Leaning against the locker, the cool metal feels good on my back.
Jaxson is heading this way with his best friend Cole in tow. I let out a little sigh - I was
hoping it would only be Jaxson. Just looking at Jaxson, I get butterflies in my
stomach. Cole is cool, but I'm not out, like Jaxson is. Truth
is, if I was out my dad would probably kill me.
"Hey," I say, as he reaches me.
"Sup." Jaxson grins at me.
"What's up, Terin." He holds his hand out for me to shake.
Jaxson opens his locker door, he brushes against me lightly, and
my body ignites on fire. I want to touch him right now. "So you still coming with me to the hang out?" Jaxson asks.
course." I try to calm myself down.
Cole looks over at me. "You go to his gay meetings? You gay, too?"
Jaxson rolls his eyes. "No, you dumbass! The hangout is for more than just
gay teens; it's for anyone. Maybe if you would get your head out of your game
consoles, you would actually know what the real world is like!"
Cole puts his hands up in surrender, "Whoa, man. I was just asking a question."
I put a hand on Jaxson shoulder - he glances at me,
and shrugs my hand off. I know he is pissed. "It's
fine, Cole. I think it's a
cool thing to go to. Plus, I
think I want to be a psychologist, and Jaxson's mom is amazing," I say, trying
to defuse the situation.
"My bad, Jaxs, you know I was just
joking. I didn't know if Terin
was gay, too. You know I don't
have an issue with it," Cole says.
"Maybe you shouldn't be such an insensitive fucking moron," Jaxson
Cole goes to say something, but he stops and thinks for a second. "Dude, I'm sorry. I thought it was
okay to joke with you about it. You
know I love you like a brother, man."
"Well, don't," he snaps.
I watch as Cole's shoulders slump. "Okay.
Do you still want me to come over tomorrow afternoon? I mean, I would be really
bummed if you don't want me too... I mean, I haven't really chilled with you
since before Christmas break."
Jaxson rolls his eyes. "Yes! Just
`cause you say stupid shit doesn't mean I hate you!"
"Cool," Cole says smirking. "Oh, sorry for thinking you were gay,
I shrug my shoulder. "No problem, man."
Jaxson rolls his eyes again. "Can we get the hell out of here, or
do you and Cole just enjoy being at school?"
I let out a sigh and follow Jaxson's lead, as we follow the
hallway out to the main entrance. I
start to shiver I left my coat in my locker, but I don't want to go back and
grab it. "Hey, isn't that your
dad?" Jaxson points to the red corvette with the man leaning on it.
I feel my stomach drop. "Yeah... that's my dad. Remember, I am going to the
I can see Jaxson's body language change. It tells me he forgot,
and now he's upset that he did. "I
"Dude, the dentist sucks!" Cole says.
"Yeah, I am not excited at all," I say, as we approach my dad.
"Terin," he says with a nod.
I give him a halfhearted wave. "Hey Dad."
He looks over at Jaxson and Cole, his hard-brown eyes staring a
hole through them. "Who are these two?"
"I'm Cole, sir. Nice
to meet you!" Cole says, taking my dad's hand and shaking it.
"Jaxson," Jaxson says, not offering to shake my dad's hand.
I cringe on the inside, that's not going to go over well with him. "Well boys, it was nice to meet the
two of you, but we need to get going."
My dad cups me on the shoulder, and squeezes a bit too hard, I
don't make a face in front of Jaxson - it would only make things worse. "I will see you tomorrow."
Jaxson doesn't say anything. I can tell he is clinching his teeth,
from the way his jaw is sharper than normal. "Yeah," is all he says.
I wave good bye and open the car door, putting my bag in first and
getting in. I put the seat
belt on and my dad puts the car in drive. I
put my hands in my lap. I don't know what mood he is in, and I don't want to
say anything to upset him.
He turns down the radio. "That Jaxson kid...I don't like him."
I look over, "Why?"
"I don't have to explain my damn reason for not liking that
fucking brat!" he yells.
"He's my best friend..." I say.
I didn't even see the back hand coming, hitting me in the cheek. I grab my cheek and try not to make
a sound. "Oh, get over it. Don't be a little baby. Put your fucking hand down. I don't want you hanging out with
that kid, do you hear me? Do
you fucking understand me?" he shouts at me, grabbing me by the hair.
"Yes sir," I say, hoping he lets go of my hair.
He lets go and straightens out his watch with the flick of a wrist
and I flinch. "How are your
"All A's and one B," I squeak out.
He mocks me, "All A's and one
little bitty ole B". I should've seen it coming. He grabs me by my
hair again. "What the fuck did I tell you about your grades?"
"Please, I'm sorry," I say, trying to keep calm.
"Oh, you're sorry. Oh,
you want to act like a big boy, huh?" he yells at me, releasing my hair.
He backhands me again, and I take it. I
know if I flinch or say anything, he will do it again. I just touch my face, trying
to hold back the tears.
"You want to cry, little boy? You scared of me, little boy?" He
"No, sir, I don't want to. Yes,
sir, I am."
He laughs. "If you were really fucking scared of me, you would
have all As."
I don't say anything to him. I
fell my phone vibrating, and I know it's Jaxson. I
want to pull my phone out and text him, but I know that won't be a good idea. I
look out the window, hoping that he won't try to talk to me anymore, but I know
it's no use when he's in this mood. He is trying to pick a fight with me.
"What, can't talk to your old man?" He asks, looking over at me.
"How was work today?" I ask.
"It was good until I had to take off early to get you. Do you know
how much money you are costing me?" He asks.
My heart starts beating faster. I am so stupid; I should have
known better than to walk into that trap. "No
"Of course, you don't," he says. I wait for the next insult, but
it never happens.
I take a deep breath. I
wish he wasn't this person. When my mom was alive, he was different. I guess this is what happens when
your wife dies of cancer and you drown yourself in work. I
gave up on him being a good person a long time ago.
I remember the day Jaxson found out my dad was hitting me. I
didn't want to change out for athletics. I told the coach I had a migraine,
which I really did. I cried so
hard the night it happened, and I didn't end up going to sleep, because I was
so scared that he would hit me again.
Jaxson lied to the coach, and said he wasn't feeling good, so he
could sit with me in the library and "help" me with homework. The librarian knew me well, so she
was in her office the whole time.
Jaxson and I were flirting back and forth for a week now, and he
would poke me in the ribs because I am ticklish. That
day, he decided to tickle me because I wasn't talkative. My
ribs were so bruised that I started to cry when he poked me. I never saw him with that look on
his face. Jaxson is super sarcastic and goofy. He
is almost never serious about anything, but seeing him
with that look of concern was different. He
grabbed my hand, and led me to the back of the library
and behind a shelf. "Show me?"
"Nothing to show, I just don't want to be poked," I told him.
"Jaxson, it's fine, okay?" I told him, walking away.
He grabbed my hand and lifted my shift up, and
pulled down the side of my pants to reveal a massive black bruise. "What happened?!"
"I don't want to talk about this, okay?" I told him, pulling my
"No, Terin, this isn't okay. Tell me!"
"Boy! Snap out of the fucking day dream! We are here!" I hear my
dad yell at me and I jump, looking over at him. I
hate when I space out around him, because I go all space cadet on everyone. I scramble to get out of the car.
"Sorry," I tell him, avoiding eye contact.
I hear him sigh. "Get yourself together now. We are not going in there with you
acting like an idiot!"
"Yes sir. Sorry," I tell him. He doesn't reply. He just rolls his
eyes. "Hey Dad."
"What?" he asks, as he walks from the car.
I follow behind him. I know he's probably going to say no, but might as well ask him. "Do
you think tomorrow I can go to Uncle Riley's for the weekend?" I cross my
fingers. Only because, if I do
go, he will be totally fine with me going with Jaxson to the hangout.
He doesn't say anything, and I already know he is going to tell me
no. I squash the feelings of
hope that I had. "You need to
ask him. It will be better for
me if you aren't around this weekend. I have plans and I don't want you to
interrupt them. He needs to
come get you while I am at work, but he cannot step
foot in my house, I won't have my personal space invaded by a faggot."
"Yes, sir. I will
text him and ask him." I try to hide my excitement, because I know if I show
too much he might catch on.
My uncle Riley is my mom's brother. Yes, he is gay. He is also the only family member
that knows I'm gay. His
partner Will is amazing. He is a physical therapist and owns his own gym, while
my uncle owns a construction and landscaping company which does really well. I
look just like my uncle - the skinny frame, same hair and eyes. My mom used to tease him that I was
picked right out of his butt. I also got my very curious and caring nature from
him as well. Going to his house was always fun. I had my own room set up there,
but my dad hates him, so I don't get to go much. I haven't been in over two
I pull out my phone, and I was right. Jaxson texted me five times
saying he's sorry, he just doesn't like my dad, and that he misses me. I text back that I miss him, and
then text my uncle to see if he can come get me in the morning.
My phone rings and I answer it, even though I get a look from my
"Hey T-man. Is it
possible for me to come get you tonight?" Riley asks.
"Um...I'd have to ask my dad." I tell him and look over at my dad. "It's Uncle Riley. He asked if he
could come get me tonight after he gets off work."
I see my dad's jawbone tighten, and I feel the heat spread through
my body. I don't like when he does that. "Fine."
I tell Riley and he says that he will be at the house at 5pm. I tell him bye and again I try to
contain my excitement. I know my dad is fuming and I am actually
happy, because I don't have to be around him at all.
We walk into the dentist office, and I go and sign us in. I turn around to see where my dad
has taken a seat. I watch as
he smiles at this woman who is also in the waiting room. She
smiles back and my dad starts talking to her. I roll my eyes and take a seat next
to him. I take the opportunity
to text Jaxson while he is talking to her.
J: Are you okay?
Me: Yeah???? I am at the dentist office.
J: Oh...I just figured your dad would be
Me: At what?
J: Me? I was kind of a dick, and I was worried about you `cause I knew he would take it out
Me: Nah, I am fine...I am going to my uncle's tonight for the
J: That's awesome! So you are coming with me Sunday?
Me: Yes! Maybe we
can go have lunch tomorrow. I miss you.
J: Yeah, I will ask Mrs. K.
Me: That's cool, Have you been taking your
J: Yes...I haven't missed one day!
J: Don't be, if it wasn't for you, I'd probably not take them. Has
your dad hit you?
Me: No, he's just yelled at me. I
haven't been provoking him.
As soon as I send that last text I feel the wave of shame wash
over me. I know I should tell
him the truth, but I can't. It
would just make everything worse for me if we did tell anyone that my dad was
hitting me. If I just didn't
fuck up so much, I wouldn't make him angry.
The assistant [r1] comes out and calls
me back. I look at my dad, and he nods and goes back to talking to the woman. I head back and the nurse smiles.
"Hi," I squeak out.
"Follow me this way," she says, and leads me down a long hallway.
The assistant and I are about the same height. She has blonde hair
and her voice is smooth. I
follow her into the room, and she tells me to sit in the chair. The room is light blue and
impeccably clean. There is a
picture of the ocean right in front of the chair.
"Lie back sweetie. I need to get you ready."
"Yes ma'am," I tell her, and follow her command.
"Are you nervous?" she asks, as she starts getting things set up
in the room.
She pats me on the shoulder. "You are so adorable. We don't get a
lot of teenagers that have manners in here. I
can tell you there is nothing to worry about. It's just a simple cleaning and
It isn't the dentist I am worried about; it is the man that is
sitting in the lobby waiting for me. I
just hope nothing agitates him before I get out of here.
It doesn't take long for the dentist to come in and do the
cleaning and look at all my teeth. She tells me everything looks good. I follow the assistant back out to
the lobby and I look for my dad, but I don't see him.
"T-Man, over here!" I hear, and I snap my head to look at my
uncle, and I can't help but smile and let a breath of air out.
"Uncle Riley! What
are you doing here?" I ask, walking up to him, and he grabs me in a massive
"Come on, kiddo, let's get out of here. Your
dad sent a text saying change of plans, pick you up at the dentist. So how is my favorite nephew?"
"Favorite nephew? I
am the only nephew you have!" I say.
He smiles. "Still my favorite! And that's not counting Will's
"Oh, the twins, I forgot about them...I guess I'm not your only
He messes my hair. "You are still my favorite."
I walk with him out to the parking lot. It's still really nice outside, and my uncle unlocks his Mustang. "Want to ride with the top down?"
I grin. "Yeah, I do!"
We get in the car, and he starts to put the top down. "You are
really skinny, bud."
I shrug my shoulders. "Sorry."
"Nothing to be sorry about. So how is school?" he asks, putting
the car in drive.
I shrug my shoulders again. "It's okay. I have all As and one B,"
I tell him, getting ready for the disappointment.
"Dude! That is
awesome! You should be proud of yourself!" he says, patting me on my shoulder
and causing me to flinch.
I let out a sigh of relief. "You think that's good?"
He gives me a look like I have lost my mind. "Those are amazing
"Hey, Uncle Riley, I don't have a change of clothes. I wasn't
expecting you to be in the waiting area. I thought I was going straight home."
"No worries, Will had the twins bring
some of their old clothes. They will fit. He figured he would ask them to drop
off ones they outgrew when you didn't bring enough shorts last time."
I do remember that. "Sorry about that, I was just really excited
to come over," I tell him, not looking over at him.
He laughs and shakes his head, I look out the window and put my
hand out, feeling the air flow through my fingers. I
wish Uncle Riley and Will were taking care of me - I wouldn't worry so much
about everything. I look back
over at Uncle Riley, and we do look so much alike, I bet I could pass as his
son. We pull into the driveway
and he presses a button and the massive gate swings
open. We pull up the driveway and I finally see the house that they have
remolded so much. Uncle Riley
designed it himself, and had his company put it up, so this house is pretty
much how he wanted it. It has
a pool outback. Like I said, I love being here because I have a big room that's
all mine as well.
"Oh, you haven't been over in a while. So the twins stay with us a lot of the time, so we added on
another room for them. I just wanted you to know that in case you wake up in
the middle of the night hearing noise, that is probably them coming in."
"So they live with y'all?"
He moves his head back and forth thinking about the question. "Yes
and no. Most of the time, they
stay here on the weekends, and in their dorms during the week."
"What about their mom?"
"Well, she remarried and she wanted to
move with him," he tells me.
It hits me that I really haven't been around my uncle in so long. "I guess I have missed a lot,
"Yeah, buddy, you have. Come
on, Uncle Will is waiting on us."
We get out of the car and I grab my backpack, and head through the
front door. "Honey, I'm home!"
"In here, babe." Will says, coming around the corner.
"Hey babe. Look
at the stranger I picked up on the side of the road!" Riley says, giving Will a
Will looks at me and he smiles. "Well, look at this stranger! He is adorable!" and comes over and
hugs me. I try not to tense up, but I can't help it.
I hug Will back. "Hey, Uncle Will."
"What's up, buddy, how are you?" he says, holding me at arm's
length to look at me. "You are skinny, bud, and I see you still have the
rosacea on your cheeks, but that's okay, you look adorable with it. It's
slight, but you look good with it."
Now I am full on blushing. "Stop, Uncle Will!"
He laughs and lets me go, "Oh, Will, T-man made all As and one B!"
Uncle Riley says.
Will wraps me in a massive hug again. "Bud, that is awesome!"
"So, what do you think? We have pizza tonight to celebrate?" Riley
"Hell, yeah!" Will says.
We walk into the kitchen and Riley and Will hug each other and
exchange a kiss. They really
do make each other happy. You can tell by how Will looks at Riley. Will complements Riley well. He has
sandy blonde hair and baby blue eyes. He is a little taller than Riley and way
more built. Whereas, Riley
looks like an adult me, skinny, brown hair and green eyes.
I look down at my phone, wishing Jaxson would text me. I miss him. We haven't seen much of
each other lately and it sucks. "What's so interesting on your phone?" Uncle
I feel my face go hot. "Nothing."
Riley laughs, "You still gonna blame the
`rosacea' in your cheeks for the reason you are blushing?"
I shake my head. "I don't know what you're talking about!" I say,
trying not to smile.
He reaches over and grabs my phone. "Let's just see then!"
I run around the counter. "No Will!" I
say, reaching for my phone, but he has it within his reach. He uses his free
arm to keep me away from it. I jump into his forearm, hit my side, and I let
out a loud yelp and back away.
"Whoa, what was that about?" Riley asks, coming over to me.
"Nothing, just, I got shoved into the railing on the bleachers the
other day. Guys were rough
housing and I got in the way," I say, trying to draw away the attention.
"Come here." Will says.
"It's fine," I protest.
"I still want to check it out, make sure it's not worse than you
think," Will says, moving to grab my shirt.
I look at Uncle Riley, and he gives me a look. "Fine."
I raise my shirt, and the nasty dark purple and black bruise comes
into view. "Damn, T. That's
one nasty bruise. How hard did you hit the railing?"
I let my shirt fall over it again. "I don't know. It hurt,
"I think you should put some ice on it," Will says, opening the
freezer and grabbing an ice pack. "Here, go sit on the couch. I will make a sandwich for a
I leave the kitchen and make my way to the den,
and sit on the couch. I
realize I left my phone in the kitchen. I get up to get it, but I hear them
talking. "Do you believe the story? Will asks.
don't know. That is a really
nasty bruise..." Riley says.
I sit back on the couch. Soon enough Will brings me a sandwich and
my phone. "Hey bud, the phone
has been going off.
"Oh my god, Ryder, leave me alone!" I say.
"Jaxson, stop being ridiculous! Do
you want to go out with us or not?" he asks.
"I don't want to wear a tie!" I say, sitting down on the guest
Ryder puts his hands to his temples, massaging them. "Why are you
being like this?"
I shrug my shoulders. "I think ties are ridiculous. I mean, who needs a tie just to go
out to eat? Besides, who even
gave you these clothes for me?"
"Tyler did. Now, will you please just get dressed?" he yells.
Wilder appears at the door. He is all dressed in slacks and a nice
shirt. "He's not wearing a
tie!" I point out.
Wilder furrows his brow. "I don't know how to put it on."
I roll my eyes at him. "I still don't see the point."
"Are you sure he couldn't stay, like, in the basement?" Wilder
"Wilder!" Ryder looks at him. "He
is staying with us while his parents are out of town."
Jeremy appears behind Wilder. "If y'all
wake my daughter up, I will murder all of you!" he says, looking between all
three of us.
Wilder takes his leave at this, and mumbles something as he walks
off. I meet Ryder's eyes, challenging him. "I give up," he says, throwing his
hands in the air and walking past Jeremy.
"Jaxs, why aren't you dressed?" Jeremy
I shrug my shoulders. "I
don't see the point in dressing up, and I hate this outfit," I say, looking at
the slacks and blue shirt.
"I am sure you will look great in them, dude. Besides, it's their
anniversary, and we are going to a nice place to eat that has a dress code.
Now, get dressed and I will help you do your tie, and if you're nice, I will
send a picture to your boyfriend," he says, grinning.
I blush. "Okay, okay!" and
start getting dressed. I didn't mean to argue with Ryder, just, he has this
habit of sometimes talking down to me, not that he means it, but it's annoying. That's why I like Jeremy more; he
seems to talk to me like I am the same as him. I
tried to call Terin earlier, but he didn't answer. I
wanted to tell him Cole got grounded and I wanted to spend tomorrow with him,
that and my mom called to say that we had to cancel this Sunday's hangout, as
she wouldn't be back in town. Her and Dan have been gone for two weeks.
Dan put out his new book, and they have been on the road promoting it.
Jeremy comes back into the room, as I finish zipping up my pants.
"Yeah," I say.
"You sure? You just have this look on your face."
"Just thinking about Kim and Dan, and how they have been gone for
so long. I feel like I am...never mind," I mumble.
Jeremy takes my tie and starts to loop it in, forming the knot. "No, you don't just get to start
saying something and then stop."
I let out a sigh. "Just, I don't belong here."
Jeremy finish up with my tie. "What do you mean, you don't belong
I try and pull away, but he doesn't let me. "I'm just some kid
Coach is watching `cause my foster brother is dating
"Who told you this?"
"No one had to tell me this. I
know it's true. You do too!" I accuse him.
He just looks at me oddly. "Are you feeling okay, Jaxs?"
"Did I not say I wasn't?" I ask him back, confused.
Now he's the one that lets out a sigh, "I don't want to ask..."
"Then don't!" I snap at him.
"How long?" He asks.
I just give him a look. "I don't know what you are talking about,"
I tell him.
I turn away from him, trying not to cry, and he turns me back
towards him. "How long have you been out of medication?"
"A few days." I say, looking away, getting angrier by the second.
"You're lying," he says flatly.
"No, I'm not!" I tell him.
He walks over and opens the first drawer of the dresser. "If you aren't lying, then why are
all your pills in here?"
"I don't want to talk about this!" I yell at him.
Jeremy shuts the door. "Too damn bad. You
don't get to just throw a fit and refuse to talk about it."
"I really don't want to talk about this, please!" I say, begging
him to drop this.
He crosses his arms, "Jaxs, we can do
this all evening."
I dig my nails into my arm. "My mom showed up after school."
"Kim is back? They weren't due in until next week," he says.
I shake my head and dig my nails deeper into my arm. When
realization hits him, he walks over, and pulls my hand away from my arm. "Your biological mother?"
I just shake my head, and lean into him, shaking. "She wants to...I don't know what she
wants, but I don't want to see her."
"How did she find you?"
"I don't know, but she's been watching me for a few days."
He moves to put his arms around me and enclose me in a hug, but I
don't want to be close. I push away. "Don't
"Just, please don't touch me right now," I say, backing away from
He puts his hands up. "Okay, but I do think we should talk about
this. You are so on edge right
now. I haven't seen you this
worked up in a long time."
"You don't know what she's capable of," I tell him, sitting on the
Jeremy sits next to me. "You're right, I have no idea what she's
capable of, or what she's done to you. I
am here to listen if you want to talk about it, and I promise you, she's not
going to come near you again."
I look at him. "You shouldn't make promises you can't keep."
"I am going to be picking you up from school, or Mrs. K will. Someone will make sure she doesn't
come near you. So how are you
I lean into him, "We are good. He's at his uncle's house. I think I may see if we can have
lunch tomorrow, since Cole is grounded.
"Well, just let me know, and I will take you over there," Jeremy
"I'm scared," I admit.
He goes to put his arm around me but stops. I lean into him and he
gently lays his arm around me. "Don't be. We
need to tell Coach, and he will know what to do."
I shake my head. "Not tonight, it's their anniversary...I don't want
to ruin it."
"How about after we get back from dinner?" he asks.
"Will you be there with me?" I ask.
"You bet I will. Jaxs, will you tell me one day?"
I nod my head. He
gets up and motions for me to get up. "Come on, lets finish up. Do you want me
to take a picture to send to your boyfriend?" he asks, wagging his eyebrows at
I blush. "Maybe!"
Ryder comes into the room. "Hey, everyone is ready."
"Cool, we are almost finished up," Jeremy says.
"You clean up nice." Ryder says, smirking at me.
"Still look better than you," I say, smiling.
shakes his head. "You are impossible
I hope you have enjoyed the new part to Paper Walls! Please support nifty! Also comments and thoughts are always welcomed!