Nifty Disclaimer - This story is a work of fiction and contains scenes including sexual relations between people of the same gender. If this isn't your cup of tea, or is illegal where you live, please do not read. Any relation between fictional characters and real people is purely coincidental.


Do Over

Chapter 10

By DK Stories


Tuesday morning I managed to get to school a full thirty minutes early. Mom had griped I was taking the early bus to get around the grounding, but I showed her the bus schedule and I either could get to school early, or twenty minutes late. She threatened to call the bus center to make sure I wasn't lying to her and I'd just shrugged. There was another way to get to the school by bus but it would take me there an hour early, or forty minutes late instead.

Thank god for crappy city bus systems.

"Dude, are you okay?" Brian said as soon as I entered the main hallway of school. He was wearing his black and silver Raider's jersey I'd bought him, while I was wearing the red and gold 49'ers Jersey he'd bought me. It was obvious he'd been pacing, and the circles under his eyes told me he'd slept about as much as I had. When I'd entered, he'd moved towards me, and put his arms around me in a full-bore hug, not the usual buddy hug, and as he spoke he moved so his arm was draped around my shoulder, and holding me very close to him.

"Yeah, I'm still alive and I'm still here, how are you doing?" I asked him, noticing the few other early arrivals were watching us with expressions ranging from curiosity to anger on two of them. I knew both of those angry looking people because they were part of the school's bible study club. "Why don't we go for a walk?"

"Yeah, let's head out to the baseball field." Brian agreed and we moved off down the hallways. "Mom and Dad's been worried as hell about you. What happened?"

"I'm sorry." I told him after I'd shared everything with him. By this time we were past the portables and sitting on the bleachers, watching people stream in to the school as it got closer and closer to starting time. "I outed me and you at the same time."

"Dude, you already had my permission." Brian said, pulling me closer to him. He'd not let his arm down since he'd first seen me. "We've already talked about how to deal with the team if this ever happened, and you know we'll all stand by you. I'm just pissed because our plans for this weekend are completely ruined."

"I'm sorry about that." I said, repeating myself.

"Dude, shut up." Brian said with that damnable smile. "I don't want to hear you say you're sorry for this crap again. If we hadn't talked about what to do if this ever happened and really worked things out like we have, I'd be scared as shit right now. Hell, I am scared, but I'm also excited to see if all the things we talked about doing would work. Dude, this is going to be fun."

"Oh god." I moaned at the tone of excitement in his voice. That had been my worst fear last night; that despite all of our talking about it, when the time came, Brian would run.

"Dude, this ain't going to be easy, and you're going to find some way to keep me satisfied while you're grounded, but that's your job." He told me with another firm pull of his arm against my shoulder.

"We have lunch, and they didn't restrict me to campus." I said softly. "We'll just have to find somewhere quiet. Then, we have twenty minutes between last period and practice."

"See, I knew you'd figure something out." Brian said with a smile and suddenly I felt a whole lot better.

Brandon and Trevor joined us then, with Sean in tow behind Brandon. Sean spent five minutes trying to apologize, blaming himself for everything, but none of us let him do that. I had to tell an abbreviated version of events for them, and we didn't get a chance to discuss much before the bell rang signaling the start of school. During the morning, there wasn't even so much as a whispered comment towards me, or Brian, but there were plenty of looks. Things changed at lunch though, as the five of us sat at the edge of a table in the back of the cafeteria.

"Well, if it isn't the faggot table." Jay's voice broke into the conversation we were having about last night.

"Bug off, Jay." Trevor said firmly from where he sat across from me.

"What are you doing sticking around these fags for?" Jay questioned him. "First that Sean freak, and now Jones. Are they butt-fucking?"

"Actually, Davey's my boyfriend." Brian said from next to me and I suppressed a groan.

"Not you too, Breckenridge!" Jay said loudly. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Principal Borsch was heading our way. "I can't believe these perverts have converted you!"

"Converted me?" Brian said with a laugh, his voice as loud as Jay's. "Sorry, it ain't like your little religion bud, no conversion was necessary."

"Is there a problem here?" Principal Borsch's voice broke into the brewing argument and Jay stiffened before glaring at us and then the Principal.

"Yeah, it stinks over here." Jay said before turning and walking off, and I noticed that Heather, Julie, and a few others followed him from where they were standing nearby.

"If you boys are done with your lunch, why don't you come with me so we can talk for a bit." Mr. Borsch said to us, and we rose as a group. The cafeteria was all but silence, but a dull roar broke out as soon as we left. Mr. Borsch was silent all the way to his office and closed the door behind us with a heavy sigh. "Sit."

"Yes sir." I said quietly. He must have planned this because there were enough seats in his office for all of us, even though they were a bit crowded.

"Davey, what happened last night?" He asked me and I told a much abbreviated version of events. It was getting so I could recite it in less than fifty words.

"Why didn't you two tell me of your…relationship yesterday?" He asked Brian and me.

"It wasn't necessary to the topic at hand." I responded quickly. "We had no idea things would happen like they did last night."

"Didn't you trust me to keep it a secret?" He asked us.

"Trusting you wasn't the issue." Brian said quickly. "We just didn't want to tell anyone unless we had to."

"Well, it seems like you have no problems telling anyone today." Mr. Borsch muttered.

"Today's different." Brian said and Mr. Borsch chuckled softly.

"Every day is different, boys." He told us. "As you can imagine, word is spreading like wildfire through the school and the faculty. Your coach has already been in here asking what we're going to do about Davey, and I suspect that will include you before too long, Brian."

"If you kick them off the team, we'll quit." Trevor said immediately, and Brandon nodded his agreement.

"No one is getting kicked off the team." Mr. Borsch said angrily. "We'll just have to…deal with things. Davey, Brian, I'm having the coach move your lockers to the ones near the entrance where he can keep an eye on things, and you can shower in the regular showers, not the team showers. Don't argue about that, it's to keep things from getting out of hand with your teammates. The coach can keep on eye on things from there. As for what happens on the field…well, he'll stop anything too obvious, but you can probably expect some hard hits."

"As long as he keeps things fair, I'll give as many as I take." I said with a nod. "Don't try to interfere, please, unless there's a danger of us getting really hurt. We can earn respect back, if you let us, but we have to do it on the field."

"I figured you might think that way, Mr. Jones." He said with a smile. "If I was in your shoes, that's pretty much how I'd handle things. No fighting though, on or off the field or you will be kicked off the team as will anyone else involved. You'll also be suspended, is that clear?"

"Yes, sir." The four of us who were on the team said at once.

"You know you're not going to have an easy time, don't you?" He asked us rhetorically and we just nodded. "The things I told you yesterday still stand. Don't fight, inform the staff when you're being harassed, and I'll do what I can."

"We appreciate it, sir." Brian said and the Principal let out a sigh. Really, I couldn't have asked for a better man in that position. He wasn't trying to preach to us, or push us down, but he was handling things from the adult perspective the way I wished all principals would.

"Well, get your butts to class." He said firmly and we scattered out of the room quickly. There were only a few minutes left of lunch, so we headed to our classes without further comment.

"Jones, Breckenridge, get in my office now." Coach Halpern said as soon as we walked into the locker room for our P.E. class. He was a tall man, well muscled and had blond hair that was slowly turning gray. Like all the coaches, he wore a polo shirt and short, tight athletic shorts that showed off his well-formed legs. If I wasn't a teenager, I'd have been drooling after him like mad.

Of course Brian would have to gut me for it, but oh well.

"I take it you've talked with Principal Borsch?" He asked us after we closed the door to his office behind us. Brian and I just nodded our heads in acknowledgement. "You two could just quit the team. It'd be a lot easier on you both."

"Is that what you want?" Brian asked him, a hint of challenge in his voice.

"No, I just wish you two had kept this fucking thing a secret." The coach fumed. "It's fucking gross, but I guess it's part of the changing times. You won't find anyone in sports who'll admit to being like you two, at least while they're playing, and you can kiss any chance of a scholarship goodbye. You both are good players, and it's a shame to lose you, but the team isn't going to take this well."

"So, you can't kick us off the team and instead you encourage us to quit?" I asked him and he glared at me.

"Hell no, I'm not encouraging you to quit." He fumed. "It'd be easier for everyone if you did, but I know you two. You aren't quitters. So this is what we're going to do. I'm not moving your lockers like the Principal wanted. You're going to go in there and not let any of the others intimidate you. I'll be watching closely to make sure things don't get out of hand. I'm also going to let them hit you hard on the field. I've already spoken to four team members about you, Jones, and told them they can hit you as hard as they want, as long as it is fair. No low blows, but you can expect a few knees in the groin when they tackle you. You just take it and dish it back as best you can. If they punch, kick, or anything like that, or pile on you badly, I'll put a stop to it, but you'll take what they dish out. If you can earn their respect that way, it won't affect the team. Oh, and if we lose a game because we aren't playing as a team, the two of you are going to hurt like crazy. This is the sixth year we've been undefeated and I don't want to lose my record because you two let the cat out of the bag about your fucking relationship. Any problems with that?"

"Borsch said he wanted us to use the regular showers." Brian stated and Coach Halpern shook his head.

"You do everything the way you've always done it, no changes." He said firmly.

"No problems, coach." I said and Brian nodded.

"Good, now for P.E. everyone else is playing basketball in the gym." Coach Halpern said firmly. "I'm not going to lie to you two, I'm pissed you couldn't keep this thing between you a secret, so I'm punishing you by having you run laps for this period. I want you to do it in full gear too, and Coach Davis will be watching. You stop jogging, you'll do it again tomorrow. It doesn't have to be a fast pace, but keep moving at a jog."

"I thought you said we weren't to do anything different than before?" Brian asked him and I almost groaned aloud. I had already figured out why he was doing that. We'd be running until practice began, and that gave the coach time to talk to the team as a whole without us there.

"I want you two out of the locker room while I lay down the ground rules to the rest of the team." Halpern said, confirming my assumptions. "I've already had Walker and Rush in here telling me that if I kicked you off the team they'd leave, so I know they'll tell you everything I say, but I want a chance to do it without you around, and for those that don't really care one way or another, seeing you punished for this will probably help you out some."

"Fine." Brian said and we left the office. It didn't take us long to suit up in the white practice uniforms and head outside. After fifteen minutes of stretching, we began a slow jog around the large practice field. It was a half-mile circuit, in full pads, and we set a pace that would complete two circuits every twenty minutes. It allowed us to talk for a bit without getting too out of breath.

By the time the coach called us in to do calisthenics with the rest of the team, we were both sweating heavily, though not really tired. There was definitely a tension in the air as Brandon and Trevor took places next to us, and more than a few of our teammates glared our way. Tuesdays were always skills days, not skirmish days. Each of the sub-coaches would take the different teams aside, and work with people on various skills. Linemen would practice against each other, and the receivers and running backs with the quarterbacks, kickers and holders, and so on. For Brian and I, that meant a hell of a lot of hitting during the day, and it was actually for the best in the end.

After our calisthenics, Coach Halpern sent everyone on two laps of the field, but he called out for Brian and me to remain behind. As our teammates took off for their laps, I trotted behind Brian, our helmets in our hand and stood before our coach. He looked at us appraisingly and nodded after a minute.

"You two aren't too worn out from your run, are you?" He asked us. Coach Davis, shorter but built like Halpern was standing just behind him and watching us closely.

"No sir." Brian and I said together.

"Good." Halpern said with a nod. "Coach Davis had an idea while you two were running and I think it's a good one. Are you two still determined to stick with this team?"

"Yes sir." Brian said as I nodded.

"Here's what we're going to do." Coach Davis said, and we shifted our attention to him. He looked grim, but then he always did. "We're going to do line drills, but it's going to be the two of you against whoever wants a chance to convince you to quit. Coach Halpern already told them that if they want to convince you to quit, today's their one and only chance. Anyone who makes trouble after today will be kicked off the team without any second thoughts. For the entire length of practice, anyone who wants you to quit the team will square off, one against one with either of you. They'll form a line, and you'll hit when I blow the whistle. No illegal hits either, everything goes by the rules. If they hit you hard enough and convince you to quit, they win. You two take all the hits, and play by the rules, you stay on the team and no one will harass you about it. Any questions?"

"What happens if someone does an illegal hit?" I asked.

"They get kicked off the team, and that includes the two of you." Coach Halpern said sternly. "You hit illegally, you get kicked off, there will be no special treatment."

"Sounds good to me." Brian said and I nodded my agreement.

"It looks like most everyone's finished one lap." Coach Halpern said, eyeing the rest of the team critically. "You two finish the second lap with the team."

Brian and I took off, putting our helmets on as we moved to catch up. Trevor and Brandon moved until they were running abreast of us, one on each side. By unspoken agreement we sped up a bit so we were running ahead of everyone else.

"They tell you what they're planning?" Brandon asked once we were separated from everyone else.

"Yeah." Brian said.

"We're going to be first in line." Trevor said.

"We're going to hit you full force too, so don't be expecting anything light." Brandon said.

"Why?" I asked.

"Everyone was talking after the coach left the locker room." Brandon answered.

"They pretty much said everyone should hit at least once, even if they don't want you off the team." Trevor added. "Just because it's a fucking mess we have to deal with."

"Actually, Trevor's the one who said that." Brandon added.

"Yeah, I think it'll be best if everyone at least did it once, that way no one can say it wasn't the entire team." Trevor shrugged. "I mean, if we all hit you, and you guys stay, it's not like the team was divided into those who wanted you to stay and those who wanted you to go. We all like tested you and you passed."

"Good thinking." I agreed with him. It was really good thinking.

"Most of the team doesn't care, really." Brandon said as we neared the end of the lap.

"Yeah, most just want to win and the two of you kick pretty good ass." Trevor said.

"It's just about ten of them that were really bitching." Brandon added.

"OKAY!" Coach Halpern yelled as we finished the lap, and the rest of the team lined up as they finished. "We know what's going on today. Everyone who wants to take a hit, get lined up. Jones, you're on the left, Breckenridge on the right. Square off, and remember, you make an illegal hit, you're off the team!"

"You can do this." Brandon said encouragingly as he squared off against me while Trevor squared off against Bryan. When Davis blew the whistle, we hit each other hard, and Brandon went flying back about two feet. Poor Trevor flew back five and had to be helped up. That set the tone, and the next person in line against me was Reynolds, a big, black, heavyset lineman.

"Dude, why the fuck did you have to open your mouth?" He asked as we squared off and waited for the whistle. I noticed that Davis was giving us a minute at the beginning for each of these little conversations, and accepted just how well these coaches knew their players.

"Lying all the time sucks." I said in response to Reynolds. He hit at full force, but legally, and we struggled for superiority for a few minutes, neither of us giving ground or gaining it. Brian had already knocked Miller on his ass and was watching me struggle with Reynolds.

"Enough!" Reynolds shouted after another minute and we both stopped pushing against each other. When we stood up straight, he tapped my shoulder pads with his and walked off.

"Faggot. Just fucking quit." Banks said next. He was another lineman, and looked furious as he got into position.

"Make me." I said around my mouthpiece and smiled wickedly. When the whistle blew, we hit each other hard, and like Reynolds, we locked into a struggle for superiority. Unlike Reynolds, Banks swung with the arm that he thought was hidden from the coaches and hit me just under the tip of my pads. The blow knocked the wind out of me, but I managed to not do more than back up a few steps while Coach Halpern's whistle blew.

"Coach Smith!" Halpern roared as I did my best to stand up while trying to recover my breath. Brian had been locked in his own struggle and not seen the blow, but looked worriedly at me while the special teams coach moved from where he'd been watching things from a different angle. "Did you see what I saw?"

"Yeah, Banks punched Jones." Smith agreed with a grim expression.

"Banks, you're off the team." Halpern roared and there were several groans while Banks muttered something under his breath. "Coach Smith, take him to the locker room, collect the school's gear, and then take him to Principal Borsch. I imagine he'll want to suspend Banks as well. Jones, you okay?"

"I'm ready to go, coach." I said with a nod. The punch still hurt, but I wasn't going to wait.

"Get in position." Halpern said firmly, but in a normal voice as Smith led Banks off the field by the front of his jersey. The kid was protesting loudly, but Smith was yelling right back at him. The only good thing about it was Banks was second-string, not first string.

"You happy you got Banks kicked off the team?" Miles, the next guy to face me asked as we got in position.

"No." I said honestly. "He got himself kicked off and I wish he hadn't."

"Just fucking quit." Miles said as Davis blew the whistle. We hit hard, and Miles went flying a few feet backwards.

"You'll have to do better than that if you want me to quit." I said loudly to him, and there were actually a few chuckles. Brian was having a struggle with the guy he was facing, and it was a full five minutes before Davis blew the whistle to stop that particular match. The next two guys knocked me on my ass without cheating and I was surprised since they were both second-string. If they'd hit like that all the time, they'd be first-string.

Coach Davis noticed that too, because he made a note in the notebook he always carried with him.

There were fifty-two guys on the team, and all of them went through the line the first time. About half-way through, Principal Borsch walked onto the field and told Coach Halpern that Banks was suspended for three days and ineligible for all extra-curricular activities for the rest of the year. He didn't leave either, but stayed and watched, making the message clear that anyone else making an illegal move would be treated similarly.

It was a guy named Miller who tried to take advantage of that. After I knocked him three feet he tried to claim I'd punched him. All four coaches and the principal huddled together and turned back to the team after a few minutes. Halpern demanded to know if anyone else saw a punch because none of them had. I was tense while waiting for anyone to speak up, but no one did.

"Miller, you're off the team." Halpern said, and the kid tried to protest.

"Get the hell off of my field." Davis roared at the kid. "We don't want no stinking cheaters on our team!"

That was the last attempt by anyone to cheat or lie in the skirmishes. After everyone had gone through at least once, and more than a few called me a faggot or worse, eighteen more lined up for another go. Most of those who'd faced me first lined up for Brian, and vice versa. By the end of the second round of guys, Brian and I were losing about half of the matches. I was sore all over, but especially in my shoulders. No one was holding anything back, the hits were coming so fast and hard now that it was tough keeping up with them.

Eight guys went for a third round, and a fourth, and then a fifth. No one left the field and by the sixth round when four guys remained, the rest of the team surrounded us, most of them vocally cheering Brian and I on. The sixth round, we both got a spurt of energy and managed to knock all four onto their butts. The seventh, the four of them all won. The eighth round was split between us and the four of them. After that, two of them stood up, shook their heads and walked into the circle formed by the team, leaving just the last two guys, Williams and Connors.

"Just give up, faggot." Williams said loudly as we got into position for the ninth round.

"When hell freezes over, Williams." I countered, still trying to catch my breath from the last round. I could hear a similar exchange between Brian and Connors before the whistle blew and we crashed into each other. Williams was far fresher than I was and knocked me on my ass again, but I got up right away, getting back into position. The same thing had happened with Brian, and he matched my move.

"Give it the fuck up." Williams snapped as he squared off against me.

"Never." I responded and the whistle blew. This time, neither of us were knocked over and we grunted as we fought to knock the other back. Finally I couldn't keep it up and he knocked me onto my ass. It took me a moment to get the strength to stand, but I did, and got back into position.

"You're fucking whooped, Jones.' Williams taunted. "Give it up. Faggots don't belong on the team."

"Never." I repeated and when the whistle blew I hit him as hard as I could, angling a little lower hitting hard, and legally. He went flying back and looked at me angrily while I stood up and took several deep breaths. "I'll never give up, Williams."

"Fuck this, I quit." Williams shouted, tearing off his helmet and walking off the field. That hurt a little more since he was on the line for Special Teams and actually pretty good.

"Fine, I'm done." Connors said softly from where he stood across from Brian.

"Anyone else want another go at them?" Coach Halpern asked as Connors joined the team circling us. Brian and I were both taking deep, slow breaths as we tried to regain our equilibrium. I knew I was totally exhausted.

"Naw, they've proved they belong on the team." Reynolds said from the front of the circle. There were some mutters of agreement, but most remained silent.

"Fine, then I expect I won't hear anything more from anyone about whose not supposed to be on this team?" Coach Halpern asked, or more correctly demanded and everyone nodded their heads. "Hit the showers, see you guys tomorrow."

Brandon and Trevor came up to us, slapping our shoulder pads and causing both of us to wince with pain. We followed the rest of the team, getting a few mutters of acknowledgement or acceptance, and a few cold stares, but no more slurs or angry words. I was more exhausted than I could remember being in a long time, but it felt damn good. When we stripped out of our practice uniforms, and I stripped the pads out of my pants because everything needed to be washed, there were a lot of looks in our direction. When we followed the stream of guys into the showers, there were several who turned their backs to us, or went back to their lockers, but not all of them.

"Fuck, Jones, look at your shoulders." Reynolds said as I took a showerhead next to him. I looked confused for a moment, and then looked, seeing bruises already turning yellow.

"They'll heal." I said with shrug.

"Fuck, look at your ribs!" Reynolds said next. "Hey, Bryants, come look at this fucking bruise. I bet that's where Banks hit him."

Reynolds making a big deal of pointing out my bruises in the showers seemed to work, as several guys congregated around us, all still nude and looked at the bruises forming on my body. One of them even touched my bruised rib.

"Hands off." Brian said from my other side when the guy did that. "He's mine, god dammit."

"Hey!" The guy, Marshall, said defensively. "I'm not trying to steal your boy."

"You better not." Brian said with a fake anger. "He's mine and no one can have him."

"How long you two been a couple?" Reynolds asked as guys went back to their shower, Brian's outburst having broken up the viewing spectacle.

"Friday will be two years." Brian said fiercely and I could hear a couple people choking on the far side of the shower.

"Damn, what about all those girls you two were dating?" Reynolds asked.

"Nothing serious." Brian said. "We did it so people wouldn't think were boyfriends. I only kissed one of them, and that wasn't anywhere near like kissing him."

"So you haven't even tried a girl?" Marshall asked from across the shower room.

"Not really interested." Brian said.

"Me neither." I added as I rinsed the shampoo out of my hair.

"I've got what I want." Brian said.

"So do I." I added and that seemed to end the conversation. There were about five guys who rushed into the shower after we left, but most of the team hadn't paid any attention after the 'ice-breaker' Reynolds had pulled. I was running late, and I had to rush out before I missed the bus. Brian asked me to wait for his mom, but I knew that would be breaking the promise I made to mom, and I wasn't going to do that now. Instead I gave him a quick peck on the lips, not thinking that we were still in the locker room and jogged out of the building, heading towards the bus stop.

I managed to catch the bus just in time and got home exactly on schedule. The phone was already ringing, and it was mom checking to make sure I'd kept my word. She gave me some chores to do and then hung up without saying anything.

Jenny came home while I was finishing emptying the dishwasher. She poured herself a glass of apple juice and stared at me for several minutes while I finished up. When I was done I stared back at her until she spoke.

"So I guess mom freaked when she found out about you and Brian?" Jenny said, surprising me.

"You knew?" I asked her and she nodded.

"I saw you kissing one day when you left your bedroom door open." She said with a knowing smile. "It was about a year ago."

"You didn't tell anyone?" I asked her with some surprise.

"You stopped dad." She said with a shrug. "We're even."

"Thanks." I told her and she smiled.

"I love you bro." She said softly, and now there were tears in her eyes. "What are mom and dad going to do now?"

"I don't know." I said with a shrug.

"Are you going to leave?" She asked me worriedly.

"Not if I don't have to." I told her honestly.

"I don't want you to leave." She told me quietly. "I still have nightmares sometimes that he comes into my room again. He doesn't, but I still get the nightmares."

"I'm sorry, sis." I said softly, moving to hug her tightly.

"I'll tell them to be nice to you." She offered, her voice muffled against my chest.

"It might be best if you stayed out of it all." I said softly and she nodded against me.

"I'm going to Marsha's to do homework." She said, pulling out of the hug and wiping her eyes. During my first time around, she and I had been fighting like crazy during these years, but this time around there weren't anywhere near as many fights. I realized that she was another reason I couldn't just pack up and run away from everything.

I cooked dinner that night, and the table was quiet as everyone picked at their food. My bruises hurt, but mom hadn't even asked how my day went. Dad called about halfway through dinner and she went up to their bedroom to talk to him, telling Jenny when to hang up the downstairs phone. I did my homework and then took a long, hot bath trying to soak the painful bruises. I knew I'd be stiff and sore tomorrow, but I couldn't help thinking they were worth every ache.

Wednesday passed in an oddly surreal fashion. There were a lot of stares as Brian and I walked down the halls with our arms around each other's shoulders. It wasn't that different than we'd done before, but now people knew it was a sign of our affection for each other. Brian seemed to bask in the extra attention.

Practice that afternoon was almost normal as we skirmished against each other, preparing for Friday's game. There were no slurs, no unfriendly comments, but people were still shying away from us when we weren't actually on the field. A few, like Brandon and Trevor, and Reynolds made it a point to talk to us during breaks, but most just watched us skittishly, as if waiting for us to sprout horns. The shower after school was slightly tense, and the same five people that had waited for us to leave the last time did that same thing again. There were no conversations this time, but then there weren't any problems either. It was as if people were probing gently to figure out a new field, and far better than I had expected.

That night, mom had a phone call from Dr. Darnell and hung up after five minutes. She gave me an angry look before heading off to her bedroom. Part of me wanted to follow her, knowing she was probably taking an extra pain pill to calm down, but I felt it wasn't time yet to push her. Dad would be home tomorrow and there'd be enough trouble to deal with. He was supposed to get home about the time practice was over, and mom said he'd be picking me up in his new pick-up truck. It was a little blue Mazda, not a real pick-up, but at least it was distinctive enough it would be easy to spot.

Thursday there was a student council meeting at lunch, and the motion to remove me from office as President came as a slight surprise. Fortunately, no one even seconded the motion, so it died quickly, but it had shaken my confidence a little bit. The girl who had made it was a friend of Heather's and a member of the bible club, so it was obvious where that was coming from.

The story had spread about how the two pastors were trying to organize a movement to push prayer in school, and a surprising number of students had taken exception to that. Thursday afternoon I heard several arguments where people had actually told members of the bible club to shut up. Reynolds, who joined the five of us for lunch (Sean was now a regular at our lunch table), informed us of the whisper campaign going on.

It seemed that members of the bible club, and a few others like Banks and Miller who had been kicked off the team, were whispering rumors about Brian, Sean, and me. They ranged from the three of us having wild sex all over the place to where Brian and I had AIDS and were secretly planning to infect the entire school in some gay plot. Reynolds actually laughed at that, and assured us almost everyone was laughing at them as well, and a lot more were getting sick of all the badmouthing going on.

"So, what do people think about us?" Brian asked cautiously.

"Fuck man, we don't understand why you don't like girls." Reynolds said with a shrug of his massive shoulders. "Still, you guys are cool, always have been and you haven't started prancing around wearing dresses, though we heard the drama teacher wants to put on Romeo and Juliet now, but can't decide which of you are going to be Juliet."

"He will." Brian said pointing at me. "I won't wear a dress."

"That's fine." I countered. "I won't wear tights."

"Oh, he got you there." Reynolds said as everyone laughed. "See, that's what I mean, you two are just behaving the same as you always did, except you don't have girls hanging off of you, and now we know why you're always walking around with your arms around each other. We can deal with that."

"Plus it helps you're a couple." Brandon added. "Everyone who knows you two are convinced you're both totally in love with each other so no one believes those rumors about you having wild orgies."

"That's good, because if they tried, I'd have to kill them." Brian said firmly and got even more laughter.

Practice was light that day, the day before a game, and I noticed dad's blue truck in the parking lot, where he could watch the entire thing. He must have gotten in early, because he was there for most of practice. Brian cautiously kept some distance between us when we weren't actually on the field, but didn't go to the far side of the field either. Brandon and Trevor kept near me though, an obvious show of support for my watching dad, and several more team members were talking to me almost normally again. When practice ended though, dad intercepted me before I could head into the showers.

"Get into the truck, now." He growled. I took off my shoulder pads and gave them and my helmet to Brandon who was next to me. He took them, slapped my shoulder in support and then took off for the locker room. Brian caught my gaze, gave me a smile and then moved off as well. Dad just growled again and I got in the truck, still wearing my practice pants and my cleats.

"Crap." I said as dad started to drive off. I rolled down my window quickly before he could say anything and shouted. "Hey Brandon! Get my books out of my bag and bring them by will you?"

"Sure!" He shouted back from the doors to the locker room. Dad was glaring at me as I rolled up the window.

"What, you want me to not get my homework done?" I asked him sarcastically. He didn't reply verbally, but it was a good thing no cop was nearby as he peeled out of the parking lot and sped down the street.


As with all my stories, E provides immeasurable input, grammar checking, and all those other lovely editing thingies that make the story so much better!


Feedback, an Author's Lifeblood

A/N - Several Readers have asked if I have a website or other stories on the net. Some of my early stories, including MIsts of Fate were posted here to Nifty and to . Most of my later stories are now posted on in the Hosted Authors section (just look for DK Stories). Enjoy!