I mean, it's not like those stupid pictures mean anything. It could be an OLD set of pictures for all I know! Or Jimmy could have doctored it to make it look like something it wasn't. How can I trust a single word that comes out of that boy's mouth when I know what a manipulative LIAR he is? Right?
Trying to ignore them completely was like trying to mentally fight off a heavy dose of food poisoning by convincing myself that it wasn't really happening. The poison had already been administered, and it was taking effect whether I wanted it to or not. It was seriously cutting me to the bone.
I trusted Brandon! I had no reason not to. We already got past all the bullshit that was keeping us from being together. We went to the Hill and got all of those pesky secrets out in the open and promised each other that we'd be one hundred percent honest from now on in our relationship. We patched everything up, repaired the damage that had been done from not talking to one another for so long, and paved the way for a brighter future. Right? Brandon and I belong together. We just needed to connect and put how we felt into words that we could have faith in. A trustworthy bond that we could fully pursue without these silly tricks and stupid mind games constantly tripping us up, you know?
But...I couldn't stop myself from looking at those pictures.
When I got up early and went to work for Scott to train me on register this morning, I felt a bit nervous about how the whole day would go. I just wanted to concentrate and stay focused so I could make my manager proud. He had faith in me, so...I didn't want to let him down. When one of Jimmy's messages came in, I refused to read it. I just knew that I was going to get all flustered and upset and there was a chance that his bullshit was going to infect my brain and truly RUIN the rest of my day! So...I figured it could wait until I was on my way home. No need to let him and his 'look at me' depression screw me up before I was in the right state of mind to deal with him properly.
Working the register was a little bit more complicated than I thought it would be. I mean, it wasn't hard or anything, just...there was a lot more involved than I thought there would be. Counting out change, and getting more money from the safe ahead of time before I ran out, and personal sign in codes, and coupon thingies...not to mention my receipt paper roll ran out twice and I kept having to change it at the last minute. I can see why Scott wanted to start me out so early in the morning when there weren't that many customers around. Ollie was there the entire time, trying to guide me on how to do things quickly, smoothly, and efficiently. He answered all of my questions, running his register and my register at the same time. But I was trying not to ask TOO many questions because I was afraid that it would make me look like I was stumbling. I can get this. I know I can. I just...need a little practice, right?
Robin worked with us today. And, hey...guess what? He came into work looking sad. Like...'heartbroken' sad. Like we didn't see THIS coming? What the fuck? I honestly wasn't going to say anything, but Dizzy asked him why he was looking like somebody just ran over his puppy in the driveway, and Robin just shook it off, like, "I'm ok. It's nothing." I'm willing to bet that it's NOT nothing. I'd bet my next three paychecks that AJ is fucking around with other boys behind his back again. Because that's who AJ is! The second some random cutie catches his eye, he kicks into gear and he's in hot pursuit of getting another piece of ass, his supposed boyfriend's heart be damned! Robin KNOWS this? So why does he keep punishing himself by acting like he's surprised?
AJ is never ever going to be his boyfriend. NEVER. There will never be a day where AJ will see any reason to be loyal to Robin's heart and make him his one and only sweetheart. When is he going to get that through his thick skull?
Sometimes, you can feel lonelier with someone than you can without them.
Whatever. Honestly, Robin knows how I feel about the whole situation. Frankly, I'm sick of even writing it in my diary. I'm just wasting what little space I've got left in this book before I have to go out and buy another one. In fact, he avoids me just as much as I avoid him these days. It's hard to talk to one another when this giant issue is sucking all the oxygen out of our every conversation. It's best for us to keep our distance for a while. I didn't want us to have a conflict over this whole thing, but I can't help but to think that every moment of affection he gives AJ right now enables him to do this to countless other gay teens so they can get their hearts torn up just as badly. AJ is emboldened now. Why would he ever stop when he never faces any real consequences for his actions?
I need to find that Rodney boy he was dating so he can really put the screws to that son of a bitch even worse than before. I don't think I have ever HATED anyone more than I do the boy that took my virginity way back when. Mostly because I was horny and inexperienced and just wanted a boyfriend so badly that I would have settled for anybody who was willing to relieve that intense sexual tension! I'll admit that. But I know better now. And Robin should know better now too. We were duped. Staying by AJ's side, at this point, is nothing more than an exercise in self loathing at this point. So Robin and I don't have anything left to say to one another until he works that out in his head. It's just disgusting to watch, otherwise.
Besides, I didn't need the drama today. I was trying to learn the register, DAMMIT!!!
However...when I went to lunch...
Ugh! I shouldn't have done it. I shouldn't have looked at Jimmy's message to me. But it was sent with this really smug smiley face in the subject header, and as much as I tried to block it out of my thoughts so I wouldn't be tempted to read it until I went home for the day...it just kept calling out to me.
So...while I was on lunch, I started fiddling with my phone and decided to see what kind of ridiculous level of 'hate speech' Jimmy LaPlane had to give me today.
When I opened the message, it was just three pictures that he took, himself, with his cell phone...and the short phrase...
I tried to tell you. Don't kill the messenger.
Looking at those pictures...staring at those pictures...I felt a hole being burned right through the center of my chest. A weight had suddenly been dropped on my shoulders without warning, and while I wanted to have the common sense and the confidence to ignore what I was looking at...it still hurt. It hurt so MUCH!
Jimmy had taken pictures of Brandon...MY Brandon...having a good time and a bunch of giggles with his ex-boyfriend, Stevie. Not only sharing some quality time over lunch and stuff, but hugging one another! And even kissing one another on the lips! KISSING!!! What the fuck???
I remember closing my eyes and telling myself that the pictures weren't real, and that it was just another one of Jimmy's sinister little attempts to tear us apart! But...as I kept going back to the pictures...Brandon was clearly hanging out with Stevie in public. He was hugging him closely around the waist. He was kissing him on the lips. I mean, Jimmy wasn't making that part up. It definitely happened.
That made me feel so nauseous inside. Why wouldn't Brandon tell me about this? Jimmy took this picture TODAY! Just this morning, in fact. Brandon could have told me that he was meeting up with Stevie today...for whatever reason. Not that there's much reason for him to get back in touch with that damn WEASEL, anyway! But, if he felt the need to go see him, that would have been fine. Why lie to me about it? Unless...all of these hugs and kisses mean more to him than I think it does.
No, that's dumb. I'm not falling for it. Brandon and I are fine. So he met up with his ex-boyfriend today? So what? He's allowed to do that. I can be a stable boyfriend and let him have lunch with somebody that he used to lust after on a daily basis and has actually had SEX with, multiple times! Right? I can't just expect him to block Stevie out of his life just because he was so madly in LOVE with him at one time, right?
I'm not jealous. I'm NOT! If I called Brandon right now...he would probably explain it all and make me feel better in an instant. Right? No problem.
That was all I thought about on the bus ride home today. I was actually anxious to finally get home and rush through that front door so I could call Brandon up and speak to him, one on one, where we had enough privacy to talk. I know, I know...maybe I should just come right out and ask him what was up with him and Stevie hooking up today. I realize that trying to get him to offer up the information on his own is a bit of a 'test'...and we kind of agreed not to do that to each other anymore, but...fuck! I just wanted to know if he'd tell me. That's all. Then I'll drop it. Jimmy LaPlane will come off looking like an asshole, and Brandon and I will be stronger than ever!
But...when I talked to my sweetheart...I didn't get the immediate answer that I was looking for.
When I asked him what he did all day, he was like, "I don't know. Just hung out for a while. Nothing spectacular."
Nothing spectacular? Well, I mean...he was obviously 'hanging out' with Stevie. He could just say that. I tried to give him a little nudge by asking, "Really? Just by yourself?"
Brandon's like, "Yeah. For the most part." Then he changes the subject, like, "Say! How was the register gig this morning? Did you get a thumbs up from your boss or what?"
Was he dodging me on purpose? What was he doing? I'm all like, "Yeah. There's a lot of extra stuff that goes into working the register that I didn't know before. So I can't claim to be a jedi yet, but I'm working on it." Then I gave him a little chuckle and asked, "Really though...did you even leave the house today? Summer's almost over. I'd think you'd want to get as much sunshine as you possibly could before we have to go back to school again."
But he basically dodges the question again. He says, "I think I went out for a little bit during the morning. I spent most of my day cleaning my room though. Did some laundry before my dad got a chance to complain about it. I figured I'd get all of my chores done today so I wouldn't have anything holding me back when you and I got the chance to get together again. Hehehe! I'm definitely looking forward to it."
Despite the flirtatious tone of voice, and the fact that Brandon's adorable flurry of giggles brought light to my dark and insecure mood before I called him up...I found myself sinking lower into a depressing mindset that kinda blindsided me out of nowhere.
I thought about...Bobby Jinette. And how he kept telling me that there was always someone cuter. Someone more incredible. Someone that the love of my life would want more than he wanted me. I thought about Robin's sad face today, and the fact that he was totally faithful to AJ, even through abuse and rejection...and how his love for AJ didn't matter in the end. I thought about the way Sam longed for Joey to come back to him...but she just loves Jamie Cross more. He's blond. And hot. And...whatever.
I even thought about my parents. How my mom was keeping secrets about her and Mr. Franks, and how my own father must have kept secrets from my mom before packing up a big truck and driving out of our lives forever. I mean...is love temporary? Can people just change their mind one day and stop giving a fuck? If so...is love worth it at all? Does it even exist?
I'd like to say that I just came right out and forced Brandon to tell me the truth, but I didn't. I thought about it, but I wanted to collect my thoughts in a way that would be more of an approach than an accusation. But the more I tried to untangle my thoughts, the more tangled they became. Am I any different? I changed my mind on AJ at one time. Changed my mind on Bobby, on Lee, on Jimmy...hell, even had a pseudo girlfriend for a while. I get all angry and frustrated with Jimmy when he tortures me with his fucked up comments...but what would I do to Brandon if I find out that he has feelings for Stevie again? What will my reaction be if I call him out on it, and he tells me, "I'd rather be with Stevie"? What would I do?
Do I break down? Do I cry myself to sleep every night for the next year and a half? Can I be angry at Brandon for doing to me the SAME thing that I did to Jimmy LaPlane?
So much to absorb. So much to think about. I think I just need some time to think.
To my future self, who I'm hoping will have much more time to analyze this and experience with situations like this, please...DON'T FUCKING YELL AT ME!!! Every time I think I've learned something about life, I find out that I have years and years worth of more relationship stuff to learn. I'm trying to do this the right way. And before I go ballistic on Brandon without a plan, I want to calm down and just...'think' for a minute.
We worked sooooo hard to get where we are right now. I don't want one of Jimmy's bullshit games to destroy it all.
Slow down, Billy. Slow down and get your head right.
That's all for now. I don't want to write any more. I just...
I LOVE you, Brandon! I do. You're all I've ever wanted. I just don't understand why you would do this to me. I don't get this at all.
I'll talk more later. Until then...I just want to be alone for a while.
What can I say? Bobby Jinette was right. There's always someone cuter than I am. And no matter how much my heart beats for Brandon, and Brandon alone...it won't really matter in the end. I can still end up alone.