On The Outside

Chapter 1

One more time! That's all it's going to take. Just one more time! I'll just rewind this lesbian porno flick to the beginning, sit even closer to the television, and concentrate. I mean, I'm already naked, I'm already hard, how difficult can this be? I mean they're two women, BEAUTIFUL women, having 15 minutes of breathtaking orgasmic lesbian sex! How can I NOT 'get off' on that? Right? I mean, there's gotta be something deep in my primitive male programming that's going to go WILD when I watch this....for the third time. There just HAS to be! C'mon Ethan, you can do this! You can win!

I started the video again, and laid back against the couch, completely naked except for a pair of white socks, 5 and a half inch tool in hand, ready to go. I had the volume turned all the way down too. I swear, if I had to hear one more Casio Keyboard rendition of "She's A Maniac" I was going to take that videotape out and burn it in the front yard. The video started off, and set up the sex scene with riveting dialogue and interesting plot twists. Of course, as in most porn films, all of this took place approximately 2 minutes after the opening credits. So, there they were. Two women. One blond, one redhead. Naked, and kissing, and stretching, and purring, and licking each other erotically. And I watched it all. Hoping...PRAYING...that this time I'd be able to do it right. I began to slowly stroke myself, from my sensitive tip, down to the soft sagging nuggets below. I was afraid to close my eyes, so I kept them glued to the screen, feeling their sensual contact touch me with imaginary hands and daydreamed kisses. I began moving my hand a little bit faster, gaining speed by the second. I looked at the screen with excitement as I felt my erection begin to harden and swell, the fantastic images tantalizing my senses and arousing me enough to keep going. I spread my legs further apart and tightened my grip around my stiff organ, pumping it for all I was worth. I heard a gentle moan escape my lips involuntarily, exciting me all the more. It was as though I could feel their tongues sliding across my skin in the most private of places. The ladies twisted and squirmed with such an erotic perfection. Beautiful, voluptuous, brazen....how I wanted to want them. I stroked faster still, letting the video guide my passions in all the right directions. The pictures filling me with lust. I only closed my eyes for a second, allowing my mind to finish the video on is own. The kissing, the sweetened cries of passion, the gentle rubbing of flesh against flesh. Then...it happened....AGAIN!!! DAMMIT!!!!

I angrily hit the stop button on the remote control and threw it across the room as hard as I possibly could. I heard it shatter against the wall, the batteries spilling out onto the hard wood floor. I pounded my fists against my head repeatedly and tears of anger began to crawl from my eyes. Hurtful, unstoppable tears. They burned my eyes and I tensed every muscle in my body to the breaking point, trying to find a satisfying way to display my aggravation. Some way to get back at the world for putting me in this position. But there was nothing for me to swing at, no one to blame it on, nothing to break or yell at. Just me! Me and my stupid tears. Dammit! God dammit! Why? Why can't I do this right? As I sat on the floor in front of the blank TV screen, I cried like a baby. Cried out of frustration, cried out of anger, cried out of despair, cried out of a self hate that you couldn't imagine. It happened every single time. I would be trying my hardest to just concentrate on the movie, the jiggling breasts, the smooth thighs, the spongy soft asses...and every single time I'd fuck it up! Thoughts would creep into my mind without me even knowing it. Even when I tried hard to block them out, sometimes even trying to physically hit myself so as to 'knock' the visions out of my head, they still crept back in. They were stupid thoughts, evil thoughts. No matter how sexy the girls on the screen were, my mind always wandered to Jeff's wet, smooth buttocks in the high school shower. To Alex's legs in his sexy silken soccer shorts. To Brett's soft long neck and the incredible urges I had to bury my face in it...just ONCE!!! I thought about the awesome blond guy that worked at the Pizza Hut, the gorgeous boy I saw in the mall, that one sitcom with the teen idol who's so mouthwatering that I can't help but stare at him! DAMMIT!!! I hated myself SO much! I cried even harder, my head cast down into my folded arms as I pulled my knees up to my chest. What a pathetic sight I must be right now, naked and sobbing like a child. I'm gay! Can you believe it? GAY! what the hell did I do to deserve this? Why can't I just...'fix' it somehow? Why? I thought being gay was a CHOICE! That maybe they had been 'tricked' into it, or they were just rebellious, or just freaks who did it for the sex. To experiment, to hide, to be hip, whatever! I always believed that they were perverts because they WANTED to be that way. I don't want to be that way! This isn't a choice for ME! If I had a choice....I'd pick ANYTHING but this! Oh God...what am I going to do? What am I going to tell my parents? Sure it's okay NOW when I'm 14, but when I'm forty years old, unmarried, and still haven't dated a girl...my parents are going to know something's wrong. Oh God help me! Come on! there's gotta be some kind of...CURE...or something! Some kind of brainwashing thing that somebody can do. Maybe if I just fake it long enough, I can repair whatever part of my brain is broken. What am I going to do? I can't just keep living my life and thinking that this is a phase or a puberty thing...this is real. And it SUCKS! It sucks because no matter what I do, I just can't FIX it!!! Why? But the more questions I asked myself, the harder I cried. The more I tried to hold the tears back, the harder I cried. Nothing would stop it. It was the first time I had ever admitted it to myself, the first time the word had ever been allowed to cross my mind. And now that I said it, I wished that I could take it back.

This was a nightmare, right? Just some horrible nightmare. I'll wake up tomorrow, and I'll be on the playground with my friends, checking out the cheerleaders by the fence, and I'll tell them, "Guess what? I had this weird fucking dream that I was a fag!" And then we'd all laugh out loud and throw rocks at the REAL freaks at school. That's what it is, right? Just a dream? I tried over and over to drive the word 'gay' from my brain, but it wouldn't leave. It stood it's ground, staring me right in the face, and now that it had become a reality, it wasn't ever going away. Not ever. So I did the only thing I could do...I sat there on the floor, leaning up against the couch, stripped down to the socks, alone, and cried my eyes out for what must have been an hour or more. I poured my soul into every tear until I just didn't have any left. Until my throat ached and my cheeks burned. I hated myself so much that I just wanted to die. Right then and there. I'm...I'm...GAY! I can't understand why? I just want to know WHY!!! I can't believe that I was going to be forced to live the rest of my life as a queer. Hated and spit on and teased and beaten up, until the day that I died. No family, no love, no respect, nothing. I've evidently wasted this life already at 14, why don't I just throw myself off the roof and end it now? THAT'S my choice now. 60 or 70 more years of being alone and miserable, or a 10 minute walk to find a building high enough to jump off of. You tell ME which one makes more sense.

I couldn't face my parents that night at all. I skipped dinner and went to bed hungry. I didn't want to look at them, or talk to them, I couldn't even be in the same room with them. I was so ashamed. So fucking embarrassed! They gave me everything, loved me with all they had to give, and I turn around and...and...God, why are you punishing me with this? Couldn't you have given this curse to somebody else? I didn't talk to any of my friends on the phone or online that night, didn't watch any TV or listen to any of my CDs. I didn't do anything at all. I just went to bed at like 7 PM and rolled back and forth in agony, wondering what the hell I was going to do with myself now that I knew the truth. I pretty much cried myself to sleep, at least it was the last thing I remember doing that night. I stayed up until damn near 2 AM in that bed. Afraid to go to sleep for fear that even my dreams would betray me. Like that one night, when I woke up in the middle of a wet dream, a dream about that cute baby faced boy from my art class. Short dark hair, mesmerizing eyes, pink lips...I wanted him without even knowing it. I just remember seeing him in that dream, hovering over me, kissing me, grinding himself into me. God, as much as I hated the idea of it in real life, my subconscious wouldn't lie. In the dream, I just lay there, returning every kiss, caressing his soft bottom, kneading the supple cheeks, and enjoying every second of his sweet embrace. My whole body was tingling, completely enraptured with the soft kisses of this gorgeous boy. I liked it....sooooo much...and by the time I woke up, it was too late to stop myself from releasing my built up tensions. My orgasm left me weak, the warm juices spewing out of me as I spasmed helplessly in my half dazed state of awareness. As I lay there with semen soaking my boxers, I felt that shame return to me, carrying with it a rush of confusion. I didn't want this, I didn't need this, and for the longest time...I had convinced myself that it wasn't even there. But it was. It had been stalking me for as long as I can remember, and now here we stood, face to face. And I just couldn't run any longer. I was gay, and my body was never going to let me forget it.

When I woke up the next morning, I realized that if this was the way I was going to live, then I'd have to make some 'adjustments' for it. I set some rules for myself that were NEVER to be broken. No matter WHAT!

First off...NO sex with another guy! Not ever! No matter how cute they are, no matter how much some gay guy might try to seduce me or whatever it is 'they' do...NO SEX! I don't need to make this any worse than it already is by giving in.

Second...DON'T start looking at guys! I'm going to just completely stop fantasizing and staring and gawking at the pretty boys in this little suburban town. NO creating little scenarios with my mind anymore. Not ever! I can do that. Just...don't look. And if I do look, make it quick, and then forget about it.

Rule number three...NO FAG ANTICS!!! NO limp wrists, NO wish washy walk, NO high voice, NO lisp, NO high heel pumps or leather pants!!! Not now, not ever! I swear I'll put a bullet in my head the very FIRST time I hear myself use the terms "Child", "Girlfriend", or "Toodles"! I'll be monitoring myself CLOSELY for any tell tale signs. No need for me to come out of this looking and acting like a prissy little bitch.

And fourth...the most important rule of them all. No one...I mean NO ONE, will EVER find out that I am gay! I will never ever ever tell another living soul, and that's that. Not my friends, not my parents, not even God himself! If it's judgement day, and I'm at the pearly gates, and St. Peter asks me to admit I'm gay or burn in hell forever...then pack me some marshmallows and a pair of shorts! 'Cause I'm going south! No one knows, not now, not ever.

I crawled out of bed slowly that morning, looking at myself in the mirror and praying that I'd be ok. But I wasn't. I didn't 'look' gay, or 'act' gay. But somehow...I had a feeling that anyone could figure it out if they thought about it long enough. There had to be a tell-tale sign or two inside of me. Once they found it, they'd be happy to spread it to everyone else, and then gladly use their fists to beat it out of me. I began to cry yet again. They'll know. Maybe they know already. I looked down at the floor and tried to stop from blubbering over it. Geez...I couldn't even look my own reflection in the eye without turning away, how did I expect to fool anyone else? I used my hands to smooth out the short straight locks of my reddish brown hair. It only hung a few centimeters past the ear, and I didn't dare let it get any longer. I don't want to start looking like a girl too. My blue eyes were matching my shirt that day, it was weird. I wasn't too slim, but if I sucked in my stomach, it wouldn't be hard to see my ribs at all. Not a single hair on my chest, and even my skin was 'girlish'. The slightest scratch would have left a red mark on me for weeks. Soft girly hands, soft girly lips, long girly neck...I should have seen this coming years ago. Hell, I was just one five inch 'appendage' short of being the freaking prom queen. I got dressed in a hurry, hoping and praying that I wouldn't get the urge to entertain myself further in front of that mirror, and took off to face the first day of the rest of my life.

Actually, it was the first day of my sophomore year in high school, and I had planned to make a good impression. I wasn't the MOST popular kid in school, but I had a good group of friends and a decent reputation. I kept in touch with them over the summer, and hopefully, if fate would allow it, we'd be together in a lot of our classes this year. I'd already compared notes with a few of them, and I already had the same lunch break as they did. So I knew for a fact I'd have somebody to eat with every day. For a while anyway, until they found out my secret. But at least that saves me from that scary first lunch period where I have to sit at the table with a bunch of strangers and try to blend in. The rest of the day, I might have to wing it. I'm sure I'll run into somebody I know somewhere. I hope.

Do you know what the single most idiotic, frustrating, ridiculous part of the first day of any class is? The "Name game". Who invented this valuable method of torture anyway? It's like the teachers way of getting out of teaching us anything on the first day. And it happens in every damn class! We take attendance, we get our little introduction speech, and the next thing I know, we're being paired off to 'interview' each other with a bunch of annoying questions that we have to read in front of the entire class. This kind of game should be outlawed after the 3rd grade. I did it in my English class, in my Spanish class, in my geometry class, and the second attendance had been taken in my biology class...I knew what was coming next.

"Okay, now everyone, I want you to get together in two's with the person sitting next to you..." Our teacher said. Here we go again. I swear, I was tempted to make up a whole new life for every class. Maybe I'll tell this kid that I'm a pirate or something, and I used to swallow swords in the circus before coming to this class and altering my destiny. This is so retarded.

I turned my desk around to see the kid I was paired with. He was a nice looking guy, but he looked a little younger than me. He had the kind of face that basically screamed 'I look EXACTLY my mother'. He had these slightly delicate features, big light brown eyes, and these ruby colored pouty lips that looked like they might have covered a shiny set of braces at one time. His hair was a curly brown mass that seemed to keep this controlled chaos look to it. You know, messy without being messy, and yet still clean. I must admit, he had a friendly face and a cute smile. He might even make a good friend in the next few weeks.

"Hi..." I mumbled under my breath. I didn't really take much initiative for small talk, I just began the proper procedure of taking out my notebook and a pen and got ready for the same asinine questions they always ask.

"Hey." He replied nervously, not saying much else. I didn't look up again, but he had a cute voice too. Nothing really special, just extremely pleasant. It was just a bit hazy, and still at this seductive teenaged pitch. Oh wait...did I say seductive? I meant...um...interesting. "I hate these things. At least I got out of it in gym." He said after a few seconds of silence.

"Yeah. Me too. Why do they force us to do this anyway? Are they afraid we're going to not know who to cheat off of when the first exam comes our way?"

He seemed really surprised that I was talking to him. He waited a second, and I could feel his eyes on me. Then he giggled a little and it sounded like he took a short sigh of relief. "Y-y-yeah...this public relations stuff sucks. But it's only for one day I suppose. I just dread doing it again next year." Then I felt him watching for my reaction all over again. Like he was expecting me to rob him for his lunch money or something.

"Yeah." I replied, but still didn't look up from my notebook. The teacher passed out the question sheet and we started right in on it. "Okay...name?" I asked him, and very professionally I might add.

"Drew. And you?"

"Ethan. Do you live in town?" What kind of question is that?

"No actually. I kinda live on the outskirts. I take the bus home everyday. Same question..."

"Yeah. Actually I ride my bike back and forth every day. I'm only like ten minutes away."

"That's gotta be cool. You can go home whenever you want then, huh?" He asked.

"I wish! It's not quite that easy. My mom works nights, so she doesn't leave the house until about 2 in the afternoon and since we get out at 3:30...there's really no point to sneaking home then."

"Ahhh...bummer. Okay, next question. What do you want to study when you graduate?" He asked, pen ready to write.

"Um...actually, I'd kinda like to study film. I love movies, I can't get enough of them, even the bad ones."

"Oh cool! Me too! I would love to be able to produce or direct my own stuff. I couldn't do any worse than some of these Hollywood types these days."

"Oh man...I know what you mean! Did you see that movie 'A Fool In Love'? Was that TERRIBLE or what? It looked so cool from the previews."

"YEAH!!! Oh man! What were they thinking???" He laughed, and we both had to fight hard to stay focused on the sheet without drifting off into our own conversations here and there.

And that's pretty much how the rest of the fifteen minute interview went, with us basically chatting it up and writing down whatever facts the paper asked us for. As I got a little more comfortable with talking to him, I began to make eye contact a bit more often. You know, he really was a cutie. I tried hard not to stare, but he just had this cheerful aura about him that kept my attention magnetized to him the whole time. And he had the cutest laugh, like when you're tickling a small child. Oh, and his eyes were so expressive. They basically accompanied every word he said with a gesture of their own, it was very cute. And why am I thinking of the word 'cute' so much all of the sudden. Okay, so enough of that. He was fun and friendly and that was it. He did have a cute voice though. Or did I already say that. STOP THAT! C'mon Ethan, get a grip!

We only had a few more minutes left, and then it was gonna be time for us to read it all out loud. And that's when it came down to the very last question. "So, last one, what is something that not many people know about you?" Drew said, a wicked smile on his face like I had a dead body in the trunk of my mom's car or something.

"Hehehehe! Um...well...I like to do chalk drawings at home. It's sort of a hobby of mine. I've got them hanging up all over the house, I love 'em. It kinda soothes me in a way, you know?"

"Really? Sweet!" Drew was so amazed by everything I said. He just took a real interest in things, and it made me feel...I don't know...'important'. "I wish I could draw. I've been trying to teach myself forever and I just can't get it right."

"Nah, it's not so hard when you think about it. Say, if you want, maybe you could come over and see my stuff sometime."

"Um...wow...ok. That'd be awesome." He looked grateful somehow. Maybe this kid would be a good buddy to have after all. And...sigh...ok...to hell with the 'rules' for a second. I've gotta say this. He was CUTE, damn CUTE! Okay, force field back up.

"Ok, now...your turn. What little secrets have you got to tell me?"

"Promise you won't laugh?"

"Hehehehe! No." I said with a grin. And he returned the smile and told me anyway.

"Ok...well, here goes. I know this sounds really cheesy, but I used to have the BIGGEST crush on Taylor Hanson. God...I was sooo sad, I wrote him like every week, and I bought all kinds of merchandise and teen mags and the whole nine yards! One time I even..."

"Come on dude! We've only got a few minutes, I'm serious, we've gotta get this thing finished." I said giggling.

"....I AM serious! I still have the stuff at home." He said, still smiling and beginning to blush a little. I laughed a little bit more, but as I looked closer into his eyes, I saw a strange reflection in them. His happy smile began to fade slightly, and it was then that I knew he was telling me the truth. I think it was a moment of realization there for the both of us. There was a long pause as I tried desperately to keep my mouth from falling open. "What? What's wrong?" He asked. WHAT'S WRONG???

"So...wait...so you're...you're..." I stuttered for the right words, but they all seemed so offensive, so dirty to me. I didn't want to hurt his feelings or anything. But still, the fact that he was...'you know'...and just came right out and TOLD me was a bit...odd to say the least.

"Oh..." Drew said, his smile suddenly disappearing and his eyes looking down towards his desk. Suddenly, all that life inside of him, that jubilant carefree energy that bounced around inside of him, had vanished. And it was replaced with a fake grin. "...you didn't...you didn't know. That's why you were so...um...look, I'm sorry." He said.

"You're...you're...uh..." I couldn't seem to get the words out.

"Um...yeah. I'm gay." He had said it in a voice that was just above a whisper, but for some reason it sounded so loud to me. Like a sonic boom, shouted across the classroom, and I looked around to see if anyone heard him say it to me.


"I thought everybody knew about me by now." He said, still looking down, and now nervously twirling his pencil around his fingers.

"Well....evidently not everybody." I said. I suddenly sat back in my chair, not knowing exactly how to move forward. How was I supposed to react to something like that? Do I say thank you? Or hug him like they do on TV? Or say 'I'm sorry'? Or just say 'oh' and sit here trying to forget he ever said it? "Um...ok...so...do you want that to be your answer...or maybe something...else?"

I saw Drew's face change and it seemed as if he had been through this before. He became a bit apologetic and just returned to being 'professional' about the question sheet. "Um...look, I'm sorry. We can change it to something else if you want. I didn't mean to rattle you or anything. Ok?" I know I should be feeling ecstatic that there was someone else who was going through this little ordeal with me in his life, but I wasn't. If anything, I was terrified.

"No...really...it's ok." I said. I looked down at my notebook and didn't dare raise my eyes to meet his. Everything got weird all of the sudden, and this tension filled the space between us. Why was this so scary? If anything, I should be even MORE intrigued. But all I could think about was the fact that this cute kid likes other boys, and everybody knew about it. If they know about him, they'll know about ME. And I can't have that.

"No...it's NOT ok. I can tell. Look, when you read it out loud, just tell them I build models or something. K? Besides, most of them know already anyway. And if they didn't, word will get to them by the end of the day. So just forget it, ok? Forget about it."

"Models? Ok...I'll put that down." And I did. Like the hypocrite that I am, I sat there and attempted to concentrate, making HIM feel like the outcast when I knew damn well that I was in the same position. Before I could say another word, Drew had packed up his notebook and stuff and turned his desk back around to face forward, never once looking me in the eye again. I hurt his feelings, I know I did. I didn't mean to, honestly. I just...I'm not...whatever. Fine. No big loss. I took my sheet, and I read it to the class, in the exact same way as we had agreed. 'He builds models'...the words seemed to shame him much more than the gay thing did. He never looked at me once throughout the whole presentation, and I felt like shit for it. I deserved it.

I just didn't understand. How could he be the way he is, and just....'accept' it? I mean, he had to know that he was...that there was something...wrong about it all. I looked over at him, and I saw him sitting in that room full of people...all alone. While everyone else whispered and giggled and enjoyed finding a new friend or two, Drew was sitting there with his arms folded, eyes pointed down to the desk, waiting for another miserable school day to be over.

When the bell rang, Drew quickly collected his stuff and headed for the door. I wasn't far behind him, and he seemed to be going in the direction of my next class. So I walked behind him for a bit, not making any contact, but watching him subtly. I studied him a bit, and I think I could see traces of 'gayness' in him when I looked hard enough. Drew had those cutsie little features and that soft curly hair. His body just looked warm and flexible, soft and meek in a way. Like he would melt in your arms if you touched him. He had this not quite feminine, but not quite masculine walk too, and his voice was like a little boy's voice. He wasn't flaming, but now that he told me, he was definitely gay acting. Or maybe it was all in my head, who knows?

I reached my class and Drew kept walking down the hall. I stood at the door to watch him a bit, wondering if I should go apologize for what I did. But I saw some kids point and laugh at him as he walked by, one of them shaking their ass lewdly in his direction. It was so cruel, so unprovoked, and I felt bad for him. But he just kept walking forward, obviously immune to the teasing by now. Desensitized to their laughter. He never flinched, he just....kept walking. And as soon as he rounded the corner, I went inside. All those insensitive assholes out there...and I was one of them. In Drew's mind, I was no better than the rest. I could at least try to say I'm sorry. If nothing else, it might help to make his day a little easier to take.

I spent the rest of the day and night thinking about Drew. About how his smile had been swept away by my reaction. And that painful, 'oh...you didn't know...' that he gave me when I didn't say anything. God...he must have felt so awful. I'm a jerk. I'll say I'm sorry tomorrow.

The next morning came, and I was nervous as hell going into biology class. I wasn't sure if I was relieved or worried that Drew wasn't there at the beginning of class. Then, fifteen minutes later he walked in late. One of the guys in the back of the class whistled at him like he would a pretty lady or something. And while Drew looked so well defended against things like that walking away from me, I could see his face this time. And he was trying hard to pretend it wasn't happening. I wondered if maybe it was like that for him every time. If the sting was just as painful now as it was the first time. He sat down next to me, and didn't make eye contact at all. I froze up, not sure of what to say to him. Did he hate me? Would apologizing even do me any good? I wrestled with that for the rest of the class period, and when the bell rang this time, I was ready. I packed my things up early and headed quickly for the door so I could catch him when he bolted out of the room.

"Drew...dude..hold on a sec. Please?" I said. He looked over his shoulder and slowed down a bit, but he didn't stop.

"What do you want?" He said. He was very deadpan, almost emotionless, his eyes now a dull color when compared to the shiny ones I had seen before.

"I....listen...I really wanted to say I was sorry about yesterday. Ok?"

"Don't do me any favors."

"I know it was a shitty thing to do and I'm sorry. I mean it."

He never stopped walking. "Fine. apology accepted. See you tomorrow." But he didn't mean it, he didn't even care.

"Look, I said I was sorry, ok? What do you want from me? I didn't mean to react like that."

"It's ok Ethan...everyone reacts like that. EVERYONE. For a second I got lost in the idea that maybe there was one person in this whole fucking place who didn't care. But I was wrong. It's MY fault for being stupid. I should know how things work by now." He was getting upset, and I could hear the hurt in his voice.

I grabbed him by the arm lightly to stop him from walking away from me. "You're not stupid Drew. It caught me by surprise, sure, but it's not like I'm going to hate you for it. I'm not gonna just..." But before I could say another word, one of the guys from the football team shouted out 'hey loverboy' and laughed with his friends as they walked passed us. One of them even purposely bumped into him, knocking his frail body forward a step or two easily. I was starting to reach him before that happened, I could almost see it in his eyes. But once their reality had come crashing down on him again, the only thing I saw in his eyes were the beginnings of tears.

"Don't do this to yourself, Ethan. You don't want to go through even a fraction of the teasing that I do in this place." He said, his bottom lip quivering ever so slightly as he held back from crying in front of me.


"No...don't worry about me. I'm used to it. I'll be fine. Just...go. A few minutes I'll be all shits and giggles again." He said. He raised his head a bit to keep a stray tear from falling, and then he pushed his backpack strap further up on his slim shoulders. "I'll see ya tomorrow. And...um.........thanks...ok? Really." The thank you had almost been enveloped in a sob, but he kept up appearances and even faked a decent smile as he turned to walk away.

It took hours for me to try to get that sorrowful image out of my mind. Even longer for me to get rid of one of my own. Honestly, what had Drew done to hurt anybody? I came home and jumped in the shower, id my nightly routine of hiding from my parents,and went to bed early. I'm sure they had to know something was up. I mean I just wasn't the secluded type of kid. But if they did know, they didn't say anything. Which is good, I suppose. I really didn't have the guts to explain it to them. I doubt I ever would. When I woke up the next morning, there was a slight trace of Drew on my mind. It was almost as if I could feel him in the room with me. Did I dream about him? If I did, I couldn't remember it. But I laid in bed anyway, constantly hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock, but never going back to sleep. I just thought about finding a way to make Drew smile again. It was such a boyish, innocent smile. I longed to see it again, and I couldn't understand why.

I went back to school and Drew was not only on time, but he had actually beaten me to class for a change. I walked over and sat down. Even though he didn't say anything, I could tell he was hopeful. There was just something in he way he indulged in that 'twirl the pencil' habit that gave away his thoughts. I guess he was waiting for me to back up my claims that I was sorry the day before, so I didn't see a reason not to.

"Hey..." I said quietly.

"....Um....hi....Ethan." He whispered. I couldn't tell if he was ashamed for almost crying in front of me yesterday, or just shy, or nervous, or what. But when I looked over at him and smiled, he blushed instantly. It was too cute for words. He sensed that things might be ok, and he smiled back...a genuine, beautiful smile, and it made me feel wonderful inside. Maybe a bit TOO wonderful. I felt this strange quiver in the pit of my stomach, and realized that maybe I was smiling a bit too wide for someone who's supposed to be in 'hiding'. I straightened up a little and looked forward, but I could tell Drew was still grinning. If only to himself.

We didn't say much to each other that class period, and afterwards we actually walked to my next class together. We only engaged in a little small talk, but it was still kinda cool. Sometimes he would wrinkle his cute little nose in the most beautiful way, and his voice was so intoxicating that I kept asking him questions just so I could hear it again. His shoulders were small and slim, and his bag seemed to be perpetually falling off to the side, but he kept pushing it back up every now and again. His softened features were easy on the eyes, and he just looked like someone you might have known in a past life. He had that kind of presence when you talked to him. And, I must admit, his neck looked absolutely delicious. Slender and smooth. He always wore these wide necked shirts that showed just a bit of his collar bone and shoulders too. Allowing my imagination wander to thoughts of seeing him shirtless and smiling in my direction. But it was when I got to my classroom and we had to split ways, that I felt the shame come back to me. Whenever someone pointed at him, or stared, or giggled behind his back...I felt it. It was like they were making fun of me too...and that feeling of self hate doubled over inside.

When I left school that day, I happened to see Drew running for a bus as fast as he could, but one of those macho insecure assholes saw him coming and tripped him. He fell forward, trying to catch himself before he hit the ground, but there was nothing he could do. His backpack slipped from his shoulder, his books went flying in front of him, and he fell face first onto the school lawn. He came down on his knee pretty hard, and he didn't even dare get up to mutter a single word to the guys laughing out loud behind him. He looked up just in time to see the bus take off and leave him behind. He looked a bit sad, but being the little soldier that he was, he didn't dare let them see him cry. He just got up to his knees, and began slowly picking up his books. He never even looked back to see who it was. I guess in the end it didn't matter, as far as he was concerned, they were ALL laughing...so who cared. I felt so bad watching him put on a strong face and slowly recollecting his things as the wind blew his papers just slightly out of his reach. I walked over to help him out, and I don't even think he noticed me at first. He was too busy blocking out the rest of the world. No doubt to save at least SOME of his sanity.

I got all the papers he couldn't reach, and handed it to him. "Here you go bud." Then he looked up at me, his big brown eyes shining with a grin of their own, and he smiled weakly as he wiped a dirt smudge from his adorable face.

"Um.....thanks..." He whispered. I offered him a hand to help him up, but he refused it. "I-i-it's ok. I'm fine. I got it. Thanks." He dropped another book, but reached down to snatch it up before I could grab it for him. "I told you...I got it."

It was like he didn't want my help at all. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." He shot back as quickly as I asked him. He stood up and continued to brush the dirt and grass off of his clothes.

"You missed your bus."

"There'll be another one in about 20 minutes. It's no big deal."

"No big deal? Those guys were total DICKS to you!" I said, wondering how he can just dismiss the fact that it was THEIR fault.

"I'm used to it. I'm a big boy Ethan. They haven't defeated me yet." He smiled. "They had their laugh, I'm still alive, and now they're gone. See? Like I said, no big deal."

I couldn't believe this!!! "DREW.....dude...."

But he cut me off. "What am I supposed to do? I CAN'T fight them all, Ethan. If I show them that it bothers me, then they win. If I shout at them and call them jerks, then they get mad, beat the living shit out of me, and they win. If I start crying and whining about it, then they get the satisfaction of making a total sissy out of me to further prove their sick point. They win. Do you know what I mean?"

"NO! I don't know what you mean! They do this to you because you let them."

"Don't sweat it dude. Seriously...I'm...I'm ok. Really. Just...back off...alright?" His eyes looked down to the ground and he slipped the strap of his bag back over his thin shoulders, and began to finish his journey to the bus stop. He didn't say goodbye, or even look back at me as he walked away, limping a bit from his fall. It was heartbreaking watching him try to bravely walk the whole thing off so no one would notice he was in pain. He stood at the bus stop sign, leaning against it, his back to me, and I just stared at him. The wind blew his soft curls gently and he brushed his hands through it tenderly. Finally, I couldn't take anymore. I walked over to join him by the sign, and without saying a word, without making eye contact of any kind, I just sat down on he ground, crossed my legs, and waited with him. I don't know what was going through his mind, but I could see him glance over at me from time to time. We waited the whole twenty minutes without saying another word, but no matter how uncomfortable it felt, I refused to leave.

After what seemed like an eternity, we both saw the bus coming around the corner. Drew picked his backpack up off the ground and then moved forward a step or two to the curb. But before the bus got there, he turned to me and offered me a hand to help me up. I took it and got back on my feet. He was just a little bit shorter than me, but we could still almost see eye to eye. "Ethan...you know...you didn't...you didn't have to..."

But I cut him off this time. "Yes. Yes I did." And when I saw that, his eyes welled up with tears. Not a single one of them dropped, but he couldn't hide the fact that they were there.

He choked back a quiet sob and started to move in so he could give me a hug when he stopped himself. Then he just adjusted the backpack on his shoulder and said, "Um...Thank you, Ethan. 'Sniff'...really...thank you." And that's when the bus pulled up and opened it's doors. He smiled at me so sweetly, with so much gratitude, that I couldn't help but be a little choked up myself. I playfully tapped him on the shoulder and told him he had a bus to catch. He looked back at me again and asked, "Um...see....you...tomorrow...maybe?"

"You better believe you'll see me tomorrow." I grinned.

"'Sniff'....heh....cool." And with that, he got on the bus and took off.

I walked my bike home instead of riding it this time, just enjoying a few slow breaths of fresh air. Not just outside, but inside too. Out of all the friends I had acquired in my academic career, I don't remember doing anything like that for a single one of them. I don't even remember a serious conversation. I don't know what it was, but I actually 'felt' something when Drew was around. My other friends were great, and I liked to have them around, but Drew was different somehow. I NEEDED him. I NEEDED him to be there, to be happy, to be free. And if he wasn't, then I was willing to do all I could to make sure that he soon would be. I thought about him all the way home, and I actually felt...GOOD about myself.

What was I getting myself into? I knew he was gay, and 'out', and a magnet for trouble as far as the other kids were concerned. But I was willing to bend the rules in his case a bit. Just as a friend...of course. I mean, he's cute and funny and all, sure. But I have 'rules' to abide by. Anyway, it's not like that. I'm just being a big brother to the kid, that's all. And he doesn't like me like that anyway. And even if he did, I couldn't tell him. Not ever. I've seen what the kids do to him. They'd CRUCIFY a well known pretty boy like me. I'll just take it easy for now, help him out when I can, and maybe I'll make a good friend out of all this. My other friends, my parents, my family...they never have to know who I'm hanging out with or why. Hell, even I don't know why. But he's kinda cool, and kinda cute...um...more on the cool side though. Right? Me, and another guy...yuck! It's an interesting thought though. Very interesting indeed.

I went inside of my house, and actually had the guts to eat dinner with my parents again. I think that if I can hold out on the 'normal' side of life for long enough, I'll be okay. I can believe that...right?