Robin, Chapter Six - Outed

by The Alienist

This story contains explicit descriptions of sexual acts between the characters in it. Although the characters are teenagers who may be below the age of consent in the country or state where this is read, nothing written here should be taken as approval of, or encouragement for, sexual liaisons between people where such liaisons are either illegal, or objectionable for moral reasons. Although this story does not include safe sex practices, it is everyone's own responsibility to themselves and to each other to engage only in PROTECTED SEX. It is a story. Any resemblance to real persons is purely coincidental. Nothing represented here is based on any fact known to the authors.

The story is being written by several authors, each writing a different chapter. This chapter is copyright 2002 by "The Alienist".

Do, please, email the authors with your comments. We all love to receive feedback.

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Part One

What's that, you ask? Well, of COURSE it was the worst moment of my life! Fer Christ's sake, having your own Mother walking in while you're giving your boyfriend of five days a blowjob. What could possibly be worse than that?

Huh? What do you mean what happened then? What do you think happened? We all just went downstairs and had cookies and milk...

Yes, I am being sarcastic. How observant of you. Ok, ok, I'll tell you what really happened.

My mother just stood there, staring at us. Robin was fumbling desperately to pull his underwear and pants back on from where we had flung them in our horny haste; never mind the sticky goo speckled here and there left over from our activities.

Well, yeah, if ya wanna get all technical. MY activity, which produced Robin's goo. You got it all down correctly in your notebook? Good! Has anybody ever told you that you're a real pain in the butt? Yeah. I bet you DO get that all the time!

Anyway...Robin was muttering, "Oh my God...oh my God...oh my God..." under his breath as he scrambled awkwardly to put himself back together. He didn't seem to want to look at either one of us. Not even me, and I was trying to help him with his stuff.

My mother didn't seem embarrassed at all. She just stood there, ramrod straight and glaring. If looks could kill, I would have been dead meat already. But I still tried to bluster through it a bit.

"Mom, please...can you give us a little privacy here?" I was laying on my stomach, looking over my shoulder at her in the doorway, my shiny ass cheeks pointing to the sky.

Her eyebrows shot through the ceiling. "Privacy!? Certainly not! It looks like you've both had quite enough privacy for today, young man."

Her smoldering gaze shifted from me to poor Robin. "You. Out. Now." And she pointed down the hall toward the stairway leading to the front door.

Robin had finally managed to tug his clothes on, although he still looked sort of all tangled up in them, if you know what I mean. I shuffled around in the bedclothes and managed to snag my boxers, pulling them up with what little dignity I could muster. I was too shocked to think about being butt nekkid in front of my mother, so I didn't try to put more back on than just the undies. It wasn't like she'd never seen me that way before.

So Robin slouched his way out of the room, ducking reflexively as he passed my Mom, as if expecting a blow. I had been so focused on finding my underwear that his slinking out like that was kind of a shock. He didn't say good-bye to me; he didn't even look at me. He just went. He hadn't given me any support at all. He'd just caved in and fled the scene.

Mom's laser beam eyes followed Robin out of the room and we both listened to him leaving the house. The front door clicked shut softly, but the silence in my room was so deep that we could hear every little sound from upstairs. Then she turned to me again. For sure, I was a total goner. I stood up, trying to prepare myself to face the music.

"You stay right here. I don't want to see you or talk to you until I've had a chance to think about this and discuss it with your father."

"But..." Didn't she even want to know my side of things?

Guess not. Not that I had a clue as to what I might have tried to say in my own defense right about then, anyhow!

"No buts. No bull. I'm not interested in hearing anything you have to say."

"Can I at least go to the bathroom?" I was trying not to give in as easily as Robin had. It was all I could think of at the moment. What can I tell you?

She considered the notion for a moment, her brows furrowed. As if I could do more damage somehow if she gave in even one inch. But she really couldn't deny me that. Soooo..."Yes. One minute. Then directly back here. No nonsense, you hear me?"

As I moved past her out into the hallway, her voiced lashed out, "Stop! Turn around. Look at me!"

So of course I braced myself and turned to face her again. I tried to focus right at the middle of her forehead. I was too ashamed to look her in the eyes, and too angry to look down in defeat. I wasn't going to concede anything I didn't absolutely have to right then. I may be a faggot, but I have my pride, you know?

Her voice cracked out at me in a tone I'd never heard before. "I asked you if you'd heard me. You will answer me when I ask you a question, young man."

"Yes. I heard you." My voice was quiet, but defiant. She didn't like that.

"You watch your tone. No more warnings about that. Do you understand me?"

I sighed, still looking at her forehead. "Yes, I understand you." But I didn't. Not really. Isn't it a mother's job to help out her son in rough situations like this? No, I guess not, not when it's about giving another boy a blowjob.

As I reached the shelter of the bathroom, I softly shut the door behind me and locked it securely. What had just happened to me?

I had been outed. Five days ago, I had been having a happy little life, doing well enough, thank you very much. I had my swimming; I had my friends. I also had my secret, but it hadn't really been weighing me down too much.

Then I fell in love at first sight with a boy I had never seen in my life before. And the next day I had myself a boyfriend. A foreign boyfriend with a history of date rape and suicide attempts. And I had his whole family to contend with. They knew more about me in three days than I had known about myself ever. And I mean ever. Yeah sure, they had ended up being fantastically supportive after the grilling they gave me, but it was still a shocking adjustment to try and make. And then there was the fact that I wasn't a virgin any longer. At least, I think that blowjobs count, don't they, even if we hadn't...ummm, well, you know...

Yeah, I thought they counted. Thanks for the input.

And now my own mother knew about that. It was almost like I didn't really know myself anymore. It was somebody else's fucked up life taking place here.

Weird tangential snippets of thoughts raced through my mind. I stared at myself in the mirror as I washed traces of Robin's cum off my face. I'd never even had my own cum on my face, for God's sake. I'd never tasted it before, even. And I had been so stunned at having to deal with Mom, that all the ecstasy and the newness of the experience had been ripped right out of it for me. I mean, Robin's dick hadn't even finished pulsing when Mom entered the picture. Must have been awful for him too, come to think about it. I might never be able to give anybody another blowjob in my life without worrying about my mother barging in. Talk about your after-shocks!

I blinked as a new scenario popped out of my tortured mind. "Yes, Dr. Shrink, sir, I am here to see you because I have developed a blowjob phobia..." Shit. How weird IS all this, anyhow?

I lowered the toilet seat lid thingy and slumped down onto it. It was the only seat in the house, after all. I wasn't ready to march like a good little soldier back into my room. Nor was I ready to face the world outside the bathroom, either. I didn't have a clue what should even BE next. My world had just ended in an earthquake of epic proportions.

What could I do next? What options did I have? I thought hard for a minute.

Well, I suppose I could try to pass it off as teen-age experimentation and bluff my way through it, denying everything else about it. I could imagine the scenario playing out: 'Nope, never done that before, don't know what got into me. Never mind; no idea at all how that nasty old dick got into my mouth. He must have hypnotized me or something. It'll never happen again, no fear of that! Of course, I won't ever see him again, no problem. He's the faggot, not me! In fact I was just thinking this week about how I should go out and get me a girlfriend..."

And that's as far as I got down that road. Not just that it sounded lame and unbelievable. One more compelling reason not to say anything like that surged into my awareness. I couldn't go down the denial and avoidance road because that's pretty much what that other guy had done to Robin before, wasn't it? No, I couldn't do that to him again. Even though I was pissed at him for abandoning me like he had when my mother barged in.

What's that you say? How can I be pissed at him? Well, you figure it out, Sherlock. He fled the scene. Vamoosed. Adiosed. Without even a feeble attempt to fight back. Or to help me fight back.

Oh, well excuse me for not being totally logical here! Shit man, my life had just about ended, and he walked out on me. In my worst moment ever. That doesn't exactly inspire confidence, ya know?

So yeah, I was pissed. Which meant that maybe we were headed toward our first fight, too. Another new thing to experience for the first time. Oh, goodie.

The seconds ticked by in my new Fortress of Solitude, the upstairs toilet. What else was there for me to do, then? Only one other option, really. I'll have to tell them the truth and hope for understanding and acceptance. Mom and Dad aren't so bad. Maybe they'll talk to Robin's folks and then they'll adjust and everything will turn out for the best, just like all those schmaltzy Internet stories with rosy happy endings. I won't have to lie. I'll be brave and honest. They'll be shocked at first, but then they'll be fine. They just have to be! I'm their son, after all. Maybe they'll join that parents group I heard about someplace, for people with gay kids.

And with that vaguely hopeful thought, I shut the bathroom light off and shuffled quietly back to my room. As my bedroom door clicked shut, I wondered if I should lock it or not. Not. It should have been locked before, but now...Now it might just smack of defiance. I wasn't sure I was ready for defiance. Or anything else for that matter.

I fixed the rumpled sheets and blanket on my bed, and flopped down on it to await my fate. I must have dosed, because it was full dark when I came too again with a preemptory knock on the door.

It was my Mom, of course. The door opened without any ceremony at all, and once again she didn't wait for me to say it was all right to enter my space. That was a sign of continued rough weather ahead, cuz she had always been pretty good about that before today. I squinted against the glare as she switched the overhead light on without any warning.

"Come downstairs and eat dinner. Not a word about any of this in front of your sister. Your father and I have some things to say to you in private after we eat."

With that, she turned and went back down the hall. She had been so stern, so icy. Not a smidgeon of warmth in that voice at all, and also not a clue about what was coming afterwards. I heaved a huge sigh, trying to get my hair in order from my nap, and rubbing the sleepers out of my eyes. And then I followed her downstairs, trying to keep my head high.

Everything about dinner looked totally normal. Much of the time we didn't eat all together as a family, with busy work and school schedules not matching. So when we were all there, it was usually a semi-formal event. The same place settings, the same plates and glasses and serving dishes were all where they usually were. Everybody sat in their customary seats, Mom and Dad at the head and foot, me and my sister on each side, facing each other. But that was all that was normal. It was dead silent. Nobody was speaking. Nobody was even looking at each other. Well, except for my unfortunate sister. Poor Beth was looking at each one of us in turn, trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

"Mom, what's the mat..." but her voice trailed off into silence when Mom shot her one of those icy glares I had gotten upstairs earlier. Beth turned to Dad, with a questioning look, but all he said was, "Let's just eat our dinners, ok, honey? Everybody has had a hard day." And he kept mechanically putting forkfuls of food into his mouth, chewing on autopilot and looking mostly at his plate. I didn't let Beth meet my eyes, either. Who was I to try and break the ice-jam?

"Jeezum crow!" Beth exclaimed under her breath. "What did I do?"

Mom replied, "You haven't done anything at all, dear. Don't you worry about anything. These things don't concern you, that's all."

"But WHAT things??" Beth wasn't giving in easily. I mean, as far as she was concerned, everything had been hunky dory when they got back home from shopping in San Jose. Then she looked at me. "Gosh, Joey, are you in trouble about something?" I flicked her a warning glance, but then returned to staring at my plate.

"Beth! Just eat your meal, please!" Mom's voice could have frozen volcanic lava.

"OK, OK, already...but it must be something really, really bad..." Beth didn't really finish her meal, though. After all, something was terribly wrong, and it was obvious that she was being excluded. She mostly just pushed her food around on the plate until the whole ordeal ground to a halt.

Nobody else finished eating either. We each helped clear the table and wash up, like a movie with no soundtrack. It was all frosty and automatic, with Beth trying hard to figure out what was suddenly so wrong in her world. I felt bad for her. But I felt worse for myself.

Mom dried her hands on a cup towel and turned to me. "Joseph, living room. Beth, to your room and do your homework."

"But Mom! I don't have any homework!"

"Then read a book. Your father and I are going to have a private talk with your brother, and it doesn't concern you at all."

"But, Mom..."

"Now, Elizabeth. I don't have time for any nonsense from you! To your room. This instant!"

Beth wasn't any more accustomed to being spoken to like that than I had been before today. She turned to Dad, and started to say something to him. But the look she got from him was kind of sad and helpless. So off she trudged, her slight body seeming even smaller than usual, as dejected as she was right then.

Attention was then turned onto me, and I was out-numbered now, so I just turned and went into the living room. My parents followed me. I hesitated, not knowing where I should sit. Sure as shit I wasn't going to choose the sofa. I didn't want to have to be on the same piece of furniture as either of them, and was pretty sure they wouldn't want that either. So I chose an over-stuffed chair near the fireplace. It was almost across the whole room from all the other seating possibilities, so I felt a bit safer.

Dad sat on one end of the sofa. Mom didn't sit at all. But she did plant herself next to Dad, arms crossed and eyes once again ablaze with fury.

"I have informed your father of the events I observed this afternoon."

Jesus, it sounded like a police report. This was going to be even worse than I imagined.

My father cleared his throat and spoke to me for the first time that whole evening. "So, is this all true, Joey?"

I looked up at him and decided to at least try to stand up for myself a little bit. "I don't know what she told you, do I, Dad?"

My mother's sharp intake of breath betrayed her indignation. But my father raised his hand in her direction, keeping her quiet for the moment. "Son, she says that when she went into your room, she found you and that new boy, well, she says that you were, ah, were, umm..." and he paused and tried to find words for what he was thinking, and found that he couldn't actually say the words. He looked back at my mother.

She sure didn't have any trouble articulating her thoughts, though. Her voice dripped scorn and fury. "Your son was performing oral sex on that other boy, just like I told you. That little pervert was climaxing in your son's mouth. It is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life." Each word was delivered like a stone hurled at me.

My father turned back to me and said, "What do you have to say for yourself, son?"

Moment of truth. Truth or consequences. Truth or dare. All these phrases and more raced through my mind in an eye-blink. But I had already decided what I wanted to say.

"It's not exactly the way she says, Dad. Well, technically it is, yes, but..."

My mother began another verbal assault, but my father interrupted her outburst and said, "What do you mean by that, Joey?"

"I mean that Robin and I were...ummm, well, together. That part's true. But it wasn't disgusting. It was making love. And it was private. And Mom shouldn't have come into my room without knocking first, just like our rule has always been." That felt a bit better. At least I had gotten it all out. I could look up at them again.

And what did I see when I raised my eyes? My mother looking like she was about to burst like Mount St. Helen's. She was flushed bright red, her eyes bulging. I could almost see the steam coming out of her ears, like some cartoon. Her voice was shrill and harsh. "Love? LOVE? NO! Never use that beautiful word and connect it with something as foul, as warped and perverted as what you were doing with that...that...little queer!"

My father looked shocked at how forceful she was being, but he didn't argue with her. To think that I had started out hoping that he would help me with her. Not! He just looked back at me and asked, "Joey, have you ever done this before?"

Huh? More thoughts raced through my mind. Why was he asking an inane question like that at a time like this? What did it matter if I'd done it MORE than once, when the damage was done already? But the only thing that came out of my mouth was, "No..."

My mother's voice whip-lashed out immediately, "Well, thank GOD for that, at least it hasn't become habitual! And you can be very sure that nothing like it will ever happen again, either."

My father looked at his wife, and then back at me. He was the man of the house, after all, and he was expected to make sense out of this whole situation. He looked a bit lost at sea, which I took as a good sign. Maybe he hadn't made up his mind what he thought about it all. I decided to concentrate all my efforts on him. I knew I didn't have a prayer with my mother, at least not right then.

"Well, Joey, I'm listening. What else do you have to add, then?"

The ball was in my court, despite my mother's obvious wish to spout some more vitriol.

I took a deep breath and started speaking.

"Dad, it's not like she says. Really it's not. It's hard to's all new to me, too. But I am not a pervert, and neither is Robin. We're gay. We love each other. People who love each other make love. And it's a private thing. Same as between you and Mom."

"Richard, how can you just sit there and listen to this garbage? What these two were doing has nothing to do with love. It's pure animal lust. It's filthy and it's sickening. It's also probably criminal. They're under-age, aren't they, after all? so repulsive I can't imagine anything worse going on under our own roof like that! This nonsense about them being gay and in love is not to be credited, not for one moment!"

"Well, dear, what if Joey IS gay? It's a shock to me, too, but if he is what he says he is, then we have to do something about it, surely? Plus the fact that what you saw was unsafe sex. What if this other boy has exposed Joey to HIV or some other sexually transmitted disease? People with these problems need help. He's our son, and we need to help him get over this."

I sat up in my chair in dismay and fury. "Hey, wait a minute! Robin didn't expose me to any disease! He would never do that! And another thing: being gay isn't something I need to get over. Everybody knows that nowadays, Dad! This is the 21st century and we live in California, for God's sake! Being gay is just like any other minority. Some people don't like gay people like us...but I am not going to get over this. Not like you mean. You and Mom aren't going to 'get over' being straight, are you?"

I blinked as I realized how shocking it was for me to hear those words coming

out of my own mouth like this. So how much more difficult must it be for my parents to hear them?

My mother took a deep breath. She was trying to control herself, I thought at first. Maybe a little glimpse of hope. She seemed to gather her thoughts, and turned to my father with a determined air.

"Richard, please listen to me." At least she'd stopped shouting. But what came next was worse than the yelling that preceded it. "That pervert has obviously already corrupted our son. He's been influenced way beyond what I at first feared. I had hoped that this was some sort of hideous experiment, some lustful acting out that we could exert discipline about. But you heard him. He's done something horribly depraved. Yet he doesn't even see that it's wrong." Her tone had quieted down, for sure, but it had become more deadly somehow.

"Karen, honey, please try and stay calm. He needs to be checked for diseases by a doctor. And I'm sure there are other professionals who can help Joey through this, help him get back on track. There must be something that can be done to correct this awful mess. Let's try not to react with anger. That will surely make things worse, right?" My Dad always tried to be the peacemaker.

But this time he failed horribly. Mom wasn't having any of it. And for the first time since this awful muddle began, I found myself in agreement with her.

"I don't need to go to any doctor! And you can't make me go to some shrink, Dad!" and "You can't be serious, Richard!" came out of us at the same time. But then we both waited with bated breath to hear what Dad would try next.

My father looked at each of us in turn and heaved a hugs sigh. And continuing to look at me, he said, "Of course we can insist that you see a doctor, Joey. You are a minor and must comply with our wishes about your health. Surely you must see that?"

I was stunned. Nothing I was saying was making any difference at all. They just weren't listening. "Well, if you make me go, you can't make me talk to them. I'll just refuse to talk."

My mother's eyebrows shot up into her forehead and she turned to my father as if to say, "You see?"

Dad was still trying to come to some point we would all agree to. Too bad he was failing so miserably, huh?

He tried again. "Well, we have to make some sort of plan of action to deal with this. That's all I'm saying, Karen." That's the engineer in dear old Dad, always trying to bring order out of chaos with a step-by-step plan of action.

I wasn't doing very well with either of them, was I? Yeah, I know what you mean; they were neither of them on my wavelength, that's for sure. Nothing like all the sweetness and light from Robin's family, that's for damned sure.

"Dad, please listen to me for just one minute. It's not what you think. It's not all that bad. I learned in school that something like 10% of everybody is gay or bi or something. I'm not sick and I don't need to go to any doctor. And I am NOT crazy; I don't need help like that. I need you to understand me. Please, Dad...!"

My mother had gone quiet again. She didn't want to push my father too far or too fast. And she wasn't disappointed.

"No son, this being gay thing isn't normal. I know that's the modern view in many places, but there's plenty of evidence to the contrary as well. I have never been comfortable with that sort of person, and believe me; I have come across some of them in the past. The thought that my own son could be...well, might be...It's just too much. I can't believe it, and I certainly will not accept it." He looked at my Mom again as my stomach sank even further.

She looked relieved as she spoke again, saying, "You're right, dear. We need a plan. We need to get into control of this situation." My Mom was playing to my Dad's need to bring order out of turmoil. It was sickening.

They looked at each other as they thought about what to do. They talked only to each other as the ghastly plan was formulated. It was as if I wasn't even in the room any more. I had become the invisible boy. I had stopped being their son whom they loved; I had become a problem that needed sorting. They might even believe that what they were doing was for my own good, but it sure felt different than that to be on the receiving end.

I watched and listened in growing horror as the plan was devised and refined between the two of them.

Firstly, of course, I was never to have anything to do with Robin again. Other than seeing him in school, which was unavoidable, I was to have no interaction with him at all. I wasn't even to speak to him in the hall. My Mom was delegated to call the Williamson's and inform them of this decision and why. So there was no way that Robin could be spared his parents finding out this newest disaster in his young life. At least this time it wasn't his fault, but that was the only faintly positive spin I could put on it. My anger at him disappeared in a cloud of guilt for causing him all this trouble.

My parents were also going to bring me to school first thing tomorrow morning and inform the Principal and other Admin people about the situation, and they were going to be requesting that I be monitored closely at all times. I was not to be trusted alone with any boy. My parents were as worried about my corrupting others as they were about my having been corrupted, and they wanted to prevent any spreading of this contamination in any direction.

All of this meant that I was going to be outed to everybody who knew me. My mother's view was that everybody needed to know in order to protect themselves and their children. Shit, they were treating me like I was a convicted child molester with leprosy, for Christ's sake, and the neighborhood had to be alerted about my dangerous presence.

It got worse. It also meant no more swim team. Obviously I was never going to be allowed contact with semi-naked young boys in an intimate situation like team sports and showers or changing rooms. No way; off limits for sure.

They were going to make an appointment to take me to some sexually transmitted disease specialist as soon as possible. I had never even considered that there might be doctors who specialized in that stuff. My fear of needles and blood drawing paled into insignificance next to the shame and humiliation I was sure to feel sitting in that particular Doctor's office waiting like some criminal for the sentence to be read out.

I was to be transported to and from school...and everywhere else, too, of course... by adults in private vehicles. No more walking or riding on my own. They imagined all sorts of occasions for sin and degradation on the school bus and other forms of public transport. So all those unsupervised children were also off limits. I was to be brought home immediately after school. If I needed to stay after for something related to academics, then that would need to be strictly supervised as well. All my free time was to be spent in the presence of a teacher.

I blanched as I realized that freedoms I had taken for granted for a long time were now a thing of the past.

Through my growing shock and sense of unreality, I continued to try and argue my case before the "Court". I objected that the school might not be willing to agree to all of these restrictions. I was informed that if this school did not comply with their wishes, then they would have to find another institution that would be able to do the job. Their emphasis on the term, "institution" scared the living shit out of me.

At home, I would not be allowed to have visitors unless we remained in the same room as one of my parents. I was to have no access to the telephone, and my computer would be brought down to the living room tomorrow as well, so my on-line activities could be monitored at all times. If I wrote or received any letters or e-mails, they would all be examined by one of my parents. My bedroom door was never to be completely shut at any time, and the lock would be removed tomorrow. Privacy was being sacrificed in favor of the certainty that I would never be able to do anything like what had happened today ever again. Just like my mother had said.

If I attempted to break any of the new rules and regulations, I would be immediately sent to one of the "institutions" they had mentioned before, and it was to be my father's job to investigate the options for dealing legally with wayward youth. He looked sad but determined about this and all the other tasks. My mother looked like she had just gone to war. And indeed she had. She was in a battle for control. Control not only over me and all my activities, but control of my whole world as well. Nothing would be over-looked.

They didn't say a dozen words directly to me the whole time. It was the worst night of my life. Even worse than being caught with Robin. That paled into insignificance in comparison.

I was a goner. Dismissed to my room two hours later, I felt like a criminal in some high security prison, about to start a life sentence.

Back in my room, my door carefully shut only half way, I tried to think. It felt like I had just been beaten to a pulp, and I could scarcely breathe. My heart was racing, I had broken out in a cold sweat hours before, and my clothes were soaked with it. I could smell the rank odor of fear coming off me in waves.

But I was also angry. Deeply enraged down into my bones. I had no doubt that they would carry out all their plans. I was certain that by the end of the day tomorrow; everybody I knew would have learned everything there was to know about my secret life and today's embarrassing activities and their brutal after-effects. Robin's parents had probably already been called.

All right, so be it. This was the hand I had been dealt, and I would have to play. But I wouldn't just play along passively. I wasn't going to be led like some lamb to the slaughter. I knew I was right about myself and about my feelings toward Robin. We loved each other, and there wasn't anything wrong with love. I knew that being gay wasn't evil or immoral. I knew my parents were wrong. I knew I had to fight back. But I also knew that I didn't want to be sent off to some place even worse than home. I knew how few my options were right now, and how little power a kid has when his parents go off the rails like they had. I knew they held most of the cards.

So I needed help. And I didn't have much time to find it either. What weapons and tools did I have that I could use to help myself? Well, my bank account for one thing. Just in case, mind you. I made sure that I had the ATM card in my wallet for tomorrow. Lucky for me my parents had gotten me to handle my own savings account. I had almost $1,000 in it, from holiday and birthday presents over the years mostly. Hopefully the rents wouldn't immediately remember that, and give me time to shift the funds to someplace else I could get at them without them blocking it somehow. I know a kid can't open a new account all by himself, but maybe this was something Robin's parents would do for me.

What's that you say? Was I thinking about running away at that point? NO WAY! I wasn't going to let them drive me out of my own home, no sir. Besides, every kid nowadays knows what dangers there are in being homeless in the San Francisco Bay area. I had no intention of running away.

What else could I use in my own behalf? Well, another very good thing came to mind as my gaze wandered around my room. I had my computer for this one remaining night. After tonight, even that avenue would be closed to me. So, like the child of the Internet that I am, I knew exactly what I needed to do as soon as my parents were asleep. Thank God they didn't remove the computer immediately, and thank God they didn't think to disable my connection either. It was one of the very very few details they had overlooked. They hadn't grown up with the Internet, had they? No, they hadn't. But I had.

To make a long story short, that night I sent my pleas for help out into the darkness, like messages in bottles from a sinking ship in an ocean hurricane.

I also deleted everything I could think of that might have been even vaguely compromising or objectionable from my computer, buried lots of other stuff under multiple layers of files in odd places my parents would hopefully never know how to access. There was no way they would allow me to have a password they didn't know, but my loving parents would have to hire professional help to find anything on it without my assistance, which needless to say would not be forthcoming. Next, I wrote to Robin, and told him everything that had gone on. I explained all the new restrictions on me, and I tried to tell him how sorry I was about everything, and asking him to understand about what was coming tomorrow. He wouldn't be able to escape being affected by the coming storm any more than I would be. I also begged him to get his parents to help me however they could. I had no idea what they could do, but I needed everybody on my side that I could possibly think of, and they were the first ones on the list. I was hoping and praying that Robin could be strong for me, and not cave in to fears and guilt like he had before. I needed him to be strong for me, that's for damn sure!

And everything else I explored and researched that long night, I copied to Robin as well, so he would know what I had attempted and what the risks were if things stayed as bad as they were now.

I set up a new Yahoo account so I could be independent of my old server if needed, and if I ever got the chance to be near a computer without supervision again. Or if my "adoring" parents would decide to take the computer away from me altogether, which they could do at any time, of course. I sent that new address to Robin, and decided to use it as much as I needed to in the future to obscure my trail.

And then I began my hunt for resources on the Web. I started with a simple Google search for gay youth in San Mateo, Palo Alto, and San Jose. I figured that in the Bay area there must be good help, if I just could find it. I'd lived here all my life, and yet didn't really know anything about gay stuff. I'd never really needed it before, since I hadn't planned on acting on my secrets. I concentrated on the immediate area, places I could get to easily by the "Cal Train" commuter system and buses if needed. I had never depended on my parents for transportation, since they were always so wrapped up in their jobs and never available to truck me around. So I had always had my trusty multiple-trip ticket cards for Cal Train, and knew the bus routes quite well. It was always amazing to me how many of my suburban peers had never used public transportation, but I liked it. It made me feel free. It was sure as shit going to be an advantage now!

Anyhow, I searched for what aid and assistance was available for kids like me. And I wrote letters explaining everything that had happened to me, and everything I was going to face starting tomorrow. I begged for help. Any help. From anywhere. I sent 12 letters in all, giving my full name, address, and school. I warned them all not to try and contact me at home, but to use the new Yahoo account. I also gave each of them Robin's name and email address as well, hoping that he wouldn't mind too much about that breach of his confidentiality. I couldn't help it. I couldn't think of anything else.

Then I deleted my history and cookies and all traces of my activities disappeared from my computer. And then I tried to get some sleep. I knew tomorrow would be a living nightmare, and I needed to be prepared. My parents had declared war on me. I was going to fight back.

Part Two

Have you ever thought about how weird it is to have to sleep with your bedroom door open? To have to get changed and dressed when somebody could walk in on you at any time? Well, take it from me, you have no idea. It's creepy. I was on edge all the time, even though I could usually hear when somebody was coming down the hallway towards my space. I never asked about the bathroom door. I didn't want to have to leave that door open as well! Luckily, nobody objected to my closing and locking the door when I was showering and shitting. I'm pretty sure my mother noticed, though. I heard footsteps outside the door pause for a few heartbeats the first time I was perched on the crapper.

And that was just the first 30 minutes of my new day.

I couldn't bear the thought of breakfast. So I refused all the meager offerings there were. My Dad tried to make small talk early on, but gave it up pretty quickly when he saw that neither my Mom nor myself was having any of it. Then I was driven in silence to school. My parents had clearly done a lot more talking after they dismissed me last night, and they were ready for the meetings with the school authorities. Those sessions were kind of a blur. I remember the recitation of all the new restrictions. I sort of remember how shocked the school people were to hear what had happened and what the consequences were. I'm sure they tried to reason with my parents, and more than once the idea of family counseling was suggested to try and find more positive ways through the crisis. None of the three of us took them up on their offer of counselors. My parents didn't think it would help, and I wasn't going to sit with them and even try to reason with them any more. I was exhausted and sort of numb. You know the feelings you have in dreams sometime that none of the events are real, but you're there and in them anyhow? Well, that's how I felt. It all seemed like a dreadful nightmare.

All my classroom and study hall teachers as well as the swim coach were summoned to speak with the Vice Principal and my parents. They were all gob smacked. Coach Smallwood even came back to the Office and tried to get my folks to change their minds about the Swim Team restriction after he had a few minutes to think about it, bless his heart. But it was all useless.

It took several hours before all the gory details were hashed out. Transport arrangements were worked out like I was a load of vegetables being delivered. Guard duty was divvied up amongst my teachers and other school staff. I felt lower than a worm, but I was pissed as hell.

By the time my parents left the building (complaining about how long everything had taken and how behind they would each be at work, I might add) it was almost lunch period. Mr. Hingham, the Vice Principal, tried to talk with me after they left, but I wasn't up to much of a conversation right then. I remember that he tried to be kind, though, and said that his door was always open if I wanted to talk. I could barely nod my head in acknowledgement. Then I just went to the cafeteria and collapsed into a seat in a corner. I still wasn't hungry, as you can imagine. So I just sat there in a daze.

The first person I knew who entered the cafeteria was Amy. She scurried over to me, her red hair flying out on every side of her head like an Irish halo. "Hey, where have you been all morning? What's all this I'm hearing about you being some sort of perv and criminal? What's going on? Enquiring minds what to know!" She was intensely interested, but also keeping it light. She started with an ironic and humorous tone, but when all I could muster was a huge sigh, she sobered right up. Obviously, it wasn't taking very long for the rumor-mill to start churning out the latest headlines. Come to that, there were several conversations going on around us. I could tell that they were about me, because there were lots of glances and out-right stares in my direction as kids talked amongst themselves here and there.

The next person to enter the cafeteria was Robin. He made my heart jump and sink all at the same time. Weird feeling...I never had that one before. But then, I'd never had a boyfriend that I wasn't allowed to speak to before, either. He made a beeline right to us, ignoring everybody else in the room. Including Amy, to start with.

"Hi. How are you doing, mate? I've been sooo worried about you!" He was very intense, very concerned, very focused. He didn't really let me think about an answer, either. He kept on speaking quietly but in a rush as he sat down next to me and put his hand on my shoulder. It was the first time I had been touched since he had left me yesterday. I realized I truly needed that touch, and more. I didn't even care that we were in the middle of a hugely public place.

To him, Amy wasn't really at the same table. After all, I was the most important person in his world, certainly much more so than any new female acquaintance. He was just focused on me, is all. It felt really good, like somebody was taking care of me for a change. I loved him even more for that. "I got all your emails, and all the copies of the other letters you sent out last night. Good idea about the new email addy, too. Well done you on that! I showed everything to my parents this morning. Got them up early to go through it all, too! Don't worry about them. They're going to do what they can, and they'll be making some calls of their own today. Jack knows the whole lot, too. Couldn't keep it all from him, really."

I just nodded at him. But I did manage to lean into him as he sat there next to me, and found that my hand had grabbed onto his knee as he spoke.

But Amy was just about the last person on Earth who would put up with being ignored. "Hello? Earth to Joey! What the fuck is going on here?" Amy looked indignant that there were some obviously momentous events taking place that she hadn't been involved with. "Look, there are all sorts of crazy rumors going around school today. This is NOT your typical Monday morning, is it? What on Earth are you two talking about?"

It then became clear to me that she was also resentful of Robin's new place in my world. She was being sidelined by both of us, even though neither of us really intended it. A bit of worry flashed through my mind about what that might mean in the days to come, but I lost track of it in the midst of everything else going on at the moment. I just assumed that because I loved them both, they would sooner or later grow to love each other as well.

Well, yes, I was wrong about that. Thanks for highlighting it for me again. Hindsight is 20-20, alright? Jeez.

Outwardly I had just blinked at her as she leaned towards us from across the table. I hadn't said a word yet, in fact. I just couldn't start telling the awful tale. After a few awkward seconds, Amy's gaze shifted sourly to Robin and her questions floated wordlessly towards him now. Robin turned slightly to me and asked, "Is it OK for me to tell her, Joey? I think she needs to know, and she might be able to help."

"Of COURSE I can help! I've only known him all our lives, you know! Not like some other new arrivals I could mention..." Amy exclaimed, loudly enough to turn heads at near-by tables once again. I nodded my assent.

Robin lowered his voice, and said; "Alright already! I didn't mean anything dire. Keep your voice down, can you please?"

Amy blinked in surprise. It wasn't often that she got shushed like that. But she did seem to calm down a bit.

Robin continued, "I don't know how long they'll let me sit here with Joey like this. We aren't supposed to have any contact with each other at all. But I think the Cafeteria monitors haven't gotten the word about that yet, so we're in luck. The roos must be watching over us today in some small things, at least." We both raised our eyebrows questioning that last reference, but he simply shrugged it off as some Australian thing.

"Amy, we're gay."

She blinked hard in astonishment, but gathered herself together rapidly, and replied, "I sooo knew that."

I sat up and retorted, "You did not!"

"Did too. Not for a long time maybe, but ever since you started mooning over cutie face here, it was pretty obvious. My gaydar is pretty well developed. Lots of girls have that, ya know!" She looked smug and pretty pleased with herself at that point. Yes, it WAS a bit irritating. She was being waaay bitchy all of a sudden. I was beginning to get the jealousy part, loud and clear.

"So are you guys boyfriends now, or what?"

Robin continued speaking for us. And he proceeded to tell Amy everything. He was also trying to be charming, too. He could see that there were ruffled feathers here that needed tending to. So he didn't leave out any details. Amy was fascinated, despite herself. And not bothered at all by the fact that we were two boys. That simply made us all the more exotic to her, and she loved that part of it. Everybody likes to hear juicy tidbits about other people's sex lives, too, I suppose.

Even though she was practically green with envy, she was also pleased as punch at being in on the newly established underground movement to provide me with aid and support. And she was more than indignant at the new repressive regime laid down by my parents. Choice names were applied to them, that's for sure. It felt amazingly good to have one more person on my side. And Amy was the kind of person that was going to turn into a fierce one-girl army. Kind of my personal bodyguard. Just call her Zena, Warrior Princess. I liked the idea, and smiled to myself.

"So who all did you write to asking for help? What's that about?" she asked

I organized my thoughts for a minute as she anxiously awaited my response. "Have you ever heard of GSA's?" She looked blank for a second, but then said, "Of COURSE I have, silly. It stands for Gay... something... something, right?" Hah! She never could admit to not knowing anything. I loved her for that little trait, too.

"Right you are, Zena!" said Robin. Wow, he really WAS reading my mind! She scowled at the name, but she had been the first one to call Robin a name, after all. I giggled and corrected her. "Gay Straight Alliances. Clubs at some of the High Schools around here. Not ours, unfortunately. But the kids who are members of them might be able to help us. And their advising teachers as well, maybe."

"Which schools have them?" Amy asked, enthralled at the idea.

"Well, Mills has one, up in Millbrae. That's practically next door to us. Hillsdale has one right here in San Mateo. And Menlo has one too, you know that private school in Atherton?"

Amy nodded, and said, "Yeah, the boys there have really sexy uniforms." Robin shushed her again, and she flounced her hair and said, "Whatever!"

Robin continued, "And there's something called the Bay Area GSA Network. That sounds really good. We had nothing like it in Australia, let me tell you! You sent an email to them, too, right, Joey?" I nodded affirmatively.

Amy thought for a minute. "But wait. Maybe other schools won't be allowed to interfere in something out of their jurisdiction. They're just kids like us, right? Did you find any adults who can help?"

Robin clapped me on the back and beamed, "Yep. Our Sherlock Holmes here found us a passel of other places, didn't you?"

Amy looked at my boyfriend funny, and asked, "Passel? What's a passel? Is that some Australian word?"

"Well, so much for my cowboy imitation, there, pardner. Nope, that thar word is pure Amur-can." Robin drawled in a bad Southern accent. You had to love him. I did, anyhow. Amy just rolled her eyes in annoyance.

I was beginning to feel better. The normal teenage banter was helping me "Yeah, pardner..." and wiggled my eyebrows at my two best friends archly.

But I needed to get back to business as well. "I found someplace called GALTIP."

"And that would stand for what, exactly?"

"Gay and Lesbian Teen Intervention Program. It's right here in San Mateo, too. Their website says they have free services to anybody in the whole County."

"Cool. I want to go with you when you visit them. Anyplace else?"

"Yup. Down in Palo Alto, something called Outlet Support Services. Since my Dad works down there, maybe they'll be useful. And in Redwood City there's a Youth Health Center with a "Sexual Identity Forum" we might want to check out."

Amy didn't have to think about that one for long. "Cool! But I'm not riding on the train all the way down there...we gotta get a real ride like civilized people, alright?"

I snorted. "Yeah, like public transportation will hurt you. It's all of 20 minutes from here. If it was a mall you wouldn't mind!"

"OK, ok, you got me there. If we can go to the mall after the meeting..."

I moved right along, ignoring her possibly genetic need to shop at every conceivable opportunity. I didn't want to give Robin any ammunition to get her with right now. "There's also a Church in Redwood that got listed as being gay-friendly." I added, proud of my search efforts.

"What, a gay church? I read about that one someplace. Metropolitan Community something-or-other. I can look it up if you want..." Amy said.

"Nope, this one isn't one of those, although we can use all the help we can find, so check it out for sure. This one is Episcopalian, the same as just elected that new gay bishop."

Robin and Amy said, "Cool!" at exactly the same moment.

Robin got serious. "What if we aren't able to get to all these places, Joey?"

"I thought of that already. There's a telephone Helpline in Mountain View, and that's a local call from here. We'll try them later on."

"Good on ya, mate," Robin said, and added, "That wasn't all the emails you sent, was it, though?"

"Nope. I also wrote to that group for parents of gay kids. I think your parents should follow that one up right away soon."

Amy said, "Oh! I've heard of them. I saw them on the news once. What's their name?"

"PFLAG. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays." I answered her primly, pleased to have done my homework so well.

Robin said, "Great. Where do they meet? I know you told me that in your email, but I forget."

"Here in San Mateo, every second Monday of the month. They meet at the Methodist Church over on 36th and Hacienda. They also meet in San Jose, Gilroy, and Sunnyvale. Want their phone numbers?"

"Jeez, you got all that on one Google search?" Amy was impressed. Well, I was, too.

"Well, actually, there's this one site called QueerAmerica from an organization set up to help gay kids all over the country. I just entered our area code and zip code, and they came up with the list. It was kind of cool."

Amy thought for another moment. "Hey, are there any, like, social services places we can call and complain about your parents? Maybe what they're doing is abuse, ya know?" They both looked at me.

"I don't know. I didn't do a search for those. I hope we don't need them. I wanna try these places first, ok?" The reality of the situation came crashing down on all of us once again. But I felt better enough to choke down a few mouthfuls of school lunch. Just don't ask me to identify what the 'mystery meat of the day' might have been.

Lunch finished with Amy and Robin continuing to pay far more attention to me than to each other. I hoped that would end pretty soon, and made a note to myself to try and get Robin to cut her some more slack until she got used to us as being together.

My first class after lunch was always Mr. Carstairs and the wonderful world of civics and social studies. Stuff like how government worked, current event projects out of the newspapers, and like that. But don't get me wrong, I liked this class. It was way more interesting than history and English, or (God forbid!) anything to do with math or science. Plus I got B's in this class, for about the same amount of effort that got me C's in other courses, because Mr. Carstairs was a well-known "nice guy". I hadn't really ever talked to him, but I hoped that now that he knew all about me from this morning's meetings, that he would stay nice. Maybe I could become a real live term paper for somebody, all about repression and human rights. Yeah, sure.

Well, hey, YOU'RE here studying me, aren't you? You're not studying me? Oh, right, I forgot. OK, then, be that way.

I timed my entrance to be right at the bell, so nobody would have a chance to talk to me...or about me... while I had to listen to it. I slouched into my usual seat, trying to be invisible. But as Mr. Carstairs started the class, I could feel him looking at me more intently than usual, though. So much for being invisible.

But he didn't call on me or focus on me any more than anybody else during the class. The time passed, with me continuing in my daze. I couldn't tell you anything about what the class was about that day.

Yeah, even more than usual, wise-mouth. Why am I putting up with you and your sarcasm? What? Well, that's true, now that you mention it, I haven't caught you perving on me in a while, at least. Thank God for small mercies.

But right at the end of the class, as everybody was shuffling their books and papers together into carrying piles or backpacks, Mr. Carstairs said, "Joey, would you please stay for a minute? I'd like to have a word with you." Everybody around me heard that, of course, and the heads whipping around towards me and the eyebrows being raised caused a little breeze, I swear.

So of course, I waited for the room to empty, shuffling an imaginary dust ball on the floor while Mr. Carstairs quietly organized his desk for the next period. Then he went and shut the door and locked it. "What now...?" I thought to myself. But he smiled re-assuringly as he came back toward me.

"Just to give us a moment of privacy before the next invasion." He said. ""Sit!" But it was an invitation, not a command. I slumped into the chair nearest his desk, and he came around to plunk himself onto the desktop. His khaki-covered leg started to swing a bit from side to side. It was a habit I'd noticed before. It was calming in a weird sort of way.

He looked at me expectantly, but I wasn't about to start first; not after the day I'd had so far. He smiled gently again. "Well, you know they've told all of your teachers the current situation, right?"

I nodded at him dejectedly.

"I just wanted to let you know that I'm here to help however I can."

I hadn't heard much of that from an adult recently. Not that wasn't just a polite platitude. Both Coach Smallwood and Mr. Hingham had said the same thing, but there wasn't anything they could do so far. So I asked, "What can you do to help?"

"I'm not sure. You tell me."

"Look, Mr. Carstairs, you sound like you mean well. But I haven't got a clue about how anybody can help me." I wasn't going to trust him right off with the secret resistance efforts I had begun last night, that's for sure.

"Joey, I'm sure that everything seems pretty dark and dismal right now. But there will be some people who will understand you, and some will want to help you. Other people have gotten through similar situations in their past. You might be able to learn from their experience. If you trust them enough to let them help you, that is."

"Similar situations? People like me?" It was a logical thought, of course, and I was hoping that some of the organizations I'd found on the Internet could help. But I hadn't gone the next step in my head and really considered that there were other people out in the world who were like me. Other than Robin, of course.

Mr. Carstairs nodded affirmatively.

But right then I needed some concrete guarantee. I was sick of 'maybe' already, that's for sure.

"Like who, for instance?" I admit it. I was exhausted, I was stressed. I didn't want to play guessing games, even if he meant well. If he wanted to help, he could at least be clear and concrete. So, yeah, I challenged him a little. Just to see if he'd stick around.

Mr. Carstairs looked down at the brown suede Rockport's that went along with his khaki slacks so well, thinking for a moment. Then he seemed to decide something inside himself and looked up at me again.

"Like me, for instance."

That made me blink. Hard. He was like me?

"What do you mean?" It wasn't brilliant, but it was all I could manage. Get off my back, already!

"Joey, I mean that I am like you. Gay."

"You're gay? Did your parents ever walk in on you while you were with your boyfriend?"

"No. They didn't need to. They threw me out before there was ever any evidence like that. When I was 17. I've been on my own ever since."

"No shit..." I was amazed that he was telling me this. It must be against all sorts of school rules.

"No shit." He echoed grimly. "It's a tough thing. A very tough thing. But I got through it. And so can you. I had some good help, and I don't mean to stand by and watch it happen all over again to somebody else. So, as I said. I'm here to help."

"Gosh, Mr. Carstairs, I don't know what to say..."

"Don't worry about it. We'll take this one day at a time for now. Here, keep this. Any time you need me, make sure you call me. Or come. Whatever you need." He handed me a neatly printed card with his home address, phone numbers, and email address on it.

"Umm, ok, thanks...But are you sure you're allowed to do this? I don't want to get you in trouble or anything."

"Yeah, it might look bad to some people, so keep it to yourself as much as you can. I'll trust whomever you trust about it. But it's only against the law for me to hit you, or to hit ON you. Which I'm not going to do, because you're too young for me, ok?" He said that with a bit of a grin, so I knew he was serious, but also that he was trying to be re-assuring again. He was really nice. Or did I say that already?

Shut up. You just keep taking your notes and try not to talk too much, ok? Ok. Stop laughing! I mean it!

I decided to trust him with my other big secret. "I sent some emails to some organizations last night. My boyfriend Robin and his parents are going to try and help me, too. But I could sure use you on my team. So thanks again, Mr. Carstairs."

There were some people starting to knock on the door and rattle the knob. Nodding in that direction, Mr. Carstairs said, "The natives are getting restless. Git! I'll be sure to stay by the phone and all that."

So I left, kind of walking on air. Talk about ups and downs! I felt like I had been on some cosmic elevator for about a year.

Even though nothing remarkable happened in the last two periods of school that day, the walking on air feeling didn't last long. Why was that, you ask? Duh. Have you ever been the only recently outed gay kid in an entire High School before? You have, huh? No shit? So you're gay, too? Don't just sit there and smile at me all smug like that! Why didn't you tell me that before? Oh, I see. I never asked. What kind of lame excuse is that?

Well, then you know perfectly well why my good feeling didn't last long, fer Christ's sake. I felt like I was under a microscope. Every place I went, people stopped what they were doing and stared at me. And I mean everywhere and everybody. It was like that old E.F. Hutton commercial, where a business dude walks into a room and everybody freezes to see what he'll do or say. And it wasn't just in my own classes or with kids from my year. It's amazing how fast juicy news gets around a school, huh?

Some people looked at me like I had suddenly begun to small bad. They were the worst. The ones who quickly looked away or gave me three times the space I actually needed to pass also bugged me. But, as Mr. Carstairs had said, there were a few who kept eye contact, and who were trying to tell me they were on our side somehow. At least that's what I hoped, because nobody actually spoke directly to me at all. Nobody wanted to be seen getting too close to the newly famous fag, I guess. It made me wonder what Robin was having to go through, being a new kid in school in addition to being famous all of a sudden. Alright, infamous, then.

And after school, there was the memorable visit to the Doctor's. My mother accompanied me right into the examination room, which she hadn't done since I was about eleven years old, I swear. Need I say more? I had to strip entirely; he didn't even let me keep my boxers on. This creepy old dude feeling me up for what seemed like hours, and inspecting everything waay up close and personal. And no, I did NOT get hard, you wise ass. Just the opposite, in fact. He even had this little tiny comb and went through what pubes I have, which isn't all that much yet. Said he was looking for creepy crawlies, like Robin was some dirty scumbag who never washed himself ever.

Then I had blood taken, and they used one of the biggest needles I'd ever seen. They made me pee into a cup, but at least I could do that alone in the toilet. They stuck a cotton swab up my piss slit to check for diseases they couldn't find in blood samples. That was a real thrill, let me tell you. When I saw what the man was about to do, my dick tried to crawl completely up into my abdomen. And no, it didn't work. He just grabbed onto it roughly at the base and stuck the swab up inside. It felt like he was rotating a piece of jagged glass up there, and it didn't seem like he was all that bothered to be careful. Maybe my mother paid him extra to ensure that it was part of the punishment for my crimes. My dick was sore for the next 2 days.

When we got home, it was the same silent and awkward time as it had been the day before. I got to my room, and found that my computer was gone. They told me at dinner that it was too much of a risk to actually let me use it, even if it was downstairs in the living room. They said I could use the Mac in their room if I had homework to do. I was seriously outraged, and tried to argue. But it was no use. In fact, I can't think of even one argument with either of my parents that I actually won in those early days of our war.

My poor sister was still completely in the dark about what was wrong with all of us. I began to think that I should tell her everything, just so she stopped worrying.

Jack called, saying only that he was a friend on the Swim Team. He told me later that he'd tried to cover up his Australian accent, just to be sure. But even though I doubt that my parents didn't make the connection about him being Robin's brother, I wasn't allowed to speak to him. It was a nice try, though.

Amy called. My mother didn't let me talk to her either, even though she had met her before and there shouldn't have been any worries about gay boys trying to get to me through her...or me to them. I could tell that my Dad felt bad about that, but he didn't try to control my mother. It became clear to me that the plan was to keep me isolated as much as possible from the rest of the world. If my mother had anything to do with it, I would be forced to be pure because I was untouched and untouchable.

After an evening that seemed like it was about a week long, I got tired of staring at the TV shows my folks were watching and went to bed. With the door partly open, of course. I tried to comfort myself by creating an image of Robin's smiling face in my mind, and that helped a bit.

The next two weeks seemed to stretch into infinity, and everything got worse. I kept telling myself that it couldn't possibly GET any worse, but it did. I managed to give Robin the password to my new Yahoo account so he could check for messages from the organizations I'd sent to for help. And I had assumed that we would find places to spend some time together to work on everything, and for him to tell me what was going on. But he wasn't able to, not even one time after that Monday lunch. The teachers were all eagle-eyed and vigilant, preventing even the most casual-seeming contact. Even the lunchroom staff got pulled into it, and so I just started eating by myself off in a corner, like the school leper. I could tell that some of the teachers and staff were sympathetic from the looks of concern on their faces, but they weren't in any position to help. I found out later from Mr. Carstairs that the Administration was all worried about my parents filing a lawsuit if they didn't comply with the new rules.

I talked to Mr. Carstairs for a few minutes after class every day. It was the only friendly contact I was able to maintain. He tried to keep my spirits up. He told me more about GSA's and what they did. He said he'd found some websites with information about how to start one in our school. But when I asked him if he was going to help get it organized, or even maybe become the faculty advisor, he hemmed and hawed. He was willing to go to bat for me personally behind the scenes and in emergencies, but he wasn't ready to step into the limelight that much. He knew he was really disappointing me, but the most he would do was ask other teachers if they'd be willing. Let's just say that there wasn't exactly a line of interested applicants forming at the door.

Amy said that Robin wasn't telling her much about developments in the PFLAG department, or any of the other places I'd contacted either. The more time those two spent together, the worse they got along. I guess having me in common as best friends continued to make things frosty. They were so jealous of each other that nothing else ever got attended to, if you can believe that shit. I wanted to tell them both to grow up and get with the program, but I never really had the chance.

On the third day, I told my sister what was going on and why. I couldn't believe that my parents had such little regard for the well being of their other child, but they had kept saying that it wasn't any of her business. She was just a little girl, so she really didn't know what to say about me or what they were doing to me. She just got depressed too, because things were so miserable at home. It was sweet how she tried to make me feel better by hugging me more often than she had before. But we could both tell that Mom hadn't liked my telling her about the situation.

Weekends were the worst. Without even the minimal distraction of school's nazi-like regime, time crawled by like molasses in January. By the beginning of the second week, I was fed up with everything. It felt like I didn't have a friend left in the world, and my boyfriend was becoming a fading memory. I know that seems like I'm a real drama queen, but I was actually that isolated.

You have to understand that I felt like I was living inside a bubble. It was transparent, and everybody could see me. But at the same time, I had no privacy, and everybody in the world knew everything about my life. I had no real contact with anyone. Nobody came out fighting for me, at least not at first. If people were doing anything on my behalf, I didn't know about it. No information came to me. I was that cut off.

I tried to figure out a way to use the telephone to call the Helpline I'd found in my first Google search. But I wasn't allowed to call anybody, and my Mom had turned into a really effective concentration camp guard. She seemed able to tell whenever I was going to try something. I had taken it for granted that I could use the public phones at school as an alternative, but all three of those were out of order all the time. Damn! Nothing was working. Nobody was even passing me any notes, for God's sake.

I had hoped initially that Robin and Amy and Robin's family would come riding to the rescue. I was sure as shit dependent on all of them to get me out of the trap I was in. And I didn't see them doing anything at all. That was perhaps the worst feeling of the lot. Being abandoned by family was one thing, but I was getting used to thinking of them as the enemy. But being abandoned by your boyfriend and all your other supports was even worse. I just couldn't understand it, and nobody was providing any explanations.

And so, like any living thing deprived of oxygen and other supplies vital to life, I began to lose strength. Everything sort of blurred into a gray featureless existence. I know now that I was getting more and more depressed. But at the time, it felt like I was running out of get-up-and-go to do anything.

I know I was still angry, and that I still wanted to fight for my right to be myself and be with the boy I loved. All that was still in me, way down deep. But I couldn't seem to reach it like I had in the first day or two, not all by myself.

And then there was finally the day that I didn't speak at all. It wasn't intentional. I didn't get up that morning and plan not to speak all day. I just couldn't think of anything that I wanted to say. And somehow I couldn't muster the energy to reply when anybody else spoke to me, either. It all seemed so pointless. It was that first "silent day" that I stopped visiting with Mr. Carstairs, too. I just shuffled out of class with the rest of the herd. Maybe he was surprised, but he didn't stop me, either.

Was I on strike, you ask? Maybe. I never thought of it like that.

But whatever it was, it just went on the same way after the first day. That first day of silence became the second one. And then the third. And so it went, and it seemed like forever.

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