Chapter 3

I awoke a few hours later laying in my bed exhausted. The memories of that afternoon came back to me and I started to cry all over again. I remember looking into Alex's eyes when he heard what was said and not knowing what to think. The boy I had fallen in love with over the last few months now hated me. I wanted him as a friend, if not a boyfriend, but now it's too late. I can't even have him as a friend. It was only Wednesday and I didn't know what to do. I was scared and I didn't want to go back to school. I knew by Monday it would be all over school. The sounds of talking and laughing coming from the kitchen waffled up the stairs. With tears in my eyes I got out of bed heading downstairs to see my parents.

I went into the kitchen and my parents stopped talking when they saw my face.

"Brett honey, what happened?" my mom asked coming over to me. She hugged me and that was all it took and I started crying harder and shaking like I have never shaken before. I was crying so hard I started to hyperventilate. I was trying to catch my breath and the next thing I knew I was darkness. I awoke a few hours later in my bedroom with my parents sitting on the bed talking quietly.

"I wonder what happened to make him cry and pass out from fright?" my mom said.

"I don't know but I hope he will be ok and that nothing bad has happened," my dad replied pressing a damp cloth on my forehead. I looked up then and saw them watching me.

"Honey please tell us what happened," my mom pleaded.

"Mom, dad they know, they know about me," I said starting to cry. My parents looked at each other in astonishment.

"How?" was all that was asked. I went on and told them about Billy and Jarad and what happened this afternoon. I told them how I felt about Alex and knowing that he would probably hate me and not want to be my friend now. I was scared, starting at a new school, getting friends, and now losing it all. I just cried and cried until I was so tired, I fell asleep. My parents stayed with me a bit longer then went downstairs letting me rest. While I was asleep, Alex stopped by and talked with my parents. He told them he didn't care if I was gay or not but he was hurt because I didn't tell him. My parents went on and explained to him why I didn't and he understood. They tried to wake me up but I was so exhausted that I wouldn't wake up. So Alex left and my parents went to bed.

When I awoke the next morning the sun was up and it looked like it was about 9 or 10 in the morning. I stumbled downstairs to find my mom sitting there reading the paper and drinking coffee.

"How come y'all didn't wake me up?" I asked, sitting down at the kitchen table.

"Well, we figured you could use a few days off from everyone. So you won't have to worry about school till Monday," she said getting up and fixing me some breakfast.

"Thanks," was all I could think about. I couldn't have picked or rather, the system couldn't have picked, the best parents in the world for me. Yes, there were times when we had our problems and I was bad, but every kid is. They did what they had to do as parents and I was punished, but I still loved them.

"That's ok. By the way, Alex stopped by last night. We tried waking you, but you were SO tired you just wouldn't get up. So we let you sleep. Alex is ok with you being gay, honey. He was upset at first because you didn't tell him, but when we explained why and the hatred that some people may have, he understood," mom said setting a bowl of cereal in front of me.

"I don't want to see him yet, ok mom? I don't want to talk with him. He may have only said that to talk with me to see if I was trying to hit on him or something. I don't know, but right now I don't want to talk with him yet, please," I begged bringing tears to my eyes once again. My mom got up and came over and hugged me.

"It's alright darling, you don't have to talk with anyone that you don't want to right now. He will be dropping off your school work but I will just tell him that you are in bed resting," she said letting me go.

"Thanks, I love you," I said with a smile on my face.

"I love you, too, sweetie now finish up and go play or something," she said. When I finished I went up to my room and got on my computer. I wrote some of my friends who knew I was gay and told them what had happened. I knew they were in school so I didn't worry about a response yet. About 3:30 the doorbell rang and my mom got it. It was Alex. He brought my homework in and talked with my mom. She told him I was resting and not ready to talk with anyone yet. He said he understood and left. He sounded so sad. I wanted to run after him and hug him and hold him to let him know I loved him. But I couldn't, he doesn't love me. He would never, could never, love me. The rest of the day went on as usual. I did my homework, then went and ate supper with my family. I was so depressed I didn't even jack off that day, hell that entire weekend.

The next day at 3:30 when Alex came over again and dropped off my homework he didn't ask to see me, he understood. I loved him SO MUCH it hurt me. The weekend went by slowly with me doing nothing except watch TV, play on the computer, listen to my radio and just stare out my bedroom window thinking of what Monday would bring. I finally went to bed Sunday evening scared and worried.

Monday came and I was up and dressed for school. I ate breakfast then left for the bus stop. My parents already said if things got too bad to call them and they would come and get me. My dad gave me a doctor's note for the two days I missed so they wouldn't be held against me. I knew that everyone would have heard about me by now and I might get teased or picked on. It started the minute I appeared at the bus stop. The whispers and snickering, the occasional "fag," "fairy" and other slurs. I ignored them the best I could. I wanted to go home, but knew I needed to try to get through the day. When I got on the bus, I sat by the bus driver knowing I would be physically safe for the time being, but the slurs still came and I heard them all over. When I got off the bus I was walking and a guy came by me and bumped into me and said "Watch it, fag boy." I about started crying. I didn't want this, I didn't deserve it but it still happened. I got to homeroom and the slurs were still there. The teacher got to the name roll and told us about the pep rally in two weeks for the football game. She seemed to ignore the slurs that were being made at me as if she didn't care.

My first period was gym, which was the scariest, because the other boys may try to hurt me. We got out to the bleachers and the teacher called the roll. We were doing tennis and I was good at this game, so I did better than most of the other kids. Alex tried talking to me several times but I ignored him. I wasn't ready to face him yet. The others said little to me, except to call me names and push me a little. One even said, "Don't get too close boys, he may try and grab you." They all laughed and I hung my head down. When the gym teacher saw what was going on, he called the class to order. Then he pretty much cussed them out.

"OK, this ends NOW!" he hollered. We all froze where we were. "I have heard about what happened and I don't care. And neither should you. Just because someone is different doesn't mean you can be mean to him or her," the couch said. I felt a little better knowing that I at least had him somewhat on my side.

"But coach, we don't want a queer in our school. He doesn't belong here," one of the other boys said pointing at me.

The coach got up in his face and simply said, "One more remark like that from you or anyone else, one more time I see that anyone isn't showing sportsmanship, they get an F for the semester, do I make myself clear?" he hollered. We all looked at him and said, "YES, SIR!" He dismissed us but before we got too far he hollered out one last thing, "That includes the locker room, too." We all went into the locker room and got dressed. No one said anything to me, but they still kept their distance. The rest of the day went on with people saying snide remarks and making fun of me. I almost cried but did a pretty good job of keeping it in. At lunch I grabbed my tray and sat by myself at a table in the back of the cafeteria, I figured that Alex and HIS friends wouldn't want me there. After I ate I went to the library and stayed there. I did the same rerun all week long. Never talking with anyone, any time Alex tried to come near me I would turn and walk away. When I got home I just went to my room and cried. If Alex tried calling I had my parents tell him I wasn't there. They knew I was upset and they started worrying seeing signs of depression start. I think they thought I would try and kill myself, but they needn't have worried. I am NOT that dumb.

Finally Friday came and as I was at my locker getting my books ready to go home. I saw Alex approach me. I hurried, trying to get my stuff together. I was starting to leave when two of the football jocks stopped me. I tried turning the other way and there were two more. After a minute, ALL of them were in front of me. I was getting scared, and I started to cry. I haven't cried at school yet, because I saved it for when I got home. But with them all here I was getting scared and I mean the WHOLE football team. Alex stepped in front and I saw him in front of me for the first time ALL week.

"Chill Brett, no one is going to hurt you, we just want to talk," he said, his face all serious.

"Don't worry, I didn't look at any of y'all, ok? You won't have to worry about it, I won't bother y'all, I promise," I said choking back a sob.

"Well first, don't worry, we don't care if you are gay. What bothers us the most is that you didn't tell us. When I talked with your parents and they explained why, I finally understood and accepted that you just needed some time alone. All week you have been ignoring me and our friends. THAT bothered us more than anything. We know you don't try and take a peek at us, ever since we've known you, you haven't tried anything so we know that you wouldn't. They understood why you didn't say anything to us and they are cool," he said. I looked at the other guys and they all nodded their heads. I was feeling relieved. Alex continued, "From now on, if anyone bothers you, find one of us if we aren't already there. We don't care that you are gay, man. You have been a real friend helping us all out with our school work and all. Hell, most of us would have been kicked off of the team if not for you tutoring us. AND if anyone bothers you, WE WILL take care of it, ok?" Alex said smiling and holding out his hand. "Oh god, how I would love to hold you and tell you I love you, but I am not ready, not until I talk with the team first," Alex thought to himself. Tentatively, I took it and we shook, then he pulled me into a hug. Not the kind of hug that a boyfriend would give his girlfriend or other boyfriend, but a friendly hug. Then all of the other members did the same thing. After that they left and had to get to football practice. A few of the other kids that were in the hall just stared open mouthed at me. I felt pretty good. When I got home my mom was there and asked how everything was. I told her what happened and she said, "See, those are your TRUE friends." I guess she was right.

For the rest of the week some people still made snide remarks, but unless you were a bully, most just left me alone. Having the football team back me up meant something. The day after the football players cornered me, I was in the cafeteria getting my food and was about to go to the table to sit by myself. When I turned around after paying the cashier, Brad and Eric, two of the football jocks, were there. I looked at them and they just smiled and pointed to the table where the team sits.

"You mean y'all still want me to sit with y'all?" I asked, still amazed.

"Yep, Alex figured you would try and go to the other table, BUT as we told you, WE DON'T CARE about you being gay. And if anyone has any problems with it, have them come talk to the football team," they said loud enough that the people around us could hear. Then they escorted me to their table. I sat down and everyone just smiled.

"I figured you would try and sit there by yourself, so I sent them for you. Now eat and enjoy and explain how come you beat me at tennis," Alex said with a smile. The minute he said that, all hell broke loose as they started teasing the BIG QUARTERBACK at having me beat him at tennis. He blushed and started laughing, so I started laughing. I explained that I took tennis and bowling lessons before I moved. The minute I said bowling, the whole table stopped. I thought I'd done something wrong, when one of the guys got up and sat next to me. All he did was sit there, smile and stick his tongue out at the rest of the table, then everyone started laughing including me.

"Ok, ok, so what just happened?" I asked in between giggles. They just laughed harder at me giggling and I kept it up and started to blush.

"Well, you see, I LOVE to bowl and they keep teasing me saying that I wasn't anything special. Well, I challenged them to a game of bowling and I won. Now they still tease me, but not quite as much. Now that you are here, they can just bite me because I know WE can beat them anytime. Two against 12," Brain said laughing. I started laughing again and so did the table. After that everything started going fine. People started to talk with me again and I started making some REAL friends.

My feelings for Alex kept getting stronger and stronger and I didn't know what to do. I wanted him as my friend and I wanted him as my boyfriend. I knew I couldn't get him as my boyfriend, but GOD, it was getting so hard trying to be his friend and NOT touch him or want to hold him or kiss him. I talked with my parents and all they said was give it time. IN TIME things will work out. I still didn't know what to do. The following weeks things were going great. This Friday was the first football game of the season. What I didn't know was that Alex was talking with the football team about something when they all got together without me. What ever it was, they all seemed happy and smiled at me whenever we passed more than usual. That seemed strange but I figured it was because of the first game that was coming up.

The team had the coach save me a spot on the fifty-yard line and I watched the game. Even though I hated football and the team knew it, I was still there as their friend to cheer them on. I was mainly there because of Alex. After the game all of the students that were there from our school were outside waiting for the team to come out. We'd won our first game and everyone was REALLY happy. Billy and Jarad, two of the biggest bullies ever, were there as well. They came up to me and started trouble.

"So, waiting on your bodyguards?" Billy asked. I soon came to realize that he was the ringleader of the two.

"No, my friends," I said then turned away from them. I knew they wouldn't leave me alone and I wished that my parents were still here instead of waiting at the car.

"Well, why don't we help you out," Jarad said grabbing my left arm. Billy grabbed my right and started pulling me away from everyone. A few people saw but no one said anything. Probably thought that the "fag" was going to get his.

"No, let me go," I said, pulling away from them. It turned around and started towards the door when I felt someone pull on my shirt and started choking me. I started coughing and they let me go and I fell down. When I looked up Billy and Jarad were there smiling at each other. The next thing I felt was a kick in my stomach. It hurt and I fell forward. Someone kept kicking me and someone kept punching me. Somehow I got hit in the face and I was blinded for a minute. I saw a foot coming at me again but before it could get to me it was thrown backwards. I saw the end of what looked like a football jacket coming near me. I felt two arms pick me up and hold me.

"Are you ok?" Alex asked me.

"Yeah," I barely whispered out. I was hurting and scared, I started to cry. I clung to Alex like he was my lifesaver. Which at the moment, he was.

"Hold him," I heard Alex say. He gave me to Brad, one of the other football players. He was holding me making sure I wouldn't fall. I felt lightheaded and my stomach hurt. I looked up and saw Alex go over to where Billy and Jarad were being held by the other football players. The football players were PISSED and Billy and Jarad knew it. I could see the fear in their eyes.

"I thought you guys got the point that he wasn't to be messed with," Alex said getting up in their faces.

"Hey, he's just a faggot, he doesn't matter," Billy said. Before Alex could say anything, Eric swung Billy to the ground and got in his face.

"Brett is our friend and we don't care if he is gay or not. HELL he's a better human being than YOU or JARAD will EVER be." He picked him up and held onto him.

Alex stepped forward and with a voice so icy it made me cringe said, "You two or anyone else EVER pick on Brett Mikells again, I will have YOUR ass. Even if it isn't you, I am going to assume it is and the football team WILL come after YOU TWO. Do I make myself clear?" Alex said in his face.

"Yeah, clear, REAL clear," Billy said scared. I noticed that he'd peed his pants he was SO scared of Alex and the football team.

"Good, just know what will happen if you mess with him or anyone else again." With that they let Billy and Jarad go. The others standing around saw Billy's wet pants and started laughing. Eric whispered something in Alex's ear and he looked at me. The look on his face broke my heart. It was the look that he'd let someone down. Someone he cared about a lot. He came over to me and took me in his arms. Brad stepped back and the football team encircled us.

"You ok?" Alex asked looking at me like he was going to cry.

"Yeah, a little sore and scared, but otherwise ok. Thanks, guys," I said blushing because of all the attention I'd gotten. They said don't worry, but they didn't make a move to leave. They all looked at Alex. I was wondering what was gong on when I looked into Alex's face and saw him crying.

"I thought I was going to lose you to those bullies. I don't think I could have handled that," he said sniffling. He choked back a sob and continued, "I love you." With that he kissed me and it was beautiful and amazing. When he pulled back I looked into his eyes and that was all, I passed out.