If you are offended by male/male relationships, or male/male sexual relationships, then you shouldn't be here in the first place. If this conduct is illegal in your area, you must EXIT NOW. This story is not to be copied or posted elsewhere without permission from the author. If you are interested in a story about gay teenage males, then please take your time and enjoy. Feedback/comments/suggestions and even complaints are welcome at DomLuka@aol.com

"What are you guys doing here?" I asked stupidly. Although, it seemed like a reasonable question considering that I had been under the impression that neither Marissa nor Brad was speaking to me, and it had been a surprise to find them standing on my front porch, even more of a surprise than it had been to find Trina standing there only a few hours before.

Unfortunately, finding Brad and Marissa there happened to be an unwelcome surprise at the moment, given my current company. Trina. It seemed ironic, how I'd wanted to talk to Brad and Marissa before this moment. I'd been almost desperate to, wanting to make things right with them. But now was not the time for a heart to heart with my friends. I had Trina with me. It was bad enough that Brad wasn't very fond of Trina, and Marissa hated her with a passion, and they both already thought I'd lost my mind...the last thing I needed was for them to see me with someone who I was supposed to hate. Like Trina Ashpock.

"We came to talk to you." Brad said slowly, looking at Trina somewhat suspiciously.

"What is she doing here?" Marissa demanded, glaring at Trina.

"Uh...Trina just stopped by to..." I started.

"None of your business, Marissa." Trina cut me off. "But I guarantee that whatever I'm doing here, I'm doing it better than you ever did."

"Trina!" I looked at her incredulously, wondering if she was trying to make my life miserable. "Will you just go wait in the car?" I passed her my car keys with a pointed look, hoping that it left no room for argument. Trina just rolled her eyes, but at least she took the keys and did as I asked.

"Your car?" Marissa demanded. "Why is she getting in your car? Where are you going with her, Quinn?" she sounded almost hysterical.

"I'm meeting my mom at the hospital, and I'm already late." I explained, feeling a little annoyed with the interrogation.

"With Trina?" Marissa looked offended by the very thought.

"No, I'm dropping her off on the way." I replied as I closed my front door and started to move past Marissa and Brad.

"Where?" Marissa demanded.


"Where are you dropping her off, Quinn?"

"I...don't know yet."

"So you're just leaving?" Brad frowned at me. "You know we didn't have to come here."

"I told you. I have to meet my mom!" I told him. "Look, Brad...I tried to see you yesterday."

"I think I already had enough of you yesterday, asshole." He retorted, rubbing his lip, which was bruised now.

"Is that what you came here to tell me?" I asked.

"No." Marissa retorted. "We came here to tell you that we're sick of you acting like a crazy person."

"Great." I frowned. "Thanks a lot." I picked up the pace, heading to the car where Trina was already waiting in the passenger seat.

"Quinn!" Brad called after me, but Marissa actually grabbed my arm, quite forcefully for someone as small as she was.

"Quinn!" she said angrily. "What did you expect? You are acting crazy! I mean, you're with Trina! What's wrong with you?"

Every time someone asked me that I paused and questioned myself, wondering the same thing.

There's nothing wrong with you.

"Nothing, Marissa." I shot back. "You know, just because you don't like someone doesn't mean that the rest of the world has to agree with you."

"It's Trina, Quinn! Tell her to get out of your car. You're not going anywhere with her. Enough is enough."

"No." I stated, pulling my arm away from Marissa, and I took offense when Brad moved protectively in front of her. "You know, I wouldn't mind talking to you guys, but if you're going to interrogate me then save it and come back later."

"Maybe we won't come back at all." Brad frowned.

I stared at him for a long moment. This whole encounter was pissing me off. Maybe I'd made mistakes, but at the moment I felt like they were the ones who were being unreasonable. It wasn't my fault that Trina had shown up unexpectedly, and it wasn't my fault that they had the worlds worst timing. I was a victim of circumstance. Yeah. That's it. And who the hell were they to tell me who I could and couldn't hang out with?

"Fine." I said. "If that's how you feel, don't come back."

"Quinn!" Marissa called after me as I turned back toward the car and got in, taking the time to thoroughly slam my door.

Trina looked bored as she glanced my way and I turned they key, but I ignored her as I pulled out, leaving my two...former friends to watch me drive away.

"That didn't go so well." Trina remarked a few minutes later.

"You think?" I snapped at her.

"Would you like me to tell you where to drop me off?" she asked calmly.

"No." I stated. "I don't have time to drop you off right now. You're going to have to come with me, I'll do it afterwards."

If I expected an argument then I was going to be surprised, because I never got one. Trina simply sat back in her seat and enjoyed the ride while I tried to get to the hospital and watch the speed limit at the same time, all the while fuming over the encounter with Brad and Marissa.

What the hell was Brad's problem anyways? I mean, the way he stepped in front of Marissa before would suggest that he actually thought I was going to hit her or something. Sure, I'd lost me temper and hit Brad, but I think I had more control than he was giving me credit for. Maybe if I did hit girls then Marissa would be the first on my list at the moment, considering the way that she was acting. But the way that Brad had looked at me, like he really didn't trust me made me think that I really had lost him. I guess I had. After all, I'd just told him not to come back.

But I didn't mean it. Not really. I really did want to talk to Brad, even Marissa...well, I'd talk to Marissa when she stopped acting like a possessive lunatic. But I wanted to make things right with them. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure if I'd ever be able to do that if things kept going like this.

I started to think about what Jude said to me last night, how everything that got worse had to get better eventually. I guess I could only hope that I didn't have to hit rock bottom before things really did get better for me.

When we reached the hospital I got out of the car, not really caring if Trina waited there or not. I was already thirty minutes late, so when Trina got out and started to follow me in, I didn't object to it.

It had been a while since I'd last been in the hospital cafeteria. The last time had been for Bree's sixteenth birthday a few months ago when my mom couldn't make it home. We'd had a twenty-minute visit in the cafeteria before I took Bree home for her surprise party. That had been a good night. I doubted that this visit would be as enjoyable.

The cafeteria wasn't very crowded, so it wasn't difficult to spot my mother. She was over at a pay phone, and she didn't look very happy as she spoke to whoever was on the other end of the line, as she sipped a cup of coffee. I was actually surprised to see her, after all, I had been late and she was busy. But, there she was, and when she saw me her eyes momentarily widened in surprise before a disapproving look came over her face, one that I was unaccustomed to seeing. I just stood there, staring across the room until she lifted her index finger from her coffee cup and beckoned me towards her.

"That's my mom." I started to tell Trina, but when I glanced over my shoulder she was no longer anywhere to be seen. I shrugged to myself and headed over to my mother, finding no need to worry about Trina.

I only took three steps in my mom's direction before she abruptly hung up the phone and started moving towards me at a rapid pace. When she met me half way, she surprised me as she kept walking, and I immediately had to turn around and walk faster just to keep up with her as we headed out of the cafeteria.


"Eleven o'clock, Quinn. I asked you to be here at eleven o'clock." She cut me off. "Now I have to go back to work."

"I'm sorry."

"I'm sure you are. And I'm sure you have an explanation for why you were suspended at school and why you were fighting-with Brad, of all people! Unfortunately, I don't have time to hear it right now so you're going to have to wait until I do have time."

"Wait?" I repeated, dreading what she might mean by that. "Here?"

"I believe you know where the waiting rooms are."

"But mom, that could take forever! I'm sorry I'm late but you cant expect me to just sit here all day."

"I expected you to be here at eleven." she replied as we headed out of the cafeteria and down the hall.

"It's not like I was late on purpose." I argued. "You know I wouldn't just stand you up!"

"No, I suppose you wouldn't, but then again, I'm not sure what's going on with you lately, am I?"

"Mom..." I started, but as we stepped into the elevator she abruptly turned to me and started talking again.

"You know, Quinn, yesterday I found out that my son has been fighting at school with his best friend and skipping classes for weeks. That, is not you. At least it wasn't the last time I checked. So no, I don't know what's going on with you, but I'm going to find out. That's why you're waiting."

"All day?" I asked incredulously.

"Until I have more time to talk to you." she informed me.

"Then let me go until then." I insisted. The idea of waiting around the hospital was definitely unappealing to me. "I have my phone, you can just call when..."

"If you didn't want to wait, Quinn, then you should have been here on time." she cut me off as she led the way off the elevator. "And while you're up here, turn that cell phone off or I'll take it away."

I frowned as I lifted my phone from my pocket to turn it off, annoyed that she was being so short with me, and treating me like a child. I know I'd made some mistakes lately. But, did that count out the last five years or so that I'd been the responsible one? The kid who never got into trouble? The kid who took care of his baby sister rather than torment her? The kid who never missed school, who never let his grades slip?

I felt like I wasn't allowed to make mistakes. Who knows, maybe I wasn't. But, considering what I was going through lately, I felt like I should be offered some leniency here...except, if I wanted leniency, I'd have to tell my mom the truth, and even then, I probably wouldn't get any breaks. Not that I could tell her. She'd never understand and my situation would only get worse.

"How long are you going to be?" I frowned as my mother placed a hand on my shoulder and directed me towards a lobby equipped with magazines and a coffee stand.

"You know better than to expect an answer to a question like that."

"Look, mom..." I started to protest again.

"Quinn," she sighed, and I tolerated it as she licked her thumb to wipe some imaginary dirt from my face. "I'll be back as soon as I can. "Spending one afternoon here isn't going to kill you, especially since you should be in school and have to miss it. At least here I know where you are and what you're doing."

Damn it. She might as well have said I don't trust you. And it hurt. It hurt when I felt like Brad didn't trust me anymore, but my mom? It was upsetting. Did I really deserve this? Had I been that bad? So bad that my own mother didn't seem to trust me all of a sudden?

"I know I'm not around much, Quinn," she continued, "but from now on, until you get it together again-you will make sure that I know where you are and what you're doing. Understand?"

"Oh come on!" now I was just plain insulted that she was spelling it out for me. "I made a few mistakes! Don't you think you're overreacting?"

This was odd. I wasn't used to arguing with my mother. It never happened. I was sort of surprised that I could actually do it. Even more surprised that she was being such a...parent-the annoying kind.

"There's no such thing as overreacting when you're a mother, Quinn. Now sit. I'll be back as soon as I can."

I groaned inwardly as I watched her walk away. It wasn't like I really had anything better to do today, but then again, anything would be better than waiting around a hospital, and the worst part was, since I had nothing to do but wait for a conversation that I didn't want to have, I had plenty of time to think, and thinking was not something that I was in the mood to do. Thinking was the enemy. When I was left alone with my own thoughts I tended to get trapped in my own head, and lately, that just wasn't a good thing.

So I tried to distract myself. For the next hour I was the only one in the lobby, and I picked up every magazine I could, reading about anything from home and garden to parenting to rock climbing. I just wanted to keep my mind off everything else...like, the conversation that I was waiting to have with my mother.

Unfortunately, the magazines were only a temporary distraction. I couldn't help wondering what my mom expected me to say when she came back. Maybe she didn't expect me to say anything at all. Maybe she planned to do all of the talking, just like everyone else had been doing.

That was something that was bothering me. It seemed like everyone around me was doing all of the talking. They all wanted to know what was wrong, and they kept telling me to talk to them, but if what I had to say was something that they didn't want to hear, they would refuse to listen.

I guess what they didn't want to hear was, that I just wanted to be left alone. That's what I wanted. I wanted everyone to back off and let me solve my own problems...if only I knew where to start.

I was gay, and I didn't see much of a solution for that. Except...deal with it. That's what Jude said I needed to do. I needed to deal with it. Or, a better word would be, accept. He thought that I needed to accept that I was gay.

How was I supposed to do that, though? How was I supposed to accept that I wasn't normal and couldn't do anything to change it?

Then again, the reality was, I really could go back to ignoring it. But, after everything that had happened, after not only discovering my feelings but also experiencing them...with Jude...discovering what it could be like to kiss someone and feel something...

As much as I hated being different, and as much as I detested the idea of being gay...detested being gay... The truth was, after admitting it to myself I not only felt relief, but I also felt like I'd just found something that I'd been missing, something important that was a part of me. And now I couldn't go back. I couldn't ignore it. Not anymore. Not if I didn't want to be miserable.

And thinking that, brought me back to Jude. I'd known that I was attracted to guys before Jude...and I was definitely attracted to Jude. Even if I wasn't gay I'm pretty sure that I'd still appreciate how physically attractive Jude was, and it wasn't just his looks. It was the overall way that he carried himself. His confidence. His smile-all of his smiles. But, there was something about his personality that attracted me, too. He was honest, maybe even too honest. And he was understanding, and it felt like he was wasting more time on me than I was worth, considering the way I'd treated him.

Maybe I really could be friends with Jude. He'd been there for me yesterday, and then he'd even called last night. I could easily see how anyone would be lucky to have him as a friend. Only, this whole friendship thing with Jude might be trickier than I'd like to think. First, there was the fact that every time I was around him I turned into a big mess. I felt like the only thing I had to contribute to a friendship with Jude was my problems. I wished that I could offer more than that, but my life was just too much of a damned mess at the moment. And then there was the attraction issue; my attraction to Jude... and his attraction to me.

I tried to make a mental list in my head, of things I needed to deal with in order to put my life back together. I guess most of it at the moment consisted of repairing damaged relationships. Of course, there was also that small matter of needing to accept my sexuality while I continued to lie to my friends and family about it. I would have to keep lying. If somehow I did managed to fix things with my friends and family, and they found out the truth about me, it wouldn't matter, anyways. I'd lose them all, for good. It seemed like there was a lot for me to deal with. I just hoped that I could find the energy to do it. Just thinking about it was exhausting.

I had been sitting there for two hours. The lobby had grown a bit more crowded than just me, there were probably six other people. I kept watching the door, waiting for my mother to return, so when a familiar face appeared, I was immediately on my feet.

"Trina. Shit...I'm sorry." I'd honestly forgotten about her, but it wasn't exactly like she'd been around, reminding me of her presence, either.

"Save it, Moore." she said as she crossed the room to pour herself a cup of the abomination that the hospital claimed was coffee, and I followed her. "I've been entertained enough. This is a hospital, after all."

I didn't know what she meant by that, and I honestly didn't want to know.

"Alright...um, look, I'll probably be a while. I have to wait for my mom to come back and I'm not sure when that will be."

"You're in trouble, huh?"

"You could say that." I muttered.

"Tough break...look, Moore, I just wanted to hunt you down to let you know that I'm getting out of here. But, obviously I wasted my time because you forgot about me anyways."


"Forget it. I'm used to it. So... I gotta go before I miss the next bus."

"Right." I nodded. "I really am sorry... I just have a lot on my mind."

"Don't we all." she replied as she put a lid on her coffee and headed to the door, and I seated myself in the nearest chair.

"Bye Trina." I solemnly called after her.

"See ya," was her response. But, she suddenly stopped and looked back at me. "Hey, Moore, you remember where I live, right? I'm having a little get together tonight, in case you're interested...or if you just feel like doing the whole rebellion thing. You can stop by if you want."

"You're having a party on a Wednesday night?"

"Why not?" she shrugged before she disappeared, and once again I was left alone to wait.

The next two hours passed even slower than the first two, but that could have been because I had read every magazine twice and now I was out of material to keep myself occupied with. Even my ever dramatic thoughts became so frustratingly repetitive that they actually started to bore me, and I ended up just plain tired. I guess you could say that I was one of those impatient people who hated to wait.

Finally, just past four o'clock, I decided to risk leaving the lobby. There was a chance that I'd miss my mom, but it was definitely time to relieve my bladder. Of course, I returned just in time to see my mom leaving the lobby and I had to run to catch up to her.


She turned around, flashing me an accusing look. It was times like these that I was reminded of just how alike she and Bree looked.

"Where were you?" she demanded. "I only have about ten minutes left."

"I had to go to the bathroom." I said shortly, feeling annoyed that she thought I'd just leave. "And are you seriously telling me that I've been waiting for over four hours for a ten minute conversation?" I asked incredulously.

"Don't push it, Quinn. It's been a long day." she replied. "I'm sorry that you feel that I'm being unreasonable here, but since yesterday I've been doing everything I can to clean up your mess and I'm tired."

"What do you mean?" I asked cautiously.

"Let's go over here." she insisted, and I followed her out of the lobby and into a private waiting room. I was pretty sure that the hospital used the room as a place to tell the family members of patients bad news, and while I didn't have any loved ones in the hospital, I couldn't help the feeling of dread that came over me as I sat across from my mother, who had a serious expression plastered on her face, one that told me that I wasn't going to like anything that I was about to hear...I didn't know the half of it. But I had that feeling, that something really bad was about to happen. Maybe I was being ridiculous, I don't know, but whatever the feeling meant, it put me on the defensive.

"Mom, I know I've been acting strange lately..."

"Quinn, we'll talk about that later." she stated. "First things first. You need to apologize to Brad."

"I went over there yesterday and tried, but he..."

"Quinn, it's time for you to listen now. This isn't a discussion. You will go see Brad when we're finished here and apologize to him. It would also be wise for you to work out any problems that the two of you are having. You've known Brad you're whole life and it would be foolish to let petty differences get in the way of your friendship. You will go apologize to him. Understand?"

"Yes." I frowned. I could try to apologize to Brad, but I doubt he'd even talk to me after this morning. I wasn't about to mention that to my mom, though. That could just lead to more trouble, so I decided that it was best not to argue.

"Marissa, too." my mom added.

"Yeah, fine."

"Good. Now, about this school suspension business. I spoke to your principal and the man wasn't helpful at all."

"I'm sorry I got suspended, mom...."

She held up a finger to stop me. I guess I wouldn't be doing any talking after all.

"However," she continued, "I managed to speak to your school counselor, Mr. Johns, and he was incredibly helpful."

If anything had the ability to make me panic, it was that last sentence. She talked to Johns. The same councilor who knew about me. The same councilor who said I was wrong. I think I almost blacked out from pure terror as I imagined all that that man could have said to my mother.

"What did he tell you?" I demanded.

I don't think that my mom picked up on the panicked tone in my voice because she answered without missing a beat.

"You're lucky you have a man like Mr. Johns on your side Quinn. He's well aware that this is your first offense, and he's managed to lift the suspension. You can go back to school tomorrow on the condition that you go in and talk to him first thing in the morning."

Talk to Johns? I was going to be sick.

"I cant do that!" the man hated what I was. Maybe he was polite about it, but the last time I left his office I'd wanted to go home and drown myself in a bottle of sleeping pills.

"This isn't open for discussion. Mr. Johns has made a very generous offer and you're going to take him up on it. You're going to work out a schedule and start talking to him on a regular basis. It'll probably be after school so you're going to have to adjust your work schedule."

"Mom, you don't understand..." I was pleading now, hoping that she'd pick up on how panicked I was and take it all back.

"Quinn." she sighed as she slowly stood up, and I did too, following her to the door, "I know you think that you can solve all of your problems on your own, but this has gone on long enough. Maybe talking to a professional will help you figure out how to deal with whatever's bothering you. I talked to Bree and it's fairly obvious that you don't want to talk to anyone else."

"Mom, it's not that simple!"

"Of course, not. You're seventeen. Nothing's simple at your age." she gave me a small smile and leaned over to kiss my cheek. "But, I'm sure you'll feel differently eventually. You'll have to leave early tomorrow so you can see Mr. Johns before school. I have to go now...And Quinn, I'll be calling home in two hours. You'd better be the one to answer the phone. You'll have plenty of time to apologize to Brad, first."

"Is that you're way of saying I'm grounded?" I frowned, unable to keep the anger out of my voice. But, the idea of being grounded was the last thing that had me upset right now.

"Quinn, have I ever grounded you? We're worried about you. If you want to go somewhere you can ask first. I'd just prefer to know where you're at for a while. Bree already knows that you won't be going out tonight."

"You have my little sister babysitting me?" I asked incredulously. This was just too much. My mom was never around and all of a sudden she was laying down the law and telling me that I was being watched by my little sister. It wasn't only humiliating, it was infuriating.

"She's worried about you too, Quinn." my mother replied, simply. "Now go apologize to Brad, and make sure you're home to answer the phone...we'll talk more later, I promise."

I wasn't looking forward to more talking, especially since everyone except for me seemed to be doing the talking, if you could even call it that. It was more like telling. And I'd about had enough of it. But I just stood there, watching helplessly as she walked away, wondering if I even wanted to wake up tomorrow, knowing how my day would start off.

This could not be happening. How was I supposed to go back and talk to...that man? I was terrified of him because he hated what I was. Maybe I hated the idea of being gay, but I hated the idea of being stuck with someone who hated what I was even more.

I didn't know what to do. I couldn't go back to see Mr. Johns, but I didn't really see a choice, either. The only way to get out of it was to give my mother a good reason why I shouldn't go see him, and if I told her the truth, she'd probably insist that I go talk to him. I'd never felt so trapped in my entire life.

I was so upset that I felt physically sick as I left the hospital, and since my eyes had dropped to the ground in my depressed state and I literally couldn't lift them, it took me over thirty minutes to find my car.

Everything had gone so wrong. I'd made a mistake. A big one. I'd suffered a crisis and handled it badly and now everything was just so...wrong. And I was trapped. I was trapped with my secret and there was nothing I could do to escape it.

In my mind, I was considering what would happen when I walked into Mr. Johns's office tomorrow. Yes. I did plan on going. Like I said, I didn't really see a choice. If I didn't go it would only cause more problems. But maybe I could make this work. Maybe I could convince him that it was a mistake, that I wasn't really gay. Maybe I could go back to the way things were. I could forget about the last few weeks. I could be me again.

No. No, I couldn't. This was too big, too much a part of me. I couldn't just ignore it if it was screaming at me. It had become too big to ignore.

But then I thought, what if Mr. Johns can help me? What if he has a way of making these feelings go away? What if he can help me be normal?

But what if all he can do is help me appear normal? What if talking to him would only result in a deeper self-loathing? I hated myself enough as it was. I was pretty sure that if I added any more to that I wouldn't be able to live with it. I felt like I could hardly live with it now. It was like I couldn't breathe. I was suffocating myself and I didn't know how to stop it. I just wanted out of my own head. I wanted it to stop. I'd had enough.

I was close, I was so close to just turning around so I could hunt down my mother, so I could tell her why I couldn't go talk to that man. I think the only thing that stopped me was fear...and maybe common sense. I knew my mother. If I told her I was gay she'd go about a way of dealing with it that was logical to her. She'd probably deny it more than I had been. And she'd make sure that I went to see Mr. Johns.

When I finally found my car I got in and sat there for a long time, wondering what to do, or what I could do. There was nothing, no one...no, that wasn't true. There was Jude. Jude might know what I could do. And as far as I was concerned he was the only one who I could really talk to anyways. I took out my cell phone and turned it back on, and began searching for the number that he had called from last night. It didn't take me long to find it, and I was just about to hit call back when my phone started to ring, the sudden chirping sound making me jump. I looked at the incoming number and froze.


This couldn't be good. I had a feeling that he wouldn't have anything useful to say. But, that didn't stop me from answering the phone.



"Bree?" What was my sister doing on Brad's phone? If Bree was the one calling then that meant that she was probably with Brad and...uh-oh.

"You know, it took a lot of convincing to get Brad and Marissa to even talk to you." My sister snapped at me. "Damn it Quinn, I thought you wanted to talk to them! Now Brad's pissed off and Marissa's freaking out! What's your problem, anyway? Did you just wake up one day and decide that you were going to turn into the worlds biggest asshole? And what were you doing with Trina Ashpock? I thought you hated her."

"Marissa's the one who hate's her." I frowned. "I'm not Marissa."

"That doesn't explain anything, Quinn! What are you doing? Did you even go and talk to mom like you were supposed to?"

"Where do you think I've been all day?" I snapped. I was becoming irritated already, and I had so much frustration built up at that I could hardly think straight, let alone put up with anyone else who wanted to tell me that I was the worlds biggest fuck up. "I'm just now getting out of there, Bree."

"Whatever. You'll be home soon, then, right? Mom said..."

"I know what mom said."

"Fine. Well, we'll be waiting for you."

"We?" I frowned.

"I convinced Brad and Marissa to give you another chance. You can thank me later. They'll be ready to talk again when you get here."

A second chance? To talk to them? Well that was just dandy. And what the hell was I supposed to say to them? Nothing, that's what. They'd do all of the talking for me and it would be no better than it was this morning. They didn't want to accept my apology, they wanted to tell me that there was something wrong with me. They wanted to tell me how crazy I was acting. They wanted to tell me how wrong I was. I could feel my breathing growing deeper, strained almost, as the frustration continued to swell in my chest.

"Tell them to leave, Bree." I stated, hearing my voice crack as I said it.

"What?" she demanded. "They're not leaving, Quinn! There here to talk to you! Marissa told me how you blew them off this morning and you have to admit that the least you can do after that is talk to them."

"I was late meeting..." I started, but had to stop when I literally choked on my own frustrations and a small, strangled sound escaped my throat. What was wrong with me? I was sitting in the hospital parking lot, attempting to have a conversation as my hands shook and my chest heaved...and my face was wet. It wasn't until I sniffed that I realized I was crying. The tears were just coming out, I had absolutely no control... over anything, it seemed. I was overwhelmed. This day had been one blow after another and I couldn't take it anymore.

For the second time, all I could think about was an escape. Sleeping wasn't something I considered this time. This time, I just wanted to disappear. I wanted to completely vanish, spontaneously combust. I wanted to drop dead where I stood. Anything to make all of this stop.

"Quinn, are you there? When are you coming home?" my sister asked, actually sounding genuinely concerned.

"I'm not coming home." I said it so softly that I doubted she even heard me.


"I said...I'm not coming home." I raised my voice a little louder this time.

"What are you talking about? Quinn, you're starting to scare me. Why aren't you coming home?"

"Because I can't."

"Now you're just acting..."

"What?" I suddenly snapped. "Crazy? Fine, I'm fucking crazy, is that's what you want to hear, Bree? Did it ever occur to you that I wouldn't want to come home if all anyone can do is tell me how fucking crazy I'm acting? Why can't you all just do me a favor and fuck off!"

I snapped the phone shut and let out a shaky breath, wiping the wetness from my face with the back of my hand. The phone started ringing a few seconds later-Bree calling me back, so I turned off the cell and slid it into my pocket before I started to feel guilty and made the mistake of answering it. And I was already feeling guilty, but I decided that I would just have to get over it. I had come to the conclusion that the people who were supposed to love and care about me, were only succeeding in driving me to knew heights of insanity.

I started my car, but I didn't go anywhere for a while. It was too hard to see what was in front of me with all of the tears. I would say that I wanted to stop breathing, except I think I already had because I felt myself gasping for air during my sudden hysteria.

All of this fear was rushing through my head, and I saw no solution. There was nothing. Simply a situation that I saw as hopeless, and I felt so utterly helpless that I wanted to scream. Maybe I should have screamed, just to get out some of the frustration. But instead, it was like my entire mind shut down and I just sat there...waiting...waiting for...I have no fucking idea what I was waiting for.

At some point I did start to drive, unsure of where I was going. I went through my own neighborhood a few times, knowing that my sister was probably panicking after our phone call, knowing that she'd be convincing Brad to go and look for me. Maybe I wanted them to find me. Maybe that's why I'd detoured myself so close to home. But I knew that I wouldn't let them find me. Not now. I couldn't handle them right now. So I kept driving.

It was already dark when I pulled into the familiar dirt lot and looked towards the house that was in desperate need of a cleaning the last time that I was there. The lights were on, but there was no one on the front lawn this time. Maybe the crowd wasn't as big. I didn't really care, though, how many people were there. I checked myself in my rear view mirror, making sure that my eyes weren't so red and puffy that someone might notice that I had been crying, and when I was satisfied I was presentable, I found myself knocking on Trina's front door.

I think I felt relieved, when a familiar face opened the door, even if it was Taylor. He was currently drinking directly out of a bottle of tequila and when he saw me he almost choked on it, but a second later a sly smile spread across his lips.

"Quinn Moore, what are you doing here?"

"Trina invited me." I said shortly.

"Okay then," Taylor laughed, as if he didn't quite believe me. "Come on in. Can I get you something to drink? I can make it virgin if that's what you're sticking to."

I just glared at him, but didn't hesitate to go inside, and on my way I snatched the bottle out of Taylor's hand and took a large swallow, choking and cringing as the burn crept down my throat.

"Damn," Taylor smirked at me, slapping my back, but not taking the bottle back, "welcome to the party, Quinn." and then he turned to the ten or so people in the living room. "Hey guys, look who came to visit."


It surprised me, how Trina had welcomed me into her home, even after she'd spent the morning at my house. Even Taylor was being less of an ass, but I could have been thinking that because I hadn't put down the bottle since I walked in the door, and the more I drank, the lighter everything became. The bitter taste of the drink was even becoming unnoticeable, and the more I drank the less I felt, and the less I thought about how I ended up here because I'd practically been forced out of my own home.

It was strange, being among these people again. I noticed that many of them were giving me dirty looks after the last time I'd graced them with my presence, but I didn't care. I became the ghost of the party, silently walking around, refusing to join conversations. Trina and Taylor introduced me to a few people this time around, but I think they stopped when they realized that I wasn't interested in making new friends at that point.

I think I'd gone there because in the back of my mind I hoped that Jude would show up. At some point I had decided not to call him after all, probably because I didn't want him to see what a mess I was. But, I think I had been hopeful, that he'd show up at Trina's and I wouldn't have to call him. Unfortunately, that hadn't happened yet and the room was already spinning.

The last time I'd had anything to drink had been at Trina's last party, and only that small taste had told me that feeling drunk wasn't something that I really liked. But, the last time was nothing compared to how I started to feel as wandered through Trina's house, reaching the point where I began to lose control of basic motor functions, like walking and forming proper sentences.

And the room was spinning, god, was it spinning. It became so bad that I felt like I had to lie down, just to get closer to the ground, and when I did lay down, I did so right there on the living room floor, but I was out of the way, so people didn't seem to notice. Although, I was aware of a few of them laughing at me. It didn't matter though, I was just happy that I hadn't spilled my drink when I placed it on the ground near my head. Trust me, in my current condition, that was a huge accomplishment.

I was staring at the ceiling, trying to stop the room from spinning when I became aware of Taylor sitting next to me on the floor, looking down at my face.

"I think I'm gonna puke." I announced, noticing that my words were both slow and slurred.

"Probably." Taylor replied.

I closed my eyes for a moment, but all that did was make things seem even dizzier, so I quickly opened them again and tried to focus on Taylor's face, but even he looked somewhat bleary.

"Do you want to go lay down?" I heard him ask me, and I felt his hand move over mine, but I didn't do anything to make him let go. I didn't have the energy.

"I am laying down." That's what I said, but again, the words seemed...slow.

"Somewhere more comfortable." Taylor replied as he pulled on my hand. I groaned as he pulled me to a sitting position and wrapped his arm around my back, pulling me up. "Come on, let's go before you do start puking. I don't think anyone wants to see that."

"I don't wanna go." I frowned, making it difficult for him to lift me.

"I can't let you pass out here." he smiled at me. "Someone might step on you and I doubt Trina has liability insurance."

I cocked my head, not really getting his joke and he laughed at me.

"Come on, Quinn." he insisted as he grabbed both of my hands and attempted to pull me up again, but I pulled right back and we ended up sitting across from each other.

"I liked your hair better when it was red." I remarked.

"Oh?" he raised an eyebrow at me.

"Yeah." I nodded. "The red was like a...a warning sign. Taylor's coming, run away. Or stop...yeah, like a stop sign."

"Okay." Taylor replied as he lifted the tequila bottle and placed it out of my reach. "We're definitely cutting you off."

"And I think the purple's gay." I added, looking at the long purple spikes his hair was shaped into.

"Really, Quinn?" he smirked, lowering his voice and leaning closer. "I thought you liked gay things."

I think he was expecting to get a rise out of me. Even in my current state of mind I was aware that he was teasing me, but something he said affected me. I liked gay things? What did that mean, exactly? I liked looking at other boys. I liked kissing other boys. I liked kissing Jude. Those were gay things. But, I guess that made sense because I was gay. I didn't want to be. I hated that I was and I hated that I couldn't change it...but I liked gay things, and I couldn't help the way that my face twisted into a sad frown as I thought about it. Taylor saw it and his cocky smile faded as he reached out for me again, this time moving his hands under my arms to lift me.

"Come on, Quinn. Let's get you somewhere a little less noisy, okay?"

I leaned against Taylor and slowly nodded; forcing myself to my feet, although I think it was Taylor who was actually keeping me on my feet once I got there, as he navigated me through the people.

"Where are we going?" I demanded, not liking how the dark hallway that he was leading me towards looked. Unfortunately, I don't think the words got out of my mouth as anything more than an incoherent murmur, because Taylor didn't answer me. I tried dragging my feet, indicating that I didn't want to go that way, but he only tightened his grip around me and grunted as he pulled me tighter against his side.

"Come on Quinn, you're almost there."

I looked ahead as he moved me through a door and flipped on a light. I knew we were in a bedroom, a small bedroom, but I didn't notice much else about it, except when he dropped me down on the bed there was a pile of clothes under me and I found myself wondering if it was dirty laundry. It probably was.

I rolled onto my back, still attempting to make the room stop spinning as the stench of stale cigarettes added to my oncoming nausea. It was when I felt Taylor's weight drop down over the bed with me that a sense of reality seemed to hit me. I was in a room alone with him, and in many ways, being alone with Taylor made me uncomfortable, and I couldn't help the way I panicked when I felt his hand moving up the bottom of my shirt.

"Don't!" I frowned, grabbing his wrist as well as I could and pulling it away from my skin. Taylor didn't fight it though, when I pulled his hand out from under my shirt.

"Shh, relax, Quinn, I'm not gonna do anything." He replied calmly, and I looked up at him suspiciously, trying to decide if he was being sincere or not. After all, this was Taylor, and I was beginning to think of him as a lecher, not one I wanted to be passed out and helpless with. But, he seemed calm enough, and he wasn't making any more moves to touch me, and now I was the one holding his wrist.

And as I held his wrist I noticed that my thumb was brushing against some rough skin there, and I found myself holding his hand up and pulling up his sleeve, until I could see the long ugly scar. I remembered when Taylor first showed it to me, how it scared me. I wasn't sure if this was the same scar he'd shown me before or not. I wondered if he had another one on his other wrist. Either way, it was frightening even to look at. But I was staring, moving my thumb gingerly up and down the furrowed flesh.

It was definitely scary, the way that I wondered if I'd ever have the guts to inflict that sort of damage on myself, and how I wondered if the pain of a sharp knife, tearing into my skin would hurt less than all of the inward turmoil I was feeling.

"Does it hurt?" I found myself asking.

"Hmm...the scar's sensitive."

I immediately lifted my thumb away from the scar after hearing that, but Taylor just smiled and made no attempt to pull his wrist away from me.

"You're not hurting anything, Quinn."

My eyes drifted away from his face and I attempted to properly focus them on the scar, as I went back to toucing it, feeling fascinated and disgusted at the same time. I wanted to ask him why he did it, to ask if it was a good enough reason. But unfortunately, I felt like I couldn't talk at all.

The thought of someone taking their own life horrified me. But, at the same time, when I thought about my escape, it relieved me, the idea of not having to deal with all this shit.

But if you had asked me about it then, I wouldn't have said that the idea of taking my own life was something I thought about. I didn't really consider it that. When I thought about escaping, even if escaping meant ending my own existence, the term suicide never came to mind, not like it did when I looked at Taylor's wrist. To me, it was simply wanting to get away, and not thinking about the reality of what the situation would require, if it did come to that. But it hadn't come to that, yet. Part of me was still fighting, still attempting to exist with the emotional chaos that had become my life. I was grasping at strings, finding close to nothing to hold on to, simply waiting for my world to go completely dark.

I suddenly dropped Taylor's wrist, not caring about the way his hand dropped on my chest as I focused on the ceiling, things were less dizzy there. I felt confused, when Taylor reached for a night stand, and brought his hand back with a tissue, then used it to wipe my face, under my eyes.

"Quinn, do you want to tell me what's wrong?" he asked quietly.

I turned my attention back to him, not really understanding. Everything around me seemed to be going in slow motion.

"I'm thirsty." I said. The words seemed disjointed, and it was like I heard them a few seconds after I said them. I turned my eyes away from Jude again, but when I looked back, he was gone. I definitely didn't like this, feeling like this. I was starting to feel sick, and trying desperately to push the feeling down.

I closed my eyes, for a brief moment, but that made the spinning worse, so I opened them and was surprised to see Taylor was back.

"When did you het here?" I mumbled, frowning at him.

"Here you go." He said, ignoring my drunken question as he held up a glass of water. I think I stared at it for a whole minute before I remembered that I was thirsty and I tried to sit up to take it. Taylor had to help me do even that much, and when he helped me drink, not even half of the water went into my mouth, it all seemed to dribble down my chin.

"I don't feel so good." I complained as he eased my head back down onto the bed.

"Taylor, are you back here?" there was another voice. It sounded so far away that I thought I was imagining it, but it sounded familiar too, and as the room to the door suddenly opened I tried to focus on it. It took me a few seconds to realize who was there, even after Jude started talking.

"Hey, what are you doing back . . . Quinn?"

I opened my mouth, wanting to respond, but nothing more than a small sound came out.

"Fuck." I heard Jude curse, but his voice sounded like an echo as I turned my head, suddenly feeling that the room was too bright."You got him drunk?"

"Don't look at me." Taylor I heard Taylor say. "He did that on his own."


"No one forced him to do anything, Jude. Don't look at me like that. Besides, don't you think he's old enough to make his own decisions?"

"He doesn't drink, Taylor." Jude snapped, and now I felt Jude's weight on the bed, and his cool hand moving over my forehead as I forced myself to focus on him. "Where's Trina?"

"She's further gone than he is, and how the hell were we supposed to know he doesn't drink? He's been throwing them back all night, and it's not like he didn't have anything the last time he was here."

I wanted to tell them both to shut up. My head was pounding and the sudden raised voices didn't help, but I felt like I couldn't talk at all, it all came out in moans and small sounds.

"What is he doing here anyways?" Jude demanded. "I asked Trina to stop by and see how he's doing, not to get him fucking wasted!"

It started to occur to me that Jude was pissed off. Sure, the realization was delayed on my part, but realizing it was upsetting. For some reason the thought of Jude being upset added stress to the situation and made me feel worse than I already did. Maybe he was yelling at Taylor, but I had a feeling that I was the one who he was pissed off at.

"You'll have to ask him that." Taylor said defiantly. "All I know is that he showed up here a few hours ago."

"You know what, just get out of here, Taylor," Jude said coldly as he suddenly moved an arm under me and started lifting me into a sitting position. I murmured my protest as he pulled me up, but a moment later I found myself leaning comfortably into his side as he held me to him, and I turned my head, burying my face in his neck in an attempt to get more comfortable.

"He's fine, Jude." Taylor insisted. "It's not like none of us have never been drunk before. Let him ride it out, he'll feel like shit in the morning but it's not like he won't live."

"Taylor, if you want to do something useful then help me get him to my car." Jude stated as he suddenly tightened his grip around me and forced me to my feet as he stood.

"What are you doing, Jude?" Taylor demanded. "Just leave him alone."

"I'm not leaving him here...." Jude replied. "I'm taking him home."

Up until that point, it didn't matter that they were talking about me like I wasn't even in the room. I was the drunk. Drunks don't really contribute to any form of coherent conversation. At least this drunk didn't. But when Jude mentioned going home it was enough to make me panic and I suddenly turned into him, feeling desperate as I clutched the front of his shirt, trying to hold myself up.

"No, I can't go home! My mom is going to..." I was starting to hate the way that my words were coming slurred and slow. How the hell was I ever supposed to get a point across if no one could understand me? "I cant..." I had to stop in order to suddenly double over, the nausea had finally caught up to me and as the vile came up my throat I choked, holding it back just long enough for Taylor to get a small trash can under me.

"Ah, shit." Taylor cursed as Jude let me drop to my knees and I began to empty the contents of my stomach into the bucket.

"Go get a towel." I heard Jude order, and I second later he was next to me on the floor with a comforting hand on my back.

"Take it easy." he said gently as I began to cough on my own vomit. I groaned as I finished, feeling extremely hot and clammy in the small room. I wanted to lie down on the floor, hoping that it would be cooler there, but I allowed Jude to pull me back onto the bed so that I was sitting next to him. I couldn't stay up, though. I was too dizzy, so I let my body fall sideways until my head landed in his lap, and his fingers were immediately in my hair, pushing it back.

"What am I going to do with you?" I heard him mumble, more to himself than to me, but a moment later his voice seemed louder as he gently shook my shoulder. I realized that my eyes were closed and I opened them, squinting at the light in the room. "Quinn? What happened with your mom? Did you tell her?"

I groaned, and then tried to form actual words, wanting to communicate.

"I can't tell her." I mumbled. "I can't go home...I can't."

"Why can't you?" he asked. "Quinn, what happened? Can you tell me?"

I felt a frown forming, twisting my face as I thought over the course of the day, and when I opened my mouth to tell him, even I was surprised when a sob came out.

"Hey," Jude was suddenly pulling up, forcing me to face him, but I couldn't stay upright and my head dropped on his shoulder. I was relieved when he didn't push me away, but instead moved his arms around me and held me there. "What happened?"

"She wants me to go back to see Johns." I drunkenly murmured, not really knowing if I was making sense or not. "But I cant, and now I can't go home." I pleadingly gripped Jude's shirt and lifted my head to look at him. "I couldn't go back there, please don't make me go back there...he hates me! He thinks I'm wrong...he says I'm wrong, please, I don't want there to be anything wrong with me...and my sister's my babysitter."

I saw a confused expression flash across Jude's face before I dropped my head back down again, ignoring the way that my tears tickled my face as they ran down my cheeks.

"Please don't make me go back there." I whispered, and as soon as Jude's arms tightened around me in response, it was like the floodgates opened and all of that pent up emotion started to pour out and I drunkenly began to cry on his shoulder. I wasn't sure where the sudden emotional outburst came from. It seemed so sudden to me, but I couldn't seem to stop as a silence fell over the room, except for the whimpering sounds and sniffles as I drenched the front of Jude's shirt with my tears.

"Give me your keys, you can take him out the back." I heard Taylor's voice after a few minutes, it was strange because I hadn't even realized that he was still in the room, and as my tears seemed to slow down I heard the rattle of car keys as Jude passed Taylor his keys, and when Jude moved his hand into my jacket pocket and lifted out mine to give to Taylor too, I didn't object to it.

"Move his car." Jude said quietly, you should be able to use Trina's garage for now.

"Please don't make me go home," I pleadingly murmured against him after I heard the bedroom door close again.

The thought of going home now was terrifying. If I went home drunk after everything, after disobeying my mother's orders, after what I said on the phone to Bree ...the consequences were too frightening to imagine. But, before I could panic I felt Jude's reassuring fingers in my hair and his breath against my ear.

"You're not going home, Quinn." he said, relieving me of more anxiety than he would ever know.

"I'm sorry. Don't be mad." I said, his being angry a genuine fear at the moment. Everyone was mad at me. I didn't want to add Jude to the list. He didn't respond for a moment, and then he sighed.

"We'll work it out." he insisted. "Come on, I need you to walk."

I forced myself to nod in response, not really caring where we were going, so long as it wasn't to my house, or to my family, or my friends, or my troubles. I let him stand me up, and forced myself to walk as he guided me out the door. He kept a tight hold on me as he led me through the house, and at some point I realized we were going out a different way, away from all of the people. I'd be grateful for it later.

The next thing I knew, I was sitting in the passenger seat of Jude's car, with half of my face resting against the cool glass of the window while I held the rinsed out trash can Taylor had placed in my lap. I'd end up using it twice, before we even reached Jude's apartment.



Comments/questions send to DomLuka@aol.com