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

The Ordinary Us

Chapter Seventeen: In Limbo

"Boys, time to wake up."

I inwardly groaned at the sound of my mothers voice. Somewhere in my head my brain was attempting to tell me that it was time to get up and go to school, but for some reason my entire body ached, and didn't even want to think about moving.

"Come on you guys, I know it was a late night but school starts in thirty minutes." My mother persisted when I rolled over, pulling a pillow over my head. "Hurry up, I'll have your breakfast downstairs."

I didn't want to think about breakfast. I didn't want to think about anything. I wanted to go to sleep. Sleep. Sleep was good. Wanted sleep. Only...

Boys? You guys? As in, plural? Did she just say that? It took me a moment, but a moment was all it took for last nights events to come crashing down on me. The reason I felt so trashed was from staying up all night, all of the emotional damage that had been inflicted... and for fuck sake, I fell asleep with Jude in my bed!

At least, I thought I had. I remember staring up at the ceiling with him, and the way that I felt him up against my side when my eyes became to heavy to hold open...shit. But, wait a minute. If I had another boy in my bed my mother would not be offering us breakfast. I forced myself to open my eyes, wondering if the world had actually stopped making sense.

"Quinn," I heard Jude's voice whisper before I even finished opening my eyes, and that alone was enough to have me sitting up so fast that my head spun, as panic set in. It took me a few moments through all of the grogginess, but as I wiped my eyes and looked over my bed I realized Jude was sitting on the floor, still tangled in one of my blankets and regarding me worriedly, his eyes looking dark from sleep and his usually perfect hair disheveled on his head.

"What are you doing here?" I immediately hissed, seeing that my mom was now out of site.

"Don't start that." Jude frowned at me, massaging out a kink in his neck. "I would have left last night but I heard your sister downstairs. I didn't want to wake you up so I just moved to the floor."

"This is so fucked up," I mumbled, climbing out of bed and looking around cautiously. I was feeling incredibly irritated. And confused. I was annoyed at Jude because even after last night, he was still there and probably about to make my life very miserable because my mother was now home. I was perplexed because my mom wasn't in my room right now demanding to know what Jude was doing there.

"Your mom doesn't seem upset, Quinn." Jude pointed out. "We can tell her I stopped by last night and crashed out." He stood up and moved a little closer to me, lowering his voice. "Don't you think she would have said something if your sister told her anything?"

I paused, frowning. That was just like him, always knowing what I was thinking. I hated it when he insisted on making me listen to reason.

"That doesn't mean that she won't tell her." I argued, but even as I said it, I felt guilty. Maybe I wasn't sure what to expect from my sister right now, but she had said that she didn't intend to tell my mother anything... then again, she'd also said that she thought I should tell her. "Look, Jude..."

"Let's just go down there and see what happens." he interrupted. It was almost as if he were trying to be confident, but I swore his voice sounded nervous. "I mean, it's not like we have a choice, Quinn."

"Quinn." my mother's voice made me jump, and I think when we looked to see her standing at the top of the stairs, Jude froze as much as I did, and we both just stood there silently, waiting to see what would happen next. This whole thing definitely felt like a bad dream, and if my eyes didn't already burn from being open after very little sleep, I would have expected to wake up at any moment.

"Good, you're both up." she said in a way that would suggest nothing was out of the ordinary. God, I was so confused. "Quinn, why don't you lend Jude some clothes so he doesn't have to go home first. I doubt your parents would want you to be late for school, Jude... you don't mind giving Quinn and Bree a ride, do you? Brad won't be going to school tonight because he wants to be home for his mom and Quinn won't be getting his car privileges back before this weekend."

"I'm getting my car back?" this was news.

"We'll talk about it after school." she winked at me. "There are a few things we need to discuss first. Jude, you don't mind, do you?"

While I was trying to figure out why my mother was completely alright with the fact that Jude had stayed over on a school night, she was obviously focused on getting us to school.

"Um, it's no problem, Mrs. Moore." Jude replied from beside me. He was obviously as confused as I was.

"Good, thank you Jude. You guys hurry up and get dressed. As it is you'll have to take breakfast to go."

I stood there for a full minute after she left, feeling a little relived, and a little scared, because I had no idea what was happening. It wasn't really a surprise that Jude was studying me closely when I glanced back at him. I didn't take much time to look at him, only a moment of eye contact before I moved to my closet and began to remove clothes, two pairs of pants, and two shirts. One with a collar for me to hide the hickey I remember Brad saying I had the night before. I didn't even pay attention to whether or not they matched, which wasn't normal for me. I just needed to get myself and Jude dressed in something other than what we'd been wearing the night before.

"Are you okay?" he asked me.

"I don't know." I answered honestly as I pushed a clean sweater and a pair of jeans into his hands before I moved to the dresser for socks and underwear. Obviously, my sister hadn't said anything to my mother, and I was grateful for that, I really was. But, something was bothering me. I think it was the fact that there were still secrets floating around. I was still terrified of what would happen now that Brad and Bree knew the truth, but at the same time, it was almost relieving. I had no idea how it would turn out in the end, but at least I didn't have to hide it from them anymore. It was almost as if I wished that my mother would have found out too, just so I could stop worrying about what would happen if she did. Of course, feeling like that didn't make sense to me, because my mother finding out that I was one of those people, was probably my greatest fear lately. I was so busy thinking about all of this that I didn't even realize that I'd handed Jude a pair of my underwear until he held the black briefs up in front of me with a subtle smirk on his face.

"Do you actually wear these?" he asked. I frowned at the question. It was no time to tease me, especially about my underwear... the ones that were probably reason enough to tease me about, because they looked like they were a size too small.

"I go running sometimes." I said defensively. That was the honest truth, and it never hurt to have a little extra support while running, as far as I was concerned. Jude didn't seem to be concerned with being supportive at all as his smile widened and he held the briefs away from me when I reached for them.

"So... you're running when you wear these?" he asked, looking down at my underwear. I couldn't believe he was trying to tease me now.

"Jude..." I reached for them again, definitely getting pissed off, especially when he held them away again.

"I'm wearing them." he announced, just as my mother suddenly appeared at the top of the stairs again.

"Mom!" Now I was seriously annoyed. Jude had my underwear and my mother couldn't even announce herself before she came into my room.

"Sorry," she smiled, at least looking somewhat embarrassed. Maybe if we really did talk about my car later, I'd ask her about giving me my door back, too. "I was just going to tell Jude that he can use the bathroom downstairs to get ready if it'll help you two get going faster."

"Thank you, Mrs. Moore." Jude replied, suddenly looking shy again. I guess seeing the way that he suddenly ducked his head, allowing his bangs to wash over his eyes, as if to hide, was a reminder to me that he probably had reason enough to be nervous, too. After all, my sister wasn't displeased with just me, and even if she didn't say anything to my mother, Jude had still agreed to drive Bree and I to school. This had uncomfortable situation written all over it. But even so, Jude followed my mom out of my room, shoving my underwear in his pocket as he went.


He looked good in my clothes. They were a little loose on him, sure, but it wasn't so much the way that they fit, but more the way that my blue sweater brought out his eyes, or the way that seeing him in my pants seemed oddly appealing. Then again, that could have been because I was wondering if he was really wearing my underwear.

I swallowed and forced my eyes away from Jude Landon, and back out the window. I was sitting in the passenger seat of his car, and reluctantly remembering that it was no time to wonder whose underwear Jude was wearing. In fact, I shouldn't have been thinking about Jude's underwear, or even Jude, at all. Not when my sister was sitting directly behind me.

Jude was looking straight ahead, giving the road more concentration than it deserved. I'd also noticed that he refused to look in the rear view mirror since we left the house, and I could only imagine it was because my sister was glaring at him. I was too afraid to look back and see, though.

I think I wanted to say something, anything to relieve the tension in the car. I couldn't stand it. The short drive to the school seemed like an eternity, and when we got there, Bree was out of the car before it even stopped. I looked over at Jude, who was watching my sister walk away. He definitely looked troubled by it, maybe even a little disappointed. When he looked in my direction, I just frowned before I silently opened the door and started to get out. The only thing that made me pause and look back was the way his hand lightly came down on my arm.

"Quinn..." he started.

"I'll see you." I cut him off. I had a feeling that he was worried about more than Bree. Yesterday the two of us seemed to have turned down a new path in whatever hot and cold relationship that we had. Other than confessing that I liked him, and establishing that we wanted to see more of each other, we hadn't really determined where this thing we had was going to go... or even what it was, for that matter. Given my track record with him, I could understand it if Jude was wondering whether or not he'd hear from me, or be welcome to come around, anytime soon.

"I'm sorry about all this." he said, and I really did believe he was sincere, despite the fact that I got the feeling he wanted to tell me to relax.

I nodded, attempting to flash him an understanding look as I left the car, but then again, it could have come off as a nervous look, considering that at the moment, I was in a hurry to talk to my sister before the first bell rang. Yes, talk. With my sister. I needed to do it, and I knew it. At least the few hours of sleep I'd gotten the night before seemed to have left me with some clarity. Actually, the car ride to school had made it clear enough that I simply couldn't exist with Bree like this anymore. Now that she knew the truth, there was no way I could stand to live with all of the tension. Hell, I probably couldn't even get through the day with everything that was hanging over my head.

"Bree..." I caught up to her just as she reached her locker, and lowered my voice when a few people standing around looked in my direction. "Bree."

"What?" she threw over her shoulder at me. I walked to her other side as she opened her locker door, refusing to be avoided.

"I didn't know Jude was coming over last night." I felt that it was the first thing that needed to be cleared up, after all, when she went to bed the night before she at least seemed to still be talking to me. Jude's presence this morning was the only thing I could think of that would have caused her to suddenly be giving me the cold shoulder.


"Bree," I frowned, "look, I know you're mad, and..."

"I told mom he came by to see me." she cut me off, suddenly turning to face me. Her tone was definitely cold, but at least she was talking. "And... that we lost track of time, so he was still there when you came back from Brad's. She thinks it got too late for him to drive home, and that he's a gentleman for staying in your room, and not mine. You can thank me later. I'm going to class."

And just like that, she walked away from me. She probably wouldn't have gotten far if I would have gone after her like I wanted to, but the elbow tapping my side was a good enough distraction from doing so, and Taylor's voice just made me jump.

"Jude slept in your room last night, huh? Wow, Moore, you move fast, don't you?"

"Will you shut up?" I immediately hissed at him. He had no business saying something like that in a normal voice, especially when anyone could have heard it.

"Only if you give me details," he replied as he started walking, and I only followed along because my locker was in the same direction. "If you make it good, I might even completely shut up."

"Nothing happened." I stated, almost defensively. In fact, it was defensive, and I realized that it was probably out of habit. But still, denying it to Taylor probably wouldn't make a difference. He'd give me hell whether or not he believed me.

"Right." he rolled his eyes. "So, your sister knows you two have more in common than she thought? When did you tell her?"

I stopped dead in my tracks after that remark, but when I realized that Taylor wasn't stopping with me I quickened my pace to catch up.

"How did you know?" I demanded.

"It's obvious." he shrugged. "The girl's pissed as hell at you, and she has that look."

"What look?" I frowned.

"That betrayed look, like you stole her boyfriend." I glared at Taylor. Why did he have to be obnoxious and perceptive? He laughed at the look on my face and shook his head. "And Jude mentioned a few things." he admitted.

"What did he say?" I asked, feeling a little horrified.

"It's not important." Taylor shrugged. I disagreed, but he continued before I could say so. "When did you grow the balls to tell your sister?"

I looked around the hall we were in, feeling a little paranoid because a few people were looking at us, people who I generally hung out with in classes and during lunch. No doubt they were still under the impression that I'd lost my mind, and I had a feeling that being seen with Taylor didn't help that. But, all uneasiness aside, those people had no idea what I was going through, and unfortunately, Taylor did, making him the one person present who I could actually talk to.

"I didn't tell her. Brad did." I responded.

"Brad?" Taylor repeated, raising an eyebrow. "They both know then?"

"It was a long night."

"If Jude was with you that's a given." he rolled his eyes. "But, you're actually telling people. Hmm. And here I thought you were still in denial. So go back to Brad... when you told him he didn't happen to mention that he could care less because he's into a little male on male himself every now and then, did he?"


"Right, I get it." he sighed. "Why do all of the good ones have to be straight?"

He stopped in front of my locker and when he started opening it I inwardly groaned, remembering that I'd offered to share it with him.

"So where is your friend, anyway?" he asked. "I hope not moping about somewhere and being as pissed at you as your sister is... unless you think he needs some cheering up. I'll volunteer to do that."

"He's home because his mom's sick." I replied crossly, and Taylor frowned at that. "He's also definitely pissed off at me."

"That sucks. So about Jude spending the night, are you going to give me details, or do I have to use my imagination, because I gotta tell you, I'd be fine with that, too."

I know it shouldn't have surprised me that Taylor had a limited attention span and only really cared about what he thought I did with Jude, but I'll admit that I was disappointed. This thing with Bree and Brad was trying my nerves, and because I couldn't talk to either of them at the moment, I felt the need to vent somewhere. Jude wasn't an option, being on his way to work, and that left Taylor. Maybe I didn't like it because it was Taylor, after all. But, he was still one of the only people who really knew what I was putting up with... of course, he was also the one who was putting me through it on occasion.

"Shut up, pervert." I looked past Taylor to see that Trina had approached us, and was surprised when I got a sympathetic look, coming from her. I flashed her a questioning look and she shrugged in response. "I saw Jude outside." she explained. "Sorry about last night. Must have been rough." Trina cut Taylor a warning, sideways glance before he could comment and then turned her attention to me again. "You know it's probably not so bad. Some people just need more time than others, and it sounds like your sister is angrier at Jude than she is at you."

"Doubt it." I mumbled.

"Oh stop brooding already." Taylor remarked, and I glared at him when he grabbed my bag and began to unload my books into my locker, but I didn't stop him as I reached in to grab the ones that I did need. "It's not like your sister was screaming burn the fag in the halls. She's just jealous, that's all."

"He's got a point." Trina nodded.

"And how does that make it better?" I demanded.

"I guess it doesn't." Trina replied flatly. "But, you could still stop working yourself up over things you have no control over. It gets old fast. Besides, freaking out is what got you in this mess in the first place... Come on, Taylor. I'm not sitting through first period alone."

"But we don't have the same first period." Taylor told her as she began to pull him away by the sleeve of his shirt.

"What's your point?"


My day dragged. This whole situation with my best friend and sister thing was definitely driving me crazy. I hated that Bree was being hot and cold with me. Last night she'd made it at least feel like she wanted to work things out. Now, she could hardly look at me. I hadn't even heard from Brad since last night. He'd left angry then and I had no doubt that the anger he was feeling was festering. He'd probably hate me before the day was over and I wouldn't have even gotten a word in.

By lunch I was ready to call it a day. School was not the place to track down my sister and try to get her to talk to me. At least if I left there was a chance that I could get to Brad while he was staying home. Only, I couldn't even do that. There was no way I could skip anymore school, not now, when I was finally getting back into my mother's good graces.

I was on my way to the cafeteria for lunch when I nearly laughed out loud at the irony of my situation. I'd spent so much time, keeping secrets, avoiding the people I cared about, and refusing to deal with the issues, and now that I finally needed to talk to them, they either weren't around or wanted nothing to do with me.

I reached the cafeteria and looked in towards my table, the one that I just didn't feel comfortable at anymore. Without Brad around today, I really didn't want to go over there, even if Marissa waved me over as soon as she saw me. I hadn't exactly talked to her much lately, and I doubted that she was waving me over to be nice. She'd probably been waiting for her turn to interrogate me about Trina, and that, I wasn't in the mood for. I had more important issues to deal with than her pride. That's probably why I turned around and walked in the opposite direction.

I wasn't sure where to go, or what to do, but I had over an hour to kill and I wasn't going to spend it in that cafeteria. I found myself outside a few minutes later at a payphone, and almost instinctively I dropped in a few quarters and dialed Brad's phone number. I think I just wanted to hear his voice, for him to tell me that even if he was pissed as hell at me, we were still at least speaking... maybe I even wanted to hear him say that he didn't hate me again. He'd said it last night. Both Brad and Bree had told me that, in their own ways. I think I was finally starting to realize how much that meant to me. Maybe I even would have told Brad that, if anyone answered the phone, but the Clair house seemed to be vacant.

I sighed as I hung up and leaned back against the brick wall of the school, facing the train tracks, and suddenly found myself wondering what Jude was doing... but, that was probably because his car was parked there in the same place it had been yesterday when I met him at lunch. I didn't waste much time wondering. I figured he would have been at work, and if he wanted to meet, I assume I would have known about it, so I moved towards his car, intending to find out exactly what he was up to.

We hadn't exactly parted company that morning on a happy note. Jude may have been the kind of person who liked to stay positive, but it wasn't too difficult to figure out that last nights events had bothered him, too. I think that's why I suddenly found myself worried that he was there to tell me it was too much for him and that he wanted to keep his distance from me, especially since he actually frowned when he saw me coming towards him. I watched as he turned off the car and stepped out, still wearing my clothes and looking like he hadn't been to work at all.

"Hey." he said quietly.

"What are you doing here?"

"Wanna get in the car?" he asked. "It's sort of cold out here."

I just shrugged before I walked around the car as he reopened his door, and I joined him inside where I watched him stare silently out the window for a full minute.

"Don't get mad, okay?" he finally said.

Uh-oh. Conversations that started out like that were never good ones.

"What?" I demanded.

"Bree has lunch next period. I came to see her." he admitted, and then looked in my direction. "I need to talk to her, Quinn, and it has nothing to do with you."

"Nothing to do with me?" I raised an eyebrow, although oddly enough, I wasn't feeling angry at all over the idea of Jude wanting to talk to my sister now.

"No." he replied firmly. "You know, believe it or not, we were actually getting to be friends... which is the reason why I wanted to tell her the truth in the first place," he added, somewhat accusingly.

"And you did, and look how that turned out." I immediately retorted, and Jude sighed.

"Look, Quinn, I'm going to talk to her if she'll let me. You know, other than Trina and Taylor I really don't have a whole lot of friends. I like to avoid losing them where I can."


"No." he cut me off, and that annoyed me, because I was actually going to tell him that I didn't care if he talked to Bree, especially if he could end up making things better. "Look, when I get around you I end up losing my focus sometimes. I'm not going to listen to you tell me that you don't want me talking to her, because then when I do it, I'm going to start feeling guilty. I'm doing it. That's it."

I waited to see if he had anything more to add to that, and when he didn't, I opened the car door. "Fine." I said. He loses his focus? I wasn't sure if I should be flattered or insulted. I also wasn't used to this side of him. I'd seen him look unsure of himself before but now he sounded unsure of himself. He seemed to have more determination than his usual confidence. I just wasn't sure if it was a good idea for me to be around him now or not. I really didn't want to add fighting with Jude to my list of current problems. But, I guess maybe arguing with me wasn't his intention, because as soon as I started to get out of the car he was gently grabbing my hand with his own.

"Wait." he insisted. I looked back, thoroughly confused. "Do you have to go now?"

I flashed him a measuring look, wondering what to think of this side of him. But, I was relieved that he didn't want me to leave. To be honest, his company was the only one I really felt like being in right now, given my choices.

"I have some time." I said, but in no way was I expecting him to start driving as soon as I closed the door. "Jude, where are we going?"

"It's your lunch break, right? I'm going to feed you."

"I have to be back..."

"I know, Quinn." he replied, glancing over me. "We're not going far."

We didn't go far, either. Exactly two blocks away to a drive-thru taco stand that I would have thought to be a sure place to acquire food poisoning. I was shaking my head and looking at the burger place across the street even as we walked from the car towards the stand.

"You've never eaten here before?" Jude asked incredulously.

"Why would I want to?" I commented, and he laughed at me.

"Because you like good food? Trust me. This place is great."

"They only serve one thing." I pointed out.

"You don't like tacos?"

"I like tacos, but..."

Jude shook his head and stepped up to order-for both of us. I rolled my eyes at that, but pulled out my wallet and handed the money over to the short woman with long black hair before he could do anything about it.

"I've got this." he said almost defensively, but I shook my head.

"After everything I've put you through, I think I at least owe you lunch." I stated, before moving over to an umbrella covered table to wait for him. It was a colder day, and I definitely wished that we were indoors, but I had to admit that the lack of a crowd was relaxing. Jude regarded me curiously when he joined me a few moments later.

"What did you mean by that?" he asked as he took his seat across from me, sliding me a plate of food that actually looked pretty good in the process.

"Huh?" I asked tiredly as I picked up one of the overstuffed tacos on my plate and took a bite, nodding in approval. Jude obviously knew his food.

"When you said, after everything you've put me through." he replied. "What did you mean by that?"

"Come on, Jude," I shook my head. "After meeting me you must have had one headache after another."

He stared at me for a moment and then actually smiled.

"And here I thought meeting me has been a headache for you." he remarked. "I mean, wasn't it you who said that you wouldn't be going through this right now if you'd never met me?"

"It would have happened sooner or later." I replied after a moment of thinking. I'd come to the conclusion that it had always been so easy to blame Jude before because I could pinpoint the moment that all of this drama in my life started to the night that I met him. But more recently, I think that I'd come to the conclusion that even without Jude Landon, these feelings that I'd been fighting my whole life would have still been there, and I still would have had to deal with them eventually.

"I don't think you're a headache." Jude said after a few long moments of silence, and I looked up at him as he reached for his soda to wash down his food. "You're not. I'm glad I met you."

I looked up from my food after hearing that. I'm not sure why I expected Jude to be wearing a teasing expression, but when he wasn't, and was in fact regarding me rather seriously, I ended up dropping my taco, suddenly feeling self conscious. I think it was the unflinching way that he was looking directly at me that threw me off...the way he was looking at me. I recognized it from before, just before he kissed me for the first time I'd seen that look, only then it had been a brief thing, and now it seemed... intense. Intense enough to make me forget about Brad and Bree and remind me that I was sitting across from a guy who I'd been kissing a lot lately. It made me nervous.

"Do you know what time it is?" I mumbled, looking away because I'd grown a little too uncomfortable. "I should get back to school before..."

"I'll have you back in time." he interrupted. "Look, I know you're dealing with stuff right now...but, your mom seems like she's easing up some. What are the chances of you getting out tomorrow night?"

"Tomorrow night?" I asked, feeling even more of that uneasiness. Even I was smart enough to figure out that he was asking me this because he wanted to see me. Of course, as of yesterday we'd wandered into a more physical relationship, and I wasn't exactly sure of what seeing Jude would require now. It wasn't that I didn't like kissing him... or touching him. I did. I liked it. Maybe I liked it too much. When it happened I felt like my brain was literally melting. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure just how much more brain melting I was ready for. Jude was obviously a lot more experienced with this sort of thing than I was, so I really didn't know what he expected... that really made me nervous.

"If you can't, I'll understand." Jude replied. "Just... promise me you'll try, okay? I mean... we haven't really spent a whole lot of time together without all of the other shit going on and..."

"I'll try." I agreed. I wasn't sure how hard I was going to try just yet, but at least it made him smile...and it made me feel good, the idea of him wanting to spend time with me. What made me jump was the way that his foot suddenly brushed up against mine under the table. It was definitely enough to get me to look around to make sure no one could see it.

"Sorry." Jude said, but he was still smiling as he pulled his foot away. At least he seemed to understand. "We can go now if you want."

I nodded. I was finished eating, anyway, and I really did need to go back to school, especially if I wanted to stay on my mother's good side, and staying there was important to me, especially now.


"Can I ask you something?"

Jude looked over at me from the drivers seat as he started the car and shrugged at my question. "Sure."

"What do you think of my mom?"

Jude looked at me questioningly, but allowed his hands to drop from the steering wheel and he sat back in his seat, obviously willing to give what I was asking him some thought.


"I don't know." I said. "You said your family is different than mine... I mean, I know it is. What you told me sounds fucked up, but I was wondering...."

"You want to know if I think your mom will react like my parents did, if she finds out your gay?"

"Yes. I mean, no." I shook my head. "Look, I know she won't do what your parents did. That's just her... but my mom... she has her ways, you know? You can't even say the "G" word around her without..."

"The "G" word?"

"Gay." I frowned. "It's like she thinks it's dirty or something. If she ever found out that I was...shit. She wouldn't stand for it, her son, being one of those people. She'd never understand."

"Those people?" Jude repeated, suddenly looking insulted.

"Her words, not mine." I said quickly, and his expression softened. "If she finds out... she's not going to be okay with it."

"Quinn, just because she's not okay with it now doesn't mean...."

"I know my mom, Jude." I insisted. "She won't be okay and she'll think that there's something she can do to fix it. It's just like how she took my door down. She figured my problems would go away if she kept a better eye on me. Fuck, if she finds out the first thing she'll do is send me to another shrink, just like Mr. Johns."

"Hey, Quinn, she doesn't even know yet. Besides, you don't know that she'll react like that if she does find out. Parents can be weird like that. Maybe she won't like it, and if she doesn't... then there's really not much you can do about it. But, you can't know for sure how she'll react when it's her own child involved. Your mom seems... I like her, okay? I mean, there are things that annoy me and all, but I don't really get the feeling that she'd throw you to the wolves. Just, look at Bree. She's from the same family, and she's not like that... neither are you."

"I don't think I count, Jude." I replied irritably. "And if I did, I'd be a bad example. It's hard enough to convince myself when I wake up every day that there's nothing wrong with me. If my mom knew... she'd make sure that I knew there was."

I looked away from Jude as the corners of his mouth dropped into a frown and he studied me curiously for a few moments.

"Do you really believe that, Quinn?" he asked, but he didn't sound skeptical. It was just a simple question.

"Yeah." I nodded, and I was sure of it. "I can't let my mom find out."

"Well... you don't have to tell her." Jude pointed out.

"I wouldn't tell her, it's everyone..."

"No one else has to tell her, either." he interrupted. "Look, don't take this the wrong way, but I think you're working yourself up over nothing. A few people found out about you and I get it, it's scary. But, think about who they are, Quinn. Your sister and your best friend. If they were going to open their mouths they probably would have done it already. Maybe you don't think so right now... but I think you're going to work things out with both of them. You don't have to tell your mom. It's your choice, and if you're really that uncomfortable with it, you should wait until you're ready."

I leaned back in my seat and sighed as I wondered if it was really as simple as he made it sound. Somehow, it really didn't feel that way. Then again, maybe Trina was right. Maybe my freaking out was what had been making things worse all along. Maybe the best thing I could do now, was sit back and wait to see what happened next, before I tried to deal with it. I hated that idea. I hated not knowing what would happen. Not knowing, scared me.

I looked down at my hand when I felt Jude's fingers moving over it, and then up to see that he was still watching me.

"I have to take you back to school... I promised you wouldn't be late." he smiled. "Ready?"

I just nodded and looked back out the window, but when I felt his fingers lacing with mine, I didn't pull my hand back. Stopping at lights on the way back to school was a little nerve racking, I'll admit, but I was feeling confident enough knowing that the people in passing cars couldn't see anything. Besides, it was sort of comforting, just being next to him with that contact, his hand touching mine. I wished that everything could feel that comfortable. My hand actually felt cold when he released it as we pulled up in front of the school.

"You're going to talk to Bree, then?" I asked quietly.

"If she'll let me." he replied. "Does it really bother you?"

I stepped out of the car before looking back in at him and shaking my head.

"I doubt you'll make it worse."

"I'll try not to." he smiled, and I closed the car door and headed to my next dreaded class, hoping that the second half of the day would pass faster than the first. I did stop at the payphone on the way, though. I thought I'd try to call Brad one more time, but when there was no answer, I came to the conclusion that I'd just have to wait and see what happened with him too. I just hoped that it wouldn't be a long wait.

I made it to my next class before the bell even rang, but I didn't have a chance to sit down before my teacher approached me.

"Quinn," she said, just above a whisper, "you're wanted in Mr. Meyers office.... do you know where that is?"

I nodded as she handed me the pass, wondering what this was all about. I wasn't supposed to meet with Meyers today, at least as far as I knew. But, as I adjusted my bag over my shoulder and headed out, I began to wonder why I hadn't thought of going to Meyers earlier. I'd wanted to talk to someone, and if I thought about it, he was probably a good choice. Maybe he could even tell me how to get Brad and my sister to stop being so angry with me, or at least I could hope.

Of course, any hope I had was shattered and quickly turned into apprehension when I pushed open the door to Mr. Meyers office and saw my sister sitting in the chair across from the desk that Mr. Meyers was perched on, her arms crossed and expression grim... especially when she looked at me.

"Come on in, Quinn." Mr. Meyers said as he stood up from his desk and moved to close the door after me. I hadn't exactly been expecting to see Bree there, and despite the fact that I'd wanted to talk to her, I couldn't help feeling a little cautious in this situation, considering she was in my counselors office.

"What's going on?" I wasn't sure if I wanted to know the answer to my own question.

"As you can see, Bree's here." Meyers replied, unhelpfully. The look I flashed him told him that. Meyers just smiled and directed me to a seat across from my sister, who suddenly wasn't looking at me. "Bree says that you guys had some trouble at home last night. Anything you want to talk about, Quinn?"

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