This is gay-oriented fiction. I don't like writing `bout sex, so you won't find it here. I might suggest some of it, but no hardcore. This story is not about my life, although certain people portrayed in the story may be real. There is no sex... blah, blah, blah. You know the rest. If you've come this far, I can't stop you.

Kayden and Zac

by Ryan Keith

Chapter 1 - New Semester


       If I didn't pinch myself every morning, I would think this is all just a dream. Who ever thought there would be demons lurking inside of Kayden Freemen? Scratch that. Kayden Pierce. When I left home I promised myself I would abandon that name and that life. I have no regrets, and nothing to hold me back. Plus, Pierce sounds cooler.

       For too long my greatest fear was losing Zac. It was my greatest fear, but also a partial goal. Perhaps, somewhere deep in my heart, I would rather have had Zac hate me than have him suddenly wake up one day and decide he didn't like me after all. In my eyes I was full of problems, and I was sure Zac would one day realize I wasn't worth it, and leave me. I don't know what I would have done if something like that had happened. Maybe I used the whole Neil thing as a scapegoat rather than accepting the whole ordeal. In a way I was glad I could get away from Zac for a bit. It made me realize things I never would have if I'd stayed with him.

       Neil hasn't forgotten me. He made that clear with his right-on-time Christmas gift. I really didn't like the idea of having my friends fight with me, but I guess Shin was right. Neil's friends know where I am, I don't know where they are, and I can't possibly fight twenty people if Neil suddenly decides to get serious. I really doubt he could. He's a pretty dumb-looking kid, and Blake told me he really is pretty stupid. He doesn't have the charisma to lead people like his brother used to do. But still, he could round up a few people if he tried.

       Zac made it clear to all of us that there will be no gang fighting. Scott looked pretty discouraged, but I agreed with Zac. I would never forgive myself if something were to happen to my friends because of me. We decided to just be safe. We all have cell phones -- well, I just bought one. If anything happens, we'll call someone as soon as possible and get the police involved. They don't like the idea of getting the police involved, because they're worried what might happen to me, but it really isn't up for negotiation. I won't die if I have to go back to Vancouver, I just choose not to, if I can keep from it.

       Things would be much simpler If Rick were still around. He was able to chase off the police from around me after Sean's death. I don't know what he did, but he seemed very capable of such things. I doubt I could pull anything off by myself.

       On the last day of the semester I managed to finish my exam early, so I waited eagerly for Zac to step out as well. I found a bench and took a seat. The past month had been amazing. Zac and I made a New Year's resolution to study much harder. Our last exam was religion. Studying for it with Zac had been killer, but after he pleaded with me we finally managed to pull off some quality studying time. Maya was a big help, too, but after the new year Zac seemed like a pro at those world religions. I couldn't understand how he got to be so knowledgeable. He said it was all thanks to me, but I didn't know what the hell he was talking about. He managed to pull off quite an impressive display for his term project. Of course it helped to have Shin as a friend. Shin's aunt back in Japan is a Shinto priestess. Zac's presentation had to be the most interesting; I don't think there was a single person sleeping.

       How did I manage to finish the exam before Zac? We both made predictions. I was certain one of the essay questions was going to be on this one section we had covered. Zac said Major Asshole wouldn't do something that easy. Well, look who was right, Zac. Even still, I thought Zac probably had done better than me.

       I love Zac. Simple as that. There is no other way I can describe my feelings for him. Something about him draws me to him like a magnet. When I'm away from him he's always on my mind. I can't believe I tried to break up with him. One night made up for it. I will never forget that date, January 1st, 2002. I was no pro. Neither was Zac. I mean, we were both virgins. And I mean, shit, there really isn't any handbook on gay sex. Well, maybe there is, but we never looked at it. That morning was just as amazing. That whole day, and the week prior, I will never in my life forget.

***January 1st, 2002***

       I awoke with the sun piercing my eyes. I squinted at it and closed my eyes again. I lay flat on my back and stared at the ceiling. The sheets were half off my body and I proceeded to scratch my chest and let out a yawn. I soon remembered what had happened the night before and turned to my left. My breath was taken away.

       Zac lay sleeping beside me. He lay on his side with one arm under his head, his other fist brought up to his face. He looked so peaceful. So handsome. Something about him resembled his father so much. Out of all our friends, Zac has to be the most mature. Maybe it's because he only lives with his dad, but he's way too proper in a lot of the things he does. Staring at the man who is simply still just a boy made me realize there is no one just like Zac.

       Zac suddenly took a deep breath and seemed to bring his shoulders close together. My boy looked cold. I propped myself on my side and pulled the blanket over him to warm him.

       Watching Zac open his eyes was way too cute. He looked at me and blinked a few times. Then, his eyes widened with surprise and he pulled the blanket up to his chin.

       "What?" I asked.

       "Were you watching me sleep?" he asked in a suspicious tone.

       "Well, yeah...but I just woke up, too."

       "Oh, God, I must have looked like an idiot, snoring with my mouth open," Zac said, hiding his face.

       He was blushing. I guess I could understand why. It was the first time we had ever slept in the same bed...naked. What had happened the night before was something completely new. And he knew it, too.

       "No," I said gently, "you were very cute."

       He looked at me with the most innocent eyes, his smile radiating behind his lips. I wanted so much to touch those lips with my own.

       "Soo," he dragged the word as he looked around. "About last night..."

       "I am so sorry about last night," I began.

       He looked at me funny. "Why are you sorry?"

       I looked at him and realized I really didn't know why I was saying I was sorry.

       "I guess... It was a bit weird, huh?" I asked.

       "Well, yeah, it was weird. But what did you expect? It was both our first times," he commented.

       "I swear I'll become better..." I don't know what possessed me to say that. God, I felt like an idiot. Zac was still blushing pretty hard. Good job, Kayden.

       "I mean, I'm sorry I hurt you..." I said.

       "You didn't hurt me.  I just needed to adjust. It was more just the pressure that I needed to adjust to."

       I knew he was lying. I didn't know how much it hurt, but I had watched his face the entire time. I saw him wince once or twice.

       "Did you...enjoy it?" he asked.

       "Of course I did!" I said a little too strongly. That made Zac go even redder, and even I felt my face heat up. It was amazing, but we were beginners. We really didn't know how to do things. I mean, most fifteen-year-olds are playing games, hanging out with friends, and skateboarding.

       "So, we can do it again sometime?" he asked so innocently. He had looked away, but after a moment he sneaked a peak at me. His innocent eyes were adorable; his delicate smile hidden behind his lips. I used to think that if I were to like a guy, he would have thin lips like myself. But Zac's sure are full, and that makes him look cuter than any other boy I know. And he's all mine.

       I reached for his hand and brought it to my lips, caressing it gently with soft kisses.

       "For sure, Zac," I told him. "That is, if you want to."

       "I definitely want to try it again," my boy said. "Well, maybe not right now, but another time."

       I couldn't help but laugh. I rolled onto my back and stared at the ceiling.

       "Sure, babe, whatever you want."

       That was new. I didn't know what had made me say "babe", but I kind of liked the way I said it. I hoped Zac liked it, too.

       He was smiling at me when I turned my head to check his reaction. We held a gentle stare for a moment, and then we both turned to stare at the ceiling. There was a comfortable silence between us.

       "Do you want to...hold each other, or something?" I asked awkwardly after another moment.

       Hearing Zac laugh aloud made me feel a little sheepish.

       "Man, that sounds so gay!" he joked.

       Laughing with him, but feeling quite discouraged, I replied, "Well, fine, if you don't want to..." I didn't say it in a disappointed way. I would never want to do anything that he wasn't comfortable with.

       I felt his hand tugging at my arm and I turned to face him.

       "No, I'd like that."

       Without another word, he shifted over to my side and placed his head on my chest, his one hand moved to take my own beside my head. I placed my other arm firmly around him. His weight on me didn't make breathing harder, and I felt comfortable. Very comfortable, in fact. I could feel his warmth against my skin, his breath, and his heartbeat. We were synchronized.

       "It's the new year..." Zac whispered.

       "Yeah," I said sadly.

Exactly a week ago, I would never have imagined this. But now I can't believe I tried to leave Zac. When I left him, I felt my strength leave. Even in the fight with Neil's cronies I felt like I wasn't giving it my all. That is, at first. I don't know why it took me so long to take out that one guy. Realizing who was fighting with me made a big difference. Zac's friends were fighting by my side. They fought for me because they cared about me. They wanted to protect me. At that moment I realized what my sensei had really meant. He had said I was foolish and he had been right. When I lost the reason to protect someone, I lost my strength to fight. It suddenly struck me I wanted to protect Zac's friends. I'm glad I was able to call on that strength again and finish the fight that night.

       "What are you thinking about?" Zac asked gently.

       "About how weak I felt without you. How weak I was during the fight last week. And how I finally was able to get that strength back when I realized what is important to me." I felt no shame in saying that to Zac. I promised to be more open with him, because sharing our thoughts might help clear out problems before they begin.

       I felt Zac gently kiss my chest.

       "You're not weak," he said.

       "That's because I want to protect you and our friends."

       He looked up at me with the sweetest smile. "You remind me of a quote Shin once said. I think it was from one of his games. 'Strength without determination means nothing. Determination without strength is equally useless'."

       I contemplated those words for a moment and realized how true that statement is.

       "So, did you make a New Year's resolution?" Zac asked suddenly.

       I smiled down at him. "Yup, to be a better boyfriend."

       Hearing him laugh made me laugh. I don't know why it was funny, but hearing him laugh made my heart soar.

       "You're already amazing. How about we try harder at school. I can honestly say I've been slacking off this semester."
       I know I'm not all that strong in school. Being to three different schools, all with different curriculums, kinda threw me off. It was actually two; the elementary school I went to back home didn't count. But still, there was a huge transition.

       Groaning, I answered, "Can we do that after this semester? I honestly think I'm screwed. Especially in religion."

       "Nope, we start as soon as we can. You might have problems, but I think I have it all down in my head. I'll help you. That way, Grandma won't have anything to complain about."

       I stared down at Zac for a moment and he stared back up at me. Finally understanding he wanted to help me, I accepted his offer.

       After a while I felt a well-known sensation pressing into my side.

       "I thought you didn't want to do that now," I joked.

       "'s after now, isn't it?" he answered with an impish grin. I needed no further motivation. I brought Zac up to kiss him passionately.


       "Kayden!" Zac said louder.

       "Huh?" I finally answered.

       Zac called me back from my daze. I'd heard him calling before, but for some reason my mind couldn't respond. I was still reflecting on that one morning.

       Maya stood laughing beside him. "You are such a dreamer, Kade. How did you do?"

       "I think I did alright," I told them. I turned to Zac and added, "And I told you that question was going to be on the exam."

       Zac waved off my words. "Yeah, yeah...whatever. I still did great."

       "I'm glad you two finally decided to focus more on school. I was worried about you guys for a bit. Especially you, Kayden. You seemed to be doing only the bare minimum amount of work for a few weeks," Maya smiled.

       "Yeah...anyways, we're all done. Let's go get some lunch and then go to my house. Everyone will be showing up later on," Zac said.

       We had all planned to meet at Zac's house that afternoon. Everyone else was done with their exams the day before, so it was just us three who wrote an exam on the last day.

       Maya and I agreed, and I was ready to get up until I realized I wasn't physically ready to.

       "Uh, Zac, can you come here for a moment?" I said, kinda foolishly.

       Zac looked at me weird, but slowly came forward. I motioned him closer, and when he was close enough I whispered into his ear.

       I noticed a smile spread on his lips, and he glanced down to my crotch before chuckling. I felt so embarrassed.

       He took a seat beside me. "Let's wait a bit, Maya. Kayden saw our English teacher walk by, and he said he might be back soon with our marks. Let's wait a bit for him, just in case he does show up."

       Maya took a seat, too. "Alright, but jeez, did you have to whisper it?" she said, looking at me thoughtfully.

       Zac's laugh made me feel really uncomfortable. We sat talking for a bit and waited as my condition to fade away.


       "Elly? Are you home, sweetie?" Mom called out.

       "I'm on the phone!"

       "Listen Mai, I need to go. My mom just got home," I told my friend.

       "Alright, I'll see you later," she said. We hung up.

       I went downstairs as Mom was putting her coat away.

       "You're home early," I said, as I sat down on the stairs.

       She turned to me and winked. "I had a meeting with some people this afternoon. It finished earlier than I expected. There was no need for me to go back to the hospital, so I came straight home."

       "Great! I'm hungry," I joked.

       "Alright, alright, I'll cook something," she said, going along with the joke. "You really should learn to cook. It's fun."

       "No thanks, the kitchen and I don't get along," I reminded her.

       "Hon, you can't let one bad experience ruin your life. Give it another chance," she said to me.

       "Mom!" I complained, "You knew it was horrible, but you still ate it. You made me believe it was good before I took a bite."

       I watched my mom cringe as if recalling the memory. "Ugh, I can almost taste it by talking about it."

       We both started laughing as we headed to the kitchen.

       "So, what did you do all day?" she asked as she washed her hands.

       We have one of those sinks that's on an island in the middle of the kitchen. I stood on the opposite side and watched her prepare some food. I may be a klutz in the kitchen, but I still want to learn.

       "Just hung out at my friend Zac's house," I told her.

       She suddenly paused and it seemed like she just recalled something unpleasant.

       "Something wrong?" I asked.

       "No, Elly," she whispered, "it's nothing.... Don't worry about it." She tried a smile, but it was an empty one.

       "Are you sure you're okay?" I asked worriedly.

       She breathed a sigh as she dried her hands.

       "It's just that... I just got that feeling when you remember something that brings you the greatest joy, but also great sadness. Like I said, it's nothing to be worried about."

       I didn't want to make her feel sad, so I tried to change the topic.

       "I got my courses for next semester, today," I told her.

       "Oh? What will you be taking?"

       "Religion, first period. Some guy name Sergeant, or something," I said, grabbing a banana.

       "Sergeant? Sounds like a tough guy," Mom said as she took out some vegetables.

       "I hope not. God and me don't really see eye-to-eye, remember?" I reminded her.

       "Well, in spite of that, aren't you glad I insisted you go to a Catholic school? You've made quite a number of friends."

       "Yeah, I know. They're the best. I guess it was a good choice, huh?"

       "You know it, Elly," she said, smiling.

       I don't know why, but sometimes when I see that smile I can't help but feel a bit sad. My real mom had that same smile, and she always wore it, no matter what. Even when we were making barely enough to get by. Even when she was sick and in pain. Even when she knew she was dying and that she would have to leave me, she smiled. I will never doubt the strength of smiles. Sometimes they speak volumes of emotions.

       I felt the tears slowly streak from my face.

       "Honey, what's wrong?" Mom asked, as she dropped the vegetables and ran over to me.

       I started to rub my eyes, embarrassed that I was crying again.

       "Oh, Elly, I'm sorry. Did I say something to upset you?" Mom asked, genuinely upset.

       "No, you've only been the best. I was just thinking about my mom," I whispered.

       Mom embraced me gently, as if to keep me from shattering into a thousand pieces.

       "I know you're still hurting, El. I'm here, though. You can share your pain with me. In time, I hope we can share each other's pain and loneliness. I can't replace my sister, and I don't want to, but I do want to see you happy. "

       "Does the pain ever go away?" I mumbled into her shirt.

       For a moment we just stood there.

       "No, Elly, it doesn't. Even with age, these pains never go away. We grow to endure them, though, and to embrace what we still have. I thought I would always be lonely, too, until I found you."

       We shared another moment of silence before we were ready to start again.

       "You haven't told me the rest of your courses," Mom said as she dabbed her eyes with a cloth.

       "Oh, yeah, I'll have science, second period, lunch with Mai, then phys ed, and finally, communications."

       "What's communications?" she asked.

       "I think it's things to do with computers. Video and audio stuff. Oh, and also


       "That's cool."

       When Mom said "cool", it sounded like she didn't know how to use it. It sounded funny, actually. She's definitely not old; she's still young. And single... which completely boggles my mind.

       "I really hope we cover more of the biology section in science, though. The chemistry and physics stuff bores me."

       "Still want to be a doctor?" she smiled at me.

       "You bet I do. Just like my dad and you, I want to be a doctor. I've always wanted to be one, ever since mom used to tell me about Dad," I said, leaning on the counter.

       "Actually, it was your dad who tutored me in math and sciences in high school. I wanted to be a doctor, too, because of him. He made the profession sound so fun and interesting, and the man was right."

       I grinned big, and Mom looked up to catch my eye. She began to smile, too, as she started cutting away.


       "That is bullshit!" Mai stated for the hundredth time.

       That's all she had been saying during lunch. We were happy when we found out we both had phys ed the same period, but she turned pissed when she found out we would be in separate classes. The gym is divided into three segments, and we would be at opposite ends. There are movable walls in place to separate the classes. They only move them when there is a game or an assembly.

       "It's no big deal, Mai," I told her.

       "Still, though. You don't know how this school works, yet. There are some pretty vicious girls in our school. It's amazing how you've been able to stay out of their way, so far. Elly, you need to promise me you won't let them get to you. You're better than them."

       "Mai, you're too much," I said, laughing.

       I was laughing, but her look showed real worry.

       "Don't be afraid to say you hang out with me. I'm scary enough to make those white girls piss in their panties," Mai said with a totally straight face.

       "Oh, my God, you are vulgar!" I said, pretending to be sick. "And I'm white, too, you know?"

       "Yeah, whatever. It's so easy being Asian. You tell a few people you know kung fu, and suddenly you become the crazy Chinese chick who people don't want to mess with. I have yet to threaten people with my deadly House of Yu, Phoenix fist style," she said casually.

       "You know kung fu?" I asked, surprised.

       "Hell, no!" Mai said, shaking her head immediately. "It's all an act. I couldn't make a fist to punch someone if my life depended on it, but still, it doesn't hurt to have these backups."

       "What about Maya? She doesn't have any problems," I mentioned.

       "Dearie, Maya is the role-model student. The professional piano player, academic beauty who everyone wants to be.  She's a saint! Whoever heard of someone hating a saint? She has a lot of power and she doesn't even know it."

       "So, in a way, she's like Zac?" I questioned.

       "Very much so," Mai said, nodding her head.

       I wasn't aware how many people knew Zac until I realized everyone in our grade knew who Zac was. Whenever anyone in class approached me, it was always, "You're the new girl who hangs out with Zac and his friends, right?"

       "Why would the girls want a piece of me?" I asked.

       "Lenne, think about it. You're pretty; blues eyes, blond hair. You're beautiful. I don't want to sound envious, because I'm really not, but a lot of people are jealous of that. And they will do all they can to make you feel bad. A lot of girls really like Zac, and you are one of the girls closest to him. He's a swimmer! Need I say more?"

       I giggled when she said that.

       "Not only him, but Jett, too. Hockey jock captain. Why you ever turned him down, I'll never know..."

       I blushed. I had been really surprised when Jett asked me out. It was really unexpected. I felt bad because I did, but it's not my fault if I think he's...too young. We're the same age, but...

       "And then there's Scott. The loudmouthed, arrogant troublemaker who also appears to be the smartest boy ever. He's the skater boy. All girls want him, but they're too afraid of how they would be seen if everyone else knew."

       I had to agree. Scott seems to be way over my head sometimes, but he has that charisma that seems to turn everything into something fun.

       "And finally, there's my Shin. The totally loveable nice guy. The one who can get the toughest crowd laughing by just laughing. The cool guy who finds everything funny, and who everyone can't help but love. I'm sorry to say this, Lenne, but you've been caught in a pretty amazing web. There are so many girls who want to be in your position. The reason why they aren't is...well, because they want something out of being near Zac and his friends. They want status. Being associated with those guys is what everyone wants. Why? Because everyone sees how close they are. They see that, and they want it."

       "Then why am I in?"

       "Because you don't seem to be the type that would go off spreading every bit of information you hear about those guys. It's becoming increasingly disgusting. The numbers are multiplying, even among the niners. You simply seem to want friends, and that's all what anyone in our group wants. Plus, you don't seem materialistic. Too many girls are into the whole skank outfit. I mean, have you seen how high some of these girls wear their kilts? It's illegal!"

       It never occurred to me that this is how high school is. What happened to the good old days?

       "Well, this sucks. So, since I'm the new girl..."

       "The new girl who seems to fit in so well," Mai added.

       "What you said," I said, laughing with her. "That means I have to put up with cold shoulders? How do you and Maya deal with it?"

       "Oh, dear, you already forgot. I'm the crazy psycho Asian chick, remember? And Maya is the goddess? Only an idiot would mess with a psycho and a goddess."

       Thinking for a bit, I recalled someone else.

       "Well, what about Kayden? Isn't he new?"

       "Yeah, well, it's different with guys. They don't really care for things like that. All they care about is which friend is banging which chick," Mai said, rolling her eyes.

       We walked in silence for a few moments.

       "So, I'm the target, then?"

       "You going to be alright?" Mai asked.

       "I hope so. If someone starts something, I don't think I can fight back...I don't like fighting," I told her.

       "Oh! I so know what to call you. Pacifist Girl! The girl who doesn't like confrontations. That will save you," Mai said, laughing.

       I laughed with her, but deep inside I was scared. When we got to the lockers in the gym area, Mai turned to me. "Don't let the girls get to you. Just know that your friends like you for who you are. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. At the end of the day, you still have us. Don't cry, and don't fume. You'll be alright."

       We parted ways, and I felt like I was entering a pit of lions.

       The class wasn't half bad. It was actually fun. For a while I though maybe Mai had just been trying to scare me. It wasn't until later that week I realized she hadn't exaggerated.

       "So, you must, like, think you're pretty special...hanging with Maya and her friends, don't you?" an icy voice said next to me.

       "What?" I said with surprise, as I popped my head through the hole of my shirt.

       It felt like a dagger ripped through me as I turned to the girl who stared coldly at me. The fierce-looking brunette stood with a displeased look on her face. Her arms were crossed as she looked me up and down.

       She gave a curt smile as she let her arms drop. "You come out of nowhere, and like, suddenly latch onto the 'popular' crew? You and your friends make everyone sick. You guys think you're so perfect that everyone looks up to you. But it's all a face, isn't it?"

       I didn't know what to say. I was in shock at the girl's sudden attack.

       "Michelle, do you have something against me?" I asked. I didn't know what I had done, but to piss someone so much, I must have done something really bad.

       "My name is Alicia, you bitch."

       That word hit me like a tons of bricks.

       "Don't make me repeat myself. I told you, you and your friends make me sick.

       "Oh, sorry... I didn't mean to offend when I called you Michelle. Seriously, though, I don't know what I did to..."

       "You know what, just shut up," her friend said.

       There were three others in the change room. Two seemed to be Alicia's friends, the way they stood behind her.

       The third girl was watching us, looking like she was waiting for a fight to start.

       Jeez, thanks a lot...

       "Just make sure you watch yourself, Lenne. What the hell kind of name is that, anyways?" Alicia spat.

       I felt my anger rise. I love my name. My mom and dad gave it to me. The parents I no longer have.

       "Now, you listen..."
       "Alicia, back off. Just because she's prettier than you doesn't mean you get to treat her like shit," the third girl said.

       I turned to her and felt my heart leap. I really hadn't expected her to stick up for me.

       "So, why don't you leave her alone, before we both get you suspended for being a bitch."

       That was kind of weak, but I caught the fact that she was trying to defend me. Funny enough, Alicia and the two girls just turned to her and shook their heads. They brushed past her and one girl gave her a shoulder. The girl stumbled and brushed it off.

       When they were gone, I felt the heat hit my face. I almost lost myself. I had been about to tear that girl up for making fun of the name my parents gave to me.

       "Are you okay?" the girl asked.

       I turned to her and smiled. "Yeah, thanks. Wow, I didn't really expect to be picked on like that. I thought my friend Mai was just teasing me when she said I might have problems."

       "Well, don't worry about Alicia, she's a bitch to everyone. My name is Megan, by the way."

       "Oh, sorry, I'm Lenne,"

       She smiled. "Yeah, I know. You're the new girl who hangs around Zac and his friends. They're pretty cool."

       Yet again, another person who knows about 'Zac and his friends'.

       "They are! They're all amazing people," I told her.

       "Oh, for sure. Watching Maya play that piano during the Christmas follies was amazing. It was sad, but amazing. Do you know if, you know, that guy she kissed afterwards is her boyfriend?"

       "Scott? Yeah, she's dating him. They're so cute together. Especially Scott; he's so much more calm around her," I said as I put my stuff in my gym bag.

       "I wonder why she would date a skater boy. She doesn't seem like the type," the girl said, as if she was thinking about it.

       "I think Maya sees something in Scott that no one else sees."

       The girl looked like she'd had a bright idea. "You know what? I think you're right."

       I didn't know what to say, so I just smiled.

       "What about you? Are you seeing anyone?" she asked as she placed her bag around her shoulders.

       "Me? No, not at all."

       "Really?" she said, a bit shocked. "'re so pretty."

       "Well, thank you. You're really pretty, too," I complemented her. We walked in the direction of the sinks and mirrors. It's almost second nature to fix the hair after gym.

       "Yeah, but I have a boyfriend. If I have one, then it's amazing you don't. Are you saying no one has asked you out? You have such a big selection, don't you think?"

       "Well, I don't know. I have different tastes," I told her. Yeah, I like older men!

       "Well, Scott and Shin are taken, I know that," she said thoughtfully. "What about Zac or Jett? Or even the new kid, Kayden?"

       "Well, Zac and Kayden are both seeing someone. Jett's the only one who's single," I told her.

       "Really? What do you think of Jett? He's pretty hunky, don't you think?"

       "Yeah, he really is." I grinned. If he were a bit older he'd be perfect. A bit too much muscle, but nice.

       "Think he wants to ask you out?"

       I thought about not telling her, but so far she seemed really nice, and she did stick up for me. "Well, he sort of did ask me out, but I wasn't interested. He's a nice guy and everything, but I have a different taste in guys."

       She laughed when I said that. "Oh, I soo understand. What class do you have next?"

       "Communications. Room 142."

       "Oh, cool, I'm in that direction, too."

       We walked out and continued to talk. I felt like I'd met a new friend.


       "Dad? Are you home?" I called out.

       When I got home I found Dad's Honda outside. I figured he'd gotten home early. He hadn't seemed too well that morning. I knew he'd been staying up late nights to finish up some work. I hoped it wasn't affecting his health.

       When no one replied, I sneaked upstairs to check up on him. I opened his door and felt the heat hit me. It wasn't really the heat, but the atmosphere. Dad had turned on the humidifier that we had bought a while back. That wasn't a good sign. Dad lay on his bed with the covers over him. One arm was draped over his eyes and the other one was hanging from the bed.

       I walked up to his bed and touched his forehead. It was hot.

       I saw a note by his night lamp. It had my name on it, so I knew he intended for me to find it.


       Hey, Zac,

            I'm not feeling too well, so I came home. Wake me up at around 6:00, okay, buddy? I'll see if I'm well enough to make some dinner.

       "Not tonight, Dad," I said, smiling. "You just get some rest. I'll make some chicken noodle soup."

       The chicken noodle soup I wanted to make is Gran's special. She taught it to me when Gramps fell ill one time while I was visiting them.

       I slowly retraced my steps and tried to quietly leave his room.

       "Diana..." I heard him whisper.

       The name grabbed my spine like an icy hand. I turned towards my father who lay sick on his bed. I noticed that the side of his face his arm didn't cover showed a wet streak down to his pillow.

       Even sick, my dad continued to think about that woman. I slipped out of his room.

       I hate her. Dad will never admit it, but he still thinks about her... I bet he still loves her.

       I sat down on the stairs, torn that I couldn't do anything to help him.

       Maybe I can find her... But what would I say? "Hi, I'm your son, the one you wanted to abort? I was wondering if you want to go out with my dad."

       I laughed at the thought. I wondered if I could keep a straight face while saying that without cursing her profanely.

       I buried my head in my arms, upset that I couldn't do anything for him.


       "What the hell is going on?" Mai whispered as she sat down.

       I was starting to wonder, too. We were all sitting in our usual places before classes started, in the cafeteria. For the past week, nasty, mean rumours had been going around. The first to circulate was one that Maya was a fake person, and that she was putting on a face because she enjoyed people looking up to her. The worst of it was that she was dating Scott because his parents own a major company, and she was just safeguarding her future. I don't know who made that one up, but that was harsh.

       Another one was going around saying that Jett was...well, underdeveloped in a certain region and couldn't satisfy his past girlfriends, which is why they broke up with him. That one was just ridiculous, but people bought it.

       "Who would do such a thing?" Maya asked.

       The rumours had already done plenty of damage. Some people acted weird around Maya, and everyone teased Jett. That wasn't the worst of it, either.

       "Hey, Zac, I think I saw your mom. Did you check Yonge Street?" a voice yelled out.

       I felt my spine freeze up. Jett stood up immediately, along with Shin and Scott. All three looked around angrily for whoever had shouted out the insult. There were too many people around, and enough people were laughing. No one had really said anything directly to us like that. That was a first.

       Even I knew what the implication of the Yonge Street insult was. Certain intersections of that street in Toronto are associated with prostitution circles.

       I watched as Zac got up somberly and put his bag over his shoulder. He didn't say anything to us, but just left. He was upset...really upset.

       "This is going to end very soon. I'll make it end. Zac doesn't deserve this shit," Jett said, shaking his head.

       "Jett, don't start anything, okay?" Mai said. "We all know none of those rumours are true. As long as we know, then what others think doesn't matter. People get tired of rumours pretty fast."

       "Well, at least most of them are lies," Scott said, grinning at Jett. Jett just shook his head and rolled his eyes, and Shin started to laugh. Those guys are amazing; even when the world turns against them, they can still enjoy themselves. I was just worried about Zac. What that guy said had upset him pretty hard.

       "Hey... He's right, Mai," Kayden joined in. "It's going to end one way or another." He had been pretty quiet during all this. He would have gotten up with the other guys when that idiot shouted out that comment, but he was too busy worriedly watching Zac.

       "Kayden, Jett," Maya whispered their names sternly, "you won't do anything! If you do, it'll only make things worse than they already are."

       Jett and Kayden didn't say anything, but I could tell their resolve wasn't dampened.

       "What about you, Lenne? Are you getting any problems?" Shin asked.

       "Not really. There's this girl named Alicia in my gym class who keeps giving me a hard time. But a friend in that class is keeping her away. I guess I'm lucky," I told them.

       "Sorry about this, Lenne," Maya whispered. "You're being hurt by association. I hope this doesn't make you think less of us."

       "You must be insane," I told her. "I could deal with harassment a hundred times over and it wouldn't make me turn away from you guys."

       For the first time since the rumours had started, they each began to smile.

       "I'm going to find Zac," Kayden told us as he got up.

       "I need to grab my books from my locker. I'll see you guys later, okay?" I said to them.

       We said our goodbyes and Kayden and I both got up to leave.

       "I hope you don't do anything stupid, Kayden," I said to him. "I don't want to see you suspended. It would make Zac more upset than he already is."

       Kayden let out a sigh, and I felt myself lose some of the tension. I could sense that his temper was lowering. At the cafeteria doors we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

       "What the hell?" someone said beside me as I opened my locker.

       I turned to him and noticed he was reading a note. It seemed to have fallen out of his locker. Whatever it was, he seemed to be confused by it, and simply scrapped it. His name is Philip. He had been nice enough to introduce himself when I first started school here.

       "Was that a love letter, Phil?" I teased.

       "I don't know what the hell that was," he smiled. "So, how've you been?"

       "Not too good. Someone is spreading lies about my friends," I told him as I fetched my textbooks.

       "Yeah, I heard. What the hell is that about? Someone have something against you guys?" he said as he leaned against his locker.

       "I don't know, but whoever is spreading them should watch out," I said as I closed my locker. "My friends are getting pissed."
       "Well, I'll keep an eye out and if I hear anything, I'll tell you."

       "Thanks, Phil, that would be really cool of you. You ready?" I asked.

       We both had religion first period.

       I noticed a few eyes focus in on me as I walked in. I kinda hated the fact that Phil's seat was at the front and mine was near the back. He seemed to be the only decent guy in our class. Everyone else seemed to be pretty childish. When I thought about it, Phil was incredibly mature, and not bad, either.

       "What you looking at?" a voice said beside me. I turned to the girl who had pulled her seat up close to mine.

       "Nothing, I was just thinking about something," I told her.

       "You mean those rumours?" she grinned.

       I felt myself tense up.

       "So? Are they true? Is Jett really small down there?" she asked me.

       I turned to her with disgust. "Megan, first of all I don't know. Second, why would you even ask me something like that? Jett is a good friend of mine, so it would be best if you just back off."

       I turned around to so my back was to her. I noticed a few people looking my way. Phil was looking, too. I must have been pretty loud. But still, what kind of idiot would make up stupid lies like that?

       "Alright, don't bite my head off," Megan whispered. "But in case you want to get away from those rumours, you can come hang with me and my friends during lunch. You know, if it gets too much for you."

       Okay, suspect number one: Megan.

       The door suddenly slammed and Mr. Sergeant walked up to his desk and dropped his briefcase. "Alright, class, that's enough. Everyone get back to your seats; class is starting."

       I felt like I was in some kind of boot camp.


       The bell had already rung, but I knew Zac wouldn't be going to his first class. We both have first-period science -- the only class we have together. If my last two periods could be switched, we'd have three classes together. He has math and then design and technology, but I have design and technology, then math. At least we have lunch together.

       I went towards his locker and found him fumbling with his lock. I stood behind him and waited as he continued to wrestle with it. Finally, he gave up and turned around.

       "Can we go somewhere right now?"

       "Where?" I asked. "The VP will be supervising the halls, soon."

       "Stairwell..." Zac said, as he began to walk. I followed. Wherever Zac went, I would follow him.

       We walked to the stairwell closest to the east wing exit -- the one less commonly used. Zac sat down on the stairs and covered his face as his elbows rested on his knees.

       I don't know what to do. Does he want me to hold him? I wanted to hold him so badly, but someone might get the wrong idea. We didn't need any more rumours going around. Rumours about Zac and me would be true.

       "Don't let what that guy said hurt you, Zac. They don't know you," I told him.

       Zac didn't respond, so I sat beside him, close enough that our feet touched.

       Finally, he looked up. I was glad he wasn't crying. If he had been, I knew I would lose myself and try to find the guy who yelled that random comment.

       "I want to find her, Kade..." he whispered.

       "Your mom?" I asked.

       He nodded. "Recently I've been thinking more and more about her. There are some things I need to ask her. I need to ask her why she left my dad. I think dad really did love her. And, maybe, she really loved my dad. But then, why did she leave us?"

       He turned to me. "Do you think it's weird of me to want to find her?"

       "Not at all, Zac. You just want to know the truth. But, do you think you should ask your dad first? Maybe he can tell you some things."

       "I don't want to ask dad, because I don't think he knows," he whispered.

       "If there's any way I can help, you know I will. If you need anything, I'll do my best to support you," I said to him.

       He leaned on my shoulder and said, "I just need you, Kade..."

       It felt so right, so I put my arm around him. "I will always be here for you...don't you ever forget that."

       Zac looked up at me, his eyes clear, his heart bare.

       This boy...I love him...

       I don't know what made me do it, but I inched my face closer to his. I thought he would pull away because of where we were, but instead I saw his eyes close and his face approach slowly. I closed my eyes as I felt his soft lips brush mine.

       Within moments, the clearing of someone's voice broke through my thoughts. I opened my eyes in horror and noticed Zac had done the same. I turned to the direction of the person who had made his presence known and I felt a bit of relief to find Mr. Riley, our English teacher from last semester, staring at us with his arms crossed.

       "I really don't know what to say, boys. Usually the faculty is supposed to supervise the students so that such activities don't occur at school," he said, shaking his head.

       I guess I felt a bit relieved that he had caught us instead of someone else. Mr. Riley is openly gay. But still, he's an adult, and a teacher. I felt my cheeks burn up as I watched him shake his head.

       "You boys be careful. You're lucky it was only me who came here. What if someone like Mr. Sergeant had walked down here? Imagine that! Now, you boys get out of here, classes have started already. Go grab late slips. Tell the secretary you were helping me."

       "Yes, sir," Zac and I said simultaneously.  

       "Just don't let this happen again, boys," Mr. Riley said as we walked away. I think I heard him sigh, "Oh, to be young again..."

       I couldn't help but turn to Zac. He caught my look and we both smiled. It was a smile worth a million words. The sunlight of my world.


       Jett and I were never meant to be. I know that, now. But for a while, I really liked him. I don't believe those rumours about him. First of all, it doesn't matter to me how big or small he is, because he's the most gentle and considerate guy I've ever met. In fact, I was the one who broke up with him. I knew he didn't enjoy my company as much as I did his. I felt like I was holding him down, and I knew that was selfish of me. So, I did the kind thing. I let him go, so he could maybe find a true love. Someone he would really love as much as I loved him, since he couldn't return my love.

       That was all in grade nine. Even still, I have feelings for him. I don't think they will ever go away.

       That's probably why I was most upset when I heard about the girls who hang around Jett and his friends. To discover they're fake-faced girls who enjoy playing people like puppets. I couldn't believe the rumour that Jett asked that girl Lenne out. But, anyone could see why. She's gorgeous. Perfect, long, blond hair and a well-proportioned body. I know all the guys are drooling over her. And that girl turned him down? At first I thought maybe she wasn't interested, but then it occurred to me that she might be just playing with his mind. I know some girls like guys chasing them and like to play hard to get. Then I figured she had her eye on Zac. When I realized that, that upset me.

       To think Maya and Mai are the same. They have totally deceived everyone. I know a lot of girls who have crushes on Jett, Shin, Scott, and Zac. It's such a crime for four such good-looking guys to be together. I think maybe they're like the jocks; people who think they're better than everyone else. But, the thing is, there're the nicest guys ever. Scott has always been a troublemaker, but that's probably why girls like him. Jett has a body every girl wants to be held by, and Shin has a personality that charms everyone. And Zac. I know I was never meant to be with him, but nevertheless, I feel like I'm in love with him, too. But he's just too good, for me or most girls. He's too mature for his age. He's kind and friendly, but at the same time pretty serious. I don't think any girl at our school deserves him. Maybe Maya, sort of, but she went after Scott.

       When I heard the latest rumour about Lenne, I couldn't deny it. It fit the truth too well. Megan was the one who mentioned it in the locker room one time before Lenne showed up.

       "Are you serious?" someone from the other room asked.

       "For sure. Lenne came from a different school. I heard the secretary talking with the VP. Apparently the whole incident wasn't really isolated. Everyone knew about her, afterwards," Megan said with sparkles in her eyes.

       "Well, that explains how she got so close to Zac, and so fast," Alicia said.

       "I can't believe every one of us was deceived by those girls. They are so fake I can't stand it!" someone said.

       I had to agree. The evidence was too strong to deny. And this latest revelation about Lenne just added to the credibility of the rumours.

       "I won't forgive them," I told the girls. They turned to me. "I know a lot of people who really liked those guys, and all of them thought they weren't good enough. And to think...those girls... They faked their way in with them. And we were blinded by it."

       I could see the anger in some of the girls' eyes; they agreed.

       "But, are you sure?" one girl asked. "I mean, I don't really listen to rumours, but does anyone actually know that any of this is true? I mean, it all seems kind of..."

       "Are you saying you don't believe it? The facts are right in front of you!" Alicia angrily said. "Maya is the worst of them all. And I know from experience. Have you seen how she acts around Scott? She kind of acts snobbish and controlling. Don't you see? She's showing off her true self. She has Scott, and now her mask is slipping."

       That made sense. Usually it's hard to maintain an image after your goal has been reached. Maya was a shallow person. She only liked Scott because of what his family inheritance had to offer. She made me sick.

       No one really said anything, but I knew I'd never look at Lenne, Maya or Mai the same way.


       A week had passed since the rumours had started. I thought they would die, but they seemed to get worse. The new ones involved Maya, Mai and me. Apparently we were tricking people with our 'fake' charm. I didn't even know we had any charm. My friends knew it wasn't true, but apparently everyone else seem to buy it. Only Phil seemed to not believe it, outside my group of friends.

       Megan's requests for me to join her for lunch also increased. She was still my number one suspect, but I didn't think someone that clumsy would make herself so transparent. Maybe she truly just wanted to save me from the rumours.

       My locker is in the new wing of the building. I felt some people stare at me, all with little smiles like they knew something I didn't. Most likely another rumour, probably about me this time.

       Two figures by my locker caught my attention immediately. Two girls, both in my phys ed class.

       "Which locker is hers? Don't you remember the number?" the first girl said as I approached.

       I noticed Phil staring at them suspiciously as he shut his locker. He saw me and made eye motions towards the note the girls were holding.

       "I'm pretty sure this is hers. Just stuff it in the slot," the other said eagerly.

       "But, I thought Megan said 1421," her friend replied. I stepped forward and knew they sensed my presence. The girl turned around.

       "You can save yourself the trouble and just give that to me," I said as I crossed my arms. Phil smiled, winked at me, and then walked off.

       Both girls' eyes widened in horror.

       "So, Megan sent you. I thought it was weird how she suddenly wanted to know all about me. Is she the one spreading the rumours?" That bitch! Pretending to be a friend.

       Neither girl spoke.

       "You know, spreading rumours about people can technically get you suspended. You girls wouldn't want that, now would you?" I threatened them.

       They shook their heads furiously. It was actually amusing, but I was pissed. The rumours that were going around were partially my fault. Megan had used the information from me about my friends to make the rumours. It was my fault this was happening.

       I knew none of the rumours were true, but where did the one about Zac's mom come from? I know Zac doesn't have a mom, but I don't know the story behind it.

       "There's a few things I want to ask you girls, and you better not hold back, or I'll haul both your asses to the office."

       Both girls swallowed and nodded quietly.

       "All right, then," I said to the girls after I had gotten the information I wanted. "Give me the note and don't tell Megan that I caught you. Got it?"

       They nodded again, and the girl thrust her hand out to give me the note. They immediately walked off.

       It suddenly made sense. That note Phil had gotten the week prior was from Megan, too, but those girls had screwed that up.

       I opened the note and quickly browsed through it before scrapping it. It was full of profanity and insults, which did nothing to me. I've grown accustomed to being insulted since I was a kid. Children always thought it was funny that I didn't wear the best clothes. My real mom could barely support both of us when she was still living. She did the best she could, so I did my best to endure. When my mom died and I was sent to foster care, my foster parents were not any better than the kids. After a certain incident at school, they went as far as verbally abusing me to my face. That was almost two years ago, before I took off. I was used to hardships, but this new form was really upsetting. I don't care if I get picked on and insulted, but this is the first time the ones I care about have been affected as well. I felt like I wanted to do something, I had to do something. I was going to finish things myself.

       While I was waiting until the lunch break was finished, I thought over what I wanted to do. It all came down to keeping cool and not letting them get to me. I think Mai had a feeling I was up to something, because she kept saying, "What's on your mind?" or "Don't let the girls get to you..." I still don't know what the rumour about me was; all I knew was that some people thought I was a slut. That was according to the little note Megan sent me.

       Mai and I talked very little as we walked towards the gym. As we turned down the corridor, we saw the girls in my class standing around chatting idly, waiting for next period to start. The moment they saw me, all conversation stopped.

       "What's wrong, Lenne? Afraid to be, like, by yourself? You had to get your friend to hold your hand?" Alicia said as she leant against the wall.

       "Alicia..." a girl whispered. She wasn't Alicia's friend, I know for sure. Nevertheless, she probably believed the rumours like everyone else.

       "What's going on?" Mai whispered as we slowed down.

       "Just play along and let me handle this," I whispered back.

       Mai and I walked to an unoccupied space along a wall and stood quietly. I could feel stares from all over. Whenever I turned to the girls who were looking, they turned away.

       "Hey, Lenne," the poisonous voice said. The way her greeting sounded, it was full of fakeness. It was a greeting full of spite, and it was from Megan.

       I turned to her and gave her a small smile as if to say I saw her.

       "I heard this crazy rumour about you; it's not true, is it?" the bitch asked with a straight face.

       Before I could answer, Mai replied, "You'd have to be an idiot to believe something like that."

       "Uh, excuse me, was I talking to you?" Megan said with sarcasm in her voice.

       Before Mai could rip her head off, Alicia joined the conversation. "Oh, please, we all know it's true. It all makes sense, too. You switched schools after people found out you were fake, isn't that right? The friends you had, you lost, and it's going to happen here all over again."

       Every girl was silent, and everyone was looking at Alicia.

       So that's the rumour about me? That's kinda weak.

       "That's why I don't like you, Lenne. I know you're, like, fake. You, like, pretend to be this little perfect princess. But you're just like Maya and that girl beside you. That's how you were able to sneak your way into being friends with those guys, right? We all know how you girls did it, but now that we know, like, by all means, don't stop. Those guys are going to figure it out sooner or later, anyways. I hope we didn't ruin your fun by finding out your real colours," Alicia said bitterly, showing a cruel smile.

       I turned to Mai and saw on her face a combination of anger, horror, and shock. That's not a combination well suited to a girl like Mai. She was speechless. I gently touched Mai's arm and she turned to me. I shook my head and gave her an encouraging smile. It was enough, because it looked like she eased up a bit.

       "Are you done?" I asked Alicia.

       Anger flashed on her face for a second before she returned to her bitter smile.

       "Yes, people were deceived, but not by us," I said, turning to Megan. "You can stop pretending to be nice to me. I know you and Alicia are conspiring together against me and my friends."

       I stared coolly at Megan, and she just smiled. "What are you talking about? Why are you getting me involved? Maybe those rumours weren't just rumours after all."

       "Do you deny knowing Alicia?" I questioned her.

       "Well, I obviously know her. I mean, it's not like I don't know who she is," Megan said as she sneaked a look at Alicia. I smiled a bit, knowing there was uncertainty in her voice.

       "So...the fact that you're cousins has nothing to do with anything at all?" I asked thoughtfully. I had found out that little tidbit of information from the girls who were probing around my locker.

       No one said anything.

       "You're both speechless. You didn't think I'd find out, did you? Well, the jig is up, girls. You might as well confess spreading those lies," I said to them.

       "That doesn't mean anything," Alicia finally said.

       I looked around and noticed all the other girls in my class were trying to avoid eye contact with me.

       "Is that what you all think? All of you believe those messed up lies?" Mai asked, stepping forward. "You people shouldn't jump to conclusions like that. Kara," she said, turning to one girl, "you worked with Maya last year during the food drive. Did she ever once strike you as fake?"

       The girls turned to Kara, and the shy girl shook her head. "No...she didn't. I really didn't want to believe these lies, but it's hard not to, with all the evidence."

       "What evidence!!!" Mai almost screamed.

       "And, Amy! You dated Jett last year. Do you really believe that stupid lie about him?" Mai said, turning to another girl.

       "W-well we never got that far..." the girl whispered.

       "For fuck sakes! What made you girls believe these two broads?" Mai lectured. "Didn't it strike you odd that all these rumours started to pop up all of a sudden? Or maybe you thought, 'hey the others might be true, so this one has to be, too!'" Mai said in an imitation. "I don't even know most of you girls! Right now, do I sound like a princess? This is how I am; deal with it. And you!" Mai said, turning to Alicia, "I dare you to call me fake again, bitch. You'll see where my fist ends up."

       Alicia backed up. It was kinda funny how people believed Mai to be a perfect princess. She was as blunt as a bat, and I loved that about her.

       "Mai, I thought we weren't going to let these things turn physical," I smiled at her.

       Mai didn't even turn around to address me as she said, "Lenne, I can only stand so much, girl. I'll handle the rest."

       I leaned back against the wall and smiled.

       "Well, the thing is, after the rumour about Zac started to circulate, I knew you had something to do with it, Alicia," Mai stated. "Maya told me you're the only one other than his friends that knows that Zac doesn't have a mom. She also told me about the little plot you had to make him notice you. But that failed, too, didn't it? The thing is, you can't stand the fact that Zac turned you down, can you? Or, maybe you're still upset after Maya bitch slapped you for trying to play Zac. Which is it?"

       This was way too much. I had planned something else, but this was just as good. I knew none of this.

       "Shut up!" Alicia shouted.

       Mai smiled. "Thank you for proving my point."

       The sudden murmuring of the rest of the girls made me realize they were starting to understand what was happening.

       It's about fucking time.

       "The thing is, none of you know my friends or me," Mai said to them. "Before you go judging people, why don't you get to know them? You girls were actually jealous of Lenne and Maya? And me? For your information, all my friends are seeing someone, except Jett, and I mean, like no one is stopping you. Hell, give me your numbers and I'll be sure to give them to him."

       I noticed a few girls perk up at that suggestion. Poor Jett...

       I felt like it was my turn to say something to the girl who had helped develop the plot.

       "Megan," I said, "I don't know why you did what you did. For a while, I thought maybe you could be a friend. I was deceived, wasn't I? I was never out to prove anything. It's you who's trying to prove your superiority by getting the class to turn on me, isn't it? If I'm fake, what does that make you? Don't push your issues onto others. If you don't like me, then say so. Are you too afraid to say that bullshit to my face?  But I guess you did what you were sent out to do, didn't you? It must have been some ride. Tell me, did you enjoy yourself?"

       I saw fire in her eyes and knew what was coming. Too bad for her I was quicker. I caught her slap midway.

       "You should have done this in the beginning. I'll let this one slide, but next time, I won't forgive you," I said, throwing her hand aside.

       I didn't wait for Megan's reply.

       "Let's get outta here," I said to Mai. I looked at all the girls once more and noticed that most of them had their heads down. The others were glaring openly at Megan and Alicia.

       I felt bad about what was going to happen to them, but they had it coming.

       "Wow," I said when we got far enough away, "you were pretty vicious back there, girl. What happened to letting things cool down?"

       "Yeah, well, girls handle things much less barbaric. If it were guys, it would be Kayden, Jett and Scott in a brawl," Mai commented.

       "Maybe," I grinned.

       "I didn't know Zac turned Alicia down. When was that?" I asked.

       "A while back. It was before you met everyone. We'd just started talking around that time," Mai replied. "I didn't know about it, either, until Maya told me. I just hope these stupid, crappy rumours die, now, which I'm sure they will. Those girls in your gym class will make sure of it."

       "I hope Zac is alright," I said. No one had said any more about Zac's mom, but he had seemed less active than usual.

       "He was upset, no doubt. Anything about his mom seems to upset him," Mai said to me as she moved some strands of hair away from her face.

       "What's the story about Zac's mom? I just thought she wasn't in the picture."

       "Well, it's kinda like this..." Mai began.


       "You think you'll like it here, Brad?" My sister Kristen asked.

       The vice principal of the school was sort of showing us around. My sister and I were behind him and weren't really paying attention.

       "I think so. Looks like an interesting place. Lots of good-looking guys here, too," I said to her as I followed one specimen with my eyes.

       "I know! It's like a gold mine here," Kristen beamed. "I can't believe how long it's been since I went to this high school. It's the reason I stayed in Whitby instead of going with our parents. Damn, if I were ten years younger, I'd be chasing these boys myself."

       "Aren't you engaged?" I teased her. "Have you no shame?"

       "Hey, don't start, Brad. I'm just looking. By the way, do you see anyone you remember from your elementary school?"

       I didn't reply. Truth was, I saw a lot of them. I even saw the guys who used to pick on me. They probably couldn't recognize me. Hell, I really couldn't recognize me. I've changed a lot in just two years. I'm not the same weak kid I once was. My geeky glasses are gone, replaced by contacts. I was a little chubby back then, too, but that's all gone. Replaced the flab with abs like every guy wants. I know I'm good looking, and I make sure everyone notices that. I spent enough of my days looking like a weak-assed geek.

       I doubt anyone would recognize me. I recognized them, and I swore to make them pay for what they did to me. I was spoiled and I knew it. That's why I was picked on. I was the rich brat who got everything he wanted, and I became too dependent on that.

When those kids in grade seven saved me, I realized how truly weak I was. To think, I, Brad Canning, had to rely on other people.  I'd never been so embarrassed. Not anymore. I'm hot, I'm young, and I've come back to Whitby. It's time to make a name for myself.

       "Brad! You there?" Kristen said.


       Both the VP and my sister were looking at me.

       "Oh, sorry," I said.

       "Jeez, don't doze off already, school just started. But, I don't think you have to worry about that, do you, Mr. Model?" Kristen smiled.

       "Well, you got the brains, I got the looks...well, you have the looks, too. Seems like I`m the one who was screwed over," I joked.

       My sister gave me her signature punch. We were just having a little fun with each other, but I think the VP thought we were going to rip each other apart.

       "Will you be starting today?" the VP asked.

       "No, sir, I don't have my uniforms. My sister and I will be buying some today," I told him.

       "Well, we have some used ones you can wear if you would like to get started today," he said.

       "Excuse me?" I said with much difficulty.

       "Brad," my sister said as a warning. She turned to the VP. "Brad will start tomorrow, if that's alright with you. I'm still getting him fitted into his new place, and we need to find some important things, like a fridge. His place was just recently built."

       I thought the guy's eyes were going to pop out of his head. "I thought he would be living with you."

       "Oh, no. I'm his guardian, but Brad will be living by himself. He has his own condominium just outside of town," Kristen told him.   

       "Outside of town? Ms. Canning, the bus service for the school only extends..."

       "Don't worry, I have a car," I said to him.

       Okay, now his eyes were popping out of his head.

       My sister turned to me and gave me that look, like, "You just had to say that, didn't you?" I simply grinned.

       "Brad started late, so he's one year older than the people in his grade. It shouldn't be a problem. As for his living conditions, everything is by the law. Although he has no adult supervision, I will be close by. If there are any problems, I'll be the first to know. Please don't worry yourself about that."

       Leave it to my sister to be the diplomat.

       "O-of course..." the VP said. He then noticed someone and called her over.

       She was really pretty. Hell, if I were straight I'd bang her.

       "Brad, this is Maya Claire. She's the grade 10 representative on the student council. She can show you around for a bit. Your sister and I need to fill out some forms. It might be boring, so it'll be best if you get acquainted with the area."

       I nodded and then approached Maya.

       "Hey there," I said flashing her a smile. "Maya, is it?" I took her hand and shook it. Such soft skin. "I hope it's not too much of an inconvenience for you to show me around. I wouldn't want to keep you out of class."

       I don't know what possessed me to do that, but I'm like that around all girls. It was hard to convince my friends back home that I'm actually gay, with the way I smooth-talked girls. I knew girls like Maya. Most of them would be speechless after an introduction like mine.

       She flashed a smile that radiated beauty. "Not at all, Brad. It's one of my duties as the grade rep. I'll be glad to show you around. I'll bring him back to your office, Mr. what time?"

       I was shocked. She brushed my charm away like I was...a normal guy. Is this girl blind?

       "About thirty minutes should suffice, Maya. Thanks for doing this."

       With that, he walked off with Kristen, who gave me a look that said, "Don't cause trouble!"

       "Shall we go?" Maya asked.

       "Sure, where to?" I replied.

       This is a pretty interesting place. I'm pretty sure I'm going to like it.


May, 2005     Ryan Keith

I want to give special thanks to Aaron for his editing and to him and the rest of the dudes of The Mail Crew for doing an awesome job with my story. They truly make my work better than it really is.

So I'd like some input after all these chapters from you all. Just some random feedback.

1. What is the coolest scene so far (Fights, confrontations, comedy, romantic):
2. Why you like it?

3. Your favorite character, and why

4. Your least favorite character, and why

5. Any assumptions about the future chapters (IE: What really happened to Kayden?)

6. You're most disturbing/hateful scene:


I thought this might be fun. You don't need to answer all, those are just a few. Gimme feedback^^

Been wondering how you guys like all this new writing I'm trying out. I must admit, my style is changing. I feel like I'm growing up. I was afraid maybe Brad was a bit too vulgar, but then thinking back to High School, there were people who thought like him, and I knew them. And I also the talks in the locker rooms that was nothing but who screwed who. Then of course I remember the movies out there that are AA16 rated. I was then convinced I could be more lenient on how I create my characters. Some people were wondering if I could add a character with some spice, well, he was already planned, I'm surprised people saw so deep into my plots.

So what's new with me. It's my summer break, but it's hardly a break. Monday to Friday, working as a machine operator for a large corporation. 7-3:30, 8 hour shifts, but I got to wake up at 5 to get ready and also travel time. Not only that, but I got night classes on Tuesday and Thursday. That just leaves my weekends for writing my assignments, and enjoying the days with an important person. Therefore, my writing may take a very small break. Or at least when school starts in September. What does that mean? Well, you still get your chapters. By the time you read this new chaper, I'll be already on chapter 4. You'll get your chapters, don't worry, lol.

Anyways, there was one thing that I was amazed in. For like 10 minutes, in my Differential Equations course, I was given this:

It was quite amazing actually. I was doing a word problem where one of the variables was height, which I denoted by h. t is time.

Now given the equation,

d2y + 9y = cos ht   , and since cos ht is similar to the real part if eit,


               it can be represented with this equation, given a constant k.

               yp(t)= keith     ah! I thought that was kinda cool!

That wasn't the answer, btw, lol. It was like one step of 10 to solving this particular equation. Damn this stuff is hard^^

Anyways, enjoy your break, I'll be making some money to spend^^ muhahaha