Chapter 5

I awoke about 6:30 the next morning; my ribs and head hurting. I slowly opened my eyes with the light hurting them. I gradually got out of bed wanting to cry I was hurting SO BAD. I got dressed and headed down stairs. When I got into the kitchen, my parents were already eating breakfast. As I came through the kitchen door, my mom looked at me with concern and worry on her face.

"Are you all right dear?" she asked, helping me sit down.

"I'm fine, just my head and ribs are hurting REALLY bad right now."

When I said that my dad got up and came over to me. He had me take my shirt off and he looked at me. He examined my ribs and took a pocket flashlight and looked into my eyes.

"Well your ribs are still swelled up and are probably putting pressure on you. You are still suffering from the effects of the concussion. Are you sure you want to go to school today? If anyone accidentally bumps into you, you are going to probably be hurting quite a bit," my dad asked me.

"I have to try. If things get too bad, then I will call mom and have her pick me up," I replied slipping my shirt back on.

"OK son, if you are sure," Dad said.

I nodded my head, took my medication, and began to eat. After I ate, I picked up my book bag and put it on. Just picking it up hurt me. I took the backpack off and took out everything that was not essential to me. So basically, everything was left in there. It was still heavy, BUT I didn't let the pain show on my face. I was about to walk out the door when my dad stopped me. He told me to wait and he would take me to school. I said OK, and waited.

Dad dropped me off at school. As I got out of the car, I told him I loved him and would see him tonight. He said OK, and told me to call mom if I got to hurting to bad. I said I would as I shut the door, and turned around and started walking to the doors.

The students that were outside, stopped and stared at me, and some kept whispering as I walked by. My ribs, chest, and head kept pounding. As I walked through the doors I felt a pair of hands grab my shoulder. I couldn't turn around fast enough to respond because of the pain I was in. I was thinking that someone was going to try and hurt me. The hand on my right shoulder took my backpack off and held onto it. I slowly turned around and saw Alex, Brian and Eric standing there smiling at me.

When I saw them I smiled, but my eyes went straight to Alex's. Alex slowly walked up to me and took my hands in his.

"Hey baby. We saw you get out of the car and the look of pain on your face when you lifted your book bag. So, we decided to help you out. How are you?" he asked with worry and concern on his face.

I smiled and said, "I'm doing OK, still sore but doing better. My dad looked at my ribs and said they were still swollen and I was still suffering from the effects of the concussion."

"Well we will be here for you baby," Alex said and smiled at me.

I smiled back and just stared into his eyes. I felt tears brimming mine, and I looked away.

"Why the tears Brett?" Alex asked me.

"Because....Because...I Love you SO much..." I trailed off letting the tears fall from my face.

Alex turned me slowly toward him remembering I can't move that fast and made me look at him. "I Love you too, Brett now and always," Alex said, I saw tears in his eyes as he slowly leaned into me. His lips brushed mine in a slow chaste kiss. It felt great. There were a few kids and teachers there with a look of uncertainty on their faces, but they knew better than to argue with someone who had the football team backing him up.

"Get a room you two," someone said behind me. I turned around and saw Trent, one of the football players, looking at us. I smiled at him and turned back to Alex.

Alex smiled and replied to Trent, "We do have one."

"Oh really, WHERE AT?" Trent asked, with a smile on his face and laughter in his eyes.

"Your room," Alex said and started laughing.

I started giggling which only caused Alex and the other football players standing around to laugh harder, then I started blushing.

"I DON'T THINK SO AND I DON'T WANT TO KNOW," he said laughing. "And if you ever did do anything on my bed and got something on the covers, I would have to kill you."

We all laughed and started heading for our homerooms. Alex, Eric and Brian took me to mine and made sure I was OK. One of the JV football players was in there and looked at me and nodded. So I knew everything would be OK. As the teacher started the homeroom lecture she looked at me and smirked. I just stared at her in disbelief. How could she think this was funny? I had to do something. I raised my hand and asked to go to the nurse's office because my ribs were hurting and she said NO.

I couldn't believe it. I just stared and started crying. Then the bell rang. The football player named Chris came up to me as I was getting up and grabbed my book bag.

"You OK?" he asked.

"Yeah, just real sore and I don't feel good," I said wiping the tears from my eyes.

"Well let's get you to the nurse's station. OK?" Chris said.

"Yeah, please."

He took me there and told the nurse what had happened, including the fact that the teacher would not let me come and see her. The nurse looked at me; she knew what happened because she was told by one of the other teachers. PLUS, unbeknownst to me, my mom called and told her about me this morning.

The nurse said she would be right back and walked out of the office. I don't know what happened, but a few minutes later she returned. I found out later that she'd gone to call my mom. Chris got up and said he was going to be right back. The nurse gave him a hall pass.

About 5 or 10 minutes later Alex came running into the nurse's station and came right next to me.

"Hey what happened?" he asked crying and holding my hand.

The nurse did nothing but smile and went back to reading her book. I told him what the teacher did and he got angry. I could see the fire in his eyes and knew I had to calm him down.

"Babe calm down, I'm feeling a little better. OK? Please don't say anything, and don't do anything stupid, PLEASE, for me," I begged.

He looked and noticed the fear I had in my eyes and said, "OK."

He stayed with me a little while. Then my homeroom teacher came in. She saw us there and had a mean look on her face. "Brett what are you doing in here? You need to be in class, and Alex so do you," she said coming toward us. The nurse stopped her.

"What do you think you're doing in my station ordering people around?" the nurse asked her.

"Brett is in my homeroom and Alex is in my art class," she said, like that explained everything.

"The nurse glared at her and said, "I don't care when you get them, right now they are in here and in MY care, now GET OUT," she said the last two words with force.

Mrs. Barlem didn't budge and the nurse took her outside shutting the door. We could hear them arguing outside of the room. When Mrs. Barlem made her last statement, I already knew how she felt.

"Those faggots don't deserve to be here," she said loud enough for Alex and me to hear through the door.

The door opened and the nurse came back in. She sat at her desk and picked up the phone. Mrs. Barlem came in and looked at us.

Alex turned and looked at Mrs. Barlem and calmly said, "I hope you didn't want your job ma'am, because I am letting my parents know what you said."

She looked at him and laughed, "YOU, YOU CAN'T do anything. It's my word against yours and they will believe me because I'm a teacher," she said.

"No, they won't. I heard you say it, Brett heard you say it and the nurse heard you say it," Alex said smiling.

Mrs. Barlem looked at Alex, then me, and finally the nurse. The nurse was smiling and nodding her head up and down.

"What did you hear Alex?" my mom asked when she walked in. Mrs. Barlem looked at her and went pale.

"Mom!" I said, surprised to see her here.

"Uhmmm, nothing Mrs. Mikells. Alex is just upset." Mrs. Barlem said.

"Oh really, well I would like to hear it from HIM," my mom said.

My mom looked at Mrs. Barlem as Mrs. Barlem looked at Alex with pleading eyes.

"Well, one of my football friends is in Brett's homeroom. Brett's ribs and head started to REALLY hurt him and he asked her if he could come here and she said NO. Well, Chris, the football player, brought him here after homeroom was over. Then Chris left when the nurse came back from the office and came and got me. I came here to see how Brett was doing. Mrs. Barlem came in here and told us we had to go to class. The nurse stopped her from talking to us and took her outside. Then they started arguing and we heard Mrs. Barlem say and I quote "AND THOSE FAGGOTS DON'T DESERVE TO BE HERE" end quote. The nurse came in here and sat back down. Mrs. Barlem came in and I told Mrs. Barlem that I hoped she didn't want her job because I was going to tell my parents and I am pretty sure Brett was going to tell you and Mr. Mikell's. She said that y'all won't believe us because she is a teacher and we are just students. Then I said that not only did I hear it, but Brett and the Nurse also heard it. That's when you walked in." Alex said smiling as he finished, staring at Mrs. Barlem.

"She said WHAT?" my mom yelled.

Let me explain my mom. I love her to death, but if you EVER, and I mean EVER, hear her holler, then you know that you are in DEEP SHIT. She looked at Mrs. Barlem, and Mrs. Barlem backed up.

"Let me tell you one thing, right NOW. I am going to SUE YOU and the SCHOOL for slander and letting my boy get hurt. By the time I am finished with you, YOU WILL NEVER work in this city EVER again," my mom said getting REALLY PISSED.

"What is going on in here?" said the principle as he walked in. My mom turned toward the man.

"Who are YOU?" she asked with her eyes ablaze.

"I am the principle ma'am, and you?" he asked back.

"I am Brett's mother, the boy laying on the bed. He was hurt at the football game. I'm sure you heard about it.," she said calming down.

"Oh yes. How is your son?" he asked looking over at Alex and me holding hands. He saw that but said nothing. His facial expression NEVER changed, as if he has seen it all before.

"He is hurting, and let me tell you what Alex, my son's boyfriend, said," my mom said

By the minute, as she re-counted the story, you could see his face getting redder and redder. He turned toward Mrs. Barlem.

"Mrs. Barlem you have 15 minutes to get your belongings and get out of here. As of now, you are terminated. It states in the board of education rules, no one will be discriminated against, that includes sexual orientation. I will have someone take over your classes. Goodbye." he said turning toward my mother.

With tears in her eyes she left. I felt a little for her, but not much.

"I feel sorry for her," I said.

Alex looked at me. "Why?" he asked surprised.

"Because she thought she was right, and that what she believed was right, but she wasn't and it was too late for her to change that," I said.

Alex looked at me and smiled. He knew my forgiving heart and loved me for it.

"Well, Mrs. Mikells, I am sorry for that. I will do whatever it takes to make this up too you," Mr. Jordan. the principal, said.

"I don't know right now, all I want to do is take Brett home and let him rest. I won't call my attorney on the school, but Mrs. Barlem is going to get it," my mom said.

"No mom, let it rest, it's over, I don't want to fight anymore. OK?" I said looking at her.

She looked at me and smiled. Mr. Jordan excused himself and left. My mom signed the papers and waited on me to get ready. Alex helped me up and grabbed my backpack and took it out to my car for me. The nurse gave him a pass for him to go back to school. Alex went to class and my mom took me home.

When we got home I took some more medication and laid down to rest. The next thing I became aware of was someone stroking my hair. I slowly looked up and saw Alex sitting there smiling down at me.

"Hey sleepy head, how do you feel?" he asked bending down giving me a kiss.

I smiled at him and kissed him back. "I'm feeling better. Thank you. What time is?" I asked.

"4:30," someone said. I looked at Alex then slowly sat up. Sitting there were Eric, Brian, Chris, Trent, Mike and Jimmy of the football team. "Hey guys how long have y'all been here?" I asked sitting all the way up.

Alex got up and sat behind me. Putting his legs on either side of me and wrapping his arms around me to hold me. I snuggled down and rested my hands on his as his rested on my stomach.

"For about 40 minutes. Prince charming didn't want to wake you. He kept saying, 'awww, he looks so sweet asleep,'" Brian said. We all cracked up laughing as Alex blushed! I kissed Alex and he smiled at me.

"Thanks guys. So how was school?" I asked.

"It was good, the talk of the school was how your mom blasted Mrs. Barlem and she got fired for discrimination. A lot of the students were happy and some weren't. Oh well, life's a BITCH."

We all laughed. They gave me my assignments and we started on homework. I helped them the best I could. Even with what I missed of school, I was still doing pretty well. We finished about an hour later. My mom came to see if everyone was staying for dinner. Chris, Mike, Trent, and Jimmy said they had to go, but maybe next time. Brian and Eric said they would stay. My mom said dinner would be ready in about an hour. We said OK, and started talking. Me and Alex would kiss every few minutes. As I looked at Eric and Brian, there was something in their eyes, I could see, that was upsetting them.

"Hey guys what's wrong? I can tell there's something going on," I said.

They looked at me, then at each other, then the tears came. I looked at Alex and he shrugged his shoulders.

"Come on guys, you can talk to us, Hell, y'all know about me and Alex," I said.

They looked at each other again and nodded.

"Alex, Brett we have something to tell you," Brian started.

I could see Eric reaching for Brian's hands, and then it clicked. "You're gay," I said in almost a whisper. They looked at me and Alex and nodded their heads. We smiled at them and they started crying.

"What's wrong guys?" Alex asked.

"We don't want anyone to know, OK, but we had to tell you. We can't keep hiding it from everyone. It hurts, but since you two came out we felt we had to tell y'all," Eric said crying.

We asked them how it happened, and they said they've been together since they were 12. We were shocked to find they'd been together for so long. They explained how they met at school, and how they found out about each other. They each found the other writing the other's name over and over again on paper and found it at each other's house. Eric found Brian's first, then he made sure Brian found his, and here they are now.

Their parents found out and almost kicked them out. Then Eric tried to kill himself, and then their parents decided there was nothing to do to stop them. Over two years, things have been better, and the families are best friends. I slowly felt myself drifting off to sleep in Alex's arms.