Chapter 14. A New Commitment
The weekend had come right in time. Friday was full of so much havoc and drama. Over the entire weekend I laid around in my bed constantly replaying Bram's reaction to discovering my lies. The word `gay boy' and `sissy' kept hurting everytime my mind had to hear in memory. Kenton saved me but `faggot' wasn't necessary.
I barely slept. My head was switching back and forth. Everything was getting to me. I tried watching a little TV. Flipping through a couple channels I passed by boring cartoons, the news, and some cooking channels.
I randomly stopped on a channel which was showing a commercial at the time. I laid the remote beside me trying several more attempts of getting sleep.
I was making progress surprisingly. My eyes were closed for a peaceful minute. I was being taken. I was wrapped in nothingness. In a quiet suddenness, I blanked out into sleep.
"Beautiful girls, all over the world,
I could be chasing but my time would be wasted
They've got nothing on you baaaby..."
I rolled over in my sleep. Almost waking up from what I was hearing. It was familiar. I turned again repositioning my body so I could ignore the song. I thought that my mind was making the tune play, torturing me.
"They might say hi and I might say hey,
But you shouldn't worry about what they say,"
A picture of Bram materialized out of nowhere in my half wake state. I jumped from my sleep, desperate to get away from him. I thought I was in for another round of being pushed or snatched... I quickly grabbed the remote after identifying where the song was coming from, and changed the channel.
I definitely wouldn't have gotten any sleep with that song playing. I learned over time listening to music while you are depressed can add to your pain. I wasn't interested in adding more to my broken heart's burden.
After three extended long cold days, Bram had started to open up. It was Tuesday when he decided he wanted to try at talking things over. Wednesday was when he actually came out and said it. It was so weird being near him. Everytime he opened his mouth even though it was nice, I thought he was going to hit me.
To be honest, we should have talked this over Friday like two young adults who were civilized. His behavior last week put me in a distrust zone with him.
Judging from my need to get away from him everytime he tried to make light conversation, he knew something was wrong. Only this time, his face was at a loss of respect for himself. Stirring down in his stomach, I could hear shame crying from all his sentences. I could see it in the letters he started to write. (Yeah the letters started up again.) Bram acted like he didn't know what to do.
His temper was out of control Friday. I'm afraid to be friends with him. What if he hits me? What if next time is way worse? If he reacted that way over lies, how would he react if he found out I was gay? Or I had strong feelings for him?
A lot of questions about Bram's aggression kept coming to mind. It was making me drift from him slowly but... surely.
I went to my locker later in the day. Surprised to see two folded squares of paper lying on my books waiting for me. In my next class when the teacher started to become so dull I couldn't stand it anymore, I seized the moment to read a letter.
The one I unfolded was all curly writing.
What is going on? Man, Friday was CRAZY! Bram flipped out! I told you to watch out for him. He was acting all weird and stuff. Who does he think he is anyway? He tried to challenge me to a fight knowing he would be dropped in zero seconds counting.
I wanted to write you because over the weekend I couldn't stop wondering how you were taking everything. I still can't believe he tried to put his nasty hands on you! That made me so mad! Well anyway, write me back ... if you are up for it.
P.S. Kenton has your back no matter what. I'm always on your side.
I folded the letter storing it away. Kenton's letter did brighten my mood a little. I mean even though he said faggot I'm sure he didn't mean it to offend me. I guess.
I wrote Kenton back immediately. Smiling through the whole letter. Hoping that I wasn't being naïve or letting him off the hook too easily. But something about his effort to reconnect with me, something about his letter triggered this.
`Kenton has your back no matter what. I'm always on your side.'
Yeah it was that line that got me. I'll give him this letter in the hall.
When I finished writing his letter I pulled the other folded note from my pocket. Looking carefully at it as if it would pounce on me or bite me. The heat I felt drive down my arm was potent.
Opening the letter Bram's hand writing was on the paper. I took a deep breath before reading, what he thought about Friday.
I tried to talk to you earlier but I guess you're still mad about Friday. I don't blame you though. My reaction was stupid and very childish. I admit that. I was wrong. I take full responsibility for my actions. I want a chance to sit down and talk this over. I won't say anything rude. I won't even touch you if it makes you comfortable. All I want to do is talk everything out. One-on-one. My anger should have never came to that.
Once again, I was wrong for putting my hands on you. I'M SORRY! Through our whole friendship I have never acted like that towards you and it won't happen again. I hope you can forgive me for my mistakes. If you don't I understand that too.
If you want, I will hold my hands behind my back when we talk. I don't want to hurt you.
P.S. Answer your phone for me at least. I can't touch you through the phone.
How could I not be still mad about Friday? His note explained everything. Bram was sorry? Wow. I still don't trust him. The one-on-one, he wanted to have was not looking good in my head.
I want to talk everything out with him, I really do, but I'm still scared he might over react during the conversation, and hit me. I don't know what I'm going to do.
I was at home after a sweaty practice. Watching my phone light up, and vibrate madly on my bed. Bram had been calling me ever since both of our practices were over. I still couldn't find it in myself to pick up the phone.
Soon enough, my phone stopped vibrating, showing five missed calls. I turned my head not caring.
I grabbed my backpack sitting on the floor next to my bed, when a "Ding!" sound came from my phone. When I looked my phone said: 1 new voicemail.
I obviously knew who it was from. I suppose listening to his recorded voice wouldn't hurt... yeah he can't shove me, or yank me through a voicemail.
Voicemail: "Brice I'm sorry, man. Answer your phone. I'll never put my hands on you again. We are better than that. I will try to call you back later, ok? Bye."
No matter what, I still can't do it. Hearing his voice made me feel like someday Bram was going to get mad again and everything will go just like it is now. I'm sorry but you don't put your hands on me and expect me to be all mushy with you again. It doesn't work like that. I am stronger than that!
If I forgive him, he will do the same thing again and again. Then sooner or later, he will think: `I'm sorry' was the magic word to make everything okay.
Well guess what, it won't! Because the next time it could escalate to something worse. So I can't do it. I don't have any proof he wouldn't ever do something like that again.
Lying on my bed working on my geometry assignment, I was trying to let Pythagorean therom mess with my mind enough to take my current situation away. I was still tired from cheer practice too.
Soon the problems on the worksheet, and cheer practice closed in on me...
"Brice get up!" Breece voice called loudly. She shook me until I was staring back at her with drowsy eyes.
I fell asleep??
"What? What! What!" I yelled back at her. She was so irritating.
"Wake your stupid butt up!" she slapped my back so hard that a sting rode up my skin.
"I'm not sleep!" I was nearly about to stand but my body was so weak. "and if you hit me again I will choke the pee out of you."
"Mom said, your friend is outside waiting for you." She snapped back.
When I heard her say `friend' I sat up trying to wipe my eyes to see clearly. Was this a dream?
I pushed off my bed noticing I went to sleep face forward in my geometry book. "Who is it?" I asked Breece. Praying it was not who I thought it was.
I followed Breece into the hallway when she said, "it is Levi."
"Levi? What's he doing here?" I said out loud to myself.
But Breece answered as if I was talking to her, "I don't know. Mom said he helped her carry all the groceries in the house and he was so nice to her." Then Breece ran off to her room.
What could Levi want? He hasn't spoken to me in a while. He brought me home from practice but he barley opens his mouth to me.
It makes since though. His mom always takes my mom to the store. The truth is, I don't know if I want to talk to Levi. He has really been distant lately, and now all of a sudden he wants to talk. I'll just pretend like I'm busy or something.
Hmmm, maybe the other varsity cheerleaders kicked him to the side.
I walked to the door thinking of what I was going to say when I saw Levi but all I kept telling myself was: That is what he gets for-
I had stopped right where I was, grabbing at my chest. Levi was...
"What's up, Brice." Kenton smiled standing on my porch. It was Kenton, not Levi. Breece wouldn't have known the difference. I guess she didn't get to see who was actually helping.
My heart tried to stop on me! Kenton stood before me in a glorious glow of desire.
If she would have told me it was Kenton maybe I would have gotten out of the bed quicker.
"Hey, Kent." I shook slowly, closing the front door behind me.
He looked me over then carefully choosing his words he said, "At lunch you weren't eating, and you haven't been the same since Friday." His long hair began to lift and ruffle on a cool breeze that blew. "I stopped by and I saw your mom trying to lift those heavy bags by herself so I helped her."
"That was so nice of you." I told him with a faint smile. I was still edgy around him. "I would have helped her myself, but-"
"You were knocked out." he gave an airy giggle.
"No... I was busy doing geometry homework." Could he tell I had been asleep? If so, I must be looking pretty bad.
"If you say so." He said letting it slide.
"You didn't have to help my mom."
Kenton's arms were tight, and I could see the veins under his damp skin from the tough football practice. "I know that." he started to fidget with his shades, before resting them on top of his head. "I actually came by to check on you. Is everything good? Are you still cool? Are you feeling alright?"
It was sweet of him to stop by for me. Him taking time to see if I was okay was something to consider. For his good deeds I wanted to run my fingers through his hair, and kiss his charming face all the way down to the lips. I wanted his hard arms to hold me close to his fit firm body.
Wait, what am I thinking? That was a false hope. Before my imagination got too carried away the whole scene was vanquished in a pop, when the word `faggot' echoed from the back of my memory.
Suddenly I didn't want him here.
Kenton's visit was only five more minutes after that. I felt like it was longer but it was a short stay. He kept wanting to know if I was okay, but it didn't matter.
Today at lunch I tried to talk to Levi. It didn't go so well. When I spoke he got up as if I was invisible and walked out of my face. I really started to wonder what had Levi acting so strange. We were friends, right?
Later I came around him again. I guess he got sick of seeing my face before he yelled, "Stay away from me!"
"What is the problem?" I blurted at him confused as to why he was yelling at me.
"You are a liar!" he said with no remorse. "The lies you told Bram about Melissa! Don't try to act like you didn't do it, because everybody on the Varsity squad knows. Melissa told us everything the day it happened."
I wanted to open my mouth to defend myself, but I couldn't. The way Levi just went off on me left me blank.
So Melissa has been telling everybody about how I tried to deceive her. No wonder Levi doesn't want to talk to me. He doesn't trust me, but who cares, I don't trust him either.
"I don't want to be anywhere near you!" he walked down the hallway losing me in fast steps. "I can't trust someone like you. You are not a friend to anyone." When he was a good distance down the hall, I heard him scream "If it wasn't for my mom, I wouldn't even let you ride in my car from practice."
There goes that friendship. I should have known he would believe Melissa over me anyway. I knew if I told him what I was up to, he would have cried to Melissa telling her everything. Then he would suck up to the squad for support.
I do not care! Levi should get his own life! What I did is not that serious. People are going to lie sometimes. It's a part of life.
Sitting alone outside at lunch, I thought about a few things. Bram's letter and whether to forgive him or not. Kenton's visit to my house, and most of all, the way Levi was acting during practice.
At practice I noticed how everyone was being so distant from me lately. It almost seemed like I was practicing cheers by myself. The liar reputation had spread through the team. Even Shelby and Laura was giving me dreadful looks. There were side glances made at me, the whole squad whispered things about me. I could see it all.
I was fed up with trying to play nice. Being nice is how you get hurt. I learned that in my early years. If they want to whisper, giggle and play, they should know I can do that too!
Do they know what I am capable of? I think they should be punished for their actions towards me. Yes... they need discipline.
So if they want something to laugh about, I can give them plenty to laugh about. Then they can all sit around and really talk about me.
I was thinking of a plan and while digging through my head searching for a sneaky plan that would put them all on ice, I felt something crawling up my back. Something tingling through my nerves, sending out and odd but familiar presence.
There was a smell I knew, but couldn't call it. My mind raced at the speed of sound trying to piece together what felt familiar about this moment.
I know for a fact it is not déjà vu.
Suddenly in a flick of a moment, my questions were all coming together. All the familiarity of the air had suddenly blended into one. The smells, the tingling, and the feelings. My answers were finding themselves and started to burst forth.
It was a shocker. It was off guard. All I could do was sit agasped. How could I have not guessed?
Bram was sitting beside me.
Almost like he just flashed there instantly. I didn't have time to move. Everything was too quick. His tray of food was laying on the table in front of him. He sat there with his knees and whole body facing my direction. Not caring about his tray of food.
Peeking from the corner of my eye, I saw his arm propped on the stone table as he held his pinky out at me.
"Brice Crowns." He sighed smiling brightly. "I'm sorry for putting my hands on you. I know that my phone calls and letters wouldn't be enough..." I couldn't look at him as he spoke.
"Bram, I really..." I went to say, about to stand up and leave him. I would do anything to get away.
"No, wait, listen." Bram pleaded still holding his pinky out. "Hear me out for just a second. Then you can do whatever you want."
I was shuffling whether to leave for my safety or just hear him out. "Pleeease, just sit and talk for a minute." He begged.
Hearing the meaningful tone in his voice, I decided I could stay to hear what he had to say. "Okay... I guess we can chat for a little bit." I sat down shaking.
When he saw I was seated, he began, "Well I thought an apology would be what you wanted. So I came with all intents of doing that." He tried.
"Bram. To be honest, I am afraid of you. I'm afraid you are going to get mad about something and things will be worse than they were. You might get very hostile next time." I replied in a low voice. I was trying to avoid his eyes from penetrating me. His auburn eyes from taking down my defenses I built up against him.
"It shouldn't be like that between us. I hate that things got this bad. Don't be afraid of me Brice." The tone of his voice was serious. It was a tone that made his words sound believable. "I won't harm anything on you."
I lifted my head. Moving my brown eyes so that they aligned straight with his. Bram's stare gave my heart a burning passion to take our friendship back. To say `yes' to his pleas.
This is who I remembered! The amazing, caring, athletic, gentleman, Bram. His skin was soft in every detail. It betrayed him as the threat I thought him to be. His eyes rebounded a magnet like stare with a force so strong, I almost flew out of my seating.
"It's up to you, what you want to do." Bram voiced. "I don't want to make you feel forced."
"Ok... but I don't know for sure you will keep your words." I confessed fidgeting with my clammy palms.
"I figured that." Bram whispered to himself. "That is why I wanted to do something with you, so that you know I will never put my hands on you again." he suggested gazing deeper into my pupils.
"And what's that?"
His elbow hit the table to get my attention. He held his pinky out at me. "You remember this? Like we used to do when we were younger." He added with his pinky reaching out for me. "Let's pinky promise."
I busted out laughing. It was the only thing I could do at a sentimental, golden moment like this one. It wasn't a laugh to make fun of Bram's offer. It was a result from having all of these negative and positive emotions colliding together.
I didn't know what else to do.
"You know pinky promises were our thing." he added. "We've never broken any of our pinky promises. That's why I'm offering you an unbreakable promise."
I raised my elbow plopping it on the table. Slowly lifting my pinky, unsure what to do.
Bram was right! He has honored all of our pinky promises. Something so strong and dear to both of us. My fear was starting to let go. I knew for a fact he wouldn't put his hands on me again. Not after a pinky promise.
"Okay, okay, I will try it." I told him letting my pinky reach for his.
When our pinkies hooked... there was a silent understanding. There felt like a sudden burst of light shot and blew up. Our pinkies began to hook tighter. Not only because we were creating a new bond, but because it had been too long since we had did this. It was long overdue.
It almost bought tears to the eyes. It almost made me dizzy. It was so enduring. The way Bram held on to my pinky it was like he was hanging on to me for his dear life.
"I, Bram Hails, will never put my hands on you Brice Crowns. Ever!" he sincerely said locking eyes with me, and tightening his grip. "If I ever put my hands on you, it won't be in a way to hurt or harm you." I was blushing so hard and the bad part about it was, I couldn't go anywhere. He had my pinky in his grip. "Do you accept my promise?" his pink filled lips curled into a smile.
It was too much for me to handle. For a minute my mind went blank. Different words wanted to come out but they would not. I was sitting there dumbstruck. Bram's mind blowing approach, and the pinky promise had crushed all the threating images I made up of him. Along with the unsure feelings that I kept getting about him.
Everything was erased. Leaving me to believe newer out comes, but I was still dumbstruck for the time being. He looked at me intently waiting for my answer. "I...I accept your promise." I stuttered trying to get a hold of myself.
"Great!" he finally let go. "Now we can start being friends all over again." he laughed heartily.
Bram and I sat there talking nonstop. We talked so much my jaw began to hurt. We were both excited in some way to have our friendship back. We missed out on so much in each other's lives. So much needed to be said, so much time needed to be made-up.
During our deep conversation, I would sometimes lapse back in time. When Bram and I were younger playing tag, racing each other, coloring in each other's coloring books and playing catch. All those years we did pinky promises who would have known, today something so small would make a major difference.
Kenton sat down at the table. His face was confused. He was probably wondering what made Bram and I so buddy-buddy all of a sudden. Although he had his suspicious confused look he never brought it up.
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