said. I turned back towards him. He placed a biscuit on the saucer I was holding. I swear I could sense him looking at me, probably glaring, as I walked away.

I was left feeling like I didn't even know myself. Could I really be the person Jake described? I didn't like that idea at all. It bothered me, a lot, all night. Only one way to find out, and one obvious candidate to ask. Sarah was standing with her usual group of friends by their lockers before college started the next morning. As I walked over I was mentally checking them off one by one. Yeah, Sarah was definitely the unofficial head of the self ascribed 'cool girls' group. By implication, I was the male equivalent.

"Hey Sarah".

They all turned to look at me, and I had the unnerving sensation of being hunted, or at least appraised. So yes, they definitely all know who I am.

"Can you talk for a minute?"

"Sure, what's up?"

"Can we go somewhere else?"

"OK?"

We walked around the corner and headed for the door.

"What's the matter Kay?"

"OK, so I know this is weird, but. Does everyone at college know who I am?"

"Erm yeah, probably. Why?"

"Really? So like, everyone?"

"Yes Kay, I'd say most people in college know who you are."

"And, am I a prick? I mean, do you think people imagine that I think I'm like too good to talk to them or something?"

"OK, where's this coming from?"

"It's just something someone said to me."

"Someone?"

"Yes. Is it true?"

"No. But also, it's not impossible that people are intimidated by you. Someone who?"

"What?"

"Well it's not like you're legendary or anything, so don’t go getting all big headed, but a lot of people look up to you I guess. Who?"

"Fuck. I had no idea."

"No, that's what makes you adorable."

"And an idiot."

"No Kay, you're definitely not an idiot. Who said it?"

"I really am."

We had to go to class, so our conversation ended. But it was enough to leave me hyper-aware of everyone else for the rest of the day. People looked at me, a lot. Not staring at me or anything like that, but people seemed to notice where I was. I started making a mental note of all the different people that actually came up and spoke to me during the day, but stopped when I realised that it was a very small group of people. A group who would most likely class themselves as the cool kids. And everyone else, they kept their distance. Lunch time was a great test. As I stood there, I realised what was about to happen. I was going to walk over to my usual table, where there was my usual space left empty. And then several tables around there were all busy, with the familiar selection of the same people. I decided to experiment, and sat somewhere
new. I chose a table with some other people from my year, so people I knew, well, sort of knew. I sat down, and they all looked at me like I was an alien who had just landed on their planet. I was trying to have a normal conversation with them, but it was hard work. And then someone actually came over to see what was wrong, why had I sat over there? Even to me it sounds a bit dramatic now, but at the time, it felt as though I'd suddenly learned who I was, and I wasn't sure I liked it. I also realised that I wasn't hungry, and didn't want to be around so many people. At lunch time there was always one place where most people wouldn't be, so I headed there. There were three or four benches on one corner of school, furthest from the field, where the geeks hung out. Geeks, weirdo's, social misfits, and general freaks. Unofficially known as Loser's Corner. There were five people there, all staring at me as I sat down. I recognised them all, but didn’t know any of there names, and one was definitely in my year, I think. I sat there, they stared.

"Hi" I said, not to anyone in particular. No-one spoke.

"What?" I asked, again, in a general way. They just looked at me.

"Do you guys know me?"

There was silence as they passed the unwanted conversational hot potato around to each other. Eventually someone spoke.

"Of course we know you. What are you doing here?"

"No, I mean, do you know my name?"

"You're Kay Walker, everyone knows that."

They were obviously uncomfortable with me being there, which told me everything I needed to know. I apologised for interrupting their lunch and headed off. In hindsight, it was a badly thought out plan, but this wasn't good. I didn't want to be 'that guy'. And deep down, or even not so deep, I knew why. I didn't want Jake to think of me like that.

Yes, Jake, the person to whom all things in my world were becoming connected. And the guy I was about to see again. I had thought about never going back to the coffee shop, but as well as being a total 'avoiding the problem' option, it was really convenient, I liked it there, and also, I didn't really want to not see him. So mostly the last reason.

"Hey Kaiden."

"Hey."

"The usual?"

"Sure. You seem to know me better than me, so why not?"

"Oh? Look, I'm sorry if I said the wrong thing yesterday, it's none of my business."

"No, I'm sorry, it seems you were right, I'm a total prick."

"I'm pretty sure that's not what I said."

"No, you didn't. You were much nicer about it."

Jake started to make my coffee, but carried on talking to me as he did so.

"So what's up?"

I sat on a stool at the counter, watching him.

"I guess I've just realised how people see me, and I don't like it. It's not even true, I'm not really like that."

"I know." His back was to me, so I couldn't see his expression, but he didn't sound like he was being sarcastic, or just agreeing with me.

"Why didn't you say anything sooner? I've been coming here for weeks."

"I don't know, waiting for the right time I suppose."

Jake placed my latte in front of me, complete with palmera.

"What's it for today?"

"Today, you get a biscuit just for being you."

"I'm not sure 'me' deserves anything much."

"Well I'd give you 'all' the biscuits if I could, but my Dad would probably fire me. Besides, that would be creepy, right?"

We both laughed, and then were silent, awkward, as I tried to process what he'd just said to me. I wanted to say something, to defuse the atmosphere, but didn't have to as someone came in for a take-away order. I stayed where I was, sitting at the counter. It wasn’t very comfortable, socially or emotionally, but I wanted to know what was happening here. A few minutes later, they
were gone, and we were alone in the shop. Jake stood opposite me, on the other side of the counter. He seemed to be making his mind up about something, almost speaking a couple of times and then stopping himself.

"I honestly never do this, but I don't really have anything to lose, other than a regular latte order, so... do you want to go for a drink sometime?"

Despite knowing I was the only possible person he could be talking to, I couldn't help but turn around to check.

"Me?"

"Yes, you, Kaiden."

"Erm... why? I mean, like, being friends?"

"Sure, if that's what you want. But no, that's not what I meant."

"Oh, right."

"It's cool Kaiden, you can say no if you want to. Take your time, no pressure."

I stared at my coffee as Jake busied himself tidying and cleaning. For the first time ever I wished they had background music in the shop. I replayed the conversation back in my head several times. It seemed obvious in many ways that I'd just been asked out for date type drink. But then he hadn't actually used those words. Not that there was really much room for interpretation either. Was there?

"How did you know?"

Jake turned back towards me, still holding the towel he had been using.

"I didn't, not for sure, until about five seconds ago. Like I said, nothing to lose, so thought I'd ask."

"Thanks. For asking I mean."

"Any time. And don't worry, I'm not going to ask you every day. You can just tell me when you have an answer. Or not. I guess that never giving me an answer would also be a kind of answer."

Thankfully a couple of other people came in, so it didn't seem so rude when I took my coffee over to the corner where I usually sat. There was so much I needed to think about, and despite opening my journal and holding the pen, I didn't manage to write anything. Just too many questions.

Friday was basically a total write off at college. My head was, proverbially at least, a total mess. I couldn't concentrate on anything, and I wasn't interested in talking to any of the people who tried. Despite my instincts to do the opposite, I went to the coffee shop as usual. Jake was there, smiling, happy, engaging, friendly, charming, pretty, sexy... yeah there wasn't anything at all wrong with him. Our usual minimal conversation returned. I still got a free biscuit. In an attempt at lightening the mood, possibly just for my own benefit as he didn’t seem awkward at all, I pointed to the biscuit.

"Is this now a bribe?"

Jake laughed.

"No, it's just a biscuit. Hopefully I'm worth more than a biscuit."

Damn him and his confidence. And yes, I'm sure he's worth far more than a biscuit. I spent the weekend trying to decide what to do. Which is a total lie. I was trying to decide 'how' to do what I wanted to do. I knew perfectly well 'what' I wanted to do - which was, say yes to Jake. Yes, I want to go for a drink with you. Yes, I want to go on a date with you. Yes, I probably want to be your boyfriend. And yes, this is all scary as hell and I don't know if I can do it. There were two major problems as far as I could tell. Firstly, I'd never actually been on a date with a guy, or done anything like that, with a guy. Secondly, there was the inevitable process of telling people. Like my parents, and Josh, and my friends, and then basically the whole of college. So nothing too major. Fuck, this was much harder than I was hoping for. But really, I knew what I wanted, or rather, who I wanted, and it was Jake. I dreamed about him every night. Whenever my mind wandered throughout the day, it was to thoughts of him, us, our future together. And yes, lots of those thoughts made me incredibly horny too. What I really wanted to find was the lowest risk route, but the reality was that there didn't seem to be one of those.

Monday was a tragic re-run of Friday last week, with me being totally unable to concentrate at college, and then me not giving Jake an answer that afternoon at the coffee shop. He was, as always, charming and polite. And beautiful. Monday evening, and the push I finally needed came, or at least was initiated inadvertently by my little brother Josh. He was talking about I don't know what now over dinner, and being his usual opinionated and left leaning self. To be honest, I wasn't paying too much attention. But then I heard him talking about choices and how if you believe in something and are being ‘true to yourself’ then making the 'right' choice was probably easier. I might have got that slightly wrong, but that was the basic point he was making, and it seemed like a very simplistic argument. Which got me thinking even more, I knew exactly what I wanted, and I couldn't do what I needed to do to get it. I didn't get involved in whatever point he was making, quickly lost to my own problems.

For the rest of the night I was wrestling with, or at least circling around the idea of saying yes to Jake. To going for a drink with him, not as friends. By Tuesday morning, I had convinced myself that I could leave it for a few more days, there was no need to rush into things. By lunch time I was having to revise my projected timescales because this was the only thing getting and taking up my attention. I was making stupid mistakes in class, and just unable to concentrate on the previously hectic and important college social circuit, which I was actually struggling to care about at all. So by the time I left college on Tuesday afternoon, there was absolutely only one possibility remaining.

Thanks for reading, and in case you need a reminder, please feel free to like, comment, and discuss as you see fit. Next update will be next week.
Copyright © 2017 Sam Wyer; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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5 minutes ago, Sweetlion said:

AHAH! It was you! I read this in other site before, totally awesome story!:2thumbs:

Hello :)  Yes, it’s me.  And I’m pleased you liked the story.  But please stick around, because it’s bigger than it used to be ;) 

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Just now, Sam Wyer said:

Hello :)  Yes, it’s me.  And I’m pleased you liked the story.  But please stick around, because it’s bigger than it used to be ;) 

Ow you edited and changed it? Cool, now I have a reason to read it again.:hug:

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Just now, Sweetlion said:

Ow you edited and changed it? Cool, now I have a reason to read it again.:hug:

To be fair, there’s some minor editing but most of what you might have read before is still the same.  But now the story continues a little further, so you get to see how it all works out, or not, or whatever else might happen in between.

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Just now, chris191070 said:

Fantastic story, having read it before I’ll now have to read it again as you’ve made it bigger.

Thanks :)  And yes, you will, at least you will if you want to know how it ends.

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1 minute ago, Sam Wyer said:

Thanks :)  And yes, you will, at least you will if you want to know how it ends.

 

I definitely want to know how it ends 😀

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8 minutes ago, Estiveo said:

Lucky me, I get to read it for the first time. Looking forward to another great story.

Thanks Estiveo - I hope you enjoy it.

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1 minute ago, Caz Pedroso said:

I really like the characters and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better :hug: 

Thanks Caz - I like them too, I think they’re pretty cute, in the wider sense of the word.

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First time reading also. Enjoyed the first chapter. I like Kay, even though he seems pretty cliquey at school. Never hung around guys like him when I was in school. They were always too into themselves, and I find arrogance a turn off. Lol! Really like Jake. Sounds like a really sweet guy. From his actions, I'm kinda surprised he's single. Definitely looking forward to reading more!

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18 minutes ago, jaysalmn said:

First time reading also. Enjoyed the first chapter. I like Kay, even though he seems pretty cliquey at school. Never hung around guys like him when I was in school. They were always too into themselves, and I find arrogance a turn off. Lol! Really like Jake. Sounds like a really sweet guy. From his actions, I'm kinda surprised he's single. Definitely looking forward to reading more!

I think most people are first timers here :) I hope you will enjoy how this plays out.

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Great beginning to the story, leaving you wanting more.  Where was the story posted previously? I will definitely be back for more.  Thanks

 

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B)..............I so thoroughly enjoyed your style of writing, each sentence weaved well, the story had me hooked on the first chapter, well done!  Actually I'm surprised Kaiden took so long to acknowledge himself to anyone else. But it would seem once he told Sarah, his wall crumbled into rubble instead of leaving an opening for him, he panicked about himself and retreated again. Then he is challenged by Jake and takes a harder look at himself. Looking forward to more

 

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Well, you're two for two on your intriguing teen characters. Kay is different than Cal in his background and day-to-day life. But Kay has that same spark of something that makes him appealing. I don't think Kay is stuck up or cliquish (sp?), just kind of clueless. Jake is a great counterpoint! I look forward to seeing how things develop.

I will Google to check, but isn't college in Britain equivalent to junior and senior year of high school in the U.S.? Thanks for the start of another story.

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8 hours ago, Justleah said:

Thanks for not waiting too long to post next story, can already tell I'm going to like Kay alot😀

No problem, I hope you will enjoy how it plays out.

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8 hours ago, Canuk said:

like your writing - certainly looking forward to more!

 

thanks

 

That’s good to hear :) There will be more next week.

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8 hours ago, Defiance19 said:

Off to a good start.. looking forward to more, even though I’ll probably fall behind some. 

@Defiance19 There's no rush, updates will likely be once a week, but it's not like they're going anywhere so enjoy it at your own pace.

 

7 hours ago, Rndmrunner said:

you definitely have a way with your characters. I'm hooked. Thanks for the new (to this site and to me)  story.

Thanks @Rndmrunner, although I always feel slightly uneasy taking any credit for the characters, I think they are way more in control of the story than I am! :) 

 

7 hours ago, Bndmetl said:

Great chapter, can't wait to see the story unfold.

 

@Bndmetl Come back next week for more :) 

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6 hours ago, RayC said:

Great beginning to the story, leaving you wanting more.  Where was the story posted previously? I will definitely be back for more.  Thanks

 

 

@RayC - originally this was posted over on nifty, but this version has been lightly re-edited, and then expanded.

 

5 hours ago, Benji said:

B)..............I so thoroughly enjoyed your style of writing, each sentence weaved well, the story had me hooked on the first chapter, well done!  Actually I'm surprised Kaiden took so long to acknowledge himself to anyone else. But it would seem once he told Sarah, his wall crumbled into rubble instead of leaving an opening for him, he panicked about himself and retreated again. Then he is challenged by Jake and takes a harder look at himself. Looking forward to more

 

@Benji It's great to know that you're enjoying it.  I think the whole process was harder than Kaiden imagined it would be, but things might be looking up a little, maybe?

 

1 hour ago, JeffreyL said:

Well, you're two for two on your intriguing teen characters. Kay is different than Cal in his background and day-to-day life. But Kay has that same spark of something that makes him appealing. I don't think Kay is stuck up or cliquish (sp?), just kind of clueless. Jake is a great counterpoint! I look forward to seeing how things develop.

I will Google to check, but isn't college in Britain equivalent to junior and senior year of high school in the U.S.? Thanks for the start of another story.

Thanks very much @JeffreyL, even if it does add some pressure!  I hope you still feel the same by the time we get to the end :) 

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