Robin, Chapter 7 - "You Have a Problem With It?"

by Grasshopper

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 by Grasshopper.

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Silence is weird..........when you get real quiet, all of a sudden, there's this bizarre music, kinda techo/retro, playing in your ears. It's like your head saying, "Okay buster, you may wanna shut up but I'm gonna keep all the wheels turnin' in here."

I had nothin' to say. My Mom had morphed into the shebeast from the third level of Hell; my dad had shrunk in my eyes to the size of a tiny wimpoid; and my boyfriend, the boy I'd said 'I love you' to not three weeks ago had totally deserted me. I had entered the gay door of the Twilight Zone, you know, the one marked with the "invisible" sign. I would just lay here on my bed, in my dark room and rot. The stench alone would finally clue my parents in that I was no longer a problem; their 15 year old social pariah.

I could still hear my mom's voice as she spewed out, "Your son was performing oral sex on that other boy. That little pervert was climaxing in your son's mouth." And the worst part, save me from all perversion, I was hard just thinkin' about it. Sweet little Robin, all soft and scared and hot, burning my skin, pulsing shot after shot in my very willing mouth. 'Yep, Mom, I was doin' just what you said and I was LOVIN' it."

Lost in my yucked up thoughts of anger and desolation and finality at age 15, my mind turned down the clutter music and began to function. Tap! Tap! Tap! This little sound broke through my Eyorian cloud and popped my eyes open.

Either the parents from hell had set huge wharf rats to come in and devour me or someone was tapping on my window. I giggled, picturing a raven ,beady eyes and all, screeching 'Nevermore' in my face before it pecked out my eyes. Can you tell I'm totally losin' it here?

"Pssst! Hey, Dickweed! Open up!"

I climbed off my rumpled bed and peered out into the dark. Jack's cute little face peered back, his mouth set as he grasped tightly to the trellis that was none too sturdy. "Let me in, jerkoff."

Um........that did not make me want to open the window, smile or anything. Little shit! No one cared about me anyway. But, he WAS Robin's brother and I DID want to kinda.......sorta.......wanna know how my ex...doesn't love me...left me here to rot..........boyfriend was.

Jack hoisted himself up and flung through the window, falling on the carpet with a huff. I walked back to my bed of many sorrows, lay down, leaned back against the headboard, crossed my ankles, sighed and waited. It didn't take long.

Whispering, Jack crawled over to the side of the bed and sat, Indian style beside me. "It's like getting' into Alcatraz, man."

I sat still, glaring straight ahead, my silence absolute.

"Oh, still doin' the ziplip thing, eh? Well, I've got stuff to say and you can sit there and sulk if you want. No skin off me." He whispered through the gloom, "Robin misses you so much. He cries all the time. I told him you'd hurt him, remember? I told him but would he listen? Noooooo! He had to be in luuuv. Part of me just wants to beat the shit out of you for lookin' at him, for touchin' him. You sit here thinkin' you're all hurt and nobody loves you and the world hates you. What about Robin? He's still out there....dealin' with it. Dealin' with what happened. He still goes to school. The kids don't mess with you cause they're scared of the teachers but they're messin' with him. Everyday, he comes home torn and dirty, scared and lost. All because of YOU! Have you even thought about what he's goin' through? We can't move again. I can only fight his battles so many times. Where are you when he needs you?" He stopped to gasp a quick breath.

Shit! In all this, I hadn't thought about what was happening to Robin. All I had done was had a huge pity party for Joey. If I went to school every day and the kids acted like I had a nasty disease and they wouldn't talk to me or even use the john when I was in there, what must they be doin' to Robin? He was so shy and gentle. I don't shit off anybody, but Robin.........Shit!

Apparently Jack got his second wind and it was still blowing hot. "What happened to that cocky guy who only wanted to love my brother? The one who told my parents he would never hurt him? Damn! This all just sucks, man."

Okay.......Joseph Andersson knows when to shut up and he knows when to talk. This was talking time. "Jack," I croaked, my voice brittle, "How is he?"

Jack looked at me as if making up his mind, "He's hangin' in there. But he needs you, Joey. He's scared all the time."

I know this didn't change my impossible situation at all, not one iota, but it did kinda swerve my brain. You know, you're born and you're handed your life. It's like one of those plastic food trays in the school cafeteria with all the little different sized holes. Have you ever noticed the one with the little circle inside the square? It's for a glass but they hand you a square milk carton. That's what being gay is like. You can fill all the holes in your tray with the things in your life that make you who you are but there's that one space where 'hetero' is supposed to fit but 'homo' doesn't quite make it. I guess it's that 'homo'genized milk.

I wanted to crush that carton into that circle but it was never gonna happen. My mother was trying her best to squish that carton in there but it was just gonna explode in her face. You take what ya got and ya run with it. I had to make decisions and I had to get out of this house. My mom may have decided that I had had some kind of brain fart and was changed overnight into a perverted little nancy boy but I knew better. I'd known for a long time and Robin had just made me act on it. Sucking his sweet dick into my mouth had just changed the rules for me. All the bets were off !

My mind cleared in that moment. Jack must have thought I was nuts but I sat up and the gears in my brain started churnin' overtime. I would NOT run away. I needed to help Robin. I needed to be myself. Was I ashamed of who I am? I thought carefully...........NO! The more I thought along these new lines, I realized I was ashamed of my parents, ashamed that all the years we'd 'known' each other and I'd idolized them, they were narrow minded bigots; my mom much worse for her inability to accept anything outside her POV but my dad was weak. I knew he was just trying to keep the peace but at what price? I'm his son, God Damn It!

"I'm sorry," I said.

"I'm not who you need to say that to, am I?" Jack asked.

I knew he was right. All the GALTIP and PFLAG groups in the world couldn't help me until I stood up a little stronger. They couldn't come take me out of here; change my parent's thinking. That would only come in time.....if ever.

I heard footsteps coming down the hall. Shoving at Jack, he rolled under the bed and we both lay still, hearts beating little drummer boy fast. I could feel giggles, you know that kind you just CAN'T have, like in church or at a funeral, welling up inside me. I bit my lip and looked toward the open door.

"Go to sleep," my dad said into the darkened room.

"How do you know I'm not?" I shot back.

He stood quietly, his mouth opening to say something, then he sighed and whispered, "I never wanted it to be this way. Can't you just say it was all a mistake? That he forced you to do it? Your mom might accept that."

I felt sorry for him in that moment, trying to walk a fence, balanced, not wanting to fall either way. It must be hard wanting everything and being too weak to hold out his hand to his son. But...............

"Go to bed, Dad." I would never forgive that weakness. He sighed again, a very lonely sound and walked away.

Jack scrambled out from under and snorted back a laugh. "I never thought I'd be hidin' under some bloke's bed. A girl maybe."

"I need you to do somethin' for me. Two things, really," I said as he climbed up on his knees by the bed.

"If I can and if one of them is something for Robin."

"Yeah. Tell him I'm sorry for being a selfish creep. I was so into 'me' that I forgot about him." I looked shamefacedly at his brother. "That won't happen again."

Jack hesitated and then slipped a folded note out of his pocket. "I guess you can have this." He handed me the note as I got up and headed for my desk. I laid the folded paper carefully on my empty computer space and ripped a piece of notebook paper out of a spiral binder, the wiggly ragged edges falling all over.

"This is my Aunt Charlene's address and phone number. She's my mother's older sister. She's always been good to me and Beth. She's the only person who's ever yelled at my mom and gotten away with it. Take her this note and tell her whatever you need to, to get me out of here." I scribbled, "Aunt Char, I need your help really bad. Please come!! Joey"

I almost laughed, picturing R2D2 and Princess Doughnut Hair and the message, "Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" only it wasn't at all funny. She just might be my only hope.

Jack stared at the paper and then back at me. "K, mate. My dad'll take it. We'll do what we can." He stood for a second looking at me, and finally, a weird look on his face, he hugged my shoulders. "From Rob," he muttered and shot out that window before I could get the surprised look off my face.

I climbed back on my bed, knowing nothing was different but yet kinda, everything was. I flipped on the little light by my bed and unfolded Robin's note:

Dear Joey,

You're the bravest boy I know. I miss you so much. Please don't forget about me.

Your Robin

And he'd drawn a huge lopsided heart around the whole note. I smiled, tucked the little heart-note under my pillow, my mind full of "My" Robin as dreams gathered me up.

The next day, at school, I held my head up higher. I would have to take this for the time being but I damn well wasn't gonna skulk around anymore. A kid stared at me as I opened my locker. "WHAT?" I growled at him. One of my swim team 'former' friends rammed his shoulder into me as I walked down the hall but the boy he was with pulled him back and I heard him mumble, "Don't be a jerk".

Classes were the same but I didn't wait for the bell so I could slither in like some kind of freak. I walked in, sat down and tried to ignore the stares and the whispers. Mr. Carstairs asked me a question about trade embargoes and I answered him, making him smile in encouragement. I wasn't happy with him but then I wasn't too happy with any adults right now.

A girl in my Calc class smiled timidly and I smiled back. The boy whose locker is next to mine dropped a book and when I picked it up, said 'Thank you' and his eyes smiled. People weren't all bad.........but it really wasn't enough.

Lunch came and I grabbed my tray, the one with the icky queer germs all over it and headed for the designated faggot table by the garbage cans. But today, I didn't cram my food as fast as I could. I ate slow and actually looked around at the kids I'd known my whole life. I found a few looking back at me with questioning eyes.

Then, I saw Robin. He was sitting with Amy and Jack and two of Amy's friends. Why couldn't I at least sit and eat with my friends? I picked up my tray and walked over. "Hey guys." Robin's eyes said it all. He schooched over and I sat down, a space big enough to drive a Mack truck between us. I knew I only had a few minutes but I was making a statement and I wanted everyone to see me.

"I'm gonna fix this, Robby," I said gently. "I don't know how but I am gonna fix this. This wasn't supposed to happen."

"I know," he whispered. "I miss you, Joey."

Under my breath, I mumbled, "My yard, tonight, 10:00. Please."

He smiled and I knew he'd come. I looked at Jack and he nodded his head. "Dad took it."

"Joey." I turned my head and saw the lunchroom teacher monitor standing behind me. "You have to move away."

"Why?" I asked belligerently.

"Joey, don't do this," Ms. Daniels said sadly. "I don't like this any better than you do. Please, just move."

I felt sorry for her and knew my time was up. "Gotta go back to Queer Jail," I announced loudly and heard several snorts and giggles. I looked at Robin, smiled and walked out, dumping my trash.

When I got in the car, my mom was rigid. "What?" I said. She didn't say a word. We rode all the way home in silence. Now that I had broken my solitude, I didn't like the quiet, not one bit.

I saw a red Volvo parked in the driveway. "Oh God! Aunt Char!!" This could mean two things. Either she was gonna help or she was here to drive me to the 'institution'. I prayed for the first.

Throwing my bookbag down on the floor, I didn't even pretend I didn't know what was going on; why she was here. "Aunt Char," I said quietly, moving across the room to stand by the sofa.

"Joey," she replied, her eyes searching into mine. "I've been discussing life with your mother." I heard my mom snort but she didn't say anything. That was a first.

Aunt Char patted the cushion beside her and I sat down, my feet on the floor, my arms hugged around my stomach, my back not touching the sofa.

"So, you're gay!" Not a question; a statement.

"You wouldn't believe what he was doing, Char. He was...............," my mother started to spout.

"Hush, Karen. I've already heard from you. I want to hear Joey."

What? My mom.........silenced?? Has the world ended? Am I dead? I peeked out from under my lashes and saw my Aunt Char's soft smile.

For me! For Robin! I sucked in my breath and lifted my head, "Yes, Aunt Char. I'm gay."

She sifted slightly and I felt her arm go around my shaky shoulders.

"He is not," my mother groaned. "It's all that other........"

"It's not, Mom. It's me," I said, my voice cracking. "If it wasn't Robin, it would be someone else."


"Karen, Joey's not a child. He knows his own body." My mother looked like she swallowed a gopher at the word 'body'. I guess she was picturing what my 'body' had been doing when she walked in.

"I won't allow him to do those perversions," my mother muttered.

"And how will you stop him? If he's gay," I watched my mother cringe, "He'll find a way. It's what he's supposed to do, Karen. It's what his mind and his body tell him is the right thing to do. Joey, go on up to your room. I need to talk to your mom for awhile." She shoved at me gently and I walked to the door.

"Aunt Char," I said, thinking what could I lose, ""Please help me."

She smiled and I walked up the stairs, to sit at the top. Wouldn't you? My life depended on what happened in that room in the next few minutes. I sure as hell was gonna listen.

The voices were muffled but I could understand the gist of the conversation. I didn't know that!! mom's uncle did that? He wore what? I never heard that story. Well, I guess not, one's gonna tell you your granduncle was a....a.......Wow! I could hear Mom arguing and Aunt Char killing all the lame points she made like I could go to therapy; I could go to a new school; I would grow out of it, etc.........

Dad came home and he entered joined the war on Joey. Beth had long since snuggled by my side on the stairs as we listened. Her eyes huge, my little Bethie squeezed my hand in support.

"All these rules and regulations you've imposed are absurd," I heard Aunt Char say sternly. "He's a teenage boy, not a convict in maximum security. What were you thinking?"

"He needs guidance," my dad said weakly.

"Yes. He does. He needs guidance from parents who love him; not strangers who bully him and make him feel frightened and alone."

"We are his parents. We will decide what's right for our son," my mom imposed.

I heard Aunt Char sigh. "Karen, you were a stubborn little girl and you've grown in to a stubborn opinionated woman. Unbelievable as it may seem to you, you are not always right."

"But he....................,"

"HE is Joey; the same little boy you taught to ride a bike, to climb a tree, to throw a ball, to swim, to read; the same little boy who couldn't sleep waiting for Santa, who was afraid of the blue monster under his bed, who begged for the same story every night for a whole year. All he's said to you is that he is gay. It's not a disease; it's a life difference. You can help him live his life with joy and happiness or you can drag him down right now, so hard he will never get up."

There was a lot of quiet going on down there. I looked down at Beth and smiled. "I love you, Joey," she whispered.

"He needs these rules so he won't hurt anyone," my mom wouldn't give up.

"Who is being hurt here, Karen? The only one hurting is Joey. Did he say anything about the other boy?"

"Oh yes.......he said he loved him," my mom nearly spit the words out.

"Maybe he does."

I thought about Robin and his soft blond hair and his sad eyes that laughed when I kissed him. I thought about how anxious he was; afraid that I'd hurt him. I remembered his face when he told me about that mean fucker in Australia and how I promised never to hurt him that way. Did I love him? I was sure "in absolute like" with him and only time would tell if love would come out of it. But it sure wasn't just a blowjob, Mom. It was much much more than that.

"You need to lighten up on him, Karen. He needs to go on to school and work this out in his own mind. You've done enough damage already."

"I know what's best for my own child."

"No. You don't. Richard, you're not saying much."

I heard my dad clear his throat. "Karen, I've been thinking........"

"What? You too? You want a queer son?" I rolled my head, listening to the little cartilages crack and pop in my neck. Where had my mom gone? My eyes burned but I was tough. Tears were so not gonna fall right now.

"No," Richard said, his voice getting stronger, "I just want my son. I miss him." What? Go, Dad! OMG! I almost jumped up, then remembered I was silent running here on the top step. Beth grinned.

"He needs help," my mom just wouldn't stop.

"Richard, you know I can go to child welfare on this, don't you?" Aunt Char's voice got hard.

"What? You wouldn't!!" mom gasped.

"You better believe I would and having a gay son would be nothing compared to child abuse, Karen."

OMGOMG!! Aunt Char!! I think I heard my mom sit down..........HARD!!

"We haven't abused him, Char."

"There is physical abuse and there's mental abuse. I consider what you've done to your son gross mental abuse. He looks like he's lost weight and you took him off the swim team. He is chained to this house and has no contact with other children his own age. You treat him like a dog chained to a tree."

"We do not!"

"Yes, Karen, we do," I heard my dad sigh. "Char, we DO need help for Joey though. Not to change him," I heard my mom start to argue, "But we need to get help for him."

"There are organizations that will help you, Richard. All you have to do is call."

"Places full of gay people," my mom said, her voice raspy.

"Well, I assume so since that's who you are trying to help." I could hear the restrained sarcasm in my aunt's voice. "I hate to break this to you, sister mine, but Keith and I have several gay friends. Actually, you know that dip you loved so much at my last party, the one you got the recipe for? That was John's famous Texas Jalapeno Dip. Did you taste anything different?"

HeHe !! Got her with that one, Aunt Char.

"Joey. Beth. I know you're sitting up there," Aunt Char called. "Come here."

"Not Beth. She doesn't need to know........," mom started.

"I want to stay with Joey," Beth grabbed my hand tighter and clung to my side. "I don't care if he's gay. He's still Joey." I was never so proud of my sister.

"I think your mom and dad have some things to say. I think they feel they overreacted to what happened just a tad." She nudged her sister and mom cleared her throat.

"I'm not at all pleased with this," Mom started, " I didn't give birth to you so you could be queer," Dad cleared his throat, "So you could be gay. I will not have any of that in my house."

"Joey, what your mom is saying, rather poorly, is that she needs to think over what has happened and remove a few of the restrictions she placed on you."

My mom was not happy. She wouldn't look straight at me. I wasn't hoping for this much so I didn't push my luck at all. I sat quiet.

My dad said softly, "I'll go to the school tomorrow and set your schedule back in order." He started to reach for my shoulder but pulled his hand back. I sighed. My dad didn't want to touch me. It was like they had an alien in their house and first they tried to exterminate it and now they would just close their eyes and hope it poofed away. Bad pun there......poof!! Haha-Not!

"Do you want to come spend a few days at my house with Uncle Keith and me, Joey?"

I thought how great that sounded. Go away. Be gone. But I'd just come back. Nothing had really changed...just the setting, not the feelings. Besides, I'd told Robin to meet me tonight. I couldn't let him down, not again.

"No thanks, Aunt Char. I better get on back to school. I've gotta see if I have any friends left at all."

Aunt Char turned to my parents. "You do realize what you did to Joey with all this, don't you? You outted him before he was ready. You made him different in the eyes of his friends. He has to work through that now."

"But he IS different." Thanks, Mom.

"But you didn't leave him the choice of keeping it to himself, did you, Karen?"

"Well, he rubbed my nose in it, didn't he by doing "that" in my house."

All eyes swung to me! "Okay, I really am sorry that you saw that. I thought you were gone. You said you were going shopping. I never would have with you in the house. I swear."

"You will NEVER do that again," Mom growled at me. Truly, it sounded like a growl.

I couldn't help myself, "Never do that or never do that here?"

"JOSEPH!!" all three grownups frowned. "Don't push it, buddyboy."

Yeah, I guess that was kinda bad, what with Aunt Char doin' such a good job and me, walking on very very extremely thin ice. I was feelin' so happy just knowin' that maybe my life wasn't over......maybe the light at the end of that tunnel, you know, the one way off down there.......maybe someone turned my light back on. Mom wasn't happy and Dad prolly couldn't control her like I would want; no more suckin' on any sweet little dicks in my room anytime soon, like um.. never, but at least I could, at 15, walk to school by myself again.

I left the room and snuck upstairs. So much had gone world just kept tilting on and off its axis. I had a severe headache from the stress and I was so scared that, any minute, I'd hear Mom yell again and off we back to Stalag Queer. I don't mean to sound sassy but this whole thing has been surreal. One day, I'm Joey Andersson, swimboy and the next, I turn into Joey "the gaycreature" Andersson, pariah to the world. Now, I'm back to just joey and I like this just fine. School tomorrow will be horrific, I already know that but at least I can talk to Amy. I wonder if I can talk to Robin? Mom didn't mention that yet. I wonder if they'll allow me in the swimming pool? Does swimming with a gay boy make you gay? Jeez, thing is, they've been doin' it for all these years and didn't know it. Oops !! I won't go in the locker room. They'd prolly all crawl the walls. Do they really think that a gay guy jumps just anyone? Well, hmm.......there are times...........Oh, shut up, Joe. Now's so not the time.

Dinner was a catastrophe. Mom was still furious, the food was cold and no one was hungry. Dad ate like the good soldier he is but Beth and I couldn't look at each other for fear we'd laugh. That would get us both solitary confinement for like ever.

"You will go straight to school and you will come straight home. You understand me, young man? I do not want you talking to that boy. Maybe this will all blow over and you will find a pretty girl more to your liking." Mom had now packed her bags and was headed directly to Denial World. But, you know what? Maybe it would be easier this way. She knows but she doesn't. Like David you see it, now you don't. Now you see me suck his you don't. God, shut up, Joey. I'd slap my own face, but ouch!!

"Yes, Ma'am," I threw the ma'am in for points. Never hurts.

I took a long shower, leaned against the slick tiles and jerked off thinking about how Robin's butt looked in his jeans. He didn't have a round butt, more like just a handful but lord, he looked just fine to me. I knew I was playing a dangerous game tonight......I could blow the whole thing but I had to see him. All I'd do was climb down the trellis just like Jack had shimmied up and I could see my cutie for a few minutes. That's all I needed to make it....just a few minutes of Robin Time.

Have you ever waited for something you wanted really bad? Does your clock work? Mine had to be broken or something cause every time I looked at it, it was just a few minutes further along its little ticky road. Damn clock!

Finally, the house creaked its last creak and settled down for the night. I have to assume Mom and Dad are exhausted from all that thinking and all that resolving of Joey's life. God, parents work really hard, overtime actually, maneuvering and fixing until they have our lives just right......haha, just right for them. My life was just shit right now but I bet Mom sleeps really good tonight. She's gonna save her little boy child if it kills her ....or me.

Whoa! Dang! 10:00. I should have eased that window open while there was still house noises. sounds like screech owls. I slid the window up really slooooooow, praying the entire time. Let them be asleep! Don't let them hear me! I knew this was soooo wrong, so dumb but I'd asked him and dang if I'd not show up in my own back yard. I skivvied down the trellis, catching my toe in the jasmine vines and pulling it loose from the wood. Dang! My feet hit the ground and I felt a warm hand touch my shoulder.

"Hi, Robin," I whispered, as I turned around into his arms. He pulled me into the shadows of the tool shed and I pushed him gently against the metal wall. I felt his tongue lick my mouth and I let him in. Lord, I sucked him in. All I could feel was warm boy and hot mouth and I was lost. All I wanted was to taste what I had tasted three weeks ago.

"May I?" I said, my breath coming out in puffs, ragged and rough.

He ran his hands on my face and leaned his head back against the cool metal.

I took that as a yes. I dropped to my knees in the soft grass, opened his jeans and pulled everything down to his ankles. I nuzzled and smelled the aroma that was all Robin. I don't know if I was any good at it, but Robin seemed happy, judging by the moans I was hearing. His hands in my hair, I was intrigued by his foreskin. I worked it gently up and down, licking and sucking it gently. Then I went to work on the beautiful cock that he offered. For such a slender boy, he was a mouthful, not that I'm complaining, no sir!

This time, no insane mother..... I wanted to watch...he came......hitting me in the face, reminding me of a National Geographical special I saw once on Yellowstone Park and Old Faithful. I was grinning like an idiot, cum running down my cheeks onto my shirt. He pulled me back up and we sort of did this silly belly wiggle and got sticky on our shirts. I think we both had the same the shirts for later, alone in our beds.

"Joey," he whispered. "I'm scared." I realized I hadn't told him about this afternoon.

"It's gonna be all right, baby," I whispered. "Baby??" where did that come from? I was totally gone, wasn't I? I rocked him gently and told him what had happened. As my words sunk in, I could feel him smiling into my neck.

"So, it's gonna be all right?" he asked.

"Well, I'm out of prison anyway. I'm not supposed to ever see you again but you can already see how that's gonna work," I told him. "Tomorrow, at school, we'll see what happens, K? I'll be there for you now, Robby. I won't let anyone mess with you."

"Jack told you, eh?"

"Sure, he did. He loves you. He was really rippin' mad at me and he made me see I was wrong. We'll get through this somehow." I wasn't sure of anything, not how we'd get through it; not how we would survive at school; not if my mother would let me live; nothing. All I did know was that if I wasn't proud of myself, if I didn't stand up and tell the world who I was and what I wanted, no one would. Kinda like if you have a problem with it, it's YOUR problem, not mine. I hadn't wanted it this way but I was out and no one was gonna mess with me again. I took his chin in my fingers. "Robby," I whispered, "No worries."


What can I say? It's one thing to feel all righteous and justified when you're in your safe warm house; it's quite another when you pick up that backpack and start trudging to school. It's really weird but I actually felt safer when no one could speak to me, when I was a pariah. I was now gonna, for the first time in my life, find out who my friends really were. I'd known these people since Kindergarten but realized that I didn't really know them at all. At least, not how their minds worked, what their beliefs were. Would they use religion as a reason not to like me? Parents? Health? Stupidity? I just knew I was in no hurry to be "out" at my high school.

My main worry was the swim team. I was their captain, for jeez sakes. They had all supported Coach Smallwood putting me at the lead. What would happen now? Had they picked a new captain? Was I even on the team anymore?

I'm a pretty average sized guy and I've never been one to run from a fight. I just hoped no one would decide that today was "Whack the Queer Kid" day cause my Mom would just jump on any bruise or cut with "I told you so". Even if I don't start it, it will be my fault cause I'm gay. I wish there was another gay kid at my school. Well, yeah, there's Robin but he doesn't know what the hell he's doin' either.

I stopped at the corner staring at the modern one story building that housed people who would make me or break me today. I know, I know, in ten years, I won't even remember this. It will be this bad memory. Yeah, I realize that but Hey! I'm right here, right now. I wish to hell I WAS ten years from now, all cuddled up with my forever someone, telling him the horror story of my 'coming out'. But, I'm not. I will be sadly funny then; it's fucking terrifying now.

I crossed over the lawn in front of the office and saw my dad's car parked out in the lot. I guessed I should go in there. Opening the door, I ran right into a wall of staring eyes. It was like the whole office just stopped. Ack! Joey Andersson enters and the party stops. So goes life! Mrs. Carey, the principal saw me and waved me into her office. Humph! Yep, they were all there: my dad, Vice Principal Hingham, Coach Smallwood, Miss Easton, the guidance counselor (to handle my feelings of worthlessness, I assume), Mr. Carstairs (huh?) and two of my other classroom teachers. Quite a group just to sort out one little gay kid. Talk about feeling under the microscope.

"Joey," Mrs. Carey spoke quietly. "Your father has asked us to lift any restrictions we had placed on you and I'm very happy to do so." She looked at my dad, who was fidgeting in his chair. Heck, these people don't realize how fortunate they are to have him and not my mom glaring back at them. Mr. Andersson, we appreciate your concern for Joey and we'll do everything within our means to help him with his problem."

Oh God! Joey Andersson and his 'problem'.

"He'll be scheduled for a time to spend with Miss Easton. Our guidance counselor to talk over any problems he might be having and I've assigned Mr. Carstairs to be his mentor."

My head jerked up. They HAD to be kidding.......Do they know they've just assigned me to a gay mentor? I looked at my history teacher and his eyes told that they did not have this insignificant fact. Snort!! Now, don't go getting' all weirded on me..........he's like old enough to be my dad, kinda, and well, just No. But it would be cool to have someone to ask questions to, who might really tell me the truth.

Coach Smallwood cleared his throat. "Joey, we'll see you after school for practice, right?"

Hmmm, so it's back to business. "Yes, sir," I replied, wondering how the guys were gonna take having me there.

Mr. Hingham reached out his hand to my dad. "We'll take good care of Joey, Mr. Andersson. Let's get this school day started." They all stood up and filed out of the office.

"Joey," Mr. Hingham called me over. "Take it slow, Joey. This has caused a lot of kids to have to rethink. They know you; they are all your friends. Give it time."

I hear you, Mr. H. I'm Joey.....but I'm not. I'm exactly the same kid who taught Billy McAllistair to throw that curve ball; who helped Jenny Garth get an A+ on our volcano in 7th grade; who organized the broomball games every October in the parking lot; who helped the swim team to win that bigass trophy in the case by the front door. Yeah, Mr. H., I'm the same Joey but I'm not. I'm now the odd kid, the gay kid, the kid who likes boys; who does 'things' with boys. Why should I have prove who I am? I am exactly me!

The day started slowly and guess what? It just kept going slowly. People ignored me, smiled at me shyly, muttered under their breath at me. I heard faggot and queer and up the ass and buttfucker a few times. If I really took the time, which I didn't have time for on this reeeeally sloooow day, I'd have to really look at who was muttering those things. It sure wasn't girls. The voices were always male and the sneers were always guys. But, like I said last night, If there's a's yours, not mine. I'm just lucky that I got here today, freed from my exile. Say what you want.....I'm stayin'.

"Joooooooooeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy!" Well, that would be Amy J. Her arms flung around my neck and she giggled and snuggled and I didn't have the heart to tell to climb off me.

"I have like sooo missed you," she sighed. "You wanna hear a secret?"

"Not if it involves you and a pack of wild monkeys," I snickered. And, yeah, I got an arm noogie for that.

"No, you are like this celebrity. My best friend, a celeb."

Oh, yeah, right. I'm on Letterman tonight. Joey, boy from Queeropolis, and his true story of surviving his escape from the lair of the shebeast. Can you tell I so do not like my mom right now. I think I was adopted or better yet, I was raised by wolves and they will come to claim me and they will eat her for supper and........................ Jeez! Where did that come from? I am sick!

Amy continued to babble to me as we walked down the hall. People looked and a few kinda snarled ( I kept thinking of the wolves) but no one said anything.

"Yeah," she told me, "You're like this anti-hero person."

Well, I guess that's better than an invisible person, maybe. I saw Robin at his locker and didn't know whether to say Hey or leave him alone right now. He decided that for me.

"Hey, Joey," he said softly and raised his hand in a small wave. I walked toward him and suddenly, I swear to God, it was like silent in that hallway. Everyone froze. I froze. What the..........? Then it dawned on me. They all want to see what we'll do. I looked at Robin and his eyes were round. He looked scared. I wasn't gonna do anything to upset him but Damn! It had to be the jerk in me comin' out but I so wanted to drop to the floor and shove my face in his crotch and let them all watch. They would deny it later but there wouldn't be any dry underwear in the place. But, I am a good boyfriend. I walked, stopped about 4 feet from him and said, Hi." When people saw that we weren't gonna do a 'deepthroat' right there in the hall, they activated and life began anew. God, their lives are boring!

"Can we sit together at lunch?" Robin asked.

"Sure, if you mean in the same cafeteria," I groaned. We were gonna have major problems with togetherness and I'm sure, somehow, mom would learn that I was standing here right now breathing the same air as my partner in sexual depravity but jeeez, I gotta breathe. Might as well do it in front of Robin. He sighed and turned to grab his books from his locker. I reached out, couldn't help it, and touched his back. "It'll get better. Just hold on for a while, K?" He didn't turn around but nodded his head. I think he was crying. Shit! I wanted to hug him and whisper, 'Don't cry, baby' but I was in the middle of the hall and well.................

"I'll see ya in the caf," I said slowly and walked on to class, feeling like minor shit but I had to protect him from these really "nice" people who were muttering obscenities under their breath at every turn in the hall. I couldn't give them any ammunition to use against him. He'd been through enough.

As I was leaving history class, Mr. Carstairs stopped me. "Joey, I'm glad to see things settling down for you."

"No thanks to you," I blurted out. God, that sucked. The man couldn't have helped me. I knew that but you gotta understand, all adults are my enemy right now.

He looked pitiful and replied, "I need this job, Joey."

I didn't want to let him off the hook that easily. I just nodded and said, "See ya, Mr. C."

Lunch was ludicrous. I sat at the designated queer table until Amy called loudly, "Hey Spitball, get your butt over here." I grinned and ambled, yeah, ambling is way cool, over to the long table where we always sat. Robin and Jack were at one end, so I parked myself at the other with various and sundry girls and a couple of guys between us so we couldn't like 'do it' on the table top. I swear, people need to get over themselves. If Frankie Munoz, the captain of the football team and star girl machine can keep his dick in his pants in the caf, so can I. Oh, by the way, if you're interested, I've seen Frankie's dick and let me just say...........impressive!! Do the words 'hung like a bull' do it for you? Thought so!

Got through lunch and was enduring the last class of the day. I was anxious to get to swim practice and yet scared almost pissless. I wanted back on the team. I wanted it the way it had been. I knew that wasn't gonna happen. I didn't know what was....

Jack caught up with me as I walked toward the gym. "Need some company?"

I didn't look at him. I just felt his support. It was like the shootout at the OK Corral, you know when Wyatt Earp and his brothers and Doc Holiday are walkin' side by side toward the bad guys. Here I am with Jack by my side walkin' toward what I prayed weren't the bad guys.

Coach Smallwood called everyone over to the bleachers. "Okay guys, Joey's back on the team. I put Donnie in as temporary captain. Does anyone have a problem with Joey stepping back in?"

I stood my ground. I was scared but this was just one of life's defining moments. The guys all looked at the floor, the walls, their laps, everywhere but at me. Finally, Jack said, "I don't have a problem with it, Coach. Joey is a great captain."

"I guess you'd say that," I heard Chris Terry mutter, "He's fuckin' your brother."

Jack moved faster than I did. He had Chris up by the shirtfront and was in his face. "Don't You EVER Say Anything Like That Again!! I mean it. I'll beat your ass into the ground."

"Let go, Jack," I said carefully. "I think I need to say something." He glared into Chris' eyes and dropped him, stalking over to stand by me.

"Guys, we've been swimming together for years. You all know me. I know this is weird and I know you kinda don't wanna be around me right now but I'm just me."

Larry Harris looked at me questioningly. "You been checkin' us all out in the locker room, Joe?" I heard nervous snickers. Here we go! I locked eyes with Larry. "Yeah, " I answered bluntly.

OMG!!! What the shit?? I heard them all muttering under their breath. Taking a deep breath, I finished, "But guys, you know how you check out all the girls? It's the same thing, really. I just like to look. I don't wanna touch.

( well, you and I know that isn't zactly true, but I was trying to reassure them and get back on the team, right?) I know it's gonna take some doin' on your part to accept me back but believe me, I just wanna swim. I've missed it too much."

Mutter, mumble, mumble, mutter...........Ben Kraig stood up. "Let's get in the water. I've got a shitload of homework tonight." As if a wall had crumbled, they all got up and headed for the locker room.

"Should I change somewhere else, Coach?" I asked, feeling really awkward.

Coach Smallwood shook his head, "No, son. Go get your suit on. You've got laps to make up. You look skinny." He pulled out that whistle and blew it a few times. "Let's go, men. We got some laps to take."

Jack walked with me to the locker room. "Thank you for getting that note to my Aunt Char," I said quietly.

"It was my mom and dad. They drove over with Robin and talked to her and to your uncle. They told her what was happening and Robin told her what your mom had seen. He was so embarrassed but he did it for you, Joey. He's shy and he's quiet but don't think he's not strong inside. Don't hurt him." I slung my arm over his shoulder. He looked down at it, back up at me and I knew I had a friend.

In the locker room, some of the guys turned away and were awkwardly pulling on their speedos. One or two glared at me as if daring me to look at them. Why do they feel so threatened? The tension was thick and I didn't know what else to do. A locker door banged shut and Georgie Klein sighed, "Well, I don't know about any of the rest of you, but I'm gonna go buy a soap on a rope." Suddenly, the whole thing seemed so stupid. I started laughing and Georgie giggled, several of the guys chuckling as we walked out the door to the pool. I would find out, in the days to come, who my true friends are but for right now, I think I'll shower when I get home.......just to protect all those innocent little boys from the big bad Joey. J

Practice over, Jack and I started the long walk home. We turned the corner and found Robin and Amy sitting on the brick wall of the Methodist church. This felt felt right. I laughed and Robin smiled. I wanted to grab his hand and swing it as we walked but I knew better.

"Practice go okay," he asked in a worried tone.

"Yeah, peachy," I grinned.

"That bad, huh?"

As we got near our neighborhood, Amy and I took one side of the street and Jack and Robin the other. Silly, I know, but, technically, we aren't walking together...we're just on the same street, at the same time, walking in the same direction, grinning at each other like idiots.

I don't know how I'm gonna convince my mom and my dad, maybe I never will. I just's not my problem, it's theirs and they've gotta deal with. I have plenty to deal with on my own.........well, with my friends and with Robin.