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 Twenty One: Grow some balls, Quinn Moore
I felt like cussing up a storm as I moved back to where I'd left my mother and my sister. Feeling angry, was an understatement. I was feeling all sorts of fear, too, but that anger...
I'm sure it had something to do with seeing Marissa and Brad together. I felt like I was being plotted against. I'm sure it was Marissa doing the plotting and Brad going along with it because he was so damned pissed off at me...or maybe I was just being paranoid. Either way, I had bigger problems to deal with at the moment.
"Quinn, over here!"
My mother and sister had left the table and they were waiting for me in the car. I didn't at all like the way that my mom looked like she was about to blow a gasket, or the way that Bree seemed to be talking quickly in an effort to calm her down. I really didn't like that I couldn't hear anything that was being said.
"Where is Jude?" my mother demanded as soon as I got to the car.
"He left." I said, and Bree looked at me sympathetically.
"Well where did he go?" my mom wanted to know.
"I don't know." I answered. "Probably home."
"Home? And where is home, Quinn?"
I paused at that. Why did she want to know where Jude lived?
"Quinn, I sort of told her that he's by himself." Bree admitted, and I had to bite back a thousand curses that would have otherwise been aimed at my sister.
"Quinn," my mom frowned, "if you know where he lives... which I'm sure you do if you've slept over there before, I need you to tell me. How old is that boy?"
"He'll be eighteen soon enough." I said defensively, although I wasn't entirely sure how soon. "Look, mom, he wouldn't want you to..."
"I can't believe that woman!" my mother suddenly snapped, looking in the direction that Jude's mom had gone in. "I swear I'd love to get her alone in a room for a minute... the way she told her own son he wasn't welcome in their home. Who does she think she is?" Bree and I exchanged glances. I think we were both a little worried...and surprised. My mother hadn't even raised her voice like this when she was pissed as hell and yelling at us for lying to her. "I should call the police."
"Mom, don't!" I cut in, feeling slightly more panicked now. "It'll just cause more trouble for Jude. He trusted us, we can't..."
"I can't just let him live on his own like that, Quinn. Is he homeless?"
"No." Bree said quickly. "Mom, it's not like that. He has a place... he works."
"So he's out of school?" my mother frowned.
"Yes..." I admitted slowly. "But, it's not as bad as you think. He does live by himself but there's this guy that sort of looks after him and helps him out. Really, he's okay. He just doesn't like people finding out."
"It doesn't sound like it's okay at all." my mom stated. "Get in the car. Quinn, I want you to tell me where he lives right now."
I got in the car behind my mom, but I didn't say anything, even if Bree was flashing me a look that said I'd better from the front seat, and my mom was looking at me expectantly through the rear view mirror.
"No." I finally said. There was no way that I was going to do that to Jude. Who knew what my mother had planned, and even the best of intentions in a situation like this could ruin Jude's life. He'd already made it clear that he was on his own for a reason. Maybe it wasn't the ideal situation, but I wasn't going to be the one to make it worse.
"Quinn..." my mom warned.
"No." I repeated. "If he wanted you to know than he would have told you himself. You're not going to find out from me... I'm sorry."
"Quinn, maybe..." my sister started.
"No, Bree..." I looked at my mother in the mirror and forced myself to face the disapproving look she was giving me. If I was going to stand up to her at all, it was definitely going to have to be now. "Look, I don't care if you ground me for a year. I'm not going to tell you where he lives."
"Quinn, do you realize you could be hurting him?" My mother demanded. "Not telling when you know someone's in trouble..."
"He's not in trouble." I argued, feeling annoyed that she was attempting to manipulate me into telling her what she wanted to know. "He's fine, and he'll stay that way if you leave him alone."
"Quinn..." she frowned, sounding frustrated, but she stopped there and let out a breath. "Buckle up, both of you. We're going home."
I opened my eyes and stared up the ceiling some more. If it wasn't for Bree being so close by, I was pretty sure that I'd be having a nervous breakdown as we waited upstairs, wondering what my mom would do next. She definitely wasn't happy that I wouldn't give her the information that she wanted, but I was nowhere close to breaking.
I lifted my phone and dialed Jude's number for the fifth time in the last half hour. He hadn't been answering. Each time the phone rang, and he didn't answer, I became even more nervous. He didn't answer agin this time, and before I could throw the phone across the room because he didn't, Bree sat up and took it from me.
"You need to go see him." she said, matter of factly.
"And how am I supposed to do that, Bree?" I frowned. "If I leave, mom's going to freak out and things are just going to get worse."
"Look, Quinn," she said, climbing up to sit next to me on the bed, "I'm not exactly sure what happened today... I mean, Jude's only mentioned his parents to me a few times, and I get they're kind of messed up... but maybe mom can actually help."
"And maybe, he doesn't want help." I reminded her. "Look, I can't do that to him, okay?"
"Then you should at least go see him... I'll even go with you if you want."
"So we can both get in trouble?"
"So what, we get grounded? Who cares. At least you can tell Jude what mom's up to. Maybe if he talks to her and explains..."
"Explains what? That the reason why he's not living with his parents is because they don't want a queer under their roof?"
I wasn't at all prepared for the way that my sister suddenly pulled the pillow out from under my head and hit me with it.
"Bree!" I sat up, snatching it away from her.
"You idiot!" she snapped at me. "Is that all you care about? You're afraid that if mom finds out Jude's gay it will affect you? You might be my brother but god, you're a dumb shit sometimes."
"It will effect me if she doesn't let me see him anymore!" I blurted. That's what I was afraid of. Yes, just like with Bree, I was afraid of my mom finding out about Jude because she might figure me out that way, too... but even if she didn't, I was afraid that she wouldn't want me around him.
"Maybe." Bree shrugged. "But, how are you going to see him at all, anyway, if he never comes over here...and he won't pick up his phone? Quinn, my advice: fuck the rules this time. I mean, it's not like you haven't been in trouble before, especially lately. Grow some balls already."
I frowned as my sister stood up and left my room, but I was definitely thinking about what she said. I guess maybe if things hadn't been going so good with my family, I wouldn't have been hesitating so much to just go find Jude. But on the other hand, I needed to find him. I at least had to warn him that my mom was freaking out. I owed him that much. I probably owed him more.
I sat up abruptly, and left my bed, wondering how I was going to go about this. I knew I had to get out, there was no question there, but getting out would be the hardest part. At least, that was the impression that I was under, considering I planned to do this without running into my mom. I figured that I could deal with her after I got into trouble. At least that way, she'd have a reason to ground me.
I didn't know where she was as I made my way down the stairs, but I knew that her purse was still in the living room, right where she left it, and thank god my car keys were on top. I could just pick them up. Somehow, I'd feel wrong if I actually had to dig through my mother's purse, even if it was only to take something that was mine. But, even siting on top, I couldn't help hesitating. I guess that's what guilt was supposed to do. And I felt guilty. This one little thing would likely destroy any trust my mom had in my, and in all honesty, I was a little afraid of that.
I was just about to reach for the keys when another hand suddenly snatched them up, and since it wasn't mine, I nearly jumped out of my skin before my sister held them up in front of my face and jangled them, uncaring that she'd nearly given me a heart attack.
"Will you just hurry up and go?" she demanded. "Mom's in the backyard."
I shot her a dirty look for startling me, but didn't bother to stick around. She was right, anyway. If I was going to leave it would have to be before my mom came walking in. I don't think I felt any of the tension die until I was in my car and down the street. I tried not to think of any of the repercussions that would likely follow me and less than fifteen minutes later, I was knocking on Jude's apartment door.
I think I was more relieved than anything when the door swung open and I saw Jude standing there, staring back at me. If he hadn't been home my next stop would have been Trina's house, but I had to admit that I was glad I caught him alone. I needed to talk to him, and I wasn't in any mood to deal with interference.
"What are you doing here?" Jude asked, looking more than just a little surprised. I opened my mouth to tell him exactly what I'd planned to tell him from the moment I left my house-that my mom was freaking out. But, I stopped as I studied him closer. What I saw, took me off guard.
He looked sick. That's the only way I knew how to describe it. In the hour or so since he'd driven away from me, his golden complexion had gone pale, his eyes looked darker somehow and his usual confident posture had faded entirely. It looked like he wanted to slam the door on me and the rest of the world and fade into the background in an attempt to hide from all of his troubles. I recognized this, only because not so long ago, that had been me. I remembered how it felt, too, when it was one problem after another until I couldn't take it anymore. I wondered if Jude was anywhere close to that point. I knew he didn't have the easiest life. He'd also been worried about Trina, and I couldn't blame him, there. His mother showing up and treating him the way she had definitely wasn't a picnic... and there I was, ready to bring him more bad news. It wasn't like I didn't do enough of that already, either. Ever since we met, I'd been pushing my own issues on him, and he'd been nothing but patient about it. It wasn't the first time that I realized just how much Jude was there for me. But, it was the first time that I realized that I really never gave him anything back. I was kind of disgusted with myself for that.
"Can I come in?" I asked, deciding that for now, there was no way that I'd be the one to cause him any more drama. Obviously, there were things I did need to tell him. They just... didn't seem so important anymore.
"Look, Quinn... I don't think..."
I frowned at that. There was no way that I was going to let him tell me to leave now. It was bad enough that he'd just left after lunch, even if I could understand his reasons. The fact that I knew I would be grounded as soon as I got home brought me to the conclusion that there was no way that he was going to close the door on me, which was why I gently placed my hand on it, just above his and began to push it open. Jude closed his mouth then, and just silently looked at me and moved back as I stepped into his home, closing the door behind us.
"Are you alright?" I asked.
Jude blinked at the question, and to my surprise, he actually laughed.
"Isn't that my line?" he remarked, shaking his head as he ran his fingers through his hair and turned his back on me, continuing to speak as he walked across the room, and I slowly followed. "I'm just kind of tired, Quinn. It's been a really long day and... something tells me that you shouldn't even be here right now, so..." he stopped at his bed and only looked at me for a moment before he sat down and silently stared at the floor. "I'm really sorry for what happened today. I saw her, but I didn't think... I just didn't think."
"Why didn't you say anything?" I asked. "We didn't have to even go if..."
"Because I didn't think anything would happen." he said simply. "My parents really do like to ignore me most of the time. I like it that way... it's just... every once in a while they do something like today. I don't know why. It happened a lot when I first moved out, but now they only do it every once in a while... usually at inconvenient times."
I let out a breath and slowly went to sit next to him, trying to understand. But, considering Jude didn't even understand it, I was left at a complete loss. I found myself staring at the same spot on the floor as he was, wondering what I was supposed to say to him. Unfortunately, I could think of nothing that would make him feel better. Actually, I felt pretty fucking useless over the whole thing. I turned my head to face Jude when I felt his eyes on me. That made me feel worse. It was like he expected me to say something, but I had no idea what that was supposed to be. So, I just looked at him, trying to read him until he finally took in a breath and allowed his body to fall back on the bed, where he closed his eyes.
Ever since I met him, contact had been a challenge for me unless he was the one who initiated it. I guess you could say that he made me nervous, or that there were still feelings of guilt left over on my part when it came to touching another guy. But, it had always been Jude, who would hold my hand, or even kiss me... pretty much everything. It had all been him, unless I counted the time that he was unconscious on his sofa... but that was different. I hadn't had to face him then. But now, even if his eyes were closed, he was fully awake and I knew it. I think normally, I'd just sit there like an idiot and watch him... but I couldn't this time. I suddenly felt like I just wanted to be close to him, or more importantly, let him know that I was there. I still moved hesitantly, though. It was like I was afraid if I moved too fast it would spook him or something, which deep down, I knew was completely ridiculous.
His eyes were open and looking at me from the moment I placed the palm of my hand over his stomach. I paused for a moment, but ultimately laid back, next to him, turning until I was facing him, my body close against his side. His eyes seemed to follow me, if anything, curiously, and when I'd settled in, I sighed almost in relief when he lifted his hand and placed it over mine.
"I'm not leaving." I said quietly, feeling that it was necessary for him to know that, especially after he tried to get me to leave before I even stepped inside. In response, Jude slowly turned until he was facing me, the same curious expression on his face.
"Does your mom know you're here?"
I hated that question, but I answered it anyway, shaking my head.
"I don't know...probably by now."
"Quinn..." he frowned.
"Not now." I stated. "I don't want to worry about it now...your mom..."
"And I don't want to talk about her." Jude cut me off, but then actually smiled a small smile. "I didn't think I'd see you for a while."
"You just left today." I pointed out, frowning. "I wasn't sure you wanted me around." Jude seemed to move closer at that admission, allowing his hand to move down my side until it came to rest on my thigh.
"It's not that I don't want you around, Quinn. I just don't want to complicate your life more than it already is... you don't want me to..."
"So what?" I frowned. "I'm an asshole." Jude cocked his head at that remark, flashing me a funny look that I did my best not to laugh at. "That's what everyone's been telling me lately." I explained. "Bree... Brad, Marissa... even Taylor, and..."
"You don't have to listen to them."
"I know... but the thing is, I just sort of realized that it's true. You shouldn't be apologizing to me... I should be thanking you. I shouldn't care, even if you are making things more complicated for me. Lately, you're the only thing about my life that I can stand. When you took off today, I didn't even know if I'd see you again and that...hm" my voice was suddenly smothered as Jude leaned forward and kissed me, a surprise, but one that I didn't find it necessary to complain about, even if it was evident that he'd been smoking. I gradually relaxed and leaned back as he turned his body until his chest rested lightly against mine and his hand moved over the side of my face, upwards until I felt his fingers tangling in my hair.
It was at that moment that my phone began to ring, but I ignored it, lifting my hand to the back of Jude's head, just in case he thought I'd rather answer my phone, and as the ringing continued, I became curious over what he was up to as he shifted so that his hand could move down my body, over my chest to my hip. I was definitely disappointed when he reached into my jeans pocket only to remove my cell phone. I frowned as he sat up some and glanced down at the phone before looking at me.
"It's your mom." he announced, looking concerned.
"I know." I replied, grabbing the phone from him, only to drop it on the floor. "That's why I'm not answering it. Believe me, now is not a good time to talk to her."
"Exactly how much trouble are you in?" he asked skeptically.
"You're starting to sound like me now." I remarked. "Just... let's forget about her for now, okay? Weren't we supposed to do something today?"
Jude sighed and sat up, so I followed him, hoping that he wasn't going to demand that I call my mother back. If he did, I had no intention of listening to him. If I called her back now she'd probably demand that I come home. I was afraid that I'd end up listening to her, more than anything.
"Things have kind of changed since this morning, Quinn."
Even I knew that he couldn't be more right.
"No they haven't." I argued.
"Oh yeah? This morning I could at least face your family... and you."
"What are you talking about?" I demanded, and his frown deepened.
"Don't take this the wrong way, okay. I'm glad you came... thank you for coming, you have no idea what it means to me...I'm sorry." I was really beginning to hate it when he said he was sorry. I watched as he got off the bed and looked down at me, seemingly in thought. "This isn't exactly easy for me, Quinn. I mean, you saw what my mom's like..."
"So, she's a bitch." I stated, having no trouble saying so, whatsoever.
"Yeah, and now your entire family knows that!" Jude snapped. "Do you have any idea how humiliating that was? It's bad enough that I have to worry about whether or not you're going to be speaking to me on a day to day basis because your always worried about what everyone else thinks, I didn't need your mom to see that my own parents don't even want me."
"But that makes them look like idiots, not you." I stated. "And I don't care what anyone else thinks..." Jude raised a challenging eyebrow at that so I paused and let out a breath. "Okay, I care about what people think, about what my mom thinks-about me. That has nothing to do with you."
"Nothing to do with me?" he demanded, his sudden change in tone causing me to jump. "Quinn, I can't even go anywhere near your family without you freaking out. Even with Bree today. She finally knows everything and she's going to be okay with it... but you still didn't want me around her."
"That's not true." I argued. "The reason why I didn't want Bree to come with us is because...." I suddenly felt intimidated as Jude looked down at me, waiting for an explanation, so I stopped. I, of all people, knew that I wasn't exactly good at expressing my feelings, even in situations where they shouldn't have been so hard to express. "I mean... I'm used to her flirting with you, okay?" I admitted, feeling a little annoyed that I had to explain this. But, while I appeared inconvenienced, Jude's expression softened somewhat as he waited for me to continue. "I know she knows the truth now, but after last night... I just wanted to spend some time with you. When you first asked Bree to come along I thought I'd have to watch her hang all over you the whole time. Maybe in the past I haven't wanted you around my family, and all I can do now is say that I'm sorry if it hurt you. But, it really didn't have anything to do with you. It had everything to do with me being afraid that they'd figure out I had feelings for you... that I shouldn't have."
"Do you still have feelings for me?" he suddenly asked, and I immediately didn't like the question. I was doing my best to show him that I did and the fact that he would even ask seemed insulting.
"You know I do..." I said defensively.
"I know." he immediately interrupted, closing his eyes for a brief moment. "I'm sorry, Quinn. That's not what I meant." I followed his face as he took a seat next to me again, and found myself relaxing somewhat as his shoulder came to lean against mine. "I know you do... sometimes I just... look, what I meant was, do you still think you shouldn't have them? Those feelings?"
I had to stop and think about that. To me, it was a complicated question. I guess when it came to my sexuality, there was still a lot of uncertainty on my part. My sister knowing the truth was still new to me, and while I had faith that we'd be ultimately be all right, I still worried about what she really thought of me. I couldn't help wondering if she really saw me differently now, and if she did, I wondered if her opinion of me was less than it used to be. When Brad had thrown that water on me, disregarding me like I was unwanted trash in his yard, I'd been disgusted with myself then. What if questions had crashed down on me the moment the water hit my face. What if he'd thought about the gay thing and had decided he couldn't accept it because that made me wrong? What if he was right? There was no question that being gay scared the hell out of me. Being able to admit it to myself was even more frightening. But, that was the thing, I could admit it to myself now.
There was no doubt in my mind that I was gay. Maybe, there really was never any doubt. I'd always known. I'd just hated it so much that I'd placed myself in such a state of denial that it some point, I'd actually started to believe it. But, I couldn't deny my attraction to Jude... or the way I felt about him. Maybe I'd convinced myself that I needed him, and I think part of me believed that I really did. But, there was so much more to it than that. I'd been slowly getting to know him; the way he took care of his friends, and the little family that he had, the sense of humor that was slowly growing on me, and even his teasing nature. And even more recently, I'd come to appreciate the time we spent alone together. Before, that time had been filled with my own drama, and I'd never taken the time to consider how... special, it could be. I was trying new things for the first time in my life, and to be honest, I don't think it really could have been with anyone but Jude Landon. Maybe I still didn't understand why, but having those feelings for him, were beginning to feel like the most natural thing in the world for me, and there was no way I could see myself not having them.
I met his eyes as I leaned into him a little more, wanting to let him know this. I understood something just then, when I couldn't get the words out. Maybe I knew that I wanted to be right there with Jude because I did have feelings for him, but there was still the small matter of being intimidated as hell by him. I hadn't exactly gotten over that yet, but how could I not be intimidated by someone who seemed to be so much more than I was? Then again, today was as good a show as any that Jude Landon wasn't really that different from anyone else. He was only human, after all. I'd seen his fear, and hurt, with his mother, and if his questions were any indication, he could be just as insecure as anyone else. In part, seeing him as insecure bothered me, but at the same time, it attracted me as much as his confidence.
"Do you?" he suddenly asked, and I blinked as I realized that he was still waiting for a response from me. He was even beginning to look worried, and I felt guilty for that.
For a moment, I thought about sharing my thoughts with him, but instead, I found myself wanting to do something that I didn't think I was capable of before. I kissed him. Without trying to prove anything, or without him giving me permission, I leaned closer until my mouth hovered just over his, and after a brief moment of watching him study me curiously, I kissed him. Jude, obviously oblivious to the way that the soft brush of lips, and the slight flickering of my tongue against his, was a complete challenge for me, lifted his hand to the side of my face and kissed me back before he gently pulled away and regarded me as if I hadn't given him an answer at all. Even with the way I could feel my face on fire as a blush crept into my cheeks, I couldn't help laughing as he continued to wait for his answer.
"I don't think it matters." I finally said, deciding that he deserved a verbal response, too.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean... why should it matter whether or not I think I should feel like that?" I sighed. "The point is, I do. I'm not going to ignore it. I don't... want to ignore it."
I glanced away from him for a moment, hoping that my response was enough for him. I don't think I really expected him to completely understand it, but for now... I hoped it was enough. To me, the important thing was that he knew I cared about him, regardless of anything else. I did feel some relief when I lifted my eyes to his again and saw that he was now regarding me with a serene expression, and the fact that he didn't say anything else made me hopeful that my answer was enough for him. But, when he didn't say anything at all, I became nervous again. Only this time, instead of avoiding his eyes because I was a little uncomfortable, I found myself taking the opposite approach as I suddenly turned towards him, placing one hand on his side and the other on his shoulder and I gently pushed him back until he was lying on his back, looking slightly bewildered as he looked up at me. But before he could say anything, I had my weight lightly resting over him as I gently took a fistful of his hair and guided his head to tilt back.
I didn't even give myself time to think about it as my mouth descended down over his throat. I wasn't accustomed to being so brazen without at least some encouragement. Thinking would only scare me off, and I knew it. Fortunately for me, Jude seemed to like it, the way he gasped when I caught his skin between my teeth and his hands automatically moved to grip my shoulders. Nothing provoked confidence like an encouraging response from him, and that was all it took before I lifted my head to capture his lips with mine. Only, before they touched, my phone began to ring again, and I nearly screamed when he actually started to push me away.
I sat up just enough to look him in the eye as I gripped the hand that was pushing my shoulder and guided it back to the bed, while attempting to imitate one of those seductive looks that he was so good at. I'm sure I looked ridiculous. Jude just looked irritated, although he did nothing to resist. He obviously wanted someone to answer my phone.
"Don't you dare." I stated, and watched as his irritation became amusement, his brow arching upwards and the corner of his mouth turning up. "I don't care about what happened today. Your mom should be ashamed of herself... not you. And maybe, I'm not ready for mine to know about me. But...even if she'd gotten the wrong impression of you today, I wouldn't care." I smiled more to myself as I lifted my hand from where it held his to the bed and brushed his hair back from his forehead. "I think by now I know better... than to ever think I'd want you gone. Sometimes, I don't even know why you want me around. I'm the one who should be trying to impress you, Jude. Not the other way around."
If it was possible for him to literally melt, I would have thought it happened at that moment. It was like every one of his muscles relaxed beneath me and my body sank into his, while I held myself up comfortably on one elbow to keep from smothering him. I watched his eyes glaze over as he looked up at me, but I didn't realize it was because they were tearing up until he actually looked away from me.
"Jude?" I demanded, gravely concerned that I'd just done or said something completely wrong. I watched his eyes for the first sign of tears like I was waiting for a train wreck, even if they never came because he was so obviously holding them back. "Jude?" I repeated as I rolled off of him, keeping one hand on his waist as he turned to face me. "What's.."
"Nothing." he cut me off, meeting my eyes again as signs of a small smile began to form on his face. "I'm just... impressed."
It took me a moment to realize what he meant, and by that time his hand was already fisting the front of my shirt, his eyes were closed, and his mouth was over mine, his lips steadily urging me into a soft kiss. I slowly returned it, as I reached for my phone that had started to ring for the third time, fully intending to turn it off.
I never knew it could take so much energy to just lay in bed. Jude and I were in his for four hours, and I was exhausted. I found that kind of funny, considering the only items of clothing that ever came off were our shoes. For four hours straight, he'd kiss me, or I'd jump head first into the new world of kissing him, and then we'd take a break, during which time he'd close his eyes, his exhaustion becoming more obvious each time... and I would pull him closer. I'd discovered that I liked touching him. A lot. It didn't matter of I was moving my hand over his arms, feeling the veins lining his toned muscles under my palm, or tracing his lips with my thumb. A few times I'd think he dozed off as his breaths became steady against my neck, but each time I looked at him, his eyes would be open, and another kissing session would ensue.
I definitely could have fallen asleep a few times, I became so relaxed, and the contented feelings that came over me caused a light feeling with my gut, but nothing more than a tingling in my groin. I wasn't even bored. All I could think about, was how it felt so damn good having him close to me. I only wished that I knew he wasn't thinking of anything else, but I knew better. The knot that would form in his brow every so often signaled troubled thoughts, and more than a few times I saw his eyes watering some more. He never let a tear fall though, I noticed. It was almost like he didn't really know how to cry. I didn't know what to say to him during these moments, but seeing how we weren't doing much talking, anyway, those were the moments in which I'd snuggle closer to him, until it passed. But over all, I didn't want it to end.
It had to end, though. Reality was waiting for us, and when I glanced at the clock at five o'clock, I made the mistake of bringing both of us back to it with one bothersome thought and an unfortunate question.
"Are you going?"
"Going where?" he asked, tilting his head up from where it had been resting on my shoulder and regarding me sleepily.
"Never mind." I said quickly. I have no idea why I'd asked the question. It was incredibly stupid on my part. Unfortunately, Jude glanced at the clock and realized what I was implying.
"My parents don't have anything that I want." he said rather sharply. "And if they did, they probably threw it out already."
"So you're not going over there?" evidence of relief was definitely in my voice, and Jude glanced up at me with a forced smile.
"You couldn't pay me to do it." he stated.
"Good." I sighed, settling in again as I closed my eyes. Now that that concern was out of the way, I almost felt like I could take a nap, or at least just lie there for another four hours. This time it was Jude reminding me that I couldn't, as he sat up, the warmth of his body abruptly leaving me. I didn't like that feeling at all, and opened my eyes to regard him curiously as he placed a hand on my shoulder and guided me up, too.
"Hey, come on." he said quietly as I pushed myself into a sitting position and followed his hand with my eyes as it landed on my knee. "I think it's time for you to turn on your phone, Quinn."
I frowned at that. I knew he wanted me to call home. I guess in all honesty, I wanted to call home, too. We both knew I was in trouble. But, unlike Jude, I knew that there was nothing I could do about it now.
"It won't make a difference if I call." I stated. "I'm going to end up grounded no matter what."
"Tell me what happened today after I left." He said. I frowned at that, too. "Please, Quinn. I need to know... and it is what you came over here for, isn't it? Is your mom angry with me?"
Me eyes widened slightly at that, considering the suggestion couldn't have been further from the truth.
"No." I replied. "She thinks your mom should be arrested, but she's not mad at you. She's worried, though, Jude, and that's not a good thing, believe me."
"How much does she know?" he asked quietly.
"Too much." I sighed, deciding that it was time to do what I'd originally come for. "Bree... she sort of let it slip that you live by yourself. My mom's freaking out about that, but I swear, I didn't tell her anything."
Jude studied me for a moment, looking a little troubled, but he only nodded as he reached over the side of the bed and lifted my phone. I guess you could say that this wasn't the reaction I was expecting. It was almost as if he'd expected everything I was telling him.
"Freaking out." he repeated calmly after turning on my phone. He held it up for me and I frowned to see that I had thirty six missed calls. "I think you're right...you need to call her."
"Jude, she's just going to tell me to go home..." I started to argue.
"I know, Quinn. And you're going to have to. I'll follow you in my car."
After that announcement, he moved to the edge of the bed to put on his shoes and I looked at him as if he'd lost his mind.
"Jude, hold on a sec..."
"I have to talk to her, Quinn." he cut me off, glancing over his shoulder before he went back to tying his shoes. "It's not like she's the first person who's figured out my situation and decided that they should help. I have to convince her that I can fend for myself." he paused and turned to see me and what was probably a panicked look on my face. As far as I was concerned, this wasn't one of Jude's best ideas, although, I could understand that it was a necessary one. "Look," he sighed, placing a hand over mine. "I won't tell her I'm gay unless I have to, Quinn. But, I can't make you any promises. I'm not exactly a child, but I'm not really legal to be living like I am, either. If I have to tell her the truth... I'm sorry."
He looked worried as I opened my mouth to argue with him. I guess I could understand why. It would be logical for him to assume that I'd be upset at the suggestion alone, and he was right. I hated the idea of my mom knowing the truth about Jude, but before I said anything to confirm that, my sister's words from earlier came back to haunt me.
Bree had made it clear that she was disgusted with me for being more concerned with how my mother discovering the truth about Jude could affect me, than I was with what was best for Jude. I could see her point, too, and if everything that I'd said to Jude today wasn't a lie, then I was going to have to support him, no matter what he decided. It still scared the hell out of me, though.
"I know." I finally said, sliding to the end of the bed to sit next to him as he looked at me incredulously.
"You do?" I smiled at the surprised note in his voice, but it quickly faded away as I regarded him more seriously.
"I know you have to talk to her." I nodded. "If you tell her...Jude, I don't know what will happen if you tell her you're gay."
"You're okay if I talk to her?" he asked, and I rolled my eyes. He was obviously still trying to figure out why I wasn't throwing a fit.
"I have to be." I stated. "I mean, this is your life. If talking to her is all you can do... then you have to. I can't do it for you, and this isn't something that she's just going to forget about. I just..."
"I'll do my best not to tell her, Quinn." Jude sighed, leaning forward until his forehead rested against the side of my face.
"If you have to...I won't let it change anything between us." I think that was something he needed to hear, considering what I'd learned in the last hours. I just hoped that if it came down to that, it would be a promise I could keep.
Before we left his apartment, Jude suggested that maybe going home with me would get me out of some trouble. I highly doubted that, especially after thirty-six ignored phone calls. My theory was proven correct after I walked into the house, with Jude close behind me. We went in without a sound. It was an understatement to say that we were both nervous. At least for me, my stomach felt like it was in my throat, and Jude definitely looked a little pale.
I glanced back at him as I heard quiet voices coming from the kitchen, and he sent me an encouraging nod before I headed towards them. I found my sister and my mom sitting down for dinner. Bree noticed us first and her face immediately became a mask of worry, that served as a good enough warning before my mother looked up and immediately stood from the table, nearly knocking her drink over.
"Bree, go to your room, now." she ordered, but her eyes had me pinned to the very spot I was standing on.
"I'm still eating." Bree stated, looking more than a little outraged.
"Take it with you." my mother flashed her a look that left no room for argument, so my sister stood with her plate and headed out, obviously annoyed by the whole thing. Of course, before she was gone she had the nerve to smile at Jude.
"Hi Jude." she said, and this seemed to annoy my mother more, as she crossed her arms. For Jude's part, he just nervously waved at my sister as he moved to stand beside me.
"Bree, go." my mom ordered.
"It's not like I don't know what's going on." my sister mumbled as she left, continuing to show her displeasure over being sent away. "And I'm not six years old anymore!"
My mother rolled her eyes and held her head for a moment, but when she looked up her gaze was as sharp as ever and directed at me.
"Where is your phone, Quinn?" she demanded.
"I turned it off." I admitted.
"You... Quinn! I've been calling you! I thought we agreed that you'd let me know where you were! You just decided to take off and turn off your phone?"
"I was with Jude." I frowned, getting cocky when I probably shouldn't have. "This morning you told me that I didn't have to be back until dinner time. It's dinner time now..."
"Quinn!" my mother cut me off, becoming more irritated by the second. "I hope you enjoyed being grounded the first time because you're going to be spending the next few weekends in your room."
"Mrs. Moore," Jude attempted to intervene, "please don't be mad at Quinn. He was only..."
"Jude," my mom cut him off, lifting a hand. "Don't try to help. I'll be dealing with you in a minute."
"Hey," I said, suddenly feeling the need to defend Jude. "You're the one who wanted him to come back here, mom! Don't yell at him because you're mad at me. He came here to talk to you, not so you could..."
"Quinn," Jude said softly as he placed a hand on my shoulder. I looked at him only to find that he was silently pleading with me not to continue. I sighed, but didn't object when he stepped forward to face my mom.
"Mrs. Moore, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for today. If I would have known that my mom would be showing up... look, I'm just sorry that I've disrupted your family. I didn't mean to cause any trouble."
"Jude," my mom shook her head, her frown deepening as she moved forward. She looked like she wanted to say something, but as she reached us she let out a breath. "Just... come here." I stepped aside, feeling a little surprised when my mother grabbed Jude's shoulder and pulled him towards her, her arms moving tightly around him as she enveloped him into what looked like a smothering hug.
Jude looked as surprised as I did, but after a moment of looking like he didn't know what to do, I watched as he slowly relaxed and returned the gesture. Actually, it looked like he was enjoying it. Maybe he was. It wasn't like he got many hugs from his own mother, and thinking about that, and the way that my mother was literally opening her arms to him now, gave me a new sense of appreciation for her. Maybe lately she was driving me crazy, but at least I still had her. That was a lot more than what Jude had.
I think seeing that first hand, was the only reason why I didn't think of a rebuttal when my mother pulled back and gave me a pointed look. "You can wait upstairs too, Quinn. I want to talk to Jude for a few minutes."
Maybe I didn't argue with my mom on that, but I did flash Jude a look that clearly said I didn't like the idea. I knew he had to talk to my mom. I just didn't see why he had to do it alone. He just winked at me, though, as if he'd expected that, too.
I released a frustrated breath and headed to my room. I had no idea what was about to happen, but he'd promised me that he wouldn't divulge any information to my mom other than what he had to. As for me, I'd just have to trust that.
I'd hardly made it to my bedroom door before Bree was behind me, her plate of food still in her hands.
"So, what happened?" she demanded.
"I sighed and waved her into my room, and as I closed the door behind us I took it upon myself to steal a chicken leg from her plate.
"He's talking to mom." I explained as she followed me up the stairs. "Hopefully he's convincing her that he's fine living on his own."
"Nuh-uh." Bree shook her head as she sat on my bed across from me where I'd seated myself at my desk. "Sorry, Quinn, but I don't think that's going to happen. If you haven't noticed, mom has way too much free time on her hands lately.
"You're not helping, Bree." I pointed out.
"Sorry." she said sheepishly. "But it's true. You should have heard her when you were gone. Everything was, poor Jude. She even said that she hoped you would bring him back here, so at least you get points for that... I think we're just going to have to face the facts here, Quinn. Mom has practically adopted him." I groaned and momentarily buried my head in my hands. "Oh, come on. It's not that bad. I mean, it could be a good thing. Maybe mom could actually do something to help him."
"Like put him in a foster home until he turns eighteen?" I demanded. "The only point that would serve would be to make him miserable."
"My friend Randy's in a foster home, and he likes the family." Bree countered.
"Jude's different!" I argued. "He hates the idea. Taylor was in a foster home for a while and tried to kill himself."
"Seriously?" Bree said, looking horrified. "But he seemed so... happy."
I frowned and shook my head, wondering if I'd just said something about Taylor that I shouldn't have.
"Look, we can't let her interfere with Jude, Bree. If he ends up in one of those places . . . he'll hate it. I can't let that happen to him."
Bree studied me for a long moment, looking as if she were really thinking about something.
"It'll be okay, Quinn." she finally said. "Let's just... wait and see what happens before we jump to any conclusions."
"I hate waiting." I mumbled, and a long silence fell over us. I was trying to think of something else, anything other than what was going on downstairs. It had only been a few minutes in reality, but I swear it felt like hours were passing by to me.
"You got a call while you were gone." Bree announced, changing the subject.
"Who was it?"
"Marissa." Bree said, sounding amused.
"Shit." I cursed, and my sister raised an eyebrow.
"Marissa saw me and Jude ki... together." I explained. "She came by the other night and called me on it."
"She knows?" Bree said.
"Yeah." I sighed, running my palm roughly over my face. I didn't need to be stressed out about Marissa on top of everything else.
"What happened?" Bree demanded.
"She claimed that she was okay with it, and she just wanted to talk."
"You don't believe her?"
"Why should I? Generally if it doesn't make her look good, she doesn't care about it. I think she just came over here to make sure no one else is going to find out... but I don't know. I can't exactly trust her."
"But, I thought you and Mar were friends."
"Were friends." I replied. "I mean, don't get me wrong, Bree, part of me still loves her just like I love you or Brad. But, it's different with Mar now. If it comes down to her friends or her reputation... well, it's all downhill from there. I can't be around someone like that. Besides, I think she might be up to something and for all I know I could show up to school on Monday and everyone will know I've been a fag all along."
"First of all," Bree frowned, "if you don't like other people calling you those names then stop talking about yourself that way. You're gay. You don't have to make it more complicated than that. Second, what makes you think Marissa's up to something? I mean, I know she can be an ice queen, but I don't think she'd ever intentionally do anything to hurt you, not like that, Quinn."
"I saw her with Brad today." I explained. "Just after Jude took off at lunch."
"That's it? You saw her with Brad? Oh yeah, that's real suspicious, Quinn." Bree rolled her eyes and then regarded me more seriously. "They were friends too, the last time I checked. Just because Brad's a little pissed at you doesn't mean that the two of them are plotting your demise. I think you should call-both of them."
"Look, I don't expect you to understand, Bree. I just have a bad feeling about it... besides, I already tried to talk to Brad. If he wants to call he can, but I don't feel like getting hung up on. And Marissa... I'd rather she not call at all."
"Bree, please." I frowned. "I can't think about that right now, okay?" I looked towards the stairs and sighed. "What do you think they're talking about right now?"
"Talking?" Bree scoffed. "They're probably not even there yet. Bet you anything mom's feeding Jude and telling him not to talk with his mouth full."
I smiled at the idea, but it didn't last very long before my nerves took over again.
"I just wish they'd hurry up." I said, reaching to steal another piece of chicken from my sister. "Waiting is killing me."
Bree watched as I took a bite of the food and as I chewed a small smile began to spread over her mouth.
"What?" I asked.
"You just... really like him, huh?" she said. I think the way I blushed and looked away said enough. Damn it. "I still think it's weird." she admitted. "But... I'm starting to get it, and if you want... I'll try to like him a little less."
"Thanks." I smirked, rolling my eyes. But, as I looked at my sister I felt another serious question coming on. "Bree, can I ask you something? Do you think... how do you think mom would take it if I told her?"
Bree sat up a little straighter as she looked back at me.
"Honestly?" she asked, and I nodded. "I've been thinking about it, Quinn... a lot. And... I don't know."
I sighed. That's what I was afraid of. I didn't think it would be good if my mom found out that her only son was gay, but there was really no way of knowing. Now that Jude was downstairs talking to her, I was beginning to wonder what would happen even more. I just hoped that he wasn't down there right now, finding out before I did.