All standard warnings apply; if stories discussing the sexuality and lives of gay male teenagers offends you or is illegal for you to read due to age/location/what-have-you, then this isn't the story for you. The contents of this story are based entirely in the mind and imagination of the author, and any similarities to real people or places are either unintentional or used with permission.
An important part of the plot of this story is a play by the name of Circle. Thosd Suthainn, the author of Circle, has given permission for his play to be used within this story, under the condition that I don't reveal any details from scenes that have not been published online yet. All published scenes of Circle can be found on Fictionpress.com and, while it is not necessary to read Circle to enjoy this story, I would highly suggest you give it a look; it's an excellent read.
All characters, plot, and settings used in Concentric Circle are property of me, Nevermare. Circle is used with permission from its author, Thosd Suthainn of Fictionpress.com. All copyrights for characters, plot, and medley arrangements belong to Thosd Suthainn. Specific copyright information for the songs used within Circle can be found at the end of the individual scenes for that work.
Alright, here we go.
"... Fine, whatever, I'll just get lunch for myself, Luke."
I winced as Laura slammed the receiver down on the other end.
Sighing, I hung up the payphone and made my way towards the lecture theatre. I was already starting to feel bad about cancelling our plans last minute, but there was no way around it.
I pushed my way through a crowd of grade nines, barely avoiding getting clothes-lined by one of them as he frantically pulled off his tie. I scowled back at the boy as I continued walking, and was pleased to see one of his friends accidentally spray a can of coke on him, staining his white uniform shirt. I continued walking, adjusting my own school uniform; I straightened out the white shirt and green and navy tie, and pushed the dark grey dress pants a little bit lower on my thin hips.
Even as my hands continued to move, I knew I was fixing myself up out of nervousness; what was worse, was that I knew I was fidgeting, and still didn't stop. I combed my hair with my fingers, letting the delicate brown curls fall across my forehead. As my hands fell, I let my thumb graze across my cheek, pleased to discover only the slightest trace of stubble on the thin frame of my jaw.
I frowned as I realized my left arm was wrapped across my chest, my hand absent-mindedly feeling my ribs. I pulled it away quickly, straightening my shirt again as I took a frantic look around the halls. When I was satisfied that no one had seen my frantic fidgeting, I wound my way across the hall. I slipped through the second-floor entrance to the lecture theatre, grabbing a booklet of photocopied sheets on my way in.
The spacious room was already almost half-full, so I sat quietly in the back, trying to ignore a few curious stares from some of the students already gathered there. I couldn't blame them for staring; I had never even attended one of the school's plays, let alone shown any interest in being involved in one. Even though I knew they were just curious, my heart started pounding just the same. Taking several deep breaths, I started my own scans of the room.
The usual group of senior drama geeks was gathered near the front, flipping excitedly through their own copies of the script I had picked up at the door, already trying to divvy the roles between them. Sitting not too far from them was a looser group of junior students who were reading through the first scene in small groups. One of the girls even built up enough confidence to start singing, until she was glared down by a senior who had her eyes on the same role.
On the other side of the lecture theatre was a small clique of art students, already engaged in heated discussions about set and costume designs. I smiled as a boy with spiked-brown hair and a muscular build started shouting, eyes glimmering and face flushed.
"Are you on crack? You can't gouache a set!" The room went silent, listening intently to the outburst. "What, are you trying to make the play look like a Smurf's wet dream?" The other boy, the one who had suggested `gouache' - whatever that is - was gaping upwards, mouth opening and closing in the best goldfish impression I've ever seen in my life. "Next you're going to have us paint the Sistine Chapel with spray paint! I mean-..."
The ranting boy finally trailed off, but not because of the countless shocked stares he was receiving from practically everyone in the world; I looked him in the eyes as he blinked rapidly, gave him a little wave, and mouthed, "Hey Jase."
Jason looked around and, finally noticing everyone looking at him, sat down quickly, blushing furiously. I chuckled, fully enjoying his shock; Ever since we were four years old and he had moved in next door, Jason McKinnon had fully enjoyed making me blush at every opportunity, and I was certainly enjoying the role reversal.
As conversations started up in the wake of the tense moment, I resumed my perusal of the room. Sitting several rows back from Jason and towards the opposite side of the room from me was an assortment of jocks, awkwardly clinging to their girlfriends and trying to look as disinterested they could; attending an information meeting for a musical was a little too `gay' for them, and clutching to the nearest female was the only way any of them could find to hold on to reputation.
My attention continued to drift through the groups, focusing on a small group of students sitting a few rows back from the jocks, almost directly to my right. There were three boys surrounded by a gaggle of girls who were all fawning over them. Two were clearly brothers, probably twins, with long, stringy black hair, their uniform shirts open to reveal t-shirts with bands I had never heard of - well, at least I assumed they were bands.
However, my eyes quickly skipped over the twins in favour of the third boy, who was lovingly tuning his guitar as it lay in his lap. Lucky guitar.
He had a thick mop of dirty-blonde hair, falling around his ears and eyes freely, a few of the strands falling as far as his slightly-crooked nose. Eyes so blue that I could see them from across the room shone out from his tanned face. I was staring unabashedly at the way his tongue stuck out slightly while he concentrated when someone cleared their throat loudly, practically causing me to jump out of my skin.
"Seriously, Luke, the guitar guy?" Jase asked, eyebrows raised and grinning brightly as he flopped down on the chair next to me.
I frantically looked back in forth, my panic subsiding when I saw that no one was sitting close enough to have heard Jason. Turning back to him, I felt my cheeks burning as I replied in a hushed tone, "How do you do that?"
Jase simply rolled his eyes. "Puh-leeze! You're so obvious." Seeing the fear in my eyes, Jason continued in a more serious tone, "Not to everyone. Just me." As I relaxed, Jase continued his teasing. "Dumbass. Did you really think you could hide a crush from me? Locke Joseph Madison, there is nothing you can hide from me. And when you start doing guitar guy, you have to introduce me to one of his groupies," Jase said, eyeing up the crowd of girls around my guitar guy.
I groaned, exceptionally glad that there was no one around to hear. "Someday, Jase, You'll have to tell me how on earth you got Laura to tell you my real name." Even as I growled at him, I gave Jase a playful punch on the arm, and we both laughed.
Without warning, Jase stopped laughing and turned his eyes to me. "What are you doing here, anyways?"
My heart was racing right away, pounding as I tried to think up some excuse as to why I would be suddenly interested in drama. I cycled through every reasonable lie I could think of, but there was nothing that Jase wouldn't see right through. Thankfully, Ms. Johnston, the drama teacher, came to my rescue.
"Alright, alright, settle down." I quickly turned from Jase as the young teacher spoke up, pretending to be fascinated by the short red-haired woman who stood at the front of the lecture theatre. I could practically hear Jason grind his teeth in the silence that grew after Ms. Johnston's words.
Well, I thought, if I'm going to have my best friend mad at me, it might as well be at the same time as my sister.
"I'm sorry about being late," Ms. Johnston said, looking somewhat flustered, "But I won't keep you long today. This session is just to get a copy of the script to everyone and to answer some questions." Several hands shot up, especially amongst the group of drama students, but Ms. Johnston continued, sounding somewhat irritated at being rushed. "As you all know by now, this year we are putting on a musical named Circle..."
A grin crossed my face as I noticed that a few of the jocks were looking nervous, apparently not as aware as Ms. Johnston thought they were.
"As many of you have noticed," Ms. Johnston continued, "there is no listed author on the cover page." Jase looked down at his page suddenly, clearly having just realized that there wasn't an author. I didn't bother looking; my copy of the script, which I hadn't looked at since sitting down, was still resting under my elbow on the small desk attached to my chair. "That is because the author has specifically requested that I don't tell you his name, until he has finished writing the play."
At this point, almost all of the people in the lecture theatre - other than the drama geeks - flipped to the end of their scripts, confirming for themselves that the play was unfinished.
Jason started to say something, but one of the junior drama students spoke up first. "How can we do a play when it isn't finished?" Several of the senior drama students glared at her, clearly insulted by her affront to their favourite teacher, while numerous other students nodded in agreement.
Ms. Johnston gave a slight smile, suppressing her anger at being interrupted again. "Excellent question, Amanda, but raise your hand next time." As Amanda sank into her seat, Ms. Johnston continued. "As I was trying to say, Circle is still being written. By a St. Alexander student."
At this last comment, the room broke into frantic buzzing, everyone making wild guesses as to the mystery author was. I could feel Jase's eyes boring into the side of my head, but I found myself suddenly fascinated by the pattern of the grain of my desk.
"Quiet down." Ms. Johnston's stern tone was belied by the lopsided smile on her lips, but the room grew silent immediately regardless. "The first round of auditions will be held next week, and I would like to see all setting, costume, and music crew members tomorrow at lunch for a separate meeting, and every following Tuesday and Thursday. Now, are there any questions?"
As a forest of hands rose, I found myself zoning out. That is, until I felt Jase's muscular arm wrap around my shoulders, pulling me closer rather forcefully.
"So, little buddy..." Jase said, voice low, "What have you been doing lately?"
I sighed, letting out the breath I'd been holding. "Well, I almost made it through this meeting without anyone knowing."
"Nah, you never would've made it," Jason said, sticking out his tongue, "You love me too much to lie."
I rolled my eyes, refusing to lose at Jase's old game; ever since I had come out to him, Jason insisted that I had some deep-rooted, hopeless crush on him, and brought it up as frequently as possible to tease me. I think it had always been his way of saying he really was okay with my sexuality, but there were days where I just wish he could have told me, instead of doing everything in his power to make me blush.
Smiling impishly, I replied, "Oh yeah, if you died your hair blonde, I'd jump you on the spot." I playfully put my hand on Jase's thigh, and Jason burst out laughing. I quickly pulled my hand away, feigning innocence as Jase's hysterics attracted attention.
When Jase finally stopped laughing, he returned his arm to its place across my shoulder, still chuckling as he said, "That was good."
"I learned from the best."
"That's true." Jase grinned at me with shining white teeth before returning to his more serious tone. "Seriously, how long have you been working on this?"
I sighed, nervously cracking my knuckles as I replied. "It's just been since the summer. I didn't want to make a deal of it, but Ms. Johnston found it and kind of hunted me down."
Jase smiled, giving my shoulder a squeeze. "Yeah, that sounds like her. So- Oh, that's so gross."
I looked at Jase, wondering what brought on his sudden disgust; then I realized he was sideways. Or rather, my head was sideways, and I had just cracked my neck. I laughed as Jase shook with over-exaggerated spasms.
"Luke Madison?" My eyes snapped up as I realized Ms. Johnston was talking to me. Most of the rest of the lecture theatre had already started to empty while Jase and I were talking, with the exception of me, Jase, and couple of other students who were hanging around.
I quickly sat up, making my way down. Jase followed a few steps behind and nearly ran in to me when I paused to let the guitar guy pass by, close enough for me to feel the heat off his slim figure. I blushed as Jason wiggled his eyebrows at me and hurried down to the front of the lecture theatre.
"I'm glad you could come, Luke," Ms. Johnston said, "About that English assignment you owe me..." It took me a moment to understand what she meant, since I didn't have Ms. Johnston for English this year. By the time realization hit me, she had started talking again. "I figured it would probably be easier for you to send it to me over the internet. My e-mail is on the information sheet."
I took the sheet she held out, mentally reminding myself to thank her for her sense of subtlety; the `English assignment' that I owed her was the next scene of Circle. Sheet in hand, I grabbed Jase by his wrist and made a hasty retreat, desperately resisting the urge to look back at my guitar guy as I heard him begin to play in the back of the room.
I reached for the car door, completely happy with myself; I had managed to avoid answering any more of Jase's questions about the play, and was more than ready to go home.
My butt didn't even make it to the seat before Laura started talking. "So what was important enough for you to skip our lunch date?"
I groaned; I had completely forgotten about ditching Laura, having spent the entire day thinking of how I could avoid Jase. The fact that Laura was my ride home hadn't even occurred to me. Great, isn't this going to be a fun ride?
And that's when Jase spoke up from the back seat.
"She doesn't know?"
Oh yeah. This should be fun.