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 three: The Day after

I like things organized. I'm definitely one of those people who need a plan. I rarely do anything spontaneous, probably because it never works out all that well. I stick to my schedule. Even on weekends when I set my alarm for two hours later than I would on a school day. If I didn't set the alarm, I would end up sleeping all day and that would throw me off my whole schedule.

So, knowing that I like things planned and organized, and it tends to make me nervous when things aren't that way, you can imagine how I felt waking up with no alarm, and no sense of what day it was, in a bed that felt to soft to be my own.

I could tell that my surrounding weren't familiar before I even opened my eyes. The bed was the first indication, and the room was cold. My room is never cold. I was almost afraid to open my eyes, more afraid when the details of the night before came rushing back to me. The party. That awful game that left my whole body feeling like I'd been in a car wreck. That kiss...oh my god! I'd kissed another boy. The camera! Taylor had a camera. My flat tire. Jude driving me home. At least, he was supposed to drive me home. My last conscious thought was being in his car.

My eyes snapped open and I sat up, holding my aching head. And then panic struck again. I wasn't dressed. Someone had taken my clothes! Okay, I'm exaggerating. I still had my boxers on. But that little fact didn't help calm me down when I looked over at the other side of the bed and found another body. Jude's body. His back was to me and the blankets were caught at his hips. And it didn't look like he was wearing any clothes under them.

Shit. Shit. Shit! I just started kissing other boys last night! And I had no intention of making a habit out of it, thank you very much. What the hell was I doing here, waking up with one? With Jude? I told him I wasn't gay. I wasn't gay. So what was I doing here? Did something happen? I'd heard horror stories; maybe I'd been drugged and brought here! Maybe he'd had his way with me. Maybe I'd participated in gay activities and couldn't remember it. My butt did hurt. It hurt a lot. That could have been from falling on it so many times the night before, but that didn't stop me from panicking.

A quick glance around told me that I was in a studio apartment. There were only two windows, way to narrow to climb out of and three deadbolts on the front door. Oh god, he'd locked me in! No, wait. I could unlock the door. And at least the place looked sanitary. There were a few dirty cups on the kitchen counter on the other side of the apartment, but things were clean. The brown carpet was older but vacuumed, the sofa had a few tears in it, but the television opposite it looked dusted. Shit. I needed to stop thinking about how clean things were and start thinking about getting the hell out of there.

First things first. I had to get out of that bed. I couldn't be in a bed with a naked guy. I climbed out as carefully as possible, afraid that the slightest movement might wake him, and I looked around for my clothes. I saw my shoes, neatly placed near the dresser but no socks. I went and picked them up. At least if I had to run outside in my underwear I'd have shoes on my feet.

I began to scan the room, hoping to catch site of my clothes. Even my coat would be helpful but I couldn't see that either.

"Why don't you go take a shower." I heard Jude's voice mumble. It scared the hell out of me, making me jump. I spun around to find him, unmoved on the bed, on his side with his face half buried against his pillow and his eyes still closed. Maybe he was talking in his sleep. I decided to find out.

"What am I doing here?" I asked. My voice sounded squeaky, shaky. Maybe that was because I was completely freaked out.

"I didn't know where else to take you." Came the sleepy reply as he turned onto his back, stretching out his toned, bare chest. He was bruised in a few places and I noticed a scratch on his shoulder. The muscles in his arms twitched when he stretched them over his head before he let them fall to his sides and opened his eyes to look at me. I dropped my shoes and crossed my arms over my chest, feeling much more naked than I actually was.

"You said you'd take me home!" I suddenly snapped, "What am I doing here? And where are my clothes? What the hell happened last night?"

Jude sat up, looking annoyed as he regarded me with a subdued expression.

"I tried to take you home," he retorted, "you passed out in my car before telling me where you live, so it was either bring you here or back to Trina's. I tried to wake you up but you wouldn't budge... I think it was the shock. My neighbor had to help me carry you up the stairs."

"What the hell was I doing in your bed?" I shot out.

"Now that, was all you." Jude frowned disapprovingly. "We put you on the couch, but when I came back from washing your clothes, which are still in the dryer downstairs, by the way, you were in my bed. I would have taken the couch, but the damn thing's uncomfortable. So stop looking so worried, the only time I ever touched you last night was to push you away when you tried to use me as a pillow." He finished coldly.

My eyes widened for a moment and then I turned away, blushing. I hated this situation, and Jude's demeanor had completely changed since the night before. There were no smiles, not even smirks. Now, he was just...cold.

"Just go take a shower. You're a wreck." He muttered, turning back over and pulling a pillow over his head, "By the time you're done I'll have your clothes and we can go get your car."

I didn't want to take a shower. I just wanted to get out of there. But unfortunately, my car had been left at Trina's with a flat tire, and I knew that I would have to get it eventually. And I guess I was feeling a little dirty and sore anyways.

The bathroom wasn't difficult to find. The door was open and I moved inside and closed it, looking around the small space. Even the shower was narrow. I wondered how Jude fit in it. But the bathroom was clean. I could see my reflection perfectly clearly in the mirror and I cringed.

My hair was messed and knotted on my head and my eyes looked like they hadn't seen sleep in days. I had scratches all over my arms and bruises over my ribs. My knees and elbows were scraped and when I turned around and pulled off my boxers I was both relieved and horrified to find a large, yellowish, purple bruise on my ass. I hoped to god that a shower would help my appearance.

I managed to turn on the water, noticing that it didn't get very hot. I had a feeling that it would turn cold soon enough so I'd have to make it quick. I used some of the soap that was there and was surprised at how much dirt came out of my hair. But, at least as I scrubbed and rinsed my body I began to feel clean again. I was just about to get out when there was an abrupt knock on the bathroom door and then it swung open and I paused, horrified.

"Here are you pants." I heard Jude say. "Your shirt wasn't worth saving so I trashed it. You can use one of mine. There's an extra toothbrush in the drawer."

I let out a relieved breath. I really needed to stop panicking. I got out and found that my jeans were neatly folded on top of the toilet seat along with a gray t-shirt, a towel and a clean pair of socks.

I dried off quickly, running my fingers through my curls as I looked in the mirror. I knew there wasn't much point in trying to do something with my hair; it would come out a mop of spirals without product anyways.

I was more built in the chest than Jude, so the shirt was a snug fit. I felt like I was stretching it out as I pulled the shirt down over my stomach and gave myself one last inspection in the mirror before I pulled on the rest of my clothes. I guess I looked almost normal again.

I opened the bathroom door cautiously. I didn't see Jude but I saw my shoes, right where I left them, but as I stepped out of the bathroom I noticed that Jude was up now, fully dressed and stripping down the bed. I'm not sure what it was about his actions that I found offensive. I mean, I'd seen how much dirt came off me in the shower and I'd probably be changing the sheets too, but it almost felt like he wanted all traces of me out of his bed. I know that that definitely shouldn't have offended me. Maybe it was the cold way in which he was regarding me this morning that bothered me.

I mean, it wasn't like he was the one who had anything to be upset about, so why was he so pissed off? He'd kissed me. And I wasn't gay. He'd ruined my whole life by doing that. It made me sick to think about what Taylor might be doing with those pictures right now. And I didn't even know Taylor. I didn't understand why he was doing this to me. I didn't even know Jude for that matter, so why had he helped Taylor? I was the one who had something to be pissed off about, not Jude.

I grabbed my shoes and stepped into them quickly before kneeling down to tie them. At this point, I just wanted to get out of there. When I looked up I noticed that Jude had stopped what he was doing and he was staring thoughtfully in my direction. It confused me, the way he was looking at me. He didn't seem as standoffish as he had before I went into the bathroom. But, when I caught him looking his eyes hardened and he went back to work.

"Do you have a phone?" I suddenly asked, "I can call someone to come get me."

He looked up then.

"What about your car?" he frowned.

"I know where it is." I shrugged, "I can go get it on my own."

"It's not at Trina's." he said flatly.

"So where is it?" I demanded, suddenly feeling a little worried.

"I had it picked up this morning." He replied, "I could give you the address but the guy won't hand it over unless he sees me with you."

That surprised me, that he had my car picked up, but I didn't let him know it.

"Fine." I muttered, "I'll go wait outside, so, whenever you're ready..."

I moved straight for the door, wanting to get out of the apartment. It was just beginning to hit me that Jude lived there on his own. And he was my age. I couldn't even imagine living by myself. But, I guess things were different when you went to work at seventeen instead of school.

I stepped outside of the apartment, closing the door behind me and found myself in an indoor hallway leading two ways. I picked a direction and after moving down a flight of stairs I found myself outside of an old gray building. It looked like I was downtown, and I was pleased to see that I knew where I was, so I wasn't completely lost. The hospital that my mom worked at was just a block away. But, I didn't see a parking lot, just a street. Apparently I'd come out on the wrong side of the building.

I walked around it, finding that Jude was already waiting in front of his car, holding my jacket under his arm. I walked to him, scowling as he held my coat out for me. I snatched it away from him, pulling it on and checking the pockets for my wallet, which was still there, and then watched as he opened the passenger door for me.

It was strange, the way he kept opening doors for me. He didn't just unlock it; he held it open and waited for me to get in before closing it after me. Something about that bothered me. I was reminded way too much of the way that I held open doors for Marissa. Not that I would be holding any more doors for Marissa as soon as those pictures got out.

My stomach tightened with knots, thinking about it again. I felt like a condemned man every time that I did think about it. I wondered where Taylor was. Maybe I could stop him. I thought about asking Jude, but I doubted that he would be any help.

I wasn't really paying attention to where we were going, I just stared blankly out the window, trying to figure out what I would say when everyone knew what had happened last night. Maybe I could deny the whole thing. I could tell them that it was all Jude. He kissed me. I didn't really want him to.

Only, that wouldn't be true. Maybe initially Jude had been the one to kiss me, but I'd kissed him back. And not that I'd admit it, but I actually liked it, before everything turned to hell. The fact that I had liked it, and that maybe I even wanted it, scared me more than anything. It scared me even more than the thought of the entire school finding out about that kiss. Because, if I liked it, then when people started calling me a faggot, I'd know that they were right.

When we finally stopped it was about six blocks away in front of a garage called Murphy's. It looked like the exact kind of place that someone would warn me not to take my car to, but there my car was, parked right out front and the tire had indeed been fixed.

I watched as a tall man that looked to be in his mid forties, with a longish, untrimmed dark beard and a receding hairline walked out in the same kind of jumpsuit that Jude had been wearing the other day and waved to us, holding up my own car keys.

"That's Murphy." Jude said, "He'll take care of you and you should be able to get out of here with no problem."

"Yeah, thanks." I replied, unenthusiastically. I reached for the door but before I could get out I was startled when I felt Jude's hand on my shoulder.

"Quinn, wait."

I turned back, regarding him suspiciously and then jumped when he suddenly reached across me and opened his glove compartment. He removed a photo envelope and I think I paled considerably just thinking about what was in it. I didn't know if I wanted to cry or scream at him when he handed it to me and I took it with shaking hands.

"I found Taylor this morning." Jude explained, "The negatives are in there too...he was never going to do anything with them, Quinn. He was just fucking with you. And just so you know...I didn't plan anything."

I looked at Jude disbelievingly. Did this mean that it was over? Nothing was going to happen?

"I'm not gay." I said, finding it the only thing I had the capacity to say at the moment.

"Yeah." He rolled his eyes, "I heard you the first time you said it." Not that he sounded convinced. "Look, sorry about the kiss, alright? I shouldn't have done that. Maybe I read you wrong, I don't know. I just wanted you to know that I didn't plan anything with Taylor. I didn't even know he was there."

"So why did you do it?" I frowned.

"Why did I kiss you?" he smirked, "That's easy, I'm attracted to you. I was yesterday at the school and I was last night. I definitely am right now with all of those curls," he added smugly, his eyes traveling upwards towards my hair and making me blush. Damn him. "But, if I were you, Quinn, I wouldn't be asking why I kissed you. You should be asking yourself why you kissed me back."

I scowled at him, getting out of the car without another word. Why did he have to be like that? So confident? And why did he have to say that? I wasn't gay. Why couldn't he just believe me? And why the hell did I care so much about what he thought anyways?

I shoved the envelope in my pocket and didn't look back as I approached the man standing in front of my car.

"Well, you certainly look more lively this morning." The man named Murphy remarked, taking me off guard.

"Huh?" I frowned.

"Yeah, I had to help Jude get you up the stairs last night." he shook his head, "You kids should really stay away from those drugs. And you stay away from Jude," he added, frowning, "He's a good kid, doesn't need some druggie making his life harder than it already is."

"You're Jude's neighbor?" I asked.

"Neighbor, employer, whatever. I mean it. Don't go messing with him or you'll be dealing with me."

I was about to tell the guy that Jude was the one with the problem, but bit my tongue and dug my wallet out of my pocket.

"What do I owe you for the tire?" I frowned.

"Nothing." He replied, tossing me my keys. "Jude did the labor and that's one of his tires on your car, and he's not charging you. God knows why."

I frowned, really confused now as I glanced back towards Jude, but he was already gone. Why did he do this for me? I felt suspicious and I didn't know why, all I knew was that I didn't want any favors from him. I looked past Murphy and pointed towards his shop.

"Does that ATM work?" I asked.

"Yup." He shrugged.

I passed right by him, went to the machine and pulled out a hundred bucks from my savings account that I'd had set up since I was twelve. I wasn't sure if Murphy looked annoyed or shocked when I slapped the money in his hand and opened the door to my car.

"Make sure Jude gets that." I stated, and then without another word, I left. Maybe a hundred bucks was a little much for one tire, but there was really no way that I wanted to owe Jude any favors. As far as I was concerned, it would be better if I never even saw him again.


I didn't waste any time getting to my room once I was home. My mom was at work, so I didn't have to worry about her, but Bree could pop up at any second and surprise me, and at the moment I wasn't even in the mood for her.

I fed my fish and looked around like I always did, checking to make sure that everything was where I left it, beginning with my journal, and as I sat down on my bed, peeling off my coat I reached for that magazine again, flipping it directly to my usual page.

I needed to focus on that girl. At the moment, I just needed that. I needed to forget about last night. I needed to forget about this morning. I needed to forget about all of it. Now that I knew that Taylor didn't have the pictures and all I'd have to worry about were a few possible rumors, I could breathe easy again.

Well, not quite.

Now that I didn't have to worry about my life abruptly succumbing to a downward spiral of teenage horror I had plenty of time to think. Think about Jude. Think about that kiss. Think about the way that he told me to think about why I kissed him back.

He said he was attracted to me. Maybe that wasn't really a surprise. Maybe I knew it from the beginning. Maybe I knew it when I first encountered Jude Landon near the train tracks. Deep down, I'd known that there was an attraction. I'd been so afraid of it being my attraction to him. But I think I'd known, that it had been a mutual thing. But it shouldn't matter anyways. I am not gay.

So why did it make me feel, something, when he said that he was attracted to me? Why did everything about Jude make me feel something? The way he talked to me, the way he looked at me. Even the way he opened the damned doors for me! And the way he kissed me. I could feel that kiss all the way down to my toes when I thought about it. It wasn't even the most perfect kiss in the world but it had meant something. I'd felt it in my chest, that swelling feeling you get when emotions are really good. I'd felt that. With a guy! It just wasn't supposed to be natural.

But it had been. Damn it! Kissing Jude had been more natural for me than kissing Marissa ever had been. This was bad. Really, really bad.

I stared at the magazine. No reaction looking at the woman. I looked at the man, that ass, that back, those arms. I'd always looked by accident before and it had caused some sort of stirring in me. But now...now that I was purposely looking; nothing. My stomach was in knots thinking about Jude.

We'd slept in the same bed. I pictured it. He'd had to carry me up to his apartment. It was a terrifying thought, thinking that I was that far gone. I thought about him undressing me. Taking of my shoes, peeling off my socks. Maybe he even slid his hands under my ass to lift my hips when he was taking of my pants, and raising my arms, lifting my shirt over my head.

I put the magazine away as I wondered about his reaction to my body when he'd undressed me. I wasn't supposed to care about that, so why was I thinking about it? Because he said he was attracted to me, that's why. I wondered if he'd enjoyed undressing me, or if it had been some unreasonable task for him.

I thought about us in the same bed together, stripped down to our underwear, or maybe he was naked, I never really did figure that out. He said I'd tried to use him as a pillow. He'd seemed annoyed about it, but that didn't prevent the image from entering my mind of the two of us, wrapped around each other, skin on skin...god, I had to stop this. But I couldn't. It wouldn't stop.

I grabbed the photo envelope out of my jacket pocket and pulled it open, expecting to see something that horrified me, but instead it looked like the camera had been passed around all night. There were pictures of people I didn't know, and then some pictures that caught my eye. There was one from behind, of Jude and I on that swing, when Trina was there too, and then more with me in them, of Jude and I moving through the gate, his arm was wrapped around mine. Maybe Taylor had seen us like that early on and had assumed something would happen, that's why he came back later when I happened to be kissing Jude.

There were pictures of the game. The girls must have taken them. One caught my attention. It was the first time that Taylor and that other guy had flattened me. It hurt to look at it. But there, off to the side was Jude. The flash had picked up just enough of his face for me to make out the concern there, concern watching me. That made me feel something too. Guilt. Guilt for pushing him away. Guilt for the way that I had accused him of setting me up with Taylor. But I had to tell him; Jude had to know that I wasn't gay. So why did I feel guilty?

The next picture was when Jude helped me off the ground, and there was another picture that caught my attention. Jude getting tackled. Only now it was me in the background wincing. Had I been worried about him? Did I care about him? Maybe I did. At least, I think I was affected a little more when Jude took a hit than anyone else. And the next picture was of me helping him up. I was smiling. I'd been happy. For a while last night, I'd been happy.

And then I came to the last pictures. The kiss. There were three of them. In all honesty they were difficult to make out, even though I'm sure anyone could have figured out that it was me. And I was kissing a boy.

It looked like my eyes were closed, and I was holding onto his shirt, holding him to me. I didn't remember doing that. And his hand was on my arm...I remembered how it felt again. That kiss. That kiss.

I thought about kissing him, and being in bed with him. Kissing him in bed. Damn it, I was such a pervert. To make matters worse, looking at these pictures and thinking about Jude, even wearing his shirt, having it so tight against my chest, had my cock inflating. I didn't touch it though. I couldn't. If I touched it, I knew what would happen. I'd come and I'd be thinking about Jude. Not some girl. Not even the nameless guy in the magazine. It would be Jude. Someone real. Someone who I'd kissed, the image of my mistake captured on film.

I know I should have thrown the pictures away. Better yet, I should have burned them. But, like that one entry in my journal, I couldn't. I put the pictures back in the envelope, opened the bottom desk drawer and lifted out my journal, marking my dark day with the photos. I guess now, I had two dark days.


"What's wrong with you?" Bree frowned at me as I passed her in the kitchen to grab a few of the cookies she had baked the day before.

"I don't know what you're talking about." I insisted, moving over to the table where she had joined me with two glasses of milk.

"Your hair looks funny." She smirked. "And why are you wearing your coat in the house?"

"I just didn't do anything with my hair today." I frowned at her, which was true. I had left it curly on top of my head after waking up at Jude's. "And I'm cold." That was a lie. Our house was never hold. I was wearing my coat to hide the scratches on my arms.

"I like it, the hair, I mean." She smiled after studying me for a few moments, and then she reached over and took a cookie from my napkin, "So where were you last night?"

I knew she'd ask. With Bree, it was to be expected. The trick with her was to be as vague as possible.

"Out." I lifted a glass of milk and took a longer drink than necessary, hoping she'd see that my mouth was full and stop asking questions.

"Not with Marissa." She smugly replied.

Well, that made me choke on my drink and look up, wondering what Bree knew.

"She called here last night." Bree shrugged.

Shit. Fuck. This was not good. If Marissa called and found out I wasn't home, then it really wasn't good. I must have looked worried because Bree laughed.

"Relax." She insisted. "I told her you were sleeping."

"Thanks." I replied, relieved.

"So, where were you?" she asked.

"Just a party." I shrugged.

"All night?"

"So?" I frowned.

"It's just not like you." She shrugged.

"Why not?"

"Oh, come on, Quinn. When was the last time you stayed out all night?" she laughed.

I had to think about that for a second.

"Never." Bree informed me.

"So what?" I frowned, getting annoyed with these questions, "I just lost track of time."

"So were you with another girl?" she smirked.

"What?" I demanded.

"You were out all night without Marissa. I'm just wondering if it was because you met another girl." Bree shrugged, "It's not like I'll tell anyone."

"There isn't another girl." I stated. At least I could be sure about that.

"Fine." Bree sighed, "So who's party was it? Did you go with anyone I know?"

"What's with all the questions? Cant you ever just shut up?" I suddenly snapped, causing Bree to lean back in her chair and frown at me.

"Sorry." She muttered, "You never had a problem with me asking questions before."

"Look, I'm sorry." I sighed, "I'm just tired, okay? I didn't mean to snap at you."

"Alright." Bree shrugged, "So when are you meeting Brad?"


"It's Saturday." Bree pointed out. "You always go out with Brad on Saturdays."

"Oh," I frowned, lifting my glass after dividing up the remainder of cookies on my napkin to split with Bree, "actually, I think I'm gonna skip it today. I need a nap."

She was looking at me suspiciously. I decided to ignore it and I forced a smile before turning to go back to my room, taking my snack with me. I knew that I usually spent my Saturdays with Brad, but this was a different kind of Saturday. After last night I wasn't entirely sure how to face anyone, even my best friend.

But, when I got to my room I felt like I should at least call Brad and let him know. If I didn't, I'd probably hear from him soon enough anyways. It was already one o'clock. I picked up the phone where it rested in its cradle on my nightstand and dialed the number that had been familiar ever since I'd memorized it at five years old.

"What are you doing?" the voice on the other end answered. No hello. Just, what are you doing? It was Brad's voice. I guess these days caller ID makes it easier to skip the pleasantries.

"Hey," I smiled, sitting back on my bed. "I was just about to take a ridiculously long nap."

"Marissa wear you out that bad last night?" he laughed.

"Actually, I didn't go out with Mar last night." I admitted, and then quickly continued before he could ask why, "Hey, I was calling because I think we were supposed to get together today and I'm kinda worn. Do you wanna get together tomorrow instead?"

"No way." Brad stated, "we had plans today, remember? Mom's letting me get that cell phone and you promised you'd go with me."

"Er." I groaned, "right."

"Are you still thinking about getting one too?"

"I don't know." I admitted, "I guess. I'm just not sure I want to pay for it. I promised my mom I'd cut back my hours at work. She's still under the impression that Bree isn't okay here all by herself when no one's home."

I'd been working in the mall for the last year at a stand that sold sunglasses. It had seemed like the perfect place for me to work, I didn't seem to have any trouble selling and I could hang out with my friends at the same time as I worked. The only drawback was that I usually worked until nine at night, leaving right after I dropped Bree off after school. My sister was sixteen and perfectly fine staying by herself, but my mom felt guilty about working long hours and preferred me to be home with Bree so she wouldn't get lonely.

"You should think about it anyways." Brad insisted. "They have really cheap plans now, besides, the only things you ever spend you money on is gas and Marissa. Get something for you, Quinn."

"Maybe." I replied, "But do we have to do it today?"

"Yes." He stated, "In fact, I'll be parked outside your house in fifteen minutes."

"Brad, wait..."

He hung up before I could argue. I frowned, placing the phone back on its cradle and stood up, my eyes wandering to my bottom desk drawer. Maybe I could leave my problems in that drawer for a few hours and go out with my best friend. That would be the normal thing to do. I mean, just because I was suffering from a complete identity crisis was no reason to let people know something was wrong by hiding away.

Getting out would be good for me. Maybe I could get my mind off Jude. And yet, when I looked in the mirror before I went out to meet Brad, I had no desire to change my shirt. Or Jude's shirt. I hadn't taken it off since this morning. But that's just because it was comfortable. After all, there was no other reason why I'd want wear it, I mean, why should there be?


I walked alongside Brad, towards the food court as he tried to figure out how to program numbers into his new phone. I'd decided to get one too, only because Brad talked me into it. I was nowhere near as interested in it as he was. Mine had gone right into my back pocket. Besides, I was too distracted to care about cell phones, anyway.

Hanging out with Brad had done little for my nerves. I kept thinking about last night. I guess thinking about it was to be expected, though. It was strange, knowing what I'd done. I felt like everyone who looked at me knew. Knew I kissed another guy. And maybe Taylor didn't have the photos, but that didn't mean that he wouldn't tell people. Maybe he already had. Maybe it didn't just feel like people were looking at me, maybe they really were looking at me.

I mean, if Taylor told Trina about what he saw, I doubt that she'd hesitate before telling as many people as she could. After all, she'd made it pretty clear that she'd been happy to hear about the rumors about Marissa.

"Hey Brad?" my thoughts were driving me crazy. I needed to have an actual conversation, not that I knew where I was going with it, "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure." He replied, still looking down at his phone. I grabbed his sleeve and pulled him out of the way before he ran into some people walking in the opposite direction and then released him again.

"We've been friends for a long time, right? I mean, we know pretty much everything about each other."

"Yeah." He laughed.

"Well...what if...what if there was something about me that you didn't know, or something about you that I didn't know, something big. I mean, would it be like lying, if one of us kept something like that from the other?"

"Like a secret?" he asked, glancing up only briefly from his phone.

"Yeah, I guess."

"Well, you know all of my secrets." He smirked, "I mean, who do you think I tell them all to?"

"True." I smiled, "but...what if I had one? What if there was something about me that I couldn't tell you, I mean, something big, like, so big that maybe you'd never want to talk to me again."

He lowered his phone then and regarded me curiously.

"You know you can tell me anything, Quinn...is there something that you want to tell me?"

"No." I said quickly. "I'm just being hypothetical."

"Why?" he laughed.

"I don't know." I shrugged, "I guess I was just curious if there was anything I could ever do to make you hate me."

"I doubt it." I laughed. "I mean, you're talking about keeping secrets, right? Like if there was something you didn't want me to know about you?"

"I guess. And then maybe if you somehow found out about it later...would you be pissed that I didn't tell you?"

"I guess it depends." He replied, "I mean, if it was a secret that had something to do with me, and like, it was serious, I'd probably be pissed that I didn't hear about it from my best friend. But, if it has to do with you, then I figure you'd tell me when you're ready, you know? I mean, we don't have to know everything about each other to be friends. And, I doubt that I could ever hate you for anything, Quinn."

I guess that was supposed to be relieving. Hearing Brad say that he wouldn't hate me. Only, I wasn't sure that it was true. I mean, if he knew I kissed guy...if he knew my secrets, the thoughts I had, the ones that I didn't share with anyone...would he still feel the same way? I honestly didn't want to find out. I needed to be normal again. I needed to be the guy who had a great family, the perfect girlfriend and a reliable best friend.

But these thoughts, these feelings I had towards other guys weren't going away, no matter how hard I tried, sometimes I felt like they had taken over. And last night, and Jude...I had a feeling that it had changed everything. I just wasn't sure how yet.

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