Waking up on Monday was better than Sunday again. Being home was good for a while, but getting out was always good. Walking to school was the same routine, some harsh words were called out and I pretended to ignore them. They hurt deep down. Every day things would get worse, people pushing me harder.
It was weird… not having any friends. Not having anyone to lean on when I was sad or down. Or even to just talk to. “Dick sucker!” Someone shouted, making me jump. That was a faulty mistake… I had no dicks to suck. I had no one.
Sighing, I made my way into the school. Kids talked in hushed tones, looking at me. Maybe it was just my imagination, but it seemed as if I was the talk of the school. I had only just come out not even a month ago.
I watched couples showing a little too much affection in the hallways. My mind went into overdrive, thinking about all of the things I could be doing if I had someone; the hugging, kissing, holding hands… smiling.
I took a seat in the back of class, as usual, playing with the tip of my pencil. “Practicing for your boyfriend?” A kid called back to me, smirking. I put my pencil down slowly, shaking my head.
“Hey,” A tap on my shoulder made me jump. I looked up to face a dark haired guy that I hadn’t seen before. “Do you have a pencil?” He murmured, biting his lip. I bent down and pulled out a different pencil, handing it to him; he whispered a ‘thank you,’ before looking around at everyone in the class.
“Are you new?” I muttered, just as the bell rang, indicating class starting. He nodded with a small smile.
“Aaron,” He introduced.
“Dylan,” I smiled slightly back at him. We then both faced the front as the teacher did attendance. Class dragged on for what seemed like ages. I finally heard the bell ring and I stood, grabbing my stuff.
I glanced over at the new kid. He wasn’t afraid to talk to me… maybe I should use that to my advantage, before he found out my secret, and turned against me. “What do you have next?” I stuffed a hand into the front pocket of my jeans, looking down at his feet.
“English,” He answered.
“Me too, I’ll show you the way…?” I bit my lip to hold back a smile.
“How nice of you, guy.” He smiled as I looked up at him. I nodded, walking around him and headed toward the door out of class. “When do you have… lunch?” He pulled his schedule out, walking beside me, looking at the list.
“I have lunch from 11:30-12:00.” I muttered, looking around the hallway at everyone.
“Is that B?” He furrowed his brow in concentration, reading his schedule.
“Yeah,” I watched as one of the guys who picked on me constantly made his way toward us. My eyes widened and I gripped onto the strap of my school bag, imagining a life where there was no such thing as discrimination.
“You don’t wanna talk to that fag.” He emphasized the word fag, glaring at me. Aaron stopped in his tracks, blinking slowly at the guy as if he was a figment of his imagination.
“Fuck off,” He spat out, catching us both by surprise. Aaron quickly grabbed my arm and pulled me over to the other side of the hallway. “Where’s our class?” I pointed to the room down the hallway and he walked quickly to it, me following behind.
Once we got there, we sat down and I turned slowly to him, biting the inside of my cheek. What if he hated me now? Why did people have to be so cruel?
“Don’t listen to that guy… rumors.” I laughed nervously, easing my way out of the truth. I didn’t need to lose a chance of having a friend.
“No worries, I don’t judge.” He responded, looking into my eyes. I broke the eye contact, glancing down at my desk. “I think it’s you who shouldn’t listen to that guy. He’s a douche bag.”
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about…” I trailed, looking anywhere but him, feeling his gaze on me.
“Dylan… I could care less if you are gay or not.” He stated boldly, just as the bell rang. The teacher walked in, looking around the room. I slid my hands into my hair, gripping it tightly, tugging. I then let out a deep breath, taking a cunning glance over at Aaron. He smiled reassuringly at me, giving me a quick wink.
I turned away, biting my lip. What was that? I slowly slid a hand over my stomach, feeling the hot-guy-just-winked-at-me effect, also known as… butterflies. I peeked over at Aaron, hearing his quiet laughing from beside me and realized that he knew what effect he had just had on me. My face turned from pale to red in the matter of seconds.
I put my head down in my hands, groaning internally. I heard the screech of a desk moving closer and turned my head to the side to see Aaron moving closer. “Hey, guy.” He smirked, patting my shoulder.
“What are you doing?” I whispered. He cocked an eyebrow, looking at me.
“Didn’t you hear the man?” He nodded his head toward the teacher. “Pick a partner. I hope you don’t mind…” He glanced around, looking for someone. “If you’re not working with anyone else,”
“No…” I swallowed, looking him over discreetly.
“Checking me out?” He laughed lightly, watching me.
“Sorry not,” I mumbled, sitting up in my seat. He laughed, looking at me with a genuine smile, his eyes glinting with humor and gratitude.
“That was cute,” He chuckled. I smiled, watching as he sobered up from his laughing. The teacher pulled us both out of our moment… or whatever that was by explaining the new book project.
“So basically you will all be required to find a book that connects both you and your partner in a meaningful way, none of that last minute ‘oh we picked this because we both like soccer’ bullshit.” I glanced over at Aaron as the teacher spoke, gazing at him. He looked so calm and relaxed, listening to the teacher speak. I had just met him, but I felt as if I had known him for a century.
It was a miracle; finding someone who actually wanted to talk to me. I smiled to myself, taking in his features. He was a good looking kid, but I wouldn’t take my chances on that, I had just met him, he probably wasn’t even gay.
“What book would you want to use?” Aaron’s voice brought me out of my reverie, allowing me to come back to reality. I shrugged, looking down at my hands. I barely even knew him. I didn’t know what we had in common that would be meaningful.
“We should probably learn more about each other.” I suggested, looking back up at him. He cleared his throat, picking up the piece of paper with the directions on it. “I mean… if you’d want.”
“No, yeah, of course.” He muttered, looking around. “When?”
“Whenever,” I scratched the back of my head, not sure of what his schedule was. I had plenty of time, seeing as I had no one to cater for.
“How’s Saturday at two.” He questioned, waiting for a response. I pretended to think about my plans that were non-existent, before answering, ‘sounds good.’
We both jumped once the teacher yelled at us to stop talking. We faced front, listening intently to the boring lecture. Class ended quickly and soon I found myself sitting at lunch, with the trashcan at my side.
I looked over, seeing Aaron looking disoriented, trying to find a table. A bunch of girls then made their way over to him, with their flirty exteriors on. I looked down at my lunch, not surprised in the least. I glanced back up, just as he looked my way. He said something to the girls, making them giggle before starting towards me. I picked up my sandwich, pretending to not notice his presence.
“Where is everyone?” He took a seat across from me, looking around at the empty seats. My face flushed and I put my sandwich back down.
“Over there,” I pointed across the cafeteria to everyone talking and laughing. He kept his gaze on me.
“You sit alone?” He asked, giving me the pity look. I rubbed my face, sighing.
“It seems so.” I munched on a chip, keeping my eyes cast down.
“But, where are your friends..?” he asked, confused.
“They’re not in this lunch,” I lied.
“Oh… who are your friends?”
“Uh… Kevin… Fred…?” I bit my lip as I said the first names that came to mind.
“Hm. They sound interesting.” I caught the smirk he was trying to hide. “You should introduce me sometime.”
“That won’t be necessary. They’re not used to meeting attractive males.”
“That can’t be true. They’re friends with you, aren’t they?” He raised an eyebrow and I rolled my eyes playfully, looking up at him.
“I guess that’s true. Fred loves when I feed him.” I tossed a wrapper into the trashcan beside me. “Don’t you, Freddy?”
Aaron’s smile broadened as he began to laugh. “Fred seems easy to please, eh.” I smiled, gazing over at him.
“Yeah,” I laughed a genuine laugh for the first time in the past month.
"So we’re still on for banging on Saturday right?” Aaron asked
My jaw dropped open as I took in what he had just said. I sat with that expression for a few minutes as thoughts raced through my mind and I was interrupted from my state of shock by Aaron starting to talk again.
“Dylan? Did you hear me? I said are we still on to hang on Saturday?.. I mean unless you suddenly made plans..”
“Oh no, no plans, Saturday’s still fine, I was just... thinking” I exclaimed, faltering a little as I was still a bit shaken from what I thought he had said.
“Okay, good. It would be a pretty boring weekend without you. So what were you thinking about?” He questioned, looking at me quizzically. I flushed, looking down at my hands.
“Uhhh...” I searched my mind for an explanation when it hit me. “I was just trying to think of some ideas for our book project,” I said, hoping he would believe it.
“Oh, okay cool, have you come up with anything yet?” he asked.
“Not really, it’s a bit hard considering we don’t know much about each other.” I stated in a ‘matter-of-factly’ tone.
“Good point, well maybe we’ll find some sort of connection this weekend.” He stated with a sort of glimmer in his eyes.
The next day dragged on, and I had to force myself to get through the day. The only high of the day was that I got to see Aaron. He really knew how to make me smile. I was glad that he wasn’t afraid of me and my sexual orientation. I didn’t quite understand why people were even scared of the way I was. It wasn’t like I was different after I told them. I had been carrying the secret for a while, and in the time they didn’t know, they thought of me as normal. But, suddenly, I was a freak show.
I shrugged the thought off and walked with Aaron to last period. We sat in the back of class and Aaron gave me a small smile. “I should probably get your number.” I raised an eyebrow, looking at him. “If we’re hanging out tomorrow,” He justified.
“Oh ,right.” I fished my phone out of my pocket and handed it to him. I watched as he quickly typed his number in and handed me back my phone. I stuffed it back into my pocket quickly as the bell rang.
“Just text me later,”
I sat at the end of my bed, holding my phone in my hands, staring at the contact name Aaron had put in for himself, smiling. ‘Attractive Male ;)’ stared back at me, allowing a small chuckle to escape my lips.
I crossed my fingers as I clicked on the ‘message’ button, starting a text. My heart began beating hard as I re-wrote about twelve messages. How would I word what I wanted? What would I even say?
Hey… Where tomorrow? It’s Dylan, by the way.
I sent the message quickly, falling back onto the bed. I sounded so stupid. I took a peek at my phone, seeing that he was typing back. I felt my heart stop as I stared at the three dots, indicating him typing. A message popped up.
Hey, Dylan! J Where do you want to go? Your house? Mine? The library? The park? It doesn’t matter to me.
I smiled, reading over the text a few times. My house was not an option. My parent’s hated me enough. His house? Meeting his family? Was that a good option? The library seemed logical. Not the park; Way too public for a Saturday.
I sent a quick text back: The library? We could search for books.
The response was almost immediate: Sounds good, Dylan. ;)
I took a few seconds to think about whether or not I should respond back; if I needed to.
I’ll see you tomorrow…?
I could almost hear him laughing at his next response: Seems so. Before I could think of another response, a text came through: I’ll pick you up at two.
I smiled wider than I had ever thought possible, for me and texted back my address.
Good night, Dilly. See you tomorrow.
The butterflies in my stomach were hard to ignore: Good night. J
For the first time in a long time, I fell asleep without the trace of a tear on my cheek.
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