All other content or otherwise are works of my own imagination. All events are fictitious in nature.
Any similarities to persons living, dead, or otherwise are purely coincidental.
This story contains strong themes of homosexual content, if this offends you in any way, please refrain from reading further. If you are not of legal age to read this, please leave now.
A/N: I'd like to thank TalonRider for editing this chapter. His skill and tiresome effort applied to my work is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Chapter 10: Time
I reached out and knocked on the door. My stomach was still doing back flips, even though I wasn’t there to see anyone. I glanced back down the path to see Jamie and Sam looking at me, before I heard the door open. I faced forwards and watched as my dad came into view. He still had that tired and worn out look to his face, along with an unshaven beard. He didn’t look too good. He stared at me for a few seconds, and glanced up at Jamie and Sam, his eyes squinting slightly at the sight of my boyfriend.
“Erm, I’m here to get Josh.” I said, looking past him and into the house. My house.
He cast his eyes back at me, “I was going to drive him.” I frowned at that. I told Josh last night that I was going to pick him up.
I shook my head, “He can walk with me, if he’s ready.”
My dad hovered at the door for a second before he nodded and shouted into the house, “Josh, Matt’s here for you!”
I heard some muffled reply, followed by the sight of Josh bounding down the stairs. He squeezed past my dad and hesitated for a second before he hugged me, “Hi, Matt.”
I hugged him tightly, holding back my tears, “Hey Josh, you ok mate?”
It was clear that he wanted to stay holding me, but he was trying to appear strong and brave in front of Sam. A girl. So he pulled back and nodded, smiling at me.
“Good.” I looked down at his socked feet, “Finish getting ready and grab your bag. I’ll be out here.”
“Ok.” He replied, as he ran back into the house.
I smiled after him and looked at my dad. I didn’t feel sad or nervous when I looked at him, I felt anger. Anger that he kept me away from Josh for this long. Anger that he was putting his own feelings above that of his 12-year-old son, “I’m coming home today.” I said, making it sound like a promise. And in a way, it was.
He looked at me.
“I’m going to sleep in my bed, in my room tonight.” I added.
He continued to look at me with a blank look on his face. I could tell that he was thinking about something, but I had no idea what it was. Before I could say anything else, Josh appeared, fully dressed with a jacket and his school bag over one shoulder.
I looked at him, “Ready?”
He nodded, “Yeah.”
“Good.” I said, patting his jacket-covered shoulder as he stepped past me. I looked back at my dad. He was just staring at me, or rather, it seemed like he was staring through me, “I’ll see you later.” I said calmly, as I turned and walked down the path. I heard the door shut behind me, allowing me to exhale. I felt better knowing that the door was closed. It marked that this confrontation was over. I could relax some now and not need to be on constant guard.
As soon as Josh somewhat meekly greeted Jamie and Sam, we set off and headed towards Connors house. I looked up at the sky. Like the last couple of days, it was bright and sunny. We didn’t say much during the journey, but I finally decided to speak up.
“I told Dad that I’m coming home tonight.” I said, breaking the silence and earning a look from Jamie.
“Yeah?” Asked Josh.
I smiled at him, “Yeah, no more going away.”
“Good.” He replied, grinning at me.
Neither of us spoke much more after that. Jamie and I had our minds on other things today, or more precisely, what could happen at school. While Max hadn’t said anything, who knows if he’s in the mood to ‘out’ us. I certainly hope not. Having the whole school know about us was a lot different than having our families know.
Once we reached Connors house, I walked up the path, but was greeted by Connor opening the door, evidently he had been waiting, “Hey Matt.” He called out.
“Hi Con, Adam.” I said, watching as the two brothers exited the house and closed the door.
“Hello Jamie.” Called out Connor, raising his eyebrows and smiling at my boyfriend.
“Hi Connor.” He replied.
Connor looked him up and down, “Yeah, I guess he’ll have to do.” He said before he turned to me, “You could have done better though.” He said with a grin.
Jamie’s eyes widened at that , while I reached out and shoved Connor lightly, “Shut up!”
He giggled and looked at Jamie, “Just kidding, mate. I think you’re good for each other.”
Jamie smiled, “Thanks.”
Connor nodded, “So how’s things?” He asked, as we started to walk toward school.
I nodded, “I’m ok, well, kinda.”
He frowned, “What happened?” He asked.
I spent the next couple of minutes filling him in with what happened after I left his house last night. Connor was quite pissed to say the least.
“I can’t believe they’d kick you out, AGAIN!” He fumed, “Are they really that stupid?” He asked, before he looked at me, “No offence.”
I shook my head, “No, they are that stupid.”
“It’s really fucked up, isn’t it?” He asked rhetorically.
I nodded, “Yeah, yeah it is.”
We were silent for a moment before Adam spoke up, “So, are you two really gay? Like seriously?” He asked.
“Did you not hear what Matt said? “ Asked Connor.
Adam looked at me, “I did, but…” He paused, “It’s just…cool.”
“Cool?” Asked Jamie, placing a hand on Sam’s shoulder, “That’s what she said.”
She nodded, “And I said I always wanted a big sister.”
“Big sister?” Questioned Josh, seemingly confused.
“Yeah, becaus-“ She began, before Jamie covered her mouth.
“What did I say about calling me your sister?” Quizzed Jamie in a rather stern tone, causing Connor and me to giggle.
She muffled a reply.
“Yeah, I said don’t do it.” He added, releasing her.
She giggled, “Sorry.”
We exited the park and crossed the road, finding ourselves outside the school gates.
“Um, see you later, Matt.” Said Josh, looking up at me but sounding unsure.
“Yeah.” I looked at him, ”Come hunt me down at break and lunch if you want. I’ll be about.” I said.
He grinned at that, “Ok. See you later.” He said before he walked off.
“And Josh.” I called out, causing him to turn around. I walked closer to him and lowered my voice, “Erm, don’t tell anyone about…Jamie and me. Ok?”
He looked at me for a second, “Ok, Matt.”
“See you later Josh.”
He nodded and wandered off with Adam.
I turned around to see Jamie give Sam a little pep talk of his own before she turned and walked off toward a group of girls. Connor turned and looked at us, “Everything’s going to be ok guys, don’t worry.”
I smiled meekly at him, hoping that he’d be right.
We walked into our form
room and sat down. There was already a few people there and none of
them seemed to take that much of an interest as we entered. That
calmed me down some. I looked briefly around the room. Even though I
had only missed one day of school, it seemed as though I’d been
gone for ages! So much had happened since I was last sitting
After a few minutes, more people started to walk in. I looked across the room and made a mental note of Hayley entering. She glanced over at us briefly before she went and sat in the corner with some of the other girls. All was quiet for a moment. Then Max walked in. I felt a tingle flow down my spine. Just seeing him again reminded me of what happened the last time our eyes connected. He stared in our direction for a few seconds, but then looked away and sat on at a table closest to the door.
“Hey, don’t worry about him.” Said Connor, interrupting my thoughts, “It’s his choice, if he wants to sit over there, let him.” He replied.
I nodded. Connor was right, it was Max’s choice after all. Regardless, it didn’t feel right to me. I wish I had a magic wand, so I could make everything better again, back to how things used to be. Everything seemed simpler and easier to deal with.
Max’s choice of seat didn’t go unnoticed by Hayley, who promptly stood up and walked over to him, sitting down on the chair opposite him. I watched the action intently. There was no way Max was going to let her sit there. She was in for a mouthful. Max looked up at her and spoke. Hayley’s eyes widened somewhat before she stood up and walked back over to the girls.
“What was she expecting?” Asked Connor.
“I dunno.” Replied Jamie.
“At least she didn’t come over here.” I added, as Mr Pierce walked in.
He walked through the door, but stopped and looked at Max and then at us, before frowning, “Are you lost, Max?” He asked.
Max looked at him, “No, Sir.”
Mr Pierce looked at his face and decided to drop the topic, “Ok.”
Once Pierce finished the register, Connor, Jamie and I began to talk a bit. Everything was going fine until Jamie mentioned something.
“And someone is turning sixteen this week.” He finished, looking at Connor.
SHIT! I had almost forgotten that it was Connors birthday this Friday, “Hey, are we still on for the weekend?” I asked, implying our night out on Saturday.
Connor shook his head, “Naah, it’s ok. You guys have a lot going on at-“ I cut him off.
“It’s your birthday, and we’re going to celebrate, just like we planned.”
Connor’s eyes flicked over to Max and then back to me, “Ok, but only if you guys want to, I mea-“ Jamie cut him off this time.
“We’re going and that’s final.” He stated.
Connor looked at him and raised his hands, “Alright.”
Pierce stood up, “Let’s get moving guys.” He looked over at me, “Matt, could you stay back here for a minute?”
I nodded, “Sure.” I had a pretty good idea what this was about.
“Erm, Max, could you stay as well, please.” Called out Pierce.
WHAT!?!? Why did he want Max to stay? Max nodded and walked over, his eyes carefully watching me closely.
I turned to Jamie, “I’ll meet you in English.”
He looked at Max and then at me, “Ok.” He said, before he headed off.
Pierce waited until everyone else had gone outside before he spoke, “Look, I know it’s none of my business, but I’ve known you two for the past four years and not once have you sat apart from each other, let alone ignore each other like that.” Said Pierce, “I just want to know if there’s anything that I can help with?” He looked at me, “I can try to help.”
I glanced at Max, and then looked up at Mr Pierce, shaking my head, “No, Sir. There’s nothing you can do.”
“Are you sure? I might not be a teenager anymore, but I remember what it was like.”
I nodded, “Yeah. Thanks, but we’ll be ok.” I said, just wanting to get out of there.
He stared at us for a moment, “Ok. But if there’s anything I can do, just ask.” He said.
Max and I both nodded.
“I have to get to my next lesson. I’ll see you guys later.” He said, taking a further look at us before walking out of the class.
Max grabbed his bag and headed for the door, but I walked in front of him, blocking his exit, “Max.” I said looking into his eyes, “Talk to me.” I paused, “Please.”
He stared at me for a moment before he scrunched up his face and moved within inches of my nose, “I told you to stay away from me.” He warned, before he shoved past me lightly and walked away.
I watched as he walked out of the room. I wasn’t sure what I thought I was going to achieve by trying to talk to him, but I had to try, I owed it to our friendship, or rather the friendship that we used to have. I picked up my bag and walked out of the class. It was hard knowing that Max didn’t want anything to do with me anymore, however, I wasn’t going to press the issue. As much as I wanted to be his friend, if he can’t accept me, or more importantly, accept Jamie and me, then he can stick it. I was having enough crap to deal with at home. Max would have to wait.
I walked out of the room and noticed that Jamie was waiting around the corner, “Hey, what you doing?” I asked.
“Waiting for you, what did Pierce say?”
“He wanted to know why Max wasn’t sitting with us.” I replied.
“What d’ya say?”
“Nothing.” I shrugged, “I just said that we’ll deal with it.”
He nodded and looked down the corridor, “We better get moving.”
“Yeah.” I said, walking alongside him as we headed toward our English class.
With the first two
periods out of the way, it was time for break. Connor and Jamie had
gone into the canteen to get something to eat, well, Jamie had only
gone to get a drink, so I could forgive him for that. Meanwhile, I
was sitting down at one of the tables, just thinking about school and
stuff. Everything had gone well so far, then again, considering that
no one knew about Jamie and me, why wouldn’t everything be ok?
I dunno. Perhaps it’s the fact that so many people know about
my sexuality. All this time, I had been keeping it a secret from
everyone, but now…Now it was like I could be myself in front
of some people, but not everyone. So in that sense, I’m
not even out! I’m out like half-way! And that’s just
I blinked and looked about. I watched as everyone walked by, from the little year sevens to the older sixth formers. I began to wonder what it’d be like if I was really out. If everyone knew about me. Immediately I began to think about the horror stories that I had seen on the Internet, about how gay kids are bullied, how their lives are made a misery, all because they wanted to be themselves. True, many of those stories were just that, stories. But there was still the times when real stories would pop up in the news, those were the stories that frightened me. Actually, they angered me more than they frightened me. How could people, children, be so destructive and hurtful towards another person, just because of something that doesn’t even affect them? It’s something that I just don’t understand. I don’t think I ever will.
I looked about at the kids sitting around, watching them smile and laugh with their friends. Could they be capable of such things? If they knew about Jamie and me, would they keep themselves to themselves or would they say things? Would they shout out nasty remarks? Or worse, would they see our relationship as something so wrong, that they’d want to hurt us physically? I was trying to be realistic with my thoughts, but at the end of the day, I had no idea about how they’d react. I thought I knew Max, one of my best friends. Look what happened to him. No. I was better off being ‘semi-closeted’ for the time being.
“What did you do this time Matthew?” Came that incessant voice, bringing me out of my daze.
“What do you want this time Hayley?” I replied, mocking her, before she pulled out a chair, “Don’t sit.” I warned, but she ignored me and sat down anyway.
“Well? Blondie wasn’t very nice to me this morning, you must have upset him.” She said, talking about Max.
I shook my head and ignored her question, “What are you doing here?”
“I saw you by yourself, I thought I’d keep you company.” She replied.
I laughed at her, “Oh, come on!” I said, “What do you really want?”
She shrugged, “Nothing.”
I watched her for a second, she didn’t move, “Can’t you go and get ‘nothing’ somewhere else?”
She leaned forward, “And miss out sitting here with you? No thanks.” She looked about, “Where’s the other two cuties?” She faced me, “Especially that American beauty…”
I frowned at her and clenched my jaw. She was really starting to piss me off.
“…And his arse.” She giggled, “Have you seen his arse? It’s so s-“
“Stop!” I said loudly, earning some stares from the people around us, “What is it with you? Why do you always have to act so…sluttish?”
Hayley blinked at that, before she batted her eyelids dramatically, “What? Don’t you like it?”
I opened my mouth to reply, but someone interrupted, “Keeping our seats warm?” Came an American accent.
I looked up to see Jamie and Connor standing there, both looking at Hayley. Jamie did not look very pleased. His cute eyebrows had this little slant to them as he frowned at her, and the way he was standing showed that he was not in the mood to argue with her. Damn. Jamie looks so hot when he’s pissed!
She seemed quite taken aback, surprised that the American beauty would talk to her like that, “Erm, yeah, cutie.”
He looked at her, “Just go, please.”
She looked at him for a second before she smiled and stood up, “Only because you asked nicely.” She turned and faced us, “I’ll see you later, boys.” She said, before she headed off.
Jamie and Connor sat down opposite me, “That girl is nasty.” Said Jamie.
I nodded, “Yeah.”
“Hey Matt!” Called out Josh, as he came and sat next to me.
“Hey, you ok?” I asked, watching as he pulled a packet of crisps out of his bag.
“Good.” I said, as I looked across to see Adam sitting next to Connor.
It was nice to have Josh hanging around. Because of our differences in age, we never usually hung around each other during school, so it was quite pleasant to have him around. But, being Josh, he wouldn’t stop talking. He always had something to say. I was pleased to see him happy again, and while it sounds corny, seeing him happy made me happy. I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything.
The rest of the day
seemed to pass really quickly after that. Josh’s smile really
had an impact on me, it signalled that perhaps, just perhaps, the
worst was over. I was trying not to get ahead of myself, but it was
hard not to look for the light at the end of this dark and very deep
tunnel. The exit seemed to be just around the corner, but I knew that
there was something blocking it. Someone blocking it.
“Matt? Could you take this down to Mr Rogers?” Asked my teacher, Mr Willows.
I looked at the slip of paper. It was the last lesson of the day, P.E. But this week we had theory, so we were in a classroom instead of doing something physical. Jamie wasn’t in my group, he was in Max’s. But Connor was in my group, so I had him.
“Sure.” I said, as I stood up and retrieved it from him, “Where is he?”
“If you go quick, you might find him in the changing rooms.” He replied.
I nodded, “Ok.”
I turned and walked out of the room, past Connor, “I’ll be back in a bit.”
He nodded, “Ok.”
It was quite a walk over to the changing rooms, so it took me a few minutes to get there, but once I got there, I realised that I had missed him. He was probably out on the field, teaching his group. I was about to turn around before someone stepped in through the back door. I walked around there and was surprised to see Max there. He looked at me oddly before he walked past me, brushing his shoulder with mine. I closed my eyes and clenched my jaw. I had to let it go, he wasn’t worth it. I turned to leave when I remembered the note. I guess I could give it to Max, he could give it to Rogers when he went back.
I turned around and saw him fiddling about with his football boot, I walked over to him, “Could you give this to Rogers?” I asked, handing out the slip.
He ignored me.
I tried again, “Look, can you just give this to him?”
“Do it yourself.” He muttered as he stood up again.
“What?” I asked.
He ignored me again and walked toward the door. I wasn’t going to let him get away. I ran over and blocked his exit.
He looked at me, “Move, now.”
He leaned closer, “So now you’re deaf too?”
“Alright, that’s it!” I shouted as I walked forward and forcefully pushed him over to where the showers were.
Max looked at me, shocked at my action, “What the fuck are you doing?”
“I wanna know what your problem is!” I said, pushing him again.
“My problem is with you and that…that...”
“That what?” I said, moving my face closer to him.
“Jamie.” He replied.
I shook my head, “Well what about him?”
His eyes widened, “You were fucking in bed with him!” He shouted, “That’s what!”
I swallowed and lowered my voice, “And why do you hate me for that? I didn’t do anything to you.”
Max squinted his eyes at me, “You used to be my friend.”
“Yeah, I used to be your friend. But after you fucking outed me in front of my parents…”
He stared at me.
“You have no idea, do you?”
His eyes flicked to the floor, and then back up to me.
I walked up to him, “I’ve spent the last two nights over at Jamie’s house.”
He clenched his jaw at that.
“And no, we wasn’t having mindless sex. I was there to sleep. Why?” I looked at him, “You fucking wanna know why?”
I shook my head, “Because my parents kicked me out.”
His eyes widened.
I nodded, “Yeah, they fucking kicked me out. Didn’t like the idea of having…of having me as their son.” I paused, “But they don’t see me, they see this monster, this thing.”
Max just watched me and remained silent.
“Jamie’s dad wasn’t so bad, he dealt with it.” I said emphasising my point, “He let me stay there.” I said as I paced in between the stalls.
“But you wanna know what really gets to me, what really fucking hurts?” I bit my lip, “It’s seeing my younger brother cry because my parents kicked me out.”
Max looked at me, his eyes showing sadness.
“Josh doesn’t know…” I swallowed, “He doesn’t know what’s all going on. He saw me kiss another boy and then I’m out the house. Gone.” I paused, “So while you were all nice and cosy in your bed at home, surrounded by your family. I was…” I paused, holding back the tears, “Trying to figure out how to save mine…”
I watched as he opened his mouth to say something, but he quickly closed it.
“I just don’t understand why you were so angry.” I looked at him, “Was kissing Jamie so terrible, so wrong, that I deserved everything you said to me?”
He continued to stare at the floor.
I walked over to the wall and I sat down on the floor, leaned my back against the tiled surface, “It’s so easy for you.”
He was silent for a moment, “What?” He asked, his voice barely a whisper.
“Girls.” I looked at him, “You can take them out, hold their hand, even kiss them, all in public. All things I can’t do with Jamie.” I replied. While I could do those things with Jamie, at what risk does it become worth it? There was times where I’d love to have held his hand, or give him a small kiss, not because I wanted to make out, but because it felt natural. It felt natural to me, yet I wasn’t allowed to do those things, society doesn’t allow it.
He looked back at the floor.
“I just wish that people would try to understand.” I looked at him, “That’s all I want from you Max. I just want you to understand.”
“I can’t.” He replied.
“Because…because it’s not normal.”
I shook my head, “It’s normal to me.”
“But you like boys.”
“So what? You think I’m going to pounce on you one day when you’re getting changed?”
He frowned at that.
“Just because I’m gay, it doesn’t mean I want to have sex with every boy I see.” I said bluntly. “It doesn’t change who I am, it’s just a small part of me.” I looked at him, “I don’t spend my Saturdays having my hair or nails done. I go see a football match, or hang out.”
He looked at me.
“And what I have with Jamie, is what you have with a girl. We don’t have sex all the time and that’s it, we just like to hang around each other, do things together. Things that guys do together.”
I stared at him, “What do you see when you look at me?” I asked, “Do you see Matt, or do you see some nasty gay thing?”
He didn’t say anything.
“What do you see, Max?”
“I see Matt.”
I sighed, “I’m not expecting you to suddenly lay down the red carpet and pretend that everything’s fine, all I want is for you to make your own mind up.” I paused, “Forget what everyone else says about gay people, you decide.” I stood up, “Jamie and I are going over to Connors today, after school, come with us.”
I could tell that he was thinking about it.
“I just want you to see that there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
“I’m not afraid…I just…” He looked at me, “I don’t know.”
I walked over and knelt down, “Max. It’s me.”
He looked up and studied me carefully.
“Come with us today.”
He hesitated for what seemed an eternity, “Ok.”
“Yeah, you like
that, don’t ya?” He said, looking at me.
“Shut up, it was all luck.” I retorted.
Connor shook his head and pressed rapidly at the controller, “All genius you mean.” He said, before he cursed aloud, he’d been shot. “Who was that?” He asked, looking at us.
“Oops, was that you? I thought it was Matt.” Laughed Jamie.
“Matt’s on your team!” Said Connor, “Come on Max, we can own these two!”
Max nodded and looked back at the screen. We were all around Connors house after school. Max had kept to his word and tagged along with us.
Max was anything but relaxed throughout the afternoon. He looked like he was constantly on guard, like he was ready to defend himself should the situation arise. I won’t pretend that it didn’t bother me, because it did. I wanted to reach out and slap him, tell him not to be so silly. That he should come to his senses and realise that my sexuality didn’t have precedence over everything else. Sigh. I also knew that he needed time. It seems that everybody needs time.
closed the door behind me and kicked off my shoes. I walked towards
the lounge and saw that my parents were sitting there, they looked up
when I walked in.
“I’m not here to have an argument with you, I just wanted to come home.” I said.
They didn’t say anything and just looked at me.
I nodded, “Ok. I’ll just be upstairs.” I said, as I walked away. I was glad that they didn’t say anything, I really wasn’t in the mood for any arguing.
I headed upstairs and dropped my bag on the floor as I walked to my wardrobe. After a few minutes, I’d gotten out of the nasty school smelling uniform and was dressed in some joggers and a t-shirt. I fell onto my bed and relaxed for a moment, before I heard my phone ring. I crawled across my bed and grabbed it from my desk, before I answered it.
“Hey man, it’s me.” Came Connors voice.
“Hey Con, what’s up?”
“Max just left, we spent a while talking, about you.”
I sat down, “Yeah…” I said trailing off.
“Well, I think I managed to get through to him.” He paused, “He’s so confused, man, he knows it’s you and stuff, but he thinks that being gay is wrong.”
I nodded, “Yeah, I know.” I said softly.
“I told him not to listen to other people, that he should make his own mind up. I think he’s going to, but it’ll take time.” He said, using that bloody ‘T’ word again!
I sighed, “You think he’ll come around?” I asked.
“I dunno, I think so.” He paused again, “I’m sure he’ll eventually get used to you guys.”
I shook my head, “Why couldn’t everyone be like you?”
“Super hot with a stunning personality?” He asked, giggling.
“No.” I replied quickly, before I smiled myself, “You know, just being open minded and stuff.”
“I have my parents to thank for that.” He said.
I nodded, “Erm, have you told them?”
“About you? No. You can tell them, you’re practically their third son anyway.” He said.
“Do you think they’ll mind?”
Connor laughed, “I’m not even gonna answer that.”
I smiled, “You’re right.”
“As always.” He replied. I heard Connors mum in the background talking at him, he spoke back to her before he spoke to me, “Sorry Matt, but dinner’s ready now.”
I smiled, “No problem. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Yep, See ya.” He replied.
“No problem. I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye.”
“Bye.” I said
I laid back and stared at my ceiling. Maybe, just maybe things will work themselves out. Max, while he’s still got a long, long way to go, seems to be slowly coming around. My parents, well, I’m not so sure about them, but at least they haven’t kicked me out, AGAIN, as Connor would say. I exhaled deeply and closed my eyes.
Either I was right, that things were on the road to recovery, or I was wrong, that things were going to get much worse…Whatever happens, I can’t help it now. I’ll just need to hold on tight and go with the flow. Wherever it carries me.
you for reading Chapter 10 of American Differences.
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