On The Outside

Chapter 25

It makes you hate the whole world, you know?

Just...feeling like you have to ask some divine order of self proclaimed 'judges' to accept you enough to simply leave you alone. People who are constantly making these little passive aggressive comments, or taking these little pathetic digs at your pride in order to tear you down. In some feeble attempt to embarrass you in front of others, I guess? I mean, I don't think I'll ever understand why it even matters. Why exhaust yourself and go so far out of your way to hurt somebody or wreck their happiness...only to lose in the end? Because Drew and I are going to love each other regardless, no matter what they have to say about it. So they make that their whole life...which, ultimately, means that they're entire existence is pointless. A meaningless pursuit of rushing towards an end where they all die alone because, deep down, they know for a fact that they've wronged and alienated everyone who ever had even the slightest chance of being a friend to them. And for what? They haven't accomplished anything. You'll only be remembered as that one asshole that people are glad is gone at the end of the day. The people who leave you behind. Who get sick of being mistreated and disrespected just so you can feel good about yourself for a couple of minutes a day. It's sad.

I pity those people. Not empathize...but pity.

They hate me and Drew and the love we share because they have no access to it. No way to ever ignite that in another person because they don't have enough of a heart to offer anything of value to another human being. So they engage in childish little tantrums, like writing the word 'faggot' on my locker, or pushing Drew around in the hallway...trying to bring us down to our knees so they feel just a little bit taller. What a waste of life.

And even thinking about them this much...what a waste of time.

I kept staring up at my bedroom ceiling, lost for answers. Drew wasn't going to answer my call. That was clear. So I just gave up on trying to reach out to him for the rest of the evening. But it hurt to imagine Drew just...maybe staring up at his ceiling the way that I was at that very moment...with tears in his eyes...wondering if he was going to be able to find the will to walk away from this whole surreal fantasy of ours for no other reason than he thought it might save me from the horrors of judgement that he will soon have to go back to facing all alone.

I just remember curling up into a tight little ball as I rolled over on my side...and sniffling and sobbing as Drew's absence enveloped me with an ice cold feeling of emptiness inside. I don't care, Drew. I swear. I don't care about a single one of them or what they have to say to my face...much less whisper behind my back. I just want you back in my arms again. Nothing else matters. Nothing.

I don't know how long it too me to get to sleep...but I still had the dried tracks of salty tears in the corners of my eyes when I woke up the next morning. The sun was blinding me as it poured in through the bedroom window, and the second I stretched out and got my breathing back to normal...thoughts of Drew were already flooding my mind. It was Saturday, and still pretty early, so when I sat up and swung my bare feet around to place down on the carpet...I was wondering if maybe calling Drew again would be more of an invasion than a blessing. I mean, it's not like he could avoid me forever, right? He'd have to come back to class eventually. And even if he refused to speak to me directly, chances are that he'd feel bad about sitting next to me in class and blatantly turning his head to not talk to me, right? He would have to feel something. Or, at least, I'm assuming he was.

I shut my eyes and tried to fight off another wave of intense heartbreak as it washed over me. Why can't people just leave us alone? I don't understand. What the fuck are the so AFRAID of??? That we're going to kiss and hold hands and laugh together while they remain miserable in their loveless, underachieving, bullshit, lives? Just let us be happy! Please?

Do you want me to beg? I'll beg! Just let us be, and love who we want to love, already. It's not even any of your business. We were happy long before they even knew about it. So just...keep 'not knowing about it'. Go get a fucking hobby or something, Jesus! Preferably one that doesn't involve you sticking your nose into my bedroom or his. You look like a bunch of fucking brain dead sociopaths.

I can't do this. I just...I can't. I'm not going to be able to make it through an entire weekend like this. I need to talk to him. I need to just...I've got to...ugh! Let me get up and hit the shower. This can't go on. Drew doesn't have to do what I say or bow down to my requests for him to go back to being boyfriends again, even if it's only in secret...but I'll be damned if he just walks away from me without hearing what I have to say first.

I know that I screwed up a lot of things between us since that first day that we met in that Biology class...but I learned to get better. And I was fully dedicated towards making things awesome for me and Drew in the future. No more games. No more lies. No more fear of my own feelings. We can DO this! I just...need him to talk to me again. That's all. Get him to give me a chance. I know that I can earn his trust again if he'll just give me a chance.

I showered up, and fixed my hair as best as I could, and I got dressed in some of the clothes that I knew Drew thought were cute on me. Hehehe, might as well present myself wrapped in a somewhat sexy package, right?

Yeah...I was going to his house. No call. No warning. I'm going to just pop up on his front porch and hope that he doesn't hate me for it later. I mean, what else did he want me to do? I'm suffering too, you know?

My parents asked me where I was off to so early on a Saturday morning, but I didn't really explain much. Like I said before, that was a conversation that was going to take a lot longer than the few hurried moments before rushing out of the house before Drew had a chance to make any random plans for the day. So with a few mumbled words and a couple of teen boy excuses that they didn't seem to question, I was off and running towards the biggest, the best, the only, love in my life. And whether this turns out good or bad...he's going to know what's in my heart. He should already know how I feel about him, but...there's no harm in saying it out loud again, since current events seem to have ruined his confidence in me all of a sudden.

The bike ride to his house was a quick one, the wind in my hair drying up all of the dampness from my shower, assisted by the warm sun above. And when I leaned my bike up against his fence and walked up to ring the doorbell, I felt myself beginning to fidget a bit with the anxiety of seeing those soft brown eyes and pouty lips again, under a boyish canopy of light brown curls. Come on, Drew. Just talk to me. Let's work this out.


The door opened up, and I took a step back...

I had never really gotten a good look at Drew's father before now, but it suddenly made perfect sense to me, why he would be somewhat afraid of him. Standing a full six or seven inches taller than me...with some manly stubble on his face, a set of intimidating brown eyes, and short cut brown curls...I found myself being totally overwhelmed by his very presence. He didn't look mean or anything...but to say that him opening that door didn't activate my 'fight or flight' reflex would be a lie.

"Yes?" He said, his gravely voice nearly causing my knees to get weak.

I was frozen for a moment. I didn't know what to do. The closest that I had ever been to any interaction with Drew's dad had been over the phone, or having him pick Drew up in front of my house in the rain. I was a bit lost as to how to approach this new event of seeing him, face to face, in broad daylight like this.

Clearing my throat and trying to control that turbulent tremble in my chest, I quietly said, "I'm...here for Drew..."

"What was that? Speak up. I can't hear you." He said.

"Ahem..." Focus, Ethan! Jesus! "...Is Drew home?"

His dad looked at me sideways for a moment, then he asked...in a gruff voice..."Does he know you?"

"I'm...I'm Ethan." I said. Then adding, "Sir..."

He never opened the screen door. He just said, "Hold on a second." Turning around to call out, "Drew? You've got somebody here to see you. Says his name is Ethan..." And he shut the door in my face. I didn't realize that I was holding my breath until he was out of my vision. Dear God, was that ever scary! I probably would have wet myself if I had to spend another minute having him look at me like that.

About 30 seconds later, the door was snatched open in a panic, and Drew's pretty face finally greeted me again...bringing a soothing sensation of accomplishment as I finally found a way to make contact with him again.

"ETHAN!" He whispered loudly. "What are you doing here?!?!"

"I wanted to talk to you."

"My DAD is..." He started, and then looked over his shoulder before lowering his voice even further. "My dad is here. You can't be here right now, ok?"

"Why did you bail on me?" I demanded.

"I didn't bail on you. I just...look, we can talk about this later."

"I'm here right now."

"I'm just saying that later might be a better time for us to..."

"I'm here right NOW, Drew!" I said. "Talk to me. Please? What did I do wrong? This isn't fair!"

Shaking, Drew put his hand up to quiet me, and he said, "Ok! Ok...just...stay right here, alright? Let me get dressed." I hadn't even realized that he was standing there in a pair of boxers and a white t-shirt until he said that. But, whatever. I'll stand on his front porch forever if it meant that he was finally going to communicate with me about this for once. Enough of this bullshit. I wanted answers. I wanted to make a plan as to how to deal with this situation. More importantly...I wanted my angel back. The one boy who took the hurt and the awkwardness away and made me feel 'normal', just like everybody else. What we had together was just too special to be tossed aside and thrown away like some random piece of trash. I was in LOVE with this boy! And he loved me too. And if things don't work out between us, then so be it. But it won't be because of a few suspicious looks, some cowardly rumors, or a single word written on my locker that can be easily removed with some water and a touch of toothpaste. That's hardly a reason to give up the best thing that's ever happened to me. If Drew is going to convince me that us being apart is better than us being together...then he'd better have a damn good reason. No excuses. No halfhearted arguments. But a real reason. He'd better come with something serious if he's expecting me to just let him go.

I'm willing to fight for his love. I hope he's willing to fight for mine too.

A few minutes later, Drew came out of his house fully dressed, with his hair frantically teased into a neat little crop of almond colored noodles, hehehe...with a scent of some kind of spray on fragrance to make him smell all boyish and sexy. It made me smile to know that he was in such a hurry to make himself all cute for me in such a short amount of time...but, despite his efforts to appear as pleasing to the senses as he could be...he still seemed really nervous about talking to me. "Ethan...why did you come here? What have you done?"

"What are you talking about?" I asked, feeling him grab my arm and pull me off of his front porch and out to the sidewalk to quietly talk to me about making the major offense of coming to visit him on a Saturday morning. "Drew...I tried calling you, but you kept ignoring me."

"I wasn't..." He started, a pained look on his face. Then adding, "...I wasn't ignoring you, Ethan. Honestly. I just...I think you need some time to think about this."

"Think about WHAT?" I asked. "What is there to think about? I don't get this at all."

Drew made sure to pull me even further away from his front porch, just in case his dad was listening or something. FUCK! Other people meddling in our fucking BUSINESS is soooooo goddamn ANNOYING!!! "Ethan, you don't know what you're getting yourself into, ok? I do. And it's not worth it. None of this is worth it."

"How can you say that to me? Drew...nothing has changed when it comes to how I feel about you. Nothing at all. Isn't that enough?"

"No. It's not."

"Why NOT???"

Tearing up with a shaky voice, Drew said, "Because it's NOT!!! Ok?" He wiped his eyes, sniffling quietly. "Ethan...you...you just don't get it. You have a chance to have a much better life than what I have to go through everyday, ok?"

"What 'better life' are you talking about? What kind of life am I going to have without you by my side, holding my hand? Tell me."

"A chance to be happy, Ethan!" He sobbed. "A chance to have real friends at school and to eat lunch with. A decent relationship with your parents and your family. A chance to not be looked at as weird or different by people who don't know a damn thing about you." As tears ran down his cheeks, my heart broke for him all over again. It really did. And I felt a growing lump in the back of my throat as well. To think that this boy...this stunning, super sweet, boy...would have to spend a single moment in pain over having the guts to tell the world who he is...it's loathsome. It really is. "Being with me is going to ruin that. All of it. And I cant bear being a part of that. I can't. Ok?"

I tried to reach out to caress the smoothness of his cheek to comfort him, but he cringed from my display of affection, and dragged me even further away from his house so his father couldn't see us.

I said, "You can't possibly ruin anything for me, Drew. I mean that. Everything that I've ever wanted...ever...is reflected in your eyes."


"No. I'm being honest here. Please, just...hear me out, ok?" I was hoping that Drew could drop his defenses just long enough to hear this part of what of what I had to say. Even if he dismissed everything else...this was something that I needed him to know. "Drew...there was a time not long ago that I didn't want to be gay. I was scared of being gay. Scared of being different. I didn't want people gossiping behind my back or making fun of me in the high school hallways. It terrified me. And it made me ashamed of who I am. So I lied. I lied to everybody. I hid it as some kind of blasphemous secret and pushed it way down into my gut until all I could do was cry myself to sleep every night...because I knew the truth. I knew it, and was too embarrassed to share it with anybody else because I had been bullied into thinking that it was abnormal and wrong. And then...you came along. And everything began to change." Drew began to cry even more, and I wanted to comfort him, but held back from touching him in any way. Afraid that he would take that as a cue to pull away again. "You opened my eyes, Drew. There's nothing weird about what I feel for you. Nothing at all. I love you. I love everything about you. And it made me truly understand that I was just being a jackass for not accepting myself for who I really was inside. All of that fear ad denial was just...wasted time. But being with you? Everything made sense. Everything felt real. And I'm not ready to give that up. Not for anybody. Certainly not for some coward with a permanent marker." I said. "I love you, Drew. I always have."

Now sobbing heavily, Drew says, "You're supposed to warn me before you say that...heh..."

"Whatever. Deal with it." I smirked, feeling a tear roll down my cheek as well.

"Ethan..." He said, his voice trembling. "...This isn't going to end well for you. Or for either one of us. It'll get worse. Some people get off on punishing us for not being a part of their fantasy of what is normal. When they come for us...it's gonna hurt. A LOT. And once they know...you know...about you...it'll never go away. Not ever."

This time, when I caressed the side of his face...he didn't pull away. I wiped away some of his tears while allowing some of my own to flow freely. And I said, "I'm pretty sure that I've done much more embarrassing things than loving you, sweetie. Hehehe! Let them hate. Let it consume them until they're sooooo flustered and stressed out that it takes years off of their lives, and they die off in droves. The world will be better off without them anyway." I said, and Drew giggled in the cutest way imaginable. GOD, I love to see him smile.

"My dad is gonna question me when I go back home, you know?" He said.

"Question you? Why?"

"I TOLD you, Ethan! Having a cute boy ask for me at the door...he's gonna be weird about it. I just know he is."

Raising an eyebrow, I asked, "Why? Hehehe! All I did was ring the doorbell and ask if you were home."

He playfully rolled his eyes. "Come on, dude."

"What??? That's all I did!"

"Oh please! My dad probably took one look at you and thought, 'my son is jacking off to this hottie every night before bed'!"

I laughed out loud. "Ummmm...ARE you?"

"That's, totally, not the point here!" He snickered. "Just...it's good to see you, but..."

"Don't go home yet, then." I said. "Let's go to the park or something. Enjoy a bit of weekend sunshine. You're already dressed. I'm sure you gave your dad a decent excuse to be talking to the 'super cute boy' at the door...let's hang out for a while."

Drew was hesitant at first, but found himself becoming weak to my charms as I gave him my most flirtatious smile. "I never said super cute..."

"Sure you didn't." I said. "Shall we?"

"M'kay..." He replied. And off we went to spend some time together. Trying to repair the damage of a few gutless homophobes while we got back to enjoying a happy life as two teenagers in love.

So stew in your misery, you fucking heartless sons of bitches! Go find something to love in your own lives! Or even better, something to love about yourselves! Don't despise us for finding what you never could in your life. We'll be just fine.

Will you?