Starting Over

by Tony A

Chapter 8

Throughout the whole weekend all I could think about was thoughts of Cole. Well, more like irrational fears about him. I had a bunch of "what-ifs" floating around in my head. Like:

"Maybe Kevin and Emma were right about Cole".

"Maybe Cole has a darker secret than I'm prepared to handle".

And worst of all, "Maybe I can't trust Cole at all". I'm not sure why that thought scared me the most. I just feel like ever since my memory went to shit, the only thing I have a clear feeling about is my connection to Cole.

Either way, after that restless weekend I was so pent up with anxiety and confusion once I got back to school. When I got to school on Monday morning I was trying to forget about my anxities and push my emotions back, after all I've had a lot of experience doing that. I wasn't having much luck though because I couldn't escape anyone. I was walking down the hall when I almost ran into Emma but I swerved around the corner before she could see me. Then I cautiously walked down another hallway when Kevin came casually walking toward me. Luckily he was looking down at his phone so I quickly walked through the nearest doorway which happened to lead to the parking lot.

I just needed to keep my worries away and it wouldn't help if I had to interact with the exact people who gave me those anxieties. I thought a little breather outside would do me some good before school started. So I went and sat on a bench at the back of the school where not many people are. I was just calming down and realizing how idiotic and dramatic I was acting. But then I saw the only person I really did not want to see.

I sat there stunned as I saw Cole get out of the passengers seat of a car. That's not what stunned me though, it was the fact that some guy came out the driver's side and went around to the side where Cole was standing and stood real close to Cole. They looked like they were in an intimate conversation, then the guy talking to Cole stepped even closer to him and brings him into a hug. A very close, very personal looking hug.

I was outraged. I couldn't believe all the rumors about Cole were true. He is a little slut who is trying to get with every guy. I can't believe I defended him so much, to the point where I was almost expelled! I thought I knew him... I thought I could trust him. I don't know why I thought I could because I knew him as well as I knew anyone else in my life at this point. Why did I just blindly trust him? I'm such a fucking idiot.

I kept watching him and the other guy but I couldn't stand it anymore, I was seething. I was about to get up and go back into the school but I thought: 'I should confront the little bastard'.I was seeing red. I was ready to fight someone and this time it might just be Cole. Maybe I do have anger issues... well whatever, that's something to worry about later.

I quickly walked up to the car with my fists clenched and got right in their space. I'm not gonna lie, I did feel very satisfied when the guy at the car looked terrified, while Cole just looked concerned.

"What the fuck is this!" I exclaimed bitterly.

I must have been looking like a mad man because the guy backed away from Cole and me with his hands up defensively.

"Man I don't know what your problem is but I didn't do anything." the guy said quickly.

Cole jumped in, "Yeah Matt, what is going on?"

"I asked you first. So how about you stop playing around for one second and just explain this all to me because I'm apparently a little bit slow these days!" I tried to get in Cole's face and take advantage of my height over him to intimidate him more. I think I have officially lost my mind... but I don't care.

Cole was starting to look properly scared now, but he still had the audacity to address that guy behind him, "Dave I think you should go,"

I cut him off, "No! I want him to stay, he's as much a part of this as you are." I tried to step closer to 'Dave' but Cole put himself in between us.

"What does he have to do with any of this?" Cole says cautiously. He probably thinks we're talking about something else. I'll set him straight.

"What does he have to do with this, you ask," Yep I've lost it. "Well maybe it's the fact that you're fucking him and also half the male population at this school, you little slut!" I said in one breath.

I could instantly see the blood drain out of Cole's face and his eyes went wide and Dave looked equally as shocked. I guess getting caught can do that to you.

"Whoa, what do you," Dave started but I cut him off.

"No you don't get to talk!" Then I turned my attention back to Cole, who looked completely mortified. I basically pointed the accusatory finger in his face, "You, Cole. You are... truly an actor. One of the finest actually. Because I believed that you were this innocent little thing who needed to coddled and protected... and defended. But no, you were just putting up a facade, a fake image of what I wanted to see. I was so gullible to think that you were a genuine person. I should have know by now that anyone whose in my life is not as they seem. Everyone is deceitful and has a hidden agenda. I just couldn't see yours as clearly." By now Cole looked devastated, but I wasn't sure if it was because his cover was blown or because I was mad at him. I looked over at Dave and he looked kind of angry now or some kind of emotion I couldn't really make out.

I continued my rant, "You know you were the only one I felt..." I scratched that thought. "Nevermind. I heard how you were bascially soliciting sex from these guys, like Kyle Ferguson and Anthony Delvine. I didn't want to believe the numerous people who told me these things and tried to warn me about you. But then I see you and... Dave here, in a pretty compromising position. And now, I just can't ignore it anymore."

I looked at Cole and he looked ashamed and stood there silently, but the weird thing was he didn't look guilty. He looked as if he just saw his worst nightmare and now he's spooked. I know how that feels.

Since Cole wasn't moving or saying anything the guy behind him came forward and looked down right pissed. "How fucking dare you accuse him of that." Dave said while getting right in my face, he was almost my size but I had some height on him. I didn't back down, I was ready for the challenge.

"Why? Am I wrong?" I challenged.

"My brother would never do anything like what you just said." He said defiantly.

Wait what! Did he just say brother? I was so startled I stumbled back a little. "What did you say? Brother? What do you mean... brother?" I said quickly, gesturing at both Cole and Dave.

"He's my brother, you asshole, not my fuck buddy. I don't know where you heard these rumors from but they're stupid lies. And yeah, you must be gullible to believe those rumors. I don't know why you're suddenly victimizing him but you better fuck off!" He said as he pushed me back a bit.

Now I was truly stunned. I just stood there, like an idiot, with my mouth hanging open. They're brothers? The more I looked at them standing next to each other the more I saw the resemblance. They both had silky dark hair and those sparkling blue eyes (even though Cole's eyes are slightly bigger and more angelic). The only difference was that Dave was a bit taller than Cole. Suffice to say, I feltl like a complete dumbass. What I thought was an exchange of an intimate hug between two fuckbuddies was actually a hug between two brothers.

I mustered up the courage to look at Cole again and he still looked ashamed, but now I realized he was ashamed of me. I knew I had fucked up once again when he just looked past me at the school building and said, "We're gonna be late for school. Let's go Dave," he said in a monotone voice. He walked past me like a zombie and his brother knocked my shoulder with his own as he walked quickly behind Cole.

I watched them go into the school. Why is my life such a complicated mess? When will I stop messing up, is the real question.

I looked up at the sky with my hands on my head and said, "Shit!" to the sky.

In detention...again. Don't worry I didn't get in trouble again, this is just leftover punishment from my last offense (when I got into a fight with Kevin). The principal gave me a month's worth of detention and this is just my second week. It's not like I ever have anything else planned on account of all my jock "friends" abandoning me after I fought with Kevin. He made sure to spin the story so that it seemed like I attacked him for no reason. Either way I never really felt included with those guys anyways.

However, detention is a particular nuisance because it gives me some time to really think about all the damage that I have done in the past couple weeks. I'm able to fully process how much I royally fucked up all hope of Cole liking me. Also, I have the particular joy of thinking about how much I've worried my parents and how I'm quickly losing their trust with each passing day. The only good thing about having detention everyday is that usually no one gets detention on a Monday (I guess trouble happens at the end of the week) so on Mondays I get to be alone. And lucky for me, today's Monday.

I walked into the room for detention and looked at the teacher who monitors detention and gave him a nod of recognition. Since I'd been going there for a week we had became silent acquaintances. I think we had a weird empathy for each other because we both knew the excruciating boredom that comes from being in that room every day. For me there's nothing to do in detention besides homework, and I got all of that finished last week. And for him there's nothing to do except grade papers, which looks even more boring than doing homework.

I was trying to perfect the art of doing nothing but then I realized that I could get a break from the boredom and go to the bathroom. I stood up and pointed towards the door, "Bathroom?" I asked.

He just looked up vaguely and said, "Go ahead," with a waving motion.

I didn't really have to use the bathroom but I needed to get away from that room for awhile. I round the corner and heard the faint sound of people talking in a classroom down the hall. I was totally confused because I knew that no one is usually here after hours or at least I didn't think anyone else would want to be at school this late besides people in detention.

I walked cautiously towards the room where the talking was coming from and the door was open so I stood at the door and looked in. There was about 5 people in the room and they all had notebooks out and looked like they were trying to figure out something complex. They looked like they were studying but yet they all seemed to be enjoying it, which was kinda weird. They barely acknowledged me but one person caught my eye. Emma. She looked really excited and immediately jumped up and came towards the door while everyone else looked on curiously.

"Hey Matt, what are you doing here?" Emma looked at me confused.

"I could ask you the same question." I quipped.

"I'm here for Scholastic League... Are you trying to join or something? No offense, but I didn't really think you were the most academically inclined." She remarked with a smirk.

"What? Oh, no, I'm here for detention." I guess that explains the 5 smart people huddled in a classroom who actually look happy about studying after school.

"Oh, of course," She said like she just had a revelation, "You're after school for detention. Well you obviously have the wrong room."

"Yeah, I know that. I've been going to detention for a week."

"Right. Is it for your fight with Kyle? You seem to be in a fight every week now. You're a regular Mike Tyson aren't you." She laughed.

What does that even mean? Whatever, she says a lot of things that I don't get. "Look I should probably let you get back to your... club." I was turning around to walk back out of the doorway when I had an epiphany. I realized that I could talk to Emma about what happened earlier today. She's surprisingly good at giving me advice.

I turned back around so quickly that she looked like she had whiplash, "Actually, can I talk to you for a second? I need your advice on something."

Her face went from surprised to delighted, "Of course you can." She looked back at the other people in the room, "We should probably talk in the hall."

I lead the way out of the door, into the hallway, and around the corner. Just to ensure that no one was eaves dropping. I also looked around for extra safety. I've had too many experiences lately of people invading my privacy.

She looked at me suspiciously, "Are you okay? You look like you're a man on a mission."

"Well... since you've been so helpful recently and...umm... you're very observant and a great listener--"

"Are you like proposing or something," She said with a big grin.

"No. I just need to tell you something. That I haven't really told anyone." I searched for the words, I guess I was more nervous than I thought. "I'm only telling you this because for some reason I feel like I can trust you and..."

"Oh just spit it out already." She saw my worried face and continued, "I just can't handle suspense and you're building it up a lot."

"Okay, fine. But you need to promise me that you won't tell anyone. I know how you like to be gossipy."

She looked guilty, "Okay okay, I promise I won't tell a soul. Go ahead."

"Alright, I'll make this quick and to the point because this is only half of what I'm going to tell you. I've currently had some feelings for a certain person at school who's not Ava. I felt a connection towards this person since I came back after my accident. And this person is a guy. And that guy is Cole Blume." I said all of this very quickly while a blush was growing on my face.

Her mouth was literally hanging open in disbelief. For a second I thought she was going to take it badly but then her expression changed to, what can only be described as, a 'shit eating grin'.

"I knew something was up. I knew it! Especially when you started asking me about him the other day on the phone. But I said to myself, 'No. He can't be gay. He's mister-jock-super-straight-loverboy-of-Ava.' Oh my gosh, this is a moment! I'm so excited!"

"Okay, calm down, remember you can't tell anyone."

"I know, I know. Oh, this explains so much as well. Like, I couldn't get my head around what Cole had to do with the fight between you and Sam, but I sorta get it now. Sam must have been bullying Cole or something and you came in and saved the day, right?"

"Uh, not exactly. More like Sam walked in on Cole and I kissing and he violently shoved Cole away from me and then he hit him to the ground and called him... some derogatory words then I beat the living shit out of him."

"Whoa." She stared wide eyed. "You're kinda scary dude. But to be totally honest, the whole 'tough guy who defends his love's honor' is kinda hot. Cole's lucky. So are you guys like boyfriends now or something?"

"No, definitely not. I told you how that was just part of what I needed to tell you. Here's the other part. The part that I need some advice on. See, I fucked up again."

"What happened?"

"It happened this morning. I was so consumed with the rumors that you and Kevin told me about Cole that I started to really believe that he was sleeping around."

"Hey, I said I wasn't entirely sure if they were true. I just heard it from Whitney." She added quickly.

I rolled my eyes, "Well, either way, I couldn't get it out of my mind. So when I came to school I was..." I didn't want to admit that I was trying to avoid her so I skipped over that minor detail. "I needed some fresh air, so I went out into the parking lot and I saw Cole getting out of some guy's car. I didn't know what to think except for the rumors that I had heard and I was so fed up that I confronted him."

She winced sympathetically, "Oh, how did that go?"

"Not good at all, I called Cole a 'little slut' and then accused him of fucking half the male population of the school. Obviously he didn't take this well. Then I accused him of sleeping with the guy whose car he had just come from. But the guy was quick to call me an asshole and inform me that he was actually Cole's brother and not his fuckbuddy." I still feel mortified for that mistake.

"You mean Dave? You didn't know that Cole had a younger brother?"

"Younger brother? This guy was much bigger than Cole."

"Yeah, he's only a year younger. But, I mean, he looks a lot like him. How could you not know. Also, I thought you wanted to have a relationship with Cole, yet you seem to know nothing about him."

"Well now I'm screwed because Cole looked so ashamed and embarrassed, which he should be because I acted like a total jackass. I know for sure that he never wants to talk to me again but I really like him and I feel like right now would be a good time for you to give me some advice on what I should do. You seem to do that regardless." I said the last part under my breathe.

She looked dumbfounded by all the things I just said. "Well... I think..." She looked up at me like she was trying to muster up the courage to say what she was about to say. "Honestly, I think you fucked up badly and you shouldn't expect Cole to ever forgive you."

She looked at me with a determined face while I gave her the most heart breaking expression. She continued, "However," she paused for a moment in thought, "I think that you should do everything you can to get back on his good side. Because even though you don't know much about him, you seem to care a lot about him. So I think you should do this sooner than later. Go find him tomorrow and do anything and everything to show him how much you care about him."

"Thank you," I said quietly and just stared at her. I felt so grateful that I finally had someone I could trust to talk to.

She broke out of our staring and looked back at the classroom, "Hey, I hope I helped you but I do need to get back to my club."

I just realized that I needed to get back to detention, "Oh yeah, I gotta get back as well," I pointed down the hall.

We walked opposite ways from each other down the hall but I looked back at her and she waved at me before she entered the classroom.

I could get used to having a friend.

I considered Emma's advice carefully. I knew she was right, that I should try to fix this as soon as possible. I just had my reservations about going to him so soon after my major fuck up. If I was being honest I knew I was just being scared.

I looked for him any chance I got: between classes in the hallway, in the bathrooms, in every nook and cranny I could think of, but he was nowhere to be found. I started to think that he hadn't even showed up at school today. I was disheartened when he didn't show up to our Chemistry class. By lunch time I was resigned to the thought that he was probably absent because of me.

I went to the library again for lunch, mainly to avoid the drama of all my old friends and also to have a quiet place to sit. I really enjoy quiet spaces nowadays. I went more towards the back of the library to truly be by myself. Then I just happened to look slightly to my right at another table near me and I saw the back of Cole. I was so glad in this moment that he couldn't see me because I know -- without a doubt -- that if he had seen me first he would've immediately left the scene. Also, since his back was turned I had time to prepare my face and look like I wasn't having a mental breakdown.

I stood and confidently walked up behind him. I tapped his shoulder and as soon as he turned around and looked at me I lost my breath. He looked up at me with expectant and worrisome eyes.

I just gaped for another second and realized I had no clue what to say to him. Once Cole saw that I wasn't about to say anything first he stood up and got right into my face with a determined look.

"How dare you do that to me." He said in a harsh whispered tone (we are in the library after all). With each word he pushed me back up against a bookcase. "Out of nowhere you accuse me of those horrible things... and in front of my brother no less." Looking more furious he pushed me further into the bookcase even though there was nowhere else to go. "How dare you."

"You already said that," I tried to lighten the mood but unfortunately that just made him more mad.

"You're an asshole, you know that," He said offhandedly.

"I've been told." I hung my head with guilt. "I'm sorry Cole... what can I say,"

"Yeah, what can you say. I think you've said quite enough in our little interactions so how about I start talking." He said quickly with rage.

I was scared but ready to hear it, "Go ahead," I muttered sheepishly.

"Look, I don't know why you believed those rumors." He looked up at me sadly, "But I also understand why those rumors have been surfacing. It's embarrassing really."

I got nervous, was he actually admitting that those rumors were true?

I think he saw my expression and quickly dismissed my thoughts, "No, it's not like they're true. But, well I'll tell you the truth." He looked around hesitantly. "Let's sit down." He said as he walked towards the table he was previously sitting at.

He turned his chair so that he was directly facing me, "I know why other people are starting to wonder about me. I just never thought you would believe any of the things people were saying." I felt so hurt by his comment but I could totally understand the feeling of other people making rumors about you. I've had enough rumors about me to last a lifetime.

He continued,"I have been in contact with Kyle and Anthony, two of the people that I know I have been rumored to be 'sleeping with'. Well...surprise, surprise, I'm not sleeping with either of them. I'm actually tutoring them, I guess since they were trying to keep it a secret they made it appear shadier than it was."

I had a huge feeling of relief wash over me when I heard that. Of course! Cole wasn't fucking around with them, he was tutoring them. How could I be so stupid.

"Yeah, I take Calculus with both of them and first I started helping Kyle then he said that his friend Anthony needed help as well so I agreed to tutor both of them. I go over to each of their houses occasionally to help them with Calculus and that's all. Never once have I done anything remotely sexual with them. Does that clear up everything?" He said sharply.

"Look, Cole, I don't know what came over me. I just started hearing everyone around me saying these rumors about you and then I saw you with your brother, which by the way, I didn't know you had a brother. Then I just snapped and I couldn't control my actions and you know how I get when I snap, you've seen it first hand," He silenced me with his hand on my arm.

"As mad as I am at you, I do understand the confusion of emotions you must've gone through. But you really put my brother in a state of confusion. He had so many questions for me after that."

Oh no, did I make him come out to his brother?! "Before you think the worst, no. He already knew I was gay. But he hadn't heard all those rumors that you spouted off. Also he didn't know that you and me had ever interacted so he was very shocked that you were confronting me. Either way, after all that confusing mess he's been a loyal brother and he got so protective of me and so pissed at you. He's been talking about you being an asshole this whole time." He said fondly, even though I was getting a little tired by his over use of the word 'asshole' to describe me.

"Well I'm sorry about those rumors."

"You're sorry. How do you think I feel? Neither of them have disputed the rumors because they seem too embarrassed to admit that they're being tutored. Yet they'd rather have people think that I'm giving them head. What sucks even more, no pun intended... but what's worse is that their reputations aren't getting tarnished at all while I'm over here being labeled the school's 'gay desperate slut'." He said in a huff.

That does suck, Cole is too good of a guy for all the shit that he has to take. "If you want me to, I can clear up the rumors. I can even confront Kyle and Anthony and make them set things straight. I can be pretty convincing at times." I said with a smirk.

His face just twisted in horror, "No. Are you kidding? I don't want you to get into anymore fights. You've gotten a month's worth of detention and already been suspended. You can't get into trouble anymore. You'll be expelled if you keep it up and I don't know what I'd do if you weren't here..." He said anxiously.

I grabbed the sides of his face in order to calm him down, "Hey, look at me. I'm not going anywhere. I'm never planning on getting into trouble again. I want to be here for you as much as you want me to be here."

He just sat there looking into my eyes with a look of concern. I kept my hands on his face and just sat there staring into his eyes. We had a sort of conversation with our eyes. It was...captivating. I'd never felt so deeply connected to someone, especially just from eye contact.

I realized that we were still in a library so I let my hands drop. Then I had an idea. I took Cole's hand and pulled him out of his seat. He obliged and I lead him to a secluded side of the library where there were only tall bookcases. I don't know how I remembered where that area was but I had my suspicions that I'd been there before. I took him into a little nook where no one could see us.

He looked bewildered, but I didn't give him a chance to say anything. Right when he was looking up at me to ask something I took that opportunity to push him against the bookcase, grab his face and kiss him as passionately as I could.

He was taken back with surprise and pressed his hand between our chests. "What are you doing?" He said breathlessly.

I looked around at the bookcases and the emptiness of the library. "Don't worry, no one can see us."

He looked around hesitantly then looked back at me with a rye smile. "Oh really, well in that case..." He turned us around so that my back was against the bookcase and then he quickly wrapped his arm around my neck, pulled me down slightly towards his face and attacked my mouth like a pro.

I was fucking breathless to say the least. He started biting my bottom lip while pushing our groins together causing a beautiful mix of feelings. However nice those feelings were, I was starting to feel the beginnings of a situation that might be too hard to finish in a library. So I had to push him back slightly before I got too excited. Our foreheads were still touching, "I think we need to take this a little slow. We are still in a library... at school." I said tilting my head slightly to peek around us while keeping my arms firmly around his waist.

He was still kissing the side of my mouth like he couldn't get enough. But he seemed to slowly understand what I was saying. He looked into my eyes and I could see through his bright eyes that his pupils were dilated. "We should do this more often," He muttered as he was working his way done to kissing my neck.

My eyes started to roll back in my head, "Yeah I think that's a good idea."

I could definitely get used to this.

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