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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.

Unbreakable Faith - 9. Chapter 9

Unbreakable Faith

Chapter 9

After dinner and finishing his chore on Wednesday night Ian went upstairs to change for Youth group. He was just pulling his clothes out of the bureau when another knock came on the door. He turned and looked at it wondering again why anyone would be knocking.

“Ian?” he heard Mr. Harvey’s voice say.

“Yeah?”

“Can I come in?”

“Yes sir,”

Kyle shook his head outside the door then turned the knob and walked in. Seeing Ian standing by the bureau, suit in hand he smiled at him. “How come you never say come in?” Kelly had told him the night before that Ian hadn’t said come in and it was not the first time he’d had the experience.

Ian looked down at the suit in his hand and shrugged. “I don’t know, am I supposed to?”

Kyle smiled and nodded. “Well it’s the proper thing to do.”

“But it’s your house. Why do you have to be invited into a room? You should be able to just walk in.”

“Well it’s polite to give warning before you barge in on someone. And you just have to let me know it’s okay by saying come in.”

“Oh, I didn’t know, I’m sorry.”

“I understand that Ian, I’m not at all upset. I just thought I should let you know.”

Ian nodded feeling a rush of relief. “Thank you sir, I appreciate it.”

Kyle nodded as well as he walked further into the room after shutting the door gently behind him. “We have to have another little talk. I’m going to try and not hurt your feelings here. Because I don’t mean to. But I feel it needs to be said.”

Ian nodded his relief gone and nervousness taking over.

“I already care a lot about you son. And when I see something I think might not be such a good thing I want to tell you, only to save you perhaps some teasing and pain.”

“Okay,”

“Well it’s not a big thing, like I said, really it’s just about that.” He pointed to the suit in Ian’s hand.

Ian looked down at it. “Oh, you mean about me asking Mrs. Harvey to mend it?”

“No son, that’s no problem at all. Just I think you might be overdressing a bit if you wear that tonight. The other kids there, they’ll be wearing jeans and casual clothes. I’m just afraid if you walk in there with that on they’ll start teasing you. You know, judge you before they get to know you.”

“Really?”

Kyle nodded, feeling like the world’s biggest shit but hating to think of this poor kid getting teased as he deserved it the least of anyone he knew. “Kids are the world’s toughest critics.”

Ian nodded, after spending the afternoon before hearing about Raymond’s life; he had no doubt about that. Though he didn’t feel quite right about going to church in casual attire, he figured he should take Mr. Harvey’s advice as he certainly knew a lot more than he did about the ways of the world. “Well what do you think is good for me to wear?”

Kyle looked him over. Ian had no casual clothes. Well not the type of casual clothes a teenager normally wore. His wardrobe consisted of black, tan and green dress pants; button up long sleeve shirts and sweaters. “I think what you have on will be fine for tonight.”

Ian looked down at himself as he rubbed his hand down over his blue shirt. “I have never, ever worn what I wear to school to church.”

“At your father’s church did everyone dress up as much as you?”

Ian moved his eyes to the wall as he thought. “No not everyone.”

“And on Sunday did you see anyone as dressed up as you? This past Sunday I mean?”

Moving his eyes back to the man Ian shrugged. “I didn’t look at anyone too much but no I don’t think so. They were pretty much dressed like I am now.” He narrowed his eyes while he thought. “You suppose it’s the religion? Like certain faiths dress certain ways?”

“I’m really not sure. I’m sorry, I wish I had a definite answer for you but I’m not very familiar with religion.”

Ian nodded as he moved his eyes to the floor. He still didn’t understand how the man could choose not to follow God, to guarantee himself an eternity in hell. He didn’t dislike the man for it though. The man was so nice in every other way he figured he could over look it. He’d tried a few times to talk to Mr. Harvey about it as he certainly didn’t want the man to go to hell. But he knew when he started to ‘preach’ that it annoyed the man and he didn’t want to do that when the guy was kind enough to give him a place to live.

Kyle checked his watch having no doubt what was going through Ian’s mind. “Well you better get going, you’ve got five minutes before you’re supposed to be there.” He didn’t bother to say don’t go anywhere else after church. He knew Ian wouldn’t and knew it would send the boy into a panic if he didn’t leave the second the meeting was over. He didn’t mind him staying a few minutes late at the church especially if he were to meet someone that could be a possible friend.

Ian grabbed his jacket off the bed and followed Kyle out of his room and back down the stairs. Kyle walked him right over to the door and put his hand on his shoulder. “Good luck tonight son, and have a good time.”

Ian smiled up at him. “Thanks sir,” he started to turn back to the door when Kevin’s voice called out from where the others were sitting in the dining room.

“Bye Jesus.” Most of the other kids started snickering and laughing.

Ian had turned to the dining room, when Kyle’s voice regained his attention. “Don’t let him get to you Ian. That’s all he’s trying to do. Don’t let him win.”

Looking back at Mr. Harvey Ian nodded then turned back to the door and quietly left the house.

Kyle took a long deep breath, feeling it was past time to have a ‘little talk’ with the other kids. He wasn’t accustomed to talking about another kid when they weren’t around but knew Ian would not be comfortable sitting in on such a meeting. He walked into the dining room and stood behind his chair at the head of it. He wrapped his hands around the top of the chair, looked over at the other kids and cleared his throat. “It’s time we all had a little talk.” All their faces looked up at him, they’d all been there long enough to know by the tone of his voice the conversation would be a serious one.

They dutifully closed up their books and gave him their full attention.

“You guys, not all of you, but you know who you are need to cut Ian a break.”

Kevin’s mouth opened, “But...”

“But nothing Kevin. He’s a good kid.”

“Of course you’d say that.” Nick a younger boy spoke up. “He doesn’t do anything wrong as far as you’re concerned.”

“Guys please.” Kyle held up a hand to silence their murmuring. “Hear me out. When I’m done talking then you can talk okay?” They muttered their agreement and he continued. “Ian was raised in a very, very strict home. The slightest indiscretion on his part brought swift punishment. He was put on the straight and narrow. He’s got absolutely no idea about living in a situation like this. He’s never been allowed to interact with other kids, never been allowed to listen to the radio or watch TV. He doesn’t even have any idea how to do something wrong. He hasn’t had the temptations or peer pressure you other boys have had. He only knows what was preached to him day after day, hour after hour. It’s almost like he grew up in a vacuum. The world was going on around him but all he knew, all he was allowed to know was what his father preached at him.”

“He’s trying very hard to not get on anyone’s nerves, it’s not like he’s trying to annoy anyone. When he picks up after you guys, in his mind, he’s doing it because he doesn’t want to see any of you get in trouble. His life before, when not having the bible shoved down his throat, was trying to avoid punishment. Now he’s still trying to do that, but also trying to save you guys from it too. He doesn’t yet understand that he won’t be punished here like he was before. Therefore he doesn’t understand you guys won’t get punished like that either.”

“But he went to school didn’t he?” Mike spoke up. “How can he be that sheltered?”

Jeff decided to take on that question. “At school his mother walked him to class, he wasn’t allowed to take gym, and he was made to eat his lunch with her in her classroom. If any class was on a subject his parents didn’t feel was right he was taken out of the class and had to go sit in his mother’s classroom. He wasn’t allowed to talk to the kids in the hall and she was always there to make sure he didn’t.”

Nick and a few of the others looked at each other then back at Jeff. “Wow,” Nick said shaking his head. “That’s really bad.”

Kyle nodded at the head of the table making a mental note to thank Jeff for his input later. “Basically what I’m saying guys, is that Ian is not trying to bug you. He’s doing what he knows. It will take him some time to realize the way things are outside of the house he grew up in. So I want you all to go easier on him. The road he’s on is hard enough as it is. We need to try and act like a family here and help him through it. Not make it harder on him.” He was pleased to see most of the kids looked willing to try harder and do better. He was not at all surprised to see the same hard expression on Kevin’s face as when the conversation had started. Kevin, he knew, always took more time than anyone else to figure out the right thing to do. Usually though in the end, the guy came through.

Ian walked up to the side door of the church. The light coming out of the windows of the church seemed to be lighting up the whole area. Though he was nervous, being just in the presence of the building was soothing to him. Like its light was covering him with warmth and comfort. He found that very funny as his father’s church as loyal as he was always brought on a feeling of dread, a feeling of foreboding. This one though, here on his second visit there, gave him a feeling of peace, maybe even happiness.

He wasn’t too trustful of his own mind, but this feeling wasn’t coming from his conscious mind, it had to be coming from deeper within or up above. Therefore he felt it had to be real. That maybe it was God’s way of saying this place, this house of his, was good for him. Smiling he pulled open the door and stepped into a large rectangular room. Doors lined the far wall; in the back corner he saw a small kitchen separated from the rest of the basement with waist high counters.

Not realizing the door had an automatic hinge he jumped and closed his eyes as it crashed closed behind him. When he reopened his eyes everyone, about twenty five kids and a few adults in the room, had their eyes on him. Nice way to make an entrance he admonished himself.

One adult, a woman with long dark hair that was pulled back into a ponytail walked up to him. She was very pretty and he just had to smile in her presence as she just exuded niceness. “Are you Ian?” she asked smiling warmly at him.

He found his voice after a second, “Yes ma’am.”

The woman held out her hand. “I’m Greta, Greta Delmar.”

His mouth formed into an ‘o’ as he shook her hand. “Are you the reverend’s wife?”

“That would be me. I head up the youth group.”

“Oh,” His mother hadn’t done that, he figured if she had there wouldn’t be a youth group at all as no one would want to go. Seeing the large group already congregated there in the basement he was even more assured this lady was nice.

Greta smiled at him, her husband, of course having filled her in on Ian, his confusion and his life. He’d told her he’d really hoped that Ian would show up and was very happy to be able to report to her husband that he had indeed come. She was surprised to see he was such a fine looking young man. When her husband had described him, or rather his life, she’d pictured a small feeble looking boy. “Well come on, I’ll introduce you around.”

She introduced him to everyone, and he knew he’d never put the names to the right person. Several he’d seen around school though several he’d never seen before. She walked him up to the last person. Another boy, he did not recognize from school, who looked perhaps about Nathan’s age. “This is Matt. He’s our son.”

Ian shook the boy’s hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”

The older boy smiled. “Nice to meet you too, Ian.” Then, as he’d been instructed, asked. “You want to be my study buddy tonight?” He didn’t mind the task, he as well had been filled in a little about Ian and he’d been waiting to meet the boy and hoped he’d be able to help him out some as one preacher’s kid to another.

Ian looked up at him. “Study buddy?”

“Yeah for when we break up into groups and study a certain part of the bible. Unfortunately they don’t just let us eat and play games.”

Ian looked up at Greta as she started chuckling. She lightly smacked Matt on the shoulder. “You’re so bad,” she shook her head still chuckling then turned and walked off.

Matt looked back to Ian and smiled. “So you wanna?”

“Sure, if you want.”

“Course I want. I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t want.”

Ian blushed. “Oh sorry.” He was a little baffled at the interaction he’d just seen between the mother and son. He was shocked the kid didn’t get belted for saying what he’d said. But very pleased by the fact that he hadn’t.

“Well there’s no need to apologize, come on, let’s go to the class room. We’ll get started here in just a minute or so.”

Ian followed him through one of the doors on the far wall. The room was set up just like a real classroom though much smaller. “Wow,” he said turning and looking around. Geographical maps hung on the wall, a large chalkboard filled a wall behind a teacher’s desk, and ten other desks faced it. “This looks like a real school.” He looked back at Matt as Matt started to chuckle.

“It is a real school.”

“What?” he asked dumfounded.

“There’s a school here. About 70 kids come here, it’s only seventh grade to 12th grade though. The church also has an elementary school but it’s in another building.”

“Really?”

“Really. I go here.”

“Oh,” he looked around once more then back at Matt. “I guess that’s why I don’t recognize you from school.”

“Yep that’d be the reason.”

Ian shook his head at this other fact that he’d just learned. “I had no idea churches could have their own schools.”

“Oh sure, lots do.”

Matt walked over and took a seat motioning to Ian to sit in the one beside it. Ian walked over and sat down. “So what do we do here? For youth group I mean?” his curiosity was peaked. And when it got peaked, he’d found out over the last week that he could ask question after question.

“First we have bible study. That lasts about half an hour. Then we go over to the gym and play a game.”

“What kind of games?”

“Usually basketball or volleyball.”

Ian blushed not having any clue how to play either of those. Four days ago he’d not even have considered playing a sport but learning what he had over the past few days, what little he’d understood of how things really were he figured he’d give it a try. If a bolt of lightning struck him, then he’d know not to do it again.

“Then after that we come back here and eat.”

“Eat? I already had supper. I didn’t know they’d feed us here.”

Matt held in his laugh. He didn’t want the kid to feel awkward, knew that this was all very new to him. “It’s just snacks. Not a full meal.”

He nodded. “Oh,”

“And on Saturday we are going on a hike up Mt. Willis. We always go this time of year cause of the foliage. There’s a great view at the top and it’s really beautiful.”

Ian’s eyes lit up at the idea of the hike and he prayed he’d get to go. “That’s so exciting. Do you go on a lot of trips?”

“Oh yeah, we go at least once a month. To places like bowling, ice skating, roller skating. We go to a hockey game once a year, go camping in the summer.”

His eyes were wide with pleasure as excitement raced through his whole body. “Wow,”

Matt grinned, endeared by the boy a little more seeing how excited he was about something that to him was just a normal thing. “Well we are gonna leave here at eight Saturday morning. Will you be able to come?”

“I don’t know, I have to ask. But if they say yes, I’ll be here.”

“That’s great. It’s a lot of fun, I hope you can come.”

Ian smiled at him feeling on the precipice of another friendship.

Matt smiled back feeling the same way.

As Matt had said the bible study took about half an hour. As they walked out the back door of the church and over to the gym, Ian grew nervous knowing he was probably about to make a big old fool of himself in whatever game it was decided to play. He’d have to break the news at some point he had no idea how to play, he figured that would be better than pretending he did and just doing really bad.

The gym was just a short walk away. Ian realized that the church owned its surrounding buildings. That the place was more like a campus than just a church. Once inside the gym he looked around amazed at how similar it looked to the gymnasium in his high school. Its floor was highly polished; bleachers went up the walls on both sides of it. There was even a booth near the door like his school. He had no idea what the booth was for, but it was there anyhow.

One of the boys opened a closet door, which everyone seemed to be trying to get to and before Ian knew it the room was filled with bouncing basketballs. Matt got one of the balls and bounced it up and down as he looked at Ian. “Can you play?”

Ian looked up at him. “Do you mean do I have the ability?”

Matt chuckled. “Yeah, cause of your hand?”

Thinking back to his doctor telling him he shouldn’t do gym he wondered if it would be okay to do this. “Well, I’m not sure. I’m not supposed to do anything strenuous. But I don’t know how strenuous this is.” His eyes looked over the rest of the kids running and shooting baskets.

“Do you have more wrong than a broken hand?”

“I have broken ribs too.”

Matt nodded. “Oh then I’d say you shouldn’t be jumping around. But we can shoot hoops.”

“Shoot hoops?”

“Yeah,” he stifled another chuckle. He liked Ian, he knew that, but had to admit the boy was a bit peculiar in his lack of knowledge on things. It reminded him of people in movies who’d either just jumped fifty years into the future or were frozen for fifty years, just reawakening and discovering a whole new world.

Though instructed thoroughly on what to do and following Matt’s example Ian did not make one basket in the hour they spent at the gym and felt humiliated to his very core.

Matt sensing it put his hand on the younger boy’s shoulder as they walked back to the church. “You shouldn’t be so down on yourself Ian. Lots of people aren’t able to make baskets and they can use both their hands. And who cares if you can’t make ‘em. Playing basketball is not a priority in life.”

Ian looked up at him, a chuckle erupting out of his mouth. “I guess you have a point there.” As they ate their snacks, which were very delicious muffins Ian and Matt stood side by side. “Thanks for being my buddy tonight Matt. I realize you probably got your own friends to hang around with. But I had a lot of fun. And...” he paused and glanced up at him. “Well I just really appreciate it.”

Matt smiled at him. “I had a lot of fun too. I really hope you can come Saturday. If you do, do you want to sit together on the bus?”

Ian’s head snapped back up to him. “Really?”

“Well ya.”

Smiling back at him Ian nodded praying he’d be able to go. “That sounds great.”

When he walked into the Harvey’s house all of them were in the living room watching TV. He was glad to see Mr. Harvey get up and walk out as he was dying to ask if he could go on Saturday. The man put his hand on Ian’s back and nudged him down the hall to his office. Once they were both inside he closed the door and they both sat down.

“Well how did it go?”

His face alive with pleasure Ian looked at him. “It was great. I never had so much fun in all my life. But I gotta ask you something.”

Kyle nodded hating the nervous look that always came to the boy’s face when he had to ask anything. He understood why Ian would feel nervous, his past assured that, but his heart still went out to him every time.

“The youth group goes on trips. This Saturday they are going to some mountain for a hike.” Ian looked down at his hands took a deep breath then looked back up at Mr. Harvey. “They leave at eight in the morning and I’m sorry I forgot to check when they’d get back. But I can call and find out.” He looked around the room at the walls, at the floor, at the picture behind Mr. Harvey’s head but could not seem to spit out the actual request.

Not able to see him squirm any longer Kyle spoke up. “Well sounds to me like this is something you should do Ian. Sounds like it will be a lot of fun.”

Ian’s smile lit up the room. “Oh thank you sir, I’ll be good I promise. You won’t have to worry about anything.”

“Oh I’m not worried about you misbehaving Ian. Don’t you worry about that. I think it sounds like a lot of fun.”

Relief washing through him he felt so good he dared to ask something else that was on his mind. “Sir?”

“Yes?”

“That paper that I’m doing for school, well the guy I’m working with has to interview me too. He’s getting a little annoyed cause I still haven’t come up with my topic. Do you have any ideas?”

Flattered the boy had come to him with this Kyle really wished he could help but knew this was something Ian should work through on his own. That if he didn’t start making his own decisions now that it would just get harder and harder in the future.

“I can’t make that decision for you son.”

Ian’s face faltered. “Oh, I’m sorry.”

Kyle smiled and shook his head. “There’s no need to be sorry, if anyone should be here it’s me. I don’t ever want you to feel bad for asking me for help on something. I just feel that you should be the one to decide this. It’s going to be about you, it’s your chance to let others in your class hear something about you. But it has to be your idea.”

“I’m just not good at coming up with ideas.”

“I understand that. And I understand why. But don’t you think it’s time you started trying to come up with some on your own? I mean you couldn’t have liked it when your father told you exactly what to write.”

Ian shook his head.

“I bet back then you had ideas of stuff you wanted to write but just couldn’t because he was telling you what to do. Am I right?”

Looking up at him Ian nodded. “So then why, when I actually do have the chance can I come up with nothing?”

“Well you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed. If I was in your shoes I’d be feeling a lot overwhelmed. You’ve got so much going on I imagine that’s part of your problem.”

“Alright I’ll think on it overnight and pray I come up with something. I finally get to do a project with someone else and not have a guarantee they’ll be ticked off. I should really not tick them off.”

Kyle chuckled though he knew Ian was totally serious. Just his way of wording things sometimes was incredibly funny. “You are staying late again tomorrow right?”

“Yes sir, if it’s still okay.”

“No problem at all.”

Ian’s eyes darted around the room again. “Ah sir, tomorrow night when I get home would it be okay if I use the phone to call my social worker?”

“Well sure Ian, but do you mind if I ask why?”

“It’s just cause I want to see Tony. She said I could see him if I wanted. And I do want to. I’ve been worried about him and I want to make sure he’s okay.”

“Oh sure, that’s no problem at all. I can call her if you’d like. We can set something up for you guys.”

“That would be wonderful.” He clasped his hands together. “If you don’t mind.”

“No I don’t mind Ian.”

The next morning in English Raymond was definitely losing his patience. “Come on Ian. It’s already Thursday, I gotta get my paper done too you know. If I fail this cause of you I’m gonna be real pissed off.”

Ian’s eyes widened at the swear word. “You shouldn’t curse.”

“Piss, piss, piss.” Raymond sneered his eyes narrowed.

His mouth now hanging open his eyes got even wider. He jumped as a hand came down on his shoulder. His head snapped up to see Mr. Bell looking down at him and Raymond. “What seems to be the problem here boys?”

“He won’t come up with a topic.” Raymond was all too eager to shoot out.

Ian blushed and looked down at his desk, as the teacher was the last person he’d wanted to know that little detail.

“Ian come out in the hall with me for a minute.” Mr. Bell walked off and Ian glared at Raymond feeling more anger than he’d ever felt towards another student. “Thanks a lot Raymond. I hope you’re real proud of yourself.” All he got for a response was a sarcastic snort.

Ian stood from his chair and followed the teacher out into the hall, he had no idea what to expect but was expecting the worst.

Once they were in the hall, seeing the boy literally shaking in fear Mr. Bell put a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Calm down Ian, I’m not going to yell at you.”

Ian nodded, though the man’s words did little to stop his fear. He wasn’t so concerned with yelling as he was with what else may happen.

“Why can’t you come up with a topic?”

“I don’t know sir,” He croaked out. “I’ve tried, honest I have. I just can’t come up with anything.”

“With all you’ve been through, all you are going through now I find it real hard to believe that you have nothing you want to say. Nothing you want to express, maybe to get a little understanding from your classmates or maybe just to clear your head. Lots of times talking things out aids in decreasing confusion. I’d think this would be a great opportunity for you.”

He looked down at the floor studying Mr. Bell’s shoes. “Do you have a suggestion then?”

Mr. Bell looked around the hall then led Ian over to a bench where he sat down and pulled Ian down gently beside him.

“If there was one thing you could say to your classmates, perhaps something you’ve always wanted them to know, what would it be?”

Ian cocked his head to one side as he picked at his cast. “Well...” he paused not really daring to spit it out.

“Come on Ian. I’ll think no less of you for anything you say. In fact I’d just be proud you came up with something.”

“What do you mean think less of me?” he asked looking up at the man.

“That I wouldn’t like you any less.”

“You like me?” he asked in dumfounded surprise.

“Well sure I do, why wouldn’t I?”

“Well cause of that last report I did. You sure didn’t seem like you liked me after that.”

“I’m sorry about that Ian. The report did get under my skin. I’ve told no one this but I have a gay son.”

Ian’s eyes widened as he studied the man. “Oh sir, I’m so sorry,” he paused glanced at the ground then back up at the man. “And I didn’t really feel that way. My dad told me what to write. Me, I don’t have any problem with it.”

Mr. Bell smiled very happy to hear that. “Still I shouldn’t have come down so hard on you. I am sorry.”

Astounded he was being apologized to Ian nodded, warming up just a bit to the teacher. “Why did you run and tell my mom it was bad? Why did all you teachers run and tell her every little thing I did wrong?”

Mr. Bell’s eyes softened even more. “Ian we had no idea what was happening to you at home. No idea you were getting punished so severely for everything we reported or she just overheard. We thought we were simply giving her updates. I didn’t run in and say your report was bad. She came and asked me how you’d done and I told her you presented it really well, but could have used some more of your own words. Rather than all the bible quotes.”

Ian nodded growing angry. His father had specifically told him he’d not ‘delivered’ the speech well. Had said nothing about the content of the report being bad. Therefore he’d been punished for something the man himself had written. Yet another thing he’d come to discover that definitely was not right in how he was raised.

“You okay?”

He looked back up at the teacher and though he was burning from hurt and anger he managed a nod.

“You sure?” Mr. Bell asked seeing Ian was going through some heavy inner turmoil.

He nodded again. “Maybe my report should be on how I really think.”

Mr. Bell smiled knowing he’d not have been able to come up with a better topic for him. “I think that’s a wonderful idea.”

“But how will I go about it? How much should I say?”

“You say what you feel comfortable with Ian. Remember it has to be read out loud in class. So don’t fill Raymond in on anything you won’t be comfortable with the whole class knowing.”

Ian nodded excited about the idea and already running through things in his head. “Okay sir, thanks. I really appreciate you helping me. And explaining to me things I had the wrong impression about.”

Mr. Bell put his hand on Ian’s knee and squeezed it. “And I’m sorry that you thought all of us teachers were your enemies all this time. We really aren’t son. We had no idea what we were contributing to. I know all the other teachers are as sorry as I am.”

Ian smiled feeling better than he had in perhaps his entire life. With Nathan and possibly Matt as his friends, living with Jeff whom he also really liked, the Harvey’s and how nice they both were and now knowing his teachers didn’t all hate him he just felt things really were looking up. Looking up better than he’d ever thought possible.

When he walked back and sat across from Raymond he found he wasn’t even mad at him any longer. “Okay I got my topic.” He looked up at the clock and saw there was only about a minute left to class. “But we will have to wait til after school. But as soon as we get to the library I’ll fill you in and we can get started.”

“No tell me now. That way I can start working up some questions.”

Ian looked at him. “Yeah that’s a good idea. I don’t really know how to word it just yet.” Raymond rolled his eyes and Ian thought for a quick way to sum it up. “Well I want it to cover how I never had an opinion of my own. Was never allowed one. I want it to cover the opinions I’m feeling now, ones I have come up with on my own.”

Raymond’s face changed from the angry one it had been to a thoughtful one. “Very good idea Ian. I’ll work up some questions during my study hall so we’ll be set for after school.”

Beaming with happiness that his idea was well received Ian packed up his bag and stood up as the bell sounded.

In the library during his own study hour Nathan joined him at the table they usually sat at. “Hey man, we gotta talk. Can you go to the bathroom?”

“I don’t really have to go, but maybe if I tried.”

Nathan looked at him sideways then busted out laughing so loud that the librarian shushed him. Nathan put his hand over his mouth until his laughter died down enough so he could talk. “Man you are so funny.”

Ian grinned though he had no idea why what he’d said was funny.

“What I meant was,” Nathan explained red faced and amidst more chuckles, “I want to talk to you in private. The bathroom is the best place to do that. You won’t really have to use the toilet while we are there.”

Starting to chuckle as well, though he felt like an idiot, Ian nodded. “Okay then.”

“Now it will look suspicious if we go together. So I’ll go then you wait a few minutes and come too. I’ll be in the one just down the hall okay?”

“Okay.” He watched as Nathan stood up and walked out of the room. Seeing Nathan always made him feel good. Made his heart feel warm and just made him feel good all over. He’d had many fantasies over the last few weeks of Nathan holding him in his strong arms. Even a few of them kissing like he’d seen Mark and Jason do that day. Those particular ones hadn’t started until he was at the Harvey’s, like even having those thoughts swimming in his head would get him in trouble if he was still at home.

Though he fantasized about such things he never imagined they would come true. First off, he was still really scared of being found out. Second, Nathan was two years older than him, and was a very smart and very attractive guy. He just saw no way the guy would ever be interested in someone like him.

About three minutes later he got up from the table. He walked to the librarian and asked for the bathroom pass. She looked shocked as she handed it over and he figured it was because he’d never asked for it before. Before he had been too scared to actually ask to go to the bathroom during a class period. Previously the only time he went at school was after lunch and asking for his mother’s permission.

He walked into the bathroom where Nathan was standing over by the windows. In the same spot where he’d nearly got the crap kicked out of him a few weeks earlier. Nathan smiled at him and Ian could see he was nervous. Suddenly he found himself afraid that maybe the friendship was over. That the guy had had about all of him that he could take.

“Don’t look so nervous,” Nathan said.

“You look nervous, I’m reacting from you.”

Despite his nervousness, Nathan let out a laugh. “You are so funny Ian.”

Ian grinned. “I honestly don’t mean to be. I mean I’m glad I am. Just I never know if something I say is funny or not ‘til someone laughs. And lately that’s been happening an awful lot.”

His face growing serious, Nathan took a step forward. “Oh, I’m sorry Ian; I didn’t know when I laughed that it was hurting your feelings.”

“It’s not hurting my feelings.” He shook his head wondering why nothing he said ever came out right. “I guess I like that I’m funny, I just wish I knew when I was.”

Nathan took his arm led him further into the room then leaned back on one of the sinks in the room. In that position he was eye to eye with Ian. “You said your father wrote that anti gay paper. That it wasn’t your opinion.”

Ian nodded; worried he’d done something recently to make Nathan think it was his opinion.

“So I know you’re not anti gay. But what I’m curious about is if you maybe are gay.”

With his throat seeming to be closing up, Ian’s eyes widened a little. He certainly didn’t think anyone would ever be able to tell, had never even really admitted such a thing to himself. “Do I act like I’m gay?” he squeaked.

“No Ian, it’s not a certain way anyone acts. It’s just a feeling I’ve got.”

He put his fingers up to his mouth and thought. Knowing if he said it, admitted to it, there would be no turning back. The longer he thought the more Nathan’s face became happy. “You are aren’t you?”

Ian dropped his hand and sighed. “I think so Nathan, but I don’t know for sure. I mean I haven’t exactly had the chance to act on any of my feelings.”

“Do you want to act on them Ian? Are you ready for that?”

“How?”

Nathan looked down at the floor as he took a long deep breath then looked back into Ian’s eyes. “With me.”

Ian’s eyes widened yet again. He started to tingle all over. It was a feeling he’d never experienced before. “You w..want to?”

“I sure do Ian. I think about you all the time, about us. Us together as a couple.”

“Wow,”

Nathan chuckled, and not getting a denial he nervously reached out and took Ian’s uncasted hand holding it gently in his own. “I won’t rush you into anything Ian. We’ll take it really slow. I know all you’re going through and I would never want to add to any of your confusion. I want to be there with you, all the way to help you through it. As your partner and as your friend.”

His excitement and happiness growing even more Ian nodded. “You do have to go slow Nathan. I mean look at me in just the friendship department, it’s hard to imagine myself in the boyfriend department.” He stopped and put his hand over his mouth. “Is that right?”

“Is what right?”

“Saying boyfriend.”

Nathan chuckled as he nodded, his elation written all over his face. “That’s absolutely fine Ian. Just don’t start calling me the little woman.”

“Huh?”

He shook his head. “Never mind.” He took Ian’s other hand holding them both out between them. “So you want to try this then? You want to be a couple?”

Though he was happy as a lark, Ian’s eyes filled with tears that dripped down his face as he nodded. “I don’t know why I’m crying,” he laughed. “I’m very happy.”

Nathan laughed as well as he carefully pulled Ian into a tight loving hug which had Ian, in his first hug ever, crying even harder. He moved his arms up around Nathan’s back and pressing his chin into his shoulder and the side of his face into the side of Nathan’s head. “This feels really, really good,” he said through his tears.

Nathan embraced him just a little tighter. “I think so too.” It was several minutes before they slowly separated. Nathan again held him at arms length, a smile filling up his face. Tears still trickled slowly down Ian’s face but his smile was just as big. “You’ve never been hugged before have you?” he asked his heart aching.

Ian shook his head freeing one hand to wipe at his face.

Nathan smiled. “Well just so’s you know you’re gonna get plenty from now on.”

Laughing a little Ian nodded. “And I won’t argue about it one bit. That was incredible. Really I mean it.”

Chuckling a little himself Nathan hugged him again. Though this one was not as long, it was just as powerful. After separating again Nathan reached his hands up behind his neck then produced a gold chain. “Will you wear this Ian?”

Ian reached out and ran his finger along the chain. “I don’t have anything for you.”

“Well that’s okay. I just want you to wear this. My dad gave it to me, for my birthday when I turned twelve. I’ve worn it ever since. I know if you have it on that a piece of me will always be with you.”

His tears, that had pretty much stopped, started all over again. “I’m sorry Nathan. I really don’t mean to keep crying.”

“It’s okay; as long as they’re happy tears I think it’s great.”

“Well I think they must be happy tears. Cause I’m definitely happy.”

“So will you wear it?”

“Definitely.”

Copyright © 2011 vlista20; 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.
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