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Be sure to keep on reading "Billy Chase"...
...And that 'Stand By Me' virtual reality game is as good as yours...pond, leeches, wet undies, and all!!!*
*(Previous Statement May Not Be True)
- I think hanging out with Sam again today really helped me to work things out in my head. And by 'work things out', I mean 'distract me to the point where I could pretty much pretend that they weren't happening at all'. Which isn't quite the same thing, but it's equally as therapeutic in the long run. Or...at least it feels that way.
The funny thing is...he asked me a question that I can honestly admit I hadn't truly put a lot of thought into. I can't say that I had a plan in place, or a satisfying answer to give him. Something about that worries me. Especially since I only have a short amount of time to make a decision on this.
But, let me tell you what happened first, before I get too far ahead of myself.
I went back over to Sam's house to hang out for a while. We watched some TV, played some video games, but eventually decided to get out of the house and get some fresh air. Plus, we haven't gone out to the Hill in forever. It seemed like an appropriate place for us to talk some more. We've only got so much Summer left, after all. This, of course, meant that Sam had to get dressed, hehehe, which is always a disappointing development. But why torture myself with the temptation of something that I can't have? Not without sacrificing something that's much better for me in the long run.
We took our usual spot underneath the small tree at the hilltop, and immediately fell in sync with one another like we always do. It's strange...you never know how much you really have to say until you find the right person to say it to. You know?
It didn't take long before the subject of Jimmy LaPlane came up, though. It's a problem that I've been trying to ignore, but it was like trying to ignore a giant splinter of wood in my palm, or a harp rock in my shoe while running a marathon. I wish I was ignorant enough to think that his meddling would just come to an end and go away...but my heart knows better.
Sam was like, "Jesus! Is he STILL giving you a hard time?"
I'm like, "He was. But now he's gone 'dark' on me and I haven't heard a word in a while. I don't know if that means that things are getting better or worse."
Sam says, "I told him to back off and to just spend some time healing and preparing himself to start over again. I mean...he can't just force you to care about him, or feel a certain way about him. I kept telling him that, but...he keeps clinging to the idea that he's in love with you. I thought he would have let the whole thing go by now."
I'm like, "Well...he hasn't. Did I tell you that he broke a window at Brandon's house?"
Sam was shocked! He's like, "What the fuck? Are you SERIOUS???"
I told him, "He's gotten to be a total psycho about this, dude! I just want him to leave us the fuck alone! What kind of unhinged sociopath just sits around all day, thinking up ways to hurt me and the people I love? I mean...is there anything that I can say to him to just make him stop?"
Sam admitted, "I haven't spoken to Jimmy for a while. I was trying to work harder at my relationship with Michelle, but...Jimmy was beginning to give me some weird signals. I thought it would be best if I just stayed away from him for a while. That's all."
I asked, "Weird signals? Like what?"
Sam was all like, "I don't want to say that I was sure of it...but I'm pretty sure that Jimmy was looking to make me the new 'Billy Chase' for a while. Especially around the time he had his hospital incident with his arm. I just...I backed out of that situation before it got to be too weird for me to handle."
I was like, "So Jimmy WAS getting a major crush on you! I knew it!"
Sam smirked, "Jimmy's not the most subtle person in the world when it comes to him flirting with boys he likes. It wasn't all that hard to figure out."
I asked, "What did you do?"
He says, "I did what all male jerks do in that situation...I just ignored him and avoided talking to him until he got the hint and went away." Then he's like, "It's cowardly...but effective. Only girls say things like, 'We need to talk.' Screw that. If I stay away long enough, he'll just leave me alone. Done. End of story."
I said, "I don't think you know Jimmy LaPlane."
But he responded, "Trust me...I'm not you, Billy. Not in his eyes. I'm pretty sure that I'm not a target for his heartbroken wrath. He's saving it all up for you, buddy boy. I was a passing fad, at best."
I'm like, "Great. Lucky me." But, even while sulking, I told him, "You know...I hate to make the confession...but I think I was a little bit jealous of you two for a week or two. Spending all that time together and just...I dunno. It just felt uncomfortable. I didn't know what you two were...well..." I had to stop myself there. Especially when I saw Sam give me a sideways look and a wide grin. As mischievous a grin as any hungry alligator would give its prey just moments before swimming close enough for a nibble.
Sam's like, "You are SO in love with me! Hehehe, honestly...it's a little embarrassing. You've got to control yourself, dude."
Laughing, I'm like, "What-EVER! I am not! I've got a boyfriend, thank you very much!"
He said, "It's ok. I forgive you. It's not your fault, Billy. I can't help being hot! You're just wired to stay madly in love with me, that's all. I get it."
I said, "Oh please...get over yourself."
He says, "I'm waiting for you to get over me first! Geez!" I pulled up some grass from between my legs and tossed it at him to keep him from teasing me any further, causing him to snicker to himself. Hehehe, jackass! Then he winks at me and asks, "So...your sweetheart...you still giving it to Brandon on the regular, or what? Giving him that 'work of art', Picasso, dick?"
I gasped. I'm like, "STOP THAT!!!"
But Sam just laughs and says, "C'mon...at least ONE of us is getting laid! The least you could do is let me live a happy life through you instead of wallowing in the frustrating details of my own. If you weren't here with me right now...you'd be giving him a big ol' gay spanking today, wouldn't ya?"
I know that he was trying to get a rise out of me, but I felt a little sad about having my dependable distraction wear off, momentarily. I did try to hide it, though. I'm like, "Brandon's...busy today. With other things. So..."
Sam wrinkled up his forehead, and he's like, "Again, with the 'busy' talk? Your boyfriend is busy with something other than getting his luscious boner sucked? What is THAT About?"
I told him, "We do more than just have sex all the time, you know?"
He's like, "Yeah, but...here I am having a total dry spell, and it's practically raining semen in Brandon's opportunity bank..and he's passing it up? That's just plain insulting to the rest of us." The he's all like, "Is he being held hostage, or what?"
I sighed, but simply let him know, "Sorry, man. I'm not supposed to say. It's kinda complicated."
He asks, "What's so complicated about it? What's he doing? Did he tell you?"
I'm like, "Seriously, I can't talk about it. I sorta promised."
Sam was like, "Who am I gonna tell? I barely know the guy. The chances that I'm gonna care enough to blab about his secrets to the media or whatever are slim to none." I thought about it for a moment, and Sam gave me a nudge to say, "C'mon. It's bothering you. I can tell. Talk to me. I'm not gonna speak a word of it to anybody. Trust me, k?"
Sam is probably the one person that I would be able to trust with something like this. So, I'm like, "Well...every Monday...Brandon goes out to spend some quality time...with Stevie."
Sam's like, "Stevie? What the fuck is he hanging out with HIM for?"
I say, "It's not what you think, alright?"
But he's all like, "Not what I think? Dude, isn't Stevie his EX?"
I'm like, "Yeah, but..."
He says, "You called Stevie a weasel! Every day, it was like, 'Stevie! That guy is a fuckin' weasel'! Remember?"
I'm like, "I know, ok? Honestly...I'd be lying if I said that it didn't bother me a little bit. But what am I supposed to say? It's what he wants to do." Then, with a slight grunt, I added, "Look...Brandon said that it was totally innocent and that he just wanted to help him through a rough time. And...I dunno, Sam...I kinda want to believe him. I mean, I've got to be able to trust my own boyfriend, if nobody else, right?"
He's like, "Well, I wouldn't, personally. But...do what you feel is right, I guess." Then he asked, "So what's the big secret, then? Why does Stevie need help?"
I hope this isn't a broken promise or a betrayal, but it would help to get this off of my chest. I didn't hesitate for too long before telling him, "I think Stevie has become a bit afraid of going outside and interacting with people. He has been all Summer, apparently." Sam asked me why, and I said, "Well, you remember those jerks that put him in the hospital just before the end of the school year? They've been set on making Stevie's life a living hell ever since they got caught for doing it. I highly doubt that they're out there, combing the streets, looking for him...but, if it were me? I suppose I'd be a little shaky about going outside too. There aren't any 'school rules' out there in the street where they could just corner him in a dark alley somewhere and beat him up even worse than last time. Brandon says he gets anxiety attacks sometimes. He can't breathe, and his heart starts racing...I imagine that it must be a HUGE problem to be too terrified to leave your own house, simply because there are people out there trying to do you harm. I doubt I could handle that."
"True. I guess that makes sense." He said. And then Sam went unnaturally silent for a moment. Neither one of us is used to experiencing uncomfortable silences with one another, so the awkwardness was immediately recognized. I wasn't quite sure what to say, but Sam spoke up first. And that's when the big question came up. He asks, "Billy...when we go back to school...?"
I'm like, "Yeah?"
He says, "Well...I know things are a little different now. With you and Brandon, and you're out to your mom...and your friends at work..." He paused again, and then he's like, "...Are you gonna be gay at school from now on too?"
Like I said above...it was something that I thought about, vaguely, from time to time. But I can't say that I really gave much thought to what it would mean to be openly gay to a much larger audience than my boyfriend, my best friend, my mom, and the lovable misfits that I work with. Being out at school would be an entirely different situation for me. And for the people who care about me. I told him, "Ummm...I don't know. I just kinda thought everything I did this Summer would naturally carry over into my life at school."
Sam squirmed a bit, and he's like, "It's just...I don't expect you to make some big announcement at an assembly the way Stevie did, but...what happens if guys like the ones that are bullying him come looking for you too? I mean, I've got your back, dude. You know that. But what happens if they catch you in one of those same dark alleys when I'm not around to help you fight them off? Are you gonna be ready for that?" Then he adds, "Hell...am I gonna be ready for that?"
I tried to put him at ease by saying, "I don't think it'll be all that serious. I don't know what'll happen when we go back to school again. I don't know if Brandon and I will be able to hold hands and kiss in the hallway, or if people will whisper and gossip about us behind our backs. I just know that I'm comfortable with who I am...and I don't want it to matter anymore. You know?"
Sam gave me a little smirk, and leaned over to gently butt me with his shoulder. "You impress me sometimes. You know that?"
I giggled like, "So happy to have your praise and worship, Sam."
He answered with, "Well, I wouldn't go that far, hehehe! But...you know...we're going to have some fighting to do this coming year, you and me. You realize that, right?"
I'm like, "You don't have to become a target, dude. I'm sure that I can deal with anything they throw my way."
He tells me, "Yeah, but you won't have to do this alone. Buds forever, right?" He held up his fist for me to bump with my own.
I'm like, "Buds forever." And that's really all that had to be said. I guess the real test will begin when school starts up again. I feel like I'm going to have to regain my footing and figure out how to navigate the treacherous hallway of my high school from scratch. There's a part of me that wants to believe that nothing is really going to change all that much. But that's just not realistic, is it?
Yeah...I should throw that possibility out of the window before I even dare to step foot on the school lawn again. Things have changed. They've changed a LOT. A period of adjustment is inevitable.
Sam and I made our way home shortly after that. Besides, there were ants around us, and they were getting a bit...ummm...'antsy', for lack of a better word. When we got to Sam's house and had to part ways...we decided to take a few friendly shots at one another. Like we always do.
I said, "See ya later. Have fun jacking off and thinking about me like you usually do every night before bed. Hehehe!"
Sam was like, "Yeah, right. Hey, have fun locking your windows and doors so 'Psycho Jimmy' doesn't sneak in and chop you up into itty bitty pieces, crime of passion style!"
I responded with, "Oh yeah? Well, I wish you luck on getting a weak, half assed, handjob from your homophobic, Jesus freak, pseudo girlfriend, then!"
My jaw dropped, like, "HEY!!! Low blow, dude!" Sam was tickled at my response, and I said, "Awww, fuck you, Sam!"
He's like, "Fuck you TOO, dipshit!"
I immediately followed up with, "So...I'll call you later?"
He says, "Yep. I'll be around." And we smiled at one another with a nod. Then he's like, "Love you, Billy."
And I told him, "Love you too, Sam..." But then I added, "And quit talking about my mom! Asshole! Hehehe!"
When I did get back to my house further down the block, I was kind of hoping to see a message from Brandon, telling me how things went between him and Stevie today. I can't even imagine what he must be doing to make him feel better. I mean, do they...have a therapy session or something? Do they play cards? Does Brandon juggle chainsaws for Stevie's entertainment? Why is he so instrumental in Stevie trying to get himself back to normal?
So many questions.
So few answers.
But I only got one message tonight. One that I half expected to get in the near future...just not today.
It was from Ian. And it just said:
"Well...it looks like Bobby and I are broken up now. I should have known things were way too good to be true."
That was followed by one of the saddest little emoji faces that I had ever seen in my life. And he said:
"Billy...I know it's a lot to ask, but...I'm really hurting right now. Like...BAD! Do you think we can talk some time soon? I don't know anybody else who would understand things the way you would..."
Sighhhh...God, Bobby...how could you fuck this up?
I sent Ian a message back, but he was either not paying attention or he chose not to answer just yet. What do I tell him? Things like this make me so MAD at Bobby for being so damn stupid! He had the perfect boyfriend! And Ian was head over heels for him. What could he have possibly done to destroy Ian's heart this way?
I know, I know...I can't save everybody, and I don't want to get in the middle of yet another problem for somebody else when I can barely handle my own at the moment. But...goddammit! This is gonna bug the shit out of me if I don't at least get them talking about why this happened. I just...arrrgghhhh!!!
I guess my other issues can wait for a little while. Sam is fine. Brandon is fine. As far as I know...Stevie is fine...I guess? My mom still aren't really on speaking terms at the moment either. So that can wait another day or two.
I'll see what I can do to help Ian tomorrow. I can at least be a shoulder for him to cry on while he's going through this. Break ups SUCK! They suck so HARD! And Ian's been nothing but awesome to me, so...if he needs a friend, I'll be there. I owe him that much.
I'm going to try to get some sleep. I've got work in the morning. I already don't want to go, but...they're depending on me to be there too. I'll find a way to juggle it all. I just need to sleep for a while. For a...for a little while.
Write more later.