Timothy’s Terrible Prompt Stories - 4. Prompt 323 Can I talk to you? (I)
After the family, it's time to tell your best friends.
An Eric POV chapter
“Can I talk to you?”
Eric caught up to his best friends Tony and Maria, just as they were leaving school. They turned and smiled at him. Maria let go of her boyfriend’s arm to greet him with her customary hug and quick peck on the cheek.
“Of course, Eric. Where do you want to go?”
“How about my place? I think there’s fresh chocolate cake.”
Tony immediately turned round and started for his car. He was a huge fan of chocolate cake, which was why Eric had asked his mom to make one. She knew he was going to come out to his friends today.
His parents had absorbed the sudden announcement at the dinner table last night in a graceful and supportive manner, which was no surprise. Eric knew they were tolerant and liberal-minded and would love him and his brother no matter what. They cared about education and good manners and being kind to others, and they expected their sons to work hard. But they also wanted them to be happy and enjoy life, and they trusted Rob and Eric to be sensible.
Originally he had meant to tell his best friends on the way to West Hill High School this morning. Maria shared most of his classes, and since Tony usually picked her up, Eric often walked ten houses down the road and got a lift. The alternative was going with Rob and enduring the bright chatter of his brother’s girlfriend, since Rob collected Melanie on the way to school most days. Luckily, Eric’s childhood friend Maria was not a morning person either, and Tony knew better than to disturb their too-early-in-the-day mood, unless it was important.
However, Maria had texted him last night, saying she was worried about the English test today, so Eric decided not to distract her. Anyway, it was probably better to have time to talk and relax afterwards, even if he expected them to be cool about him coming out. They were clever and caring and patient about his various quirks – which Maria insisted were endearing personality traits.
She probably suspected his disinterest in girls, but while she might ask teasing questions, she never pried if he really refused to answer. A ‘one-in-a-million’ girl, as Tony called her.
When they arrived, Eric led Tony and Maria via the kitchen to his room. They picked up chocolate cake, OJ, and some tea for Maria. The couple sat together on cushions leaning on the side of his bed, while Eric chose the window seat. Tony made sure to have the plate of cake on the floor next to him, while Maria’s mug of tea and his glass was safe on the bedside table.
“So, what did you want to talk about, Eric?” Maria asked.
Tony grinned and helped himself to the largest piece of cake. “Yeah, it must be pretty important, if you asked your mom to bake this death-by-chocolate favorite.”
Eric had already decided it was best to be blunt. “I thought it was time I told you I’m gay. I came out to Rob and my parents yesterday, so of course you guys are next.”
Maria squealed, jumped up and hugged him. Tony was clearly satisfied when Eric confirmed they were the only ones apart from his family that he had confided in. He conveniently omitted the part about Rob outing him to Nelson. This would only lead to prying questions about his interest in the handsome junior.
While Eric was willing to trust Tony and Maria with one of his long-kept secrets, and knew they wouldn’t gossip about it, the matter of his crush on his fellow drama club member was private and sensitive. Luckily the couple wasn’t part of the drama crowd. He did not want Maria’s observant eyes following him while he worked up the nerve to ask Nelson out.
Assuming Nelson didn’t make the first move.
Rob had tried to convince his brother that the beautiful brown eyes of the dark-haired martial arts prodigy had been glued to his face during the last half of the Christmas play. He swore that Nelson had admitted liking Eric and the only thing keeping him away was the fact that the freshman wasn’t out. Perhaps, but Eric wasn’t placing any bets on it. He knew Nelson was reserved and unassuming, in spite of having a certain status for being unabashedly out.
“So what made you decide to tell us now?” Tony asked around big mouthfuls of chocolate cake. This matter was interesting enough to make Maria sit down on the bed and stare at her friend.
“Yes, do tell, Eric. Why now? You never do anything important rashly, or without a reason. Do you have a boyfriend?”
The blond boy shook his head and tried to act casual. “Rob has been poking at me for a few weeks, and he finally made me confirm it yesterday. But I’ve thought about it for a while. Some things might be easier, if I come out. Such as not having girls flirting and harassing me for dates.”
Maria smirked, “Instead now you will have boys doing the same. Is there anyone you are interested in?”
Oh no. Eric had a feeling where this was going if she kept asking those questions. He decided to try and divert her attention.
“I’m not really interested in flirting. And I’m not going to announce this in school, either. I may tell one or two people in the drama club, but that’s it. Please don’t make an effort to spread the news, but if someone asks you, you can tell the truth. Has anyone hinted about the possibility?”
Maria shook her head. “No, not really. Oh, there is always speculation when a good-looking guy like you doesn’t date or go after girls. But according to Cassie, Rob didn’t either when he was a freshman. He still ended up going out with Melanie, so people just assume you haven’t found anyone you like yet.”
Tony nodded. His older sister Cassie was in Rob’s class, and in fact both the blond Perry brothers were his friends. But since he had started dating Maria, who had been Eric’s friend since pre-school, he had spent more time with the younger sibling.
“I haven’t heard any rumors either. However, no one would dare make rude comments about you, because they know Rob would beat their ass. Well, unless Nelson got to them first. That guy is such a contradiction. He’s quiet most of the time, but if anyone says something bigoted, he lays into them immediately. And even the biggest bullies are scared of him, since he wiped the floor with that Clayton guy.”
Eric tried to pretend only a normal interest in Tony’s words, and he was considering asking for details about the Clayton story, although he had heard the tale from his fellow drama club members. But he wanted to know what his friend thought of the guy Eric was in love with.
However, Maria decided to interrupt. “Nelson, isn’t he that handsome dark-haired junior who usually hangs out with Carolyn’s boyfriend? The redheaded guy called Jasper, the one who is on the junior baseball team?”
Trust Maria to keep track of things like that. But since she was on the cheer-leading squad with Carolyn and Melanie, maybe it was only natural.
Eric wanted to curse when Rob chose that exact moment to stick his head in the open door.
“Hi, Maria, guys. What are you doing?”
Of course, Maria had to say, “Talking about a cute junior named Nelson.”
Rob grinned at his brother, and Eric had no chance to stop him.
“Awesome. Did you ask him out yet?”
As always my gratitude to AC for his efforts in improving my stories and to comicfan for inspiring first liner prompts.
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