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Earth, As it is in Heaven
By:  Roman Genesis

Chapter 12
Hard Trail Home

    I walked into school on Tuesday and almost immediately, conversations were being cut short and eyes were watching my every movement like vultures watching their prey.  I wished to god Sebastian was here by my side.  I felt so alone and uncomfortable.  This was what I asked for though.

     I got to my locker and opened it up.  I was expecting a large amount of hate mail to come falling out, but there was nothing except a single letter.  I opened it carefully, shielding it from the eyes of the crowd.


                When I'm with you, and you're with me, my heart pounds endlessly in my chest.  The passion never fades.
            When I'm afraid and you're afraid, you wipe away my running tears and someone finally sees my face.  Good
             luck today.  I'm with you.

     I almost began crying when I read the note.  The whole time, I was thinking I had to protect and shield him, and here he was giving me encouragement and the strength to move forward.  I put the note in my pocket and began walking to the gym.  I was stopped dead in my tracks though as someone stepped out of the crowd and got right in my face.

     "What the hell is this?" Vanessa demanded.  She handed me a piece of paper and I looked down at it.  It read, Gay and Lesbian Awareness Group:  Meetings held after school on Tuesdays in room C-13.  See Trevor McClain for more information.

     "I see you've found one of my flyers," I said, pushing it out of my face.  Everyone in the hallway had turned quiet and were watching me and Vanessa.  "I hope you're planning on putting it back up where you found it."

     "What the hell is this?" Vanessa said.  She grabbed me by the arm and walked me outside into the cold where no one could overhear.  "This better be a joke," she said, sticking the flyer back into my face.

     "It's not a joke Vanessa.  I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner."

     "What will people think?" she said looking around.  I could see the frenzy in her eyes as they darted from person to person as they walked by.

     "They'll think I'm gay," I said matter-of-factly.

     "Is it that Sebastian kid who's putting these ideas in your head?  You go take all of these flyers down before this thing gets blown out of proportion.  Hurry up and kiss me so people don't think we're fighting."  She tried to come in an kiss me, but I pushed her back.

     "I don't think you understand Vanessa.  We're finished."  I saw the rage boiling in her eyes.  She wanted nothing more than to hit me right there, but I knew she wasn't going to.

     "You won't get away with this." She was actually trembling she was so enraged.  "I'll die before I lose you to some freshmen fag," she said and stormed off down the hallway.  I continued on my way to the gym and people were once again whispering and pointing as I walked by.  I ignored them all and went straight for the dressing room.  I tried to get Vanessa's remarks out of my head, but they were piercing my resolve like a hot knife through butter.  Vanessa really knew how to piss me off.

     When I walked into the changing room, everyone quickly put their things down and stared as I got ready to go out to the weight room.  I was almost out of the changing room when a huge hand grabbed me and pulled me back.  I thought I was in for a beating until I saw who it was.  "Mike, you scared the shit out of me," I said, breathing a sigh of relief.

     "It's not over yet," he said.  He pulled me out the side door that lead out into the freezing cold morning air.

     "We're going to be late for class," I said, pulling my sweat shirt tight against me.  Something told me class was the last thing on Mike's mind.

     He turned around and looked at me.  "Something's are more important than class," he said. I could tell he was upset, but it was more hurt than it was anger.  He walked right up to me and handed me the same flyer Vanessa had showed me.  I took it from his hand slowly and looked down at it, as if seeing it for the first time.  "Tell me this is a joke."

     I looked up into his eyes and I could see how truly hurt and betrayed he felt.  "I'm sorry," I whispered.  He lifted his hand up and grabbed the bridge of his nose and began pacing back and forth.  I had no idea what to say to him.  I knew this was going to be hard, but I had no idea it was going to be like this.  I didn't know what I would do if I lost Mike.

     He finally stopped right in front of me and looked deep in my eyes.  "Why didn't you tell me?"

     "How could I?" I said, turning away.  "I couldn't even tell myself."  I heard Mike walk away and I turned and saw him sit down on the curb.  He sat there looking away for what must have been a minute.  I slowly walked over and sat down beside him, making sure not to get to close.  I had no idea what was going through his head.

     "You know what Trevor?"  The poor guy sounded like he was on the verge of tears.  I had never seen Michael cry before.  I had just assumed he never did.  "It wouldn't be that bad if you had just told me," he continued.  "But I had to find out by seeing this hanging up in the school hallway."  He tossed the paper on the street in front of me and the wind quickly picked it up and tossed it through the air.

     "I don't know what to say Mike."  We sat there in silence just staring out at the snow covered woods only thirty feet away.

     I have no idea how long we sat there, but he finally asked, "How long have you known?"

     "My whole life I suppose."  I shook my head, trying desperately to find away to explain this to Mike.  "I tried to convince myself it was a phase.  I mean, I went out with the girls and finally settled down with Vanessa, but it never seemed right.  It felt like something was missing."  Mike was quiet so I went on.  "I introduced you to my friend Sebastian, didn't I?"

     "Oh god," he said, putting his head down on his arms.  "I should have seen this coming."

     "No, you couldn't have seen it coming because it was always here.  Sebastian just helped bring it out of me.  I know this is hard to hear Mike, but I love him."  I let the last words sink in, for his sake and for mine.  It felt so good to finally be able to say this to someone, especially my best friend.

     He picked is head up and looked at me and realized how truthful I was being.  "You're taking an awful risk here Trevor.  There are reports in the paper all the time..."

     "None of that matters now," I said, cutting him off.  "The only thing I'm worried about is how you and the team will take this.  I need your support."

     A look of surprise crossed his face.  "Was my support ever in question?  I'm your best friend Trevor.  How in the world could I turn my back on you?"  I smiled.  I couldn't have asked for a better friend.  I wanted to reach over and hug him, but this was probably not the best time or place.

     "Thanks Mike."  I stood up, but Mike didn't look like he was going anywhere.  "Are you coming inside?  Who's going to spot me?"

     "So, did you ever check me out in the changing room before," he asked as he stood up.  I was taken aback, but then I realized he was just joking.  I pushed him playfully and we both went inside to get chewed out my the coach.

     I walked through the hallway toward Algebra and the eyes were once again following me and conversations were once again falling short as I passed.  "Is that him," someone would ask.  I ignored them all and kept walking.  All this negative attention was starting to weaken me.  I couldn't wait to see Sebastian in class.  All I needed was one look at him to remind me what I was fighting for.

     The bell rang before I got to class and I cursed under my breath.  Mrs. Anderson was going to love this.  I walked through the door and the entire class turned and stared at me.  I went around to my seat and Mrs. Anderson said, "Trevor, I'll see you after class."  She went back to her lecture and I instantly opened my book and pretended to be reading it.  The whole class was still staring at, some of them attempting to hide it, others not even bothering.  I looked over at Chad and saw him look away quickly.  Could this get anymore awkward?

     I looked up at Sebastian and he smiled when our eyes met.  I smiled back weakly.  People didn't know he was coming out also.  I had the curse of popularity though, so where my predicament spread like wild fire, Sebastian's probably flared and went out almost as quickly as it had started.  My name was up all over the school.  I wasn't complaining though.  People would be quicker to kick his ass than mine and I needed to know Sebastian was safe.

     I continued to pretend I was reading my math book when Chad reached over and left a slip of paper on my desk.  I opened it up and saw the words, Is it true scribbled across it.  I looked over at him, but he too was pretending to read his math book.  I wrote yes on it and passed it back.  I didn't get another slip of paper from him.

     The bell finally rang and everyone filtered out into the hallway, pausing just long enough to look back at me.  "I'll be outside," Sebastian whispered as I passed.  I walked up to Mrs. Anderson's desk and she looked up at me when I got to her.

     "I'm giving you a detention for after school today.  I can't have you coming in late everyday Trevor."

     "I'm kind of busy after school," I said.  "Could we do it tomorrow?"

     "You have practice everyday after school," she said, looking back down at her grade book.  "You might as well get it out of the way today.  I won't hold you too long."

     "It's not practice," I said slowly.  She looked up at me curiously when I said this.

     "What is it?"

     "I'm starting a gay and lesbian awareness group after school today."  I watched for her reaction and I sure got one.  She acted like I was kidding at first, but then she realized I wasn't joking around.

     "Oh," she said.  She continued to stare at me in shock when she suddenly caught herself and said, "Well, I guess we can do it after school tomorrow then."  She looked back down at her grade book, but I could tell she wasn't really looking at it.

     "Thanks," I said.  I turned around and headed back for the door and saw Sebastian standing outside waiting for me.

     "Did you get in trouble?" He asked.

     "Yeah, nothing major though," I said.  My voice was soft and Sebastian picked up on my mood immediately.

     "How you holding up?" He asked, placing his hand on my shoulder.  I looked down the hallway and saw a lot of people staring at us.  If the cat wasn't out of the bag before, it was now.  Sebastian was now in as deep as I was.

     I looked into his eyes and said, "Kiss me."

     He looked shocked that I would say such a thing.  "Right now?" he asked in disbelief.  "Are you ready for this?"  I suddenly didn't care who was ready for this.  I had come a long way to this snow covered paradise and my dream seemed so close I could touch it.  I leaned in and kissed him right there in the middle of the hallway.

     A sickening silence flooded the hallway as people stopped whatever they were doing and just stared.  Some stared in amazement, others in disgust, and still others with a new found sense of pride.  I let my lips slip from his and I whispered, "We can do this."

     If there had been anyone in school that hadn't heard the latest news, they were now well aware of the tiny incident in the hallway after second period.  I was pretty sure everyone was talking about it, but not to me of course.  I usually hung out with a handful of guys in all of my classes, but today, they avoided me and I found myself very alone with the eyes of the world watching.

     Every period was the same.  Everyone would end up staring for a good half the period, and when they realized I wasn't going to do anything especially gay to entertain them, they would move on to something else to keep themselves occupied.  A few times I would be walking through the hallway and I would hear some rude comment like 'faggot' or 'fudge packer' but when I would look to where the comment had come from there was someone hitting the person who had said it.  No one really knew how to act around me anymore.  I had been the most popular guy in school and no one was going to start trouble with me.  No one really knew who I still had on my side.  Shit!  I didn't even know who I had on my side anymore.

     When the final bell rang I went straight for Room C-13 and was surprised when I saw there wasn't a lot of people outside waiting to see who would go in.  Then I saw the School Resource Officer standing outside and everything made sense.  I was glad to see him there.  It ensured there wouldn't be a problem.

     I walked in and saw Mrs. Jones, the school counselor I had set up the group with, was already there as well as about ten other people.  I saw Shannon and Sebastian were already there so I sat down beside them.  I scanned the rest of the room and saw that most of the other students who were there were freshmen girls.  There was only one other guy who I didn't recognize.  He was sitting in the corner and he didn't look to happy to be here.  I wondered if his girl friend had dragged him here.  How this small group of people were going to change a lifetime of intolerance, I had no idea.

     "You want to start?" The Mrs. Jones asked.

     I nodded my head and stood up.  "Welcome to the first meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Awareness Group.  In case you don't know me, my name is Trevor McClain..."

     Someone walked through the door of the classroom to join us and I stopped in mid sentence when I realized who it was.  Chad walked casually across the classroom and sat down in one of the empty seats.  I smiled to him and he smiled back.  I couldn't believe he was here.  I was skipping the first half of football practice to be here and couldn't believe he was doing the same for me.

     I finished my introduction and the counselor got out all the literature she had brought with her and we all had discussions about the different topics and before we knew it, it was time to go.  "I hope to see you all here next week," Mrs. Jones said.  "Hopefully we'll have a larger turnout."  We all got up and went outside.  Chad looked like he was going out to the field to catch the last half of practice, so I ran to catch up with him.

     "Chad," I yelled.  He turned around and came back.  "Thanks a lot for coming," I said.  "It means a lot to me."

     "It's no problem," he said smiling and brushing a strand of his long hair out of his eyes.

     "Wait up for me," I said.  "We can go out to the field together."   I ran back to Sebastian and kissed him again right there in the middle of the hallway and told him I'd call him after practice.

     "I'm proud of you," he whispered as he leaned in to kiss me on the cheek again.  I hugged him tight and ran off to catch up with Chad.

     "Is that your boyfriend?" Chad asked when I caught up.

     I didn't know if he was mocking me, but I said, "Yes" anyway.  "You remember him from our Algebra class?"

     "How could I forget," he replied.  I didn't really catch his meaning, but he went on.  "Have you talked to anyone on the team yet?"

     "I talked to Mike.  I'm not really sure how the others are going to handle it."  I looked over at Chad to see that his eyes were fixed forward, concentrating on some unseen spot far ahead.  There was something going on inside his head that he wasn't telling me.

     "Let's hope they can handle it," he said.  "Let's hope they can."