Broken Facades

by Alex Nelson

Chapter 29



Walking to third period class my, mind was wandering. That's why I didn't hear my name being called.

"Bro, I've been calling you for like the past minute! What's wrong with you?" Brad asked as he reached me and put his arm around my shoulder.


"Alex, Bro what's wrong with you?"

"Nothing" I said, as I looked away from him. I couldn't face him.

"Bull shit! You can tell me. There's something wrong with you," he said as we stopped and went to the side of the hall out of traffic. "Fess up!"

"You're going to be mad."

"No I won't," he said with a smile.

"Fine. Justin called my house three weeks ago and I'm just thinking about it," I told him as I leaned against the wall and slowly slid to the floor.

"What did he say?" he said now looking away from me as he too leaned against the wall and slid to the floor beside me.

"Well it happened about three weeks ago. I didn't talk to him. I picked up the phone and heard him talking to CJ." I started to smile as I remembered him talking to CJ.

"So what did they talk about?"

"It wasn't what they talked about, it was how he sounded. He just sounded so sad. I don't know what to do. Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure," he said as he leaned closer to me.

"Do you hate Justin?"

"Honestly, no. I don't hate Justin. I never did. I just don't know what it's going to take for me to want to talk to him. What about you?"

"Same. I don't know what it's going to take either," I said as I hugged him. " I was watching him in class today. Up until about a month ago most of the time he was watching me. This time I was looking at him and he never looked at me the whole class."

"That's weird," Brad said with a concerned look on his face.

"I know," I said as we kept looking at each in silence.

Brad finally spoke up. "Can I tell you something?" he asked, still holding onto me.

"Sure," I said, looking into his eyes.

"I ... kinda miss him," he said. "It's like a part of me is missing."

"That's exactly how I feel. Should we try to do something about it?" I asked as we started to get up.

"I don't know, I need to think. How about we do lunch here in the cafeteria? Meet me in front of Alisa's fourth period class."

"Cool," I said as we split to go to third period.


I had a bad feeling in the middle of the night and couldn't fall asleep. I couldn't wait to get to school. The feeling was still with me in the morning. I knew I needed to talk to them, and I thought the only person who could talk some sense into the hardheaded boys was a tough girl. I always passed her on the way to fourth period, the last class before lunch. I approached her from across the hall.

"Alisa, we need to talk," I said as I walked over to her.

"What Kate? I'm running late."

"This wont take long, it's about Justin."

"Kate ... I don't want to talk about Justin. Please!."

"Look, I know you, Alex and Brad are still upset, but it's been 2 months since you guys found out about him and he's a wreck. Haven't you seen him lately? He doesn't talk to anyone and just walks around going from class to class. I'm really getting worried."

"Kate, I've tried to stay away from Justin and your boyfriend. You may be falling for Tony, but I can't forgive the them for the things that they did to Brad."

"You can't tell me that you don't care about Justin."

"I never said I didn't. I just don't want to deal with him."

"Well, all I'm asking is the next time you see him just watch him. Please!" I said as I walked away to my class, the seed having now been sown. Even if they didn't talk to him they'd see the shape that he was in and hopefully do something.


As she walked away I started thinking maybe she was right and it was time. As I quickly made it to Brad and my meeting place and sat down, I started thinking. I hadn't seen Justin around, which was odd. For the first few weeks he was following us and was calling us every day. At first we just tried to avoid Justin, but that was hard, so we started hiding from him. That's why we started to eat out at the track. After the state title game he stopped calling our houses, then two weeks later he stopped following us and seemed to disappear from campus. In fact, he wasn't the only one who was missing. It had been a few weeks since Brad, Alex and I got together as a threesome. Mainly it was Alex, I think. He was having a hard time because he had Justin in Bio Class. I jumped as everything went dark

"Guess who?"

"Hey baby," I said as I pulled his arm around me and looked back and kissed him.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing baby I'm just thinking," I said, holding his hand as he walked around to face me.

"I think you're fibbing," he said. "I know what you're thinking about, you're thinking about Justin," he said with a smile

"How did you know?" I asked looking puzzled.

"Lets just say that you're not the first person I had this talk with."

"You too?" I asked.

"Kate?" he asked.

I nodded. "She wanted me to look out for Justin, watch him for some reason. Was it Alex?"

"Yep, he wanted to ask how I felt about Justin," he said, then kissed me. "So what are you feeling?" he asked as he took my hand in his.

"I don't know, its like ..."

"A part of you is missing," he said as he interrupted me. Brad smiled and we got up and started walking toward his class, which was on the way to mine. "Alex and I feel the same way."

"So what are we going to do?"

"Well, we'll stop avoiding him. If he wants to talk we'll listen, but if he wants it he'll have to come to us," he said as he pulled me into a hug. "Pick you up for lunch. We're going to try something different, today," he said with a smile.


I spotted Tony sitting at our table with the Jocks when I entered the lunchroom. "Tony, have you seen Justin today?" I tried to hide the worry from him, but I know he could tell something was bothering me.

"No I haven't. What's wrong, baby?" he asked as he reached for my hand and we walked away from the table.

"Nothing, I just got a bad feeling in the middle of the night," I said, still scanning the room for Brad, Alex, Alisa or even Justin

"Was it the storm last night?" he asked, now looking around himself.

"No, I just have a funny feeling that something is not right." I realized that they weren't in the cafeteria yet.

"Who are you looking for?"

"I have to talk to Alex, Brad and Alisa." He gave me a look. "I know you don't like them for what they did to Justin, but I think I can get through to them." I was still looking around. "I'll have to tell them everything."

"What do you mean by that?" he asked.

"Nothing sweetheart, I just have to talk to them alone. I'll catch up to you after lunch."

"But if there is something about Justin, I think I should know about it."

"Baby, I'll tell you, but not now. Trust me. I am so proud of you. They may not see any changes in you, but I do. You are a caring soul and ... I love you." I kissed him deeply and passionately. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Alex, Brad and Alisa entering the lunchroom. Good! I found them.


"Ok, not much has changed in two months," I said, trying to break the ice. We had not hung out as a group in about two weeks.

"What were you expecting, a Mickey D to be installed?" Alex kidded as we looked for seats.

I saw Kate approaching and figured she was ready to talk about Justin. "Hi Kate."

"I am so glad you guys came. Thanks Alisa."

"Don't thank us yet. You haven't heard our terms yet."

"Whatever you are going to say, I know I can change you minds. We really have to talk, but not in here."

"What's your boyfriend going to say?"

"Don't worry about Tony, Alex. He's really changed a lot. I only wish you guys would give him a chance," she said. "Lets go outside. There's something I should have told you guys over three months ago, no a long time ago."


I couldn't believe she trusted those jerks with stuff about Justin. They were only going to hurt him again. I wondered what she was going to tell them. I had to know. She should have been able to tell me. I mean I was her boyfriend and Justin's best friend. I had to follow them.


I led them away from the building and off to a side of the school no one went to during lunch.

"Damn Kate, if you wanted to off us now would be the time. Nobody ever comes out here anymore. You could hide our bodies right here," Brad said, trying to get me to laugh, but I couldn't.

"First, before I start you have to let me finish before any questions or comments. I didn't think you guys would have stayed mad at Justin this long. If I had known I would have said something a hell of a lot earlier. You guys have a right to be mad at him, but you don't know the whole story. The only reason I'm telling you this is that Justin is really depressed. I think he might hurt himself."

"Come on Kate, Justin isn't that stupid," Alex said.

"You guys haven't seen him for the last few weeks. Tony and I have, and there's been big a change in him."

"What makes you think he's depressed?"

"Well, first he's very withdrawn, and for Justin that's not normal. Second, he misses you guys terribly. He's given up hope that you'll ever come back because of what he did."

"Yeah, what he did to me," Brad said. "Look I don't hate Justin. In fact, if we see him to day and he comes over to us we're going to talk to him."

"That's just it! I don't think you will see him today or ever again. I woke up last night and had this bad feeling that something has or is going to push Justin over the edge. It's going to be my fault, too. Like Justin, I hid something from everyone for a long time. Justin loves all of you so much that losing your friendship for a second time has been very painful." I looked into Brad's eyes. "Losing you, Brad, and what he did to you hurt him the most, because while he may love Alex, Alisa and me he ... ah ... " I was about to change Justin's life without his permission, but I had to and the only way to say it was just to get it out. "He's in love with you Brad. Justin's gay."

"WHAT???" Alex and Brad asked together.

"No way ... he couldn't ..." Brad said as he slowly sat on the ground.

"He can't be! How? When did this happen?" Alex asked as he too sat on the ground.

"I suspected since the ninth grade when we started going out. He never wanted to do anything but kiss. I tried everything, then I started noticing how he would perk up whenever Brad was around. Then when the rumor started he got real mad at you. He never wanted to talk about you or Alex or Alisa" Then around the middle of the tenth grade, you'd walk past us and he'd watch you the whole time. That's when I started to notice the look he always gave you when you guys were around. About three month ago I found him at my front door soaking wet. It was the day before you guys got back together. We finally made love that night, but he was out of it and thought he was with Brad." I looked at Brad with a nervous smile, "He loves you Brad, and it's killing him that you're mad at him."

"I don't understand why he would start a rumor about me being gay when he is the one who is gay," Brad said.

"Fear, anger, I don't know. Maybe he thought you really were and got mad because he was thinking about you in that way. Maybe it was only to hide himself. Only Justin can tell you that." I noticed Alisa fretting, " Alisa, are you ok?"

"No not really I ... have something to say. In the back of my mind I think I knew. God, how could I not have seen it after the four of us got back together? When Brad told us he wasn't gay the look on Justin's face was like someone ripped his heart out. When... when I told Brad I love him he had that same look...oh my God!" Alisa cried.

"I saw that look, Alisa. I thought it was because he wanted you himself. Oh God, if he hurts himself It'll be all my fault," Brad said with tears rolling down his cheeks.

"Holy shit! I saw it too. Oh man, and I wouldn't listen to him when he begged me to. I think he was going to tell me then," Alex said. He stood up and ran off.

"Alex wait!" Alisa shouted. He stopped

"Alisa, we have to find him!" Alex said with tears filling up his eyes.

"Guys, calm down. Nobody else knows. I didn't tell anyone."

"Not even Tony?" Alisa asked.

"God no, I don't think Tony could handle it. Telling him would blow his stereotype of a gay person out of the water. We don't have to worry about him. He doesn't know, so he can't push him over the edge."

"Fine. I say we go back to the cafeteria right now and start there," Brad said as we headed in that direction.


"It can't be, he can't be. She's wrong!" I thought as I entered the bathroom. I needed to wash my face. I could not describe the shock. Suddenly the door opened and there he was in front me in the bathroom.

"Justin?" I called to him, and he looked up. I turned around and locked the door. I looked at him and we held eye contact. He had this puzzled look on his face and after about thirty seconds his expression changed. That was when he knew I knew. Panic rushed to his face as he ran for the door I stood my ground and would not let him pass.


"What do you want, Tony?"

"Is it true?" He wouldn't answer me. "Is it true?"

"How did you find out?"

"Does it matter? I just want to know if it is true. Well is it?

"YES IT'S TRUE...I'M A FAG, A FAGGOT," I saw tears starting to come out of his eyes and roll down his cheek.

"Stop it!" I said, shaking my head as I could feel tears running down my own face.

"QUEER, HOMO, FUGDEPACKER!" he shouted again.

"Stop it! Please stop!" I cried.


"STOP IT! YOU ARE NOT GAY!" He stopped calling himself those terrible names "You can't be ... You're Justin Kemper," I said as I reached out to him.

"Face it, Tony. Your hero quarterback is just some fag." His tears were flowing freely now.

"Stop saying that!" I shouted and grabbed him, wanting to shake it out of him. He pushed my arms away and hit me in the stomach, knocking me to the floor. I had the wind knock out of me, and I was crying and confused.

"Watch it Tony, this fag fights back," he said, still crying but with a smirk now on his face. "But not to worry," he said as he picked up his bag and walked to the door and unlocked it. Without turning around he said, "Soon there'll be one less Fag for you to worry about. Goodbye Tony." Then he walked out the door

"Justin!" all I could do was yell.


After looking around the cafeteria for 15 minutes and not finding him, we started to walk out of the cafeteria and saw Tony limping towards us, we all ran to him. I could hear Kate

"Oh no what happened to you?

"Justin. I found him," he said as the girls held him up.

"Justin did this? Why would he beat you up, what did you say to him?" Alex asked. I could tell that Alex was getting furious.

"I know," he said as he looked around.

"You know what?" Alex asked as he started to lean into his face.

"I know everything," he said, looking down at his feet as we neared a bench off to the side and away from the crowd..

"Oh my god, Tony! How did you find out?" Kate asked

"I followed you guys and hid and listen to you."

"Way to go Tony. Good job"

"Bite me Alex, he's my friend too."

"Alex, please..." Kate said.

"I left right when you said that Justin's ... .Justin 's, you know ... I headed to the bathroom and bumped into him there."

"Oh no! You didn't say anything did you?" Brad asked.

"I asked if it was true and he said yeah. I tried to stop him from leaving and he punched me out. That's not the bad part, he told me not to worry about him being gay because soon there'll be one less fag for me to worry about."


It's over, I thought when I was a block away from my house. My life is over and not worth anything. I reached into my bag and pulled out the sleeping pills as I pulled in the garage. I ran into the house and got a bottle of vodka, then went back to my car and swallowed the bottle of pills with the vodka. There had to be about 30 pills in it. I bought them a few months ago to help me sleep right after the break-up. I turned my engine on and put in my re-mixed version of Sarah Mclachlan's 'Fear and Silence' on my CD player and closed the garage door. Now I would just wait for the darkness to come and claim me.


"Shit great! I swear to God if anything happens ... " Alex said, getting in Tony's face.

"Hey, fuck you!" Tony said, standing up and not backing away. "If you guys weren't such assholes to Justin he wouldn't be all depressed and shit. So if anyone is to blame it's you guys. Kate and I stood by him."

"Stop it! We don't have time for this, I just want to find him! Will you please put aside your differences. I 'm going to his house. It's only five minutes away. I think that's where he'd go. Whoever's coming, move your ass. Alisa I'm going to need your cell phone."


Bang, Bang, Bang

I hear the music. It sounds so beautiful. I feel like I am floating, everything is calm. I feel so at peace. What is that noise? It's getting louder.


Morning smiles

Like the face of a newborn child

Bang, Bang, Bang

Innocent unknowing

Winter's end

Bang, Bang, Bang

Promises of a long lost friend

Speaks to me of comfort


Bang, Bang, Bang

But I fear

I have nothing to give

"I can hear his engine running!"

I have so much to lose here in this lonely place

Tangled up in your embrace

There's nothing I'd like better than to fall

"Oh my God!"

"Call 911!"

But I fear

I have nothing to give

"Yes, hello operator! I have a carbon monoxide poisoning at 3245 Victory Circle!"

"Yes, it's an attempted suicide!"

Wind in time

Rapes the flower trembling on the vine

And nothing leads to shelter it

"I don't know. We're trying to get in his garage now!"

"His name is Justin Mitchell Kemper."

"Alex, do you remember his code?"

From above

They say temptation will destroy our love

The never-ending hunger

"I think I do. Let me try!"

"His birth date is April 14, 1986. He's 17."

But I fear

I have nothing to give

I have so much to lose here in this lonely place

"Go man, go!"

"Yes got's opening, it's opening!"

"Cough, Cough, Cough"

Tangled up in our embrace

There's nothing I'd like better than to fall

But I fear

"Justin. Cough, Cough, Cough"

"Justin! Cough, Cough, Cough"

"Cough, Cough, Cough"

"You guys can't go in there!"

I have nothing to give

I have so much to lose

I have nothing to give

We have so much to lose

"Like hell we cant! Cough, Cough, Cough"

"Cough, Cough, Cough"

Give me release

Witness me

I am outside

"Brad! Tony! Alex! WAIT!"

"Brad, Tony and I will grab him and carry him out."

"Guys look! Cough, Cough, Cough"

"On the seat! Cough, Cough, Cough"

Give me peace

Heaven holds a sense of wonder

And I wanted to believe that I'd get caught up

"Holy shit! Justin! Cough, Cough, Cough!

"What did you find?"

"This! Cough, Cough, Cough"

When the rage in me subsides

Passion chokes the flower

Until she cries no more

"Tell the EMT he took this! Cough, Cough, Cough"

"Cough, Cough, Sleeping pills called somenex!"

Possessing all the beauty

Hungry still for more

Heaven holds a sense of wonder

"Cough, Cough, Cough"

"Yes operator, we're in and pulling him out!"

And I wanted to believe that I'd get caught up

when the rage in me subsides

In this white wave

Cough, Cough, Cough

"Oh god, Justin!"

I am sinking

In this silence

In this white wave

In this silence

I believe

"He took these."

"They're sleeping pills called somenex!"!

I can't help this longing

Comfort me

I can't hold it all in

"Cough, Cough, Cough"

"Lay him down. I don't think he's breathing!"

If you won't let me

Heaven holds a sense a wonder

And I wanted to believe that I'd get caught up

"Tony get back! I have to start CPR!"

"The EMT's are about 7 minutes out."

When the rage in me subsides

In this white wave

I am sinking

"I can't find a pulse!"

"Come on Justin!"

In this silence

"1 and ..."

In this white wave

In this silence

"2 and ..."

"Come on Justin, please!"

"How can I forgive you if you die man?"

"Don't you fucking die on me!"

I believe

I have seen you

"3 and ..."


In this white wave

"If you die on me man...I'll kick your ass!"

"You mother fucker! Don t you dare die on me!"

You are silent


"4 and ..."

You are breathing


In this white wave

"Justin. Oh God, Justin!"

"5 and ..."

"Did someone call his parents?"

I am free