Puppy For Sale
Chapter 49 - Respect the Truth, Despise the Lies
The little trip back to the lake at Greenstone was fading into a distant memory now as life was beginning to return to normal at home. Dave was still living with us, albeit in body only it appeared. He seemed to have gone inside himself at home and never really spent much time with Steven and I in our room, much preferring to stay in the lounge and watch TV until it was time to go to bed. I didn't mind though because it made things easier from my perspective. I don't say that to be selfish, but the last thing I wanted was to keep having the same conversations over and over with Dave, which was what had been happening those first few days after I had called time on our short lived relationship.
Thoughts of that period evaporated from my mind as I was brought back to the present by Hunter nudging me at our desk.
"Everything ok?" he asked me, a serious expression etched on his face.
"You know what Hunter, yeah, it is… everything is cool."
"Wow, that was a passionate response. You just looked a little far away there that's all."
"Just thinking about stuff, life has been a bit crazy these past few days. Its good to finally feel things are getting back to normal."
"I'm glad, and I hope I didn't cause any issues with yourself and Dave, I mean, sure, I am well into you Jensen, but busting up a relationship is not my thing."
"So, you've been here before then?" I asked, half-jokingly, half serious.
"Once yeah, I got burned pretty bad for it too."
"Someone hurt you?"
Hunter's face took on a sad demeanour. "Just a guy six months back, he was a college student and I lied about my age… you know, because I'm told I look older."
"You're not making sense, Hunter. Are you saying this guy burned you because he found out your real age?"
"Pretty much, he called me a stupid young kid, parting words that really cut deep, and that was it. Anyway, it's in the past I don't wanna talk about him."
I frowned and shook my head, not really understanding why he brought it up anyway. Hunter had this aura of mystery thing going on about him that I found compelling. It was almost like he was at odds with himself most of the time. One moment he would ooze confidence on a scale that would make an American wrestler look shy, and other times, like now, he gave off this almost awkward persona.
"Would you like to go out to lunch somewhere?" He asked, out of the blue.
"As in out of school?"
Hunter chuckled. "Yeah Jensen, like out of school."
"Well, I could do I guess. I normally have lunch with the guys, but I'll let Steven know when I get to my first lesson."
"Cool, I look forward to it."
The classroom was starting to fill out now as students in our tutor came in to get ready for roll call. The noise level was rising which made it easier for Hunter and I to talk about stuff we normally wouldn't get the chance to, evidenced by his next comment.
"I keep meaning to tell you how beautiful you look when you go into one of your thinking poses," he said leaning into my ear. My face quickly filled with heat as I tried to hide my bashfulness from him.
"Must you do that here?" I said, looking away from him.
"What? Just being honest that's all."
It looked like my embarrassment was about to be saved as Mr Dawson arrived and sat at his desk ready to take the register.
As we all piled out of Science for lunch I let Steven know again that I was going out to lunch with Hunter. Various questions were asked during the first lesson, which was when I told him. Steven warned me about jumping from bed to bed as he called it, a comment that made me slightly irritated seeing as nothing was going on between Hunter and I. I was also warned about the potential fallout when Dave found out where I was, which again, made me ask him what it had to do with Dave where I went on lunch seeing as we were no longer together.
The truth was, I was starting to get really pissed off with people telling me what I should and shouldn't do. Everyone seemed to be delighting in giving their opinion, such as the likes of Billy, Jessie, Steven and mum. Even Cindy had expressed her concern by phone when I spoke to her about what had been happening. I really didn't understand why so many people were suddenly assuming that because I ended it with Dave it was for the reason of getting it on with Hunter. Everyone seemed to be quickly forgetting the fact that Dave was a person impossible to be with.
I met Hunter out by the school gates and we both headed out onto the main road. "Hey slow down Jensen, there's no rush."
"I just need to get out of here for a while," I said, angrily.
"What's happened, did you have a bad Science lesson?" He asked, trying to match my pace which was brisk and deliberate.
"It's not school Hunter, it's the people in it."
"Wanna elaborate on that?"
I stopped dead in the street and turned to face him. "Why did you invite me out for lunch?"
"Sorry? I don't understand."
"I mean, why… why did you invite me out today, to have lunch with you, and why have you invited me to the car event as well? Why do you sit next to me in class… what do you want from me?"
Hunter looked pale and horrified at my questioning, almost reeling backwards at my outburst.
"I… I like you."
"You like ME? Or is it my looks, my body, my features. Do you just want to have sex with me, is that it? Perhaps it would satisfy you if I took you down an ally and quickly put your cock in my mouth… would that get me out of your system?"
"Jensen, why are you saying all these things, what kind of person do you think I am?"
"I don't know Hunter, what kind of person are you. I mean why are you single? You have a great body, good looks, you look strong and mature, you have a decent personality, I just want to know… why me?"
I felt worked up now, a little embarrassed, but confident sounding as I threw question after question at him. Where was this leading? I didn't know. Why was I saying it? I didn't know. Frustration perhaps, but not at Hunter, no, it was frustration because every person whether known to Hunter or not was warning me away from him and I wanted to know why. Was it just because they thought it would be out of order if I got with Hunter so soon after Dave? Was it anything to do with Dave at all. Was it the case these people knew things… but that they weren't being completely honest about what they knew?
We both stood there in silence before Hunter slowly turned around and started to walk away from me. Unable to say anything for a few moments I just watched him go. The shock of all the things I had just said keeping me silent and frozen to the spot.
What the hell had I just done?
"Hunter, wait!" I called after him. He briefly turned back but then carried on. I gathered some motion and caught up with him.
"Where are you going?" I asked as he pulled a cigarette from his trouser pocket and lit one up not waiting to stop.
"It's clear isn't it, I mean I don't know what I have done but it's clear I have upset you or you think I am this… this horrible person somehow."
I grabbed his arm and he stopped walking, but still refused to meet my gaze.
"I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me, I don't know why I said those things."
"Jensen, let me throw some of them back at you… no, just one actually. What do you think I want from you?"
"I don't know." I replied honestly.
"Have I ever done anything or said anything to suggest I was some kind of monster."
"Hey, I never suggested you were a monster."
"You might as well have. I mean, what was all that? Have people been saying things about me that I should know about?"
I sighed, letting my shoulders drop. "Most of them are just worried about me I guess. They don't want me to jump into anything with you because they think it will be wrong to Dave and wrong for me. Also…"
"A couple of people at school… people that I don't yet know that well said…"
"Said what?" Hunter asked, throwing his arms up, almost desperate sounding.
"They say you're a playboy and that I should watch out because you will get bored of me very quickly if we ever got together."
"What the fuck, Jensen… who are these people?" he asked, taking a long drag on his cigarette before blowing out the smoke.
"I don't know, just people ok… so is it true?"
"And you wonder why I stay single; see how much hassle it causes me when I like someone."
"Is that your way of avoiding the question?" I asked, raising a brow.
Hunter cleared his throat before folding his arms and staring at me. "Define playboy."
"I don't know, I guess from what Steven says, a playboy is someone who sleeps around and flirts a lot."
My words were met with silence as Hunter was again unable to look at me. It told me everything I needed to know about the answer that was or was not going to come from his mouth eventually. Yet, I was still here and I wondered why. Curiosity maybe? Whatever the reason, my respect for him would be judged on the answer he gave me when he eventually spoke.
"You want my stats? Ok I'll give you my stats. I am almost sixteen and I have had two boyfriends, neither one of them lasting more than two months. I have had sex with six boys the oldest being nineteen. I do flirt sometimes yes, and my friend Cassy says I do it to feel good about myself, maybe she is right. I occasionally smoke pot to get high, you already know I smoke cigarettes, and yeah I know, bad for my health. I own three sex toys a boy my age should not even know about because I like to get fucked and my options are limited in a school where no one apart from myself has the guts to admit they are gay through fear of being found out. I went through a phase where I would hang around Heaven night club in London to pick up guys because I needed sex with someone, sad I know but what the fuck, I like the feel of a guy inside me. That was where I got the bulk of the guys I slept with from. Two out of the six guys I have slept with I didn't use protection. One of them got me fucked out of my brain on Cocaine… yes I have snorted that too. Half of the school hates me because I am gay and the other half are scared of me because they don't understand me. You are the first guy apart from the above mentioned who I want to do things differently with. Am I happy about my past? No, I'm not. Do I want to just add you to my tally of conquests? No I don't because unlike the rest of the people I have ended up with you actually seem to like me, for me, and not for my body. In return for that I actually do feel good about myself on a level I have never done before. So Jensen, I am sorry that people have their perceptions that paint me as a dirty scum bag, but yes it is all true about me, but I can't turn back the clock, I can't erase the past. All I can do is be the person I am now and do things right this time."
With my jaw almost on the floor and my face all screwed up with what I was hearing I just stood there like a statue as Hunter finished his confession. It was kind of surreal looking at this person who I was just getting to know, but knew so little about… until now.
"I guess this is the point where you spit at me and walk away. You can you know, you wouldn't be the first." Hunter added, quietly. I didn't move.
"That's um… that's quite a lot to take in Hunter."
"I'm sorry it all spilled out like that, I'm just tired of people at school gossiping about me. I just thought this time I would be honest. Jesus, I mean everyone has done some fucked up shit in their life and yeah, maybe mine is a little out there for my age but I'm not some ogre, I just went searching for happiness and love in the wrong places that's all. I… I just wanted someone to want me." Hunter let his shoulders drop and looked at the sky.
"Thank you for being honest with me, I guess that must have taken a lot?"
"My mum always told me to be honest saying that you should always tell someone the worst thing about you and if they are still there when you have finished you will have a friend for life."
"If that was your mum's way of saying that everyone deserves a second chance then she is right, everyone does. For the record Hunter I am still here not just because you had the guts to be honest with me, but because in some distant connected way, you and me are not so unalike and I can relate to that person you once were."
"How so, you've never-"
"I mean in a sense of not being able to find yourself," I cut him off. "It took me a long time to find myself and realise the person who I really was. It's true that we went about it in completely different ways, but it sounds to me like you were trying to complete this puzzle of yourself and your way of looking for the pieces was to try and get with guys because that made you feel better about yourself."
"No one has ever explained it like that before."
"The only reason I can I think, is because I get the feelings you were going through. For me it was a feeling that I didn't belong anywhere… to anyone. Growing up in Greenstone without a family was tough and I used to deal with that through anger, because anger made me feel good about myself, but it was self-defeating."
"I really like you Jensen, and I know I am probably damaged goods to you, but I just want you to know I did not… do not, have any intention of messing you about. The reason I asked you to the race event was to prove to you that I'm just a normal guy who really enjoys your company."
"It's fine Hunter, I think I understand you better now. Not really the way I expected to, but none the less I do," I said, managing a small chuckle. Hunter smiled. "I smoked pot too," I casually mentioned as we continued our walk, gaining me a shocked look from Hunter.
We decided to grab a sandwich from one of the bakeries along the main street across from the school before finding a seat in the small plaza behind all the shops. Hunter looked deep in thought as he gently ate his lunch.
"What are you thinking about?" I asked, turning to look at him.
"You," he replied, before taking another bite.
I grinned. "Should I be worried?"
"I was just thinking how nice you are."
"When you grow up not having anything Hunter, it teaches you to appreciate most things and that includes people you meet. Life can be a lonely journey without good people in it to meet."
"So you think I'm a good person?"
"Even after everything I told you?"
"Doing the things you have done does not make you a bad person Hunter, even if they did, the fact you were honest about them makes you a good person. My mum says that trust and honesty is the true measure of a person. You didn't have to tell me any of that. You could have lied and just said everyone at school was talking bullshit. But by doing that you would have lost my trust and you would have not been being honest. I would rather trust you and know that you are honest, faults and all, rather than simply wonder if I really knew the true you."
"So if I had lied and said everything what you had been told was a lie, would you have believed me?"
I shrugged. "Probably, but there would always be that doubt because those comments about you had to come from somewhere. I see little gain from just making something up about you that is completely untrue… what would be the purpose?"
"I guess you're right."
Back at school I was sitting in the final class of the day with Steven, with my mind relentlessly focused on Hunter since returning from lunch. Twice this afternoon my teachers had to call my name as I was not listening to a word of what was being said, leaving Steven to ask me several times what the hell was going on.
Again, my thoughts returned to Hunter and what to do about this whole situation. He really was a very sweet guy underneath all that macho, smoking, hard boy image. He was so cute as well which didn't help my judgement.
"He's kind of like a gay version of you, you know," I whispered to Steven, suddenly realising he wouldn't have a clue what I was on about as we'd been sitting there listening to the teacher now for almost twenty minutes.
"What are you talking about?" he asked, wearing a disgusted look, mainly because he was confused I suspected.
"Hunter, he kind of reminds me of you, just a gay version."
"We'll talk about this later."
Steven, Dave and I were walking out of the school gates when Hunter came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. I saw Dave give him a dirty look out of the corner of my eye which Hunter chose to ignore.
"Hi Steven, Hi Dave," he said cheerfully as they were both now looking at him.
"You ok Hunter?" I asked, still not sure what he wanted.
"Yeah, I just came to see if you wanted to come round to my house, I'm not doing anything and was kinda gonna be bored."
I looked at Steven who seemed indifferent to Hunter's suggestion, while Dave on the other hand looked like he was just about to take a swing at him.
"Maybe not tonight Hunter, but thanks for the offer." I replied, trying to hide my annoyance that he would ask me that in front of Dave.
"Ok, well I'll call you later… I better go; my mum is picking me up today."
"See you later, Hunter," Steven and I said. Dave just stayed silent.
We continued to walk in silence until Dave couldn't help himself. "That guy is such a jerk!"
I sighed. "I know he is not the flavour of the month for you Dave, but what's he done now?"
"Fancy asking you round to his house," Dave replied, spitting feathers.
"Oh Dave, he was just being friendly," I said, dismissing Dave's motives for saying that.
"More like he wants to rub my face in it."
"Dave, I'm sure he meant nothing by it," Steven chimed in, squeezing Dave's shoulder.
"So have you surrendered to his charms yet?" Dave asked, sarcastically.
"You know Dave, this hostile bullshit towards me is not a good look on you. All it is doing is further cementing my decision to break was the right thing to do. I don't know how many times I have to say it, but there is NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING going on between Hunter and me. Just because he invited me to his house does not mean we are a couple."
"I hate to take sides pal, but this whole thing is getting a little old now," Steven declared to Dave.
"Oh that's right, gang up on me."
"We're not Dave," I said. "But you gotta stop connecting us not being together with Hunter. Hunter has nothing to do with it."
"Fine I won't say anything more about it. Just ask him not to be all fluffy around you when I'm with you please, it makes my stomach turn. He's like some fucking drooling dog."
I rolled my eyes deciding not to bite. I knew Dave wanted me to so it gave him the evidence he needed to say I had feelings for Hunter. Steven had taught me that much. Steven said that whether I did or I didn't hold a flame for Hunter that I should try to make it look like Dave's attacks on him didn't bother me and then he would either get bored of slating him, or realise there was nothing going on with the two of us. It did seem to be working as Dave was becoming more bearable to live with after the talk mum had with us and also because of what Steven had suggested.
Despite that though there were spikes in Dave's mood where he would growl over the mere mention of his name or give a dirty look when he saw Hunter in the corridor. That I could put up with, knowing that time is a healer on most things and hopefully it would get better.
As we neared home the conversation had returned to more general conversation, like how Dave's mum was getting on and how Steven had not masturbated in three days because of the lack of privacy. Dave suggested doing it for him, a comment that earned him a slap on the back of the head.
"Looks like dad is home early." Steven announced as we looked towards the house.
There was also a car parked behind Max's van which spiked a feeling of familiarity in my mind. I knew that car from somewhere but could not put my finger on where. I kept my eyes locked onto it as we got nearer, even looking back at it as we got to the front door.
Steven put his key in and stepped into the hallway with Dave and I close behind. I closed the door hearing voices coming from the kitchen and that's when it occurred to me where I knew the car from. I barged past Dave and Steven and rushed into the kitchen seeing someone sitting at our table talking to mum and dad.
"Mr Watson, wha… what are you doing here?"
"Hello Puppy," he replied, smiling.
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