Growing Up Together – Entry 1
Another Brick In The Wall
Chapter 7 – Nasty Taste
It took a month. A whole. Bloody. Month, before we got even so much as a peep from the high-ups, by which point, it was almost the summer holidays.
During which time, we tried to continue the protest at Bell, slightly more clandestinely, of course.
There were the pride bands and necklaces, which almost every pupil had taken to Bell at some point, as well as Rannack, despite a decree banning it.
Almost none of the teachers felt comfortable banning it, so it went mostly un-enforced, and, when it was enforced, there was a huge verbal backlash from not only the pupils being reprimanded, but everyone around, which almost invariably led to detention, just like every other stupid rule the high-ups ever thought of.
The day dragged on, much as every other day at Bell did, but the constant update texts from Daniel, who had inadvertently turned into our “mole” at Rannack, did help to ease some of the boredom.
I was missing the warmth of human contact. It wasn't just enough to have Cameron, and the end of a phone anymore. I'm almost entirely sure that he felt the same way.
Not much we can do about it now, so we just had to bide our time.
With a little luck, since the petition had closed, finally standing at around 140,000 signatures, and was just sent to our local MSP and the Head of Education, the political pressure alone would be enough to get something to happen.
Not long to wait.
The words that came from the shithouse of a rugby player as he bumped into me in the corridor, his extra 30 kilos almost sending me flying.
Normally, I would have just grinned and borne it out with a casual smile thrown in their general direction.
But this wasn't a particularly ordinary day.
I turned to him, and instead of smiling, I thought of stabbing him through the heart and twisting, and gave him my bloodiest look, one that must have shocked him, because he flinched.
“Try it, bitch. I've already broken one homophobe nose, what's another one?” I said, flicking my bloody look to a smile in an instant.
Breaking the eye contact before I could see his reaction, I began to walk away, swinging my bag over my shoulders as I did so.
I felt a strong hand encircle my shoulder, and tensed, ready for a fight.
But, in the moment between my fist clenching and my arm flying to connect with his nose, I had an amazing idea.
One that would leave a much longer-lasting scar.
Realising just how many people were around us, I spun back around on my heel.
“Oh, sorry hun.” I said, in my best camp voice, just loud enough to prick the ears of people around us.
I leant forward before he could react, and planted a kiss right on his lips.
Pulling backwards to his shocked face, I winked at him.
“I'll call you later, papi.”
Gently slapping his cheek as a final flourish, I spun back around, barely containing my laughter.
I made it to class before the dam burst.
I laughed solidly for a good minute, and had a grin on my face all the way through that class.
When it got to lunch, I told Grant all about it, and he laughed harder than I did.
“Papi? That was all you could come up with?”
I shrugged and made a face.
He seemed glad that I hadn't punched with the slightest provocation, and, quite frankly, I was, while surprised, extremely glad as well.
Guess I only punched in extreme circumstances.
The rest of the morning passed without incident, although the guy studiously avoided eye contact with me when I saw him again in the corridor.
In last period class, the teacher received an ominous phone call from one of the year group heads, and I was summoned to their office.
I felt a little embarrassed at having to ask for directions, and which year group head it actually was.
I knocked politely on Mr. Andrews door, and he called, in a vibrating deep voice, for me to enter.
The office was a clone of every office at Rannack, unsurprising considering they were built by the same company, around the same time.
But what was different, was a smiling Mr. Andrews, sporting an expensive-looking striped suit, salt-and-pepper stubble to match his salt-and-pepper hair, and a strong handshake.
“Sorry I had to call you out of class, but I thought you'd want to know this news as soon as possible.”
I sat down, and declined the polite offer of water.
“News, sir?” I enquired. “Good or bad?”
He seemed slightly taken aback that I had been so polite, but he soldiered on anyway.
“Mr. White [the head teacher] just received a call from the Head of Education himself, about you and Cameron.”
I blinked, masking my surprise.
“Where is he?” I asked.
“He's outside on the pitch, I understand. I sent someone to get him.”
I nodded, prompting him to continue.
“Now,” he continued, leaning forward slightly.
“I am well aware of the circumstances that surround your transfer to Bell, and I've read all about the furor you and your friends created at Rannack in the aftermath of it.”
I smirked a little.
“Yes sir. It is still going on, I believe.”
At that moment, there was another knock at the door.
I twisted in my chair, and Cameron entered, still dressed in blue Nike shorts and a plain white shirt, slightly out of breath and red in the face, obviously just off the football pitch.
He smiled a greeting at me, but with an eyebrow raised in confusion.
“Ah, you must be Cameron. Please, sit.” Mr. Andrews gestured.
“As I was saying, Mr. White just received a call from the Head of Education about the two of you.”
Cameron's eyes lit up.
“It seems that you two and your friends have succeeded in creating quite a widespread ruckus, which, officially, I am supposed to scold you for.”
“Sir?” Cameron questioned.
“Consider yourselves scolded.”
We suppressed giggles.
“Now, I would give you all of the details of the call, but the long and the short of it is that, pending a council board meeting, which yourselves and your parents are to attend, along with both Mr. White, myself, Mr. Green, the Head of Education, and some other officials from the council, you are to be reinstated at Rannack.”
Our mouths fell open, in an almost comical display of shock.
I could tell Mr. Andrews was fighting to stay professional.
“The Liaison Officer has already made the arrangements, and the meeting is scheduled for next Monday. Publicity tends to make the bureaucracy wheels move a little faster.”
I didn't expect things to happen this quickly. I expected to have to cause even more of a riot before they'd even publicly acknowledge us.
Looks like I was wrong.
I didn't even bother stowing my grin.
“Thank you for telling us sir.” I nodded.
He stood up to shake our hands, a huge smile on his face.
“Off the record, I'm happy for you both. My partner and I have been following your escapades with rapt interest.”
His face hardened slightly again.
“Now, off you go, back to class, and try not to celebrate too loudly.”
We nodded our thanks again, and walked together out of the door.
The bell for last period went, which drowned out our spontaneous ecstatic cheering.
You know the moment when two girls meet each other unexpectedly?
It was just like that, except twice as manic.
We barely made it into the lunch hall before we were turning each other into diamonds, jumping up and down in unrestrained delight.
It must have been a sight, because, while people didn't stop and stare, they sniggered and giggled and shouted “Get a room!” as they walked past.
We finally picked ourselves off the ceiling, and joined the throng of people navigating their way to the last class of the day.
I looked back at Grant as he walked away, and I noticed the little spring in his stride, the little tic that hadn't been there for so long, had returned.
My lips thinned momentarily, I sniffed the sting of happy tears back, and spun back around in the direction of the Computing block.
The rest of the day passed with me trying extremely hard not to levitate out of my chair from sheer happiness.
Our weekend was spent apart, because, we both needed time to recoup and prepare, and if we were together, we would get pretty “distracted” at some point.
My step mom and Grant's mom spent almost half an hour talking the night before, creating the perfect tag-team plan. They asked us to make a plan too, but it only took us 10 seconds.
“Wing it and stick the knife in if they try and argue?” he said.
“Yep. Sounds about right.” I smiled.
He snorted a little.
“Love you, bud.”
“Love you too, big guy.” I answered, before setting the phone down.
On Monday morning, the school called us and said that, due to concerns over “crowds”, we were to be essentially “snuck in” during a class period, in the front door, into the locked admin corridor, where the Board meeting would take place.
We all felt suitably clandestine, “sneaking” around like that, but that faded quickly as soon as I sat down in front of that panel of people.
It was replaced by a lead ball in my stomach, and a flutter of serotonin.
Mr. White gave us a reassuring smile, as did Mr. Andrews. The Head of Education, Mr. Thompson, remained neutral, while the social workers, and Mr. Green, had looks of barely concealed hostility.
My mum smiled reassuringly, as did Angela.
“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen.” Mr. Thompson said, making eye contact with all of us.
“This board meeting has been called, at 2:10pm on Monday the 11th of May, to determine if the punishment of expulsion handed to Grant Robertson and Cameron Black, is to be overturned, and if there is any fault to be found in other parties.”
We both nodded, practically in sync, and he continued.
“It should be noted that Liam Reid declined to attend this meeting, because, and I quote;” ,
“it would cause me undue stress to have to relive my experience again. In my mind, it's over.”
“That's a bit ridiculous, isn't it?” my mum piped up, her lawyer instincts kicking in, “Surely he can be compelled to give evidence again?”
“I'm afraid not, Mrs Robertson.” Mr. Thompson replied, “Since this is a civil case that only falls under the remit of the council, we have no powers to compel anyone to attend meetings of this sort against their will.”
She nodded respectfully, keeping her face neutral.
“Be assured, the statements he gave to the police, and to the expulsion hearing, will be read, in full today.”
The first hour or so was pretty much an exact repeat of the last “hearing”, with statements being repeated, almost to the point of us memorising them.
Mr. Green maintained that he was in the right, while everyone else made perfectly clear that both his reasoning and his actions were completely wrong, and bordering on criminal. I think Mr. White summed it up perfectly well.
“I don't understand how anyone can justify expelling two model pupils, after they were attacked for being themselves, by someone who can only be described as a bully, who hasn't even been slightly reprimanded!” he asserted, looking pointedly at his counterpart.
“I... I don't think that's completely....” Mr. Green stammered, looking incredibly flustered.
“Gentlemen.” Mr. Thompson asserted. “A little professionalism, please!”
After that heated exchange, Mr. Thompson asked, “Does anyone have anything to add before I make my decision?”
Even Mr. Greens face was shut.
“Excellent.” he said, clapping his hands together. “I don't even have to deliberate. This situation has gone on long enough.”
“Sir?” Mr. Green asserted, “Surely...”
Mr. Thompson's easy smile fell.
He didn't raise his voice at all, but his voice dripped venom.
“Mr. Green. You should be surprised you haven't already been suspended. If I were you, I would keep quiet. You aren't going to be able to talk your way out of this.”
Our eyebrows raised and our lips thinned almost in sync, as we tried to hold back laughter.
Mr. Green cottoned on, and glared at us, but that only served to make us snort harder.
“There was absolutely no reason for these two pupils to be expelled from Rannack. I cannot, for the life of me, understand Mr. Greens reasoning. I genuinely thought that your claims were being exaggerated for the purpose of publicity and trying to get back at the school, and for that, I apologise.”
“Thank you sir.” we both smiled.
“I would like to also formally apologise for your treatment at the hands of the Rannack officials, and be assured, a full investigation will be launched. For now though, with immediate effect, you will be reinstated at Rannack, and your official record wiped clean.”
I didn't even bother concealing my grin, and neither did Cameron.
“I will also ensure that any new officials that may or may not...” he gave Mr. Green a pointed look “...be installed at Rannack will punish Liam to the fullest extent of the rulebook.”
I exchanged a look with my Mum, and she smiled back at me.
“As of today...” Mr. Thompson paused, writing on one of the many pieces of paper in front of him. “...I am officially reversing Mr. Green's decision, and reinstating you both at Rannack, with no penalty.”
A grin spread across both of our faces, and we thanked Mr. Thompson profusely.
“You will start back on Monday, and, since it's Thursday, as a bit of an unofficial apology, take a long weekend on us.”
END OF CHAPTER 7
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MY OTHER STORIES:
Young Lovers Series:
Highland Flings – http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/camping/highland-flings
Growing Up Together – http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/highschool/growing-up-together
Big And Little Lovers Series:
My Little Brigade Boy - http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/adult-youth/my-little-brigade-boy
Camp Blow By Blow - http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/camping/camp-blow-by-blow
Fumble And Tumble - A Short Story - http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/adult-youth/fumble-and-tumble
What A Onesie Can Lead To – http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/highschool/what-a-onesie-can-lead-to.html