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*(Previous Statement May Not Be True)


- I saw Stevie today....

I think I did it mostly because I called Brandon this morning...and found myself getting really really nervous over the sound of his voice. I mean...the feeling was almost exactly like it was the first time I ever talked to him. That really mushy, queasy, jittery feeling in the center of my stomach. That chill. That full body buzz. Wow....I thought I had gotten over all that weirdness with him. But the second I dialed his number and heard the first ring, I felt the flutter of angry batwings in my gut, and I could hardly speak to him without wanting to hang up on him and just pretend that our service got cut off or something.

Anyway, I was actually the one who suggested that we see Stevie in the hospital. I don't know why I came up with that brilliant plan of action when I could have spent the day alone with Brandon in the mall or something. But to be totally honest, I'm kinda glad that I did it.

I told Brandon that I would meet him at the hospital, but I ended up arriving about ten minutes earlier than he did. Luckily, he told me what room to go to and all. I could have just waited in the lobby until Brandon got there, but...I don't know. Curiosity got the best of me, I guess.

I was worried that I was going to see Stevie looking like some sort of dramatic, hellish, monster with tubes coming out of him and machines beeping and breathing machines and the like. But as I gave his door a few light knocks and peeked inside, he was just sitting up in his bed, watching cartoons on a portable DVD player and eating butter pecan ice cream out of a plastic cup. Except for a bruise on the side of his jaw and a small gash on his forehead, he looked fine.

He's like, "Billy? Well, this is a surprise. Dude, come in."

I'm like, "You're surprised? I came in here expecting to find you in an oxygen tank or something, and you're sitting here watching cartoons?"

He grinned and said, "What can I say? I got tired of watching hundreds of Maury Povich paternity tests on regular TV. So my dad brought me this to keep me entertained."

I smiled, like, "Dude, you are so missing the point. I was actually kinda worried about you for a while there."

I think he actually blushed for a moment. He said, "Get out of here. I don't believe that for a minute." He grinned. He's like, "Now, if you had told me that you were sneaking in here to finish me off by smothering me with a pillow...that might be more credible."

We shared a smile, but then I asked, "Seriously though..I're ok and all?"

Stevie sighed, "Yeah. I'll be alright. A little banged up, but nothing to sweat. I barely remember it at all. I'm coming back to school on Tuesday. Just gotta wait for the doc to give me one last check up and sign me out of here."

I said, "That's good. Really good." Stevie scooted over in his bed to give me room to sit next to him and share his DVD screen with me. But I felt a bit awkward that 'cozy' with him at that moment. I know that he was being sweet, but lets not go pretending that we were actual friends or anything. He's still my ex's ex. I said, "I heard that they arrested the jerks who did this. Are you still thinking about pressing charges?"

He thought about it for a second, and a sad look came over his face. He's like, "I've been thinking about that. I've been thinking about it a lot, actually. If I don't, if I let them get away with this...they're just going to get away with it. What's worse, they might even do it again to somebody else. Next time with a higher flight of stars. They might not be as lucky as I was." Then Stevie paused and said, "But...if I do say something...if I press charges...then I'm going to have to answer a whole lot of questions. And I want to tell the truth. The whole truth."

I asked, "What do you mean?"

He said, "I'm going to have to come out of the closet, Billy. everybody. They're going to know about me from now on."

Thinking about it, I told him, "Well, I don't know if you have to go through all of that drama, Stevie. I could just say that they were picking on you for the simple fact that they were bigger than you. The stuff they were doesn't have to be true."

He's like, "Yeah, but it is true. I know it. You know it. And somehow, it seems like they knew it too." Then he tells me, "To be totally honest, Billy, once I took some time and thought it out...I kinda started looking forward to it. I mean...all of those people whispering and gossiping, 'is he' or 'isn't he'....I'd rather just be done with it all, you know? Just put my cards on the table and stop waiting for someone to call my bluff."

I wrinkled my brow a bit, and asked, "But...why? Don't you think it's gonna cause more problems than you've got already?"

He's like, "Maybe. But so what? The longer I hide, the more damage I'm doing to my self esteem. The truth is, there's nothing wrong with me. I am who I am. People need to grow up. And I'm not going to let them shame me into the back of the room anymore. This is ridiculous. I have to be hospitalized just because they don't share my attraction for other boys? They might as well beat me up for not liking the same flavor of ice cream." He shifted a bit to sit up straight, and he said, "I'm not going to fool myself into believing that this situation is going to turn me into a Gandhi or a Rosa Parks for gay youth all over the globe. But at the end of the day, if I don't start fighting for my own freedom and happiness, then no one else will either. Enough is enough. Their bullying isn't going to change who I am, no matter HOW much they hate me. And it's about time they found out just how pointless it is to even try." He smiled at me, and he said, "Hey, if this is the worst that they can do, and I survived it...then they're not so big and bad after all. If I'm going to build up a tolerance to that kind of ignorance...I might as well start now. Right?"

What could I say? I mean...I kinda had to respect that. Lord knows that I wouldn't have the courage to do that. Maybe someday but certainly not now. So I told him, "Well...I guess that I'll have to wish you the best of luck with that. I mean it."

He's like, "I believe you." But then his smiled faded slightly, and he said, "You know...when I come back to school and this all goes down...I'll understand if you don't want to talk to me in the halls anymore. For reputation's sake."

I'm like, "I never really talked to you in the halls anyway."

Stevie snickered, and he's like, "This is true."

But after a short pause, I simply told him, "I've got no problem if you don't." I think that really made him feel better. I don't know why talking to me would be a concern for him, considering our past history with one another. But I don't think it was MY particular involvement that worried him. It was just the fact that someone, anyone was willing to stand by him through what might be heading his way was enough to make him smile.

It was then that there was another knock at the door, and Brandon walked in. He's like, "I'm sorry. I missed the first bus." We all talked for a minute or two, and I noticed that Brandon had no trouble at all with sitting on the bed with Stevie and stretching his legs out. Maybe it was just me, but they looked...comfortable. They were so close that a tiny little sting of jealousy went through me, and I was forced to look away to keep my more 'challenging' instincts began to show.

After about twenty minutes, Brandon got thirsty and got up to go down to the vending machine a the end of the hall. He was nice enough to ask us both if we wanted anything, but we declined. He left the room, and Stevie giggled to himself. He was like, "He's so goofy. It's cute though. I can't believe how cute he is sometimes."

Feeling a bit uncomfortable, I shrugged one of my shoulders and said, "Yeah. I guess so."

Stevie flashed me a sly smile and said, "Dude...don't even try it. You might think you're fooling everybody, but the second that boy walked in the room you started to glow like a light bulb. Anybody who's watching closely enough can see it."

I'm like. "Well, it's wasted. So....whatever. I'm cool with just being friends."

Stevie's like, "Love like that is never wasted. Not unless you're holding it back. And why do that? What's keeping you from telling him how you feel?"

I just wanted to avoid the conversation altogether. I said, "I don't think he'd want to hear it. Not from me."

Stevie's like, "You'd be surprised what Brandon might want to hear." Then he told me, "You're wasting time, you know? If you feel nervous about it...then do it for him. That love? That warm feeling in the center of your heart that makes you really care about him....use that. You have the power to make him happy, Billy. And he has the power to do the same for you. I don't think you guys have some two week high school relationship going here. Whatever it is you two goes so much deeper than that. And deep know it. Don't you?"

I nodded. But I said, "Can I just say that this is really awkward...coming from you. Hehehe!"

He's like, "Don't worry. I'm hot. Once I come out, I'll beating the boys off with a stick."

I'm like, "Or just beating off...."

He said, "Well, that's not going to stop, anyway. TEN boyfriends can't replace that kind of joy. Although they may rob me of a big finish from the drain." We were both giggling as Brandon came back into the room. He asked us what was so funny, but we kept that our little secret.

I think we stayed with Stevie for about an hour and a half, and we gave him a hug before leaving. Brandon gave him a kiss on the cheek. Grrrr! Whatever. But Stevie gave me a secret wink as we were leaving his room, and even though that feeling of discomfort and panic was causing me to tremble visibly while standing next to Brandon in the elevator...I fought, and I mean FOUGHT, to speak before I lost my chance. Even though I was scared out of my mind....this was the boy of my dreams here. It's do or die time.

I'm like, "I'm glad we did this today. I mean, Stevie's doing was a good day."

He said, "Yeah. I was SO scared that something was going to go wrong before. But once he woke up, I knew that he'd be back to his old self soon. He's always quick to bounce back from just about everything that comes his way."

I'm like, "Yeah....." I felt the cold chill of fear grip me again, but waded through it. I said, " wasn't just a good day because of Stevie. I mean...I missed you. I'm glad we got to hang out." Then I added, " make me smile. You know? Being around makes me feel good." I was hoping that it didn't come off as weird as it sounded to me, but Brandon seemed to get slightly uncomfortable himself all of a sudden.

He said, "I...I liked I" Hehehe, I didn't know what that meant, but it was so darn cute that I had to fight from kissing him right there on the spot! It made me grin from ear to ear, and my nerves began to vibrate passionately in his presence all over again.

I said, "You know, the afternoon doesn't have to end here. I mean....we still have a couple of iced coffees waiting for us at the mall, right? Remember? Just...a chance for us to talk?"

Brandon avoided my eyes for a moment. He was like, "You know...maybe another time. Ok? I think...I think I just have some other things to do today. And some homework. And...stuff, you know?"

I tried not to let it show on my face, but I think my inflated heart was suddenly popped like a balloon when he said that. I was like, "Oh....oh, well....yeah, sure. Ok. Another time, maybe."

He was like, "Yeah. Maybe."

And....when we left the hospital, we went our separate ways. Another let down. Another disappointment. More emptiness to deal with. If Brandon supposedly loves me so much, then why is he being so emotionally distant from me? WHY? I wish this didn't hurt so much, but I can't seem to shake it. It burns. It really burns.

Maybe he's treating me the way I treat Lee. Just waiting for the right moment to give it to me straight and tell me to get lost. Heh...Stevie really had me going for a while there, you know?

But I do miss him. I do.

Sighhh....whatever. I've gotta go. Still got at LEAST an hour of homework to do before school tomorrow. So I'll write more soon. Already, I'm going to wear my wrist and fingers out just trying to write in this journal AND do my homework. Not to mention that I'm already exhausted and can barely keep my eyes open as it is. I'll write more later.


- Billy (Glad to see Stevie alive. Ugh...can't believe I just wrote that)

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