Just Hit 'Send' - The High School Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 3

'10,000,000 x -0 squared,' Jordan laughed outloud. He replied:

redpill:

"You stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." Man, The Matrix is my favorite, I mean really all time favorite movie.

Are you getting excited about Matrix II? I can't wait ! There's a website

I found that has EVERYTHING !"

Is it okay if I ask if LionsDen is a clue to your name? I just got a feeling about it !"

J

Seeker:

"Yeah. The Matrix totally blew me away. I have one of the new posters on my wall already. What's the website? I want to go see.

It's okay...My name is Daniel, Danny really. I just thought that was kind of funny. Lame, huh?

Can I know your name?"

Danny

Danny:

"Matrix:revisited@. Go and tell me what you think. Look at the flash clips.

I thought it would be Daniel. Not lame at all........cool.

My name is Jordan.

Tell me what music you like? What books do you read?"

Jordan

They talked way into the night. Two lonely boys connected by phone lines, asking as many questions as seemed proper, dying to ask many that weren't, but it was all too new, too fragile.

Danny:

"I hate to break this up but it's 3:00. School tomorrow, right? Do you want to talk some more tomorrow night?

J

Jordy:

"Yeah, school. I know. Please, yes. This playing e-mail tag is slow. Wanna try MSN?"

D

They made plans to talk tomorrow night at 9:00. Both boys shut down their computers, Danny to sleep deeply for the first time in a long while and Jordan, who sat staring at the screen until he finally dozed off.


The next day at school, Jordan kept going over things that Danny had said the night before. Things like: 'I do that too' and 'I can't believe you said that' and 'that's way cool, Jordy'. Jordan didn't even think Danny realized he had already called him by his nickname like they were old friends.

"Hey, Jordan," he heard his name and turned a 180 to see who was behind him. Debbie Caster caught up with him and linked arms, not too subtly brushing her hip against his. 'Okay, here we go," he thought, disinterested but smiling kindly. "Hey, Deb."

"Take me to the dance after the Lake McGregor game Friday, Jordan, pleeease?" she asked in her most um.......seductive tone. Apparently this worked. Jordan could see Griff walking toward them, grinning. What the hell. He loved to dance. "Sure,Deb. Hey, Griff, you got a date for Friday?"

"Yeah, you know it. Wanna go with?" he replied, knowing that Jordan always wanted to go with.

"Yeah. Can Debbie and I catch a ride?" Jordan asked.

"Sure. I'm meeting Kelly at the dance. We'll go get some food after, K, Debs?" he asked.

"Can't I sit with you at the game, Jordan?" she asked, using the tone again.

He rolled his eyes at Griff, needing an escape. His friend blocked Debbie with a "you know the guys always sit together.......you wanna dance, we'll dance but football? That's like sacred. Be a good girl." He swatted her on the butt and grabbed Jordan's arm. "I gotta talk to the man. 'Scuse us, Debbie," and he dragged Jordan away.........quite willingly.

Around the corner, Griffin burst out laughing. "You crack me up, you know that? How do you get yourself into these things? Can't you find a nice girl that you like and end all the torment you put these girls through?"

Jordan punched him. "Shut up! I always say yes. I don't know what else to say. If I didn't, I'd look............." He started to say gay. ................."stupid," he finished.

Griff cocked his head and looked at his best friend. "You sure stupid is the word you wanted there, right? You ready to talk to me, Jord?" he slung his arm around Jordan's shoulders as they headed to Psych class. Jordan felt the warmth of his friend's arm. He felt the strong 'I care about you' vibes coming from Griffin. He felt the almost overwhelming desire to scream. Biting his bottom lip, he choked it back. It would be so easy if it could be Griffin.


Danny sat in the courtyard during class break and watched the people flow by. He used to have so many friends, but one by one, he'd cut them off until all they did now was nod. He could see their eyes searching sometimes, the hurt still evident but you can only get hurt so many times and then you build those walls. He knew what he'd done and he wanted all his friends back but he'd never say it....never ask it of them. Danny was a loner now. One of the outcasts. He'd done it to himself and he didn't know how to get it back.

Maybe Jordan could help him. Jordan. He had been so funny, so caring last night. They liked all the same movies, all the same music [ except that Jordan confessed to a guilty pleasure in country ] and all the same books.

They had both read AND understood The Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman and he was looking forward to hashing that out with him. It had been a long time since Danny had talked, really talked to anyone. Maybe tonight, he'd begin to learn how again.


Jordan got his trig homework finished, mucked out JoLene's stall, and watched Alien Zim on Nick. He felt himself getting really nervous and almost wished he hadn't said he'd talk on MSN. It was kind of more, well, private. What if Danny asked stuff he had to think about? Well, he'd asked for someone to talk to and now he had his wish.

At 8:50, he cranked up the Dell monster and checked his mail. There was a message from theredpill@. Opening the mail, he read:

Jordan,

"I hope you still want to talk. If you don't, no sweat. No big deal."

Danny

'He's as scared as I am,' Jordan thought, this making it easier somehow.

He replied:

Danny,

"I'll be there at 9:00."

Jordan

At 9:00 on the dot, the little red flag appeared in Danny's bottom right screen. His face lit up. 'He does want to talk,' he thought happily. He clicked on the MSN box and typed a message.

Danny says: Hey :)

Jordan took a deep breath and dove in.

Jordan says: Hey :)

Danny: What's up?

Jordan: Nothing much. You?

Danny: Same old same old

Jordan: me too.

They talked for awhile about nothing.......trying to think of things that would interest the other one. Just when Jordan decided that this was going nowhere, Danny typed:

Danny says: Jordan, I need help

Jordan leaned back away from the screen. Danny needed help? God, so did he.

Jordan says: How? I'll help

Danny ran his fingers through his hair, flexed his fingers and typed:

Danny says: I don't feel like I'm real half the time. There's me and then there's everybody else. There are all those people, laughing and having a great time and then there's me. I'm different, Jordy

Jordan says: I know

Danny says: Know? Know what?

Jordan says: I understand. I know what you're saying. I have lots of friends but I have like this piece of me missing.......making me different.

Danny says: Yeah, yeah..............like you want something that nobody else wants, like you want it so bad you can taste it but it's not there. It's driving me slowly insane, Jordy

Jordan, the anonymity of the internet giving him the courage to ask, asked:

Jordan says: Danny, what are we talking about here? Girls? What?

Danny says: no Jordy not girls......I think I'm different

Jordan felt a panic rush through his body. "I can't do this," he thought to himself. "I'm not ready. I................."

Jordan says: I gotta run, Danny. Mama's calling. Talk to you tomorrow? K?

There was a long pause. Jordan waited, not realizing he hadn't taken a breath. He waited, fingers frozen over the keys. Finally, Danny answered:

Danny says: sure Jordan I understand seeya

And he signed off. Jordan sat still in his chair. "God, that was so chickenshit." He felt horrid. He had hurt Danny and as much as he didn't want it to matter, it did. He hadn't been afraid to hear what Danny said; he'd been afraid of what he would answer.

He couldn't get him back now and apologize. He couldn't do anything. Jordan felt like crap. He wanted to talk but when it came right down to it, he couldn't. He'd let his new friend down.

Taking his position on the bed, ankles crossed, hands under his head, Jordan cursed himself for a fool, a scared little boy.

It had to be this exact moment that Griffin decided to talk. Bedroom door flying open, Griff walked in carrying 2 cans of Dr. Pepper and a bag of Hot&Spicy Doritos. "This is it, my friend. We're having it out right now. You can fart around all you want to with everyone else but not with me. I want to know what's going on and I want to know now!" He plopped down on the bed, shoved Jordan over and took the position he had taken for as long as they both could remember. Stretched out beside Jordan, he crossed his ankles and shoved his hands behind his head. "I'm not movin til you tell me, so fire away!"

Jordan closed his eyes. "I can't tell you this. I can't. It's something I have to work out by myself."

"Like hell," Griff answered gruffly. "If I had something tearing me up, who would I dump it on? You, little bro." He jabbed Jordan in the ribs and turned up to lean on his elbow. "Spit it out, Jord."

"Shit!" Jordan sighed. "Griff," he covered his face with his arms and his muffled voice muttered through. "I think........I......God!.........I think I'm gay."

He let the words hang in the air. He waited for Griff to react, to yell at him or to jump up off the bed or whatever he was gonna do.

"Finally," Griff murmured. "I thought you'd never get it out, Jord."

"I don't want to talk abo.........................WHAT?" Jordan cried, his eyes flying open as he turned to his friend.

"Jordan Lawrence. You've been my best friend since forever. You think I don't know why you always need to go on dates in my car, why I have to fend the girls off you, why you get that 'deer caught in the headlights' look in your eyes every time one of the cheerleaders flirts with you? You think I'm dumb or something?" he sighed, pretending to be hurt.

"Griff, if you thought it, why didn't you say anything?" Jordan asked, his voice trembling. This conversation was not to be believed.

"You had to tell me, little bro. I was always there but you needed to tell me. I just sort of helped it along tonight," he said, smiling.

"Oh God, Griff, I did something awful tonight. I had made a kinda.......," he blushed a little, "a kinda new friend on the computer but when he brought up feeling different, I panicked. I know I hurt him. I wish I hadn't done it, but I did. I just wanted to talk to someone.....someone who would understand. I think he would have."

"Try again tomorrow night," Griff suggested. "If he cares, he'll come back.

Sound like a plan?"

Jordan sat up and crossed his legs, Indian style, on the bed. Griff crawled into the hole left by Jordan's head and Jordan leaned back, just as he had so many many times in the past. With Griff's back against the headboard, Jordan leaned into him and felt Griff's arms fold around him, just like they had for years. They sat like that for a long while, neither speaking, Jordan listening to Griff's heartbeat and Griff almost hearing the wheels spinning in Jordan's head.

Before Jordan could answer, Griff answered for him. "No, this doesn't change anything. I've always held you. I will always hold you.....just like this."

Jordan felt the tears burning the backs of his eyelids. If only...........but he knew how straight Griffin was. "Thanks, Griff. I know how hard this must be for you." He was embarrassed to hear a sniffle escape as he spoke, a catch in his throat.

Griff paused for half a heartbeat and chuckled, "Bet it's not as HARD for me as it is for you. Let's check and see." He moved as if to grab at Jordan's crotch and they wrestled until both boys were giggling, laughter tears running down their cheeks.

"Jordy," Griff said, trying to catch his breath. "You've never um...you know, looked at me that way, have you?" Jordan could tell that under the teasing, Griff was way serious.

"It's funny I guess," Jordan answered, "But I really haven't. I've always counted on you and wanted you next to me and I never let myself go there."

"Well," Griff laughed, "I don't know whether to be hurt or flattered. I think I'll go with flattered. Hey, Jord, what are we gonna do about this um...... situation? We gonna find you a...," he grinned, "a boyfriend?"

"SHUT UP! WE are gonna do NOTHING!" Jordan muttered, rolling his eyes. "You will forget this conversation ever happened. I will take Debbie to the dance on Friday. I will be the same Jordan Anderson Lawrence I always was. Understood? I may feel different but I'm not doing a single thing about it !"

Griff looked at his best friend, shaking his head slowly. "You may think you've got it covered, J, but I think you've got some deep thinking to do and I think too that you've got someone you need to apologize to. I know you. You started something and you need to see it through. What was his name?"

Jordan frowned. "Danny. His name is Danny."


Daniel Alan Trainor sat silently looking out at the night, his mind shut down.

His one chance to untangle himself from this mess he called his life and he'd blown it. He stared at the bottle in his hand. Percodan. One makes you drowsy, two makes you stupid, five would knock over a horse..........what would the whole bottle do?

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