Knots, Book 5

by Elias Scott

Chapter 31

Jason Settles

Jason had no idea how he was going to put his parents off this time. He thought maybe it would be better if he didn't go home. But where could he go. Again, the thought of killing himself entered his mind. He'd be saved from the pain of having to deal with being gay, being rejected and hated by his parents, and the harassment of kids at school. It would all end. But his life would end too, and that scared him. He wanted to live, to become a doctor, and make people's lives better, and he couldn't do that if he was dead. He decided to talk to Mr. Lynch. Lynch was in his classroom grading papers during lunch. He heard a knock on the door jam and looked up to see Jason. "Jason, good to see you. Come in."

Jason approached slowly.

Lynch pointed at a chair. "What happened to your head?"

Jason looked at Lynch with a blank stare and turned back toward the door.

"Wait, Jason. If you have something to discuss, let's talk."

Jason kept walking until he got to the door and then he stopped.

"Jason, I'm here for you. Come back."

Jason turned back with tears running down his cheeks. He whimpered as he said, "I think I need your help."

"That's the first step," Lynch replied. "Close the door, and let's talk."

He did as he was told and then stood in front of Mr. Lynch's desk.

"Jason, sit down. What's happened?"

The tears and whimpering kept on as he sat. He finally managed to reply. "Mr. Lynch, I don't know what to do. A couple of guys pushed me into the locker this morning, and I cut my head. My parents want to know what happened, and I told them I hit my head when I reached into my locker, but they don't believe me. I don't know what I'm going to tell them when I get home. They already made a big thing out of what happened in the bathroom." Jason paused. "Do you know about that?"

Mr. Lynch nodded.

"I had trouble explaining how my shirt got wet and why I was in the bathroom with Andy Gibson. I got so frustrated and angry that I finally told my dad I was gay. But just as soon as I said it, I knew it was the wrong thing to say because they hate gay people."

Jason went on. "So I covered it by saying I thought I might be, but I'm not. My dad reluctantly accepted that. But now they're going to be on a rampage. They'll give me the third degree when I get home." Jason wiped the tears from his eyes. "I don't know what to tell them. They're going to be down here no matter what because they don't believe my story about accidently bumping my head, and once they find out someone pushed me, all hell will break loose. What am I going to do?"

Mr. Lynch let out a breath. "I see the problem and understand why you're so upset. What would you like to see happen?"

"I'd like to go home and just have them believe me."

Lynch rubbed his hands down his chin. "Maybe I should call them and have them come in to talk prior to you going home. That way we can deal with it before it gets out of hand. I can call your mom right now. What do you think about that?"

Jason hesitated. "I'm don't know. My mom can be crazy sometimes."

Mr. Lynch smiled. "Moms can be that way."

"What would you say?"

"We should be direct and tell her that you are concerned that she isn't going to believe your story and is going to raise a whole lot of hell. Of course, we won't say it that way. I'll explain that you were so concerned that you came to talk to me. I'll reinforce your story and tell her that you came in crying because you were so concerned. I'll tell her that you know how much she loves you, and you're afraid she won't believe your story. You don't want her to come to the school and make matters worse, and that's why you came to see me."

"Sounds good to me, Mr. Lynch, but she'll say something like, stopping kids from picking on my son is what's best for him."

"To be honest, Jason, she'd be right. So what we need to do is make sure the bullying stops. It's hard for us to keep an eye on every student every minute of the day, but I do know only certain boys are bullied, so I'm going to have Dax or one of the other hall monitors have you within their sight at all times between classes and during lunch. Be sure you eat in the cafeteria. I'll give them a copy of your schedule so they'll know where you are. If you use the bathroom and anyone follows you in, they'll go in too. If they see anyone start to bother you or actually do something to you, we'll know who they are; you won't have to tell on them, and we'll prosecute them for assault. How does that sound?"

Jason hesitated. "Does that mean I'm going to have these guys tailing me all the time?"

"Yep."

"Are you going to tell them I'm gay?"

"Nope. The only thing they have to know is that you're being bullied, and they need to make sure it doesn't happen again. If this works for you, we might consider doing it for other students too. Is it all right if I call your mom now?"

Jason paused and gave him a worried look. "I'm scared, but I don't know what else to do. Are you going to do it now?"

"Yes. We need to do it before school's out. I can talk to her on the phone, and if everything works out, she won't even have to come to school. Are you ready to give it a try?"

Jason gave a small shrug. "I guess I have nothing to lose. It can't be any worse than it is now."

Jason gave him his number, and the call was made.

Mr. Lynch turned on the speakerphone and explained the situation to Jason's mom and the steps the school was going to take, just like he and Jason discussed and then the questions started.

"Mr. Lynch, I understand that you're going to do everything you can to protect Jason, but he said that he was responsible for hitting his head and not some bullies. What do you think?"

"I think you should believe Jason. I understand your concern about what happened in the bathroom, Mrs. Settles, so we want to make sure something like that doesn't happen again."

"It's about time you people did something to protect my baby. I think there's more to his hitting his head than he says, but I'm going to take him at his word. It sounds like you're going to make sure nothing else happens to him, so I'm satisfied, and I think my husband will be satisfied too. But let me warn you, if anything else happens to Jason, we'll be down there, and we're ready to take legal action if necessary."

Lynch wanted to roll his eyes but didn't dare in front of Jason. "I understand, Mrs. Settles. Jason likes the idea, and I believe having the hall monitors keeping an eye on Jason will work. Let's see how it goes for the next couple of weeks. If there's a problem at any time, please contact me or Mr. Evans right away.'

"Trust me, I will."

"Thank you for your time and understanding, Mrs. Settles. Have a nice day."

"Thank you, Mr. Lynch. I think you are on top of things, and my husband and I appreciate you taking the time to talk to Jason to find a solution. Don't get me wrong though. While I'm pacified now, I could easily go the other way."

Mr. Lynch looked up at the ceiling then glanced at Jason, before he turned his attention to the papers on his desk. "I understand, Mrs. Settles. Thanks again for your understanding. Have a nice day."

"You too, Mr. Lynch."

A look of relief crossed Jason's face. "You did it, Mr. Lynch," Jason said as he wiped the last of his tears away. "I honestly didn't think it was possible."

Mr. Lynch smiled. "Well, the best we can ever do is try. There are always solutions. We just have to work to find them. For you, the solution was coming in to see me. Remember, I'm always here for you. Don't ever make a decision about your life without talking to me or someone you can trust. Things can often seem bleak, but given time and a chance to work things out, something can always be done. All of us at times feel like we're backed into a corner, and there's no way out. But given enough patience, you'll eventually get out. One technique is to ask yourself, what's the worst thing that can happen, and then decide if you can live with it. If you can't, then talk to someone to find a solution that will provide you with a better outcome."

Jason stood. "Mr. Lynch, you are truly a lifesaver. And I mean that. I was backed into a corner and didn't know what to do. What's odd is that I really got upset when Andy Gibson told me he didn't think he was qualified to help me and told me to talk to you. I didn't plan to at first, but he threatened to talk to you if I didn't. He was so right. I need to thank him."

Jason paused, looking suddenly concerned. "It sounds like everything is fine, but my parents are unpredictable. I'm going to stand my ground though. I feel bad lying to them, but the outcome would be far worse if I told them the truth. Thanks again, Mr. Lynch. I'll keep you informed and make sure I talk to you if anything else comes up." He started to leave and then tuned back. "When are you going to talk to the hall monitors? Who knows what might happen between now and the end of school."

"I'll talk to Mr. Evans and the hall monitors as soon as we're through here. In the meantime, why don't you stay here until I get back. Ignore the bell. Is that all right?"

"Great, Mr. Lynch. I won't move until you get back."

Mr. Lynch returned about twenty minutes later. He told Jason everything was in place, and he would give him a late pass for class.

Matt

Megan came up to me in the hall and said she wanted to talk, which surprised me because I figured there was no way she'd ever talk to me again. She grabbed my hand like we were old friends, which I suppose we were. Maybe the best term would be frenemies. "How 'bout meeting me for lunch?" "Uh huh. I don't see why not. It's a nice day, so let's meet out under the maple." I didn't want everyone seeing us walking out there together, so I said, "I'll meet you there."

She frowned but agreed.

Andy was in my next class, so I told him about Megan.

"What's she want?"

"I don't know. Maybe she wants me too."

"She can't have you. You're mine." He moved toward me like he was going to kiss me and then stopped. "I almost forgot."

I laughed. "Yeah, watch it. And since when does being someone's boyfriend mean you own them. You don't own me, and I don't own you. We are a couple, yes, but we don't lose who we are."

"You're right. Sorry."


Megan was already standing under the maple tree when I walked out the front door. I guess she wanted to make sure we could sit at the table the school finally put under the tree that had pretty much lost all its leaves.

"You got here early."

"Yes. I wanted to be here when you got here."

I sat across from her. "So what's up?"

"I feel badly about the way things turned out between us."

"Me too. It was my fault, but I was afraid to talk to you."

She put her hand out. I grabbed it. She squeezed it. "I was at fault too. Thomas and I talked, and he said you told Colt to make sure he and Zoe talked before they had sex. We should have done the same. I enjoyed our sex and was hoping we'd do it again. When you didn't want to, I felt slighted, and it made me angry."

I pulled my hand away. "It wasn't you. It was me. I wanted to know what it was like to have sex with a girl. You were great. I loved it, but I didn't think it was right to lead you on because I prefer guys, Andy in particular. We're going together."

She looked surprised. "When did that happen?"

"A few days ago."

"I haven't seen you holding hands or anything."

"We don't do that. But we're going to wear rings."

"That's nice." She grabbed my hand again. "I'm jealous of Andy."

I smiled. "He was jealous of you." I paused. "I'm glad you wanted to talk. There isn't any reason why we can't be friends."

"The question is," she said. "What does it mean to be friends? Do we hang together and maybe go out once in a while or what?"

I shook my head and gave her a confused look. "Good question. I'm not sure how Andy would feel about us going out on a date. The odd thing is, Andy and I have always been friends and, we had complete freedom to do whatever we wanted. Suddenly, I realize all that's changed. He didn't care if I got together with anyone else, but I'm not sure how he'd feel now. I suppose he wouldn't mind if we were friends without benefits."

"Does that mean we can go out on a date?"

"I doubt it. But we can talk at school. You can join us at our table if you're not too embarrassed to be at a table with gay guys. Zoe is welcome too. I think everyone would like that. You and Zoe could join the GSA. You're already friends with Thomas, and Zoe is with Colt, so it would be nice. What do you think?"

"I'm cool with it. Zoe and I have our regular friends, but that wouldn't keep us from hanging with you guys once in a while."

"True, but I'm sure you can see the difficulty in all this. How do your friends feel about gay guys?"

She shrugged. "Mixed I guess. The girls are cooler with it than the guys. Some of the guys in our group were upset when I went out with you."

I rolled my eyes. "What did they say?"

"I suppose they were a little jealous. Of course, it never occurred to them that we might have sex. Maybe they just felt kind of the way Andy might feel if we went out now."

"Does anyone know we had sex besides Zoe?"

"No. So as far as they're concerned, you're a gay guy who went on a date with a girl to see what it was like."

I smiled. "They're right. Well, Gina and I had gone out many times, but I hate to admit, with you, it was sex I had in mind."

"It's not entirely your fault because I had the same thing in mind, and of course we did it and then became enemies."

I gave her hand a light slap. "I don't think it was that bad."

"Maybe not, but we quit talking to each other. So let's just make peace and agree to be friends without benefits and see where it goes. At least we can get together and talk once in a while like Thomas and I do or Colt and Zoe."

I gave her an inquisitive look. "What's up with Colt and Zoe?"

"Same as us I think. They've had sex a couple more times, but Colt seems to be interested in getting back together with Thomas."

"I think you're right."

The bell rang. I stood up and leaned across the table and gave Megan a short kiss on the lips. "To friendship," I said after the kiss.

"To friendship," she replied.

Andy

Matt told me at football practice that he and Megan had agreed to be friends without benefits. To be honest, the whole thing had me worried at first. Matt could always change his mind about being my boyfriend. But then I guess so could I.

It looked like Matt was never going to get his quarterback job back. Greg Johnson was playing well. Matt was getting some playing time, but unfortunately, Greg was as good as Matt, and while some would think they should have equal playing time, it just doesn't work that way. A team has to have one consistent leader who they can rally behind. Greg was that leader. Matt may have wanted to be, but like he said, "I made my bed, and now I have to lie in it."

Dr. Walker made us both realize there are consequences to our actions, and sometimes the only thing we can do is accept them whether we like it or not. It was hard for Matt, but I did my best through the rest of the season to make him feel better by making love to him as often as possible. And when I say making love, it was not sex but actually making love. Too often people say they made love when it was really just fucking, but after everything Matt and I had done, talking that way cheapens the sex that real lovers have. I'm not sure what they should call it, but it's not making love. It's having sex, but it's disguised as love. I'll be the first to admit, when you're having sex with anyone, there's this feeling of love that comes over you because of the way your whole body and mind work, but it's not real love.

Matt

At the time Andy and I became boyfriends, we had five games left. I tried hard to get the QB job back, but Greg was too good, and it was too late for me. Yes, I may have thought the job was mine, but in reality it belonged to no one, not even Greg. It was something that had to be earned, and he'd earned it, and I was never able to earn it back. What made me proud was that I never gave up. I tried hard every week, and to Greg's credit, he encouraged me. We had never really been close friends, but we'd become close by the end of the season. Andy often told me he thought I loved Greg more than him. Greg made my mouth water, but he wasn't gay, and Andy was my "one and only."

Andy was there for me through it all. I sure don't want to imply that sex is the solution to a miserable situation, but I have to admit that it was good having Andy there for me. And I have to say that during this time we had the best sex of our lives. We made love. I'll have more to say on that later.


Chapter Quotes

After every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul's indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer. -- William R. Alger

Preparing to fight wild fires is only part of the solution, we must be more pro-active and prevent the fires before they start, or reduce their intensity by removing forest waste and fuel build up. -- Rick Renzi

Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution. - Bill Hybels

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