I know that it's been a while, but take it easy on me! Hehehe! I'm making an effort to do better here! :P

I hope you like the new chapter! Feel free to let me know what you think at Comicality@webtv.net or stop by the website at http://comicality.gayathors.org/" and say hello! (Mailing List Available! Get all the new updates first!)

"A Class By Himself 16"

It was a nervous feeling, waking up that next morning.

Is it possible that the whole day before had just been some kind of sick and twisted dream?

A worried tremor rattled around in my stomach as I rolled over in my bed and onto my back, staring at the ceiling.


Did I tell my mother that I was gay yesterday?

Did that really happen? Did she say that she was ok with it? Is she now aware of the fact that I have a boyfriend?

The whole idea seemed so surreal that I found it hard to remember how it all even happened. I can't even remember why I did it, to be honest.

I should probably be more relaxed. I should feel more free. But, seeing as my life and relationship with my mom will never ever EVER be the same ever again...I couldn't help but to be more awkward and terrified than ever. Mostly because I was sure that things were going to change, but I had no clue as to what those changes were going to be. I mean...I told her....so, now what?

I think I could have stayed in that bed for another hour just stressing about it all, easy....were it not for the annoying 'push' to go to the bathroom. I knew my mom was in the house. Probably downstairs at the kitchen table, reading a small section of the paper and sipping the cool top layer off of her morning coffee. If I let her know that I was awake by moving around up here, she'd probably start making a small breakfast. She can hear every opened door, every creak in the floor. I swear, that woman is supernatural when it comes to me trying to be sneaky.

I can't understand why I'm so nervous. The hardest part is behind me, isn't it? I can't tell.

I was SO much more optimistic before I had time to sleep on this.

By the time I put my feet on my bedroom floor and got a rather soothing 'good morning stretch' in, I could hear my mom's chair scooting back from the kitchen table. Jesus, I hadn't even really moved yet! That woman has got to be some kind of alien.

As I gathered some clothes and headed to the bathroom for a shower, I could hear the sizzle of bacon and eggs coming from downstairs. Just a whiff of it caused my stomach to growl impatiently, my mouth watering with the promise of some warm nourishment the moment I got cleaned up. It also meant that I was going to have to sit no more than a few feet of the woman who gave birth to me and eat breakfast as though I hadn't just informed her about my love of fellatio and sodomy with other teenage boys. Which...um...was less appealing to me than bacon and eggs at the moment.

I took a few seconds to look at myself in the mirror. My blond hair was a complete mess, but gave the illusion of order out of chaos regardless. I'll probably screw that all up the second I get it wet. I wonder if Justin Bieber has to go through this every morning?

As I stripped down and climbed into the shower, I thought about where my life might go from here. It certainly won't be in the direction it was going before I....said what I said, out loud. A part of me was worried that it would have some kind of apocalyptic impact on everything that I've ever known. But...another part of me was worried that...it wouldn't have any impact at all. That today would just be another regular day. Because...if my sexuality was so unimportant...then, GOD...think of all the TIME I wasted pretending!!! Sneaking around and lying and hiding...ugh! That would suck. Big time. If I was going through all of that hard work, it would be cool if my sacrifice at least had some meaning, you know?

I lathered up and let the warm spray of the shower comfort me as best as it could. No amount of cautious bathing could keep me from hitting a few sore spots and lingering bruises from the beatings I had taken. But I was looking forward to them being gone soon. I just wish I didn't have to go back to school beforehand. THAT'S gonna be a great experience...going back to school with bruises, kids laughing at me, and a principal that was basically threatenedby my mom. I sure haven't made any popularity points in the last week or two, have I?

I got dressed and hesitated for a moment before getting the nerve to walk downstairs. What is she going to say to me? Will it be weird? Will we speak at all? There's this strange pressure in my chest, compressing my heart, and it just won't let go...

I walked slow. Taking my time on each step. Then I found myself peeking around the corner to see my mom finishing off breakfast by putting a few slices of toast in the toaster.

I could barely focus on anything other than the thunderous pounding of my own heart as it slammed repeatedly against the inside of my ribs. Should I say good morning? Should I wait for her to say good morning first? If I don't say anything first, will it be weird? I mean...will she think that I'M being weird about it, which will make HER feel weird about it? Or is she just gonna feel weird about it...which, ummm....will make me feel....you know...'weird'.

Maybe we should both just pretend that it never happened? Is that how kids and parents handle this kind of thing? Fuck! I should have read a...a MANUAL or something on this kind of thing before spilling the beans about my sexuality. Arrrghhh!!! This is definitely going to be the most horribly UNCOMFORTABLE meal that I have ever had in this house! Like....ever!

"Morning, honey. Breakfast is almost ready." She said.

Um....or....maybe not.

I must have been looking at her like a suspicious little animal at that moment, approaching the table sideways, as if I needed to be in position to take off running just in case she does something crazy.

"What's the matter?" She asked.

Okay...so what's going on here? Come on...give it to me. There's got to be a comment or a tear or...or...SOMETHING that's going to set this whole clumsy interaction into motion. Where is it? Where's the booby trap? I KNOW it's out there somewhere.

I can't believe how badly I was shaking as I quietly pulled out a chair and sat down at the breakfast table. I didn't take my eyes off of her. I didn't say a word. The anticipation was killing me inside.

She set a plate down in front of me, and then sat back down on the other side of the table to read the paper and sip from her coffee cup.

So...like...that's it? Just 'business as usual'? Huh? Okaaaaay...I don't know if I'm relieved or disappointed. But at least it's not something that I have to worry about. At least not for now.

I took a few forkfuls of food and relaxed a bit as I took my finger off of my personal panic button and tried to just enjoy a normal moment in the midst of all this chaos.


...I looked up from my plate, and I saw my mom staring at me with the biggest grin ever plastered on her face. It was freakin' huge! It kind of threw me off for a moment, and then an unsettling rumble began to vibrate inside of my chest, and with a blush and a roll of my eyes, I said, "Oh god....MOM..."

She started cracking up right away. "I'm sorry, baby! It's just...you looked so scared when you came in here..."

"You're MEAN. You know that?" I giggled.

"Did you really think that I just wouldn't mention it ever again?"

"I was hoping." I said.

"Well, stop it. Because it's not going to happen." She smiled. "Like I can't hear you sneaking around upstairs. Are you kidding me?"

"I wasn't 'sneaking'..." I said, but she already knew better. "You have such an unfair advantage in all this." There was a quiet moment. And then she got up from the table and headed my way. "Mom? Mom? What...what are you doing?"

"My baby boy...." She grinned, extending her arms to hug me from behind my chair.

"No! Mom! Auugghhh! Mom! Control yourself..." It was too late. I suddenly had a set of loving arms wrapped around my shoulders, and motherly kisses being placed on my cheek and the top of my head. Ugh! Parental affection! It's like teenager Kryptonite! "OK! Ok ok! Can I eat now? Geez!"

She gave me an extra hard squeeze, nearly depriving me of every last bit of oxygen, and then she messed up my hair before sitting back down again.

I know, I know...this should be viewed as a good thing. But still...it's freaky. Yeesh!

She didn't take her eyes off of me the whole time that I was eating. In fact, it was like she was sighing to herself every few minutes. If she could reach me from her side of the table, I'm sure would have been petting me like a house cat! It was a bit too weird for me. I don't know what to do with this feeling. But it's weird.

As soon as I finished, she sprang up and took my plate to the sink, then leaned against the counter and folded her arms. "You know, I don't have to go in to work until 10 today. Do you want me to give you a ride to school?"

I tried to fidget my way around the idea, "Ummm...no, that's ok. You've got...things to do, so..."

"Ahhh, ok. So you want to ride the bus?" She asked.

"Yeah. Sure. It's no big deal."

She narrowed her eyes slightly, her smile widening with suspicion. She says, "Tanner rides the bus, doesn't he?"

I couldn't help but snicker to myself, and I rolled my eyes as I tried to hide my face from her. "God, Mom, will ya stop already?"

"WHY? I think it's so cute! I've been waiting a long time to see my only son start dating."

"Well, there's no reason to get all goofy about it."

"There are a million reasons to get all goofy about it. And I'm sure there will be a million more once I see you two together."

I got up from the table and said, "Gee, Mom...thanks for the warning." I went to the refrigerator to grab my sack lunch for school, but was shocked to find it missing. I checked behind the gallon of milk and the half empty carton of orange juice, but my sack lunch was gone. "Mom? What happened to my lunch?"

She said, "It should be right where you left it."

"Yeah, I know. But it's not. I had a sandwich, the last apple, and a soda in there with a bag of potato chips. And it's gone."

She shrugged her shoulders and said, "Well...you know, I heard Joel rumbling through the kitchen early this morning. Maybe he ate it."

I grunted with frustration. "Grrrr! Please don't tell me that he ate my lunch for today...."

"Sorry, hon. But that boy eats like a whole tribe of starving orphans. I can't keep anything in this house for longer than a few days."

I could just see him now, finding my perfectly crafted sandwich, and just devouring the whole damn thing like he does everything ELSE in this house when he thinks nobody's looking. "Great..." I said. "Just great. What am I supposed to do now? I don't have enough cash for that stuff they dish out in the cafeteria."

My mom got up and said, "Don't worry, Derrick. I made some decent tips last night. I've got at least ten dollars for you..."

"Don't worry about it, Mom. I'll just skip lunch today. I'll hit the vending machine or something."

"No....you won't." She said with a determined tone. "You're going to take this money and eat a healthy school lunch so you can keep that brain working. You are an award winning student, after all." I always feel bad about taking money from her. Especially when I know that she had to stand on her feet for ten to twelve agonizing hours at work just to get it. But she pushed the money into my hands and insisted that I hold on to it. "I can always eat something at work. So you fill up on the good stuff and leave the 'lunch skipping' to me. Alright?"

I lowered my eyes, but I took it. "Thanks, Mom."

She was thinking for a moment, and she said, "You know...I've noticed that Joel has been visiting an awful lot lately. Much more than normal. Why the sudden involvement?"

That was a question that I did NOT want to answer. Even if Joel ate my lunch, that doesn't mean that I'm going to rat him out to my mom.

"I don't know. I guess he's just been lonely these days." I peeked up at her, and her eyes told me right away that she wasn't buying that bullshit. So I attempted to use sympathy to my advantage. "I just missed having him around. I miss having all of my friends around. With all the teasing and the rejection at school now...it's cool to have someone from the old neighborhood to hang out with. You know?"

She still wasn't buying it. "Derrick? Is Joel in some kind of trouble?"

"No." I answered, but she gave me a cross look. "NO! Seriously. He's fine. We're just hanging out. That's it. Honest."

She paused for a moment, but then said, "Well...you make sure to tell your 'buddy' that if he's going to keep raiding our fridge in the middle of the night, then he'd better start bringing his own snacks with him from home. Either that, or I'm setting up a tip jar on the kitchen counter."

I made sure to give her a sweet kiss on the cheek as I got ready to leave, but before I could walk away, she got all sensitive on me again.

"You be sure to say hello to Tanner for me." She laughed.

"Mom...stop. I mean it."

"Do you two hold hands on the bus? Or do you wait until you get to school? Hehehe!"

"NO! I mean...I mean NEITHER!" I told her, blushing even harder than before. "Mom, listen...this is still kind of a private thing, ok? Don't go telling Tina and spreading it all around work or anything, ok? Promise me."

She gave me a playful pout, but she agreed. And I made her promise two or three times before I left for school. The last thing I needed was to come to the diner one night and have everybody staring, whistling, and winking, at me every time they walked by. I could seriously do without that hassle for the rest of my life.

When I got on the bus that morning, I noticed that a few of the other kids met eyes with me as I walked to one of the seats in the back. I was pretty confident that my scrapes and bruises were reaching the point where nobody would really notice them. Maybe I was a little overconfident about that.

They noticed.

I zoned out for a little while, my head leaning against the bus window as the scenery passed me by. Flickering dashes of sunlight causing me to blink as it rushed through the leaves of similar, if not identical, suburban streets. I still can't believe that my mother took my news as well as she did.

Now all I have to do is tell Tanner what a horrifying thing I did and hope that he forgives me for outing him too. I don't want to do it on the bus though. I'll wait until later. When we have some privacy. So...if he decides to totally snap and wrap those dainty little fingers of his around my throat, there won't be anybody around to see it.

Then...as the bus slowed down at Tanner's stop, and I saw him get on...that beauty...that indescribable beauty...I don't know, something inside of me went crazy.

"Mornin', bright eyes." He smiled.

"I told my mom!" Ummm...yeah. That's exactly how it happened. I have seriously lost a grip on my impulse control.

Tanner gave me a weird look, "Hehehe! You told your mom what?" I winced slightly as he sat down next to me and looked me in the eye. I stumbled over light whispers and strange gasps for air, unsure of how to actually tell him what the heck I was talking about. But after a few moments of total confusion, Tanner's eyes popped open, and I held my breath as realization settled into his hazel gaze. "Wait...wait, are you saying...?" His lips parted, and his jaw dropped. "WHOAH!" He shouted out loud, then made a point to hush himself. He looked around and waited a few seconds for people's attention to go elsewhere after the interruption. Then he whispered, "Whoah...are you serious? You told her told her? Like...everything?"

I winced again. "Um....yeah. I kinda did...."

"How in the world did you do that?" He asked.

I said, "Well...pretty much the way I just told you. By accident."

"Wow....." Tanner was blown away. He leaned back against his seat with this totally distant look on his face. It scared me a little bit. I couldn't figure out what he was feeling. Not at all.

I told Tanner that I was sorry, but he instantly told me not to be. He said, "That's not something to be sorry about, Derrick! That's awesome!"

I had to quietly hush him again as his excitement brought his voice up to 'eavesdropper' levels. "Really? You think that's awesome? I mean...you're not mad at me?" I whispered.

"God, no! I'm not mad! In fact, I think I just got a boner! Hehehe!" Omigod, Tanner's so cute when he chuckles under his breath like that. He smiled at me, and he suddenly tells me, "Dude...I'm gonna do it too! I'm gonna tell my parents tonight! As soon as I get home from school!"

What the hell????

"NO!!!" Now it was Tanner's turn to hush MY sudden outburst. "No. Tanner, that would be....a bad thing."

"How is that a bad thing? It's a good thing. It's a GREAT thing!" He grinned. "No more sneaking around, no more last minute excuses...it'll be less trouble for the both of us."

"Nooooo! Tanner...?"

"What? Why not?"

"Because!" I whined. "Don't you remember? Your mom, and her party friends, and....and your cousin Jeff...they already hate me more than anyone else on the planet. You're gonna make it worse."

"Screw them. They can either be happy for me, or unhappy without me. But that's their problem. It doesn't change how I feel one bit."

Sadly, I told him, "But...they're going to think that it's MY fault that you're...different."

"Hehehe! Well, technically, it is your fault." He smirked. "And I thank God for that every day." I sulked a little bit, and Tanner leaned forward to say, "Hey...I want to be with you. If it really bugs you that much, I can hold off for a little bit longer. But I want you to know that it doesn't matter. Not my mom, not her snotty friends, not Jeff, not Chris...nobody. I'd rather spend the rest of my life loving you than hiding from them. You know that, right?"

I nodded. "I know. It's just...I know what they say about me. They think I'm dirt. I just...I was having so much more fun when it just us. Just you and me."

"Hehehe, it's still just you and me. Everybody else is just a spectator."

I looked at him for a moment, and I said, "What are you, the wise old monk on the mountaintop today?"

"Hey, I'm not the one with the big surprises this morning."

"Yeah, well if you really want another surprise..." I said. "...My mom seems to think that you're really hot. So....there's that."

Tanner said, with a serious face, "That's no surprise. I am really hot." Hehehe, it wasn't until a second later that he wriggled his eyebrows and smiled at me that I let the joke sink in.

"I was wrong about you. You are spoiled." I said, bumping him with my shoulder and rolling my eyes.

We shared a playful grin, and I silently mouthed the words 'I love you', which he returned to me without hesitation. Then I kissed my fingertip, he kissed his, and we put our fingers together between us. It would have been awesome to do more...a lot more...but for now, that'll do.

Walking back into school...I could still take notice of a few other kids snickering at my scars and pointing out the condition of my face as I walked the halls. I'll just bet they got a real kick out of that. But I didn't care. Johnson's assault with his friends didn't do much more than create a greater sense of determination in me to succeed. Despite their bullying. The best thing that I can do now is keep love in my heart, and watch as they're bullshit sends them rolling downhill in life and directly into the gutter. I can be patient, but I'm looking forward to that day. Believe me.

Tanner gave me the sweetest smile before we had to separate for our first period classes. Those candy lips of his can seduce you into a emotional frenzy with hardly any effort at all. I actually felt my heartbeat speed up as I breathlessly whispered goodbye. I won't see him again before lunch, but that seemed like an eternity from now.

Chris, however...I saw in the gym locker room.

He always lingers around, waiting for everybody else to leave so he can talk to me. I can't tell you how many times we've been late to gym class. The rest of the boys must think that we're the slowest dressers in the world by now.

The cutest thing, though, is that even after everybody has left, and we're the only two in the room...he still hesitates for another minute or two before he says anything to me. Does he really think that I don't know what he's doing? Hehehe! But I just wait him out, and eventually he tries to break the ice with something trivial before telling me what's on his mind.

I don't know. It's just kinda shy. And Chris tries SO hard and spends SO much energy trying not to ever show any sort of weakness in his character, that it comes off as an endearing trait. Maybe it's an ego thing. Because I feel like...I 'broke' him somehow.

"I got a new iPad yesterday." He said. Hehehe, don't know why he needed to tell me that, but I guess he had to break the ice somehow.

I said, "I thought you already had one."

"Not this one, though."

"Oh. Ok." I wasn't going to say anything more about it, but he took it out of his locker and brought it over to show it to me.

"See? It's an iPad mini. It does loads of stuff."

I've never been much of a technology hound. For one thing, I can't afford it. But I humored him anyway while he showed me a few tricks. "Doesn't your cell phone do all of the exact same things?"

Chris shrugged. "Well...I mean, yeah. Mostly. But this is an iPad, Derrick."

"I don't get it. What's the difference?"

"This one is bigger, that's what the difference is. It's easier than trying to squint and read everything off of my tiny little phone. Hello?"

"But...didn't you get an iPad, like, a month ago for that? What's with the iPad mini?" I asked.

Chris was like, "Duh! The iPad mini is smaller than a regular iPad."

"But...I thought the idea was to make it bigger. If you wanted it smaller, then why not just use your phone?"

He paused for a moment, and then grunted with a tint of frustration. "Whatever. You don't get it."

"I get it. I get that the company that makes these things needed another way to make money off of consumers without really trying to come up with something new."

Chris said, "That's not what it is at all."

"Then what is it?" I asked. He didn't answer. I told him, "I just don't see the need for somebody to have all three. It's like...throwing away good money for no reason."

"Yeah, well...poor people think like that." He sneered.

I replied, "Smart people think like that, too." But he just stuffed his little 'techy' contraption into his bag and left it alone. I guess I ruined his big approach tactic.

I said, "I didn't mean anything by it. K?"

"I know." He said. He was awkward for a moment, then he tossed me an envelope. I barely caught it, as I was unprepared for the offering.

"What's this?" I said.

"Just open it, ok?" He grumbled.

Chris turned his back to me and pretended to rumble around in his locker. I was half terrified to open the envelope. For all I know, Chris could have filled it with Anthrax at this point. But I did it anyway. Inside, was the bracelet that he gave me the day he told me he loved me for the first time. As it slid out of the envelope and onto my palm, I found myself being emotionally touched by noticing how he had repaired the band on it. He had recently ripped it off of my wrist in anger...but the fact that he took the time to put it back together for me...? It just gave me a warm chill, you know? I took it as his way of calling a truce.

I looked at it, and I said, "Wow....dude...I don't know what to say."

Chris said, "Well, there's no reason to get all emotional about it. I mean, I gave it to you, right? You might as well keep it." Then he looked at me over his shoulder, briefly, before turning away again. "It's not like I can do anything else with it."

I have to admit that I was really touched by that. I was quiet for a moment, then I walked up to hug Chris tenderly from behind. I could feel him tense up and suck in his stomach as a heavy breath got caught in his throat. But he relaxed soon after. I could feel it in my arms as I pressed the side of my face against the back of his shoulders.

"I never meant to hurt you. You know that, right?" I asked.

He said, "I know." Then he added, "I think that makes it hurt even more."

I let him go, trying not to make this whole situation any harder than it had to be. And I'm glad I did, because we heard a little commotion in the distance, and a teacher came into the locker room shortly afterward.

He said, "What are you two stragglers doing in here? Get out on the field. Move it."

Chris and I split up, but he smiled at me with this really sheepish grin before closing his locker and heading out. I made sure to put the bracelet on my wrist right away. I felt that I owed him that much. Despite his meaner moments, Chris was a real sweetheart underneath. I never lost sight of that. Even when I tried to.

The rest of my school day was pretty much the same as most of the days that I've spent there. I will be honest and say that I did have a few tense moments between classes, when I walked from class to class, looking out to see if Johnson and his goons were roaming the halls and looking to give me another thorough pounding. I couldn't afford any more bruises. I mean who knows WHAT the hell my mom would do if I came home with more bruises. She might just call in the National Guard this time! So it's best that I avoid those guys at all costs. I'm getting enough gossip and giggles as it is.

I got back on the bus after school, reminding Tanner that he wasn't to do anything rash between now and tomorrow morning. He smiled at me, but gave me no such promise. I can't imagine being eager to tell your family something like that. But his grin was brighter than I ever remember it. Who am I to say no, right?

He gave my thigh a squeeze, and made a little kissy face at me before getting up to leave me. It was always such a sad feeling in my heart, watching the love of my life leave me for another extended period of time. Knowing that I wouldn't be able to bear witness to that smile. that I couldn't stare into those magical eyes. That I could touch that unspeakably soft and smooth skin. I couldn't hear that voice, or have him tickle my senses with those little giggles and humorous advances. Not to mention that I always got an excellent view of his succulent ASS as he walked off the bus every day! Hehehe, I just wanted to squeeze those delicious teen globes until they burst. God DAMN!!! Hehehe, my mom was right. He IS really hot!

He waved at me through the window as the bus took off, and I couldn't help but stare at him,my arousal hidden by the strategic placing of my backpack on my lap.

The next time we're alone...I am seriously going to DEVOUR that boy! I want him soooooo bad right now!

I was glad that my boner had gone down before arriving at my stop. Because I was seriously lost in thoughts of kissing and rolling around and rubbing up against the lustfully naked body of my dream boy the rest of the ride home. I can't wait to slide his silken inches into my mouth again. I can't wait to be inside him, feeling those warm, wet, muscles contracting around my sensitive shaft while I make slow, passionate, thrusts into him. I can't wait to feel his delicate weight on top of me, grinding his manhood against mine. Sighhhh...this is crazy. Seeing his smile today made me SO horny for him! We have got to find some place to do it! And soon! I can't take this unsatisfied yearning anymore. It's killing me, you know?

I got off of the bus, and started walking home, when I saw Joel walking towards my house from about a block ahead of me. I called out to him, and I picked up the pace as he waited for me to catch up to him from about a block away.

I was slightly out of breath when I got there, but we were both walking at a slow and steady pace, so it didn't take long for me to recapture it.

Joel seemed to be in a grouchy mood, though. I said hello and asked him what was up, and his reply was, "This new neighborhood of yours sucks. You know that? Why did you even move here? Who would want to live here?"

"What's with you?" I asked.

He said, "Nothing. I just don't fit in here. And you don't either. If I were you, I'd be scratching and clawing at every chance I got to just...go back home."

I looked at him and said, "Maybe this is my home. Or...now it is."

"Well...it's a stupid home." He said, and we just kept walking. Something was bugging him, but I couldn't tell what it was. I'm guessing some of the upper class kids gave him a bit of the treatment that I get at school, day after day. We always tell ourselves that it won't matter what other people think...but is that really true? I do. And it looks like Joel does too.

"I take it that you had a bad day?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

Joel expressed his feelings with an angry scowl. He's like, "Just some stupid faggots down at the corner. They tossed nickels a me. Like I was some kind of homeless dropout or something. Fucking assholes...."

I said, "Yeah. Been there, done that. Believe me. But you get used to it after a while."

"I don't WANT to get used to it. They don't know a fucking thing ABOUT me!" Joel snarled. "Whatever. Fuck 'em all."

"You'll be alright. Some people are just mean spirited, I suppose."

He glared at me and said, "Stop talking like that. I mean it. We should be tracking these fucking faggots down to bust their faces in! Not telling each other to turn our heads until they leave us alone. That's bullshit!"

Ugh! I swear, Joel gets on my last nerve sometimes. "Whatever. Just...don't go starting any trouble around here. Ok?"

He gave me a look that was both angry and hurtful at the same time. He said, "Listen to you! You sound just like 'them'. Don't start any trouble around here? Are you fucking kidding me?"

"Why can't you just leave it alone, Joel? Why does everything have to be a fight with you?"

He threw up his hands and said, "Fine. Forget it. The fucking faggots win again. I won't say a word."

I was quiet for a moment, trying to take my own advice and simply let the issue go. But as it bubbled and boiled angrily in the pit of my stomach, I was force to say something just a few moments later.

"You know...youshould really lay off of that word. Seriously." I said.

"What word?"

"You know..." I said. "...the 'F' word."

"You mean 'fuck'?"

"NO!" I said. "I mean...you know...faggot. It's not cool. It makes you sound like an asshole." I told him.

"Faggot? Dude, what the fuck are you talking about?"

"Just STOP IT! Ok? Just...stop it!" I said. It has ALWAYS bothered me to hear him say that word, and it's even worse now that it partially defines me as a person.

"Since when did YOU get so sensitive, sugar boy?" He said.

I thought about telling my mom who I really was inside, I thought about the struggles I had admitting it to Tanner, and how even Chris had a ton of hang ups about it...and I just didn't want Joel to be one of the guys who was allowing this sort of garbage to continue. You know? It's weird, but even though I didn't come out to him...I needed him to know that it just wasn't cool for him to use the word 'faggot' around me anymore. It's dumb. And I was tired of feeling the sting of insult from it just because he didn't have any better was of expressing himself.

I gave him a dirty look, and he said "Alright. Ok. Forget about it. I'm just tired of feeling like a reject around here. I like to call 'em as I see 'em. That's all. Sorry if that bothers you." He said. "Unlike you, I don't have my mommy fighting all of my battles for me."

"You know what?" I said, "You need to cut that shit out too. You don't know a damn thing about what happened to me or why. So knock it off! There's no shame in asking for help. You asked ME for me help when YOU needed it, didn't you?" Joel frowned a bit, but didn't answer. "Alright then. If I'm a pussy, then you're a pussy too. Enjoy it!"

"You are really acting up today, Derrick. A real nutcase."

"Good. I'm glad." I said to him as we both walked up to my house. "And thanks for eating my lunch today, ya jerk!"

"WHAT??? It was just sitting there." He said.

"It WASN'T just sitting there! I put it together, wrapped it up in plastic, and had it sitting on the top shelf so that I could take it to school today and not STARVE! Thank you very much!"

"It was just a sandwich! Who cares?"

"I care! And so does my mom..."

"Oh, here we go..." Joel said. "I told you...if you want me gone, just say you want me gone. I won't come around and leech off of you anymore. Is that what you want? To just pretend that you don't care? I'd fight for you, Derrick?"

"That's not what this is about, and you know it. You just glide from problem to problem and try to make it everybody else's fault. Well this time it's not our problem. Stop trying to dodge all of the 'hard' stuff and forcing other people to deal with it."

"You've got a lot of nerve. you don't know what I'm going through, you son of a bitch!"

We argued and spit venom at one another all the way up to my front door. I was literally trying to hold back my frustrations, but it was getting increasingly difficult to do so with Joel, best friend or not.

And then....I opened the door.

My mom was in the living room, having a cup of coffee. And in the chair at the end of the table....

...Was Joel's mom.


I can honestly say that this was one surprise that I didn't see coming.

Thank you all so much for reading, and I appreciate your feedback, your support, and your patience, while I try to give every chapter of these stories my all. There is more to come soon! And be sure to grab a copy of the new and improved eBook versions of my stories at the COMICALITY KINDLE STORIES link!!! More ebooks being posted every month! So keep an eye out!

The "Billy Chase" saga NOW AVAILABLE!!! (CLICK HERE!!!)