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 six

"Quinn!" I looked up from where I'd been remaking my bed after Jude had messed it up to see Bree storming up the stairs, into my room, looking furious.

I'd expected this. Jude had walked out less than fifteen minutes ago and I knew that Bree would somehow blame me for it. Maybe under normal circumstances I would have handled this situation delicately. After all, she was my baby sister and I knew she liked Jude. But, I was still reeling from the second kiss that he gave me, and my mind felt so melted that there was no way I could handle anything rationally.

"Drop it, Bree." I snapped, before she could get anything else out.

My sister stopped and stared at me, obviously put off by my tone. I rarely ever snapped at her. But, the shock wore off soon enough and she continued to storm over to where I was standing and I glared at her as she snatched the pillow out of my hands just as I was about to put it back on the bed.

"What did you say to him?" she demanded. "Damn it, Quinn! Why do you have to be such an asshole to every guy who looks at me? It was cute when I was younger but you're turning into a real pain in the ass! I can't stand it anymore! Jude was a nice guy and whatever you said..."

"I didn't do anything!" I shot back at her, "and for your information Bree, he is not a nice guy. God, this is all your fault! Why didn't you just listen, Bree? You knew I didn't want him here and you invited him over anyways! And guess what? Jude's not interested in you! He never was, so shut the fuck up and get out!"

My sister looked at me wide-eyed. I knew the fact that I was actually screaming at her, hurt her feelings. But at the moment, I didn't care. I had my own problems to deal with, like all of the aggravating thoughts of Jude rushing through my mind, or the fact that I could still taste him on my mouth and had no desire to go brush my teeth.

"Get out!" I screamed at her.

Bree jumped, right before she narrowed her eyes at me, glowering. I frowned right back as she threw my pillow at me. I caught it and watched as she stormed out of my room, before I sank down on my still unmade bed and buried my face under the pillow.

It didn't take long for me to feel like a complete jackass, either.

Like I said, Bree and me, were close. We didn't often fight, and while I was still angry with her for inviting Jude over, which I would adamantly argue that she never should have done in the first place, I still felt guilty for upsetting her. After all, Jude could have left before dinner. He was going to leave. I was the one who invited him to stay. I guess that was just stupidity on my part. Maybe I shouldn't have snapped at Bree like that. Not all of this was her fault.

Maybe I was a little overprotective when it came to my sister, but in many ways, Bree was all I had. My mom was always working to support us, I had just broken up with Marissa, Brad was always busy with his own family, his mom expecting another baby, and all. Without Bree, I would be more alone than I already felt.


Jude said something that was still ringing in my ears. I could have the life that I'd planned out for myself, but no one in it would know the real me. I'd end up miserable in the end. Was he trying to say that I'd end up alone? Was he right?

Whatever. What did Jude know about it anyways? He was the one who was alone. Alone in that little apartment. He still thought I was gay, too. the guy was obviously out of his damned mind.

A few kisses...even enjoyable kisses...didn't mean anything. It was obvious what was going on here. I was just confused. I'd been just fine before I ever met Jude. Sure, I'd had my problems in the past, but I'd learn to live with them. I'd been just fine, living with them. The only reason why I was having difficulty now, was because of Jude. It was all his fault. I knew what was going on here. I'd heard all about those scheming homosexuals, out to recruit you and draw you into a life of sin. I think I saw it on a flier somewhere. Jude was one of those. Yeah. That made sense.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't entirely realistic, but I couldn't be gay. Not the way that Jude thought I was. And why did he have to think that? What made me gay, anyways? Because I could find other males appealing and attractive? Because I liked the idea of a hard, masculine body against mine opposed to a soft, small, female body? Well, it didn't matter who I was attracted to. I had a choice. I could choose to be normal, to date girls, to grow up and marry one.

It would be better that way, to be normal. Being...the way that Jude was... gay, wasn't an option. Being gay would only ruin my life. I'd lose everything important to me. All of my friends. It would destroy my family. My mother would never accept it. Bree, she'd feel like I betrayed her. We were supposed to know everything about each other. I couldn't even think about what would happen if Bree hated me. I couldn't live like that. I needed to be normal. I needed to be accepted.

I left my bed and went over to my desk, this time opening the top drawer, where I kept my prescription. Sleep aids, gotta love them. A while back I'd had some trouble with insomnia. And, believe it or not it had nothing to do with my usual mental issues. It had everything to do with school, worrying over keeping a few grades up last year during the entire month of finals. It got so bad that I was doing yard work and two in the morning, trying to tire myself out. Finally my mom took me to have something prescribed.

I didn't take the pills very often, only when I really needed them. But, I'd discovered an interesting side affect early on; I didn't dream.

Every once in a while when I had dreams that I wouldn't consider normal, meaning dreams about guys more than a few nights in a row, I'd take the pills. I had a feeling that I'd need them tonight, especially with everything rushing through my head, so I took two. I really only needed one, but the extra dose worked like a charm, and I went out like a light.


I sleepily glanced at the clock over the stove as I arranged the glass of orange juice on the tray, next to the plate of very sloppy looking pancakes that I'd drawn strawberry and whipped cream smiley faces on. According to the clock it was five minutes before six thirty in the morning, and I was right on time. I took the tray and made my way up to the second floor, the first door on the right and entered silently without knocking.

Maybe Bree was growing up, but her room wouldn't suggest that.

She liked pink, just like when she was little. Her walls were pink, her carpet was pink, and of course her bed was pink. I'd helped her paint some of her furniture purple a while back, just to add contrast, but if you ever wanted to walk into a girl's room, then my sister's was it.

Bree was also the biggest slob I knew, at least when it came to her own personal space. Her floor was littered with laundry while her hamper was empty, and her shelves were covered in half full glasses of beverages. I had to clear some aside before I placed the tray near her bed and I turned off her alarm, due to go off in less than a minute. I was going to wake her up and apologize for last night, but before I could get around to it, I couldn't help myself and started cleaning.

I picked up her clothes from the floor, folding them as I dropped them in the hamper, and I took the food and fresh drink from the tray, placed them on the nightstand and reloaded the tray with all of the other dishes in her room.

I was just placing the last dirty dish on the tray when I felt something hit my back and I spun around to find that Bree had thrown her pillow at me and now she was sitting up, her pajamas were rumpled and her hair was a mess, and even with her sleepy eyes she managed to glare hard enough at me to make me flinch.

"What are you doing?" she demanded in her low, more menacing voice.

"Apologizing." I immediately said, lifting the plate of pancakes and putting on my best puppy-face as I showed her the pancakes, "see, happy faces."

She crossed her arms and looked away from me, but I could see a small smile curling her lips, so I made myself comfortable on the edge of her bed and placed the pancakes in her lap.

"Those look awful." She muttered.

"That's because I can't cook anywhere near as good as you can." I replied, matter of factly. Flattery definitely couldn't hurt. Her smile even became more apparent as she stuck her index finger into the whip cream and then licked it off.

"You were really mean." She informed me.

"I know."

"You yelled at me."

"I know."

"And you cleaned my room." She said, in utter disgust.

"I know," I smirked, as I watched her eat a strawberry. "So am I forgiven?"

"Maybe," she frowned, glancing sideways at me, "put it back first."


"My room!" she glared at me, "put it back, you freak!"

"I did you a favor," I laughed, watching as she tried to hide her smile.

"Uh-uh, I liked it how it was, now fix it."

"Bree..." I frowned.

"Fix it, or you'll be bringing me breakfast in bed for the next year."

I took a moment to wonder if that would be worth keeping her room clean for a few hours, but ultimately I let out an audible sigh and cringed as I went back to her hamper and littered her clothes over the floor again. I didn't like it, and she knew it, but it made her giggle, so I guess it was worth it. When I put the hamper down I turned back and found her smiling at me, but then she looked towards the dishes I'd picked up and my smile faded.

"Don't even think about it!" I stated, plopping back down at her bed, "those are going right to the kitchen, Miss Piggy. There was milk in one of those!"

Bree laughed and scooted over so I could sit next to her, a sure sign that I was forgiven as she handed me the fork I brought as she began to pick at the food with her fingers. I shook my head at her, but used the fork and shared anyways.

"Mm," she mumbled, "how can you make something look so...awful, and taste so good at the same time?"

"You mean just like your meatloaf?" I remarked and she elbowed me.

"Don't push it." She laughed, "You're still on thin ice, mister."

"Hey, I said I was sorry," I pointed out. "And I really am, Bree. I shouldn't have yelled at you."

"No, you shouldn't have. And you shouldn't have scared Jude off, either."

I frowned at that. I really hoped that we weren't about to get into another fight.

"Look, Bree...there's something you need to know about Jude..." I wasn't really sure where I was going with this. I didn't want to fight with my sister and she was glaring at me again, but I definitely couldn't tell her the truth. "Jude was the one who decided to leave last night."

"Because of you."

"Yeah, and I'm glad he left." I stated, but then quickly added, "It really had nothing to do with you, though. I swear. I just don't get along with the guy."

"That's still no excuse..."

"Bree, please. Please, just stay away from him. I know you think I'm doing that protective thing..."

"Overprotective." She corrected me.

"Okay, well, I'm not. I'm sorry if you don't understand, but I really can't deal with having him around here. Please...how would you feel if I invited Maria Hanzie over here?"

Maria was what Bree referred to as her arch nemesis. They'd been friends during elementary school but, had a falling out sometime during eighth grade and had been at each other's throats ever since. I knew bringing up Maria would strike a nerve with Bree, and from the look on her face it obviously did. But, after a long moment of staring at me her expression softened and she looked down at the plate on her lap.

"So, what did Jude do to you?" she asked.

I definitely couldn't tell her that.

"It's nothing," I stated, "we just don't get along...and it really doesn't have anything to do with you. So just this once, could you please...just, forget about this one?"

She let out a breath, obviously she didn't want to agree, but when she looked up at me I was graced with a small smile.

"Just this once." She mumbled, but then added, "but you owe me."

"I can live with that." I smiled, and I could, especially if it would keep Bree from ever bringing up Jude again. From now on, I was going to dedicate every second of my time forgetting about him. I definitely didn't need the person closest to me reminding me of him.


I was doing okay. I really was. For the next two nights I took my sleeping pills, but by Thursday I didn't feel like I needed them anymore. And while I was busy not thinking about Jude, life went on as normal.

Of course there were those moments, or more specifically, every other minute, where I'd remember those things he said to me, and the way he kissed me...the way I didn't push him away. But I tried to ignore those thoughts and move on.

No one mentioned Jude, either. No one, meaning Bree. Things went on as normal with her and we continued our happy brother-sister relationship. Of course, there were a few times at school when I passed by someone from that party, but Trina had gone back to giving me dirty looks and everyone else I ignored. The only person who I ever had a problem with was Taylor. Whenever I passed him he'd give me these knowing smiles, which were difficult to ignore, no matter how hard I tried.

But meanwhile, I think I was doing well. Even the rumors about Marissa stopped, just as I knew they would. But, she decided that we should keep up the happy couple act for at least another week, just for show. I didn't object to this. In some ways I felt like I needed a cover just as much as Marissa did.

Even while Marissa and I were keeping up the act, though, I did manage to tell Brad about my ending relationship with my girlfriend as we made it to gym class on Friday afternoon. His reaction wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

"It's about damn time." He remarked.


"When you mentioned you were thinking about it, I never thought you'd actually do it." He shrugged, "but I think it's great."

"You do?" I asked incredulously.

"Well, yeah. I mean, you know I love Mar, right? But, this frees up more of your time. I mean, you two have been attached at the hip for as long as I can remember. Now you'll have all this time to do other things, you know...like guy's nights with your best friend."

"Yeah," I smirked at him, "provided your mom doesn't have you watching your brothers all the time. There's no way I want to share that job with you."

"No, dumb ass," Brag laughed, "not that I won't try to talk you into it later. But I'm serious. I mean, we're young, and for the last few years it's been like you're married or something. I mean, do you have any idea how many girls we can date now? Girls like groups, we can double. In fact, I was gonna ask Becca Amon out this weekend, if she has a friend, maybe we can double."

My instinct of course, was to automatically say no. I had enough trouble with Marissa. I'd just gotten rid of one girl because I couldn't find chemistry with her, I wasn't sure that another girlfriend would be such a good idea.

But then I thought, what the hell am I doing? Just because I couldn't find chemistry with Marissa, did that mean that I was supposed to stop dating girls all together? Hell no! If I was gay, then maybe that would be something that I stopped doing. But I wasn't gay. I was a young, single guy and it just might be a good idea to date as many girls as possible. Sure, I'd never really known another girl besides Marissa who I was actually attracted to, but maybe this was the way to find someone. Maybe this was my chance to really be normal.

"Yeah." I smiled at Brad, "See if Becca has a friend." I could see the excitement on his face, and knowing that I had his approval made me feel great. Only, I remembered something and my smile faltered. "Wait. Shit. I can't this weekend."

"Why not?" Brad frowned, "it's perfect, if I ask her today we could be going out tomorrow night."

"Because as far as everyone else is concerned, I'm still with Mar." I shrugged, "We agreed to let everyone think we're together for at least another week, until she's sure these stupid rumors about her are over with."

"That is such bull shit." Brad shook his head. "You guys aren't together. She shouldn't care if you go out."

"She won't." I insisted. "Next weekend. But seriously, we'll get together. Try to set it up with Becca."

"I will." He agreed, sounding a little disappointed.

"We'll do it." I insisted, trying to sound enthusiastic. "Just give it a week. Besides, Marissa's being pretty cool about this whole thing. If we're gonna stay friends it's the least I can do for her. Besides, it might not even be a week. Knowing Mar, she probably already has her next boyfriend lined up."

Brad fell silent, studying me for a second as we moved in through the gym and entered the locker room, that musty, soapy, sweaty scent hitting my nostrils. I always found that scent refreshing. I wouldn't say that it was a turn on. I was very careful not to let anything turn me on in the locker room. Mostly, I made sure not to let my eyes drift down past anyone's neck. Not that Jesse Arnold walking past in his jock strap didn't get my attention for a brief moment. Of course, I told myself that that was only because I had the same blue jock in my locker.

"That doesn't bother you?" Brad asked.

"What?" I asked, snapping my head around to look Brad in the eye.

"Doesn't it bother you?" he asked, "the idea of Marissa seeing someone else so soon?"

"Why would it?" I smirked, "Weren't we just talking about me dating someone else?"

"Right," Brad smiled sheepishly, "I don't know. I guess it's kinda weird. That you wouldn't be upset about it, I mean."

"We just didn't have that spark, Brad." I insisted, "if she can find it with someone else, I'm happy for her. I do love her, I think part of me always will, but..."

"Yeah, I get it." Brad smiled, "and I'm glad you guys are still going to be friends. It'll make my life easier...especially when I ask Marissa out."

I think my eyes flew out of my head after that remark, but the way Brad laughed at the look on my face told me that he was only joking.

"See, it bothers you a little." He teased, and I retaliated by shoving him into a locker, but at least I was smiling while I did it.

Still though, there was an unsettling feeling sinking in, because maybe it would bother me if my best friend and my ex-girlfriend ended up together. Just Brad's mentioning it bothered me. Unfortunately, it was nothing compared to the bad feeling I got on Monday night, when I was actually jealous of my sister, because of the attention that Jude was paying her.


Marissa made quite the picture, sitting at my booth in the mall, seated on the stool, her posture leaving nothing to be desired, her long hair hanging over her shoulders, down the green, well fitting sweater that matched the frames of the sun glasses she had taken from the booth to wear, and her long, perfectly crossed legs.

Why the hell couldn't I just feel something for her? Why didn't I want to rush over there, like any normal guy, sweep her off her feet and show her just how much I appreciate her very presence?

It was Friday afternoon, and not the first time that Marissa had come to keep me company at work. It was just the first time that she was there and we weren't together. I'd gone down to the food court to get a few drinks, and again, not for the first time, she watched the booth. She was good at it, a better sales person than I was, even.

I watched her for a few minutes, as she checked out a few pairs of sunglasses, and then the two guys who approached the other side of the booth, looking interested in the sunglasses.

But I knew better.

They were watching Marissa, even if she hadn't noticed them yet. I wondered why it wasn't in my instincts to rush over there and defend what was mine. The fact that we weren't together any more didn't matter. I wouldn't have felt the need to rush over there last week, either.

I cared about Marissa, but I guess the same protective instincts that I had with Bree didn't kick in when it came to my ex girlfriend. I'd probably be pissed if anyone hurt Marissa, but as I discussed with Brad earlier, the idea of her seeing other people really didn't bother me. That fact was proven when she finally noticed the customers at the booth and I watched as she walked around, using her flirty smile, helping them, touching their shoulders, and laughing at their jokes. She talked to them for five minutes before she made a sell, and as they left she even flirtatiously ruffled one of the guys' hair. It occurred to me that she'd never really been like that with me. But that didn't bother me either.

I waited for the guys to leave before I approached my booth, just as Marissa reclaimed the stool and smiled at me as I handed her one of the drinks.

"Thanks." She said.

"Are you going home soon?" I asked her.

"I don't know." she shrugged, "I usually stay until you get off...it's Friday."

I gave her a small smile and leaned against the booth, studying her carefully. She was avoiding my eyes. Marissa didn't avoid anyone's eyes unless she was feeling nervous, or insecure about something.

"We usually go out." I said quietly.

"Yeah." She nodded. "It's all kind of weird...you know..."

"Yeah." I agreed. "But it's..."

"Right." she nodded, looking at me.

"We can still do stuff together, Mar." I said after a moment, "I mean, I still like it when you visit me at work, and if you want to go do something when I get off..."

She suddenly stood up, that unbending smile back on her face as she lifted herself onto her toes to kiss my cheek.

"I'll see you at school on Monday." She stated. All I could do was nod at her before she walked away. Sometimes Marissa was hard to read. Breaking up with her was definitely the right thing to do, but I didn't like the idea that I might have hurt her by doing it.

When we were younger, I always knew what Marissa was thinking, mostly because she'd tell me. But lately, it seemed like the only time she told me what was bothering her, it wasn't really telling me at all. It was more like whining. I loved her, but she'd become so superficial over the last few years that it had become difficult to remember that there was still a real person under everything else.

I guess whatever she felt about this break up, she wouldn't be telling me, and just before she walked away, I got the impression that she wanted to take some space for a while. I could live with that, I just hoped that it wouldn't be for too long. More than anything else, I wanted things to be normal, with or without a steady girlfriend. Marissa just happened to be part of what was normal to me. I'd meant it before. Her friendship, it really was important to me.


Everything was dark, and warm, and there were hands. Hands touching me. They were too big, too rough, to be a girl's. My mouth felt tight, sealed, like there was another tongue against mine, kissing me. My back and legs felt strained. My cock ached, practically throbbing between my legs.

My eyes snapped open, in the dark, in the middle of the night, in my own room.

No. No. No. This could not be happening.

For three days, everything was fine. Everything was normal. There were no dreams, intrusive thoughts were pushed aside, and now...this.

I was sweating, sweating so bad that I could feel it dripping off my face, and my sheets felt damp under my back. My hips, were lifted off the bed, my knees bent, my body straining. I was actually sucking on my own tongue, curled in my mouth. My boxers felt wet, stained with pre-come, and my hand was around my cock. Tightly. So tight it hurt. I was on the verge of coming, one more touch, once more movement and I'd go over the edge.

Some people might like to wake up this way. Not me. Not after dreaming about... I don't know who. But it sure as hell wasn't some girl. Girls didn't have this kind of affect on my subconscious. Girls didn't have this kind of affect on me, period.

I couldn't let myself come, not like this. I wasn't sure exactly what the dream was, but I knew that I didn't deserve the release. People with unnatural thoughts, evil dreams, they didn't deserve release.

My hand was shaking when I forced my fingers to pry themselves away from my erection, and I swear it physically hurt to let go. I actually cried out as I let my ass drop back to the bed, and I had to hold my boxers away from my cock, afraid that even the slightest brush would set me off.

I lie there, panting, for what seemed like forever, trying to calm down, fighting every urge I had to reach for myself. I needed it to go away. I needed to go back to sleep and start the night all over again. I could do better. I could block out dreams like that.

But it wouldn't go away.

I started to think about going down to the freezer in order to pour ice down my boxers, but when I realized that it would be difficult walking that far, I ended up very slowly getting out of bed and then making my way down from the attic to the closest bathroom.

It probably seems ridiculous, that I didn't jack off to solve my problem, but it was one of my rules. I refused to masturbate knowing what I'd been thinking about. Those, unnatural thoughts.

I turned on the cold water in the shower and eased my shorts over my cock. I felt so sensitive, almost like I was about to come, or maybe it was the feeling that I usually got before I came, only stronger.

I didn't give myself any time to adjust to the cold water, I just moved right under it, jumping at the shock. I was shaking by the time my body adjusted to the temperature. There was only one problem; my erection wasn't going away, it was still there, the head against my stomach, staring directly up at me.

I closed my eyes and held my head under the water, trying not to think about the way my body seemed to be aching all over at the moment. What the hell was wrong with me? I'd been doing fine. Maybe I should have taken my pills before I went to bed, at least that way I could have slept through this if it happened. It probably wouldn't have happened if I'd taken those pills.

I closed my eyes tighter, trying to think of something normal. Marissa's legs. That was normal. The way she was sitting at my booth, earlier in the day. She looked pretty. Maybe if I tried, I could feel something more for her. It didn't matter if we were together or not. She was a girl. If I could just...

The last few moments of my dream hit me. Those moments before I woke up. Those hands on me. They were my hands, logically I knew that, but that's not the image that came to mind. That night, with Jude. He'd had his hands on me. He would have had to. He undressed me, he carried me. And then there was the way he kissed me.

I leaned back against the shower wall, whimpering my protest against these intrusive thoughts, just as I felt a jolt move through my balls, all the way down my shaky legs, and my eyes snapped open as I came. My hand was on my cock, my fingers wrapped around it.

Damn it! I didn't even have any self-control anymore. I felt defeated, just then. Pathetic.

I bit back the urge to outright scream at myself, knowing that I would have some explaining to do if I ended up waking Bree, or my mom, if she was even home. I could feel all of my emotional frustration behind my eyes as I watched my come wash past my feet and swirl down the drain, but I refused to let the unwanted tears fall.

I needed to calm down and stop thinking. It was just a dream. I needed to shake it off, and since I was in the shower, cleaning myself up wouldn't hurt, either. I felt so dirty. Completely violated by my own subconscious. I just needed to go back to bed and forget.

But, forgetting wasn't easy. I ended up back in my room, wearing my warmest pair of sweats because I was still shivering, and I paced back and forth across my floor, trying to wear myself out enough to go back to sleep. Unfortunately I was wide-awake, and there was no helping it.

My fingers itched again, itched to write. There was too much in my head.


The consequences of having Jude in my head.

The fear that he was right, that I couldn't cure myself, couldn't fix myself, couldn't make these feelings go away.

It was too much. I needed to get it out. I needed to get it all out. I did the only thing that I could do. I tore open the bottom drawer of my desk, tore out my journal and ignored the way that all of those pictures fell next to me as I plopped down on my bed and opened my book. I lifted the pen, turned to a blank page, and then I was writing.

Dear Quinn,

It's happening again. But, it's not just again, is it? It's been happening. I can't stop it, and now it's worse than before. It's worse than Andrew, those terrible dreams of Andrew. This makes Andrew seem like an irrelevant memory.

He kissed me.

More specifically, he kissed me twice.

I think I'm sick, because I liked it. It's more frightening than that, though. He knows me. He really knows me. He's in my head. He's in my dreams. He knows my secrets.

Jude scares me. He says I don't have a choice, that I have to be like this. But he's wrong. He has to be. I can't be attracted to guys. It would kill mom. Bree would hate me. Everything would be so different.

I would be wrecked.

But I can't stop thinking about it, these feelings. How do I stop them? I can't like guys. It's wrong. Jude's wrong. Why won't he believe me? Doesn't he know that if I was gay, I'd die? I couldn't live like that. I could never live like that.

I don't know why I care what he thinks. It's so ridiculous. He means nothing to me. What he thinks, means nothing to me. But I care anyways. Why do I care? I don't understand it. Why is this happening to me? Why has it been happening to me? I just want to be normal, but I can't stop thinking about it. It's not just guys anymore, not just the attraction to them.

It's him.

I can't get rid of him, get him out of my head. Does it make me evil? He kissed me and I kissed him back. I kissed him back!

I liked it. God, I liked feeling it. Feeling something. It felt real. Nothing else ever has before. But he's a guy! Does that make me sick? Does that make me wrong? A sick, pervert? What do I do? What can I do? I feel so trapped. I'm so...I'm not gay. I won't be.

I want to mean that. I really do. But what if I'm wrong? What if I can't change it?

Change it? This is wrong. There shouldn't be a problem to change in the first place. If there were, then that would mean that I could be...Jude could be right.

I'm ga...

I looked at the word I started to write and gaped at it, dropping the pen.


This had already gone too far. I couldn't do it. Not anymore. Not another dark day. A picture on the bed caught my eye. Me and Jude. Jude and me. That first kiss. I jumped away from it like the whole bed was on fire and glowered. I'd had enough. I couldn't do this anymore.

I scooped up my journal, piling the photos sloppily between the pages, sealing them in before I made my way out of the attic. I stopped downstairs briefly to grab the metal trash can from below the sink and the candle lighter that Bree was always using, and I made my way outside barefoot, ignoring the cold air. All I cared about was ending this.

I'd kept that damn journal around too long. Maybe I was afraid to get rid of it before. There was too much history in it. Too much of my life. But now, I was more afraid of not getting rid of it.

Don't ask me what I thought burning my journal and those pictures would accomplish. It was three thirty in the morning; I was exhausted, and quite possibly out of my damned mind. Realistically speaking, I knew that it wouldn't solve any of my problems, it wouldn't make the horrible thoughts, the unwanted fantasies I was having, go away. But watching it all burn, that might at least make me feel better.

I went to the back corner of the yard where it was dark and opened my journal, shaking the pictures out, into the trashcan as I knelt down. I only paused for a second before I dropped my journal on top of them. I reached in, taking one of the pictures, finding it suitable that it happened to be one of Taylor. I didn't hesitate to light the picture on fire and drop it into the can.

And then I watched.

I watched as the pictures caught fire first, crinkled up as they burned. And it reeked. It smelled horrible, but they were burning. Turning black until I couldn't recognize the images. I smiled to myself, feeling a strange sense of relief, watching those images burn. The one where I was smiling, helping Jude up off the field. The image was fading, until it was gone.

But, as the cover of my journal began to burn my smile faded. There was so much truth in that book. So much of me. My thoughts, my feelings, my wants, my needs, my fears, my secrets. Everything. I was terrified of what was in that book, but oddly enough, I was sad to see it go. Which is probably why I suddenly reached into the fire just as the pages began to burn.

I cursed as I grabbed the hot journal and pulled it away from the flames, trying to shake them away. My hand was burning. Not on fire, but the kind of burn that happens when you accidentally touch a pan that just came out of the oven.

I was so determined to save the same journal that I had been intent on destroying that I didn't notice anyone coming up behind me until I heard the hiss of the fire extinguisher. I fell back as I watched the white fog cover the garbage pale and my journal, even my hand as the fire vanished under the pressure.

I looked up, behind me to see Bree standing there, her hair as tangled as she blew it out of her face, in her pajamas and fluffy matching slippers. Her eyes were a little wide as she stared at me, obviously thinking the same thing I'd been only minutes ago; that I'd lost my mind.

"What the hell are you doing?" she demanded.

That seemed to be the question of the night. Unfortunately, I didn't have an answer for her as I quickly lifted my charred journal and dusted myself off. I looked at her blankly for a second, and then decided that just standing there wasn't helping anything.

"I'm sleepwalking," I stated. "You shouldn't wake me up."

Bree cocked her head, her eyebrow flying up, but she didn't say anything as I passed by her and made my way back into the house. I knew that I'd definitely be expected to come up with an explanation in the morning; I just hoped that I'd come up with one by then.

I made sure to lock my door from the inside. I didn't usually lock it, since the door was at the bottom of the stairs and it wasn't like normal doors. The only way to lock it was to slide the board in place. Sometimes it reminded me of living in a barn, because everything in the attic was wooden. It even had that smell, almost like when you first walk into a log cabin, but I liked it. I was safe in my room. Well, as long as Jude wasn't walking in, or anyone else for that matter...it was safe.

If I thought about it, I guess we all have things that reflect who we are. My room did that. It was like one big body, the same way I appeared on the outside. Clean. Organized, in control. And as I tucked my charred journal back into my drawer I realized why I couldn't let it go. It was like a reflection of who I was on the inside. Terrified, confused, a general mess. I guess maybe I thought about things too much.

Maybe that was part of my problem.


"Do you know who Elise Welps is?"

"Um, she's a freshman, isn't she?" I asked, leaning back on my bed, holding the phone to my ear.

Last night I had taken more sleeping pills after my outing into the back yard, and I'd ended up sleeping until three o'clock in the afternoon. Bree had come to my door a few times, knocking. I knew she was worried about me, but I was avoiding her, not ready to give her an explanation about what had happened last night.

But, I couldn't avoid the phone in my room when Brad had called.

"Right." he said, "and according to Becca, Elise likes you. Really likes you."

"She's kinda young." I frowned.

"Not really," Brad insisted, "and think about it, it's not like she runs in the same circles as Marissa, so there shouldn't be a problem when you go out with her tonight."

"What?" I demanded, sitting up, "Brad, you know I can't. I told Marissa..."

"Oh, come on, Quinn! Please? I've got it all set up with Becca, we just gotta pick them up at seven. And I know you're trying to be a friend to Mar, but you're not going out with her anymore."

I thought about that for a second. I wasn't with Marissa any more. If I was still with her, I'd be eager to go out with her tonight, if anything to remind myself that despite the dream I had last night, I was still interested in dating girls. Maybe it couldn't hurt to go out with Brad tonight. Maybe Elise was a little young, but I'd seen her around and she seemed nice enough. It wasn't like anything was going to happen between us, anyways. Getting out, getting my mind off of things, that's what I needed. Ignoring the problem had worked just fine up until last night. If I started ignoring it again, that would be just fine with me.

"Are you driving, or am I?" I asked.


"Yeah." I replied, "I mean, you're right. I'm not with Mar anymore. Lets just...make sure we go somewhere private. If anyone sees us..."

"I know." he laughed, "Marissa will kill us both. Don't worry about it, and I'll drive. Thanks Quinn."

"Yeah." I mumbled, "I'll see you in a few hours."

I hung up the phone and sat up, trying to decide whether or not I wanted a shower before my date. I definitely had some cleaning up to do, so I went to my closet, grabbed some fresh sheets and began to strip my bed. I wanted to come home to a made bed later. Fresh. Clean. New. I hoped that it would help me sleep better.

I paused though, when a picture I missed fell from between the sheets and I was faced with the image of me kissing Jude again. I sort of looked upwards, wondering if the universe was trying to play some cruel joke on me. I didn't look at the picture again, as I picked it up and took a moment no open my desk drawer, where I placed it back in my journal, with all of my other secrets.


Elise was pretty. She didn't have that classic beauty that attracted me to Marissa, but noticing that she was pretty seemed like a good thing to me. I mean, no sparks yet, but maybe I could be attracted to other girls.

I noticed right away, however, that I was nowhere near as comfortable around her as I was with Marissa. That was probably because I'd known Marissa forever. That, and Marissa never looked at me the way that Elise looked at me. I guess maybe the way that Elise was looking at me was the way that Marissa was supposed to look at me.

When Brad said that the girl liked me, he wasn't kidding. I'm not sure what it was about her that made me uncomfortable. Maybe it was the way that she made her interest in me obvious, hooking her arm with mine whenever the opportunity was there, or the way that she laughed or smiled every time I opened my mouth.

I noticed that Elise's hair was the same color as Jude's. Her bangs even fell over her forehead the same way. I guess I probably shouldn't have been comparing her to a guy, specifically that one, but I couldn't help it.

Brad had come up with the perfect solution to avoid being seen by anyone we knew who might get the impression that I was cheating on Marissa. We ended up at the older theater on the other side of the city. It was a run down place, but there was no chance we'd run into anyone we knew, or so I thought.

The drawback was that we passed by Jude's apartment building on the way there, and I couldn't help thinking about the way I'd woken up there only a week ago today. I tried to shake it off though, telling myself that all of that was behind me.

When we reached the theater we went right into the first show. It wasn't very crowded and we sat in the middle of the theater. I was a little put off when Brad and Becca sat in the row ahead of Elise and me. Brad just winked back at me, and as the lights dimmed he wasted no time putting his arm around Becca, and the next thing I knew, I was watching them make out instead of watching the show.

It had been a while since I'd watched Brad make out with anyone. It wasn't that he didn't have good luck when it came to girls, far from it, actually. I doubted that there were many girls in our school who would turn him down if he asked them out. He looked good, he was popular, and he could literally charm the pants off of anyone he wanted. But, he really was busy with his family most of the time. His family was definitely bigger than mine, but just as close.

I began to think about how Brad would probably never do anything to disappoint his family. They would always love him. I wasn't sure that I could say the same thing about mine after my behavior during the last week.

I watched how easy it was for Brad, kissing Becca like that. He was completely into it, his hand in her hair, holding her close. I didn't really know what that felt like. I wondered if I ever would. It was like Brad wasn't aware that the rest of the world existed. And he was kissing a girl. Just the way he should be. There was nothing wrong with him. He wasn't sick. He wasn't a pervert. He wasn't like me.

I looked over at my date. She was looking at me, not the movie. She had a shy smile on her face, one that I didn't believe for a second, because I was pretty sure that Elise was anything but shy. I decided to smile back anyways, and then I decided to step up and be a man, or at least a normal teenage boy as I placed my hand over hers, closing my fingers over her smaller ones. They were greasy, her fingers, from the popcorn, but my actions seemed to please her. And then I did something that I never would have done with Marissa in a theater; I leaned over and kissed Elise.

I guess I was surprised by her actions. It wasn't the hesitant, awkward kiss that I was accustomed to, although it was completely awkward for me. At first it felt like she was licking my lips, tasting and smelling like popcorn and pop, even a little like licorice. It wasn't very pleasant, but I opened my mouth anyways, pressing my tongue out and I was again surprised how she sucked it right into her mouth. The kiss was sloppy at first, but soon we had a rhythm down.

This isn't so bad, I thought. It didn't send sparks off in my head, and it didn't send the desired message to rest of my body. But, I was making out properly with a girl. Mission accomplished. I didn't even have to keep my eyes open to avoid fantasizing about another blonde, who's lips had recently been on mine. Her small, flickering tongue and the smell of her perfume, mixed with the natural theater aroma were enough to keep me in reality.

I wondered if I could see Elise again. Maybe dating a girl who actually wanted to do things other than hold my hand would help. Maybe if I could have some type of physical reaction to Elise I'd stop being confused. Not that I was having one now, but it was just kissing. There was nothing special about kissing, right?

When we finally did pull back I noticed that her lipstick was smeared. I'll be honest, that kinda grossed me out. I'd never been a fan of makeup. That was always the nice thing about Marissa; she never really wore much because she didn't really need it. Maybe some around her eyes, and a little lip-gloss. I was afraid that Elise had left some of that lipstick on my face, and wondered if it would be rude to wipe it off in front of her, as I forced myself to smile back.

Elise lifted her soda, but the cup made that gargling sound happens when it's empty and people turned to look. She didn't seem to mind but I was slightly put on edge, because Brad looked too. He must have seen something on my face because he grinned at me and then winked. I guess I should have felt proud. Brad obviously approved of me making out with Elise. They way he looked at me even made me feel good about it, only, there was something bothering me too. It was like, all of a sudden, looking at her, that smeared lipstick, that expression on her face that said she expected me to kiss her again...it started to make me nauseas.

It wasn't because I thought girls were icky or anything like that. Actually, I'm not sure what my problem was, but I felt like I needed to get away from her. It was like the theater suddenly felt very crowded, and I needed air. I did manage to keep my smile, though, as I took her empty cup and held it up, indicating that I was going to refill it. Elise just smiled at me and moved her knees to the side as I got up and passed her down the narrow isle.

I never liked leaving my seat in the middle of a movie, even if I wasn't really watching it. I didn't like that I couldn't see where I was going, and I didn't like the shadows of the people in their seats. For some reason, this time really bothered me. I felt like someone was watching me. I felt like everyone was watching me because they knew. They knew I'd kissed a pretty girl and it hadn't done anything for me.

I walked a little faster, feeling relieved when I moved out into the lit hallway. Only, the hall seemed longer than I remembered, and it was empty, quiet, unlike the loud theater. There were a few trashcans against the walls, but the floor seemed littered with napkins, cups, popcorn, and again I found myself wondering if anyone knew how to use a garbage cans these days.

I took a deep breath and headed slowly down the hall, deciding that I should refill Elise's drink before I got back, not that I was in any hurry to get back.

I heard the sound of a door swing open behind me, shattering the silence of the hall with the booming noise of the movie playing and I jumped, the effect seeming somewhat eerie. I didn't look back, though. I rarely looked over my shoulder when someone was walking behind me. I could always sense it though, especially when they were close. Someone was close this time, and I heard my name, and a voice that made me cringe.

"Quinn Moore."

I turned around then, frowning.

"What do you want, Taylor?" I demanded, and then became distracted when I noticed that his dark red hair had become purple at some point. He just smiled that cocky grin of his as he came closer.

"You're a busy guy, aren't you?" he remarked, standing right in front of me. Taylor made me nervous. Just about as nervous as Jude made me. I guess that was because the last time I'd encountered him, I was pretty sure that he'd hit on me. Not to mention that I hated him for that whole picture incident. "I'm pretty sure that wasn't your girlfriend you were with."

"So?" I frowned.

"So first Jude, now the little girl in there that you've got all fooled...who else are you kissing?"

"Just stay away from me, Taylor." I glared, before I turned and started walking away.

"I know your secret." He called after me in a sing-song way, which made me spin around again, feeling angry.

"You don't know anything!"

"Right." he smirked, "only what I saw. Don't even try to say that Jude was the one who kissed you. From where I was standing, you sure seemed to be enjoying yourself." He moved closer even as he said it, while I stood there, confused.

Why was Taylor doing this? He said that he never would have used the pictures. He could have spread it around that I'd been at that party, what I did at that party, but he hadn't. None of them had. So why was he doing this to me now? Did he change his mind? Was he blackmailing me?

"What do you want?" I demanded, but my words were cut short when he suddenly lifted his hand to my face as he bit at his bottom lip, his thumb moving roughly over my mouth, wiping at Elise's lipstick. It didn't take me very long to flinch and shove his hand away, but it came right back up, cupping the side of my face and my eyes widened as Taylor leaned forward and covered my mouth with his.

I wasn't sure what it was with guys kissing me this week, but I was beginning to wonder if there was a big neon sign on my ass, drawing them to me. And Taylor? I wasn't sure what shocked me more; the fact that he had the nerve to kiss me, or the fact that he was doing it so gently.

And I could feel his body, pressed against mine, hard chest, Wide shoulders. That was a feeling that I found appealing, only another reminder of why kissing girls did nothing for me. And that was a problem. It wasn't just Jude. That was beginning to sink in. It was me. I liked it.

But, unlike with Jude, as soon as the shock wore off with Taylor, I didn't hesitate to push him away. I backed against the wall, wide eyed, as he smirked at me and the realization that he had just kissed me in a public place began to sink in. And it not only enraged me, it scared the hell out of me.

"What the fuck are you doing?" I screamed at him.

"Well, since you seemed to like it so much with Jude." He shrugged, obviously not seeing or not caring how pissed off I was at him. But it was what he said that got to me, the way he said that I liked it with Jude.

And so what if I did like kissing Jude? Who the hell was he to assume that I'd like kissing him too?


I liked kissing Jude. I knew it. Taylor knew it. It was like he was trying to prove a point. He was saying I was gay. Because I liked kissing boys. And even more disturbing, after Taylor kissed me I felt a sense of guilt, like I was betraying Jude or something. Why the hell would I feel like that? What the hell was wrong with me?

I could feel myself panicking, and when he took a step towards me again my whole body flinched away from him and I dropped the cup I'd been holding, my shaking hands unable to hold it.

"You know there's nothing wrong with it." Taylor said. "If your confused, Quinn, I wouldn't mind helping you out."

I'm sure he wouldn't mind helping me out. When he lifted his hand, I only assumed that he was reaching for me and I suddenly straightened and slapped it away.

"Stay the fuck away from me!" I screamed at him, right before fleeing down the hall. I could hear Taylor laughing behind me. He was mocking me. Mocking me because he knew the truth. He knew my secret. I was some sort of sick pervert who got off on other guys. I couldn't be gay. Why didn't they understand that? Why wouldn't they all just leave me alone?

I ran out of the theater, stopping when I realized that I didn't have my car. Brad had driven me. Shit. I was on a date. But I couldn't go back in there. I just couldn't. I saw a city bus, pulling up to the corner to pick people up. I didn't care where it was going. I didn't even bother to ask. I just needed time to think. I got on board and cowered in a seat near the front.

The night before, my journal, that unfinished, came back to me.

I'm gay.

No. Impossible.

I liked guys. I was attracted to them. That didn't have to mean anything. I could be normal. I could date girls. I could get married. I could have kids. I was normal. I had a choice. Jude said he didn't have a choice. I wondered why, because the way I saw it, he did.

Jude. Jude. Jude. That face, those eyes, that kiss. His words. He seemed to know me. So why would he say I had no choice? He knew me. He knew my secrets, not just the way that Taylor knew my secret. Jude really knew me. I wanted to know why. Why couldn't I choose? Why couldn't I be normal? Feel normal? I had to know. I had to know why it wouldn't stop, why I felt more comfortable with an asshole like Taylor's lips on mine instead of Elise's or Marissa's. I had to know what the fuck was wrong with me.

When I finally got off the bus, I felt disoriented and panicked as I made my way into the building and up the stairs where I knocked on the old door until my knuckles hurt and it swung open, a very irritable looking Jude standing on the other side, still holding a toothbrush in his mouth.

His jeans were low on his hips, but there was no sign of underwear, just skin, slightly golden skin, his trim, developed bare chest, the light, sparkling thin trail of hair leading down his naval and disappearing into his pants, the small brown freckle on his flat stomach, just to the left of his belly button.

Yes, I did take time to look, but then my confused eyes were on his blue ones and I saw surprise register as he pulled the toothbrush from his mouth, but before he could get any words out, I'd pushed my way right into his apartment.



Comments Questions send to DomLuka@aol.com