Sophomore Year

Chapter Five

By Grant Bentley

If any nice person, nasty person, place, event, happening, thing, or sport, seems familiar, it is purely coincidental.

As we were walking home, Craig bumped me with his shoulder. When I looked at him, those awesome green eyes were sparkling back at me and he was just grinning. “What?” I asked.

“I dunno,” he replied. “I didn’t think it was possible to feel this good. A little more than forty-eight hours ago, I was so terrified that someone would find out about me, I wanted to die. Since then, I’ve come out to you, then Jeff, then my parents. Then today, I got the perfect boyfriend and walked into the cafeteria holding hands with him in front of everyone. It just blows me away. I mean, how the hell did that all happen so fast?”

“All you needed was a little push,” I said as I laced my fingers through his. “I think that’s what you were looking for the other day in the park. That’s why you came out to me.”

“You gave me a lot more than a little push,” he responded as he squeezed my hand. “I’m just sorry I acted like such an ass at first, but it just pissed me off. I had been struggling with it for years, and here you were, acting totally proud of it. But when I took the time to think about it, I realized that I’d loved you for so long, and since you were so open and so sure of yourself, I started to see you as my last hope.”

“You have no idea how happy I am you did,” I said with a grin.

“You’re happy. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life,” he said as he squeezed my hand and leaned his head on my shoulder for a few seconds.

Just then we heard footsteps behind us. I immediately tensed up. We were, after all, walking down the street holding hands. Not something you see two guys doing very often, for obvious reasons.

“Hey, guys,” an unfamiliar voice said.

Craig and I stopped. Whoever it was that was following us also stopped. I didn’t know what to expect, but the voice hadn’t sounded threatening, so I was hopeful. When we turned around, standing just a few feet away were four guys. Two of them I recognized as freshmen from when I volunteered to help with orientation. The other two I had seen in the halls, but that’s all.

The shorter of the two freshmen I knew reached out his hand to us and said, “Hi, I’m Adam,” then pointing each of the other guys, said, “This is Greg, Pete, and Ari.”

“Hi,” both Craig and I said as we almost tied our arms in knots criss-crossing back and forth shaking hands.

“We saw you today in the cafeteria,” Adam stated.

“Yeah,” Greg said. “I can’t believe you guys had the balls to do that.”

“I guess we surprised a lot of people,” Craig said with a chuckle.

“No shit,” Adam replied.

“So you guys are cool with that then?” I asked.

“Fuck yeah,” Pete replied with a grin. “We play for the same team as you guys do.”

“Cool,” I responded.

“I don’t know if you guys know what you’ve done yet,” Adam said smiling, “but I think you just gave a lot of us the incentive to come out.”

“We just found out about Pete and Ari a couple of weeks ago. Before that, we felt like we were the only two guys in school,” Greg said.

“Yeah, and we haven’t forgotten to lock the cubicle door since,” Ari said with a laugh.

“We’ve been dying to come out for months,” Pete added, “but never had the balls to do it. Now with you guys, we feel we’re ready. And seeing the six of us, maybe we can get a lot more guys to come out.”

“Yeah. If they see the six of us, they’ll know they’re not alone,” Adam said, “It would be so cool if there’s a bunch of us. We would have guys to talk to, hangout with.”

“I don’t know how you feel about this, but maybe we could even start a GSA,” Pete said hopefully.

“But we’re just freshmen and we need some older guys who are well known and have some recognition with the administration,” Adam said. “I know you both volunteer and work with some of the administrators and teachers.”

“Whoa,” I finally said after listening to their excitement. “All Craig and I did was hold hands in the cafeteria. And you guys already have us forming a GSA?”

“Sorry,” Adam responded, “but it would be so cool. Don’t cha think?”

“I don’t know guys,” Craig said. “I just finally came to terms with myself enough to admit that it was okay that I’m gay. I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle something like organizing a GSA. That’s like stepping out of a dark closet in a corner of the basement into a bright spotlight on center stage.”

“You’re already in the spotlight,” Greg said laughing.

“Yeah, I guess we are,” I said, “but things have happened really fast for Craig and me, especially for Craig.”

“That just means you’re on a roll,” Ali said with a grin, “so you should go with it. If you think about stuff too long, you can always find reasons not to do it. Besides, we’ll be there to help. And I bet there’ll be other guys too.”

It was then that I realized that all this was a direct result of my ‘going with it’. I figured out I was gay and came out. Wham! I didn’t stop to think about it. I just did it. If I had, I very well might have found several reasons not to do it. Now, I had my dad’s acceptance, my friends’ acceptance, and I had a boyfriend, Craig. He had his parents’ acceptance and, more importantly, his own acceptance. In fact, to hear Craig and his parents tell it, I pulled him from the brink of suicide. If I had stopped to think about it, maybe Craig wouldn’t be here right now.

“Okay, we’ll talk it over,” I said. “No promises though.”

“Yes!” Adam exclaimed.

“I said no promises,” I warned them.

“Okay, but tomorrow, we'll wait for you and if you decide you’ll do it, we’ll walk into the cafeteria together, okay?” Pete asked.

I looked at Craig and he just shrugged and smiled.

“Okay,” I replied.

We said our goodbyes to the boys and continued towards my place.

“You ready for something like that?” I asked Craig. “It’s gonna be a hell of a lot of work and it’s gonna keep almost everyone’s attention focused on us.”

“Everything has happened so fast,” he replied, “but like Ari said, that just means we’re on a roll, so what the hell. I’m into it if you are.”

“You do realize that one of us needs to be the thinker. Since I’ve never tried that, it falls to you,” I said with a grin.

“No, I’ve spent almost half my life hiding behind a mask and over-thinking things,” he responded. “I think it’s time for me to be open and spontaneous.”

“You know how much trouble we’re going to get into if we’re both spontaneous, don’t you?” I asked.

“Yeah, and it’s going to be so much fun,” he replied laughing.

By now we were walking up the front steps to my place. As we walked in the door, dad yelled from the living room, “You’re late, dinner’s in the oven.”

“Sorry,” I yelled back. “We ran into some of the guys and got to talking.”

“Hi Craig,” he yelled.

“Hi,” Craig yelled back. “God, if I yelled at my folks from the kitchen to the living room like that I’d get so much crap,” he said quietly, laughing.

Just as I was taking the stuff out of the oven, dad walked into the kitchen. “There should be enough for two there,” he said. “If not, there’s still some shepherd’s pie in the fridge.

“No, I think this should be plenty,” I replied. “You always feed me way too much. One of these days I’m gonna get fat.”

“Not if we share the same genes you won’t,” he said with a grin. “But then the milkman back then was a little bit pudgy if I remember correctly.”

“Milkman?” I questioned.

“Well, you never know,” he replied, laughing.

“It’s a little too late to try and disown me now,” I said, grinning.

“Damn,” he exclaimed as he ruffled my hair.

“Hey, go easy on the hair,” I demanded.

“You mean it was supposed to look like that?” he asked.

“Well yeah,” I replied indignantly. “Took me almost a minute and a half to get it right this morning.”

Then dad looked at Craig, grinned and said, “Oh yeah, your dad called. He asked me to tell Steven’s boyfriend that he and your mom went out for dinner and a movie so they won’t be home till late.”

“Uh, thanks,” Craig replied as he turned a nice bright crimson.

Dad just grinned and said, “Oh, the news is on.”

“You are definitely his kid,” Craig said with a chuckle as Dad disappeared into the living room.

“Ya think?” I questioned as I gave him a quick kiss, which made him blush even more.

Once we were finished eating and cleaning up, we went to my room and spent the next couple of hours doing our homework. We did manage to squeeze in a kiss or two. Well, okay, we spent the next two hours making out and fifteen minutes doing our homework. But we did do our homework.

As we stretched out on my bed and were about to get into another cuddle session, there was a knock on my door as Jeff and Carol walked in.

“See, I told you they’d still have their clothes on,” Jeff said, laughing.

“I’m sorry,” Carol said, all embarrassed.

“Don’t worry about it,” I said with a grin. “After sixteen years, I’m used to him.”

“Yeah, give yourself another sixteen years, you’ll get used to him too,” Craig added.

“Hey, no fair picking on the straight guy,” Jeff whined.

“So what would you have done if we’d been naked and…you know?” I asked, raising my eyebrows.

“Your door would have been locked,” he replied with a grin.

“Yeah, okay. So what are you two up to?” I asked.

“We were going to Jerry’s for ice cream and thought you might want to come with us,” Jeff replied.

I looked at Craig. He nodded and said, “Yeah, for sure. Let’s go.”

It took us about ten minutes to walk to Jerry’s. As soon as we walked in, we saw Aaron Smyth and Jamie’s brother Scott sitting at a table near the door. They were sharing a banana split and chocolate shake. We exchanged greetings before heading to the front counter to order. I smiled as I thought about his little jig and thumbs up when he saw Craig and I kissing. Maybe it wasn’t all that weird.

We hung out at Jerry’s for about half an hour and then just walked around town for an hour. Carol was always a lot of fun. She was really sweet and had a wicked sense of humour and could dish it out or take it with the best of them. It was pretty obvious that Jeff was head-over-heels for her and it seemed the feeling was mutual. During our wanderings, we ended up in the park. Jeff found a Frisbee so we spent almost another hour throwing it back and forth. Once again, Carol was just as good as any of us. Before we knew it though, it was getting close to ten o'clock and too dark to see the Frisbee anymore, so we decided to head for home. We parted ways about four blocks from Craig’s as Jeff and Carol turned towards her place.

Once Craig and I got to his place, we spent the better part of ten minutes saying good night before I wandered home, happy and ready for a good night’s sleep.