The Highschool Years

by David Gaingridge

Chapter 2

Dad and I had just been driving for a few minutes chatting about school and life when I finally just had to ask him: "why did you abandon me when I was 7?""What?!" My dad yelled almost driving us off the road.

"I kept replaying over and over in my mind what I did…what I said. I'm sorry for whatever it is," I spoke.

"Son, I didn't abandon you. I don't know what your mom told you but I didn't," he was gripping the steering wheel rather tightly. "When you were 7 I had gone to the city with Dotty's son, Nick, since we roomed together in college just for a night out. Anyways, we both got a little too drunk and I confessed some things to him. We were at a gay club and it was that moment that I didn't wanna spend my life married to your mom. We were 17 when we got together and I just didn't want to be with her forever. I just remember looking over the crowd and in the first time I was happy. I love you, but I was finally happy with myself. Nick never said anything so the next week I told your mom. Well she just flipped shit and basically had a court order, restraining order against me. And since the courts didn't think I was suitable your mom got sole custody. I still payed alimony, but the fact that I never got to see you again almost killed me," my dad said with tears in his eyes.

He wiped away a tear and it was then that I noticed he had a wedding band on.

"Dad, are you married?" I asked.

"Yes. Twice since your mom. I married Paul 6 years ago. He passed away from cancer 4 years ago. And then I met Scott. And we've been married for a year now."

Wow, dad's been married twice. I wonder what else I missed out on.

"Does Scott know about me?" I asked.

"Yes, so did Paul. I made it a point to talk to the guys about you because I didn't want a guy who hated kids."

That made me smile. "Does Scott know I'm coming to live with you guys?"

"Of course. He was with me when I was talking to Amanda. He offered to bring you here as quickly as I did. He's staying with his sister, Katherine, and her husband while you get settled."

"Oh, I didn't mean to cause a disturbance. I just didn't know who else to call. And Amanda and Dan said they could let me crash, but…" I quickly said.

"Sid, it's ok. It was his idea. He realizes that we haven't seen each other and wanted to give us time to adjust."

"Oh ok. If you're sure."

"Son, I've never been surer of anything in all my life."

I was definitely seeing now that mom had fabricated a story that dad didn't want me and that's why he took off. It was still weird to think that in that time dad was still going about his life and getting married and…

"Hey dad, what's your last name? Did you take Paul's and Scott's? Or keep yours?" I suddenly asked very curious.

"Well my last name is actually triple-barrelled so I'm legally Marcus Allan Roy-Briggs-Lee." He laughed at that.

"So, Paul was Paul Briggs and Scott's last name is Lee," I said piecing together this information.

"That's right."

"Wait, Dan's last name is Briggs. Is he related?"

"Yup, Paul was an uncle to Dan. He was a younger brother to Dan's dad."

Small world!

"So speaking of Dan," dad began, "is there anything going on there?" He was talking about why we were holding hands when he walked into the restaurant.

"No, we're just friends. He's straight."

"Well they're both welcome to come and visit anytime. Or if you wanna go visit just say the word and we'll go."

"Thanks dad," I replied. Wow! I forgot how sweet dad was.

"You're a good soccer player as well!"

"Thanks…wait. How do you know that? Do you get the local paper delivered at your place?"

"I've been to a couple of your games." I must not have hidden this very well because my jaw dropped. "I mean I always tried to go to a few of them every year. I just made sure I wore sunglasses and had a bulky coat on. There were so many times I wanted to yell 'that's my boy' but I figured that'd be the time your mom would hear me."

My eyes misted over when he said that.

"Did you ever bring Paul or Scott?" I asked.

"Yup, both of them have seen you play. They both think you've got a lot of talent. When Paul was going through chemo I would turn the radio on and tune into the local radio station that was broadcasting your game. That always cheered him up." My dad went quiet after that. I figured he was going through some of his memories with Paul.

"I'm sorry, dad, I don't mean to keep bringing Paul up." I apologized.

"It's ok, son. That's how we keep people's memories alive — by talking about them." My dad paused briefly. "But I'm glad you're taking an interest in the men in my life." My dad looked over and smiled at me.

It's amazing how the worst day of your life can be turned around by a few people.

"Son, we're home," My dad whispered to me.

I slowly woke up and realized I had fallen asleep in the car. My eyes tried to adjust to my surroundings. It looked like we were in some sort of parking garage. I got out of the car and followed my dad who had my suitcases. We walked into the elevator and he pushed the top floor.

"This is your place?" I asked as we walked out of the elevator and into the pent-house suite. It was amazing. The whole place was very contemporary and had lots of light. My old house would've fit in the entryway. There were paintings on the walls and portraits on different tables.

"Yes, I got this place a few years ago. I debated selling it after I lost Paul," dad looked away sorrowfully. "But we both loved this place so I couldn't part with it just yet." I looked at the nearest table where we had come in. There was a picture with me and dad in it from when I was younger. There was also two other men in different frames: one had auburn hair and a bit of scruff the other had dark hair, glasses, and a little scruff. Dad told me the one with the glasses was Scott. There were more photos of these men plastered around the house.

He looked back at me. "C'mon champ, I'll show you your room." Dad picked up my bags and lead me down a hall and turned to the last door on the right.

The room was massive! It had a large king bed, oak cabinet and matching desk, large walk-in closet, and painted a light yellow (my favourite).

Dad put his arm around me and said, "I hope it's ok." He was genuinely worried I wouldn't like it.

"It's perfect, dad. Thank you so much…for…for everything." I said returning the hug.

"How about we just head to bed and unpack in the morning?" My dad asked.

"Sure, I'm beat," I said.

"Love you, son. Night," dad sad kissing me on the forehead.

"Love you too, night dad." I replied.

Over the next couple of days life progressed normally. Dan, Amanda, and I were texting every day, my relationship with my dad was never stronger, and I could feel my overall mood start to improve. I had avoided social networking sites these past few days but I figured it was time to get back online.

So I logged on to see if people were still talking about me. I was surprised to see there were more than a couple messages from people I barely talked to. One of them, however, really caught my eye - it was Mitch.

Mitch: " Hey heard about what happened. I don ' t hate you. Sorry man that this happened. "

I was immediately falling more for Mitch. So I replied: " Thanks man that means a lot. "

I was surprised to see that Mitch was online and replying so fast.

Mitch: " No problem! "

I was about to reply when I saw that Mitch had started typing again so I held off.

Mitch: " How are you doing? "

Me: " I guess ok given this situation. "

Mitch: " For sure. It just sucks what happened. "

I found it interesting that Mitch kept bringing up this point. Was he trying to tell me something or was he genuinely sorry for me?

So I threw him a line and waited for him to bite. " My friends have been great tho. And this message from you was unexpected. "

Mitch: *pause* " If this happened to me I ' d want that person that liked me to let them know it ' s ok. " Interesting, he used the gender neutral term ' person ' .

Just then my dad called for me telling dinner was ready.

Me: " Thanks again. I ' ve gotta go " *pause* " but I really appreciated this message. If you ' re ever over this way hit me up aha. "

Why was Mitch doing this? Or was he just setting me up like Christine did? Did he genuinely care? I really hoped it was the latter option … I guess time would tell.

I figured that Mitch was just being nice and that he wouldn ' t take me up on my offer. But, one day in late February something happened. I had gotten a really cute message from Mitch saying he was visiting town for a couple days and asked if I could show him the sites. I readily agreed and we set up a time for an upcoming weekend. I guess Mitch was actually being sincere … my heart skipped a beat over that.

I started school in the new city which was definitely a change from my old one. Because it was in a city it was already much more liberal and ahead of the times. It was good since it already had a gay-straight alliance that I immediately joined. I just wanted to be connected to others in my same situation in case I was bullied here.

When I was getting my lunch from the cafeteria three guys on the football team were ahead of me and were making fun of the guy behind the counter.

" Nice hairnet, faggot, " the blonde one joked to his buddies referring to the slim guy behind the counter. Another football guy with a shaved head broke into a fit of laughter and the other football guy with the brunette hair joined in soon after with what sounded like forced laughter. I could tell the guy was physically uncomfortable because he cowered a little and tried to leave.

" Nice apron, fag, did your boyfriend tie it? " The guy with the shaved head asked and then laughed at his remark.

" Guys, move on please, " I kindly asked them.

They just turned and stared at me. " What ' s it to you, bro? " The one with the blonde head asked.

I took a deep breath. I was sick of remarks like that. " He ' s uncomfortable with you saying those things to him. Can ' t you see that? " I retorted.

" Fuck off, man. We ' re just joking. " Blonde guy said.

" Really? Because it didn ' t seem like it. And I was getting uncomfortable just listening to you guys, " I replied.

I heard the guy behind me whisper that I should back down, but I didn ' t listen.

" Why man, you a fag as well? " Shaved head joked to his friends.

" Yeah I am gay. And that slur you ' re us …" But I didn ' t have time to finish because one of them just threw his chocolate milk at me.

Before I had a chance to respond I saw someone stand between us before anything else could happen.

" Alright guys, my office now, " the principal said. I guessed someone had alerted him when they saw the altercation start.

After an entire afternoon the principal, Mr. Goodman, finally had a review of the events based on different testimony, eyewitnesses, etc. The school had a zero-tolerance policy so all of the football jocks were going to be suspended. That wouldn ' t solve their homophobia so I suggested they have some sensitivity training from the gay-straight alliance club. The principal was a little taken aback, but the boys agreed since they wouldn ' t lose their spots on the football team.

The football jocks were dismissed and left for class. That left me and Sam Williams (the guy who the boys were teasing). The principal asked if I had a clean shirt to change into. Sam said that he did so we both left to go to the locker room.

" Thanks for sticking up for me, " Sam whispered. He had blonde hair and big puppy dog eyes.

" You ' ve always gotta have people there for you, that ' s how you get through life. " I responded. Where did this newfound knowledge come from?

Sam didn ' t say anything so we just kept walking.

" So, have you lived here your whole life? " I asked trying to make conversation.

" Yeah. " Ok … so not much of a talker.

We walked a bit further in silence and entered the locker room. Thankfully there wasn ' t a gym class now so the room was deserted.

We went to his locker and he pulled out a shirt I assumed he was using for gym class later. It looked and smelled clean so I assumed he wasn ' t one of those gross guys that just leave their dirty clothes in a locker all week and just wear them for workouts.

I was about to say I didn ' t want to leave him without a shirt when he said, " I ' ve got two. I keep one on hand just in case. "

" Thanks man, " I smiled at him.

I grabbed a towel and quickly began to disrobe. My young muscles looked great in clothes, but even better out of clothes. I pulled off my shirt to reveal my tight abs and firm pecs. I took off my shoes, slid my pants down, and pulled my boxers down as well.

I could feel eyes on me the entire time I did this. I looked up and sure enough Sam was looking at me. I gave him another smile and he blushed and turned away.

" It ' s cool, man, I ' m gay, " I said.

He didn ' t say anything so I just walked over to the nearest shower and turned it on. The water just felt so good after what had happened earlier. There ' s nothing quite like getting the smell of milk out of your pores.

I wanted to see if Sam was still looking since he was cute and I could tell he was a swimmer by his definition. So I picked up the soap and acted like I lost control of it by tossing it onto the locker room floor.

" Sam, can you toss me that? " I asked innocently.

He turned and saw the soap, picked it up, and began walking it back. When he reached me I just held out my hand and he placed the soap there, but didn ' t let go. His eyes wandered up and down my firm body.

" Aren ' t you gonna let go? " I asked referring to the soap that he was still holding in my hand.

My words seem to bring him back down from the clouds and I guess he remembered where he was.

" You can look. I don ' t mind. " I said.

He just stood there with the mist from the shower was getting his shirt slightly wet. His abs were becoming more apparent now that the material was clinging to them.

He let go of the soap and reached out to touch my stomach with his hand. His touch felt really good. He moved over my abs and then moved lower to my treasure trail. I let out a slight groan and realized I was now half hard.

Realizing that his shirt was getting drenched I said, " good thing you have that other shirt for you. "

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