While Mark was putting himself away, John stood up. Mark looked at John sheepishly and said, “I didn’t mean to say that a while ago. I’m not gay. I’m sorry.” And he honestly did look sorry.
John looked at him and I thought I might’ve seen a human emotion cross his face and even reach his eyes. I think Mark saw it too. That is until his resting bitch face returned and he said, “I just had your dick in my mouth and you shot down my throat. That’s pretty gay.”
“I’m not gay. I don’t know why I let you do that. I told you earlier while we were inside I was straight. I knew what you wanted to do when you invited me out here. I don’t know why I didn’t stop you. But, I’m not gay.”
“Look, whatever. I think when you get head from a guy, you’re pretty fucking gay.” John then turned to us and asked, “Don’t y’all agree?”
I barked out a laugh and said, “Wow, you really can be a judgmental bitch. There’s more than gay, straight, or bi.”
He scoffed. “What-the-fuck-ever.” He turned to Mark. “Umm, Mike, right? Well, I hope you enjoyed it. I’m going inside. Bye.”
“His name is Mark, fuck-twat. I think it’s time for you to leave. Now.”
“I’m gone. Teej, go to hell. Mark, or Mike, or who the fuck ever you are, hope you had fun. It was probably the best head you’ve ever had. Right Sean-babe? I think you need to get rid of this pathetic excuse of nothing and call me tomorrow. Or tonight when you get home, I’ll be at Stacey’s.”
That’s when I lost my shit and was about to launch myself at the cum-stain. Before I could tackle him and wail on his face, Sean wrapped his arms around me. His voice was full of I-don’t-know-what-sexy gruffness when he said, “If you know what’s good for you, John, you’ll head to Stacey’s car and wait for her there. I won’t be calling you tomorrow, or tonight, or ever. Goodbye.”
Wow, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present- my boyfriend in full-on Alpha-male mode. I think I had a hard-on by the time he was about half-way through the first sentence. I’m not sure if it was from the tone and authority in his voice or the fact there were only a few layers of clothes separating his dick from my ass. Either way, I was in love.
Sean turned us around and allowed Mark through the gate first. When I turned to close the gate behind me, John was still standing there glaring at me. He said in a voice barely above a whisper, so I was the only one who could hear, “Watch your back, fucker. Sean will come back to me.”
I laughed. “Keep dreaming psycho-stalker.”
I closed the gate and headed to the back door. Once I was inside, I saw it was about 12:40. I walked into the living room just behind Mark and Sean. Everyone looked at us oddly. Before anyone could say anything, I said, “Alright, it’s time for everyone to head out. Curfew is in twenty minutes. Stacey, your douchebag cousin is waiting by your car. I love you to death girl, but don’t bring him around here again if you can avoid it.” She started to apologize, so I cut her off. “It’s not your fault your cousin is a psycho-stalker-cock-whore, so don’t apologize for anything. Does everyone have a ride?”
Mark spoke up then. “TJ, Sean, do you mind if I stick around and talk to y’all before I leave?”
Sean looked at me and raised one eyebrow. I nodded. “Yeah, that’s fine.”
He looked at Patrick and asked, “Do you think you can get a ride from one of them?” Patrick nodded, and Mark continued. “Good, thanks. Tell Cuz I’ll see him tomorrow.”
Once everyone was gone, Patrick rode away with Amber and Mike, I turned to Mark. “Curfew’s in like ten minutes, I don’t want you to get busted.”
“It’s okay, I’m eighteen. But I’ll head out if you want me too.”
“No, you’re fine. I can tell something’s on your mind. Do you want to talk about it or just hang out for a bit?”
He looked at the four of us and sighed. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to hang for a bit.” He then turned to Sean and asked, “What were you and your dad talking about?”
Sean told them what he knew. Kevin stood up and gave him a big bear hug, patting him on his back with slaps I was sure were going to leave bruises. He released Sean, sat down next to Josh, pulled him onto his lap, and smirked. “Does that mean we’re staying here till your dad gets back?”
Josh was beaming when he looked over at Sean and me. “Really?”
From what Sean told me outside, I knew he was worried but not upset about what happened, so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to make those two feel bad; so, I spoke up. “Damn you two. His grandfather just had a stroke, is in the hospital, and could possibly be fighting for his very life and y’all are over there smiling and shit because y’all get to spend the night together? That’s fucking cold.”
I intentionally overdramatized a bit. Sean was the only one who noticed though. Before the two lovebirds could start groveling, Sean called me on my bullshit. “Stop being a dick Teej. I’m just as happy as they look because this means I get to spend more time with you.”
I stuck my lower lip out in a pout and muttered, “I thought you liked dicks.”
That made Mark snort out a laugh, which reminded me he wanted to talk. “So, what’s on your mind Mark?”
He took in a deep breath, looked towards the ceiling, and sighed. He glanced at Kevin and Josh and said, “Sean and TJ just caught me getting head outside from that guy John.”
Kevin looked confused for a second. “I thought you were straight.”
Josh blurted out, “Damn, is the whole team gay?”
Mark chuckled and said, “No, I think just those two and Patrick. There might be a couple of closeted bi guys, but I’m not one of them. Well, I didn’t think I was. I don’t fucking know. I’m sorry. He just dropped to his knees and next thing I knew, he was pulling my dick out. Even though I knew what he wanted to do when we went outside, I didn’t stop him. So what, I’m bi now? God this shit’s so fucked up.”
He was freaking out a little and Sean noticed this; so, he said, “Hey, Mark, it’s okay. You don’t need to explain yourself to us. But if you want to talk this out, we’ll listen. Just don’t freak out.”
“You’re right. Part of me is freaking out right now wondering what it means that I got hard and got off without trying to stop him. I mean, I’ve always found some guys attractive, but I’m also attracted to girls. Does that make me bi all of a sudden?
“The other part of me, the more rational side, knows I’m an eighteen-year-old guy who gets hard-ons when the wind changes directions. There aren’t many teenage guys out there who wouldn’t get hard when someone plays with their cock, right? Just because I got off and didn’t tell him to stop, doesn’t make me gay. But I did enjoy it and I knew what he wanted to do when we went outside. I guess I just wanted to have fun with someone I was attracted to. What does that mean?”
From what I heard, I thought I might have an idea, but I needed a little bit more information first. “Why did you decide to follow him outside? Was it because you wanted to get off, or because you were curious about being with a guy, or were you attracted to him?”
He looked at me for a moment. “Actually, all three I guess. While we were in here talking earlier, he started flirting with me. I told him I was flattered, but straight. I didn’t know what else to say. That didn’t stop me from flirting back. I’ve flirted with guys before. Mainly, it was while I was joking around with Patrick and Ethan.”
“So, you knew about them before tonight?”
Mark chuckled. “Ethan’s mom and my mom are cousins. Growing up, they were more like sisters. I’ve known Ethan his whole life. When he moved in next door to Patrick, I was helping them move and knew Patrick from football, so I introduced them to each other. The sparks were instant. Poor Ethan was so scared and nervous it took at least thirty seconds for him to say hello. I was waiting for Patrick to say something or make fun of Ethan. All he did was smile and asked if we wanted to go swimming once we were finished moving. The rest is their story to tell. Now, focus and get back to helping me figure my shit out.”
“Oh yeah. Okay, where were we? Attraction. Alright. What are you sexually attracted to in girls?”
“I don’t have a type at all.”
“Alright Mark, answer me honestly, you can trust us.”
He nodded and agreed. “I’ll be honest. I know I don’t have to worry about y’all spreading shit around.”
“Thank you. Do you think you could be in a relationship with a guy? Both physical and emotional?”
Again, he took his time before he answered. “I honestly don’t know. Maybe. If I stop and think about it, I could see myself being with a guy if we clicked.”
“Okay, do you have a type of guy you’re attracted to?”
“Not really. I can say all four of y’all are attractive guys. I guess I was attracted to the John I first met in here last night. The John at the end of the night from outside wasn’t the same person. I could never be attracted to someone so vapid.”
I smiled. “Could you have sex with a girl if you found out she had a penis?”
“You mean a transsexual?”
I nodded. “Yeah. You meet a gorgeous girl at a party. She’s exactly your type physically when you look at her while she’s clothed. When she goes down on you, she’s still fully dressed, and you receive the best blowjob of your life. Are you okay with everything that happened?”
Mark chuckled. “Yeah. I am.”
“Okay, y’all start dating and things progress. Y’all are making out one night and you’re feeling her up. It’s obvious she’s had breast implants, but I’m sure that doesn’t bother you.” He nodded, so I continued, “She blows you again and you love it. When you try to reciprocate, she says she’s fine. This happens a few more times, then when you try to finger her, she asks you to play with her breast instead. Finally, after a few more dates, she asks you to have sex with her. However, she’ll only do it in the dark, no lights at all, she has to be on top, and she wants reversed cowboy position. You can play with her breast or run your hands along her sides and back. You’ve really started liking, close to loving her and want more. Do you agree to it?”
“If I liked her that much, then yeah, if that will make her happy.”
“So, you’re saying you’ll do it that way every time because it will make her happy and it’s about her pleasure or are you agreeing to get laid.”
Mark thought for a second before he answered, “Both. I’d like to say I’m selfless and it’s all about her pleasure, but hell, I’m a guy and I want to get laid.”
That brought out my smile. “Good answer. This goes on for a bit, but let’s be honest, only one position every time in the dark would get boring, right?”
“Yeah. I guess I’d probably want to change things up eventually.”
“Okay, two weeks later, you try to initiate sex missionary style. She tells you no; since you’re not a rapist, you stop. You ask her what’s wrong and she starts crying. You’ve fallen in love with her by now. What do you do?”
“I pull her in my arms and ask her to talk to me and tell me what’s wrong.”
Before I could continue, Sean’s phone started ringing. When he checked caller id, I noticed it was Robert (his contact name read Mr. Kennedy). I told him to go ahead and answer, I was going to keep talking to Mark.
“She says you’ll hate her and never want to see her again.”
“I tell her that’s not possible because I love her and don’t want to lose her.”
“She begs you to promise her that’s true. She says she’ll tell you if you promise not to kick her out of your life. Once she tells you what she has to say, she’ll give you space by going into the other room or allowing you to leave, but since y’all are at your place, she’s not leaving till after you’ve thought about it. Then, if you want her to leave, she will and never talk to you again.”
“I guess I would be hesitant, but I would agree.”
“She takes off her clothes with her back to you and after she’s naked and turns around, you see the woman you love. You know her breasts well, since you’ve felt them up so many times. You see her tight stomach that you love running your hands over while you’re making love. Then you look down and see no pubic hair but there is a penis. It’s not huge, but it’s not a micro-penis either. She tells you she’s transgender and hasn’t had bottom surgery yet. What would you do?”
He took his time to consider his answer. “If I really was in love with her, I would continue to love her. I can understand why she wouldn’t have told me about herself before. Love is love.”
“What if she told you she never planned on having surgery? She wanted to keep things exactly the way they were, would you stay with her and still be sexually attracted to her and able to have sex with her?”
“I would like to say yes. I think I could handle that.”
Sean walked back into the room and sat next to me. He looked at Kevin and Josh and said, “Mr. Kennedy spoke with my dad, we’re going to stay here till he gets back. He told me my dad will call me tomorrow to let me know how long we’ll be here.” He turned to me and asked with a wink, “So, have you figured out Mark yet?”
“I think so.” I turned to Mark and smiled. “Congratulations, I think you might be pansexual. You might want to read up on it before you give yourself that label. Remember, you decide your sexuality. You choose your label.”
“What does pansexual mean? Can’t make up your fucking mind because you’re interested in everything?”
“The second part about interested in everything, yes. The first part about making up your mind, not so much.”
Josh spoke up next. “That sounds like bisexual. Is it the same?”
“Not really. Identifying as pansexual tells others you can be attracted to a man or a woman, as well as someone who is transsexual, intersexual, or whatever.”
Mark’s smile was so big, I thought it was going to reach his ears. “Wow, that sounds right. I never acted on my attraction to a guy because I’ve always known I wasn’t gay. I thought I had to be straight if I wasn’t gay. How did you know to ask all these questions?”
It was my turn to chuckle. “I took an online quiz. ‘Are you pansexual?’ The answer for me was no, I’m not. I’m gay. But if what you’re saying is true, I think you might be. You know we’re starting a GSA at the school. Even though it’s called a gay-straight alliance, everyone is welcome to join regardless of how they identify. You’re welcome to join us.”
“Sounds good, I’ll definitely check it out and let Ethan know about it too. Patrick and I will probably have to drag him into the meeting, but we’ll get him there.”
Kevin spoke up. “We’re going to meet him tomorrow. Patrick invited us, Teej, and Sean over to go swimming. He said you were probably going to be there too.”
Mark looked at the floor before saying, “I don’t know if I’ll be there. I don’t want to…never mind. I’ll think about it.”
I didn’t like his answer at all. “You don’t what?”
He looked a little confused, then realization dawned. “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.” His voice sounded a little sad. I wasn’t going to accept nothing as an answer.
“Wrong! Try again. I can tell it’s something, so talk to us. Please.”
He kept looking at the floor until he finally mumbled, “I just don’t want to feel like a third wheel I guess.”
“You don’t have to worry about that.” He looked at me with surprise before I continued, “Wouldn’t it be more like a seventh wheel? And honestly, who’s ever heard of an eight-wheeler?”
Josh, who was sitting on Kevin’s lap still, shifted till he was sitting next him instead. He looked at Mark and said, “If you start feeling uncomfortable or left out or anything else, grab one of us and let us know. We’ll take that as a signal we’re getting too into ourselves; which, honestly, we tend to do a lot. You’ll have to remind us more than once. I can tell you don’t have a problem letting people know what you’re feeling. Otherwise you wouldn’t have opened up to all of us like you did. You’re our friend now, and you’re stuck with us. I’m going to apologize now for my brother.”
“Fuck you very much baby bro. I’d watch my mouth if I were you before I tell Kevin to stuff it with his dick.”
Of course, Kevin turned an adorable shade of red. There’s just something so cute about making a guy who’s so tall and well-built blush at a moment’s notice.
While we were talking, I guess we didn’t hear Robert’s car pull in, or when he came in through the garage door. So, I might have jumped a little when he suddenly slapped me on the back of my head and said, “Don’t talk to your brother like that. And Kevin, I’m not even going there. We’ll just pretend I didn’t hear anything.”
Okay, yeah I did jump and yelled, “Dammit Robert, what the hell. I told you to stop hitting me on the head, you’re going to end up giving me a concussion.”
I noticed Sean tense up when I said that. I recalled the last time I said those same words in front of him and he had the same response. I tried to remember to remind myself to ask him about it.
Robert looked at Mark and said, “Mark, what are you doing here? Everything alright? Great game tonight you three, by the way.”
Mark smiled. “Thank you, sir. Everything’s fine. I just needed some help thinking, and they were all helping me out. I was just about to leave.”
Robert returned Mark’s smile. “Are you eighteen now?” After Mark nodded, Robert continued. “Alright. You’re welcome over here anytime. Sean, are you okay son?”
Son? What? Son! Oh, hell no, not allowed. “Please don’t call Sean son, Robert. I don’t want to sleep with my brother.”
Robert and Josh said, “Thank God!” in unison.
I looked at Mark, and I could see the questions he was about to start asking, so I spoke up first. “Okay, Josh is my biological brother. I call Robert, Robert, because for the first seventeen years of my life, he was my much older, almost ancient, brother.” Which earned me another, lighter slap to the back of my head. “After our parents died,” I had to take a breath and pause for a second before I continued, “I found out he is my father and I moved in and took over.”
Once I said all of that, I realized it was the first time Robert heard me talk about our family dynamics to anyone. I wasn’t sure how he was going to take it. He surprised me when he laughed. “That’s the Cliff’s Notes version of the story, I guess. But, basically, yeah. Teej, can I talk to you for a second?”
Mark stood up when I did and said, “I’m going to head out, I’ll see y’all later.”
I stopped him and said, “You mean tomorrow at Patrick’s, right?”
He took a deep breath and sighed. “You don’t give up do you?”
I shook my head. “Nope, I’m like a god with a bone.”
He looked confused when he asked, “Don’t you mean dog with a bone?”
I shook my head again and chuckled. “Nope. I said it right. I’m like a god with a bone. Well, at least Sean’s bone, ask him.”
That earned me a collective groan from everyone in the room as well as a slap to the back of my head from Robert. Again.
After Robert and I told Mark goodbye and headed into the kitchen, I could hear the other three apologizing to him about me. Assholes. Once in the kitchen, Robert asked, “Was the humor in the story about us real or just bravado? And I want an honest answer, please.”
I sighed. “A little of both, I think. I want to tell you I’m okay with everything now, but you said you wanted honesty. I’m not totally there yet, but I’m working on it.”
He crossed over to me and wrapped me in his arms. “That’s all I can hope and ask for. If you need anything, I’m here.”
It was then I noticed how much his hug felt like our dad’s hugs. I pulled back a little and looked at him. “Wow, I keep forgetting something.”
“How much you remind me of Dad. Both in looks and how you treat me and Josh.”
His eyes filled with tears and he gave me a huge smile. “Thanks. You know, you look a lot like I did in high school. Guess you’re going to look like him too.”
I chuckled. “Thank the gods he was good-looking, for an old guy.”
Just as we broke the hug, we heard Josh yell, “Goodnight Dad. Goodnight Teej.”
Robert yelled back, “Not so fast Josh. Get in here.”
A few seconds later, Josh ran in and said, “What? I didn’t do anything.”
Robert laughed loudly. “Is that a guilty conscious or something? I just wanted a hug. It’s not every day I get hugs from both of my sons.”
Josh looked from me to Robert and smiled. He crossed the room and wrapped his arms around Robert. They both looked at me expectantly. I rolled my eyes and joined them.
We heard someone from the doorway. “Aww, look how sweet. Can we get in on that?”
I looked and saw Sean and Kevin looking at us. “Yeah, come on and join the orgy.”
Robert and Josh pushed me away. Josh punched me in the arm and Robert slapped the back of my head. Nobody appreciates my jokes. But I’m not going to give up on them; someday they’ll come around.
As we were heading to the hallway, Robert spoke up. “Hey, I heard you say y’all were going to Patrick’s tomorrow. Patrick who?”
Josh laughed and said, “Paddycakes.”
To my surprise, Robert didn’t look shocked. He just smiled and asked, “He finally came around? I was wondering how much longer he was going to hold out.”
Josh asked, “What do you mean?”
Robert laughed. “The four of you, you, Patrick, Mike, and Jarrod, were inseparable. I never believed he meant what happened years ago. I figured he’d eventually come back around. Besides, he spends way too much time with Ethan Marsh. The only two students Ethan will talk to are Mark and him. Hmm, I wonder if there’s something going on there?”
Josh laughed, but I threw him a cautionary glance and he stopped. I spoke up. “He came over tonight to apologize to Josh with the help of two co-conspirators named Sean and Kevin. He invited the four of us plus Mark over tomorrow to meet Ethan and go swimming. Goodnight. Come on, Sean. I need to show you my godly skills.”
Robert yelled down the hallway, “Y’all better behave. You never know when a random bed check might happen. No funny business.”
I laughed and said, “Really Robert? What did you do tonight and why was your shirt tucked in when you left the school, but untucked when you came in the house tonight?”
He blushed and said, “Don’t worry about that. It’s none of your business.”
I smirked. “Exactly. Same to you. Goodnight, love you.”
“I love both of y’all. Goodnight Kevin, Sean. Make sure my boys get some rest.”
I closed the door behind us. Next thing I knew, Sean’s mouth was on mine. We kissed our way across my room to the bed, shedding our clothes as we went. When we finally made it to our destination, naked, he laid me down. A few moments later, he held himself above me and smirked. “So, what was that about showing me your godly skills?”
I grinned up at him and rolled us over. It didn’t take long before he was moaning my name and oh god repeatedly. I’d say I proved my godly skills quite well.
The next morning, Sean woke me up in the most mind-blowing way. Well, something was being blown. I smiled down at him and said, “Why don’t you swing around and let me help you out too. You’re not the only one who gets to have fun.”
Sean was promoted to god status, not that he wasn’t already there.
Finally, we decided to drag our asses out of bed. We took a shower (together in order to conserve water, at least that’s what I told Robert), ate breakfast, and we sat around waiting for Sean’s dad to call with an update. Around one in the afternoon, Sean’s phone rang. He headed out to the backyard and I kept my distance but followed him. I wanted to make sure I would be there for him in case the news he received was bad.
I couldn’t hear what he was saying from where I was sitting, but there was a lot of head nodding and “okays” and then, just before he hung up, a radiant smile directed my way. While he was on the phone, Robert, Kevin, and Josh joined me, eager to hear the news. He walked over to us with a grin spread across his face. I looked at him and said, “So, I take it the news was good?”
“He’s going to be okay. It was a minor stroke and he’s expected to make a full recovery. Dad and Uncle Aaron will be home on Friday night, probably after the game.”
We all told him how glad we were his grandfather was going to be okay. Robert told us he was going to go and spend some time with Lori. We decided we would go to Sean’s, so he and Kevin could get a week’s worth of clothes and anything else they might need and then head to Patrick’s.
Once we arrived, we found Mark and Patrick sitting in the back yard next to the pool. There was also a third guy with black hair and black glasses sitting in Patrick’s lap. I assumed he was Ethan. At least I hoped he was.
“Hey, y’all! I’m glad you could make it over. This is my boyfriend, Ethan. Ethan, you know who Sean McNair is, right?” Ethan nodded before Patrick continued, “Thought so. That is his boyfriend, TJ Kennedy. The giant is Kevin Wilson. And the other midget next to him is Josh Kennedy.”
Ethan elbowed Patrick in the side and whispered something in his ear. Patrick laughed and said, “Sorry, I won’t do it again. I promise.” That earned him a glare from Ethan. “Alright, I probably will do it again. But, you know I love you, right?”
Ethan again leaned over and whispered something in Patrick’s ear. Patrick stopped laughing and looked Ethan straight in the eye and said, “You have absolutely nothing to worry about. Just take your time and you’ll be fine. We’re all friends here. I swear, nobody will say anything.”
Ethan shyly turned to us and started speaking. “H-h-h-hey, n-n-n-nice t-t-to m-meet you.”
I walked over to him and stuck out my hand and said, “Hey Ethan. Nice to meet you too.”
Sean was right behind me. He smiled his award-winning smile at Ethan. “Hey, you doing alright?” Ethan smiled and nodded.
Kevin, the gentle giant he is, kneeled down to look Ethan in the eye. We learned something about Kevin none of us knew before, not even Josh. “Hey, I’m Kevin. I just wanted to let you know, we know you’re going to be nervous and that’s going to make you stutter more than usual right?” Ethan’s eyes grew bigger than an owl’s, but he nodded. “That’s what I thought. Once you’re more comfortable with us it will get better, right?” Ethan again nodded. “Does it ever go away or is it stress induced only?”
Ethan got a knowing look on his face. “I-it d-d-doesn’t g-go a-away. W-w-where d-do you plan on g-g-going to sch-school?”
Kevin grinned. “University of Texas in Austin. They are ranked number seven in the nation.”
Ethan smiled even bigger. “Th-that’s w-w-where P-p-Patrick wants t-to g-go.”
Patrick looked at Kevin and asked, “You’re going for speech pathology?”
Kevin nodded. Patrick asked Ethan if he would let him up. He then dragged Kevin away a bit and started talking. The conversation went off and on all day. By the time we left that evening, they were planning on going into practice together after they graduate with their doctorates.
The next introduction was a little awkward. Especially since Patrick wasn’t there to reassure Ethan. I, however, did notice that although he was talking to Kevin, he never took his eyes off Ethan for more than a second during this introduction. Josh and Ethan just looked at each other, neither knowing what to say to the other.
Josh finally broke the silence when he smiled and asked, “Does he ever call you shorty and then use the top of your head as an armrest?”
Ethan laughed loudly. It was an infectious laugh that had everyone around him grinning from ear-to-ear. “Y-yes. I f-f-fucking h-hate it. I n-n-normally j-just either tickle him or j-jab him i-in the r-ribs w-with my elbow.”
After that broke the tension, we broke off into little groups. Josh and Ethan sat and softly talked to each other, so nobody could hear them. They would randomly burst out laughing and then look at Patrick. The best part was when Ethan practically yelled, “P-P-Paddycakes? You h-have to be j-j-joking. Th-th-thank you, J-Josh.”
Patrick groaned with a grin and said, “Great, now I’m never going to hear the end of it.
Sean and I sat with Mark and the three of us had a great conversation. He said he read some information online and thinks pansexual describes him perfectly. Ethan overheard us and asked, “H-how d-d-do you kn-know f-for sure?”
Mark turned almost as red as Kevin normally does and simply told him he would explain everything later. Ethan nodded and said with an extremely serious face, “O-okay c-cuz. J-just r-re-remember I-I g-got your b-b-back. I’ll k-k-kick em in the sh-shins if they g-g-give you sh-sh-shit.”
Mark nodded. “I know you would cuz. Thanks.”
I looked at Mark skeptically, wondering if he was humoring Ethan or what. He noticed and chuckled. “Ethan is a quick little fucker. He learned he can outrun most people from the start. He learned from kicking people who were making fun of him in the shin and running away. I keep telling him he should try out for the track team, but he doesn’t believe me.”
Ethan blushed. “I-I’m n-not a j-j-jock, Markie Mark. I c-can’t be an a-athlete.”
Josh spoke up again. “I’m calling bullshit on that Ethan; and you know it’s bullshit. Our friend Mike is on the track team. We’ll introduce y’all on Monday. He can bring you to talk to the coach. You’ll never know unless you try. What’s the worst that can happen?”
“Th-th-they k-k-kick my ass for being g-gay.”
Josh laughed. “Dude seriously? Look around. We have four football players, three of which are gay and one is pan. Mike will support you and he’s already on the team. And if worse comes to worse, my dad is the assistant principal and Kevin’s uncle is Coach Wilson. They all support us. You’ll also have the support of the GSA which we’re starting up. You can do this if you want.” By the end of Josh’s speech, I think we were all ready to try out. I think he had Ethan convinced, since after he met Mike, they went and found the track coach Monday after school.
The rest of the week went by fast. Nothing really interesting happened. Well, that’s a lie. Rachel and Smith were dating. Every day, she would look at us like she wanted to say something, but then Smith would grab her arm, not forcefully, at least it didn’t look forceful, and she would focus back on whatever they were doing. We all noticed it, but nobody asked. We figured she was either trying to start a fight or cause some other type of drama.
John showed up on Monday in our first period English class. He was also in Drama with Josh and me, as well as Government and Physics. Luckily, he and Sean didn’t share any classes without me. He no longer glared at me but he would flirt with Sean in passing, which Sean just ignored.
Our lunch table now included myself, Sean, Kevin, Josh, Patrick, Ethan, Castro, Jenny, Amber, Mike, Jarrod, Stacey, Mark, and unfortunately, John. I tried to sit as far away from John as possible, so did Mark. There were only six people who knew exactly what happened outside that night. So, the five of us sat on the opposite side from John.
He did, however, meet and bring a few new people to the table on Tuesday. One was a Senior named Chase. He was taller than Ethan and Josh, but not by much. He also had long hair he wore pulled back in a ponytail. On Wednesday, I saw Mark and some girl talking in the hallway between classes. Later that day, she was sitting next to him at the table. She introduced herself as Chasity. When Castro asked where Chase was, Chasity simply said, “I felt like Chasity today. Chase might be here tomorrow, you’ll know if you see me.” On Thursday, Mark and Chase were sitting really close to each other, laughing and smiling. On Friday, Mark let us know he was dating Chase/Chasity.
Friday night at the game, we were up one field goal in the fourth quarter with less than two minutes left in the game. Sean called for the ball then dropped back to find a receiver. Everyone in the stands was focused on Sean so intently, nobody noticed a defensive lineman, wearing number thirty, run past Smith and blindside Sean. The hit was so hard, Sean’s head snapped back. The next thing I heard was a gut-wrenching crack of something breaking. The ball was fumbled and recovered by the other team who ran it back for a touchdown. The players and coaches were so focused on trying to stop the team from scoring, nobody saw what I did.
My own personal nightmare was playing out before my eyes on the field. As soon as I saw Sean’s head snap back, I knew something wasn’t right. When I heard the crack, I couldn’t stop myself. With tears in my eyes, I jumped the railing separating the stands from the track. I ran up to Coach Wilson, who caught me and stopped me from running onto the field. I looked up at him and asked, “Why hasn’t he gotten up?”
Sudden understanding dawned on his face and he looked out at the unmoving shape of my boyfriend, Sean McNair, starting quarterback and captain of our varsity football team, laying on the Astroturf with his right arm at an unnatural angle. He paled so fast, I thought he was going to pass out. He told me to stay put and ran out on the field. I, of course didn’t listen. When I finally made it out on the field, I knelt next to him.
Coach Wilson yelled, “TJ, don’t touch him.” He dragged me to the sidelines, telling me I couldn’t go on the field because the game wasn’t over. I noticed the yellow flag next to Sean. Everyone on both teams starting taking a knee as soon as the EMTs ran out on the field.
I hated the fact that all I could do was stand there and cry while they stabilized and loaded him onto a stretcher. The scariest part to me was that so far, Sean hadn’t moved a muscle.