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 unparalleled brilliance and tireless effort applied to my work is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Chapter 21: School Matters
Ayo kicked the ball over to Connor, “So they didn’t stop you? They just let you leave?”
“Yeah.” I replied, “Not a word.”
He nodded, clearly thinking of something to say.
“I don’t mind though. It’s better that they didn’t say anything.” I said, “Didn’t really feel like talking with them.”
It was the following day and we were back at school after the weekend. While Jamie and I had caught up with both Max and Connor after my ‘return’ home, we hadn’t had a chance to tell Ayo. So once it was break time, and we were out on the field, away from anyone who could overhear, I told him what had happened.
He shook his head, “I’m sorry, Matt.” He said, before he kicked the ball over to Max, “Really, I am.”
I smiled at him, “It’s not your fault. It’s…It’s just the way things are.”
Our twenty-minute break passed by really quickly after that, so it was then time for our third period of the day; Philosophy and Ethics, which was basically Religious Studies, but jazzed up a bit, with ethical issues thrown into the mix.
Jamie and Connor headed over to their lockers, so I followed Ayo to his locker, so he could grab his books, before we headed over to mine. Once he grabbed his books, we walked through the corridors until I came to mine, which was near to Jamie’s. Jamie was still standing there, next to his locker, speaking to Li. I headed in that direction, Ayo slipping behind.
“…Yeah…Golden Gate Bridge…” I heard him say, over the sound of the corridor.
I walked over, “Heya.”
“Hi, Matt.” Said Li, “How are you?”
I smiled, “I’m good, you?”
She grinned, “Yeah, I’m ok.”
I glanced at Li again and saw her giving this look to my boyfriend. I had to stop what was going on before it got out of control. The last thing I needed was Li to come and mess things up for us. I faced Li, “Erm, can I speak to you for a second?”
Her eyes focused on mine, “Uh, sure.”
I nodded at Jamie, whose expression had changed to include a hint of confusion and worry. “I’ll meet you in class.”
“Alright.” He said, understanding what I was about to do, before he tugged on Ayo’s arm and walked off to class.
I motioned for Li to follow me around the corner of the corridor, where it was quieter, away from the crowds of students. “Hey, look.” I began looking at her closely.
After a few seconds of silence, she nodded her head slightly, indicating that she was listening.
“I…erm…wouldn’t try to go after Jamie if I were you.” I said, making it sound more like a threat than an advisement.
Her eyes widened some, “Why?”
“He…uh…just broke up.” I replied.
She frowned, “He isn’t dating anyone…” She began, before she glanced about, “None of the girls have said anything.”
“She’s American.” I replied, finding it hard to meet her eyes. “They were trying that whole long-distance thing.” I added, shaking my head, “It didn’t work out. They broke up last week, that’s why he’s been out of it for a while…”
“Oh…” She said softly, contemplating over what I said, “Is he ok?” She asked, once again reminding me how kind a person she was.
I shook my head slightly, “He’s trying…but they were really close. It’s gonna take him a while…”
She nodded, “Yeah.”
I wasn’t sure of what to say, so I just stood still there, watching her reaction. She was quiet for a moment, with me feeling more and more uncomfortable with every passing second of silence.
She managed a smile, “Thanks…for telling me.”
God, she looked upset. Not I’m-going-to-cry upset, but she clearly wasn’t expecting that. I wanted to hug her. “No problem…I just thought it’d be better that you kno-“
She nodded again, “Yeah. Anyway, Sarah will be waiting.” She said, as she pulled on her bag, shifting it up her arm, “I’ll see you later, Matt.”
“Yeah, see you.”
feel like a bastard.” I said, looking at him.
Jamie frowned, “Did you tell her?”
I lay my head on my hands and looked up at him, “Yeah, I told her.” I sat up, “She wasn’t that happy.” I frowned, “Damn, Jamie, why can’t this be easy. There’s always fucking something, isn’t there?” I cursed, raising my voice some.
We were in our Philosophy lesson. Thankfully the teacher had handed out some work, which we could do with a partner, so other people were talking loudly as well.
Jamie reached out and patted my back, the public equivalent of a hug, “I’m sorry, Matt. I wish you didn’t have to lie to her.” He said, “But if she kept on pushing…”
I nodded, “No, I know why it had to be done, but it still…” I looked at him, “It feels wrong…”
He looked into my eyes, and then took a sip of his drink. He swallowed it down, looking straight ahead, “Do you think it would have been better if we told her the truth?”
I thought about that, “Probably not.”
We sat there in silence for a few moments, before Jamie spoke. “You’re right.” He said, looking at me again, “It is fucked up.”
lie. Love isn’t free. Not for everyone. Not for Jamie and me.
For it costs us something very dear; our honesty. Perhaps I’ve
been making out that I’m some saint, that I’ve never
lied. But of course I’ve lied. It was just…different to
lie like that to someone.
“She’ll get over it.” Said Max.
We looked at him.
“What?” He asked, “She will. She’ll have to.”
I nodded. “Yeah, but you make it sound so…simple.”
He shrugged, “It is.” He replied, “I don’t get what you’re upset about. She only liked him for what, a few days? How much can she like him?”
I turned and looked at Jamie. Was it love at first sight with Jamie? No, probably not. Perhaps lust at first sight, but not love. Had I said that I loved him on our first day? I think so. Did I mean it? Yes. But was it really love? I don’t know.
But what I DO know is that I did love Jamie. Perhaps it took a few days, weeks, or even months, but just sitting there in the dining hall, I knew that I loved him in that moment.
“It depends.” I said, looking at Jamie, before turning to Max, “Haven’t you ever felt something special with anyone?” I asked, before it dawned on me how ‘big’ that question was. I mean we were all either fifteen, or sixteen-years-old, and there we were talking about relationships. Like REAL relationships. Not the ‘making out in the cinema’ or ‘sex on the back seats’, (if anyone our age REALLY done that!).
“I dunno. Maybe.” He shrugged again, “You’ve told her that he’s not available, so she’ll have to move on. Simple as.”
I wanted to press the issue, bring up the possibility that she could just ‘lay in wait’, but even by Hayley’s standards, that’d be over the top. Li was a decent enough person to know when to let something go. I just hoped that she knew that she should do so in that moment.
“How’s it going geezers?”
I turned around to see Dean and Jon heading towards us.
“Hey Dean.” I called out.
He nodded his head at me as he took a seat next to Max.
It wasn’t that often that we got to see Dean as he was usually either out on the field playing football, or he was hanging out with some of the other guys in the year. He was a pretty decent guy, unless you got on his bad side.
“So anything new?” He asked, “Haven’t caught up with you guys much.” He said, as Jon took a seat across from him.
We were all silent for a moment. The truth was that there had been a LOT going on during the last week and a bit, but of course we couldn’t really divulge into that with him. While the main reason was that we didn’t want anyone else to know about us just yet, I was certain that if Dean found out, he’d be pissed to say the least. Out of the people I knew, I had always imagined that both Max and Dean would have been the two hardest people to accept my sexuality, and to a greater extent, my relationship with Jamie.
Jon, on the other hand, was quite an enigma. Part of that was because I initially thought that he was gay when I first met him a few years earlier. There was just something about him that caught my eye. But that ‘feeling’ quickly dissipated once I got to know the guy. Yeah, he was straight. And as for his acceptance of homosexuality, well I wasn’t too sure about that. He wasn’t particularly vocal about a like/dislike towards them, towards us, aside from using the ‘that’s so gay’ remark often. So all in all, I wasn’t too sure, but it didn’t really matter though, as I wasn’t planning to tell either of them anytime soon.
“You know.” He began, looking at me, “We could use another sub, if you’re interested, Matt.”
I smiled and shook my head, “It’s not for me.”
He laughed, “Come on, you’re not THAT bad.”
I nodded, “I know.” I smirked, “I could whip your ass, but you know… I wouldn’t want to embarrass our prized soccer Captain.” I teased.
The other guys giggled to themselves.
“Wow. Since when did Matt become such a bitch?” Joked Dean.
I scratched the side of my face, giving him the finger.
“No, seriously dude. I’ll let you join my team.” He laughed.
I shook my head, “Not a chance. Conflict of interest.” I replied.
“What? How? What else do you do?” He asked, eyeing Jamie, “Has he got you playing baseball or something?”
Jamie scoffed at that.
I turned to him, “Don’t get me started on you.”
“Oh please!” He retorted.
“Oh, so you hit a ball and suddenly you think you’re a God?” I teased.
He gave me this look. That same look he gave me that day we were playing out on the field. Oh game on Mr Keller! He smiled wickedly, “At least I hit the ball.”
The other guys laughed at that.
“What?” I snapped at them.
“Hey, just because you can’t handle the American greatness, there’s no need to get too excited.” Said Jamie, causing them to laugh again.
“Greatness?” I sniggered, “I could handle your greatness.”
Connor and Ayo burst out in laughter at that.
We turned to look at them. I wasn’t sure what they were getting at, but once my mind noticed the sexual undertone I quickly began to blush.
Jon turned to Max, “What did he say?” He asked, clearly confused as to why they were laughing.
I looked at Connor. Every time he’d begin to stop laughing he’d catch Ayo’s eye and they’d begin again. They were useless.
“Alright guys, calm down.” Said Dean, before he chewed on a bar of chocolate.
“Hey, you sorted out that Eddie kid?” Asked Max, taking about the guy who was dating Sam.
Jamie nodded, “I spoke to her, but she didn’t want to listen much.”
I glanced around the room, seeing if Sam was there. She wasn’t, but Li was. My eyes noticed her as she glanced over briefly. Her look never made it to Jamie though, as she noticed my stare first, before she looked away. While there was little that I could do about the whole thing, I still felt uneasy.
“Eddie? Yeah, I hate that kid.” Nodded Dean, “Almost hit the guy the other day.”
“Yeah, we heard.” Said Jamie.
I leaned closer to him, “What happened to you being the big brother? It’s your JOB to check the guys she dates.” I grinned, “Unless they meet your ‘approval’, they’re out the door.”
He smiled, “I wish it were that simple.” He said, “But don’t worry. I’ll speak to Mom about it.”
“Mom.” I said in my American accent.
He shoved me lightly.
I loved having that little banter with him, especially when it involved that heavenly accent of his. I swear, sometimes I’d almost forget about it, until I heard his angelic voice again, once again reminding me that I was dating an American. I dunno, it just made things hotter. It was just him being from a different country made me wonder if I was getting a better deal than other people.
Sure he behaved ever so slightly different, and obviously had that accent, but I wondered what else was different because of that fact. He did LOOK different, I mean he looked American, with that tan and dirty blond hair. Smell? Did Jamie smell different? I wasn’t sure. Everyone had their own smell, Connor, Ayo, Max. They were all different and Jamie was no exception there. But what about his taste? That was hard because I had no one to compare him by. But he did taste good. In every sense of the word.
He raised one of his thin eyebrows, “What?” He asked playfully, as though he knew I was thinking about him.
“Nothing.” I replied with a smile.
He nodded and we went back to talking to the guys.
After we finished eating, we headed out for a bit and kicked a ball about for a while. Dean took the time to try to teach Jamie a few things, mostly how to stop me from ‘performing’ that trick I done on him during our P.E. lesson. It was clear he wanted to learn, and was quite quick to pick it up. Of course the fact that he liked sports helped out there, but it was still great to see the grin on his face when he done something right, or rather, when he stopped my ‘tricks’ from working.
Jamie tackled me, using a technique that Dean had taught him. “Who’s got the skills now?” He teased, as he stood with the ball at his feet.
I was going to let him keep the ball, but ultimately my competitive side caused me to jog over to him. He turned and tried to escape with the ball, but I sprinted after him. I ran up behind him, making it look as though I was going to tackle him, but instead I reached out and grabbed the ticklish area beneath his armpits, causing him to lose concentration for a moment.
“Cheater!” He cried, as he tried to wave me off.
I shoved up against his side, my foot ready to steal away the ball, but he tried to use a technique that Dean had taught him, only he didn’t account for my leg in the way. So he stuck his foot out, which caused me to topple over the ball, and Jamie to topple over me. I landed with a thud on the ground, and then had Jamie’s shoulder hit my chest as he fell next to me.
“Oww!” I groaned. It hardly hurt, but I wanted to dramatise it.
Jamie moaned from the impact, “Why’d you trip me up?”
I tried to sit up, but had half of Jamie laying on me, “Uh, move it Keller, you’re crushing me.” I joked.
He moaned again, “It didn’t crush you yesterday.” He replied, as he sat up.
“Yesterday?” I questioned, as I brushed off the grass that was stuck to my trousers.
“I meant the day before, you know, on Saturday.” He replied, standing up.
I stood up alongside him, struggling to remember Jamie falling on top of me during the past weekend.
He walked in front of me, his back towards the other guys, who were quite a bit away from us, “In bed.” He added, “You remember that, don’t you?”
I smiled sheepishly, “Yeah.” I replied, before I flashed him a toothy grin, “I remember it crushing me then too.” I joked, before I cocked my head, “How much do you weigh anyways?”
He reached down, grabbed the ball, and threw it at me, “Bastard.” He said, as he took off towards the other guys.
I laughed after him, as I flicked up the ball and kicked it over to the guys. I watched Jamie as he ran over to them. I was definitely going to get my own back on him. He wasn’t going to get away with that!
flicked over the paper, revealing Page Three of The Sun,
a tabloid newspaper, which was famous for its topless woman displayed
on the third page. My eyes scanned the image briefly, before looking
up at Connor. Like me, he took a glance at the page, only lingering
slightly longer. That didn’t phase me, but it was Jamie who
really intrigued me. He was staring at the image!
We were in our last lesson of the day, art, and we were about to start a new coursework piece. For that piece I had chosen to use paint, so I needed to lay newspaper down on the table before I began. Connor decided to take the opportunity to quickly look at the pages, before he found what he was looking for: the topless model. He was doing it as more of a joke, because he knew that neither Jamie nor I would get any ‘benefit’ from it, unlike he would. Connor looked at the image for a few seconds, before he headed off to get some large A2 sheets of paper.
Jamie’s eyes connected with mine and I purposely glanced down at his groin and then back up to his face. “Just checking.” I replied.
“If a topless woman turns you on.”
He laughed, “I was just looking.”
“Burning holes in her breasts with your eyes more like.”
He laughed again.
I winked at him, before I started to pour the paint onto my palette.
“Would it bother you?” He asked.
“Would what bother me?”
“If I liked women too?”
“Like if you were Bi?”
I thought for a moment. The idea of Jamie being with a woman didn’t sit too well with me, saying that, imagining him with another guy didn’t sit too well with me either. It wasn’t a gender issue, I just didn’t want to think about him being with someone else, anyone else while he was with me. “No.” I replied honestly, “It wouldn’t bother me.” I paused and looked at him, “Why, do you like girls too?”
He shook his head, “No, I’m really…” He lowered his voice, “Gay. I was just wondering what you thought about it.”
I nodded, “What about you? I mean, if it were me?”
He shrugged, “Wouldn’t bother me.” He replied, “Do you only like…guys?”
“Yeah, just guys. Well just you.”
“Get a room!” Said Connor, pointing fun at our whispering.
I looked at him, wanting to come up with a smart reply, but I decided to let it drop.
So with our little conversation out of the way, we began to work on our art. I say art, while in practise I didn’t see myself as that much of an artist. Jamie would’ve been the first to disagree though, as he said, in his words, that my work was ‘beautiful’. It felt great to have my boyfriend praise me like that, especially when I could see that he genuinely meant it. Of course I gave him a fair share of praise too, as his work was nothing less than stunning. For someone so calm and playful, he sure had a technical mind when it came to art. I’d asked him before if he wanted to be an architect, or some kind of engineer, to which he replied with a ‘don’t know’, or a ‘not sure’.
In that regard, he was in a similar boat to me. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do in my life either. I’d thought about many things, from a career in the media, to a career in advertising or something. I didn’t know. As for Connor and Max, they both had a general idea of where they were heading. Max was very interested in drama, and wanted to become an actor. And Connor was interested in physiotherapy, particularly that which specialised with football in mind. They were both completely different fields of study, yet interesting in their own regard. I guess Jamie and I just needed some more time before we found something that appealed to us.
Still, I didn’t fret about it, it was just something that I needed to be aware of. But I must admit that there were times when I’d lay awake on the fold-up bed in Connor’s room and would imagine what the future would hold. Sure I was only sixteen, but a lot had happened to me during those weeks and months, so it was only natural for me to have looked ahead. I’d try to imagine what life would be like ten years into the future, and once I’d done that, I’d imagine twenty years into the future. Each of them featured Jamie, and each of them were great. But none of them featured my parents. Not because they didn’t deserve a place in my future, but simply because I wasn’t sure which part they’d play, or how big a role they’d have. I was very much unsure of them in that regard, but like everything else I had pictured, I’d just have to wait and see.
could handle his greatness!”
Spoke Connor, mocking me, and causing Ayo to laugh.
It was after school on our journey back to Connor’s house. Ayo was walking with us, while Max had to pick up his younger sister from school, before he could head over. Adam and Josh were walking a bit ahead of us, which gave us the chance to be a little more…mature. Well, at least in a joking manner.
“You have such a dirty mind, Con.” I said, “And you too, Ayo. I thought you were innocent amongst us!”
Connor smiled, “We’re not all that innocent, are we, Matt?” He replied suggestively.
I blushed, “What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, before I raised my hand, “No, don’t answer that one.”
Conner and Ayo giggled again.
I turned to Jamie, “I guess this is what we have to put up with.”
He nodded, “Yeah. But we’ll wait until they’re dating, and then we’ll have some fun.”
I grinned, “Sounds good.” I replied, eyeing Connor, “In fact, I think I’d better count those strawberry ‘sweets’ again. Just in case any went missing!”
Connor shook his head, “They should all be there…unless you’ve been helping yourself!” He retorted.
I faked a gasp, “Connor Reed! How dare you!”
Jamie reached out and squeezed my shoulder, “You tell him how it is Honey!”
I faced him, “Honey? You’re calling me Honey now?”
“Yes.” He winked.
“Seriously, get a room guys.” Said Connor, “But not mine. My bed sheets have been washed.”
I turned around, “Dude! I wouldn’t use your room!”
Connor was about to say something, before Adam and Josh walked back towards us, “Hey, Jamie, do you wanna play some baseball when we get home?” Asked Adam. “I’ve been working on my swing, like you said.”
I felt a pang of pride flow through me then. Yep, my boyfriend was the ‘awesome’ guy too!
Jamie glanced at me, “Uh…” I could tell he wanted to hang out, any excuse to sneak in some baseball, but he didn’t want to abandon me.
I nodded, “Go. They are in desperate need of your talent!”
Connor smiled, “Yeah, but only Matt can handle the greatness!”
Ayo laughed again, as Josh and Adam wore expressions of confusion.
I reached out and punched Connor lightly, “Shut up.”
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