Hello everyone, Tim here. This is a story that I agreed to edit and post for another new writer who happens to be a friend of mine. He wishes to remain anonymous for now, so if you have any comments about this story please e-mail them to me at: tim.0310@juno.com . Please include the story title in the subject line and I will forward it to him. If you like it, please let him know and maybe we can gain another writer.

This story is copyright © 2004 by Harry Butz. This is a fictional story, any similarities to real persons or events are coincidental. This story contains sexual situations between males. If this subject matter offends you or you shouldn't be reading it, please leave now.

School Gaze - by Harry Butz

Chapter 1: Morning Coffee

Stephen Clay sipped his morning coffee while reading through The Times. He was in his twenties (he made it a point never to tell anyone exactly how old he was), with a medium build on his six-foot frame, jet black hair and hazel eyes. Today was Friday, and he always allowed an open discussion in his English classes on the last day of the week. He felt it was a good way to let the students unwind after a busy week, but more importantly it was a great way for them to get information. At the start of each class, he would pass around a hat in which his students would drop slips of paper with questions written on them. Some students chose not to write any questions, others would drop in a handful of slips. The questions ranged from thoughts about current events (hence why he was perusing the newspaper), to school policies, to relationship advice. Mostly, however, the questions dealt with sex. A lot of students would write raunchy questions in an attempt to embarrass their teacher.

But he wasn't the type of guy who embarrassed easily. Not after very publicly coming out at one of his high school assemblies, being a very visible gay rights activist while in college, and taking a position teaching English at the first all-gay high school in America.

Stephen had first heard about the school when he was finishing up college. He had an English degree, and his secondary teaching certification, but wasn't really certain what he was going to do with it. So he applied for a teaching position at the all-gay school, figuring that he could not only impart his knowledge of the English language, but also be a role model to his students.

The school year was now through the first quarter, and the New York weather was beginning to chill. Stephen walked or rode his bike just about everywhere, and with the weather turning towards the bitter side, he appreciated his morning coffee more and more. Stephen loved his job. His students were just as eager to learn as he was to teach.

For the second time this morning, Stephen lowered the newspaper just enough so he could peer over the top of it, and catch a quick glimpse at the copier repairman. He appeared to be about the same age as Stephen. He had a muscular but slender build, broad shoulders, a deep tan which made his blue eyes and bleach blond hair seem all the more intense, and a firm ass. Stephen silently sighed to himself, as lustful erotic thoughts of the copier repairman entered his mind. Stephen felt himself begin to blush slightly, so he returned his gaze to the newspaper.

"All finished here I think," came the gruff voice of the repairman. Stephen put down his newspaper, thanked him, then realizing that the morning bell would ring shortly, picked up his bag and headed for the classroom.

Mr. Simon Hunt, the 42 year old drama teacher, who was also running a bit behind schedule after his morning coffee, brushed by Stephen in the hallway on his way to the drama department. He was thankful that morning that he had chosen to wear dark pants. Even his black slacks barely concealed the telltale wet spot in his crotch, a product of his over-active prostate, and an early morning make-out session with one of the school Administrators. He had applied for a position after Stephen told him his plans, and they settled into a nice apartment together. Simon and Stephen has known each other since Stephen was in high school. Simon had been a teacher at Stephen's school when the young Mr. Clay made headlines with his very public coming out. There was no romantic involvement between them, but they enjoyed each other's company.

"We really ought to get ourselves some watches," Simon joked.

"Never!" Stephen replied with a grin, "it's much more fun this way." Stephen could still hear Mr. Hunt chuckling as he turned the corner in the hallway.

The bell would ring any moment, and the teachers were supposed to be in their classrooms when it did, but that morning coffee was working its way through him, so Stephen ducked into the boys lavatory. "Hey!" he exclaimed, as he walked in and saw two boys making out, "you two get to class, you know that's not allowed in the building." The boys, both flush with passion and embarrassment, quickly rushed past Stephen and headed for their class. He knew that it was his duty to report them to the principal and give them detention, but he just couldn't bring himself to do it. This wasn't the first time he caught students breaking the rules. Shaking his head, he walked over to the urinals. Stephen noticed new graffiti on the wall in front of him, and couldn't help laughing out loud:

What are you looking up here for? The joke is down in your hands!

Chapter 2: Friday Discussion

As usual, Mr. Clay's first English class of the morning was a lively bunch. There were 16 of them - 13 boys and 3 girls. They were Seniors, and dealt with the pressures life had to offer with a jocularity which made the class very enjoyable. Friday discussions were always a great chance for them to use their wit. They were only a few minutes into the session when Mr. Clay pulled out a slip of paper from the hat, which had written on it what had become the standing joke for the class:

Is there gay Math?

Although the same question has been posed every week since the beginning of the term, the entire class, including Mr. Clay, burst out laughing. It was their way of making fun of the state conservative party chairman who had used that same line to explain why he felt an all-gay high school was unnecessary. Of course there is not a different math for homosexuals, and everyone knew that the line was merely an attempt to mask homophobia. Another one of his homophobic quotes was proudly displayed along the back wall of Mr. Clay's classroom: There's no reason these children should be treated separately.

After the laughter waned, before Mr. Clay could take out another slip of paper, a hand shot up from the back row. "Yes Andy, what is it?" Stephen asked.

Andy was the tallest and most muscular boy in the class. He had stern hazel eyes and short brown hair which was bleached from the summer sun. His deep voice added to his gruff exterior. "Do you think that people will ever stop treating us differently?" he inquired.

All eyes in the class looked hopefully up at Mr. Clay. He could see in each of their faces the longing for an answer that would let them know everything would be alright. But he couldn't lie to them. He couldn't send them out as sheep among the wolves. With a long heavy sigh, he began, "No Andy, I'm afraid that people will never stop treating us differently. Even though more and more people are reaching a better level of understanding and acceptance, there will always be narrow-minded bigots who hate us."

"But why?" Brian interjected from across the room. He had deep blue eyes and brown hair. "The Supreme Court said that it's not unconstitutional to be gay," he offered.

"No," came Scott's voice from the front row. He was one of the smaller boys in the class. Blue eyes, blonde hair. "The court said that it's okay for consenting adults to engage in sodomy." he explained, "They didn't say that it was okay to be gay."

Kurt, who was the most effeminate boy in the class, with short black hair and blue eyes, said, "But it is okay to be gay." With that everyone in the class nodded in agreement.

"Yes," Mr. Clay stated emphatically, "it is okay to be gay." He put down the hat, and sat down on his desk, which was his preferred posture for addressing his class in a serious manner. "But I want you all to understand," he said, "we will never experience complete acceptance in our lifetime. The laws may change, but bigotry, prejudice, and hatred will not go away. You have to be strong enough to be able to realize there's nothing wrong with you, they're the ones with the problem. It's always going to be that way, and to hell with the lot of them!" He went on to say, "A couple of years ago, I had the honor to meet a very wonderful human being by the name of Tim. In fact, although I know I shouldn't be telling you this, since you'll ask anyway, I'm in the Mile High Club thanks to him." Those in the class who understood Mr. Clay's meaning began to chuckle to themselves, but erupted when Andy began clapping and whistling. Once the laughter died down, which took several minutes, as those who did not at first understand the concept were clued in by the others, Mr. Clay continued. "Tim and I were talking about our sex lives and other such stuff. A lot of people were staring at us, of course. And he said something to me that I had never before heard, and am really only now beginning to understand. Tim told me that he didn't blame those people for staring at us, because with so many different people telling everybody that we're different and that we're something to be hated, then what can we expect but to be stared at on occasion. Tim went on to explain that he certainly wasn't ashamed of being gay, but that we're always going to be different, and we're never going to change anyone's mind about us, so we just have to learn to live and deal with that reality." Stephen then added, "It takes a lot of courage to be a homosexual in a heterosexual world."

With that, he stood up, picked up the hat, and continued to pull out slips of paper and answer all the questions that his students had written for Friday discussion.

Chapter 3: The Real Thing

Mr. Clay walked into the teachers lounge to relax during his planning period. No one else was in the room, except for the soda guy. About 5'8" with a doughy but fit build, deep tan, and short brown hair. Stephen always loved to watch the soda guy at work, filling up the machine. Stephen smiled on his good fortune, and grabbed a seat. Last week he had missed seeing Chad, but today was different. Stephen picked up a magazine from the table, and pretended to read while looking at Chad's perfect being.

Chad turned around to see who came in, and saw that Stephen was looking at him. Chad smiled broadly, his soft bright teeth almost sparkled. "Thirsty?" he asked, offering Stephen a can.

The concern and embarrassment Stephen felt when Chad caught him staring began to melt as relief and excitement rushed through his body. "I'd love one, thanks!" Stephen said, reaching for the can of soda. When he went to grab it, Chad ran a finger slowly along the back of his hand, as Chad gazed into Stephen's eyes. A chill shot down Stephen's spine and into his loins. Stephen quickly moved the magazine to cover his rapidly growing manhood.

After standing there staring at each other briefly, Chad turned his attention back to the machine, closing up the front and locking it. Stephen sat back down in his chair, hoping that he wasn't reading Chad all wrong. He continued to stare at Chad. Again, Chad turned around and caught Stephen looking at him. Stephen averted his eyes. Chad gathered up his things and began to leave the lounge. He walked behind the table where Stephen was sitting.

Stephen heard Chad stop, then felt his warm breath against his ear as a gentle hand touched his shoulder. Chad whispered, "If you want to fuck, I'll be out in the truck."

Stephen gaped as Chad walked out of the lounge. He couldn't believe it. For six weeks he had been fantasizing about the soda guy, and now was his big chance. But what if he got caught? He didn't want to lose his job. But how often does a guy like Chad proposition you? Stephen decided that he had to risk it, got out of his chair and headed for the door.

"Stephen, where are you going in such a hurry?" Mr. Hunt asked as he rushed by.

"I'll tell you tonight Simon!" Stephen shouted back as he hurried along the hall to the front doors.

The bright Autumn sun shone brightly, illuminating the New York City streets. Stephen shielded his eyes as he exited the building. "Faggot! Child Molester! Pervert! You'll burn in hell! The Millstone will be tied around your neck and you will drown in the homosexual swamp you have created you sinner!" yelled the protesters outside the school.

Stephen rolled his eyes. He had by now grown accustomed to the Bible-thumping protesters who camped out on the sidewalk outside of the all-gay high school, shouting at anyone who entered or exited the building. Ignoring their taunts, he walked around to the alley to find the soda truck.

As he approached, he could see that Chad was sitting in the drivers seat looking anxious. Chad reached over and opened the door for him, "Hey, I didn't think you were coming!" Chad said.

"Well, I'm not yet," Stephen quipped. He got into the cab and shut the door.

"I can change that if you want." Chad remarked seductively.

"Are we just going to do this in broad daylight?" asked Stephen. With that, Chad slid open a door that opened from the cab back to the storage section of the truck. Stephen followed Chad through the opening.

"I've only got 20 minutes left before I have to get back." Stephen informed Chad as they undressed.

"Well then, let's not waste any time with foreplay!" Chad shouted excitedly as he took Stephen in his arms. Their lips met and they began kissing with a fervent passion. Quickly their tongues were wrestling for position.

Stephen pulled back abruptly, panting and gasping for air. "I thought we weren't going to waste any time with foreplay?" he uttered, as he began rapidly unbuttoning and untucking his dress shirt. Chad smiled brightly as he too began to undress. Within moments, they stood naked, face to face, mere inches away. Stephen noticed a hint of baby powder splashed across Chad's chest, and reached out his hand to rub it in. Chad shuddered and moaned at Stephen's hand brushing across his erect nipples.

"That's not fair," Chad groaned, "you said no foreplay."

Chuckling, Stephen dropped his hand and turned around. "Take me baby," he whispered, "I'm ready."

Chapter 4: Principal's Admonishment


Stephen watched as Chad's truck pulled slowly out of the alley and disappeared around the corner. He checked to make sure his clothes were looking proper, then headed back to the front doors. "God hates fags!" came the cry of one of the protesters. Stephen stopped, turned to face the protester, and said with a smirk, "Yeah, see you in hell then!" He quickly walked into the building and shut the door behind him. Shaking his head as he walked down the hallway, he was met by the school Principal.

"You know better than to talk back to those idiots." he said sternly.

"I know," Stephen replied, "they just really get on my nerves sometimes, and I can't help myself."

With an understanding nod, the Principal continued, "They're trying to get on your nerves, so don't give them the satisfaction."

Stephen knew that he was right. "Yes Sir," he resigned, "I'll try not to let them get the best of me."

The Principal now folded his arms across his chest and shot Stephen an accusing glare. "What were you doing outside anyway?" he asked.

Stephen thought for a moment, then looked up with a wicked grin. "Planning." he replied.

"Planning for what," prodded the Principal, "a second date?"

Stephen smiled broadly as the memory of Chad's seven inch cut hot throbbing cock pounding his ass came to mind, "Only if I'm lucky!" he laughed.

The Principal was not amused. "Mr. Clay," he began, "we have enough to deal with at this school without having our faculty running around, in public no less, like sex-crazed animals!"

Stephen's smile quickly faded. He sighed and nodded. "I know, I know." he said hanging his head, "Look, you know I'd never want to harm the school, but...well...never mind."

The Principal put a hand on Stephen's shoulder, "Look Stephen," he said in a much more friendly tone, "believe me, I understand that it's hard to say no sometimes, especially to someone with such a firm ass!" Stephen looked up and his eyes widened as the Principal winked at him. "We just really have to be careful." he continued as his warm playful grin returned to a serious look, "It has not been easy getting this school open, and keeping it open. Everyday is a new struggle against the Christian right and other narrow minded bigots who want to bring us down. We simply cannot give them any ammunition."

Stephen knew that he was right. He nodded in agreement. "I just don't think sometimes." he confessed.

The Principal chuckled, "We all have that problem I'm afraid." With that, the Principal gave Stephen's shoulder a squeeze and returned to his office. Stephen glanced at the hallway clock, and realized that he was once again running late. He quickly proceeded down the hallway to his office, dashed in to grab his notes, and headed up to his classroom, entering just moments after the bell rang.

"Okay," he began to address his students, "it's Friday so that means time for discussion, you know what to do, so someone do me a favor and pass around the hat, ...Thanks Davey. ...and we will get started here in a minute." A hand shot up in the air. "Yes Jim, what is it?" Stephen asked.

"Well, um..." Jim stammered, "did you and the soda guy get it on last period, because I was looking out the window towards the alley and saw you get into his truck." The entire class looked to Mr. Clay for an answer. They had obviously been discussing this before he entered, since no one looked very surprised at Jim's question. For whatever reason, these Sophomores always seemed to be the most curious about their teacher's love life.

Stephen fought to suppress a smile, resolved to keep a professional manner about him as much as possible. "My personal life," he began, "is of no concern to you or anyone else in this class, so we can either get on with discussion, or put away the hat and just have our regular class lecture, the choice is up to you." He realized that he had sounded more annoyed than he had intended, so he smiled and winked. The class understood, and continued putting slips of paper into the hat being passed around.

Chapter 5: Tom's Trauma

"Alright people, let's go." Mr. Hunt shouted as he clapped his hands rapidly, "The bell has sounded, it is time to rehearse. Patrick, Simon, will you two please stop fooling around and get ready for your scene, we're going to do your scene first today." Patrick, a dark haired, brown eyed, long faced boy with a deep tan, moved to the center of the stage, with Simon, a dark haired, blue eyed boy closely following. Simon was taller than Patrick, but both had similar builds. The Juniors were best friends, and two of the finest actors in the school.

Before they began rehearsing, Mr. Hunt asked for quiet, and somberly addressed his drama class. "Ben has informed me that Tom is still in the hospital recovering from his attack. Thankfully, Tom is out of intensive care now, but he is still in pretty bad shape. I would like to begin today with a moment of silence, and for each of you to pray, hope, think, or whatever it is you are most comfortable with doing." He clasped his hands together and lowered his head before continuing, "I know that we all want our brave little Tom back with us soon. I hope that the police will find the thugs who committed such a heinous act of violence on such a beautiful young man." There was absolute silence in the auditorium.

All thoughts were of Tom. He was indeed a beautiful young man. Or at least he had been when he left Ben's house that Friday night. Ben offered him a ride home, but it was only a few blocks, and the weather was nice enough that Tom wanted to walk. Tom knew there was risk involved in walking through the park at night, but he stayed to the well lit trails and walked briskly.

It happened one block away from home. A gang of half a dozen kids pounced on him, knocking him to the ground, kicking him repeatedly, and beating him. They didn't steal his wallet. They weren't after his clothing. Tom was brutally beaten merely because he is gay. They had been at Tom's old school. They harassed him there, calling him "Faggot!" "Cocksucker!" "Fudgepacker!", but never did any real physical harm aside from a punch to the stomach now and then. But now they were out of school, all of them had been expelled for various drug offenses. They beat Tom until he passed out, then left him to die.

When Ben called over to Tom's house to make sure he got home okay, and Tom's mother said he hadn't come home, Ben, Ben's brother, and Ben's father went out looking for him. It was Ben who found Tom laying on the ground, covered in blood and dirt. Ben cradled Tom in his arms gently until the paramedics arrived. Tom was unconscious. His eyes swelled shut.

Ben, his brother and sister, his parents, and Tom's mother waited in the Emergency Room, then in the waiting room outside the Operating Room, for several hours while the doctors tended to Tom. He had seven broken ribs, a collapsed lung, internal bleeding, various cuts and bruises, a broken nose, shattered eye sockets, a broken arm and eight broken fingers. The attackers didn't rape Tom, but did nearly beat him to death. Once Tom was out of surgery, Ben stayed by Tom's bedside that entire weekend, and returned to it every night after school. It was against hospital policy, since Ben was not legally a family member, but Tom's mother insisted. She knew that Ben and Tom loved each other very much.

Ben and Tom had met as toddlers, but didn't know each other was gay until the first day of school. They were both in Mr. Hunt's drama class. Ben noticed Tom the moment he walked into the room. Tom was slender, standing at 5-10, with short dirty blonde hair and piercing deep blue eyes. Ben walked towards Tom, but was suddenly paralyzed by nervousness. As luck would have it, Tom had also noticed Ben. Walking into Mr. Hunt's drama class, Tom was unsure of what awaited him, but upon seeing Ben he knew immediately. Tom was captivated by Ben's lanky 5-11 frame, short disheveled black hair and pale blue-gray eyes. He always had been, but never had the courage to tell his best friend that he was gay. They hugged each other before class began, and spent most of the session stealing furtive glances. They met up again at lunch, sitting side by side with their bodies touching. Ben invited Tom to his place after school, and Tom readily accepted. From that first day of school until the day after he was attacked, Ben and Tom had spent every afternoon together.

Before that, they had only gotten together on Saturdays. From the minute they shut the door to Ben's house after that first day of school, they couldn't keep their hands off each other. Ben loved Tom's body, and Tom was equally enamored with Ben's. As much as they enjoyed the sexual aspects of their relationship, they were also content to simply hold each other and look lovingly into each other eyes. Since that first weekend in September, Ben had been begging Tom to spend the night with him, but Tom never felt right about leaving his mother at home alone at night. Nearing the point of frustration, Ben had spoken to Tom's mother about the matter, and they had planned on having Ben spend Saturday night at Tom's, while his Mother was away visiting other family. Tom's mother had actually been the first person that Ben came out to. That was five years ago. She never told Tom that Ben was gay, nor did she tell Ben when she found out her own son was gay.

Mr. Hunt looked up, tears streaming down both cheeks. With voice slightly trembling, he said in a strained soft whisper, "We'll dedicate this play to Tom, so we need to make sure that it's as absolutely perfect and wonderful as he is. ..Now let's get this rehearsal started."

Chapter 6: Mr. C's Frosh

For the first time today, Mr. Clay was actually at his desk waiting for class to begin when the bell rang. It was his Freshman Honor's English class, and even though he tried not to choose favorites, he did enjoy this class most of all. They were eager and they were smart. It was a relief to have a classroom full of students who didn't have to be told over and over again the difference between there, their, and they're. But, being Freshman, this class was also full of shy, nervous, and scared children. Many of them were still traumatized over recently coming out to their parents. Two of his Freshman students were trying to piece their lives back together after being thrown out of their homes. There were only 12 in this class, 5 boys and 7 girls.

"Okay everybody, you know what to do," Stephen began, "it's Friday so let's get someone to pass around the hat. ...Yes, thank you Brooks, very much appreciated as always. While the hat's going around I wanted to remind you all that we will be having a quiz on Monday concerning the last five chapters in your workbooks, so you might want to brush up a bit over the weekend." A collective groan emanated throughout the room. Stephen chuckled, "Yeah, I didn't care much for prepositional phrases when I was your age either, but the state says we have to teach it." he explained, taking the hat from Brooks and propping himself against his desk.

He pulled out the first slip of paper: My 'rents keep telling me that being gay is a choice and that if I wanted to I could be straight again like they want. Are they right?

"Well," Stephen began, "this topic is actually been debated by a lot of people for a very long time, and it really depends on who you ask as far as what answer you're going to get. Ask just about anyone in our community, and they will tell you people are born gay. Ask a homophobe, and they'll say it's a choice. But, there are actually gay people who also believe that it's a choice. Take for example one of my old high school teachers, I won't tell you his name, but my best friend and I were over at his apartment shortly after I came out in high school, and we had this very discussion. My best friend had asked my teacher if people were born gay, and my teacher said that he thought the party-line as he called it about being born gay was self-serving bullshit. His comment was that if you choose to be with guys then you're gay, and if you choose to be with girls then you're not gay. He also said that even if you think you're gay, you can always, oh what did he say, oh yes, he said you could always go back home, as long as you hadn't come out of the closet yet, which is why he said you should always be 100% sure before you make the leap of faith. Anyway, I of course told him, well yelled at him more like it, that what he was saying about our sexuality being a choice was also a load of self-serving bullshit. He agreed, saying basically that whether we like it or not we're all different, nobody likes being different, and so we're always looking for excuses, no that's not the word he used, explanations, as to why we're different. He also said the real answer of it being a choice or being the way we're born is probably that it's a little bit of both."

Mr. Clay could see confusion on most of the faces of the class, so he went on to say, "What you have to understand about my high school teacher is that he believed that sex was sex and it didn't matter who you had it with, in fact his very words were 'Fucking is fucking and kissing is kissing, as long as you're getting off it simply does not matter how you're doing it or who you're doing it with', or something like that."

Brooks remarked, "Sounds like your teacher was bi."

Mr. Clay nodded, "Well you'd think that, but he wouldn't even consider the possibility. To him, it was just all about experimenting with different ... um, ... plumbing I think is the word he used, until he found the right fit I guess." The class erupted in laughter.

He pulled out another slip of paper: How come we're not supposed to hold hands in the hallway?

"Okay, this is one of those precious school policies that I know you all love and adhere to." he smirked. The class laughed. "Now, I don't know what hallways you traverse, but I can assure you that there's an awful lot of hand holding going on, and personally I think it's fabulous. But of course as a member of the faculty I officially discourage it. And the reason is that we have to set up the same rules for our school as the straights have for their schools. We never know when some right-winger is going to be snooping around with a camera, so we can't give them any ammunition now can we."

He pulled out another slip of paper: A straight friend of mine is worried that he might be gay because he had a dream about us. Is there anything I can tell him to make him feel better?

Stephen thought for a minute, then began, "Okay, let's revisit the wisdom of my old high school teacher here for this one. He said that you can dream about playing football, or even fantasize about playing football, but it does not make you the starting Fullback for the Giants, because the things we do, the things we think about, dream about, fantasize about, none of that is a reflection of who we truly are." Comprehension was dawning on some of the faces in the class. Stephen continued, "Just tell your friend that there are probably a lot of guys out there who have thoughts and dreams about other guys, but never act on them."

He pulled out another slip. He read it, shook his head, and crumpled it up. "I've told you week after week that I'm not going to answer personal questions," he told the class.

Brooks raised his hand. He had blonde hair, blue eyes, a brilliant smile, soft skin, powerful hands, and an almost angelic voice. He was also a very good student, kind to everyone, and the teacher's pet.

"Yes Brooks, what is it?" Stephen inquired.

"Mr. C," Brooks said determinedly "part of the reason a lot of us are here is to have good role models who can help us with what we're going through, and I think it would be deeply useful if you would answer some personal questions now and then, since you've been there and know more than we do about this sort of thing."

Stephen knew that Brooks was trying to play on his emotions, but he also knew that Brooks was right. These kids didn't come to an all-gay high school just so they could be harassed outside the front doors everyday by narrow minded bigots. And contrary to what those bigots were saying, the kids didn't come here just to have perverse gay sex orgies in the cafeteria. They came here to learn. Not just about participles and parts of speech, but about being gay. "Okay," he resigned, "what is it you want to know about?" Everyone's hand shot into the air.

Amused at their enthusiasm, Stephen told them all to put their hands down. "I tell you what then," he said, "rather than answer your questions, why don't I just start from the beginning, tell you everything I can, and then if you still have any questions after, I'll be happy to answer them." His students nodded in anticipation of having their questions answered. They faced forward. No one made a sound. It was as if they all held their breath waiting for their teacher to speak.

"It all started when I was 12 years old, one day after school...," he began.

Chapter 7: The Play, Act I, Scene 2

"Stop!" Mr. Hunt shouted in exasperation. He walked up on stage, which had been made up to look like a bedroom. "Patrick, you've never been in love with a straight man before have you?" he asked.

"No, I guess not, I mean, not really. I don't think so anyway." Patrick replied hesitantly, surprised by the directness of the question.

"Well, bless you, you're one of the lucky ones then." Mr. Hunt said. He sat down on the bed next to where Patrick was sitting. "Listen Patrick," Mr. Hunt directed, "this is the most important scene in the entire play, this is where you finally get your big chance to seduce the straight man you've been secretly in love with all through school, and I'm sorry Patrick, but I'm just not feeling it."

"He's right Patrick," Simon offered, "you're not really turning me on."

Mr. Hunt chuckled, "It's not about turning anyone on, but you have to have passion Patrick, otherwise the audience will be bored to sleep." Simon nodded in agreement.

"Okay," Patrick said, "tell me how I'm supposed to do it then."

Mr. Hunt stood up. "It's not for me to tell you how to do it Patrick." he said, "I don't know what's in your heart, all I can tell you is that you have to find that place within you, a memory, a feeling, anything to help you remember what it's like to want something you know you can't have." Patrick indicated that he understood the direction, and Mr. Hunt returned to his seat.

"Okay people, let's have a little quiet please." Mr. Hunt yelled, "Now Patrick if you would, from the top of page six then, thank you."

Patrick, sitting on the edge of his bed, looked up at Simon, who was standing by the computer desk, and began to recite his lines.

PATRICK: It's nighttime. Do you feel different at night Simon?

SIMON (turning to look at Patrick): What do you mean?

PATRICK: Well, you know, just the moon and stars, it's sort of quiet at night, I mean don't you ever feel like, I don't know, maybe your senses are sharper or anything.

SIMON (shrugging): Yeah, I suppose so.

PATRICK: Do you ever feel helpless at night?

SIMON: What do you mean, like scared?

PATRICK: No, not scared, but maybe like you'd, I don't know, do stuff at night that you wouldn't do during the day, like maybe that you're not really yourself at night so it's okay to, you know, like ...try different stuff.

SIMON: What the hell are you talking about Patrick?

PATRICK (looking back at the floor): Nothing Simon, forget it. ..I'm sorry, it's nothing.

SIMON (walking over and sitting on the bed next to Patrick): There's nothing to be sorry about man, I just don't understand what you're talking about.

PATRICK (looking into Simon's eyes): Simon, I'm ....I'm ...(suddenly standing up and walking towards the door) ...I'm thirsty, want me to get you something?

"Okay, stop!" Mr. Hunt shouted. "Much better Patrick. Simon, don't walk over to the bed so fast, and Patrick, draw out your nervous stuttering more next time. Alright that's all we have for today, see you all next class period. If anyone wants to put in some money to send flowers up to Tom's hospital room, see me please. Thank you all, have a great day!"

Chapter 8: Lunchtime

"Stephen, you didn't!?" exclaimed Simon, aghast.

"They asked." Stephen explained. "They've been asking ever since the first day of school, and this time I guess I finally realized that learning gay math isn't going to help them out there, but maybe hearing our experiences will." Simon began to protest, but Stephen continued, "Look, learning about dangling participles isn't going to do them any damn good when they're out there trying to survive."

Simon got an evil grin on his face, and said, "I thought you rather enjoyed dangling parts of people!"

Stephen chuckled and said, "Oh yeah, I told them all about that stuff."

Simon shook his head, "I hope you cleaned it up a little, I mean they are just Freshmen." They both laughed.

"Yeah," Stephen assured him, "I gave them the PG-13 version."

Simon chuckled, "Well that's a relief!" After a momentary pause, his look got very serious, and he bent closer to Stephen, asking in a whisper, "You didn't tell them you were sick did you?"

The color drained from Stephen's face. His smile faded. He shook his head. "No," he sighed, "I haven't told anyone about that yet." Desperately wanting to change the subject, Simon began telling Stephen about drama class.

"We should probably go on up the hospital after work," Stephen remarked when Simon told him about Tom.

Simon agreed. "We took up a collection to get some flowers, so maybe we can stop and get something nice along the way." He added, "You're always pretty good at stuff like that."

Stephen smiled for the first time in several minutes. "I like flowers, what can I say," he said. Stephen turned his thoughts to the various kinds of arrangements he'd seen in the window of the flower shop around the corner, deciding which Tom might like best.

"I'm heading to the cafeteria Stephen," Simon said, "do you want anything?" Stephen didn't respond. Simon knew that Stephen was off in his own world, so he didn't bother to ask again.

Mr. Hunt got into the cafeteria line behind some of the students from Mr. Clay's Freshman Honor's English class. Brooks turned around and asked, "Is it true that you and Mr. C have never done it?"

Somehow Simon had expected something like this. He figured that it was no use putting up a professional front anymore, now that Stephen had started chipping away at the barrier between teachers and students. "It's true," he replied, "we're just friends, roommates, and colleagues, that's all." Brooks shrugged and turned back around. Simon chuckled to himself, thinking that the boy looked almost disappointed.

Simon filled his tray, and picked up some things for Stephen. Walking back towards the teacher's lounge, he paused and began to admonish two boys who were sitting at their lunch table making out and groping each other, but then thought better of it. Stephen had been telling him for weeks that he should just look the other way and stop being so strict with the school policies (no displays of affection, no holding hands in the hallway, no kissing, no touching, no sexual harassment of any kind, no revealing clothing, no contact which may be considered sexual in nature). He knew that Stephen was right. They were stupid rules, just promulgated to placate those homophobes who wanted to bring the school down anyway.

Stephen wasn't sitting at the table when Simon walked back into the lounge. Figuring that he probably went back to his office, Simon took his tray and headed for it. "I thought you might be in here," Simon said walking in the office, "I brought you a little something to eat."

Stephen gulped down a handful of pills, washing them down with a cold cup of coffee. "Thanks Simon," he said, taking a slice of pizza off the tray, and plopping down on the chair behind his desk.

"It looks like you got your copier fixed," remarked Simon.

Stephen smiled. "That I did," he said, "and the copier repairman is so hot!"

Simon guffawed, "Geez Stephen! Is there any guy that you're not attracted to?" Stephen thought about it for a moment, shook his head, and they both had a hearty laugh.

Chapter 9: The Play, Act II, Scene 1

"Damnit people!" Mr. Hunt shouted, "The curtain goes up in two days, and we're still not getting it right." He walked up on stage and began issuing orders to the crew, then turned to his actors. "Patrick," he began, "you have improved beyond measure these last few weeks, but we still need to hear more emotion in your lines." Patrick nodded. "And Simon," continued Mr. Hunt, "I'm still not feeling any inner-struggle from you, and this play isn't going to work unless you can be more convincing in every scene." Simon nodded. "Okay, let's try it again from the beginning of the scene," Mr. Hunt said as he walked back to his seat.

Patrick and Simon sat on a park bench, which was placed in the middle of the stage. The lighting was bright, as Mr. Hunt had just reminded the crew that the scene took place in the daytime. Both actors were staring out into the crowd as they began to recite their lines.

PATRICK: I'm sorry about last night, I don't know what came over me.

SIMON: Don't worry about it, I actually kind of enjoyed it.

PATRICK (turning to Simon): Really?

SIMON: Yeah, I mean, I haven't really talked like that with anyone before. I mean, yeah, some of that stuff you were talking about was a little weird, but it was okay.

PATRICK: I had a good time too. Maybe you can come over again tonight?

SIMON: Okay.

PATRICK: You could sleep over this time if you wanted to.

SIMON: Okay.


"Stop!" Mr. Hunt shouted. "You two are boring me to death, imagine what the audience will be thinking this weekend." He walked back up on stage. "First of all," he yelled, "and this is for the crew, it's too freaking bright! I know I said it's a daytime scene, but you've got so many lights on that it's as if we're worshiping the garish sun!" He turned on his heels to address his actors. "And you two!" he said, "Are you a couple of unstable molecules or what? ..Monday your Chemistry was perfect, and today you're a couple of cold fish!"

Patrick looked as if he were about to cry. Simon spoke up. "I'm sorry Sir," he said, "it's just that ...well, I think we're all a little bit preoccupied today."

Mr. Hunt took a step back. The entire auditorium became silent. "Yes." he said. "Yes of course, I'm sorry ...sorry everybody ...let's just bag the rest of rehearsal. ...I was a fool for thinking it would do any good today, so let's just get ourselves together and get ready for the funeral." Then he added, "Ben, Patrick, Simon, do any of you need a ride to the funeral parlor? Remember they want the pallbearers there early, and Tom's mother asked me to make sure you get there on time."

Chapter 10: Christmas Vacation

"Ben, are you okay?" Mr. Clay asked in a concerned tone, addressing the last student left in his classroom.

Ben looked up. There were tears in his eyes. "Does it ever get any easier?" he asked in desperation. Mr. Clay took a seat beside Ben, and put his arm across his shoulders. Ben leaned into his teacher. "This is going to be the first Christmas without him." Ben realized. "Even before we were together we've known each other as long as I can remember." Mr. Clay held Ben tight, trying to find comforting words to say to this grief-stricken 16 year old whose boyfriend died two months ago, but could think of nothing to say. "I miss him so much!" Ben wailed.

"I know, I know," Mr. Clay said, "it isn't easy, and it's going to be hard for a long time Ben. I wish I could tell you different, but there's nothing I can say to make it better." Mr. Clay was now also crying.

"I just wish," Ben sobbed through his tears, "that I could've looked into his eyes one last time, ...but he never opened them, not even in the park. I never got to see those beautiful eyes of his again." Mr. Clay held Ben in both arms. Ben buried his head into his teacher's chest and cried. Ben cried a lot since the night he found Tom laying bloody and beaten in the park, but this time his tears were from so deep within him, that even if he'd wanted to, he could not control the sobbing.

It was the last day before Christmas vacation. The bell had rung on the last class of the term. Everyone else ran out of English class, but Ben stayed behind, as he had so many times in the last few weeks. It was by now almost a daily occurrence. Ben would break down, and Mr. Clay would do his best to comfort him. Stephen knew what it was like to lose someone you loved. He'd lost a lot in the past few years.

Stephen's father died while he was in college. He was sitting for an exam on the day of the funeral. His mother hadn't been happy about him missing the funeral, but she understood. Not only was Stephen's schoolwork important to him, but he and his father hadn't gotten along very well since Stephen came out. Stephen also lost his best friend, just two weeks before he graduated from college. She was in a car crash.

"Thanks Mr. Clay." Ben said, wiping his eyes on his sleeve. "Thanks for listening, and just ...well ...you know, for being here for me." He managed a weak smile.

Mr. Clay smiled back, "I'm always here for you Ben," he said, "and it does get easier ...eventually." Ben stood up and headed for the door. "Ben!" Mr. Clay called out to him. Ben stopped and looked back. "If you need someone to talk to, or whatever, during vacation, Mr. Hunt and I will be at our place the whole time, and you're more than welcome to come over or call if you want." Ben walked back over and kissed Mr. Clay on the top of his head. "I'm really lucky to have such great teachers," he said, then turned back around the headed for his locker.

Stephen was sitting there, wiping his own eyes, thinking about what he could do for Ben to help him feel less miserable this Christmas, when Simon walked into the room. "There you are Stephen," he exclaimed, "I stopped by your office and couldn't find you."

Stephen stood up, "Yeah, I was in here talking to Ben."

Simon nodded understandingly, and asked, "How's he holding up?"

Stephen shrugged, "About as good as to be expected I suppose. I told him that he could call or stop over if he needed someone over vacation, I hope you don't mind."

Simon shook his head, "Nope, I don't have any wild plans, that's usually your department anyway." He winked at Stephen, and hugged him.

"Not anymore Simon, my wild days are over." Stephen said.

"Yeah," Simon retorted, "sure they are!"