Like Kings

By Blue C.

Disclaimer: Don't be stupid. This story depicts homosexual males kissing, dancing, having sex, and other activities that they find enjoyable. If that is not your thing, then really, why are you here?

Copyright 2003-5 by the author. This story is not to be posted anywhere without the author's permission.

Part 9-Three Little Words
"Drew? Are you in here?" called Jake as he walked into the classroom. Drew was indeed in there, sitting behind the teacher's desk, obliviously waiting for something. By the surprised expression on his face, that something wasn't Jake.

"Peroxide! Hi! Haven't seen you all morning. What are you doing here?" he asked, grinning a little. The grin faded a little, as he noticed how extremely tense the normally calm freshman was. "Jake, what's wrong?" he asked, even though he clearly had something else that needed to be done. If it was what Jake thought, he didn't have much time left.

"I need to talk to you." said Jake, shrugging off his backpack. It landed with a loud -thump-, causing Drew to wince. Jake didn't even notice. He was obviously struggling with what he had to say, and Drew was getting a little nervous. The last thing he needed during his confrontation with Braden was witnesses, even if that witness was Jake.

"Um Jake, do you think this can wait a little?" began Drew.  "You see, I kind of need to-"

"NO" said Jake loudly, almost to the point of shouting. Drew was so stunned he stopped talking. "I have to tell you this now!"

"Tell me what now?" Drew's voice was heavy with love and tenderness, and his eyes were so filled with comfort that Jake forgot to breathe. But, remembering himself, Jake drew in a deep breath for the words he simply had to say.

"Drew." he started quietly "I..."

He got no further, because at that second, Denise came in the door. Her eyes were wide, her movements were big, and her voice was anything but patient. "HERE you are." she said to Jake. "I've been looking all over this campus. You'd think with a school this small I'd find you right away, but no.." she trailed off, noticing Jake's expression, which had migrated to stricken as she talked. "Jake, what's wrong" she asked, moving into concerned girlfriend mode without thinking.

"None of your damn business." said Drew. "He's not your concern anymore, remember?" She did, and her face twisted as she replayed every mean word she'd said to Jake, and what it meant to their relationship. That she was no longer his girlfriend, she'd beyond accepted, but that she wasn't even his friend anymore; it was too much for her to bear. `A nine year friendship, destroyed,' she thought, guiltily, `and it's all my fault.'

Normally, Drew would have let Denise simmer in her own juices born of guilt and betrayal, but today he didn't give a damn. "If you don't mind Denise, Jake and I need to talk. You've found him, great. Now why the fuck were you looking for him?" His manner was as caustic as possible, showing in no uncertain terms what he thought of Denise.

Denise turned glaring eyes to Drew, too angry to speak. The look she gave him showed once again the expression "If look's could kill..." was meant for her. However, it didn't faze Drew in the least. She recovered, a little, and said between gritted teeth "Jake, Cory told me to give you a message. He wants to see you after school. He said you'd know what it was about."

"Tell Cory to fuck off. He doesn't need to talk to Jake."

Denise got really angry at that. "Christ Drew, I'm just delivering a message! There's no need to treat me like shit!" she said.

Drew just smiled. "No Denise, you were just being the bitch you are, and there's always a need to treat you like shit." She walked over and slapped him in response. Drew looked shocked, then his eyes turned dark. His fist clenched at his side as he stood up, and Jake moved between the two.

"ENOUGH YOU TWO!" He shouted, snapping both out of their rages. His voice was not hesitant, the sounds of the two people he used to consider his best friends tearing into one another filling him with rage. He could put up with a lot of things, but two people fighting over him was not one of them. The other two were immediately contrite, sorry for having caused someone so dear to them so much pain. Jake glared at both of them in turn, and neither could meet his eyes. After a moment, Jake spoke again,  "Drew, if I need you to fight my battles for me, I will tell you. Until then, dropt the protective act." Drew almost cried at the harsh words coming out of Jake's mouth,  but then  Jake turned to Denise. "As for you Denise, you can tell Cory I will meet him when I damn well feel like it." Denise nodded sharply in agreement. "Good, now get out. Drew is right, I have absolutely nothing to do with you now."

Every single one of Jake's words ripped into Denise like razors into wrists. She wilted visibly, all the fine anger she once had leaving her alone, barren, and unable to make the slightest move. Drew came up behind Jake, holding him somewhat from behind. Almost unconsciously, Jake leaned into Drew, taking the comfort of his friend, and looking up to him in gratitude. Denise almost cried at the sight; Jake used to look at her like that. When she could speak again, her voice was cracked and mournful. "Alright Jake. I'll go if you want."

"I do." said Jake, his voice steady and sure. Denise winced. She started towards the door, but just before exiting, she gave her cause one last shot.

"I'm sorry I hurt you Jake. That was the last thing I ever meant to do, but now I see how stupid I've been all along." She turned towards Jake then, her voice steadying itself into the melodic, hypnotic rhythm that had been vacant in her voice for far too long. Gone was the cheerleader's annoying, helium pitch; this was the voice that Jake had always known Denise to have, that he had befriended, and that a part of him still loved. Gone also was the superficial freshman girl that he had been dating these past months, and in her place, an adult was bearing him her soul. "I know that after what I've done, we can never be a couple again. But if you can forgive me enough to start over as my friend, it would mean the world to me."

Both boys were so shocked at Denise's sudden reversal that they didn`t now what to say. Denise took their lack of response as disdain and disgust, and so turned again to the door. `Make him happy Drew,' thought Denise as she opened the door to the outside.

The door slammed out of her grasp. Denise was so startled she almost fell, but the entering Braden didn't even notice. Jessie, who came in on her brother's heels, noticed but didn't care. Or rather, she didn't care to help out. `Serves Barbie right,' she thought.

Drew and Jake were even more startled than Denise, jumping away from each other so fast Drew banged his knee on the desk. That, Braden noticed, and he didn't give them anytime to recover. "What is he doing here Drew?" he demanded, indicating Jake. "I thought you wanted to talk in private."

Drew replied as evenly as he could, and tried hard not to take offense at the implied accusation. "Jake said he had something important he wanted to tell me. What exactly it is he needed to say I have no idea. We seem to keep getting interrupted." He looked pointedly at Denise, who looked down in shame. If she could have, she would have faded into the wallpaper pattern. Turning back to Braden, he said "And what about Jessie, since we are bringing up the issue of privacy?"

Braden looked like he'd been slapped, but Jessie beat him to the reply. "He tried to get me to stay away. I told him to shove it. You honestly think you won't have to tell me about this conversation, whatever the topic, eventually?" She said this almost angrily, since she thought it cruel that Drew would even think of trying to exclude her. Perhaps Drew didn't look at their friendship the same way she did.

Drew thought about this for a moment, then nodded slowly. "You know,  you're right. Might as well get all tell all the concerned parties at once." He walked over to Braden, and took his hand. "Braden, I know this isn't what you want to hear, but I think it is time that we break up."

For all of one second, silence held itself in the room. No one, with the partial exception of Denise, was exactly surprised to hear the words, but it still affected all of them. Denise had no idea that Drew and Braden were an item, so their breaking up didn't surprise her all that much. However, the fact that Braden was gay knocked her for a loop. Jessie was saddened, but agreed with  Drew. It was past time for both to move their separate ways. The words still stung her, because it tore her up inside that she would soon have to choose between the two guys in her life. `Well,' she thought, `if Drew really feels so ambivalent towards me, then maybe the choice won't be so bad after all.'

In his head, Jake was screaming in frustration. It was too late, he had failed, and now what he had to say would be ten times worse on all affected. He looked back and forth between Drew and Braden, his guilt, frustration and anguish yanking his heart in two.

Braden looked like he had the wind knocked out of him. At first it didn't even look like he had heard Drew. And then his legs collapsed beneath him, and tears exploded out of his eyes.  Jessie and Drew both rushed to him immediately, with Denise and Jake both looking on, at a loss as to what to do. "Why?" asked Braden between sobs. "Why? Wasn't I good enough for you? Didn't I love you enough?" Jessie knelt at his side, and Braden stared crying into her sweater.

On his other side, Drew tried his best to soothe him. "Of course you loved me enough. You loved me more than anyone ever will. The problem is that I don't love you enough." He tried to make his words as conciliatorily as possible, but Braden suddenly flashed into anger.

"No Drew. The problem is your little bitch of a freshman, Jake. You like him more than me. You always have." Jake's guilt doubled, making him writhe within. Braden waited for Drew to deny this accusation, as he had so many times before. But this time, Drew found that he couldn't. Braden's tears exploded anew.

"I'm sorry Braden." said Drew, standing up. "I'm sorry that things didn't work out between us. But right now, I want to be with who I love. And that means being with Jake." He stepped over to Jake, reached for him, but Jake violently evaded his grasp.

Jake could finally take no more of his guilt. "Damn it Drew! That's what I've been trying to tell you for the last ten fucking minutes. You can't be with me! No guy can be with me! I'M NOT GAY!" He ran out of breath and words at the same time.

All eyes were now on Jake. Braden stopped crying, Denise stopped hiding, and Jessie stopped trying to console her brother. All four had the exact same expression on their faces: total and utter disbelief.

Jake found he too was starting to cry. "I've been trying to tell you that all day Drew. What happened yesterday, it was a mistake, and I've been trying to correct that mistake before you did something you'd regret." Jake then looked at Braden with exquisite anguish. "But I'm too late. I'm always too late."

Jake's words hit Drew hard. He sat down heavily, almost toppling the desk he leaned on. In his state, he did not notice. `Of course,' he thought, `Of course. All the signs were there, why didn't I see them before.' He looked from person to person in the room, seeing the damage his flight of fancy had cost them all. `How could I be so STUPID?' Boys like Jake were never gay. Jake would grow up, marry, have kids, and live a happy and full life. Without him in it. It was just his imagination that had fooled him into thinking he could be a part of that future with Jake. Drew then looked up at Jake, and saw all the hurt of the world contained in his eyes. The same innocent eyes, the ones he had fallen in love with, would never know innocence again. `My god, what have I done?' He stood up quickly, knocking over the desk in the process. "I -I" he babbled in coherently. Unable to finish, he lunged toward the door, clawing at the handle, desperate to outrace his stupidity and embarrassment. The door swung open wide.

Drew stopped. "Wait a minute." He turned back towards Jake. "You're not gay?" he asked. Jake shook his head no. "Sure about that?" The three freshmen began to look confused, but Braden recognized Drew's tone of voice. It was the one he used on Cory. "Because, you know, my memory does work funny sometimes, but I seem to recall it was YOU that asked me to dance on Saturday."

"That was just.."

"It was YOU who's been getting in cat fights with Braden over me for the last couple weeks." As he spoke Drew began to pace slowly to Jake, letting the door drift shut behind him. "Don't think I'm stupid, I encouraged them. A trick I learned form the mistress of manipulation." He nodded to Jessie, who grinned despite having no clue what was going on. She was desperate to react to SOMETHING. "It was YOU who started wrestling around with me in the pool. It was YOU who initiated that kiss yesterday. I didn't do any of that. And as I recall, you were the one that grabbed MY DICK during the kiss!"

Jake had no response. He looked to the others in turn, but like most people they were too firmly under Drew's spell to do much. Besides, even Denise wanted to watch Jake squirm after being caught in his lie so easily. "So you say you aren't gay. Could have fooled me, but I guess I can take your word for it. But then, the question becomes, what the fuck have you been playing at these last few weeks?" Unsurprisingly, Jake did not reply, and now he could not even turn away. He was caught by Drew, forced to just look unwavering at the oncoming pretty eyed menace. When Drew was almost pressed up against Jake, he asked "Why do you need to meet with Cory after school today?" He asked, smiling, pausing in his speech as if savoring Jake's forgone crumbling.

"Go ahead Drew."

Drew was startled by Jake's words; they weren't in the script. "What?"

"I said go ahead." Jake's voice was quiet yet firm, and suddenly it was him holding Drew's gaze, forcing the senior to edge back. "Do to me like you do to everyone else. Break me. Force me to submit to you. Drag my explanation out of my throat like scarves in some twisted magic trick. Play me like a fucking fiddle, you`re good at it." This was the first time anyone in the room ever saw anyone fight back at Drew. "Do to me what I've seen you do to Cory, to Jessie, to your own boyfriend. Hell, you've done it to me too." Drew was totally taken aback by Jake's criticism. No one had dared talk to him like that. Not Cory at his cruelest, certainly neither of the Summers, not even his mother. "What are you waiting for Drew?" Jake asked as a challenge. "Do it."

The power in the room had completely shifted. Now instead of Jake laid open by Drew's surgical tongue, it was Drew that was vulnerable. The two stared at one another while the three bystanders watched, waiting to see who would prove to have the stronger will. Unbelievably, Drew broke first.

"Fine then. Keep your secrets." Drew said. He smiled as always, but his smile was cold. He did not look at Jake like a friend. "But I won't forget this. And neither will you."

"Is that all the threat you have?" Jake asked.

Now Drew's face held Cory's favorite expression: condescending amusement. Given their history, Jake honestly wondered which of them came up with it first. "It's enough. Now, leave with your dignity still intact." Jake started to say something back, thought better of it, and walked past Drew to the door. He'd made one step out when Drew said "Oh, and Jake."

"Yes Drew?"

"Don't worry Cory. I'll deal with him. He won`t be bothering you anymore." Drew said congenially.

"Don't do me any favors." Jake said. His voice was bitter, but inside he wondered if Drew had actually figured out what Cory had said and done. `Probably,' he thought.

"I'm not. This is an old fight between him and me. You got caught up in it. I probably should have warned you."

"Yeah, whatever." Jake turned away and kept walking away.

All four watched the door shut once again in silence. "Denise. Go after him. Make sure he doesn`t do something stupid, like talk to Cory." Drew ordered. Denise complied.

"He just beat you at your own game, didn't he?" asked Jessie, finally coming up with something smart to say.

"Yes Jess. He did."

"Damn. I wanted to be the first one to do that. Oh well, come along brother."

"Just a minute." Braden said, his voice a great deal more composed than the last time he spoke. "You go, I'll catch up." She exited. "So, Drew, that went a little different than you planned."

"Yes, yes it did." Drew said, able to at least be honest.

"I wasn't a very good boyfriend, was I?"

"Nope. But someone will fix that. You're beyond my help now."

"That mean we really are through?" Braden's voice was hopeful, even though he knew what Drew's next words were going to be.

"Yes Braden, we're through. I can't live my life afraid of the world. I'm a fearless kind of stupid."

Braden mustered what little nerve he had left, and asked Drew to call him sometime. As he exited, he said "Oh, and I'll make sure Jessie doesn't spread this little tussle around school. You know how stubborn and vindictive she can be."

"Yes," Drew said. "I know that. I also know good a friend she can be. And how much she really does care, underneath the stubborn streak." By his emphasis, Drew made it clear he wasn't talking about Jessie at all. Braden nodded, and then he left.

Drew scowled, like he had bitten into a lemon and was not pleased about the development. "Well hasn't this been one fine fucking day." he said aloud. For a moment, he looked ready to break the nearest fragile object, just to relieve his agitation. But then, his expression changed again as he thought of a better idea.

"Right. Where's that son-of-a-bit-, I mean, my puppy dog."