The night sky was clear. The stars came out as the sun faded beyond the city skyline and soon disappeared. I sat on the bench at a scenic view over looking the city. I panned the city lights taking in the grandeur and accepting that for the next few years this was my home. I raised my eyes to the sky. I could tell the stars from the planes and I sat there and wondered. Why did I get picked? It had been two days since Derek and the dojo owner, Frank announced who they thought should represent the school in the regional martial arts tournament. And I got picked as the Tae kwan do entry. That meant I had to work on forms and practice like a dog. Now I didn't see why me. There were others just as good as I was. But when they announced, they gave us the option of backing out. But I let my ego get the best of me and I said nothing. Now I was regretting it entirely. I didn't belong in a competition.
I sat there leaning back on the bench staring at heaven. I counted stars and made my own constellations as I tried to figure out what was I gonna do if I decided to do anything, when I noticed a slow moving light. It wasn't a plane that's for sure. But it took a while to register, it was a satellite. I stared at it noticing how out of place it was compared to everything else up there. It just crawled it's was across the sky. And I just thought, "well that's funny, haven't seen one of those in a while."
I continued to sit back and watch it as the minutes passed. Just then I remembered. "Shit!" I told Logan we were gonna hang out. But where? Hmmmm... Well I really didn't know what he was into. He said football, but its not like I was gonna play a guy his size with his skill or go to a football game. Besides, the season hadn't even started yet. Snowboarding? Well it's kinda hard without snow. Videogames? Well it's not like we haven't been doing that already. I was still wondering what to do when I raised my arm to look at my watch. FUCK! It's almost 9:30. I had to get back. Terrance was gonna kill me. He let me barrow his car for the evening even though he had a date at 10. I jumped off the bench and whipped the keys out of my pocket as I ran to the car. I stepped on the gas as I practically rolled down the hill back into town.
I made it to the apartment in record time but still late. Terrance was sitting outside on the curb in the parking space as I pulled up and jumped out.
"Dude, T I'm so sorry."
"Well I'm not pissed, my date might be. I've had him waiting for 15 minutes."
"Dude, tell him it's my fault...I..."
He laughed at me as he took the keys from my hand, "Calm down, its ok. It's just 15 minutes. Don't shit a brick."
"Ok," I said, breathing as I tried to calm myself down.
"I'd love to continue our thought provoking conversation but I got a man waiting for me, ok? Gotta jet. Later."
And like that, he drove out of the parking lot. I was left standing there wondering why he was so calm when it came to me being late or me doing something that would piss me off. But he was one of my best friends. I walked back to the apartment and thought about how all my friends were gay. Terrance came out right after high school and soon after, Grant and Jeff. They were all guys I never would have thought would be. They were all into sports, smart and just, well, guys. But I loved them like brothers, even thought I didn't jump on the gay train. Ha ha ha even Christian and Derek were gay. Wow, do I know how to pick my friends or what? As far as now, Terrance was dating some older guy I've never met. Grant and Jeff still hadn't gotten out of their slut phase. So it wasn't a real biggy if they didn't come home some nights. Derek and Christian I met at the dojo the first day while signing up. Me and Christian were instant friends and before going any further he told me he was gay. I was cool with it, and when I told him about my friends. That gave him the confidence to introduce me to Derek. They're all cool and they're all my friends, and I wouldn't trade any of them for the world.
When I got back to the apartment only Jeff was home, sitting at the kitchen table typing away on his computer.
"Hey Kicks, what's up?" He said still looking at his screen but noticing it was me.
Since I'm in martial arts they gave me the nickname of `kicks.'
"Oh, nothing. I just got back with Terrance's car."
"Yeah he was pretty stressed about his date," he said laughing out loud.
"Yeah I lost track of time, but he seemed cool about it."
He gave me a cynical look, "Yeaaah, and when are you gonna start dating? Terrance went out, Grant's out getting laid with god knows how and I'm here taking a break."
"Well... I'm taking a break too," I said, straightening up.
Jeff's attention now completely on me, "Don't you ever need sex? God you straight guys are weird."
"Shut up. It's just that my slut phase is over and I'm just not thinking about dating... why is my love life so interesting?"
The smile fell from his face and his tone went contrite, "I dunno it's just... you look lonely sometimes. It's like you're the black sheep out of us four. You not gay, you're the different one."
I took a deep breath, "Yeah, I guess in more ways than one you're right."
Jeff looked down frowning and then looked back up smiling.
"Sorry Ethan, it's just... you worry us, that's all."
I walked passed him and patted his back, "I'm out."
"Night dude," he said turning back to his computer.
I walked into the room and thought about what Jeff said as I got ready for bed. Maybe I should start dating again. It wasn't that I didn't find girls attractive. In fact I found myself as not attractive at all. I mean I had the body alright, but I really didn't like what I saw in the mirror. I guess that's why I wear a cap and have hair long enough to cover my eyes. I've always tried to hide my face. I guess it's from some pretty bad experiences growing up. In middle school I was called pretty boy, but it was always in a bullying way, and I guess I got beat up for it. I came home with black eyes and bruises all over my face. I guess that's why my mom had me hone my martial arts skills. But it didn't seem right to beat them up in return. It made me feel just as bad as or worse than them. It was the same guys every time. Afterwards I'd get home I would stare into the bathroom mirror and see what looked like an outcast or a monster, hearing their words and taunts echo through my mind "Ugly ass mother fucker." And I believed them, up until my junior year. It was then that I met Tera. Well, she's the one who went out of her way to meet me. She finally asked me out and I wondered why someone as pretty as her would want me as a boyfriend. She told me I was good-looking, cute in fact. But up until then I hid my face in a baseball cap. But I'll admit she did bring me out a little. I wore my hat a little higher and I cut my hair a little shorter. But like all things in life, our relation ship came to an end. I went on and dated other girls but they all ended up the same way. Until I just gave up on it. I guess being a teenager with insecurities made me fold back in. I didn't want to deal with relationships, girls or love, so I hid again. And now in college, should I come out? Should I let people see me? Well, my friends have seen the real me and they tell me that if I were gay I'd be breaking a lot of hearts. But I guess old fears still haunt. In a world based on how good you look, I don't think I could compete. Besides if I didn't have confidence in myself how do I expect to gain any form other people? With that I drifted of into a coma. I still didn't even know what I was gonna do with Logan.
"Hyper Combo Finish," shone on the arcade screen. I was getting better. I still had to master some skills but I was getting there, but there was still only one real way to find out... a challenger. I'd fought a few people, novices really, nothing much more than practice. I'd been hoping that Ethan would show up, but for the past couple of days I hadn't seen him. At this point anyone seemed good to me as long I got out of the dorm room. My roommate had taken over and his main objective seemed to be to bug the hell out of me. I was sick of his bitch-ass attitude and smart remarks about how the only reason I got into college was because I played football. Yeah, I was good at it, but that stereotype pissed me off even more, just because I was a jock that automatically made me stupid. And boy did he love to rub it in. I had a 3.7 GPA. But that didn't dent his perception of me. I could be a jerk too. But that would make me the big guy picking on the little guy. And that was not what I wanted. So I avoided all conversation if any. I didn't have to talk with him to live with him.
I was about to call it quits when I turned to pick up my bag and looked up to see Ethan walking in. It was hard to miss him. He had his skateboard and low worn cap, which did nothing to compliment the face I'd seen under it. He walked up and stood in front of me looking up, "Leaving already?"
He looked kinda disappointed. Even though his eyes were shadowed by the visor I could still tell it was on his face.
"Well I was waiting for your sorry ass to show up."
He just smiled at me and put a quarter in. I soon did the same. We fought a tough bought but it seemed more like he was toying with me, but in the end he shot me down.
"Well someone's gained some skill."
I couldn't help but blush. I guess my 'non-straight' side was bleeding through. He noticed I guess because he laughed under his breath.
"Well, I've been devoting more time on this machine than I should."
"Yeah, me to," he looked down at his hands still on the joystick and buttons, silent for a few moments.
"Hey, you said we were gonna chill," I asked trying to keep the conversation going.
He looked up and I saw a little more of his face and those deep brown eyes. What was up with me? I was staring again. Letting them pierce and burn into my mind. I didn't want him to notice anything so I tossed to feeling out and then realized the expression on his face. I guess I startled him and I felt uneasy until he smiled. I had no idea why I just came out and said it, 'you said we were gonna chill.' It was like I was desperate to spend time with him or something. But I had to admit. I had been thinking about him a lot and letting my mind slip a few times.
"Yeah, I did. So before we spend all our money on this machine, how about another game?"
I shrugged in agreement.
"You play pool," he asked.
"Uhh... no, not really."
He turned and grinned at me, "Cool, me neither."
I just laughed as we went looking for a table. And it occurred to us that there were none available. I guess that it being 9:00 pm and class being out had something to do with it.
"Do you mind walking?"
I looked dumbstruck at him and stared, "Huh?"
"There's this place a couple of blocks down if you don't mind the walk."
"No, let's go, still haven't really seen the city yet."
We walked out of the building down the steps and began to walk off campus. It was silent the first couple off minutes as we walked through the courtyard. The sun had gone down and the street lights lit up. I didn't like the silence, noticing that that was how it was back in my dorm room. And I didn't want the same thing to happen between me and Ethan.
"Sooo..." I said trying not to sound pushy about starting a conversation.
"So what?" he said keeping his eyes forward.
"So, what's your full name? birthday? Age? Got any siblings?......?" I gestured etcetera.
"Oh," he said, looking at me again form under the shadow of his cap.
"Well, uhh, my name is Ethan Cody Harrison, I was born December 29. I'm 19 years old. I have 4 sisters and a twin brother. I'm a Capricorn. I like rock music and I prefer Coke over Pepsi."
I laughed as he just smiled.
"Well...?" he said gesturing it was my turn.
"Oh, yeah, my real name is Kenneth Logan Rian. My birthday is May 6th. I'm also 19. I'm the youngest of two brothers and one sister. I'm a Taurus. I like rock and country, and I don't like cola, Mt. Dew baby."
He busted up and then I laughed too noticing how funny it actually was. I guess that broke the ice because we were soon talking about home, high school, and college. For that little 20 minute walk I laughed more than I did the entire week I'd been here. I learned about his friends he lived with and his schooling, hobbies, skateboarding and martial arts, although I couldn't remember the name of the one he specialized in. I kinda opened up and told him about my home life, and how my roommate sucked ass.
"Dude, that sucks. Well at least I can see you surviving well enough," he said.
"Yeah but in the end it still sucks."
"Well here it is."
I looked up to see what I thought was a club. It said "The Tool-Shed" across the top in big red neon lights. We walked up the steps, me shaking slightly knowing I could be caught as minor trying to sneak into a bar, if this place was a bar, sure did look like it from the outside. Ethan didn't seem shaken at all. There was a big guy there. I assumed he was the bouncer. Ethan looked at him and the guy eyed him back. He said nothing and Ethan walked passed him. As I walked past I couldn't help but feel as if his eyes were all over me, that feeling of being watched. As we approached the door the bouncer spoke up, "You boys have fun." I turned and saw him smiling broad as we walked in. what?
We walked into a dimly lit room music blasted and there was a hefty amount of people on the dance floor with lights flashing everywhere. On the far side of the room was a bar which I could barley make out form all the bodies. As Ethan started to push his way through it dawned on me that almost all the people in the club were men. A gay bar? Ethan brought me to a gay bar. My mind shut down for a minute. Now, I know that I had an attraction to guys but I was sure, 100 percent sure that I kept it well hidden. I wasn't screaming it but why did he bring me here? I didn't get any signals from him. But was I really that obvious?
I continued to fallow him as he made his was up some stairs onto a second floor. As I reached him I saw the pool tables. Ethan turned, kinda yelling from all the music.
"Pick a table, I'll go pay."
He turned to a desk off to the side as I walked up to a table on the far side of the floor where the music wasn't so loud. I leaned against the table folding my arms waiting for Ethan to get back. Wondering all the while why this place and what were we doing here when a low voice echoed from my side.
"Waiting for someone?"
I turned my head, my arms still folded. An older guy, I'd say late thirties, buzzed brown hair and dark eyes. He definitely looked bigger than I was. He had his hands on the other side of the pool table leaning forward his eyebrows raised as he waited for me to say something.
"Uhh, a friend. He'll be right back."
"Oh, well I consider myself pretty friendly."
He was about to turn the corner of the table when I heard Ethan's voice fly out of the shadows behind me.
"Uhh, he's not interested."
Ethan had 2 pool sticks in his hand and a 'get the fuck out of here' look on his face. The guy seemed to notice and backed off.
"Well I can see you're certainly taken."
With that he was gone. I was a little shocked at what the guy said, 'taken?' Now that definitely sounded weird, but even stranger sounding was 'taken, by Ethan.' I'll admit it was a little flattering. I turned to look at Ethan, who had his hand scratching the back of his head, showing how uncomfortable was by what had just happened. He handed me a pool stick and walked to the table.
"Sorry about that. I guess I should've told you it was minor's night at the gay bar. Terrance is the one who brought me here, he's gay."
"Oh," was my only response. I guess I was freaking out about my hidden side for nothing.
"Yeah, kinda figured that this was that kinda place."
Ethan smirked, pulled his cap down and started the game. We were there for what seemed like hours. We just joked and laughed off all the guys that tried to pick us up. Some of them we lead on but nothing serious. As we walked out my stomach growled.
"Yeah, haven't eaten in the past 5 hours."
"Oh yeah, forgot that you played football."
I laughed, a little embarrassed. We walked down the street until we cane to a Subway. I kinda felt like a slob the way I ate in front of him. He took his time eating, didn't look like he was that hungry. As we walked out he put his board down on the sidewalk.
"Well Dude, it's kinda late and I still got homework to do."
I swallowed the last of my soda and nodded. Man, the night went by pretty fast. All in all, it was kinda fun. And I didn't really want it to end just yet, but he was right and I also had homework to finish.
"Yeah, your right I gotta get back too."
"Well sorry for the whole gay thing with the club. It's just my friends are gay so I usually just ignore it."
"Nah, it's ok. In fact it was kinda fun."
He laughed again. The street lights bounced under his cap and I saw his face. Man he was beautiful, especially when he smiled. His brown eyes threw light back at me and I was locked in my gaze. I didn't notice until he stopped laughing and looked at me with a funny look on his face.
"Oh, um I guess I'll see you at school then?" he said.
"Yeah, later," trying to hide my embarrassment.
He waved his hand and skated off. I stood there as the sound of his skateboard faded into nothing. What was happening? I beat myself up a little on how I was slipping up. I was fucking staring again. I told myself that I'd better watch it next time. I didn't want anything weird going on with him. And I didn't like the idea of him knowing about me. The last thing I wanted right now was to be labeled as gay. I thought about that for a while. Gay, was I? I haven't even noticed girls as sexual objects since I got here. Yeah I still thought they were hot, but the desire to have sex wasn't there. Hmm, with that in mind I walked back campus wondering, was I gay or still bi?
Ok, so maybe it was a bad idea to take Logan to that particular club. Bet I really had my mind set on playing pool and it was the closest place without having to drive. I hoped he was cool with it. I mean, going to a gay bar wasn't exactly the first impression I had in mind. But then again who was I impressing? I wasn't gay so it didn't matter what he thought of me.
I got back to the apartment, walked in to the door and threw my cap on the dining room table and dropped my board by the door. The TV was off but the lights were on and vehicles were in the parking spaces. I looked around wondering where everyone could be. I then heard voices coming from Jeff and Grant's room. I swung open the door and there they were, all three of them, sitting on the beds. I guessed I disturbed their conversation because they just stopped in mid sentence and were looking at me with their mouths slightly open.
"Go on, I'm not interrupting," I said casually, like all the attention wasn't on me.
I walked in and sat next to Terrance. They all looked at me and smiled, more like smirked. It was uncomfortable having all eyes on me, like they were leeches.
They all looked at each other and then broke out laughing. Then Grant spoke up, "You know damn well what we're talking about," then continued laughing.
"Hey, I got no idea what you're all talking about."
Jeff spoke up, "Oh, come on! We know you went to 'The Shed,'" making quotations with his fingers.
"Oh yeah,... that," I said in a small voice, looking away from them.
"Well it's not that it surprised us that you were there, I mean you always go with us there anyways. But it's the fact that you were there with someone esle," Grant said. "And don't deny it I got eye witnesses bro."
"We were just playing pool. NOTHING ELSE! I swear! Scout's honor," I said.
That just made them laugh even harder. I knew it was getting on my nerves when I felt my face go warm. Jeff exhausted from laughing so hard said, "You know damn well that half those guys have been trying to get with you, and you tell them you're not gay and not interested. And now you show up with some random guy. What is everyone supposed to think?"
I stood there and looked at without an answer.
He continued, "So word got to me that you and this guy were 'messing' with some other guys."
"Oh, that thing." Man I hated feeling stupidly guilty. "Well they were hitting on us, so..."
They all seemed to lean forward at once as Grant urged me to go on, "And...?"
I straightened up and coughed, "Well, we made them feel like fools."
"Shit, Damn, What have we done to him?" were the responses I got.
"Ok, ok, ok... so who is this guy anyways?" Grant asked.
"Yeah dude, who is he?" Terrance added.
"He's just a friend. Like I said we went to play pool. Nothing else."
"To 'The Shed'?" Jeff said almost mockingly.
"Well you know it's the closets place to campus," I said in my defense.
"Ok," Grant said, "First what's his name?"
I took a deep breath as they all stared at me like a pack of wolves hungry for details.
"Logan," I said in a small voice.
"OOOHHHH!!!!" they all said with broad smiles. From there they pulled the entire story out of me. How we met and that we were just friends. But the teasing didn't seem to end. I guess if you look back on it, the night really did turn out gay. And I got teased about everything imaginable. I had had enough. I got up and headed towards the door.
"You know I need some heterosexual friends too!" Ouch seemed to be the reaction displayed on everyone's faces as I left. I walked into my room and got ready for bed. Who do they think they are? It was nothing like a date. And he's anything but a boyfriend. They know that I have no intentions of making a 180. So maybe taking him to that particular club was a really bad idea. If I knew that by the end of the day would think I was converting. They know as well as I did that, straight or gay, I wasn't looking for love or even lust. I always ended up shredded and alone. And that was never something I looked forward to. Compared to my friends, I didn't conform, and I didn't fit in. I'll admit I felt out of place, but what were else and what else was I supposed to do? I let the questions come back. Should I open up? Should I look for something special in someone else? I wasn't sure, but I did know that being alone was getting old. That night I dreamt about holding someone and them holding me. Even though it was just a dream, it felt nice to be wanted.
End chapter 2- Satellite