Warning: This story doesn't contain any sex. It's the story of gay teens. None of the characters are based on real people, nor are they meant to resemble any living or dead people.

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This Is Seth

Chapter 19 - Mom's Issue; My Issue

Today is Friday and of course, that means another glorious day at school. There is a nagging feeling in the bottom of my stomach that I should stay home. Sadly, though, I don't have a fever so I don't have a legit reason not to go to school. The best thing about school lately is seeing my friends especially Mason. It still feels weird to call Mason my boyfriend. Talking about my charming boyfriend, we are riding to school together.

***

I meet Mason right outside my house, and we climb into my car. He smiles at me and we exchange a quick kiss before I pull away in the car.

"Did you get all of your homework finished?"

Mason is surprised by this question. We did our homework in my room yesterday after school.

"You know the answer to that question."

"Duh!" I say as I hit my right hand against my forehead. Good thing, I used my right hand otherwise I would have hit my forehead with my class ring. It wouldn't exactly feel good and would only add to the wonderful feeling that is growing in my gut. It was nice spending time with him yesterday. It seems like our time together in school is fleeting. Somehow, the time we spend together after school seems more important. Yes, I enjoy all of the time that we are together. Mom pulls up to the school and smile at us.

"Okay boys behave yourselves."

"Yes Mom."

We both say in unison and she just laughs as we exit the car. We held hands until we got to the doors and then we went our separate ways so we could go to our lockers.

***

I just barely got my belongings into the locker and pulled out my first hour materials when my name came over the loudspeaker.

"Seth Thompson report to Coach Stevens's office immediately."

Closing my locker, I begin to head towards Coach Stevens' office. Can't help but wonder why he is having me come to his office. As I start walking towards the office, my heart starts to pound a little bit faster. I knock on his office door before entering the room. He briefly turns around and looks at me before asking me to close the office door. With the door closed, I take a seat next to his desk as he sits there and stares at me.

"Seth, I wanted to be the first one to tell you that I'm quitting. I've taken a new job and effective today I am stepping down as coach.

"Wow, I didn't expect you to be leaving. Congratulations on the new job, I guess. I hope it's good for you."

All the questions that should have been in my head went out the window as I tried to understand exactly what he just said.

"Seth, I just want you to know that I think you are one of the bravest kids on the team. I hope your success on the team continues next season."

"Thanks Coach. I hope I do great next season also."

Something in his facial expressions tells me that there is much more to his quitting than simply moving to greener pastures. Wonder if he told Scottie that he is leaving the school.

***

After leaving his office, I made sure to head straight to my first hour class. Carefully removing my cellphone, I send a text telling Scottie to meet me after class. I find myself coming up with possible scenarios that might force Coach Stevens into leaving his position. Only problem is none of my circumstances made any sense. What could have happened?

***

Scottie meets me by my locker so he can find out why I told him to meet me. I didn't know how to tell him the bad news, but I knew he would want to know.

"Did you hear the announcement for me to meet Coach Steven in his office?"

"Yeah, I heard it. What did Coach Steven want with you?"

I frowned at Scottie and I could see some apprehension on his face.

"Coach told me that he's quitting and it's effective today."

It's Scottie's turn to be upset over the news. I think he's just as confused as I was when I heard it from Coach.

"Do you know why he's leaving?"

"Coach didn't exactly say why he was leaving other than he got a new job."

I didn't like hearing the news the first time and I didn't like saying it to Scottie either. There is only one person who can really answer Scottie's question. We don't have time to get answers just yet because we have second hour to get ready for and in a hurry.

***

Meanwhile, Coach Stevens has been called to a meeting with the Superintendent Ramos. It has been civil but as they sit across from each, other some darkness sneaks into the room. The flame at the center of this impending inferno has Seth's name in it.

"Tell me about Seth Thompson."

"He's one of my better wrestlers. He's been on the team for six years now. He's never missed a practice, and he's never had a problem with his grades since he's been on the team. This year, he is 5-0. He maintains his weight and I've never had a behavior issue with him. He's a top notch sportsman."

Superintendent Ramos looks at Coach Stevens and rolls his eyes at the mention of Seth never having a behavior issue. His action doesn't go unnoticed by Seth's coach.

"What was the eye rolling for sir?"

"If your wrestler is so perfect and without flaws, why in the hell has my office and Principal Barnes' office been receiving phone calls almost nonstop about how people want Seth Thompson removed from the team."

It's obvious that the guy in charge already knows why those calls have been coming into his office.

"I think those people who have been calling are not comfortable with a gay wrestler being on the team. It seems to me that maybe you have a problem with a gay student being on the team. Are you telling me that one of my fearless leaders is a homophobe?"

Superintendent ** immediately gets upset with his teacher and coach. Coach Stevens isn't worried about upsetting him since his resignation has been accepted, and the his last day has finally ended.

"Are you calling me a bigot?"

"If the shoe fits sir, than yes I am calling you a bigot."

"Do really have no problems with this kid being on your team?"

He clearly remembers hearing from Seth that his sexuality wouldn't affect the team, and expect for a few bad eggs it hasn't impacted the team at all.

"I have no problems with Seth being on the team. He promised me that his sexuality wouldn't impact the team, and it hasn't."

Across the desk, a manila folder is opened and a stack of papers are removed from it. Superintendent Ramos looks at them and then shakes them in the air.

"Do you know what these papers are?"

"How would I know what those papers are?"

From the other side of the desk, a smile breaks out on the superintendent's face.

"These papers are a petition that recently came across my desk asking me to remove Thompson from the wrestling team on the grounds that his teammates are tired of being looked at in the showers. They don't like having to practice with him and I don't blame them."

"Sir, I don't understand why you are even considering removing him from the team. He's not the problem. The problem as I see it is the other members of my team."

The Superintendent's face just sank as he again looks down at the petition and the threat of a lawsuit against the school system if the student is not removed from team.

"You don't need to push this Coach Stevens, my decision is made. I have already called Principal Barnes as well as your replacement and had Seth Thompson removed from the wrestling roster effective immediately."

"Well, then there is no sense for me to be here."

Coach Stevens gets up and walks out of the office.

"Come back here Stevens!"

He doesn't look back at all and heads out to his car and drives back to school.

***

Now back to Seth:

 

Scottie and I are sitting in the cafeteria waiting for Mason to join us. Next thing I knew, I could feel someone standing behind me. The person behind me tapped me on my shoulder aggressively. Turning around, I was surprised to see Oscar, guy from the team who isn't one of the nice guys. He didn't take kindly to my coming out to the team. Scottie gives Oscar and a look that should have sent him packing, but it didn't.

"Westbrook back off, I want to talk to Thompson."

Scottie didn't say anything as this guy starts to stare me down. I'm not sure that I'm going to like where this is going.

"Thompson, did you like what Coach Steven's had to say?"

"What do you know about that Evans?"

Oscar smirks at my question. It's clear that he knows what went down earlier today. He turns as if he's walking away, then he stops and looks back at me.

"If I were you, I would take the example of Coach and quit."

He laughs and then walks away which leaves me thinking `Did the team have something to do with Coach Steven's quitting?' Nothing about this feels right to me; it's like Dale only worse.

***

Mason joins Scottie and me at our table instantly; I can see that something is troubling him. He isn't one to hide his emotions at least not from me.

"What's wrong Seth?"

"I saw that goon at the table, was he causing you grief?"

He is talking to me and that means everything to me. It feels great to have someone care about me the way Mason does.

"Mason, Coach Stevens is leaving and I think the team is behind it."

"We think the team is behind it," says Scottie. "It just doesn't feel right to me, and I know it doesn't feel right to Seth."

Mason looks at me with worry written in his eyes. Is the team really behind this or are we fooling ourselves? Mason stares into my eyes and soon there is a smile on his face.

"Hey, I'm sure things will be okay."

For once Mason is wrong, things are not going to be okay.

"No Mason... you are wrong. Things aren't going to be okay. The team is out to impale our buddy."

"You really think so?"

Scottie just nodded his head and with a sad look in his eyes.

"So what can we do?"

"I really don't think we can do anything."

I know that I am right, but I also hope there is some light at the end of this tunnel. Mason can't believe that I am being negative or at least I think that what is going on in his head. Scottie may not be able to read Mason, but I do a decent job at telling what my boy is thinking.

"Look Mason, the team doesn't like me and they will do anything to get me off the team."

"Seth, I don't know what to do but hopefully we'll be able to get it together."

Mason's heart is in the right place and I would kiss him if I could. Who am I kidding? I give Mason a quick kiss on the cheek. Just as we finish our meals, the bell goes off signaling the end of lunch.

***

Before the day end today, Scottie and I need to see Coach Stevens and talk to him about him leaving. Maybe, he can tell us the truth or maybe he won't. Coach ends up calling both of us down to his office during 6th hour. We meet just outside his office.

"Are you ready to see Coach?"

Scottie doesn't look happy and I can tell he's not ready to see Coach. We knock on the door and Coach opens the door and invites us into the office. We sit down in the chairs across from his desk and wait for him to speak.

"I bet you wonder why I had you come down to my office."

We didn't answer his question instead we just nodded our heads.

"After talking with Seth earlier today, I had a meeting with the Superintendent Ramos and we discussed you Seth. That's why I asked Scottie to come down and hear what I have to say. It seems that our beloved Superintendent is a bit of bigot. He is blaming Seth for all the phone calls to his office as well as the phone calls to Principal Barnes office. You should also know that there are members of the team who petitioned to have you removed from the team because you are sexuality."

Scottie looks shocked at Coach's statement. Why I don't know since we know there are a few bigots on the team.

"Can we fight the petition?"

Coach Steven's face looks grim.

"Unfortunately, the superintendent has ordered Principal Barnes and my replacement to remove you from the team effective immediately."

"Your replacement is okay with all of this?"

Scottie knows that while I am not the best wrestler on the team, I am one of the better wrestlers. I'm also a leader on the team as well. Coach's replacement would be smarter to keep me. I'm so mad right now that I am speechless.

"Do you have anything to say Thompson?"

"Right now I don't even know what to say, I am so pissed. Pardon my language."

Coach did not say anything to me about my language, which was awesome. I have never used foul language but in this circumstance, I just might start using some swear words.

"Seth, if I were you, I would make sure that I spoke with your parents, and then I would also make sure to be as loud as I can about it."

"Thanks for the advice Coach."

Coach smiles and I didn't already think that my teammates were behind all of this mess, and then I would have guessed Coach was doing this to get back at the people who were forcing him out of his job. On the other hand, I know this isn't about revenge. It's about justice being served. Justice for me and, hopefully, I get what I want out of this journey.

***

The end of the day did nothing to quell the rage that I felt inside of me. It didn't even help me to have Mason in the car with me. Course it doesn't hurt to have him with me either. The ride home was quiet because I didn't want to dwell on the anger. There will be time for that once I am home and can talk it over with Mom. As soon as I got to the house, we get out of the car and run into the house with Mason at my heels. Mom is somewhere in the house so I just have to find her or I could do what I usually do. I decide to do just that and let my voice find her. "MOM!" I hope she is quick to respond so I can pick her brain on my problem. She appears standing in the living room with panic written on her face.

"What is wrong Seth?"

I think she just realized that I'm not dying because now she looks angry. Mason and I take a seat on the couch while she gives me the evil eye.

"I thought you were hurt. Don't yell like that in the house okay?"

"Okay Mom, I promise to never yell unless it's an emergency, but this is a crisis."

Her expression fades from anger to worry in the blink of an eye. She even eyes Mason for a second or two. I still have not told her what happened but my anger is starting to boil again. Mason takes my hand and then the words begin to rise from my throat.

"I spoke with Coach Stevens today and found out he's leaving the school..."

"What happened to make him leave?"

"I'm getting to that Mom, I'm afraid that it's because of me. Guys from the team started a petition to get me kicked off the team and it made it too the Superintendent's office. Not only did I get kicked off the team but also because of his decision to keep me on the team, Coach Steven's was asked to leave. I asked Coach Steven's if we could do anything and he didn't so."

Now...she looks upset and I know she won't stand for her son being pushed around like this by our school system. Mom wasn't going to walk away from this and I knew it. She never walked away from a fight but I guess the school system sort of asked for this fight.

"We will just have to see about you being kicked off the team."

Mason hand's squeezed mine and smiles at me letting me know that everything is going to be okay. With my parents, my boyfriend, and my best friend in my corner, I believe everything will be okay.

***

Mom disappeared into the kitchen with her cellphone out. I can only just hear her talking on the phone but not enough to really make out what she's saying. She did say that she was going to call a friend. Who that friend is, I have no idea, but this friend must have something to do with the school. Mason, being the boyfriend that he is, sat by my side. I turn the television on and we kick back and watch a show while she is talking. A half hour later, she comes out of the kitchen and the television goes off.

"Okay well, the school board did see the petition but there was never a vote, the superintendent accepted it and was more than happy to follow through with their request. They also accepted the early retirement of Coach Stevens but she wouldn't go into details as to the reasoning behind it. I did get her to at least look into your dismissal from the team. She said if there was any wrong doing, she would fight for you."

"Thanks Mom, I hope she finds something to fight."

"Thanks Mrs. Thompson."

Mom smiles as she reaches out and gives me a kiss and then hugs Mason.

***

Mason and I go outside and shot some hops even though Mason doesn't like it. He does it because he loves me. Dad pulls up while we are outside playing basketball and he says hello and then heads indoors to see Mom. We move to the back of the house to just sit and talk. Fifteen minutes later, my dad comes outside to talk to me.

"Is what Mom told me for real? Are you really off the team?"

"Yeah, everything Mom said is true. I am really off the team."

Dad gave me a look that sort of made me sad.

"Son, I am not insulting you or Mason, but something like this is what scared me about you coming out. Not everyone would be accepting of you. I also want you know that I support you. I'm proud of you for being willing to fight this action."

Tears are welling up in my eyes as Dad finishes talking. Dad gives me a hug and then goes back inside the house. Mason smiles as he places a kiss on my lips.

"I'm proud of you too babe."

He kisses me again and then Mom calls me in for dinner and Mason goes home to do homework.

***

I'm sitting in last class when I get paged to the office. My heart is trembling because that quiet voice in my head is telling me that this has to do with Mom's phone call. I head down to the face whatever is coming. I open the door to the office and I get told to go straight into Principal Barnes office. When I enter the office, I find not just the principal but also Mr. Manning; the guy who used to be the assistant coach with Coach Stevens.

"Seth, please sit down so we can get this talk started."

Principal Barnes' voice sounds polite so maybe everything is going to be all right. I hate when I get anxious about stuff only to have it turn out okay.

"Seth, I figured that Coach Steven's would have explained to you why you were off the team. I guess I don't understand why we got phone calls Mrs. Hall on the school board. Can you explain it to us?"

Mr. Manning doesn't seem to have a clue as to why they received the call. It should have been as clear as the reason behind me being forced off the team. At first, I didn't want to answer them but then I heard Mason's voice in my head `Fight!' Okay, so maybe he didn't say it but I can imagine him saying it to me and that is all I need.

"First off your reason for removing me from the team is based on bigotry. Second, I would think that being educated adults you would understand the reason behind the phone calls from Mrs. Hall. It was suggested to me that I fight this decision and so I am going to fight it."

Mr. Manning lowered his head and then looked up at me.

"You can fight it all you want to, but it's still not changing the fact that you're off the team."

"My grades are better than some of the other guys, my ability on the mat is better than some of the guys on the team, so really there isn't a reason to kick me off the team other than straight out discrimination."

"Mr. Manning, do you have anything to say to Seth? I think that I've heard enough for right now."

Mr. Manning just looks at me and grins. He must think that I won't fight this decision that somehow he's won. I am not going to let this weasel and the team win.

"It boils down to this, if I let you stay on my team, then I lose my team. On the other hand, if I drop you then I get to keep the guys on my team. Clearly, it was a no brainer for me just like it was a no brainer for the administration. Please be my guest and fight this decision. You can even start a petition if you want."

I suddenly have an idea but I don't announce to the Manning or to Barnes. The idea of petition might just give me more power.

"Seth, I don't see anything coming out of this meeting so you are free to return to class. Let me see your pass"

I hand Principal Barnes my pass, he signs it, and I leave his office. Inside of me, I can feel everyone's eyes staring at me as if they know what just happened in that meeting. Now, if only I can pull this off things will be okay.

***

After school, I meet up with Mason and Scottie before heading for the car. We sit outside on one of the benches and talk.

"Well, Mr. Manning is the new wrestling coach Scottie. He apparently believes that the team would be better off without me being on it. He's also a bigot and I plan on fighting this along with my mom. Mason, can you draw up a petition for me to get me back on the team?"

Mason doesn't need to say anything because I already know he'll do it. What bothers me is the look that I'm getting from Scottie. I know my best friend and he's figuring out a way to fight along side me.

"Seth, I'm quitting the team, because I don't want to be there without you."

He can't do that, he doesn't need to sacrifice his spot on the team for me. Who knows, he might just my spy so I know what the enemy is thinking.

"No, you stay on the team and keep making those wins."

Scottie smiles and Mason pats him on the back. I think it's best that I head home and talk to my mom about what was said in the meeting.

"Well, Scottie I am going home. Are you going to weight training tonight?"

"Nope, I have that paper due in two days and I want to finish it tonight."

"Best of luck on the paper. Mason are you ready to head home?"

"Yupes, I'm ready to go home. See yeah Scottie."

Mason and I get into my car and we head for home. Arriving at Mason's house, I let him out and then pull across the street to my house.

***

Inside my house, I head for my room to gather my thoughts before heading downstairs to talk to Mom. I don't want to upset my mom but I want Mom to know what happened in that meeting at the end of the day. Leaving my room, I can hear the washer running in the laundry-room so that is where I am headed. My mom is like any mother out there, she knows when I am upset. I am thinking that she'll see my angst and start the conversation first. As I enter the room where Mom is busily at work, she looks at me and can see my anxiety.

"Spill it baby, what happened?"

"I got called down to the office and when I got there Mr. Manning and Principal Barnes were in the office waiting for me. Mr. Manning wanted to know why he received a phone call, why the superintendent's office got a call, and why Principal Barnes received the phone call from the school board. Mr. Manning basically told me that it would be a waste of time to fight the decision. He let me go so that he doesn't lose his team."

Mom looks really upset about what went down in the office. She doesn't say anything to me. Instead, she enters the living room and grabs the phone.

***

Taking the phone in her hand, she quickly places a call. For a few seconds, I am not sure who she is calling but then I figured it out.

"Can I please be transferred to Mr. Manning's office?"

There was three seconds of silence before anything else was said.

"I heard about the meeting today and I wanted to know why my son was kicked off the team. I want to hear it from you."

Several more minutes of silence followed her comment. The longer the silence went by the more upset my mother became.

"Well, I don't know about him signing a petition but I do know that I will be speaking to our lawyer."

Mom is quiet as she listens to whatever crudity is currently coming out of his mouth. She hangs up the phone then quickly calls someone else.

"Carol, I was wondering if you had time on your schedule to handle an issue for me. Seth came home yesterday telling me that he was kicked off the wrestling team. He was told that boys on the team signed a petition asking for him to be removed. The superintendent was quick to remove him from the team and so was the new coach. I called a friend of mine on the school board and told her about it but apparently her calls did nothing but get their attention. I'm hoping maybe pressure from you will get him reinstated on the team."

There is silence followed by a smile on my mom's face.

"Well if I understand the issue correctly, petition was put together because his team didn't want a gay wrestler on the team. It would appear from what Seth said that maybe Mr. Manning, the coach, and the Superintendent also feel the same way. Do you think we have a chance to win?" More silence and this time, Mom's smile is even bigger now.

"Thanks Carol for all the support."

Mom hangs up the phone and turns to look at me. Her face is all lit up after talking with our family's lawyer.

"Carol seems to think that if she can prove that the petition and your release from the team is because of your sexuality then we might win the case and get you back on the team."

"Cool!"

I go upstairs so I can spend some time by myself to think things through.

***

Sometimes, I just need peace and quiet and my room serves as my sanctuary. It dawns on me that I need to call someone. Grabbing my phone, I place a call to one person who can understand what it would feel like to be removed the team. My friend Scottie, he can understand how I feel being pulled away from the sport that I love.

"Hello, what's up my man?"

"My mom called our family's lawyer."

He is quiet for a second before responding to my response.

"What did she say?"

"Well, it seems that the school might lose this battle, if the lawyer can prove that I got tossed from the team because of my sexuality. If that happens, well I get my place back on the team."

I can almost hear him smiling through the phone. I know things are going to be okay. Nothing is going to get in my way of justice.

"I hope you get your justice."

"I will, one way or another it's going to happen."

"I have faith that it will. I need to run buddy."

"Okay Scottie, take care my friend."

The phone call ends and I sit at my desk to do my homework and then go to bed.

***

While I am resting in my bed, Mom comes up to my room. Her face is etched with hope. Walking into my room, she sits in my computer chair.

"Seth, I spoke with Principal Barnes. I asked him to look into your dismissal from the team. He couldn't promise anything but he is willing to look into. If there is any wrong doing you'll be back on the team."

"Well, I guess that is all I can ask for, right?"

"Yeah, I suppose that is one way to look at the situation."

Mom gets up, walks out of my room, and heads downstairs. I just hope that my principal finds something wrong with me being off the team. All I can do right now is cross my fingers and hope for the best.

***

The school day went by okay but according to Scottie after school didn't go so good. It seems that Coach Manning made the guys run for the entire practice. He also told the guys to thank me for their run. I'm sure that I will get a major headache from my ex-teammates. Scottie made sure to calm me down and told me that Manning is trying to get the team against me. I hope when the smoke clears that Manning is out of a job and I am back on the team. Hopefully, the world will be better when all of this passes.

***

I'm hoping the today will be a much better day for Scottie and for me. In gym class, Scottie heard two of his teammates saying that they couldn't understand how Scottie could be my friend. It's because he can see past my sexuality and realizes that I am just Seth Thompson. During 3rd hour, Mr. Manning calls me down to his office. I am not looking forward to this visit. I knock on the door and there is a slight pause before he opens the door. I wonder what he was doing in his office.

"Seth, why did I get another phone call from your mom and a lawyer?"

"I would say because my dismissal from the team seems to be because of my sexuality, which is illegal."

"Well, we will leave that up to the judge. You need to get to class."

Wow...what an ass, this guy needs to get his attitude adjusted. I can't believe he isn't worried about this going to a judge. I would think the school system would rather this case be settled before it goes to trial. Oh well, what can I do other than wait to see how this plays out. I hand him my pass and he hands it back to me. I guess if I get caught, I'm going to get in trouble.

"Seth, one last thing before you leave. I was looking over your attendance and it seems you missed three practices and a match. According the paper you signed at the beginning of this season, you should be off the team. Hmm...I guess you won't be getting back on the team once I send that to your lawyer. Oh...one more thing, I don't like being called a bigot, so I am going to payback Scottie for your actions."

"My absences were excused, I was in the hospital. If you bothered to do your homework, you would know that. My note is on file in the office."

"Hand me your pass and then get out."

He didn't like being called out on his reasoning for kicking me off the team. I'm bound and determined to fight this creep. I gave him pass and this time he signs it returning me to my class.

***

When I get home, Mom sets me down with a smile on her face. She doesn't say anything right away. Instead, she grabs some cookies and milk and hands that to me.

"Carol called me today. She heard from the superintendent as well as Principal Barnes. Apparently, they blew it. You are being restored to the team. A new coach is being hired with the understanding that if you face any discrimination by the school system that the trial won't be settled out of court. Mr. Manning is being fired. The students who filed the petition will be talked too by one of the lawyers from Carol's office tomorrow. Not bad my son, not bad, I think you deserve those cookies."

I don't waste a second of time. I quickly text Mason and Scottie that I'm back on the team.

"Yeah...Principal came in told Mr. Manning that he isn't coaching any more. He wasn't happy."

Scottie's news makes me quite happy. Mason just sent a smiley face back to me. I love my friend and my boyfriend. Hopefully this nightmare is behind me. I wonder if the other guys who filed the petition will keep their promise and leave the team.

***

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