by Victor Thomas

Chapter 2

I didn't think things could possibly get worse than they already were, but they did get worse, much worse. The events of the night before seemed almost unimportant compared to what happened next. My god, it still terrifies me to even think of it.

That very same afternoon, the coach walked into the locker room while we were all dressing for football practice.

"Boys," he called, clapping his hands together to get our attention. "We have to discuss something serious."

The whole room got quiet. Everyone knew something was up. Coach never came into the locker room to talk to us. Something big was up, something real big.

"It seems we have a fairy in our midst," he said. "A queer who can't keep his hands off another boy."

My face blanched and my heart nearly stopped. Time slowed and I began to feel faint. I couldn't believe what was happening. It just couldn't be! It couldn't!

I looked around with sheer panic in my eyes. All the guys on the team were looking around or staring at the coach. No one could believe what was going on.

"We have a job to do, men. It's up to us to take care of the little faggot. Since he can't control himself, we have no choice but to control him."

It was the worst moment of my life, even worse than what happened with dad the day before. It was one of those bad dreams where you're at school in nothing but your underwear, but this was far, far worse. Jesus, I was about to be exposed in front of all my friends! I would've done literally anything to get out of there. I was going out of my mind with fear and panic.

The coach turned and pointed at me.

"Everyone take a good look at Scott. He's the little homo that you all have to keep an eye on." Then he looked right at me. "Men were made to fuck, not to get fucked," he screamed at me as I stood in the locker room, shaking from head to toe.

All eyes turned to me. They were staring at me like I was some kind of freak show. I'd been outed. At last, they knew and they'd destroy me. I couldn't stand them all staring at me like that. I couldn't take the shocked expressions, the looks of disbelief. I sure as hell wasn't going to just sit there while the coach denounced me.

"I knew it!" spat Todd. "I fucking knew it!"

His voice dripped with hatred.

My eyes darted around like those of a frightened animal. I felt like a cornered beast. My thoughts were irrational. My mind clutched in terror, and I nearly bolted. I stood, turning toward the door. No one tried to stop me.

"I'm out of here," I said.

The coach blocked my path. I pushed him to the side. He grabbed my shoulder.

"Don't touch me!" I yelled at him.

My tone was so fierce he shrank back from me. He quickly recovered, but by then I was halfway out the door. I left all the stares behind, abandoning all the spectators who were watching me. I was totally panic stricken. I couldn't think about anything except getting the hell out of there.

"Go on, fairy boy. Go fuck your boyfriend!" he ended with a chuckle as I exited the door from the locker room.

Some of the guys had come out of the locker room. They were staring at me and whispering to each other. They were laughing and I knew it was all about me. Todd was looking at me with pure disgust. Seeing that look on the face of my best friend cut into my heart like a sharp knife. He looked around at our teammates, then back at me. Along with the disgust, there was a self-satisfied smirk on his face.

"I told you guys he was a fucking fag," he said loudly. "I told you."

I couldn't handle it. I bolted. I ran faster than I'd ever run before, right to my car. I jumped in and peeled out of the parking lot and didn't slow down until I was far, far away.

I drove around for I don't know how long, my mind racing. It was all over. By the next morning everyone would know. Everyone! I pounded on the steering wheel in frustration. How did things come to this? Why hadn't I locked my door? Why did my dad have to walk in on us like that? My god, everyone was going to know. My secret was out; there was no stopping it now. It was all over.

I only just barely managed to keep from intentionally running my car into a light pole. I wanted to die. Anything would be better than enduring what was to come. I wanted out. I really think I would've done it, if it wasn't for Brian. Even as I thought of careening my car off a bridge, I saw him in my mind. No, I couldn't do that to him.

When I finally arrived home, it was late. The evening shadows had already darkened into night. I was more upset than I'd ever been before. My mom stopped me on the stairs as I went to my room.

"Scott, your father thought he was doing the right thing when he called your coach. I know…"

"What? He called my coach?"

I should've figured it out long before, but I wasn't exactly thinking clearly.

She started to explain. I didn't want to hear. No explanation could possibly make up for what he had done.

"I'll never speak to him again!" I shouted, ran up the stairs and slammed my door.

I knew he was home and that he'd heard everything. I didn't give a damn. I didn't care if he came to my room and beat me. I was through with him. As far as I was concerned, he was dead.

Mom called me down to supper later. I considered just staying in my room, but I couldn't hold out there forever. I wasn't a free man. I came downstairs. We were one of those families that always ate in front of the television, unless we had guests. That made it easier to ignore him. I barely even spoke to my mother. She wasn't exactly innocent in all that had happened. She had betrayed me as much as he had. I felt like I was a Jewish kid being held in Gestapo headquarters. I knew my every movement was being watched. It wouldn't have surprised me if they recorded my phone calls. Okay, maybe I was being a little paranoid, but I knew what was going through their minds.

After supper, I started to leave the house, but mom stopped me.

"We think it's best if you don't go out for a while," she said.

The way she said it was so nice, so condescending, it was as if she were telling a six-year-old child not to go out in the cold without a coat. It made me furious.

"So, I'm grounded now, too?"

She didn't answer, but I knew it was the case. I turned and walked back upstairs. I closed and locked my door, then flopped down on my bed, staring at the ceiling as I thought about what my life had become.

My heart nearly stopped when there was a knock at my window. I turned around in a flash. It was Brian!

I quickly opened up the window and pulled him in.

"Are you out of your fucking mind?" I hissed between clinched teeth.

I had no idea what would happen if my parents caught him in my room. I ran over and checked my door, even though I knew it was locked.

"I just came to get you. Let's go somewhere and talk."

I turned off my lights and followed him out the window. We climbed down the trellis and dropped to the ground. Without a word, he led me away from the house. I followed him for a couple of blocks right to his car. We quickly jumped in and he took off. Ten minutes later, we crossed the river and he turned into the park, driving to the far side, finally parking under some trees.

"Are you okay?" he asked, deep concern etched in his voice.

"No, not really," I said. "I'm not allowed to see you anymore."

"I assumed as much," he said.

"Fuck that!" I said. "No one is going to keep us apart."

He smiled at my fury and determination, but it was a smile without joy.

"What happened?" he asked, indicating my cheek.

I could tell it took every ounce of control he had to keep from sobbing. I nearly broke down in tears, too as I explained what had happened after he had left. He stared at me, his greenish blue eyes burning like flames of ice.

"I won't let them keep me from you, Scott."

His voice was so earnest and intense that I knew the same fire burned in his heart that burned within my own. I leaned over and hugged him and he hugged me back.

"Brian, I'll get through this" I said, as convincingly as I could. "We love each other and that's all that matters."

"What did your parents do?" he asked.

"They freaked," I said, my voice catching in my throat. "My dad called me a fag and told me how disappointed he was in me. They both acted like being gay was some kind of crime, like I was doing it to hurt them. They didn't understand. My dad actually hit me!"

He raised his hand to caress my cheek, kissed me, took me in his arms and hugged me tight.

"When he hit me, mom yelled at him. She said she wouldn't put up with him hitting me, even if I was a fag."

He looked at me with sorrow in his eyes. He was crying.

"She actually said it just like that… 'even if he is a fag'. My own mother called me a fag!"

I started sobbing harder as I continued to fill him in on the events at my house. His concern for me quieted my tears. I could tell he cared a lot about me, just like I cared about him. We really, really loved each other. I drew strength from his love.

We talked for almost an hour as he continued to comfort me. He promised that he would be there for me. When the time came for me to go home, we were both still upset, but I knew he'd help to pull me through the whole horrible mess, somehow, some way.

When he dropped me off at home, I gently took him by the chin, pulled his face to mine, then kissed him and held him tight. He kissed me back. We just sat there in the car kissing and hugging each other, trying to blot out the rest of the world.

I slipped into my house, or should I say, my prison, climbing the trellis and entering through the window. I climbed into bed and actually cried myself to sleep.

I was overwhelmed by all that had happened and felt like I had but one friend in all the world. Unless you've experienced it for yourself, and god help you if you do, there's no way you can comprehend how ultimately dreadful it is to be singled out, ridiculed, and hated. It was all the worse for being undeserved. I mean, if I'd killed someone or something, I would've figured I had it coming. But all I did was dare to love another boy. Why does loving someone have to be a crime?

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