Varsity Commitment

 

Chapter 13. It's Over Before it has Begun

 

 My mind had given in to Kenton. I couldn't get him out of my thoughts. He was everywhere. I even caught myself writing on my papers: `Brice Kronis', and `Kenton Crowns', `Kenton and Brice'... hearts, and flowers surrounding our names in fancy lettering.

Ugh! I was just taking things over board. I was making something out of nothing... but it felt good to me.

As good as thinking about Kenton made me feel, I had a flash of Bram in my head. It was like my heart didn't want me to forget about him either.

I could only wish that one of them were my boyfriend. A deeper level of care, a stronger energy to bond on. I wonder could I show Bram how to be a good boyfriend if he was with me? Or finally touch Kenton's hair if he was with me?

I was left scribbling. Scribbling on my notebook: `Brice Hails?' or `Brice Kronis', weighing the two last names out wondering which one sounded the best with my name. Which one could treat me right? Which one would be the longest lasting boyfriend?

Throwing everything aside, I decided Bram had been a good boy. Now he can hear my voice. He earned it.

I picked up my cell, scrolling through all the missed calls Bram left me. Picking his number out of the call log, I dialed it for the first time in forever.

Biting my lip, and praying that he answered. Hoping that he didn't give me a dry `hi' followed by a hang up. I had no idea what to expect from Bram. I didn't even know if he would recognize my number.

It has just been that long.

Come on... Come on... I shook timidly. Answer, answer!

His ringtone was playing the same song I heard him play for me on the bus that day: Bruno Mars with B.O.B `Nothin On You' while I waited for his answer.

Ringtone: "Beautiful girls all over the world. I could be chasing, but my time would be wasting they got nothing on you baaaaby..."

My mind traveled into space imagining Bram singing the lyrics to me, replacing `girls' with `guys'. I need to stop...

"Hello?" Bram answered surprisingly, it caught me off guard. I mentally stumbled.

I answered back, "Hey."

"Brice?"

"Yes."

"Is that you?" He wondered, "Oh no way!" He excitedly piped. "You finally called me."

"Yes." Was all I could say, it was all I kept saying. I was completely flushed! I didn't know how to react after thinking about him singing that song to me.

"Finally!" he sighed in relief. As if God had answered his prayers. "I can hear your soft voice again."

"Yeah..." I nervously said, not knowing if this was a good thing. Lately I'm seeing Kenton and Bram pulling my characteristics out in front of me. It is almost like calling me out but not in a negative way.

"You called at the right time." He smiled through the phone. "I have a lot to tell you, man." He rushed out.

"I'm all ears." I told him.

"Alright, I hope you are ready for this." He groaned, into the phone as his excitement gradually drained from him. "Okay, well, I'm going to start off like this... you were right." he said in shame.

I was right? I was right about what?

"Melissa broke up with me." his tone was sad. I tried not to rejoice at the break up, but it was the sound of victory. I didn't want him to think the wrong thing if I did.

"What? Why?" I played concerned, secretly grinning at the whole outcome.

"She said, she felt smothered in our relationship," he hesitantly said. "She brought up something about me calling her too much." He weakly went on.

"What!"

"Yeah, then she says, `It's not me, it's her'." He told me offended. Melissa must be crazy.

"Oh, how typical," I tacked on.

"I know. Then she had the nerve to end up dating Trent a couple days later." He fussed.

"What the..."

"My point exactly." He interrupted, "I should have listened to you. I feel so stupid now. I should have listened to what you said." He admitted shamefully. "I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt, and look at what happened."

"I did try to give you a heads up about the calling, and the Trent thing." I sort of lied. "But I thought you didn't believe me."

I can't believe another convincing lie I told in the past has become the truth. What in the world is going on? First it was Kent and Saleen. Now it's Bram and Melissa. Was it a lucky guess or a lucky lie?

"Brice?"

"Yes."

"Please forgive me..." Bram paused catching his breath. "Please forgive me for not listening to you, ok?"

"I forgive you, Bram." I said trying not to melt over the phone. "You were already forgiven."

His golden voice was low now. "I'm sorry, man." he was breaking down. "That is probably the reason you haven't been talking to me lately, because I didn't listen to you... but I'm so, so sorry about it all."

That wasn't the real reason, but if that's what he thought, who am I to change it?

I felt a sense of arousal, heat, and fluttering bouncing off my insides. Bram pleading to me? Melissa cutting their relationship strings? What does this mean for me?

The rest of our phone conversation was devoted to cheering Bram up, and catching up on all the weeks of our lost time.

I brought my cheerleading to the phone. Pumping up his spirits as if he was on the field. Getting him motivated as if he was preparing for a big game.

That's my football player, my sexy wide receiver.

 

 

School changed in more ways than one. Things had dramatically changed since the beginning of school.

Amber and Saleen were bumping heads now. Melissa was sitting with Trent White (her new boyfriend). Levi was not sitting with me at lunch anymore. Instead he sat with Laura and Shelby at a different table. Kenton considered me as a friend now. Bram needed my support for his broken heart. School had changed dramatically.

Even though Levi didn't eat lunch with me anymore, I was alone for a while, but I wasn't anymore.

Kenton started eating lunch with me. When he first saw me sitting alone, he asked me the same question he did at the 5th quarter,  `Why are you sitting alone?' ever since then, I've been  eating with him at the stone tables outside.

Bram tagged along later, after the conversation we had on the phone, he was so excited to have me talking to him and to have my help in healing his broken heart that he ate lunch with me too.

It was strange for the three of us to sit at one table. Kenton and Bram both claimed me as a friend, but they were bitter rivals with each other.

They exchanged bitter looks at each other, while we all sat there eating. I had to give both of them separate but equal attention.

Bram started hanging around me more and more. Ultimately taking Levi's place. Kenton was always around when I turned my head too.

Kenton would always ask me, `Why do you associate with lames like Bram?' when Bram was not around.

Bram was asking me the same things. When he wrote me letters or called me, he would say, "How could I put up with Kenton's shattered soul?'

Their tensions were rising, and they were constantly spitting bad words in my ear about one another. It was turmoil. I was the force that balanced Kenton's cockiness out. I was also the force that balanced Bram.

Not too long ago Bram called me, sounding very sad, telling me: how he wasn't a good boyfriend to Melissa and how I was supposed to had been there to teach him. He kept saying I should have helped him when he asked me for help.

It was an odd situation, because I responded to him in a way I didn't think I would, but it was true. I reminded him, I didn't know how to be a boyfriend either. So how was I supposed to help? I informed him that we were in the same boat in that matter.

His feelings were up and down at times, but I knew Bram was a sweetheart. A masculine, innocent beauty, who was lost.

I went to my locker earlier. There sitting on my books was a square of folded paper, from Bram. Wondering what could be inside, I opened it during my next class in a rush.

 

Brice, Brice!

Hey man, what's up? I'm sitting in class bored. I decided to write you. I see you reading notes all the time so I decided to write you one. Bram is so irritating at lunch. I think I might knock him out one of these days. I need to show him who's the king around here. He acts like he doesn't know.

I just want you to watch out for him. His emotions are weird, and off the charts. I don't trust him especially around you. When you read this you better not be smiling either. Lol jk But make sure you write me back. This is new to me. I never wrote a note to anyone, but it's kind of fun.

King Kronis

 

When I stored the letter away my mouth hung loosely for a minute. I thought Bram was writing me but to my surprise it turns out to be Kenton. Kenton left a note for me in my locker. Kenton asking me to write him back! This wasn't really happening. All those days he saw me reading letters and he decides he wants to have that level of communication with me too. He always found new ways to get attention from me, so I guess he got that attention as well.

I can't get mad at his style. He was a true charmer at best. He was so charming he didn't realize when he was charming someone.

I should have known when I opened the letter that it wasn't Bram's slanted hand writing. It was Kenton's neat curly hand writing. I had seen his writing countless times in English class.

I had to write Kenton back... soon!

 

 

This Friday was an `Open' week. Which means there wouldn't be a game today. Kenton and Bram sat with me at lunch outside at the stone table. Being that there was no game today, we had trouble adjusting. My mind kept switching into cheer mode. I had to remind myself there was no pep rally happening today. It was so hard to get out of that routine.

Kenton chewed his food slowly wearing his shades. Bram and him both brought a cold tension to the table. Kenton opened a conversation with me first.

"How is Breece?" he kindly asked. I could tell the tension was bothering him. The remarkable thing about Kenton was he only met my little sister once, and he remembered her.

For a moment my mind flooded with the memory of Kenton hugging Breece, before I answered, "She is fine." I rolled my eyes, picking up my sandwich. "She woke me up jumping in my bed. I almost killed her."

They laughed at the same time hearing what my sister did. It eased the tension a notch. They both then began to say she was a sweet girl. They both kept teasing me saying Breece was going to grow to be a cheerleader like her brother.

At that point, I couldn't take them serious.

 

 

The day ended. It was so crazy to me, because I almost went to the gym for the pep rally twice. I had to tell myself there was no pep rally or game today.

When my seventh period class dismissed us to go home, I was ready to get on the bus and enjoy my weekend in peace. No practice, no coaches, no stunts or pyramids to stress out about, just relaxation.

I followed the noisy excited students who were exiting the building, heading for the buses. There was a heavy flow of traffic with all the backpacks and bodies crammed in one hall. I wasn't used to riding the bus in the evenings now that I had practice most of the time.

A chatter broke out over the crowded students as they filed out. I heard them discussing what they were planning to do for the weekend. I was lagging behind them. Thinking about several things when I felt a sudden tug on my back pack!

 The tug caused me to halt right where I was. I spun around to see what happened when I was grabbed again.

It was Bram!

"Hey! Me and Melissa were arguing a minute ago." He roughly said. Holding on to my backpack.

"Okaaay?" I said unsure what to think. "Tell me later, on the bus." I told him about to turn away.

He wouldn't let me go. "No!"  He was fierce. His nostrils flared, and his eyes turned into a scowl. "I won't tell you later. You will listen now!" he grabbed at my arm jabbing his fingers into my skin, so I would stay still. I kept trying to pull away, but he was too strong.

Why was he acting so mad? Why is he being so rough with me? Has he lost it over Melissa? What is wrong with Bram?

Getting physical was not something he had ever done in our friendship. He better step back now, because for one, I am not Melissa!

"Bram?" I spoke, twisting my arm out of his clutching hold. "Let me go!" my skin burned after breaking his grip. I turned around fast walking to my destination. Getting as much distance as possible from that manic.

All of a sudden I was YANKED back again. I stumbled taking a few steps back only to be met with Bram's angry aurburn eyed stare.

He doesn't have a reason to be mad at me. I have done nothing. Why is he going all animal on me?? Kenton was right, his emotions are out of whack.

"Look Bram, if you and Melissa are having problems and arguments, that is NOT my problem." I shouted at him. "So stop snatching on me and let me go!"

"Yes you do!" he clenched his teeth. "YOU have EVERYTHING to do with this!" he was so heated, that he was breathing hot air on me.

"Me? How do I have anything to do with you and Melissa? I wasn't around when you two were arguing." I struggled to get my backpack free. Twisting around and pulling the straps to see if I could escape. "Get your head together. Stop blaming people who are trying to help you." It shocked me that one minute he said: `I was right about Melissa' now he is blaming it all on me.

"Help me, Brice?! You tried to help me? Really?" he was a new character. His voice was boiling. He said my name like I was a foreigner. "You were the one who told Melissa I was dating another girl from out of town. You told her I was prank calling her! You told her I wasn't interested in dating anyone." he was being aggressive, raising his voice with each thing I had told Melissa. Things I never thought would come out. Things I never thought he would have to hear. "God knows what else you lied about."

Before he could tell me anymore of the sneaky lies I planted in Melissa's head, I turned away, out of his face. I didn't want to be here even more. I can't deal with something like this at short notice. I'm not prepared.

I have a bus to catch. School is over. I will deal with this crap another day. A day Bram isn't so mad. Then I could confess to him that I did it, without him punching or giving me a hard blow to the face.

I could not face him, I didn't know how.

All I know is right now, Bram isn't a safe person to be around. Especially since he knows the lies I told to keep him and Melissa apart. It would be hard to explain why I did what I did. He wouldn't understand the heart of my matters.  

"I came to you for help..." he was still talking when I broke loose. I was getting away. I left walking down the hall, desperately moving to get out of the school.

I cannot deal with this!

"Hey!" I heard. Then my backpack was snatched and pulled. "I'm talking to you," he whirled me around by my bag, and shoved me into the lockers. My back smashed against the lockers making a rattling bang through the hall.

I wanted help. I searched around breathing quickly, hoping a teacher would save me or a student would get him off of me, but the hall was already cleared out.

I didn't know what he was going to do to me. He was breathing madly with his forearm planted in my chest, forcing me to face him. I stood smashed between his strong arm and the lockers. As he demanded my eye contact, as he demanded the truth.

"You are going to listen to me!" Bram's nose flared and his eyes darkened with irritation. "Stop running while I'm talking to you, and tell me the truth!"

I began to feel like my air supply was being cut off by his arm. It was like I could barely breathe due to his aggression, and physical force. I started to cough then all of a sudden something kicked in.

All of the practices, the cheering, all of the routine like motions came to my aid. It was a heightened reflex. My arm stuck out stiffly swinging in a half circle-like motion, knocking his heavy arm off of my chest. His weight was used against him and he lost his footing.

 "Get off me!" I coughed out, whisking away, as fast as I could. I was free again. I was really trying to get away from the lies I told, more than Bram.

Walking, half near running down the hall quickly. I was hoping I lost him with every step. All the snatching and yelling he did today was hurtful. I didn't know what he might do if I stuck around any longer. I had never seen him this upset. Even last year when I became a cheerleader he wasn't this mad.

Suddenly, I heard thudding footsteps running behind me on the floor. Then I was pulled with a powerful jerk, that almost tore my backpack.

When he pulled me he didn't get to complete what he was about to say, because he was soon pushed into the metal lockers with a loud bang! I didn't know what happened to him in that short of a moment.

Wondering what caused him to hit the lockers, I saw Kenton standing behind me... Where he came from, I don't know, but it had to be him who made Bram hit the lockers.

Kenton moved swiftly to where I stood, putting his arm around my shoulder. We started to walk down the hall together, losing Bram in the distance. "Are you okay?" Kenton asked me squeezing gently on my shoulder.

"Yes. I'm fine." I whined. I was appalled at how far Bram went into anger. I had never thought I would see a day like this.

"I was coming up the hall because I realized there was no game today. So when I came into this hall I saw him pulling on your backpack like a madman." Kenton explained clearly holding a furious look in his pretty eyes. "What's his problem?"

"He is mad because him and Melissa got into an argument." I groaned softly. I could still feel a mark in my chest where Bram force his forearm. It was like I could still feel it's heaviness pressing there.

"I don't care what he is going through," Kenton fumed. "It doesn't give him the right to put his hands on you like that." He was walking beside me, and supporting my side of the story even though he didn't know what was going on.

I couldn't tell Kenton I lied about some things either. Because he would know I lied about what Saleen said. Then everything about today would be a bigger mess.

From down the hall we both heard Bram's voice shoot through the distance we gained, "Oh that's how it is, Brice? You're walking off with that lame?!" he said holding his arms out either side of him.

I half turned to yell back, "That's how it is, and that's how it's going to stay!"

The `lame' comment didn't sit well with Kenton. He stopped walking, turned around putting his long hair in a pony tail. He was ready for action. Facing Bram's figure in the distance, "You tried to fight Brice." Kenton argued. "You know Brice isn't a fighter." He was standing up for me. "That makes you the `lame', you stupid little PUNK!"

Bram responded louder, "I wasn't trying to fight him!"

"Why don't you fight someone who will fight back! Why don't you fight me!" Kenton demanded, without hesitation. The tension from the football field, and the lunch table was buzzing through them. "Push me, snatch me like you did him and watch what happens."

"Awww, Kent nobody cares about you. You are weak!" Bram started to go off on him. "Everybody knows you are all mouth. You won't fight, all you do is talk. That is all you are good at!"

"DO SOMETHING THEN!" Kenton threatened, with deep aggravation. He had enough of Bram. "Come see what I'm about! I'm right here!"

"NO, you step to me!" Bram barked. "If you want to fight we can do that!"

"You come to me. I'm not your puppy!" Kenton shot back. His whole body language went from pretty boy to someone from a gang. There was something very thuggish about his demeanor now.

"That's what I thought." Bram continued. "Scary! You know not to come down this hall because I will lay you out!"

"This is not what you want. I can promise you that!" Kenton warned.

"Play it safe and keep talking. Like you always do. But when you ready for war come see me." Bram called out to him.

Kenton was on the verge of saying something else, before I stepped in, "Come on, Kenton," I seized his arm. "Let's go." I tried to get him to turn away from Bram and walk with me out of the building...

But Bram had more to say. "Run while you can, Kenton. Just know one thing: I'll never let a weak sorry, gay boy whoop me." He stabbed.

`Gay boy?'

I couldn't help but feel offended even if he wasn't talking to me. Because in a certain way he was talking to me. His comment implied he would never approve of how I felt about him... well how I used to feel about him.

He wouldn't accept me. He wasn't ready for the truth behind my lies. It all makes sense. He was being friendly to me, not flirty... and most of all, what hurt, is I know he does not like me. There was no chance we shared the same feelings.

"Who's gay?" Kenton threw the question at him with authority pulling up his saggy pants.

"You, you little sissy!" Bram flamed on with his hurtful words. "I'll say it again."

"A real sissy is someone who is still down the hall talking when he could have done something already." I could tell Kenton was upset at what Bram was calling him.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah...shut up, whatever. Keep walking..." Bram told him.

"You are jealous of me aren't you, Ugly faggot?" Kenton said harshly. "Look at fag boy down the hall. He is so mad because he can't fight and he got broke up with."

Bram's anger flared all over again. I could already see the flames in those auburn eyes burning to no end. "Come on Kenton! I'm through talking! Let's do this!"

"Come on Kenton," I shakily added. I trembled as I grabbed his shirt, pulling him to keep him from going down the hall. "Let's leave."

I was wounded. I was... was hurt by the words they used against each other. Gay boy and Faggot, sissy, those were all indicators that let me know how they both felt about gay people. Why would I ever think I had a chance with these guys?

I better go home and erase the scribbles inside my notebook. These guys were far from entering my side of the playing field.

Kenton did push Bram off of me. He rescued me. I was more than happy to see his charming soft face come to my defense, and take my side, but the word `faggot' almost killed me when he said it.

As Kenton took my words in, he calmed his temper, and started to walk with me. I walked with a lump swelling in my throat, my eyes began to sting. My whole life had fallen. Everything that has meant anything had collapsed. My dreams of Bram were wiped clean. The feelings that were stirring for `Kenton' the guy who save me, had fallen with everything else.

I got on the bus, finally. Wishing I would have made it to the buses sooner. Wishing that the whole argument could have been avoided.

I was shattered from the inside.

Clouds of gray formed in my heart again. Then came the coldness from the ice, crackling as it crept over my broken heart to freeze it.

Swimming in a lost pit of pain was everything that I was experiencing on the ride home. The blackness I once thought was cleared, the blackness that stung me, the blackness that made me lonely and cold those days, had come back to stay. It felt permenant.

Once again, Kenton and Bram unknowingly broke my heart.

Bram put his hands on me, saying things like: gay boy and sissy. I never saw it coming. I thought he was better than that. I thought `we' were better than that...

Kenton saves me only to hurt me during his rescue was no better. I almost shed a tear from the suffering I endured. It was too great for my heart to bear.

Bram was sitting in the seat across from mine, ignoring me. Everything was back how it started in the beginning. Everything was right back in square one. 

After a long while of thinking, and watching the trees pass by on the bus, I put my ear buds in, letting the music take me away. Gazing out at the scenery in the window, I was trying to suck all the hurt in, trying to swallow all of it like a dry brick.

This despair was harder than ever before.

When everything winded down, I was sitting by myself. Sitting alone, with nothing... only accompanied by misery, pain, hurt, and unhappiness. This battle was over.

 

And I had lost...everything.

 

 

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