On The Outside

Chapter 12

Do you have *ANY* idea how far away a Friday is when you know that it means an entire afternoon of making love to your boyfriend???

FINALLY...some privacy! Where we're not at the park, or trying to hurry up and orgasm before his mom comes home from the shop. Or listening out for his dad at the back door, jumping at every noise. Cringing with our every muscle on edge and our senses at full alert.

It's no way to really enjoy a sexual experience.

NOT that I didn't enjoy it! But...you know...imagine how much better it will be when we can just coexist in this amazing state of safety and tranquility. Peace and quiet...with time to really appreciate every soft whimper, and every gentle touch. I can't even imagine what it's gonna be like to kiss my sweetheart on the lips without having to worry about anything outside of our one chosen moment together. The whole world and all of 'time' could come to a complete stop for us...and we can share the kind of love that we've been waiting to be a part of for a long time now. Omigod, I can't WAIT!!!

I was a nervous wreck by the time Thursday had come around. One day before the big event. I kept a tingly 'tent' in my pants the whole morning just THINKING about it. And I think Drew did too, to be totally honest. He hid it well, but he couldn't even LOOK at me without breaking out into a flirtatious smirk and turning Summer apple red in the face. The way Drew and I giggled back and forth in our Biology class together, especially over the last few days, I'm sure that the other boys and girls were watching us. I mean, it just wasn't normal. Drew was supposed to be this social outcast...'banned' from all friendly human contact. He was supposed to be teased, and abused...laughed at and ridiculed...and here was a 'normal' person coming along to disrupt the balance. I'm sure that bothered a great many people. After all...Drew being happy takes a great deal of power away from their unwarranted attacks. It gives him credibility as a human being. It destroys their flawed idea that breaking him down and labeling him as a complete 'zero' might POSSIBLY be harsh and wrong on their part. And the last thing people like that want is to be made to look 'wrong' in their torturous ways.

It was during those few days of our giddy excitement that I began seeing some of the other students giving me strange looks as Drew and I walked the halls of the school. A few raised eyebrows, a couple of low toned mumbles and whispers...but not a single one of them said anything out loud.

You're probably thinking that this is the part where I say that none of it mattered. That I walked down those halls with my head held high, knowing that our love was strong enough to shatter their perception of us, and we both were able to tune them out without so much as a single wince or bowed head between us. And yeah...maybe it SHOULD be that way. Drew and I don't have any reason to put any kind of value on what those assholes think about us. After all, as far as they know, we're still just friends right?

Well...that's not EXACTLY how it turned out.

In fact...it felt like the walls were beginning to close in on us at every given moment. It was...UGH!!!!....I'm sorry to say...it was HORRIBLE!

I don't know exactly where things had suddenly become so 'obvious', or what we had done to make it seem that way...but the weirdness had already begun. The gossip was spreading, I could tell. The way the other boys just...'looked' at me. It was so different. These were boys that I had never ONCE had a problem with. Not once in my whole life. And yet, they were now here wondering why I was smiling and walking back and forth to class with the 'gay' boy in school. Tight lipped with wrinkled foreheads, they watched us come and go all week long...and as much as I hate to say it...it got to me.

I WANTED to use Drew's love as a shield from it all, and turn a blind eye to their softly whispered judgements...but it wasn't working. Not the way I thought it would. Feeling their eyes on me....staring...it was KILLING me! Why can't they leave us alone??? Who's asking them to watch? Who's asking them to accept, deny, or even UNDERSTAND what we feel for one another? I really hated them for it. But no matter how normal I tried to make our 'friendship' look...the oddity of me and Drew walking side by side down a crowded hallway was just too much of a distraction for them to turn away from. Too much of a perverted freakshow for them to ignore. And it hurt. It really hurt.

What's worse is...I think it hurt Drew even more than it did me. Because looking at the gazing eyes of a million critical spectators...he knew that I was beginning to get a taste of what HE goes through, day after day. And the guilt he felt in his heart for bringing this level of humiliation to my doorstep was almost enough to break him down to tears.

"Ethan...?" He asked softly. But I didn't need to hear a single word from him. I knew what he was going to say, and although the unwanted attention SUCKED...I wasn't ABOUT to let Drew back away from me now. I don't care WHAT anybody says.

"Don't. Ok? It's alright." I told him, and he looked up at me with the saddest eyes. It was heartbreaking to see, and something about that gave me strength. Because anything that would cause the love of my life a single moment of pain...is the most vile enemy threat to what I truly hold sacred. And I won't tolerate its existence. Whether it's coming from one person, ten people, or all 6.2 billion on the planet...minus me and Drew. There was a time that I would have hidden myself away and instantly put distance between me and my boyfriend in an attempt to save face. But not anymore. To be totally honest...I was almost inspired to love him even MORE openly than ever before. To show him affection and respect in a way that the couldn't destroy with their petty little bullshit opinions. So despite the pressure, I stayed right there at his side like a boyfriend should. Gazing eyes be damned.

But I can't lie and say that I did so as 'bravely' as I wish I could have. Because inside...I was terrified that the gig was up.

Drew got to his class, and I saw two other boys walk past us in the door way, smirks on their faces...and as soon as they got a few steps away from us, they started giggling at one another. I could chalk it up to just plain paranoia...but I don't think that's what it was. I saw Drew lower his head slightly, and he very softly said, "You should get to class. Passing period is almost over." It was a tone of voice that I hadn't heard from him since the first time I laid my eyes on him. A deep and profound sense of helplessness. He thought it was all his fault. He was sure that he was bringing his 'curse' into my life, and it looked like it had been tearing him apart over the last few days.

"Drew...forget about them, ok?" I said.

"They're not gonna LET you just forget, Ethan. Trust me, I know how this works. It's gonna get worse. Very quickly." He started to tear up a bit but held it back as best as he could. "God...I TOLD you this was gonna happen....if I had known..."

"Hey, what did I just say?" I said. I couldn't STAND to see Drew hurting. At all. "You didn't do anything. It's just a bunch of stupid rumors, it doesn't even matter. Nobody knows anything." I said in a low voice. I wish I could believe it. I put on a decent act for Drew's sake, but already, I was beginning to feel the suffocating effects of the high school gossip machine.

Drew never lifted his eyes up from the floor, and as the bell rang, he backed up a step or two away from me. "Later." He said.

"See you at lunch."

"Yeah....maybe." He sighed, and left before I could ask him what the big 'maybe' was for. It's happening already, isn't it? The threat of other people's prejudices is putting what Drew and I have to the test. And it only took a few days for it happen.

Maybe things had visibly changed between us, Drew and me. Ever since we had sex and started making plans to do it again...our bashful little giggles have been harder to hide. Our excitement bubbled over in each other's presence, our eye contact became more intense, our touches more intimate, our blushes more passionate...and the other kids started to notice it easily. They saw us sneaking off to quiet corners to talk and smile with one another. They saw us coming back to school from the park at lunch. They noticed how we looked at each other as I went out of my way to walk him to class. I mean, I just wanted to keep other kids from picking on him and making jokes...Drew could be so very fragile sometimes...but I think they were starting to figure out that my need to 'protect' him went way beyond your typical friendship. This wasn't just a kid being cool with the fact that Drew was openly gay. We were actually starting to be seen as a couple now. But then again, I guess I HAD gotten awfully sloppy about being discrete. Love had made me reckless...and I had gotten so wrapped up in Drew's angelic beauty, that I had surrendered the 'game' for something much more real. Much more satisfying.

And that's where the problems began.

I'd occasionally see Jermaine in the halls, and we'd exchange a look or two, but we haven't spoken since Monday. Jermaine and I have been friends for a long time now...I should have expectedhim to catch on after a while. His eyes, whenever they connected to mine, were SCREAMING 'I know the whole story'. And if he knows...how long before Billy and Joey catch on? Not only that, but Wayne Scott still gives me dirty looks every time he sees me. And after threatening him to leave Drew alone, his eyes have gotten equally suspicious of my actions, if not more so. Then there's Patrick. Who KNOWS that Drew has a boyfriend, even if Drew didn't tell him who I was...it wouldn't be hard to figure out. After all, me and Patrick are two of the only boys in school who really treat Drew with any kind of friendly affection whatsoever. And Drew and I are together a LOT more often. So even HE'S giving me a second look now as though he can sense something wrong.

But what can I do but ignore it? I mean...it sucks, yeah...but will it really be so bad, having people know about us? Maybe it'll be a relief. Maybe I can just....grow some balls and give up this whole stupid fake image of mine after all.

I spent the first half of the day slinking down in my seat, burying my face in my books, hoping not to draw any attention to myself. Much to my surprise, most of the other students began to kinda withdraw from me anyway. It wasn't exactly 'hate'...but somehow, the pressure I felt from having people watching me, looking for 'signs', was suddenly directed at them just for being around me. So they shied away from it the same way that I did. I don't think I've ever felt so alone.

I didn't really get much of a break from the tension until the lunch bell rang. Finally, an opportunity to get OUT of this damn place and find some peace of mind. I think I can understand why Drew loves the isolation of the park so much.

I was almost ready to go to the back door when Billy and Joey cornered me in the hallway. "Dude...are you skipping out on us AGAIN?" Billy asked.

"What? What are you talking about?"

Joey jumped in with, "Ethan, look, if something is going on with you, why can't you just sit down with us and talk about it?" I was confused for a moment until he said, "You know...he's too damn stubborn to say it...but Jermaine is kinda hurt that you just don't want to be around us anymore."

"To be honest, so are we." Billy said.

"Yeah." Joey agreed.

I looked at them both and said, "Jermaine and I...we're just having some 'issues' right now, ok? It's not that I don't wanna hang out with you guys anymore..."

"Then what IS it?" Billy asked.

"NOTHING. I'm not doing anything to purposely hurt you guys." I said. "I know that I'm not around for you guys as often as I used to be, and I know that I'm spending a lot of time...elsewhere...but it doesn't mean we're not FRIENDS anymore."

Joey sighed heavily, blowing up some of his hair. "Here we go. Why is it that we're made to feel like we're asking some great favor of you to just come and talk to us once in a while? Maybe even hang out, eat lunch at our table every now and then? You say that you're not ditching us, but you totally are. It's getting to a point where Jermaine rolls his eyes every time we even bring your nameup. I mean...is it so hard to give us a little friendly attention?"

"Joey, it's not like that at all, and you KNOW it." I felt the frustration building, and more than ever, I just wanted to make a grand escape from this building before it drove me completely insane. "I don't know what you guys want from me, but I don't always have the time and the energy to bring the whole Earth to a screeching halt just so I can come and chit chat with you guys about 'nothing'. About Joey's bratty little brother, and Billy switching up girlfriends every two weeks, or Jermaine's schemes to reach the top of the social ladder. Sometimes I wanna go out and do something that makes *ME* happy...instead of satisfying YOUR need for me to sit there and provide you the attention you want whenever you snap your fingers. Sometimes I wanna be selfish too."

Maybe it was the stress and the pressure that I had been feeling all day long, or the fact that they were blocking me from my freedom when I was so close...but I said it. As harsh and as cruel as it was, I said it. And the regret began to truly cascade down over my shoulders like a thick mass of hot tar once I saw the looks on their faces.

"Joey...Billy...look, I didn't mean that. It's just...it's been a rough day..."

"No no...we get it." Billy said with a hurt expression. "So sorry we were such a 'pain in the ass' to you, your majesty. We'll be sure not to bother you with our need for your divine attention anymore, oh great one."

"C'mon, Billy...I didn't MEAN it like that..."

"Sounds like it to me. It wasn't really a subtle point you were making, you know?" He said. "Fine, we'll leave you alone to go do whatever you feel is so 'important' these days. We'll be sure to let Jermaine know that we don't rank high enough on your little priority list to matter anymore."

"Billy! Joey? You guys...ugh! Come on!"

But they just walked away from me. Joey turned back for a second to say, "That's cold, man. Really cold." And soon, they were gone.

Why can't they understand that I just...I'm...HAPPY! Or at least, I'm trying very hard to be. I have something in my life now that makes me feel like I can walk on air. Something that completes me in every possible way and makes the whole WORLD a never-ending playground for me. I don't...ARRRGH....I don't always want to sacrifice the time I have to spend with the boy I love to just...make idle conversation. Or shoot hoops. Or go to a party. I know it's selfish, but it makes me FEEL so good inside. Something about it makes me want to stop doing things for other people's benefit and share something special with a heart that seems to give back twice the love and attention that I give away. I know they're my friends, and I DO wanna spend time with them...but right now is my boyfriend's time. And they'll just have to wait until I'm finished.

When will that be? Who knows? Maybe never. I LOVE him. I'm IN love with him. All three of them would make the same decision if they found some pretty girl to cuddle up with. Especially if it was in secret. I just...I'm sick of having to swallow what I feel, having to avoid certain topics of conversation, worrying about whether or not I'm bringing up his name too much while they cringe and act like they don't wanna hear it. And I CERTAINLY don't want to sit at their lunch table while Jermaine is sitting across from me, trying to figure out the intimate details of my relationship with Drew. I just...I need them to butt out of my life right now. And I need to spend time with the boy I love without feeling guilty about it. At least for now. I'm sure I'll find a balance eventually, and things can get back to being somewhat normal again. But for right now...they're asking me to choose. And I'm sorry, but they're gonna lose that game. Every time.

Feeling remorseful about what I had just said to my friends, I continued on towards the back entrance of the school. I have no idea how I'm going to be able to come up with an apology 'grand' enough to make up for this one. It's not like I was gonna just cut them out of my life forever. I just...FUCK! I wish the whole world could just 'slow down' for a few minutes so I could find a bit of my own happiness out there. Just for a little while. Maybe freedom is just as much of a burden as captivity is Especially when it comes to the friends who are supposed to understand.

When I got to the door, I saw Drew hoisting his backpack up onto his slim shoulder, and walking away with a heartbroken look on his face. I think I heard him sniffling for a second, and I called out to him. "Drew? Where are you going?"

"E-Ethan?" He said with a trembling voice.

"Omigod...Drew, what's the matter?"

"I thought...I mean..." He wiped his eyes and his bag slipped off of his boyish shoulder, forcing him to lift it back up again. "...This morning...with the laughing and stuff...and then you didn't show up for lunch...I thought..."

"Oh GOD, Drew...no!" I said, hurrying over, almost giving him a hug but then stopping myself cold. WHY??? Why am I still letting those invisible eyes control my feelings so mercilessly? "Dude...I would NEVER leave you! I don't CARE what they say!"

"Yes you do..." He said.

"No!" I tried to be convincing, but when Drew looked at me, those big bright eyes sparkling with the glistening tears that he prevented from rolling down his flawless cheeks, now flushed with emotion. "Ok...look, maybe I'm not used to...whatever it is that's happening around here. But...YOU'RE what matters right now. You're ALL that matters. Listen...I..." I looked around, and there were still a few people in the halls, so I lowered my voice to a whisper. "...I LOVE you, Drew. Ok?" He turned away from me, but I made sure to turn him back to look me in the eye. "And I wanna work really hard...REALLY hard...to reach a point where I never have to whisper that again."

Drew stared at me with the most bewildered look on his face for a second, and then he surrendered to a gentle smile, and a single tear slipped from his right eye. "Why are you so cool, Ethan?"

"It's because I kick ass. Didn't you know?" I told him, and he giggled a bit. But I saw some other boys coming towards us down the hall, so I turned Drew around and gave him a gentle push so we could just leave and get out of the building before we ended up dealing with their particular brand of bullshit too. Especially with Drew's pretty eyes 'springing a leak' like that. They'd pick on us both for sure. And right now, it's better that their whispers and insults are kept under the radar. At least for now. I wonder how long THAT balance will last.

Because once it's made official that it's ok to openly bash both me AND Drew as boyfriends...something tells me that things are gonna get a LOT worse. And in a HURRY too!

It took a lot of work to get Drew to smile that afternoon. I think he was REALLY upset about the idea of people finding out that we were 'together'. It took a LOT of cuddling and sweet whispers at the park to get him to even really talk to me. I had never seen him so uncomfortable before. He squirmed and wiggled and apologized with every breath that he could muster. And I just wanted him to STOP. There was no reason for this boy to EVER...and I mean EVER...feel apologetic about much of anything. It took me half the lunch period just to calm him down and keep him from pulling away from my every touch, dodging every compliment, avoiding every flirtatious gaze that I threw his way. He must have REALLY hated the idea of me being teased and humiliated the way he was on a daily basis. He would have done just about anything to spare me that pain. I literally had to 'hold' him still to keep him from walking away from me and leaving me at the park by myself. By the time lunch was over he was just BARELY convinced that he should even be seen with me. The only thing that was effective in getting his mind back on track as we walked back to school was the question....

"So...are we still on for tomorrow? Half day of school? Daddy's away from the house? Maybe we can get into some 'other things'? Hehehe!" That alone caused him to blush so hard that I'm surprised that he didn't pass out. "Hehehe, c'mon, you promised."

"No I didn't, I said MAYBE!"

"Soooo...? What's the verdict then?" I asked. "I know you want it as bad as I do. C'mon...let me come over." I whined playfully, and I saw him melt right in front of me.

"You know...this is only gonna make things worse."

"Yeah, so?" I asked. "Are you SURE that dad will be away for the whole day?"

"I don't KNOW." He said, with a shrug of the shoulders. "I just...I'm hoping that it'll be ok for you to stay for a little bit..."

"It'll be fine." I said. "It'll be awesome, in fact. We'll leave right after school lets out, we'll go to your house, and we'll have a few hours to be just....'cozy', you know? Just you and me." I wiggled inside of my own skin at the thought of it, but it was a few pokes of my finger at Drew's side that got him to give in.

"Ethan...ugh, don't..."

"Are you gonna let me come over?"

"I don't...I don't know, ok? Really. I WANT you to, I just..." He seemed like he was really struggling with the idea of it, but he was so CLOSE to the edge that I have to admit to giving him a little 'push'.

"Pleeeeease? Hehehe, I promise you, I'll be sweet, and cute, and totally adorable for the whole day." I said with a flutter of my eyes, and Drew turned his head to hide his smile from me.

"You're not playing fair." He tried not to laugh, but a few giggles escaped anyway. "Ethan...you know you don't have to do this. I mean, you know that right?"

"Don't have to do what? Spend time with my boyfriend?" I asked, but he looked ahead of us, and we were getting close to the school again. "Are you STILL worried about that? I thought we were talking about having some quiet time together? That's got nothing to do with them."

"Not yet it doesn't." He said. "I love you, Ethan. I love you sooooo much. So much it hurts. And I can't really...hold that feeling in anymore."

"Who says you HAVE to?" I told him. "They can say whatever they wanna say about us. We can always deny it, right?" Another string of words that I wish I could take back. I didn't think they would sound so profane until I actually heard them fall out of my mouth. Drew's eyes drooped, and I could almost see him crawling back into his emotional shell.

"Yeah, I suppose. For a while anyway."

It wasn't something that I could really 'fix'...or at least I didn't know how. So I just tried to lighten him up again. "It'll be much better once we're alone and swapping fluids on your living room couch. Hehehe..."

"Yeah...in secret..." He mumbled.

"Would you rather do it in the cafeteria? I'm sure we could get quite the cheering section." That comment made him smile.


"We could use some Salisbury steak gravy for lubrication and I can smear those little butter packets on your back..."

"Hehehe, STOP!"

"We can have all the other boys shower us with ice cold milk from the fridge, and I can put a little prom queen tiara on your head..."

"HAHAHA! What the hell is WRONG with you?" He said, finally giving me a genuine laugh again.

"There's nothing wrong with me, and that's exactly why you're gonna let me come to your house tomorrow after school. And we're gonna have a romantic afternoon ALL alone, with no prying eyes watching us, and I'm gonna work extra extra hard to make sure that you smile the whole time." I told him. "And then will have butt loads of steamy hot SEX, and you can dream about me all weekend."

Drew grinned, his boyish frame vibrating with an infatuated rush of adrenaline. "You're not gonna take no for an answer, are you?"

"Well, I mean...if you said no, I'd kinda HAVE to take it. But I'd cry like a baby for the rest of the day. It won't be a pretty sight."

"Sighhh....everything about you is a 'pretty sight', Ethan." He said, and then with a really cute roll of his eyes, he said, "Fine. But ONLY for a little while. I don't wanna get in trouble, ok? If my dad even knew that I was talking to a boy on the phone as much as I do, he'd probably freak out. He is SO not ready to lift his veil of denial yet, so we CAN'T get caught. I MEAN it."

"Nobody's gonna get 'caught', ok? I'll just stay for, like...three or four hours..."

"TWO hours. And then we've gotta go some place else." He said firmly.

"Ok...two hours. Deal."

"Alright then."

Then I smiled and said, "Does that mean I can just, like...walk in the front door and start fingering you, or what?"

"HAHAHA! Jesus, Ethan!" He was so caught by surprise that his bag slipped off of his shoulder and he held his stomach to laugh. He swatted me on the arm. "Pervert!"

"Maybe. But you didn't say I couldn't."

"You have to kiss me first." He said with a sweet tilt of his head.

"Alright...but it's totally gonna cut into your fingering time." I giggled, but just before crossing the street to go back to school...our eyes met, and we shared a quick moment of silence. "I'm still your guy, right?"

"You're still my guy. Right." He said, looking up a me from his slightly smaller height. It would have been the perfect moment for a kiss...but we both knew that wasn't going to happen. So we attempted to disconnect before the impulse got too strong for us to use our common sense.

I walked with Drew to his class, and it literally warmed my heart to have him smiling again. Is this what people see when we're together? Is this what they whisper about? That uncontrollable feeling of true fulfillment, and accepted vulnerability, in front of the one other soul on this planet that you feel at peace with. Or do they just see two 'fags'...thinking about something as sick as tongue kissing in the hallway? Maybe they're missing the point. Maybe the whole WORLD is simply...missing the point.

"See you tomorrow?" I said, my voice softening as I prepared to leave Drew's side.

"Yeah. Sighhh...tomorrow."

"For four hours?"

"For TWO hours." He giggled.

"Ok, ok...three hours. Geez."

"Go to CLASS, already!"

"See you at the bus stop later." I said as I backed away.

"You don't always have to wait for my bus with me, Ethan."

"I do if I wanna earn my five hours tomorrow."

"TWO hours!" He said with a blush.


I turned the corner and started walking to class, when I saw a group of senior boys coming in the other direction. I didn't think anything of it really...but when the biggest of them passed me, he deliberately bumped my shoulder.

I turned to look at him, a bit confused as to what the hell I could have done to him to deserve that, but he looked back at me and laughed. He laughed. "Gee, sorry, 'baby doll'. Hope I didn't wrinkle your dress." What the hell was he talking about?

Then I heard another boy say, "So what does cock 'taste' like, anyway?" And they burst out laughing as they went around the corner.

I stood there alone for a second, dazed. My heart began to beat faster as the fear of total exposure truly began to settle in. The whispering stage is rapidly reaching it's end.

How much longer before the shouting begins?