Disclaimer: This is the second chapter of Chances and Changes. Even though there be will no sex during the first couple of chapters, I plan to include some juicier bits about consenting teens of the same gender and about the same age. If any of that is offensive to you, stop reading. If you are younger than 18 years old, or whatever the legal age is in the country you currently reside in, stop reading this now. Any similarities between this story and real people, places or events is entirely coincidental, since this is a completely fictional story.
This story was written by me, Chris, and the only site that has a license to host this story at this time is nifty.org. Should anyone wish to host this story on another website, contact me under <firstname.lastname@example.org> and I will reply as soon as possible.
Also, if you have a penny to spare, please donate to nifty for their generous hosting!
Back to the fun stuff! Hi everyone, I’m Chris. This is the third chapter, one that was extremely challenging to write. Thank you all for your continued support! The e-mails I receive really mean a lot to me! If you have any feedback concerning the story, grammar or general writing or just want to chat, please shot me an e-mail! The address is <email@example.com>. I’m doing my best to write this story the way I would be happy with it as a reader, but I am no professional author and this is in fact the first time I am writing anything that isn’t an essay or a paper for university. This story won’t be the best you ever read, but I hope it’s worth the time you invest in it! Please enjoy the third installment of Chances and Changes.
Chances and Changes chapter 3
Nate tried to concentrate on the wood in his hands. He could feel the guitar vibrate as he strung a few chords. It was out of tune, so he twisted the pegs one after another, listening to the hum of every single string until he was satisfied. He started playing, now fully in his element and the stress of the last few weeks began to bleed out of him. Even though he had not played at all during the last three years, his fingers still remembered everything they needed. The positions came back to him effortlessly and for a while he managed to lose himself in the music.
‘God, I have missed this.’ Nate thought to himself, smiling. After the death of his mother and his prolonged stay at the hospital Nate had shied away from playing it. His father had tried talking him into picking it up again, but he had refused every single time, afraid that he wouldn’t be able to handle the memories of his mother. She had gotten him into music when he was still just a little boy and she had always loved listening to him play, even in the beginning, when he was still terrible at it. The memories did come and with them came warmth. Thinking of his mother brought back all the good things, none of the bad. He could feel her embrace, as he had whenever he’d had a bad nightmare. He could taste the chocolate chip cookies she had loved baking and he could hear her melodic laughter as he made a dorky grimace at her. He felt comforted and safe.
“Nate, that is amazing!” Nate flinched and was pulled out of his memories abruptly. This of course caused him to misplay horribly and produce a sound slightly reminiscent of a banshee’s screech.
“What are you doing here Sam?! How did you even get in?” Nate snapped, irritated at the sudden intrusion.
Sam looked hurt.
“I’m sorry I startled you. But I tried calling you from downstairs and you didn’t answer. As to how I got in, there is this thing called a door at the front of your house and your father knows how to operate it. It’s amazing what those things can do in the hands of a master.” She flashed him a sarcastic grin.
“Dad is home?” Nate asked dumbly, thinking to himself ‘How long have I been playing?’ It was his fingers that answered him with sharp pain. He hadn’t played for a long time and had lost most of the calluses and muscles in his left hand he needed to hold the strings in place.
Sam rolled her eyes at him “Obviously.”
“I’m sorry Sam, I didn’t mean to snap at you. You just startled me.”
“You’re forgiven.” She said with a smirk, sitting down next to him. “We’ve known each other forever and you never even mentioned you were a secret musical virtuoso?” She grinned at him.
“Forever? I moved here only a little over two months ago” Nate said with a raised eyebrow.
“I’m young and impressionable. Besides, two months feel like forever when I spend them with you” She laughed riotously at her jibe and Nate joined in after frowning at her for a second.
“So, did you come over just to hang out or is there something you want?” She smiled innocently, batting her eyes at him and making a pouty face.
“Can’t I just visit my very favorite person in the whole world without a reason?” she asked sweetly.
“Sure you can. Can I come with you, I’d like to meet that person. Do they live close by?” Nate said, the sarcasm practically oozing from his voice.
“Sure they do, very, very close” She gave him the big puppy eyes.
“Drop the act, Richards! We both know Mrs. Langmann gave you a bunch of math homework and you want my help.” She scowled at him.
“Fine, you win this one Blythe. So, will you help me?”
“What do I get from that arrangement?” He asked teasingly.
“I can promise something you will get if you don’t help me: I’ll tie you into a pretzel and feed you to Cloud.” Cloud was Sam’s dog that weighed about a thousand pounds on a good day and was aptly named, since he has very bushy, white fur. When she takes him for a walk it looks more like she is leading an actual cloud on a leash than a dog.
She whipped out her assignments and plopped herself down at Nate’s desk.
“I swear, someday I will start taking tutoring fees.” He said as he put the guitar back into its case and rose to sit beside her. For the next hour they diligently did their homework, Nate occasionally helping Sam when she got stuck on a particularly challenging problem. Sam was the first to break their studying spree:
“How are you?” She asked, with a concerned expression on her face.
“I’m fine” He tried to say it nonchalantly, but tensed up. Nate wasn’t particularly good at lying and it was easy for Sam to pick up on his mannerisms.
“Liar. Now, out with the truth, or Cloud gets a new chew toy.” Nate fidgeted in place a little, then relented.
“Not fine.” He sighed, leaning back far into his chair, sliding down until he was more lying in his chair than sitting in it.
“This entire thing is so frustrating, I want to scream. They hurl all these insults at me, faggot, butt pirate, fudge packer… And they don’t even know if I’m gay or not!” He sighed again.
“Are you?” the words slipped out of Sam’s mouth and she immediately looked uncomfortable. She probably hadn’t meant to ask him.
“Does it matter?”
“Not to me, it doesn’t!” She exclaimed resolutely.
“That’s not what I mean.” Nate replied with a sad smile.
“To them. They have these pictures of people in their head, you see. The truth isn’t what’s important, what’s important is what people believe to be true. They think I am gay, so I am” He lifted himself up a little and looked at Sam.
“I don’t know how long I can keep doing this, Sam. I try to ignore their taunts, jibes and insults, but it just gets worse every day. Charley and some other friends of Thomas’ were waiting for me after school yesterday but I managed to run away.” He laughed a little “I’m good at that.” Nate locked eyes with Sam
“I am, by the way.” He said
“You are what?” Sam had apparently forgotten she had blurted out the question a few seconds earlier.
“Really?!” She said, sounding excited.
“Yeah” Nate said, laughing. “Just don’t tell anybody, okay? Not even Dad knows.” He considered for a second “Though I guess it’s kind of a moot point now. Getting confirmation couldn’t make it any worse than it is.”
“What do you take me for, some airheaded, cheerleading gossip girl?” She huffed in exasperation.
“No, I guess not.” He looked at her “Thanks Sam.”
“For being my friend.” He smiled at her. “And for not freaking out about the whole gay thing. It felt good to tell someone.” This wasn’t the first time he had ever told someone, but this time it did feel good. He hadn’t expected it to be so… liberating. Sam gave him a big, rib-cracking hug.
“You have nothing to thank me for, doofus. You’re just as much my friend as I am yours.” She let go of him “Now that we’re done with the corny stuff, let’s play Need for Speed!”
“And this is why you are terrible at math” He said as she turned on his Playstation.
“This will be the most important project of the year.” Ms. Clementine explained in sociology class. Nate was curious, though he had trouble concentrating on school lately. Ms. Clementine was his favorite teacher and a project like that, with her in the lead, was sure to be cool.
“It will make up 80% of your grade. Failure or lack of participation will more than likely guarantee you fail not only the project but also the class.”
A low murmur had broken out among the students. They were getting really riled up now, as was Nate. Little did he suspect he would be the project’s most vehement opposer.
“This project was inspired by a paper written by Dr. Mendel, a very successful psychologist and sociologist, who is considered a distinguished expert in his field of study. Every sophomore student has sociology class and in every class the same project will be assigned to the students. Each of you will be paired with another student. The project consists of getting to know that student and writing an essay about their life. This includes their hobbies, their interests and, if necessary, their fears and hopes. Should I even suspect that one of you made anything up, you fail. Should you reveal anything personal about your partner that you learned in turn of the project without their consent, you fail. The beginning of the project is next week, on Monday. Each of you will present a piece of music to the class as an icebreaker. That song will be the starting point of your getting to know one another and I don’t care what you play, so long as it means something to you personally.”
The class grew louder as people confirmed with one another that they would work together. As the groups began to crystalize Nate was once again painfully reminded of his position as an outcast in school. There wouldn’t be anyone to work with him, and he would fail the project.
“Also” Ms. Clementine raised her voice “The teams will be assigned by me.” That quieted the class instantly. She began handing out folders to everyone. “On the cover of these folders is the name of your partner.” She gave Nate his and as he read the name of his partner he froze. “WHAT?!” Apparently Thomas had read Nate’s name on his own folder as he jumped up and shouted “You want me to work with that freak? That won’t happen!” “Mr. Evans!” Ms. Clementine reprimanded in a cold and steely voice. “The core of this project is to teach all of you respect for your peers!”
“Respect?” Thomas spat disgustedly “That retard doesn’t deserve respect.”
“Sit down and be quiet Mr. Evans, or I swear to God I will stop being pleasant.” Ms. Clementine wasn’t usually a teacher that ruled her class with an iron fist, but the look she gave Thomas scared everyone that got even a peripheral glance at it. Thomas sat down, but Nate, who had cowered down in his chair at the fight had had enough. “No Ms. Clementine. As much as I hate to say this, Evans is right. This project is bullshit. You say you want to teach us ‘respect for our peers’? You heard him, that will never happen. You want me to show him my life? Tell him about myself so he can use it as more ammo to humiliate me? I’m not an idiot Ms. Clementine, I’m not about to run face first into a brick wall for your entertainment.”
The more Nate spoke the angrier he got. He stood up, grabbed his book bag and turned to leave the classroom.
“Mr. Blythe, where are you going? This discussion is not over yet!”
“You’re wrong Ms. Clementine, it is over. I will fail this class, so I might as well stop attending.” He hefted his bag and left the stunned class. He had only made about a dozen steps when he heard someone shout “Wait, stop!” He turned around and saw Thomas running toward him. Usually the sight would have frightened Nate, but at some point during his tirade before, he had stopped caring.
“You will do this stupid project with me.”
“No, I won’t.”
“Yes you will, or I’ll—“
Nate didn’t let him finish “Or you will what, Evans?” He took a step toward Thomas, fury painted on his face and reflected in his voice “Beat me up? Humiliate me? Been there, done that. You have no leverage, Evans. You can’t force me to do ANYTHING!” For the first time in their numerous run-ins Nate felt that he had intimidated Thomas, not the other way around. He turned around to walk away.
“I will not fail this stupid class just because you are too much of a prick to swallow your pride!”
If the rage he had felt before were a candle, the near murderous hatred he felt now was a bonfire. He spun around and stalked toward Thomas, stopping directly in front of the larger boy, their faces only inches from one another. “Swallow my pride? SWALLOW MY PRIDE? YOU WANT TO TALK TO ME ABOUT PRIDE?” Nate had never initiated a fight with anybody before and had only tried to defend himself if necessary, but he could feel how his inhibitions were being swept away by the raging torrent of emotion coursing through him as he raised his fist to punch Thomas right in the face. Before he could go through with it Nate managed to wrestle down his anger, lowered his fist and instead said “Got to hell, Evans.” He was feeling tired and drained when he left the stunned Thomas to look at his back as he turned to leave.
When Nate got home he dumped his bag on the floor, toed off his shoes and went to his room. The school would have called his Dad’s office by now and told him about skipping classes and being disrespectful to a teacher, but there was nothing he could do about that now. Nate took his guitar out of its case and started playing. He found it easier to relax and forget about his problems when he could concentrate on the music and the movement of his hands.
“I see you’re just as good as you were when you stopped playing.” The whole scene was a déjà vu. His father stood in the doorway to his room, much as Sam had only a few days earlier.
“I really have to start locking the door when I play.” Nate grumbled.
“Is there anything you might want to talk to me about, Nate?” His father asked, ignoring the remark and seating himself next to Nate on his bed.
“Not really, no.” If only it were that easy.
“I got a call from your teacher, Ms. Clementine, today.” David looked at his son expectantly, but Nate chose to plead the fifth.
“She said you skipped a class. Nate, you never even tried to play hooky before, what’s going on?” Nate had expected his father to be angry or perhaps show disappointment. Sometimes it was really inconvenient how well his father’s intuition worked.
“It’s happening again, isn’t it?” Dad asked quietly.
“You knew?” Nate had suspected, but they had never really talked about it, though not for want of trying on his father’s part
“You think I’m blind, deaf and an idiot? Of course I knew something was up, but you wouldn’t tell me what it was.” He pulled Nate into a hug and he broke down completely. He told his father about everything that happened back in Houston. He began with how he told Jordan, his best friend back then, that he was gay. Instead of finding acceptance, Jordan had told everyone in school. He had been ridiculed mercilessly and the few friends he’d had abandoned ship quickly, but being left by his best friend had hurt so much more than the scorn of people at school. Then he went on and told his father about the things that were happening now, about Thomas and about how people were avoiding him like the plague only because someone photoshopped a picture and trashed his locker. All of it bubbled up in a manner of minutes. Only after his father asked “So you really are gay, huh?” did Nate realize what he had just said. That started a new wave of tears and Nate hugged his father tightly, muttering “Please don’t hate me, Dad, please don’t hate me.” between sobs. His father held him for a moment then pulled away.
Nate was expecting it any moment now. He had imagined a thousand different scenarios, his father would tell him to take what he could carry and leave. He would hit him maybe, or might just stand up and walk away himself. As Nate was mentally preparing a list of things he would need to take, his father said “Nate, look at me.” and held his shoulders tightly. Nate looked up at his father and tried to steel himself for anything he would find there.
“Nathaniel, you are my son. You are the only thing I have left in this world and I love you more than I could ever put into words. You have to believe me. Nothing you could ever do or say could make me stop loving you. Not a thing. You hear? I don’t care if you like girls, boys, both or neither. I will always be on your side, Nate, and I would do anything for you.”
Nate looked at his father and saw the deep love and concern in his features. His whole body felt warm with it and he smiled broadly as he felt tears stinging his eyes again, but this time they were tears of joy and love.
“Thank you, Dad, you don’t know how much I needed to hear that.” Nate said and hugged his father.
After composing himself Nate asked “You didn’t sound surprised when I told you I’m gay. How did know?”
“I didn’t really, it was your mother. A couple weeks before… you know… she said she wanted to talk to me, to prepare me for something. She said it was only a feeling she was having and told me that you might be gay. I think she wanted to gauge my reaction. Sometimes I think she could read minds and knew the future.” David said, smiling.
“Yeah. Remember the time I broke her favorite plate?”
“Ha, she sniffed it out like a bloodhound. Not that it was hard to find, you hid the broken pieces under your bed and tried to convince her all evening nothing was wrong.”
They basked in the glow of their memories for a moment until Nate’s Dad said
“So this Thomas is giving you a hard time? I’ll go talk to your principle tomorrow.”
Nate didn’t think it was a good idea. “And what could he do? Tell all the other kids to like me? My locker is alright now and I wasn’t hurt badly.”
“Wait a second. Not hurt badly? Does that mean you were hurt?” His father’s face was immediately full of the indignation only a parent who thought their child was unsafe could display.
“I just hurt my ankle. I’m not even sure who did it.” Nate tried to calm his father hastily.
“So when you were limping some weeks ago and told me you had twisted your foot while running, someone hurt you? Why didn’t you tell me the truth, Nate? I can’t do anything if you won’t talk to me!” His father looked miserable and it seemed like he thought it was his fault somehow.
“Did anything else happen?” Nate fidgeted on his bed. “Small things, being shoved into a row of lockers or an elbow to the side.”
“Show me.” Nate’s father demanded.
“There is no bruise.” ‘Anymore’ Nate added in his mind. That one had hurt like a bitch. “Please don’t go to Mr. McLeod. I don’t want this to get any bigger than it already is. If I just leave it be, I’m sure it will blow over.”
“Not a chance, buddy. I’ve had enough with this. Even if the ankle was the first time someone hurt you, this has been going on for weeks. What if something serious happens?”
“Dad, please, I don’t want you to talk to the principle. It wouldn’t change anything. Some guy might get suspended, but that would just make the rest of them hate me more for ratting them out!”
His father studied Nate for a moment then sighed in frustration. “Fine. I won’t talk to your principle, yet, under one condition. If anything like that happens again, you tell me immediately. You don’t wait until the bruise is healed and I’ve interrogated you, you fill me in the second you can get a hold of me. Deal?”
“Deal.” His father took a deep breath to calm himself then continued
“Okay, now about that class skipping.”
“I got in a shouting match with Thomas. My next class would have been with him and I just couldn’t stand the idea of being in the same room as him. So I left.”
Well, that was at least almost kind of like the truth. Apparently Ms. Clementine hadn’t told his father that he had been disruptive in class and disrespected a teacher. That would have been kind of hard to explain without bringing up the ‘project’ and Nate really didn’t want to talk about that right now.
“I see.” His father sighed. “You know you can’t just leave when something frustrates you.” He seemed to consider for a second “But, since this is your first offence, like, ever, you get off with a warning just this once. Just don’t let it happen again. Next time just tell him to fu—to go away” His father managed to catch himself just short of saying it, making them both laugh. “Now get your class-cutting butt downstairs so we can order some Italian food, squirt.” He grinned, standing up and making his way down the stairs.
“You getting lazy again, old man?” Nate laughed, following his father downstairs. “Nonsense, we’re celebrating your coming out!”
Nate was eating his lunch at the far back of the cafeteria two days later when Sam joined him at his table. Sarah and Claire had stopped eating with them recently, instead choosing to sit with some of their other friends. Nate wasn’t exactly happy they did that, but he couldn’t really blame them either. He knew they had been getting some shit for associating with him and to be honest, if one of them had what Nate had himself, he wasn’t sure he would want to risk catching ‘it’ either. Oh, they still talked to him, just never in a way that would imply they were more than acquaintances. He could see in the way they looked at him sometimes that they were sorry and supposed that was enough.
“What’s up with Sarah and Claire? They didn’t eat once with us this last week.” Sam wondered aloud.
Although he had a pretty good guess, he said “Dunno.” And shrugged his shoulders.
“Whatever, I wanted to have little one on one with you anyway. I heard about your fight with Ms. C., they say you flipped your shit and left in the middle of class.”
“Surprisingly accurate, considering your sources.” Nate replied.
“So let me see, if I have the story straight. You have Ms. C. in sociology class and I guess she told you about the sophomore-class wide project. She hands you the folder, you flip and leave. Right so far?” She looked at Nate questioningly.
“So what could have made that happen? If I had to guess, I would say it was about your partner. Now, who could Ms. C. pair you up with for you, Mr. 3.8 GPA, to say “fuck it!” and leave a class? Is it Thomas?” she asked, grinning.
“Excellent deduction Sherlock.” Nate said broodingly.
“I cheated though, I already knew all of it.” She laughed.
“Then why are we talking about it right now?” Nate had to practically yell this part, because the noise level in the cafeteria was uncharacteristically high.
“Because I think you should do it.” Sam said nonchalantly.
“Not happening.” Nate replied and shook his head vehemently. “I hate Thomas.”
“I don’t think that you do. I only met you a short time ago – “
“Yeah, you did.” “But” she continued unimpressed by his remark “I feel like I have known you almost all my life.” Nate didn’t interject anything this time. It was hard to be sarcastic when you felt the same way.
“And I don’t think you are capable of hating someone. I don’t mean the kind of hatred where you get grounded and say ‘I hate you!’ to your parents, I mean the real, war creating hatred. You are a genuinely good person. You just don’t have it in you to hate someone.” Nate wasn’t sure what to say to that, so he didn’t say anything. She let the conversation lapse for a second but then continued “My own partner is Brian Andrews, by the way, thanks for asking.” She tried to sound hurt but had a smile plastered on.
“Isn’t that the guy you beat up in the boy’s room?” Nate asked curiously.
“That’s the one. When I saw his name on the front of my folder, I felt the same way you did, though I didn’t tell Mr. Miller about it. After class, he came up to me and told me he wanted to talk and since I was going to be the reason he failed a class, I figured I owed him at least that much. Well, yesterday we met up and talked. We kind of talked for a long while and I will spare you with the boring details. Suffice it to say, I agreed to do the project with him.”
“Good for you. At least you won’t fail a class outright.” Nate said noncommittally.
“And, I think you should do it, too. For one thing, I don’t want to see you ruining your GPA. With your grades, you could get a scholarship easily and head off to college the moment you are done here. Plus, what do you have to lose? Thomas already doesn’t like you, so your relationship with him could hardly get worse and some of the arguments Brian made yesterday really made sense. It’s hard to hate someone you know. If you and Thomas got to know each other, maybe you could be friends, or at least be civil if the other is nearby.” She looked at him expectantly, waiting for a reaction.
Well, maybe she had a point. Nate had felt like he had overreacted somewhat. Thomas was ready to give it a try, so why shouldn’t he? Plus, the last couple of days the football team had left him alone, perhaps at Thomas’ prodding, in an attempt to sway Nate.
Nate was still thinking about it when Sam said “You could even bring your guitar to that music demonstration thing!” She stood up, since she was done with her lunch, and tossed him a piece of paper.
“What’s that?” Nate asked, surprised.
“Thomas’ phone number. I had Brian write it down for me yesterday. Just think about, okay? Should you decide to do it after all, send him a text or something. See ya later”
She took her tray and left. The next two classes went by in a blur and even as he was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, he was mulling over Sam’s suggestion, unable to make a decision. Frustrated with himself Nate stood up, took his phone, punched in ‘Fine, I’m in -Nate’ followed by Thomas’ phone number as the receiver and, without giving himself the time to reconsider, hit send. The next day, he started working.
Sam was very happy with the song she had picked. The students of each class were supposed to present their song in the teams they would be working in for the remainder of the project and she had asked Brian to be the first to present her song, who had readily agreed. They were the third group out of 14. When it was her turn she got up and walked to the front of the class, phone in her hand. She plugged it into the sound system Mr. Miller had arranged, turned around and said
“This song isn’t really all that special to me and the first time I heard it was yesterday evening. It is meant to be a message to my dear, dear partner on this project. The song is called “Dickhead” by Kate Nash”
“Ms. Richards! Watch your language!” Mr. Miller sputtered angrily.
“That is the name of the song, Mr. Anderson. You never said the song couldn’t contain profanity, and I haven’t prepared anything else.” She said and grinned at him widely.
He reddened, but finally relented “Fine. You have one minute Ms. Richards. I will not have you turn this class into a circus for any longer than I need.”
She hit play on her phone and looked at Brian with a raised eyebrow, waiting for him to object. To her surprise he was just smiling at her and stayed silent. After exactly 60 seconds of listening to Ms. Nash insult Brian in very colorful language, Mr. Miller said over the music
“That’s quite enough Ms. Richards, I think Mr. Andrews is getting the message.”
She hit pause and unplugged her phone. When she returned to her seat she had to pass by Brian’s seat and whispered to him “Your move, dickhead.” Which made him snicker. He stood up and moved toward the blackboard.
“Much as my dear, dear partner Sam’s, my song was picked yesterday evening and was new to me. I just about figured what she would do and decided the best I could do was play into it, since she has a point and I really am a dickhead. The song is called “I guess you’re right” by The Posies.” He played the song as the whole class laughed, including Mr. Miller, and Sam was the loudest of them all.
Thomas was bored out of his mind. He and Nate were the last group to present their songs and he had suffered the top 10 charts for the last hour and ten minutes. Luckily, the third time someone wanted to play “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, Ms. Clementine had decided twice was enough. Thomas’ own song was “Smells like Teenspirit” by Nirvana. He had heard the song on a party a couple months ago and liked it. The only person left to present something was Nate, since he and Thomas had agreed on Thomas going first.
Instead of digging out his phone like the others, Nate went to the back of the class and retrieved a large guitar case. ‘Interesting.’ Thomas thought. Nate opened the case with deft fingers and pulled out a well-kept guitar that seemed to be used rather regularly. He tested each of the strings and twisted some of the pegs a little before adjusting his position in the seat.
“This song is called ‘Losing Bliss’.” He said, seeming a little nervous.
Then he started playing. The song started softly, like a spring breeze after a light rainfall and after a few seconds of intro Nate started singing. At this point the entire class was already entranced. The song was happy, pulling Thomas into the best memories of his own childhood. It was a song that somehow condensed what it was like to be a carefree child, with parents that loved you and without a single care in the world. It was like one of those near death experiences people talk about, when they see their entire life flashing before their eyes. That was what the song did to the class, except they didn’t see their own life but that of a stranger. They could hear it, see it, feel it, live it. They were handed a piece of someone else’s life, a perfect life, one that was worth living. For a minute every problem Thomas felt he had seemed to fade into the background as he listened to Nate sing.
The dream shattered.
The song turned mournful and the guitar, played masterfully, reflected the pain. The lyrics told of great a loss and anguish, unfettered and raw. This was more than a simple song, more than the combination of a melodic voice and skillful use of an instrument. It was so much more than simply going through the motions to produce sound. This was unfiltered emotion with nothing held back, wild yet polished at the same time. It was like finding a beautiful, hidden rock formation that made you stop in your tracks in wonder, and making it impossible to decide whether it was manmade or natural. Thomas looked at Nate, listening to every word intently. Nate was seeming more confident now than at any other point he had ever since Thomas had first seen him, yet at the same time he looked so very vulnerable. All the walls people erect around themselves in their daily lives were stripped away from him as he was sharing a piece of himself with the class. Thomas could see a young man, holding all that pain that bled into his voice, giving the voice and the song a mesmerizing power.
No one could imitate something like that. The song, the emotion, all of this was real. The lyrics told of desperation, a life shattered again and again so hatefully that only dust remained. This was a boy gripping to the last straw he could grasp with bloodied hands, as his muscles ripped under the strain of keeping himself from giving up this permanent climb uphill.
The song became softer and softer and the class leaned forward to catch its last verses. The song, the life they had seen, ended. Nate said two last words, but they were said so quietly it was impossible for anyone to make them out. Despite most students saying a little about their song, Nate simply stood up, glanced at the watch on his wrist, packed his things and left. The class was left in deafening silence. No one wanted to taint this moment of perfection, until people started exhaling breaths they weren’t aware they were holding. About thirty seconds passed in complete silence until the school bell rang loud and clear. This would normally have been the cue for students to throw their belongings into their bags and dart out of the class, but this time the kids didn’t seem to be able to process what had just happened. Some started slowly packing their things, eyes glazed over and lost in thought. Those last words that had escaped him haunted Thomas, as did the expression Nate had worn on his face when uttering them. What had they been? Thomas wanted, no he needed, to know. And for the first time since Ms. Clementine had announced the project, Thomas looked forward to doing it.
Muahahahahahahaha, I bet you thought you would get to see some sex scene after reading the first sentence, didn’t you? If not, too bad, I’ll get you at some point. If you did, get your minds out of the gutter! hehe
This chapter is a little longer than the last two and a lot of important stuff happens. Like a real lot. So much that I worry it might be a little too much. This part is kind of the beginning of a chain of events that changes Nate’s life completely. I can’t promise to keep up this kind of density concerning the content though. A lot of ideas were thrown into this. I just felt it was time to get into the meat of the story. Nate came out to Sam, then he came out to his father and both of them luckily dealt with it very well. You also got to know what happened back in Houston! Plus, you found out more about what happened to Nate before that. All of this will come together real soon.
Something I find funny is that this chapter ends on a Monday. It kind of had to be though, since Nate needed the weekend to prepare for his presentation and he only has sociology twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays). Great, now I’m talking like he is real, I think I’m taking crazy pills!
A lot of this chapter was told from Nate’s point of view, because most of it is happening to him and I want to give a little insight into what Nate is like. The Sam – Brian chapter was done for fun and kind of show more of Sam’s crazy side. I don’t know if any of you even care or not, but there will be a Brian chapter sometime in the future. He is one of the character’s I am planning to do something with and already know exactly what that will be.
Thomas’ chapter was meant to show what a deep impression something like a song can make. It was something I was planning to do before I even started to write at all, so I hope you like that part. It was something I spent a long time on and I hope it shows.
Sadly the new semester has started and I have to get my bachelor’s degree now, so I’m afraid the new chapters won’t come out quite as quickly as they have until now. This is after all the third subsequent week I submit something! Quite impressive, if I do say so myself. :D
I really hope you liked this chapter. As I have mentioned before, criticism and feedback of any kind are always appreciated, so if you have the time and something to say, please do so. Stay tuned for more!