Someday Out Of the Blue

by LittleBuddhaTW

Special thanks to Kitty (PiscesRising) for editing!

This is a story involving teenage gay males and may include sexually explicit content, adult language, and/or violence. If this kind of material is offensive to you, you are under the age of 18, or is illegal in the area where you live, do not read any further.


It had been over a month since Ryan had walked in on Toby and me going at it in his bedroom, and over a month of no communication at all with Ryan. I had experienced a little over a week of probably the happiest time in my life, and I had fucked it up.

The night of the "incident," after I pulled myself together, I tried to talk to Ryan. I didn't really know what I was going to say, but I felt that I at least had to try.  I knocked on his door, pleaded with him, begged him, but he wouldn't answer. I didn't cry, but I was closer than I'd ever been. It was like my heart had been ripped out of my chest.

Eventually, Toby came out to get me and take me back to his room. At first, I thought that he'd be equally upset that I was in love with his brother. I had lied to him, told him that I wasn't ready for anything, when in fact I was. It's just that I wanted it to be with Ryan and not Toby.

But to his credit, and showing more character than I could have ever had, he just held me and tried to comfort me. He even told me that he'd try to talk to Ryan about it. I tried to be angry at Toby, feeling like he had seduced me or something, but I couldn't do it, because I knew deep down inside that I had been a willing participant. I had let my hormones and lust for Toby override everything else. It wasn't his fault; it was all mine.

I don't even know why I did it. I'd never had any conscious desire to have sex with Toby (or anyone). Heck, I didn't think that I was ready for something like that. Cuddling and a little kissing were one thing, but sex was something totally different, and not a step I was sure I was willing to take yet. Sure, we didn't have sex, but it certainly felt like it was starting to head in that direction. I was the one who was starting to take off Toby's underwear, for chrissakes!

Like everything else in my life, it seems, I just fucked it all up. I guess it's kind of like that fable of King Midas, where anything he touched turned to gold. In my case, however, everything I touched turned to shit.

I saw Ryan the next morning before we left for school, but he wouldn't talk to me. Toby stood by me like a trouper and even managed to throw Ryan a few pointed looks, although I had to tell him not to do it, because it wasn't Ryan's fault. I'm sure Maggie must have noticed something was out of the ordinary -- that woman noticed everything. But she didn't say anything. Actually, about the only thing good that happened that day (and perhaps it wasn't a coincidence) was that she finally remembered to give me that prescription for the anti-anxiety medication, although she ended up giving me enough for four weeks rather than two.

Ryan drove Toby and me to school that morning, but not a word was said during the car ride. The new life that I had thought (or hoped) was beginning had just fallen to pieces. There would be no more people to hang out with during lunch, no more reassuring and comforting embraces, no more feeling like someone cared about me. Nothing. And perhaps worst of all, no more weekend retreats away from the shithole that I had to call "home" and the mother who would just as soon beat the living daylights out of me than call me her son.

Every time Toby would see me in the halls, he would ask me to come home with him or spend the weekend at their house. I knew he meant it just to be friends. I'm sure he'd learned a big lesson that night too, and I knew he wanted to help me and be there for me.

The way my big blue eyes gave away everything I was feeling, he had to know the emotional torment I was going through. So he kept asking, but I refused each time. I couldn't be in the same house with Ryan, being ignored by him, hoping for something I could never have.

I knew he wouldn't have objected (at least not openly) if I did go home with Toby. He wasn't that kind of person. Ryan was never mean to me, never gave me dirty looks when he passed me in the hallway, no ugly rumors were started about how I was practically naked with Toby in his bed. He just ignored me. Part of me wanted him to yell at me, scream at me, even hit me ... I just wanted some kind of reaction from him. But I got nothing.

What ate away at me even more was that I didn't know exactly what he was upset about. Was it because I was into guys and that disgusted him? Was it because it was with his younger brother? Was it because he wanted me and saw me with someone else? I had no idea, and it was driving me nuts.

Toby had said he would try to talk to him, but I never asked him about it. Even though Toby tried to be my friend at school, I just pushed him away, because just seeing him reminded me of Ryan. That didn't stop him from trying, though.

Obviously, I stopped eating lunch in the cafeteria. I started spending my lunch break either in the auditorium playing the piano, still my only refuge from the hell that was my pathetic existence, or in the library, searching around on the Internet for information (as I had already planned to start doing).  I was already sure by that point, though, that I was gay. How couldn't I be? So, most of the stuff I looked at were stories. I'd read a few before, but during that period of isolation from Ryan, I read even more, trying to find some sort of answer, trying to find something that mirrored the situation that I was going through, to give me some clue as to how to make things right again. But I found nothing.

Most of the stories I read were about perfect boys falling in love with each other. Usually it was something like a new kid showing up at school, and the amazingly hot, yet bashful and self-conscious boy at school finally strikes up a conversation with him. Then they would go to one of their houses right after school and have hot, passionate sex.

Or two hot guys were best friends all of their lives until one day they admitted their undying love for each other. And then there was the lonely boy who notices a hot new neighbor moving in next door, and after an awkward first meeting, they become best friends ... and then, of course, have wild, passionate sex.

Oh, and of course, there were the multiple "jock and nerd" stories, where the nerd tutors the jock, and they end up together. There were lots of those. The worst part was that ninety percent of them were just so poorly written. I mean, come on, I may have been only fifteen, but I at least knew how to spell and use proper grammar and punctuation, for the most part. Many of those authors, it seemed, were adults, and they couldn't even do that. Gimme a break!

God, those stories were all the same, and the plot (if you could call it that) was always so contrived. Sure, they sometimes faced a little adversity (sometimes a lot of adversity), but they always faced it together, constantly professing their undying love for each other and promising themselves to each other for all of eternity ... all at the tender age of fourteen or fifteen (hell, I didn't even know what "love" was).They gave their virginity to each other without a second thought, and were soul mates for the rest of their lives, always with a happy ending. Unfortunately, real life didn't work like that. There were a few really good, well-written, creative stories, but somehow, just reading those made me feel even worse, so I had to stop altogether. The kinds of lives the kids in those stories had were something I would never experience.

Anyway, my life just went back to the same routine as before. Go to school, get picked on, go home, get beaten up, perform at the pub two nights a week, and repeat ad nauseum. I think my twice weekly shows were starting to suffer, even though Mr. Bill never said anything to me about it. But I could tell. All of the songs I played were about misery, loneliness, love loss, and more misery -- perfect for a pub that played mostly country music, I suppose.

The only time I got a complaint (although it was more of a suggestion) was when I played the Elton John song "Ticking" one night (as in a "ticking time bomb"). It's a song about a kid who everyone thought was a perfect little child, happily living his life, with all kinds of expectations put on him by everyone else. Eventually, the kid snapped, walked into a pub and shot up the entire place, and was then shot dead by the police in a hail of bullets. The melody and lyrics are both profoundly intense and haunting, a really incredible song, but I think the content hit a little too close to home for Mr. Bill, so I never played that one again. A part of me wondered, though, if I was going to turn out like the kid in that song.

One thing I was still determined to do, though, was participate in the school's talent contest. I had made a promise to Ryan, and even though he probably didn't care anymore, I wasn't going to break that promise. I also decided that I wasn't going to do any contrived, sappy love songs and try to pour my heart out through a song. I was going to rock as hard as I possibly could with just me and that piano, and I was going to win that contest!

I went to see the drama teacher, Mr. Tillworth, and confirmed with him that I would be doing the show. So, I was set to perform the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I would be the last act on the bill (since they didn't want to have to move the huge grand piano back and forth during the show). We also discussed light effects and stuff that I could have for my performance, which I decided would be really cool.

With no Ryan in my life anymore, I would have plenty of time to practice, too. I decided that besides playing "Pinball Wizard," which I knew would really rock, I would finish it off with a show-stopping, frenetic rock 'n' roll medley of Elton John's "Burn Down the Mission," Arthur Crudup's "My Baby Left Me" (made famous by Elvis Presley), and The Beatles' "Get Back." Those three songs strung together into one long medley would last up to eighteen minutes or longer. It would be a real test in endurance, but I knew I could do it. Even if the students all ended up laughing at me, I was at least going to go down in a blaze of glory.


Another thing that changed during that month was that the beatings had gotten even more severe.

One particular night after coming home from my show at the pub, I opened the door to the trailer to find my mother on her hands and knees on the couch, with "The Lumberjack" fucking the living hell out of her from behind. At first I was disgusted, but then found myself oddly fascinated. I'd never seen two people "doing it" before. Sure, I'd heard my mother getting reamed plenty of times in the past (and boy, could she scream!), but this was the first time that I'd ever actually seen it with my own eyes.

I could see the flabby, hairy ass of "The Lumberjack" tense with each thrust he made, the stale stench of the sweat pouring down his furry back permeating the room. The screams of my mother filled the entire trailer as each one of his long, slow, forceful strokes hit home. As he picked up his pace, timing his penetration methodically, her moans and screams became more urgent, more violent, urging him on.

"Fuck yeah, mother fucker! ... OH GOD! ... FUCK ME DEEPER! ... HARDER! .... unnggghhhh ... FASTER! ... OH FUCK!!!" she shrieked, her cries sounding almost inhuman.

He was doing his fair share of grunting and groaning too, as she bucked her hips back against him in time with his thrusting. I could clearly hear the wet, sloshy sound of his cock sliding in and out of her, and the loud slap of flesh on flesh each time his pelvis slammed up against her backside. He kept picking up the pace until their movements turned into a seemingly uncontrolled frenzy, my mother's moans and commands becoming one long, high-pitched wail.

Looking down, I suddenly noticed that "The Lumberjack" wasn't entirely naked ... he was still wearing his heavy work boots. I didn't know what struck me as being so funny about that, or that I could even laugh while witnessing such a sickening scene, but I wasn't able to hold it back as a loud chuckle escaped from my mouth. As soon as it did, I knew I was in deep shit.

"The Lumberjack" quickly pulled out of my mother and turned around to see me standing in the doorway, his face beet red and a large vein bulging on his forehead. My mother, for her part, just slumped down onto the coach, her mind obviously elsewhere as she continued to finger herself and moan.

"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING STANDING THERE, YOU LITTLE PERVERT?" he bellowed at me. "Do you want some of this big man-cock too, you little pussy boy? Huh? Is that what you want? Answer me, you little mother fucker!"

"Ummm ... uhhhh ... I ... uhhh ... I was ... uhhh ...," I stuttered, my whole body starting to shake..

What could I possibly say? I was frozen in fear, unable to move. I should have run, but my feet didn't seem to be working at that moment. Even if they had been, he crossed the room toward me faster than I could have reacted anyway, grabbing me by the scruff of the neck and dragging me into the living room. He backhanded me across the face, the impact sending me flying through the air and landing hard on the ground.

As I lay there stunned, he proceeded to walk over and grab me by the hair, pulling me into a kneeling position. I tried to wriggle free, but his strong grip on my hair prevented me from going anywhere. As I begged and pleaded for him to let me go, he just grinned evilly, then aimed his now flaccid penis and pissed on me, drenching my hair, face, and entire body. The smell was so rancid that I could barely keep from vomiting.

Once he finished, he shoved me forcefully back down onto the floor, unleashing a vicious series of kicks with his boots to my ribs. I kept praying that my mother would do something to stop him, even though deep down inside I knew she wouldn't. She was probably either passed out or getting off from watching him beat me.

I had no idea how long he kicked me, all the time screaming obscenities. I just hoped I would pass out soon. After what seemed like ages, he used his foot to roll me over onto my back, reached down to pull my pants down to my ankles, and delivered a single, strong kick to my groin. I screamed out in agony. I didn't think I'd ever felt so much pain in my entire life. Despite the pain, however, I didn't cry. I still wouldn't let them win like this. I screamed, I moaned, and my eyes were filled with tears, but I wouldn't cry. That would just confirm that I was a weak, helpless, pathetic piece of shit, and although he had already nearly beaten my small body into oblivion, I refused to give him that one last final bit of satisfaction.

As I lay there supine and vulnerable, unable to move, he gave me one final, sharp kick to the head, and at long last, the world around me went dark.

When I awoke in the morning, both he and my mother were gone, but the pain in my body and the remnants of an orgy of drug use that were lying on the coffee table suddenly brought back the memory of what had happened the night before. I was still lying in the same spot where he had knocked me down, my pants still around my ankles, my clothes and the dingy, cigarette-burned carpeting still reeking of his piss.

I carefully picked myself up off the floor, pulled up my pants, and made my way to the bathroom to once again inspect the damage. Looking in the mirror, I noticed that I only had one small cut on my lip from where "The Lumberjack" had smacked me, but my ribs were severely bruised, and I also noticed some swelling in my groin. Well, I thought, I guess it doesn't make a difference if I end up sterile or something ... it's not like I'd be having kids anyway.

I contemplated whether or not I should even go to school today, but I decided that just like crying, staying home and wallowing in self-pity would only mean they had won. No matter how much it hurt, physically and emotionally, I was still going to go to school, even though it meant I'd probably see Ryan in the hallways or endure more bullying from Trent Lomax and his thugs.


Another afternoon during that horrible month, while I was working on adapting a version of T. Rex's "Children of the Revolution" for the piano in the auditorium during lunch, I heard the stage door open. As soon as I heard it, the memory came flooding back of that day Ryan came to find me after my humiliation in the cafeteria. As I looked up, I momentarily hoped that it was Ryan coming back to tell me he missed me. Unfortunately, when the boy walked through the door, I realized it wasn't Ryan, but his "best friend," Mikey.


"Hey, Connor," he said, tentatively walking over toward me.

"What're you doing here?" I asked, trying my best not to snap at him. The only reason I could think of that he would be here would be to pass on a message from Ryan that he hated me or never wanted to speak to me again. I figured that message was already quite clear.

"I just came here to talk," he said. "I'm sorry if I'm interrupting you."

"What do you want to talk about?" I eyed him suspiciously.

"What're you playin'?" he asked. "It sounds really awesome."

"Just messing around on the piano," I replied. "And you still haven't answered my question."

I was starting to get a little agitated, because I wanted to know what in the hell he wanted. We'd never really talked before, so this was kind of weird.

"I want to talk to you about Ryan," he finally said.

"What about him?" I asked, again eyeing him suspiciously.

"Hey man, relax," he said. "I'm trying to be your friend here."

He looked liked he was trying to be really calm and intentionally non-confrontational. Ryan must have told him that I'm crazy and could go off on him at any second, I thought.

"I don't have any friends," I replied sullenly.

"That's only because you won't let them be your friends," he said.

I laughed. "I think Ryan's made it quite clear that he doesn't want to be friends with me, and I don't blame him."

"I'm not talking about Ryan. I'm talking about me and Toby," he said, approaching closer and sitting on the floor next to the piano bench.

"You're Ryan's friend, and Toby is his brother. So I don't think it would work out," I said.

"I could be your friend, if you'd let me. You can be Toby's friend, too. And I highly doubt that Ryan hates you."

"Why would you suddenly want to be my friend? And what exactly has Ryan told you?"

"Because we've got something in common, and I thought you could use someone to talk to. And as for Ryan, he hasn't said a word to me about anything. I was gonna ask you what happened," he replied.

I still wasn't sure of his motives for being here, but I decided to go along with it for the time being. At least I might be able to fish some information out of him about Ryan.

"What do we have in common? Are you a dorky piano player, too?" I asked, barely containing my feeling of disdain.

He laughed. "No, silly, we're both gay."


"Who says I'm gay?" I asked defensively.

"Don't get so defensive, dude. It's called 'gaydar.' It's kind of a sixth-sense that gay guys have about other gay guys. Plus, it was pretty easy to tell from the way you always looked at Ryan and followed him around like a lost little puppy dog. Sure, it could have been some kind of weird 'hero-worship' or something, but I just decided to take the chance that you were gay ... not to mention, Ryan's no hero," he smirked, apparently thinking he was funny.

His last comment offended me a bit, but I decided to keep listening and see where he was going with this, despite my sudden desire to hit him in his cute face with the piano bench. I opted against that, though, because I figured he could probably beat the hell out of me like everyone else, and I wouldn't even fight back.

"Connor," he continued, "it's okay. No one else knows, and I'm not going to tell anybody. I swear. Obviously this is something we want to keep secret. Gay guys don't rat out other gay guys, get it?"

"Fine. I'm gay. Now what do you want from me? A free blow job or something?" I asked, my voice dripping with sarcasm.

Hmmm ... when did I start becoming so sarcastic? I thought to myself.

"Hardly, dude. I just wanna know what happened between you and Ryan. Maybe I can help," he replied.

His being all calm and friendly was not helping. It was actually making me feel like more of an ass. So, I decided what the hell, and proceeded to give him an abridged version of how I felt about Ryan, and how Ryan walked in on Toby and me making out on his bed, half naked.

He started chuckling.

"What's so funny?" I demanded.

"I'm sorry, dude. It just sounds like you've got some major drama going on in your life," he answered.

"Tell me something I don't already know." Again with the sarcasm ... I thought I was getting pretty good at it.

"Well, I know that if you like Ryan, then making out with his younger brother probably wasn't the best way of showing it. But at the same time, I can't really blame you. Toby is like sex with legs. Believe me, I speak from experience," he said, chucking to himself.

"Experience? You and Toby?" I asked, feeling somewhat stunned by this revelation.

"Yeah, about a year and a half ago. I was fourteen, and he was about twelve and a half. I was having a sleep over at Ryan's, and Toby wanted to mess around after Ryan went to bed. Anyway, one thing led to another, and we ended up being 'fuck buddies' for about a month."

WOW!!! Talk about revelations!

"We were both really young, so of course it didn't last, and Ryan didn't know about it. It was just about two horny teenage boys getting off with each other. But based on that, I know how hard it can be to resist someone like Toby. He's gorgeous, has a personality that's hard not to like, and he knows how to fuck."

I was listening intently as he said all of this, finding it all a bit ... strange? Exciting? Shocking?

"Basically," he continued, "Toby was just a natural. At the time, I thought 'what the hell does a twelve year old know about sex?' I mean, they can't even cum yet, right? I was fourteen, and I hardly knew anything either, except for the ridiculous descriptions of teen sex in those Internet stories. And those are nothing like real life."

I just nodded. I'd come to the same conclusion myself.

"But Toby ... he was just a natural. He knew where to put it and what to do with it. And he did it well ... maybe too well. He knew how to hit every little spot. And after that, it was hard to refuse. He wasn't into cuddling or kissing, he just wanted to jack each other off, suck, and fuck."

"So you're saying that Toby seduced me or something? Did he just wanna use me for sex?" I asked, starting to feel pissed off at Toby.

"No, that's not what I meant. I don't even think Toby realizes that he can be that irresistible. But I've seen the way lots of girls and even some guys gawk at him all the time. I don't get the impression that he goes sleeping around, although I'm sure he could if he wanted to. Plus, he's grown up a lot since then. I know Toby really cares about you, and he wasn't just looking for sex."

"Then what's your point?" I prodded him.

"My point is, with Toby, it's understandable how things may have gotten out of hand. Ryan probably understands that too," he replied.

"Well, he doesn't seem very understanding right now. And as for Toby, I've been steering clear of him, so I don't think anything like that will happen again," I said.

"There's no reason to stay away from Toby. He told me you were upset about something he did, and he wanted me to come talk to you because you wouldn't talk to him."

"I don't blame him, and I'm not mad at him. It's my fault for letting things go too far," I said.

"Honestly, dude," he said, "blaming anyone, especially yourself, isn't going to get you anywhere. Toby's a good guy, he cares about you a lot, and he feels bad about this. He wants things to work out between you and Ryan, but he doesn't know what to do. Ryan won't talk to him either."

"But Toby likes me. Why would he want things to work out between me and Ryan?" I asked.

"I told you, Connor. Toby really is a good guy. Despite his age, he's not some immature brat. He cares about you and wants you to be happy, and he loves his brother, and wants him to be happy, too. But this isn't really about Toby, anyway. It's about Ryan."

I didn't feel like this conversation was really accomplishing much, so I decided to open up a bit more and see if I could get something a little more substantive out of Mikey.

"Does Ryan know I like him?" I asked.

"I don't know. It's obvious to me and Toby, but whenever we even try to bring up your name, he changes the subject. So no one's told him directly as far as I know," he answered.

"What I don't get," I continued, "is why exactly Ryan is upset. Is it because I'm gay? Is it because it was his younger brother? Is it because he was jealous? What is it? This has been eating me up forever."

"Well, I can tell you right off the bat it's not because you're gay. He knows I'm gay, and we've been best friends for years. He knows Toby's gay, and I'm sure you've never seen him treat Toby any differently. They get along better than any brothers I know," he explained. "But neither of us is entirely 'out.' Only our closest friends know, and I wouldn't recommend you coming out either. I already took a big risk telling you all of this."

"Is Ryan gay?" I asked, hoping for the answer to a question I'd wondered about incessantly, ever since I realized I had feelings for him.

Mickey just laughed again. "Connor, I think that's the sixty-four million dollar question. I've talked with him about it quite a bit, and honestly he doesn't know, and I don't think it matters to him, either."

"I don't think I get it," I said.

You either like boys or you don't, right?

"Let's put it this way," he said. "Unlike Toby, myself, and probably you, Ryan sees things in shades of gray rather than black and white. I think Ryan is the kind of guy that falls in love with a person, not a gender. Although, personally, I see him clicking with guys better than girls. But the point is, I don't think his 'sexual orientation' is an issue for him."

"Has he ever had a girlfriend or boyfriend before?" I asked, suddenly becoming more and more curious. I'd learned more about what goes on in Ryan's head during this one (somewhat bizarre) conversation than I had during the whole time I'd known him.

"Never," he said. "But he's also never treated anyone the way he did with you that week you guys were 'together' at school."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"It's just my personal observation, knowing him for so long, that he really likes you. I'm not sure whether or not he even realizes it. He's never said anything. That's just the impression I've gotten. I've never seen him look at someone the way he looked at you before. And when he saw you with Toby, maybe he just got jealous. He's never really had these feelings before, as far as I know, so I don't think he knows how to deal with them. So, his solution is just to shut himself off."

This was sounding a little familiar.

"You know Ryan has ADD, right?" he asked.

"Yeah, he told me. He was afraid I'd think he was crazy," I replied.

Mikey chuckled again. "Well, I think to some extent that effects how he deals with his feelings and emotions. He can't focus on something long enough to figure it out. It's kinda like all these different feelings are just racing around in his head, and he can't calm his thoughts down enough to just pick one and deal with it. Does that make any sense?"

"Yeah, I have the same problem sometimes," I replied.

"Sounds like you two are a match made in heaven," he said, laughing.

"Hardly," I said, rolling my eyes.

"So, I bet now you're wondering how to fix things with him, right?"

"Well, duh ... I told you I like him, and I feel terrible about what happened. But if he won't even talk to me, how am I supposed to fix things with him?" I asked.

"That's the bad news," he said. "Ryan won't talk about something until he's ready. So the only advice I can give you is to just wait."

"I've been waiting for a long time already. It's not that easy. Other than Ryan and Toby, I don't have any other friends," I admitted.

"Well, bud, I wish there was an easy solution to this problem, but Ryan's not an easy nut to crack. That's the best advice I can give you. On the bright side, though, I really do think Ryan likes you. I just think he's upset and a little confused."

I looked at him skeptically, which he seemed to ignore.

"So, in the meantime, I'd suggest letting yourself have some other friends. Don't ignore Toby, at least not in school. Trust me, he's not trying to get into your pants now. He's learned his lesson. You could also try hanging out with the twins, Ben and Ethan. They're really cool, laid-back guys."

I wasn't too keen on either of these suggestions. Being around Toby just made me miss Ryan even more, and I wasn't about to go up to two almost total strangers and ask them if they wanted to "hang out." I don't do the social thing. There was one other thing I was wondering about, though, and it had been on my mind since I first met Mikey and all of Ryan's other friends, and now seemed like a good time to ask.

"So why aren't you with Ryan?" I asked.

"First of all, we've been friends for too long, so it would just be weird. Secondly, he's not really my type," he answered.

"But you slept with Toby," I reminded him.

"That was before," he replied.

"Well, then, what is your type now?" I asked, suddenly curious.

"I'm into more mature guys, like college age. I really have a thing for frat guys. But I'm not looking for a relationship now anyway. I think Ryan, and probably Toby too, are more relationship-oriented, but I think I'm still too young for that."

That was a little surprising.

"Also," he continued, "if things don't work out with Ryan, I really hope you'll give things a chance with Toby. He's not the little sex fiend that I may have made him out to sound like. Yes, he likes sex A LOT, and back when I was messing around with him he was really immature, but he's grown up a lot now. He's a sweet kid, and I think you'd like him."

"I do like him. But for now, I like Ryan more. That's part of the problem. But it's complicated," I said.

"It sounds that way. Anyway, Connor, lunch is almost over, so I'd better get going. But I meant what I said about being friends, so you can talk to me anytime you need to," he said, ripping a piece of paper out of a notebook and scribbling down his number.

"Call me anytime, I mean it. Despite what you may be thinking, this isn't some kind of fight between you and Ryan. There are no sides. It's just about two confused guys, maybe one more so than the other. So we're allowed to be friends, too, alright?"

"Yeah, sure," I replied, although none too enthusiastically.

"Also, if you're not gonna try to do the 'friends' thing, at least focus on the talent contest and do a good job. I think going out there and putting on a good show would make Ryan proud. He said you were really good, and I'd like to hear you sometime," he said.

"Okay, I'll do that," I said, then added, "and thanks, Mikey, for everything."

"No problem, bud. I really do hope it all works out."

And with that, he was off.

He'd definitely given me a lot to think about, and I had learned a lot about Ryan and Toby. I was also surprised that the Mikey with whom I had just had a really in-depth conversation was not at all like the shy boy I'd met that day during lunch with Ryan.

After our talk, though, I still didn't really feel any more confident that I'd have a chance with Ryan again, but I hadn't given up all hope. And Mikey was right about putting everything I'd got into the show. Right now, that was about the only thing I had to look forward to ... a near-term goal I could work to meet and try to keep my mind off of other things. I also discovered that Mikey wasn't the conniving asshole I had thought he was. He was actually a pretty cool guy, and at least it seemed as though he was being honest with me.

After I had my little chat with Mikey, I noticed that Ryan's friends tried to be nice to me. They'd say 'hi' to me in the hallways, ask me how I was doing, and one time Natalie, the girl who had said I was a "cutie," even asked me if she could "do my hair" sometime. I politely refused.

Another day, as I was walking toward my bus stop, the twins, Ethan and Ben, pulled up next to me in their car and invited me to go with them to get something to eat. But again, I refused ... although that might have been more because they were incredibly hot, and I was afraid of letting my hormones get out of hand again. Plus, Mikey hadn't mentioned that they were into guys. I figured I needed to take his advice and be careful. That was another thing I hadn't really thought about before. I figured my life sucked enough as it was, and people thinking I was gay couldn't make it any worse. But maybe it could.

Anyway, I tried to avoid everyone as much as possible. Them trying to be nice to me, most likely because Mikey took pity on me and told them to, just made me feel worse. I didn't need or want their pity.


As the days and weeks went by, the talent contest drew nearer. Ryan still wasn't speaking to me, and I continued to avoid Toby as much as possible, although he managed to corner me in the hallway from time to time to ask me to come over and see him. I still refused. I just continued going on as I had been since the "incident." I'd tried making friends before, and it just got screwed up.

I figured that I was better off by myself anyway. After all, I still had my music and I was a good student. But I should have figured that I couldn't fool myself for too long. I was just existing, not really living.

The torture that I had to endure constantly wasn't helping either. Since I wasn't hanging around Ryan and his friends anymore, it became "open season" on me for Trent Lomax. Sure, it wasn't nearly as awful as the abuse I got at home. I was never physically hurt too badly at school, other than getting pushed and shoved around, knocked down to the floor, and smacked around a little. It was the humiliation of it always happening in front of a large number of people that made it almost intolerable.

I never saw Ryan or his friends around when it happened, though, which made me wonder if Trent was still worried about retribution. It also made me wonder whether Ryan or his friends would even do anything about it if they saw me getting bullied, now that Ryan wasn't speaking to me. The thought of seeing him standing there one day, watching me get beaten, and doing nothing, made me sick to my stomach. That in itself would have probably taken away my will to live entirely.

Trent and his friends picked on me endlessly for being a poor kid, calling me things like "trailer trash," and making fun of my old, tattered clothes. Perhaps that was what hurt the most, because it was something that I didn't have any control over.

Almost every time I had a run in with Trent and his buddies, I ended up having an anxiety attack. Fortunately, I always kept the medication Maggie gave me in my book bag, because I was worried that if I left it at home it would eventually get pilfered by my druggie mother. Trent and his pals didn't seem to know about that part of my life, or it surely would have become a part of their almost daily harassment of me as well.

One day, however, in a twist of poetic justice, I came to school with a black eye that I had received the night before after being clubbed in the face by my mother with her "Vibrating Chrome Alloy G-Spot Dildo." The next day, I noticed that Trent Lomax came into school with two black eyes. The thought crossed my mind that one of Ryan's friends, perhaps Delcondris, the big black football player, had assumed that my black eye was the result of Trent's bullying and decided to get back at him. Of course, I couldn't be sure, but it made me feel kind of good to think about it, and regardless of how it happened, I was glad to see that somehow karma did seem to work. Maybe there was something to that whole Buddhism thing that the teacher was talking about in our World Religions class.

Anyway, I really hated people like Trent Lomax. He had everything handed to him on a silver platter. He never had to worry about things like rent, paying bills, buying groceries, trying to make a budget each month, all while trying to survive the wrath of my mother and her boyfriends.

These were things that I had been doing for years now because she couldn't do them herself. The only thing she could do herself was cash her damn welfare check, and then I had to be sneaky enough to grab some of the money before she could waste it all on booze and drugs, and then added with the hundred dollars I made each week, trying to make sure our little "family" survived. I had to pay the rent on the trailer, do the shopping, go down to the post office to get money orders to pay the bills, and everything else. I don't even know if she realized I did all of this stuff, because she was cracked out most of the time. That was a lot of responsibility for a fifteen-year-old kid to handle. It certainly wasn't fair, but it taught me how to grow up really fast.

Over the years, there had been chances to get out of there. Doctors had asked me whether or not I was abused when I'd wind up in the emergency room after a particularly bad beating, but I'd always lie about it. Some of them didn't believe me, so they would call in Social Services on their own. The few times they showed up at our trailer, they could obviously tell that my mother didn't give a rat's ass about me. They pressed and prodded me to admit that she hit me or that she used drugs, but I denied it vociferously.

I learned quickly that they could only remove me from my mother's home if I was abused or if she was engaging in illegal behavior. Her just being a total bitch and not caring about her own son wasn't grounds for them to take me away. It was bad enough to be a "poor kid;" I didn't want to end up being a "ward of the state." At least I could say that I had a family, even though it wasn't much of one. So, that was my screwed up life, but in some ways, I guess I had become accustomed to it. It was just the way things were, and I had come to a certain degree of acceptance.

The hard part came when I met Ryan, and he showed me what happiness was, something I hadn't experienced since my grandmother died. It may have been just one week, but it changed my life considerably. Before, I had just accepted the way things were at home. I'd pretty much forgotten what "happiness" meant. I accepted the status quo that was my pitiful existence. But after having just a small taste of happiness, I couldn't delude myself into being content with the way things were anymore. At the same time, though, I wasn't about to go ratting out my mother, because God only knows where I would end up.

So, during the time of my separation from Ryan, my loneliness and depression over being denied everything that it seemed everyone else my age had grew worse and worse. After I'd met him, I hadn't minded the beatings so much, because for that brief period of time, I knew that he could take away that pain temporarily. I hadn't felt "lonely" before, because I'd never known anything besides loneliness. But now, an overwhelming sense of loneliness consumed my heart and mind, kind of like in the Fleetwood Mac song "Dreams." Thinking about it, I could imagine the impassioned, raspy voice of Stevie Nicks singing in my head ...

But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness
Like a heartbeat drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost ...
And what you had ...
And what you lost ...

That was basically what my life felt like after losing Ryan. My greatest fear wasn't of the next beating I might get from my mother, "The Lumberjack," or Trent Lomax. My greatest fear was that the loneliness I felt in my heart would never go away. And the worst part about it was that it was all my fault. I deserved what I got because I screwed it up.

Copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved. No parts of this story may be copied, reproduced, in print or in any other format, without express written consent from the author.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to persons living or dead are purely coincidental.

*Lyrics from "Dreams" (written by Stevie Nicks) are Copyright 1977, Welsh Witch Music, from the Fleetwood Mac album Rumours.

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